There’s an old saying when it comes to writing your own stories, whether you’re working on a novel, a script, a play or a children’s book this old saying applies; “write what you know”. It’s simple and may sound obvious but it’s one of the most useful things you can hear as an aspiring writer, especially when you’re writing in the fantasy genre. It might seem like a strange thing at first in that respect but there are many writers and storytellers that have based their fantasy tales on true historic events and personal experiences. Let us take a look at some of those now.
Game of Thrones
Over the past few years the Game of Thrones franchise has grown exponentially in popularity thanks to the HBO series which is based on the books themselves. As such it has been heavily studied and so you may already be aware that much of the events and situations that take place in these stories are in fact inspired by real history, the War of the Roses to be precise. This is a famous war that involved two houses (the houses of York and Lancaster) who were constantly seizing the English throne from one another. It engulfed not only England but involved many of its neighbouring countries and was a war filled with betrayal, politics and the thirst for power, perfect for a dark fantasy series.
Star Wars is perhaps the most successful sci-fi fantasy franchise in the world, we all know the films but if you don’t want the fun to end there are also a whole host of books, comics, tv shows and video games to keep you entertained until your next cinematic fix. Though the stories themselves are of course original George Lucas took a great many inspirations when creating his first entry, now titled Star Wars: A New Hope. One inspiration that stands out in particular are the overtones of the Second World War, the Galactic Empire are based on the Nazi forces of Germany, note the visual inspirations especially taken from the film Nazi Propaganda Triumph of the Will, some shots are almost exactly the same.
Here we have another huge franchise, the Harry Potter books alone are some of the most sold of their kind in the world, not to mention their entries into other genres like film and video games too. Again, what is great about these books is that they do have an original story that has captured audiences from all over but here too we can see inspiration taken from real life events and history. Hogwarts itself takes much inspiration from boarding schools and British universities, Oxford and Cambridge being clear influences, not just in the way the schools are run but also their appearance and layout too. Also, J K Rowling has also spoke about how she too took inspiration from the Nazi Party, this time in their ideals for the wicked death eaters and their purist agendas.