BANKING FAMILIES

1280px-Augmented_Arms_of_Medici.svg

A couple days ago, I discovered something interesting about 15th Century Italy. The various cities of Italy from Florence to Rome were governed by a special class of noble families. These noble families ran the wealthiest banks in all of Europe and the wealthiest and most powerful of these families was the House of Medici. The Medicis started out as a family of humble bankers, but with each generation their wealth grew along with their power. After spending several generations as bankers, the Medicis swiftly rose through the medieval pecking order and became the undisputed rulers of Florence as Dukes of Florence. Their influence was so great that a few of their family members became Popes and Queens of France. At the zenith of their power, the Medicis ran the mightiest bank in all of Europe. With their wealth, the Medicis possessed the resources to influence events throughout Europe. However, the more their wealth and power grew, the more enemies they made, which included the Borgias of Rome. The Medicis are a prime example of how wealth can give you all the power and influence in the world if it is used and managed wisely.

SUPERHERO SERIES: SETTING REDONE

It has come to my attention that the original setting for my new superhero series was way too extreme and impractical. I am thinking of redoing the setting so that it is more down to Earth and realistic. This will require some extensive planning, but I am up for the challenge. Instead of it being a space opera that takes place in a space station orbiting the Earth, I am thinking of making the setting an alternate version of the United States. In this alternate reality, the United States will be turned from a democracy to a fascist monarchy. At some point in the future, a President changed the law so that there would be no elections and that the President serves for life before being replaced by one of his relatives. I have plenty of inspiration for such a setting because I have a strong feeling that such a thing could happen if the occupant of the Oval Office is not held accountable. Essentially, this new superhero series will be less like Star Wars and more like V for Vendetta.

GRAND TOUR: STALIN’S HOUSE

One of my favorite episodes of Season 3 of The Grand Tour is when the boys drive from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. Along the way, they visited the birth place of Joseph Stalin, Gori in Georgia. In the town was a Stalin museum, which included Stalin’s childhood house. While looking through the house, James May (the slowest man in the world) accidentally broke Stalin’s house and thought he was going to the Gulag.

LOST HEIRLOOMS

Allow me to address some of the many flaws in House Targaryen. Even though I will always be a fan of this infamous family, I cannot shake off their flaws. Among those flaws was the fact that they were very careless and irresponsible with their heirlooms compared to other noble houses.

To begin with, the Targaryens lost the Valyrian steel crown of Aegon the Conqueror when Daeron the Young Dragon attempted to conquer Dorne. Since then, Targaryen kings replaced it with inferior crowns that any normal king would wear. Because Valyrian steel is so rare and impossible to make from scratch, that crown was irreplaceable. When House Arryn ruled as Kings of the Vale, they had a collection of crowns they had worn for thousands of years until Visenya Targaryen took them away.

While we are on the subject of Valyrian steel, let’s turn our attention to the two Valyrian steel ancestral swords of House Targaryen: Blackfyre and Dark Sister. Most noble families were super lucky if they even had one Valyrian steel sword, but the Targaryens had TWO!!! Then they squandered both swords at the start and end of the five Blackfyre Rebellions. The noble families who had Valyrian steel swords such as the Starks, Mormonts, and Tarlys took great care of their ancestral blades and had them for five hundred years. With the Targaryen Dynasty, they lost both of their ancestral blades after having them for less than two hundred years.

Thanks to the Mad King’s insanity and tyranny, the Targaryen Dynasty lost the Iron Throne; the seat of absolute power that they held for almost three hundred years. If it wasn’t for the Targaryen family curse of madness and had the sense of giving up their practice of incest, the Targaryens could have ruled Westeros until the end of time.

However, even though the Iron Throne served as a symbol of the Targaryen’s power, the true source of their power came in the form of their greatest weapons: DRAGONS!!! For over a century, the Targaryen Dynasty were able to hold onto their power thanks to their dragons. With the exception of the Dornishmen and the zealots of the Faith Militant, no one was crazy enough to wage war against dragons. Then the Dance of the Dragons came along and the Targaryens lost their dragons along with the long term lynchpin to their hold to the Iron Throne. Instead of being responsible with their dragons, the Targaryens regarded them as weapons and they paid the price for this neglect.

I breaks my heart that the Targaryens did not take better care with all of their heirlooms. They truly had it in them to rule Westeros forever if they had taken the proper steps to prevent their downfall.

A SUPERHERO’S WEAKNESS

As powerful and extraordinary as superheroes are, they are not without their weaknesses. Easily the most iconic superhero weakness is Kryptonite, which is one of Superman’s few weaknesses alongside red sun radiation and magic. To serve as a countermeasure against superhumans in my new superhero series, the government will be employing a weakness that does not just affect one superhero but all superhumans in general. This weakness can kill the weakest superhumans in seconds or minutes while the strongest superhumans take between a half hour to an hour to kill. I won’t say what this weakness is, but the way it kills its victims is going to be gruesome.

CHARLES THE SIMPLE

charles-the-simple-f335edba-db40-41be-a93c-cf09d121ac4-resize-750

I discovered a rather funny medieval figure known as Charles the Simple, who was a notoriously useless French king from the 9th to 10th century. His subjects overthrew him and locked him in a jail because he was such a bad general. “The Simple” is not a wise name for a king to earn. Three centuries later, Simon de Montfort said that Henry III should be locked up like Charles the Simple due to Henry’s own poor military record. Thinking about locking up your king is one thing, but saying it to his face like Simon did is flirting with treason.

LIGER

I like ligers because they are such fascinating big cats. They are the offspring of male lions and female tigers. Ligers tend to be larger and more powerful than either of their parents and surprisingly quick for their size, bursting with hybrid energy and stamina. They are about the same size as Smilodon AKA the famous saber-toothed cat (minus the sabers). After watching this video of ligers, they are not the big killer cats you would expect. Instead, they are essentially large, lazy, and spoiled babies.

I am thinking of including ligers in my fantasy world and their origins would be based on a local fairy tale and children’s story. I will base this legend on a Greek myth about the Myrmidons. In the original legend, the first king of the Myrmidons prayed for Zeus to give him a strong and powerful people to rule over. Zeus granted his wish by turning every ant on the island into a human and the Myrmidons were born. Because they used to be ants, the Myrmidons were the original Ant-Men.