q & a the novel

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Whatever Chirrut had become in his life – and without the temple he could not truly be a Guardian of the Whills; without joy and frivolity he could not be a clown and jokester among sober peers; without the Holy City he could not be a protector of his beloved world – whatever he was, he was not a warrior at heart, and the events of the day had eroded his spirit. While Baze, his brother and ward, had embraced his role with vicious resolve, Chirrut had fought and run and killed because fighting and running and killing were necessary.

Now they were necessary no longer, and he was glad.

ROGUE ONE NOVELIZATION BY ALEXANDER FREED

American Gods – 10 things we learned about Neil Gaiman adaptation at London premiere

Ahead of upcoming fantasy series American Gods, airing on Starz later this month, Amazon Prime Video screened the show’s pilot and hosted a Q&A session with the cast in London recently. Apart from being completely baffled about what the overall plot was after the first episode had finished, audience members certainly learned a lot about what to expect from Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s visually stunning adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel.

Here’s all that IBTimes UK took away from the event, including some behind-the-scenes anecdotes and tidbits from future episodes…

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So, what’s the show about?

Mixing themes of old American Westerns with modern fantasy and ancient mythology, American Gods sees ex-convict Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) meet a mysterious man named Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane). The latter, in turn, introduces him to a dangerous world of good and evil and enlists him as his reluctant bodyguard-turned-errand boy.

In Gaiman’s novel (and presumably, the series now too), Wednesday is actually Odin, the Old Norse god of knowledge and wisdom, who has used his abilities to become an extremely successful con artist. More recently however, he spends his days trying to recruit other gods to join him in the inevitable war between himself and his kind and the New Gods; beings who manipulate their followers with promises of wealth and fame.

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You won’t necessarily understand the pilot, and that’s okay…

“Well, I’m sure I speak for everyone, my mind was blown. I did not know what the hell just happened. Whittle candidly told the audience, when asked what were his thoughts upon watching the pilot himself. "You enter this journey through Shadow’s eyes and obviously at the beginning, you’ve not got a clue what’s going on but that’s okay because neither does Shadow. And as Shadow learns what’s going on, you’ll learn with him.”

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It’s SUPER blood-soaked

Before the pilot began, the audience was greeted to an introductory video message from Gaiman who thanked everyone for attending… and then apologised for “all of the blood”. After the episode had finished, his final comment certainly made sense… Be warned, American Gods is not a show for those who suffer from haemophobia.

Laura Moon gets her own episode… and backstory

“Laura is a pivotal role in the book, in the sense that she’s the reason for Shadow going on this journey in the first place,” Emily Browning, who plays Shadow’s wife Laura in the show, explained. “But you don’t really get to see much of what’s going on with her. In the book, she kind of came in and out, but in episode four of this series we meet Laura before she meets Shadow and we get to know her story.”

Yetide Badaki was into Neil Gaiman’s work before coming aboard

“I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy geek, so, I actually think when Neil first met me that he thought I was a total weirdo. They introduced us and all I could do was shake his hand, turn around and scurry away. It has been beyond a dream-come-true.”

“There was a moment where Ricky, Emily and I got to watch a couple of episodes and we were just sitting there like little kids in a candy store!”

Ricky Whittle put Pablo Schreiber in the hospital during filming

Orange Is the New Black’s Schreiber stars as Mad Sweeney, a king from an old Irish story, in the show and it’s safe to say, the orange-haired character makes quite an impression in the opening episode alone. In the pilot, Sweeney and Moon get into a brutal bar-room brawl and according to Browning, Whittle sent Schreiber to hospital…

“So,” the former Hollyoaks star said, “In that scene, there’s several headbutts but he missed time on one of them. It wasn’t my fault. He grabs my shoulders and sinks his 6ft 5in frame into my forehead so I just flick back and sell it, but he caught me and [he] hit the floor. When he came up, his head was pouring with blood. He burst his forehead wide open.”

Technical Boy is King of the Jazzy Hair Do’s

“[Technical Boy] is indicative of our relationship with the internet and social media; constantly updating so every time you see him [he has] a completely new look, completely new hair. I got to know the hair and make-up girls very, very well,” Bruce Langley, who portrays the character, teased. “We’re close.”

Browning even went on to joke that Langley even sports a grill at one point during the season. “Watch this space,” he confirmed.

It has deeper themes than just 'gods’

“What really hit me was the whole immigration story and all of the ancient power and how [these figures] are trying to find their way in the modern world.” Badaki stated when asked about the show’s different subject matters, before Whittle clarified: “It touches on some very sensitive topics; immigration, religion, sexism, racism.”

[It could have] been relevant at any time,“ McShane added. "What it deals with, which is all the issues we don’t like to talk about in life. It’s a story of coming to America… faith… Don’t lose faith. What Gaiman is saying is, 'Whatever your faith is, it doesn’t matter… as long as you have faith, you need something – otherwise you’ll just be a boring cynic.”

Female characters play a much bigger part in the show than they did in the book

“Bryan said in another one of his interviews, the book was 'kind of a sausage party’”, so it’s really great that they decided that they wanted to make the female roles more interesting and more present in the story.“ Browning told the audience.

'You ain’t seen nothing yet’…

There’s no denying that the overall theme of the evening’s Q&A was that fans – regardless of whether they’ve read the original novel or not, are in for a treat with this one. Almost every cast member at some point told the audience to 'get ready’ in so many words… so chances are, you’d better do so.

Also starring Orlando Jones, Kristin Chenoweth, Crispin Glover and Gillian Anderson, American Gods is set to premiere on 30 April 2017. The show will arrive on UK screens, via Amazon Prime, on 1 May.

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Reading "I,Q"

So I’m about a fifth of the way through the book, and Q’s characterisation is brilliant (probably because John de Lancie helped write it) and the banter between him and Picard is just beautiful. Oh, and apparently the Continuum married him off to Lady Q to “ground him”. Not very well, though, as he keeps running off to see his human boyfriend. Oh and Q has gushed about Picard approx 53 million times so far. Picard is such a bamf; he’s calmer than Q and has held a Q taxi driver to gunpoint. No one is cooler than this man, I swear. Also, Data is as adorable as usual. :D

She was bored. She loved, had capacity to love, for love, to give and accept love. Only she tried twice and failed twice to find somebody not just strong enough to deserve it, earn it, match it, but even brave enough to accept it.
—  William Faulkner, The Town: A Novel of the Snopes Family
  • Q: Is it hard to transition from writing novels to writing for the screen?
  • Daniel Handler: The biggest challenge, frankly, in writing for the screen is the collaborative aspect of it, which I think is exciting and good for me, but an adjustment for sure. I'm used to being alone all day. We're working on season two now. The writers' room meets in my dining room, so day in and day out, I'm sitting with a group of writers, which is great, but I'm just really used to playing the same song five times in a row if I want to, lying on the floor, otherwise behaving the way one does when one is alone.
[ENG Trans] JB on Urbanlike Magazine October edition Interview
  • Q: There’s this strong impression of JB that he’s a leader who carries heavy responsibilities on his shoulders. Have you heard about this a lot?
  • JB: I don’t think I can say that I can’t feel the responsibilities or burden as a leader. But now, before we also know it, it’s been 3 years for us. Each of us, to some extent, had accumulated experience, and so we’ve grown to believe we can do well on our own. Thanks to that, more than the start, I think I can let go of my burden.
  • Q: Also because the members have all somehow become more mature.
  • JB: Exactly. Now if I want to say something or stop them from doing something, I think it’d be like nagging, so now if it’s not something that should be corrected when we gather up for a meeting, I wouldn’t say it.
  • Q: It’s a relief that you’ve become more comfortable. To JB, I thought books would somehow be a breakthrough for your leader’s responsibilities and burden, wouldn’t it?
  • JB: I think I read a lot of self-improvement books. I’m sure that it has helped me a lot with me being a leader. When you read self-improvement books, you’d think “I need to be careful in this situation”, and I can recognize it if it happens again. I also think I read analects quite well. Without me even knowing, I’m able to gain comfort from those kind of books, so I like them.
  • Q: Have you ever looked for self-improvement books more about positions in the team?
  • JB: I’ve read books deliberately on self-improvement in leadership’s cases. How to do it, am I able to become a little better at being a leader. I also thought that I wanted to live like a decent human. Even if I can’t live being formal every second, I want to keep a certain standard.
  • Q: Anyhow, the position of a leader is difficult, isn’t it?
  • JB: It was difficult at the beginning. I wanted the members to open up comfortably, and it’s been like so, but somehow I think from the “leader” position there’s the next limit. For example, there are times when you have to speak sternly, as a leader, but if that situation builds up, since when, the members would also conceal their weakness, or the bad parts of them that they don’t want to be seen. Then later on, when I came to know, I’d be like “If they were to be honest, I wouldn’t have said anything back then. Why did they hide it?”, I get upset thinking that the members were hiding. I think that kind of situation that can’t be helped is a bit difficult. But now I tell the members not to think of me as a leader, but a teammate. I think now all 7 people have shared the responsibility of the leader position.
  • Q: Have JB-ssi enjoyed reading since you were young?
  • JB: I used to just went straight to sleep when I read books. I was first immersed in books through fantasy novels. I couldn’t remember exactly what book, but I was somehow so concentrated that I drew out the world inside the book in my head. I think that’s how I came to find books interesting. There’s a hyung who danced with me enjoyed reading self-improvement books and analects, and as I read the books that hyung recommended me every once in a while, I naturally came to read books.
  • Q: You came to pick up reading under the influence of someone, and now you’ve become someone to influence someone else to read books. We heard that the largest part of Jinyoung-ssi liking books was from JB-ssi.
  • JB: Rather than recommending a book, I remember giving a hint to Jinyoung who didn’t read books like he does now, by saying “How about reading?”. I didn’t say anything but “Reading is really good. It helps a lot.” Jinyoung began to read one or two books. I think that him reading consistently until now is because he likes it himself.
  • Q: Do you also usually talk to each other about books?
  • JB: I recommend the books that I liked, and I as I say to Jinyoung “This book might be fun,” there are also some books that I gave him. Jinyoung is currently reading "The Big Picture" from Douglas Kennedy. Then we’d talk about it, right? “Up to where have you read? Then if you read a little bit more there’ll be this aggravating part.” (laughs)
  • Q: I’ve also thought about GOT7’s image in the waiting room. You might have different ways to spend your own time, but how was time mostly spent?
  • JB: If we go on music broadcast, we spend almost all of our day in the waiting room. If during the time we don’t do anything, time will go on meaninglessly, doesn’t it? That’d be a waste, also when we practiced singing while traveling. I’ve tried working on music. Among those, the most effective way to spend time was to read books. While reading books, if there was a good word, I’d write it down. I think that’s the simplest way too, to be able to make good use of time, so I mostly read books in the waiting room.
  • Q: Anyhow, I think that because you’ve been together with Jinyoung-ssi since JJ Project, you’d have particular sentiment towards each other. Now you’re influencing each other in reading too.
  • JB: That’s right. We don’t go that far to discuss about books, but sometimes we talk about the books each of us read from time to time. “I thought about it this way, but I guess Jinyoungie thinks that way.” When that kind of talk comes up, I think I get inspired. More than anything, the thing I learnt from Jinyoung, I think it’s him managing himself thoroughly. Looking at him not neglecting to manage himself, I feel the lead of my goal changing for sure.
  • Q: What kind of book are you reading now?
  • JB: I’m reading Alein de Botton’s "Essays in Love". I’m still at the early stage of the book so I’m still reading the part that’s overflowing with love. But it has sort of a difficult feeling. I started with saying I read a novel, but I have a feeling that I think I need to learn about words or expressions.Q: They say when reading books, if you look back at yourself you’d feel embarrassed. I’m curious when you ever felt that sentiment.
  • JB: When I read self-improvement books, I think I’ve felt that. I don’t think people can be perfect, but when I can’t do something I already knew or there’s something I can’t do properly, I feel embarrassed on my own. I started reading self-improvement books and fix my weaknesses. Looking at the things I can’t carry on properly, I feel doubtful as of why I read these.
  • Q: Even so, what’s your reason of reading?
  • JB: I think I want to relieve my stress through reading. I also want to feel the story inside the books and its emotions. There are a lot of things that are similar to the cases in novels, aren’t there? When you put yourself in the shoes of some character, you’d feel the same emotions that character feels just through reading. The book "The Moment" (Douglas Kennedy) was like so. Set in Germany in the past, it’s about the tragic love of two people. As I reach the end of the book, without me even knowing, I was reading the book while crying. (laughs)
  • Q: Who was a character in books that you’ve felt specially emotionally connected?
  • JB: The story of the wandering teenager in "Kafka on the Shore" hit home to me. I didn’t want to wander around like the main character but some more time to myself to reflect on deep thoughts. All these days I think I couldn’t make efforts to get to know myself more, so I’ve always felt bad. Therefore, I think I could sympathize more with that.
  • Q: Seems like you read a lot of novels lately. Is there a specific genre of book that you like?
  • JB: I don’t nitpick about the book’s genre. But then there’s a book that evokes the feeling that “This might be difficult for me”. Judging from the fact that I can’t focus, I’d put that aside and read it when I can focus later. Now if I can read I focus on one book.
  • Q: Do you have your own way of reading books? Before, you said to take notes of good words.
  • JB: That’s right. When I read books, if I somehow read an influential line/paragraph, I read it while underlining it. This thing you can also sometimes see in a book, but if you read a book in some country, and that book is so good, they say to leave it behind so another person can also read it. Looking at it, I thought it was a very cool idea. If it were me, I think others might notice my emotions, so I don’t think I can do that. (laughs) Ah, there’s this thing too. At first, every book that I’ve read, I cut the last part of the bookmark I put in the book and tied them in a knot. That’s my personal sign that I’ve read them all.
  • Q: That sounds interesting. Then what kind of method do you use for marking now?
  • JB: I put my name down on the front cover of the book. I use my pen-name DefSoul though. I write down that name. And instead of using bookmarks I fold the books that I read. Then when I opened the book again I’d know, oh so I’ve read up till here. That way I’m able to know easily.
  • Q: I know that you went to school in a theater department. Of course you write lyrics but Do you have any stories or scripts you’d like to try writing more?
  • JB: I’ve tried coming up with scenarios through school assignments, but it’s really hard. While writing lyrics is from a particular situation, or the words you’d want to say to someone, scripts are about getting the big picture and from there, you have to write dialogues one by one. That is still not an easy thing. Instead, now I write down the emotions that I feel. I write down the date today, how I’ve been feeling today, what emotions I felt.
  • Q: If you have a subject matter or story in mind, what would it be?
  • JB: At school, I also made a film for a school assignment. A story that had a fantasy element. One day, when the main character was sleeping, he met his ideal type. He didn’t know for certain who that was, but he felt and remembered the silhouette. But when he opened his eyes, he felt the intuition that this person was somewhere in the real word and came to find the girl. In the movie that I made, I gave it a twist. In the end, the girl was the person that the main character killed, and the character fell into amnesia because of guilt. One day, he opened the closet to go on a date. That girl’s corpse was there. It was a 3-minute film so it ended shortly. That was the story.
  • Q: I think you can make a full movie with that. (laughs) Lately, what has been on JB-ssi’s thought the most? Is it the comeback that’s coming up?
  • JB: That’s right. This album had a lot of self-composed songs that the members wrote by ourselves. Among 13 tracks, 11 tracks were directly written by the members. I also took part in 3 songs. While making the songs, 2 were the tracks that I was writing while thinking they would suit GOT7. One track was more about the kind of music I wanted to do.
  • Q: So that’s a song that’s more to your own taste. It’s your 2nd full album. Personally, and between the members, is there a new goal?
  • JB: Although it’d be nice if we can also get first place this time to have the chance to grow more, I think I have no regrets about not caring about the rankings. While working on this album, we came to take in many opinions on the direction we want to head more to. Every time we make an album, I think that we want to grow more. I think that growth should not just be seen in numbers as a result, but what you want to relay as an artist. You concentrate while working and work with precision, then when you play you won’t be able to regret about playing. I want to be able to grow so that people would say “GOT7 are such diligent and cool artists!”.
  • Q: Usually, when talking about this, is it JB-ssi’s turn to talk?
  • JB: I’m actually just listening in the back. Jackson and Jinyoung would do the talking. I listen to what the kids are saying, and later on add on “In order to reach your goal, I think it’s better to do it this way.”
  • Q: Such a natural leader. I think you’re very mature for your age.
  • JB: I think that’s the only way. More than me being a leader, I think among all 7 people, there needs to be a person to organize like this, so I’m just taking that role.
  • “As time goes by, I read a book I’ve read once again. When time passes and you’ve gained more, you’ve changed a lot. I feel that each time. I’d have to keep reading incessantly.” - In JB’s interview
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I don’t know if this was already translated, but I was looking through my files and found an interview with Ohtaka from 2013 and discarded djinn equip designs for the Kou brothers. They appeared in a booklet that came with the magazine:

A discarded design for Astaroth djinn equip:

Aladdin: ‘On the right is Astaroth djinn equip that appeared in the story and below is a discarded draft. The motif behind the discarded one is a combination of a dragon and a skeleton, and it looks totally cool.’

On the current Astaroth djinn equip:

‘I was lost on the djinn equip for Kouen. I thought about the upcoming developments and imagined how Alibaba, Sinbad and Kouen will look like standing next to each other. I made sure not to have their colors overlap with each other. It makes one wants to see how they’ll look like in color standing next to each other isn’t it? Maybe someday.

A discarded draft for Dantalion djinn equip:

Aladdin: ‘in the image above are two rough sketches for Koumei. Tengu was the inspiration behind them. In here he’s holding his trademark fan as well. I wanted to see it in action, and it’s a shame that they ended up discarding it.’

Leraje djinn equip

Aladdin: ‘the author likes this one as well. I’m amazed by how intricate in their design the accessories on his waist and limbs are. The motif was the grim reaper+metal.’

Interview with Shinobu Ohtaka

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theres this one star trek novel where q junior is an infant and as per usual q senior is referred to as “Q” but junior is referred to as “q” with a lowercase that’s freaking adorable oh my god