I followed an interesting tangent of related topics in the gaps between work today. It started last night as I was at home trawling through some Devil May Cry 3 and 4 skill/combo videos. These videos are always played to some kind of metal; one of them was covered by 2 Rhapsody of Fire songs, and several others I couldn't name. It was then I discovered another power metal band, Kamelot.
Kamelot's When the Lights Are Down was the song being used, so I found which album it was on, did a bit of reading about the album, and it turns-out the album is a sequel to an earlier concept album, loosely based on the story of Goethe's Faust. It was this part caught my attention because my brother (film/theatre student) has been involved in several productions of Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Intrigued by the naming coincedence, I continued my reading and learned that both Goethe and Marlowe wrote their stories based on a German legend about a man (Faust) who makes a pact with the devil in exchange for knowledge.
I knew how the Marlowe version went from my brother, so I focused on learning about Goethe's version and about Goethe himself, and somewhere along the way I realized, "Holy crap, I've stumbled upon a literary heavyweight!"
You can read about Goethe's epic resumé and mark on history anywhere on the Internet just by Googling his name. As I did I felt both awed by his achievements, and stupid for not having heard of this guy before. The last time I felt like this, was when I threw "circles of hell" into Google (I was using the concept in a story of mine) and came across another epic: Dante's The Divine Comedy. Therein lay several other Devil May Cry and popular culture references.
So what did I learn? Plenty. And that power metal and video games can be educational too :P