Episode 10 - History in Fantasy

July 24, 2018

About the Episode

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, or other popular fantasy works, you might have noticed that these worlds have many parallels to human history and myth. Join us as we explore some of the history that inspired and is embedded in these worlds.


British Library. Harry Potter: A History of Magic. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017.

Carpenter, Humphrey. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

Clute, John, and John Grant. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

Davies, Lucy. “The very real magic of Harry Potter.” October 13, 2017. The Telegraph. At

Day, David. Tolkien’s Ring. London: Pavilion Books, 2002.

“Harry Potter: A History of Magic.” British Library. At

Haynes, Natalie. “The myths and folktales behind Harry Potter.” November 22, 2016. BBC Culture. At

Howes, Hetta. “5 ways that medieval history might have inspired ‘Harry Potter’.” December 5, 2017. History Extra. At


Ross, Ashley. “How J.K. Rowling’s Magical History Stacks Up Against Real History.” March 14, 2016. Time Magazine. At

Ross, Ashley. “J.K. Rowling Reveals the Connection Between Salem and American Wizardry.” March 9, 2016. Time Magazine. At

Tharoor, Ishaan. “How Game of Thrones drew on the Wars of the Roses.” May 29, 2015. The Guardian. At


Producers: Robin Mullins and Emily Cuggy

Hosts: Robin Mullins, Keely McCavitt, Nick Bridges

Researchers: Kirsty Walker, Nick Johnston, and Leanne Gaudet

Audio Editing: Jessica Di Laurenzio

Image Credit: Pixabay