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Ok, I admit that I've failed somewhere before. But anyway welcome. Just a brief intro on what you should expect here:
1. Football. Not gonna post much of that any soon since season is over. :S
2. Anime, Games, etc. Just abt anything conceivable under the Japanese radar barring anything and everything Rule 34. Now that's illegal. Period. -.-;
3. Music. Everything to do with it is listed under the tab.
5. Unacceptable humour: Anything and everything is fair game here. As long as I don't get rounded up by the ISA. -.-'

6.
The Known World=Fantasy world building in process. I: Used to be glossary, now devoted to random rambling; II: Character Concepts; III: Lore.
7. der Wolf=my Fictionpress account under the moniker Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu. A Ranger's Tale is hosted under this page. :)
8. New section now upped. Maybe I should also gun for upping A Ranger's Tale here since I do have this funny feeling that traffic coming to here is way more than whatever I'll get in FP.

Statement of intent: Everything said here is a figment of personal opinion, be it me or anybody commenting. I try to be responsible, but my parents=/=parents of the world.

@Druid of Luhn: Crap. Should have remembered far earlier to give you the credit for your CSS text box code. :(

A/N: But sadly, it seems that your CSS text box code has now been halved efficiency wise. :(

That most important note I should have added: Any images posted in this blog are NOT my own stuff. I got them from Google image search, I don't earn any shit by being a thief and liar. Those responsible for the pictures, rest assured that you all are great artists in your own regards. Sadly, we all know what limited space means in terms of posting.

Latest Note: Changed alignment for my page widgets due to my worry that I can't centre align the thing.

Note on A Ranger's Tale: In case any complaining fella wants to have a legal case with me, let this be known that A Ranger's Tale is rated M by default. I've upped the swearing and somewhat a bit on the dark/gritty factor. You all have been warned, let no little boy and girl enter the forbidden realm.

Latest on ART: A Ranger's Tale now starting to kick back in gear. But I really hate the insanely fluctuating climate here in S'pore.

P.S: Oh, and one more thing. Vid below is yet another ideal OP for A Ranger's Tale.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Valar dohaeris

Originally planned as Valar morghulis II, but I decided to scrap it lol! Again, no guarantees on how foul mouthed this post will get. ;)


Swift as a deer. Quiet as a shadow. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Quick as a snake. Calm as still water. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Strong as a bear. Fierce as a wolverine. Fear cuts deeper than swords. The man who fears losing has already lost. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords.

Response to death itself...
Remember what Syrio Forel said about answering Death? If valar morghulis epitomizes death at its most absolute, then valar dohaeris will be its answer. I do not know how ironic this one can get, but technically speaking once can liken this response greeting with life. Maybe I should ask every reader this simple question: When you serve something or somebody, does it make you a slave to whatever or whoever you're serving? You serve your country, are you a willing slave to your nation? You serve your boss, does that make your boss your master? You desired to have wealth and fame, will your decision make you serve wealth and fame? Arya's character is all about making decisions because that's what real life is all about. Even the most heinous ones like Littlefinger, Cersei, Ramsay, and Euron are entitled the right to do so because they're living human beings!

So who does Arya serve? On the first glance, she's now serving the Faceless Men, but is it truly that simple?

How to carry out a hit
I've read somewhere that if you want to kill someone, go hire a Serb. Regardless how true this is, hiring a Faceless Man means 100% success rate literally. One of the focal ethos is that collateral causality is forbidden. On a practical end, it's there to prevent any unwanted trouble. In terms of ideology, we call it a religion. Literally. Death comes to all, there can only be one God and he's called Death. Sounds familiar? I'll get to this part asap.

If death is the common rest allowed for everybody, then it must also be said that death itself is the most basic form of human rights. I know it sounds warped, but I truly doubt Essos has its own Geneva Conventions just because we're talking about the term Free Cities.

Therefore, killing the intended target is not just about pragmatism, but rather a 50-50 deal between practicality and ideology. To the Faceless Men, valar dohaeris means valar morghulis and vice versa.

There's something about Arry...
Arya entering the service of the Faceless Men is without a doubt the turning point of her life. In order to do the only thing she does best, she must abandon every semblance of self identity. When she passed herself off as Arry, little did she know the ironic future awaiting her. Arry was truly a fake identity used out of necessity, the same actually goes for her ever changing face at the moment. Therein, I must state what I see in the f-word.

There are two meanings behind the concept of face. One of it literal, the other symbolical. The literal face is the face we all are used to seeing. Our own reflection and other people's appearances, be they your family, friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, etc. Even strangers. The symbolical end means self-identity. I bought a hardcover artbook for Warcraft III many years ago, one question which stands out from whatever pictures available is this: When a monster looks at itself in the mirror, does it see a monster?

Above question can be found in the Orcs introduction and I really took it to heart. Years later, this would become the bedrock of A Ranger's Tale. You see, when we call somebody a monster, it's merely how we perceive his/her identity. To the said "monster", only his/her opinion matters. In short, if a murderer cum rapist insists he's a human being, then it means his identity is NOT a monster. [1]

We mustn't underestimate the profound nature behind the symbolic face every one of us has. Every human being is unique because we all have different faces. I have my own face, my superior has his own as well. I recognize my parents and sister for who they are, I'm pretty much sure I won't forget the face of my future first girlfriend. That is if I'm lucky enough for the last count.

So who does Arya serve?
On the first glance, Arya Stark serves no one. However, it's interesting to know that the ancestor of every man's best friend was the wolf. Since ages untold ago, taming wolves became man's favorite pastime so as to speak. The ancient Irish especially were renowned for their hunting hounds. [2]

Arya's journey is quintessentially a case of "to tame or not to be tamed" question. Without a doubt, a wolf has its own self identity. Yet, a hound will not only possess an identity, but a master to protect also. It's ironic in a very cruel sense to compare the fortunes of Bran the Builder with Ned. Bran was a truly a free wolf under no man's leash. Ned, on the other hand, became the Iron Throne's most prized hound. No matter how valuable a hound is, the master can still choose to execute it one way or another.

Let this be known: Arya doesn't serve anyone apart from herself. Her current predicament is not so much of a survival game, but rather an identity crisis. She's the closest thing to House Stark's living symbol now, but will she be tamed?

Guilt vs Guilt
Firstly, let me just say that no matter how strong she is, Arya's still a girl. A certain Mr Eric Soh once commented that women tend to be more emotional [3], I doubt he actually read A Song of Ice and Fire. One of the most understated aspect of Arya's struggles is this one below:
She went to the window seat and sat there, sniffling, hating them all, and herself most of all. It was all her fault, everything bad that had happened.
~A Song of Ice and Fire; A Game of Thrones

In this respect, she's her bastard brother's clone. Unlike Jon, however, Arya's depression stemmed from herself. At least Jon Snow knows something:
Jon wanted nothing more. No, he had to tell himself, those days are gone. The realization twisted in his belly like a knife. They had chosen him to rule. The Wall was his, and their lives were his as well. A lord may love the men that he commands, he could hear his lord father saying, but he cannot be a friend to them. One day he may need to sit in judgement on them, or send them forth to die.
~A Song of Ice and Fire; A Dance with Dragons

Will the real Arya please stand up?
Many readers assumed Arya to be a natural born killer, for it is indeed true that she's a gifted child. Not so much on understanding stuff, but rather absorbing surrounding knowledge and utilizing them without even herself knowing. It's just like seeing someone having zero experience in watching football, yet capable of understanding how individual teams work their formation and players. Arya's talent is all about 100% instinct. Period. Like how a wolf learns how to hunt, likewise this ferocious cub of House Stark learns how to kill. In an eerie sense, she's quite similar to the youngest Stark still stayin' alive. [4]

House Stark=House Warg
It really feels surreal hearing a hopeless Stark fanboy saying this, but it seems that the surviving Stark children DO have a strong potential when it comes to skinchanging. So let's see what we have before The Winds of Winter hit S'pore's summer shores...
Jon-shown to have a strong potential yet to be awakened fully; key to his future fortunes hints at Ghost.
Bran-a no-brainer quite obviously. This has nothing to do with the three eyed crow, but rather a Stark greenseer.
Rickon-already considered imba, now possibly still in volatile mode.
Sansa-No chance in hell, sorry.
Robb-wolf-head Robb, sorry.

Arya's warging ability is definitely linked with Nymeria, but it actually took a cat to let us have the clearest idea yet. No one taught her how to skinchange. Then again, same goes for the rest apart from Sanas ofc.

Jack London, this one is for you...
I still remembered watching as a child/tween the TV series, White Fang. At the same time, there's a magazine intended for the tweenage audience Young Generation. Granted YG is still going strong somewhat, but my YG is all about stories portrayed in picture panels. Not only the old time fave comic strips like Vinny the Little Vampire, but also random stories. Not so recently, I discovered YG has already been wave surfing in Korea, this is a far cry from reading in my YG another of Jack London's works, The Call of the Wild.

The interesting part about White Fang and The Call of the Wild is the fact that one plot is the antithesis of another. White Fang relates unto the reader a wolf becoming a loyal hound whereas The Call of the Wild tells us the story of a domesticated dog finally becoming a wolf. I'm pretty sure Ser Martin must have read those two famous novels because in Arya, I'm seeing both White Fang and Buck.

Factors behind Arya=Buck
'Tis a no-brainer, ain't that so? According to Haggon Says, cats are known to cruel and vain. You can subjugate it, but can never tame it. Thankfully, Haggon Says is referring to actual cats, not cat owners. Shitty jokes aside, Arya's current identity spiral can be compared with Buck. As the main protagonist in The Call of the Wild, Buck was used to living a comfortable dog's life as a St Bernard-Scotch Collie breed. Sadly, he received a rude awakening upon getting abducted and sold, the latter word continuing for numerous rounds. Arya's plight is also nowhere different as in she was also a sheltered little girl initially. Buck needed to fight, maim, and kill constantly to preserve not only his life, but also his dignity. Ditto for Arya as well. This might be why valar morghulis was the first High Valyrian word she learnt. If there's any High Valyrian epithet truly worthy of Buck, valar morghulis will be it.

Factors behind Arya=White Fang
If Buck is a reflection on Arya's current crisis, then White Fang is the symbol of hope. I'm not gonna make any bones about this, people. The Call of the Wild IS a tragic story. Despite yearning for a home, Buck was brutally betrayed by his various masters. Upon having the only master whom he can live and die alongside with, poor Buck ended up cruelly betrayed by reality. With nowhere to return, Buck had to make a final choice. He can keep on dreaming till the cows come home or he can make the wilds his home. Unable to compromise with harshest fate means Buck chose the latter path, hence the real meaning behind this famous novel by Jack London.

What about White Fang then? White Fang had always been a wolf. A wolf understanding only the cold hard hierarchy behind the pack order, a beast hardwired to live and die like one. Like his cynical counterpart, he ended up in a different owner's hands for individual reasons. Unlike Buck, however, White Fang managed to break through the barrier of being a pariah unaccepted. After many battles and inner struggles, this once-feral wolf managed to get a girlfriend and a happy ending.

Why am I taking pains to write so many crap is because I tend to deviate from the actual topic on a 50-50 call. Now back to Arya. Will she discover her past and identity? The Call of the Wild is all about losing identity, White Fang is all about discovering one. When Arya was accepted under the Faceless Men''s wing, she did something perhaps not even the Many-Faced God could have expected: hiding Needle away at somewhere safe. This is an indication that Arya is still more of a White Fang than Buck.

Note-above portion comes to mind a vital quote by Arya. Have fun doing theories and finding answers, peeps. ;)

Poking yourself with your own Needle
Needle is the name of her sword due to its narrow blade possibly slimmer than a rapier. At the same time, a needle is also associated with embroidery, i.e. every lady's favorite hobby. In short, Needle could also be said as a mark of Arya's rebellion against every sheeple. [5] At the same time, we also need to have a reality check if we're to say Arya's one hell of a fucked up girl:
"It's just a stupid sword," she said, aloud this time...
... but it wasn't.
Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell's grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan's stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow's smile.
~A Song of Ice and Fire; A Feast for Crows


Flashpoint: Is Syrio Forel dead?
My personal view is a big fat NO. The biggest trolljob Ser Martin can ever conceive is this: if it ain't proven dead, please don't say so. Initially, I was dumb enough to assume Jeyne Westerling dead. That was until Ser Blackfish taught me where to look. For Syrio Forel, this is truly a man of mysteries. [6]

First and foremost, let us consider the circumstances where he became the First Sword of Braavos.
1. Incumbent died of old age, the Sealord of Braavos sent for Syrio.
2. Syrio was asked about the cat [7] seated on the Sealord's lap.
3. Syrio answered truthfully that he had seen countless cats like that all over the alleys of Braavos.
4. Syrio Forel became the next First Sword of Braavos. Not due to his ability, but because of his wisdom.

Key point lies in numero tres, that to Syrio Forel, a cat is a cat. Try viewing this in the death parallel and we will see a haunting exactness hidden behind the verbal shadows. If I'm to equate a cat to a human life, what does this mean where Syrio Forel's answer was concerned?

Guys, we might have been trolled for many a year. Syrio Forel is only assumed dead in name, he's most likely alive and assassinating in reality. If this final statement ain't clear enough, it means you know less than nothing. At least Jon Snow knows only nothing.

[1]: If you're to ask a Faceless Man the correct question without getting yourself killed, this will be their answer behind "thou shalt not judge".
[2]: Something regaled via J.R.R Tolkien
[3]: Weirdly enough, it's been widely accepted that boys are better in maths and science while girls excel in arts and humanities. Given that I'm a straight guy and that any given business course in S'pore will guarantee any guy a pretty gf, above logic must be taken with a grain of salt.
[4]: There must be a Stark in Winterfell, his name has to be Rickon.
[5]: In SMRT Ltd (Feedback) own words-bodoh peh kambing.
[6]: No intention of copyright infringement.
[7]: Actual details proved to be some kind of unwitting prophecy pertaining to Arya's arrival to Braavos years later. Period.