「王者対覇者」 (Ouja Tai Hasha)
“The Monarch Versus the Conqueror”
Even in victory, Arslan just can’t catch a break for long.
The Folly of Attacking At Night
Here’s something we modern humans tend to forget: attacking at night used to be fatally difficult. Before light bulbs, spotlights, and infrared goggles, darkness wasn’t a cloak we could wrap around us to allow for a stealthy assault. It was chaos incarnate. Ancient battles were fought in the daylight, because to do otherwise was to risk your entire strategy breaking down even quicker than under the usual stresses of combat. It wasn’t a battle so much as a blind roll of the dice, and few commanders were willing to risk that. Not on purpose, at any rate.
(Yes, history nerds, I’m sure there are exceptions. My point is that it wasn’t common or wise.)
This episode shows a portion of why. While the danger generally came about more because of chaos and panic, being tricked into attacking your own side isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. For all this show falls short on a pure history nerd point of view (which is fine, it’s not trying to do that), it sure gets it right sometimes.
Singing Arslan’s Praises
“Daryun, when it comes to His Highness, you seem to be impressed by everything and anything.”
I laughed out loud when Narsus called Daryn out on his fawning of Arslan. It’s like the script writers were listening to some of the commenters here from last season! The reason for that line, of course, had more to do with what was to transpire shortly thereafter, but it made me think of the praise runs somewhat counter to Arslan’s actions this episode. He charges in like a headstrong fool, acting more like his father than himself (the altruistic reasons for his charge aside), and is only saved a quick death by Gieve’s well-timed return and Narsus’s plotting. Which, to be fair, look who they’re used to dealing with. Arslan could piss in their mouths and come out looking better than his father. The praise is a little over-the-top at times, but I think it does fit the characters and their culture (historically it was wise to praise the monarch, so getting in the habit is probably smart). Arslan is just lucky he has a good eye for people, since they’re there to save his ass while he learns on the job.
A Swift Coup
I expected a coup as soon as they showed the Tuuraanian prince’s frustrated back, standing amidst the retreat, but I didn’t expect it to come so quickly. Rather than removing Tuuraan as a problem, the nature of the problem has changed, though likely not in Tuuraan’s favor . . . is what I originally thought, but in light of Andragoras’ return, that’s true of both sides. Looks like two idiots are set to keep each other busy while Arslan embarks on a side quest.
Reward What You Want To See More Of
I definitely want to call out Arslan’s killer management philosophy. Instead of praising Gieve, who saved his life, or Daryn, who killed an enemy general, or Narsus, who masterminded the plot that won the battle, he chose to praise Tuus, a man whose squad did the boring work necessary for Narsus’s strategem to work. There’s a lesson in this: reward what you want to see more of. Instead of rewarding martial valor, Arslan decided to reward diligent, selfless teamwork for the benefit of Pars and the army as a whole. Were he not about to lose said army, that would have led to more behavior like that from his soldiers. I doubt they’ll forget when he reclaims his men in the future, though.
No two ways about it: Andragoras is a dick. The unyielding old bastard refuses to see everything Arslan has done for him, and instead alludes to him committing treason (for violating the king’s right to lead an army) and all but exiles him until he can raise 50,000 more men to retake the country. Raises them from where, I might ask? Any troops coming from Pars would undoubtedly default to Andragoras’ banner, short of a full-on coup by Arslan (unlikely at this point), so he’s gotta recruit from somewhere else. Now the change of scenery from the OP/ED makes sense. Arslan just can’t catch a break for long.
Lusitania should have killed Andragoras when they had the chance, though it might have inadvertently been to their benefit that they didn’t. Arslan might be green, but I’d much rather go up against bullheaded Andragoras than Arslan and his team. What a bastard.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Arslan saves Pars again, & even incites an enemy coup. His reward? Exile from the returned Andragoras. What a prick #arslan s2e2
- I like that there’s a red-haired Tuuraanian. That’s not as strange as you might expect for steppe nomads. Some sources even claim that Genghis Khan himself had red hair and blue/green eyes. We have no idea for sure, but steppe nomads like that did exist.
- For all I called Arslan a fool for rushing out there, it was nice seeing the meek lil kid take a stand. It was a good look on him in a way. Too bad his father returned to knock him down a few pegs.
- I wonder if Jimsa is going to stick around? I wouldn’t be surprised if we haven’t seen the last of him.
- Oh Gieve, still after Farangis. (Kubard is the roguish man? Hah! Pot meet kettle.) Though she did smile when he showed back up. She doesn’t seem to mind his presence so much, even if anything further isn’t on her mind (who knows).
- Another lesson: Daryun will fight anyone for Arslan, even Andragoras. And I’d put my money on Daryun in that duel. Hopefully it’ll happen someday, because even if Andragoras isn’t a villain, he’s standing in the way of history, and of Pars’s freedom. The backwards old prick.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, and Frictionless routines.