Do not turn…away my friend…like a willow…I can bend…
(With Stevie Nicks at the Prudential Center. Photographs by Riff Chorusriff. April 2, 2017….
After finishing “Stand Back,” Nicks interrupted the show. The late Prince Rogers Nelson was on her mind. While she clung to a scarf tied around her mic, a single spotlight stilled the auditorium. She still couldn’t believe he was gone. When she feels nervous before a performance, she admitted that she often calls on him to be with her. And he is.
Nicks met Prince at a party in 1979 where she regretted advising him to be more social. She was grateful he didn’t mention it years later when she had to get in touch with him. Would he mind listening to something she just recorded in the studio? Prince said sure, he’d be right over. As fate would have it, he was only 20 minutes away.
After hearing his “Little Red Corvette” on the radio, Nicks was so inspired she substituted her own lyrics and composed a whole new song. She played it for him. Prince thought it was great. He even added some synth to the verses and a guitar part in the middle–the finishing touches to what became track six on her “Wild Heart” album: “Stand Back.” An hour later, she walked him to his car. As she recalled, it was an appropriately hued purple Camaro.
Over the years, they grew closer. Prince used to call her up when he was worried about her. They’d speak for hours. In the midst of Nicks’ well-chronicled drug addiction, he was there for her. She wishes she could have been there for him too. Continuing to tug at another scarf, she asked the audience to do her a favor. Whenever spinning “Stand Back” or “Little Red Corvette” in the future, notice how they dovetail. And, most importantly, remember her friend.
When she resumed the concert with “Edge of Seventeen,” Nicks honored Prince with a slideshow. It rendered him floating across the stage again like a white-winged dove. The whole thing was bittersweet and transcendent. I snapped the images above from the tribute.)
At the Russian Court (2/?) R U S S I A N I M P E R I A L W E D D I N G
It had been a tradition since the 19th century that every brides of the Russian Imperial family would wear the same jewels on their wedding day.
The imperial nuptial jewels consisted of the imperial nuptial crown, created in 1840 by the jewellers Nickol and Plincke, using diamonds set in the great girdle of the time of Catherine the Great. The diamond tiara of the Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna with at his center the Paul I pink diamond. The collier d’esclave, a total weight of 475 old carats, some of the diamonds have a blue or pink tint, producing an enchanting effect.
Diamond earrings in the form of cherries that belonged to Catherine the Great. These earrings were so heavy that they had to be supported with wires looped around the top of the ears, as the day wore on, the wire cut into the flesh, causing Alexandra much pain. Her niece Maria recalled on her wedding day : “My earrings hurt me so that in the middle of the banquet I took them off and hung them, to the great amusement of the Emperor [Nicholas II], on the edge of the glass of water before me.“
And the great clasp of Catherine the Great’s imperial mantle.They also wore a mantle of crimson velvet. Except for the wedding of Alexandra, as a concession to her rank as bride of the emperor, her imperial mantle was of cloth-of-gold, lined and edged with ermine. These robes were so heavy that eight pages - four on each side - and the chamberlain, carrying the hem, had to help carry them; without their assistance, Alexandra could scarely move. Their hair were swept back and coiled into a bun at the back of their heads, by tradition two ringlets hung down on either side of their faces.
“These were, first, the diadem of the Empress Catherine, with a pink diamond of extraordinary beauty in the centre and the small crimson velvet crown all covered with diamonds. Then came the diamond necklace of large stones, the bracelets, and the earrings in the shape of cherries, so heavy that they had to be attached to gold hoops and ringed over the ears. […] Finally, they laid upon my shoulders the crimson mantle of velvet, with cape and edges of ermine, fastened by an immense [diamond] buckle. Someone helped me to rise. I was ready.”
Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna
A witness on the wedding of Alexandra recalled : "How beautiful she is! That expression followed her all along her path, and it is true that her appearance was positively magnificent as she stood there in her bridal array of silver cloth… Her unusual height helped her to bear the weight of her dress and set off its splendor in its best light.” This imposing yet formidable ensemble dazzled everyone and was a formidable mirror of the pomp and splendour of the Russian court.
Sources : The Jewels of the Romanovs : Family and Court by Stefano Papi || The Court of the last Tsar by Greg King.
I could not stop wondering how this game works, how many pieces it has, how it is supposed to be played and if it is related to chess in any way.
So without further ado, a very long post about all its appearances and possible pieces.
Viggo uses it as a metaphor (despite him disliking metaphors) for his battle with Hiccup. Its first appearance was during Viggo’s introduction, in which he held a dramatic little speech about how he came to love the game.
He shows us the first piece, the Viking chief which he speaks of as “honorable” although he could have also been talking about the player being honorable in his or her strategy. I’ll just call the piece the Viking chief, as honorable is not used as an important part of the piece’s portrayal.
Next we get a close up of the board, left we see a dragon, in the middle stands the Viking chief and just behind it lies a longship. On the right there is a figure facing the camera, holding a sword in his hands, I’ll call it the swordsman for now. The figure seen from the back looks like he is holding a shield in his hand. And lastly Viggo holds a spare miniature mace.
In the next episode Viggo leaves Hiccup a maces and talons board with three pieces. Hiccup pointed at the left one and said it was supposed to represent him, the Viking chief. On the right stood the chief of the Marauders, the leading piece of the other party. The two chiefs start sound like the black and white kings on a chess board. Both pieces carry the same title, namely the title of chief, and are clearly of opposing teams.
In the middle stands the impostor, or the traitor as Hiccup calls it. Viggo later confirms that the piece is named the impostor, but also goes by the name of the traitor, possibly because of its role in the game. Hiccup stated that the traitor always dies in the end, which bears some resemblance to the role of the spy in Stratego. (The spy can take out the highest ranking piece of Stratego if he attacks first, but dies by the hand of any other piece). It also suggests that the traitor is a much anticipated piece. Players use it a lot and as a result it dies so often it ends up dead during most of the played games. Both the impostor and the spy die most of the time, but are still pretty important pieces to a player.
Fishlegs comments that “the game was designed to test the abilities and decision making expertise of future chiefs in the heat of battle”, telling us that it is a game stimulating a war where the player is the leader of their force, not unlike popular real-life games such as chess and Risk.
By now we can also identify the figure from Viggo’s board that was seen from the back. It is probably the chief of the Marauders. Both pieces carry a shield in their left hands and both have a helmet with a shorter horn on one side. The impostor (as seen on the right below) also carries a shield, but lacks the belt that both figures on the left have. Its shield appears to be more ornate amd the sides of its mouth point downwards. Another difference is the sword in the right hand of the impostor. The chief of the Marauders does not hold anything in his hand.
The impostor is also spoken of as singular. It’s other known name and role as the traitor could very well mean that there is only one of these in the game, flip-flopping from the Vikings’ side to the Marauders’ and back.
Next we get a scene where Viggo and Dagur play the game using real life people as pieces. They speak of “my longship” and “your kingship”, implying that both players own one of each of these ships. Any of these four could be the ship seen on Viggo’s board, but my money is on the longship. I would expect something a little more impressive from a piece called the kingship.
There are also eight hunters, addressed with possessives as well, making the total sixteen, just like pawns in a chess game. The word “hunters” used to address their pieces could both be the official name of the figures, or the name given to them because they are played by dragon hunters.
At the end of their game one of Viggo’shunters/pawns holds a mace to Dagur’s Viking king’s head. This mace could very well be the miniature mace he used to knock over a figure during his introduction, making that mace one of multiple. If there was only one mace in the game, it would have been THE mace to Dagur’s Viking king ’s head.
Dagur has the figure of the Viking king, which I believe is the same as the Viking chief. Taking out Dagur’s viking king made Viggo the winner, in resemblance of taking out the king on a chess board. As seen on the board Viggo left Hiccup, the Marauder chief and the Viking chief are the leaders of their respective parties and probably the most important pieces as well. Having another king on each side would not make a lot of sense, so I’m just going to assume the Marauder king/Marauder chief and the Viking king/Viking chief are the same piece.
It is also worth noting that if Dagur plays the Viking chief, Viggo is the Marauder chief, just like he was on the board he left Hiccup. Apparently Viggo prefers playing the Marauders’ side. Maybe because it gives some sort of advantage in the way the player playing the white chess pieces starts the game? Or maybe he identifies with the Marauders more, seeing as the said himself playing the “honorable Viking chief” was what got him to lose from his grandfather.
The last we see of the game in season 2 is Hiccup holding the viking chief.
now we know that the game is well known because every member of the
gang seems to remember this game. Hiccup feels the need to point out which
figure is which and what their roles are, so the gang’s knowledge of it
might be a bit shady. This does not seem illogical, after all not
everyone can recite the rules of a real-life strategy game at the drop of a hat.
Only those who play it often (in this case Hiccup) may.
It has the following pieces: The viking chief, the Marauder chief, one or more impostors, two kingships, two longships, eight viking pawns, and eight marauder pawns. Figures not identified yet area swordsman and a dragon, both of which could belong to any of the two parties.
All those pieces can never fit on the board together without making it impossible to move them. Every time we see a Maces and talons board there are only a few pieces on the board itself. Either they have been removed, or as Dagur said “have been taken out” or they are yet to be added as the game progresses. A third option would be that a player is able to trade pieces on the board for pieces not used at that moment in the way a pawn can become a rook or queen. I’d personally prefer the second theory, making the board pieces similar to the troops used in Risk that a player can add at the start of each turn.
Lastly we know it is played by strategists to test their intelligence.
So far so good, now it gets confusing~>
The game makes its reappearance in the season finale as Hiccup meets Viggo and hands him a piece that is most likely the impostor. the confusing part is that he was seen holding the Viking chief back in season 2.
We also get a view of the board, with the longship from Viggo’s board back in Maces and talons Part 1, the dragon and the figure that looks like the Marauder chief, but with a sword. I’ll call it a pawn. (My explanation will follow later, keep reading).
We get two more shots of the board, both from roughly the same angle. They show the longship on the left, the swordsman in the back, two impostors in the middle, the dragon and on the far right the Marauder chief.
I don’t know if this was a mistake, intentional or just Hiccup messing with Viggo by returning him another piece. Viggo does not comment on this, rendering the last theory unlikely, unless he chose to keep quiet to frustrate Hiccup.
Next we see Ruff, Tuff and Fishlegs playing the game. On the screencap above stand the Viking chief and the swordsman and on the screencap below Fishlegs looks at the dragon, a longship and the impostor.
On Tuffnut’s side we have a pawn, the Viking chief (so far the Viking chief is the only figure with bent horns) and the swordsman. The Viking chief and the swordsman are likely to be the same as the ones two screencaps up. Not much new information is given.
On the contrary, the game’s last appearance is VERY interesting. Fishlegs and Snotlout play against Heather and Astrid and their game is in full progress when the camera hovers over the board.
There are two ships on the board and two beside it: the longships and the kingships. It looks like the animators used the same model, so we can’t tell the difference between the two kind of ships, but I am sure the characters can.
The two pictures above show that there are multiple pieces of the figure with the sword in one hand and a shield in the other, pretty much confirming that these are the pawns.
Below I have marked every piece I could identify. Circled in green are the four ships, two kingships and two longships. There are eight pawns in red, one impostor in blue and three dragons in orange. Unidentified are three objects in the top left corner.
All figures marked with orange have a tail and wings, making the total of dragons three while the Marauder chief and the Viking chief are nowhere to be seen.
There are three pieces left unidentified. On the side lies a figure without bent horns, with a belt and without a sword in his right hand. If I have to guess I’d say it is the swordsman. The swordsman has so far only been seen once per game and was not on the board itself. The little piece on the right looks like a spare mace to me.
In the middle lies something I cannot identify AT ALL, but given that it was hinted at that there were multiple maces in the game, I’d pin this object as a second mace.
Except for two little errors, I’d say maces and talons is a very detailed and logical game with many elements from real life war-simulator board games.
The first error is that Hiccup gives Viggo a second impostor in Defenders of the wing Part 1, despite holding a Viking chief at the end of Maces and talons Part 2. For the conclusion, let’s assume this was a mistake and Hiccup actually handed Viggo the viking chief. This would turn the impostor into an unique piece, matching Heather and Fishlegs’ game where I marked only one figure in blue.
The second error are the three dragons on Heather and Fishlegs’ board and the lack of the two opposing chiefs. My guess is that there is only one dragon and that two of these dragons were supposed to be the chiefs instead. This is a guess, as the dragon has so far only been seen once per board. It has never been addressed, nor hinted at, so anything about it would remain a mere shot in the dark.
With those errors fixed… Let’s move on to the real conclusion
The game features two parties at war with each other, the Marauders and the vikings. The parties are led by their chiefs, and taking out the opposing chief will win you the game, like the king on a chess board. Each party consists of a longship, a kingship, a mace and eight pawns. Furthermore the game houses one dragon and one swordsman, both without known designated roles, and one impostor who does not belong to either side an usually pays for this with its life.
Furthermore, the Viking chief holds two axes while the Marauder chief holds up his hand without holding something in it. A spare piece of the game is the Marauders’ mace, which I think could fit into the empty hand of the Marauder chief. If the Marauder chief wins, the player can take out the mace and knock the Viking chief over in a chessmate kind of style.
Not all pieces are on the board at the same time, usually only a few are seen on the battlefield, tying into the strategy-part of the game. Picking the right pieces to play with at the right time could be a huge intelligence test for the player, reminiscent of how a player picks a card to play during various card games.
There seem to be rules on how the pieces are supposed to move across the board as well, yet I do know them, nor could I figure them out.
All in all Maces and talons seems inspired by turn-based strategy games like Risk and Stratego to some degree, while keeping Chess as its main influence.
So what do you guys think? Feel free to add your theories! ^^
Duanwu Festival: 5th day of the 5th lunar month Qu Yuan屈原 The Dragon Boat Festival, also called the Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month according to the Chinese calendar. For thousands of years, the festival has been marked by eating zong zi (glutinous rice（糯米）wrapped to form a pyramid using bamboo or reed leaves) and racing dragon boats. The festival is best known for its dragon-boat races, especially in the southern provinces where there are many rivers and lakes. This regatta（赛舟会）commemorates the death of Qu Yuan , an honest minister who is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in a river. Qu was a minister of the State of Chu situated in present-day Hunan and Hubei provinces, during the Warring States Period (475-221BC)（战国时期）. He was upright, loyal and highly esteemed for his wise counsel that brought peace and prosperity to the state. However, when a dishonest and corrupt prince vilified Qu, he was disgraced and dismissed from office. Realizing that the country was now in the hands of evil and corrupt officials, Qu grabbed a large stone and leapt into the Miluo River （汨罗江） on the fifth day of the fifth month. Nearby fishermen rushed over to try and save him but were unable to even recover his body. Thereafter, the state declined and was eventually conquered by the State of Qin. Zongzi粽子 The people of Chu who mourned the death of Qu threw rice into the river to feed his ghost every year on the fifth day of the fifth month. But one year, the spirit of Qu appeared and told the mourners that a huge reptile（爬行动物）in the river had stolen the rice. The spirit then advised them to wrap the rice in silk and bind it with five different-colored threads before tossing it into the river. During the Duanwu Festival, a glutinous rice pudding called zong zi is eaten to symbolize the rice offerings to Qu. Ingredients such as beans, lotus seeds（莲子）, chestnuts（栗子）, pork fat and the golden yolk of a salted duck egg are often added to the glutinous rice. The pudding is then wrapped with bamboo leaves, bound with a kind of raffia and boiled in salt water for hours. The dragon-boat races赛龙舟 The dragon-boat races symbolize the many attempts to rescue and recover Qu’s body. A typical dragon boat ranges from 50-100 feet in length, with a beam of about 5.5 feet, accommodating two paddlers seated side by side. A wooden dragon head is attached at the bow, and a dragon tail at the stern（船尾）. A banner hoisted on a pole is also fastened at the stern and the hull is decorated with red, green and blue scales edged in gold. In the center of the boat is a canopied shrine behind which the drummers, gong（铜锣）beaters and cymbal（铙钹）players are seated to set the pace for the paddlers. There are also men positioned at the bow to set off firecrackers, toss rice into the water and pretend to be looking for Qu. All of the noise and pageantry creates an atmosphere of gaiety and excitement for the participants and spectators alike. The races are held among different clans, villages and organizations, and the winners are awarded medals, banners, jugs of wine and festive meals.
isn’t it interesting how the Hooligan tribe seems to have a pretty standard (albeit very loosely-defined and not mentioned that much) Old Norse religious affiliation, which isn’t really modified to incorporate the presence of dragons at all, short of calling them devils here and there…
while over on Caldera Cay we’ve got the Defenders of the Wing, who at first seemed to have a whole ‘nother thing going, but THEN we’ve got Throk saying “Thor be with you!” to the Dragon Riders, so it’s clear that they’re on board with the whole Odin-Thor-Freja-etc. Religion Bundle, if you will, BUT they’ve incorporated the Great Protector, the eruptodon, into that in a very spiritual way?
and THEN if you look at the Berserkers, we don’t really go all that much in depth into their philosophies beyond what’s mentioned in Gold Rush (which I loved so much) BUT it is worth noting that they have the Skrill as their emblem, something which, according to Dagur and to Stoick, dates back a loooong, long way, suggesting that the Berserkers may have originally had a much closer relationship with the dragons than they do by the time we meet them.
We should talk about how freaking insular/isolationist/tightknit the gang are.
Like, last season, Tuff’s hackles got raised at the suggestion of having Heather join their group (To Heather or Not To Heather). And even Heather actually joining had to be a unanimous decision with the six of them.
And then Fishlegs was like “No! Dragon Riders save Dragon Riders!” (Gold Rush) because Dagur was talking about Berserkers and Dragon Riders (plus, isn’t there a moment where someone is like, Dagur’s not a Dragon Rider).
Hell, even going back to like, Defenders of Berk, they were so freaking reluctant to let Gustav be a Dragon Rider, and that continued until Team Astrid (season 2) and even then Gustav and the others, they’re not the Dragon Riders, they’re the Auxiliary Dragon Riders.
Like, the gang literally are The Dragon Riders™. No one else is allowed in.
Which yeah, given all that they’ve been through together makes a ton of sense. I love it.
I have this image of Joel Heyman, one of the most widely recognized founders of the notorious RT Crew, meeting lil Gavin Free for the first time.
Like, imagine, Gavin was over in the US for a bit, helping Gus with some hacking and following Burnie and Geoff around like a lost puppy, and Joel stumbles upon him.
Maybe Joel was away, overseas maybe, talking to some fences about the Monet paintings stashed in the warehouse (and maybe looking into a gold heist on the side) and he finally comes home, to find a kid (a literal kid, Jesus Christ Burnie) lounging around the penthouse.
Joel knows about Gavin, there’s no way he couldn’t with how often Burnie and Geoff, and even Gus, praised the “dumbass little genius,” but he had never seen his face before.
Gavin notices him, and nearly breaks his laptop in his haste to stand up. Joel stares at him for a moment before gesturing him to follow. Gavin scrambles after him.
“So…” Joel drawls as he leads the other through the maze-like halls of the penthouse. “What’s your schtick, kid.”
“Hacker,” Gavin states instantly. “Burnie brought me to—“
Joel waved that away. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I meant what else.”
Gavin shot him a look of confusion. Joel groaned obnoxiously.
“Y’knoooow, what else did he bring you for? There’s no way he brought you here just to hack, I mean, we already have Gus, and Jason, and Burnie’s no slouch in the technical division himself. So, why’d he bring you all the way here?” Joel stops in the hallway, Gavin nearly slamming into his back. Joel turns and stares intently at the younger man. “What did he see in you?”
Gavin looks mildly affronted, and Joel wonders if he should backtrack when Gavin speaks again.
“I ran a crew, back in England. It was small, pretty damn small for all that we accomplished, but it worked. I spent most of my time hacking, or planning, but I was a frontman too.” Here, he hesitates, averting his eyes, before he looks back at Joel.
“Geoff has some plans…and he’s teaching me to be a frontman. New identity and everything.”
Joel scrutinizes him for a second before he continues walking.
“Have you thought of one yet? An identity?”
Gavin shrugs sheepishly. “All the ones I’ve come up with are rubbish. I think Geoff’s beginning to think I’m a lost cause.”
Joel hums before stopping abruptly in front of a door. He digs the key out of his pocket and unlocks it, gesturing Gavin in.
“Uh…Joel?” Gavin asks while Joel rummages through his drawers. “What exactly am I doing here?”
Joel ignores him, muttering to himself. He finally finds what he’s looking for and exclaims, slamming the drawer closed. He holds up something to Gavin’s face.
“Do you know what this is?”
“Uh yeah, gold?” Gavin reaches for it, but Joel snatches it away.
“Nope,” Joel says, popping the ‘p.’ “This, kid, is pyrite. Also known as ‘Fool’s Gold.’ To the untrained eye, it looks identical to gold, but its not. Just sulfur and iron fused together.”
“Hey!” Joel snaps, glaring. “I’m giving you a lesson here, shut the fuck up.”
Gavin puts his hands up in surrender, and Joel huffs once before continuing.
“This, this is your identity. The point of the frontman is to be the face of the crew, while also gaining information. You have to make it easy for people to trust you, while also fearing you. You pick a role and that’s the role everyone will know you as. Does that make sense?”
“You have to be like Fool’s Gold. You have to look shiny and expensive. You’re forcing people to look at the crew like a precious metal, you understand? But you have to be more than that. Fool’s Gold has edges, like a crystal, and it’s stronger than regular gold. It may not be actual gold, and you—“ he pokes Gavin in the chest “—may be playing a role, hiding behind smoke and mirrors, but you can’t ever let anyone else know that. The crew depends on no one ever finding out. That’s the point of a frontman.”
Gavin looks at him, equal parts awed and overwhelmed.
“I—“ Gavin clears his throat. “I think I understand. Thank—”
Joel waves away the appreciation, tossing the piece of pyrite to the other.
“Get outta here, I’m exhausted. Who just got off a long ass flight? This guy! All you fuckers don’t even know what it feels like to be Joel. And where’s my appreciation? ‘Oh Joel can you do this, can you do that?’ No! Everyone can just go fuck themselves!” Joel ends his tirade, smiling a little when Gavin laughs.
“Get outta here, kid.“
“See you, J-Roll.”
A few months later, Joel hears about Geoff’s crew out in Los Santos, wrecking havoc all along the shore. He hears about his second-in-command, his brawlers, his sniper, and his mercenary. But, mainly, he hears about Ramsey’s Golden Boy, and Joel can’t help but laugh.