Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

In case you are wondering where the phrase “Band of Brothers” comes from, thank Shakespeare for it.
Band of Brothers comes from the play “Henry V”, in which King Henry delivers this famous speech before the Battle of Agincourt. Here is a youtube video from BBC series “Henry V”. Kenneth delivers the dialogue impeccably.

And here is the complete speech:

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

The title of this post also comes from the same play. It marks the end of Henry’s speech before the battle of Harfleur. And the speech starts with another famous phrase “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”
The contribution of Shakespeare to the beauty of English language cannot be described. Perhaps Shakespeare could do it.

A Song of Fire and Ice

A Song of Fire and Ice is a series of fantasy novels written by George R R Martin. Now I donโ€™t say that I am an expert in fantasy genre but I have read my own share. In my humble opinion, IT IS A MUST READ! It is perhaps on par with the Wheel of Time series, hundred times better than Lord of the Rings, a million times better than the Harry Potter and infinite times better than the Twilight Series (Thankfully I have not read the twilight series).

Of the seven expected books in the series, four have been published and I have just finished the fourth.

What makes the series so good is that there is no love for the good guys in it. They die more easily than the bad guys. When you think that you know how a battle is going to turn out, you are in for a surprise.ย  When you read the first book, you start liking a character and you believe that he is the hero. Bam! His head rolls. That does not mean that all the good characters die, they do have luck going there way too. But you can never get too comfortable. And then there are the gray characters. When you start, you feel that certain characters are definitely bad. Babykillers for example. But later you start seeing it from their perspective and you feel that they are not so bad after all. The cunning characters like Varys, Tyrion, Littlefinger and Tywin are perhaps the most complex characters that you can hope to read.

Unlike the classic fantasy genre, there are no absolute good or absolute bad (may be except “The Mountain” who is definitely a bad one). The dialogues are masterful, especially Tyrion’s. Yea and it has lots of gore, sex and swearing. Its not a novel for kids.

The first three books won the Locus awards and were nominees for the nebula awards.

Now the bad part. The third book came out in 2000 and the fourth one in 2005. Its been five years and still no word of the next books. Many fans must have died waiting for the next book! If you cant bear the waiting donโ€™t read ’em.

Now the really really good part!

HBO is making an original series on the books. ๐Ÿ™‚ Expected to debut in Spring 2011, the series is going to rock!

Sean Bean would be playing Ned Stark. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Top Series

So here comes another one of my lists and in this one I will list down my favorite TV series. The serials are not in any particular order.
1. Band of Brothers:
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks gives us an amazing series. The story of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles”. The action is impeccable and the characterization amazing. I think this is my favorite TV series. And do you believe that Band of Brothers has a rating of 9.6 on IMDB!

Band of Brother

2. Futurama:

The BEST CARTOON SERIES EVER! Bender is perhaps my favorite character of all time! 9.2 ย on IMDB.
3. Jerico:
Jerico is a small town near Denver Colorado. The series starts with nuclear explosions destroying all major American Cities and the governance has totally collapsed. How the town rises up to meet the challenge of forming a self governance regime and all the uncertainties. You get to understand economics and political science if you look hard enough.
4. The Agency:
Fictional account of workings in CIA. The episode in which the Indians and Pakistanis almost fought a war and how it was resolved was real good stuff.
5. Rome:
Fictionalizes the rise and fall of Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus. I believe that the best way to know about history is to watch a serial on it.
6. Darkskies:
Fictionalized account of the Cold War America with the premise that the aliens are amongst us and all the contemporary events have a secret undercurrent. The end of the series was depressing.
7. House:
Holmesque Dr. House is smart and sarcastic. And very entertaining.
8. The Pacific:
Sort of a sequel to Band of Brothers but with the focus on the Pacific theatre of the war. As usual the action is impeccable, what it lacks as compared to Band of Brothers is that we do not form the bond with the characters that we do in BoB.
9. V:
Another alien series with the premise of an alien attack on earth but under the guise of peace. The Human resistance has to fight the aliens as well as their fellow humans who believe the aliens are the next best thing to God.
10. Sherlock:
British series with only three episodes. We see a 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes who uses text messaging instead of sending telegrams and uses nicotine patches instead of smoking the trademark pipe.
11. Spooks:
Another British series with the focus being MI5 and fictionalized account of its actions. Brainy series.
12. Deadwood:

We see Wild Bill Hickcock and how the west was won! Story of a new small town of Deadwood and the people and their stories. Never knew that the wild west so treacherous.

PS. Major Winters (From Band of Brothers) died on 2nd of Jan, 2011. RIP Major.