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  • PF Legge

Shogun or Night King?

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

I’m listening to a novel I read long ago, ‘Shogun’ by James Clavell. The audio recording is horrible, because it was done before that was a priority, but the novel itself is fascinating. It is set in 17th century Japan, when the Western world was just coming into contact with medieval Japan. Historical fiction at its very best. The plot roughly parallels the actual events that led to the closing of Japan to Western influences for more than 200 years. The portrayal of the simplicity of their feudal system contrasted with the political machinations of the competing daimyos (lords) is appealing to me on some ancient, almost genetic level. And the brutal honesty and physical toughness of the samurai ‘bushido’ code almost overcomes its nascent brutality. Almost. Great stuff.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 has come and gone. I was a little disappointed, but after reflection I’m not surprised. We waited eight years for this battle, and it was over in an hour or so. We watched Jon Snow line up for years as the main rival for the Night King and in the battle, he was barely involved. Flying around on a dragon as he did. We saw a literal god get caught by the old ‘changing hands with the knife’ trick. And we saw a small person somehow breach the lines of hundreds of the worst kinds of living dead, to perform that trick.

Not to mention the fact that it was so dark, that it was hard to see what was going on, never mind understand it. I am aware of the ‘fog of battle’ concept but this…Oh, and barely any one of consequence died despite two full hours of buildup, preparing us for just that. (sorry Jorah and Lady Mormont. And how many of us even knew Beric Dondarrion’s name?) Well, there are still 3 episodes left.

I have written a couple of short stories this week. Really got the creative juices flowing to use an overused phrase. Here’s a sample:

Dant kept his hands up. Always up. He sidled in towards his opponent. It was dark in the space behind the bar. Only a few of the men drinking there had come out to see the fight. The bartender had set it up. He owned the place. He used to fight himself. Had some connections, or so he said. Maybe you’ll get noticed he said. House reps often come to his place, looking for the next one. Asking him. That’s what he said.

It wasn’t for much. 3 crowns. Win or lose. But Dant was hungry and the split skin on the middle knuckle on his right hand had scabbed over hard. He owed rent on the room he was staying in. And the landlord used a long black wooden club to roust those who didn’t pay on time. A fight was better than getting hit by that club. So here he was.

Have a great week!

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