The Magician King: Quentin’s Horse, Dauntless

Did self mention that she thinks Dauntless is such a cool name for a horse? She has written a fable in which the name of the horse is Baucent. If only she had thought of a cool name for her horse, something like Unfazed. Or Hero. Or maybe even just Horse.

Anyhoo, Dauntless has other qualities, which self discovers on p. 16, when Quentin & Company run into Jollyby (She can’t stop thinking of the Philippine hamburger chain, JOLLIBEE), Master of the Hunt:

In one huge, leather-gloved fist Jollyby held up a large, madly kicking hare by its ears.

“Son of a bitch,” Dauntless said. “He caught it.”

Dauntless was a talking horse. She just didn’t talk much.

“He sure did,” Quentin said.

The Magician King, p. 16

Self is cracking up!

About that hare: “How do you sneak up on an animal that can see the future? Maybe it saw other people’s but not its own. The hare’s eyes rolled wildly in their sockets.”

Sentence of the Day: The Magician King, p. 6

My lovelies! Finished reading The Janus Stone, Book 2 of the Ruth Galloway series, last night. It was kickass! Self plans to buy Book 3 and Book 4 when she gets to Belfast.

In the meantime, she’s started a new book, The Magician King. It’s Book Two of the Magicians Trilogy. The SyFy adaptation is pretty good.

Sentence of the Day:

Eliot was not shit at horseback riding.

The Magician King, p. 6

Unlikely Heroes: Still Chapter 26 of Washington’s Immortals

Francis Marion, aka Swamp Fox, “was an early pioneer of guerrilla warfare, leading the local militia in numerous quick, violent attacks on Loyalists and Redcoats. He was (unlike the character portrayed by Mel Gibson in The Patriot) “physically underwhelming: a frail, stubby fifty-year-old, hobbled by deformed knees and ankles.”

The British sent one of their most ruthless fighters after him, Banastre Tarleton, famous for what was known as “Tarleton’s quarter” — after a small force in South Carolina surrendered, Tarleton failed to honor the white flag (he claimed he didn’t see it because he was thrown from his horse) and slaughtered the surrendering men. “It was Tarleton who gave Marion his nickname: after pursuing the Patriot through twenty-six miles of Carolina swampland,” Tarleton was forced to give up the chase.

First Poetry Friday of 2022: A Hunt!

Sir Gawain is feted by a Lord who is very generous with his table. There is much revelry, much laughter, the whole night long. Then, at break of dawn, mass (!), followed by a hunt.

The stags of the herd with their high-branched heads
and the broad-horned bucks were allowed to pass by,
for the lord of the land had laid down a law
that man should not maim the male in close season.
But the hinds were halted with hollers and whoops
and the din drove the does to sprint for the dells.
Then the eye can see that the air is all arrows:
all across the forest they flashed and flickered,
biting through hides with their broad heads.

To be shot by arrows is a particularly gruesome way to die, which self grew to appreciate after watching The Revenant. A forest ambush — the arrowheads were so substantial that self felt ill whenever one entered a human target.

While the lord is at the hunt, the lady of the house attempts to seduce Gawain. But even though she has bolted the door to his chambers, and has him pinned to the bed, he grants her no more than a kiss. In the movie, the lady of the house is played by Alicia Vikander. Self remembers sitting in the theater and being very confused.

Next, a scene of the gutting of the deer, which thank the lord was not in the movie (An excerpt: “Next they lopped off the legs and peeled back the pelt/and hooked out the bowels through the broken belly”). It seems to go on forever, every part of the deer is described, including the offal.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Simon Armitage’s SIR GAWAIN and the GREEN KNIGHT

What we know about the original:

  • It was “probably written around 1400.” It was recorded as being in the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, who also owned the Lindisfarne Gospels “and the only existing manuscript of Beowulf . . . but it did not come to light again until Queen Victoria was on the throne.”
  • Its official name is Cotton Nero A.x., and it sits (of course) in the British Library “under conditions of high security and controlled humidity.”
  • It was written down by “a jobbing scribe,” probably not the author.
  • A line from the manuscript: “Forthi, iwysse, bi yowre wylle, wende mi behoves.” (This was what medieval English sounded like! It has almost no similarity to modern English)

Self hopes she will actually be able to stick with this translation, all the way to the end. She has never read Sir Gawain in verse form. Verse (as opposed to poetry) isn’t really her thing. That said, she did read Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey, and loved it. And she loves the story of Sir Gawain. Earlier this year she saw The Green Knight, supposedly based on this translation, which struck her as mysterious and strange. Which is what led her here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Expanse, S6: It Begins

The Expanse — book and series — sustained self all through last year.

The first episode of the final season — Season 6 — just dropped on Amazon Prime.

And oh, what a beauty. What self loves so much about the series is that the quiet scenes are given as much weight as the action scenes. And, goes without saying, the gorgeousness of Chrisjen, Holden, Naomi, Amos, Drummer, Frankie, Marco, Filip and ‘Peaches’!

October Squares Challenge: Past-Squares

There are many ways to interpret this month’s Squares Challenge, Past-Squares. Self will confine herself to just one interpretation, this whole month of October:

  • Have fun with the word ‘past’ by sharing squares of history and heritage, and that includes past holidays!

Summer is over, but Cal Shakes came back with a vengeance, staging an adaptation of The Winter’s Tale that quite took self’s breath away. She went to see it three separate times in September: two Sunday matinees, and one Saturday night performance. The final performance is tomorrow night. WAAAAH! September moved by too quickly.

See you next year, Bruns Amphitheatre!

Quotes of the Day: The Winter’s Tale

“Go rot! Dost thou think I am so muddy?” — Leontes, The Winter’s Tale

Self grew to love Shakespeare only in middle age, and that was entirely because of Cal Shakes, which is in self’s humble opinion the Bay Area’s best theater company. Of course, it didn’t hurt that her first Cal Shakes play was Romeo and Juliet, where Romeo was played by ADAM SCOTT.

Since then, Cal Shakes has become firmly fixed as a rite of summer. Last year they were forced to cancel their entire season and lay off two-thirds of their full-time staff. This year, they came back with one play, The Winter’s Tale.

As soon as it was announced, self e-mailed son. She couldn’t believe it when he said right off that he would pass. Pass? How could he? He practically grew up with Cal Shakes! She used to bring carloads of his friends here! Of course, they’re all married now, but still!

She ended up seeing it with a friend, while it was still in previews. Before seeing it Sept. 12, self had never read the play, didn’t know anything about the play, would probably have gone through the rest of her life not giving a hoot about the play. Then, she saw it. Ummm. She sat stupefieadd and amazed for three hours. How stupefied and amazed? Exactly one week later she was back, by herself. By then, she’d already begun reading a hefty novel called The Slaughterman’s Daughter. She lugged it along, and remained in her seat through intermission, reading.

What’s really good about seeing a play alone is: you can eavesdrop. The person to her left (separated by two seats) was a woman perhaps a decade older than self, who’d come alone, and was wearing the cutest gold sandals. To her right was a family with teen-age girls, who were at Bruns for the first time, probably just to see what all the fuss was all about.

The parents were sitting immediately to self’s right, the daughters several rows behind. At intermission, the mother went to check on the girls. When she came back, the girls were trailing her. The mother told her husband:

“You know what, I just realized everyone thinks the King is an idiot.”

Daughter: “That’s cause he IS.”

Onward!

Self could remember so many more lines, after watching The Winter’s Tale a second time:

“Good Queen, my Lord. GOOD Queen.”

“Gross hag!”

“Oh! She is warm!”

But her favorite line is the last: Hermione tells a repentant Leontes, “Let’s from this place.” And with that, the play ends. If anyone had told self a week ago that she would end up shipping Hermione/Leontes, she would have said, Get out!

This adaptation of The Winter’s Tale was by Cal Shakes Director Eric Ting and Resident Dramaturg Philippa Kelly. Kudos.

Her love for Cal Shakes is undiminished.

Stay tuned.

April 18 BRIGHT SQUARES

For today’s BRIGHT SQUARES Challenge, self took pictures at the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento! Which is just as fabulous as she remembered it being, all those years ago (Then, she was lucky enough to catch a Norman Rockwell retrospective)

(Left to Right):

  • Dale Chihuly (almost identical to the one that hangs in the lobby of London’s V & A)
  • Portrait of the playwright, screenwriter and diarist Christopher Isherwood, by Don Bachardy, American (born 1934). Isherwood wrote the 1964 novel A Simple Man; the movie adaptation won Colin Firth an Oscar.
  • Pacific Ocean, a painting by Jennifer Bartlett, American (born 1941)

What a great museum. Self is so happy she returned to Sacramento for this brief visit. If only the café had been open, she’d happily have lingered the whole day.

For lunch, she stopped at this small pop-up on 16th. The metal chairs had been baking in the sun, which she did not think mattered until she actually sat down. A lady who was sitting at the same table smirked and said, “That’s why I avoided sitting on those.” I took a chair that was sitting in the shade, a bit closer to the lady, and she immediately said, “I’ve had my two shots, don’t worry.”

The lady also told self that there was a “Chinse supermarket” not half a block from where we were sitting, and self got very excited at the thought of loading up on goodies for back home.

In addition to tacos, the pop-up also sold, somewhat improbably, mac’n cheese, and since it’s been forever since she’s had mac’n cheese, she decided to try it. It was good!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New Photo Challenge: Share Your Desktop

Playing along with Share Your Desktop — March 2021

For the last few months, self’s desktop has been what might or might not be a still from the great TV series The Expanse (based on the nine-book series by James S. A. Corey — Corey is actually the pen-name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). If you haven’t watched, you are missing something. The sixth — and final — season is filming now in Toronto. Air date (on Amazon Prime) TBA.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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