Jeff’s Gallery: Ludwig II

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A portrait of the Swan King the way he would probably want it. Image from https://www.neuschwanstein.de.

It is hard to make your mark in the world, especially as an artist. To create wonders but others can’t see what you’re trying to accomplish. It is especially hard when they expect you to be something you are not and you’re not given the choice of what to be. No one probably knew this better than Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm also known as Ludwig II the “Mad King” of Bavaria.

His Majesty was born on August 25, 1845 at Nymphenburg Palace, the summer residence of the Royal House of Wittelsbach, today in a suburb of Munich. His parents Maximilian II (then Crown Prince) and Marie of Prussia wanted to name him “Otto” But his grandfather; the current king of Bavaria, Ludwig I, insisted that the new prince be named after him since they shared the same birthday. His parents later named his brother Otto. As a child he and his brother were both drilled with the burdens of monarchy at early ages and Prince Ludwig was usually controlled by royal tutors and very strict studies but was never interested in politics. He was also never close to his parents and preferred his grandfather (who was also a bit of an eccentric himself, writing bad poetry about pretty much anything). He grew up at Hohenschwangau Castle near the Schwansee Lake. The castle’s Gothic Revival decorative style full of frescoes of heroic German sagas were very influential to him later in life. Ludwig was a great lover of arts, especially music, architecture and the Romantic operas of the distinguished composer Richard Wagner. He even became Wagner’s patron during the first half of his reign. He was also close friends with his aide-de-camp Prince Paul of the wealthy Thurn und Taxis family, until he was engaged in 1866 and the Duchess Elisabeth  of Bavaria, a distant cousin who was later Empress of the Austrian-Hungary Empire.

Flag, Coat of Arms, Map and Crown Jewels of the Kingdom of Bavaria during Ludwig’s reign. Images from en.wikipedia.org, Canva put together by Michele Bledsoe.

Prince Ludwig became king at age 18 when his father died on March 10 1864. Although he was unprepared and uninterested in the position he was a popular monarch due to his age and good looks. He never liked large public functions and avoided large public social events as much as possible. Instead he preferred to travel the countryside chatting with locals and distributing lavish gifts to those who were friendly to him. While these did help his image with the people, it made him butt heads with the ministers (he never bothered to appoint new ministers when he started his reign, just kept his father’s). Also more trouble was heading his way, the Austro-Prussian war reared it’s ugly head just two years after he came to the throne and King Ludwig supported the losing side. Soon Bavaria was forced to ally with Prussia and later joined the North German Confederation. They did fight with Prussia and the other German states against France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Their victory led to the birth of the mighty German Empire the next year. Ludwig would continue to rule Bavaria but now under Prussia’s control, although it would still enjoy a number of freedoms as a kingdom. Still, he was very unhappy about Bavaria’s loss of independence and even refused to attend the Proclamation of the Empire in the Palace of Versailles, France. Instead he sent his brother Otto and uncle Luitpold as his representatives.

Richard Wagner
Brilliant but controversial opera composer, conductor and theater director Richard Wagner. Lugwig was a dedicated fan and patron early in his reign. Wagner’s work is still celebrated today. Image from Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The king withdrew from public life and began focusing on his real passions of the arts and the works of Richard Wagner. He worked to introduce famous operas, plays and ballets across Europe to his subjects and is said to have seen over 200 private performances in his life. He also started creating his greatest claim to fame, castle building. Inspired by his love of fantasy and the places he visited in France and Germany prior to the Franco-Prussian war, he designed several elaborate castles, as well as the interior, across his kingdom. He created the famous Neuschwanstein Castle near his childhood home, the small Linderhof Palace which was the only one completed during the king’s life, and on an island on Bavaria’s largest lake, the Chiemsee, he built the Herrenchiemsee, an intended copy of France’s Palace of Versailles. Ludwig also created a winter garden (or open conservatory)n to the Official Royal Palace, the Munich Residenz. He had plans for many more castles including a Chinese Summer Palace and the magnificent Falkenstein Castle that would even outdo Neuschwanstein. Unfortunately the winter garden was constructed after the king’s death due to water problems and the other castles only got as far as models and plans. Though there is a recreation of Falkenstein Castle in Texas (link here: https://www.hillcountrycastle.com).

A castle in America, surprisingly not as uncommon as you might think. Image from https://texashillcountry.com/

By now Ludwig II, King of Bavaria was falling out with his ministers even more than usual. Although he was decent enoph to use his own personal wealth instead of state funds for his projects, it all put him in great financial distress. He kept borrowing money from his relatives and attempted to make loans from royalty across Europe. He continued to work on his buildings non stop and ignored matters of state. He would dress up in costumes from his favorite stories and plays and act out scenes to no one. He usually dined alone and held conversations with historical figures long dead like Louis XIV of France. Another major issue was his sexuality. The king never had children, married or even have any mistresses, rare for a European monarch at the time. Through surviving diaries and personal letters we learn that Ludwig had strong homosexual desires and was deeply conflicted with them because of his strong Roman Catholic beliefs, especially since such feelings had not been punishable in the Kingdom of Bavaria since 1813, but were now illegal the German Empire. Although he was engaged to his cousin Duchess Sophie Charlotte and maybe did love her in a way, the relationship was canceled due to Ludwig constantly postponing the wedding. 

In 1886 his fairy-tale reign came to an end and it was no ‘happily ever after.’ King Ludwig was up to 14 million marks in personal debt and continued to borrow money instead cutting his expenses like his advisers suggested. He  was starting to feel like he was being constantly harassed by his ministers and decided to dismiss all of them and start all over. His government declared him paranoid and mentally insane, “proven,” by a group of doctors who never even met him but one, and that was just once 12 years earlier, using only his diaries (that they later had burned) mention of his attractions to men. On June 10 of that year a government commission took the king into custody. Still loved by his subjects, supporters and allies rallied by his side but were soon dispersed. He tried to escape but was soon captured. He was taken to Berg Castle and his uncle, Luitpold was made Prince Regent.

The spot where the Swan King died. He still gets an annual memorial service to this day.

Image from en/wikipedia.org

On June 13, the former king went for a walk with his personal doctor, Bernhard von Gudden, who was one of the doctors who declared him insane. Hours later they found Dr. Gudden and King Ludwig dead in Lake Starnberg. It was officially declared that the king probably strangled the doctor, since there was some sign of a struggle, and then committed suicide by drowning. However Ludwig was known to be a powerful swimmer and no water was found in his lungs at the autopsy. There is still mixed evidence on how they died and conspiracy theorist say that the Fairy Tale King was murdered. As he had no heir his brother, Otto, was made king. Sadly he had even more mental issues then Ludwig so their uncle continued to rule in his name. Today there’s a chapel and memorial to the sad king’s death and a memorial service every year at the lake on June 13.

However, King Ludwig now has the last laugh. History is much more sympathetic and better understanding of his symptoms. It is believed that he suffered from Pick’s Disease or schizotypal personality disorder. His memory is still as beloved today as it was during his reign and his castles still stand as monuments of his unrealized dreams. They are now, ironically, world famous tourist attractions, bringing millions of marks into Bavaria and the Neuschwanstein Castle is even the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland.

Neuschwanstein Castle Panorama
The majestic Nuschwanstein Castle, a must see for anyone visiting Bavaria, Germany. image from travldigg.com
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My Favorite Mythological Figures by Anna P

Hebe goddess of youth cupbearer of the Gods of Olympus. I first heard of this goddess reading the Percy Jackson series of books. She is mentioned in the books as a minor goddess. I always like learning of minor gods so I researched about her and I found it interesting she was the daughter of Hera and Zeus kinda making  her a princess but despite this she acts more like a servant to the other Gods . For example she drew baths for her brother Ares and helped her mother get into a chariot .However with further research I learned the reason for this was she represented the daughter of high ranking people in ancient Greece just the Goddess version. Also other sources say because she was a cupbearer she helped keep the Gods young and helped make them immortal, a powerful ability for a minor goddess. Also I think she needs more representation after all she is the goddess of youth and youth can be associated with rebellion, and her mother is Hera who is known for her temper, it would be cool if people expand on these ideas like they do with Persephone in modern media.

Psyche Many people know of the Fairy Tail of Beauty and the Beast. However in classical mythology there was a similar tale of Cupid and Psyche. First thing I want to mention is Cupid is actually the Greek name of Eros, a god and son of Aphrodite the Goddess of love and beauty. Psyche was a mortal princess and she is so beautiful. That people start worshiping her as Aphrodite herself  and lets just say Aphrodite was a bit offended and had her son use his arrow to shoot at her and make her fall in love with something ugly. But in a plot twist cupid accidently scrapes the arrow against his skin and being that Psyche is the first person he sees he falls in love with her. Psyche finds herself in a really fancy house. And I mean fancy. There are golden columns, silver walls and my favorite sight are jeweled mosaic floors. There’s a feast that serves itself and invisible singing to an invisible lyre. She falls in love with Cupid even though she can’t see because he leaves when it’s morning. Soon she becomes pregnant. Psyche brings her sisters to the house but her sisters get jealous of her fancy house and say the man she was sleeping with must be a monster. So she gets ready to kill cupid with a dagger but the lamp she is holding shows him to be a handsome god. The lamp oil drops on him injuring him and he flies away. After some wandering she becomes a servant to Aphrodite who physically abuses her. She bashes Psyche’s head in the ground, tears her clothes off and has her be whipped. One of the Tasks she sets for her is to get a cosmic jar form Persephone Queen of the underworld. As she is in the Underworld she sees disturbing figures: a lame man driving a mule loaded with sticks, a river with a dead man swimming in it as the river separates the world of the living and dead. Fortunately she gets the cosmetic jar. Unfortunately the jar is full of infernal and stygian sleep and she becomes lethargic. Cupid is healed from his injury and wakes her from her lethargy. Giving the jar to his mother, and making a deal with Zeus that if he can be with her and marry her he will help Zeus when he wants to cheat on his wife with a pretty maiden. Zeus and Aphrodite stop her crusade against Psyche and it’s a Happily ever after with their child being born. I like psyche because she is a mortal against a God and tries her hardest to get her love even though she could have broken from the pressure. She also  withstands all this pressure and wins against the literal goddess of beauty and love.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Review)

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Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. This game takes place shortly after the events of its prequel, Epic Mickey. Unlike Epic Mickey, this game features co-op action where player 1 plays as Mickey Mouse and player 2 plays as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

 

In this game, Mickey returns to Wasteland (a realm where forgotten toons reside) only to find it has become inert (due to the damage caused by the quake) as well as finding that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf (which is in fact an act of deception for a much grander, evil scheme). As such, both Mickey and Oswald work together to save Wasteland and Stop the Mad Doctor. The game has two endings (the game’s ending  as well as the fate of the Mad Doctor depends on your actions in the game).

 

The main protagonists in this game are Mickey Mouse, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Ortensia and Gus the Gremlin. The main antagonists in this game are the Mad Doctor and Prescott the Gremlin.

 

The multiple versions of Pete we see in this game are Big Bad Pete, Pete Pan (Adventureland version of Pete), Petetronic (Tomorrowland version of Pete) and Small Pete (It’s A Small World version of Pete).

 

In conclusion, I found this game to be both magically heartwarming and spiritually, wonderfully amazing. Truly, this is a one of a kind Disney game that has touched and forever will touch the hearts of children throughout the ages.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Game Review)

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Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. Unlike other Lord of the Rings video games, this game’s storyline is entirely based on the first Lord of the Rings book.

 

The cast of playable characters in this game are Frodo Baggins (Hobbit)(Weapons: Dagger/Elven Blade-Sting/Stones/Mithril Shirt/The One Ring), Aragorn (Human)(Weapons: LongSword/Sword of Kings-Anduril the Flame of the West) and Gandalf (Wizard)(Weapons: Elven Blade-Glamdring the FoeHammer/Magic-Fire Blast, Chain Lightning and Heal).

 

The protagonists in this game are Samwise “Sam” Gamgee (Hobbit),

Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck (Hobbit),

Peregrin “Pippin” Took (Hobbit),

Tom Bombadil,

Glorfindel (Elf),

Lord Elrond (Elf),

Arwen (Elf),

Bilbo Baggins (Hobbit),

Boromir (Human),

Legolas (Elf),

Gimli (Dwarf),

Lord Celeborn (Elf) and Lady Galadriel (Elf).

 

The antagonists in this game are The Nazgul “Ring-Wraiths”,

Old Man Willow (Tree),

Barrow-Wight,

Wargs,

Trolls,

Orcs,

The Watcher in the Water (Sea Monster),

Gollum,

The Balrog of Morgoth “Durin’s Bane”,

Uruk-Hai and the Fell Beasts.

 

In conclusion, I liked how they based this game on its novel counterpart instead of its movie counterpart. It was truly in fact an incredibly, ingenious/imaginative accomplishment on their part as well as an honorably, utmost praise to J. R. R. Tolkien himself.

(Opening & Intro)

(Tom Bombadil VS Barrow-Wight)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Game Review)

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Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review the videogame version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Xbox.

 

In this game, the LotR characters you play as are Gandalf the White (Wizard)(Weapons: Staff/Sword-Glamdring the FoeHammer/Magic),

Aragorn (Human)(Weapon: Sword-Anduril the Flame of the West),

Legolas Greenleaf (Elf)(Weapons: Twin Elven Daggers/Bow of the Galadhrim),

Gimli (Dwarf)(Weapon: Double-Headed Axe),

Samwise Gamgee (Hobbit)(Weapon: Westernesse Dagger) and Frodo Baggins (Hobbit)(Weapon: Elvish Blade-Sting).


The game’s storyline begins during the Battle of Helm’s Deep with you playing as Gandalf. Afterwards, the game’s storyline splits into three different paths. The 1st path is The Path of the Wizard where you play as Gandalf, the 2nd path is The Path of the King where you play as Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli and the 3rd path is The Path of the Hobbits where you play as Sam and Frodo.

 

The levels in The Path of the Wizard are Isengard where you help the Ents defeat Saruman the White, the Top Wall of Minas Tirith where you aid in Gondor’s defense and Minas Tirith’s Courtyard where you hold the line as you usher civilians to safety.

 

The levels in The Path of the King are The Paths of the Dead which you explore as you seek both the The King of the Dead as well as the Undead Army of Dunharrow, Gondor’s Southern Gate, Pelennor Fields where you aid the Armies of Rohan against the Witch-King of Angmar as well as the Armies of Mordor and Mordor’s Black Gate where you make a final stand against the Dark Forces of Mordor.

 

The levels in The Path of the Hobbit are Osgiliath where you attempt to escape from Faramir and his Ithilian Rangers, Shelob’s Lair where you try to find and rescue Frodo from Shelob the Ungolian Spider, the Fortress of Cirith Ungol where you try to rescue Frodo and Mount Doom where you must both defeat Gollum as well as destroy the One Ring of Doom.

 

In conclusion, I found this game to not only follow it’s movie counterpart in perfect sync, but also make the story concept more action-packed/adventurous/mystically dramatic thus in turn making this a perfect game-related choice “For All Free Peoples”.

Sonic Unleashed (Review)

Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review Sonic Unleashed for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. Unlike other Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sonic will have two forms consisting of his standard form during the daytime and his Werehog form during the nighttime.

 

In this game, Dr. Eggman unleashes an ancient evil known as Dark Gaia which in turn shatters the planet into seven pieces, transforms Sonic the Hedgehog into Sonic the Werehog and renders the seven Chaos Emeralds grey and powerless. In his Werehog form, Sonic’s speed is diminished and yet in turn gains both immense physical strength as well as stretchable limbs. Now Sonic must restore the seven Chaos Emeralds, fix the planet and defeat both Dr. Eggman and Dark Gaia to break the curse of the Werehog placed upon himself.

 

The nine locations you visit in this game are Apotos (based on Greek Mediterranean architecture-Greek island of Chora, Mykonos Greece/Greek city of Santorini),

Spagonia (based on western European architecture-Italian city of Siena),

Mazuri (based on Africa),

Holoska (based on Alaska),

Chun-nan (based on China’s architecture),

Shamar (based on a Middle Eastern desert-Petra, Jordan),

Empire City (based on New York City),

Adabat (based on Angkor, Maldivian, and Southeastern Asia),

Eggmanland and the Planet’s Core.

 

The cast of characters are Sonic the Hedgehog/Sonic the Werehog/Super Sonic,

Miles “Tails” Prower,

Amy Rose,

Dr. Eggman,

Professor Pickle,

Dark Gaia and Chip/Light Gaia.

 

In conclusion, I found this game to showcase the eternal conflict between light and darkness that takes place in the world as well in each and every one of us. But as long as we all stay true to ourselves, the light in us will illuminate our lives and the darkness in us will be in turn suppressed forevermore.

(Light Gaia)

(Dark Gaia)

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(Dark Gaia-Perfect)

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(Trailers)

Final Fantasy VII: ReMake (Preview)

Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to preview Final Fantasy VII: Remake for the PlayStation 4. The game is a remake of the 1997 game Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 1.

 

Square Enix “ the company that invented Final Fantasy” plans to release the game in episodic installments, with the first scheduled for release on April 10, 2020. The first installment covers the beginning of the game’s storyline from bombing a Mako Reactor to fleeing The City of Midgar.

 

The protagonists in the first installment are Cloud Strife (an Ex-Soldier turned Mercenary)(Weapon: Buster Sword), Barrel Wallace (the leader of the Rebel Force: Avalanche)(Weapon: Gun-Arm), Tifa Lockhart (Cloud’s childhood friend and a member of Avalanche)(Weapon: Martial Arts), Aerith Gainsborough (a Flower Girl and the sole survivor of an Ancient Race known as the Centra)(Weapons: Staff/Magic) and Red XIII aka Nanaki (a Red Lion/Wolf-like Beast).

 

The antagonists in the first installment are Sephiroth (a Legendary Super-Soldier)(Weapon: Masamune), President Shinra (a tyrannical businessman), Heidegger (President Shinra’s assistant and the Head of Public Safety “a euphemism for the military), Scarlet (the Head of Shinra’s Weapons Development), Palmer (the Head of Shinra’s Space Program), Tseng (the Leader of the Turks “ President’s Elite BodyGuards”), Reno and Rude (Members of the Turks) and Hojo (the Head of Shinra’s Bio-Chemical Research).

 

In conclusion, I strongly believe that this game will surpass it’s PS1 counterpart on a level of global proportions and in turn exceed all expectations, beliefs and ideals concerning the vast world of Final Fantasy VII.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review {Spoiler Review}

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This review will be a few spoilers, if you haven’t seen the film…don’t read…if you saw the movie…you’re welcome to read the review. I know there’s a lot of mixed opinions about the movie, I respect everyone’s opinions.

 

My thoughts and reaction: I enjoyed Star Wars: Episode IX -The Rise of Skywalker, the final episode of the Skywalker saga. I was expecting a bit of detail of the Emperor’s return…they didn’t explain much…but I find it interesting is the Emperor stays attached to a large machine.

 

One twist that I did not expect is that Rey is Emperor Palpatine’s granddaughter…a lot of surprises.

 

The visual effects looked cool, great music by John Williams and more. Leia Organa played by Carrie Fisher who passed away on December 27, 2016…the film used unused footage of Fisher  from The Force Awakens.

 

Billy Dee Williams coming back as Lando Calrissian was great, it was cool to see Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo

 

I enjoyed the Sequel trilogy…in my opinion my favorite Star Wars trilogies is the original and prequel

 

The cast and crew did a great job in the film

 

I give this movie a B

 

By Angel

 

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (Preview)

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Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to preview the upcoming game Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. This game is scheduled to be released on Friday, January 17, 2020.

 

This game follows the exploits of Goku and his friends as they traverse the Dragon Ball Z storyline. The Dragon Ball Z storyline in this game consists of the Saiyan Saga, the Namek Saga, the Frieza Saga, the Android Saga, the Cell Saga, the Great Saiyaman Saga, the Majin Buu Saga, the Super Buu Saga and the Kid Buu Saga.

 

Unlike other Dragon Ball games, Goku and his friends also partake in actual martial arts training, Goku and his friends also partake in delicious meals, Goku and his friends also relax around a campfire and Goku and his friends also can freely traverse the Dragon Ball Z universe. In this game, you also encounter familiar faces from the original Dragon Ball series such as Nam, Bora and Bora’s son Upa.

 

This game also features a new Ginyu Force character, Bonyu. In my opinion, I do believe that Bonyu is from the same planet as another Ginyu Force character, Jeice due to them having both red skin and white hair.

 

The protagonists are Goku, Piccolo, Gohan (Kid), Gohan (Adult), Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu, Vegeta, Goten, Trunks (Future) and Trunks (Kid).

 

The antagonists in this game are Raditz, Nappa, Vegeta, Dodoria, Zarbon, Guldo, Recoome, Burter, Jeice, Captain Ginyu, Frieza, Androids 19 and 20 (Dr. Gero), Androids 16, 17 and 18, Cell, Dabura, Babidi, Majin Buu, Super Buu (Original), Super Buu (Gotenks and Piccolo absorbed), Super Buu (Gohan absorbed) and Kid Buu.

 

In conclusion, I strongly believe that this game’s popularity will make it the most “Legendary” game in the entire Dragon Ball franchise.

The Nightmare before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge (Review)

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Hello, my name is Charles and I’m here to review The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This game was first released on October 21, 2004. This game is a direct sequel to The Nightmare Before Christmas movie.

 

In this game, Jack Skellington leaves Halloween Town again to seek new ideas and discoveries to improve on Halloween. Before leaving, Doctor Finkelstein gives Jack his latest creation: the “Soul Rubber” as a farewell gift.

 

In his absence, Oogie Boogie’s minions (Lock, Shock and Barrel) sew Oogie Boogie back together who in turn takes over Halloween Town, brainwashes Doctor Finkelstein, imprisons 5 of the 7 holiday leaders and attempts to take his revenge on both Santa Claus and Jack Skellington in order to ultimately become the 7 Holiday’s King.

 

When Jack Skellington returns to Halloween Town on December 24, he must maneuver through Oogie’s traps, battle past Oogie’s army of skeletons and ghosts, rescue Oogie’s prisoners and confront Oogie’s Minions (Lock, Shock and Barrel), Oogie’s Shadow and Oogie Boogie himself.

 

The 7 holidays in this game are Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Easter and Christmas.

 

In conclusion, I found this game to be a celebratory accomplishment to multiple, major, big-time holidays as well as combining the fear with the cheer.