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  1. So, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla recently released, set in late 9th-Century England during the Viking invasions, and this game has managed to anger me in a way that I feel I need to get off my chest; hence this rant. I should say right away that I haven't bought the game, as I'm of the opinion that a game with a historical setting should try to make that historical setting as authentic as possible, and all the trailers for the game screamed of what pop-culture thinks of Vikings rather than what Vikings actually were, so I expected nothing in terms of accuracy for this game. And yet this game somehow still managed to anger me. Most of the inaccuracies I heard about or noticed when watching clips of it were laughable rather than irritating, like one recurring Norse architecture in the game being a type of Norse church (in a time period when Vikings were still pagan). But then I heard about and saw how this game portrayed the Celts that were living in England at the time... I enjoy studying Celtic History as I find the cultures that existed very fascinating, and I think it's a real shame that the Celts are rarely looked at in modern media, and when they are, it's usually wrong. So, Celts being portrayed badly is nothing new to me, but this... For context, in this time period, England was dominantly Anglo-Saxon, with the only Celtic region in what is today England being Cornwall (which isn't in the game). There were Celts in the rest of England, but they were a minority that was largely absorbed into the Anglo-Saxon communities, and there's written evidence that shows that they were treated as second-class citizens even during the Viking Invasions. They were also already Christianized; having been Christianized far earlier than even the Anglo-Saxons. So, how does the game portray these Celts? Living in the woods, wearing skulls and antlers on their heads, and practicing spooky fantasy druid pagan ritualistic stuff. What angers me is that, at that point, it's not just inaccurate; it goes beyond that well into the realm of stereotyping by basically being every Celtic stereotype pooled together. For centuries, the surviving Celtic Nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, etc.) have been viewed by different nation-states as the backwater of Europe (and let's not even get into how these countries were treated by England specifically), and while there are specific stereotypes associated with each of them (Scotsmen being brave and/or cheap, Irish being leprechauns, Welsh being Wales), all Celtic Nations have been assigned this stereotype: backwards, druidic, etc. Obviously, it's not nearly so bad today, but bigotry is still there, and when a game like this that puts on a veil of history portrays them like this, it's sickening. It isn't helped by other unfortunate implications this game has on top of that: the protagonists (the Vikings) are literally colonizers, and their colonizing is glorified and sensationalized, while a group that was marginalized in that time period is represented entirely by stereotypes that still exist today. How can I not be appalled by that? It gets even worse: they're planning a DLC where the player character gets to invade Ireland and I'm quoting the website: "Explore the haunted wilds and beautiful landscapes of Ireland as you battle a druidic cult known as the Children of Danu" and they've said in trailers that, "the highlight here is really for the players that are more interested in the Celtic, the Druids, and the darker tones that really add to the mysterious feeling of this expansion." What the **** are they talking about?! For one thing, there were no druids! Ireland had already been Catholic for 400 years! One of the most famous illustrated Bibles, the Book of Kells, was published in Ireland over a century before then! And what's all this nonsense about "darker tone" and "mysterious"? Equating "Celtic" to "dark tone and mysterious" just reeks of this stereotyping. What do you guys think? Am I overreacting, or am I right to be concerned about the fact that the game basically represents Celts by a bunch of stereotypes?
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