A central part to many fantasy worlds are the gods and religions. I went over this long ago here, which explained the various systems I’d seen in fantasy. This time I’m going to briefly talk about the afterlife and open the floor. Keep in mind that I’m talking about fantasy fiction here. Specifically those that include gods because those that don’t tend to avoid the subject.
It is kind of funny how often the afterlife comes up in some fantasy stories. One big reason is because of the attention to combat, so death is always present on the minds of the characters. Priests spout on about it and tend to get into arguments with those who follow other gods. That can be amusing since deities tend to be a present force, so it’s more about which one is stronger than if they exist or not. From these conversations, you get the feeling that the afterlife is divided among all of the gods with no crossing over. I know in Dungeons & Dragons, we were told that any people who don’t have a chosen deity are put into ‘The Wall’ where the unclaimed goes. Still not sure if this is true or something that was made by the guy running the game.
Personally, I find the discussions of the afterlife rather interesting because you get some insight to a character. This is especially true for those who are not priests and casually follow a deity. The true followers will give you an idea about the religion, but they always say ‘I will be with my god’ in these chats. It’s even a goal sometimes. With the other characters, you get the juicy emotions. Are they afraid of death? Are they sure of what’s on the other side? They can be driven to do certain things or even to survive against all odds because of they aren’t obsessed with hanging out for eternity with their favorite god even if it’s a party. I truly believe that religion and the afterlife in a fantasy world puts a fascinating dimension of depth to the stories. Right up there with monsters, various cultures, and a consistent magic system.
So, what do people think about fictional afterlives and how prominent they are in fantasy stories?