Romance of the Three Kingdoms
I think I might have picked something up while I was out for that wedding. I'm not feeling particularly great. Tonsils swollen. Lots of pressure in my ears. General hatred of life. Still, I think I can eke out a small update today if you will all pardon me.
Today I thought I'd share just a little bit about one of my favorite stories that I've always wanted to draw inspiration from. It's been told and retold a thousand times, and while it's not as popular in the West as in the East, even upon American shores, there's plenty of people who love it. I talk about the fabled and incredibly long (seriously, the unabridged version is 800,000 words and nearly 1,000 characters) Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
This story is about a crucial period of the formation of China, when the Han Dynasty was dying and a usurper took power. After the fall of the Usurper, the Emperor's power only his name, and so warlords across the land fought to unite the land. In the end, three major factions split the land into three kingdoms.
Amazing stories are littered throughout this epic, and (this may get some backlash) for those who are intimidated by the sheer size and dryness of the potential read, I recommend three sources of getting the story otherwise.
1. Go to YouTube and look for one of the many dramatizations. There's a beautiful version that's over 100 episodes. It hits all the biggest points of the epic, has incredible characters, and a seriously beautiful song. Here's the first episode. I implore you to give it a shot. It's incredible. You at least have to listen to the epic opening theme.
B. Koei-Tecmo has been playing with Romance of the Three Kingdoms for decades now. They have strategy games by the same name that follow the story pretty well (assuming your character doesn't interfere with history) and the Dynasty Warriors series, while obviously over the top still gives you the story of the Three Kingdoms. I can't say that one version is particularly better than any of the others, but if you like beat 'em up games with super-hero level characters, it's a great series. Lastly, the least accurate of the bunch is the short lived Kessen series. I... don't really recommend it for the story, but it's fun to try after you've played the others and understand the story.
I actually owe Koei-Tecmo and Dynasty Warriors for introducing me to Three Kingdoms in the first place. It's a fun series, you don't have to think much, and the story is pretty good. Though... once you've played one, they're not a ton of difference. Maybe play the newer ones so you get more story? Your call.
3.0 - There are a ton of anime and cartoons on the subject. I don't know how much I would recommend any particular one, but I guess, if pressed, here's a few options. Do you want your Three Kingdoms semi-accurate and more or less kid friendly? There's an '80ish anime that lays it all out. Want something more vulgar and violent. There a newer one that details Cao Cao's rise to power from a youth and it does not skimp on the blood. Would you rather every single character in the series get gender-swapped and form a psuedo-harem of moe and pretty girls? Yeah... they have that.
Point is, they all hit the basic plot points of an incredible story. I have an obvious bias for the order you should enjoy them in, but really, if any of these strikes your fancy, go for it! Romance of the Three Kingdoms is considered one of the Four Great Classic Novels of China (my other favorite being Journey to the West) and it greatly deserves it. I hope to some day write a large scale fantasy and draw inspiration from this epic.
But until then... Be Excellent to Each Other.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.