It is unfortunate in many ways that fantasy is such a popularised genre right now. I think that there is a lot of potential for literary critics or for authors to look at fantasy in a literary way rather than producing books which are generic. Fun, but generic. This is what I see Legend as, a novel which is fast to read and plenty of fun but lacks the depth of some other novels. Yet it must be praised as one of the greats of fantasy for what it introduced in its old and fallen hero returning again to face the day.
Just because something is fun or popular doesn't mean it can't have some deeper idea behind it. I refer to [b:Jurassic Park|7677|Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1)|Michael Crichton|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348796998s/7677.jpg|3376836] for instance as a book which is entertaining and yet has the idea about how man should not play at being God. Admittedly this idea is done better in [b:Frankenstein|18490|Frankenstein|Mary Shelley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1311647465s/18490.jpg|4836639], much as the dystopian elements of [b:The Hunger Games|2767052|The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)|Suzanne Collins|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358275334s/2767052.jpg|2792775] (media control, rebellion, lies and deceit) are done better in [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313]. However I think since we still don't learn from those books we keep needing new reiterations on those subject matters. I think that modern fantasy should learn from this to reflect upon similar subjects that humans need reminding about.Legend
follows a war, showing how characters adapt and develop according to difficult circumstances and reflects on how one man, a 'legendary' figure, can inspire others. All interesting enough however it was done better in previous books and mythology. I recognise that this might sound like I'm doublethinking about fantasy since [b:The Lord of the Rings|33|The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347257199s/33.jpg|3462456] has ideas done well in previous myth. My argument would be that Tolkien's work is a unique mixture of ideas and far grander than this book which appears written for entertainment only. I think Legend
could have been far more. A look at how legends are made and a deeper look at character's psyches. And in many ways it was this.
Yet at the same time the novel relied upon (and added to) the fantasy clichés of the heroic fantasy novel. The romance was one of the weakest wish fulfilment romances I've read in fantasy. And I have read plenty of weak romances in fantasy. And yet, still it features as one of the 1001 novels to read before you die. Perhaps it is because this is a tale which outlives its narrative, much as its main character outlives his own physical body.