Medieval British Fantasy
Where British culture and history is often a common base in a Medieval European Fantasy
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(permanent link) added: 2013-02-26 01:49:32 sponsor: alnair20aug93 edited by: Guilen (last reply: 2013-10-04 07:00:52)

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Whenever you write or read a Medieval European Fantasy, you often think of kings, knights, good and evil wizards as advisors, princes and princesses as heirs to the throne, dragons, great evil threatening the land, creatures such as dragons, dwarves, fairies and elves, and many other things. Particularly, whenever and whatever the setting gets, it's almost obvious that some of these elements are following and/or influenced by British, Arthurian, and if it overlaps, Celtic history and culture.

For instance, how a prince is put in the royal family is based on the Prince of Wales, while other European princes, like Monaco, had their own dominions aside from kingdoms. There's also a circumstance of a council of knights, wizards as chancellors, and other elements that are based in the Arthurian mythos. Most landscapes are inspired by castles in the shore, rolling glens, pastoric countrysides, and lochs. And almost every actor portraying a character have more or less British accents.

Please, help me with more examples. Thanks.

Examples

Comics
  • Hal Foster's Prince Valiant series (1937-current) features the adventures of a knight in King Arthur's court.

Literature
  • The Lord of the Rings, being that the author is British, and that the Shire and its people is based on the English countryside. (please help me on this)
  • Harry Potter, set in Britain, British characters, British mannerism. (again, help me)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Westeros, which is very influenced by historical feudal society, with characters heavily influenced by various figures from The War of the Roses, The Borgias, The Tudors, etc. It's chock full of every low fantasy trope you know which it then proceeds to deconstruct brutally.
  • Discworld The whole set-up of the city of Ankh-Morpork is largely based on British history, with a dash of Paris, New York and Calcutta (the smell). It begins as a roughly mediaeval city, but is seen in later books as making a social and economic transition into an Industrial Revolution. Based largely on London - the city map's squiggly river and many placenames are a dead giveaway - the nominal monarchy (although the line of kings is largely defunct) has overtones of Britishness. The eldest son of the monarch, for instance, is also Prince of Llamedos (Llamedos is the Discworld Wales). The city is ruled by the Patrician "in the name of the King" - effectively a Prince Regent. In the British constitution, a Prince Regent takes over and rules on behalf of the King if the monarch is under the age of majority (the boy-kings Henry VI and Edward V both had Regents) or in the event of illness/insanity (the Prince Regent ruled on behalf of his father, the famously mad King George). Institutions in the City carry the prefix Royal - the royal Mint, the royal Bank, et c. In accordance with Arthurian legend, there is a king-in-waiting: only in this case the King has effectively renounced right to the throne and is content to be a humble policeman.
  • The The Tain or "The Cattle Raid of Cooley" is an Irish epic poem set in the pre-Christian era. The oldest surviving manuscripts date back to the 12th century. Tells the story of a range war between Celtic clans and has fantastic elements including a powerful sorceress antagonist. Was collected along with a number of other early Irish vernacular texts into the Ulster Cycle
  • William Langland's allegorical poem Piers Plowman (ca 1360-87) are set in Worchester and have been re-translated numerous times over the centuries.
  • Morte Arthure - middle English poem dating from early 14th century, early version of King Arther legend
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late 14th century)tells the story of an Arthurian Knight, Sir Gawain who encounters a mysterious green Knight.
  • Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (1485) this version of the Arther legends is the version most people are familiar with today
  • The Owl and the Nightingale (12th or 13th cent.) more allegorical than fantastic, this poem is a debate between an owl and a nightingale
  • Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene (1590) is an epic poem featuring many of the fantasy creatures we know and love today, elves, faries, dragons, goblins, wizards etc.
  • Although Shakespeare wrote quite a few historical plays set in England the most part, he did not set his fantastic plays in England. The two major exceptions are Cymbeline, King of Britain (1609) and As You Like It (1599) which involves the story of a princess who joins a band of outlaws in the forest. Macbeth (1605) has witchcraft and is set in Scotland, so it may be worth a mention.
  • Gulliver's Travels (1726-1735) while the protagonist travels to numerous fantastic places, he departs from and returns to England
  • Sir Walter Scott's historical novel Ivanhoe (1820)represented a shift from poetry to prose for medieval and fantastic tales. This is one of the earliest fictional accounts of Robin Hood and his Merry Men as well.
  • George Mac Donald's The Princess and the Goblin (1872) and Phatastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women (1858) codified literary descriptions of goblins, gnomes, kobolds, tree spirits and the concept of a fairy underworld etc
  • William Morris's The Wood Beyond the World(1894), The Well at the World's End (1896), and A Dream of John Ball (1888) represent some of the earliest modern fantasy novels
  • Oscar Wilde wrote two collections of fantastic tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888) and The House of Pomegranates (1888) in the fairy-tale style.
  • Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) - this book has been adapted and re-hashed so many times it may deserve its very own trope.
  • Kenneth Grahame's novel Wind in the Willows in the British Isles with talking animals, and his short story The Reluctant Dragon is set in Oxfordshire
  • C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia - although the world of Narina is also influenced by Greek & roman mythology as well as biblical imagery and themes, it represents a uniquely British mythical space.

Film
  • Dragon Heart (1996)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Brave (2012) - set in Scotland
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Theives (1991)
  • Robin Hood (2010)
  • Excalibur (1981)
  • King Arthur (2004)
  • A Kinght's Tale (2001)
  • First Knight (1995)
  • Black Death (2010)
  • Ladyhawke (1985)

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