Fantasy is a cousin genre to Science Fiction, and Horror. Collectively, they are known as the Speculative Fiction Genres. Spec for short. The "What-If" Stuff.
It always aggravates me when a clerk or anybody says "sci-fi" when I have a fantasy book in my hand. They are not the same thing. They just have a lot in common.
You don't see dragons or fairies in sci-fi (unless it's The Whims of Creation by Simon Hawke. which may be considered a space fantasy anyway). I happen to have a special fondness of both.
I'm an Escapist reader. The less possible in this world, the better. Let's go ride dragonback, talk to fairies, and kill trolls.
Sounds fun.... Wanna come?
Let's find about how terrible our parents were--or even find out who they were. Let's get back at the Evil Supreme Bad Guy. How about the least likely person becoming a hero? Because let's face it,
"Most of us are called on to perform tasks far beyond what we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart." — Lloyd Alexander (The Book of Three)
You can face a dragon (or ride it) or climb the Mountain of Destiny. But when it's over, you can close the book. You've gone on an adventure, none the worse for doing so, and maybe you've gotten a new way of looking at things.
The Last Word:
"Keep reading. It's one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have."