Most kids these days grow up with fairy tales and think nothing of the fantastical elements within them. They are among our earliest introductions to portal fantasy, high fantasy elements and even horror.
Both of my parents enjoyed science fiction and fantasy, so these were films and books that floated around the house regardless of my interest in them. I have a few uncles who are fans of Star Trek and Star Wars both. I think between the lot of these adult figures modelling reasonable fandom, I was bound to have an interest in things that are a little bit out of this world.
In addition to fairy tales, I remember portal fantasies being the big thing that I delved into at my earliest stages of reading – the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, the Narnia series.
If Harry Potter had been around back then, I would have been equally obsessed with it. (Yes, I consider Harry Potter a portal fantasy. There are portals on the platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross as well as the brick-tapping wall at the back of the Leaky Cauldron. One has to pass physically from the wizarding world into the muggle world, and vice versa. Though the two are overlaid and it’s possible to travel between them, I think there’s a portal element. Even the flushing loo to get into the Ministry of Magic could be a portal.)
Those fairy tale worlds were always one interesting cave, one secret door, one mysterious will o’ the wisp away…. perhaps they still are.