Dwarfs are my first example. Those miniature mountain men are the perfect expression of our gluttonous side. They eat and drink to excess, and possess a bloodthirstiness for battle that would have put Attila the Hun to shame. Not to mention indulging a sex drive that could rival dogs in heat! Dwarfs are indeed larger than life; their over-the-top antics more than make up for their physical shortcomings. And that’s what makes them so endearing. We view them as the rowdy children we left behind in order to grow up into adulthood.
In Elves we see the lofty ideals that the human race constantly strives for, but ultimately fails to attain. Elves exhibit a sublime majesty, a oneness with their environment we find enviable. They commune with nature in a way that humankind hasn’t enjoyed since we abandoned the caves to take up farming. However, the flip side of that coin is that Elfkind are never numerous and always on the verge of forsaking the world of mortal men. Increasingly, modern portrayals of them depict a flawed race dogged by humanlike failings. They are what we could have become, should have been, and might never get the chance to be.
And then there are the social misfits. Goblins and Trolls represent the baser instincts, the primal urges that drive all animals. In them we are morbidly transfixed by what we were, emerging from bestial hunter-gatherer societies to become so-called civilised peoples. But in those primitive cultures can also be seen the stirrings of higher intellect that, incredibly and dangerously, sets up apart from other creatures.
So, to summarise ...Goblins and Trolls echo our past, Dwarfs paint a picture of us at present, whilst Elves shimmer as a ghostly future beyond our reach. I should know. My new series Terrath is filled with these traditional races, albeit tweaked with the odd twist here and there to freshen up perceptions. Wizards’ Goal will introduce you to the Fellow Races, complete with all their strengths and weaknesses. You’ll meet the highland Dwarfs, the desert dwelling Trolls and seafaring Elves, as well as the perennial baddies out west, the Goblins. And in them all you’ll find peeks of multifaceted Men and the terrible secrets they harbour concerning the origins of Terrath’s inhabitants.