Maybe the reason I like to look at pictures of “Fantasy Village at Night”, “Fantasy Castle” and “Imaginary City” is the same as the reason I enjoy fantasy novels: they remind me of my dreams. Oh, the places I’ve been to in dreams, the villages, the towns, the cities, the landscapes, the houses (all of them, if you believe therapeutic orthodoxy, representing me – maybe that’s why I find them so fascinating). Not all fantasy does it for me, however – I never got past the first few pages of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – as a proto-feminist, even in the early eighties I found the fact that the series started with the hero raping a woman who had shown him nothing but friendship a little hard to stomach. However, my love of a good well-realised and entirely coherent alternative universe was nurtured in my childhood by Narnia, eagerly fell upon Middle Earth in my adolescence, was amply nourished by The Culture in my adulthood and, as I enter middle age, is currently being totally spoilt by Westeros.

More tomorrow.