It is a story of providence and truth. I remember going through this play about a decade ago and it was not as remarkable as it is now — for one, the added familiarity with the outside world allows me to see either a Proctor or Danworth in the people around us. Some have indeed made our hearts so cold as not to hear the voice of reason; especially when that voice speaks in different “languages” to which we are normally accustomed to. Continue reading “Review: The Crucible, Arthur Miller”→
It was with pleasure I noted during the opening scenes of this film that it is based on a book by Ryotaro Shiba, a true favourite of mine amongst writers. It was even better, therefore, that the movie jumped to a scene where the author narrated a story about the meeting of Ishida Mitsunari and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. These original scenes piqued my interest and turned this into a thrilling story which continued in a similar way. Continue reading “Review: Sekigahara (2017)”→
Absolutely loved it — but to be clear, I haven’t seen it but just listened to it. There is so much to enjoy in the rich world it creates though of course some ahistorical notes also creep in. I feel, however, that any deviations from the truth as we know it are thoroughly warranted by the virtue of making another Founding Father accessible to the modern public. Continue reading “Review: Hamilton the Musical”→
This was a weird one: a book dedicated to explaining why we sent a certain selection of our combined arts into space instead of other options. While I wholeheartedly stand beside the reason for which the people described within went through these actions, I found that aside some anecdotal stories (such as that of the Georgian evaluating traditional music as well as the numerous accounts of Beethoven) the book itself did not compel me to learn more. Continue reading “Review: Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record, Carl Sagan”→
Many painters are unknown, especially to people not familiar with the medium or indeed even to people familiar with the medium but who have no particular experience of a style or school. Ivan Aivazovsky is one such name — was one such name for me — even though his paintings depict seascapes most beautiful. Continue reading “Ivan Aivazovsky’s Seascapes”→
This was a delightful history, a lot more complex than I would have expected from my first impressions. There were some good inconsistencies that get promoted quite often (such as “The Unready”) which this series also delightfully corrected. Furthermore, the show included a number of illustrative stories of the time (such as the dialogue between Edward I and Roger Bigod on each others’ rights). Continue reading “Review: This Sceptred Isle, Collection 1, Christopher Lee”→
If we were looking for a new bible to guide us in the 21st century, this book could very well suffice: two of the main principles are, as I would write them, see the unobserved and remember the forgotten. The third, crowning, one would add that limit of our language (vocabulary) is also the extent of the accuracy of our thoughts.
I came upon this book while reading ‘The Wall’, a story about the construction and general history of Hadrian’s Wall. It mentioned this Roman game in the sense that records in the area allowed extrapolating that soldiers on-duty (off-duty in the daily sense, one would think) were keen players. Continue reading “Ludus latrunculorum”→
‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is one of those mid-00’s films which for many people, I am sure, has achieved some sort of an iconic status. Mind, it is not terribly accurate historically or in any other way really, but it’s a very interesting view into religion and conflict in a time where the combination of the two is far too common.
I have known the basic version for a long time, and it often felt to me that something was missing. I have now watched the Director’s Cut, and that, by everything, is incomparably better than the standard one.
In the normal version, there are so many topics which come out of nothing and have no background, starting with the very first scene where Godefroy comes to the French village. In the extended version, the extra information helps create a story. We got a beginning and an ending, both of which were cut short by the shortened cinematic edition. The scene where Ibelin is bequeathed is especially rewarding for the people who thought Balian and Sibylla just rode off into the sunset (literally, here, though, as that’s where the Levant is).
Lastly, the music is perfect. The themes centred around Ibelin are my favourite, with the Arabic lyrics making this song absolutely perfect:
What I have not yet mentioned is the original topic. Both Saladin and Balian are deep in thought in this film about the underlying causes of their warfare. Baldwin IV comes across as a kindly and good king as does Saladin. Guy de Lusignan is a malicious fool, and Reynald de Chatillion is a warmongering tool. One of Saladin’s lieutenant’s is also in the warmongering camp, but in general the Muslim side looks a bit more peaceful. The Templars are merely an extension of Guy’s hand, and the Hospitallers are represented by someone who both a) takes orders from others in the order, b) travels on his own volition, and c) eats with the King of Jerusalem. These three feel slightly contradictory and I wish more had been thought about making the Hospitaller sensible.
I have been driven away from the topic again. I like the quiet pondering of morality versus victory, of the peacefulness and the righteousness of religion. I find it very calming that even though the film depicts the Crusades, it can also depict religious peace between various sects. Maybe some hope is still out there.
Bird’s Opening leading to Stonewall Attack is one of my favourite chess openings these days. Admittedly, all of my friends know this now and are well aware to defend against it (and how to defend against it), but I like it nevertheless. The emphasis is on such a strong offensive defensive position the opponent really has no good moves left. Continue reading “Stonewall Defense”→