10. J. R. R. Tolkien
Let’s just get the obvious one out of the way first. Yes, by now, we’ve pretty much seen all “The Lord of the Rings” movies a million times and “The Hobbit” movies about once. Yes, Tolkien’s prose is long winded and dryer than stale biscotti. And yes, including Tolkien on a list of fantasy authors is uninspired as hell. Still, there are plenty of reasons to actually read his books. There’s a ton of info and nuance only to be found in The Lord of the Rings, like who the hell Tom Bombadil is, and why Gandalf couldn’t just call up the Eagles whenever he pleased. Not to mention the lesser-known Silmarillion: a giant tome of extended Middle Earth mythos so intricate and dense that it would make many religious texts read like the first draft of a Syfy movie by comparison. If you loved the epic scale and incredibly rich world-building of ASOIAF, and if you want to delve into the realm of fantasy, it’s worth it to pay homage to the man who’s behind it all.