Posts from the ‘Friday Fantastic’ Category

Friday Fast Forward Rewind

Herewith another selection of links to interesting fantasy-related articles I’ve read this week.

Friday Fantastic: Game of Thrones Parodies

For any fan of fantasy, the recent, highly acclaimed Game of Thrones series was the most exciting thing on TV for a long time. And with success come the piss-takes. Foolhardy Productions has a number of parodies up on YouTube. They are promising one video for each episode, but at the moment, they’ve completed spoofs of episodes 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 only (and strangely). Here’s Episode 1.

Friday Fantastic: Doraleous and Associates

Doraleous and Associates is a series of animations about a brave, noble warrior, Doraleous, and his less than totally competent associates – a kind-hearted, helium-voiced dwarf (Drak), a lascivious, drink-loving old wizard (Mirdon) and a mulleted, southern US-voiced and highly annoying elf archer (Neebs). There are also a couple of associate associates, the perpetually helmeted Sir Walken, and the taciturn, Stephen Frost lookalike barbarian, Broof. Doraleous is a veteran warrior, but the first episode sees him having just set up his mercenary company an beginning to look for noble causes to fight for.

Broof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stephen Frost

Much of the humour of the series comes from Doraleous’s being surrounded by idiots who don’t follow his orders (especially Neebs). For instance, when a village is threatened by the dastardly, Richard III-like King Calas (sounds like ‘callous’), Doraleous suggests a contest of champions, best warrior versus best warrior. Broof volunteers for the good guys, and is to fight Titanus (‘tight anus’) of the bad guys … at least until Neebs shoots Titanus in the head. The contest is reconfigured as second-best warrior versus second-best warrior. Doraleous puts himself forth as the good guys’ second best – except Neebs only hears second-best warrior (which he thinks means him) and, again, shoots the opponent dead. The two leaders then decide on a contest of the worst warriors. Two feeble, scrawny youngsters then fight it out, cry in terror as they bat their weapons at each other, until one finally wins.

Although clearly inspired by the idiocy and petty politics of roleplaying gamers and their characters and campaigns, there are no explicit RPG references (as there are in The Order of the Stick, for example). And, while there is much playing on fantasy tropes, the humour is accessible and likeable (although I’ve yet to put this to the ultimate test – my girlfriend).

Doraleous and Associates is one of the best fantasy comedies I’ve seen and I recommend it highly. It currently runs to 36 episodes – the first 24 comprising season one. It is created by Hank and Jed Movie Pictures and is hosted on The Escapist.

I can’t embed the video here so you’ll have to click here to take a look.

If you know of any other fantasy humour, please post a link below.

Friday Fantastic: Maps of Westeros by Other-in-Law

The above map of Westeros, the continent upon which most of the action in George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire takes place, was created by someone called Other-in-Law – apparently using only Microsoft Paint (the free, basic graphics program that comes with Windows).

Click here to see the massive full version – click on the image to zoom right in for all the juicy detail. More of Other-in-Law’s maps – of specific locations, and one of the whole world of ASOIAF – can be seen here.

Friday Fun: The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam is a list of 75 questions compiled by David J Parker to test whether your fantasy novel is a load of derivative rubbish. If you answer yes to any of the questions then it’s bad news for you. It begins:

  1. Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
  2. Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
  3. Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn’t know it?
  4. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
  5. Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
  6. How about one that will destroy it?
  7. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about “The One” who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
  8. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
  9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
  10. Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
Much as I love The Wheel of Time, question 33 is hilarious: ‘Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?’
Read the full list here.

‘The Temple of Truth’ – an extract from She

I recently finished reading H Rider Haggard’s She. This passage is from the end of a chapter towards the end of the book, ‘The Temple of Truth’, in which the protagonists, Holly and Leo travel to the ruins of Kôr with Ayesha, She-who-must-be-obeyed. I thought both the description and the sentiment of something fatal and unobtainable, yet endlessly sought after were quite arresting.

And there, in the centre of the inmost court, that might have been some fifty yards square, or a little more, we stood face to face with what is perhaps the grandest allegorical work of Art that the genius of her children has ever given to the world. For in the exact centre of the court, placed upon a thick square slab of rock, was a huge round ball of dark stone, some twenty feet in diameter, and standing on the ball was a colossal winged figure of a beauty so entrancing and divine that when I first gazed upon it, illuminated and shadowed as it was by the soft light of the moon, my breath stood still, and for an instant my heart ceased its beating.

The statue was hewn from marble so pure and white that even now, after all those ages, it shone as the moonbeams danced upon it, and its height, I should say, was a trifle over twenty feet. It was the winged figure of a woman of such marvellous loveliness and delicacy of form that the size seemed rather to add to than to detract from its so human and yet more spiritual beauty. She stood bending forward and poising herself upon her half-spread wings as though to preserve her balance as she leant. Her arms were outstretched like those of some woman about to embrace one she dearly loved, while her whole attitude gave an impression of the tenderest beseeching. Her perfect and most gracious form was naked save – here came the extraordinary thing – the face, which was thinly veiled, so that we could only trace the marking of her features. A gauzy veil was thrown round and about the head, and its two ends one fell down across her left breast, which was outlined beneath it, and one, now broken, streamed away upon the air behind her.

‘Who is she?’ I asked, as soon as I could take my eyes off the statue.

‘Canst thou not guess, O Holly?’ answered Ayesha. ‘Where then is thy imagination? It is Truth standing on the World, and calling to its children to unveil her face. See what is writ upon the pedestal. Without doubt it is taken from the book of the Scriptures of these men of Kôr,’ and she led the way to the foot of the statue, where an inscription of the usual Chinese-looking hieroglyphics was so deeply graven as to be still quite legible, at least to Ayesha. According to her translation it ran thus:

‘Is there no man that will draw my veil and look upon my face, for it is very fair? Unto him who draws my veil shall I be, and I will give him peace, and sweet children of knowledge and good works.’

And a voice cried, ‘Though all those who seek after thee desire thee, behold! Virgin art thou, and Virgin thou shalt go till Time be done. There is no man born of woman who may draw thy veil and live, nor shall be. By Death only can thy veil be drawn, O Truth!’

And Truth stretched out her arms and wept, because those who wooed her might not win her, nor look upon her face to face.

‘Thou seest,’ said Ayesha, when she had finished translating, ‘Truth was the Goddess of these people of old Kôr, and to her they built their shrines, and her they sought; knowing that they should never find, still they sought.’

‘And so,’ I added sadly, ‘do men seek to this very hour, but they find it not; and, as this Scripture saith, nor shall they; for in Death only is Truth found.’