In particular though, I got my fantasy from video games when I was a kid; Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII, Lunar: The Silver Star, and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver all stick out as major early influences. Somehow–I’m not sure how–I coasted past my generation’s classic fantasy things; I didn’t read Lord of the Rings, I didn’t play Magic: The Gathering (I still don’t), and I didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons until I hit college.
And it was only in college that I started reading fantasy regularly, tempering my experience with the genre. Exposing the tropes I didn’t like, and eventually finding authors who wrote circles around those tropes: Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Garth Nix.
The end result: a weird amalgam of atypical influences that I always guide away from “chosen heroes” and “old wizards,” towards (what I always try to make) unique fantasy. Stories that I can’t get behind unless they genuinely make me feel something–or question something–about myself. Stories that have to feel real and engender empathy, despite how fantastic their worlds are.
But stories that do all of that while, say… exploring a conflict between a technologically savvy race and beings of pure, ascendant energy (the perspective being from the pure, ascendant energy beings’ camp, of course). Oh–and there’s a race of undead involved. I forgot to mention the race of undead.