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Top 10 Fantasy Worlds

One of the many wonderful things about fiction is that we can be transported to amazing, magical fantasy worlds of all shapes and sizes, many of which have made their way into popular culture and the hearts and minds of beloved fans. Many worlds stick in our minds for their unique, memorable characters, fascinating locations, and other such things. This list honours ten of the most imaginative, creative, and even unusual worlds that have been created. So pack your bags, we’re off on an adventure!

10. Toontown (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

It is a rare occurrence in Hollywood where all the best creative minds in the industry come together to make something awesome. In this case it was Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a precursor to the resurgence of animation in the ‘90s. All of the iconic cartoon characters of the ‘30s and ‘40s live in the zany Toontown, a Hollywood suburb that is one big gag in itself Everything in this wacky town is alive or subtly has eyes, most notably the buildings and the cars. The art design and sense of detail is just awesome. Everything is wonky or crooked, just about everything has some kind of gag in sight be in visual or verbal, and where else can you find Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny skydiving together.

9. The Star Wars Universe (Star Wars)

I was debating whether or not to include Star Wars on the list since most are more traditional fantasy settings, but since Star Wars is part fantasy, part western, part samurai flick, it counts. And what a wonderful galaxy far, far away it is. Just about everything in Star Wars (or at least the original trilogy) is imaginative and memorable – the characters, the aliens, the robots, the planets, the spaceships, the technology, and the awesome music. I probably could make a list out of the best aliens and imagery from the franchise. I like that each planet and location is so different from the other and have different environments. I think the best scene featuring George Lucas’ on-and-off creativeness is in the Mos Eisley bar, where we glimpse a variety of unusual weird-looking aliens. They’re only in it for a second but they still stand out. That’s how you leave an impression.

8. Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia)

One of the most beloved children’s book series of all time, The Chronicles of Narnia takes a lot of inspiration from Christian tales, but beyond similar events it is its own world. A heavenly place of talking animals, fantasy creatures, evil witches, and of course, the majestic lion Aslan. The fun part about Narnia is that in each book, a long period of time has passed, showing new places or how things have changed since the last visit by the heroes. I think The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has the best stuff, including that iconic street lamp in the middle of a snowy forest. We’ve managed to see Narnia come to life in the film series based on the books, though only three out of seven have been adapted. Meaning we might still get to see Narnia on the big screen four more times yet.

7. Fantasia (The Neverending Story)

One of my favourite films is The Neverending Story, without a doubt one of the greatest fantasy films ever. Such a fantastic story, memorable characters, a kickass plot twist, a genuine sense of drama, and that wonderful theme song. The film’s fantasy world is Fantasia (“Fantastica” in the book), created from the collective of humanity’s dreams and imagination. However, it faces destruction by a destructive world-erasing force called the Nothing because mankind are forgetting their dreams.

To combat this, the Childlike Empress sends the hunter boy Atreyu to find a way to save their world, teaming up with the Luckdragon named Falkor to save their world. I think the best element of the film is the characters. Along with Atreyu and Falkor, there is also the Rockbiter, the wacky gnomes, and the sinister, creepy wolf called the G’mork. The book has a lot of great moments as well, and every page has something new popping up in it. I particularly like the lion that lives in a desert made of sand that changes colour and turns to stone at night. I love it!

6. Jareth’s Labyrinth (Labyrinth)


What do you get if you cross David Bowie, Jim Henson, and Terry Jones? A damn awesome movie. Labyrinth was one of Jim Henson’s last projects before his death, and man was it a memorable one. A young girl’s baby brother is kidnapped by the Goblin King Jareth (Bowie) and she takes on his dangerous labyrinth to rescue her sibling. What follows is an amazing journey through the maze. Just about everything is unique and a little weird. There are guards who only speak in truth or lies, a pit of “helping hands”, the crazy Fire Gang, and the farting Bog of Eternal Stench. The heroine Sarah teams up with some cool characters to, the dwarf Hoggle, the giant Ludo who can summon rocks as weapons, and the badass Sir Didymus. And at the middle of it all is David Bowie as Jareth, really hamming it up and having a ball. Labyrinth is a great movie with endless creativity. Thanks, Jim Henson.

5. Neverland (Peter Pan)

Who doesn’t know Neverland and who wouldn’t want to go there? Pirates, Native Americans, fairies, mermaids, the Lost Boys, a crocodile that swallowed an alarm clock, and of course, Peter Pan. Neverland is a place of adventure and childlike fun. It is locked in time so no one ever ages – a perfect place for someone who doesn’t want to grow up like Peter. Neverland is quite large, with several iconic locations like Skull Rock and Hangman’s Tree where the Lost Boys live. Neverland’s purpose seems to be to inspire children to grow up or become more mature, and even Peter shows signs of responsibility and adultness at times.

4. Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland)

The oldest entry on the list by 150 years, Wonderland was created by Lewis Carroll as the zany, nonsensical setting for his novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Whether it is an actual world or a manifestation of Alice Liddell’s mind, following the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole takes her into the colourful but utterly backwards country where everyone is mad. Here, there are talking flowers, the vanishing Cheshire Cat, the crazy Mad Hatter, and the tyrannical Queen of Hearts who plays croquet using live flamingos and hedgehogs. It is suggested that Carroll was on drugs when he wrote this. I wouldn’t put it past him.

3. Hogwarts (Harry Potter)


One of the most captivating worlds in recent fiction is that of Harry Potter. With so many iconic, magical locations, I could’ve just put in the whole Wizarding World as one entry. But it is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where most of the seven books take place, and stands out the most. An ancient boarding school in Scotland, Hogwarts trains children in the arts of spell casting for seven years, each student is placed in four different houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin) and can learn some amazing and handy spells. Hogwarts is an amazing place both in the books and films. I’d love to visit and have a poke around if it were real. There are staircases that move around on their own, talking paintings, owls deliver the post, and, of course, there is Quidditch. What more needs to be said? Other places that need a mention include Diagon Alley and Platform Nine-And-Three-Quarters.

2. The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz)

The Land of Oz was America’s first fantasy world and it has become perhaps the most recognised fictional location in the world. Oz’s location is unknown but is a fairy land split into four countries and surrounded by an impassable desert. It home to many bizarre but wonderful characters, and just about everything in Oz is so whimsical and memorable. There’s the Emerald City, the yellow brick road, flying monkeys, the Wicked Witch, Dorothy Gale and her companions. The books by L. Frank Baum have plenty more to explore, even if they feel like they belong in Wonderland. In Oz, no one ages or dies (though that seems to vary), crime, illness, and money don’t exist, and everything is bright, colourful, and enchanting. Give me Oz over Kansas any day.

1. Middle Earth (The Lord of the Rings)

Middle Earth
The world of Middle Earth is truly an epic one. J.R.R. Tolkien was a talented author and creator, imagining one of the most in-depth and vast worlds ever. Home to a variety of people like humans, dwarves, elves, and Hobbits, Middle Earth has its own languages, histories, cultures, and many imaginative creatures and places. In The Lord of the Rings, when the world is threatened by the evil Sauron, the entirety of Middle Earth bands together to fight for their freedom. We then got to see this beautiful world brought to life in Peter Jackson’s six films, a task people said was impossible. From the green hills of the Shire to the dark fire and brimstone lands of Mordor, Middle Earth is an amazing world and definitely the best.

What are your favourite fantasy worlds? Any not seen on this? Sound off in the comments below or visit our Twitter feed.

About the author

Mark Russell