TV Pagans Looking Good – or at Least Better

From the abstract to Robert A. Saunder’s paper “Primetime Paganism: Popular-Culture Representations of Europhilic Polytheism in Game of Thrones and Vikings,” reprinted at, in which he argues two points:

First, that traditional filmic treatments of pagans [sic] qua villains is shifting, with contemporary popular culture allowing for more nuanced framing of Western forms of polytheism. Secondly, that such popular-culture representations of paganism have direct impact on certain contemporary Pagans’ personal spiritual paths by promoting and influencing the “invention of tradition” among a population which manifests non-traditional religious identities.

Read the rest.

One thought on “TV Pagans Looking Good – or at Least Better

  1. Pitch313

    I suppose that we all shape our outlooks using the popular culture that surrounds us, and maybe change those outlooks as popular culture changes. Or not change so much…[I, more and more, consider myself a dinosaur, popular culture-wise].

    I’d say that my own notions of any pagan cultures that came from popular culture were bookish rather than filmic, and bookish via mythology collections and paperback fiction rather than any author’s efforts to reconstruct paganism. (I did not know about the pagan revival until I was well into working out things on my own.)

    What I put together from my relating to filmic popular culture was probably more on the order of nascent critical and meta-critical skills–movies are not books, construction of story universes may be both business and play, our historic past is not quite what we imagine it was, and such like.

    In addition, I had a reliable personal sense that I myself was pretty much a pagan no matter what the popular culture around me came to popularize or discourage.

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