Chante(Fable) : romance, parody, and the medieval in Aucassin et Nicolette and Lionhead Studios’ Fable
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The romance was one of the most popular genres of medieval literature during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. While it is difficult to enumerate the universal characteristics shared by all romances, there are similar elements present in many. Aucassin et Nicolette, the unique thirteenth-century chantefable, has intentionally adopted these elements and manipulated them in such a way that parodies the romances put forth by Chrétien de Troyes. The video game Fable comprises a unique structural form that echoes that of Aucassin et Nicolette and, despite its creation nearly eight hundred years later, belongs to the medieval tradition of parody. This report will explore how the various motifs, such as the hero quest, the battle sequence, and the fantastic world, are imitated and manipulated by Fable and Aucassin et Nicolette in their self-conscious attempts to parody medieval romance conventions. In the era of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, popular culture is be obsessed with medievalism. Fable, however, is categorically medieval rather than post-medieval because of the structure it shares with Aucassin et Nicolette. Together, these works self-consciously employ techniques that deride the romance conventions, and intentionally resist conforming to medieval public expectations.