Are we living in the middle ages-mania?
One of the most popular television series of the last years was Game of Thrones. It is a fantasy, a non-existing, imaginary planet, but at the same time, with many elements of the middle ages of Europe and some Eastern civilizations. “Medieval realism”, “historical fiction” – wrote Wikipedia.
Other series, “Vikings” about the 9th century of Europe is also very popular. So popular we have a new series from the same century and in part of the same kingdoms: “The Last Kingdom”. Or the newest one, the Korean series “Kingdom”, mixing middle ages with zombies.
In reality, the famous book and movie series “The Lord of the Rings” is also based on a medieval environment, although with much more magical and fantasy elements. But this not only contains many elements of the real life of the European middle ages. Its fantastic beings (orcs, elves etc.) are also based on medieval German mythology. (Perhaps also Celtic legends?)
Blood and dirt
Is our modern culture addicted to the middle ages, to some sort of an unreal, fake romanticism? The real middle ages were terrible, wars, crime, plagues, death, blood, torture and cry. Violence, poverty, dirt, analphabetism, superstitions, witch-hunting. In reality, 98-99 percent of the population was living in much worst conditions than a European jobless worker today.
But on the list of IMDB “TV Series Sorted by Popularity Ascending”, we don’t find so many medieval titles. “Game of Thrones” is number 2, Vikings, number 6, and Kingdom number 20. That’s all. The other places are occupied mostly by crime or mystery series, series of everyday people, and science fiction.
You and your life
Examining the list of the best series and best movies of all times, I saw something similar. “The Lord of the Rings” for example, we find only on places 7 and 11. There are only a few medieval stories on the list. It seems to be that people are more interested in themselves, or other similar people of our times.
Perhaps I fell in a trap like it describes this quote: “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”? Wiktionary Am I seeing medieval stories everywhere because I, personally, really like them? It is possible. But there is another explanation.
Real world or heavy fiction
All or almost all popular series are in the category “fiction”. But we could distinguish something like “distant worlds” (including real, history-based medieval stories, space travel, zombies, vampires, aliens, ghosts) and “real-world-stories”. The latter includes stories that could be (almost) true, about people (almost) like us. Crime series, everyday family or university environment, love, for example. (Grey's Anatomy, True Detective, Shameless, Friends etc.)
In this case, we can add to the group of distant fiction The Walking Dead, Star Trek, Supernatural… And the two groups – the real world and the other realms – have almost equal weight. Almost the same amount of people likes to escape to other worlds to relaxing, entertainment and distraction like people to stay in real life.
Of course, there can be also people who are watching both types of movies or series. For example, the best of the best.
I also made a poll about it on Dpoll, please, answer it: Do you like stories of this modern world or of distant worlds, old times?