Monday, August 26, 2013

Nerdy Knowledge #1

Sagas, Trilogies, and Series: The Difference


So, I was talking with a fellow reader the other day and the word 'saga' came up. My friend paused the whole conversation to ask me what the difference was between a saga and a series. Was there one? Or was it just a matter of choice? So we looked it up and I thought I'd try to clear up any confusion, as another friend of mine just asked me a very similar questions. Here I go.

Literal Definitions:

Saga - a medieval Icelandic or Norse prose narrative of achievements and events in the history of a personage, family, etc.; Also called saga novel. a form of the novel in which the members or generations of a family or social group are chronicled in a long and leisurely narrative.
Series - a set of successive volumes or issues of a periodical published in like form with similarity of subject or purpose.
Trilogy - a series or group of three plays, novels, operas, etc., that, although individually complete, are closely related in theme, sequence, or the like.

In Other Words:

Any group of books following the same group of people can be called a series or saga. If there are three books specifically, it can be called a trilogy, saga, or a series. Usually what multiple books is called depends on which word sounds best and fits best.
So, while the Harry Potter series is called a series it could technically be called the Harry Potter saga. But that sounds a little different. Likewise, the Twilight saga could be called the Twilight series. However, that sounds kind of different too.
To sum it up, saga and series don't specifically apply to any number of books or to a certain type of book. Meanwhile, a trilogy just has to have three books, and three books only.


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