Merit Casino Royal Splendid - Budva casinos

Cool correlation I found between Daniel Craig and the movie Casino Royale.

Daniel Craig: In the year 2000 he starred in a movie called Hotel Splendide.
Casino Royale: When Vesper and James (Daniel Craig) go to Montenegro they check in at a Hotel Splendide.
Not sure if many people know this, but I thought it was cool.
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In Casino Royale, James Bond checks into the Hotel Splendide. In 2000, Daniel Craig starred in a movie called ...

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I watched "Maverick" (1994).

Ah, the art of making a traditional Western film just for the sake of it. Honestly, given how irrelevant the traditional style has become, I'm not surprised people don't mention this all too much when looking back at 1994. (Then again, it’s usually at most two dozen movies anyone cares about from then. What, you mean to tell me this is in a different league than Pulp Fiction?) I’m pretty sure the selling point of Maverick was that it's cool to be a regular Western film and not something as revolutionary as, say, Unforgiven, but nowadays that's not particularly inviting. Especially when it overshadows other points like its appealing cast. Even if such a movie is well-liked (which it is), why bother to watch a new movie that tries to be charming in an old-fashioned way when there are already countless movies of its class? The most inviting time to watch this was when it came out, and with each passing year it gets less interesting to consider watching.
Perhaps that's why it's taken me so long to get around to watching Maverick. That, and the fact I don’t really like Richard Donner as a director. In his later years, anyway. That guy has talent to spare, but his best days were well behind him at this point and while he was always a fair choice for a visually striking but precisely broad scope for handling plenty different ranges of material, a lot of his later work seemed to see him lack a real grasp on the material he was given and turned the stuff he made ranging from middling to godawful. My hopes were that if he gave this material the right level of energy, we had something good here.
And wouldn't you know it, I was right. For the most part. But the fact that I can relax knowing Donner made an overall better movie than Radio Flyer in the 90s is good enough for me.
Sure, it's a pretty lightweight endeavour, meaning if you don't like anything here then all bets are off, but this TV adaptation (knew about the original 50s show but never watched it) is quite a fun, feel-good sort of entertainment. Of course, given its lavish $75M-and-it-sure-looks-like-it budget (correct me if I'm wrong, as I was wrong before I watched this movie since I thought the title went to the cheap looking $70M film Wolf, but isn't this the second most expensive film of 1994 behind True Lies?) the look of the film is splendid. Donner's reliably marvellous sense of cinematography and set design are all aces, as are the Academy-recognised costumes. Randy Newman's score adds a nice touch, pretty great in occasional scenes. But really, this movie wouldn't be even half as fun if it weren't for the cast. Especially Mel Gibson as the titular Bret "Bert" Maverick.
Gibson and Co bring a much needed sense of energy and humour to the script, keeping plenty of the colourful characterisations in check as we travel around the map. The cast are all game, from prime con men to bank robbers to Indians to people of all travels like the Russian leader. They're great, if a bit too lightweight and underutilised--potential implications of her character notwithstanding, I kept forgetting Jodie Foster was in the movie until she would make her reappearance. Thankfully, Gibson is plenty enough of a hero to anchor and carry the film; he's charming as all get-out, funny, and quite talented in plenty methods, especially in balancing out getting on top and being a nice guy. Sympathise with him as he goes from a coward to a brave man willing to sacrifice himself for those around him, relying on his father's quotes and quick wits to survive. And magic, apparently. All leading up to the big poker game on the river. Ah, the old days of looking forward to seeing a new Gibson film...
For a movie that lends itself to the legacy of being a Western by being one for the 90s, it's a good effort for the most part. Do wish it was a bit, to be honest. And a bit broader in establishing the aspects of a poker game. And not so aimless towards the end. (What, you thought this was Casino Royale before Casino Royale? At least Martin Campbell can claim to have a steady hand on his material in his movies on any point in his career.) Donner is a bit of a letdown in staging plenty of the big showdown scenes--they're fine, but you'd expect to let the film do some of the workmanship in providing entertainment value rather than being all showy and hoping the light material and cast did all the work. Scenes like Maverick taking over the reins on a horse-powered journey gone wrong tend to succeed more on the charms of its cast than the spectacle of seeing him try to hang on for dear life. Not to mention such an anticlimactic scene where Maverick has to escape his bedroom on the boat. Typical 90s Donner, but despite my quibbles, it's great the movie is already entertaining enough as it is. It’s just that those quibbles could be brushed aside to make this a pretty great blockbuster for rediscovering rather than sheer adequacy. Great that it’s pretty spectacular in its lavish look, too (hard to think of someone better than Donner to make this as broadly beautiful as it is). Also pretty hilarious.
Seriously, I didn't expect this to be so funny. Then again, it's a Gibson/Donner collaboration, and if they want to do Lethal Weapon any way they can, so be it. (Unless it’s Conspiracy Theory, in which case I’ll order the gravy and go back to watching JFK.) Hilarious Danny Glover cameo included. ("I'm getting too old for this...") Likely the film's greatest asset in maintaining a steady level of quality, and it goes far enough to be some good fluff. Sure, it’s not the best thing you could ask for, but it’s always nice to kick back and relax to such entertaining fluffy stuff, no? Especially for those more into Westerns than I am.
Sorry if I rambled quite a bit, but I found this pretty fun to write about the way everyone seemed while making this.
P.S. Anyone down for a Top Gun/Maverick hybrid? Just for the sake of it?
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Film Rankings with Explanations, Ratings, and Tiers

During quarantine, I've had the opportunity to rewatch every movie in relatively short succession. I've seen them all 2-10 times and have been a lifelong Bond fan. I enjoy every Bond film, even the "bad" ones, but I wanted to try and rank them. I used a scoring system to help me, but ultimately went with my gut (e.g. License to Kill MUST be better than The World is Not Enough). I thought a tier system of ranking was useful, because it really is splitting hairs to rank some of these. Feel free to critique my ratings, my ratings weightings, and opinions!

You could say I have too much time on my hands
Tier 7: The Worst
  1. Die Another Day: Best Sword Fight
- Why it's not irredeemable: For being the lowest ranked film on this list, it's not without its moments. Bond getting caught, tortured, then escaping from MI6 was interesting and novel. The ice hotel was neat, as well as the chase scene. I'll even defend the much maligned invisible car, as the Aston Martin Vanquish is quite a car.
- Why it's not higher: Personally, I think Halle Berry is a terrible Bond girl, alternating between damsel in distress and super woman as the plot demands it. Moreover, Graves and the plot in general is pretty cheesy and boring. Perhaps most damaging is the deadly serious tone of the movie, which doesn't even provide the fun and excitement Brosnan's films generally provide the viewer.
- Most under-appreciated part: The fencing scene is the best action scene of the entire movie. It's surprising it took Bond this long to fence, but seeing them go at it across the club was a blast.

Tier 6: Disappointing
  1. Quantum of Solace: Best Car Chase
- Why it's this high: The action is quite good, likely meriting the distinction of the best car chase in the entire series (the pre-credits sequence). Mathis is a good ally and it is sad to see him go.
- Why it's not higher: My biggest beef with Craig's Bond films is that they are too serious, so when the plot and script isn't top-notch, the movie watching experience is just kind of dull. Quantum of Solace takes a bold risk in making the first Bond sequel, but unfortunately it's just not that good. Greene seems like a rather pathetic Bond villain, and his henchman (the worst in the series?) ends up in a neck-brace after getting tripped by Camilla. Also, the shaky cam is distracting and exhausting.
- Most under-appreciated part: I actually thing the theme song is pretty good! Maybe I'm just too much of a Jack White groupie, but I think it rocks.

  1. Moonraker: Best Locales
- Why it's this high: I'm pleased to see Jaws making a return, as he is an amazing henchman. On that note, the pre-credits sequence with Bond and Jaws falling out of the plane is exhilarating. Holly Goodhead is a very good Bond girl, beautiful, smart, and competent. Roger Moore always does an excellent job playing the role with suavity and wit.
- Why it's not higher: Gosh it's cheesy. Particularly egregious is Jaws' love story. The theme song is terrible and Bond doesn't have any solid allies besides Goodhead and Jaws.
- Most under-appreciated part: They really go all out with the settings here. Obviously, space is pretty polarizing, but I think Bond clearly should go to space at SOME point during the series. In addition, Italy and Brazil were gorgeous views, while Drax's estate is magnificent.

  1. Spectre: Best Shooting
- Why it's this high: Rewatching this for the second time, I realized Lea Seydoux does a good job as the Bond girl, and it's actually quite believable she and James could work out, as she is the daughter of an assassin and can understand him (as Blofeld points out). Seeing Bond show off his marksmanship was quite satisfying, especially that one long shot during the escape from Blofeld's compound. Bonus points for Bond's DB10 and resurrecting the DB5.
- Why it's not higher: The fatal flaw of this film is making Blofeld Bond's adopted brother. How did Bond not recognize him? How is Blofeld able to keep himself secret from British intelligence yet every criminal worth his salt knows of him? The worst part is that it actually cheapens the plot of the other Craig movies. I believe the Bond franchise should stay clear from sequels from here on out. Yes, they can weave a great story if done correctly, but it's so much more difficult to make great sequels (e.g. Star Wars only made two worthy sequels in seven tries) than to do one-offs. As usual for a Craig film, Bond has little charisma (save for his surprisingly good rapport with Moneypenny) and little in the way of jokes to lighten the mood.
- Most under-appreciated part: The train fight scene with Dave Bautista is great! Gosh it was awesome to see them go at it, break through walls, and a priceless expression on Bautista's face when he knows he's done. Bautista is the first decent henchman since the 90s, so glad to see the series go back to this staple.

  1. The Man with the Golden Gun: Best Potential, Worst Execution
- Why it's this high: This Bond movie frustrates more than any other, as it has the potential to be an all-time great. Bond's debriefing starts off with promise, as it turns out the world's top assassin is gunning for Bond! For the first time in the series, Bond seems vulnerable! M makes a hilarious quip as to who would try to kill Bond ("jealous husbands ... the list is endless"). Furthermore, the legendary Christopher Lee is possible the best Bond villain, a rare peer of 007.
- Why it's not higher: Unfortunately, the movie opts to change course so that it's just Maud Adams trying to get Bond to kill Scaramanga. Goodnight is beautiful, but maybe the most inept Bond girl of all-time. They used a SLIDE WHISTLE, ruining one of the coolest Bond stunts ever (the car jump).
- Most under-appreciated part: Nick Nack is a splendid henchman, showing the role can be more than just a strongman.

  1. Diamonds Are Forever: Great Beginning and Ending, but Bad Everywhere Else
- Why it's this high: Is there another Bond with such a great contrast between the beginning/ending and everything in between? Connery shows his tough side, as he muscles his way through the pre-credits scene. Particularly good was the part where he seduces the woman, then uses her bikini top to choke her. At the end, Bond expertly uses his wine knowledge to detect something is amiss, then dispatches Kidd and Wint in style. Other cool scenes include Bond scaling the building to reach Blofeld and Bond driving the Mustang through the alley.
- Why it's not higher: This is one of the films that I find myself liking less and less over time. Vegas, and especially the space laboratory scene, just seem cheesy. Connery is officially too old at this point, and Jill St. John just isn't a very compelling Bond girl. I would've preferred to have seen more of Plenty O'Toole, but alas 'twas not meant to be. Leiter is uninspired as well. Having Bond go after Blofeld for the millionth time just seems tired at this point.
- Most under-appreciated part: Mr. Kidd and Wint are the creepiest henchmen in the Bond universe, but I'd argue they are some of the best. Their banter and creative modes of execution are quite chilling and thrilling.

  1. A View to a Kill: Best Theme
- Why it's this high: Is it a hot take to not have View in the bottom five? Let me explain. I contend Duran Duran's theme is the very best. The ending fight scene on the Golden Gate Bridge is actually one of the most iconic ending set pieces in the series. The plot is stellar on paper, as the horse racing part was a very Bondian side story, and the idea of an attack on Silicon Valley actually seems even more plausible today.
- Why it's not higher: It's self-evident that Moore is way too old for the part. Some parts are just mind-blowingly ridiculous, such as the fire truck chase scene through San Francisco and the part where Stacey is caught unaware by a blimp behind her. Speaking of Stacey, she may be beautiful, but she spends most of the movie shrieking whenever something goes wrong.
- Most under-appreciated part: The scene with Bond and Ivanova is cool (I always like it when he interacts with other spies) and quite entertaining how he fools her with the cassettes.

Tier 5: Below Average
  1. Octopussy: The Most Characteristically Roger Moore Bond Film
- Why it's this high: Maud Adams has great screen presence as Octopussy, and her Amazonian-like women are cool to watch fight. Bond's deft swipe of the egg was nicely done. On a related aside, I wish Bond films would emphasize Bond's intellect more, as it seems the 60s and 70s films would allow Bond to showcase his vast knowledge more frequently than he does today. Gobinda is a fierce henchman, while India in general is a cool location. The plot is realistic, yet grand (war-mongering Russian general tries to detonate a nuke to get NATO to turn on itself).
- Why it's not higher: This is the first Moore film where he simply was too old and shouldn't have been cast. Yes, it's too cheesy at times, most infamously during the Tarzan yell. Bond also doesn't use any cool vehicles.
- Most under-appreciated part: People tend to focus too much on Bond dressing as a clown, but the scene where Bond furiously tries to get to the bomb in time to defuse it is one of the tensest moments in the series. Moore's "Dammit there's a bomb in there!" really demonstrated the gravity of the situation (I get goosebumps during that part).

  1. Tomorrow Never Dies: Most Tasteful Humor
- Why it's this high: Brosnan really settles into the role well here. He gives the most charismatic Bond performance in 15 years or so. His quip "I'm just here at Oxford, brushing up on a little Danish" is an all-time great Bond line. Teri Hatcher is stunning as Paris Carver, delivering a memorable performance with her limited screen time. The plot is original and ages well, highlighting the potential downsides of media power, while Carver is an above average villain.
- Why it's not higher: Wai Lin is good for action, but the chemistry between her and Bond is non-existent. By the end of the movie, Pryce just seem silly (especially the scene where he mocks Wai Lin's martial arts skills). There aren't any good Bond allies, as Jack Wade doesn't impress in his return to the franchise. In general though, the movie has few things terribly wrong with it, it just doesn't excel in many ways.
- Most under-appreciated part: Dr. Kaufman is hysterical. At first, I thought "this is weird," but by the end of the scene I'm cracking up. I genuinely wish they found someway to bring him back for World, but c'est la vie.

  1. The World Is Not Enough: Less than the Sum of its Parts
- Why it's this high: According to my spreadsheet, this is a top 10 Bond film, while on my first watch on this film I thought it was bottom five. I think the truth is that it's somewhere in between. I like the settings, everything from the temporary MI-6 headquarters to Azerbaijan. Elektra is an all-time great Bond girl, with a nice plot twist and character arc. The glasses where Bond sees through women's clothing are hilarious. The sense of danger is strong, with everyone from Bond to M being in danger. The return of Zukovsky is a nice plus.
- Why it's not higher: I think two things really doom this film. First, Renard is totally wasted a henchman. The idea of him not feeling pain is a cool one, but he just seems boring and extraneous. I don't even think Carlyle acted poorly, he was just misused. Secondly, the ending (after Bond killing Elektra which is quite good) is rather terrible. The whole scene in the sub just isn't entertaining or engaging.
- Most under-appreciated part: I'm going to defend Denise Richards as Christmas Jones. Although no Ursula Andress, Richards is absolutely gorgeous and did not actively make Bond's mission more difficult, which is more than some Bond girls can say *cough Britt Ekland. In particular, I found her introductory scene to be quite memorable and convincing. Also, the Christmas quip at the end is quite cheeky.

Tier 4: Solid
  1. The Living Daylights:
- Why it's this high: Dalton brings a breath of fresh air to the franchise here. His more serious take makes for interesting movies that seem more unique than most. I'm happy to see this subreddit appreciate Dalton more than the casual fun does, but I wouldn't go as far as the Dalton fanboys and say he's the best Bond or anything like that. I do wish he got the role sooner and did more films. Moving on to Daylights, it's got a good intro for Dalton and good plot in general. Surprisingly, Bond's fidelity doesn't bother me one bit, as it actually makes sense that Kara falls in love with James by the end, given all they've gone through.
- Why it's not higher: The biggest reason is that the villain is just terrible. Whitaker seems silly and pathetic, a terrible contrast to Dalton's serious nature. I think Whitaker might be the worst in the series, and a Bond movie can't be great without a good villain. Also, Dalton doesn't have much charm and is abysmal at one-liners, which, in my opinion, IS a facet of the perfect James Bond.
- Most under-appreciated part: The Aston Martin Vantage is a beautiful car, and the chase scene across the ice is great! It's both exciting and funny! Not sure why people don't talk about this chase scene and this car more; it's arguably the highlight of the movie for me.

  1. Thunderball: The Most Beautiful
- Why it's this high: Thunderball used to be top five for me and here is why. The underwater scenes, the setting, the score, and the Bond girls are beautiful even to this day. Domino is excellent, while Volpe is a tour de force, oozing sexuality and danger. I think the underwater parts are interesting and novel, creating a staple of sorts for the franchise. The DB 5 is always welcome, and the jetpack use was quite cool for the time (and to some extent now).
- Why it's not higher: Some would say it's boring, while I would more generously admit the plot is slow. Furthermore, the theme song is all-time bad (apparently they could have used Johnny Cash!!!), and there is no great henchman for Bond to dispatch.
- Most under-appreciated part: Two plot ideas I liked a lot: Bond being injured and needing rehab, plus the part where all the 00s meet up and then are sent to the corners of the globe.

  1. Never Say Never Again: Guilty Pleasure
- Why it's this high: Rewatching Never for the third time, I was struck by how fun this movie is. It's exciting, funny, and fast-paced. Basically, it's a more exciting version of Thunderball, with better pacing and better humor. I think Irvin Kershner did a great job managing this star studded cast. Carrera is a firecracker as Blush, Sydow is a convincing Blofeld, and Basinger is a classic Bond girl. Connery clearly has a blast returning to the role, doing a great job despite his advanced age. If anything, this one might not be ranked high enough.
- Why it's not higher: The music is terrible. Normally I don't notice these things, but one can't help but notice how dreadful this one is. The theme is awful as well. I'd argue this is the worst music of any Bond film.
- Most under-appreciated part: The humor! This is one of the funniest Bonds, as I found myself laughing out loud at various parts (e.g. Mr Bean!).

  1. The Spy Who Loved Me: Best Intro
- Why it's this high: There's a lot to love about this one, so I get why this ranks highly for many. It is simply the best introduction, starting with Bond romancing a woman, followed by a skii chase, then jumping off the cliff and pulling the Union Jack parachute! The Lotus is a top 3 Bond car. Jaws is a superb henchman. Triple X was an excellent Bond girl, deadly, charming, and beautiful. Of course, Moore is charming and the locations are exotic (Egypt was a cool locale). If I had to pick one Moore movie for a newcomer to watch, it would be this one.
- Why it's not higher: The theme song is bad, and Stromberg is a below average villain. I also think the last 45 minutes or so of the movie kind of drags.
- Most under-appreciated part: The whole dynamic between Bond and Triple X is great. Whenever Bond movies show Bond squaring off against other spies (see View to a Kill, Goldeneye) it's just a pleasure to watch.

  1. Live and Let Die: Most Suave
- Why it's this high: Roger Moore superbly carves out his own take on Bond in an excellent addition to the franchise. The boat chase is my favorite in the series, and Live and Let Die is my second favorite theme. Jane Seymour is a good Bond girl, while Tee Hee and Kananga are a solid villain/henchman duo. Unpopular opinion: I find J.W. Pepper to be hilarious.
- Why it's not higher: The introduction isn't very good, as Bond isn't even included! The second climax with the voodoo isn't great. Bond blowing up Kananga has aged terribly.
- Most under-appreciated part: When Bond is visited in his apartment by M and Moneypenny, Bond rushes to hide his girl from his coworkers. Finally, when they leave and he unzips the dress with his magnetic watch is one of the best uses of a Bond gadget in the series, showcasing why Moore might be the most charming Bond of them all.

  1. You Only Live Twice: Best Blofeld
- Why it's this high: Just your classic, fun Sean Connery Bond movie. It was a great decision to send Bond to Japan for his first Asian visit, giving the movie a fresh feel. The ending set piece battle is potentially the best of this staple of 60s/70s Bonds. Tiger Tanaka is one of Bond's cooler allies. Pleasance killed it as Blofeld; when I think of Blofeld, I think of his take. In what could have been cheesy, he is actually somewhat frightening.
- Why it's not higher: The whole "we need to make you look Japanese" part seems both unrealistic (who is he really fooling?) plus surprisingly impotent coming from Tiger Tanaka who seems to be a competent and connected man otherwise. Honestly though, this movie doesn't have a major weakness.
- Most under-appreciated part: The fight scene with the guard in the executive's office is probably the best hand-to-hand fight in the series up until that point.

Tier 3: Excellent
  1. Dr. No: The Most Spy-Like
- Why it's this high: Nearly 60 years later, this film is still a blast to watch, due in no small part to its focus on the little things of being a spy. I adore the scenes where Bond does the little things spies (presumably) do, such as putting a hair across the door, or showing Bond playing solitaire while waiting to spring his trap on Prof. Dent. I also enjoy the suspense of Bond sleuthing around the island, while he and the viewer are completely unaware of whom the villain is until quite late in the film. It's easy to take for granted now, but this film established so many series traditions that were ingenious. My personal favorite is Bond's introduction at the card table: "Bond .... James Bond."
- Why it's not higher: The film just doesn't have the payoff it deserves. Maybe it's just a result of the time and budget, but from the point Bond escapes on, it's just mediocre. Particularly egregious is the "fight" between Dr. No and Bond where No meets his demise.
- Most under-appreciated part: Ursula Andress was a surprisingly well developed Bond girl, with a shockingly violent backstory (she was raped!). Obviously, she is beautiful and the beach scene is iconic, but I was pleasantly surprised to conclude she is more than just eye candy.

  1. License to Kill: The Grittiest
- Why it's this high: On my first watch, this was my least favorite Bond film, as I thought it was too dark and violent to befit 007. By my third time watching, I've decided it's actually one of the best. Fortunately, I don't have to go on my "Ackshually, Dalton did a good job" rant with this subreddit. I liked the wedding intro and the concept of a revenge arc for Leiter (although come on he should've been killed by a freaking shark). Also, Lamora and (especially) Bouvier are great Bond girls. Bouvier is both competent and beautiful, and it's great to see Bond choose her at the end.
- Why it's not higher: The theme song is atrocious, Dalton is so angry (dare I say charmless?) the whole time it's almost puzzling why Bouvier and Lamora fall for him, and Bond doesn't use any cool vehicles.
- Most under-appreciated part: Sanchez is actually a sneaky good Bond villain.

  1. For Your Eyes Only: The Most Underrated
- Why it's this high: I think Moore is a bit underrated as Bond. Yes, he was too old towards the end and yes, his movies were at times too campy, but he himself played the role admirably. He was the most charming and witty of all the Bonds, so by the time he got his first relatively serious plot to work with, he hit it out of the park. Anyhow, the climactic mountaintop assault is one of my favorite Bond action climaxes. Columbo is one of the best Bond allies, and the plot twist where he turns out to be good and Kristatos bad was well-done.
- Why it's not higher: The intro is just silly. Bibi's romantic infatuation with Bond is just uncomfortable?
- Most under-appreciated part: The theme song is a banger. What a chorus!

Tier 2: Exceptional
  1. Skyfall: The Sharpest Film (From Plot to Aesthetics)
- Why it's this high: One of the best plots of the entire series. The idea of an older Bond who had lost a step, along with making M the focus point of the movie, works very well. Seeing Bond's childhood home is also pretty cool. Bardem's take on Silva is delightful and a lot of fun to watch. Even the cinematography is a series peak, while Adele's them is excellent.
- Why it's not higher: One thing most Craig Bond films suffer from is the lack of a Bond-worthy henchman. Skyfall is no exception. More importantly, Bond girls are mostly irrelevant to the film. Yes, Severine is both beautiful and interesting, but she's scarcely twenty minutes of the film.
- Most under-appreciated part: Setting the new supporting characters up nicely. The Moneypenny backstory was well-done. Casting Ralph Fiennes as the new M is a great choice in of itself, but he also got a nice chuck of background story to help us going forward.

  1. Casino Royale: The First Bond Film I'd Show a Series Newcomer
- Why it's this high: Craig's take on Bond feels like a breath of fresh air. In particular, his hand-to-hand combat scenes are so much better (and more believable) than any other Bond. The parkour chase scene is one of the best chase scenes in the series. Le Chifre is an excellent villain, but, more importantly, Vesper is an all-time great Bond girl. The conversation between Vesper and Bond on the train is probably the most interesting of any film. Bonus points for Jeffrey Wright as Leiter and the Aston Martin DBS.
- Why it's not higher: There are hardly any humorous parts or much charm displayed by Bond in general. More importantly, the movie should have just ended when Bond wakes up in rehab. The rest of the movie feels confused and superfluous.
- Most under-appreciated part: The decision to change from chemin de fer to poker makes for much better (and understandable!) cinema. The poker scenes are the best of Bond's many gambling scenes throughout the series.

  1. Goldeneye: The Most Fun
- Why it's this high: Wow, rewatching Goldeneye I was struck by how entertaining the whole thing is. The opening jump is breath taking, the scene where Bond drives his evaluator around is hilarious, and Xenia Onatopp is a livewire. Sean Bean is a formidable villain as 006, and a great foil to James. Bond and Judi Dench's first scene together is amazing. Goldeneye feels like the first modern Bond, yet so true to the predecessors. Wade and especially Zukovsky are excellent allies.
- Why it's not higher: Simonova is a forgettable Bond girl. She's not annoying, unattractive, or acted poorly, but is just below average in most regards (looks, back story, chemistry with Bond, plot).
- Most under-appreciated part: the action is just so much better than any Bond before it

  1. From Russia with Love: The Best Henchman (Red Grant)
- Why it's this high: Interesting settings, beautiful women, and an engaging story make this a classic. I'm not the first to point out that the scenes with Grant and Bond aboard the train are some of the best in the entire series. Grant is one of the few villains who feels like a match for 007. Furthermore, the addition of Desmond Llewyn as Q was crucial and Kerim Bey is one of the better Bond allies.
- Why it's not higher: The helicopter scene should've just been omitted, especially when combined with the subsequent boat chase. It's just awkward to watch.
- Most under-appreciated part: The gypsy scenes are quite exotic and entertaining.

  1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The Most Heartfelt
- Why it's this high: James and Tracy's love story is charming, and when she dies at the end, this is the one and only time in the entire series where the viewer feels genuinely sad. Diana Rigg did an excellent job convincing the audience Bond could finally fall in love with one girl. The skiing scenes were beautifully filmed, and the score was exemplary. Personally, I quite liked Lazenby's take; however, some of his lines and jokes fall flat. To his credit, he looks and acts like Bond more than any other actor.
- Why it's not higher: Honestly, it does drag at times in the first half, plus there is no theme song!
- Most under-appreciated part: Bond's Aston Martin DBS is a beautiful car, combining 60's sports-car beauty with Aston Martin's elegance.

Tier 1: The Best
  1. Goldfinger: The quintessential Bond
- Why it's this high: From the opening ("Positively shocking") to the seduction of Pussy Galore at the end, this film has it all. Goldfinger is an all time great villain, while Odd Job is an exceptional henchman. Connery delivers a master performance, and drives THE classic Bond Car, ejector seat included. The reason I put it #1 is not necessarily because it is the best film (although it is great), it checks all the boxes of what a perfect Bond film should do.
- Why it's not higher: I cannot think of any notable imperfections.
- Most under-appreciated part: The golf scene between Bond and Goldfinger is a delight to watch, demonstrating Bond's wits for the first and only time on the golf course.
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Summer 2019 - The Swimsuit Swordmaster Seven Colored Showdown: Start - Part 2

Katsushika Hokusai:
Ehee! Now I’m getting ye!
Ye have ties with Miyamoto Musashi! Ye art the unparalleled, great swordmaster’s adopted son, Miyamoto Iori!
One of the remarkable people who inherited Niten Ichi-ryū​ on their passing, truly worth of being a heroic spirit, and truly suiting to be a Swimsuit Swordmaster!
However, it is unbelievable still! How Miyamoto Iori-dono was a woman!
Ye shocked me well and good! Ye did!
…It's a discrepancy from the truth we're familiar with, but the feats from their their myths, legends, and history are still extraordinary.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Is that so then…
Well, that goes for I as well! Seein’ as I yet be the infamous Katsushika Hokusai despite bein' a woman!
Err, disregard Father here with that. He didn’t used to spit ink.
[Miyamoto] / [Iori]
Miyamoto Iori:
Miyamoto Iori:
Do you know my teacher? Hahaha, cut it out. We resemble each other, but that’s it.
Yes, you seem like peas in a pod to me…Is it from the blood relation you have with them?
Miyamoto Iori:
Are you kiddin’ me?! Iori-kun isn’t my biological child, y’know!
Miyamoto Iori:
Oh, uh, oopsie! You guys know Musashi-dono, and probably the irregular one to pan-human history, who’s a girl, right? I know that because I’m also a Heroic Spirit of pan-human history, but there’s no-relation otherwise!
I just resemble them. That’s all there is. Yep. Mhm.
Miyamoto Iori:
…I-I mean, I get how the misconception came up from our faces, but it’s nothing. Nothing!
I am Miyamoto Iori. One of the Swimsuit Swordmasters beckoned here, to Las Vegas!
And concerning the Swimsuit Swordmaster Revered Bout---
I know a lot more than others about this Swimsuit Swordmaster Seven Colored Showdown.
...Wanna hear the details?
[Yeah, that’d be great] / [We did need to info gather]
Miyamoto Iori:
Fufu, right! I’ll tell you what I know, and I’ll be concise about it too!
I’d be glad to so long as I can get some udon or burgers!
Miyamoto Iori:
Did I say "Oodawn"? I meant Vegas food, Vegas food!
For now, just a burger…would be ok…
Getting Miyamoto their meal, she begins to explain what she knows.
Miyamoto Iori:
---The Dazzling Las Vegas!
It already existed before, but this Las Vegas is different from the normal town.
As someone from modern times, you can tell by looking at it, right? It should be easy for you to see that.
But yes, this town exists as an arena for the Swimsuit Swordmasters to gather to!
And at the same time, it exists with the full functions of Las Vegas. In other words…
It’s a luxorious, Great Casino City! Aside from battling each other, you can go have fun in the casinos!
It’s fine to battle as a swordmaster. It’s fine to play around in your swimsuit.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to battle or play if you’re a Swimsuit Swordmaster! It’s plenty rational!
In the actual Las Vegas, the casinos are managed and taken care of by enterprises and grand hotels, but…
In this Dazzling Las Vegas, guess what! Each and every big name casino is controlled by a Swimsuit Swordmaster!
Altogether, there are 5 great casinos! In other words, each casino is controlled by each individual group out of the 5 Swimsuit Swordmasters!
Out of these 5…
One has already proven to be different from the other Swimsuit Swordmasters. They’ve been singularly lauded as the mightiest, and most powerful out of all of them---
The Swimsuit Lion King, Artoria Ruler!
She’s the manager of Casino Camelot, and in essence, dominates this Dazzling Las Vegas!
Katsushika Hokusai:
I see, now I get the main gist of it!
Art-oria, ru-rah? It’d be grand of us to have a bout with them, and test her merit!
Let’s act quick before we change our minds!
I see, that sounds logical.
Artoria Ruler. It sounds like we should at least make contact with this person.
The chance are very high that they possess the Holy Grail, because of their dominance over this newly founded city.
It may also be the source behind our irregular Saint Graphs and Spiritron Outfits.
I think so too!
If they’re safeguarding the Holy Grail, then we'd be able to eliminate this microscopic Singularity too.
[Let’s get going!] / [Let’s investigate the Casino Camelot!]
Miyamoto Iori:
(Chomp, snarf)
Thanks fer’ the burger! It was super yummy.
So, you wanna head off to Casino Camelot? It’s right over there, the big white walled castle.
…I don’t. I don’t recommend going there~.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Don’t ye be getting’ dull on us now! We said how we must visit them, so we could at least take a peak!
Let us depart in haste! Mastah!
Sir Jikufurito, ye may tag along as well, lest ye get left behind!
With the way we sliced those large birds that blanketed the skies, we should have a complete victory in this Swimsuit Swordmaster Showdown!
Miyamoto Iori:
(They’re worked up like this was their first victory. They seem more like a samurai going through a coming of age ceremony…)
(And compared to the others, she’s more like a newborn fawn…)
(But she's overflowing with untold potential. The four swords she wields seem to suit her too)
(This girl, perhaps she’s…)
Katsushika Hokusai:
Come, lets get a move on!
Hokusai darts off, but eventually runs into an invisible wall at the castle-casino.
Katsushika Hokusai:
W-what sort of tickery is this…I can see it in front of me, but can’t draw closer…I cannot advance to the castle!
Seems to be an invisible wall of sorts…but if its just a wall…
She attempts to cut it, to little avail.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Like I thought! My katana matters not!
---That spirit of yours is good.
Alas, you don’t appear to hold a letter of challenge, fufu. Yet, I do respect the unguided rush attack to test the waters.
You cannot pierce this wall. Not even as a Swimsuit Swordmaster.
Without my own elegance, without my own blade, it is a futile effort. Because…
Swimsuit Bunny Arthur (Lancer) Ruler steps forward.
I am a Swordmaster as well. You may call me The Swimsuit Lion King. Unjust Swimsuit Swordmasters shall be not allowed entry here, and ignored thus.
Katsushika Hokusai:
(H-how could this be…it’s as if the weight of the heavens are falling upon me…!)
(I-impossible, could this be that thing others speak of!? The feeling of a blade against your throat, a killing intent!?)
(Uwah----, Uwah---! Have I only now come to understand a sort of killing intent by the blade!?)
(But I’m already a real Swordwielding Swordmaster of Swords, so it should be fine!)
Swimsuit Lion King:
Hmph. Four swords.
How interesting. Your appearance and your many blades remind me of a certain someone.
---Your True Name?
Katsushika Hokusai:
Ka, Ka, Katsushika Hokusai! Ukiyo-e artist, now a Swordwielding Swordmaster of Swords, a nymph of ambitions!
Swimsuit Lion King:
Well well. So you’re one with numerous titles.
Katsushika HokusauI:
S-shaddap! I’m seriously serious about seriously being serious!
What’s wrong with having a buncha pitches! "Lion King" sounds like a motto from somethin' else too!
The Lion King continues to smile, which freaks out Hokusai even more.
Miyamoto Iori:
Wait wait wait! Hooooold on for a sec! You, did you just say that we can’t bust through this?
Katsushika Hokusai:
Elder Sis Iori! I-I mean, wow, ye sure did take y-yer time getting’ here…
Swimsuit Lion King:
Miyamoto Iori:
Yes! Niten Ichi-ryū wielder, Miyamoto Iori here!
Also with me is the western dragon slayer Swimsuit Master, my actual Master, and their sweet kohai-chan!
My name is Mash Kyrielight!
[So she’s a bunny this time…] / [Wait, you aren’t one of the Swimsuit Swordmasters right]
Swimsuit Lion King:
I am the Swimsuit Lion King. I am the great ruler of this Casino Camelot.
Feh, if you are not aware of who I am, then I shall educate you. This bunny outfit is the uniform of my Casino.
Could that one --- be a rabbit who has gained intellect?
Swimsuit Lion King:
Regardless, I believe that this Miyamoto has their aim set on me as a fellow Swimsuit Swordmaster.
Miyamoto Iori:
R-really~? Who can say for sure? Whistle, whistle~
What are you doing, Iori.
Um, I'm worried, about how she's just whistling like that for now...
Miyamoto Iori:
So, what’s this problem about me setting my sights on you? For the Swimsuit Swordsmaster Seven Colored Showdown---
There isn’t a rule against cooperating with others in this “Revered Bout”!
Everyone’s against each other, but there’s nothing against cooperation! So I took that idea and made some allies!
Swimsuit Lion King:
…Fufu, that all checks out.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Heeeeh, is that what this is? A Swordwielding Swordmaster of Swords going 1 on 1 would be a magnificent show, yet...
…that’d go against it all! Totally! That’d be like how the 47 rōnin showed up at Kira Yoshinaka’s together uninvited!
Or like Miyamoto Musashi hearing the noises of the great Yoshioka clan while alone, and slicing them up!
…Nn, but, yeah. I think a Swordwielding Swordmaster of Swords would probably have a splendid 1 on 1s.
Y’know, right Mastah? Like the battle on Ganryū-jima! The 1 on 1 of genius swordsmen at Ganryū, with Shinmen Musashi! A katana vs an oar!
And well --- ye can’t step around how cool that battle was!
Miyamoto Iori:
(Mu. So that time was cool to her…I see, so Hokusai-chan is an honorable swordsman)
Katsushika Hokusai:
I’d be lyin’ to myself if I had said that I wasn’t yearning for a 1 on 1.
At least one fight would be nice, because I’m here now as a swordsman. A 1 on 1! I wanna do that!
…I can’t say I understand you enthusiasm.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Y-ye. What do ye think yer sayin’?
Miyamoto Iori:
It’s okay, it got through to me. I mean, yeah. Right? They say might makes right.
You came to wield the power of the Holy Grail on your own as a Swimsuit Swordmaster, right?
But since a 1 on 1 would be pretty risky for you, I think a 6 on 1 would be fair.
Yeah, a 6 on 1 would be cool against big sis Iori.
[That look…] / [Those numbers aren’t just for you, right?]
Miyamoto Iori:
Whistle, Whistle~
Ah, Iori-san’s whistling again…!
Swimsuit Lion King:
…A fair and square, 1 on 1?
Your words are in good honors. I shall answer that wish here and now.
Miyamoto Iori:
Huh, wha-!?
Swimsuit Lion King:
There was some correctness in Miyamoto’s words: a one on one battle against a Swimsuit Swordmaster casino manager would be poor in scope.
However. If a Swimsuit Swordmaster were to stray, and act on their own, a one on one battle would be seen as fair play.
---In other words.
You two may cross blades with one another.
Miyamoto Iori:
Wai-, hold hold hold hold up there, pardner! That’s logical, but…
Swimsuit Lion King:
You have led that girl thus far. And you have given yourself the role of teaching her to be a Swimsuit Swordmaster.
Do not fret. In a special case, I shall grant you a [Chosen Battleground] without the need of a [Letter of Challenge].
I am the Swimsuit Lion King. I am the apex Swimsuit Swordmaster, as well as the strongest casino manager in Dazzling Las Vegas.
Such a trifling matter will come at no issue for me.
Now --- behold all this city has to offer, as you dance and splash among this performance for passersby!
Everything begins to shake, and a platform emerges from the ground, trapping Hokusai and Iori!
Katsushika Hokusai:
Wh, whawha, w-w-w-w-what was that!? With her indication…things changed in a moment!
This dense mana! Master!
Could it be…is this a Reality Marble…? Our connection with the Wondering Sea has been severed too, senpai!!
Miyamoto Iori:
…It’s too late to do anything now.
The Swimsuit Lion King has ushered forth a [Chosen Battleground], and now the selected Swimsuit Swordmasters must do battle.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Ye make it sound like we ought to. Yet if I don’t want to, I need not do so.
Miyamoto Iori:
Yeah, but! I feel the same as as you, but!
It’s already here! If we don’t fight…
If we don’t fight, even a bit…we won’t be able to get out of here…!
You mean…there’s no way out unless you fight…
Katsushika Hokusai:
This ain’t good. But, we are Swimsuit Swordmasters.
I still don’t know quite what a Swimsuit Swordmaster really does, but I can understand this much.
Swimsuits, Swordmasters. Elegance, and blades.
In other words, elegance must be seen in twine with swordsmanship! So then---
Kill or be killed…that the point to this? If that’s true, then that’s some fantastically wrong “elegance”.
Miyamoto Iori:
It’s as you say. It can be somewhat painful, but I don't believe you need to die.
This is why all Swimsuit Swordmasters are Heroic Spirits: so long as their Spirit Origin remains unharmed, it’s possible to be restored to full.
Katsushika Hokusai:
That true? Makes sense.
Fine by me.
Katsushika Hokusai:
I’ve already decided that I’ll become the strongest Swimsuit Swordmaster! I shall respect this wish and do battle with Miyamoto Iori’s Niten Ichi-ryū as such!
Come! Come, come, come! With my waist drawn blade---
I’ll sense even a gunman’s adept strikes! Try to get past me, Iori-dono! Ye shall be diced long before ye can try!
Now, unsheathe thine blade! How am I now!? Iori-dono!
Miyamoto Iori:
(You have an impressive disposition, Katsushika Ōi! Okay, I’ll get serious too!)
Very well then, novice swordsman! The fun and games are over!
Your current skills are immature, and as a nymph, the heavens excite you still. And they shall witness your catastrophe in your perfect lack of preparations!
Embrace destiny, and hold fast to all you possess! I, Miyamoto Iori, shall answer your call, my opponent!
Ah, but let me change a bit before all that happens. This’ll be better for a Revered Bout!
Musashi changes from her 2nd ascension, to her 1st one.
That’s…! Iori-san put on a really sporty outfit!?
[A sporty, competitive swimsuit for swordplay!] / […Well done…]
Miyamoto Iori:
For my very first fight, a Western outfit wouldn’t be very elegant, y’know? It’s summer too, and I wanna be pool side!
This doesn’t mean I'm going easy on you though! Get ready, Katsushika Hokusai!
Katsushika Hokusai: Ohoho, ye better believe I’m ready! Come, have at you --- in victory, or defeat!
(Merlin, announcing)
The two fight 1 v 1, and eventually Hokusai gets put on the ropes.
Katsushika Hokusai:
---yer strong!
No, no, nononono! It’ll take more than that!
Those born in Edo move from one place to another like a carp streamer blown by May winds!
An infamous waterfall screen, a pilgrimage through the country, the fish climbs the waterfall of evening; answer my summons!
Now then, if you catch sight of them, send them back to their roots!
Kirifuri! Kannon! Aoi! Rouben! Yoshitsune! Yourou! Ono! Amida!
---[Waterfall Tour of the Regions]!!
Hokusai releases her NP on Miyamoto!
Miyamoto Iori:
What the----!?
Iori is taken upstream through Hokusai’s attacks, and upon crashing back down, kneels in defeat.
Miyamoto Iori:
…I give! Your Waterfall Tour of the Regions was splendid!
Katsushika Hokusai:
Hehh, hah…hah…hah…
…huh, what’d ye say…I’ve…won…?
Swimsuit Lion King:
Enough! Game, set!
Swimsuit Swordmaster Revered Bout, First Color! Here stands the victor! Revere the Beach Beauty, Katsushika Hokusai!
Both were splendid. For a moment, Iori’s blade seemed to falter, yet…
No, I must have been imagining it. It was a wonderful sight to behold.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Zehahh…V-victory! See how tall I stand now, Mastah!
[You’re amazing, Orei-san!] [Congrats on your win!]
Katsushika Hokusai:
Ooh yes!
Miyamoto Iori:
My my, looks like Miyamoto Iori’s been completely defeated. Perhaps it was the voice of the heavens telling me to train my new junior.
Hokusai-san, you swordsmanship was incredible. I really mean it.
At the end there, you struck at me using your mind and body as one…something I didn’t predict.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Swimsuit Lion King:
Indeed, this Swimsuit Swordmaster, the Beach Beauty Hokusai-san, may have some hidden potential yet.
However, concerning Miyamoto…I believe it’s about time you drop this act of yours.
Despite being the oldest competitor among the Las Vegas Swimsuit Swordmasters, you do not hold a casino to your own, and continue to wonder.
You are a disgrace to us Swimsuit Swordmasters. Please make an effort for yourself.
That’s all I have to say for now.
The Lion King walks back into her casino, barrier still intact.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Ah, wait! Wait right there! Swimsuit Lion King-san!!
She comes back.
Swimsuit Lion King:
…What is it.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Ye be the greatest person in all Ras Vegahs, yeah? Then come, clash blades with me right now.
Swimsuit Lion King:
So that’s what you want.
Katsushika Hokusai:
Once I win against you, I’ll be the strongest Swimsuit Swordmaster…didn’t you say?
Swimsuit Lion King:
Fu, I don’t believe this. You think you stand at the summit of Las Vegas with a single win?
Katsushika Hokusai:
What’re ye gettin’ at…that battle was for…
Swimsuit Lion King:
That was naught but a single battle, nay, a single color! The strongest Swimsuit Swordsman must gather all Seven Colors using extreme elegance and skill!
Seven Colors…do you mean we need to have 7 battles!?
Swimsuit Lion King:
In this Las Vegas, there are 5 Swimsuit Swordsman casino managers, including myself.
If you wish to be known as the strongest Swimsuit Swordsman, then you must defeat all of the Swimsuit Swordsman casino managers.
Since you’ve managed to acquire a win already, surely beating the rest will be no problem…
For to be the strongest, means ---
She grins.
Swimsuit Lion King:
To have dominance over Dazzling Las Vegas. Once you have done that, then I, the Swimsuit Lion King, shall be your opponent.
She sparks with energy, making the ground tremble and shake, demonstrating just how strong she really is.
Katsushika Hokusai:
(This killing intent, the feeling of the blade, is so heavy…! As I thought, this mighty one is truly the strongest of all Swimsuit Swordmasters!)
(B-but in the end…it’ll be…me!)
Swimsuit Lion King:
The strongest Swimsuit Swordmaster. If you yet wish to obtain this title, Beach Beauty....
Then you must make yourself fit for it here in Dazzling Las Vegas. Put on a show of a fight, and fight as if you’re putting on a show.
Until then --- I shall be waiting. For you.
The Lion King goes into her castle for real this time, and leaves us upfront with the barrier.
Katsushika Hokusai:
S-she left…
However, there’s quite a few other beauties in this world to tackle! Well, ‘sides from Iori-dono there’s Five Fingers to take on, then we can make an appearance for that majestic Swimsuit Lion King…
Haah…I’m already so enthralled…
Miyamoto Iori:
Huh? What, did you say I was beautiful? Ahahahaha, don’t say that again, c’mon, fufufufu, no more, totally, no more, ehehe…
[Iori-san] / […You’re really Musashi-chan, right?]
Option 1:
Miyamoto Iori:
Huh, did you think I was her? Ahahaha no, c’mon, I’ve already lost, ahahahaha…
Option 2:
Miyamoto Iori:
GOHBUGHBOHG! A-Ahahahaha, what're you saying, I'm Miyamoto Iroi, ahaha!!
Miyamoto Iori:
Alrighty! What’re we doin’ next, you guys?
Katsushika Hokusai:
That’s obvious, ain’t it! Aah, but perhaps we should withdraw for now!
There’s 5 kajino maneger Swimsuit Swordmasters! We gotta beat ‘em all, and get those Seven Colors!
I’ll be the strongest Swimsuit Swordmaster! The one who’ll get crowned that title --- will be me!
…We couldn’t support you due to that 1 on 1 a while ago, but next time I shall brandish my blade alongside you.
I have no desire to be crowned strongest Swimsuit Swordmaster, but only to relinquish the Holy Grail from the Swimsuit Lion King. I will fight for that purpose.
If we seek to keep fighting in turn, then we should seek out more information about the others, to prevent this situation from happening again.
I-I agree. Casino Camelot is shrouded by a powerful bounded field, but---
Judging by what she told us, if we defeat the others, then we’ll get a second chance to face her again!
[Right] / [Looks like it’s all we can do, so let’s go!]
Katsushika Hokusai:
Ooh! I’m comin’ for you, Swimsuit Lion King!
Miyamoto Iori:
Do do doo ♪ Thanks for this wonderful team up. No one can beat [Guda] and their friends ★
I’ll act as your guide from now on, while also keeping my duties as your bodyguard.
I’ve gotten all giddy for a buncha reasons, but you’ll learn more and more as we go through Dazzling Las Vegas.
First though, how about I give you some details on the first casino we should look for?
[That’d be awesome!] / [I think it's better to just go now. Let's to go the simplest casino!]
Option 1 Only
Miyamoto Iori:
I’m glad to be of help. Oh, since we’re all on the same level now, lemme go over the casinos.
The slots, roulettes, and card games are the main attractions. You need to use QP to get QP, so observation and luck are what lead to success or failure.
Each of the manager Swimsuit Swordmasters have a minute peculiarity to them…
Iori begins to give you a quick summary for the managers, starting with a picture of Summer Osakabehime.
Miyamoto Iori:
Taking on the current fad of [Last one standing survivor games] is the [HIMEJI] casino.
Assassin Nitocris.
Extremely high rollers only. The art museum-esque place where only celebs are allowed in, the royal [Pharaoh] casino.
Summer Meltlilith.
Admission tickets stopped sales half a year ago.The Dragon Palace inside the desert, the famous stage performances of No. 1!
Sweeping through America, is the Charisma ★ Figure Skater.
Mysterious Alter Ego Λ , who opened a stage in the [Suitengū] casino.1
Summer Jeanne Archer
Just like from a movie! A showstage that surpasses even Hollywood VFX!
The [Water Sky Palace] casino also has a famous circus group that competes with its popularity, butting heads with dolphins, it’s the [Cirque du Requin] casino.
Swimsuit Lion King
Lastly, there’s the casino we just dealt with, where the strongest card dealer, the Lion King resides, [Camelot].
After dealing with the other Swimsuit Swordmasters, that casino will be our battlegrounds.
Branch merge/Option 2:
Miyamoto Iori:
Out of all those casinos, the easiest one would be…of course, her’s.
Ok, I’ll lead the way towards that one Swimsuit Swordmaster, the casino manager!
And that casino’s name is---
[HIMEJI Survival Casino]!
We begins to make our way there when Miyamoto stops us for a second.
Miyamoto Iori:
Oh yeah.
Each casino operates using a specific kind of'll need a certain amount of QP, so let's do our best to rack some up!
['Scuse. Me?]
Miyamoto Iori:
If you act like a bird of prey or a farming machine, then you can rack it up bit by bit. Ka-ting ka-ting ka-ting!
A farming machine?
Katsushika Hokusai:
I’m not quite sure what you mean, but I’ll be usin’ my four blades! Let’s do it, Mastah!
She runs off.
Ah, wait for us, Hokusai-san! Hokusai-san!
1 - The Suitengū). While the other casinos are mostly written out in English, this one is kept in Japanese.
submitted by PkFreezeAlpha to FGOGuide [link] [comments]

[KDNF] 2018 Media Day Update Preview Reworked In Reddit Format

I reworked Jay's original summary along with a fair number of additions and put it here in Reddit markup for quick perusal. Originally held 17:00 KST on 7/13/2018, emphasizing the color orange. VOD available here from Afreeca. Official site overview.
New D&F Logo
[2018 Summer Update]
Max level increased from 90->95. Prey’s, the 3rd Apostle, story begins with the Pandemonium Underground Organization Kashipa.
[New Pandemonium Area: Harlem]
  • New Town: Black Market (controlled by the Kashipa organization)
  • New General Dungeons: Bordertown, Total Eclipse, Dark City, District 9, Royal Casino, Fight Club
  • New Loop of Circulation Dungeon: Sleepy Hollow
[Level 95 Items]
Sleepy Hollow legendary weapon: Emancipation Great Sword (Zanbato)
Purchase by defeating the boss monster and clearing limited quest(s) in Sleepy Hollow.
  • +20 all elemental attack
  • +10% physical+magical critical rate
  • +1 to level 1-85 skills
  • 24% elenore
New Content: Assault Mode: legendary armor+accessories+special equipment
Day-of-the-week dungeon activated in the Harlem area. Get legendary equipment (except weapons) purchasing materials by defeating boss monsters and clearing missions.
  • Swift Maneuver Belt: +97 physical+magic+independent attack power, +6% physical+magic+independent attack power
  • Swift Maneuver Bottom: +16 all elemental attack, +5% STR+INT
  • Swift Maneuver Shoulder: +97 physical+magic+independent attack power, +6% physical+magic+independent attack power
  • Swift Maneuver Shoes: +30 all elemental attack
  • Swift Maneuver Top: +16 all elemental attack, +5% STR+INT
  • Kashipa Hero of Tobal - Maneuver Set:
    • 3 Set: +15 all elemental attack, +10% STR+INT
    • 5 Set: +30 all elemental attack, 25% elenore
Legendary->Epic Farming System
For armor, accessories, and special equipment (weapons not included).
  1. Farm materials to purchase legendary equipment by doing Assault Mode.
  2. Farm materials to upgrade the legendary equipment in Dawn Rift.
  3. Level 95 Harlem area epic equipment acquired upon completion.
Breath of Mortality (Beam Spear)
  • +12 fire element resist
  • +2 Fountain of Power
  • +1 to level 1-85 skills
  • 25% elemental elenore (your highest element)
Doom Conviction (Scythe)
  • +10% physical+magical critical rate
  • 40% additional critical damage
  • 300 second “Blood Ruin” buff upon attacking bleeding enemies (doesn’t stack)
    • 28% elenore
    • +12% attack speed
  • 10% chance to bleed enemies when attacking
  • Equipment Key: Inflicts bleed on all enemies on screen
Fairy King’s Secret (Pole)
  • +30 all elemental attack
  • +15% physical/magic/independent attack power
  • 100 second buff “Protection of the Fairy King” on skill cast, stacks up to 3 times
    • +9% skill attack power
    • +10% level 50 skill attack power at max (3) stack
Armor (Image 1, Image 2)
  • 질주하는 리브라 (Fast Track?) belt: +8 shadow resist, +8 shadow attack, +11% additional attack damage, 5% chance to inflict -20 STR+VIT+INT+SPI curse on attack
  • 질주하는 레오틸라 top: +8 fire resist, +16 fire attack, +11% additional critical attack damage, 5% chance to inflict 5 second 1000 attack power per 0.5 second burn on attack
  • 질주하는 에라체스 bottom: +8 water resist, +16 water attack, +11% additional critical attack damage, 5% chance to inflict 3 second freeze on attack
  • 질주하는 볼페토스 shoes: +7 all elemental resist, +14 all elemental attack, +11% additional attack damage, 5% chance to inflict 5 second slow of -3% attack+move speed on attack
  • 질주하는 체록스 shoulder: +8 light resist, +16 light attack, +11% additional attack damage, 5% chance to inflict 5 second 1000 attack power shock on attack
  • 세상을 달리는 신수 set:
    • 3 Set: +100 physical/magic/independent attack power, +22% physical/magic/independent attack power
    • 5 Set: +30 all elemental attack, +10% physical/magic/independent attack power, 15% elemental elenore (your highest element), 60 second +30% move speed “divine protection” buff when attacking enemies with a status effect (10 second CD)
[Hell Party Reorganization]
  1. Purchase Epic Equipment (current epics; yes you technically you can purchase old epics from Gracia already)
  2. Epic fragment acquisition loot change: Dissembling epics gives epic fragments in addition to epic souls and clear cube fragments
  3. Temporal Altar (located in Harlem)
  4. Individual drop [method now used] (same as Temporal Rift, but for all hell modes)
Max 3 entries per day, 1-4 person content.
  • 1. Upgrade Legendary Equipment to Epic
  • 2. Purchasable Epics
    • Rewards include material to upgrade level 95 legendary equipment to level 95 Harlem area epic equipment (except weapons), and material to purchase level 95 Harlem area epics (except weapons).
Harlem area hell party dungeon to fight against named Tayberrs monsters. 1-4 person content, requires Hell Party Invitations and a new material to enter.
  • Rewards include level 95 Tayberrs epics, level 95 Harlem area epics, level 90 epics, and material to purchase level 95 Harlem area epics.
Note: The normal Harlem area hell party drops level 95 Harlem area epic equipment, level 95 Harlem area epic equipment purchasing material items, and level 90 epic equipment.
[Apostle Prey’s Hometown: Tayberrs - Shattered Paradise]
Similar to Echon but you unleash Gale instead, and the first aerial (literally) content. Undergone many changes ever since Prey has left.
  • Existing epic equipment and Tayberrs epics drop upon defeating monsters.
    • Tayberrs epics are more powerful than Harlem area epics.
  • Drops materials needed to purchase Tayberrs epics.
  • Drops materials needed to enter Celestial Rift.
<Level 95 Tayberrs Epic Equipment>
Cloth Armor Set
  • Shoulder: +4% all attack, +16% skill damage
  • Top: +4% all attack, +16% additional attack damage
  • Belt: +4% all attack, +16% STR+INT
  • Bottom: +4% all attack, +17% additional critical damage
  • Shoes: +4% all attack, +16% elenore
  • 창천을 메운 구름 set (roughly: Channel-Filling Clouds)
    • 3 Set: +1 level 50+85 skills, +10% STR+INT, +10% additional attack damage
    • 5 Set: +17% attack+move speed, +25.5% cast speed, +2 level 50+85 skills, +26% additional critical damage
Weapon: Heaven's Legacy (Javelin)
  • Endows your weapon with the highest elemental attribute you have
  • 45% skill damage
  • Casting skills activates the Heaven's Legacy buff with 30% all attack for 100 seconds (20 second CD)
[Disaster Area]
Natural disaster-themed (Earthquake, Tornado et al.) party-oriented farming dungeons with 3 difficulty stages:
  • Stage 1: Assault Mode legendaries + area materials
  • Stage 2: Harlem area epics + more area materials
  • Stage 3: Tayberrs epics + even more area materials
[Material Conversion System]
Uses materials to change the equipment type to your own choosing (Cloth to Leather, etc). Shows 500k gold, 80 of the destination material (cloth, steel etc.), and 1 legendary soul.
[Echon Changes]
  • 1. Convenience Improvements
    • Simpler group option selection, some group options merged.
    • 3 star upgrade system eliminated with new Echon equipment.
    • New Echon equipment gets the set bonus when wearing 3-6 pieces [instead of a fixed number].
    • Materials including Valor, Tenacity, and Loyalty Crest Stones merged into Dharma's Symbol.
    • Old Echon -> New Echon conversion added, remodeling old Echon equipment becomes impossible.
  • 2. Farming Time Shortened
    • Echon equipment made easy to obtain; farming time greatly reduced.
  • 3. Party Play Supported
  • 4. Entry Requirements Eased
    • FP consumption, Exorcism requirement, and entry materials lowered.
[Anton and Luke Farming Improvements]
  1. Anton - avarice [epic series] equipment and recipe Anton Soul Fragment and Condensed Antonium cost greatly reduced
  2. Luke - Light Source dungeon clear reward greatly increased
[Imperial Colosseum Changes]
  1. New enemies added
  2. Acquire Monoliums
  • In a future update it will reward account-tradable Monolium.
[Skill Customization]
  • 1. TP/Trait Points become CP/Character Points in a complete reorganization
  • 2. Rune Stone - Variate previous TP options
    • Use Rune Stones items to make up to 5 options for each CP skill. Each option requires 1 CP and Rune Stones that match the type of option similar to otherverse energy.
  • 3. Relic - Imbue special options such as skill variations (Image 1, Image 2).
    • Normal Rune Stones have standard options such as increasing attack power. Relics (scheduled for a future update) variate and imbue effects in skills.
Relic Example: Splendid Light Aid (Crusader (M) only)
  • If [any of] the following requirements are met Apocalypse’s remaining CD is reduced by 1 second (max 20)
    • Triggers if Thunder Hammer: Jupiter’s elemental resistance reduction remains for 5 seconds
    • Triggers if Divine Flash renews buffs on an ally
    • Triggers if Holy Sanctuary or Healing Wind recovers HP on an ally
[Status Effect Damage Type Reorganization]
  • 1. Status Effect Damage Type Application Formula Reorganized
    • Bleed/Poison/Shock/Burn now use the Weapon/Independent Attack Power formula
  • 2. Due To This (#1) CharacteItem/Dungeon Content Are Adjusted
[Character Balance]
  • Witch, Vagabond, Brawler (M/F), Blood Mage, Elemental Bomber, Necromancer, Mechanic (M/F)
  • Mechanic (F): Less practical skills removed, renewed progress with 3 new skills added
  • Crusader (M): On a separate future schedule; preparing solutions for excessive swapping / party choice based off stats / buff balance
[2018 Winter Update]
Prey Raid
White Shirt Avatar for D&F players that stay logged in for an hour.
submitted by MetalPlateMage to DFO [link] [comments]

نڬارا بروني has been created

By Thomas Mann Translation by H. T. Lowe-Porter A GLEAM HUSH! Let us look into a human soul. On the wing, as it were, and only in passing; only for a page or so, for we are very busy. We come from Florence, Florence of the old days, where we have been dealing with high and tragic and ultimate concerns. And and after that——whither? To court, perhaps, a royal castle? Who knows? Strange, faint-shimmering forms are taking their place on the stage.——Anna, poor little Baroness Anna, we have little time to spare for you. Waltz-time, tinkling glasses; smoke, steam, hubbub, voices, dance-steps. We all know these little weaknesses of ours. Do we secretly love to linger at life's silliest feasts simply because there suffering wears bigger, more childlike eyes than in other places? "Avantageur!" cried Baron Harry, the cavalry captain. He stopped dancing and called the whole length of the hall, one hand on his hip, the other still holding his partner embraced. "That's not a waltz, man, it's a funeral march! You have no rhythm in your body; you just float and sway about without any sense of time. Let Lieutenant von Gelbsattel play, so that we can feel the rhythm. Come on down, Avantageur! Dance, if you can do that better!" And the Avantageur stood up, clapped his spurs together, and without a word yielded the platform to Lieutenant von Gelbsattel, who straightaway began to make the piano ring and rattle under the blows from his sprawling white fingers. Baron Harry, we observe, had music in him: waltz music, march music. He had rhythm, joviality, hauteur, good fortune, and a conquering-hero air. His gold-braided hussar jacket suited to a T his glowing young face, unmarked by a single care, a single thought. He was burnt red, like a blond, though hair and mous- tache were dark—a piquant combination that appealed to the ladies——and the red scar across his right cheek gave a bold and dashing look to his open countenance. The scar might be from a wound, or a fall from a horse——in any case it was glorious. He danced divinely. But the Avantageur floated and swayed——to extend the mean- ing of Baron Harry's phrase. His eyelids were much too large, so that he could never properly open his eyes; also his uniform fitted him rather carelessly and improbably round the waist——and God alone knew how he came to be a soldier. He had not cared much for this affair with the "Swallows" at the Casino, but even so he had come to it; he had been careful not to give offence, for two reasons: first, because his origins were bourgeois, and second, be- cause there was a book by him, that he had written or put to- gether, or whatever the word is, a collection of stories, that any- body could buy in a book-shop. It must make people feel a little shy of him, of course. The hall in the officers' Casino was long and wide——much too large for the thirty people who were disporting themselves in it. The walls and the musicians' platform were decorated with imita- tion draperies in red plaster, and from the ugly ceiling hung two crooked chandeliers, in which the candles stood askew and dripped hot wax. But the board floor had been scrubbed the whole fore- noon by seven hussars told off for the job; and, after all, officers in a little hole like Hohendamm could not expect grandeur. Whatever was otherwise lacking to the feast was amply made up by its char- acteristic atmosphere; it hat the sweetness of forbidden fruit, the reckless charm imparted by the presence of the "Swallows." Even the orderlies smirked knowingly as they renewed the sup- plies of champagne in the ice-tubs beside the white-covered tables which stood ranged along three walls of the room. They looked at each other and then down with a grin, as servants do when they assist irresponsibly at the excesses of their masters. And all this with reference to the "Swallows." The Swallows, the Swallows? Well, in short, they were the "Swallows from Vienna." Like migratory birds, thirty in the flock, they flew through the country, appeared in fifth-rate va- riety-theatres and music-halls, where they stood on the stage in easy, unconventional poses and chirped their famous swallows' chorus: "When the swallows come again See them fly, aren't they fly?" It was a good song, its humour was not obscure; it was always re- ceived with warm applause from the more knowing section of the public. Well, the Swallows came to Hohendamm and sang in the Gugel- fing's beer-hall. A whole regiment of hussars were in barracks at Hohendamm, and the Swallows were justified in anticipating a good reception from representative circles. But they got more, they got an enthusiastic one. Evening after evening the unmarried officers sat at the girls' feet, listened to their swallow song, and drank their health in Gugelfing's yellow beer. It was not long be- fore the married officers were there too; one evening Colonel von Rummler appeared in person, followed the programme with the closest interest, and afterwards expressed himself with unlimited approval in various places. So then the lieutenants and cavalry captains conceived a plan to bring about closer contact with the Swallows: to invite a select group of them——say, ten of the prettiest——to a jolly champagne supper in the Casino. The upper orders could not take any public cognizance of the affair, of course; they had to refrain, however sore at heart. Not only the unmarried lieutenants, however, but also the married first lieutenants and cavalry captains took part, and also——this was the nub of the whole matter, the thing that gave it, so to speak, its "punch"——their wives. Obstacles and misgivings? First Lieutenant von Levzahn brushed them all away with a phrase: what else, said he, were obstacles for, if not that soldiers might triumph over them! The good citizens of Hohendamm might rage when they heard the the officers were introducing their wives to the Swallows. Of course, they could not have done such a thing themselves. But there were heights, there were aloof and untrammelled regions of existence, where things might freely com to pass that in a lower sphere could only sully and dishonour. It was not as though the worthy natives of Hohendamm were not used to expecting all sorts of un- expectedness from their hussars. The officers would ride along the middle of the pavement, in broad daylight, if it occurred to them so to do. They had done it. One evening pistols had been fired off in the Marktplatz——nobody but the officers could have done that. And had anyone dared to murmur? The following anec- dote was amply vouched for: One morning, between five and six o'clock, Captain of Cavalry Baron Harry, feeling pretty jolly, was on his way home from a party, with his friends Captain of Cavalry von Hühnemann and Lieutenants Le Maistre, Baron Truchsess, von Trautenau, and von Lichterloh. Riding across the Old Bridge, they met a baker's boy, with a great basket of rolls on his shoulder, taking his way through the fresh morning air and whistling blithely as he went. "Give me that basket!" commanded Baron Harry. He seized it by the handle, swung it three times round his head, so skilfully that not a roll fell out, and sent it flying out into the stream on a great curve that showed the strength of his arm. At first the baker's boy was scared stiff. Then as he saw his rolls swimming about, he flung up his arms with a yell and behaved as though he had gone out of his mind. The gentlemen amused themselves for a while with his childish despair; then Baron Harry tossed him a gold piece which would have paid three times over for his loss and the officers rode laughing away home. Then the boy realized that these were the nobility and ceased his outcry. This story lost no time in going the rounds——but who would have ventured to look askance? You might gnash your teeth over the pranks of Baron Harry and his friends; outwardly you took them with a smile. They were the lords and masters of Hohen- damm. And now the lords and masters were having a party for the Swallows. The Advantageur seemed not to know how to dance a waltz any better than to play one. For he did not take a partner, but going up to one of the white tables made a bow and sat down near little Baroness Anna, Baron Harry's wife, to whom he addressed a few shy words. The capacity to amuse himself with a Swallow was simply beyond the poor young man. Actually he was afraid of that kind of girl; he fancied that whatever he said to one she looked at him as though she were surprised——and this hurt the Avanta- geur. But music, even the poorest, always put him into a speech- less, relaxed, and dreamy mood——it is often the way with these flabby and futile characters; and as the Baroness Anna, to whom he was entirely indifferent, made only absent answers to his re- marks, they soon fell silent and confined themselves to gazing into the whirling scene, with the same somewhat wry smile, strange to say, on both their faces. The candles flickered and sputtered so much that they became quite mis-shapen with great blobs of soft wax. Beneath them the couples twisted and turned in obedience to Lieutenant von Glb- sattel's inspiring strains. They put out their feet and pointed their toes, swung round with a flourish, then glided away. The gentle- men's long legs bent and balance and sprang again. Petticoats flew. Gay hussar jackets whirled in abandon; voluptuously the ladies inclined their heads, yielding their waists to their partners' embraces. Baron Harry held an amazingly pretty young Swallow pressed fairly close to his braided chest, putting his face down to hers and looking unswervingly into her eyes. Baroness Anna's gaze and her smile followed the pair. The long, lanky Lichterloh was trundling along with a plump and dumpy little Swallow in an extraordinary décolletage. But Frau Cavalry Captain von Hühnemann, who loved champagne above all else in life, there she was, dancing round and round under one of the chandeliers, completely ab- sorbed, with another Swallow, a friendly creature whose freckled face beamed all over at the unprecedented honour done her. "My dear Baroness," Frau von Hühnemann said later to Frau First Lieutenant von Truchsess, "these girls are far from ignorant. They know all the cavalry garrison in Germany off by heart." The pair were dancing together because there were two extra ladies; they were quit unaware that the other couples had gradu- ally left the field to them until they were performing all by them- selves. At last, however, they saw what had happened and stood there together in the centre of the hall overwhelmed from all sides by laughter and applause. Next came the champagne, and the white-gloved orderlies ran from table to table pouring out. After that the Swallows were urged to sing again——they simply had to sing, no matter how out of breath they were. They stood on the platform that ran along the narrow side of the hall and made eyes at the company. Their shoulders and arms were bare, and they were dressed like the birds they represented, in long dark swallow-tails over pale grey waistcoats. They wore grey clocked stockings, and slippers with very low vamps and very high heel. There were blonde and brunette, there were the fat good-natured and the interestingly lean; there were some whose cheeks were staringly rouged, others with faces chalk- white like clowns. But the prettiest was the little dark one who had almond-shaped eyes and arms like a child's——she it was with whom Baron Harry had just danced. Baroness Anna, too, found that she was the prettiest one, and continued to smile. The Swallows sang, and Lieutenant von Gelbsattel accompanied them, flinging back his torso and twisting round his head to look, while his long arms reached out after the keys. They sang as with one voice, that they were gay birds, that they had flown the world over and always left broken hearts behind them when they flew away. They sang another very tuneful piece beginning: "Yes, yes, the arm-y, How we love the arm-y," and ending with the same. And in response to vociferous requests they repeated their Swallow song, and the officers, who knew it by now as well as they did, joined lustily in the chorus: "When the swallows come again See them fly——aren't they fly?" The whole hall rang with laughter and song and the stamping and clinking of spurred feet beating out the time. Baroness Anna laughed too, at all the nonsense and extravagant spirits. She had laughed so much already, all the evening, that her head and her heart ached, and she would have been glad to close her eyes in darkness and quiet had not Harry been so zealous in his pleasures. "I feel so jolly today," she had told her neighbour, at a moment when she believed what she said; but the neighbour had answered only by a mocking look, and she had realized that people do not say such things. If you really feel jolly, you act like it; to proclaim the fact makes it sound queer. On the other hand, it would have been quite impossible to say: "I feel so sad!" Baroness Anna had grown up in the solitude and stillness of her father's estate by the sea; she was at all times too much inclined to leave out of consideration such home truths as the above, despite her constitutional fear of putting people out and her constitu- tional yearning to be like them and have them love her. She had white hand and heavy, ash-blond hair——much too heavy for her narrow face with its delicate bones. Between her light eyebrows ran a perpendicular furrow, which gave a pained expression to her smile. The truth was, she loved her husband. You must not laugh. She loved him even for the prank with the rolls. With a cowering and miserable love, though he betrayed her and daily abused her love like a schoolboy. She suffered for love of him as a woman does who despises her own weak tenderness and knows that power and the happiness of the powerful are justified on this earth. Yes, she yielded herself to love and its torments as once she had yielded herself to him when in a brief attack of tenderness he wooed her; with the hungry yearning of a lonely and dreamy soul, that craves for life and passion and an outlet for its emotions. Waltz-time, tinkling glasses——hurly-burly and smoke, voices and dancing steps. That was Harry's world and his kingdom. It was the kingdom of her dreams as well: the world of love and life, the happy commonplace. Social life, harmless, jolly conviviality——what a frightful thing it is, how enervating, how degrading; what a vain, alluring poison, what an insidious enemy to our peace! There she sat, evening after evening, night after night, a martyr to the glaring contrast be- tween the utter emptiness round about her and the feverish excite- ment born of wine and coffee, of sensual music and the dance. She sat and looked on while Harry exercised his arts of fascination upon gay and pretty ladies——not because of their personal charms but because it fed his vanity to have people see him with them and know what a lucky man he was, how much in the centre of things, without one single ungratified longing. His vanity hurt her——and yet she loved it! How sweet to feel how handsome he was, how young, splendid, and bewitching! The infatuation of those other women would bring her own to fever pitch. And when afterwards, at the end of an evening spent by her in suffering for his sake, he would exhaust himself in stupid and self-centred expressions of enjoyment, there would come moments when her hatred and scorn outweighed her love; in her heart she would call him a puppy and a trifler and try to punish him by not talking, by an absurd and desperate dumbness. Are we guessing right, little Baroness Anna? Are we giving words to all that lay behind that poor little smile of yours as the Swallows sang their song? Behind the pitiable and shameful state, when you lay in bed afterwards in the grey dawn, thinking of the jests, the witticisms, the repartee, the social charms you should have displayed——and did not! Dreams come, in that grey dawn: you, quite worn with anguish, weep on his shoulder, he tries to console you with some of his empty, pleasant, commonplace phrases, and you are suddenly overcome with the mockery of your situation: you, lying on his shoulder, are shedding tears over the whole world! Suppose he were to fall ill? Are we right in saying that some small trifling indisposition of his could call up a whole world of dreams for you, wherein you see him as your ailing child; in which he lies helpless and broken before you and at last, belongs to you alone? Do not blush, do not shrink away! Trouble does some- times make us think bad thoughts. But after all you might trouble yourself a little about the young Avantageur with the drooping eyelids, sitting there beside you——how gladly he would share his loneliness with you! Why do you scorn him? Why despise? Be- cause he belongs to your own world, not to that other where pride and high spirits reign, and conscious triumph and dancing rhythm. Truly it is hard not to be at home in one world or in the other. We know. But there is no half-way house. Applause broke in upon Lieutenant von Gelbsattel's final chords. The Swallows had finished their song. They scorned the steps of the platform and jumped down from the front, flopping or flut- tering——the gentlemen rushed up to be of help. Baron Harry helped the little brunette Swallow with the childlike arms; he helped her very efficiently and with understanding for such things. He took her by the thigh and the waist, gave himself plenty of time to set her down, then almost carried her to the table, where he brimmed her glass with champagne till it overflowed, and touched his own to it, slowly, meaningfully, gazing into her eyes with a foolish, insistent smile. He had drunk a good deal, and the scar stood out on his forehead, that looked very white next his glowing face. But his mood was a free and hilarious one, unclouded by any passion. His table stood opposite to Baroness Anna's across the hall. As she sat talking idly with her neighbour she was listening greedily to the laughter over there and sending stolen and reproachful glances to watch every moment——in that painful state of tension which enables a person to carry on a conversation that complies with all the social forms, while actually being elsewhere all the time, and in the presence of the person one is watching. Once or twice it seemed to her that the little Swallow's eye caught her own. Did she know her? Did she know who she was? How lovely she looked! How provocative, how full of fascina- tion and thoughtless life! If Harry had been in love with her, if he had burned and suffered for her sake, his wife would have for- given than, she could have understood and sympathized. And sud- denly she became conscious that her own feeling for the little Swallow was warmer and deeper than Harry's own. And the little Swallow herself? Dear me, her name was Emmy, and she was fundamentally commonplace. But she was wonderful too, with black strands of hair framing a wide, sensuous face, shadowed, almond-shaped eyes, a generous mouth full of shining teeth, and those arms like a child's. Loveliest of all were the shoul- ders——they had a way of moving with such ineffable suppleness in their sockets. Baron Harry took great interest in these shoul- ders; he would not have them covered, and set up a noisy struggle for the scarf which she would have put about them. And in all this, nobody in the whole hall saw, neither Barn Harry nor his wife nor anyone else, that this poor little waif, made sentimental by the wine she had drunk, had all the evening been casting long- ing glances at the young Avantageur whose lack of feeling for rhythm had caused his demission from the piano-stool. She had been drawn by the way he played, by his drooping lids, she found him noble, poetic, a being from a different world——whereas she was familiar unto boredom with Baron Harry's sort and all its works and ways. She was saddened, she was wretched, because the Avantageur cast not a thought in her direction. The candles burned low and dim in the cigarette smoke and blue wreaths drifted above the company's heads. There was a smell of coffee on the heavy air, and odours and vapours of the feast, made still more heady by the somewhat daring perfume affected by the Swallows, hung about the scene; the white tables and champagne coolers, the men and women, flirting, giggling and guffawing, weary-eyed and unrestrained. Baroness Anna talked no more. Despair——and that frightful mixture of yearning, envy, love, and self-contempt which we call jealousy and which makes the world no good place at all to live in——had so subdued her heart that she had not power to counter- feit any more. Let him see how she felt, perhaps he would be ashamed——or at least he would have some feeling about her, of whatever kind, in his heart. She looked across. The game over there was going rather far, everybody was watching and laughing. Harry had thought of a new kind of amorous struggle with the fair Swallow: it consisted in an exchange of rings. Bracing his knee against hers he held her fast to her chair, and snatched and tugged after her hand in a vio- lent effort to open her little clenched fist. In the end he won. Amid noisy applause he wrenched off the narrow circlet she wore ——it cost him some trouble——and triumphantly forced his own wedding ring upon her finger. Then Baroness Anna stood up. Anger and pain, a longing to hide herself away in the dark with her sense of his so dear un- worthiness; a desperate desire to punish him by making a scandal, by forcing him at all costs to acknowledge her presence——such were the emotions that overpowered her. She pushed back her chair, and pale as death she walked across the hall towards the door. There was a great sensation. People were sobered, they looked at one another grave-faced. One or two gentlemen called out Harry's name. All at once it became still in the hall. Then something very odd happened: the little Swallow—— Emmy——suddenly and decisively espoused the Baroness's cause. Perhaps she was moved by a natural feminine instinct of pity for suffering love; perhaps her own pangs for the Avantageur with the drooping lids made her see in the little Baroness a fel- low-sufferer. In any case, she acted——to the amazement of the company "You are coarse!" she said loudly, in the hush, and gave the dumbfounded Harry a great push. Just these three word: "You are coarse." And all at once she was at Baroness Anna's side, where the latter stood lifting the latch of the door. "Forgive!" she breathed——softly, as though no one else in the room were worthy to hear. "Here is the ring," and she slipped Harry's wedding ring into the Baroness's hand. And suddenly Baroness Anna felt the girl's broad, glowing face bend over this hand of hers; she felt burning on it a soft and passionate kiss. "Forgive!" whispered the little Swallow once more, and ran off. But Baroness Anna stood outside in the darkness, still quite dazed, and waited for this unexpected event to take on shape and meaning within her. And it did: it was a joy, so warm, so sweet, so comfortable that for a moment she closed her eyes. We stop here. No more, it is enough. Just this one priceless little detail, as it stands: there she was, quite enraptured and en- chanted, simply because a little chit of a strolling chorus-girl had come and kissed her hand! We leave you, Baroness Anna. We kiss your brow and take our leave; farewell, we must hurry away. Sleep, now. You will dream all night of the Swallow who came to you, and you will have a gleam of happiness. For it brings happiness, it brings to the heart a little thrill and ecstasy of joy, when two worlds, between which longing plies, for one fleeting, illusory moment touch each other. 1904 
From Thomas Mann: Stories of Three Decades, Translated from the German by H. T. Lowe-Porter. Copyright, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. The Modern Library edition, Random House, Inc. pp. 273—282.
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Different Uses for Playing Cards in Previous Centuries

Different Uses for Playing Cards in Previous Centuries
For a long time I had the mistaken impression that customized playing cards were a relatively modern innovation. Ignoring for a moment all those cheap souvenir decks of bridge sized playing cards, most of us associate the traditional deck of playing cards with a Bicycle ride-back deck with a standardized set of court cards. Perhaps we've seen some minor variations, but this is what we thought a deck of cards has always looked like.
But then at some point, we discovered customized playing cards. And we found ourselves getting excited about the possibilities this opened up. I suspect that many of us also see these creative decks as a new development in playing cards. Certainly it's true that for much of the 20th century, a very fixed and standard deck was dominant in the world of professional magic and gambling, with its immediately recognizable set of court cards and other face cards.
It's also true that recent decades have seen an explosion of sorts in the playing card industry, with the emergence of customized playing cards as an established and rapidly-growing branch of its own. This has been accelerated with the arrival of crowdfunding about ten years ago. Platforms like Kickstarter have enabled creative individuals with good design ideas to get access to the financial backing needed for them to make their projects a reality. Other factors contributing to this growth include improved technology in digital design and manufacturing, and easy access to all these resources in a global community connected by the Internet. The rise of cardistry as an emerging art-form in the last half a dozen years has been a further catalyst to this process. With social media playing a lending hand, there is not only an increasing demand for highly customized playing cards, but also an increasing range of published decks available to meet this need.
If you've been a spectator to these exciting developments that have a radically changed the landscape of the playing card industry in the last 5 to 10 years, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the customized deck of playing cards is something not seen before. But it would be a mistake to think that customized playing cards are a new phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth, and when researching something of the history of playing cards in the 1800s, I discovered that in fact there have been previous times in history where customized playing cards were very common.
So over the course of two articles, I invite you to join me in a time machine, and let's travel back to the 1800s and learn what role customized decks from yesteryear had in the culture of their time. They may not have had Kickstarter back then, but creative designers and publishers certainly did exist, and so did their customized playing cards. So let's take a look at how playing cards were used in previous eras.

For Card Games

From the very beginning, the primary use of playing cards has been for playing card games. Adding gambling and alcohol to card games only served to accelerate their popularity. Some historians have observed that until the 18th century, hardly any games were played without gambling. Given that card playing was so closely linked with gambling, and almost inevitably resulted in drunkenness and fighting, it is not surprising that the church strongly condemned all card playing. Among the most important historical documents about the history of playing cards are countless sermons which deride cards as a tool of the devil and as an evil influence upon humanity. Edicts were passed that forbade playing cards, and fines were imposed on those who violated such laws. In the 15th century, card playing was forbidden in England except on the 12 days of Christmas. There is even one recorded instance in 1423 where playing cards were burned in a public bonfire.
But playing cards weren't inherently the cause of moral decline, however, despite the many prohibitions against them across time by religious preachers, starting as early as the 14th century. Like so many created things, playing cards are not in themselves evil, and can be used for well or for woe. It is the fallen human condition that accounts for the many unsavoury contexts in which playing cards have played a role. But in themselves, playing cards are intrinsically a tool that can also be used for good ends. Card games can be attached to virtues just as much as they can to vices. Mankind has long enjoyed recreation and play, and playing games of cards is simply a way to give structure and rules to such activities of leisure.
In fact, in Europe card games were originally a respected activity of the aristocracy. Initially, due to the high costs in making playing cards, each card was hand painted and made individually. That meant that they could only be afforded by the nobility, who typically used them for playing games that required skill. For the upper class, playing cards were primarily used to demonstrate real abilities to memorize cards and clever play in games of skill. One recorded example dates from 1643, when Cardinal Mazarin proposed a series of card games to help stimulate the royal mind of the eight year old Louis XIV, with a published explanation of these games as prepared by Jean Desmarets following in 1644.
It was the advent of the printing press around 1440 that made mass production of playing cards a real possibility. Their popularity for card games is what made playing cards spread rapidly and led to them being widely used throughout Europe. But for the lower classes, playing cards were often closely associated with and used for gambling - hence the previously mentioned religious prohibitions that often accompanied their spread. They also became a concern for military leaders, who found that playing cards would easily distract soldiers from their duty. In the 16th century, King Henry VIII complained that his bowmen were being distracted from their practice by too much card playing.
Today we witness a similar challenges as a consequence of technological advances. The invention of computers, the internet, and smart phones has facilitated new uses for games, both for well and for woe, and for purposes both noble and ignoble. This includes potential pitfalls, such as online casinos and addictive gambling. But the rise of online gambling doesn't negate the fact that technology has also opened up wonderful new possibilities for impacting the playing card industry positively. These positive developments include the ability to exchange and share information about playing cards with fellow collectors; the rapid rise of cardistry as a separate art-form largely with the help of social media and modern videography; and opportunities to use crowd-funding platforms to create a myriad of custom decks by connecting playing card designers with quality printers and with financial backers. If you enjoy playing card games, whether it is a game like Hearts or Poker, there are many wonderful websites and apps that allow you to enjoy these games with people across the world via your internet connection. Playing card games has always been a primary use of playing cards, and clearly this is still the case, even in our digital age.

For Art

Playing cards especially enjoyed a place of honour at the tables and in the parlours of the wealthy upper class so they could be used for games of skill. But the truly rich could also afford very luxurious decks that were decorated with highly ornate illustrations, and even adorned with precious metals like gold.
The usage of playing cards as works of art is closely connected to the way in which they were made. Prior to playing cards being produced by printing on paper, they were typically made by woodcuts or engraving. While the faces were usually blank, the designs of the faces were typically very ornate and varied. Medieval artists were fascinated with colourful and elaborate images, and so playing cards in many instances became their own art form. They were usually produced by card makers who were considered artists and tradesmen. Playing card artwork was considered to be a wonderful exercise of the miniature artwork. As a result, highly imaginative cards were produced, sometimes as a result of commissions.
This attention to detail and luxury continued with the production of playing cards via the printing press. While the vast majority of playing cards from then on were produced for the masses to use for card games, high end playing cards continued to be produced as works of art for the rich and famous.
These artistic influences also lie behind the trend that produced transformation cards, which are sometimes also denoted as harlequin cards. With these ingenious cards, which are still popular today, the pips have been cleverly incorporated into a larger artwork or picture. Transformation playing cards primarily have artistic merit or are intended for amusement. They were especially common throughout the 1800s, and some delightful examples of transformation decks from this period have been reproduced in quality editions today.
Slightly less lavish - but still artistic - are the playing cards that pictured the rich variety in the clothing worn by the court card figures. In the 19th century there was a period in which there was a real fascination with costumes, and this is reflected by some of the splendid playing cards produced in that era. Royals and nobles are depicted dressed in elaborate robes, tunics, or tights; dresses with collars and frills; various shoe styles; and a range of accessories including hand held fans. As such, playing cards were not only works of art in themselves, but they also have become their own record of the art and fashions of previous eras.
Today playing cards still have an important role as works of art, and it is an important reason for the success of the modern playing card industry with its many customized decks. Popular creators like Steve Minty, Jody Eklund, and Uusi, are highly respected for their artistic creations, and enthusiastic collectors who appreciate their style of art quickly snap up each and every new project they produce. Such collectors would never dream of using these decks for game play, but purchase them simply to appreciate them as miniature art galleries with 54 individual works of art. Something similar can be said of many modern cardistry decks, many of which feature designs and colours that are intentionally geared to produce an aesthetic beauty when used for card flourishing. With the growing popularity of such custom playing cards, the time-honoured tradition of appreciating playing cards as works of art is set to continue in future years.

For Education

Mankind has always wanted to make a record of the information he learns, in order to preserve it for the future, or even in order to pass it on to the next generation through instruction. So it is no surprise that already in the 1400s and 1500s, there are many examples of decks of playing cards that were created specifically for the purpose of serving as teaching tools. After all, why not use this new canvas now available in the form of a playing card, to a good and noble end?
Already from an early time in the known history of the playing card, instructive playing cards were created. One of the first known examples is a deck produced in 1507 by Dr Thomas Murner, who created a customized deck of playing cards as a new method of teaching. Educational cards were only more generally accepted much later, but it was only a natural development that playing cards would be produced to record basic tenets of botany and heraldry, and to summarize the important facts of astronomy and chemistry, history and geography. A series of self-study courses on a range of subjects was even created, with attention being given to subject areas like the alphabet, arithmetic, astronomy, proverbs, natural history, music, and much more.
Here are some examples of early decks of playing cards that fit into this category:
Heraldry: Due to the importance of heraldry as a branch of education in this era, in 1655 a deck produced by M. Claude Orence Fine appeared which displayed the rules for painting heraldic devices and coats of arms. Several heraldic decks appeared in subsequent decades, some of which showed reigning families in parts of Europe. M. Daumont similarly created decks intended to teach military science, each card having different scenes that illustrated a particular military operation.
Geography: From 1665 onwards, a whole series of decks was printed in England that taught geography. For example, one deck featured different cities of foreign countries on each card. Another deck had a map of an English county, complete with chief towns, rivers, a compass, and details about the county. A deck published in 1799 by J. Wallis illustrated the geography of England and Wales, including boundaries, products, and more of each county.
History: Several decks were created which pictured famous historical personages, or renowned members of royalty from the past, as a way of educating young nobles. Decks exist from the 17th and 18th century with titles like "The Events of the Reign of Queen Anne".
Often the imagery on these educational playing cards had a moral or instructional content. But there were also instances where the artist took the liberty to express his own political or religious views, in the form of satirical artwork that functioned as a political or social commentary, or reflected elements of the popular culture of the day. That was especially the case with playing cards depicting historical personages, and some artists were rather unkind to their subject material, and used these as opportunity for political satire or even propaganda. Many of these playing cards give us an insightful glimpse into how the past and the present were viewed by the people of the time, and so these playing cards continue to be an important resource for historians.
Today there are still creators producing playing cards with an educational element, with Jody Eklund being one of the best examples from our modern era, having produced decks on themes such as important inventors, influential businessmen, famous airmen, or railroad tycoons. In most cases these modern decks don't have the primary purpose of being educational, however, but are collectors pieces and works of art that portray important and interesting historical information at the same time. But in the large range of modern decks that are readily available, you will find many wonderful examples of decks that depict birds, animals, cars, and much more.
Are there other uses? For sure. More on that in the next article!
Author's note: I first published this article at here.
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Casino Royale. Skyfall. Just a few thoughts in light of the upcoming film Spectre.

Hey guys. A while ago I started a little project of mine in which I review films I've watched as a fun little exercise for myself. I don't have a long history of movies watched, but nonetheless I am curious to see if any of you guys would like to have a bit of a discussion! I doubt very many people would be interested, but I certainly wouldn't mind posting more if people are interested.
In light of the upcoming film Spectre... Let's talk Bond.
Though there aren't really many spoilers, if you haven't watched either film, or aren't really interested in Bond films... well, this might not be for you.
I never really had a chance to get attached to the 007's of the past - so you'll have to bear with me in understanding that when I say Bond, I mean Daniel Craig's Bond. One day I will go back and give the whole series its fair share of my attention, but today is unfortunately not that day. (Note: Have not yet seen Quantum of Solace. If this raises any concerns... well tell me, and I'll watch it.)
I watched Skyfall first. And you know what drew me in? It wasn't the illogical chase scenes that seemed only to be there for the sake of being there; it wasn't the over-the-top high tech gizmos only Bond could have; nor was it the under-the-bottom (yeah... i just made that up... sounded better in my head) Skyfall throwback in the last act. It was how beautifully each and every shot was pieced together to give me a feeling no other action movie could produce. This is the movie that gives merit to the idea that cinematography (or the art in recording a film - through framing, lighting, colors...) alone can make me feel something greater than what is being portrayed. That, in combination with one of my favorite soundtracks made for a movie (Skyfall - Adele), left me more than happy to have purchased my ticket.
Today, I watched Casino Royale. Part of me wishes that I hadn't. Why? Because though what I have said about Skyfall is true, in watching Casino Royale I've realized neither movie has it all. In my opinion, Casino Royale loses some of that beauty. It loses that sense of wonder and amazement that the characters, cinematography and soundtrack provides. But in Casino Royale is a movie that is actually genuine. Skyfall failed in that it bit off more than it could chew, story wise. It was all over the place - perhaps an effect of the now rather common trope of "Whoever controls the web, controls the world." Casino Royale had none of that. And I'm not saying too much of the new is bad, but what I am saying is that I prefer the Bond that finds himself at a high stakes poker table while in the presence of a legitimate love interest than the Bond that finds himself dismantling some cyber-crime organization (ahem. Skyfall) and plays house. I look at these two movies, and I can't help but imagine how perfect a movie it would be if I could piece together elements of both movies into a single film. As it stands now, they are two splendid films each with their own strengths and weaknesses. There are three possible outcomes for Spectre...
One. The almost perfect film I've just described.
Two. Another film that adds another unique dimension to Craig's Bond.
Three. A film that fails to stand out. One that doesn't do anything close to what made Skyfall and Casino Royale two beautiful films.
I'm most afraid of the last option. Casino Royale and Skyfall may not have been perfect, but damn did they make a lasting impression on me. The new Bond has pitched two strikes. But can he get the strikeout?
8.2/10. Casino Royale
7.5/10. Skyfall
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Can we talk about the serious flaws that was in Fury Road?

big fan of mad max and i found fury road to be a mess. yes the action is great but everything else sucked. idk how people when into this movie and not see it's serious flaws.
the actions scenes were extremely well done and throughout the whole time i was on the edge of my seat. what killed the movie for me was the the second act. it was horrible in so many ways and made me realize that george miller doesn't know how to do anything but car chase explosion scenes anymore.
a major problem with the 2nd act is that it tells rather than it shows. for example, the scene where max goes to kill the blind dude chasing after them could have been a perfect time to show how brutal and how much of a badass post apocalyptic survivor that max is, while also giving us a different action scene that isn't cars exploding. but nope he comes back and theron's character just goes "thats not his blood" DUN DUN DUN. talked about missed opportunity Miller.
look at casino royale. the opening scene in that film is a perfect example on how to show not tell. the movie doesn't just tell us that Bond is a badass that deserves his 00 status we get to see Bond's badassery in all its brutal and intense glory.
another issue that plagued the film is that the major characters get little to no development while the film introduces a bunch of useless characters.
look at nox, the warboy. why the fuck does the movie give him so much screen time? his character adds absolutely 0 to the film after the first car chase. he was literary tool to introduce Max into the plot. and the forced romance between him and redhead that comes literally out of nowhere makes no sense and his transition between evil guy to good guy was terribly done. your fucking telling me that your going to betray your warboss that not only have you been worshipping like a god for presumably your whole life and have been willing to die for just because he saw you make a fool of yourself and some redhead might fuck you? really?
also the number of wives could have been cut in half so that they actually get some develpment. as it is the wives were just weird stereotypes. you had the "tough" one that chewed on toothpicks and reloaded guns(LOL). the "mature" splendid. the one with stockholm syndrome. the crazy one, the innocent one, etc. aside from that these girls don't do much else and it was really really hard to emphasize of their plight. which is bad because they are the reason why this movie even exists.
meanwhile the main characters give little or shit development.
we have no idea as to why furiosa is doing whatever shes doing. something about redemption and wanting to go home. redemption from what miller? and the scene with her screaming in the sand is hilariously bad. like were supposed to feel for her whens she finds out her paradise is no longer a thing and we totally would if she didnt tell us her motivation like 30 seconds ago. like cmon Miller, you know how to develop characters ,i've seen your other films!
the villain is also horribly implimented. the guy has no depth and remains the cartoony evil bad guy throughout the entire film. he is just bad for the sake of bad and thats horrible writing at its best. look at aunty and and master and blaster from thunderdome or humungus from road warrior. they weren't really "evil" they were just a product of the insane world that is post apocalypse austrailia. you could understand each villains motivations and the films gave them plenty of screen time to do develop.
but thats not how it goes for skull gas mask man(hes so unremarkable that i don't even remember his name). we don't really understand/know as to what his motivations are. why do people treat him as a god? whats his relationship with furiosa? why do his wives leave him? why does he do what he does? nope nothin.
granted all these "issues" wouldn't be so bad if Miller didn't take up an entire act to focus on these characters and present us with this junk. but he did. once the 3rd act came along and the film started picking up where it left off in act 1. it was already too late. i no longer cared as to what happened to any of the chracters in the film. hell if Max died i probably wouldn't care. the film did nothing to make me interested in these characters and 2nd act just made it worse.
and before some of you will say "but its an action movie! who cares about plot and character development,none of that matters!". id like to say that yes it does matter. look at John Wick. that movie too is almost non stop action and has a silly plot that you shouldn't think too much about. but unlike fury road, John Wick does a very good job of developing its characters to the point where none of them are 1 dimensional while also doing a good job of world building(without relying on previous films) while keeping the action going.
even if you compare fury road to its predecessors alone the only thing it does better is bigger explosions and cgi. maybe im just missing something because i really tried to like this film and i still would like to. But i just can't do it.
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[OFFER][US swap/sell] OPI, China Glaze, essie, Sephora & lots more! (updated)

Swaps or sales. I am happy to double up on lower end polishes, highly used polishes or minis for a good swap. Ships from middle Tennessee. Everything is BRAND NEW unless otherwise noted! proof
Calvin Klein
Sephora X & Sephora by OPI
China Glaze
Square Hue
Sally Hansen
Salon Perfect
Wet N Wild
Pure Ice
Sinful Colors
Sally Girl
Rite Aid Snowman
Here's my wishlist on Amazon. I swear there's more than just indies on there! I would, of course, love some indies, but who wouldn't really? I'll consider anything- on the wishlist or not, so try me!
submitted by BrightMoment to RedditLaqueristaSwap [link] [comments]

Some writing advice from Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series.

HOW TO WRITE A THRILLER By Ian Fleming (1962, Guardian Roulette)
People often ask me, "How do you manage to think of that? What an extraordinary (or sometimes extraordinarily dirty) mind you must have." I certainly have got vivid powers of imagination, but I don't think there is anything very odd about that.
We are all fed fairy stories and adventure stories and ghost stories for the first 20 years of our lives, and the only difference between me and perhaps you is that my imagination earns me money. But, to revert to my first book, Casino Royale, there are strong incidents in the book that are all based on fact. I extracted them from my wartime memories of the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty, dolled them up, attached a hero, a villain and a heroine, and there was the book.
The first was the attempt on Bond's life outside the Hotel Splendide. SMERSH had given two Bulgarian assassins box camera cases to hang over their shoulders. One was of red leather and the other one blue. SMERSH told the Bulgarians that the red one contained a bomb and the blue one a powerful smoke screen, under cover of which they could escape.
One was to throw the red bomb and the other was then to press the button on the blue case. But the Bulgars mistrusted the plan and decided to press the button on the blue case and envelop themselves in the smoke screen before throwing the bomb. In fact, the blue case also contained a bomb powerful enough to blow both the Bulgars to fragments and remove all evidence that might point to SMERSH.
Farfetched, you might say. In fact, this was the method used in the Russian attempt on Von Papen's life in Ankara in the middle of the war. On that occasion the assassins were also Bulgarians and they were blown to nothing while Von Papen and his wife, walking from their house to the embassy; were only bruised by the blast.
So you see the line between fact and fantasy is a very narrow one. I think I could trace most of the central incidents in my books to some real happenings.
We thus come to the final and supreme hurdle in the writing of a thriller. You must know thrilling things before you can write about them. Imagination alone isn't enough, but stories you hear from friends or read in the papers can be built up by a fertile imagination and a certain amount of research and documentation into incidents that will also ring true in fiction.
Having assimilated all this encouraging advice, your heart will nevertheless quail at the physical effort involved in writing even a thriller. I warmly sympathise with you. I too, am lazy My heart sinks when I contemplate the two or three hundred virgin sheets of foolscap I have to besmirch with more or less well chosen words in order to produce a 60,000 word book.
One of the essentials is to create a vacuum in my life which can only be satisfactorily filled by some form of creative work - whether it be writing, painting, sculpting, composing or just building a boat - I was about to get married - a prospect which filled me with terror and mental fidget. To give my hands something to do, and as an antibody to my qualms about the marriage state after 43 years as a bachelor, I decided one day to damned well sit down and write a book.
The therapy was successful. And while I still do a certain amount of writing in the midst of my London Life, it is on my annual visits to Jamaica that all my books have been written.
But, failing a hideaway such as I possess, I can recommend hotel bedrooms as far removed from your usual "life" as possible. Your anonymity in these drab surroundings and your lack of friends and distractions will create a vacuum which should force you into a writing mood and, if your pocket is shallow, into a mood which will also make you write fast and with application. I do it all on the typewriter, using six fingers. The act of typing is far less exhausting than the act of writing, and you end up with a more or less clean manuscript The next essential is to keep strictly to a routine.
I write for about three hours in the morning - from about 9:30 till 12:30and I do another hour's work between six and seven in the evening. At the end of this I reward myself by numbering the pages and putting them away in a spring-back folder. The whole of this four hours of daily work is devoted to writing narrative.
I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used "terrible" six times on one page? And so forth. If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day and you aren't disgusted with them until the book is finished, which will be in about six weeks.
I don't even pause from writing to choose the right word or to verify spelling or a fact. All this can be done when your book is finished.
When my book is completed I spend about a week going through it and correcting the most glaring errors and rewriting passages. I then have it properly typed with chapter headings and all the rest of the trimmings. I then go through it again, have the worst pages retyped and send it off to my publisher.
They are a sharp-eyed bunch at Jonathan Cape and, apart from commenting on the book as a whole, they make detailed suggestions which I either embody or discard. Then the final typescript goes to the printer and in due course the galley or page proofs are there and you can go over them with a fresh eye. Then the book is published and you start getting letters from people saying that Vent Vert is made by Balmain and not by Dior, that the Orient Express has vacuum and not hydraulic brakes, and that you have mousseline sauce and not Bearnaise with asparagus.
Such mistakes are really nobody's fault except the author's, and they make him blush furiously when he sees them in print. But the majority of the public does not mind them or, worse, does not even notice them, and it is a dig at the author's vanity to realise how quickly the reader's eye skips across the words which it has taken him so many months to try to arrange in the right sequence.
But what, after all these labours, are the rewards of writing and, in my case, of writing thrillers?
First of all, they are financial. You don't make a great deal of money from royalties and translation rights and so forth and, unless you are very industrious and successful, you could only just about live on these profits, but if you sell the serial rights and the film rights, you do very well. Above all, being a successful writer is a good life. You don't have to work at it all the time and you carry your office around in your head. And you are far more aware of the world around you.
Writing makes you more alive to your surroundings and, since the main ingredient of living, though you might not think so to look at most human beings, is to be alive, this is quite a worthwhile by-product of writing.
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