「冬の終り」 (Fuyu no Owari)
“The End of Winter”

Not a lot seems to have been going on in Pars while we were gone. That has changed.

Saam’s Loyalty

The greatest mystery throughout this episode, to me, is whether Saam is truly loyal to Hermes. Early on, I was willing to bet that he was not; he seemed to be buttering up Hermes too much. He remains loyal to Pars, for sure; I thought he was perhaps using Hermes to take out Bodin—and undeniable positive for Pars—and then would … I’m not sure. Decide, perhaps.

But later in the episode, he seems more on Hermes’ side … except for the odd comment, such as his conversation with Andragoras, or his mentioning that it would not be “fair” is Hermes didn’t have at least him on his side, when Arslan has Daryun and Narsus. He’s still a mystery to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he could still be swayed, in a way Daryun, Narsus, and the rest of Team Arslan unequivocally cannot. But then again, perhaps not, especially after Hermes saved his life. Hermes is not charismatic in the way Arslan is—in any conventional way, to be honest—but there is a kind of attraction to his drive. I can see Saam sticking on Team Hermes, even if I doubt that will end well. Mahendra might have something to say to him about choosing the wrong prince—were he alive to speak it.

Kubard’s Help

I easily called that Kubard wouldn’t stay under Hermes’ banner. In fact, I’m a bit surprised that he rode under it at all, though the chance to kill Lusitanians (and get close enough to speak to Hermes) was probably too much to pass up. His talk about not wanting to be involved in the squabble of the village girls all trying to marry him was clear foreshadowing; Kubard isn’t about to put up with an ascension squabble either.

Which just goes to further emphasize the difference between Hermes and Arslan: Hermes may be able to fight on par with Daryun, and strategize enough to frustrate Narsus, but when it comes to earning and maintaining loyalty, he’s light years behind Arslan. That’s going to be the difference, because while Hermes can do much himself, that doesn’t actually matter. What matters is the forces and talents you have at your disposal. And in that, Arslan is winning easily.

Looking Ahead – A Blonde After Arslan’s Heart(?)

For a show called Arslan Senki, this episode had precious little Arslan. I did like that he’s already gotten an epithet: Arslan the Liberator. In the game for the history books, he’s already ahead of Hermes, though that’s as much because Hermes is a presumed-dead footnote instead of a known current player. Either way, it looks like Arslan is going to be talking to a girl next episode, and she … well, I won’t mention my guess about who or what she is. We’ll see, we’ll see!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Saam is serving Hermes, as is Kubard, but only for a time. Not much from Arslan the Liberator this week #arslan 19

Random thoughts:

  • Hermes’ answer to Kubard’s question was weird. He wants to bring peace? He brought war, in the form of Lusitania. Kubard was wise to get out of there.

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: What are your two skills?, Passing the Bechdel Test, Absence (from work) makes the heart grow fonder, and The Kingsman princess joke.



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    1. To be honest, if Stilts hadn’t written about guessing who she is, I wouldn’t have noticed. 😀 I thought she might be some noble woman, but now it’s pretty clear. 🙂 She looks cute, I want her as his wive.

  1. Bodin is a typical religious fanatic with power. This episode reminds me of one of the great mess up in history when religious fever gave a terminal fever. Saladin the great muslim general and leader realized that defeating the Christians of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in their many forts and the fortified city of Jerusalem would be difficult to impossible. by attacking a outpost with one of the Christian commanders wife inside provoked the crusaders of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to leave their water sources without even making sure they had water or food supplies to bring along. The crusaders sure that having the True Cross made them unstoppable. Saladin then surrounded them let them suffer over night and took them out.
    Except for those guilty of the murder of muslims who he killed Saladin arranged the ransom of the nobels and the release of the rest of the troops there and when Jerusalem surrendered he let them return to the west. The wife in the tower was allowed to go west as well. This kind treatment of captured prisoners and civilians marked the leaders of the golden age of Islam. Where the radicals of today got their ideas is hard to fathom.

    I share with the author of Arsian the opinion that although the workings and how religious fanatics function and recruit can be very complex. As far those who have to deal with them they are quite simple minded in actions and two dimensional to outsiders, although they can be clever in Terrorist attacks that in the end go nowhere. Religious fanatics not in power can act more intelligently.
    Bodin with a group of associates as long as the conversation does not cross the lines might actually be quite different in character with those he relaxes with. But in a official capacity we get the closed minded religious freak we see.

  2. Is it bad that I found Hermes’ side more interesting?

    Hermes may be a villain, but let’s be honest: his struggle is much more epic. His father killed by his uncle, scarred for life, banished to a hostile country of religious fanatics, he nevertheless managed a way to get revenge against the seemingly invincible Andragoras. But now he has to find a way to expel the Lusitanians while at the same time appear loyal to them to obtain the men and funds he needs.

    Lelouch would be proud.

    He doesn’t have on his side an invincible soldier like Daryun or a Mary Tzu strategist like Narsus. His victories take time and effort and look much more realistic.

    While Arslan and company have a nice castle and vassals to call their own and cause civil wars in other countries, Hermes has to build an army from scratch, play politics with the brains of the Lusitanians and fight Bodin and his legion of fanatics. His supporters are a young man whose father was killed by the usurper’s son and a decent knight who is learning to respect him. Not having Kubard was a loss, but he recognized his talent and rewarded him for his help.

    When the villains prove to be more resourceful, have more complex motivations and have to overcome even greater obstacles than the heroes, it’s difficult for me not to cheer for them.

    1. Yep if he had not had huge numbers of his future subjects killed and his country enslaved to religious freaks and not seam to care what pain he inflicted I could respect him more. His keeping the deposed king alive just for revenge and his need to vent allowed Arslan to live lowers my respect making him good villain but bad hero. He does not need a invincible soldier or Mary Tzu strategist because he is a Mary Tzu and invincible soldier. But yes Arslan has only his ability to inspire others so far his personal credit.

      Saladin talk about a Mary Tzu in his rise to power and huge number of victories. Mary Tzu the Tzu based on a real person. I understand the desire to be emphasize with a hero closer to oneself than one of the historical greats. And yes the story gets more fun like when in this authors Legends of Galactic Hero’s the Mary Tzu vs Mary tzu fights start going after a starting period the Mry Tzu’s stoping the lessor mortals for the most part. But I find it interesting the dislike of characters like the historical greats thus the term Mary Tau.

      I do look forward when Hermes and Narsus start directly fighting each other. Things might get dicer for both and Narsus might finally lose at least once.

    2. Well said, it was actually one of the most interesting episodes in a while, IMO. Granted, the battle would’ve probably been more exciting if Bodin wasn’t made out to be such a cartoonish villain. It was impossible to take him seriously. They may be fanatical soldiers but they’re still an organized army who should have some knowledge of tactics & strategy.

      Still, it was a refreshing ep & battle without Mary Tzu Narsus involved in it 😛

      1. That’s why I brought up the monumental stupid actions in history in part caused by religious conviction that having god on their side got the forces of the Christan Kingdom of Jerusalem destroyed and the kingdom soon afterward.

        With Bodin I think the historian beat out the writer in the author. Religious fanatics to outsiders really act like cartoonish villains sometimes, Especially Crusaders like I think Bodin is representing.

      2. Desecrating symbols to lure the enemy out has been a common tactic, although usually it only worked with enemies hellbent on honor or religion.

        Nevertheless, instead of being completely crushed, these knights were intelligent enough to retreat to their castle. You know, like normal enemies do (except Mary Tzu Narsus’ enemies, of course, because he always knows how to cause total defeats).

  3. Today’s endcard artist is Oogure Ito, aka Oh!great, mangaka of Tenjho Tenge/Heaven & Earth, and Air Gear*, amongst others.

    His works are well-known for his detailed art, action-packed and violent plots, and copious amounts of fanservice from his sexy idealized female characters. He’s also done character designs for video games, such as the Eater monster for the recent Digimon:Cyber Sleuth PSVita game**.

    *Yes, the same one where US President-elect Barack Obama John Omaha switches bodies with a female character.

    **Only the monster. Suzuhito Yasuda (Danmachi, Durarara!!) designed the characters.

  4. The new female character to appear in the next episode seems quite interesting, she seems like she is going to be the Winry of this series, supporting and scolding Arslan into glory, her demeanor and looks in the preview and the way someone is grappling her seems to indicate that she is stubborn and fierce and also quite smart.

    Would like her to be his love interest … unless she is actually Etoile in disguise (and that would be one hell of a disguise XD), in that case the doujinshi makers will have a field day with this episode XD

    1. haseo0408 is right. Bear in mind that, from Hermes’ perspective, peace was broken the moment Andragoras carried out his coup d’etat. His revenge in the form of the Lusitanian invasion is just another battle in that war. That the usurper and their asslickers didn’t expect it is their problem, not his.

      The “but we lived peacefully until now!” excuse won’t convince an exile, because they would have good reasons to say “and before the coup d’etat/civil war too, yet that didn’t stop you to screw OUR peace, did it?”.

      Had Hermes answered with an ambitious boast, like Rajendra, maybe things wouldn’t be so tricky. You can negotiate with a man like Rajendra. But Hermes thinks he’s fighting for Great Justice, and Arslan thinks so too. Kubard did the sensible thing.

      1. Must be noted that while Hermes thinks his cause is just he also is being consumed by revenge and that´s where realizes he´s not truly a good guy. What was done to him was awful but also destroyed his ability to tell right from wrong, he is worst candidate for the throne because he belives ruling is right but it is Duty and a very heavy one if I might add.

  5. You know Stilts-san, I notice something else about Kubard and Hermes little talk: Kubard ask him what was his goal but I don´t think he expected an answer, he had already seen through Hermes and he didn´t like what he saw at all. This speaks a lot about Kubard and Sam´s characters, Kubard is nowhere near as dumb as he might seem and Sam is true fool if his loyalty is real, he says he wants the best fo Pars but he helps the guy who ruin the country, loyalty is earned not given just because of something as stupid as royal blood.

    1. Remember how Aragorn didn’t become king just because he was the great-great-whatever-great-grandson of Gondor’s last king? Me neither.

      Bloodright has been one of the preferred ways of political legitimacy in fiction and real life for millennia. I can’t blame Sam for that. Daryun’s uncle knew that too and that’s why he asked Daryun to pledge his loyalty to Arslan himself, just in case.

      1. Elendil, Aragorn´s ancestor, was chosen for the role of King by the the wisdom of Eru Iluvatar (Arda´s supreme god. Great part of the reason Elassar I (Aragorn)was crowned King of the United Kigdom was because of his bloodline was blessed by the gods of Arda and the elfs, in the case of Arslan´s world there nothing in the blood that makes you a good ruler.

      2. “Tolkien understood Eru not as a “fictional deity” but as a name in a fictional language for the actual monotheistic God, although in a mythological or fictional context”http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Ilúvatar
        So yes Aragorn had a real divine right of being King by the almighty god.

  6. Kubard, fighting for wine, women and the sheer fun of it.
    No wonder he doesnt want to become any prince’s lapdog.
    For one thing I think Sahm can be possibly easier to persuade to Arslan side – he has the ideals, and if Hermes wont be up to those, while Arslan will rise up to them, this might move him t change sides.
    Kubard is not wanting to become involved in fratricidal conflict, and it would take some serious persuading for him to change mind.
    Arslan though has uncanny way of inspiring loyalty, so maybe either of the Marznbans we met today will join him, or maybe even both. We shall see.
    For now, lets enjoy the warmth and brilliance of the Emancipation of the Arslan the Liberator!


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