‘Outlaw King’: A Missed Opportunity to Remove ‘Braveheart’ as THE Scottish Wars of Independence Movie!

If you haven’t seen Outlaw King yet and wish to read a spoiler-free review rather than an analysis, click here!

I’m sure most of you have heard of Braveheart while less of you have probably heard of Outlaw King. The latter is a recent Netflix movie that in essence continues from where Braveheart ends: Robert the Bruce and his battle for Scottish Independence. The problem that many people face is that there knowledge of Scottish history is lacking. Don’t get me wrong, that’s completely understandable for those of you who don’t have any ties to the country. However, the problem is doubled by the fact that Braveheart is often referred to as a historical movie. As I’ve said before, Braveheart is only beats Inglorious Basterds by a small margin as far as historical accuracy is concerned. So let’s briefly discuss why that is the case and how it relates to Outlaw King!

Click here to check out the trailer!

The Flaws of Braveheart

Outlaw King

image via History vs Movies

I don’t want to spend too much time picking away at the inaccuracies of Braveheart. If you’re interested in reading a more thorough explanation then feel free to check out my article on the matter. However, I am going to briefly summarise some of the more major deviations from historical fact. I feel like bullet points will suffice:

 

  • 14th century Scots did not paint their faces blue. This is something that the Picts did many centuries earlier but not during the Wars of Independence.
  • 14th century Scots didn’t wear kilts, particularly into battle. Kilts, while being associated with Scotland, didn’t become popular for another 500 years, around 1720.
  • Edward I didn’t die before William Wallace. In fact, they didn’t even die in the same year: Wallace was killed on August 23rd 1305 while Edward died on July 7th
  • Prime nocta (the idea that English nobles would sleep with Scottish women on the night of their wedding) didn’t exist, or certainly there isn’t any evidence to suggest that it did.
  • The Scottish Wars of Independence didn’t start because Wallace wanted to avenge his wife. While legend does speak of a Marion Braidfute, there isn’t any supporting evidence of her existence.

These are just a few of the major points that I wanted to bring up. Why are they important? It’s long been my opinion that when it comes to matters like this, the truth is far more interesting than fiction. Braveheart robs the Scottish people of their motivation to rebel against the English crown: it wasn’t over some lassie, it was because they had finally grown tired of being oppressed and essentially enslaved.

I can give a pretty good example of moments where fact beats fiction. The hanged, drawn and quartered scene in Braveheart is pretty brutal, right? Would it shock you to learn that the true events are in fact much worse? Wallace was stripped naked, dragged 6 miles by horse, had fruit, stones, and shit thrown at him, was hanged until he almost died, had his cock and balls cut off, his intestines were then pulled out of his body, he had to watch as his intestines were set on fire, had his heart removed, all before finally being beheaded. His body parts were then scatted across the country as a warning to any would-be rebels.

Outlaw King

Outlaw King

image via Den of Geek

Outlaw King begins just before the ending of Braveheart. The nobles of Scotland have accepted defeat and have made an arrangement with King Edward of England whereby they will return to their lands and begin paying taxes again. At this point in time, Wallace is in hiding and hasn’t been captured by the English. The movie demonstrates a really important aspect of history: The Scottish Wars of Independence were initially unsuccessful not because of the English, but because of the divide between Scottish nobles and their desperation to wear the crown. This is something that Braveheart does touch upon. However, Outlaw King also highlights the divide between the common people: many are sick of war but most are desperate to make the English pay.

 

There are many things that Outlaw King does perfectly that I simply couldn’t criticize it for. For starters, the attire worn by the characters is spot on in relation to what people wore in the 14th century. Chris Pine was OK; I’m still on the fence about his performance. However, Aaron-Taylor Johnson was the star of this movie, in my opinion. He plays James Douglas A.K.A The Black Douglas and he does it incredibly well. I was also impressed by both their Scottish accents which was one of my major worries when I heard they’d be starring in this movie.

Another aspect that I loved was that this movie plays on real emotions. Braveheart makes up nonsense for drama and effect but most of the emotional connections within Outlaw King are based on truth. For example, the deaths of Robert the Bruce’s brothers, the capture of his wife, the stabbing of John Comyn, the motivations of James Douglas, all of these things are true. These moments in the movie feel powerful and I have to congratulate the writers, director, and cast for that.

Similarly, the movie really makes you feel like you’re one of the people in 14th century Scotland. The death of Wallace fills you with rage, betrayal at the hands of your own countrymen fills you with hate, and the appearance of allies fills you with hope.

However…

Outlaw King

image via Choice.NPR

Unfortunately, despite being on the path to success, Outlaw King makes a few mistakes that really lower its value as a historical movie. Personally, I have no idea why these flaws weren’t noticed prior to filming but I play no role within the industry and so can’t comment on the process. The first issue is one scene in particular. I’m going to put it in a separate paragraph so you can avoid it if you don’t want to hear spoilers. The other is the ending of the movie. Well, not so much the ending but rather the content that they chose to include in the 2nd half. So let’s explore each of these and see how they could have been improved to make a GREAT movie. We’ll start with the latter of the two. Don’t worry, this one won’t contain any spoilers.

 

The Ending

Outlaw King

image via Film Goblin

I’m not actually going to discuss how the movie ends, but I am going to explore why it lacked flare. Outlaw King is a very different, and more intimate, movie than Braveheart. We’ve all seen Mel Gibson charging into many battles as the blue-faced William Wallace and so that’s almost what we expect in Outlaw King. However, as the name suggests, Robert the Bruce was an outlaw and during the start of his campaign he didn’t have massive battles in the same manner as Wallace. Instead, we see a more covert and tactical side to his attacks. I personally found these to be incredibly entertaining.

However, towards the end we needed a major battle scene and what the movie gives us just doesn’t feel like that. As I said in another post when reviewing this movie, the ending feels anticlimactic and inconclusive. When it ends, we get text across the screen which explains how events developed afterwards. I compared this to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ending with “…and then Frodo took the ring to Mordor and destroyed it”. That’s essentially what happens with Outlaw King. The set up is perfect but they don’t give us that all-important ending.

I think there were two ways to solve this problem. The first would have been to extend the movie’s run time to maybe 2 hours and 30 minutes. All we needed was one final battle, one major victory that demonstrated where the events of the movie led to. The other option would be to scrap the battle we get and replace it with a battle that occurred later in time. Alternatively, you could do both. Let’s explore the other issue I have with Outlaw King. This next paragraph will be comprised entirely of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Spoilers!

Outlaw King

image via Roger Ebert

In the final battle, at Loudoun Hill, the Scottish army is victorious and the English are retreating. Of course not all of them, not yet. Edward II rises up from the mud to try and kill Robert the Bruce. We all knew a scene like this was coming because they foreshadowed it at the start in the cheesiest possible way (which now that I think about it was the only other major flaw of this movie). We then watch as Edward tries desperately to kill Robert, failing miserably each time. He then starts crying, is sick, and runs away. Why would the Scots let him leave? Robert the Bruce knows that the English have his wife and child and yet he lets the best bargaining chip he could possibly have escape?

 

You also have men there whose family and friends have been killed through the orders of Edward II and his father. Yet none of them try to kill him, seriously? I was fully enjoying this movie right up until this moment and then I felt like the experience shattered. It’s like if you were meditating and you’d reached this great space, then your friend grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you violently.

Final Thoughts

Outlaw King

image via Hollywood Reporter

In summary, Outlaw King most definitely had the potential to be a better movie that Braveheart. From my point of view, it still is. The fact that is stays closer to the real version of events automatically makes it a far more interesting portrayal of Scottish history. I also liked that this movie had a dirtier feel to it: characters are flawed, they aren’t miraculously saved, there are more defeats than victories, and even though the romance in Outlaw King is still a bit over the top, it feels a lot more realistic. The movie also managed to have some incredibly hilarious moments that didn’t feel remotely out of place. Where it lacks relates largely to the ending. Braveheart ends with you wanting to scream “FRREEEEEDOMM!” whereas Outlaw King just doesn’t have that effect, despite setting the emotion up perfectly.


Thanks for reading! What did you think of Outlaw King? Does it compare to Braveheart? Let me know down below! 

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

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Scottish Independence: Are We Better Together 3 Years Later?

For those of you unfamiliar with this topic, back in 2014 the people of Scotland were able to vote as to whether or not they wanted Scottish independence. In the end, with a 55.5% majority, it was decided that Scotland would remain in the UK. I still view this as a horrific decision. Do I blame the people of Scotland? Sure, to an extent, but more than anything I blame the UK Parliament. In this article I’m going to cover some of the reasons why Scottish independence would have left Scotland in a much stronger position than it is currently in (arguably). I’ll also look at just why I’m so disgusted by the actions of parliament.

My Personal Opinion

Scottish Independence

image via Physical Gold

Obviously all of this post is going to consist of my own views and opinions. This is not supposed to be a non-bias representation of the information. However, I aim to provide sources for as many of my claims as I can. So what did I vote during the Scottish independence referendum? Well, as you’ve probably gathered already, I voted ‘Yes’. It’s the only time I’ve voted and it could very well be the only time I ever vote. But I wasn’t always a supporter of the yes campaign. During my first or second year at university when the Scottish independence referendum was first picking up steam, I was a strong no voter. I chose to write several essays on the topic as part of my course in an effort to express how strongly against leaving the UK I was.

Within those couple of years though, my interest in politics grew, as did my hatred for the UK political system. The more I discovered, the less I trusted this society we live in. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty great place to live but the politics are a joke. I mean you can take a look at the petition system which is nothing more than a mock system designed to make “the people” feel like they can create change with a simple signature which is bullshit.

By the time 2015 came around, I couldn’t have had a stronger opinion than my views on why Scottish independence was the best move for everyone. Arguments I’d made in the past about why Scotland should stay soon seemed miniscule in comparison to those for leaving. I watched as friends and family fell for the deceptions of the UK government and I could only watch in horror as the final votes were counted showing the slight majority for the “better together” campaign. Speaking of which…

The Campaign

Scottish Independence

image via NewsWeek

One thing that annoyed me the most about this campaign was the involvement of England. To be more specific: London (to be even more specific, the Westminster). One of my biggest problems with being connected to the UK parliament is that everything goes through it one way or another. We have a bunch of upper-class space cadets who have zero experience in the real world, all lack a mind of their own and are most of all: hypocrites. It says a lot that many of the people in power in the UK went to school together. MPs over the last decade have avoided tax, claimed for multiple houses, claimed expenses for holidays and pushed for their own pay rises during times of crisis and austerity.

If only that was all they had done…Reports have found that cocaine use in parliament is a real issue. Yet MPs won’t even turn up for a debate regarding the legalisation of cannabis because “drugs are bad, m’kay”. So you can imagine my annoyance when the independence referendum outcome was flipped by two major factors: TV bias and false promises.

We’ll take a look at the first of these two now. During the Scottish independence referendum, there was undoubtedly a bias within media coverage. BBC, a network that claims to be impartial was found to be giving the no campaign an unfair advantage. In fact, a study of both ITV (STV) and the BBC found that during the Scottish independence referendum, both of these outlets favoured the no campaign by allowing more coverage of that side. I remember reading a report at the time which I believe claimed that the divide was something like 33.3% to the yes campaign and 66.6% to the no campaign (I’ve been unable to find that statistic so don’t take my word for it).

Interestingly, this distrust in the UK media hasn’t changed in Scotland. Research finds that Scottish people still don’t feel like their side of the news is reported impartially, particularly in relation to Scotland vs UK news.

The Vow

Scottish Independence

image via The National

You’re perhaps wondering what “The Vow” is. Well, during the referendum when the polls were showing a tie for the votes of Scottish people, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all signed “The Vow”. This was an agreement or pledge that if the people of Scotland voted to remain in the UK, parliament would respond in kind by granting the Scottish Parliament more powers and a fairer share of resources. Not only is the entire thing patronising but it also directs a spotlight towards the lack of power that Scotland already had at this point. Why should a parliament of a country have to threaten to leave in order to get power over its own country and a fair share of resources? At the time most people were sceptical because if governments are known for one thing: it’s going back on promises.

It’s been three years since the Scottish independence referendum and the government hasn’t made any steps towards keeping this promise. It doesn’t help that David Cameron quit after the EU referendum (another issue we will look at) but a deal is a deal. Interestingly, a poll has found that only 9% of Scots believe that this deal has been kept with 22% believing that none of the promises have been delivered.

The general distrust towards this vow may lead you to believe that it wouldn’t sway many people. Yet the polls suggest that it did and certainly the outcome of the vote itself is evidence of this. Only 3.3% of Scottish people needed to believe that this vow would lead to a desirable outcome. Considering how many people were on the fence on the run up to the vote, it’s hardly surprising that this would get the no campaign the votes it needed.

The Crumbling of the UK (and Scotland along with it)

Scottish Independence

image via Daily Star

Regardless of your views towards the Scottish Independence referendum or the EU vote, it’s not exactly shocking to learn that the UK is in a downward spiral. The value of the GBP has been dropping fairly consistently since 2007/8. Obviously this varies a little depending on your choice of comparison. For example, when comparing the pound to the Euro, you find a similar drop with the only difference being a peak in 2015 before dropping again. The NHS is in crisis while companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook actually pay less than half the tax of more traditional companies. It’s estimated that multinational companies avoid paying as much as £5.8bn to the UK in tax.

Crime in the UK is on the rise so it may also shock you that the UK police budget is expected to lose £700m by 2020 along with up to 22,000 jobs! London, the centre of the UK (not geographically…obviously) and the home of Parliament now has a higher homicide rate than New York City. This is due in part to the reduced police presence as a result of budget cuts. So crime is on the rise, the hospitals and healthcare systems are failing, the police force is being shrunk and the UK currency is fragile and drastically lower in value than a decade ago. At least we have the EU, right? Wrong.

The EU Vote = A Slap in the Face for Scotland

Scottish Independence

image via Economist

One major, major reason people voted to remain in the UK during the Scottish independence referendum was the EU. Threats from the no campaign included tweets such as “What is the process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting yes.” David Cameron himself made the claim that the only way Scotland could protect its EU membership was to reject independence. Some of the biggest and most influential arguments against Scottish independence offered by the no campaign included: Scotland would have to leave the EU and reapply; Scotland wouldn’t be able to use the pound; Scotland would lose access to services offered as part of the UK (including NHS connections). All things that seem more like a positive now, in comparison. The idea of an EU referendum hadn’t been mentioned prior to the Scottish independence vote.

So you can imagine the shock to the Scots when A) the possibility of leaving the EU is announced as an option and B) after 62% of Scotland voting to remain, being told that because we’re part of the UK, the actions of the country include Scotland and the EU vote isn’t a just cause for a 2nd Indy Ref. It’s worth noting that Northern Ireland also voted to remain in the EU. With less than one year left until the UK officially leaves the EU, I find it troubling how little has been resolved so far. Even more so considering I don’t live in the UK anymore and could very well be forced to return when free roaming is no longer an option for UK citizens.

So you can probably see why I’ve described this move as a slap in the face for Scotland and for Scottish Independence. We aren’t even finished yet and so far we’ve covered the bias news coverage, the broken promises of Westminster and the dissolving of all major arguments for remaining in the UK. This goes a step further when we look at Brexit negotiations where 90% of business owners don’t trust the government to secure the best deal for Scotland.

Renewable Energy

Scottish Independence

image via Caledonian Mercury

If you know nothing else about Scotland, you should at least be familiar with the weather: it’s windy and wet as fuck! Out of all the countries in the UK, Scotland is number 1 for producing green energy. In 2015 Scotland produced 97% of its household electricity needs through wind energy. Just a few days ago it was revealed that Scotland produces two-thirds of its energy (68.1%) through green schemes. Officials even stated that this is 45 points higher than the rest of the UK. One of the threats  made during the referendum was that independence would put a halt on the UK’s production of green energy.

Yet back in 2015 it came to light that windfarm subsidies to Scotland would end, putting not only the green energy production of the country at risk, but also further damaging the country’s economy. It seems that this hasn’t been the case or at the very least hasn’t had a lasting impact. However, the impending threat of cuts as a result of the UK government will continue and their general disregard for the people of Scotland will become more apparent.

The Traitors of Scotland

Scottish Independence

image via Outlandish Observations

When I talk about traitors here, I’m not referring to people who voted differently from me. They have a right to vote for the outcome they believe is best. Maybe their vote was right. But one thing that stood out during the referendum in 2014 were major companies threatening to leave if the people voted for Scottish Independence. Shipping companies (particularly ship building companies in Glasgow) and banks (such as the Royal Bank of Scotland) were among those readying themselves for a move. Many viewed this as an empty threat but with RBS making the same threat during the EU referendum and now considering a move to the Netherlands. The company which is continuously being investigated for shady dealings as part of the HSBC network should do us all a favour and fuck off already.

Why do these companies annoy me? Well, you can’t claim to be fighting for the people of Scotland but then threaten to cut thousands of jobs if things don’t go your way during the Scottish Independence referendum. From a company perspective, I understand that but you can’t fight on both sides. The no campaign stated “by working together as part of the UK we can ensure the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry” and yet just a year later the project was reduced and then ultimately delayed indefinitely. It’s even been stated that the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding is unclear. This brings to question people like Ruth Davidson who push every single one of the arguments at the time of the referendum.

I can’t help but view this as yet another sign that Scottish independence wouldn’t have made any difference to the threats that were made back in 2014.

Scotland as a Society

Scottish Independence

image via Hill Walk Tours

I won’t go into too much detail in this section because I covered my views on the dangers of alcohol and the benefits of weed (both to the individual and the society as a whole) in a separate post. I will however cover how these views relate to Scottish independence. You see, as much as Scotland has its own parliament, it still has to go through Westminster for most decisions. The increased powers promised to Scotland by David Cameron and his merry men would have given Scotland more freedom. As this didn’t happen, neither has the freedom (not in a Braveheart sense of the word).

The SNP voted in favour of moving to decriminalise medicinal cannabis use back in 2016. In my eyes, this is a great step towards eventual legalisation. Yet the Home Office ruled against such action. The Home Office is another aspect of government that hinders progress in Scotland (whether you view such progress as positive or negative is up to you). This isn’t the first time that this has happened in recent years either with plans for safe drug consumption facilities being shut down. These plans would have helped contain the spreading of HIV in cities such as Glasgow which is a direct result of unsafe drug use.

Of course you get the lap dogs of Parliament jumping at the bit to criticise every move made by Scotland. Such as the Express which claims that marijuana use in Scotland is a real problem. Not the drinking, smoking or other drugs which actually kill people. They decide to focus on the minority consumption of dangerously strong weed strains. Can weed be harmful? Sure…yet notice how even the most harmful weed isn’t as dangerous as the legal drugs. But I’m getting off topic here.

Would Independence Really Be Any Better?

Scottish Independence

image via CityAM

It’s all well and good to say X would have happened or Y would have been different if Scottish independence had been given a yes vote but the truth of the matter is that I’m not a fortune teller. None of us are. You’ll find so many differing opinions in relation to the initial independence referendum, whether there should be another, Scotland’s place in the EU, Etc. I’m not here to claim that I know more than anyone else, I don’t. In fact when it comes to figures, I know very little. So let’s instead focus on the absolute truths:

  • The Vow made by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband has not been met;
  • Threats made by the “Better Together” campaign have come true despite the majority of Scotland voting to remain in the UK, including (but not limited to) losing EU membership, a failing currency, damage to the economy, etc.
  • The inability of Scotland’s government to make major decisions impacts not only the economy in Scotland but also the health of those living there. Without such powers, Scotland’s growth will be limited to whatever Westminster allows.

So no, Scottish independence may have failed miserably and when the divide between of a country is 50/50, there are always going to be disappointed people. However, in my opinion I firmly believe that the people of Scotland made a horrible decision in 2014 by voting to remain part of the UK. The continued faith in a failing government is something I can’t wrap my head around and as such, I’m glad that I don’t have to play a role in the continued downfall of an upper-class controlled country that allows backwards thinkers to make all the decisions.


Thanks for reading! Did you find this Scottish independence post informative or do you think my opinion isn’t supported by evidence? Let me know down below! 

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If you have anything to add or perhaps a suggestion for a future post, leave a comment!

Peace!

Top 10 Best Scottish Actors!

I feel like the world sometimes forgets about Scotland when it comes to the big screen. This surprises me given the wide range of A-list actors who frequently appear in top films. As an ode to Scottish actors, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top 10 favourite Scottish actors. I’ll count down from 10 to 1, tell you some of the films they’ve been in and highlight my favourite. It’s going to be difficult!

Honourable Mentions

Before we dive straight into the top 10, I feel like it’s necessary to acknowledge those who didn’t make it onto the list. A top 20 list may have been more appropriate but “top 10” has more of a ring to it. I’ll just mention the actor and my favourite role they played.

  • Richard Madden (Robb Stark, Game of Thrones)
  • John Hannah (Holden Radcliffe, Agent’s of Shield)
  • Peter Capaldi (The Doctor, Doctor Who – although the storyline sucked)
  • Laura Fraser (Lydia, Breaking Bad)
  • Alan Cumming (Floop, Spy Kids)
  • Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond, Lost)
  • Iain De Caestecker (Fitz, Agents of Shield)

Now onto the Top 10!

10-Rose Leslie

Scottish Actors

image via The Mary Sue

I have to admit that I had absolutely no idea that Rose Leslie was Scottish, and from Aberdeen no less! She was initially number 9 on my list because I loved her character in Game of Thrones and Rose Leslie did an excellent job both with the accent and just the role in general. I then realised I’ve only seen her in one other thing: The Last Witch Hunter which was a below-average magic/monster film that barely held my attention. She’s in Morgan though which I do plan on watching at some stage but hopefully she’ll make an appearance in some more films in the coming years.

Favourite Role: Ygritte (Game of Thrones)

 9-Robbie Coltrane

Scottish Actors

image via BBC America

From Still Game to Blackadder to Ocean’s Twelve to James Bond, you’re probably most familiar with Robbie Coltrane as the “I shouldn’t have said” that groundskeeper himself: Rubeus Hagrid. Robbie Coltrane has played a vast number of roles in his life, most before my lifetime and yet he is still a major player in the world of cinema. One of his more recent appearances was in the Scottish tale by Pixar: Brave as Lord Dingwall.

Favourite Role: Hagrid (Harry Potter series)

8-Brian Cox

Scottish Actors

image via The Independent

Not to be confused with the keyboard playing physicist of the same name, Brian Cox has been involved in a wide range of movies: Super Troopers, RED, Troy, X-Men 2, The Bourne Identity, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and of course: Braveheart. He was also in Morgan alongside Rose Leslie. Brian Cox has even made appearances on popular TV shows such as Doctor Who and Frasier.

 

I became to truly admire this man when he returned to Scotland during the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2015 to show his support. With people like J.K. Rowling as opposing celebrity forces (why celebrities involve themselves in the first place is beyond me), someone had to appear at debates to highlight why independence is the right way to go.

Favourite Role: Ward Abbott (The Bourne Identity/Supremacy)

7-Billy Connolly

Scottish Actors

image via Pinterest

Granted, Billy Connolly is more well-known as a stand-up comedian actor but that’s not to say he isn’t capable. He’s appeared in films such as Muppet Treasure Island, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Garfield 2. As well as The X-Files: I Want to Believe, and even The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. He’s also voiced hilarious characters such as Fergus in Brave and McSquizzy in Open Season. Not to mention his brief appearance in House as Thomas Bell, one of the potential fathers of the diagnosis genius!

For me, Billy Connolly will always be the man who was not afraid to shout and swear at his audience. He would scream at everyone to hilarious comedic effect. If there is ever a man who says what’s on his mind (whether it be on stage or in interviews) it’s Billy Connolly. I could watch the man talk for days and still find him incredibly entertaining.

Favourite Role: Fergus (Brave) – Although, his stand-up is my favourite aspect of his work!

6-Gerard Butler

Scottish Actors

image via The Cheat Sheet

Gerard Butler may not be the best actor in the world but he is far from the worst. Certainly he appears in many, many outstanding movies. It’s hard to say what role you may know him from: Perhaps as a dragon tamer or alternatively a dragon fighter? Perhaps you remember him as a simple law-abiding citizen? We all know the tale of the Spartan army and its 300 soldiers, right? Maybe you know him as the slick One Two?

 

Whatever you know him from; the man has covered a wide range of roles. Granted, I still hear his Scottish accent whenever he shouts “This is SPARTA!” If we ever get a better William Wallace movie than that Braveheart garbage then I’d vote for him to play the Scottish hero!

Favourite Role: Clyde Shelton (Law Abiding Citizen)

5-Karen Gillan

Scottish Actors

image via Inverse

It’s impossible to discuss Scottish actors without mentioning the red-headed Karen Gillan. I first witnessed Karen Gillan on-screen as Amy Pond, the bold and brave Scottish sidekick to Matt Smith’s Doctor. She’s without a doubt my favourite Doctor Who companion and her storylines covered some of the darker aspects of the series.

Of course, she’s now up in the big leagues alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy as Nebula. As well as running through the jungle with The Rock and Jack Black. I think this is an actor we should all keep an eye on.

Favourite Role: Amy Pond (Doctor Who)

4-Sean Connery

Scottish Actors

image via Evil Geeks

The man, the myth, the legend: Sean Connery. This man is a globally recognised success who will definitely go down in the history books. He’s been a double-O agent, a Crusader, a dragon, and an author. He’s been in romances, action films and comedies. Now, he’s in his late 80s now and as the original James Bond, there’s not much one can say about his career.

Favourite Role: Professor Henry Jones (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

3-James McAvoy

Scottish Actors

image via The Hook Mag

I think I first noticed James McAvoy in as Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe but he’s come a long way since then. Having starred alongside names such as Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Radcliffe his career is still on the up and up.

Next year James McAvoy will be retuning as Kevin Wendell Crumb alongside Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson in Glass. I think that Split was an excellent presentation of James McAvoy’s ability to act. I genuinely felt like I was watching someone experience many different personalities. We’ll also be seeing a further exploration of the X-Men universe which could be interesting!

Favourite Role: Kevin (Split)

2-David Tennent

Scottish Actors

image via Blogtor Who

When it comes to notable Scottish actors, I think we can all agree that David Tennent is pretty fucking awesome. I think I probably first became aware of who he was in Doctor Who when he replaced Christopher Eccleston as the time lord. Of course since then he has appeared in Harry Potter as Barty Crouch Junior and voiced Spiteloud in How to Train Your Dragon, among other appearances such as Broadchurch and Kilgrave in Jessica Jones.

David Tennent is also set to appear as John Knox in the upcoming film Mary Queen of Scots (so at least there is one Scottish actor in it. I have a real issue with historical films having main cast members who have nothing to do with that history…a rant for another time).

Favourite Role: The Doctor (Doctor Who)

1-Ewan McGregor

Scottish Actors

image via Nerdist

When it comes to my number 1 favourite Scottish actors, there is really no competition. Ewan McGregor has been playing major roles in movies all through my entire life. From Jedi to clone to heroin addict to robot to a Vatican priest to tsunami survivor and even a sentient candlestick. Ewan McGregor is truly a Scottish icon and a talented actor.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for his re-appearance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in coming years in a Kenobi stand-alone movie. Unless of course Rian Johnson is set to direct it in which case I never ever, ever want that movie to be created!

Favourite Roles: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars Saga) and Bob Wilton (Men Who Stare at Goats)


Thanks for reading! Do you think I missed anyone out? Who are your favourite actors from your country? Let me know down below! 

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Peace!

Life in Spain for a Scotsman!

Having spent the first 24 years of my life living in Bonnie Scotland, the time eventually came for me to leave the nest. Growing up near Edinburgh, Scotland certainly has its perks but the miserable weather, the somewhat problematic drinking problem and the familiarity in itself soon became tiresome. So with that in mind, off to sunny Spain I went with no understanding of the language, no knowledge of the culture and without ‘Moving to Spain’ ever being on my to-do list. Luckily, I was moving there with my girlfriend who happened to be the polar opposite on all three of those points. So without further ado, here is my summary of my life in Spain so far!

The Language Barrier…

As I already mentioned, my grasp of Spanish didn’t extend particularly far past “Hola” before I moved out here. I’d always wanted to learn another language but had always lacked the motivation and the aptitude for picking one up. I had studied French for most of my high school life and had barely learned anything. One thing I commonly heard people say before I left Scotland was “It’s always easier to pick up a language when you live in the country”. Of course, this may very well be the case for anyone who socialises at a normal level but for someone who deals with social anxiety 24/7; it’s a little trickier than that.

…with a Scottish Accent

That being said, I’ve started to learn the basics. Duolingo and Rosetta Stone have been useful enough for a basic understanding. I have the good fortunate of living with my girlfriend who speaks Spanish practically fluently. So whenever I encounter something that just doesn’t make sense to me, she’s only an elbow’s nudge away! Of course, that isn’t the only language barrier. In Pamplona, most people who do speak English have learned it in school but even when they’ve had real world experience with the English language; it’s usually accompanied by an English accent. My Scottish accent isn’t even that strong as far as I’m aware. Yet many people have told me my accent is impossible to understand. One hilarious moment was having a group of American’s question whether I was speaking German or English.

Employment

Since finishing university, it had always been my plan to do a TEFL course and go to China or Japan or just somewhere far away from the UK to teach English. So with only a month or two between me deciding to move to Spain and actually moving, I managed to squash in a TEFL weekend. The weekend itself was incredibly helpful but I went all out and paid for the 140+ hour course. Meaning I still had 120 hours online stuff to complete. My plan for work was to spend the first couple of months living off my savings while I complete the TEFL course and then give private English lessons after my initially optimistic teaching assistant application was turned down on multiple occasions.

Of course it’s one thing to have a plan in your head and it’s an entirely different thing to act on it. As much as I want to eventually get around to finishing my TEFL course, I stumbled across a different way to earn money that would also not require a grasp of the Spanish language: freelance writing. I won’t go into huge detail about that as I’ve written another post on it already. However, what started off as hugely unsuccessful and extremely frustrating turned out to be my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’d always wanted to write and I am now earning more than I was working part-time with Costco in Scotland.

The only real issue with this is that the work isn’t necessarily steady. I have two projects for this month that will earn me enough to cover my time so far in Spain but what about next month or the month after that? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Things to Do

Pamplona itself is a decent size with what would seem like a relatively large student population. I just moved here from a small town which basically comprised of retirement homes, charity shops, churches and pubs. So anything near to a club would be an improvement. I was shocked to discover that actually Pamplona doesn’t have a great deal to do. We’ve been to numerous bars and a couple of the clubs and it just seems a little dull if I’m honest. One of the clubs did show potential but in order to get to the good music (in my opinion) you have to worm your way through a sweaty, testosterone-oozing mass of “lads, lads, lads”. You step outside and there is vomit left, right and centre.

I mean maybe this is the point in my life where I just put the drink down, forget the clubs, buy a pipe and do my crossword puzzles in a rocking chair. While the pipe part doesn’t sound so bad, I’m not quite ready for the rest. I guess I had the impression that Pamplona would be a bit more ‘hustle and bustle’. I mean this is the city where once a year people literally get chased by bulls down the street.

Surrounding Area

There certainly seems to be plenty to do in Spain itself. My girlfriend has repeatedly suggested we go to Barcelona for a weekend. We have plans to go skiing after Christmas in the nearby mountains bordering with France. As well as that, I’ve been dying to see some cave art, like that mentioned by Graham Hancock in his book Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind. It just so happens that the Cave of El Castillo is only a 3 hour drive away from here. So I definitely want to get around to doing that at some stage. We’re also not that far from the North Coast of Spain so there are a huge number of sea-side towns to visit.

Weed

As a partaker in the consumption of marijuana, I was relieved to hear that there exists a sort of loophole in Spain whereby it’s legal to own, smoke and even grow weed in the privacy of your own home. You’re not allowed to sell it or grow it where members of the public can see it but other than that you’re safe. To me, that translates as “it will be easy to get hold of weed” when in fact, it’s easier in Scotland! It doesn’t help that Pamplona is a very traditional city. Places like Barcelona have weed clubs where people go and smoke together whereas Pamplona still butchers bulls for sport and entertainment.

Pros

For starters, when I arrived here at the very end of September it was 29oC. To put that in perspective for anyone not from Scotland: the highest temperature EVER recorded in Scotland was 32.9oC and that was at the start of August. Average maximum temperatures for a Scottish summer are between 13oC-15oC. The weather in Pamplona stayed in the 20s up until about 2 weeks ago where it dropped to between 9oC and 12oC. Not to mention that the total number of days it has rained would fit into one week. While for Scotland the total number of days it rains per week is 7! So yeah, the weather is certainly a plus.

Another pro is the food. I’m somewhat of a fussy eater but going out for pinchos is great for me. There is always a meat option so I’d never go hungry. Following on from food is the drinks. I don’t mean soft drinks (we’ll get to that in the cons) but the alcoholic drinks. In Scotland, if you order a vodka and coke, you get this tiny measure that’s not even slightly more than what it’s supposed to be. They chuck a slice of lemon in and pour some semi-flat coke into the glass. When you’re at a club or bar here, each drink is like a work of art. The measures themselves are like twice that of Scotland, you get a lime rubbed round your glass and squeezed into it with some mint or other additions. I couldn’t believe how refreshing a drink could taste.

While it being a traditional city can be a downside, I love walking around old buildings. There are a lot of sights in Pamplona to explore such as The Citadel which is a huge fortress that was built in the 16th century. People also seem a lot more cheerful and friendly here. That could just be due to the weather, and I don’t think any place is free of its grumps or angry teens but certainly everyone I’ve met so far has been extremely welcoming and hospitable.

Cons

To keep things balanced, there is also a cons list. One of the few cons is one that’s very close to my heart: Irn-Bru is only brewed to its original recipe in Scotland. So even if it existed out here (which it doesn’t) I wouldn’t be drinking the same drink. I’m also an avid cinema goer which isn’t an option for me here as I don’t speak enough Spanish to watch the films I want to see. I recently watched a disturbingly poor quality version of Thor: Ragnarok just so I wouldn’t have to worry about spoilers (not that that ended up being an issue, you’ll probably see a blog post about it soon enough).

My Personal Goals

I guess the root of all my problems lies more with me than with Pamplona, Spain. Now that I have a taste for writing, it’s all my mind is really focussed on. So completing TEFL is on the shelf, learning Spanish is still on-going but has certainly stepped away from 1st position on my priorities list. I have so much that I want to accomplish and do, yet I can’t have time and money. So I need to either sacrifice time into work in order to fund trips to Barcelona, skiing, ETC. My other option is accepting that I can’t really afford to go anywhere but I’d then have more time to concentrate on my Spanish, focus on expanding my personal writing and creating some sort of following on that absolutely nonsensical social media platform they call Twitter, and perhaps pick up some extra skills along the way.

The simple option, of course, would be to get a job that involves learning and speaking Spanish. The issue with that being that my ability to socialise is about as high as my ability to speak Spanish: Meaning that the two combined together would lead only to disaster. Yes, I would probably learn as I went but until that point I’d be a flaming hot ball of anxiety, slowly melting into a puddle.

To sum it all up, Spain shows a lot of promise. It might not sound it from the content of this post but I’ve a realist and I’m only expressing myself in the way I feel is most honest. I’m not trying to sell the idea of moving to Spain but neither am I trying to convince people not to. While there are still things for me to see and do here, Spain has not been thoroughly enough explored yet.

I’m thinking of doing a post based on the idea of moving to Scotland. Not for myself of course but for those thinking of doing so. If that is something you think you’d be interested in then let me know!

Be sure to follow me here and on Twitter: @BakedHaggis

Alternatively, if you’d like to take a look at the work I’ve been doing on a Pompeii travel blog, you can check it out here: http://discoverpompeii.com/blog/

Similarly, if you want to see my first guest appearance on someone else’s blog, you can find that here: http://jerseygirlgonecaribbean.com/cambodia-temples-beaches-history-lessons-cameron-madden/