What have we learned from this experiment? Across all four lists, only two works are universal: The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire. We have a little better luck with authors – but even there, we don’t have a list of even ten we all agree on.
Participants in the list-making exercise are based in Ireland, UK, Australia and USA. Two identify as men, two as women. We’ve covered the bases of the Anglosphere, I think. And what we’ve learned is that there is no universal agreement on
a) what constitutes epic fantasy
b) what constitutes essential epic fantasy
c) whose opinions are the most wrongheaded.
Useful data all around, wouldn’t you say?
Go read Jared’s post. He has charts.