Literature connects us

Literature connects us by CK Van Dam

I recently returned from a trip to Scotland and Ireland where I explored castles, historic landmarks and miles of beautiful scenery. Many of these landmarks were also locations for movie and television series, including Outlander and Game of Thrones. The Scots, of course, are all about Outlander: “Oh, Jamie!” And the Game of Thrones cast spent months filming in Northern Ireland. So much so, that they became “regulars” at local pubs.

Not surprisingly, both of these series are based on popular books.

Culloden - Outlander

As our tour guide described the events leading up to the Battle of Culloden, I recalled the vivid descriptions in the novel by Diana Gabaldon. Her books were the genesis for the television drama. The Outlander series describes a period of time that is foreign to most of us. It’s the literature that connects us to the events of that time.

Literature connects us by CK Van Dam

Both Scotland and Ireland offered rich locations for Game of Thrones. Edinburgh Castle, built on “Castle Rock,” is the real-life version of the Lannister’s stronghold, Casterly Rock. The dark, foreboding images from Scotland’s historic royal residence, military garrison, prison and fortress communicate the strength and power of the Lannisters in Martin’s saga.

Northern Ireland brought to life the stark (no pun intended) scenery in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. In Season 2, Arya Stark escapes through the iconic “Dark Hedges.” Known as the Bregagh Road, the long road of twisted beech trees provides a mystical path for Arya’s flight from King’s Landing.

Literature connects us by CK Van Dam

As I visited these historic locations, I realized that I first “saw” these scenes through books. Martin and Gabaldon created these images in their novels — with readers translating those descriptive passages through those books. The television programs used these locations to help tell the stories.

But it started with an idea from an author. It’s the literature that connects us.