- Setting: A world other than ours. It may have a nominal connection with present day Earth, such as being our remote past or future, but this plays no role in the plot. Mythopoeia is often put into play to define the very metaphysics of the world. Nevertheless it often resembles medieval Europe, and is often peopled by People of Hair Color.
- Scale: Epic. Power politics, wars, the death of nations, gods walking the earth, and the real threat of The End of the World as We Know It. This is what distinguishes High Fantasy from Heroic Fantasy.
- Great evil: An enemy which is near enough Evil incarnate or fundamentally abhorrent, as opposed to the Grey and Gray Morality and human-versus-human conflicts more common in Low Fantasy.
- Methods: Victory is not achieved through force of arms, the main feature distinguishing High Fantasy from Heroic Fantasy. If Aragorn had killed Sauron in hand-to-hand combat, that would have been Heroic Fantasy. In short, a Supporting Leader or the Reluctant Hero will be offered up instead of the rough-hewn barbarian of, say, Conan the Barbarian or Beowulf.
- Artifacts of Doom
- Cool Horse
- Cool Sword
- Emerging from the Shadows
- Functional Magic
- Hobbits, dwarves, elves, dragons and other fantasy races.
- Lost heirs to kings
- The Chosen One
- Medieval Stasis
- The Quest
- Loads and Loads of Characters
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Berserk is interesting in that it started closer to Low Fantasy (what little magic there was could only be reached by the strongest-willed), but after a major event, it's turning into one of these.
- Berserk (2016), same as the above.
- Fairy Tail
- Magi – Labyrinth of Magic
- Maou no Hajimekata
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind has some of the features above, such as the world-spanning epic scale and the detailed fantasy world, but doesn't have purely evil villains and the After the End setting is very important to the plot.
- One Piece
- Rave Master
- Record of Lodoss War
- The Seven Deadly Sins which mixes a Medieval European Fantasy and King Arthur inspired setting with various high fantasy tropes.
- Superior and it's sequel Superior Cross''
- Bone, though with a sense of humor throughout.
- Many Franco-Belgian Comics belong to High Fantasy, with a twist: the plot seems classical at the beginning, but at the end, the Big Bad is never the one we believed: Légendes des Contrées Oubliées, La Quête de l'Oiseau du Temps, L'épée de cristal, Les brumes d'Asceltis. Others are Low Fantasy or Heroic Fantasy with some elements of High Fantasy: Thorgal, Le Roi Cyclope, Lanfeust, Les Lumières de l'Amalou, Black Moon Chronicles, Lament of the Lost Moors, ...
- The Mighty Thor
- Elfes et Nains: A French collaborative series starring five races of Elves and a Spin-Off featuring Dwarves.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The Dark Crystal is set in an alien version of medieval Europe. The plot revolves around a young Gelfling trying to repair the eponymous crystal to stop the evil Skeksis from ruling the world forever.
- In the Name of the King features a lost heir, orc knock-offs, an evil wizard, and other conventional high fantasy tropes.
- In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds transports a special forces soldier into a high fantasy world, or at least as high fantasy as the budget will allow.
- In the Name of the King 3: Last Mission transports an assassin into a high fantasy world that's really just a few castles around Bulgaria.
- The Beastmaster
- Unsurprisingly, the live-action adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
- Sucker Punch has one fantasy sequence set in a world inspired by High Fantasy. The girls have to raid a castle that's full of an Orc-like army and take fire from a dragon. The film is set in the 1960s when Lord of the Rings first became popular in the United States. Presumably the girls were fans.
- Willow was the most notable High Fantasy film before the boom in the early 2000s. A dwarf farmer has to protect a special baby from an evil queen who's trying to take over the world.
- Your Highness is set in a parody High Fantasy world.
- The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga by Gail Z. Martin merges the genre with post-apocalyptic fiction: The End of the World as We Know It isn't a mere threat and the adventure revolves around restoring the world to something resembling its original state.
- The Belgariad by David Eddings takes every single trope in the genre, laughs at them, then builds around ten books (and two epics) with them.
- The Blood War Trilogy by Tim Marquitz is about a series of kingdoms under siege by no less than THREE examples of The Horde, one of which is a race of orc-werewolves.
- Bran Hambric, which has the feeling of Urban Fantasy in a fictional world.
- Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley
- Chronicles of the Kencyrath fits most of the elements, though it's very tightly focused on the heroine and her immediate friends and family despite the world-shaking events going on, and at least as far as supernatural forces are concerned it's more Black and Grey Morality than Black and White Morality.
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. He and Tolkien were good friends and their stories share many similarities. The books drift in and out of the epic scale - the first one featuring an evil sorceress who needs to be defeated to save the world. Besides The Silver Chair and The Last Battle the scale is much smaller in other books.
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
- The Cosmere tends towards this genre for its longer entries. In particular, Mistborn: The Original Trilogy is a Genre Deconstruction or possibly more of a Decon-Recon Switch taking the last volume into account, while The Stormlight Archive is a Reconstruction described by the author as his love letter to the genre.
- The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper is set in our world, but tied into a distant, mythological and Celtic past, and otherwise fits the trope to a tee. The hero's mentor is even suggested to be Merlin.
- The Dark Tower by Stephen King borders the line between High Fantasy and Urban Fantasy in a Western setting.
- Deltora Quest
- Laurence Yep's Dragon Series, which has an eastern dragon as the protagonist, trying to restore her former home.
- Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends
- The Dragons of Requiem series revolves around a race of humans who use magic to turn into dragons. The same series also involves artifacts that can reanimate corpses, demons rising from the "Abyss," humans who can turn into phoenixes, potions that can turn people into sphinxes, reanimated skeletons, villains who try to kill hundreds of thousands, and more.
- The Duel of Sorcery Trilogy fits on some details, but is more Low Fantasy in other respects.
- The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin is considered a classic of the subgenre, though it famously avoids many of the associated cliches. Earthsea is a sprawling chain of islands populated mostly by brown-skinned peoples as opposed to the usual Medieval European-eqsue setting, and magic is a fine art, studied intensely and used sparingly, rather than a solution to all of life's problems. The series hits full High Fantasy status during the third book, The Farthest Shore, which introduces a villain whose plan threatens to destroy the world, and a suitably epic quest by a young heir and his aging wizard mentor to prevent this.
- The Elenium is by David Eddings again, and does pretty much the same thing as The Belgariad. Only in six slightly longer (and darker) books. But still two epics.
- The novels of the Essailyan Empire by Michelle West firmly fit here, forming an intricate Myth Arc dealing with returning gods, the fate of nations, and humanity's final stand against Allasakar, consisting of in order The Sacred Hunt duology, The Sun Sword sextet, The House War septology, and to be concluded in the forthcoming End of Days arc.
- The Fifth Vertex involves the vertices and blood magic although the setting is multicultural and unique.
- Forging Divinity.
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov has some elements of high fantasy, like Star Wars. Also C. J. Cherryh's Morgaine, Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern and Catherine Asaro's Skolian Saga. Some Sci-Fi may also feature a VR high fantasy world e.g. Ender's Game, The Diamond Age.
- Greenwater and the world setting for Zodiacs by Thrythlind are aimed at this.
- Gnome Saga by Kenny Soward and published by Ragnarok Publications is a Dungeons and Dragons-esque trilogy highlighting that often-overlooked race of mad inventors.
- Inheritance Cycle.
- The Kharkanas Trilogy.
- King of the Water Roads.
- The Lord of the Rings: Inspired a slew of imitators and created the genre as we know it.
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen
- Memory, Sorrow and Thorn
- The Mirror of Her Dreams
- The Old Kingdom series is somewhat unusual, as its premise revolves around necromancy and the undead. The first book also starts out more in Heroic Fantasy territory but moves into High by the endnote , while books two and three are firmly High Fantasy from the get go. The prequel Clariel, however, tends more towards the Low Fantasy end of the scale.
- The Chroniclesof Prydain are High Fantasy for children.
- The Riftwar Cycle.
- The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is set in our world, but characters travel through many different Shadowrealms as well - and the series climaxes in the ancient realm of Danu Talis. All Myths Are True heavily applies here, with many mythical figures and Historical Domain Characters appearing. And yes there is something about The End of the World as We Know It, but it turns out to mean destroying one world so that ours can begin.
- The Seventh Tower.
- A Song of Ice and Fire begins on the Low Fantasy side of the line, starting out with Grey and Grey Morality firmly in place and dealing mostly with one nation's dynastic wars, but because The Magic Comes Back slowly over the course of the series, it gets progressively closer to High Fantasy with each novel, especially in Bran, Arya, Jon and Dany's storylines, as magic becomes more apparent, the Others establish themselves as the great supernatural evil and the threat they pose to the world starts to be given more importance. The series can also be described as a particularly brutal reconstruction of this genre. Knights are mostly just brutal thugs with established family lineages; rulers gain their power through a combination of the sort of underhanded political strategies you'd expect a crime boss to use and military victories that in no way prepare them for ruling during peace times; earning political positions through birthright is a disastrous idea even before you factor in the inbreeding; magical wonders (like the dragons) lose their lustre quickly or get ascribed all sorts of symbolic meanings they haven't earned, traumatic experiences are legitimately traumatising; and basing your strategy on any type of morality and high ideals will get you and lots of innocent people (including those you love) killed. Oddly enough (given how cynical/honest the universe is about human nature and how life works), high fantasy tropes are played almost completely straight in relation to Bran Stark's storyline (particularly since his escape from Winterfell).
- Sword of Truth possesses all the core elements, although the author would rather not have his work lumped into the fantasy section, thank you very much.
- Son Of The Black Sword. Is set in the unknown land of Lok. It is hinted that humans living in Lok are originally from Earth, but no reliable records of the past remain. At some unknown point in the past, demons came to the world, and started devouring humans, until there was a threat of extinction, but with the aid of black steel, humans fought off the demons, and forced them off land, and into the sea. Because of this, sea travel is impossible, and the inhabitants of Lok know nothing of what happened on the other continents. Lots of extremely fast paced action, but no shortage of intricate plot. The world of Lok draws heavily on Ancient Indian themes.
- Tales of the Sundered Lands.
- The Wayfarer Redemption.
- The Wheel of Time.
- The Witcher.
- A Wizard in Rhyme.
- The Lineage of Tellus is a more modern example in tone, language, and overall views on sexuality and gender.
- ElvenQuest parodies the High Fantasy setting. The Chosen One (a dog in our world but a human in his) must band together with an Elf, Warrior Princess and Dwarf to find the mystical Sword of Asnagar and defeat the cunning and oddly genre-savvy Lord Darkness.
- Negativland once created a hysterical parody of trailers for High Fantasy and Heroic Fantasy films, using dozens of snippets from Don LaFontaine narrations. It's on Moribund Music of the 70s.
- Warhammer often occupies this league of the fantasy spectrum, though it encompasses Heroic Fantasy more often and Low Fantasy about as often. Episodes of full-bore High Fantasy from Warhammer's rich tapestry generally involve world-threatening catastrophes, and include the Great Wars Against Chaos (both the war of 2306 and the previous incursions, going back to the original war in the time of Aenarion), the Sundering of the Elves and the conquests of Nagash (who provides one of Warhammer's many iconic Dark Lord type characters). In aesthetic terms the elder races of Warhammer (the Dwarfs and the three kindreds of Elves) tend to present the most high fantasy aspect, drawing heavily on Tolkien and boasting histories replete with great world-spanning deeds of significance. The Bretonnians are perhaps the most classically Medieval Fantasy race, however, and embody most strongly the "knights in shining armour" aspect of the genre (albeit with a fair helping of cynicism and actual medieval weirdness at times).
- BGTSCC Often each year's metaplot ending effects the world for a long time after, with permanent changes to the server. One example is the Amn/Gate war, changing Beregost's ownership from Baldur's Gate to Amn.
- Baldur's Gate and its related BioWare games are all about this.
- Most Final Fantasy games are High Fantasy to a degree, including Final Fantasy IV, VI and XII.
- XII is a borderline case. It meets most of the requirements except the scale. There's some power politics and the looming threat of a war between two great powers, but it's limited to threatening one small kingdom/city-state caught between them rather than any serious threat to the world at large regardless of who wins. The over-arching quest is more about preventing the city of Dalmasca from being turned into a battleground of two rival empires, neither of which represent the Good Guys, than attempting to defeat the Evil Overlord (who turns out to be a Knight Templar Anti-Villain). At no point is The End of the World as We Know It even on the table in the main plot.
- There are, however, side-quests where the player can go looking for trouble and pick fights with some very powerful demigods that tried to take over Heaven itself in ages past.
- Fire Emblem is this mixed in with Low Fantasy elements (e.g the worlds are mostly populated by humans, most of the battles are fought between humans though Dragons may be involved somehow), several characters that can you recruit may even be Punch Clock Heroes, and the series seems to lean towards the cynical side on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, though some of the games can also lean towards the idealistic side as well). Plus, it must be noted that the Jugdral Series is very dark in tone.
- Kingdom Hearts is divided into many small worlds, mostly imaginary, or based on Disney films.
- The Legend of Zelda mixes this with Heroic Fantasy (although it's been getting more Dungeon Punk as of late).
- Oracle of Tao is a Rpg Maker game with heavy fantasy elements. Oddly enough, it has some modern objects, like cellphones and ATMs, but it is assumed they run on magic.
- Overlord takes all the tropes of this genre and runs away with them.
- The first game subverts pretty much everything that gets in its grubby little paws. The Heroes aren't particularly heroic, the Minions don't exactly project an intimidating facade and, depending on the player's decisions, the Evil Overlord...well, isn't.
- The second game even more so. Whatever trope it manages to play straight, it does so for parody's sake.
- Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song thrusts you into the world of Mardias, where the inhabitants struggle against the return of evil lord Saruin, his army of monsters and his evil cults. Due to the game's open-ended nature, the world and its nations are rather detailed with lores about multiple fairytales, lords and heroes, many of which you end up interacting with. The player runs on a Karma Meter, but it merely determines a path that eventually leads to the same endgame, an epic Lord of the Ring style war against Saruin where ally nations help you party sneak into Big Bad;s lair and defeat him. Even Saruin's own siblings don't like him, which is saying something.
- For The Elder Scrolls series, the individual games are more in line with Heroic Fantasies - your Player Character needs to save the world from a malevolent Big Bad seeking to take it over or end it outright, while you get to have some fun exploring the Wide Open Sandbox game world. However, when you take a step back and look at the series as a whole, as well as dig deep into the rich backstory, you can easily seem more of the High Fantasy elements. Overarching "Good vs. Evil" themes emerge, while in other instances, these waters are muddied, with many of the aforementioned Big Bads having Well-Intentioned Extremist slants and the like. Essentially, the Elder Scrolls universe is a High Fantasy setting, and each main series game is a Heroic Fantasy story told within that universe.
- RWBY checks off most of the high fantasy boxes and adds a sci-fi slant to things. It takes place in the world of Remnant, where humanity is in constant danger from the endless swarms of Always Chaotic Evil creatures known as Grimm. All humans (and Faunus, a race that closely resembles humans but with animals traits like cat ears or monkey tails) have unique, magical abilities called Semblances, which help even the odds against the Grimm. Humanity has incredible Magitek such as sentient androids and Humongous Mecha, all of it is powered by a magical crystalline substance called Dust. The heroes are four teenage girls from vastly different strata of society training to become Huntresses, warriors who protect others from Grimm, when a mysterious criminal organization suddenly begins using Grimm as weapons, setting up what will presumably be an epic, global conflict in later seasons.
- True Tail combines this trope with World of Funny Animals. In the medieval world of Splitpaw, a group of furry mercenaries go on an epic quest to battle an evil wizard and his undead army.
- Consequences of Choice.
- Goblins Of Razard. contains a lost prince and a band of followers on a quest.
- Oglaf is a NSFW Sex Comedy set in a parody of this genre.
- The Order of the Stick is an affectionate parody of the genre.
- Our Little Adventure, if you factor all of its parts.
- Overlord of Ravenfell parodies and subverts the High Fantasy setting, from the perspective of the villain.
- Wayfarers Moon.
- Tales of the Big Bad Wolf appears to be a fairy tale based series but incorporates elements of high fantasy including elves, bards, at least one system of magic, and magical objects and beasts.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender is high fantasy with an Eastern motif rather than the usual Western one. The show is set in a fictional world divided into four nations which are primarily based on the style and philosophy of various Asian cultures (imperial Japan, Shaolin monks, etc.), and feature an extremely detailed and versatile magic system known as Bending, all manner of strange creatures, and multiple villains who easily qualify as evil incarnate, along with some well-meaning but misguided ones for good measure. While its sequel, The Legend of Korra, shifts the franchise into Diesel Punk Urban Fantasy territory (in particular, almost all of its villains are Well-Intentioned Extremists rather than outright evil), it still retains plenty of High Fantasy tropes (for example, Vaatu is still very much a classic "Great Evil"-type villain).
- The first two episodes of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: A long time ago, the land of Equestria was ruled by two godlike alicorn sisters who controlled the cycle of day and night. But the younger sister, responsible for the night, became jealous and resentful and turned into the evil Nightmare Moon, refusing to lower the moon to make way for the day. The elder sister was forced to banish her into the moon, where she has remained ever since. But a thousand years later, When the Planets Align, she escapes and threatens to shroud the land in eternal darkness once more. Now it's up to a group of cute but surprisingly badass ponies to travel through the ancient Everfree Forest to find the Elements of Harmony, the only thing that can stop Nightmare Moon. While the majority of the series is an Aesop-driven ensemble comedy in a fantasy setting, the two-part season premieres and finales are consistently driven by High Fantasy tropes. Attempted takeovers of Equestria by Evil Overlords sealed away for a minimum of one thousand years alongside armies of Evil Minions run rampant, only to be undone each time by the forces of love and friendship. This has started to creep into the "normal" episodes as well; "Hearth's Warming Eve," for instance, deals with the nation's founding amidst prejudice-driven political struggles and ethereal winter spirits feeding on their hatred, and "It's About Time" offhandedly establishes that Ponyville is located within walking distance of the gates of Tartarus.
- The Pirates of Dark Water.