The chipper, cheery mascot of the Fallout series has always been Vault Boy, the blonde-haired, bright-smiled lad giving a big thumbs up and a delightful wink, in stark contrast to the horrible post-nuclear war dystopian future the game plops you in. But WHY exactly is he giving you a thumbs up? And is there an explanation for what he's doing that makes more sense than a jokey contrast between retro-optimism vs. current misery? As you can probably tell from the tone of the article so far, there totally is.
There's an old rule in Nuclear Bomb Safety Instructions that says, essentially:
"If you see a nuclear explosion on the horizon, stick out your thumb at arms length. If your thumb covers the explosion completely, you're at a safe distance from the explosion. If your thumb does not cover the explosion, run like hell."
Realistically, if you see a nuclear explosion, run like hell no matter what because holy shit THERE'S A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION OVER THERE. But, back to the matter at hand - yes, that is totally what Vault Boy is doing. He's not winking - he has his left eye closed so that he can accurately judge what's behind his thumb. And there's even light shining at him from the right angle. And he's smiling because he knows he's seconds away from death and has gone mad with despair.
War never changes, but your perception of videogame mascots sure does.
Spock (known to modern audiences as "Sylar But With His Hair Cut By a 10 Year Old") is, like most Vulcans, a pretty cold, calculating dude, with just a bit of humanity that shines through every now and then. Sound similar to any famous fictional British detectives you know? Well, if you read the title of this item, you're probably way ahead of me here - it's Sherlock Holmes. But the similarities between the two go much deeper than their obvious personality parallels (and the fact that Spock and Sherlock-portrayer Benedict Cumberbritish faced off in Star Trek Into Khanness).
In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (known as "Trying To Make Up For The Final Fronter, Which Was The Worst - Until 'Air Bud Into Barkness' Came Out") includes a very telling line - Spock says, "An ancestor of mine maintained that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." The quote is famously attributed to Sherlock Holmes, he of the opium pipe and inspiration for TV's House - which would make Spock his descendant.
Of course, Sherlock Holmes isn't actually real, so the possibilities are either Star Trek takes place in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes universe, or Spock was referring to Arthur Conan Doyle as the ancestor, which would probably make more sense (but would be a shame that he didn't inherit those dreamy cheekbones).
Upon leaving the Elf Treehouse Funzone, each member of the Fellowship of the Ring gets a parting gift from Galadriel (except Gandalf, who was too busy plummet-fighting a Balrog at the time). They get some bread, some belts, and a few other odds and ends - but Gimli, of all things, gets three strands of hair. He was so struck by Galadriel's beauty (apparently Frodo didn't tell him about Galadriel's Creepy Demonic Moment) that all he wanted was a single strand of hair (he didn't say where he wanted the hair from, to be fair, so there's still room for it to have been a real creepy request). But why three exactly? Turns out, there's a reason...just not in Lord of the Rings.
In Tolkien's The Silmarillion, there's someone called Fëanor. Fëanor is a huge piece of shit, but he managed quite a few extraordinary feats: he may or may not have forged a palantir, created the written language of Tengwar, and created the Silmarils (some fancy gems) that are obviously pretttttty important in the Silmarillion. But one thing he never was able to get was a hair from Galadriel, since she knew he was an asshole. He even asked her (you guessed it) three times.
So when Gimli, son of Groin-Injury [Ed. Note: This is correct. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.], made the same request, she saw he was pure of heart and valiant (basically an opposite-Feanor). And despite the fact that dwarves and elf-folk don't get along, she gave him what she never gave one of the most powerful elves of all-time: some hair. Although it's a good thing she didn't know about Gimli stealing some of her panties right before.