Welcome back to Seriously Geeky Sundays, everyone!
It’s been a hot month since we talked about our favourite characters and fandoms from Western Europe, a part of the world steeped with culture, tradition and, historically, lots unpleasant wars!
This month we will hop across the border (indeed, what was once dubbed the Iron Curtain) to Eastern Europe. This part of the world is fascinating, full of exotic cultures, fascinating places and, of course, was once the seat of the USSR.
Let’s get the briefing, shall we?
Question 1 – Who is your favourite character of Eastern European heritage?
I’m sure I’ve never mentioned my love for Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch books before (yeah right), so this may come as a bit of a shocker…
My favourite character from Eastern Europe is Zabulon, leader of the Moscow branch of the Day Watch, aka the antagonist of the series (for the most part). Zabulon is a massively powerful mage and has fought off many assassins and enemies over his long career. Whilst the Day Watch are more geared toward acts of evil, they are overall commited to keeping the balance, working both alongside and, subtly, against their Night Watch counterparts. This leads to some excellent chapters where the heroes are forced to work alongside Zabulon, and I love it!
So, it’s all about Zabulon! He can even turn into a demon!
The movie version sucked though!
Question 2 – What is your favourite film set in this region?
So I’m gonna cheat just a little here, and go with a miniseries instead of a movie! Sneaky, I know!
Yep, 2019’s award winning Chernobyl will be my choice here! Whilst I’m sure the subject needs no introduction, I’ll tell you anyway. The series follows the events occuring after the infamous 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Brought about by arrogance, incompetence and a terrifying lack of safety precautions, the actions of a few resulted in deaths of thousands (or 31, if the official figures are to be believed).
The series follows several characters (all real people from the disaster) as they respond to ad try to contain the disaster. Such heavyweights as Stellan Skaarsgard and Jared Harris give the performance of a lifetime, with special props to Paul Ritter as the truly unpleasant plant supervisor, Dyatlov.
A masterclass in tension and grimness, Chernobyl is well worth checking out.
Question 3 – In Hollywood characters of Eastern European descent are often e cast as the villain, can you think of a hero instead?
I’ve watched a movie very recently that had just such a heroic Russian, played by the ever amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger (so I’m fanboying, what of it?). That movie was Red Heat, in which Arnie plays Moscow copper Ivan Danko, sent to Chicago to track down a no good baddie. During his quest he teams up with Jim Belushi, another cop, and take down the big bad, with much action and many one liners!
Seriously, it’s amazing!
Question 4 – Greek mythology frequently features in pop culture, which appearance has interested you the most?
There’s been many excursions into Greek mythology in geek culture, but only one will ever be in the top slot for me…
Yes, the mighty 300! The tale of Thermopylae as told by a massively exaggerating survivor (a point many seem to miss when complaining about how over-the-top it all is!)
Our hero is the mighty King Leonidas of SPARTA!!! (you have to shout it), leading the titular amount of Spartan warriors against the amassed forces of Persia. It’s stylish, exciting and full of ridiculousness, and you need to watch it!
Question 5 – Which Eastern European country or location do you feel is overused in pop culture and which is underutilised?
Easily Eastern Europe’s most overused nation in stories is good old Mother Russia! Why? Because it’s the biggest and maybe most famously stories of the Eastern European nations – the Russian Revolution, Rasputin, it’s role in the Second World War and Cold War… There’s a lot going on!
As for underutilised, well I’d like to see the really underrepresented nations like the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Belarus, Slovakia, Georgia… There’s actually tons of little countries dripping in culture and stories to be explored, people!
And that’s another edition of Seriously Geeky Sundays wrapped up, folks! I hope you enjoyed this little foray into Eastern Europe and, as always, please do check out the work from all of the other authors writing under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag!