If you used your imagination to create a fantasy world, what accent would the characters speak in?
This month sees the return of the successful American television series, Game of Thrones. Set in a fantasy world of mythical castles and charming princesses, it is notable that all of the characters speak in British accents.
British actors have long portrayed sneering villains or brutish baddies in Hollywood films. From Dr Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs to the Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the hero can be American but his rival often speaks with a stiff British accent whilst curling his lip.
And now the same British accent is casting a spell over fantasy worlds too. From The Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit, Brits are frequently the stars of these filmic fantasy yarns.
Fantasy fiction is conjured up from old history books and folklore. So some people say that, as the English language is rooted in the medieval era, it carries a tradition and culture suited to the genre.
Historical screen sagas include bewitching British accents too. This flight of fancy goes unchallenged even when they are set in ancient Rome or Greece. So a British accent often works its magic for these historical or fantasy tales as it provides an enchanting link to the past for modern audiences.
After all, would the triumph of the Harry Potter films have been such a fairytale success if he had spoken with an American accent?