I’ve a steady appreciation through the years of the role that “lore” plays in my enjoyment of fantasy. For me, lore is the key element that adds dimension and depth to a fantastical story, what separates it from what I see as straightforward tales of events happening to characters. These lore-filled stories extend the horizon of their tale, connecting it to multiple reference points in time and space — literally creating a web of fictional information, events, and factoids about the making of its world that make the story feel more real to me. Without lore, stories feel two-dimensional and flat by comparison.
I think it’s important that I establish some definitions before I continue, starting with: what exactly is lore? Dictionary.com defines lore as: “the body of knowledge, especially of a traditional, anecdotal, or popular nature, on a particular subject.” The Cambridge English Dictionary follows in a similar vein, calling lore: “knowledge and stories, usually traditional, about a subject.”