For my Popular Materials class, a partner and I presented on the fantasy genre. To kick off our presentation, I handed out a quiz I’d written – not to be collected or graded, which might have gotten me assassinated, but to show classmates that they already knew more about fantasy than they might have thought.
(About certain kinds of fantasy, anyway.)
The quiz was so popular with my classmates that I thought I’d post it here.
Let’s say you’re a character in a fantasy novel. How would you answer the following questions?
- Living in poverty, you find yourself, through strange circumstances, in possession of a gaudy piece of old jewelry. What is likely to be true about this bauble?
A. It’s too over-the-top to be real. It’s costume jewelry. Not worth much.
B. There are surely no risks involved in wearing it.
C. It will be instrumental in determining the fate of your world and of you personally.
- Venturing into a tavern, you spot a figure sitting in the shadows, the hood of his/her robe pulled down low over his/her face. This person is probably:
A. Hiding a skin condition.
B. A powerful figure whose destiny is entwined with yours. And quite possibly royalty.
C. Wearing a robe somewhat too big for him/her, which therefore has slack in the hood.
- A dwarf is:
A. A human with a genetic condition.
B. A main sequence star of luminosity class V. (If you chose this, you are definitely in the wrong genre.)
C. A short humanoid creature with a beard.
- You meet a spunky young person who is seeking his/her fortune. S/he seems a tad naive, but goodhearted, and comes from humble beginnings. What are the odds that this young person is secretly the lost heir to a kingdom?
A. That seems terribly unlikely.
B. Roughly 100%.
C. Roughly 100%. And it will be a kingdom currently ruled by the Forces of Evil and desperately in need of a leader behind whom to rally.
- Come to think of it, what are the odds that YOU are the lost heir to a kingdom?
B. Given that I am a foundling child / was raised in an orphanage / am beginning to suspect these kindly peasants are not my biological parents, I suppose there is some tiny chance of that.
C. I can’t discuss that possibility until it’s brought up at an appropriately dramatic moment, such as in my beloved mentor’s dying words.
- Legends and songs:
A. Are usually made up based on what sounds good and reinforces the values of the culture to which they belong.
B. May contain a grain of truth or pass on a traditional story.
C. Provide information that is not only absolutely true, but may also be prophetic.
- You enter an unfamiliar tower, wishing to speak with its occupant. Wandering around, you find yourself in a room full of books, papers, candles, animal bones, strange powders, and bottles of brightly-colored liquid. The air smells smoky with a touch of sulfur. Looking down, you find yourself standing in a chalk pentagram drawn on the floor. What do you do?
A. Decide that the person who lives here has a quirky decorative sense.
B. Get out get out get out now now NOW!
C. Find the chalk and use it to leave a note for the tower’s occupant.
- At some point in your adventure, you board a ship. What will happen before you disembark?
A. Presumably we will put out to sea, then come in to another port.
B. There may be bad weather, I suppose.
C. Not only will there be bad weather, there will be sea monsters. We might be shipwrecked on an island, but only if there is something important on the island, such as a prophet or retired swordsmaster living in seclusion.
- An important artifact that rightfully belongs to the royal family was stolen long ago. Where will it likely be?
A. In a safety-deposit box belonging to the thief.
B. In a pawn shop somewhere.
C. Under guard by monsters in the Citadel of Tears located in the Bleak Forest in the kingdom of Xy’anthia.