Medieval stories have gone from book to movie or Netflix TV series, then video game and beyond in recent years. Since the dawn of book publishing and the start of movie making – the medieval period has provided storylines and characters galore. And video games haven’t been slow to get in on the sword swinging action.
It’s the era that keeps on giving! With so many media channels to feed – the medieval period has been generous to authors, TV producers and video game developers. It’s provided some of the best selling books, most popular TV series and video games that have become a huge hit.
Medieval stories – from book to TV to video game
You may not know the creative journey that some of your favourite movies or video games have been on. But take Assassins Creed – for example. Jade Raymond – the brains behind the game – claims it was inspired by a 1938 novel called Alamut – written by the Slovenian author Vladimir Bartol (1903 to 1967).
Alamut refers to an Assassin fortress in what is now Iran. I’ve blogged about the Assassins before and their connection to that part of the world so please feel free to search for more information. But in brief, the Assassins were a Shiite Muslim cult notorious for their daring acts of political murder – against both crusaders and Saracens. In real life, the Knights Templar managed to subdue them for a while but it was the Mongol armies that eventually destroyed the Assassins (or did they?).
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The Witcher is partly derived from a collection of stories by the Polish author and businessman Andrzej Sapkowski. He wrote the original story in 1986 as an entry to a writing competition. It came third. And from then on, he developed a series of short stories and novels based on the character – a monster hunter.
The first movie based on Sapkowski’s Witcher saga was The Hexer – a Polish film released in 2001. This gives you an early more CGI-deficient version of The Witcher – but I for one intend to see this movie in the near future!
A Polish TV series followed in 2002 and of course now, in 2020, we can watch the Netflix Polish-American collaboration with Henry Cavill in the lead role. Going to admit here that I’m not a huge fan. In find the protagonist empathy-free and in need of some decent dialogue. But hey – millions of you think differently.
And needless to say – The Witcher has spawned the obligatory video games.
DISCOVER: Ten best medieval TV series!
Robin Hood – from medieval ballad to book to movie to 1991 Nintendo video game
The story of outlaw Robin Hood has been with us for at least seven hundred years. It features in medieval ballads of the 15th century down to Victorian romantic literature of the 19th century. Then from the book version of the story, it was an early entry to the movies.
The first silent movie version of Robin Hood was in 1912. Followed by another movie in 1922 with Douglas Fairbanks in the lead role. And there’s been about twenty movies since including a Walt Disney animation. Some of the films have been deadly serious while others have been spoofs.
The 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was turned into a video game of the same name by Nintendo. But that wasn’t the first Robin Hood video game – which I think came out as early as 1985. In more recent years, we’ve had Robin Hood: Defender of the Crown in 2003 and Volume in 2015, which takes a more offbeat view of the outlaw.
So long may the medieval era continue to provide compelling content for the book, movie, TV and video game industry!