「ペシャワールへの道」 (Peshawaaru e no Michi)
“The Road to Peshawar”
Guiscard vs Bodin, Daryun vs Xandes, and Arslan vs the selfish concept of contemporary nobles. There are a lot of interesting conflicts going on this week.
Guiscard’s Temporal Politics versus Bodin’s Holy Warriors
The most common criticism I’ve heard of this show is that, while most of the Parsians are multi-faceted characters, the Lusitanians are largely one-dimensional. In Guiscard, we have a character that bucks that. Though that’s not entirely true—Innocentius VII, while clearly not the strongest of monarchs, is more than what he appears. Both when Bodin was burning books two episodes ago, and this time when he was trying to bully Innocentius into authorizing the slaughter of 10,000 heathens, Innocentius did not look entirely okay with the proposition. He strikes me as a man who’s experiencing a conflict between his avowed faith and his internal morality, since his “infallible faith” has gone seriously, and murderously, off the rails. I can’t help but think this story won’t end well for Innocentius, and it likely shouldn’t—by not stopping Bodin, he’s complicit in these murders. But at least he doesn’t appear to feel good about the situation he’s in.
But Guiscard is still the more interesting, or at least more clever, of the Lusitanian royal brothers. I was not-so-secretly hoping for him to snap Bodin’s lunatic neck when he was threatening to undo all their work by going on a rebellion-inciting murder spree, but the presence of Bodin’s holy warriors—okay, let’s call them what they are. The presence of Bodin’s zealots (they’re not as warm and fuzzy as the Protoss version, people) does not bode well for the people of Pars. I still hope Guidcard snaps his neck. Or Narsus does it. Or he chokes on a pretzel and dies. Just someone, take out this crazy priest! Dude gots to go.
When Xandes, the son of Kharlan, proclaimed his intent to go after Daryun, I honestly didn’t expect him to survive the episode. And there were some odd things about the battle, like how he hulked out and picked up a tree with his sword—I feel like that should have broken his sword, his back, his horse’s legs, or all three—or how they seemed to be billing him as a threat to Daryun, even though I really wasn’t feeling it.
But done well was why he survived. Farangis noted that Daryun is soft, for refusing to use his full strength against an unhorsed opponent, and I agree. Yet Farangis didn’t seem entirely displeased with this weakness. Daryun is a man of honor, and that honor is worth more to his continued fighting strength than the elimination of any Lusitanian / Silvermask-allied soldier, no matter how dangerous they may be. It also just fits what we know of Daryun. As with Arslan himself, sometimes being soft is the right way to be, even in these dangerous times. Though it could still come back to bite Daryun in the ass, if he’s not careful.
Why Arslan Is Different, and Elam & Gieve Coming Around
Gieve accurately zeroed in on the reason why Arslan is different: He hasn’t spent his entire life in the palace. I don’t know why Andragoras and Tahamenay sent Arslan off to live with a Nursemaid and her husband—though there are still questions of his parentage that could explain that—but it did him a world of good. As Gieve pointed out early in the episode, most royalty doesn’t care what happens to their vassals or people, which describes both Andragoras and Silvermask perfectly. Silvermask may be trying to recruit Saam, but he would use and discard him like he has Kharlan and Xandes. But Arslan treats his companions not like servants, but true allies and friends.
I never doubted that Arslan would save Elam. What was heartening was to see hints that Elam is starting to come around to being Arslan’s friend, and that Arslan maaaay have even won Gieve over to his side. His side, as opposed to Farangis’ side, that is. Gieve throwing money as a distraction is symbolic in how he’s willing to invest in Arslan—is what some Literature professor might say. But I don’t think Gieve is going from a straight loss-and-profit point of view there. I think he sees a potential king that might be worth fighting for earnestly, because the kingdom Arslan builds is one he’d like to see.
Looking Ahead – Daryun and Farangis and Their Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
I’m glad that Team Arslan didn’t split the party on purpose (Daryun excepted), which would have been aggravating. It still remains that they’re split though, and it doesn’t sound like Daryun and Farangis are going to have an easy time of getting to Peshawar. What I’m most curious about is Narsus, though. Without seeing a body, I have no doubt that he’s still alive (trope!), but where is he? I’m sure he’ll turn up in just the right place to make life difficult for someone who deserves it. I a way, he’s kind of like batman, except Batman probably paints better.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Guiscard vs Bodin, Daryun vs Xandes, and Arslan vs the selfish habits of nobility. So far only Arslan is clearly winning #arslan 11
- The way everyone keeps cutting down arrows is still pretty bullshit, but it’s a bullshit fiction has gotten us used to. Aside from that and some mysticism, this show remains largely true to historic form. I’m fine with these slight departures—it’s another world, after all.
- “Target the woman” doesn’t work well when that woman is Farangis.
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: How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love, Guilty pleasures are bullshit, A lifestyle designed for productivity, and Practical freedom.