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Chinese measurements, reference material for 12 Kingdoms )
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Continuing 12 Kingdoms natter on how to measure land )
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I'm finally getting around to this ... How to measure land in the 12 Kingdoms books. )
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So one of the questions I think is worth asking is why did Sairin choose a dork for a ruler? Did he even have a chance?

Can we list pros and cons for the dork? I'll start with a couple: dorkiness )
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Sai/cai2 is the country that Suzu/Ling2 comes from. This is all spoiler so don't open the lj-cut if you don't want to be spoiler'd.

the story )
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It occurred to me while walking down the hall just now that the character Suzu/Ling2 is a 'representation of the common man'. more )
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I need to get this out of my head so I can get some work done.

What does the kirin represent )

Next post will be about the Sai short story.
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So that I can talk intelligibly: 12k reference material )
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The second Tai arc.

I think, of all the books, these two were my favorites. Unfortunately for me, my favorite characters are once again side characters: the kings of Fan4/Han, Yan4/En, and Dai4/Tai, and <swoon>浩瀚</swoon>.

Han'ou, though, ah ha ha ha!!!! he keeps calling En'ou a monkey!!! Can the two of them be yaoi'd together? I want to do Han'ou x En'ou, though I suspect that En'ou x Han'ou is more natural.

Switched from pingying to romaji
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I'll post about how land is measured in the future.

For now, I just wanted to say that the anime Tai arc interleaves the 1st Tai book arc and the series prequel. Things in the prequel book are slightly different, as there are two teachers and neither of them die, and the irritating female friend from Japan isn't in it, of course. The prequel book ends with Taiki remembering everything and preparing to be taken back to the world of 12k by Taiou. (I skipped ahead and read the end of the book ...)
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I have a great deal of sympathy for 鈴's first master. The book explains it rather well. While it's behavior is not excuseable, the behavior does have a certain justification behind it.

梨耀(li2yao4)(riyou?) is talking to the queen or 才(cai1)(sai) and (pretty much the same as in the anime) observes that if 鈴 really couldn't stand the way she was treated, she was always free to go. The fact she stayed was proof that she preferred it to leaving. (Which is true.)

The book then goes on to give some background: 梨耀 was originally an 'interior court' official for a prior king/queen. When other officials took advantage of the ruler's soft heartedness to do unreasonable things, 梨耀 would step in and take the blame, as a result everyone resented her. When the ruler started to 失道 (um, go wrong), she took the ruler to task and was [driven out of court and forced to live in the current place]. None of the other officials could convict her or take away her immortal status because she had done so much for the country. After she left, the ruler went astray very fast [and died?].

When queen 才 tells 梨耀 to be careful or she'll remove her from the rolls of the imortals, 梨耀 is surprised that the queen can do that. The queen replies that the ruler has the power, just that no one ever bothered to use it. 梨耀's reponse is 'Then do as you please.'

To me, at least, I read a great deal of bitterness and disillusionment into 梨耀's character and a great deal of bluntness in 梨耀's way of speech. Later in the book, several characters speculate that 梨耀 was frustrated and bitter because she would do something outrageous and everyone around her would go 'oh, no, we don't mind! you're perfectly in the right!' when 梨耀 knew that she was being outrageous. Since honesty and blunt talking was the thing that got her driving out of court, and it was lack of the same that allowed her original ruler to go astray, I can see how she would keep pushing and pushing to see if anyone around her could even be bothered to care enough to tell her she was out of line. You will observe that she never did anything to any of her servants that was genuinely life threatening. She sent the flying tiger to watch 鈴 pick herbs on the cliff in the middle of the night to make sure 鈴 would be okay, no matter that 鈴 was convinced it was out to eat her.
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So. The Two Whiners.

I hated the first part of the first book (it's a two book arc). Darned slow slog, going thru all the whining and self-pity. The arc redeems itself in the second volume. There's a lot more detail about how they both get their change in perspective. I'm still not all that taken with 鈴 (ling2)(suzu). She's not a whiner any more, but she's still got no internal ethical compass. She's joining in the attempt to get rid of the bad official because that's what the people who took her in are doing and because she wants revenge. Revenge is no excuse in my book. 祥環(xiang2huan2)(shoukei), on the other hand, has some brains and brings them into proper use, as illustrated when she's talking to 桓魋 (huan2tui2)(kantai). Paraphrasing, she says:

桓魋: I hear the palace is controlled by the court officials, the previous queen was the same way. They [the queens] probably don't care what happens to the country, don't they? That's why they don't mind what kind of court officials they have.
祥環: Why hasn't anyone told the queen the true situation?
桓魋: Tell the queen?
祥環: If it's the truth, of course the queen must be told [encouraged to do the right thing], or perhaps the queen is being treated like a puppet? Even if that's the case, someone has to make Keiou wake up to the situation.
桓魋: You ...
祥環: Even if a ruler has no idea what kind of situation the country is in, the punishment/result will certainly come down on the ruler's head. Not knowing is not forgiven, not able is not allowed. Someone has to go tell Keiou.

At which point I swoon at the pseudo-Confucian political philosophy. 祥環 is completely redeemed in my opinion.

Parenthetically, I have a great deal of sympathy for 鈴's first master. The book explains it rather well. While it's behavior is not excuseable, the behavior does have a certain justification behind it.

Also parenthetically, you're just going to have to forgive my use of kanji. I have no idea how the characters names are pronounced in Japanese, so I can't give you the romaji. Feel free to inform me in the comments.

Thank you for the romaji!
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I have been reading through the 12 Kingdoms novels and this seems like a decent forum in which to talk about what I'm reading, primarily because it allows you to leave comments (now that I've figured out how to turn them on).

I'm in the middle of Kaze no Banri, Reimei no Sora (風の万里 黎明の空) - "A Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky at Dawn" (aka the two whiners) so that's where I'll start talking about things.

I'm not sure how the English translators got 'The Sky at Dawn' out of 黎明の空. In previous volumes, the relation between the title and the events in the novel are pretty clear. For this set, though, I'm not sure I see it. Or perhaps I missed it, in which case you should enlighten me.
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