「騎士の忠義」 (Kishi no Chuugi)
“A Knight’s Loyalty”
A solid episode of three parts, underscored by one theme: Recognizing the rulers who are worth fighting for.
Narsus Saves The Day
I was surprised they led with a Narsus bit, since I expected him to remain mysterious until he suddenly popped up somewhere unpleasant for his enemies. Which, to be fair, is what he did (minus the mysterious part). Two things I liked about Silvermask’s slaughter of the Zot Clan. One, I liked that Silvermask wasn’t planning to let Alfreed (Numakura Manami) live. There’s a subtle sexism at work when female character aren’t killed in mortal combat when all the men are, but that’s not what happened. She was just a little better than the others, and Silvermask was apparently probing how good she was. But he was still planning to kill her, had not Narsus intervened. That’s not the fun kind of equality—no one wants to get cut down by a sword—but it counts.
The other part I liked was the laugh I got when I realized that Narsus had suckered Silvermask into accepting his challenge at face value. It was like an inside joke that only Narsus and the audience were in on. Which is to say: Never engage Narsus in a fair fight. He wouldn’t be fighting at all if it was fair. Narsus is always going to tip things in his favor, so you have to kill him quick or defuse all his plans—and even then, you can never be sure. So probably best to kill him fast, if you can manage. Otherwise it’s rocks fall, (almost) everyone dies (reference!).
Bonus: I like how quickly (and obviously) Alfreed latched onto Narsus. It was clear once she started inquiring about his age that she was angling for Mrs. Narsus … or at least, using him to get revenge on Silvermask. Or both? Either way, I feel like she and I are going to get along just fine.
I love me some politics, as my blogging history clearly shows. Guiscard’s gambit to excise Bodin was not only a treat to see, but it had a side benefit: No more Bodin! (Or at least, not for now.) That crazy priest was getting on my nerves, so I’m glad he’s out of the picture. Not, I think, forever though. Unless Guiscard orchestrates an assassination on the way to Maryam (which is what I would do), I expect we’ll see that asshole and his zealots again. Hopefully when his head is on a pike.
A Coclusive Answer
This episode gave us one conclusive answer: we have magic. Which … I’m not sure how I feel about, to be honest. I like that the magic doesn’t appear to be the end all, be all, since Daryun was still able to triumph with a good old spear to the chest. Yet I also wished it had stayed more of a background element. Hm. Well, we’ll see how it develops from here.
A Prince Worth Fighting For
The theme of this episode bridged the Narsus act with the Daryun one. While Narsus rejected Silvermask, whose swordsmanship is neigh unparalleled but is lacking as a man, Daryun dismissed outright the matter of Arslan’s origins. While Arslan’s claim to the throne is admittedly useful (it would be harder to rule the kingdom justly from any other position), that’s not why they serve him. They serve him for him. Like I said before, that’s the foundation of true loyalty, and it further accentuates the difference between Silvermask and Arslan. One is a good man, while the other is a angry thug who deserves to die.
Looking Ahead – The Battle For Narsus
I can’t wait for next week’s episode even more than usual, because the battle among Narsus’ entourage looks like it’ll be hilarious! Narsus is on his way to his own adventuring party, once this kingdom retaking thing is done. Hopefully that will keep him away from the easel, to the benefit of all.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Narsus scores a hanger-on, Guiscard moves against Bodin, & Arslan proves once again what kind of man he is #arslan 12
- Finally, the Zot Clan provided some mooks the Lusitanians could look competent against.
- How did his horse get on top of those rocks? First Xandes’ horse last episode, now Silvermask’s horse this time. They’re the real badasses of this story.
- I like Alfreed. She wanted to cry when her father and friends died, but she held it back as long as she could. That’s relateable strength.
- I like that both Silvermask and Xandes got too loose in the lips, which is why both Narsus and Daryun realize what’s going on now.
- Speaking of Xandes, I enjoyed when he was talking about being the true loyal subjects of Pars when there were Lusitanian soldiers all around him. Not smart, idiot.
- Speaking of Xandes Part 3: Farangis shot him in the back, but his body fell down a cliff, which they purposefully showed. If we’re going by what’s realistic, he’s probably dead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he reappears. (trope!) Though hopefully not. He was nothing compared to his father.
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: Story Review: Mad Max Fury Road, How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love, Guilty pleasures are bullshit, and A lifestyle designed for productivity.