Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Notebook: We Are Knights

I read A Dance With Dragons and George R.R. Martin once again proves  that his fantasy isn't about good triumphing over evil; it's about the violence and brutality that plagues Westeros and the people that live in that world. After reading the latest entry to A Song of Ice and Fire, however, I realized that I haven't really written anything that could match the gritty, dark reality of Martin's work. So I sat down tonight and just started typing and at 4:48 AM, this is what I got.

We Are Knights
By Blake Gabriel

The quiet fell among them like an ashen snow. Beneath the breathing, the clink of mail, and the crunching of the white-dusted grass, there was no other sound. Through the silence, Ser Karlton spoke, his voice joyless and grim.

“They are not here.”

Around him, the green-cloaked soldiers turned over the bodies of the dead. Most of their faces were ruined and rimed with frost, their bodies leaving pink spots in the gray-flecked snow. The corpses bore the chained bear sigil on their coats, though whatever armor and weapons they bore had been looted.

“These are Dace armsmen,” Ser Henrik said, rubbing his fur-gloved hands together for warmth. “Surely these were Lord Thorys’ children among them.”

“They are not,” Karlton replied, “else these men would have fought harder. They died much too quickly.”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Character Study: Nina Sayers

In my continuing series of Character Study posts, here is an essay I wrote on Black Swan, titled "The Transfiguration of Nina Sayers," wherein I chart the rise and fall of Nina Sayers throughout the film.

Perfection is a dream chased by many, but only a few ever achieve it. More often than not, reaching that level of flawlessness requires a great sacrifice. In Black Swan, Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman, is a ballet dancer who strives for perfection. Her greatest desire is to be the prima ballerina and dance the part of the Swan Queen. However, realizing this dream requires Nina to transform herself from innocent girl-child to a sensual woman, and to make her own awful sacrifice to achieve perfection. This metamorphosis is completed in three stages: self-discovery, awakening, and transfiguration.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Character Study: Hannibal Lecter

It's been quite some time since there's been new material on this blog, but with summer cooking like it has been, I'm afraid I've been too busy to post! However, I don't want to leave my blog a dusty corner of the Web so in the next week or two I will be posting some material that's just been sitting around on my computer. The following is from an essay originally titled "Human Beast: Analysis of Dr. Lecter" which I wrote for my Textual Analysis class last year.

Man is the world’s most dangerous animal. Though we do not possess sharp teeth, claws, poisonous stingers, or the ability to perceive heat radiated by other creatures, we do possess an unsurpassed ability to reason and think. Man has intelligence, the deadliest natural weapon of all. In Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, readers are introduced to Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic psychiatrist, who fuses a razor-honed intellect with the savage qualities of a beast. He is both man and monster, but it is the balance of these two aspects that gives him the depth that still fascinates and horrifies to this day.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How D&D Made Me a Better Storyteller

When someone mentions Dungeons & Dragons, it conjures images of the deepest, darkest depths of nerd-dom: a bunch of guys sitting around a table, rolling dice and moving miniatures across a grid while play-acting as fantastical heroes. And, for the most part, those portrayals are accurate.

Playing D&D does involve plenty of what some people may perceive as silly behavior best reserved for children under 10. Yes, we are playing toys and having "imagination time" while we chug Mountain Dew and eat corn chips. But we are also doing so much more.