Monday, April 18, 2016

In the Middle of Things: Wizard City History

Wizard City is the starting place for our wizards. It's the first thing we see when we enter the game. Its where we began to learn our spells. It's the gateway to the rest of the Spiral. So, shouldn't Wizard City be based off of a certain culture or country?

The Commons during Yuletide
When I started researching for Wizard City, I started with looking at the names of the NPCs. These usually give me a good idea as to what the world was inspired by. The majority of the NPCs had names that originated from England (including Old English) and Greece, with a few Hungarian, Latin, Norse, and French names. Nothing stood out to me (country-wise). The only name that was helpful was good ole Eloise. Her name was a 12 Century English name. This tidbit of information is important a little but later, so don't forget it.

Merle Ambrose is clearly a play on the name Merlin Ambrosius, who is a character in the stories of King Arthur (Artorius). Merlin was a wizard, just like our Headmaster. Merle Ambrose is from Avalon, which is a world that is straight up King Arthur. This itself confirms that Merle Ambrose is Merlin, and could possibly point towards Wizard City existing in the same time period as Avalon.

Penny Dreadful gets her name from the "penny dreadfuls," which were cheap fiction for the working class in England. She and her parents are from Marleybone (London!) The quests that involve her are all titled:
  • A Dreadful Situation
  • Our Daily Dread
  • Dreadful Deliveries
  • A Penny Saved
...which point to her being named after the penny dreadfuls. Penny is proof towards English influence on Wizard City.

The Wizard City guards appear to have a rather modern looking set of armor as opposed to a medieval look. The clothing of other NPCs is sort of medieval. However, a very medieval part of Wizard City is the Fair Grounds.

I then began researching the meanings and origins of the names of areas and creatures. Again, they were mainly English and Greek words. This isn't very helpful in helping identify the inspiration of this world. However, many creatures and areas are very fairy tale-like.

The fish Sharkspeare is a reference to Shakespeare. Shakespeare lived in the late 1500s and early 1600s, which isn't to far off from the 12th Century. There is a lot of references to this time period, so it completely fits.

Looking at the architecture, it appears to be Romanesque. Romanesque architecture originated around the 10th Century. You can see this architecture in the fact that the houses are stone but the roofs are made of wood. Seeing as to the relation with Eloise, 12th Century name, Wizard City is based off the Late Medieval era. One may argue that the architecture appears to be Germanic. This is true, but there just isn't anything else to suggest that it's a German-themed world.

The stained glass in Wizard City is way to simple to assign a style to. Perhaps it's a blend of Gothic, Romanesque, Medieval and Renaissance. It just can't be determined by how simple it is. Avalonian stained glass is much easier to interpret given the fact that it isn't simple.

A subtle detail is the fact that Baldur Goldpaws, a viking (Norsemen) just happens to be in Wizard City. The Normans were invading Europe in the 12 Century. This also points towards Wizard City being based off the 12th Century.

However, Wizard City does not look like Avalon. Avalon is completely medieval. Therefore, Wizard City is not fully medieval, especially considering the fact that there appears to be electricity due to the lights all over the place. This does not discredit the fact that there are so many hidden references in Wizard City. There's so many that this post would be longer than anyone's liking. In fact, this also doesn't discredit the theory that Wizard City might be influenced by everything, making it the United States of America.

Wizard City is a mystery. There appears to be a lot of references to late medieval things, especially English. Yet there are many things in this world to suggest otherwise. The world is very broad in terms of inspiration. But this makes sense, especially the fact that no country or culture stands out. Wizard City was the first world made. I don't think Kings Isle was thinking about making a world inspired by any particular country. My guess is after Wizard City was created, Kings Isle thought it would be cool to base the other worlds off of countries.

I think it's safe to conclude that Wizard City was inspired by 12th Century European cultures and countries.

Do you have a different opinion on the inspiration of Wizard City? I want to know! Leave a comment below! :)

  • Google
  • Wizard101 
  • Dictionary,com

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