One of the great parts of fantasy is the aspect of the wild. You feel like you’re in the worlds beginning, when the great forests still stand unadulterated, lands lay pristinely unexplored, and mountains not yet sojourned. It is a great experience when you find an author who really displays that well.
I recall when I was younger and told my dad that I wanted to be an explorer when I grew up. I wanted to go into wild lands that no one’s seen before and discover the unknown. He told me that everything has been found because of satellites. Sad day. Point of the story? Many people at some point in their lives want to see the unknown, to find wild beasties in their habitat! To have adventures and live with a risk. Well, a good fantasy world allows for this. We get to explore, face wild animals and grapple for survival. Not to mention! Live in caves because there’s no civilization for hundreds of thousands of miles. The wild is also very thought-provoking. Seeing the barren desert stretch on with no water for mile and miles gives a sense of foreboding. A thickly wooded forest with a canopy so vast it shuts out the light, will bring about a feeling of doom. Or perhaps it is the pristine lake that trout practically jump into the boat from. Such a place makes the reader wish they could visit and see it’s beauty.
A last comment about fantasy worlds’ scenery is the greatness of everything. I think about Lothlorion when this comes up. Trees that extend further then the eye can see. Underground mines that entire nations can exist in. It allows imagination to go wild, there are no laws of science that have to be followed; the author does how he (or she) will.
The scenery, if described right, can be quite breath-taking. It is a relief from the pressures of the world when you get into a fantasy book with a well-built world that engages the reader fully. In conclusion, scenery is a major part of world building. In fact it’s the actual ‘world’ part in world building. Good scenery needs to be vague yet vivid enough for the reader.