Penny Dreadful: a syncretic masterpiece

I think the reason I enjoyed Penny Dreadful so much is because I have planned to do something similar. I’ve planned to get disparate stories related by some overarching culture or connection and fuse them together into something unique—sometimes faithful, sometimes subversive, something that discusses the issues of the originals and yet raises fresh questions … Continue reading Penny Dreadful: a syncretic masterpiece

Horses vs shieldwalls—what actually happens?

I’ve ridden horses. Horses are smart. When they said horses wouldn’t charge a line of men who stood firm, I believed them. And then I went on a holiday to New Zealand and got to ride one of the horses that was in Lord of the Rings. And there they told me the horses had … Continue reading Horses vs shieldwalls—what actually happens?

Troy (2004) or Troy: Fall of a City—why I like both

For the longest time, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Why do I like both of these adaptations, fairly equally, but for different reasons? I get the hate some people have for the 2004 film, and I get the hate some people have for the more recent BBC series, but I think they set … Continue reading Troy (2004) or Troy: Fall of a City—why I like both

SPQR—a book for the masses

Once upon a time I cut my teeth reading historians like Scullard, Cary and Gibbon. They were good chaps, in their own way, but their time is beginning to wane. We might well say when Byron falls, Rome falls and when Rome falls—the world, but the stuffy old professor approach to classics is finally making … Continue reading SPQR—a book for the masses

Hereward—Bourne Again

How have I not heard of this guy until well into my twenties? I’d like to think after a history degree and a lifetime’s interest in all things historical, I’d know all the key players in the time periods I was interested in. Apparently not. Que James Wilde, and his desire to bring Hereward to … Continue reading Hereward—Bourne Again

Re-watching Rome—the knife-edge of history

“But let us turn to the different, but equally grave, plight of the modern historian… knowing more and more about less and less, sunk without trace in an ocean of facts.” A little while ago I made a post about appreciating the layman when it comes to history. I basically said they’re great at getting … Continue reading Re-watching Rome—the knife-edge of history

“But I blocked it!”—when your defence fails you

So I was re-watching Game of Thrones these last few weeks, you know, as you do, and I saw an interesting fight scene. It reminded me of something I’d learned from studying primary sources in history from a lot to of different cultures and times. Basically, fighting in reality doesn’t play by nice rules where … Continue reading “But I blocked it!”—when your defence fails you

Mulan—what a great film

You know, it’s kinda funny talking about the Disney film Mulan. To anyone older than say thirty-five, it’s a kid’s film so why would you watch it? To anyone in their teens now, you’ve grown up with 3D animation so spectacular, what’s the point of cartoons? But to those of us in between, those of … Continue reading Mulan—what a great film

Machiavelli—Long may he REIGN!

"It is much safer to be feared than loved" Perhaps his most famous line. Why stop there though? "for a man who wishes to act entirely upon his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil."   "It is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares … Continue reading Machiavelli—Long may he REIGN!

History: if you want the crux of it, ask a layman

I like studying history, I really do. I'm one of those people who thinks an hour long lecture on the finer points of Roman politics sounds interesting, at least most of the time. But there's something I learned from being saturated with all these details and conflicting academic perspectives: the key issues are often pretty … Continue reading History: if you want the crux of it, ask a layman