Game of Thrones back at the start – meme

Spoiler alert for season 6!

After watching the finale, I had a déjà vu. It seems like a lot of the plot developments have been working towards a restoration of the status quo in the first seasons. There’s a new king in the north, again, there’s a Lannister on the throne in full power, the Queen of Dragons Dany controls an army of Dothraki and Tyrion is the hand of a king/queen again. Winter is still coming and is closer than ever it seems… Just like it was in the first seasons!

Story progression Game of Thrones meme

Game of Thrones after season 6 = back to basics

But there’s more! The only element worth calling a manifestation of “fire” is gone from the North again. Just like it used to be and that fact makes it a duel between freeze and heat again.

Did you notice any other similarities? Or do you have any other thoughts?

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How we remember a war crisis, then and now

Every war is a crisis, nothing less, nothing more. It will go down in history and (we) will be remembered. Our deeds and our strength when facing this peril. Here’s a rant about the biggest crisis of this century so far.

Hitler read the trends of his time

Europe’s political landscape was already unstable. Hitler took advantage of the trends and atmosphere of the zeitgeist: extreme nationalism. It was the strongest motivator by far, held in place because of the image of and sanctions imposed on the country. His quick rise and charisma made the disadvantaged empathize and believe in him. He rose quickly, painting an image of a new era, a new empire and more “Lebensraum”. A blitzkrieg and a time of occupation followed.

20130615_bkp506

Nationalism and Lebensraum. Hitler in 1933.

During the war, the world divided into two camps. This frail form of “balance” changed dramatically over time until only one enemy was identified as Nazi Germany. Every nation on the planet turned against them with good reason, but even that didn’t beat the willpower of the new “Reich” without a fight. It took years of planning and preparing. Without strong diplomacy and a well-planned approach, the Nazi values could have prevailed against all the odds. We were able to understand why and find the way out from there.

Today’s trends as a breeding ground

You can probably see where this is going: ISIS, or the new self-proclaimed empire in the middle-east. Today’s trends of terrorism in the media and anti-muslim sentiment are the breeding ground for a group of charismatic preachers of a new era. They offer a new way to redeem themselves. It’s another coating, it’s the same horror.

Do we go in head first, all with our own army and approach? Or will we think about what makes it possible for the crisis to exist in the first place? The world remembers our war, and the world will remember theirs. There’s just no escaping it.

Homs-war

This is Homs, Syria.

So how do we want to be remembered?

I hope you liked this rant. If you have thoughts, saw typos or want to add something, let me know in the barrenesque below! We’re in this together!

Antwerp, Midden-Brabant and the new world of Kanokipa?

Imagine you play an MMORPG. Imagine your character reached level 99, which means you’ve been playing for many years, and you’ve invested quite a bit of money. Imagine the developers want to change the name of your favorite world, or even your province… What would you do?

It’s your world too

You’ve been paying for upgrades, sequels, prequels, patches and more. Hell, even changing a character name costs you money! Sometimes you’ll pay up to $15 to change one. Imagine they’d change the name of the world though. It would become less your own. All forum entries about it would be obsolete. Even that blog post you wrote about it once would be referring to some fantasy word you just made up for fun! Complete madness!

Imagine the government would want to change the name of the province you grew up in…

Well, in Belgium, it is a fact that many people are confused about why the Flemish (northern) province of Antwerp has nothing to do with the city of the same name. Still, I think it’s way too costly to even consider renaming it. Especially while the government’s policy is otherwise based on a cuts frenzy. Imagine having to change everything from local opinion to international interest. It’d take years.

Then there’s the historical arguments. The area was part of the Duchy of Brabant during the middle ages, that much is true, and cool. But we live in 2014 and we have a constitution nowadays, which says that this area is called Antwerp. Besides, Belgium has also been a part of France in the meantime, which renders any pre-French Revolution charters obsolete because of discontinuity.
(For Dutch speaking visitors: the opinion of a historian)

So, while I understand they’d want to change Antwerp in the light of contemporary clarity, I am just angry our tax money would be just used for a lousy name change. The term “Midden-Brabant” doesn’t even make sense! Now let’s enjoy the Gif.

A GIF showing alternatives to some well-known fantasy worlds. Azeroth-Kinokipa, Arda-Twolungia, Hyrule-Vietlantis, Mushroom Kingdom-Cortinarius rubellus Kingdom, Antwerp-Midden-Brabant

Azeroth, Arda, Hyrule, Mushroom Kingdom, Antwerp… They’re here to stay.

Would you pay a developer $15 to change the name of your favorite game world?

The Game of Thrones in Belgian Politics

It’s been way too long, but this time, there’s an election buzz going about in my little country Belgium, and it looks like a Game of Thrones! So let’s compare, shall we?

Oh, and don’t be too offended by what you see, this is totally my point of view entirely and completely. It’s a rough comparison of the Houses of Game of Thrones and political parties in Flanders, the Flemish speaking “North” of Belgium. I tried to remain objective and if you guys have any thoughts, or there’s someone who would like to do the same exercise for Wallonia, be my guest but let me know!

Have fun!

Infographic of my comparative study of Game of Thrones and Belgian Politics.

Just my view on Game of Thrones politics!

Invasions and pop-up borders

And I’m back with concerns about invasions. This time, as you might guess, I’m on about Ukraine. Russian troops are gathering near the border and pro-Russian civilians are arming themselves. But at the same time, other Ukrainians picking up arms in the name of a “clean nation”. Which might lead to another pop-up border.

Social Occasion
Now, I’m not an expert, nor am I going to pick sides, but the situation worries me and should worry you, a citizen of the world, too. The far right stresses they’re not nazis or communists. They just want to get rid of influences from outside of Ukraine. This means they want the people that they believe to cause this influence, which is just the result of a globalizing economy, gone. It’s sad to think these people would suffer for nothing but some social occasion. Definition: a vaguely specified social event

Hitler shakes hands at the start of his power

Be cautious with popular beliefs!

POP-UP borders
Ring any bells? Hitler would have NEVER admitted he was going to kill millions and millions of people before his power structure was firm enough. I know a
“Hitler-situation” would be impossible in modern times, but I sometimes wonder how many people still yearn for such level of power. Those people are probably thinking they would do things differently for the sake of their people… THEIR people? The fact borders are constantly under discussion and pressure proves even they are fleeting. If their existence follows modern trends, they might become something temporary… Let’s say like restaurants, Pop-up borders anyone?

Leaders standing on and making a earth-puzzle.

The pop-up border trend will prove to be a challenging puzzle!

One ecosystem
To wrap things up, (because I’m out of time for this post) I’d like to invite you to think about your own political views. Will you rise to the “social occasion” and fight for your own pop-up border around your patch or do you accept the fact the world will become more global and everyone inhabits one planet and one ecosystem?

Troops of dubious origin in front of the airport in Crimea

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. – Albert Einstein

3 invasion maps that look like games

Map of the Anglo Saxon invasion

The Anglo Saxon invasion in 449 AD.

I think it’s ironic how much maps like these look like they’re mission goals for an in-game campaign, difficulty set to ‘easiest’. I never liked the idea of a few big men deciding over the deaths of hundreds, thousands or even millions of others. It’s absurd and it’s always just about territories, territories we made up throughout history anyway. Above that, we love to interfere with evolutions in our neighbour’s patches. Have a look at this invasion map of the Anglo Saxons in 449AD.

Operation Desert Storm map

A map of the invation of Iraq in the 90’s.

These manufactured and fought-over territories don’t even always work, or just never work. The best contemporary example of that would be Syria. People fighting to find some kind of say in the way they are being ruled, but they are divided among themselves too and other countries are influencing their human people too. Action and reaction, that’s what happened in Iraq in the 90’s.

A map the invasion of Normandy

“Hitler is the rare individual who really did make history – specifically he made it worse.”
― John Green

I just hope one kind of horror never rises again, though with world powers too strong for their own good nowadays, I’m starting to wonder. If such mass murder ever happens on a global scale again, I’d rather die trying to make a difference. Oh and thank you John Green for providing a short but sweet comment on Hitler’s role on the past. It’s almost a message towards today’s world leaders: think about how you will be remembered, for it will be for the actions you take now.

I say, let’s just play a game to settle our differences and forget about pain and hatred. Though duelling used to solve issues on a regular basis in the past, maybe we could stick to online games on a large scale or a good old Risk match! Funny resolutions, instead of drawing invasion maps with deadly consequences.

A Risk game map

This is a game and I prefer it over bloodshed.

Back to Hakuna Matata in 2014

Carpe Diem was never more popular, the only change is that people call it yolo these days. We live in the moment and choose to forget about any worries. Over time, yolo became linked to everything disrespectful and empty. Have we forgotten about Hakuna Matata?

Hakuna Matata sign

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West

Yolo is easy, too easy. It stands for You Only Live Once, which is undoubtably true, but in people’s minds it lacks finesse. They use the word to express their believe in the fact that if we only live once, we have to be able to do whatever we want. This means we also want to forget about the consequences of our actions and our responsibilities. I won’t say I never exclaimed this statement myself but I came to see the effects of living by this “code”. People lose every respect for each other because there’s always others that clean up the streets after them and if your own goals aren’t met, only jealousy and self-pity are left behind.

What happened to Hakuna Matata? “It means no worries for the rest of your days, it’s a problem-free philosophy” – The Lion King. First of all, this was originally a Swahili phrase meaning “no worries”. It later became popular thanks to Timon and Pumbaa singing about it. You might argue that this phrase means exactly the same as yolo, but that’s not entirely true if you take into account the lessons from the movie. First of all, the lyrics imply no worries for the rest of your days. This means that you have to take the decision that is also in your best interest in the future. Problem-free means we have to truly process the ghosts of our past so we can have true peace of mind. “It ain’t no passing craze!” – The Lion King.

The first thing the movie does when Simba gets older is confront him with the world he left behind. He left rising conflicts unchallenged and chose to find his happiness somewhere else. This backfires in a way that the situation in his future kingdom has only become worse, and he didn’t learn anything about leadership or resolving conflicts. He has to go back and face his fears without a plan and it’ll definitely be no walk in the park. If he wouldn’t go back, more animals would suffer and his paradise too, would soon be in jeopardy.

People should learn others are a part of their life too. No one is an island and every action you take affects those around you and so it affects the ones you love and your own future. Even though we don’t have too much time on this planet, one time can be enough to make your life worth the while. So, let’s go back to Hakuna Matata in 2014.