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happy valiancy - achy breaky brain
a day in the life of a practical cat

feliciter
Date: 2008-01-19 23:12
Subject: achy breaky brain
Security: Public
Tags:woxinchangdan



I took notes while watching eps 19-22, but evidently that didn't work, so am mainly recording impressions. If only the other 22 chapters of the book tie-in were available online. Although several scenes are different/not in the series, and the scriptwriter/author 李森祥 (Li Senxiang) appears to have planned 50+ episodes.


- King = Country? King -> Country -> King? Whatever it is, you screwed up, Gou Jian. (though he doesn't sound terrifically penitent about it, or perhaps Uncle Ming's smooth literary tones make his reply and questioning of Fan Li sound too much like Richard II's let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings speech.)

- Arguing about 礼 with a conquering warrior king shouldn't work, but.

- Melodrama really runs in Shi Mai's family. (that scene is much shorter in print and at least ends as expected.)

- OMG the surrender in the great hall! As rasetsunyo pointed out, Gou Jian leaves his sword at Fu Chai's feet (without kneeling as ordered) and takes the scabbard with him, throwing a parting shot straight through Fu Chai with his 媚眼. Deciphering my incoherent scribbles:

1)their love is so phallic symbolic!
2)parallel with Fan Li! (no doubt this time about the seme/uke roles)
3)I thought this was *the* sword of Gou Jian (as on wiki) since couldn't see markings clearly
Also to add to 2), possibly that Fu Chai's victory is incomplete (as a sword needs a scabbard): he may have the country but not its king('s surrender)

Then Fu Chai broke the blade >_<

- Fan Li/Wen Zhong are like an old married couple.

- Gou Jian's 不服 speech in the ancestral temple: 3rd person (the only time, IIRC, that he has done so unironically) since no one else can hear him, and now he definitely doesn't sound penitent or uke in the least.

- Reactions to the most beautiful woman of the time, whose attractions could sink a fish in shame and stun a swallow from the sky:
1) Is that who I think - oh OK it is.
2) How did she recover so fast? (another example of screwy editing)
3) Magical Girl Shoujo Transformation!Xi Shi complete with trilling tinkly music, almost-lisp and (to paraphrase someone's comment on Mick Jagger) childbearing lips
4) If she's a peasant, why can't she use a loom?
5) Maybe Fan Li is a bit too brusque, notwithstanding his overwhelming concern for king and country and understandable sorrow confusion at said king and queen playing matchmaker.
6) Gou Jian Ya Yu is still the prettiest.

- The music is getting on my nerves. (And was that a "Hallelujah" playing when Ya Yu retreats to her private chambers to cry alone after putting on a brave front for everyone?)

- Gou Jian being confessional is scary. And why does he keep entrusting the country to people whom he doesn't trust? Am liking Wen Zhong more and more.

- Holding hands to cross the river! helping each other up! carrying Xin Tian together! Gou Jian/Ya Yu 4EVA

- For some reason I wrote This series is really heavy on the SYMBOLISM at the start of ep 21, but neglected to elaborate: perhaps it was Fu Chai stepping on Gou Jian's head? Or possibly everything else that has happened thus far.

- Someone's stance was insouciant - think it was Gou Jian.

- I have never sympathised or empathised as much with Wu Zi Xu as in these 4 episodes.

- Insightful!Wangsun Luo, learning from and surpassing the master in some areas: the more incomprehensible Gou Jian is to Fu Chai, the more enthusiastic Fu Chai is to force his submission.

- Concentration camp tactics (especially moving rocks from point A to B and back) appear to have originated independently in China.

- Fu Chai, if you didn't make these promises in the first place, you wouldn't put yourself in a bind having to keep them. And if you think you won't 手软(or 心软, more accurately), you've got many more thinks coming.

- How does WZX try and fail to kill Gou Jian, let us count the ways:
1) Hei Yi
2) typhoid (didn't see the rose spots. Perhaps they meant typhus, also prevalent in such conditions. Not as contagious as the military doctor would have Yan Zhu believe, and generally not epidemic unless in a debilitated population, unlike Wangsun Luo's experience.)
3) tied up and starved (though Gou Jian initiated the latter)

- They must have had industrial strength bleach or were using lime very freely, everyone's smocks are unusually and variably clean despite presumably similar living and working conditions XD

- Fan Li/Gou Jian their love is so Bent strategic!

- One would think that Wu Zi Xu is more shrewd than to CONFESS ALL to Gou Jian, but perhaps the strain of too many failed assassination plots is showing.


(I need a Woxin icon, preferably one that says D'oh!)
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羅殺女: 羞愧呀罪人
User: rasetsunyo
Date: 2008-01-19 17:06 (UTC)
Subject: sorry reposting
Keyword:羞愧呀罪人
I need to be asleep right now, I need to not be awake and cackling with you guys and your crazy simultaneous posts. >__>

Fan Li/Wen Zhong are like an old married couple.

YES omg. So cute. 8D

Xi Shi irritates me. >_>

Gou Jian/Ya Yu 4EVA

♥♥♥♥

And if you think you won't 手软, you've got many more thinks coming.

Oh I think it's more a problem of 心软 than anything, I mean how could he not. :DDD

One would think that Wu Zi Xu is more shrewd than to CONFESS ALL to Gou Jian, but perhaps the strain of too many failed assassination plots is showing.

I actually found that scene rather off-putting, since it felt too much like gloating over a fallen enemy.

(I need a Woxin icon, preferably one that says D'oh!)

I shall procure a D'OH screencap forthwith! Any character preference? :D
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feliciter: deep thought
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-20 01:49 (UTC)
Subject: Re: sorry reposting
Keyword:deep thought
Xi Shi irritates me.

When she opened her mouth I had a horrified moment thinking that it would be a squeaky Taiwanese accent.

gloating over a fallen enemy.

Like paleaswater said, perhaps he was trying to use psychology to make Gou Jian off himself (which will never work) - emphasising how relieved he is that his tactic finally appears to be working, that he has again underestimated/failed to understand his opponent.

Thank you! Any character is fine, but somone other than Gou Jian or Wen Zhong since they've been taken?
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paleaswater
User: paleaswater
Date: 2008-01-19 20:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Melodrama really runs in Shi Mai's family. (that scene is much shorter in print and at least ends as expected.)

Wish they went with the book then.

OMG the surrender in the great hall! As rasetsunyo pointed out, Gou Jian leaves his sword at Fu Chai's feet (without kneeling as ordered) and takes the scabbard with him, throwing a parting shot straight through Fu Chai with his 媚眼.

And the tear, and the tear in Gou Jian's eyes. Now do you believe me?!

Fan Li/Wen Zhong are like an old married couple
They are, aren't they? So sweet.

The music is getting on my nerves. (And was that a "Hallelujah" playing when Ya Yu retreats to her private chambers to cry alone after putting on a brave front for everyone?)

Okay, so I wasn't imagining that. The entire time I was watching the series, I was thinking, was that a Hallelujah I heard? Nah, can't be. Must be me.

Gou Jian being confessional is scary. And why does he keep entrusting the country to people whom he doesn't trust? Am liking Wen Zhong more and more.

See, it's all about keeping it in the family. And Wen Zhong is not family.

How does WZX try and fail to kill Gou Jian, let us count the ways:
1) Hei Yi
2) typhoid (didn't see the rose spots. Perhaps they meant typhus, also prevalent in such conditions. Not as contagious as the military doctor would have Yan Zhu believe, and generally not epidemic unless in a debilitated population, unlike Wangsun Luo's experience.)
3) tied up and starved (though Gou Jian initiated the latter)

He tries even more, later. I'm beginning to think that he's Yosamite Sam.

One would think that Wu Zi Xu is more shrewd than to CONFESS ALL to Gou Jian, but perhaps the strain of too many failed assassination plots is showing.

I count that as the fourth attempt. Wu Zi Xu was trying to appeal to his pride and drive him to end it himself. Alas. He need to watch more bugs bunny cartoons and learn.


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mjj: woxin gayboys
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 01:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin gayboys
And the tear, and the tear in Gou Jian's eyes. Now do you believe me?!

Defeat brings unlooked for humiliation which reduces a strong man to tears. Extremely affecting. A lot less affecting if it's Gou Jian using his feminine wiles to soften his captor up.

What I liked about that scene was the sense of equals meeting, who under any other circs would have been friends. In fact, I'm going to write an AU in my head where Fu Chai says Come back with me and be my councillor, and they go back to Wu and spend their evenings playing chess until he finally gets a sense of the sort of person Gou Jian is, meanwhile picking up subtlety and wiliness by osmosis, and finally stops giving that tight-assed masculine laugh of his. And when they're both finally in tune with each other, they can meet on the battlefield again.
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feliciter
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-20 01:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What I liked about that scene was the sense of equals meeting, who under any other circs would have been friends.

Exactly. Completely different from accepted history and countless other adaptations in many forms, and so much more interesting for it.

I'm going to write an AU in my head where Fu Chai says Come back with me...

This is too good not to be shared with the world!
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 02:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
This is too good not to be shared with the world!

If I could.

What I was seeing in that scene, alas, is the bit in the manga Karin where Yao Kuan besieges Heaven, steams into the throne room where the guilty Emperor who has previously imprisoned and umm uke-raped him is sitting (at the top of a flight of stairs equally as high as the one in Yue) awaiting his fate, and says 'Come back to my palace and marry me!' With, you know, the positions reversed.
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羅殺女: 羞愧呀罪人
User: rasetsunyo
Date: 2008-01-20 02:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:羞愧呀罪人
THE PRONOUNS, see when Gou Jian heavily emphasises 寡人 and when he uses 我!

and finally stops giving that tight-assed masculine laugh of his

Lol this I would love to see.
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feliciter
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-20 14:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
when Gou Jian heavily emphasises 寡人 and when he uses 我!

The frequency of the latter being inversely proportionate to his status, I see.

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paleaswater
User: paleaswater
Date: 2008-01-20 15:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A lot less affecting if it's Gou Jian using his feminine wiles to soften his captor up.

I wasn't suggesting that at all. That's buying exactly into the stereotypical definition of an uke and seme, which doesn't seem very interesting at all. I was the first to say that if things had turned out differently they would have been friends, and what's particularly attractive about them is the sense of the meeting of equals. When I say there's something feminine in Gou Jian I was never suggesting these tried and tired tropos, but only it's possible to inject a slight twist into such a traditionally masculine role convincingly.
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 16:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
but only it's possible to inject a slight twist into such a traditionally masculine role convincingly

I don't think anyone here will give you an argument on that. But if you call the twist feminine you're likely to be misunderstood. There's certainly a depth and subtlety and unmanly-manliness to Gou Jian's way of being a guy- you need only look at Fu Chai to see how thin and unsatisfying trad manly-manliness is by comparison. But it's not something I'd label feminine myself, since the word feminine has connotations of 'artificial societal construct expressed in artificial behaviours' and not merely 'relating to general female behaviour.'
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feliciter: o rly no wai!
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-20 01:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:o rly no wai!
And the tear, and the tear in Gou Jian's eyes.

askgfdllfmjfjldsl;;; I didn't see that! Must blow up and rewatch.

He need to watch more bugs bunny cartoons and learn.

ahaha the relevant chapters, AFAICS, are numbered Wu Zi Xu's Assassination Attempt(1), Wu Zi Xu's Assassination Attempt(2) and so on. (how many were there, anyway?)
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paleaswater
User: paleaswater
Date: 2008-01-21 00:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Off the top of my head I count seven or eight. But go ahead and count them again. :P This man is determined, if nothing else.
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-21 02:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
Am now at ep 27 and it's getting Just. A. Trifle. Old. Give it up, man: you can't break up the series' OTP. I dare not google Wen Zhong but I *have* googled WZX and I truly hope they follow history there- if it's history that the man asked to have his eyes stuck up on the wall so he could watch Wu's defeat.
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 00:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
perhaps Uncle Ming's smooth literary tones make his reply and questioning of Fan Li sound too much like Richard II's *let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings speech*.

Another advantage of being an unspeaking illiterate: I was mentally checking off the ways he *doesn't* resemble R2. Which is mostly a lack of self-dramatization for others' benefit, far as I can see. I liked the scene with Fan Li for its formal catechetic (or however you want to anglicize Greek kappa's and chi's) technique. I don't know if advisers are supposed to use that particular rhetorical form when they admonish, but to my mind it works a fair treat. Add to that Gou Jian's address to his ancestors, and I give him two thumbs up for the growth of steely purpose (and deduct points for him trashing his palace when Shi Mai shows up, which has the true Ricardian pout to it.)

Arguing about 礼 with a conquering warrior king shouldn't work, but.

But it works with Fu Chai who wants to be thought a king who follows 礼 and not the bully he is. (Even if the subtitles do call it 'etiquette'.) This is a Tragic Flaw unknown in the west. (How much better would this have played if Fu Chai as well had cheekbones, so one couldn't think 'fat-faced bully' about him?)

Ya Yu is still the prettiest

Thirded.

And now to do 20 & 21.
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羅殺女: cry
User: rasetsunyo
Date: 2008-01-20 02:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:cry
How much better would this have played if Fu Chai as well had cheekbones, so one couldn't think 'fat-faced bully' about him?

D: Not that fat? His is supposed to be considered a charismatic face.
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 02:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
Alas, charisma in Canada involves cheekbones. Or at the very least, honking big noses like our first two Prime Ministers. Hu Jun has a nice manly face whose rounded proportions are not helped at all by the headgear he wears.
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feliciter: method in the mews of madness
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-20 02:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:method in the mews of madness
a lack of self-dramatization for others' benefit, far as I can see

At this point he's realized that he screwed up - the formal Q&A session with Fan Li in front of his army is the only way to express this and preserve his pride and his soldiers'/officials/ belief in him.

I don't know if advisers are supposed to use that particular rhetorical form when they admonish

They mostly don't. But 知己 certainly do.

it works with Fu Chai who wants to be thought a king who follows 礼

How did she know about it? So far it only seems to be the Chu outsiders who understand that.

if Fu Chai as well had cheekbones

Historically I think they might have looked similar since Wu and Yue are neighbours in southeastern China (which suffers from a genetic deficiency of high cheekbones in some areas: the portrait of narrow-faced elegant-bodied Gou Jian is a later work), but the casting does enhance the contrast in personality and behaviour ^_^
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 02:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
They mostly don't. But 知己 certainly do.

Purrs.

How did she know about it? So far it only seems to be the Chu outsiders who understand that.

A lady always knows a gentleman when she sees one? ^_^ Or, a lady with no defences must act as if every man is a gentleman and maybe they will be? No, I really don't know. I'd assumed from its frequent mention in a What will the neighbours say? context, that 礼 is a general cultural value that people pay lip service to, with even-odds that some people really do take it seriously. Ya Yu has nothing to lose by invoking it as second-last line of resistance, and it's certainly better than burning to death.
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paleaswater
User: paleaswater
Date: 2008-01-20 15:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fu Chai does eventually acquire a very striking face, full of gravitas, after he loses the goatee and acquires a beard. Alas, it's only in the last episodes. I'm convinces that's why Xi Shi eventually changed her mind. But when I slash them that's the Fu Chai I always imagines.
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feliciter: o rly no wai!
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-20 15:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:o rly no wai!
Fu Chai does eventually acquire a very striking face, full of gravitas

*anticipation*

when I slash them that's the Fu Chai I always imagine

the contrast is so much funner. But more importantly, where is thy slash of which thou speakst?!
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mjj: woxin gayboys
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-20 20:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin gayboys
Fan Li/Gou Jian their love is so Bent strategic!

Have been watching all afternoon and think the action I'm thinking of is in 23-24, but OMG what's going on, what's happening, are you *sure* you guyz are 知己 and know each other's hearts?

Not that it wouldn't be nice to see Fan Li miscalculating just for once...

- I have never sympathised or empathised as much with Wu Zi Xu as in these 4 episodes.

Still can't. Straight out competence is usually immensely sexy and covers a multitude of sins, but WZX is Mr reflex-Gottagrudge-killemall. He's right about Gou Jian, as history proves, but right for the wrong reasons, by me. One doesn't trust the instincts of vengeful people when it comes to personal relationships; and if that's the reason Fu Chai doesn't listen to him in re: Gou Jian, disposal of, then it's actually a very pleasant case of karma chomping HARD on Wu Zi Xu's ass.
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feliciter: method in the mews of madness
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-21 00:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:method in the mews of madness
IIRC Fan Li didn't protest and was the first to express his understanding Gou Jian came over to move rocks with the officials, but that was in the early part of their imprisonment.

Or perhaps you're referring to Fan Li meeting with Bo Pi and Gongsun Xiong to discuss Wu's grand plan for expansion, which I took as Fan Li trying to 1)get more people in Wu on his side to treat Gou Jian better; 2) make them believe that he's a turncoat, all the better for a later betrayal; 3) allow them to think that Yue will no longer pose a threat to Wu, since they (or him, at this time) are so eager to help with Wu's bid for dominance.

One doesn't trust the instincts of vengeful people when it comes to personal relationships

Ah yes, WZX exhuming and horsewhipping the Chu king's body after Helu took the capital with his help >_> But he (and Wangsun Luo) appear to be the only officials who see that Gou Jian will never completely submit, or more dangerously, will pretend to do so.

that's the reason Fu Chai doesn't listen to him in re: Gou Jian, disposal of

ehe. IMHO the reason lies more with Gou Jian than with WZX, but am a biased fangirl.
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mjj: woxin honest man
User: flemmings
Date: 2008-01-21 00:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:woxin honest man
I'll take 2, Alex- make them believe that he's a turncoat- since he starts by making the Yueites, possibly including Gou Jian, believe it first.

Never know what history's final judgment is on Wu Zi Xu. Wikipedia has him as the exemplar of filial devotion, paleaswater says he's next door to a barbarian. Possibly both?

Wu Zi Xu- right but repulsive.
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paleaswater
User: paleaswater
Date: 2008-01-21 01:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're really right with Wu Zi Xu, especially the bit about human relationships. (or maybe I just agree with you). I think he was right just because of luck -- I mean, back then, with these little kingdoms all sort of things could happen. It took Gou Jian twenty years + lots of luck to come back and conquer Wu. Anything could have gone wrong and that would have been it for Yue. So I don't think Wu Zi Xu was prescient, it's just Fu Chai had a run of bad luck, not all attributable to Gou Jian. But of course history love tragic prophesies.
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feliciter
User: feliciter
Date: 2008-01-21 02:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
as the exemplar of filial devotion

Also a textbook case of the loyal and wise ancient counsellor executed for his honesty (er what?) and persistence in giving sound but unpleasant-sounding advice to a tyrant. The Dragon Boat Festival (scroll down to 2nd last post) is also said to commemorate his (other than the more famous Qu Yuan's of Chu) execution and the desecration of his remains: the people threw rice dumplings into the river to prevent his body from being eaten by fish before they could retrive it for burial (or something).

Though I agree with you and paleaswater - the man is rather too fond of unsavoury methods. (I may be a lone dissenter on this, but I still think that WZX as doing what he thought was best for the Wu state and not primarily for selfish reasons.)
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