As a fan of fantasy fiction, you may have come across the term “law of surprise” in your reading. If you’re not quite sure what it means or how it works, don’t worry – this guide is here to help you understand this fascinating concept.
The law of surprise is a tradition in many fantasy worlds that involves offering a reward to someone for a good deed or act of kindness. The reward is usually something unexpected and valuable, such as a valuable treasure or even a human life. The idea behind the law of surprise is that the person offering the reward doesn’t know what they will get in return, but they trust that the universe or fate will provide them with something of equal or greater value.
In many fantasy stories, the law of surprise is invoked when a character saves another character’s life or performs some other act of heroism. The person being saved, or their family, may offer the savior a reward in the form of the law of surprise. This can lead to some dramatic and unexpected plot twists, as the person receiving the reward may not know what they are getting into and may end up with a difficult or dangerous task.
One of the most famous examples of the law of surprise in fantasy fiction is in Andrzej Sapkowski’s “The Witcher” series. In this world, the law of surprise is a binding oath that can have serious consequences. When the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, saves a man’s life, he invokes the law of surprise and is granted “whatever you have but do not know”. This leads to Geralt discovering that he has unwittingly promised to take care of a child named Ciri, who becomes a major character in the series.
Another popular example of the law of surprise is in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. In this world, the law of surprise is invoked when a character saves another character’s life, and the reward is usually something unexpected and valuable. This leads to some dramatic and unexpected plot twists, as the person receiving the reward may not know what they are getting into and may end up with a difficult or dangerous task.
So why is the law of surprise such an important part of fantasy fiction? There are a few reasons. First, it adds an element of unpredictability and suspense to the story. When a character invokes the law of surprise, the reader doesn’t know what they are going to get, which can create tension and excitement.
Second, the law of surprise is often used as a way of exploring the theme of destiny or fate. In many fantasy worlds, there is a sense that the universe is controlled by powerful forces beyond human understanding, and the law of surprise is one way of acknowledging this. By invoking the law of surprise, characters are essentially putting their trust in the universe to provide them with what they need, rather than relying on their own abilities or resources.
Finally, the law of surprise can be used as a way of exploring the idea of responsibility. When a character receives a reward through the law of surprise, they are often faced with a difficult task or responsibility that they didn’t choose. This can be seen as a metaphor for the way that life sometimes throws unexpected challenges our way, and we have to rise to the occasion and do our best.
In conclusion, the law of surprise is a fascinating concept in fantasy fiction that adds tension, suspense, and depth to many stories. Whether you’re a fan of “The Witcher”, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, or any other fantasy series that uses this tradition, it’s worth taking the time to understand the meaning and significance behind it. Who knows – you may even find yourself invoking the law of surprise in your own life one day!