Seriously Geeky Sundays – Around the World in 8 Sundays – Western Europe

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.

Bastards!

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 epitome of the cool Italian archetype…

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.

Sure there’s room on Olympus for this lot too!

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!

15 thoughts on “Seriously Geeky Sundays – Around the World in 8 Sundays – Western Europe

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  1. Saving Private Ryan was a GOOD movie. We have it on blu-ray. I am also a sucker for a good alternate reality/history!

    “Our awful politicians have made us the laughing stock of Europe” I raise you one Orange Dictator *cries in American*

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  2. Some very nice picks! My favourite filmset .. I think might be a few parts of Prometheus being shot in Prague..including space ships.. Of course I always enjoy seeming Amsterdam in a movie as a dutchy! Especially In oceans twelve. Good picks on your end to though! I can very much live with these choices as an European myself!

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  3. This was interesting. I’m sure you would have expertise on this subject on principle. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some Ahhnold quotes here and there. Hahaha! It’s so crazy that the Terminator would be a governor at one point during my lifetime. It was also interesting seeing some locales like Ireland in some of Cartoon Saloon’s movies. As far as the British Isles are concerned, I haven’t seen too many movies based in Wales though.

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    1. Hmmm Wales could do with more stories set in it, considering the scenery and history and culture! And oh man I’m a self diagnosed Arnold fanboy, been enjoying those daft movies since I was a kid! Many people take them too seriously but remember they’re basically 2 hours of explosions, guns and silly one liners and you can’t go wrong!

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      1. I know, right? That country has it’s own history and mythology which could be interesting to explore. The only mainstream example I can think of a Welsh fantasy movies is The Black Cauldron. Most of the things I’ve checked out involving Welsh creators or subjects from the Land of the Red Dragon involve a documentary involving an artist called Meri Wells which was in the Welsh language, a Zambian/Welsh movie called I Am Not a Witch (but that is more Zambian even though the director lives in Cardiff, if I’m not mistaken), and two documentaries involving pro wrestlers from Wales of all things. Some more narrative films and some fantasy works would be fascinating.

        Nice! I understand that a lot of those movies can be goofy, but they have their own charm. It’s also fun to imitate his accent while saying things such as “Put the cookie down!”, “It’s not a too-mah.”, or (despite how bad the movie it comes from is) “Let’s kick some ice!”

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      2. Ohhhh man Mr Freeze, that was definitely Arnold cutting loose completely lol! I live maybe 45 mins from Wales and have been holidaying there all my life, can confirm that there’s some amazing things to talk about from out that way! Wales was used by the BBC for a lot of stuff a few years back (Dr Who being a key one) but they always disguised it as London or somewhere! I think Torchwood was ACTUALLY set in Wales though lol

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      3. Hahaha! Yup, that was certainly quite a role he had. You’re that close to Wales? Nice! I’m sure there’s some nice things about that part of the UK. I did hear about Doctor Who being produced in Wales. Disguising as London? I could see that happening. It’s kind of like Watchman taking place in New York City, but it was filmed in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Shoot, Groundhog Day takes place in Pennsylvania, but they filmed a lot of it in Woodstock, IL and I’ve been to the places where they filmed it multiple times since I have a friend from that town.

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      4. It’s mad isn’t it! I think a lot of it is to do with taxes, as I understand, plus the fact that it’s easier to dress up part of Swansea as London as opposed to shooting in the capital itself! It’s like every film these days is made in Canada, Georgia, new Zealand and Australia lol

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      5. That’s true. I did hear that taxes can play a big part in it like how some cities and states are more expensive to film in than others, so they go to other cities as geographic “stunt doubles” when they start filming. That is weird using the Swansea example as making it look like London. I wonder how certain people from that city feel like Catherine Zeta-Jones or Eddie Dennis would feel about that if we’re talking about Swansea Jacks/Jills. Oh, yeah. I swear some of those countries give the filmmakers tax breaks or something like that for them to be filmed constantly in those nations.

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      6. Yeah think you’re absolutely on the money, it’s all about those tax breaks and the money it brings in via publicity/tourism! I’ll be honest, I’ve been to London a few times and I’d honestly rather not have! Far too busy!

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      7. Oh, yeah. While I’m no expert in that field, I do know that there are countries that offer tax breaks for filmmaking or how some locales are cheaper to film. Personally, I think some directors should try smaller towns or cities if it makes sense for the movie (or if the movie takes place directly in that town/city) since they’ll most likely film it for cheaper and the towns would LOVE the publicity.

        I see about London. I think that’s too big of a city for me to live in. The biggest cities I’ve been to are Chicago, Jacksonville, Quito, and Guayaquil. If I ever visit England, I would like to check out the other cities and not just London.

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      8. I’ll look into York then! I do know it’s nowhere near as big as the new one as you say. Weirdly enough, I’ve been to New York, but not New York City though. How does Hampshire and Jersey compare to the “new” ones in America? Also, we have a Manchester in New Hampshire and Connecticut of all places as well as a Stockton in 14 different states. I also just found out there’s a Liverpool in New York, Illinois, and even Texas of all places which I legitimately didn’t know! Hahaha!

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