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.
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!