The phrases “Middle Ages,” “Dark Ages,” or “medieval” often conjure images of castles, cathedrals, crusades, and plague, of an era marked by darkness and conflict. Despite this common, if inaccurate, perception, the time period of 500–1500 CE was one of artistic and intellectual growth. Scribes and artists of the time produced a vibrant culture of illuminated manuscripts, whose stories and images have inspired many creative genres of the present, especially that of fantasy. Looking back to this past has become ingrained in popular culture: from the soaring castles of *Sleeping Beauty* to the bloody battles of *Game of Thrones*, from Middle-earth in *The Lord of the Rings* to mythical beasts in Dungeons & Dragons, and from Medieval Times to the Renaissance Faire, the Middle Ages have inspired artists, playwrights, filmmakers, gamers, and writers for centuries. Indeed, no other historical era has captured the imaginations of so many creators.\n\n*The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: An Epic Journey through Imaginary Medieval Worlds* (J. Paul Getty Museum, $29.95) aims to uncover the many reasons why the Middle Ages have proven so flexible—and applicable—to a variety of modern moments from the 18th through the 21st century. These “medieval” worlds are often the perfect ground for exploring contemporary cultural concerns and anxieties, saying much more about the time and place in which they were created than they do about the actual conditions of the medieval period. With over 140 color illustrations, from sources ranging from 13th-century illuminated manuscripts to contemporary films and video games, and a preface by *Game of Thrones* costume designer Michele Clapton, *The Fantasy of the Middle Ages* will surprise and delight both enthusiasts and scholars. This title is published to accompany an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from June 21–September 11, 2022.