We already know that Bethesda’s Skyrim is an amazing success. Many of
us have logged countless hours in the game. But did you know that it is
so popular that Rice University in Houston, Texas, has launched a
one-time course based on it? It is called the "Scandanavian Fantasy
World: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim” and it is a one-time course that will
run for one semester, offered by the Department of English.
Here is the course description:
course has two goals. First, it introduces students to fantasy as both
psychological concept and driving force in gamer culture; and second,
using these paradigms, it considers how and why medieval Scandinavia
serves as a locus of modern Anglo-American fantasy. To these ends,
students will read selections from Old Norse and Old Icelandic sagas (in
translation) as they play different quests within Skyrim. While the
course begins by identifying moments of intersection between the worlds
of the sagas and of Skyrim (inclement environments, supernatural
figures, mythologies), the course is not in any means meant to map the
former onto the latter. The purpose of establishing these connections is
to then consider how elements of medieval Scandinavian culture have
been taken out of historical milieu and literary context, morphed into
unfamiliar shape, and appropriated towards other fantastic pursuits.
We’ll consider the political saga of Skyrim, with its emphasis on Empire
and rebellion, as pursuits made possible by way of Scandinavia in order
to think through what Scandinavian fantasy worlds are really about and
why they resonate with contemporary Anglo-American culture.
like my kind of class. We need more video game playing classes like
this in colleges. Enrollment would go through the roof.