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5 Fantasy Scenes Stolen From Eastern European History

In a previous post we looked at the Top 5 badass Eastern European villains in TV-shows. In this post we will look at scenes from fantasy films that are more or less similar to some Eastern European events/places.

[box type=”warning” align=”aligncenter” ]The following post contains spoilers from The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.[/box]

Similar I say, because most fantasy stories draw inspiration from mythology, and if from history, it’s usually Western European history (because the authors know that better). For example the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones is most probably based on the Black Dinner. But because EastOK Europe is a magazine about Eastern Europe, I tried to find similarities in Eastern European history. So take the following list with a grain of salt and just enjoy these great stories.

5.Théoden, the Jewish rebel

The biggest battle of the War of the Ring, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields at Minas Tirith is already in progress when Théoden and his army arrive.

Battle of the Pelennor Fields
The Rohirrim charge the Southrons and Théoden himself kills their leader, the black serpent. But when he is attacked by the Lord of the Nazgûl, his horse throws him off and then falls on him.

Theoden the Jewish rebel

“My body is broken. I go to my fathers. And even in their mighty company I shall not now be ashamed. I felled the black serpent.”

There were also mûmakils (or oliphaunts) fighting for Mordor in that battle, under the command of the Haradrim.

“and from the southward fields came footmen of Harad with horsemen before them, and behind them rose the huge backs of the mûmakil with war-towers upon them.”

A quite similar scene is described in the Bible (at least in versions that don’t omit this part), essentially merging the two. Jewish Maccabeans rebelled against the Seleucid Empire in response to Antiochus banning Jewish traditions.

Heroism of Eleazar

Photo by Harry Kossuth

“On the elephants were wooden towers, strong and covered; they were fastened on each animal by special harness, and on each were four armed men who fought from there, and also its Indian driver.”

1 Maccabees 6.37

“Now Eleazar, called Avaran, saw that one of the animals was equipped with royal armour. It was taller than all the others, and he supposed that the king was on it. So he gave his life to save his people and to win for himself an everlasting name. He courageously ran into the midst of the phalanx to reach it; he killed men right and left, and they parted before him on both sides. He got under the elephant, stabbed it from beneath, and killed it; but it fell to the ground upon him and he died.”

1 Maccabees 6.43-47

In short: Eleazar charges the biggest elephant, trying to kill Antiochus. He manages to kill the elephant but it falls on him and kills him. Compared to Théoden’s scene, this one is a bit underwhelming. Eleazar didn’t kill the leader of the enemy, and despite his sacrifice the Maccabean army was defeated.


About the author

János Gömöri

János lives in Budapest. He is interested in music, history, coding and linguistics.

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