“We don’t call him Man-Ape,” executive producer Nate Moore told EW during our set visit. “We do call him M’Baku.”
The problem was self-evident. “Having a black character dress up as an ape, I think there’s a lot of racial implications that don’t sit well, if done wrong,” said Moore. “But the idea that they worship the gorilla gods is interesting because it’s a movie about the Black Panther who, himself, is a sort of deity in his own right.”
Director Ryan Coogler and his co-writer Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story) borrowed some inspiration for the character from Marvel scribe Christopher Priest, who had an acclaimed 1998-2003 run on the Black Panther series.
“You learn that M’Baku is essentially the head of the religious minority in Wakanda and we thought that was interesting,” Moore said. “Wakanda is not a monolithic place. They have a lot of different factions.”
In Priest’s story line, M’Baku was enraged that his White Gorilla cult was outlawed, leading to a clash with the Panther. The character’s exact role in the film is still being kept under wraps, but the filmmakers confirm that M’Baku and his Jabari tribe are, once again, not happy with the young, new ruler (played by Chadwick Boseman).
“A lot of the writers who did some of the most interesting work around the character, they treated Wakanda like a truly African country,” Coogler said. “When you go to countries in Africa, you’ll find several tribes, who speak their own languages, have their own culture, and have distinct food and way of dress. They live amongst each other, and together they make the identity of those countries. That’s something we tried to capture. We wanted it to feel like a country, as opposed to just one city or town.”
M’Baku has a grievance with T’Challa, but he and his followers were equally unsettled by the previous king, T’Challa’s father T’Chaka — who was assassinated in Captain America: Civil War after trying to engage with the world beyond the closed-off, technological paradise of Wakanda.
“In M’Baku’s worldview, T’Chaka made a huge mistake going to the U.N.,” Moore says. “‘We should never engage with the outside world. That’s a terrible mistake. And if his son is anything like his father, I don’t support him being on the throne.‘”
“Man-Ape is a problematic character for a lot of reasons, but the idea behind Man-Ape we thought was really fascinating. … It’s a line I think we’re walking, and hopefully walking successfully.”
“In this movie, it’s a little tricky to define who’s a [good guy],” Coogler says. “The film very much plays with those concepts, looking at conflicts and different motivations, and who’s with who. M’Baku is a really interesting character, and I’m excited for people to get to see him.”
According to later writer Dudo of Saint-Quentin, in this year the king of the Franks, Charles the Simple, grants land around the city of Rouen to Rollo, or Rolf, leader of the Vikings who have settled the region: the duchy of Normandy is founded. In return Rollo undertakes to protect the area and to receive baptism, taking the Christian name Robert.
Emma, sister of Duke Richard II of Normandy, marries Æthelred (‘the Unready’), king of England. Their son, the future Edward the Confessor, flees to Normandy 14 years later when England is conquered by King Cnut, and remains there for the next quarter of a century. This dynastic link is later used as one of the justifications for the Norman conquest.
A group of Norman pilgrims en route to Jerusalem are ‘invited’ to help liberate southern Italy from Byzantine (Greek) control. Norman knights have already been operating as mercenaries here since the turn of the first millennium, selling their military services to rival Lombard, Greek and Muslim rulers.
Having ruled Normandy for eight years, Duke Robert I falls ill on his return from
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and dies at Nicaea. By prior agreement, Robert is succeeded by his illegitimate son William, the future Conqueror of England, then aged just seven or eight. A decade of violence follows as Norman nobles fight each other for control of the young duke and his duchy.
Duke William visits England. His rule in Normandy now established, and newly married to Matilda of Flanders, William crosses the Channel to speak with his second cousin, King Edward the Confessor of England. The subject of their conference is unknown, but later chroniclers assert that at this time Edward promises William the English succession.
Pope Nicholas II invests the Norman Robert Guiscard with the dukedoms of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. The popes had opposed the ambitions of the Normans in Italy, but defeat in battle at Civitate in southern Italy in 1053 had caused them to reconsider. In 1060 Robert and his brother Roger embark on the conquest of Sicily, and Roger subsequently rules the island as its great count.
Edward the Confessor dies on 5 January, and the throne is immediately taken by his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the most powerful earl in England, with strong popular backing. Harold defeats his Norwegian namesake at Stamford Bridge in September. But on 14 October William’s Norman forces defeat Harold’s army at Hastings. William is crowned as England’s king on Christmas Day.
The initial years of William’s reign in England are marked by almost constant English rebellion, matched by violent Norman repression. In autumn 1069 a fresh English revolt is triggered by a Danish invasion. William responds by laying waste to the country north of the Humber, destroying crops and cattle in a campaign that becomes known as the Harrying of the North, leading to widespread famine and death.
Worried by the threat of Danish invasion, at Christmas 1085 William decides to survey his kingdom – partly to assess its wealth, and partly to settle arguments about landownership created by 20 years of conquest. The results, later redacted and compiled as Domesday Book, are probably brought to him in August 1086 at Old Sarum (near Salisbury), where all landowners swear an oath to him.
William retaliates against a French invasion of Normandy. While attacking Mantes he is taken ill or injured – possibly damaging his intestines on the pommel of his saddle – and retires to Rouen, where he dies on 9 September. Taken to Caen for burial, his body proves too fat for its stone sarcophagus, and bursts when monks try to force it in. His eldest surviving son, Robert Curthose, becomes duke of Normandy, while England passes to his second son, William Rufus.
Following a call to arms by Pope Urban II in 1095, many Normans set out towards the Holy Land on the First Crusade, determined to recover Jerusalem. Among them are Robert Curthose, who mortgages Normandy to his younger brother, William Rufus, and William the Conqueror’s notorious half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Odo dies en route and is buried in Palermo, but Robert goes on to win victories in Palestine and is present when Jerusalem falls.
Having succeeded his father in 1087 and defeated Robert Curthose’s attempts to unseat him, the rule of William II (‘Rufus’, depicted below) seems secure. But on 2 August 1100, while hunting in the New Forest with some of his barons, William is struck by a stray arrow and killed. His body is carted to Winchester for burial, and the English throne passes to his younger brother, Henry, who is crowned in Westminster Abbey just three days later.
Roger I of Sicily dies. By the end of his long rule, Count Roger has gained control over the whole of Sicily – the central Muslim town of Enna submitted in 1087, and the last emirs in the southeast surrendered in 1091. He is briefly succeeded by his eldest son, Simon, but the new count dies in 1105 and is succeeded by his younger brother, Roger II.
On 25 November Henry I sets out across the Channel from Normandy to England. One of the vessels in his fleet, the White Ship, strikes a rock soon after its departure, with the loss of all but one of its passengers. One of the drowned is the king’s only legitimate son, William Ætheling. Henry responds by fixing the succession on his daughter, Matilda, and marrying her to Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou.
Roger II is crowned king of Sicily, having pushed for royal status in order to assert his authority over the barons of southern Italy. A disputed papal succession in 1130 has provided an opportunity and, in return for support against a papal rival, Pope Anacletus II confers the kingship on Roger in September. He is crowned in Palermo Cathedral on Christmas Day.
Henry I dies in Normandy on 1 December, reportedly after ignoring doctor’s orders and eating his favourite dish - lampreys. His body is shipped back to England for burial at the abbey he founded in Reading. Many of his barons reject the rule of his daughter, Matilda, instead backing his nephew, Stephen, who is crowned as England’s new king on 22 December.
King Stephen, the last Norman king of England, dies. His death ends the vicious civil war between him and his cousin Matilda that lasted for most of his reign. As a result of the Treaty of Wallingford, which Stephen was pressured to sign in 1153, he is succeeded by Matilda’s son Henry of Anjou, who takes the throne as Henry II.
King William II of Sicily begins the construction of the great church at Monreale (‘Mount Royal’), nine miles from his capital at Palermo. The building is a fusion of Byzantine, Latin and Muslim architectural styles, and is decorated throughout with gold mosaics, including the earliest depiction of Thomas Becket, martyred in 1170.
Norman rule on Sicily ends. Tancred of Lecce, son of Roger III, Duke of Apulia, seizes the throne on William’s death in 1189; on his death in 1194 he is succeeded by his young son, William III. Eight months later, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, husband of Roger II’s daughter Constance, invades Sicily and is crowned in Palermo on Christmas Day. The following day, Constance gives birth to their son, the future Frederick II.
King John loses Normandy to the French. The youngest son of Henry II, John had succeeded to England, Normandy, Anjou and Aquitaine after the death of his elder brother, Richard the Lionheart, in 1199. But in just five years he lost almost all of his continental lands to his rival King Philip Augustus of France – the end of England’s link with Normandy.
“Duke Roger of Conte was over six feet in height, with brown-black hair and a beard neatly trimmed to frame his handsome face. His eyes were a bright, riveting blue. He had a straight, perfectly carved nose; his mouth was red and full. His white, flashing smile was filled with charm and confidence. He was broad-shouldered and muscular, with strong-looking hands. Very attractive, Alanna decided." - Alanna: The First Adventure, pg. 110
“good day, lady knight,” sneered duke roger. “as you can see, i have returned from the dead. and there’s nothing you can do about it because even though i’m being profoundly, obviously evil, i haven’t done anything illegal. what do you have to say about that”
alanna immediately rammed her sword through roger’s torso. “oh,” she cried, “how clumsy of me! how could i be so careless, to stab you in the chest with a sword.” she removed her sword and promptly decapitated him. “oh dear, how terrible! i am just a real butterfingers today.” she then sneezed loudly, burning his corpse to ashes with her magic. “these damned allergies, am i right?”
jonathan pardoned her immediately, and she lived happily ever after in a big house with her lesbian wife thayet and her cat and her brother thom, who did cool things with his incredibly powerful magic and got therapy for his blatant daddy issues
Imagine him with the Mithrians, alone and scared and unsure.
Imagine him thinking about Alanna, in the same situation but even worse, and drawing comfort from the fact that even though they are many miles apart for the first time, they are still the same.
Imagine Thom getting that first letter from Alanna, telling him she’s befriended the prince and all the “cool” boys at the palace.
Imagine him, starting to feel a terrifying desire rising within himself, and deciding the only way to be safe is by creating an impenatrable wall of cold haughty aloofness that keeps all potential friends at bay.
Imagine him, showing up to see his sister at court, watching her capably fight someone he clearly admired in some way (Duke Roger) then seeing all of the friends she has at court stand up to defend her when her true gender is revealed. Imagine him realizes she doesn’t need his help, she’s built her own world of love and support.
Imagine him realizing that while he has spent years hiding his romantic interests away Alanna has not one but two men who love her.
Imagine him struggling to make friends at court, while seeing the people who love Alanna mope about and miss her while she’s in the desert.
Imagine Thom hearing that Miles has adopted Alanna, that she doesn’t even need their home fief anymore. Remember that none of Thom’s mentors seemed to like him much.
Imagine all this, and you’ll know why The Woman Who Rides Like A Man audiobook is driving me to drink.
A detail of an intitial depicting Bohemond of Antiochia (1054-1111) and patriarch of Jerusalem sailing for Apulia. Bohemond was the only son of Count Robert Guiscard and his first wife Alberada de Buenalbergo. Since the count and Alberada were related the marriage was annulled by pope four years after Bohemond was born.
Count Robert died (was poisoned?) in 1085 and a succession crisis ensued between Bohemond and his halfbrother Roger Borsa. Eventually an acceptable compromise was found between the heir apparents. Roger became duke of Apulia and Calabria whereas Bohemond received Taranto and other nearby towns.
Bohemond was also one of the leaders of the first crusade though he was mostly interested in carving out a kingdom for himself. This goal was partially achieved when Antiochia fell in 1098. After the conquest Bohemond concentrated on securing his new realm and took no part in Jerusalem campaign. This was prudent because he managed to conquer areas surrounding the city and hence posterity remembers him mostly as a longtime count and ruler of Antiochia.
BTW: A Byzantine historian and princess Anna Komnena has written an interesting description of Bohemond in her Alexiad. Apparently he wasn’t your average “Frank” and the princess was obviously impressed :-)
Also I’m noticing that there are all these small things that show how awesome Coram is.
Like, he doesn’t negate Alanna’s emotions or try to tell her to “man up” in any way. When Lightning breaks he says* “I know what the sword meant to you, but you have to focus on the fight at hand now.” He doesn’t say, “It’s a fucking sword, stop being a pussy,” which might be how we’d expect the stereotype of what he represents to act. When Alanna realizes the crystal sword has Duke Roger written all over it she literally says, “Will I never be free of him???” and stomps off, which IMO, while totally understandable, is very tantrum-esque. Coram is totally kind and just calmly explains to Halef why she’s so upset, aka he sticks up for her without diminishing her feelings. Keep in mind he’s a soldier, not a group of people typically thought of as very touchy-feely. But yet he rises to the occasion to be not only Alanna’s servant and bodyman, but also to nurture her emotionally.
Coram is a fucking stupendous caregiver, and I love him so much. A+++++ fathering, Coram.
*Not the exact quote, I heard it on audio and don’t have the book at hand to get it precise.
Coram hesitated before the sturdy oak door for a moment, before his resolve returned and made him rap his knuckles against it firmly.
“Who is it?” Alanna’s suspicious voice called from within her adoptive father’s study.
“Open up lass, it’s me,” he growled. From beyond the door he heard the sounds of furniture scraping and a latch being undone.
“Come in, it’s open,” Alanna called, closer than she was before.
Coram entered quickly, and, before Alanna could even say anything about it, he turned and shut the door behind him.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that everyone’s been turning me mad,” Alanna complained as Coram wrestled with the sticky latch. “Thayet, Eleni, Cythera, the maids, I know they mean well but this isn’t that big of a deal; I’ve been living with George and acting as the lady of the Swoop for weeks now. Today only makes everything official.”
Finally the latch went, and Coram could turn to face her for the first time. When he saw what she was doing he didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
The lass was seated daintily on a stool, wearing a breathtakingly beautiful pale lilac gown, with intricate swirls of soft lavender embroidery accenting it. The neckline dropped lower than any he could recall having seen her wear and made him blush deeply, while the bodice nipped in tightly at her waist, revealing the feminine curves she generally kept hidden. On her feet were delicate matching lilac silk slippers. Her face was carefully and tastefully made up, with only the impossible perfection of her skin and her unusually long and dark eyelashes to give it away. Her hair was nearly the same as ever, cut into a bob that just brushed her collarbone, but today it had a strand of pearls woven into the top, functioning as a headband, which seemed to brighten and illuminate her copper tresses. Coram had never seen her looking more elegant. She was the perfect picture of a lady, with the exception of what she was doing. Atop her lap was a large canvas sheet, which she was using to protect her fine silken gown as she polished her sword. Her fingers were as steady and competent as they always were, and for a moment Coram watched mesmerized as Alanna methodically rubbed her rag into the glinting steel surface.
It was possibly the most “Alanna” thing Coram had ever seen.