Gandalf, Conan And King Arthur Comment On Recession

Guns are up and swords are down in fantasy art, according to a fun chart from Orbit Books that shows art elements from fantasy book covers. (Hat tip to BoingBoing.)

Can the fifty percent reduction in castles be blamed on the recession? Is the economy impacting the number of boats and swords heroes buy?

Here’s an AP (Atlantis Press) story on the issue, which you might find interesting:

Recession prompts magical cutbacks

MYSTERIA, Fairyland (AP) –The recession continues to affect Fairyland as a drastic decrease in swords, glowy magic and castles had local heroes pondering spending cuts and job searches.

“It’s the economy,” said Conan the Barbarian, whose exploits have thrilled regional fantasy kingdoms for decades. “I used to be able to raid the evil temple or castle and check under the altar to find gems, gold, magic swords. I’d take the damsel in distress out for dinner afterward–they’re always half-starved. Now I’m lucky if I find $15 and a half-eaten cheese sandwich.”

That’s when the Barbarian can find a castle at all. Since the subprime mortgage crisis has pushed the real estate market into a slump, approximately 25 percent of all subprime adjustable rate mortgages have been either delinquent for more than 90 days or are already in foreclosure, and nearly 10 percent of all Fantasyland mortgages outstanding are in foreclosure.

“Sometimes I pull up to a castle on my horse and everyone has already left,” said Sonja the Red, noted female adventurer. “There’s just a sad little ‘for sale’ sign on the lawn. Half the time they don’t even bother putting the drawbridge back up.”

Other markets have also been brutally affected by the slump.

“There’s just no market for my work anymore,” complained Gandalf the Grey as he set up fireworks for a children’s party. “Everyone’s holding on to their powerful magical artifacts, waiting to destroy them in a volcano’s maw until they can afford it.”

The Grey has managed to keep his own glowy magic coffers full by creating a secondary business, Gandalf Party Entertainment Inc., but other local heroes have not fared so well.

“Times have been so bad here I’ve put Excalibur on the market,” King Arthur said. “I still had that sword from the stone, so I figured ‘hey, I can only swing one sword at a time anyway.’ And I had to cut Excalibur’s asking price by half, too.”

While most market fantasy indicators are down, the dragon population–often regarded as a lagging indicator–remains healthy.

“Less swords, less knights, all good news for us,” remarked Smaug, the infamous red dragon noted for terrorizing hobbits. “I  do miss the taste of freshly-roasted knight, though. I think we’re all just waiting for this recession to end.”