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Monday, January 1, 2018

Gunpowder


Gunpowder (2017) | Official Trailer ft. Kit Harington | HBO

Gunpowder is a three part mini-series about the Gunpowder Plot to kill Kind James of England in 1603. The plot is the origin of Guy Fawkes Day,
Remember, remember,
The Fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot;
For I see no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Nursery rhyme made famous (in my head) by V for Vendetta, which is where Anonymous got their masks.

The show stars Kit Harington (commonly know as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) as Robert Catesby, the Catholic instigator of the scheme. Kit, as he does in Game of Thrones, plays a hothead unswayed by appeals to reason.

Anne Vaux is played by Liv Taylor, daughter of Steve Tyler of Aerosmith.

The hunchback Cecil is played by Mark Gatiss.

One of the best scenes is when the conspirator dump several pounds of gunpowder on a cloth in front of the fire to dry it out. Geez guys, but I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. Once it's dry any stray spark will set it off, and naturally, because they are engaged in a gun battle with the sheriff's men, a spark does land in the powder and boom, off it goes.

The Gunpowder Plot Conspirators, 1605
The show graphically depicts some of the tortures used to extract confessions from prisoners, and equally graphically depicts the methods of execution. Revolting all around. Thank god for civilization, or maybe I should say thanks that such methods aren't used anymore, at least not in places that the West currently considers civilized. Folks living in Europe in the 1600's considered themselves civilized.

The whole thing hinges on what people believe. You could argue that Catesby was driven to his plotting by the harsh fines being levied against Catholics, but that only works if you adhere to your faith in the face of persecution. Perhaps they remained Catholics because their belief is all they could be sure of, being as the world is such an unpredictable place. Kind of reminds me of the political war being waged in the USA these days. This one is being fought over beliefs just like the war between the Catholics and the Protestants in 17th Century England. Facts and reason are of no use in such a battle.


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