Hidden Kingdoms in Fantasy

Tough Traveling

Each Thursday, The Fantasy Review Barn uses Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and tours the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy. This week’s tour topic is Hidden Kingdoms. Not all of my choices are strictly speaking kingdoms, but let’s take a look at some of my favourite secret, magical worlds in fantasy!

1. The London Below
From Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
In the tunnels of London Underground lies a hidden kingdom of Rat-Speakers, Black Friars, Velvets, and angels. You can go visit the Floating Market (if you know where it is) or the real Earl’s Court held in a train car (be polite to the Earl), but remember to watch your steps on the Night’s Bridge, and to always mind the gap.

2. Narnia
From The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Narnia may not strictly be a hidden kingdom, but in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the entrance to the world is hidden inside a wardrobe, so it counts. There’s fauns, talking animals… Not everything is fun and games, though. Beware of the White Witch. And try not to become the ruler of Narnia while you visit – except if that is what you want, of course. It could be your very own hidden kingdom!

3. The Wizarding World
From the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
The whole wizarding world is a hidden world existing right under our noses. In Great Britain, there’s the one and only Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the famous Diagon Alley in London, as well as many villages populated only by witches and wizards.

I hate to use the Harry Potter books again, but I seriously couldn’t come up with any more hidden kingdoms! Weird, huh? One would think there were a ton of them around in fantasy books! I probably forgot some really obvious ones.

Have you visited all these hidden kingdoms? What is the tourist attraction you’d most like to visit in these worlds? Tell me in the comments! I’d really like to take a look at Narnia’s famous lamp-post, myself!


11 thoughts on “Hidden Kingdoms in Fantasy

  1. Still can’t believe I didn’t remember Narnia x_x Nice post! Looking forward to seeing ya next week also :D

    • I had to think a while before remembering Narnia, and I basically had the books sitting right in front of me. I hope I remember to take part next week, this was fun!

    • My mother read Narnia series to me when I was little, so I have a pretty special/nostalgic relationship with it. I love London Below, as well! I cheated a lot on this list – these are mostly just hidden worlds, not kingdoms. :)

  2. Haha, Maija – two of the same books!! Excellent – and, I also thought about HP – was thinking about platform nine and a half, etc but couldn’t qutie figure it out. Excellent though. So glad to read your post. I love this Tough Traveling!
    Lynn :D

    • You really thought everything through pretty well! I read from some comment of yours that you were thinking about Riftwar, but then didn’t put it in because it was an Empire, not a kingdom! :D Only Narnia from mine is actually a kingdom.

      • Well, I had a few on my list and then I realised that I must be cheating so rethought it. I had London Below – I figure if it’s a (twisted) reflection of London Above then it must have royalty somewhere!! That’s my figuring anyway :D
        Apparently, I think we both cheated with Narnia – as you reach it through a portal!! I like cheating – as everyone has probably gathered.
        Lynn :D

  3. I know I read every book in the Narnia series around fifth grade. But I honest to god don’t remember ANYTHING about them at all. And i have never had the urge to go back and reread them, despite having the omnibus of the whole series on my shelf.

  4. I still have yet to read Neverwhere! It’s on my list!

    And wonderful addition of Harry Potter’s wizarding world, that is definitely an entire society hidden right under Muggles’ noses :)

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