I don’t take issue with a great deal while I’m teaching. I’m accepting of the broad span of opinions and preconceptions. I rarely feel the need to lecture people in or out of lessons, and I would never tell you your opinion is flat-out wrong. But when someone laughs at someone for not knowing something, that’s when I dust off the soapbox.
Student: The people behind the Gunpowder Plot were all Catholics. They were unhappy about the way they were treated. At the time, England was a Prostitute country.
What have I been teaching them?
Student: You know everything we’ve been looking at? The Treaty of Versailles… The League of Nations…
Teacher: I do, yes.
Student: Did it really happen?
Teacher (passively): Yes. History as a study of things in the past.
Student (nodding): Okay cool, thank you sir.
[Student goes back to work, but sees their friend staring at them open-mouthed.]
Student (unwavering): It was a 50-50 question, so I had to ask.
If you do not ask, you do not learn.
Student: I could never be a spy. I can’t do a roly-poly.
James Bond is famous for his forward rolls.
…but I’ve got the urge to begin posting on my blog again. Whilst I was away, I didn’t actually stop writing; I simply switched where and what I was writing. Three years since my last post, I’m inclined to return to the internet and ramble on about all things geeky, history, gamer-y, teacher-y… and now fatherly!
I ceased adding to my blog for multiple reasons. Firstly, a few years ago I was introduced to a game that has since become my favourite hobby: Dungeons & Dragons. Not only has this game ticked every box in my list of ‘Things I Love About Gaming’, but it also appeals to the joy I find in writing. I have spent a wonderfully nerdy amount of time creating campaigns, monsters, traps and puzzles for my friends (and for myself). There is something about inventing a story that other people can jump into, and add their own personality to, that I find immensely enjoyable, as well as all the other factors that make Dungeons & Dragons a stupendously enjoyable experience.
Compared to other RPGs I’ve played, The Witcher is a very intimate game. Even counting the segments of the city of Vizima as separate locations, the list of places I’ve seen so far is very small. The cast of the game is also quite lean. Both of these conditions are hardly negatives; it gives a feeling of familiarity and makes the interactions more personal. It also helps to enrich the story, in my opinion at least.
This intimate setup has impacted on my observations. Whilst with Skyrim I could skip about, cherry picking historic details, this games narrower landscape has led me to make a more specific consideration of the world.
In the third instalment of my ‘grown-up’ look at the historical accuracy of this fantasy adventure game, I’ve picked out one feature of the main character and two features of the city to analyse. The field of discussion is quite specific, though the History addressed is quite varied. Let’s start with a piece of History that has had one foot in fantasy for a long time.
A month has past. I haven’t played a lot of any game lately; we are approaching exam season after all. Yet my designated gaming time has been mostly devoted to The Witcher. I’ve completed Chapter 1 and I’ve made (what I assume is) serious headway into Chapter 2. From a gamer’s perspective, I’m enjoying the quirky, if slightly clunky gameplay and intriguing story-telling. From an Historian’s perspective, I am quite enamoured – despite the fantastical overtones the game is letting its historic side shine.
Part 1 was more of an introduction than anything else. This time around, I’m still far from an overall view of the first Witcher game, but there are a few areas that I feel I know well enough to discuss. As with my ‘analysis’ of Skyrim, I will never assume that I am an absolute authority on The Witcher or History; that’s why I title these blogs with the question, “How historically accurate is…”.