Hello dear readers and welcome to another Seriously Geeky Sunday! I seriously need to come up with a better way to introduce these posts, haha! Anyway! This week we are returning to the ‘Around the World in 8 Sundays’ theme, this time looking at Eastern Europe. I’ll admit right now that I’ve come up with some really random answers this week, so why not join me to find out what they are!
I really enjoyed the first of these geography based themes which was all about Western Europe, so had been looking forward to the next one for ages, and these questions did not disappoint! Thanks as always to Heather from Just Geeking By for organising the whole thing and continuing to come up with awesome themes for Seriously Geeky Sundays!
So! We voyage onwards…
Who is your favourite character of Eastern European heritage?
Susan Ivanova – Babylon 5
Commander Ivanova is probably the most kick-ass character in Babylon 5 and is certainly one of my favourites. Although the series is set quite far in the future, she often talks of her homeland of Russia in terms that would be familiar to us today and she still observes some Russian customs. She is strong and harbours a great deal of anger, but also has a softer, funny side which I always love to see. Her ‘relationship’ with the telepath organisation Psi-Corps is definitely one of my favourite threads that weaves its way through Babylon 5 and her interactions with Psi-Cop Alfred Bester can be truly mesmerising to watch.
What is your favourite film set in this region?
If I’m being honest, Rocky IV was pretty much the only film I could think of for this question but I do like it a lot. Rocky is a funny series because before watching it I hadn’t realised how dark and political they could be, and IV is no exception with its portrayal of the USA v the Soviet Union in the guise of a boxing match. Yes watching it now you can see all the common stereotypes at work, but dealing with issues like doping , violence and political upheaval are tough and it is a compelling although often uncomfortable watch.
In Hollywood characters of Eastern European descent are often stereotypically cast as the villain, can you think of a hero instead?
D – Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Known simply as D, the film’s hero is a dhampir – a being from Balkan folklore which is half human and half vampire. He is not an entirely heroic character as he works as a mercenary, however compared to the vast majority of the other characters in the film, D certainly has some moral standing, even if he is just carrying out his job. He is an interesting character leading a lonesome life, partly because most fear him, and whilst not a traditional hero type he is most certainly not a villain.
Greek mythology frequently features in pop culture, which appearance has interested you the most?
Minotaur! – Role Models
So, yeah! I mighta written about Greek myths in my piece on Western Europe by accident, but that’s ok because it gives me an excuse to write about something totally dumb and stupid now. In the film Role Models there is a fictional energy drink called Minotaur, presumably named after the mythical Greek creature. The film’s leading characters work for the company, going round schools convincing kids to drink Minotaur as an alternative to doing hard drugs. One of them dresses up in a Minotaur outfit and randomly yells “Minotaur!”, while the other one pretends (not very well) to be a responsible adult. Things unravel predictably and they end up driving the Minotaur van into a statue after the authorities try to tow it away, and thus begins the story of the film. Utterly, utterly ridiculous but hilariously funny. I’m not sure whether the ancient Greeks would laugh or cry.
Which Eastern European country or location do you feel is overused in pop culture and which is underutilised?
For the first part of this question my answer is Siberia. However I am twisting the question slightly with this as it is not that I feel Siberia is overused, but more that there only seems to be one generic version of the region that is ever used when in fact it is a rich and diverse setting. Siberia is always portrayed as a frozen, barren landscape where people get shot and never heard from again. I’m not saying that depiction is a lie, as Siberia is vast and much of it I imagine is quite barren, however it also contains huge lakes, vast flowing rivers, huge mountain ranges and some truly unique wildlife. I mean, people holiday in parts of it in the summer, it is a stunning and hugely varied region and I’d like to see more of that.
In terms of an area being underused I don’t really have a specific place, but more just to say that whilst (for example) London is used in anime very frequently, and the architecture of Western Europe has clearly had a huge influence on both games and anime, the stunning features of Eastern European architecture are rarely featured. The iconic domes of Moscow or the bridges, ancient squares and tea-houses of Prague would look stunning in anime so I would genuinely like to see more stuff set in the region.
So that is some of my favourite stuff from Eastern Europe. It is definitely a vast and varied region full of all kinds of wonders! What about you? Can you think of any notable characters or locations in fandoms that are from Eastern Europe? Let me know below in comments and don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s entries over at Just Geeking By!
Thanks for reading,