Legend of the Jade Dragon by Yasmine Galenorn
--twee and indefinably annoying.
Treason by the Book, by Jonathan Spence
--fascinating and appalling by turns. Emperor Yongzheng was clearly a man who never slept but spent fourteen hours a day reading reports from all over his huge empire. Amazing also that in that huge empire, if you wanted to track down a man who passed through a village two years ago, you *could*. My guess is that the same would have been impossible in tiny 18th century England.
Koori no Mamono 5, 10 & 11
--still fun, though it says something that I can skip four voumes and still be on top of the action, aside from the backstory of Rapunzel and uhh Built. Which is recapped anyway in 12 I think.
Oh well, now there-- circumspice.
The old wisdom that I can never quite follow is 'The story doesn't have to be perfect. The story has to be finished.' Prompts are marvellous for promoting that: to have it finished, and finished within a certain 24 hour period, is the essence of the thing. Perfection being next-door to impossible under those circs, the nagging need for perfection- hell, the need for depth or even semi-respectability- must be jettisoned. So there was a kind of giddy freedom to doing these. I haven't written this much this fast since first discovering dragons or getting into Saiyuuki, and I wouldn't have written it for Woxin without the outside impetus of someone else's prompts.
I think it's partly the arbitrariness of the 31_days set up that did it. Some stranger assembled the quotes off their own bat, with no reference to the series I was watching. They just happened to apply so well to so much of it. The full swell of Marlowe's sailing verse matches the Woxin visuals so splendidly-- not to mention that he too deals with kings and courtiers and conquerors
Equally, short fics or omniscient narrator observations allow me to comment on the series in something other than essay style. This is amusing but also, ultimately, unsatisfying. I do want to write *stories* and am still hampered by the basic problem of not knowing how these people talk. Looking at the Chinese subtitles helps a little, a very little, but I'm still confined to writing English that seems to fit the tone of voice and the facial expressions. Which is.. mhh. Annoying. Especially as I get past 20 in my rewatch and the plot goes off more and more from where I want the plot to go, diverging (and going wrong) at the point where Fu Chai says (as per subtitles) What did you think of the battle? and Gou Jian says I lost; I lost because it was the will of Heaven and Fu Chai says, No, what did you think of the *battle*? Why did you tell your troops to retreat here, didn't you foresee that I'd surround you there? and Gou Jian says No, you were supposed to have brought the men from the navy up, you took a huge risk doing what you did, and Fu Chai says Yes, precisely, me I thought *you'd* see through it and cut us off there; and the two spend the next hour rehashing troop movements. Which I can't write because it didn't happen and because I still don't know what Fu Chai's tactics were. (If anyone's reading the novels and the novels say, do please tell me.)
However, there's still rewatches, and rewatches of rewatches, and realizing why live action fen never stop talking about what this quirking lip or that widened eye might mean. The human face does so much more than anime can make it do; is why anime is so much simpler a way of being a fan. And Gou Jian asks Fu Chai if he'll keep the terms of the treaty, one term of which is that he won't kill Gou Jian. Of course, says Fu Chai, it's all written out fair and square; and then when the troops bay for blood, immediately says Do you know how I'm going to kill you? Does Gou Jian see that as having gambled on Fu Chai's trustworthiness and lost, or does he realize it's a legalistic 'I won't kill you myself, I'll make you kill yourself' or did he always expect not to walk out of Yue's Great Hall alive but thought it worth it to preserve his people?
And other such matters in the unending examination of what a couple of actors can do when they talk to each other. (Now, Fan Li wordlessly leaving Wen Zhong when the latter says 'Surely even guest officials should not disregard the welfare of the country just to save their skins!'-- stories could be written about those few silent seconds as well.)
(Have been looking at maps. What the hell was Fu Chai going to do with a navy anyway? Sail it around and attack Yue's coastline? The other thing is, it looks like there's nothing but mountains between Yue and Wu. Why are they natural enemies? It looks to me like Yue should have turned its sights on the states to the south-west of it, and Wu to the north. Those guys across the pass? Why bother with them?)