In the scene before this moment, the hero Polydegmon was attacked and badly wounded. The heroine rescued him from the monsters, but now our hero has to face something much more fearsome than supernatural terrors…his new girlfriend’s father!
Once his beautiful savior left the kitchen, an eternity of silence stretched between Polydegmon and her guardian. The steady drip of blood onto the tile floor became the only sound in the room.
The girl’s father drew himself up. He looked far more formidable than a barefooted man in polka dot boxers and a frayed old T-shirt had any right to be. “I warn you, my lord,” the guardian’s voice pulsed with fury, “god though you are, I will break you with my bare hands if you harm that child.”
Polydegmon grinned, still entertained despite the blood that pooled at his feet, despite the terrible pain that coursed through his body. “I meant no harm…”
The Story: Feisty Frederica Fitzgerald is just one day shy of her sweet sixteen when she’s nearly run over by a tall, dark dreamboat on a big black horse. Freddy can deal with the running over part–no harm done. The problem is the rider, Mr. Sex Bomb himself: Polydegmon, son of Hades and heir to the Greek Underworld.
Freddy’s hooked on Polydegmon from the start (although dude, togas went out of style several thousand years ago), being near him is enough to make her tingle down to her toes. But he’s got secrets he isn’t sharing, and trouble follows him closer than his own shadow: rabid dogs running around the suburbs, insane crows stalking Freddy and, worst of all, the feral fairies of the Wild Hunt trolling her hometown for their next bit of human game.
The closer Freddy gets to Deg, the weirder her life becomes, until Freddy discovers something about her own past that changes everything she ever thought she knew about herself. And her world…
Hope you enjoyed the snippet above, and don’t forget to check out all the other 8 sentence excerpts this week.
Can I just say right up front how much I love this new trend of prestigious British theaters broadcasting their productions live? In the past, if I heard Tom Hiddleston was doing fabulous things onstage in England I would have just had to sit over here, on the other side of the pond, and writhe in envy. (As I am indeed now doing because David Tennant did Richard II for the RSC, and they recorded it, but I haven’t yet seen any indication that they plan to share it on this side of the world again. *teeth gnash*)
As you might have guessed from that first paragraph, I am a big Shakespeare geek. Studying his plays was one of the big draws to me when I became an English major. Shakespeare’s words can stab to the very marrow of your soul, and a great performance of those words can send tremors through the whole of your body. Such was the case with this superb production of Coriolanus, which, ironically, is widely regarded as one of Shakespeare’s lesser works. (So much so, that there was a movement at one point to try and disprove that Shakespeare had written this play.)
First of all, the presentation of the performance was really well handled by National Theatre Live. For the non-Shakespeare nerds they had a rundown on the play, its themes, its intents, its context and such presented by the cast and director before the show began. This was done, I’m sure, to ground the people who hadn’t read the play/aren’t big Shakespeare fans as a rule. But I also found it interesting being a Shakespeare nerd myself to see how the director and actors arrived at their particular take on the play.
At intermission, they also had a similar discussion with just the director (Josie Rourke), and one of the things she discussed was why she cast Tom Hiddleston in the role; Coriolanus is usually played by an actor at least a decade or two older. Rourke talked about the great athleticism the role requires, and the sheer presence also necessary to believe that this is the greatest warrior of Rome. She also wanted to explore, though, the vulnerability of the character, and the fact that she cast such a relatively young actor meant that she could play around with the idea that he is a man still trying to figure out his place in the world.
Another interesting aspect she mentioned was the fact that everyone, but everyone, is basically obsessed with Coriolanus in the world of the play. His mother, his doting wife, his general, half the senate, even the enemy general. Coriolanus inspires adoration without actually desiring it. I think the idea of a man everyone is inherently drawn to and desires made Tom Hiddleston, “sexiest man on the planet”, a brilliant choice to play the role.
Here’s a short video from the National Theatre website of Hiddleston talking about the role.
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of his, and he inhabits the part of the fierce and hot-blooded warrior amazingly well. He’s also, I’ll just say it, extremely sexy in the tight hipster jeans and leather breastplate he spends most of the play wearing. But I really don’t think I would love him half so much if he wasn’t also just amazingly, breath-takingly, literally ridiculously talented.
Shakespeare’s language is hard to handle, many people can’t even understand it, and yet Hiddleston speaks all his lines with an ease, a fluidity, a viruoso performance of nuance so as to create wonderfully intricate levels of emotion and meaning. One of my favorite scenes was when he begs the plebians for their “voices”–their votes for him for consul–and it is amazing how Hiddleston injects such venom and frustration, mocking the plebians in one of the play’s more hilarious moments. He’s fantastic at that, taking a small beat or using a head-tilt or a change of voice and thereby giving the line a sudden humor you wouldn’t have noticed before. God, I would love to see him do Hamlet. (Although it is hard to imagine anyone out-doing David Tennant’s amazing performance in that role.)
Another standout scene for me is the moment where Coriolanus gives himself up to his greatest enemy Aufidius and makes an audacious offer: his enemy can either cut his throat or take Coriolanus as his general and lead an assault with him against Rome–their now-mutual enemy. In the scene, I felt like Hiddleston was playing it as if Coriolanus really was hoping for the cut throat and didn’t quite know what to do when his enemy kisses him on the lips (see above RE: everyone is obsessed with Coriolanus) and accepts his offer to destroy Rome together.
But really the whole of Hiddleston’s Coriolanus was amazing: visceral, intense, but still with that wonderful charm and vulnerability that marks all of his performances from partyboy turned stern king Henry V to the maniacal yet deeply wounded Loki. There’s a great moment in Coriolanus where Hiddleston’s face is literally covered in blood, so much so his skin is entirely red, and all you could really see were his pale blue eyes shining in this sea of gore. The visual hits you right in the gut: bare humanity in the midst of catastrophe. He has stage presence to spare and was a fantastic choice for this role. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
I wanted to talk about some of the other standouts in the cast. I adore Mark Gatiss as Mycroft on BBC’s Sherlock, and he’s another masterfully well cast company member in the role of the senator Menenius, Coriolanus’ sort of foster-father.
Gatiss’ dry wit and gawky, long-limbed physicality is well put to use in the comic moments of the play, and he serves as a great foil to the coiled intensity of Hiddleston’s Coriolanus. Gatiss is equally affecting, though, in the heart-wrenching moments, such as the scene where Coriolanus utterly rejects him and sends him away without even speaking to him.
I also wanted to give a shoutout to Alfred Enoch as the soldier Titus Lartius. Enoch played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films and more recently was also on BBC’s Sherlock as the palace guard that Dr. Watson saves from dying. Enoch has now grown into a fine, strapping young man with excellent stage presence and a good command of Shakespeare’s language. He’s one to watch I think (and not just because he’s so cute. ;P).
The staging of the play was also fascinating. For instance, choosing to have the barbarians speak with a Scottish accent, (ETA: Dee in the comments pointed out that they were actually probably going for a Northern English accent actually) which I think the director did to show that the Romans and the Volscians are not actually that different culturally speaking. Despite what the Romans say, the Volscians are their mirror selves, a sister city, and not the brutal barbarians the Romans try and paint them as.
The director also described wanting to make the stage resemble an arena, which is a great choice because the whole play is basically about combat of one kind or another: Coriolanus and his army vs. the Volscians, Menenius vs. The People’s Tribunes, Coriolanus vs. The People, Coriolanus vs. his mother…
The designers also played a lot with the idea of graffiti, and in the pre-show documentary they discussed looking not only at how the ancient Romans used graffiti but also how it is being used in modern times in places of civil unrest as a way for people to express their discontent. But the staging goes deeper, and the graffiti they project on the walls becomes at times almost yet another form of assault on Coriolanus. The light pulses and the graffiti grows to fill the back wall of the theater in time with voices chanting angrily from the chorus until it becomes not just an assault on the senses but an almost physical blow as well.
I also found it interesting and really moving how the director chose to stage Coriolanus’ actual exit from Rome after he is banished, which meant that we watched Hiddleston walk alone across a bare stage while the mob hurls abuse and rotten food at him (and they do actually pelt him with tomatoes! That is commitment to a role.) I thought this was a fantastic choice because I remember when I read the play in college I thought Coriolanus’ turnaround from his grief at losing his friends and family to wanting to burn all of Rome, friends and family be damned, was a little abrupt. But this one small moment of abject humiliation from the people Coriolanus has spent his life defending really helped me feel his mortification on a deeper level and made his transition much easier to understand.
All in all, top to bottom, this was an incredibly well crafted show and a delight to watch. I’m going to keep my eye out for anymore Shakespeare productions shown by the National Theatre. Whether Hiddleston is in them or not. ;P
Follow this link to the National Theatre website if you wanted to try and find a showing near to you. They’re winding up the run soon, but they might show it again considering the theater I was in was basically filled to capacity. You can also see behind the scenes info and trailers for Coriolanus on their website.
Now, as a bonus, here’s another fun video showing Hiddleston and some of the actors doing their warm-ups before curtain time:
Totally my spirit animal…
New cover for my first book HEIR TO THE UNDERWORLD.
This looks exactly how I envisioned my characters. So happy.
Available now on Amazon!
I feel bad I haven’t kept up but at the moment I lack the brainspace to write a real blog so, uh, here…have a picture of a kitten!!!
Fun fact: ^This is what the cat in the picture below used to look like…
Well, as I mentioned last week, crawling back on the wagon is pretty hard once you’ve fallen off and rolled in the dirt a bit. Last week, I had pizza and fried zucchini (on the same day). The next day I had Islands (no bun on the burger. Although I did have cheese fries and ranch. Oops.) AND Dots cupcakes same day. The day after THAT I had a Habit cheeseburger (again no bun) and sweet potato fries. I also bought 3 Cadbury caramel eggs and, instead of eating them spaced out as I had planned, ate them all in about 15 minutes.
I blew it again today too and had a donut for breakfast (although I still have a hope of making my calories today, actually.) I also skipped out on swing dancing last week.
In short, I didn’t fall off the wagon. I threw myself off it.
Fortunately, I went for LONG walks on Friday and Saturday in the heat and when I wasn’t pigging out on junk the rest of my eating was good. So, once again, I break even. Oh, I also joined the FitBit cult and bought a Zip which clicks onto the bra. Very convenient. I like it so far, although I worry it is being too generous with exercise points. But, anyway, to get to the meat of the matter…
Weight Loss this week: 0lbs
Weight Gain this week: 0lbs
Next week I would really like to go back to losing, so tomorrow I start being really responsible again and making good food choices. And I WILL go swing dancing this week. If I come back next week and say I didn’t go dancing then you reach through the internet and smack me. All of you. ;P
In the meantime, another thing I slacked on last week was laundry, which meant I had to go digging in the bowels of my closet for clean clothes which meant that I actually dressed much cuter than usual last week. Not being able to fall back on jeans made me actually work to come up with outfits. Funny enough, I was pretty pleased with the results…
Last but not least…
I did kind of a weird thing and subbed the pork out for ground turkey because I figured pork leftovers would go bad before I had a chance to finish them. It was really good, though, I love the tart mustard-y sauce.
Last month on the blog, I started my series about fight scenes, and today (and in honor of Valentine’s Day!) I continue that with…
Black Widow vs. Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers
(Fight starts at 2:02)
OK, I admit I might have picked this fight because I love how much ass Black Widow kicks. I love her.
But really let’s talk about the fight choreography in this because Black Widow actually fights like a girl. And I mean that in a good way. Most women can’t compete with men when it comes to brute strength, which is why most fighting styles that work for women (like Brazilian jiu jitsu, etc) are all about someone physically weaker defeating someone stronger. BW doesn’t just square up to Hawkeye and punch him. She tries a sneak attack, she uses the environment and the available weapons to attack him. She’s flexible physically and mentally. And when he’s got her in a lock and is about to stab her–she bites him. Which is how real, I’m fighting for my life combat works: no such thing as “cheating”. (I’m looking at you Will Turner…)
Now let’s talk about the character stuff going on. Hawkeye and BW are partners. They have history and, at this moment, he’s been brainwashed and he’s working for the bad guys. So Black Widow is trying to incapacitate him without killing him, and Hawkeye is trying to kill her because he’s got a mission.
But this fight, beneath the surface, is also deeply personal, despite the brain washing.
This gif speaks to me on a spiritual level…
So, we haven’t had a link round up in awhile, as my V-Day gift to you have some cool stuff I found for you on the internet…
*If you must distribute valentine’s today here, have some Pacific Rim ones.
*Great discussion going on over at Jennifer Crusie’s blog about what makes a Great Love Scene. Some of the moments I mentioned are the balcony scene from The Big Easy, the “epic” speech from Veronica Mars‘ prom episode and, of course, “I love you.” “I know.”
*”Prince Hans: The Mirror“–a brilliant essay on the symbolism of Hans in Frozen by The Break of Dawn on tumblr. Well thought out and intellectual essays about geekdom are my absolute favorite. ^_^
*Last but not least, a fabulous article from Emily Asher-Perrin on Tor.com about how much of a badass Luke Skywalker is. Because he really is you know. One of my favorite bits from the article:
Luke almost turns to the dark side as a bite back for having his mind plundered, but also to protect his sister….What no one was counting on is simply this: Luke Skywalker is nothing like his father. Not one iota (whatever that is). Luke is loving for unselfish reasons, he is constant and stable, he is not there for glory or even to save the universe. He’s there to prove to himself that he won’t turn.
He’s there because he wants his father back.
But Luke doesn’t simply stop thrashing Vader and roll over. He rubs it in the Emperor’s face. He could have just said no, he could have disengaged and backed into a corner. Instead he stands up, realigns his spine, and tells the Emperor “You’ve failed, Your Highness.”
That’s it for now. Hope you all had a wonderful day, chaps. Let me know if there was anything else cool going on over the interwebs that I missed.
My sister was going through a bit of a tough time this past week, and then I was pretty stressed at work. And the way we deal with stress in my family is to eat. This week was no exception. To cheer my sister up I took her to Islands last Monday night and I didn’t even try to make healthy substitutions. Trust me when I say it just wasn’t a night for it. And, as I’ve said before, my diet philosophy is moderation not deprivation. One cheeseburger does not have the power to ruin my life.
But then a coworker brought a bunch of yummy snackfood back from the Philippines that I basically binged on. And then I also had a “fuck it” moment on Friday and instead of coming home to polish off my leftovers I had fried zucchini smothered in ranch for dinner instead. Sigh. That is the problem with falling off the wagon. It is harder to get back on.
That said, I realized I was off-track during the week, so Friday and Saturday I worked hard to make sure I hit goal, and I made sure to exercise to counteract some of the bad eating earlier in the week. I did a 45 minute walk each day, which came out to a little over 3 miles. I think I’ve found a route that won’t bother my hip too much until I can get it looked at. It’s basically a straight shot with just a little up and downhill stuff. It’s not the most vigorous exercise but at the moment the goal is to do what I can exercise-wise without borking up my hip.
So, to sum up, I didn’t make great food choices this past week but I still did what I could to offset that with exercise and eating right the rest of the days.
Speaking of offsetting overeating…tomorrow night is my sister’s birthday. There will be delicious cheeseburgers and Dots cupcakes. I’m going to try to make my calories but it is probably futile since I also have a policy that if I am hungry (stomach growling hungry) I get to eat no matter what the calorie count says. So I’m not going to starve myself tomorrow just so I can eat ALL THE THINGS at the end of the day. But I’m also not skipping Dots cupcakes. Ever. It’s one of those quality of life things.
Anyway, time for the check in…
Weight loss this week: 1.1lbs (yay!!!)
Total Weight Loss to Date: 6.6lbs
I know I said I was moving to monthly progress pics, but I looked really cute today! lol. ;P
And now, for MORE added funness…
This was really simple to make, very little prep time, very little cook time. It was pretty tasty and a great way to get your veggies in. Just make sure you remember the Parmesan! It’s a little bland without the cheese.
I’m trying to try a new recipe every week, have any recommendations for me?