Science for Education Today, 2020, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 189–201

The educational potential of the fantasy genre for modern teenage culture

Karlova O. A. 1 (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation), Koptseva N. P. 1 (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation), Reznikova K. V. 1 (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation), Sitnikova A. A. 1 (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation)
1 Siberian Federal University

Introduction. The late 20th and the early 21st centuries witnessed an increased popularity of the fantasy genre (books by J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. Lewis, their film adaptations, etc.). Although fantasy literature was initially targeted at schoolchildren and adolescents, it attracts readers of all ages. The research problem is to explain the reasons for mass enthusiasm for the fantasy genre in modern culture and to understand the reasons why this genre is not included into school curricula despite of its popularity among schoolchildren. The purpose of this article is to reveal the educational potential of the fantasy genre for modern teenage culture.
Materials and Methods. The article reviews and provides a theoretical analysis of a number of studies into the fantasy genre. The author used semantic structuring and semantic synthesis methods. The material of the research included fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. Lewis, etc.
Results. It was found that the main reason for the fantasy genre popularity among readers of all ages is the idea that it represents a modern variant of religious literature, focusing on reestablishing universal links as it was in ancient syncretic myths. Fantasy literature was initially targeted at teenage readers; nevertheless, teenagers are ideal actors for modern culture because they are ready for changes and making choices. Consequently, the majority of modern people are characterized by teenage mentality.
The reasons for ignoring fantasy by the educational system include the following: concidering fantasy as a means of escapism, the cause of infantilism and virtual rebellion; as an alternative form of institutionalized religion; a strong economic component of the popularity of the fantasy genre. At the same time, the positive educational potential of the fantasy genre is underestimated. It contains a pronounced creative function which contributes to the transition from the role of the reader to the role of the writer.
Conclusions. The main educational potential of the fantasy genre for modern teenage culture lies in its beneficial influence on moral education and personal development of adolescents being an alternative to institutionalized religion and helping them to identify the meaning and purpose of life. Fantasy attracts readers to science and travelling. Moreover, it contributes to fostering creativity among adolescents, enhancing their creative abilities.

For citation:
Karlova O. A., Koptseva N. P., Reznikova K. V., Sitnikova A. A. The educational potential of the fantasy genre for modern teenage culture. Science for Education Today, 2020, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 189–201. DOI:
  1. Menadue C. B., Jacups S. Who reads science fiction and fantasy, and how do they feel about science? Preliminary findings from an online survey. SAGE Open, 2018, vol. 8 (2), pp. 1–12. DOI:
  2. Lovell J. Fairytale authenticity: historic city tourism, Harry Potter, medievalism and the magical gaze. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 2019, vol. 14 (5–6), pp. 448–465. DOI:
  3. Kibbe M. M., Kreisky M., Weisberg D. S. Young children distinguish between different unrealistic fictional genres. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2018, vol. 12 (2), pp. 228–235. DOI:
  4. Hsu Ch.-T., Jacobs A. M., Citron F. M. M., Conrad M. The emotion potential of words and passages in reading Harry Potter – an fMRI study. Brain and Language, 2015, vol. 142, pp. 96–114. DOI:
  5. Robinson C. L. The namework of Ursula K. Le Guin. Names, 2018, vol. 66 (3), pp. 125–134. DOI:
  6. Wilcox B., Brown B. L., Baker-Smemoe W., Morrison T. G. Tolkien’s phonoprint in character names throughout his invented languages. Names, 2018, vol. 66 (3), pp. 135–143. DOI:
  7. Eberhardt M. Gendered representations through speech: The case of the Harry Potter series. Language and Literature, 2017, vol. 26 (3), pp. 227–246. DOI:
  8. Odriozola J. M. J. R. R. Tolkien: The philosophical basis of sub-creative words. Logos (United States), 2019, vol. 22 (3), pp. 105–129. DOI: 
  9. Pons A. L. Escape and consolation: Narrative voice and metafiction in the Harry Potter series. Atlantis, 2019, vol. 41 (1), pp. 125–141. DOI:

10. Adamiak M. “The king was pregnant”: Androgyny and the masculine norm in the literary experiment of Ursula K. Le Guin. Avant, 2017, vol. 8 (3), pp. 77–92. DOI:

11. Kraatila E. Conspicuous fabrications Speculative fiction as a tool for confronting the post-truth discourse. Narrative Inquiry, 2019, vol. 29 (2), pp. 418–433. DOI:

12. Seymour J. “Friends? Always”: The power of male friendship in Harry Potter and the cursed child. Journal of Popular Culture, 2019, vol. 52 (2), pp. 259–276. DOI:

13. Simonson M. The arboreal foundations of stewardship in J. R. R. Tolkien's the Silmarillion. English Studies in Africa, 2017, vol. 60 (2), pp. 12–22. DOI: 

14. Apostolides A., Meylahn J.-A. The lived theology of the Harry Potter series. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 2014, vol. 70 (1), pp. 2713. DOI:

15. Juričková M. “What punishments of God are not gifts?” the meaning of suffering in Tolkien's life and work. Ars Aeterna, 2018, vol. 10 (2), pp. 41–51. DOI:

16. Lavinsky D. Tolkien’s old English exodus and the problematics of allegory. Neophilologus, 2017, vol. 101 (2), pp. 305–319. DOI:

17. Inloes A. Muhammad Abd al-Rahman (Phillip) Barker: Bridging cultural divides through fantasy/science-fiction role-playing games and fictional religion. Muslim World, 2018, vol. 108 (3), pp. 387–418. DOI:

18. Robertson B. J. From fantasy to franchise: Dragonlance and the privatization of genre. Extrapolation, 2017, vol. 58 (2–3), pp. 129–152. DOI:

19. Wilkins K. ‘A crowd at your back’: Fantasy fandom and small press. Media International Australia, 2018, vol. 170 (1), pp. 115–125. DOI:

20. Guttfeld D. Fans and franchises: The evolution of factors influencing polish translations of speculative fiction. Przekladaniec, 2018, vol. 37, pp. 143–155. DOI:

21. Varughese E. D. Post-millennial “Indian Fantasy” fiction in English and the question of mythology: Writing beyond the “usual suspects”. Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 2019, vol. 54 (3), pp. 460–474. DOI:

22. Zheng P., Callaghan V. How Chinese SMEs innovate using ‘diegetic innovation templating’ – The stimulating role of Sci-Fi and fantasy. Futures, 2018, vol. 95, pp. 98–117. DOI:

23. Bina O., Mateus S., Pereira L., Caffa A. The future imagined: Exploring fiction as a mean of reflecting on Today’s Grand Societal challenges and tomorrow’s options. Futures, 2017, vol. 86, pp. 166–184. DOI:

24. Boerman-Cornell W., Klanderman D., Schut A. Using Harry Potter to bridge higher dimensionality in mathematics and high-interest literature. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 2017, vol. 60 (4), pp. 425–432. DOI:

25. Waysdorf A., Reijnders S. Immersion, authenticity and the theme park as social space: Experiencing the wizarding world of Harry Potter. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2018, vol. 21 (2), pp. 173–188. DOI:

Date of the publication 31.08.2020