MY ROYAL FAMILY

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After going through genealogical charts, I discovered something extraordinary. As you are aware, me, my mother, and everyone on my mother’s side of the family are descendants of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. Wonder who else are descendants of Robert the Bruce? The Stuart Dynasty, who ruled Scotland for a time before ruling England as well after the Tudors. After the Stuart Dynasty died out with Queen Anne, they were succeeded by the House of Hanover because their patriarch was Queen Anne’s second cousin. All of this means that not only is my mother’s side of the family related to Robert the Bruce, but we are also distant cousins to every English monarch and dynasty from the Stuarts to the Windsors! So, in other words, we are VERY distant relatives to the current Royal Family of Britain! Because of this, I have started to refer to each king, queen, prince, or princess from then to now as “Cousin”. We can thank Ancestor Robert for that because we all trace our descent to him. This is in stark contrast to my father’s side of the family, who are descended from Irish peasants and Viking raiders.

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BIBLICAL NAMES

I had an epiphany recently after going through several of the anime and manga I have experienced. Some of the monsters and villains are given Biblical names that would normally be considered benevolent. For example, in Neon Genesis Evangelion there were Kaiju-sized monsters that were called Angels. In Berserk there were unholy demons that were called Apostles. In One Punch Man, possibly the most powerful and dangerous villains were called Gods. Even though these creatures were given benevolent names, there was nothing beautiful or benevolent about them. I am thinking of going a similar route in my new superhero series since I am giving it an anime feel.

CHILD SOLDIERS

As I mentioned in some of my previous posts, my Viking ancestors performed a version of slavery known as Thralldom. Whenever Vikings went raiding and conquering, they would take captives to serve as their slaves or thralls. In some cases, captives were not taken as slaves. If the captive in question was a child, the Vikings would adopt them into their own families. Considering my father’s side of the family is largely Irish, it is possible our Irish ancestors were taken by our Viking ancestors either as thralls or as adopted war orphans. I am thinking of including a variation of thralldom in my spin-off fantasy series. When the invaders come, they will seize as many children they can get their hands on. Some will be used as hostages to ensure the loyalty of the freshly conquered barons, others will be adopted into the fold, and the rest will be trained into soldiers that would serve as cannon fodder.

THE GENOCIDE OF THANOS

After watching Avengers: Infinity War, I got a powerful sense of what the characters felt as they witnessed the aftermath of Thanos’s master plan. After activating the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos became omnipotent and wiped out half of all life in the entire universe. Soon after Thanos retreated, we watched as many of our favorite characters were turning to dust and how the survivors reacted.

With Thor, he came to realize that all of his efforts to kill Thanos and avenge his people were in vain and regrets not taking a head shot when he had the chance. With Captain America, we witnessed Bucky Barnes, who was his oldest and best friend since the Great Depression, vanish before his eyes. Considering how attached he was to Bucky, Cap must have felt as though a large chunk of his past and identity was ripped away from him. For the people of Wakanda, they watched helplessly as half of their countrymen disappeared, people they have known their entire lives. In particular, Okoye, captain of the Black Panther’s guard, watched as her beloved king turned to ash and there was nothing she could do to stop it. For Rocket Raccoon, he watched as Groot, who has been his most faithful friend and surrogate son, fade away in front of him. With War Machine, he called out to Falcon, unaware that his friend was already gone. With Scarlet Witch, she probably welcomed her fate because the man she loved, Vision, was gone along with her reason for living.

In the other side of the galaxy, Tony Stark and Nebula watched as their comrades disintegrate before them. Mantis, who as innocent as she was compassionate, died never to bond with anyone again. Drax, who was cheated of his chance to avenge his family, never got to see that vengeance fulfilled. Star-Lord, not only lost the woman he loved but lost his life on the same day. Doctor Strange clearly knew this was the only way they would defeat Thanos in the long run and left the other heroes to finish the war. Easily the most heartbreaking death would be Peter Parker, a kid of just 16 years old with his whole life ahead of him, died without every seeing his hopes and dreams fulfilled.

For Tony Stark, seeing his companions die one by one was severely nerve racking. Despite all of his preparations for Thanos’s inevitable appearance, Tony Stark had to face the fact that all of his efforts were in vain. The death of Peter Parker was particularly devastating for Tony Stark because he saw him as the son he never had. As he told Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, “If you had died, that would have been on me.” After Peter Parker vanished, Tony Stark briefly looked at his hands, thinking he would fade too. When it became clear that he was not going anywhere, Stark was left alone with the grim reality of his folly. Nebula, who had spent many years trying to stop and kill Thanos, was embittered that she was unable to achieve her goal and is now more hellbent on killing him than ever.

In the end, the Avengers had to accept the new reality Thanos had imposed on the universe. For the first time since Civil War, they had failed to stop the villain. All the friends and loved ones were gone and they were crushed by the finality of their ultimate failure. The question remains, “Will they be able to undo what Thanos has done?” With a new Spider-Man on the way, it is obvious that the Avengers succeed in defeating Thanos once and for all, but at what cost? Some say that the Avengers will sacrifice themselves in defeating Thanos and bringing balance back to the universe. If that is the case, a new generation of heroes must rise to seize the Avengers’ mantle as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

A ROYAL TART DESSERT

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Henry VIII has always been famous for his insatiable appetite. In fact, there was one incident that highlighted this appetite the most. While being married to his second wife, Anne Boelyn, Henry came across a group of her handmaidens, who were enjoying a tart dessert. He asked them what the dessert was called. In response, the handmaidens shrugged their shoulders and called them maids of honor. Henry VIII liked the maid of honor tarts so much that he hunted down the cook who made them and imprisoned him on the palace grounds to make the tarts soley for Henry’s table. For the third part of my first fantasy trilogy, I am thinking of presenting a similar tart in the story and it will make you wish it was real. Just thinking about it is making me super hungry.

PICKING UP THE PIECES

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When the Roman Empire fell and the Dark Ages began, all of Europe was splintered into many quarreling nations. For two centuries, these nations clashed with one another for resources, for power, or for religion. Eventually, several of these fragments were reorganized into the Holy Roman Empire. The rest of Europe survived on their own to form countries such as France, Spain, and England. This part of European history tells the story of how an empire falls and the people pick up the pieces in the smoldering aftermath. This will be one of the main themes of my spin-off fantasy trilogy. When the Gradaian Empire falls, the main characters and survivors will struggle to reforge Gradaia as a nation as they fight invading hordes.

A DIVINE VILLAIN

Norse and Germanic mythology is overflowing with great legends and stories that have lasted right up to the present day. Among those legends was the tale of the hero Sigurd, who slew the dragon Fafnir and claimed the beast’s treasure. After slaying the dragon, Sigurd bathed in its blood, which made his skin impenetrable with the exception of a weak spot on his back. Another story is of the All Father of the Norse Gods, Odin, who sacrificed one of his eyes in order to gain wisdom. A third legend regards Tyr, the Norse God of War, who lost a hand while fighting the demon wolf Fenrir. Even though these features have been included in heroes and gods, I am thinking of making them the features and characteristics of the main villain of my spin-off fantasy trilogy.