Critique of Chapter X
By: Dhalgren99

Fasten your safety belts and hide the children, all the voices in my head have come together in total agreement for this lovely hour to bring you the best in Commenting Craziness. It's wacky! It's fun! It's legal in every state but Utah!

Bring your favorite pillow and the beverage of choice (preferably with as much proof as you can cram into the bottle...), hunker down on the floor, but not on the spot where your neighbor's dog forgot he was housetrained and get ready for riveting action that can only be brought to you by trained professionals like myself. Kids, tell your parents to not try this at home, they may pull a muscle.

Up to NovaReinna's chapter we are and quite the escapade we've got going on here...psst...I still have to be nice to her until I think she's posting my comments without reading string every third letter together and you'll get my REAL comments...but smiley faces all, it's the adventures of Sir Scat...and the Maid of Jade (so is she made of the rock itself or just of some place named Jade...or maybe she's got a cute sister named Jade...I'd be all for that).

Actually the chapter starts off interesting with the peek into the HobGoblin (anyone ever heard the Frank Zappa song titled like, well it's pretty offensive so I guess you're not missing anything, it's certainly not "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama") and her merry band of misfits. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I found it rather funny that the opening has a bunch playing really off key and the head Goblin's name is the synthesizer...heh. Or maybe I'm alone on this one. Still, humor seems to be the driving element of this chapter, NovaReinna appears to be taking the humorous route thus far which isn't easy to do well, I mean you may think that people like me are naturally this funny (eh, what?) but I think NovaReinna understands that true Humor must be worked for. Or something. As usual I don't know what I'm talking about. A lot of times jokes that seem funny to you aren't as funny to other people, I have my characters say things that I find absolutely hilarious because I have a bit of a...warped sense of humor (me?) and yet those that don't share that sense tend to just scratch their heads and go "I don't get it"...however my habit of writing my stories in backwards print doesn't help either I'm sure. But it's all about the Art. Art, I say!

Just for the sake of fun, if anyone really wants to know what Moog's band sounded like, put on any King Crimson album, specifically "Moonchild" after the singing and stuff is over, the last six minutes or so sounds like a bunch of kids released into a studio and not having any idea which instruments do what...or "Fracture" or "Starless" off Starless and Bible Black. Atonal to the max, baby. And no, I don't listen to those albums all those often.

Moog is the classic humerous villain, utterly full of himself and convinced of his own greatness, with his plan just barely clever enough to succeed. It might have too, in fact some days it might be interesting to see if his plans actually work...I mean even a stopped clock is right twice a day, you figure law of averages says he has to find something that works eventually. His badgering of his small team is funny, and not overdone at all. The "Lord of the Pit" idea actually isn't a half bad one (and since writing this I've started one in my backyard, called "General of the Grass") and probably would be harmless fun, I mean it's not his fault that people are stupid and go for that sort of stuff. Hey, is this your comment on wrestling, out of curiousity? Heh.

I definitely would have wanted more time devoted to Moog and his hairy band of madmen but then it's always good to leave the people wanting more. The scenes with Sir Scat and Lillie are still funny, Scat's bumbling his way through everything without realizing it isn't quite as funny because I've seen it before (come on, has anyone seen Naked Gun?)...Leslie Neilsen has the part nailed down when the movie version of this comes out...and it gets fairly simple to predict what he's going to do after a while...generally the least likely action to get the best effect. Heck, I would have been surprised if he DIDN'T win the Lord of the Pit...but most of his antics do elicit a small chuckle from my puny throat, the reading the sign upside down actually was pretty good, little things like that do worlds of good. Lillie's as charming as ever but probably use a little more depth, her "girl power!" speeches (please be gentle with the man) tend to come off as more like whining, besides do the rules SAY that women aren't allowed, Lillie? why can't "Lord" be considered a gender neutral, girl? Though her comment about "modern thinking" made me laugh...Lillie, in these times modern thinking consists of women cooking and sweeping and sewing clothes for men. So get to it. No, no, just kidding. Still, knightly code does prevent the boys from striking women, I mean if Lillie just suddenly whipped a sword out and ran at him screaming the knight would probably have to do something but unless they gave the code of honor up, chances are they'd be too programmed not to hit her to do any good. Though it would be funny to see Lillie running after a knight shouting "Hit me!" while the knight is doing his best not to hit her and dodge her blows at the same time. Now that's humor. Come on, guys, laugh! CHUCKLE!

Still, Lillie's distraction of the one knight is great...her argument seems to be more in principle really, I can't see her going down into the pit and getting jiggy with an orc so to speak...though the trolls might give you trouble, last I checked trolls could regenerate...that could be a problem, unless you've got a flamethrower handy, but then being that it's standard fantasy equipment, I can't see why Lillie wouldn't have one. She does, I hope, you have to keep up with the times and everything. Right?

Sir Scat's rounds of combat were fairly funny but fairly expected when you consider the type of character that he is...the chain of events was amusing but it wasn't like you couldn't see it coming. But I think the main thing was to get his presence noted at the Inn...especially that bit with the gnomes at the end...actually I wonder if Ricore might notice his presence, since she briefly saw the knight who was deepfried by our buddy the talking dragon (when does he show up again, I want to make fun of that lisp some more!) and since Sir Scat seemed to have patterned him looks after that, I may not be fond of our resident witch but she's no dummy. A man like me puts two and two together and gets four, a woman like her does the same math, and then realizes that in these ancient times women weren't taught math because it wasn't their place and then turns me into a newt for mocking her. Ah, sweet revenge.

Still, come on, Sir Scat's victory over the knight was a tad cheap...they hadn't even started the fight yet...that's like me kneeing the other guy in the face when we go to shake hands at a karate tournament and then insisting that it was a muscle spasm...and I still say that they told us to start. Not my fault he didn't stand up quickly. But, enough about my sordid past, Moog's comeuppance was classic, though I was kinda rooting for the guy, I mean he really did work hard at this and it wasn't like he was cheating anybody, I mean it's not his fault that everyone in the world is stupid.

People wanting an equally fun parallel to this contest are encouraged to read Jeff Smith's Bone, especially the volume entitled the "Great Cow Race" where Phoney Bone attempts to fix the race in much the same manner as Moog did, by convincing everyone to bet on his cousin, who is dressed in a stupid looking cow costume and calling himself "The Mystery Cow". I'm not making this up, really.

This chapter seems to mark the emergence of Sir Scat as a hero in the broadest definition of the term (I guess intent counts for something) and Lillie will be great to play off him...especially if you keep bringing in stuff like Moog, I don't know if Sir Scat can carry a chapter by himself...Lillie might be able to but she's far better when paired with the knight. There's a wonderful light hearted tone to all of this that makes up for the slight lack of character and emotional depth (my big thing, but don't worry about that, otherwise you're doing fine) and I can only imagine how the next few chapters will go as Sir Scat gets involved in bigger and bigger messes and makes more and more grandiose gaffes to positive effect. Go figure, when I knock over a bottle of pills it doesn't trip the guy trying to steal stuff from the store, it merely makes me look silly and I still have to pick them up. One by bloody one. Blasted narcotics. Blasted DEA.

Ah, see I'm still bitter even after this fun chapter, I really am a lost cause. Still, nice to revisit the NovaReinna part of the cast (it's been like six chapters...geez), with everything happening more and more around the Inn, cameos of the other characters would have been nice (especially since all of FragmentFour's crew hangs around the Inn, I'm sure Pedrin at least would have turned out for the Lord of the Pit spectacle...but then it's hard to tell how the chapters are happening in relation to each everyone was probably possessive of their characters by this point, being that the game had just started)...but it's early yet, there's time for mingling in the chapters to come.

So ends another, I'm actually halfway to the current point, not bad for a pale and slightly crosseyed lad who alternates between dense nonsense and simply not knowing what he's doing but pretending that he does. But I'm working on one of those aspects, I'll let you kind people figure out which one.

Ah well, I think I've successfully placed my hidden messages in the e-mail, all secretly instruction you to send me money, but I might have gotten it wrong and I could be getting a lot of paper clips very soon...the problem with subliminal messages is that you never want to test them on yourself. Where's my sister?

So I'm going to go further my manical plans for world domination which will succeed because I am pure of heart and so must always win. That's right, I'm the Smilin' Tyrant. Gotta go kiss some babies, now.

The rest of you have fun...I know I will!

- Michael

"He's got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge, he stands to be insulted and pays for the privilege..."
- Elvis Costello, "Man Out of Time"

Critiques and/or comments are most welcome.
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The WordSmiths thank you for your interest and participation.