Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember remember the fifth of November

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Ah, one English tradition I never forget but sadly, rarely celebrate anymore.

On November 5th 1605, Guy Fawkes was caught in the act of trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament by gunpowder. Tried for treason, he was subsequently hung, drawn & quartered - a most horrific execution rumored to also involve a little torture with the giant bell, Big Ben. (You'll have to use your imagination).

The following year, the King chose to make an annual commemoration of the event, to make it ever known that treason would not be tolerated and never forgotten. To this day, in England, we celebrate with huge bonfires and fireworks displays. Kids make "guys" - a life size effigy of Guy Fawkes, dressed in dad's old clothes and stuffed with straw. When I was little, kids would drag him through the streets (usually tied to a skateboard) asking a "penny for the Guy!" At the end of the day, the guy is put on the bonfire before it's lit & Guy Fawkes is burned alive. Charming, huh? ;-) But a fun event - a cold night, with baked potato or a cup of soup to warm the hands, watching the fireworks while gathered round the huge fire.

So, if you're an Anglophile & want some Guy Fawkes history reading, try a one of the following:

V For Vendetta (Stephen Moore): Available for Kindle in this re-write edition based on the movie that was based on Alan Moore's original. Confusing huh? But Alan Moore's isn't available for Kindle, so this would have to do for the purposes of this article.

V is a Guy Fawkes of the future - a dystopian Britain in the year 2020, V is a masked man, urging the citizens of Great Britain to unite & revolt.

Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower, and the Gunpowder Plot
- a work of fiction based on what's known in fact. "A new twist to an old and explosive story: the Gunpowder Plot, and the man who knew exactly what happened - the Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir William Waad."

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