great orator

What Your ASoIaF/GoT Problematic Fave Says About You

Tywin Lannister: You put a lot of stock into someone’s reputation. You’re interested in cults of personality. You wish you could be a bad ass take no nonsense say what you mean sort, but you are probably female, or otherwise too afraid of societal pushback. You either read celebrity gossip mags or a lot of historical accounts of people like Napoleon or Alexander the Great.

Randyll Tarly: You are probably a man, or just interested in views on gender and you appreciate the look into the mind of a person who adheres to strict gender roles. You appreciate rigidity and structure. You probably do not have children. You like anti-heroes. You have headcanons that aren’t accepted by the majority of your fandom but you will defend to the death anyway. You like realism, maybe a bit too much.

Stannis Baratheon: You pay more attention to what someone says than what they do. You enjoy listening to great orators. You like to read about great women in history and people ‘ahead of their time’. You write long tumblr discourse posts. You might get taken in by politicians. You like settings with old-timey aesthetics but social justice mores set either in the future or an alternate past. You are a feminist.

Joffrey Baratheon: You had a crush on Draco Malfoy as a teenager. You either are or are close to someone who has experienced abuse. You hate abusive parents and you have a lot of thoughts and advice on how to raise a child properly. You have a vested interest in stopping family violence, you might make tumblr posts about this. You are an adult now. You are probably one of those people who looks back at Harry Potter and thinks “they were only children!”

Robert Baratheon: You are or were a frat boy at some point. You unironically enjoy ‘bro-mances’. You probably think Rhaegar is a rapist. You don’t want anyone to sit the iron throne at the end of the series. You want to break the wheel. You probably don’t have strong political opinions, but if you do you are some degree of anarchist, or at least laissez-faire. You like bears.

Viserys Targaryen: You like woobie villains. You like a tragic backstory on your boys and pretty soulful eyes. You like AUs and alternate canon fic. You probably write fanfic, but probably not for game of thrones. You may be a teenager. If you are a teenager you are probably very open, but if you are not you are probably very reserved. You are a Targaryen stan.

Aerys Targaryen: You are probably mentally ill. You probably make tumblr posts about mental illness and the stigma of it. You yell at the television whenever a crime is blamed on mental illness. You watch Criminal Minds, but you probably do so critically. Either that or you are a psych major who likes to diagnose fictional characters with disorders neither you or anyone you know have.

Ramsay Bolton: You have read Fifty Shades of Grey one too many times or you are a total edgelord there is no in-between. You probably ship Thramsay. If you are a book reader you probably complain about the show’s portrayal of the Ramsay storyline and them making him too pretty. You like him the way he is. You find over the top villainy refreshingly honest. You don’t like to beat around the bush. 

Cersei Lannister: You are a feminist. You got tired of everyone bashing Cersei while giving all the above characters a pass. You roll your eyes whenever anyone tries to blame this on anything other than Cersei being a woman. You probably also like Sansa and Catelyn. You will come to the defense of anyone unjustly attacked even in real life. You believe in equality and fairness. You defend the ACLU and probably know a fair bit about the law.

Theon Greyjoy: You love redemption arcs. Just love them. You probably watch cartoons as an adult. You still go on TV tropes. Don’t worry, I won’t link you.

Roose Bolton: I don’t even know. You are a mystery. No one knows you. Maybe you don’t even know yourself.

Walder Frey: You have a million kids

Bonus episode - an excerpt from the next Night Vale novel!

One. 


Not everyone believes in mountains. Yet, there they are, in plain sight. Scientists insist, rather halfheartedly, that mountains are the bulging results of tectonic shifts along massive rocky plates. Mountains develop naturally over the course of many millennia, scientists say under their breaths.

Most people believe that mountains aren’t there at all, even if mountains are visible, as they often are. Nonbelievers will explain that our minds create sensory illusions to help explain what we cannot understand. Like the shapes of gods and monsters in the stars, or messages in tea leaves, or government codes in cloud patterns.

Mountains, real or not, ring this desert like the rim of an empty dinner plate. Scattered sparsely along the flat middle are small towns with names like Red Mesa, Pine Cliff, and right in the center, Night Vale.

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I am a proud Samoan. Oute mitamita o a’u o le Samoa.
I am not defined as a Samoan by how well I speak, or understand Samoan. For those of you who think that the fluency of a language defines the character of a being – you are short changing yourself from the joy of getting to know the essence, beliefs and good will of a human person.

I am not sorry for the education and upbringing I received away from Samoa that has made me the Samoan individual I am today.

For those who believe that I am an inadequate Samoan based on my fluency of the language- I challenge you.
I am a product of a long generation of educated Samoan leaders; high ranking Matai’s and honoured and respected Faifeaus. Their blood runs through my veins. In their vision for a better Samoa- a world renowned Samoa - they sought to leave Samoa to seek wisdom.

Education is the backbone to wisdom.
I am a creation of Samoan ideals. A dream of success from my ancestors because no matter where I go, what forum I speak or what University I attend in the western world. I am Samoan.

I may have grown up in a different land, with a different language and a different community but built into my learning was the understanding of our culture performance and the value system of the Fa’asamoa; Respect, Service, Faith, Family, God and Love.

I am one of many, in a new generation of Samoans dreamt to achieve by an older generation of Samoans.
Regardless of whether you can speak Samoan eloquently or whether your language is basic – we are all tasked with the same duty – to achieve. This is both a heavenly duty, and an earthly dream of generations before.

Learning the Samoan language is a continual journey for every Samoan – regardless of where we start. Some Samoans may be at the start of this journey, others may be in the middle, but even great orators, nearing the end of their journeys, are still mastering the language of old.

I am here to speak to a generation who may feel caught in between two worlds. You devalue your identity as a Samoan when you don’t acknowledge you are a Samoan, not, when you can’t speak Samoan.

Do not get me wrong- we are all tasked to continue to learn more of the language, more of the fa’asamoa, more of the customs – but do not let that knowledge, or lack of knowledge define your identity as a Samoan.

You are a Samoan. Whether full blooded or mixed. You are a product of an older generations dream. You are tasked to achieve on an international level. For the whole world to see, and hear and know that our breed of people in the Pacific exists and our people, for lack of a better phrase, are simply the best.

Latafale Auva'a
—  MISS SAMOA 2015 - answering the question - WHAT DEFINES A TRUE SAMOAN?

“If Frederick the Great, the far-sighted monarch, the friend and pupil of the rationalist Voltaire, could fructify poetry through his deeds, all the more so can Adolf Hitler, the son of the people, risen from its powerful depths, steeled by suffering and privation, familiar with all that is human, a volunteer soldier in the world war, close to death and the eternal night, rescued and preserved, designated by the Norns as elect, and provided with an earnestness and will, an energy for action and knowledge of people, insight and broadness of perspective, great as orator, greater as man of action. Everyone can feel what an enormous content, what a racially suited form he has bequeathed to our people, and first of all to the intellectuals! For the intellectuals belong to the people or they are nothing!”


Hermann Burte, 1940

2

LEGENDS || The Sword of Damocles

According to the story, pandering to his King, Damocles –an obsequious courtier in the court– exclaimed that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, Dionysius was truly extremely fortunate. The King turned to Damocles and said, “If you think I’m so lucky, how would you like to try out my life?” Damocles readily agreed, and so Dionysius ordered everything to be prepared for Damocles to experience what life as Dionysius was like. Damocles was enjoying himself immensely… until he noticed a sharp sword hovering over his head, that was suspended from the ceiling by a horse hair. This, the King explained to Damocles, was what life as ruler was really like.  Damocles, alarmed, quickly revised his idea of what made up a good life, and asked to be excused, realizing that with great fortune and power come also great peril and anxiety. He then eagerly returned to his poorer, but safer life. Dionysius had successfully conveyed a sense of the constant fear in which the great man lives. 
The great, late-Republican Roman orator and statesman Cicero describes the Sword of Damocles in his Tusculan Disputations 5.61.
The sword of Damocles is frequently used in allusion to this tale, epitomizing the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. More generally, it is used to denote the sense of foreboding engendered by a precarious situation, especially one in which the onset of tragedy is restrained only by a delicate trigger or chance.

The Brief of St. Anthony

In the 13th century, a Portugese woman who’d been demonically oppressed resolved to do the unthinkable by taking her own life by drowning herself in the Tagus River. On her way to the river, she passed a shrine erected in honor of the great orator and miracle-worker, St. Anthony of Padua. She stopped to pray, one last time. As she prayed, she saw St. Anthony standing before her, saying, “‘Arise woman, and take this paper, which will free you from the molestations of the Evil One.” Then he gave her a parchment inscribed with what is now known as the “Brief (i.e., “Letter”) of St. Anthony,” and she was now free from demonic oppression and the desire to do away with herself.

News of this miracle spread, even to the King who asked the woman for the Brief. He placed it with the Crown Jewels of Portugal, which was fine for the King, but bad for the woman. After the Brief was no longer with her, she began to weaken and lapse, so the King made a copy for her that restored her to her healed state. Other copies of the Brief were spread to help the faithful fight the Evil One and remind them that Christ has conquered.

The text of the Brief:

Ecce Crucem Domini, 
Fugite, partes adversae, 
Vicit Leo de Tribu Juda, 
Radix David, alleluia. 

Behold the Cross of the Lord! 
Flee ye adversaries! 
The Lion of the Tribe of Juda, 
The Root of David has conquered, alleluia!

I can’t encounter Cicero in Skyrim without constantly referring to him as the Great Orator

And I can’t read about the Great Orator without thinking of the weird jester from Skyrim

Caesar in Asia

Julius Caesar and Staff - Jean-Leon Gerome

After Sulla pardoned Caesar, he still thought it a wise idea to avoid potentially falling back into disfavor. Caesar, at 20 years old, left Rome for Asia in 80 BC. He next joined the staff of the Asian governor, Praetor Marcus Minucius Thermus, and got an advance start on his military and political career. While in service to Thermus, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to King Nicomedes IV of Bithynia with the purpose of raising a fleet. Caesar seems to have stayed so long in Bithynia that rumors began to circulate about what he was doing. By the time he did return to Thermus, with the fleet he was sent to muster, it was widely believed that Caesar was having an affair with Nicomedes. His fast return to Bithynia, to settle some affairs for the King, added to the gossip. The incident, while there is no evidence other than speculation, was a great source of joy to Caesar’s enemies later. They delighted in referring to him as the Queen of Bithynia. As he struggled for the rest of his life to quell the rumor, he turned into a notorious seducer of Roman women. Possibly, a designed effort in part to refute the charges, Caesar would later have affairs with countless Roman noblewomen. Wives and family of Senators were his favorite targets, and though he was never quite able to live down the Nicomedes rumor, he assuredly had an overwhelming reputation as a ladies man.

On another personal issue, it’s important to note Caesar’s apparent epilepsy. While his case must certainly have been mild, as it would’ve been difficult to achieve all that he did while undergoing chronic seizures, there is little question that he had some sort of affliction causing occasional loss of bodily control or mental lapses. In the ancient world, without medicines or treatments of any sort, a debilitating condition such as that, in severe form, would certainly have precluded Caesar from many of his accomplishments. There was a definite stigma attached to the disease, where people believed it was a direct affliction of the gods, and the moon in particular. To overcome social stigmas if it was common knowledge, would’ve been difficult at best, but still the brilliant politician may have used it to his advantage. While there is no direct evidence to suggest this, it shouldn’t be put past the mind of Caesar to use epilepsy as proof of his direct relation to Venus. In so doing, he could use an apparent weakness to spread his fame and dignitas by proving his divine favor on earth.

After the incident with Nicomedes, Caesar returned to Asia, and was involved in several military operations. In 80 BC while still serving under Thermus, he played a pivotal role in the siege of Miletus. During the course of the battle Caesar showed such personal bravery in saving the lives of legionaries, that he was later awarded the corona civica (oak crown). The award was of the highest honor, and when worn in the presence of the Senate, they were forced to stand and applaud his presence. Caesar wore the crown whenever it was opportune as he certainly delighted in ‘rubbing it in’ to his enemies.

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Okay, so I’m going to talk a little about AlaKou.

I haven’t actually read the chapter yet so this will be highly theoretical and based on my own observations about the characters.

I spent a lot of time shipping SinKou (and I wrote a heck of a lot of fics for them) so this will be used as a contrast to this new, and potentially amazing ship (at least in my opinion).

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Muḥammad ʿAlī (1942-2016) 

“So what I’m gonna do when I get out of boxing? Is to get myself ready to meet God.” -— Muḥammad ʿAlī

Words cannot do justice to Muḥammad ʿAlī, he was a champion in the ring, and hero outside of it. He was not just the greatest boxer, but a civil rights activist, a great orator, exuded confidence - the epitome of manhood. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest Muslim Americans that has lived. He is an inspiration for all, and will continue being one, even in death - this is his lasting legacy.

Slowly but surely the lights are going out. May Allāh cover him with Mercy, fill his grave with Light, forgive him any and all wrong actions and raise him up on the Last Day. May He raise his rank and unite him with the Prophet (ﷺ).

The greatest truth is re-revealing itself: ʾInnā Li-llāhi Wa ʾInnā ʾIlay-hi Rājiʿūn. “Truly! To Allāh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.”

We seek His Mercy, and His Gentleness.

al-Fātiḥah

“Allāh is the Greatest. I’m just the greatest boxer.”

When I saw Hamilton, I was incredibly impressed by Oak’s Madison. He was a quietly ponderous figure, but while Burr and Jefferson are fizzing with annoyance and words, Madison is this slow, steady force guiding them to actually act. All I could remember of historical Madison was that he wasn’t imposing or considered a great orator or presence, so I was curious about this portrayal.

And then I hit this chapter in the Chernow book last night and this description from Zephaniah Smith, one of his peers:

He has no fire, no enthusiasm, no animation, but he has infinite prudence and industry. [With] the greatest apparent candor, he calculates upon everything with the greatest nicety and precision. He has unquestionably the most personal influence of any man in the House of Representatives. I never knew a man that better understood how to husband a character and make the most of his talents. And he is the most artificial, studied character on earth.

I read it, then I re-read it and yes. YES. This is exactly how Oak plays it. He’s always watching from the sidelines, and when the time is right, he nudges Jefferson in the right direction. He literally hands him the microphone in Cabinet Battle #1. He is a quiet powerhouse. He’s the chess master. He’s watching all the pieces in play and moving the people he needs to move, and it’s mesmerising to watch him. The way he carries himself and the way he moves as well…

I went in not expecting much from Madison, because on the soundtrack he doesn’t have that many words compared to the others, but his gravity and quiet authority meant I couldn’t help watching him. It’s a fantastic performance and all the more impressive after you see him as the swaggering, hip-swinging lairy Mulligan in act 1. A phenomenal performance. You would think it was a totally different actor.

musicallyaroused  asked:

I find your taste in books and authors intriguing and related. If you don't mind, what other books are authors do you enjoy?

Yay, a literature question! 😍

Ok, so before I answer, I just want to say that most of the books I enjoy tend to be of a philosophical nature–things that can be thought provoking or enlightening. I love books that allow you to ponder aspects of life.

So as you already know, I’m a lover of Heidegger’s work so you might also guess, I enjoy other Western philosophers/historians/writers such as Nietzsche, Socrates, Aristotle, Kierkgaard, Sarte, Foucault, Locke, Marx, Voltaire, etc.

Before I go forward, I should mention that this may be a lengthy reply and that I’ll try to break up my reply into sections so it is understood that I’m making regional differentiations, so please bear with me. Also, I’m going to reply in a light hearted manner.

When it comes to literature pertaining to philosophy, I love me some Nietzsche but there are parts of his life that I cannot help but look at him and go 🤔 then 😆. Parts of his teachings reminds me of why it’s ok and natural to be petty. Yes, that doesn’t sound nice (or like the most refined way to say this) but when you think about certain things and break it down in layman terms, you find a bit of solitude regarding how we operate as human beings. If you really want to read up on someone who understood the true depth of what I like to refer to as the “human come up”, I’d say go with him. He’s one of the few men of his time that was unapologetically blunt about his views on human emotions and how we as a society encourage the suppression of certain thoughts and feelings. As you can see, I’ve given you a light hearted description of sensai Nieztche which I value and admire in small yet appreciative doses.

My admiration for the philosophers I mentioned are based on an personal observation I’ve made regarding qualities about them that I find to be intellectually intriguing. I noticed that often times, many of the philosophers and great orators that I admire have obsessive traits regarding things in their lives and the extent of the value that that those things hold.

Some other Western philosophers/historian/writers that I admire are Noam Chomsky (G.O.A.T 😱😭😍), René Descartes, Howard Zinn (🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾) and Henry Thoreau.

Regarding non-Western philosophers/historians/writers that I like are, Avicenna, Siddhārtha Gautama (aka Buddha), Sun Tzu, Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, Zhuang Zhou, Paulo Freire, and Laozi.

Now that I’ve named these lovely scholars, you might have noticed that I’ve mentioned European scholars and Asian scholars and a few more modern day South American scholars. What seems to be missing here within my response are African philosophers. Why you might ask? It’s quite simple my friend. It’s a little known fact that many of the worlds ancient philosophers studied and shared the knowledge that they had obtained from their intellectual executions within the continent of Africa but the omission of these facts within history have left many thinking that the only great philosophers were from Europe. The reasons why I mention this is because I take philosophy quite seriously when it comes to learning.

So with that being said, outside of the realm of philosophy, I enjoy other forms of literature and authors such as Buchi Emecheta, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nayyirah Waheed, Alfred Kinsey (not a philosopher but I’m a fan of his work), William Shakespeare, Toni Morrison (OG writer and amazing activist), Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Bennett, Audre Lorde, Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyem, Alice Walker, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Stieg Larsson, Alice Sebold, Matthew Salesses, George Orwell, Doris Lessing, Miguel de Cervantes, Jared Diamond, Malcolm Gladwell, Homer, Simone de Beauvoir, Gustave Flaubert, Sinclair Lewis, Charles Dickens, Joseph Heller, Cheikh Anta Diop, Ama Ata Aidoo, Naguib Mahfouz–the list goes on and on. I would name specific books but then this whole reply would be twice as long as I initially intended for it to be.

It took me quite a bit of time for me to sit down and compile this list because many (not all, but many) of these authors are based on 15 years worth of books that I’ve read growing up. Growing up, I was given a set of classic novels by my parents and I read those books not realizing that many of the themes and topics weren’t meant for the consumption of children but I cherished them because they opened my eyes to a world and time much different from what I knew and grew up with. So I hope this answers your question. Feel free to recommend some books to me if you think there’s something I might interested in reading. Happy reading 📚❤️✨

I am a proud Samoan. Oute mitamita o a’u o le Samoa.

I am not defined as a Samoan by how well I speak, or understand Samoan. For those of you who think that the fluency of a language defines the character of a being – you are short changing yourself from the joy of getting to know the essence, beliefs and good will of a human person.

I am not sorry for the education and upbringing I received away from Samoa that has made me the Samoan individual I am today.
For those who believe that I am an inadequate Samoan based on my fluency of the language- I challenge you.

I am a product of a long generation of educated Samoan leaders; high ranking Matai’s and honoured and respected Faifeaus. Their blood runs through my veins. In their vision for a better Samoa- a world renowned Samoa - they sought to leave Samoa to seek wisdom.

Education is the backbone to wisdom.

I am a creation of Samoan ideals. A dream of success from my ancestors because no matter where I go, what forum I speak or what University I attend in the western world. I am Samoan.
I may have grown up in a different land, with a different language and a different community but built into my learning was the understanding of our culture performance and the value system of the Fa’asamoa; Respect, Service, Faith, Family, God and Love.
I am one of many, in a new generation of Samoans dreamt to achieve by an older generation of Samoans.

Regardless of whether you can speak Samoan eloquently or whether your language is basic – we are all tasked with the same duty – to achieve. This is both a heavenly duty, and an earthly dream of generations before.

Learning the Samoan language is a continual journey for every Samoan – regardless of where we start. Some Samoans may be at the start of this journey, others may be in the middle, but even great orators, nearing the end of their journeys, are still mastering the language of old.

I am here to speak to a generation who may feel caught in between two worlds. You devalue your identity as a Samoan when you don’t acknowledge you are a Samoan, not, when you can’t speak Samoan.

Do not get me wrong- we are all tasked to continue to learn more of the language, more of the fa’asamoa, more of the customs – but do not let that knowledge, or lack of knowledge define your identity as a Samoan.

You are a Samoan. Whether full blooded or mixed. You are a product of an older generations dream. You are tasked to achieve on an international level. For the whole world to see, and hear and know that our breed of people in the Pacific exists and our people, for lack of a better phrase, are simply the best.


Latafale Auva'a, Miss Samoa NZ 2014-2015, Miss Samoa 2014-2015, Miss Pacific Islands 2014-2015.

Photo Credit: Ken Tai Tin

Another character sketch of Saint Just:

He was of inflexible will, had great self-possession, resolution and courage. He had a cold exterior and was not easily perturbed.
He was an orator of great force, but not an incessant talker like Robespierre. According to Aulard, he addressed the Convention not more than twenty times during the period of his membership, yet on every occasion his words were of
the profoundest importance. He was possessed of remarkable executive and organizing ability.

His personal beauty was striking. Desmoulins described his face as apocalyptic. His features were regular and finely cut. He had large, full, deep blue eyes, which were solemn expression except when lighted up in the animation of speech. His hair almost reached his shoulders, and was parted in the centre. He dressed with care, wore a blue coat, with a standing collar and two rows of brass buttons, cuffs, frills, and buckled shoes.

Sent by the Convention on a mission to reorganise the army of the Rhine, he inspired the defeated troops with fresh courage, disciplined a number of the officers, removed one general in disgrace, had another shot, sent the president of the Revolutionary Tribunal of Strasbourg to the scafifold, and levied a tax of 10,000,000 francson the wealthy citizens of that town to feed the starving troops that were defending them. He even went so far as to interfere with the plans of Carnot, and brought down upon his head the
censure of that able war minister.

He took life very seriously and was as sombre and as gloomy as a monk in Lent. Young, handsome, and intelligent, he was lionized while in Strasbourg; but temptations could not induce him to abandon his virtue.Under circumstance
that might have seduced even a stronger man, he displayed the spirit of a Scipio.

He was a fanatic, a bigot in his devotion to the Revolution; to him it was a dogma, and no sympathy nor sentiment of mercy could influence him in the pursuit of its enemies. He declared :
” The vessel of the Revolution can arrive in port only on a sea reddened with torrents of blood.” His declaration that ” no one can rule innocently in France ” meant, in its strict interpretation,
that every excess was justifiable that had for its purpose the advancement of the Revolution.

He was executed in the twenty-sixth year of his age. His was a short life, but a full one.

NATALIE DORMER HAS BECOME THE GO-TO ACTRESS FOR SPIRITED, INTELLIGENT WOMEN. AND, AS STYLIST FINDS OUT, THERE’S A GOOD REASON WHY

Natalie Dormer has just jumped fully clothed into a swimming pool. It is a heated pool in the opulent Hotel Café Royal, but regardless, it’s still a surprise to see a Game Of Thrones and Hunger Games star, in a £6,000 dress, swimming around like a mermaid, hair plastered to her scalp, in full make-up. But then one thing you quickly learn about 33-year-old Natalie is that she’s very much her own woman, with a savage sense of what she will and won’t do. She is an actress who won’t be put in a box, either professionally or personally. And doing so has given her major Hollywood credentials.

Since graduating from drama school in 2005, Natalie’s rise to fame has been slow and steady, with occasional dips into a-little bit-too-slow and not-all-that-steady. She made her name playing Anne Boleyn in The Tudors in 2007 followed by roles in Captain America: The First Avenger and BBC drama Silk. But then in 2012 along came the character of Margaery Tyrell in Game Of Thrones and Natalie proved herself one of the show’s most compelling talents. And that’s no mean feat in a series which has won both critical and audience acclaim – the finale of season four was watched by 9.3 million in the US, becoming HBO’s most popular show ever.

And then there was that other mega franchise The Hunger Games. In 2014, Natalie starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman, which catapulted her into another league. It’s fair to say Natalie played the game of show business and won big.

Fiercely smart – a missed A Level grade curtailed her plan to study at Cambridge University – Natalie chats easily about politics, philosophy and gender between shots (more on which later). In conversation she can be intense and she is accomplished in front of the camera – although I’m happy to see that she’s eschewed the Louboutins we’ve provided for hotel slippers when we shoot on dry land. She’s 5ft 6 but somehow seems taller, and I notice that most of the undercut she (controversially) had for The Hunger Games has grown back. 

Natalie, who was born in Berkshire, is also very down to earth, chatting happily with the hair and make-up team and tucking into a caesar salad, popcorn and green tea. When we discover there’s a press conference for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in the hotel she shocks everyone with her knowledge of it. And there’s a brilliant moment when her phone rings. “It’s one of those numbers,” she mock moans – she means PPI – before telling us about claiming back her own PPI and recommending we follow suit: “Don’t use a middle man, fill in the forms yourself!”

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part ithe hidden club: les amis de l'abc visit a house of libertine pursuits

part ii, secret admirers: enjolras meets the man he’s matched with

Enjolras gets the impression that his companion is grinning. “Since I cannot call you by your name,” says the man, “I should call you Psyche, dangerous with a lantern.”

In the dark, Enjolras smiles back, his heartbeat audible to his ear. “And you, Eros?”

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scars-and-ink  asked:

hello! I don't know if you remember me (probs not) but anyways I had that argument with my friend again about toothless not being the only important character by using some of your points but she just simply said "he's the only character that matters because he's cute" so I just gave up on her. Anywhooo what's your thoughts on the scene where hiccup leads hookfang out of his cage in front of the other young vikings and shows them how gentle dragons are? hands down favourite scene of mine

Hello again!!! I do remember you and I really enjoyed talking to you last time! It was a great prompt and I was very happy to chat with you about Stoick in HTTYD 2. It’s great to talk with you again… and frankly you picked one of my favorite scenes, too. I absolutely adore everything about this moment in the first half of “Kill Ring.” This scene is one where many important themes comes together, we see the full bravery and resolve of Hiccup, and effective cinematography intentionally panning between Hiccup and his father to show the struggles of father and son.

Setting the Scene: A Culture of Warfare

The Kill Ring scene begins with a panning view of the training arena. It is very different from when we have seen it times before: now an entire tribe of over-excited Hooligans is crowding around it and banners are stationed all around its circular perimeter. We as audience members see the dragon banners first out of anything. These banners set the stage of the upcoming ceremony: they depict Vikings fighting and brutally stabbing dragons. This is a day where everyone is eager for blood.

Stoick is seen next, standing on a platform above the crowd, with more dragon-killing banners behind him. This visually frames Stoick’s mindset: the chief’s expectations are that this is a day where Hiccup will become a man by slaughtering a Monstrous Nightmare. It is an important coming of age ceremony… one that Stoick is cheerfully anticipating for his son. The idea of his son spilling guts is what first gets him excited over his boy.

Then he begins to speak.

His first words say a lot.

“Well, I can finally show my face in public again.” 

Stoick actually begins his speech by commenting on Hiccup’s historical inadequacy as a Viking. Not only is that rude and insensitive, but it demonstrates just how little father and son have seen eye-to-eye. Stoick’s one concentration throughout How to Train Your Dragon has been killing dragons and protecting Berk in the middle of a war. He has scorned his son’s seeming weakness and insulted Hiccup repeatedly - sometimes angrily, sometimes off-handedly - about his non-warrior-like demeanor.

And Stoick just keeps going. That one disparaging comment is not enough. He continues to insult Hiccup and gets quite descriptive about how exactly lunatic it is to believe that a skinny, fifteen-year-old kid could amount to a great dragon-fighting warrior.

The sad thing is, the entire audiences cheers loudly and laughs with him. No one has a problem with Stoick speaking like this and agree wholeheartedly with his words.

Yet the fact Stoick starts his speech with such emphasis on Hiccup’s lack of ability is all for a well-intended rhetoric effect. By speaking so expressively about Hiccup’s historic inadequacy, Stoick paints a strong contrast for who he believes Hiccup is today. From the perspective of speech-writing, Stoick is effectively centering his entire speech on one theme: his son has transformed from a feckless boy to a warrior worthy of his father’s pride.

The message is meant to be good. And it’s a very well-written speech with a strong takeaway. It’s focusing on how Hiccup has metamorphosed during Dragon Training into someone the Vikings consider admirable. Stoick believes Hiccup has gained the traits that makes someone great in Hooligan society. The problem is: Hiccup has done none of that.

Stoick is feeding the crowd with expectations that, unbeknownst to him, will only be disappointed. 

From the very start of the Kill Ring, before Hiccup goes out into the Kill Ring, it goes poorly. Stoick, a great orator and well-respected figure in society, sets the stage by getting people amped for battle and death. What Hiccup wants to do is persuade the people for people. So getting everyone riled up for war makes it more difficult for people to listen to Hiccup’s upcoming message.

Entering the Ring: A Brave Boy’s Mission

Hiccup has to suffer, standing at the gate to the training ring, while he hears his father’s speech. Every word Stoick says makes the situation worse. I imagine Hiccup is feeling increasingly nervous as Stoick rattles on about the ideas of Hooligans killing Vikings, knowing how difficult it will be to persuade this excited, bloodthirsty crowd that the war against dragons is needless bloodshed. 

But then… Stoick says something that really hits Hiccup hard.

“No one’s more surprised… or more proud… than I am.”

Theatre audiences see Hiccup’s face, not Stoick’s, when the line is delivered. And because of that, we get to see something incredibly important: Hiccup’s reaction to Stoick’s words.

Throughout the movie, Stoick has told Hiccup that disaster falls whenever he is around, or that he is the worst Viking Berk has ever seen. But this is the first time we have ever seen Stoick say the word “proud” to Hiccup.

Hiccup is not used to hearing his father say he is proud of his son.

As soon as Stoick says that sensitive trigger word, Hiccup’s eyes widen and he drops his jaw. Emotions are coursing through the boy as he consequently drops his widened, pensive eyes and keeps his eyebrows furrowed. Hiccup feels shocked and touched that his father would say that he is proud… after all, Hiccup has spent so long attempting to gain his father’s favor. It’s finally happened. However, he has gained his father’s favor through a facade and misperception of who he really is. Hiccup realizes, with even more worry than he’s shown before, that he’s about to go into the Kill Ring and do the exact opposite of what finally gained his father’s ever-elusive pride. It’s really sinking into him how hard and how rocky this is going to be.

It’s not going to be easy stepping outside and doing something to lose his father’s favor. The thing he has always wanted from the opening scene of the movie. You can see that Hiccup stares out at the Kill Ring and keeps his eyes almost entirely on Stoick, thinking about it.

But Hiccup’s fully convinced that the Hairy Hooligan tribe needs to see that there is an alternative to bloodshed. He might feel uneasy and unsettled about what this will entail, but Hiccup is fully committed to saving dragons. While once he would have taken the favor of his father and his tribe, now he has an even greater desire: protect Toothless. Protect dragons. End the needless killing.

Hiccup is extraordinarily nervous, heart pumping and hands clammy, and we can tell he’s not sure he will succeed based on his word choice in his short conversation with Astrid. When she seems uncertain about his plan, Hiccup says, “I have to try.” The word “try” hints Hiccup does not know if he can pull this off. And then he tells Astrid, “If something goes wrong, just make sure they don’t find Toothless.”

There’s a lot embedded in that statement. Hiccup is suggesting he might not be around to protect Toothless himself if situations go wrong. That could either mean the Vikings (like Stoick) angrily seize him… or that he never makes it out of the ring alive.

There’s extreme courage in this teenaged boy when he steps out to face the Monstrous Nightmare… and more frightfully… face his tribe.

And there’s a tiny bit of foreshadowing in this moment, too. Right before Hiccup can promise Astrid anything goes wrong, Gobber interrupts. Hiccup never makes his promise… and indeed situations go wrong in the ring.

Hiccup and the Dragon: Hookfang Advances

Hiccup steps outside, face pained and clearly frightened. Still, when he first enters the Kill Ring, he appears to go along with the traditional coming of age ceremony. He places his mother’s helm on his head and steps forward to grab a weapon. He needs to do this in order for the Vikings to open the pen and release the dragon. Hiccup cannot even begin to prove that dragons are gentle creatures unless he gets the dragon out in the first place. And so he fakes it to everyone that he’s going to fight.

At this moment in time, the entire audience believes Hiccup is going to kill. This excites everyone. The entire crowd cheers and shouts his name. “HIC-CUP! HIC-CUP! HIC-CUP!” They are stoked, for this is a celebration of Hiccup’s coming to age.

But you can tell even now Hiccup is planning on derailing. He grabs the smallest weapon available out of his options. He wants to pick the weapon that looks the least threatening. None of the Vikings notice; Stoick even nonchalantly comments to Gobber he would have picked the hammer instead.

Then the Monstrous Nightmare - who will later be named Hookfang - is released. It is interesting that the Monstrous Nightmare is used for this ceremony. I do not know if every year the Vikings have this dragon be the one killed in the arena, or if different dragons are used different years. But the fact that it is a Nightmare is very symbolic. Monstrous Nightmares are those dragons that only the best Vikings of the tribe kill, the one for the great chiefs to battle and conquer. It is the dragon above the door to the Haddock household. This species of dragon symbolizes his Clan, and by killing it, Hiccup becomes a full man of tribe. It’s everything he would have dreamed of at the start of the film… now it’s everything he dreads.

Hookfang launches out of the enclosure. Likely he has heard the humans cheering and hollering just outside and this has riled him up. Staying penned up in a small cave is going to store up energy, too. Indeed, we see that the moment Hookfang bursts out into the Kill Ring is the moment he is the most aggravated. He flies straight to the people he has heard cheering, shooting forth flame and trying to toast everyone standing right outside. Hookfang has been stirred up by these people and so he tries to attack them. Only after he has flown around the perimeter of the enclosure does he notice the much more unassuming Hiccup.

All other humans have been unreachable until now. Here is a boy that Hookfang can touch. The dragon no longer rushes about in a frenzy, but instead creeps slowly up to Hiccup. Hookfang seems to size Hiccup up and believe he has the luxury to slowly advance before going for a kill. The dragon is disturbed and furious, lips quivering in a growl. This dragon is still planning on killing humans… and the first human will be Hiccup.

It makes it all the more incredible Hiccup catches the Nightmare’s attention before he gets cooked. 

Every single action Hiccup does is intentionally non-threatening. He backs up while Hookfang advances. He never holds his weapon in front of him - just the shield at the start. Very shortly after Hookfang starts walking toward him, Hiccup drops both the knife and the shield.

Dropping the knife comes with experience. Hiccup is an astonishingly intelligent lad who adapts quickly to prior experience. He remembers how tossing away his knife with Toothless made the Night Fury more approachable. Thus he drops the blade here in a similar gesture of peace. Dropping the shield is even more trusting, being as a shield is just for defense. What Hiccup does is make himself entirely defenseless and open for the Monstrous Nightmare. 

Look at the intentionality in which he does those actions. There’s so much determination in his face.

Dragons are incredible at reading human body language. At this point, we can see that Hookfang is not as riled up as he was before. While still suspicious at Hiccup, he is no longer at a point where he is definitely going to kill Hiccup. Hiccup is able to cautiously hold his hands in front of the dragon.

The audience is startled, too. Watching the Berk audience is really interesting… whereas before they were extremely energetic and excited for this ceremony, now peoples’ faces are visibly disappointed (especially Spitelout’s). There are a few moans in the crowd from unfulfilled expectations.

Hiccup doesn’t pay these people any mind. It gives some hint to the climate of Berk and how unreceptive the Vikings will be to peaceful ideas. But Hiccup is facing a dragon, one who is still a little tense. That’s more immediately important. Even though he’s dropped his knife and shield, Hiccup needs a little something more to get the Monstrous Nightmare calmed. Reaching his hands out still is not enough for the dragon to open up.

Thus comes the moment with the helmet.

Rejecting His Tribe: Casting off Valka’s Helm

Every single word in this scene is so beautifully scripted and wholly intentional. It ties into every moment of the movie and incorporates the themes that make the story so powerful. I have already talked about how this is the first time Stoick uses the word “proud” to his son. But there’s another very important part to Stoick’s speech in this scene that plays into the drama of the Kill Ring.

It’s the very end of Stoick’s speech. He says, “Today my boy becomes a Viking. Today he becomes one of us!”

Ironic? Ironic. Totally ironic.

Stoick’s words are both true and false. They are true in the long-term. This moment in the long run ends up being the moment Hiccup becomes a Viking and contributes to the Hooligan tribe. This is the foundation of Hiccup revolutionizing Hooligan society so that they can live at peace with dragons.

However… this does not happen right away. The very next scene after Kill Ring is Stoick telling Hiccup, “You are not a Viking. You are not my son.”

These lines are perfectly paired up with one another. Stoick at first says, “Today my boy becomes a Viking,” which is followed with the first line of his rejection, “You are not a Viking.” The second statement Stoick makes, “Today he becomes one of us,” is followed by the disowning words, “You are not my son.”

The verbal parallels make me scream.

And they just keep coming. Because in this moment in the Kill Ring scene when Hiccup casts down his helmet, he also says, “I’m not one of them.”

Now we get to talk about Hiccup’s helmet, which is one of my single favorite pieces of symbolism in HTTYD. I love this part so much I have already talked about it in various ways herehere, and here. But I have just realized there is even more going on here, so I’m going to discuss it yet again below.

I’m going to back up to when Stoick first gives Hiccup the helmet. He hands it to Hiccup and says the following, incredibly important words:

“Wear it proudly. You deserve it.”

Oh my gods.

First of all, it is enormously ironic Stoick even crafted helmets out of Valka’s breastplate. Stoick used the breast-hat as a gift and symbol to represent Hiccup being accepted into the tribe as a dragon killer. This is exactly the opposite of who Valka was: she was denied acceptance into the Viking tribe because she wished to spare dragons’ lives. Stoick takes Valka’s breastplate and turns the helmet into a symbol exactly contrary to his “late” wife’s philosophy. He hands the helm to Hiccup and tells Hiccup to wear it proudly because he deserves it. And he believes Hiccup deserves the helm because he is doing well “fighting” dragons in training.

Hiccup ends up acting according to his mother’s philosophy. He was given a gift that relates him to his mother… but he doesn’t realize it. Hiccup acts exactly like Valka when he proclaims that he is not “one of them.” Though Hiccup does not realize it, he casts aside a helmet that actually speaks much to the heart of his character.

But he’s throwing the helmet aside because he intends to show that he’s not a Viking, and that helmet has become a symbol of a killer tribe.

Stoick told Hiccup to “wear it proudly” and even finished, “You’ve held up your end of the deal.” He wanted Hiccup to wear it proudly to symbolize his inclusion in a dragon-fighting tribe. Hiccup casting aside the helmet is rejecting Stoick’s gift and the acceptance of his tribe. He’s not wearing the helm proudly because he doesn’t deserve it because he’s not a killer at all! He hasn’t held up his end of the deal.

Hiccup knows he’s also responding to what Stoick said in his ceremonial speech about this being the day Hiccup becomes a Viking and “becomes one of us.” Hiccup says, “I’m not one of them,” rejecting Stoick’s speech. He doesn’t even look in the eye of the Monstrous Nightmare when he says this, even though one would think the words were intended for the dragon. Rather, Hiccup stares straight at his father when he throws the helmet aside.  

This moment does not set well with either the crowd or Stoick. The people are now shocked and gasping. You hear someone say, “What’s he thinking?” Stoick, who probably recognizes Valka in his son, gets defensive and angry. When people are presented with a counter opinion to their viewpoint, they do not come around and accept the alternate proposal. Instead, they become more steadfast with their own beliefs. They might get more angry. And indeed Stoick is very unsettled and firm when he tells people to stop the fight.

Hiccup just keeps defying Stoick, the Hooligans, and everything his tribe represents. He outright tells his father, “No!” He wants the scene to continue now that he has begun his speech. Hiccup is just about to touch Hookfang’s snout, an important moment of bonding between human and dragon. If Hiccup can only touch Hookfang’s snout, then any moment of danger is over. He will have won over the Monstrous Nightmare and proved his point that dragons don’t need to be killed.

As his fingers approach the dragon, Hiccup says, “I need you all to see this. They’re not what we think they are. We don’t have to kill them.”

His intent is to put his hand on Hookfang’s snout and seal the deal.

That’s not what happens. 

The people are all in disarray now. As soon as Hiccup announces they don’t need to kill dragons, all eyes swivel directly to… Stoick. People want to know how Stoick’s going to respond! Do they listen to this kid, or does the chief has some way of explaining this situation? How angry is Stoick going to be, especially since he lost his wife to dragons? And indeed Hiccup saying, “We don’t have to kill them,” crosses the line. Stoick is incredibly nervous. His very life philosophy is being questioned by his own son. He’s scared about his own son in the ring and probably doesn’t think Hiccup is safe. And he most certainly doesn’t want the entire tribe to question killing dragons and see his son speak out such heinous words. For a second time, Stoick screams, “STOP THE FIGHT!”

While Gobber’s eyes are wide and gaping in shock (he didn’t train this idea into Hiccup!), Stoick slams his hammer against the railing of the Kill Ring so hard the metal bends.

Hookfang hears the sound of the metal clanging. He knows that sound. He knows what a hammer is. The dragon’s eyes go from wide to slits. Hookfang’s mind reverts to fight-or-flight and snaps at the nearest human hand to him: Hiccup’s. Hiccup screams, “NO!” and chaos breaks out.

The scene in the Kill Ring goes sour. Hiccup then loses everything. He loses his father’s pride which he only just gained. He in fact loses his father because Stoick disowns him. He loses Toothless when the dragon tries to come to protect him. And he loses his tribe. This was meant to be a coming of age ceremony for Stoick and the Hooligans. It was meant to be a time to usher peace for Hiccup. What happens instead is rejection and the perpetuation of a needless war.

I can’t believe we get all that in three minutes.

People of Night Vale, do not be defined by how you can die, but how you can live! It is like the great writer and orator Booker T. Washington once said, “In all things social, we can be as separate as fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to destroying a Smiling God.”

>> Stay safe, Night Vale! Stay indoors and we will broadcast to let you know when it’s all over.

— 

Tamika Flynn/Dana

Welcome to Night Vale

Episode 49 - Old Oak Doors Part B