The Riders of Skaith’s Top 25 Search Results for 2020

riders of skaith15Hiya! Come for….well, I’d love to say the science fiction but by own stats contradict that. (Stay for the tiger pics, though).
the romance of hua rong5Not unexpectedly, the Romance of Hua Rong recaps are by far and away the most popular things on this blog. Lovely Swords Girl and Love and Destiny are yards behind, but the review of the Siege in Fog novel also gets steady hits. 
jim butcher peace talks4Review here! Incoherent initial thoughts here! Slightly more coherent thoughts here.
angelique the marquise of the angels4Review here.
byakuya movie3They did my boy wrong and I am still upset about it.
correia assisns review3A brief review of House of Assassins is here.
captain marvel rewrite3Way better, amiright?
riders of skaith, terminator2Here is my take on how the third Terminator movie should have gone. Here is my mother’s take on the first movie.
larry correia destroyer of worlds2I haven’t written a review of this one….guess I should.
pax dickinson amanda robb2Okay, I had to google this one to find out what it was about. It’s the time some guy made some reporterette wear a MAGA hat and scavenger hunt for him, back like three years ago or something when Comicsgate was going big.
silver creek audie murphy duel ay2Ay. Here you go.
house of assassins larry correia review2Wait, how did more people spell this wrong than spelled it right?
what will dresden mirror mirror be about?2Beats me. 
why was blood coming out of lingxi’s mouth in love and destiny?1‘cuz it’s a dramatic trope often used in cinema to show a character has a serious internal injury or to just intensify a scene by implying that the character might. Plus, this way you can get a lot of drama without having to get a lot of blood on the costume.
what do the einherjar call dresden files1That is an excellent question.
i want to read what happened in a chinese film named,sword girl,season 1 episode 1 to season 6 episode 1,from the starting to the ending.1Can’t help you, fam. 
jim butcher battle ground review spoiler1Justine is Nemesis.
a wizard in bedlam1Here you go, sir, ma’am, or tentacle.
is thomas raith dead bartle grounds1I’m slightly offended by this.
real identity of mr jin hua robg1He’s some kind of prince guy who is related to another prince guy who is the bad guy except Mr. Jin is a good guy who was temporarily pretending to be a hero guy except that the real hero guy was Qin Shang Cheng in a mask. I hope this clarifies the situation for you.
scifiwright the green knights squire1Given the length of the review I wrote for this, it’s really gratifying to see that someone landed there. Thanks, m’lady, m’lord, or churl!
uprooted naomi novik common sense1It wasn’t present in the novel, no.
dark emu criticism1Me, I was just having fun arguing with my dad. 
telzey amberdon and giant otters1No, no, no, it was Nile Etland who had the otters. Telzey had her telepathic tiger/crest cat, Tick-Tock.
bfs what it stands for in peace talks1Friend, why don’t you try reading the books instead of googling everything? It’ll work out much better for you that way, I promise.

The Return of Tarzan – Edgar Rice Burroughs (repost)

The one where the hero fights a crocodile, the damsel takes over the ship at gunpoint, and the cook dies a hero.

Tarzan’s infant son, Jack, is kidnapped by his nemesis, Rokoff the Russian. Rokoff’s plan is to take Jack to the primordial vastnesses of Darkest Africa and give him to the cannibal tribes–not to kill, but to raise as their own in his own twisted evolutionary programme for the Greystoke family. The father an ape–the son a cannibal. Rokoff does even better than he thought he would, because with baby Jack as bait, he manages to capture both Tarzan and Jane (separately). Tarzan he maroons on an uninhabited island, Jane he keeps–for himself.

But! The uninhabited island is home to a tribe of Mangani, of whom Tarzan soon becomes leader and escapes to the mainland. But! Jane gains the sympathy and help of the cook and escapes to the mainland….But a variety of twists and turns (and crocodiles) keep them from actually finding each other until the very last chapter.

(Burroughs was an expert at maddeningly delaying reader gratification with headlong coincidences, random twists, and crocodiles.)

Will Tarzan go down beneath the clubs and spears of the frenzied cannibal horde? Will he live to save his child and his wife? Will Jane escape the clutches of Rokoff and reach safety with her baby? Will Rokoff live to twirl his moustache another day?

You already know the answer…

Watchlist: The 13th Letter & Seven Cities of Gold

So my alphabetical watchlist got derailed somewhere around the time I had a hankering for ninjas. I only just got it back on track (Friendly Persuasion), but in the meanwhile I also watched:

the-13th-letter-md-webThe 13th Letter – 1951. Directed by Otto Premiger (you know, the name you know from lots of better movies such as Fallen AngelLauraWhere the Sidewalk Ends and…River of No Return? Huh) and starring an underwritten Linda Darnell, a bored Charles Boyer, and Michael Rennie’s cheekbones as the hero. It’s about a (very) tall, handsome, young doctor who has set up in a small Canadian town and is starting to settle in, albeit he’s having to dodge quite a lot of forward women in the process. The process is interrupted by a series of poison pen letters accusing him of an affair with Charles Boyer’s wife. This is, of course, nonsense, because Rennie has Linda Darnell throwing herself at him in a negligee. But things get decidedly serious when one of the letters’ receivers commits suicide on being told he has cancer. Everyone is a suspect now–from the incompetent hospital nurse who is Boyer’s spurned ex, to Darnell’s snide younger sister, to Linda herself. And what is the terrible trauma which lurks in our hero’s past…?

The reveal is two-fold, and actually rather more satisfying than expected. It’s even been cunningly foreshadowed by Boyer’s doctor character explaining to another about this weird psychological condition known as folie a deux…

All that said, it’s still a bit underwritten. There’s enough story here for a TV episode, not really for a movie. Linda Darnell has barely anything to do except look alternately sultry and sulky, and there’s nothing whatsoever to make the romance between her and Rennie interesting other than both parties’ good looks. The central mystery is, fittingly, the most intriguing part of the story; but it’s a little hampered by the fact that there are really only two strong suspects and neither of them get any focus. And I think that playing up the unspoken theme–that no matter how meek the woman, she has it in her to be ruthless and merciless in pursuit of what (who) they want–would also have put more of a memorable twist on it.

Rated: 10/13.

Not sure why Anyhony Quinn is shirtless here.

Seven Cities of Gold (1955) – Now, this one has Anthony Quinn, Richard Egan, Michael Rennie, Jeffrey Hunter, and Rita Moreno. Everyone is quite good, despite the fact that Jeffrey Hunter and Rita Moreno are wearing brownface and usually warpaint. Quinn and Egan are the leaders of a Spanish expedition to the interior of Mexico, searching for the titular cities; Rennie is the expedition chaplain, Father Junipero Serra, there to save souls, prevent massacres, admonish greed, and uplift the savages. This one is, I assume, loosely based around the actual events (apparently Junipero Serra is a candidate for sainthood, presumably because someone’s watched this movie).

This movie is a fairly straightforward example of its type: there’s a group of people (represented by their leader, here Anthony Quinn) which is trying to do something or go somewhere, and then there’s a contrarian (Michael Rennie); and then there are the outside circumstances that put pressure on the relationship between the leader and the contrarian. In this case, Priest Quinn wants to get to the city of Cibola and doesn’t mind shooting natives to do it. Priest Rennie finds both his tactics and his ulterior motives–greed–abhorrent and doesn’t mind saying as much. Rennie also has a tendency to wander off after flowers and get lost, so there’s that.

In each case where the men butt heads, though, each side is given the ability to make their case clearly, without any of the histrionic theatrics that would be in evidence today. In fact, the pragmatist usually has the stronger case: Father, we’re going to need space for ammunition. Father, paying off Indians with shiny beads only works if they’re not mad and you have plenty of beads. Father, have you actually baptized anyone yet? At all? And while Rennie usually has sufficient logic on his side to not sound ridiculous, the overarching theme of his character is that he is someone who believes in miracles.

Meanwhile, Richard Egan is making time with Rita Moreno, sister of the Indian chief. Usually, this kind of romance is fine, but Egan is something of a cad who really has no intentions of continuing his flirtation…which leads to an accidental but very damning-looking death, and then all hell breaking loose in fine and predictable fashion.

All in all, it would take a miracle for the white men to escape from this situation alive…

The straightforward style and script are an enormous benefit to this movie, which could only have become insufferable if it tried to be cunning and subtle in getting its message across. The other great benefit is that it has a cast who are very good at the straightforward, untheatrical, brisk style of filming. They’re also quite good actors overall, an additional plus.

And that’s basically all there is to say about it.

Rated: 7 church bells out of 9.

Poetry Corner – Birds of Passage

BLACK shadows fall 
 From the lindens tall, 
 That lift aloft their massive wall 
 Against the southern sky; 

 And from the realms 
 Of the shadowy elms 
 A tide-like darkness overwhelms 
 The fields that round us lie. 

 But the night is fair, 
 And everywhere 
 A warm, soft vapor fills the air, 
 And distant sounds seem near; 

 And above, in the light 
 Of the star-lit night, 
 Swift birds of passage wing their flight 
 Through the dewy atmosphere. 

 I hear the beat 
 Of their pinions fleet, 
 As from the land of snow and sleet 
 They seek a southern lea. 

 I hear the cry 
 Of their voices high 
 Falling dreamily through the sky, 
 But their forms I cannot see. 

 Oh, say not so! 
 Those sounds that flow 
 In murmurs of delight and woe 
 Come not from wings of birds. 

They are the throngs 
 Of the poet's songs, 
 Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs, 
 The sound of winged words. 

 This is the cry 
 Of souls, that high 
 On toiling, beating pinions, fly, 
 Seeking a warmer clime. 
From their distant flight 
 Through realms of light 
 It falls into our world of night, 
 With the murmuring sound of rhyme. 

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

using snake for a rope

“Fear is the root of greed. He who fears the future clings to what he has. He grips it and guards it. His fear makes him mistrust, and send harsh looks to and back. Yet what he holds he gains no good of. Will this man say, ‘thus I did because it seemed good to me?’ Will this man say, ‘I do not regret?’