Writing Wednesday: “Remember remember the 5th of November”

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Guy Fawkes Night 2010 - Battle

Here in the UK tonight is Guy Fawkes night, celebrated with a bonfire and fireworks. Usually the festivities actually happen on the weekend, but today’s the date it commemorates.

Before I moved to Britain I hadn’t heard of Guy Fawkes night, also known as Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes was part of a plot to assassinate King James and bring down the ruling government in 1605. He was discovered below Parliament with an enormous amount of gunpowder before he had the chance to set it off, and the plot was thwarted. He came to a nasty end, as you might expect, and his effigy is burned on top of the bonfire each year.

Some people have another take on this. Fawkes was the fall guy (so to speak) of a much larger movement to overthrow what many saw as a tyrannical king who was making life very difficult for a lot of people.  Whether Fawkes was a traitor or a revolutionary of course depends on your point of view.  As Churchill famously said, “History is written by the victors.”

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