Can you take the explosive Guy Fawkes quiz?

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Remember, remember, the fifth of November -- and find out how much you know about this famous pop culture icon. It's all about the man, the mask...and now the quiz!

Why was Guy Fawkes sentenced to death in 17th century England?

Guy Fawkes was part of a conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament in England, the seat of British government. These days, that would make him a home-grown terrorist.

Why was Guy Fawkes so angry that he took matters into his own hands?

The main reason why people conspired to blow up Parliament was because Catholics were repressed in England, which was officially Protestant. Anti-Catholic laws were in place, and priests were told to leave the country.

How did Guy Fawkes die?

Fawkes knew that his death was going to be very bloody and painful. He was to be ripped apart while still alive! So at the first opportunity, he committed suicide by leaping to his death. They still tore his body apart, though.

Even today, Guy Fawkes has influenced pop culture. Which comic book movie was heavily influenced by this real-life character?

V for Vendetta borrows heavily from the Guy Fawkes story. The character V wears a version of Fawkes' clothes, and wears a stylized mask that makes him look like Fawkes. And yes, V blew up Parliament.

While the Guy Fawkes mask is now a pop culture icon, who are the ones who use it in close conjunction with Guy Fawkes' ideas?

Although the use of the Guy Fawkes mask blew up with V for Vendetta and other pop culture references, it was noticeably used by political protesters, and as a mask for violent political actions. Anonymous can also be said to use it as a form of protest.

What did the masses eventually call the whole insane plan to blow up Parliament?

The plot to blow up Parliament eventually became known as the Gunpowder Plot. It should be noted that this sort of thing happens with regular frequency in history, as religion and royalty have always been serious issues in England.

What tradition has, in part, become more popular because of the celebration of the stopping of the Gunpowder Plot?

Some observers point out that the idea of bonfire celebrations may have had a big boost in the celebrations of the Gunpowder Plot. It should be noted that in modern times, it's more of a celebration in itself, and not so much hating on Guy Fawkes and Catholics.

A tradition that developed is that kids go around in the streets with this item in tow, to buy money for the night's celebrations.

Children and young people would bring around a dummy of Guy Fawkes, and ask for funds for the night's celebration. The money would be used for firecrackers, firewood, and other materials for the celebrations.

How does Guy Fawkes' imagery extend to the online community?

Members of Anonymous, or people who want to be identified as Anonymous, usually wear Fawkes masks. They also use that symbol as their calling card. This may be influenced, in part, by the movie version of V for Vendetta.

Which recent infamous person -- one who loves revealing things -- has worn the Guy Fawkes mask?

Julian Assange has worn the Guy Fawkes mask. This is only fitting, as his information leaks can be seen as terror weapons in their effect.

What was Guy Fawkes' role in the plot?

Guy Fawkes was tasked with setting off the explosives. That meant he had to sneak into the cellar underneath the house, set the explosives to blow, and leave. He was caught redhanded.

Aside from the likeness or straw dummy of Guy Fawkes being burned in the bonfire, which other person has his or her image burned in the fire during the earlier November 5th celebrations?

Because the conspiracy was an attack by Catholics against the very Protestant British monarchy, the Catholic pope was also, at times, burned in the bonfires. Religion and politics are strange bedfellows sometimes.

How was the government tipped off about the conspiracy to blow up Parliament?

Apparently, the thought of so many people dying by explosion got into someone's conscience. A letter was sent to a member of the nobility, and this tipped off government forces.

Even in the animé world, the idea of a "masked" rebel or revolutionary has taken root. Which animé had a "smiling man" masked enemy that was close in idea to what Guy Fawkes was?

Ghost in the Shell in its animé version had an enemy known as the Smiling Man or Laughing Man, who believed in how knowledge should be available to everyone. It's another use for the now universal revolutionary tone for Guy Fawkes' image.

Guy Fawkes wasn't the only one involved in the conspiracy to blow up Parliament up. How many were there in the plan?

Thirteen other people were involved in the dynamite plot. Fawkes wasn't even the leader, and yet, he's now its most visible figure. Go figure!

Thanks to the Gunpowder Plot, what is now considered a tradition every time Parliament opens?

Before Parliament opens every year, the guards search everywhere on the premises to see if any terrorists may be hiding something. This is now mostly a ritual.

Not surprisingly, there is only one place in England where bonfires aren't a-blazing on the 5th of November. What is this place?

Guy Fawkes' school, St. Peters in York, does not celebrate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot. Supposedly, it is out of respect for one of its own.

Though it's always good to be king, why did James I admire Guy Fawkes?

It took two days of torture to make Fawkes confess more details about the conspiracy. That feat was impressive enough for the king to admire him a bit.

What would have been the goal of the plot to kill everyone in the House of Parliament?

The ultimate goal of the conspiracy would have been a Catholic England, since many of the influential Protestant figures would have died in the explosion. Chief among them would be the King of England, James I.

And now, a bit of language and history: Why do you call a bonfire a bonfire?

The term comes from a time when people who were not allowed to be buried on holy ground were burned in fires. The term, then, probably started as "bone fires," and later became bonfires.

With the king dead, the conspiracy would have needed a controlled replacement. Who was their choice for a puppet?

The second part of the plan was to support the ascension of the king's daughter, Elizabeth, to the throne. She was seen as more willing to support pro-Catholic actions, or at least she would be a usable puppet queen.

Among the bad guys in English history, Fawkes has a unique honor in world geography. What is it?

For a celebrated villain, Guy Fawkes has an island named after him. It is located in the Galapagos Islands, near Santa Cruz Island.

What was the Catholic Guy Fawkes' guilty religious secret?

Guy Fawkes was actually born a Protestant. He converted to Catholicism in his later years. This may have been influenced by his stepfather and grandparents.

In the beginning, the bonfire celebrations were about loyalty to the crown. What did it turn into in later years?

As the November 5th celebrations developed, they became less a celebration of the monarchy, and more about how individual freedom and the state are always an issue. In other words: freedom! Of course, for some, it's always a great excuse to party.

Although he was young, what was Fawkes' old job?

Guy Fawkes was a soldier in other wars before he came back to England. It's probably why he was the one tasked to light the match, so to speak, for the explosives.

Why would dynamite in the basement of the Parliament house have failed if it were done today?

The original basement has been destroyed. Ironically, it was during a fire that gutted the Houses of Parliament.

On the subject of explosions and fireworks, what would have been the color least seen, if Guy Fawkes had used different fireworks and explosives?

When it comes to making explosives and fireworks, chemistry is the key to different colors. Apparently, blue is the hardest color to "make" for fireworks.

What word became a generic term because of the Gunpowder Plot?

Guy's name is the root for our term "guy." It used to mean someone who was ugly and disgusting. But over time, the meaning softened, and it became a generic term for a man.

The burning of dummies or straw people in fires has been around before the Gunpowder Plot, but what was it used for then?

Originally, dummies were burned in the fire to drive away evil spirits. This is probably similar to how witches burned dummies based on people, to make their spells work.

Would the big boom have blown up Parliament, really?

For the longest time, people said it would have blown the House to smithereens. However, some researchers now agree that the dynamite used wasn't the best, and only some damage would have been done. The question of the blast killing all the intended victims is still up in the air, though.

Aside from the religious Catholic reason, there was a political reason for wanting King James the First dead. What was it?

King James had in his blood the royal lines of Scotland and England. This would eventually lead to the formation of the United Kingdom (UK). As can be expected, there were some very unhappy people who were more than willing to get rid of him.

Guy liked calling himself by another name. What was it?

Guy Fawkes spent some time fighting with the Spaniards. Because of this, he liked calling himself Guido. It's probably a nod to the way Spaniards presumably would localize his name.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November... but what was the real date when Guy Fawkes was caught?

Guy Fawkes was actually caught on the night of November 4th. However, since people only heard about the plot the next day, the celebrated date is the fifth.

Because Guy Fawkes was fond of aliases, what was his other name when he was involved in the conspiracy?

If you think about the Gunpowder Plot as a terrorist plot, then Guy Fawkes was right to have an alias. However, "John Johnson" was a bit obvious as a generic name. It was the name he gave when he was arrested.

In the latest use of the Guy Fawkes image, which recent American upheaval used Guy's face as the face of the movement?

The Occupy movement adopted the Guy Fawkes mask, probably as an offshoot of its pop culture and online use as a face for protest that identities can hide behind. In that sense, Guy Fawkes' spirit can be said to live on in the use of the mask.

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