Oh have I been looking forward to this one!
I love geography, different cultures and world history, so a geeky, question-based tour of this big planet we live on isn’t such a bad idea. This week we visit Western Europe, home of such countries as France, Denmark and Spain, among others!
This trip has been provided by Just Geeking By airlines, piloted by the expert Heather. That is to say that Heather of Just Geeking By has supplied the following questions, in case you missed what I was going for…
“It’s World Tourism day and today I’m launching SGS’s first multi-part theme! With 21st Century tech we don’t need to take 80 days like Jules Verne to go around the world. Instead for the next 8 months, one Sunday will be dedicated to a continent (with Europe divided into two to give us our total of 8). That week will explore fandoms set only in countries in that continent. For the first week, I’ve started with what’s home base for me; Western Europe.”
Question 1 – Who Is Your Favourite British Character?
Ah, Britian. Our awful politicians have made us the laughing stock of Europe and we have a history of being pretty unpleasant to other countries. But we also have good people too, lots of them, and some are cool fictional characters!
Ironically, my favourite fictional British character is from an era which was the height of Britain-being-an-asshole, the golden years of the British Empire. I speak of Bernard Cornwell’s character, Richard Sharpe. Whilst I have nothing against Sean Bean’s TV portrayal, I am more referring to the character in the novels here.
Sharpe started out as a 16 year old private soldier, fighting for the future Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley, in India and, after years of intrigue, big battles and fiery romance, ends up a Major fighting at the famous battle of Waterloo (as chronicled in the ABBA song, of course!). Along the way he survives India, the battle of Trafalgar, a secret mission in Denmark, several campaigns in Spain and even a trip to South America, befriending Irish giant Patrick Harper and making more than a few enemies from the opposing French army as time goes by!
He’s tenacious, loyal and full of honour, got to love him!
Question 2 – Who Is Your Favourite Character From the Western European Mainland?
I racked my brain a bit with this one, there are so many excellent characters from Western Europe out there, after all, but after much consideration I had to go with Italy’s very own Ezio de Audiotore, from Assassin’s Creed 2, a height to which the series has not been to since.
The son of a family of bankers, Ezio finds himself hunted and alone when they are killed off by a shady conspiracy. Donning the (massively stylish) mantle of the Assassin brotherhood, he travels between Venice, Florence and Rome seeking his revenge.
Funny, kind and a mean fighter, Ezio is not just Assassin’s Creed‘s finest, but one of gaming’s best characters full stop!
Question 3 – Who Is Your Favourite Western European Actor?
Now technically, this actor could be considered as American as fries and eagles, but he started life in Austria, which is definitely in Western Europe. I speak, of course, of Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Arnold is an entertainment powerhouse, in my humble opinion. I grew up watching such mad action-fest movies as Commando, Predator, Terminator 2 and True Lies, loving the outlandish action sequences, massive explosions and, of course, Arnold’s absolutely zinging one-liners!
Mr. Schwarzenegger has been a big part of my developing tastes as I grew up, and it’s nice to see that he’s settled into being brilliant in retirement too, looking after animals, driving tanks and pranking people in Gold’s Gym!
Keep it up, sir!
Question 4 – What Is Your Favourite Film Set In This Region?
I find it very hard to think of favourites for these, but it’s always good to talk about a movie I love anyway!
Let’s take a look at one of the greatest war movies of all time, Stephen Spielberg’s 1998 epic, Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon.
Private Ryan tells the story of a US Army Ranger battalion, in the dying years of World War 2, who are tasked with tracking down the titular Ryan, a paratrooper dropped far behind the lines whose three brothers have all been slaughtered whilst going about their mission preparing for the D-Day landings.
The movie opens with one of the most epic battle scenes known to cinema, with Hanks’s Captain Miller leading his squad into the Normandy beach landings. Machine guns rip through the air, explosions send body parts in all directions and the almost handicam-style filming really puts the viewer into the action.
This action doesn’t let up after the landings either, the Rangers fighting the German war machine in skirmish after skirmish. Once Ryan has been found in the third act, a massive final battle commences, with the Nazi war machine bringing tanks and artillery to bear against the outnumbered US forces.
It’s an epic movie that really does need to be watched!
Question 5 – Western Europe is filled with history; which historical event, era or character to be featured in fandom has been your favourite?
I’m going to cheat a bit here, and go all alternate history with Wolfenstein: The New Order. In this timeline, the Nazis got ahold of some pretty war winning technology during the war and, in 1946, the Allies are set for one last offensive in a desperate attempt to end the war by killing the evil Doctor Wilhelm Strauss, aka Deathshead.
The opening level of the game is this very offensive, the Allies assaulting Deathshead’s citadel in a storm of fire and death in an attempt to save the free world.
Spoiler… it doesn’t go very well.
Question 6 – Choose one of your favourite fandoms to go on a trip to Western Europe; where do they go? What do they get up to? Is it business, pleasure or not by choice at all?
Some really tough ones this week, Heather!
Let’s take a moment, then, to imagine the characters of Discworld in a Western European setting (afterall, Ankh-Morpork is very much based on cities like London). You can easily see the Watch, under Commander Vimes, walking the London streets, whilst characters like the witches would be very much at home in the Black Forest of Germany.
It’s not a massive leap, sure, but definitely fun to imagine.
And so there we are, another mission completed! Thanks for reading along and, as ever, please do read the pieces written by the other awesome writers under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag!
See you all next time, au revoir and, indeed, auf wiedersein!