Schools Beyond the Norm

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Sometimes it isn’t enough to have a school and leave it at that.  Sure you can add regular classes and teachers, but if you’re in a genre like fantasy then you’ll be wanting something special.  Here are a few variations on the theme:

  1. Magical Academy– From Hogwarts in Harry Potter to Roke in Earthsea, the idea of a school devoted to teaching magic is a classic.  All your regular classes are replaced by things like potions, spells, and learning the true name of things.  Physical Education is always fun and the sky’s the limit with clubs.  One of the key things to this is that you need a structured system of magic to make it work.
  2. Warrior Academy– If you’re more into swords than sorcery then you’re looking at a place like Battle Academy in Ranger’s Apprentice and Camp Half-Blood in Percy Jackson.  Nearly every class deals with physical training and those that don’t have a battlefield purpose.  You tend to find more bullies and roughhousing in this setting, but there tends to be a headmaster (or headmistress) that has no problem smacking troublemakers around.  After all, the life of a warrior is filled with pain and hardship, so you better learn quickly.
  3. Flight Academy– For the science fiction fans and a few odd fantasy stories, you can have a tale that focuses on being in the air.  The curriculum can have engineering and various classes that are geared toward flying machines.  If it’s space then you can go heavy into science.  With fantasy, learning about your beast can help or how to maintain your broom or flying carpet.  Whatever you do, don’t forget the races and shake them up with odd rules and landscapes.  Capture the Flag through an asteroid field or Relay Race on Hippogriffs?
  4. Academy for the Special–  A story that deals with people who differ from the rest of world can be great for a school setting.  Look at X-Men even though it hasn’t acted like a school in a really long time.  The idea that outcasts come together under one roof to find a place to belong has been done, so you’ll need to mix it up somehow.  Personally, I having it that the same cliques seem to appear even amongst outsiders such as bullies, loners, jocks, and teacher pets.
  5. Villains Academy– Just go wild on this one.  Explosions, death, and no sense of morals whatsoever.  The main character in a story like this tends to be either the nicest or the meanest.  Not written in stone, but a mid-moral character might lack the true sense of villainy.
  6. School for Vampires–  Why the hell do vampires keep showing up at schools?  Pedophilia bastards.
  7. Monsters Academy!–  This is a personal favorite because I keep trying to find a way to do this.  I haven’t figured it out yet for Windemere without going full comedy, but I might find a way when I fully evolve Lacarsis the City of Monsters.  Though most people call it the City of Evil.  Total reputation issue there.  Anyway, you get to put monsters in the place of the students and the classes can reflect this.  It’s easy to go goofy on this one.  An interesting point to bring up is how monsters view human society and have their education reflect this.  For examples, watch Monsters University or read Rosario Vampire.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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19 Responses to Schools Beyond the Norm

  1. MishaBurnett says:

    Are you familiar with the Disney film “Sky High”? It’s about a high school for young superheroes. It kind of tanked at the box office, but I like it. A lot of great cameos.

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  2. Kirsten says:

    I never really realized how many movies and books really do center around schools. This was a great post!

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  3. I’m ready to apply. 🙂

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  4. Bastet says:

    I never thought about schools, but there really are so many…strange that. liked reading the post, and it’s interesting to think about all the work that goes into this aspect. Loved Hogwarts of course, and the book of course wouldn’t exist without it…interesting!

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  5. Villain school? I’d think very few parents would willingly send their children to such a place. Perhaps if they were part of some organized evil empire or super-villain mafia, they’d want their kids to be indoctrinated and/or make connections with the “right people.” On the other hand, one could make an argument that organizations like Hitler Youth were a form of “villain school.”

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