Daniel Craig’s James Bond: the greatest love story ever told (spoiler alert)

Every actor added something of his own to this familiar womanizing saviour of the (Western) world. I’ve seen quite a few of the old Bond films but would be lying to say that I was a fan of the franchise. That is, until Daniel Craig picked up the mantle. With him, the Bond franchise took a very peculiar turn. Of course, it wasn’t just the actor himself. It was also the producers, the screewriters, the directors who wanted to abandon the overly-used model and try something new. A risky gamble but a gamble well worth it in my opinion.

Daniel Craig has portrayed James Bond in four movies. All four act to deliver a single story (and character) arc. There’ve been clues in all four movies that his nemesis is a single entity, one that has been pulling the strings for a very long time.

The arc began with Vesper, a woman James falls in love because he’s impressed with her mind as well as her looks. In the end of Casino Royale, we can see that James genuinely loved Vesper and wanted to spend his life with her. Her death led to his quest of learning who was behind it.
This is how a man of action mourns his lover: by hunting down those responsible for her death. In Quantum of Solace, James is still in the early phase of mourning: he drinks heavily, he doesn’t sleep and he takes a very depressing view of the world. Above all, he follows the clues and eventually comes to the man who played Vesper into betraying James and had led to her death.

It seems his only reason of staying with MI6 is because this gives him data and resources to help in his hunt. He’s not working for MI6; MI6 is working for him. This would imply that James feels no sense of loyalty to MI6 or to M. But in Skyfall, James gets a chance to walk away from his double-0 life. He stays invisible for a time before he eventually returns to the fort. His reason: MI6 is under attack. While James fails the physical tests, M reinstates him anyway, going with her gut feeling that he is what the organization needs to survive. The film puts a lot of effort into showing that James cares about M and that M cares about James. While not romantic in nature, it is a very deep affection. M’s death causes James more pain and more determination to stay with MI6 and continue with the hunt for the mastermind that is pulling the strings.

In Spectre, James gets to the end of the long trail and punishes the man who was killing his loved ones. This is the closure James needed. The film ends with him leaving MI6 (possibly for good) and his current life behind. Madeleine, the woman he meets and bonds with, is just as scarred by Spectre as he is. Her father, Mr. White, is nothing but a projection of James himself if he kept to his current way of life.

James Bond remains one of the manliest characters of all time, but Daniel Craig’s portrayal has managed to humanize him. He is no longer an arrogant, bullet-proof prick but a tangible, flawed, fragile and resilient human being. For that alone, he’s worthy of our attention.

Hello, my old friend…

I’m not big in new year’s resolutions but it did remind me that I haven’t touched this blog in a while. There were plenty of others things for me to do this year but next year is going to be different. The Tribal Wars novel has been going on for quite some time but now I can safely say it’s coming to a close. In view of that, I will be looking for publishing channels soon, conventional or otherwise.

Also, I realized there are significant benefits from writing a blog. Blog posts are short pieces of text but arranged just as carefully as stories. The writing/editting/proofing process is much faster. While my worldbuilding and writing skills are honed daily, my editting and proofing skills could use some sharpening up. Writing the blog will be doing exactly that.

Off we go…

Finally…

No, I don’t write the blog as often as I used to. At least I have a good reason for it.

 

Tribal Wars: Episode 1

 

The wordcount will jump a notch when I inevitably add some words of description but the main text is finished.

Next step: finding beta readers.

I write.

I now see why so few people ever become professional writers.

It’s not just about taking a seat and writing. It’s about sitting down day after day after day, tirelessly working on a large project until that project is finished.

There are days of laziness, days of apathy, days of doubt in one’s own craft. Days with a sense of powerlessness. And yet you sit down. You write. Afterwards, there will be a few more letters and words that haven’t been there yesterday. If you haven’t taken a seat, they wouldn’t be there now. It’s not much. But you sit down anyway. You start with a single letter.
Then you write a word.
Then a sentence.
A paragraph.
A scene.
A chapter.
And then you realize you’ve barely begun.
But you do it anyway.
You write.

It. Is. Alive.

My but time does fly. January 3rd was my last post on this blog. I didn’t forget about it, I just had other stuff on my mind. First rule of time management is drop activities that are not rewarding. Writing this blog was one of them. I guess I’d rather interact with the real world.

No promises but I could start becoming more active. NaNoWriMo is back so that’s something to write about. Could also introduce topics other than fiction writing. Let’s wait and see.

How about a little experiment?

Recently, I saw the trailer for the continuation of the movie “300” called “300, Rise of an empire”. The first movie was good (not great, since I am a history nut) and after seeing the trailer for the upcoming sequel, I thought it would be a nice experiment to try to guess its plot. I haven’t read any of the comics so what follows is technically not a spoiler, even if I guess right.
I think this movie will turn into a battle between two women. The first one is obviously Queen Gorgo (played by our favourite queen Lena Headey), defending home and hearth and all that is good and pure in this world. The second is Artemisia (played by Eva Green whose immense green eyes have persuaded me to base a character in a story of mine after her). In the trailer, Artemisia shows an interestingly intense hatred towards the Greeks. A shot of a little girl watching a city in flames suggests that that is a young Artemisia, watching the destruction of her home. The grown Artemisia is seemingly out for revenge. Since Artemisia was originally a queen from Karia?, it would make sense that the Greeks burned her home in the beginning of the war (for example, Sardis was burned by Eretrians and Athenians which provoked Xerxes’ predecessor Darius to respond with an invasion of Greece).
As for the plot of the new movie, it is my opinion that Artemisia seduced Xerxes and then talked him into attacking Greece since she herself was not strong enough to attack it on her own. In the trailer, you can see that Xerxes returned to Babylon. It would make sense that he softened the target for his mistress. He also granted her command of the Persian navy so she could exact her vengeance. My guess is that the primary target of her revenge is Athens. In the first movie, Athenians are harly mentioned but it is peculiar that Xerxes offers Leonidas dominion over Greece and especially over the Athenians. So Leonidas and the Spartans were nothing more than an obstacle to the main target. Also, historically, after winning at Thermopylae, Xerxes marched on Athens and burned it. This could very well be used in the movie as the revenge of Artemisia. As for the Athenians, they ran to Salamis which is where they fought the naval battle against the Persian fleet. From the trailer, it looks like Artemisia will come herself to finish the job.
So suddenly this movie is not about manly men fighting in hand to hand combat, it is about one woman that manipulates a man in the name of revenge, and another woman that inspires other men in the name of defense (and possibly revenge since she is a widow). I’m not sure why this sounds like I’m a woman-hater. It seems to make a sensible plot for a movie where physical strength of male characters is the primary trait. Unless they throw Xena in there, female characters can’t fight physical confrontations. What’s left is the psychological battle. And it would make a nice twist that in the heart of both war engines sits a woman.

That would be my guess, anyway. Now let’s wait and see the movie.

Tribal Wars: Act 1 finished

16,140 words for the first act. A bloody start to a rather large story that is the historical foundation for the upcoming series A New Kind of Warfare (three of the nine books are already written but editting proves to be a real bitch; there are some that might be familiar with the Warfare stories though I suspect they do not visit this blog).

Damn but I have to find a faster way to write this. I may be a veteran when it comes to writing but I’m a complete noob about finishing and publishing this stuff.

NaNoWriMo report #1

Yes, I was wrong. 50,000 words do not come easy. I’ve been getting emails from the NaNoWriMo team, saying things like “Skip to the scenes with meat on them, and laugh in the face of linearity.” Ah, but this is exactly what I’m trying to avoid with this story. If I did what they wanted me to, I would have another Arena on my hands. Arena was written precisely in this way, writing just the interesting bits. And you know what? The boring parts that you eventually stick in between are so boring that you lose your readers. I’ve been patching and repatching Arena for four years now and still I’m not done. I’m not making the same mistake with Tribal Wars.
One chapter is done. 30 pages in 10 days? I’m calling that a success. Now it’s time to get my bearings for the coming chapters. I’m not doing this blind and disorganized again. In the meantime, let’s see what Prison World will turn into.