「厭世の軍師」 (Ensei no Gunshi)
“The World-Weary Strategist”
Narsus may know the minds of men, but it’s Arslan who knows their hearts.
A brilliant strategist character can be hard to pull off, because his or her strategies need to be legitimately brilliant, whereas the powerful fighter is easy to write. Narsus passes muster in the same way Silvermask did, by being ahead of the curve. And by the same way, I mean that Silvermask (& Kharlan) may have stolen a page from Narsus’ book. Using rumors to turn three enemy armies against each other, and create a legends of Pars’ cavalry in the process, is quite the coup. In this case, Narsus (as a character) has a leg up on modern strategic geniuses because he doesn’t have to be more clever than the most brilliant minds we (the viewers) know—he just has to be better than his contemporaries. And with men like King Andragoras III ruling the scene, that’s extremely doable.
The Character of Arslan’s Soul
Likewise, if we were told “Arslan is charismatic” without being shown why people are drawn to the young prince, it would ring hollow. That’s not the case, because Arslan Senki is continuously showing us why Arslan is different, and he gives good reason for wise men to be loyal to him. King Andragoras is both the stereotype and the reality of most ancient monarchs, but Arslan is, as Daryun said, sensitive and kind. Those are strengths, mark my words—kindness is not weakness. Him openly crying for Vahriz’s death shows the strength of vulnerability, and is moe to boot. Arslan moeeeee!
But a new side of Arslan is beginning to poke through, and it vibes off his sensitivity. While the typical monarch would have offered Narsus money or status, Arslan rightly divined what Narsus, as an individual, most valued. I thought he was going to offer to free the slaves if Narsus helped him, and I’m glad he didn’t, because that decision needs to be made on its own merits. No, Arslan is smarter than I: the court painter! Brilliant! He may create monstrosities—and the story was smart to not show us Narsus’ paintings, allowing us to imagine something far worse than they could have shown us—but I agree with what Arslan said:
“I would rather have Narsus paint a living portrait of me, than have a famed Lusitanian artist paint my death portrait.”
Damn right, kid. Narsus get-o!
Looks like we’re back to the capital city, which should prove interesting. Talk of how the king indulged the queen but both were cold to Arslan has me wondering what Queen Tahamenay is up to now that her husband is a captive (I’m assuming). Hopefully we’ll find out.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Narsus understands the minds of men enough to derail armies, but it’s Arslan that understands their hearts #arslan 04
- The sad thing is that Kharlan may have been right about getting Andragoras off the throne being best for Pars. The king only got one of his greatest military victories by giving Narsus leave to act so he could rub his failure in his face, whereas Kharlan actually respects Narsus’ value. Andragoras was dangerous to his own country, but replacing him with Lusitanian zealots is far worse. A net loss for Pars.
- Smug Daryun or smug Narsus: who’s your favorite? (The correct answer is Daryun, you monsters.)
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Schrödinger’s Skill, Pricing: Ebooks and print, Happiness is low overhead, and People as things.
Full-length images: 08.