FILM REVIEW: SPHERE

I watched a film that was based on Michael Crichton’s, Sphere. What I found intriguing about the Sphere was its ability to grant reality warping powers to those who come in contact with it. For most of the movie, the characters managed to manifest their darkest fears and subconscious thoughts. I would love the power to make whatever I imagine real, but I would prefer to be able to manifest my conscious thoughts because I would have more control. If my subconscious thoughts manifested, I would have no control and it would have world-ending consequences.

A PREHISTORIC PANDEMIC

As mentioned in my previous post, I intend to make the reverse-engineered dinosaurs in my dinosaur series highly contagious. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, I have been acquiring ample inspiration of how society would react to a strong enough outbreak. Like I said, my fictional dinosaurs will not be carrying a virus. Instead, they will be carrying another biological component that can change the world in ways we can’t even imagine. Even if you survive a dinosaur attack, one drop of their blood or saliva is all it takes. This mysterious biological component has the potential to cause the biggest mass extinction since the Permian mass extinction. In the first book, this biological component is introduced, but is contained. In the second book, the possibility exists that it could find a way out into the wider world. Each consecutive volume in the series will highlight how this biological component will affect the world around it.

A SORCERER’S APPRENTICE

One of the more intriguing aspects of fantasy is the relationship between a sorcerer and his apprentice. Just as a king need an heir to inherit their throne, a sorcerer needs an apprentice to inherit their knowledge and power. In future volumes of my fantasy series, I am thinking of depicting a master/apprentice relationship between two characters. To add complexity to their relationship, these two characters will be related and the sorcerer will be mute. So, how can a master-apprentice relationship function when the teacher and student are related while the teacher is a mute? This story idea will take place a century into the Magnus Dynasty’s reign over the Gradaian Empire, which will be when the Druid population recovers and magic becomes more commonplace. The apprentice will be a High Prince from House Magnus while the master will be a descendant of a bastard from House Magnus. Throughout their time together, these two go on a pilgrimage across the empire, having countless adventures and meeting interesting people along the way. It will be like the Dunk and Egg stories from Game of Thrones except it revolves around sorcerers instead of knights. It will be an intriguing project to work with and I will keep you updated on any developments.

THE SWISS GUARD

For some time, I have been searching for authentic inspiration for an elite personal guard for the Imperial Dynasty in my third fantasy book. At first, I thought of basing it on the Roman Praetorian Guard, but I think I will turn my attention to the Swiss Guard, the Pope’s personal guards. Last night, I watched a documentary that talked about how 189 members of the Swiss Guard defended the Pope from an invasion force of 20,000 mercenaries. Also, their armor and weapons would be more on the same level of my fantasy world than those of the Praetorian Guard. I think I will base my guards’ armor and weapons on the Swiss Guard, but with a number of modifications to make them stand out more. Just as the Swiss Guard are fanatically loyal to the Pope, my imperial guards will be fanatically loyal to the Imperial Dynasty in my fantasy series.

A PRIVATE ARMY

I have decided to create a unique army in my third fantasy book. Last night, I watched a historical documentary that talked about the mercenary army known as the White Company and their commander, Sir John Hawkwood. They were called the White Company because they all wore white surcoats over their armor. The White Company were battle-hardened veterans of the Hundred Years War and participated in the feuding wars of the Italian city states. The White Company were known to utilize guerrilla and psychological warfare to devastating effect.

I believe that the White Company was the inspiration for the Golden Company in Game of Thrones. Like the Golden Company, the Sir John Hawkwood and his men never broke a contract even when bribed. Both the White Company and Golden Company were the largest and most effective mercenary companies in their respective universes.

The sense of loyalty that the White Company and Golden Company had towards their clients reminds me of the Mandalorians from Star Wars. Both in Legends and Canon, the Mandalorians were formidable part-time mercenaries yet they had a rugged sense of honor. The most prominent example of the Mandalorians’ sense of honor revolves around their ruler, who holds the title of Mandalore. In times of war, when the Mandalore calls, all Mandalorians from across the galaxy would answer.

This loyalty to a single ruler reminds me the Army of the Dead from The Lord of the Rings. Long ago, when these warriors were alive, they swore an oath to the King of Gondor to come to his aid and fight. However, they broke their oath when the King of Gondor called and fled into the mountain from whence they came. As punishment for breaking their oath, these warriors were cursed to never rest until they fulfilled their oath. These damned souls were able to break their curse when Isildur’s Heir, Aragorn Elessar. When this undead army joined Aragorn, they were able to turn the tide during the Battle of Pelennor Field, resulting in Gondor’s salvation.

For my third fantasy book, I am planning to create several armies of mercenaries who fight for coin yet are loyal to a particular individual. When that anonymous individual calls, these various mercenary companies gather to form one massive private army. Compared to normal mercenaries, these men would possess a certain balance between greed and loyalty. I will be drawing inspiration from the White Company, the Golden Company, the Mandalorians, and Army of the Dead.

FROM KING TO FUGITIVE

I watched an intriguing documentary that talked about the Anglo-Saxon king of England, Alfred the Great, and his battles against Viking invaders. At some point during his war with the Vikings, the Alfred and his army were celebrating Christmas in his royal palace. Meanwhile, the Vikings surrounded the palace and ambushed Alfred and his men. Most of Alfred’s army was slaughtered and his palace was taken over, but Alfred himself barely managed to escape with a hundred members of his personal guard. Stripped of his seat of power, control over his kingdom, and most of his army, Alfred turned from a king to a fugitive. For four months, Alfred and his followers were hunted across Wessex by the occupying Vikings. Throughout that time, Alfred waged a guerrilla warfare campaign against the Vikings, sending a message to his subjects that he was still a viable king. Thanks to his efforts in his guerrilla campaign, Alfred was able to raise a new army of 3,000 men. With his fresh troops, Alfred was able to turn the tide in his favor and eventually regain control over his kingdom. During the war against invaders in my third fantasy book, my main character will be in a similar situation as Alfred the Great where he is an emperor who becomes a fugitive.

INSPIRATION: BATTLE OF MARATHON

During the 5th century BC, Greece and Persia were at war with one another with Persia attempting to conquer Greece. One of the main turning points of the war was the Battle of Marathon, which was when the Persian armies were defeated by the Greek army and driven out of Greece for a decade. The battle unfolded as the Persian army tried gaining a foothold on the Greek mainland. Then they were ambushed by the Greek army and forced back into the sea. Since the Gradaian Empire will be invaded by an army from the sea, I am thinking of drawing inspiration for one of the third fantasy book’s battles from the Battle of Marathon.

A NEW EMPIRE

I have made an executive decision with my fantasy series. I decided to introduce three new kingdoms to my fantasy world. In terms of armor and weapons, these kingdoms will be similar to 13th century Ireland, England, and Scotland. In terms of culture, they will be similar to Dark Ages Scandinavia. When these kingdoms come in contact with the main empire, it will be like when 9th century England was raided and invaded by Vikings. While the empire has an advantage with its dragons, these new kingdoms will have more sorcerers. Based on these factors, this conflict will be even with one side having an equal chance to win over the other.

MAGA VS POLICE

I found this video that shows an extremist group known as the Proud Boys clashing with police in Salem, Oregon. Like many Trump supporters, the Proud Boys were not happy about Trump losing the 2020 election so they arranged a rally in Salem. However, because they were armed and Trump’s seditious rhetoric was firing up the Proud Boys, the police were deployed to disperse the crowd.

I am glad that these extremists were quelled and put back in their box. They and groups like them are threatening to destroy our democracy. We have come so close to a dictatorship, but prevented that by beating Trump in the election. However, we still have to deal with his chaotic legacy, which will plague us for years to come.

The FBI and other law-enforcement agencies predicted that right-wing extremists like the Proud Boys would become a serious threat to the country if they were not dealt with. Examples include Kyle Rittenhouse murdering two people during the Kenosha protests and the 2020 boogaloo killings. These are only a few of many examples of right-wing terrorism that has been committed in just the past year. The probability is high that more examples will continue unless these extremists are put back in their box.

This development was pretty much inevitable regardless of the election outcome. If Trump won, they would feel emboldened. If Trump lost, they would feel cheated. Clearly, what we are experiencing throughout the country is the latter. These groups desperately need to be broken out of their “Trump is God” mentality before they cause more damage. One of Joe Biden’s main challenges will be finding a way to put the genie back in the bottle.