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Cultural references in Prince of Persia

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Jordan Mechner mentioned a number of sources of inspiration he had creating the Prince of Persia universe.

Background

Original Series

When creating the original game, Broderbund's Gene Portwood suggested: "What about Ali Baba; Sinbad", inspiring Mechner to write a two-page story in a single afternoon.[1] His goal was "to create an entertaining fantasy in the spirit of the 1001 Nights". (He read Husain Haddawy's 1990 translation.) Besides 1001 Nights, Mechner mentioned Sufi stories, and the scope of his research went as far as the lives and writings of Omar Khayyám, Rumi, and Ibn Battuta, and modern histories such as Richard N. Frye’s The Golden Age of Persia.[2]

Sands of Time

Mechner read Shāhnāmé ("The Book of Kings") while working on The Sands of Time.[1]

The concept of time plays an important part in the Prince of Persia stories.[1][2] In some of the stories water is a symbol of life.

Dualism is also a recurring theme. The Prince refracts his mirror self by jumping through a magic mirror in the original game. In the sequel the Prince is imbued with the power of The Flame, a feat for which he has to die. In Warrior Within he turns into the Sand Wraith. In The Two Thrones he turns into the Dark Prince. Other, regular people are turned into Monsters by the Sands of Time or Corrupted.

Sands of Time (Film)

An examples with a specific source is the name Dastan (The Trickster) used in the film, which comes from the Shāhnāmé.[3] From the same source comes Rostam whom the Prince refers to in The Sands of Time.[1] Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel is situated around the City of Marv which shares its name with Marv, a actual major oasis-city in Central Asia. Turul/the peacock shares its name with Turul, the the most important mythological bird of the origin myth of the Magyars (Hungarian people).

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2008/10/prince-of-persia-and-persia/
  3. http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2009/03/a-trickster-prince/

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