My Favorite Movies: Gladiator

gladiator

Now and again, I have the thought that maybe — just maybe — Gladiator is overrated. Then, I watch it and realize… it’s not. Inevitably, by the end I’ve reached a conclusion that it is one of, if not THE, best movie ever made, purely from a cinematic standpoint. It is just that good, and it’s probably my favorite film of all time (yes, beating out Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, and Gone With the Wind). There’s a multitude of wonderful things about it, but I’ll simply touch on a few.

The storyline: as a writer, I appreciate good writing. Very few films are made where I think, “I wish I’d written this,” but Gladiator is one of them. There’s never a moment when it isn’t magnificent, when the script isn’t glorious, when the action is not important, where our emotions wane, where we are not heavily invested in this man’s plight. This script took multiple rewrites and several different writers working on it to bring it to its current state, which just proves how powerful combined talent can be. It’s an unorthodox love story, a tale of survival against insurmountable odds, an action film, an exploration of the political situation in Rome, and a historical epic. It has gorgeous dialogue and incredibly moving emotional climaxes. If this were a novel, it would be sheer perfection.

glad004The characters: are wonderfully written, multi-layered, and earn many different emotions from the audience. None of them we simply love or hate, but each builds up a complicated set of reactions in us, as we follow their plights, strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and successes.

Maximus is a man every woman loves, and every man admires, a reluctant, homesick general and even more reluctant gladiator. Men admire his strength, conviction and passion. Women are attracted to his emotional vulnerability and love for his family. His love for his wife never wanes, even after her death; his motivation in survival is to live a life worthy of her memory, not to give up living but to die in an honorable manner. This is what makes the movie so powerful; in all its pagan imagery, at the end, Maximus’ death is not a sad event, because he’s finally going home! He’s being reunited with his wife and child! His toil on this mortal coil is finished at last, and that in-expressively fills us with complete and utter happiness on his behalf. Since when does a death scene do that for an audience?

His antagonist is Commodus, who suffocates his father so he might become the emperor after Marcus threatens to hand over control of the empire to Maximus, for return to the senate. Much like the rest of the characters, Commodus is not your typical villain; he is psychotic, lethal, and at times, downright pathetic, a man desperate for his father’s approval and incapable of ever earning it; a man so desirous of the affection of the crowd that he would risk his own life in the arena; a man morbidly obsessed with his sister and nephew, who sees cruelty and violence as a game that earns him respect and titillation. He forces men into submission and is brought to his knees through his own desperate appeal for popularity.

And then we have Lucilla, his powerless sister, who once loved Maximus and now is concerned for the life of her son, as heir to the empire. Lucilla knows her brother must be stopped… and does all in her power to stop him, to the extent of scheming with the senators to have him assassinated. Her father sums it up best when he says, “If only you had been born a man, what a Caesar you would have made!” Her strength and the risks she takes to bring about good in the empire are further underlined in the “extended cut,” which shows her full interaction with members of the senate intent on dethroning her brother.

Finally, there is Proximo, the ex-slave, ex-gladiator who makes his fortune on the blood of enslaved men. Yet, even he is not beyond redemption, for when challenged on his principles, Proximo risks it all to assist them, to free his slaves, and dies a heroic death having done his part to try and unseat the emperor. His advice to Maximus gives a chill to the audience – people do not come to the games to watch men die, but to be entertained; win the crowd and your power is unimaginable.

glad002The politics: throughout, there is a ringing, hollow truth in that “Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate; it’s the sand of the coliseum. He’ll bring them death — and they will love him for it.” Horrifically, this speaks to our culture’s obsession with “celebrity” and our willingness to trade liberty for “distractions.” Yet, the film approaches the subject of the games in such a way that its audience never feels so much a spectator, but involved in the lives of its protagonists – like Maximus, we are repulsed that this is what Rome has become. It never glorifies its violence. It never asks us to root for it. It simply uses it as a backdrop to tell a powerful tale.

The relationships: all of them are complex and multi-faceted. If you’re not paying attention, many of them will slip past without conscious notice of the deeper ramifications, such as the powerful moment in Maximus’ cell when he reminds Lucilla that her father chose Maximus to rule over his own children. He might have chosen Lucilla, but because she is a woman, he did not. Yet, Lucilla never resents Maximus for being her father’s favorite, unlike her brother; and that is her redemption. The dynamic between everyone is strained in different and familiar ways, but never to the point of clichés: Lucilla loves Maximus, but Commodus hates him because his father prefers him. For Marcus, Maximus is the son he wanted, but never got. Relationships are the primary focus of the film, much more than blood sport.

The main motivation: … contrary to what some believers might think, is not revenge. Love drives the story, much more than hatred. Commodus’ hatred for Maximus is his eventual undoing; it destroys everything in his life… his reputation, his success with the crowd, his relationship with his sister, and eventually, it kills him. Saying that Maximus’ only desire is vengeance for the death of his family is missing the point; it is out of love that he survives, out of love that he wants Commodus to face what he has done and atone for it. Yes, in the end he kills the man who made his life hell, but that was never his one ambition. He fought for his honor, his life, his family, and for what he wanted Rome to become. His escape attempt is not to kill Commodus, but to reclaim Rome for the citizenry.

glad003The cast: is perfection. I make no secret of my opinion that Russell Crowe is one of the most talented actors currently in the business, and this is his Oscar-award-winning performance. It’s worth every curve of his golden statue. He is very much an emotional actor; whatever he is feeling, you can see it in his eyes. And this is why so many love Maximus; because we see him not as a brutal man, but as one disgusted with what he must do to survive. We see him as a father, as a husband, as a lover, as a general, as a devout man seeking peace. It’s all written into his face, expressed through his eyes. Joaquin Phoenix is a perfect foil to him; his Commodus bristles with unrepentant rage, fear, jealousy, hatred, and pure sadism. His calm erupts into total fury. Crowe won an Oscar; Phoenix didn’t… and he should have.

More plot, less action: much was made about this film’s brutality on its release, but when said and done, it has about 20 minutes total of battle scenes (if that) and the rest is all sheer plot and character development. That people remember the few instances of graphic violence (most of it is implied) and not the over-reaching story is something I deeply regret, because I think this film is a perfect example of what a movie is truly capable of: a moving, intelligent epic of the likes we’ve not seen since.

25 Replies to “My Favorite Movies: Gladiator”

  1. Great post Charity! I haven’t re-watched Gladiator in a while but it’s one of my favourite movies ever, right behind LOTR really, for all of the reasons you mentioned. The first time I watched it, I remember how I couldn’t stop thinking about it days after I had seen it…used to watch it to the point that I had chunks of the dialogue memorised, lol.

    While the historian in me cringes at the fact that the movie pretty much mashed up all the periods of Roman history, the storytelling is so good that I can forget it as I watch it lol. Like you mentioned, the cast is phenomenal and I agree, Joaquin Phoenix deserved an Oscar for his performance as Commodus, it was totally unsettling. And I’m surprised that Connie Nielsen doesn’t get more roles in the larger movies, she’s got this calm but tough aura about her. But yeah, the characters and the relationships and the perspectives on the mob, on Rome, on honour and leadership are compelling.

    And the cinematography, the battle sequences and the soundtrack = <333

    I think I need to pop the DVD again and re-watch it. My friend actually told me to check out the extended edition some years ago, which I did. Definitely love it more 😀

    1. Good movies are like that: they make you think about them… often for days. Sometimes I won’t be impressed with a movie right off, but if I keep thinking about it, and wanting to revisit it, I come to realize it’s much deeper and better than my first impression. I loved Gladiator right away — but I often go years without watching it, and in doing so, I forget how good it really is in every possible way. I’m a stickler for accuracy, but I think a movie that does history mashups as well as this one can get away with it. It captures the spirit and power of Rome, if not the actual details.

      Enjoy your rewatch! I’m going to force my best friend to watch it with me whenever she next comes for a visit. She’s never seen it before! It’s always fun to experience it with someone for their first time.

  2. Hmm…maybe while there aren’t too many INTJs a lot of writers have known INTJs, and were left with quite an impression? I think the archetype villains are most common, but you do have the reserved, mysterious gentleman, or the shadowy figure who puts his immeasurable talents to work—for good. I do dislike though, the characterization of not just INTJs, but thinking types in general as cold and unfeeling. This being no more true than the idea that feelers are incapable of thinking 😛 (Another thing—why are people fascinated with enigmatic figures onscreen, then whine when they think someone is too reserved in real life??)

    One thing that amuses me to end is to attempt taking some personality quizzes as my characters, occasionally modifying an answer as best one can due to cultural/historical context. When I first discovered the MBTI test, a question that’s long plagued me rose to the surface again. Is it possible to write an accurate characterization of someone whose personality differs radically from your own? A common criticism of some authors is “their heroes are all the same”, the most obvious case is the Mary Sue fanfic author surrogates, but I think this happens again and again, including in mainstream fiction.

    Pfft—you’re confusing “unusual” with intelligent I think 😉 ! We love your recommendations!

    OK—see, this has always been a big issue for me. I’ve always had trouble identifying with those girls whose thoughts are taken up with getting flustered and blushing when the hero looks at her. Or spending hours daydreaming about her handsome hero. I don’t object to a good, well written love story. But I’ve never been a particularly “fluttery” sort of girl, and while I might sympathize—the “romantic” heroine is one I’ve never been able to identify with. (Not to mention it also exasperates me when the heroine starts “melting” over her love interest, and loses her inability to think clearly!) I can also understand that in a historical context, the heroine would be more marriage-minded, but some heroines seem to pine over “tru luv” on every page!

    since most of them are in love with my male characters four chapters in

    Oh gosh—I’ve had this happen—in fact, for one of my stories, I intentionally set out to make my hero very much your average guy. Nay, a man’s man, nothing particularly dashing or jaunty, good hearted, but with nary a poetic bone in his body. Not a snappy dresser, a fighter-not a lover!

    The first friend I showed it to positively swooned and said he was one of my best yet 😛

    When a friend asked me if I wrote more male or female characters—I had to stop and think, and finally decided it came out even, maybe leaning toward slightly more male characters. I do get what you mean about not being able to write “traditional” female heroines. Sometimes I wonder if what holds one back might be the inability to write a more straightforward heroine—or the fear that nobody would want to read about her?

    1. On the way home from church, we (my family, a group of INTJs of differing levels) were talking about how INTJs show “love” — usually, our type of love doesn’t involve feeling something; yet we show love all the time in how we interact with people. For those in need, we donate money or coats or whatever we feel compelled to give. For those in our life, we let them talk about whatever they care about even if it doesn’t interest us. We go out of our way to remember birthdays, and send cards, and create things specifically for them, and we can be hurt when they don’t respond or acknowledge our gifts. We may come across as “cold or unfeeling” — but only to those who don’t pay enough attention to see that we DO express love. It’s never flowery, it’s never “out there,” but it is in our daily actions — what we don’t say, what we do put up with, and how we can lavish attention, gifts, or even violently defend those people and things we care about most.

      I guess all that is to say — thinkers do feel, they just show it in less obvious ways than some other types. And although our love may not be as… emotionally expressive, in some ways I think it can be even DEEPER than a lot of more “touchy-feely” types.

      Another thing—why are people fascinated with enigmatic figures onscreen, then whine when they think someone is too reserved in real life?

      Heh, that’s a good point! Most women love Rochester, but in real life they’d be angry at him for manipulating, misleading, and irritating them.

      I… honestly don’t think I could ever write a character radically different from myself. I’ve noticed just recently that many of my male characters have Introvert in common, and a lack of general emotion. Some of my heroines do differ — but now I face the task of coming up with a heroine totally different from the one I last wrote — Evangeline is very non-emotional, straight-forward, tell-it-like-it-is-then-kick-them-in-the-shins-and-run. Now, I have to come up with a good personality for my little nun-turned-assassin. (… yes, you can laugh.)

      I have actually put down books that get too soppy for my taste. I’ve tossed aside a number of “love at first sight” type novels (you can even run into that in Christian fiction — horror of horrors). I’ll freely admit it — I want my heroines to be bad-ass. I’d much rather read or watch a heroine like Helen Magnus than some love-sick drip. Or hey, even a witty heroine is good — give me Lizzie Bennet over her sisters any day of the week.

      See, you at least try and make your characters nice guys. I try and make mine emotionally stinted, repressed, and sometimes jackasses — and my girl friends still love them. I made the mistake of letting some friends read a book I was working on once, as I was still writing it, and they loved my anti-hero so much, I went out of my way to test just how far their love would go; nope, even after drowning someone, and assassinating a total stranger, they still loved him. I gave up. Maybe the problem was — I always love my men, and somehow as horrible as they are, it always translates to my angsty women readers.

      Whether or not someone might want to read something doesn’t keep me from writing fiction (it does prevent me from writing posts!) — I figure, I’m going to write something I love that amuses me, and others can read it if they want.

      1. I remember reading that ISTJs for example, tended to show how deeply they care by doing, rather than saying. As I had just finished a biography of George Washington at the time (a notable ISTJ). That said, I’ve never thought of any of my thinking friends as being “cold”, in fact I’d describe them as sweet–but never sappy! 😉

        Hmm…this is interesting, because I noticed when I’ve written female characters–even just for short stories–they tend to be extroverted, talkative–but never giggly–probable ENFJs.

        A while ago I put some of my male heroes through the mill of online personality tests, and they came back as introverted….INFPs….a type often mentioned as being possibly most compatible with ENFJs. So…am I breaking the barrier? Or am I just successfully writing what I’d find ideal in a slightly more introverted male version of me 😛 ? Now I do think I can say I’ve written some supporting characters very different from me–but that’s a bit different–a supporting character can often be described from “the outside” if you will. We don’t need to know their inner thoughts, and often see them exclusively through the heroes eyes.

        Now, I have to come up with a good personality for my little nun-turned-assassin. (… yes, you can laugh.)

        Ha! You can laugh at some of my heroes, for my WWII story, my character a German youth, enlists in the army because it’s expected, being from an old military family and all. Only after he enlists does he discover just how evil the Nazis are. So he turns against them, and attempts to spy from the inside. At one point, he’s basically a good guy, pretending to be a bad guy, pretending to be a good guy pretending to be a bad guy, in order to get close to a bad guy, pretending to be a good guy pretending to be a bad guy. 😛 (As my friend said, “J.J. Abrams eat your heart out.” )

        I’d much rather read or watch a heroine like Helen Magnus than some love-sick drip

        OK see, this is one of my biggest complaints, I don’t demand that my heroines need to literally kick butt. But I remember loving how Olivia for instance, even if she did have some emotional turmoil, focused on the job at hand, and kept going. Instead of angsting over her psycho-stasis or whatever for half the episode :P. It irritates me how most heroines have to be continually racked with anxiety and weepy in order to be “sympathetic”.

        …and they loved my anti-hero so much, I went out of my way to test just how far their love would go…

        Hahaha–I do have one supporting character who can be a bit amoral, to say the least, after writing a string of chapters focused on him, my evening chats with various friends began to go a bit like this.

        Me: _____ was such a creep in that last chapter, I hated writing the scene where he _____ .”

        Friend: Awww, well you just have to understand where he’s coming from.

        Me: ….are you defending my own character to me?

        Friend: Uh…

        Well you know the quote attributed to C. S. Lewis “If they won’t write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves; but it is very laborious.”

        1. Maybe like most authors, you write characters you would be attracted to in real life? (How egotistical am I, that I’m most attracted to my own type?!) I’ve found lately I’m not writing inside anyone’s head — just their actions. I wonder sometimes if this will mean readers can’t connect to them as well but… oh, well.

          Your German story sounds a little bit like something I wanted to write about ten years ago — about a woman who marries a German officer, then discovers how evil the Nazis are, and goes behind his back to help the resistance. I never got around to it — didn’t want to do the extensive research it would require to be authentic.

          Recent movie and television heroines are much better than older ones — they tended to be damsels in distress. =)

          Your experience with your friends sounds just like mine! I go out of my way to have him do something horrible and they forgive him for it! I hope their taste in real men is better than their taste in literary men, otherwise I’ll be worried for their marital futures! =D

          1. The thing is–I was never really consciously thinking of making them someone I’d be attracted to, not physically, some are tall and broad shouldered, some are way shorter than average. (I don’t really have a “type” save that I dislike fat slobs, or guys pumped on steroids) And I never wrote anything with the thought of “Oh I would just love a guy who ____” * swoon *, which an old acquaintance once said she did. (She also said this led to leaving everything half-finished, since after falling in love with her lead, she couldn’t bear to conclude the novel and say goodbye to him!) I can only conclude it’s a subconscious attempt to write a hero who’s different but still identifiable?

            That said, I personally feel that our writing heroes identical/compatible with ourselves, is less alarming than authors who write forced, awkward dialogue with heroes who are meant to be “witty” or “broody” but remain flat and lifeless as the page they’re printed on.

            I wouldn’t worry about not getting in anyone’s head. A good author doesn’t need lengthy inner monologues to convey the character’s motivations to her reader. It also makes it hard to juggle viewpoints 😛

            Your German story sounds a little bit like something I wanted to write about ten years ago — about a woman who marries a German officer, then discovers how evil the Nazis are, and goes behind his back to help the resistance. I never got around to it — didn’t want to do the extensive research it would require to be authentic.

            Hahaha–trust me, yes, it is a lot of research–though it’s amazing how many inspiring real life figures there were among what’s been called the “German Resistance”. The sad thing is how many didn’t have a very happy ending 😦 (I never could tackle a concentration camp novel though just–too much )

            Recent movie and television heroines are much better than older ones — they tended to be damsels in distress. =)

            Y’know–I wish I could believe that–but it seems like even in a lot of recent stuff, heroines are all too often whiney, weepy, wangsty. Same thing with a lot of books, I’ll catch myself thinking “Yes–we know, he’s cute, he makes you blush–he’ll never notice you–didn’t we cover this before on page 25???” I don’t get why such books are so popular, I can understand there being a niche for them among a portion of the female population–but do most women really like that sort of thing?

            Ha! I mentioned this hopeless fangirlie-ism of characters to my mother, and she suggested it might be a way for some girls to go through a vicarious bad-boy phase 😛 ? I can only hope that’s the case!

          2. I’m sure there are subconscious reasons why we write the characters we do — but I haven’t the faintest idea of what that might be. That is funny about your friend, though — who can’t bear to finish a book and give up her hero. Doesn’t she think his feelings are hurt that she never finishes his story and gives him his happy ending? 😉

            I find WWII to be incredibly depressing. Were I to spend much time at all studying that period, I would probably find myself in the depths of despair — and since I’m predisposed to depression anyway, that wouldn’t be a wise choice for me to make. So… I’ll write fun and funny books instead. =)

            True, although I think it’s more true in books (*cough*Bella*cough*) than in television. I don’t know why sappy, overly romantic heroines and books are popular. I’d rather bore my eye out with a blunt spoon than read 500 pages of that.

          3. Ah–but if she keeps him in turmoil–in a state of literary limbo–she’ll have him all to herself! Bwahaha! Or–at least I can only assume that’s maybe what she was thinking 😛 .

            I used to struggle with depression a lot more. Not so much nowadays thankfully–though it irks me how some people have this chirpy, “you’re only as happy as you make up your mind to be!” philosophy. Yes there are steps you can take to improve your life, and become a better, hopefully happier, but it’s not that easy! That’s another thing–I don’t think people who haven’t struggled with depression–or some of the issues accompanying it can truly understand. It can be like a huge, creeping fishing net with a life of its own, determined to cast itself over you and draw you back under screaming.

            Ugh–Bella, my foremost thought when I tried reading the first book “What a whiny brat!”. How did those books become so popular? (When I told my mom, she suggested maybe Bella was the heroine of choice for whiny girls 😛 )

          4. I still deal with depression. It runs in the family. Sometimes, it’s worse than others — it’s worse whenever I’m stressed and/or creatively blocked. Some people can’t just get over feeling melancholy, it’s an actual brain chemistry thing. And no, anyone who has never felt it, or gone through it, or known how horrible it is first-hand, can’t understand it and has no real business telling other people how to “get over it.” I do the best when I’m busy, when writing is going well, and when I have new things to learn and/or do.

            Bella didn’t bother me until book 2, when she shifted into pathetic suicidal mode. I spent that entire book wanting to punch her! I think the books are popular because they’re escapist fantasy — every preteen girl’s dream: a bad boy who really isn’t that bad, who is rich and buys you a ton of stuff, who hangs on your every word, and who you can be with FOREVER AND EVER.

            I read the later books for the Volturi, though. Give me Aro any day of the week. Heh.

  3. Oooh–yet ANOTHER movie that falls into “haven’t seen due to rating and the hype but all my friends keep telling me I need to” category 😛

    And this one has Russell Crowe in it too, hmm….is this a trend 😉 ?

    But seriously–I LOVE Roman history. (Well, not as much as Ancient Egypt–but it’s still pretty good 😉 ). Rome is both fascinating and pivotal for a number of reasons. It’s an empire that stamped it’s image so indelibly on the world that you can still see the traces in our language and art. It was in this, one of the most debauched empires, that Christianity would take root and flourish.

    I gotta say this movie looks really gorgeous–judging from the trailer, and pictures I’ve seen of the costuming. The storyline sounds intriguing too–Maximus is a widower–most movies are about falling in love, especially with a focus on the “first true love”.

    I know what you mean about admiring good storytelling in television and film. Though a visual medium, sometimes you feel like you want to peel back the layers and see how they did it!

    Btw–didn’t you write an ancient rome novel of your own? I believe it was called Claudia?

    1. If you’re squeamish, just fast-forward through the battle at the start, and a couple of arena scenes. The rest is all plot.

      Me? Watching Russell Crowe movies this week? Now, why would you think that?! I almost wrote up something on The Village instead, but… this movie must have its day. I also love Roman history. I once cracked open a history book, and when I read “Julius Caesar was a tyrant…” I slammed it shut and shoved it back on the shelf. Either you get the Roman Empire or you don’t.

      Maximus’ first love, Lucilla, is present — but his thoughts are always with his wife, and I find that… very romantic. This movie went through extensive rewrites, script revision, and had four different writers at the end — that’s probably why it’s so good. Every writer focused on something different from the one before, so by the end you have equal portions of angst, drama, emotion, and action.

      Yes, I did. Twelve years ago.

      1. Not that squeamish–I was more worried about too much nudity!

        Hehehe–well, Russell Crowe is a pretty good actor. I’d like to read your thoughts on The Village though! My friends who have seen seem to be of a love it or hate it opinion.

        Sure Julius Caesar was a tyrant, and so were just about all the rulers of the ancient world if you want to use those standards 😛 . Roman culture was cruel in many ways, (infanticide anyone?) but I think we overlook how brutal our own culture can be.

        Ah OK! I thought it was a more recent effort. Are you still going to publish it–or did you decide to scrap it? (I think I remember you said you drew on some Catholic traditions?)

        1. (Sorry, that sounded crabby!)

          There is no nudity in Gladiator (which is nice). I probably won’t be recommending any films that have nudity or sexual content in them, for my “favorite movies” posts, usually because if at all possible, I try and avoid those kinds of movies myself. =P

          Crowe is very good actor. He acts with his eyes a lot — and that’s hard to do. People are complaining about his Javert, and how “boring” he was — but I think they rather missed the entire point. Russell’s Javert is very introverted, and that means all his expressions are in his eyes. If you’re looking for grand over-acting, it isn’t there — it’s in the subtleties.

          I love The Village. It’s a brilliant piece of work, with a terrific underlining love story. I actually wrote about it for this issue of Femnista and then wrote something else, so I had to choose to leave it out. Boohoo.

          I suppose he was a tyrant… depending on who you ask! Perspective is everything. I’ve always had a soft spot for him, though, for whatever reason. Regarding that book — I’ve got a few paperback copies laying around but there’s no rush in trying to get the book rewritten and published. I’m shopping out my fantasy novel at the moment — one book at a time.

          1. Crabby? Nah–it’s just part of the INTJ charm 😉 And I am sincerely looking forward to more favorite movies posts–because it feels like lately my family is running out of things to watch–which I never thought would happen. Favorite TV shows would also be welcome 😛

            Russell’s Javert is very introverted, and that means all his expressions are in his eyes

            OK, see, this is what I mean, I’m not an introvert, but most of my loved ones are–which means that I know that–as visual as film is, an introvert probably isn’t going to be given to a lot of violent expression or venting of feelings. I never get it when afterward, people complain about a subtle, low key performance. This is acting at its best and most natural. The same thing with TV, I hate it when a character described as “shy” is given to snapping at people, or creating a scene 😛 (If they only turn shy around their love interest–then that’s not shy–that’s just…nervous around love interest)

            Wait–the last issue–or the upcoming issue?–I better check because I feel like I missed something * face-palm *

            Well, I’d say a lot of “great men” of history could be called arguably tyrants. As for how you can judge them morally as a person–hard to say. I’ve seen some argue that men like Caesar, Alexander, Frederick II or Napoleon were “evil”. But to their countrymen, they were heroes. Remembered centuries afterward with pride.

            Good luck with your fantasy novel! But I hope maybe someday you do get to bring Claudia to the public. That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask you, when writing, do you usually focus solely on one project? Or take turns with your novels?

          2. … well, that’s one way to put it! I am constantly reeling in my INTJ-ness. And then, total strangers have the brazen nerve to tell me I’m not one because of my political and/or religious leanings. That makes me go “Dude… you know not of what you speak.”

            Yesterday, I watched a western and thought of you — Seraphim Falls. I haven’t written up my review for the website yet because 3/4ths of it was awesome western, and then in the last 1/4th it went off into “WHAT. THE. HELL?” It got all symbolic and into its metaphors and I wasn’t sure what was reality or if they’d suddenly been thrown into Purgatory or something. Please don’t do that with your novel — or at least warn us up front. Heh.

            Honestly, I don’t watch that much TV anymore! I gave up my cable package and I get no reception down in the boonies, so the only show I’m keeping up with at the moment is The Vampire Diaries!

            Most people aren’t like us! They have to be hit over the head with a two by four to understand emotions. The subtle stuff slips right past. (I’m convinced this is much more the extroverted, emotional types — who don’t understand introverts at all!)

            The upcoming issue — love stories. I originally wrote about The Village, then I did something on Amy and Rory and then I did something on Anna Karenina, but having three articles in one issue is a bit much, so Lucius and Ivy bit the proverbial dust. It comes out on the 1st. =)

            Modern people have a really hard time understanding individuals in ages past, because we’re seeing their choices through our modern philosophies and teachings. We don’t understand what it was like to live during that period, to be educated as they were, to be brought up under the same racist beliefs, etc., so we automatically think, “Man, they were evil! misguided! horrible!” when in reality, we might make the exact same choice.

            Thank you. If you ever want to read Claudia, let me know. =)

            I almost always work on one thing at a time. I’ve never been great at juggling projects and I’m always concerned that I’ll get too involved with one that I abandon another. Having only one book to think about, to plot for, helps keep me on track. But even so, you have to take breaks and write something else — fanfiction, posts, etc., or you might get burned out! How about you? Are you a one project at time girl?

          3. Hmm…yeah. I actually had a conversation with a friend the other day, when she said she’d noticed most of the atheist she’d met seemed to fit a certain personality type (perhaps INTJ or INTP? I’m not really sure). This got me thinking, could certain types be “destined” for atheism? No, it seemed unlikely God would write anyone off in such a fashion. What’s more likely, is that some have the sort of analyzing, questioning personality, which, if they grow up in a household of non-believers or “casual” Christians, and have few (positive) experiences with religion, might be more inclined to settle on atheism as the “answer”. Whereas others (I suspect ENFJ/INFJ from what I’ve read) might settle on a more vague “feel good” sort of theism. Others more likely to experiment with alternative, little known religions, and so on.

            Oh darn, and here my novel was just dripping in quasi-symbiotic metaphoric imagery 😉 . In all seriousness that sort of thing drives me nuts! Same thing when something starts out as a “serious” drama, and then takes a twist into the paranormal.

            Really? What about Netflix streaming or TV series on DVD, I mean, obviously you aren’t bound and obliged to review TV for your readers 😛 but I rather thought you’d know about some good shows! (Have you thought of having a “recommendations” post? Just a suggestion!)

            OK, subtlety is not most people’s forte, but–don’t they know any introverts?? Of course this leads to my other annoying peeve, of how people are always carping it’s better to be an extrovert so you can win friends and influence people, yadda, yadda, yadda. But then introverts get the reputation of being mysterious and intellectual….* sighs *

            Yay! I am really looking forward to the next issue then! (Though the cover makes me miss Amy & Rory * sniffle * )

            We don’t understand what it was like to live during that period, to be educated as they were, to be brought up under the same racist beliefs, etc., so we automatically think, “Man, they were evil! misguided! horrible!” when in reality, we might make the exact same choice.

            I gotta say I find this most amusing, when I see such sentiments posted by people who, judging from their profile/blog seem to be extremely trendy, and in step with whatever is currently “hip” in mainstream media. Most people see no reason to their society’s beliefs. Much less attempt to change them.

            I would love to read Claudia someday 😉

            That depends–I tend to have a cyclical approach–if I canto call it that–to my novels? Right now I have three main projects, the Western, the 18th century one, and the WWII novel, I tend to take turns, I will write in the notebook for one, for instance, (and I am beginning to have a LOT of notebooks) until something reminds me of the other, then I will make headway in that for a while, till inspiration strikes for yet another, and so on. I can honestly say this hasn’t led to abandonment or boredom, and I can usually remember the plot threads and pick them up again. Although I do worry it means finishing anything will take thrice as long! Occasionally I’m struck with an idea for yet another story. But this usually just means bouncing it off of friends, doing a little research, and after jotting down some notes, consigning it to the back burner.

          4. I would say that yes, the INTJ type is most likely to be atheistic in nature — because reason is their god. But I’ve also known certain INTJs to exclude all the evidence, and not be able to rationalize out things which cannot be explained. (For me, it’s easier and more logical to simply believe God exists than to try and figure out, logically, things that can’t be explained through logic or explained any other way than through divine intervention.) Yet, there are exceptions — C.S. Lewis is your typical INTJ, and he reasons out faith very well. I do think upbringing and HOW you are taught to reason has a lot to do with it.

            For me, it depends… if I know up front something is going to delve into symbolism or paranormal stuff, I’m fine with it. Sometimes, I’m even fine with being surprised by symbolism — but when you lay it on super thick right at the end, that’s when I go “… eh.” I told my dad about it and he said, “That’s why there aren’t any good westerns anymore. They have to tack on all sorts of mystical crap on the end of it.”

            Pretty much all I watch is Fringe (which is now over — but I’m behind and having to catch up) and The Vampire Diaries. Castle is pretty good for a crime drama (if you don’t mind immorality). I also watch Major Crimes during the summer months. Oh, and for British drama — watch The Paradise whenever it hits this side of the pond. It’s way better than the lousy ITV series it’s competing with (Mr. Selfridge). Once you’re locked in to streaming everything by sitting in front of your computer — you tend to not bother with anything that you don’t absolutely love!

            If I work on three things at once, I tend to feel as if I’m two-timing my literary leading men. They like to be the only guy in my life at that moment. 😉

          5. Yes–I’ve seen others talk about “reason is their God” concerning INTJs or NT types in general. That said, I don’t think this is any worse than the way SJs, considered the “guardians” of society might fall into following religion just out of habit, each personality type comes with its peculiar weaknesses and strengths.

            On another topic, I find it interesting how there do seem to be an awful lot of famous INTJ characters, considering they supposedly make up a small fragment of the population 😛 I also find it interesting that most aspects of MBTI seem to be evenly divided among the population (E vs I, F vs T etc; ) with the notable exception of sensory vs intuitive.

            Then again, when I mentioned this to my mother, she said it was because if everyone was an intellectual or dreamer, we would never get anything done 😛

            Ah Fringe, now that I’ve taken to watching it on DVD with my family, I’m behind too, but really looking forward to season 5. I’m glad the show at least had the chance to wrap things up, given the threats of cancellation after season 4. I’ve season Castle, while I didn’t care for the…vagaries of some characters’ lifestyle, I was glad we were spared the details onscreen, and overall I enjoyed it. * makes note of other recommendations *

            Hehehe I guess we know who’s afraid of becoming a computer desk potato 😉 . I do wish there were some sort of “safe” forum where I could ask fellow Christians for recommendations. But the few Christian forums I’ve found seem pretty quiet. And a lot of sites like tumblr seem to be dominated by far left liberal types.

            So–does your literary leading men’s insistence on monogamy from their authoresses stem from passion or possessiveness? 😉 Btw–do you usually tend to write lead male characters or female characters? I notice some women say they find men easier to write. But then some famous heroines have sprung from male authors…

          6. Ah, that’s an interesting topic for conversation — why are there so many INTJ characters? I would further divide that into “good” guys and “bad guys.”

            There are a lot of villains who are INTJs because their lack of emotion, their restraint, their calculating and manipulative ways, are all very frightening to the other types. (On this note, I read one short paragraph about the villain in the upcoming Star Trek sequel and said, “Ahh, evil INTJ.”) Think… Moriarty. Lex Luthor. Hannibal Lector. Brilliant minds, twisted concept of morality, and you wind up with, as Sherlock would say, “high-functioning sociopaths.”

            Then, you have the “good guys.” Gandalf is an INTJ because he’s purposeful, a little manipulative, and blunt. But — far more importantly — some of literature’s greatest leading men are INTJ’s — such as Edward Rochester, George Darcy, and John Thornton. The first and last, I think were created to be mysterious. What is more mysterious than an enigma that no woman can fully understand? Darcy is understandable, because Jane Austen (also believed to be an INTJ) was simply writing a decent man; in fact, I’d almost argue that she was putting a good deal of her own personality into Darcy (biting, witty, reserved, bored with the stupidity around him, etc).

            Fringe in its final season is… strange. I can’t say why since I don’t know where you are in the series. But when I found out the ending to the series, my question was, “What’s the point of the entire season, then?” Gosh, that annoys me. =P

            I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful when it comes to television recommendations. My taste is so… unusual that normally people aren’t into whatever I’m watching at the moment!

            Female characters that are traditionally female (emotional, flirty, falling in love) are really hard for me to write — so I think (and my friends generally agree, since most of them are in love with my male characters four chapters in) my best work is with my men. You?

          7. I want to see that Village article, since I adore that movie. You absolutely must post it somewhere, sometime, for us all to read about it’s awesomeness. 🙂

          8. It’ll probably be the article I post next weekend. Since I can now expand on more than just the love story aspect, I need to add a bit to it before I share it.

            I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that movie. Oh, my gosh — so much love. =D

  4. I watched this film once, a long time ago, while my father skipped over the battle scenes. I have wanted to watch it again and this article probably will spur me into watching it within the next few days. Love it!

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