INSPIRATION: HISTORY

After delving into my historical research, I have come to realize that history is a goldmine of inspiration when it comes to creating a story. When I read and listen about the everyday life of the period, I discover that there is virtually unlimited ways you can reinvent your storyline if you are focused on writing a fantasy or historical fiction piece. When I read and listen about the reigns of monarchs, I can combine elements of various examples into monarchs of my own design. When I read and listen about medieval battles, I can splice certain details of numerous skirmishes to invent my own. Who knows? Maybe when I finish my fantasy project I may turn my attention to another time period for future projects. I look forward to exploring the possibilities that this source of inspiration can provide.

KING REVIEW: RICHARD III

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Among the many kings and queens I researched was Richard III of the House of York. Richard III was easily one of the most controversial kings I researched due to the fact that he imprisoned his nephews in the Tower of London and supposedly ordered their executions. Whether Richard ordered his nephews deaths to remove competition to the throne or if one of the nobles wanted him on the throne to improve their status is unknown. This made Richard one of the chief suspects in one of the most infamous murder mysteries in English history. On the other hand, this story may have been the product of Tudor propaganda in order to make Richard more reviled than he really was. As history has proven countless times, there is no single truth; there are truths! There is the truth that we were told from the history books and then there is the whole truth about the man himself, which may never come to light.

Ultimately, Richard III only reigned for two measly years until he was slain and overthrown in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last English king to die on the battlefield. After the battle, Richard’s body was stripped naked, tied to a donkey and paraded through London, and finally dumped into a river. Amazingly, Richard’s remains were discovered under a car park four years ago. He was identified through DNA testing with descendants of his sister, Anne of York. Last year, Richard was finally given a proper burial at Leicester Cathedral after five hundred years rotting in the ground without a tomb.

Overall, Richard III is one of the most mysterious and controversial kings I researched because his guilt of his nephews’ deaths is ambiguous. He is going to be one king I intend to draw inspiration from for my fantasy project along with Henry VII.

KING REVIEW: HENRY VII

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After doing so much research about the English monarchy, I would like to share some of the information I have acquired. This post will address Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor Dynasty. Based on what I have learned, Henry VII is the ultimate underdog because he started out as a refugee and fugitive with only a small amount of royal blood in his veins. Henry was born from an illegitimate branch of House Lancaster and had the most unlikely pedigree to be king. He had no prior experience to governing a country, but he still gambled everything to win the crown of England.

He summoned an army and landed in Wales before facing Richard III of the House of York in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry’s victory was only assured by the fateful intervention of House Stanley. However, winning the English crown was only the easy part. The hard part was holding onto the English crown. In order to unite a divided England and end the feud between Lancaster and York, Henry married Elizabeth of York. Also, to consolidate the future of his dynasty, Henry and Elizabeth had several children including Arthur, Henry VIII, and Margaret.

Still, despite Henry’s claim to the throne, he had to quell several Yorkist factions who sought the crown for themselves. In order to keep both his allies and enemies in line, Henry formed an army of spies, bankers, and lawyers. The spies posed as either servants in his suspected enemies’ homes or priests when they go to church to confess. The bankers and lawyers, which included silver-tongued individuals such as Edmund Dudley, extorted the populace so that defying the king would be both unthinkable and unaffordable. As a result of years of extortion, Henry VII left his son Henry VIII with a full treasury of over 1.25 million pounds.

Sadly, because his claim to the throne was weak due to him coming from an illegitimate bloodline and having a small amount of royal blood, Henry VII was obsessed with controlling his kingdom. He kept to himself inside of his privy chamber, where only a hand full of individuals were allowed to enter. After his wife and eldest son died, Henry was so desperate to conserve the Tudors’ future that he kept his son Henry VIII in isolation until he came of age. Ultimately, Henry VII ruled England for twenty four years. In the end, even though Henry VII succeeded in securing his dynasty, his success was short-lived because the Tudor name ended with his granddaughter Elizabeth I, resulting in the Tudor dynasty ruling England for a mere century.

Overall, I would say that Henry VII’s reign was both oppressive and frightening to his citizens. In the end though, he did what was necessary to consolidate his family’s future as the monarchs of England. The odds were stacked against him even after he won the throne. It would be fair to say that Henry VII was the ultimate gambler and underdog because he risked everything he had to leave his mark on history. His legacy gave us the most famous and notorious dynasty in the history of England: The Tudors.

FILM REVIEW: DOCTOR STRANGE

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I just got out of watching Doctor Strange and it had exceeded my expectations as a superhero movie. They picked the right man to be the good doctor when they casted Benedict Cumberbatch because his acting was phenomenal and he looked just like Doctor Strange in the comics. It was also fun to see that Doctor Strange had an ego that rivaled Tony Stark’s. The way the Mirror Dimension warped reality reminded me of the film Inception. It was a good old-fashioned tale of good versus evil and about either following the rules or breaking them. Also, the fifth Infinity Stone has been revealed, which means only one Infinity Stone has yet to reveal itself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the Soul Stone. With Thanos hunting the Infinity Stones himself, I have a grim feeling that he will come into conflict with Doctor Strange in the future for possession of this Infinity Stone. I would recommend this film to anyone who loves magic and Benedict Cumberbatch. “The Doctor will see you now.”

Also, on the side, if you watch the scene in the Hong Kong Sanctum where the sorcerers arm themselves for battle, you will notice another iconic Marvel weapon: THE STAFF OF ONE!!! This was a clear reference to the Runaways comics and a possible hint that Marvel is going to make an adaptation of the Runaways in the future. I got completely giddy when I saw the Staff of One because it was the weapon of choice of Nico Minoru, unofficial leader of the Runaways. However, the woman who wielded it in Doctor Strange was too old to be Nico so it is likely that she was Nico’s mother Tina, who was a member of the supervillain syndicate The Pride. I hope they come through with a Runaways adaptation. Fingers crossed!

JON SNOW: THE PRINCE THAT WAS PROMISED

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It has been speculated that Jon Snow is The Prince That Was Promised, the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, the legendary warrior who defeated the White Walkers during the Long Night. Some say that the Prince would be born under a bleeding star. If we look at this scene from the finale of Season 6, we can see the sword Dawn (which has a star etched on its pommel) leaning against a bed full of blood-stained sheets. This is a VERY conspicuous hint that Jon Snow is the Prince! However, in order to defeat the White Walkers the first time, Azor Ahai had to sacrifice his wife in order to gain access to the true power of his sword, Lightbringer. If Jon Snow is the Prince, I think I know who he has to sacrifice in order to defeat the White Walkers. If he forms a political marriage with his aunt Daenerys Targaryen, he may need to sacrifice her in order to gain control over her dragons, which would lead to him defeating the Night King for good. After leading the people of Westeros back into the light, I bet Jon will finally become king of the Iron Throne, but the new Long Night will have exterminated all of his relatives both in House Stark and House Targaryen. This would be a bitter-sweet ending as he would have to rule Westeros and rebuild the ruined world . . . alone.

WRITING UPDATE: VOLUME FOUR (CHAPTER 10)

I have reached the tenth chapter of the fourth and final volume of my main superhero series and the pieces of the chessboard are coming into place. The Young Guardians are being introduced to the army who will fight alongside them in their ultimate battle. I have always been fascinated with the idea of armies of superhumans clashing with one another. You all saw in Captain America: Civil War how much damage a dozen superhumans could cause while fighting each other. Imagine how much more damage hundreds of thousands of superhumans would cause if they battled. This is easily going to be the biggest battle I have ever written in my writing career and I have spent a great deal of time planning it. It is satisfactory to see that battle finally taking shape after all of these years.

HOUSE MORMONT

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Of all of the Northern Houses in Game of Thrones, the bears of House Mormont always had Jon Snow’s back. Jeor Mormont had Jon Snow’s back when he was in the Night’s Watch and now Lyanna Mormont has Jon Snow’s back as he serves as King in the North. Even though Lyanna Mormont is just a ten year old kid, she managed to reunite the North back under Stark rule and was bold enough to call out the other Northern lords for their cowardice and disloyalty. Some people listen to the wolf, but everyone listens to the bear! I look forward to seeing how much more support Lyanna Mormont will give Jon Snow next season.

GAME OF THRONES: SECOND BATTLE OF BLACKWATER

I had a fun thought about when Daenerys Targaryen takes King’s Landing next season on Game of Thrones. If her whole fleet goes for King’s Landing, I hope Grey Worm and his Unsullied are the first to land and do something similar in this scene from the film Troy. That would be fun to see Grey Worm take King’s Landing’s harbor with just 50 men as Lannister soldiers and Gold Cloaks fall by their blades. I hope we get to see it next season. Fingers crossed!

GAME OF THRONES: LONGCLAW

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I came to a realization about Jon Snow’s Valyrian Steel sword, Longclaw. In the past, House Stark and House Targaryen had their own ancestral Valyrian Steel swords: Blackfyre and Dark Sister for House Targaryen and Ice for House Stark. Because Jon Snow is now a king who possesses blood from both Houses, Longclaw has become the new Valyrian Steel sword for both House Stark and House Targaryen. Who knows? If and when Jon Snow finds out about his Targaryen heritage, he might reject both the Stark and Targaryen names and found his own noble House and Longclaw will become that House’s Valyrian Steel sword. Maybe in acknowledgement of both sides of his heritage, Jon could add Stark and Targaryen features to the sword. He already has the dire wolf pommel so maybe he can add the Targaryen sigil to the sheathe. The possibilities are endless on this sword’s fate.

FILM REVIEW: HARDCORE HENRY

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Another science fiction film I saw recently was Hardcore Henry, which portrayed the point of view of a mute cyborg. I liked the fact that it resembled a first-person shooter video game. Also, it was amusing to see that even though the cyborg was mute and we could not see his face that he maintained a sense of humor and could still fight like a lion. In addition to cyborgs, this film provided psychic superhumans and an army of clones. If you love to see a film from the main character’s point of view as well as good old fashion science fiction, then this is the film for you.