NYCC Panel Roundup: Crows, Highlanders, and the Magic of Fantasy Books
The magical world of Harry Potter is just one of the many amazing fantasy series to achieve massive popularity in recent years. New York Comic Con 2022 put a spotlight on some of these great books, as well as their respective adaptations, with exciting panels and special guests perfect for every lover of the genre.
Saturday’s “Titans of Fantasy in Conversation” panel featured three legendary authors in the genre: Brandon Sanderson, Terry Brooks, and Diana Gabaldon. Sanderson has explored many genres in his writing, but his epic fantasy series, including Mistborn, have earned him significant acclaim. Brooks is also known for his epic fantasies, such as The Sword of Shannara. Gabaldon wrote the Outlander series, a genre-bending adventure combining elements of fantasy, historical fiction, and romance.
The trio discussed recent trends in fantasy, specifically the popularity of interconnected stories. Sanderson said that his editors were hesitant to support the idea of connecting his books into a shared fictional universe, but they changed their minds after the proven success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The authors also emphasized the value of fantasy as a genre. One fan spoke to Sanderson to express his gratitude for his books, which helped him get through a tough time in his life. The panelists said that this is one of the highest compliments an author can receive.
Also on Saturday, the stars of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone were out in full force, speaking at the panel “A Conversation with the Darkling, the Crows, and Leigh Bardugo.” Actors Ben Barnes (who dedicated Potter fans may recognize as the most popular fan-cast for young Sirius Black), Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, and Kit Young were all in attendance, as well as Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo. The panelists expressed their gratitude to the loyal fans of the source material who have become just as passionate about the adaptation.
Bardugo recounted the origins of her ever-growing Grishaverse. Inspiration for Shadow and Bone first emerged when she was staying at a friend’s home and woke up during the night to a pitch-black house. The spooky situation made Bardugo wonder, “What if darkness was a place?” And the rest is fantasy history.
The panel spoke to the complexities of interconnected and extensive fantasy worlds, much like Sanderson, Gabaldon, and Brooks discussed. The adaptation incorporates characters from two of Bardugo’s series, Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, making for a complex process of translating the books to the screen.
Bardugo was not nervous about combining them, instead seeing it as an exciting opportunity to explore character interactions that couldn’t occur in the books. Though the cast was tight-lipped about Season 2 (to quote Kit Young, “In Netflix we trust”), they hinted at the upcoming cast additions to come as they remarked how good a fit the newcomers are.
On Sunday, Diana Gabaldon took the stage again, this time joined by the stars of the Outlander television series Sam Heughan, Duncan Lacroix, and David Berry in “Sunday Morning Tea with Two Highlanders and a Lord.”
Like Shadow and Bone, Gabaldon’s books have an incredibly loyal fan base that has supported the television adaptations in equal measure. Gabaldon shared her perspective on the adaptation as well as the extent of her involvement in it. The author was quite blunt about the quality of the adaptation, telling the audience, “They got most of it right.”
The cast reflected on the popularity of the show, which has now been on the air for six seasons. Though it has already been renewed for Season 7, fans were eager to learn about the show’s future beyond that, given that nine books have been published in the series.
Of course, the cast and crew were reluctant to give away any major details, but they confirmed Berry’s character’s return, Lord John Grey, in the upcoming season.
Are you a fan of these fantasy worlds? Let us know below!