Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November!

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

Today is Guy Fawkes Day in England, after a fellow and his conspirator friends who tried to blow up the House of Lords in 1605 to kill the King of England, James I, and most of the lords of the land. The history is fascinating, including all the people involved. So much so that I ran a GURPS Elizabethan fantasy game set several years after 1605 where the Big Bad was an undead Guy Fawkes.

November 5th is a festive night in England, with fireworks and bonfires and kids making effigies called "guys" and collecting "a penny for the guy" to buy fireworks. One of my (now former) co-workers from England told me his experiences as a child building his guy and dragging it around the neighborhood to get cash. It was pretty humorous.

Guy Fawkes has appeared a lot in popular culture - movies, songs, literature, video games and even internet memes all have bits and pieces of the Guy mixed in. They've even tested whether the bomb plot would have blown up the building if it had succeeded!

If I was ever going to run a conspiracy-kill-a-king type game, I'd throw in this sort of information.


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