No running over rooftops or an excessive amount of mystic death touch stuff. Hundred Eyes, the blind swordsman who trains Marco Polo is the stereotypical taciturn warrior with wise sayings and disapproving of his white charge. But Hundred Eyes is done so well with a quiet seriousness and a sense of humor.
Every kung-fu epic needs a wise old sifu who can break your arm with his little finger. I was very proud to have identified his style as resembling Tai chi chuan from his first movements. For the most part.
Or at least attempting to play with them. There are tropes a-plenty and those play out as expected, but I loved how they were executed. A prime example is the character of Kublai himself. He cares about his son and his sense of strength and honor is nuanced. Despicable in every way. His kung-fu even looks despicable — mantis-style! Everything he does seem to be done on his own. The rendering of Marco Polo as a fresh-faced traveler from the West who seems to have a way with words was a good choice.
When he attempts to kiss her, she laughs at him, wrestles him to the ground and has her way with him. The device allows him to be an observer of larger events — much like the real life Marco Polo. Overall, I got the sense that Marco Polo was humble. He was there to learn. OMG, there was so much gratuitous nudity and harem sexing. It was like the show was saying, see! Watch us, we have boobies.
It seemed like a shortcut to show this exotic land with these outlandish sexual practices and to get some cheap thrills from lesbian sex and harem scenes.
The Elenium: The Diamond Throne, The Ruby Knight, The Sapphire Rose
And it seemed so weak when you see how much was put into developing the characters in their own right, especially the women, who were more than their sexuality. Even Mei Lin, who apparently is a sexual goddess, is a lot more complex in her characterization than that.
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This was actually my first and only true eyeroll. Marco Polo at the 11th hour presents the Khan with the trebuchet. Except for the trebuchet was developed in China and the Middle East and very well-known and commonly used in the Song Dynasty. Note: I was informed by Twitterer CarlZha that Marco Polo did claim in his journals to have developed the counterweight trebuchet used in the siege of Xiangyang, but that claim has been completely debunked. So the real Marco Polo as well as this show had a bit of white savior complex.
This was especially irksome because the trebuchet was developed by Middle Eastern engineers and there was a scene where the previously naive Marco Polo is now schooling a Muslim engineer on how to improve an invention that he has more practical knowledge of and pretty much invented—Marco Polo is a MERCHANT, folks! And a pretty young and inexperienced one, at that.
Book: Magic's Pawn
But the finale — the finale was SO good, that I promptly forgot the trebuchet incident and just say back and grinned the entire time. And my little pattering heart grew three sizes for Marco Polo. I love these characters. I love the way it looks. Front Matter Pages Jai Santoshi Maa Revisited:.
Orpheus on Screen:. Between Time and Eternity:. The Art of Presence:.
Pentecostalism, Prosperity, and Popular Cinema in Ghana. The Islamic Apocalypse. They cure Ehlana. Off to Chyrellos to stop Annias being elected Archprelate. Then Wargun and Ehlana turn up and the siege is over. Ehlana and Sparhawk get married. They go to Zemoch with Bhelloim to kill Azash. It takes forever. They get to Zemoch. Kurik dies. Martel dies.
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Otha and Annias die. Azash dies. Lycheas dies. Arissa kills herself. They return to Cimmura. Danae happens. Eventually, Aphrael and everyone go on holidays and spring returns. For me, I have to admit I still thoroughly enjoyed reading them, with grins and tears throughout, and the comfy blanket feeling of an old favourite that still mostly holds up.
Although there were definitely a lot more grimaces at the rough patches than when I was younger! It really is a warm comfy blanket… with moth holes and a few scratchy bits… but a lot of love and memories holding it together. I might snipe at them, but I still love these books and rereading them has been thoroughly comforting.
The Ruby Knight (The Elenium, #2) by David Eddings
It also reminds me what I love about reading and writing in the first place. September 13, at pm UTC 11 Link to this comment. I think it works as a surprise, though as a teen I remember, at first, thinking I wanted something grander, perhaps. September 20, at pm UTC 11 Link to this comment. Actually, I rather like it. But now I like the way the fate of the world rested on such a small act of defiance.
Reluctant Reads - Ages 7+
October 16, at am UTC 11 Link to this comment. A bit like those small gestures of charity or empathy that Sparhawk sometimes makes. December 11, at pm UTC 11 Link to this comment. Late to the party, so sorry, and though I love these books can someone please explain how the all-powerful jewel can cure a deadly sickness but not barrenness? That bugs me so much! Your email address will not be published. Powered by WordPress and the Graphene Theme. Joanne Anderton Speculative fiction, non-fiction, children's books…anything with words.