Before jumping into this fun post, I will say to all those History lovers out there, don’t get offended. I am not trying to stomp all over his story, this is supposed to be fun. Plus I myself am a lover of history, and just found Ludwig II to really connect to what I see as Fandom Culture today. This past weekend my boyfriend surprised me with a trip for my 30th birthday, and we went to Neuschwanstein castle in Schwangau, Germany. It was lovely, and I have wanted to go there for such a long time. It is the castle that inspired the Disney Park Castles, in fact many people call it the Cinderella castle or the Fairy Tale Castle. And when you see it up close, you definitely understand why.
Ludwig II of Bavaria
I think the most interesting aspect of visiting the castles in Schwangau, was learning more about Ludwig II. I instantly thought “he was a fanboy!” Geek culture is so prevalent these days. We live for things like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Super Heroes, and plenty of other aspects in film and literature. This is why I believe Ludwig II had the workings of a fanboy. He was a dreamer, and he was quiet, known to live in his own little fantasy world. Some people may have called him the “mad king” but we know that what he probably dealt with was some form of Mental Illness, which does not make one “mad” or “crazy”. He was a huge fan of Richard Wagner’s Operas. In fact the first time he saw a performance of Wagner’s work at the age of 15, they say he cried from being so affected by the performance. When he came into power at the young age of 18 after his father’s untimely death, he searched for Wagner and later he actually gave Wagner a home, and a salary. If not for Ludwig II, Wagner may have never composed his later work. Wagner’s work is an important aspect of why I call Ludwig a fanboy. His love for Wagner’s works, and others as well are the main inspiration behind his castles, and the inside of the Neuschwanstein gives you a picture of his love for art and epic tales. There are huge murals inside depicting different sagas, many of which were from Wagner’s works. He was essentially part of the Wagner fandom. I know it sounds silly, but I came to learn something interesting as well about Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein castle, not only did it inspire the castles at Disney, but the Singer’s Hall within has a massive mural of a forest, which along with the Austrian novel of Bambi, it supposedly inspired Walt Disney to create the Movie Bambi while visiting Neuschwanstein. Whether true or not, I am not sure, though our tour guide definitely told us this “fact”. So really Ludwig’s fanboy behavior, inspired some of the most wonderful aspects of our own geek culture.
I wonder how he would feel about that today. While epic tales inspired him, he became quite an inspiration himself. Here’s to one of the original fanboys!