Images of the period

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Images of the period

Unread postby laojim » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:26 am

I was watching one of those Korean Historical Dramas of the Ancient feudal times. Shortly after that I switched over to see what I take to be a new series call The Game of Thrones, a fairly typical medieval drama of the modern sort. The two could hardly have been more different.

In the Korean case most things are clean and neat and tidy. The villages are always depicted as prosperous and overflowing with goods. The people are all well dressed, although the poor are dressed plainly. The lords and ladies, for all their selfishness and stupidity, are always very careful of their manners and behavior. In the European medieval drama the world is everything is broken and dirty. People are either overdressed in expensive finery or ragged with their clothing, what there is of it, falling off of them. They are crude and craven, wallowing in every vice, dining on unending vast feasts of cooked meats and more cooked meats. The lords and ladies make little or no attempt to hide or moderate their cruelty and stupidity, lust and gluttony.

One might suppose from all this that the modern Europeans think themselves much better than their ancestors and regard them with complete contempt while the Koreans think of their ancestor as good people who led admirable lives.

I'm not at all sure what it all means but it is rather a stark comparison.
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Re: Images of the period

Unread postby TigerGeneral6 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:47 am

A Game Of Thrones is a fantasy series of books and now a tv series. Its not set in the past, its a fictional place, with fictional cultures and such, so a comparrison between the two would be hard to justify. Just thought i'd point that out. However the traits your describes are often the case I find when watching old period drama or such about Europe.
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Re: Images of the period

Unread postby laojim » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:51 pm

TigerGeneral6 wrote:A Game Of Thrones is a fantasy series of books and now a tv series. Its not set in the past, its a fictional place, with fictional cultures and such, so a comparrison between the two would be hard to justify. Just thought i'd point that out. However the traits your describes are often the case I find when watching old period drama or such about Europe.


I thought that might be the case just because the people made no reference to historical places and the castles were much too big and lit by a huge number of candles dripping wax all over things, which would have been considered a lavish waste in any period. The point is clear, however, that in the European imagination the past is all ruins so that they typically show the past as ruins when the story is set in the past, a little notion left over from the romantic period, I think, where they were inclined to show Romans among Roman ruins. It doesn't take much thinking to see that that is not quite right.

I think, perhaps, the Chinese do not do this. It may just be that they generally built with palaces with wood rather than stone. I think the only ruin I ever saw in a Chinese film was the forbidden city after some fifty years of neglect when the gates were forced open in the recent movie, Tien An Min.
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Re: Images of the period

Unread postby Rick Shaw » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:44 am

Do keep in mind that during the Middle Ages in Europe the peasantry struggled to eat, much less dress in fine Chinese silks and the nobles taxed them to afford every luxury they could.

Also keep in mind that, aside from the Vikings, Europeans bathed rarely, so they would be relatively dirty.

So the nobles dressing in exotic finfery and everyone else barely being dressed is somewhat periodic, actually.
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