Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shouty Dwarves in Klingon Armour

SO!  I am currently hosting this awesome Middle-Earth group read (we started The Hobbit on Saturday, it's not too late to join in if you're interested), and since I'm reading about Bilbo's new dwarf friends, I became curious how they were going to be depicted in Mr Jackson's upcoming film adaptation.

Short note:  I hate the LotR movies.  Like, if you want to see me get as ranty as humanly possible, force me to watch/discuss them.  You'll be stuck for hours, and likely won't want to be my friend any longer once I'm done.  Don't get me wrong, I think they're super pretty and everything, but the story WAS ALL WRONG.  See, I'm getting shouty already and this note is no longer so short.  Oops.


In case you haven't seen it, here's a picture of the final costumes for Thorin's band of...well, whatever.  I'm too tired right now to come up with something clever.

I mean...I guess this is okay.  You know, unless you've actually READ THE BOOK or something, and you know that absolutely no one looks anything at all like they're described.

I could pick every single one of these choices apart, but I'm going to try to keep this on the manageable reading length size, so I'll just focus on a few of the MOST egregious choices, 'kay?

Fili and Kili

WTS is going on here, seriously?  I mean, I GET that they're the youngest members of the group and whatnot, but that's no effing excuse for them to be all Dwarf Boy Band.  Ugh.  (BTW, Kate and I have decided that this boy band is going to be called Dwarves 'N Da Hood.  You know it works.)


Um...not gonna lie, I was really hoping for his blue beard here.  :(


AKA - Triceratops Head.  Dude, I can't even...

And finally - 


This is the one that bothers me the most.  Why the hell does he look like a Klingon?  I AM THE MOST SERIOUS!  What you don't believe me?  Fine.  Look what I did for you because I'm the most awesome and stuff.

THORIN LOOKS JUST LIKE CHANCELLOR GOWRON, WTS?!  Not only that, but I'm pretty sure he stole General Martok's armour.  

Ugh.  Seriously.  Why can't Peter Jackson just stop messing around with my Middle-Earth?  What a jerk he is.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Game of Thrones Season Two

As of this writing, two episodes of the new season of HBO's series adaptation of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire have aired, and a third will air tonight. The Iron Isles are a welcome addition to the map and are even more perilous-looking than this blogger (Kate) was imagining; Carice van Houten (who I'm sure is a lovely person in real life, really) has made it possible to hate Melisandre even more; Maisie Williams is still amazingly fierce and self-reliant as Arya Stark; TV viewers are getting their first look at Davos Seaworth (but with nary a mention of onions so far? Perhaps I need to rewind a bit, surely?); Peter Dinklage is the boss of everybody in the Red Keep and Ned is still dead.

So far, we are most pleased. How about you?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Copper Promise: A Jekyll and Hyde Rabbit of a Series

"Sometimes I feel like I’m a scientist in a 1950s B-movie, looking sadly from the broken cage that once contained a small, docile bunny rabbit, to the very large and ominous bunny-shaped hole in the wall."

"The monstrous bunny flexed its terrible hairy muscles, booted open the door of the cage and sprinted off into the night, smelling faintly of mead and leather."

- SMISA's own Jennifer Williams, the new mad scientist of pulp fantasy, in a great guest post about her new novella series, The Copper Promise, over on Alan Baxter's blog.

Go on over and have a read (and while you're there, check out Baxter's blog; he doesn't write pulp but urban fantasy, but it's quite good stuff indeed) and if you haven't yet snagged the first of Jennifer's novellas, hit the link to the right and go get you some!

Friday, February 24, 2012


(click "Menu" in the lower right to embiggen and enjoy!)

Today, Angry Robot Books, one of our go-to publishers for cool new genre fiction, has decided to offer a free sample of Gav Thorpe's Crown of the Blood, which SMISA contributer Kate Sherrod reviewed happily last year. This is ancient Rome for pulp fans, kids, and it's the first book of what looks promisingly to be a great series. It seriously has it all: legionnaires riding lions, barbarians riding dinosaurs, dynastic politics, blood and the problems of polygamy. Lots of fun and highly recommended!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jason Mormoa as Conan

The movies do not love depicting our favourite barbarian in the plate armour he occasionally wore in the original stories and novellas, but at least this time around we had him in a mail sleeve for a good chunk of the action. Love the film or hate it (we at SMISA loved it, despite its rejection of canon and its lame inventions), we think most of you will agree that, brown eyes aside, Jason Mormoa made a helluva good Conan. Shoutiness? Check. Nakedness? Check? Wenching, guzzling, drinking, slaying? Check. Growling? Check.

Will there be sequels? Dare we hope? By Crom, we do!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Obscure French Shouty Men in Shiny Armour

In 1978, French auteur Eric Rohmer, best known for his 1960s morality plays like Pauline at the Beach, released one of the oddest and most hypnotically fascinating films I have ever seen. It was inspired by perhaps one of the granddaddies of all epic fantasy literature, Chrétien de Troyes' 12th century Arthurian romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail, which alone makes it a must-include for this blog. But this is not some big loud crashy bombastic free-for-all like, say, Excalibur. No: this film is straight out of Jesse L. Weston, restoring the ritual character to Arthurian legend and the theater. Lines are chanted as much as delivered; movements, too, are often stylized (but not, as you see, in the fight scenes).

The result is a film as puzzling and intriguing as the Grail legend itself. If you haven't seen it, get your hands on a copy of the DVD right away!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Speaking of Conan...

A commenter on another blog (cough) has started perhaps an interesting discussion, prompted by my reaction to the exquisitely entertaining experience of reading the early Conan short stories and novellas presented in the Del Rey compilation The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian. Why not check it out and join the fun?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Conan the Progenitor

Robert E. Howard's most famous character, Conan the Cimmerian, is arguably the granddaddy of all Shouty Men in Shiny Armour -- or at least of pulp fantasy heroes. But this fantastic Tomás Giorello art (the cover to Dark Horse Comics' first King Conan issue, adapting the classic original Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword") is a rarity in that it shows Conan in shiny armour. Most people (this blogger's mother included; it was an argument with her over whether Conan counts as a SMISA that prompted this post) always and only picture him as the naked muscle man. It's true he seems to fight best in just a breechclout, but I found a few good examples of our favorite barbarian in armor in some of Howard's earlier stories.

Sometimes his armour doesn't match too well, in true barbarian fashion:

His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired AEsir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest worksmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir.
- from "Queen of the Black Coast"

At other times, he sports a more "put-together" look:

At her command they brought harness to replace Conan's chain-mail -- gorget, sollerets, cuirass, pauldrons, jambes, cuisses and  sallet. When Yasmela again drew the curtains, a Conan in burnished steel stood before his audience. Clad in the platearmor, visor lifted and dark face shadowed by the black plumes that nodded above his helmet, there was a grim presence about him that even Thespides grudgingly noted. A jest died suddenly on Amalric's lips. "By Mitra," he said slowly, "I never expected to see you cased in coat-amor, but you do not put it to shame. By my fingerbones, Conan, I have seen kings who wore their harness less regally than you!"
Conan was silent. A vague shadow crossed his mind like a prophecy. In years to come, he was to remember Amalric's words, when the dream became reality.
- from "The Black Colossus"

But be advised, Shouty Men in Shiny Armour isn't just about those; that's just a cool title for a pulp fantasy lovers' blog. We couldn't help being pleased, though, to see that one of our favourite heroes actually deigns to embody the name so splendidly!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New Reading Lists

Kate Sherrod here, one of the co-founders of SMISA, with a confession to make.

I've never read any of the original or later pastiche Conan books or stories. Until now.

For one of my first reading efforts in this blighted new year is to read ALL OF IT. All of Robert E. Howard's original short stories. All of Harry Turtledove's Conan novels. All of L. Sprague deCamp's pasticherpieces. Every shred. In publication order, if possible.

And then (another embarrassing announcement), I'm going to move on and read all of Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories.

That should adequately fill the time while I wait for the next installment in fellow SMISA founder Jennifer Williams' Copper Promise series. Which is somewhat delayed, as she's been down with the crud, poor lamb.

I mean, come on, Jennifer! Shouty Man up! Strap on that plate! Bust those bugs into another dimension.

Yeah, that's better.

Anyway, what Shouty Men in Shiny Armour fiction are you most looking forward to this year?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Alright, so Idris Elba doesn't do a lot of shouting in Thor - he mainly does a good line in glowering and growling - but, damn, his armour is shiny. He's also rocking those contact lenses.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shouty Women in Shiny Armour

Just by way of demonstrating that we at SMISA are not sexist -- far from it -- we gladly share with you the epic battle between Red Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) and Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman) in 1985's Red Sonja. This classic bit of fantastic schlock features LOTS of Shouty Women in Shiny Armour and as a bonus, a Shouty Child in Shiny Armour. Score!

Sorry for the Russian overdubbing, though if you ask us, that kind of makes it even more awesome.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Shouty Men in Shiny Armour - not always all that serious

Who doesn't love Danny Kaye in The Court Jester? A 1955 classic based on Sylvia Fine's The Maladjusted Jester, it took the piss out of the Robin Hood schtick decades before Mel Brooks put men in tights, and took on the romance of knighthood to boot. We won't spoil for you why Kaye's character is being rushed through this ceremony; just enjoy for now, and then hurry off and see the whole film if you haven't.

Yea, verily, yea.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Nordic Shiny

Nuff said.

Brian Blessed in BLACKADDER

Was there ever a shoutier man in shinier armour than Brian Blessed's classic turn as the highly fictional King Richard IV in Blackadder?

Honest question. Was there?


In Which Dissent Is Handled

"Off with his head," the angry queen did shout.
"Which one?" inquired her faithful headsman, "He
Has several." "The one that's speaking out
Against my reign!" "That narrows it to three."
"Off with his head," the queen said, pointing at
Her headsman. "I will give a shiny sword
With rubies in its hilt to whom'er that
Back-talking knave do slay." No one stepped for'ard --
That is until a wizard slinked into
The crowd. "Ah! Here he is, thank you, fair dame
For finding him," quoth he. "This is for you."
He tossed the queen a purse, then burst in flame
And he and his eight-headed slave were gone.
"Whate'er it takes to keep the peace. Move on."


My first post on this blog would have to be about Excalibur. It's a film that showcases everything we want to talk about; shiny armour, shouting, shiny swords, men with shiny armour and swords, shouting... In fact, I remember it as a film where everyone shouts all the time, particularly if they're in a forest (which is quite often) or someone is a bit narked about something (all the time). It's also memorable for Nicol Williamson's wildly crazy turn as Merlin, who appears to be acting in a different film entirely, probably one all about how great Merlin is.