Unveiling the Extraordinary Fantasy Characters of My Worlds

by | Jul 19, 2023 | Blog, Creativity, Fantasy, Inspiration, On Reading

In my journey as a writer, I have come to understand that fantasy is not merely an escape from reality, but a powerful vehicle for introspection, empathy, and personal growth. Through weaving tales of mythical realms and extraordinary beings, I delve into the intricacies of the human condition, exploring themes of love, loss, bravery, and the eternal struggle between darkness and light. Fantasy unlocks the doors of imagination, allowing me to venture into uncharted territories and present readers with characters who serve as mirrors, reflecting the diverse tapestry of our own existence. 

To me, creating relatable fantasy characters is of paramount importance. Regardless of the realms they inhabit, characters must possess a tangible humanity that resonates with readers from all walks of life. It is through their vulnerabilities, hopes, and fears that readers can find solace, inspiration, and a profound sense of connection. When we can empathize with a character’s triumphs and tribulations, their joys and sorrows, we embark on a shared journey of growth and self-discovery.

Merlin: The Iconic Wizard

Fantasy Character Merlin from T. A. Barron's Merlin Saga

Within the pages of my novels of The Merlin Saga, I endeavor to bring this timeless character to life in a way that resonates with readers of all ages. Just as people have been telling stories about this character for over fifteen hundred years, I wrote about Merlin because he stands for three enduring ideals – the universality of all people; the light and dark within ourselves; and the sacredness of nature. We don’t need to look far to see the importance of these same ideals today.

In the enchanted isle of Fincayra, readers witness Merlin’s early years — before he becomes the legendary icon we all know today. His upbringing unveils encounters with mystical creatures and daunting challenges that test his resolve. Through his journey, Merlin discovers the deep connections between magic and nature, understanding that true power lies in harmony and balance. 

My portrayal of Merlin reveals one of my biggest beliefs — that everyone has some special magic down inside. Even if they haven’t yet discovered that magic, it’s there. And that’s true regardless of age, gender, background, or any other description. So everyone has the potential to find that magic… and to use it to help themselves and the world. 

This young boy who becomes the greatest wizard of all times is, most of all, a story that I hope people of all ages will enjoy.  But it’s also a metaphor — that all of us, whatever our backgrounds, have a magical person hidden down inside of ourselves. And just like that boy who washed ashore on the first page of The Merlin Saga, each of us feels “washed ashore” at some point in our lives. Lost, helpless, and alone. And yet… each of us, just like that boy, has some special magic of our own!

Kate: The Spirited Heroine

Fantasy character Kate from T. A. Barron's Adventures of Kate

In my novels of The Adventures of Kate (The Ancient One, Heartlight, and The Merlin Effect), readers are introduced to Kate — a spirited and courageous young girl who embarks on remarkable adventures. Kate’s character embodies resilience, curiosity, and an unyielding spirit of determination. Her journey unfolds across different dimensions, where she encounters fantastical creatures, explores ancient mysteries, and embraces the powers of love and friendship. 

Kate is a beacon of light, demonstrating unwavering loyalty, empathy, and an innate sense of justice. Her enthusiastic nature propels her into the heart of extraordinary situations, where she must confront her fears, make difficult choices, and grow into her own remarkable destiny. Through her eyes, readers witness the beauty and awe of the worlds she explores, discovering hidden truths and unearthing the power within themselves. 

As Kate’s adventures unfold, she encounters both external challenges and internal struggles. Her experiences teach her the value of perseverance, self-belief, and the transformative power of compassion. Through her friendships and alliances, she demonstrates the importance of unity and the strength found in supporting one another in the face of adversity.

Kate’s journey is a testament to the boundless potential of the human spirit. Her character inspires readers to embrace their own unique qualities, follow their passions, and confront the uncertainties that lie on the path of self-discovery. Through her steadfast courage and dedication to what is right, Kate serves as a role model, reminding readers of the power that lies within each and every one of us.

Atlanta: The Brave Protector of Atlantis

Fantasy character Atlanta from T. A. Barron's Atlantis trilogy

Within the pages of my Atlantis trilogy, readers are introduced to Atlanta — a vivacious and determined young heroine whose journey unfolds in the mystical land of Atlantis. Atlanta is a fantasy character who embodies strength, resilience, and unwavering courage in the face of adversity. Her story is one of self-discovery, as she navigates the challenges of a world on the brink of collapse.

Atlanta’s journey begins as she questions the rigid social structures and injustices prevalent in Atlantis. Fueled by a fierce desire for equality and justice, she embarks on a mission to challenge the status quo and bring about positive change. With her inherent abilities and unyielding spirit, Atlanta has courage that is as deep as the ocean.

As readers follow Atlanta’s footsteps through the perilous depths of Atlantis, they witness her growth and transformation. She learns to harness her inner strength, tap into her unique talents, and forge unlikely alliances. Atlanta’s character serves as an inspiration to readers, reminding them of the power of resilience, compassion, and the courage to stand up for what is right.

Through Atlanta’s eyes, readers explore the wondrous and mysterious world of Atlantis, uncovering its rich history, ancient magic, and intricate societal dynamics. Her journey exemplifies the strength of the human spirit, showcasing the potential for growth, change, and the triumph of light over darkness.

Stangmar: The Formidable Antagonist

Fantasy character Stangmar from T. A. Barron's Merlin Saga

No story is complete without a formidable antagonist, and in The Merlin Saga, I introduced Stangmar — a malevolent force that seeks to engulf the world in darkness. Stangmar embodies the dark side of human nature, representing the temptations and destructive forces that we must confront in our own lives.

The enigmatic allure of this dark fantasy character lies in his inherent humanity — his flaws so akin to the ones we all bear, and his mistakes mirroring our own. In the very first book of The Merlin Saga, we learn that Stangmar is the descendant of the great wizard Tuatha, yet despite his magical lineage, he possesses none of his father’s powers. As the non-magical son of Fincayra’s legendary sorcerer, young Stangmar endured humiliation, acutely aware of his inadequacies. The weight of his shortcomings was magnified by his critical father, leaving him no respite, no escape from self-loathing.

Given his tumultuous background, it comes as no surprise that the malevolent spirit warlord Rhita Gawr sought to corrupt Stangmar. Under Rhita Gawr’s insidious influence, and driven by a desperate thirst for power as king, Stangmar sought to seize all the Treasures of Fincayra — a collection of magical objects that symbolized all he had come to despise. However, deep in his heart, he yearned to compensate for the qualities he lacked. This dark alliance transformed him into a being consumed by rage and a lust for power, a puppet obedient to Rhita Gawr’s every command. So lost was he to this malevolence that, when faced with the choice, he even resolved to end the life of his own son, Merlin—an innocent boy born with all the magical abilities that Stangmar lacked. And yet, amid the darkness, a sliver of his true self remained — a man who cherished the woman Elen so deeply that her departure from Fincayra, along with their son, shattered the remnants of his heart.

Those acquainted with the pages of MERLIN: A Wizard’s Wings (Book 5 of The Merlin Saga), will appreciate the depth that Stangmar’s complexity brings to the narrative. In many ways, he serves as the mirror image of Merlin. Like his tormented father, Merlin grapples incessantly with his own dark and light aspects. That depth makes Stangmar surprisingly unpredictable… and gives him, at long last, a chance for redemption.

I fully believe, without a doubt, that fantasy characters have the power to inspire us to overcome our own challenges, confront our inner demons, and embrace the full spectrum of our potential. Through their struggles and conquests, we find solace in knowing that we are not alone in our own quests for meaning and purpose. Whether it be the sage wisdom of Merlin, the indomitable spirit of Kate, the treacherous allure of Stangmar, or the unwavering determination of Atlanta, these fantasy characters ignite a spark within us, reminding us that within our hearts lie infinite possibilities.