Interestingly enough, now that I have started work (yes, me!) and am busier than I have ever been, I’ve gotten more writing done. Upon reflection, I probably had too much free time. Anyway, that’s not we’re here to discuss.
The title contains what I would like to call the “Holy Trinity” of society, be it real or fictional. Needless to say, building one from scratch is much more challenging than using an existing template. This was what truly distinguished Lord of the Ring.
Based on my (limited) reading, I think fictional societies can be classed as the following.
Religious fanatics: I’ve read many fantasies which consisted of at least one group that worshiped something or someone that must be appeased by burning a human being. When it wasn’t burning, it usually involved some other rituals which the Bill of Rights would consider “cruel and unusual punishment”.
Primitive tree-huggers: these are the folks who forgo material gains to preserve their land and tradition. They’re usually charitable, pragmatic and will offer spiritual insights to lost strangers from time to time. Again, a popular choice for fantasies.
Warmongering nomads: the Aiel is a good representative of this category. These people typically have respect for power and little else. They live by the unspoken laws of honour and blood. Fantasy epics tend to have at least one such society.
Vampire pride: okay, not just vampires, but this applies to what I would like to call the non-human societies (sorry if this seems very broad). Authors tend to focus on their differences from mankind and how they interact (if at all) with humans.
There are many more of course, but I believe these are the main categories, with some variations. If anyone can alert me to anything I have missed, or point me towards some quality reading for this topic, I would be most grateful. At the moment, I’m researching archaic Chinese architecture and that is slow reading indeed.