While the main Quest for Glory series does not generally make direct references to real world religions (other than some holidays such as Christmas, and more obvious reference to classical era Greek, and Egyptian religions/afterlives/gods) some allusions do appear in the series sometimes as jokes or puns, and in serious contexts.
Religion refers to collective beliefs of certain groups found throughout Gloriana, often it includes the belief in a higher power, God or the gods and deities of ancient myth.
It is highly recommended that Thiefs should take up religion, in order to avoid/disable magical traps.
Somewhat vague, there is a reference to Christmas (aka Christ's Mass) in QFG1VGA. This is the holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ, but is also secularized as well. Christ being the Son of God. Christ and God being two parts of the Godhead, along with the Holy Spirit, that make up trinitarian beliefs. The use of the classic historical terms such as BC as seen in Quest for Glory, is also a reference to the period "Before Christ". Christmas is an important holiday in Germany, and technically would not be out of place for a Bavarian town such as Spielburg and/or Willowsby. It is also acknowledged in a couple of other QFG games as well sometimes called Xmas. In the Greek language and alphabet, the letter that looks like an X is the Greek letter chi / Χ (pronounced 'kye' - it rhymes with 'eye') which is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ, Christos.
Tinsel is a common decoration for Christmas, and can be found in the magic shop in Spielburg. It is mentioned to have been left over from the previous Christmas, and that there is 250 shopping days left until the next Christmas.
Halloween a hybrid Christian/Pagan holiday is mentioned in QFG2 as brief mention to 'Halloween candy'. In early Christian and pagan traditions it was considered the night when the Veil between worlds of life and death was at its thinnest and spirits could cross over from the beyond.
The Devil appears in the Tarot deck in QFG4. The introduction for QFG1 remake has image of Christian angel with halo around its head. There is a reference to angels blowing trumpets in QFG5. On the QFG4 character select screen is an praying angel on a headstone. In the original Hero's Quest/QFG 1 EGA there is only a small shadowy angel in foreground on top a slab style tombstone. Los Angeles (L.A.) as mentioned in FE handbook is literally the city of Angels.
The one use of the term prayers appears in QFG4 in the one game that has European culture follow Christian tradition of prayers, and has other Christian symbolism hidden about the game. “Even a man who is pure in heart... And says his prayers by night...” which is a reference to Christian practice if saying prayers before going to bed.
There is a generic reference to a monotheistic style God mentioned by Ali Fakir in QFG2, though this may be more of a reference towards other Abrahamic traditions such as Islam or Judaism, see below. The original saying "God's country" is a reference to the Christian God.
A touch of Catholicism is nodded to with the line in QFG2: "Nuns are often in the habit of wearing these with their habit."
A woodcarving of Hero's hometown (Willowsby) in the QFG1VGA manual may have a cross on top of a steeple on one of the buildings in the city.
In the VGA version of QFG1 is a reference to the Crusades in Tangier (inspired by actual event 1437) in which some of the people of Spielberg were involved. A slightly modified Christian cross (nearly a crux ansata/ankh/Coptic cross with rounded top above the cross arms) and Crusader/Templar cross (Cross pattée) appears in the Graveyard of Spielberg showing obvious local religious affiliation to Christianity which would be common for Germanic village of the period portrayed in the game.
Another cross can be seen on a shield in the blacksmith's shop QFG2, but there is no context related to it. More crosses this time + (Greek cross) can be seen in decorations/artwork throughout Spielburg in Hero's Quest/QFG1EGA including the Old Lady's house, and the Inn. With arms of equal length. One of the most common Christian forms, in common use by the 4th century.
Crosses can also be seen on the coins on the coin cards in the tarot deck. The Deck is a scan of an actual Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg (though Tarot itself is has occult connections rather than religious).
A more traditional cross with the longer arm at the bottom can be seen on a crown last the top of Piotyr’s coat of arms as it appears on his armor/uniform, which would seem to indicate the traditional beliefs of his family. Another cross can be seen on top of the crown on the Borgov family crest. Another similar Christian cross can be seen in the distance near Hero's gravestone in a death scene in QFG4. In Erasmus house in QFG1 you can see a number of different runic mystical sigils and religious symbols carved into the arches along the back wall of his living room. If you look closely one of the symbols is a crucifix.
The Quest for Glory: The Authorized Strategy Guide and certain references of Quest for Glory V, make reference to a more traditional Christian inspired Hell, as one of the afterlives in the universe. The Hero prevents demons from escaping from there. Mild curse words associated with 'hell' appear throughout the QFG series. The term 'damn' can be found in QFG2, and QFG5 as an mild curse word. 'Darn' appear sin QFG1, 3,4, and 5. Drat ('God rot it') appears in QFG5 and Hoyle 3. 'Heck' appears in QFG1EGA/QFG1VGA, QFG2, and QFG5.
Another reference made in the guide is that in Willowsby magic is considered 'wicked'. The fear and hatred of magic generally something that is attributed to Christianity in the Bible The idea that paganism is wicked is not limited to Christianity but is largely unique to other Abrahamic religions including Judaism and Islam.
The Monastery in QFG4 is vaguely Catholic or Greek or Eastern Orthodox in style, but obviously been warped by the followers of Avoozl, an H.P. Lovecraft inspired religion (as well as some Egyptian style motifs), see below. That being said due to other cultural symbolism and references the people of Mordavia were more likely to have been Christians before the cult of Avoozle took over.
Santa Claus or "Saint Claus" from the shortened name from Nicholas a famous Christian saint made into holiday character.
The Grim Reaper is based on the medieval Christian interpretation on the personification of death. Death portrayed as the Grim Reaper (with Scythe) appears in several statue figures in QFG 4 within the Boyar Crypt.
Geez, Gee, Gosh, Golly, Sheesh, Gadzooks, Ods Bodkins, Dagnabit (Dag-nab-it), and Egad are all mild epitaphs or curses that reference Jesus and God. Gadzooks is God's Hooks, the nails which held Christ on the cross, and Ods Bodkins is God's Body, as in the body of Christ. Dagnabit (Dag-nab-it) means "God damn it", in reference to both God and damning a soul to 'hell'.
The term Holy, is largely a Christian term meaning sacred, and used to describe God and the Divinity in Christianity. Such as the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit. It is use din minced oaths such as "holy cow", which is actually a euphemism Holy God/Jesus, although it also alludes to 'sacred cows' as well (both biblical false gods or in hindu). In QFG this gets used in funny ways such as Holy Hungry Hexapods, and 'holy tantalizing tentacles'. Holy is sometimes used for Paladin abilities as well. 'Holy Mackerel!' (QFG1EGA) is actually a minced oath in referenced to 'holy Mary, mother of God'.
The Holy Grail which is referenced in QFG1, and possibly QFG3, represents the cup which Christ drank from at the last supper.
Notre Dame is a famous Catholic cathedral in France.
The concept of 'sin' is mentioned both QFG2 and QFG5. While broader concept of commiting 'bad' or 'evil' deeds can be found in multiple religions, the term itself is English, and more properly attributed to Christian translations of the Bible originally (meaning "offense against God"). But the essential concept applies across all the Abrahamic religions.
Judaism is first of the three primary Abrahamic traditions which include the second Christianity and the later Islam.
References to it or its believers/members are perhaps a bit more, obscure in the series... The only possible references are the Star of David (Magen David "Shield of David") used in Ad Avis magic. The symbol was later adopted by Islam, and even Christianity, and in medieval mysticism it was known as the hexagram. Often used to 'bind spirits'... The symbol predates Abrahamic religions including Judaism, however in middle ages was adopted and came to be known as the symbol of the Jews.
The second reference is Ali Fakir's makes a reference to God (calling Shapeir "God's country", and then saying he (God) can have it, he is ready to move on), now the reference itself may have several meanings (and often completely opposite in nature)... Urban Dictionary amusingly suggests God's country is "Land so far out in the middle of nowhere that even the most basic artifacts of civilization are hard to come by." However Webster's gives several competing definitions;
- :a place conceived of as especially favored by God: such as
- a : an area of civilization (as a city) away from the frontier music heard long before … in God's country in the East — Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican
- b : a place away from a city; especially : the open country out of the slums into God's country
- c : one's native or home state or region
- boosters go so much to the other extreme, talking about God's country — Sinclair Lewis
Fakir's use of the term indicates that he knows of God (in monotheistic sense), and may believe in him on some level.
The Marx Brothers were prominent actors of Jewish heritage known for their slapstick humor, as well by many for what was viewed as courageous activism during WW2 against Nazi regime via the satire of their films (much like Charlie Chaplain, and Three Stooges as well).
Alichica and Ali Fakir are both portrayed as stereotypical swindlers (and cheaters) of Jewish heritage (being depictions of prominent Jewish actors). They are also depicted with exaggerated 'large noses'... this imagery actually hearkens back to anti-Semitic medieval stereotypical portrayals of Jews as cheats and swindlers. Bringing to mind Shakespear's own portrayal of "Shylock" from The Merchant of Venice.
Even the name "Fakir" which can mean 'Faker', 'Charlatan', 'Swindler', etc appears to be a nod to this stereotype.
Webster's thesaurus defines Fakir as;
- a dishonest person who uses clever means to cheat others out of something of value a traveling carnival that was run by fakirs preying on small-town rubes
- one who makes false claims of identity or expertise a fakir peddling patent medicines that were mostly liquor and sugar.
And the dictionary defines it as (and the second meaning has more relevance) as "Swindler":
- \fə-ˈkir, fä-, fa-; ˈfā-kər\
- a : a Muslim mendicant : dervish
- b : an itinerant Hindu ascetic or wonder-worker
- \ˈfā-kər\ : impostor; especially : swindler
The name Ali Fakir however itself is more Arabic fitting into the Arabic/Persian theme of the series.
Some view the Marx Bros. movie Duck Soup (which QFG makes a reference to) as both an anti-war film and anti-government (including anti-Nazi). However their most direct anti-Nazi film was A Night in Casablanca.
While there were no deliberately pro-Nazi films before the war, many execs were afraid to produce deliberately anti-fascist films at the time, as it cut into their distribution into German controlled regions. Not everyone one Hollywood was brave enough offend their patrons at the time, and considering some of Hollywood's allegedly supportive of Hitler before the war, and had restricted the production of anything even inadvertently anti-fascist)
There might be somewhat of a sub context an anti-fascist message and possible reference to the Holocaust in that Ad Avis regime is known to have forced all the Katta, and many of the local people to flee Raseir, or has imprisoned them or killed them, and has his eyes set on Shapir as well. Ad Avis and his commander Khaveen are portrayed as highly xenophobic and hateful of non-humans or even humans that do not meet his standards.
In Arabic language and Islamic cultures Allah is the name for the "God" of Abrahamic traditions (although certain aspects of this God vary by religion, such that for example, in Islam, Christ is another prophet (a mere man), rather than the Son of God, and Allah has no son, and there is no 'trinity'). In QFG2, the concept of a mono-theistic "God" in beliefs of Shapeir, is mentioned at least once, specifically by Ali Fakir (but this is perhaps the limits to understanding Shapeir's religious culture within the game).
There are a number of things mentioned in Quest For Glory II and Quest for Glory III that are taken from or inspired by Islamic ideas. These include the Houris of Paradise, the idea of 'Infidels', certain aspects of the backstory of Julanar (concerning the treatment of women in her time), and some of the characters in QFG2 are inspired by the names of famous leaders of Islamic caliphates, emirates, and sultanates. The evil Marid Iblis takes its name from, and is more or less inspired by Islam's version of the Devil/Satan (though in QFG, Iblis and Shaitan treated as seperate entities).
Many of the rules for women that Ad Avis instituted in Raseir such as "forbidding a man to speak to a woman unless she is his mother, daughter, or wife" or "mother, wife, or slave" are based on Islamic Sharia practices.
Suleiman bin Daoud is the name of the Jewish-Israeli King Solomon ben David, in the Bible and the Qur'an. According to apocryphal, rabbinical and magical literature and legends, this figure had power over good and evil spirits. These occult traditions of course are not compatible with the Bible, but the Qur'an mentions that he had power over the djinn.
Harun al-Rashid was the name of an Islamic caliph that was a leader during the Islamic Golden Age.
The Seal of Solomon (Star of David in Jewish tradition) appears in QFG2 as the magic star with the candles used to summon Iblis by Ad Avis in the game's ending. However it has more in common with the Star of David in that it lacks the circle around the star as it portrayed on the Seal of Solomon. It function is more like the 'hexagram' used in the occult magic. In Christian tradition it can also be called the 'star of creation' where it was often found in Orthodox Christian Churches and Roman Catholic Churches in the Balkans.
Buddhism, Hindu & Other Eastern Philosophies
Extremely minor reference to Buddha and the sacred fig tree, 'Bodhi Tree' in QFG1VGA, when randomly looking at trees. There are reference to Zen (as from Mahayana Buddhism in references in QFG1VGA, and QFG3.)
There is book in Salim's collection called "The Om and I". "Om" is a sacred sound and a spiritual icon in Hindu religion. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. "OM' is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Reincarnation is referenced in QFG3 as well. Enlightment/enlightened is mentioned in QFG3 and QFG5 and a few other games.
Yin-Yang symbol from Taoist belief system appears in Sekhmet's trial as a choice.
Chi, Karma, I Ching, Mandela.
New Age ideas mixed with 1960's Hippy subculture are represented by the character above. These . A number of his books make reference to New Age concepts, and a mix of Eastern religion, see also Buddhism above. These include such things as astral-projection and cosmic conciousness.
General reference to a pantheon of gods and Greek heroes. Hades, Poiseidon, Hera, and Hercules and others are mentioned.
Lovecraftian concepts appear in QFG4 with the Cult of Dark Ones, and Avoozl. The cultists mutating into sea creatures (Chernovy) is similar to the Deep Ones in The Shadow Over Innsmouth who turn fish-like over time due to their connection and worship of Dagon. General concept of cults and strange monasteries and temples such as in stories The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Temple, In the Mountains of Madness and Dagon. It is probably closest to the cult 'Esoteric Order of Dagon' from The Shadow Over Innsmouth and its Masonic hall according to Derleth's writings. But there are many such cults in Lovecrafts and other authors' extended Cthulhu Mythos.
The name October Derleth mentioned in Hero's Journal is a reference to August Derleth one of the authors of the extended Cthulhu Mythos.
A reference in QFG4, inside of a book on thieves and traps. It states "In the section on surviving magical traps, the book suggests taking up religion."
The mystic five-armed pentacle/pentagram appears in QFG3 as a symbol in Sekhmet's test.
A cup possibly representing the 'holy grail' appears in QFG3 as a symbol in Sekhmet's test.
The concept of 'sin' is referenced in QFG2 by Ali Fakir and in a death screen in QFG5.
- ↑ https://www.openbible.info/topics/magic
- ↑ https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/stories/gadzooks-the-truth-behind-not-so-innocent-phrases
- ↑ http://www.lutins.org/lists/minced_oaths.html
- ↑ https://www.etymonline.com/word/holy
- ↑ Ali Fakir (QFG2): The Saurus. That's where you look for synonyms. And speaking of sin, when it comes to sauruses, well, let's just keep your personal preferences a secret, shall we?
- ↑ Narrator (QFG5):"While trying to steal on a whim, You fought a guy named Abdim, While this isn't to big a sin, The least you could do is to win."
- ↑ http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/magen-david
- ↑ https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/God%27s%20country
- ↑ http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2013/6/17/the-marx-brothers-and-jewish-identity
- ↑ http://www.popmatters.com/article/with-humor-as-their-weapon-the-three-stooges-took-on-hitler/
- ↑ http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/shylock
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotypes_of_Jews
- ↑ https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/faker
- ↑ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comedy/comedians/groucho-marx-profile-things-you-might-not-know/