Are These Country Names Real or from the Movies?
by Torrance Grey

We all like to think that we're not overly influenced by the movies. We can keep fact and fiction separate. But the truth is, fiction does impact our grasp on reality. In surveys, about 50 percent of respondents believe that Sherlock Holmes was a real person. (He was created by Arthur Conan Doyle). 

How much has your understanding of geography been influenced by the movies? Screenwriters invent countries all the time, for several reasons. Sometimes they want to write about the peccadilloes of a royal family, without criticizing a real monarchy. Other times they want to play fast and loose with geography, putting waterfalls and deserts where none exist in a real nation. Or they want to criticize a real-world autocrat by creating a fictional one, and a fictional nation for him to rule. This is actually a fairly common method of social criticism -- Charlie Chaplin did it, for example, with "The Great Dictator."

Is Panem a real country? What about Gilead? Is there a real chain of islands called the Maldives on planet Earth? You might not find it so easy to sort out factual from fictional geography in our 35-question quiz. Settle in and challenge your wits now!

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