Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Trapped in a Modern Mind
We're all writers, trying to create interesting worlds and problems for our characters to strive against.
Recently I watched season one and season two of Rome. I must admit that I had a rather limited idea of Rome, based on interminable Hollywood movies. (As a child I LOVED the Harryhausen's Jason and the Golden Fleece. Greek rather than Roman, but same area and similar style of clothes. For years I had a thing about men in short togas!).
What I found really interesting about The Rome series was the way it portrayed people's attitudes. The role of slaves was fascinating. They could be unlucky and die early in the salt mines, or they could end up serving a aristocratic family, with education, good food and the chance to buy their own freedom. They could identify with the family so strongly they felt part of it.
Watching Rome made me realise how trapped I was in a modern mindset. Christian attitudes are deeply engrained in our society. These ancient Roman people lived short lives. They bargained with different gods depending on what they needed. There was no 'turning the other cheek'. After watching this series I felt like my mind had had a grease and oil change. It was very invigorating.
I love it when I come across a really inventive, well realised world in a fantasy series. When I discovered Tolkien's LOTR at 17 I was blown away by the back story and sense of history. Now, when I read it to my children I skip the travellogue and read the exciting bits.
What series have you read, that impressed you with its world building?