March 29, 2012

Once Walked with Gods.

Ever read a book that makes you angry from the first page to the last? I didn't even think such a book exists. But really I was so angry the moment the story began. And it didn't really wear off even long after the last page was turned. The anger. The effect it had on me was rather disturbing. The almost dead glimmer of hope. And it had left me addicted.

Betrayal. One of the most common words found in fantasy adventure writings. There's Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter books, Grima Wormtongue in the LOTR trilogy, Luke in the Percy Jackson series, Jeb in the Maximum Ride books - you name them. They are everywhere, these spineless backstabbers, and they do the most ridiculously terrible things to the people who offered them the highest form of gratitude for their fake friendship - trust. And these wretched creatures don't know guilt. They never do.

Peter was a friend of Harry's parents. Wormtongue was supposed to be an advisor to the King of Rohan. Luke was one of Percy's very first friends. Jeb was almost a parent to the flock of bird kids. You'll find one rotten backstabber in each of the series. One. And that would be bad enough. The damage. The number of people affected by one person's disloyalty. And the price these people had to pay for the existence of one dishonest soul. I'd been through all the said series. More than once. Makes me sick every time.

But then I came across Barclay's Elves Once Walked With Gods. It's a present from one of my ex-students, Khairul Fadlyshah. I wondered what made him choose the book for me. I heard that he hadn't read it yet, but I don't really mind. I just want him to know that his getting it as a gift for me was one of the best things that has ever happened to me since I became a teacher three years ago. I am overwhelmed. Pleasantly surprised at his choice of gift. So Che Pa, if you're reading this, thank you. This is definitely one of the best presents I'd ever received. I mean it.

Right. Barclay. I wasn't familiar with the name. But boy he writes betrayal unlike anybody else I'd ever read. It's definitely a frighteningly new level of murdering your friends, sacrificing your families, destroying your country and turning away from your religions. Yes, religions. You won't find a shapeshifter offering valuable information to a Dark Lord, a power hungry advisor who slow-kills a king, a friend trying to kill another friend or a pretend dad running sick experiments on his kids. No. But I'll tell you one thing, one thing for sure - Lord Voldemort is just a pitiful orphan next to the backstabbing murderer-bastards in Barclay's Elves book 1. One pitiful orphan who lacks love. That's all.

Because the betrayals in Calaius were conducted by the people of the highest positions in the country and the religions they live by. Not one selfish elf. Not one insane man. They are leaders, and priests. People who claimed to serve their country and God. High priests of the elven gods bringing bloodthirsty men into their temples, killing their own kind without a second's thought. A parliament speaker trying to publicly rape a female elf and at the same time offering her to the crowd of males to be dealt with however they wished to. A young warrior bled to death by castration, removals of his nose, ears, nipples and eyelids and hundreds of cuts all over his body - no part was left not bleeding. No part. When Methian and Pelyn found Jakyn in such state, I nearly vomited. I cried. I consider myself a vast reader - quite. But that was an entirely new thing for me - ceremonial murder of that kind. Forty elves were sliced at their bellies and laid along the border of the city, their eyelids removed, an insane torture under the blistering sun and not being able to close their eyes, their spilled insides being eaten away by stray animals while they were still alive. More than a thousand elves were burnt alive inside a temple. There was no where to run. And around twenty thousand more died needlessly in the great escape. Massacres. Everywhere. The realistically gory details - crazy isn't it? But those were just some of the heartbreaking parts in book 1. Some.

I had my hopes crushed over and over again as I read, what with the lord of the Al-Arynaar being half sane and the elite warriors (TaiGethen) reduced to such a hopeless number. Throughout the story I was like, 'Macam mana depa nak menang ni!? Buleh ka menang ni!?' Translation: How the hell are they gonna win!? Can they actually win!? Men had magic while the elves didn't. Men had magic. Seriously, I was going to murder someone for that. And my understanding sister helped to retain my sanity by repeating, 'Mesti buleh punya. Depa kan Once Walked With Gods?' Translation: I'm sure they can, they once walked with gods, remember? every time I lost myself screaming, 'Buleh ka ni!?' Translation: Is it (winning) really possible!? Sigh. It had been one hell of a read. Honestly, my journey towards the end of the book would be something I'll remember for a long time, that I am sure of.

And Barclay. Smart, smart Barclay. Amidst the maddening screams of fear, deaths of friends and families, fountains and pools of blood and roars of fire in the final battle for escape, he hinted to the readers about the awakening of an ancient elven gift that had been lying dormant for thousands of years within the long-living race. A hint that brought hope to crushed readers like me. Because Lord Takaar, half sane Takaar - as he was escaping with the other elves - suddenly placed a hand on the head of a pursuing mage and that burnt the man screaming to his death without his casting a spell. *gasp, sh*t OMG yay!* So obviously I was like, 'You fucktards (mages) think you have magic?' Haha. 'Think again.' Like a boss, Takaar. Totally. And then the book ended. *a happy face and a torrent of expletives* No, seriously.

This is a very good book, my friends. You guys should definitely get it. Or get someone to get it for you as a gift. The language, syntax and vocabulary are of a new league to me. Made me realize that I haven't been reading enough. A shame I'm quite proud of. So I ordered the second book in the series - Rise of the TaiGethen. Crazy excited, man. Hehe. The third book will come out next year.

OMG. Feels great to have a book to look forward to. Been a while since my last book spasm, hasn't it?

Now. Sorry I'd been away for quite a while. I didn't think I'd be missed. *winks*

So how do you guys like my comeback?

March 6, 2012

Megi saves the world.

‘Teacher, is it true that the world is going to end this year?’ he asked.  Indian and highly inquisitive. I guess 2012 is still a scary set of number for some people. Then I turned to him to offer him the best answer I could come up with – nobody knows when the world is going to end, we will do our very best to be really good people as long as we live. But someone else did a better a job before I could do mine. The boy next to him. He was wise. Way beyond his age.

‘Wei, megi aku pun expire 2013 kot. Lek ah.’

And laughter was everywhere.

Was I stunned?

You bet.

Yeah. I really love my job.

Oh. They’re 13-year-old kids. Biologically protected by the honesty gene. And innocence.

Looks like the world will last another year thanks to megi.


Hehe. How are you guys doing?

March 5, 2012

13 happy suicides.

Arthur: I've never heard so much rubbish in my entire life.
Merlin: Are you calling Gaius a liar?
Arthur: No, I'm calling you an idiot.
Merlin: What's that, then?
Merlin, Season 4, Episode 13 - The Sword in the Stone (Part Two)

I'd call it a series of happy suicides. I've waited for this particular season for almost a century now, (in my besotted mind) and to be able to finish all 13 episodes in 2 days should keep me sane for another year. In my humble opinion, season 3 is still by far the best of all but a lot of people may disagree. But it's really just an opinion, OK? Let's not cross swords because of this. We Merlinians/Merlinknights (whichever you prefer) should stick together.

Now season 4. Hm. There were moments in which I was like, 'Argh bencinya! I can't watch this anymore!' but I still watched them. Sick. There were lots of those moments in this season it almost drove me mad. Like when Lancelot's Shade came back and when Arthur was to marry another woman. I was like, 'I can't watch this!!' But it had been great, the whole season. Really. Arthur is still the hottest damn thing to have ever graced the TV screen (nobody is allowed to disagree, and if you do, we're no longer friends) - golden hair and blue eyes, uneven front teeth and British, bullying Merlin and wielding the Excalibur - I have to re-watch this. I seriously have to. Gwen is so pretty - the hair, the dress and the character development - and her intelligence is now more visible. More like a queen now she is. Then there is Morgana, gorgeous, gorgeous Morgana - now more powerful than before, better makeup - although it looks sweet rather than evil, and better dressed but not just not evil enough. Her lines could be so much better, so much more heartless and she should have hotter guys running after her too, but then again, if everyone gets the limelight...yeah, just what I thought. And Merlin. Merlin is just adorable. Speaks dragon like a boss. Doing magic like the biggest boss of all - eyes ablazed and all that magical jazz. You guys should have seen the scene when he was running in the woods and summoning Kilgarrah at the same time it was so incredibly sexy I thought I'd mentally die. But then again, multilingual guys are always sexy. So yeah. I kind of mentally died.

Anyway. Arthur and Guinevere finally got married (I'm so happy!) - as this version of Arthurian legend has been completely, beautifully messed up. Lancelot sort of died so I guess nobody would ever come between Arthur and Gwen like what happened in the original version, (I was so worried for the last three seasons, because if this version of Guinevere is still going to leave this particular version of Arthur for a Lancelot, then I don't wanna live on this planet anymore), Tristan and Isolde were smugglers (hell) and there's now a white dragon named Aithusa whose wings looked rather poorly designed. The producers should do something about it. Because I could have done better. No seriously. Now I'll ramble a little on my disappointments. Killing off Lancelot? Come on. He's freaking half the drama of the whole Arthurian legend! Lancelot shouldn't have died! He'd been such a wonderful friend for Merlin, the best so far, I'd even say he's a much better friend than Arthur is - knowing and keeping his cool secrets and being so kind to him at all times and everything else. He's the bravest, the most noble of all the knights of the round table, the best. And he'd already suffered enough emotional damage having the love of his life understandably falling in love with the inhumanely hot Prince (now King) Arthur. He deserved a character upgrade, people, not death! Like new gadgets and stuff. Merlin has magic and a dragon, Arthur has the Excalibur, Gwaine has the hairstyle of the century, and you know - this is Lancelot I'm talking about. If Merlin can keep growing silver hair and beard like it's nobody's business, Lancelot should have a girlfriend! He should be happy. He deserves to be. Man. And then there's a Lancelot comeback stage as a Shade with the stupid bracelet and a little making out with Gwen which drove Arthur mad enough to banish his future queen from Camelot and the series ended with Arthur still not knowing that Gwen was innocent. All these small but irritating unresolved matters just drive me crazy. Someone should tell Arthur that Gwen had always been loyal to him. He really needs to know that. And I don't hate Morgana, I just think that she should have caused more trouble if she really was planning to be the major bad guy in this show. She should also stop freaking out about Emrys. It's like she can't do a thing without Morgause. And oh, I hate Lamia. The b*tch. Glad she died a horrible death.

So, drawing the Excalibur out of the stone could be a lot better. But I was like, 'This is it. Cool as hell,' anyway. And the fighting scenes in the palace. Awesomeness. Definitely better than the last three seasons. But why Isolde had to die like that, I don't wanna know. My heart broke when she closed her eyes in Tristan's arms. It was so unnecessary but I guess things should really get out of hand when men negotiate matters using blades instead of heads. My eyes were slightly damp. It was sad. But the whole series was worth the painful wait. Everything in it. So much had happened. Good or bad. So this could be the best retelling of the legend, ever. I can only wait, breathless as I do, for another mental century for the next season, hoping that it would be great just like the previous four.

I could have rambled for another ten miles but I need to get back to work. The Northern Zone Language Week is coming in two months and I have a thespian fraternity to run, a drama team to train, books to read and a life to live. I'll be back soon to talk to you guys. I'm just sorry that I don't write so often anymore these days. But you guys know I won't stop, right? Hehe. Later then.