Protothema recently put up a short but interesting examination of the hit series 'Game of Thrones' in relation to ancient Hellenis mythology. Warning, spoilers for the latest episode (not many, but still)! Before I discuss a few of those, let me share this video that accompanied the post of the theme of the series redone with ancient instruments. I don't really watch Game of Thrones, but I like this!

Personally, I would say many modern shows--fantasy ones especially--borrow heavily from Hellenic mythology. Why? Becasue it's good storytelling. A huge portion of the ancient Hellenic heroes fit the 'Mythic hero archetype' after all. This archetype is a set of 22 common traits shared by many heroes in various cultures, myths and religions throughout history and around the world. The concept was first developed by FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan (Lord Raglan) in his 1936 book, The Hero, A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama. Raglan argued that the higher the score, the more likely the figure is mythical. Otto Rank and Alan Dundes later elaborated on the list:
  1. Mother is a royal virgin
  2. Father is a king
  3. Father related to mother
  4. Unusual conception
  5. Hero reputed to be son of god
  6. Attempt to kill hero as an infant, often by father or maternal grandfather
  7. Hero spirited away as a child
  8. Reared by foster parents in a far country
  9. No details of childhood
  10. Returns or goes to future kingdom
  11. Is victor over king, giant, dragon or beast
  12. Marries a princess (often daughter of predecessor)
  13. Becomes king
  14. For a time he reigns uneventfully
  15. He prescribes laws
  16. Later loses favor with gods or his subjects
  17. Driven from throne and city
  18. Meets with mysterious death
  19. Often at the top of a hill
  20. His children, if any, do not succeed him [i.e., does not found a dynasty]
  21. His body is not buried
  22. Nonetheless has one or more holy sepulchers or tombs
Even without watching Game of Thrones for more than a hand full of episodes, I can tell a lot of these properties can be described to the male and female characters of this show. Many themes from Game of Thrones appeared first in Hellenic mythology and daily life. The sacrifice of a child to the Gods or the Powers that Be, colonialization, massive battles, virtuous heroes saving the girl (or boy), heroes traveling the world with a sidekick in tow...? All Hellenic themes as well. And Norse, and Egyptian, and many other religious mythologies. So the next time you watch Game of Thrones, imagine Perseus, Hēraklēs, and Atalanta traveling through Westeros and tell me they wouldn't fit right in.