Arctic Circle: A Setting for Adventure and Fantasy in Literature


The Arctic Circle is a setting that has captured the imagination of writers for centuries. Its harsh and otherworldly landscape serves as the perfect backdrop for tales of adventure and fantasy in literature. The region’s extreme climate, isolation, and unique wildlife have inspired writers to create stories that transport readers to a world of fearless explorers, supernatural beings, and epic journeys. In this article, we will explore the different ways in which the Arctic Circle has been portrayed in literature, and how it has become a source of endless possibilities for writers.

One of the most compelling aspects of the Arctic Circle is its remoteness and inaccessibility. This vast expanse of land and sea, located at the northernmost part of the Earth, has posed numerous challenges to those who have sought to conquer it. This element of danger and mystery is often used as a key theme in adventure literature. Take, for example, the classic novel “Call of the Wild” by Jack London. Set in the harsh Alaskan wilderness during the Klondike Gold Rush, the story follows Buck, a domesticated dog who is forced to adapt and survive in the wild. London’s vivid descriptions of the Arctic landscape, with its frozen rivers, deep snowdrifts, and treacherous weather, not only paint a realistic picture of the environment but also add to the tension and suspense of the story.

Similarly, the Arctic Circle has also served as the perfect setting for thrilling tales of exploration and discovery. In Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” a team of explorers embarks on a journey through the Arctic, where they encounter a fantastical world beneath the surface of the Earth. The vastness and mystery of the Arctic make it the ideal location for a journey into the unknown, full of unexpected twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats.

But the Arctic Circle not only serves as a setting for adventure literature but also for fantasies and myths. Its extreme conditions and isolation have given rise to countless legends and folklore about supernatural creatures and the unexplored depths of the region. In Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass,” the Arctic is home to armored polar bears, witches, and a mysterious substance called “Dust.” The juxtaposition of fantastical elements against the stark and unforgiving landscape of the Arctic creates a unique and captivating world that readers are drawn into.

Furthermore, the Arctic Circle has also become a popular setting for dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature. The region’s vulnerability to climate change and its rapidly changing environment have sparked the imagination of writers who envision a future where the Arctic has become a barren wasteland. In Dan Simmons’ “The Terror,” a group of explorers in the 19th century becomes stranded in the Arctic and must face not only the harsh conditions but also a supernatural creature that haunts them. The desolate landscape of the Arctic serves as a metaphor for the fragile state of the world and the consequences of human action.

In conclusion, the Arctic Circle has proven to be a versatile and compelling setting for literature. Its rugged beauty and unpredictable nature make it an ideal backdrop for stories of adventure, exploration, fantasy, and even cautionary tales. From classic adventure novels to modern dystopian tales, the Arctic Circle continues to captivate readers and provide a canvas for writers to create imaginative and thought-provoking works. Its timeless appeal and endless possibilities make it a setting that will continue to inspire and entertain readers for years to come.