Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism, and Myth in Post-Communist Europe
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From the muscle god who launched the YouTube channel Bro Science Life comes the only book that will teach you everything you need to know about getting swole. For years, bros, meatheads, and gym rats around the world have posed pressing questions: What can you bench? Can I skip leg day? What goes in this protein shake? And importantly—do you even lift, bro?
You Herd Me! Colin Cowherd. There are really two games, the one you see and the one you don't. The way I see it, the best way to use access to both worlds is to illuminate and reveal, not idolize and adore. It's better to be wrong than to be played for a fool. Of course, it helps that a lot of what Colin has to say is simply hilarious. Lots of writers will brag about the stuff they got right, but how many will happily list all the calls they got completely and utterly wrong?
Is Hell really a supernatural place of fire and brimstone—or is it actually just another word for living in Tampa? Mark Titus.
An irreverent, hilarious insider's look at big-time NCAA basketball, through the eyes of the nation's most famous benchwarmer and author of the popular blog ClubTrillion. Mark Titus holds the Ohio State record for career wins, and made it to the national championship game. You would think Titus would be all over the highlight reels.
You'd be wrong. He believes in his divine right to rule, in the absolute power of kings, and in unbroken succession as the truest form of governance. Like Aragorn, these characters are framed as heroes, fighting against evil and striving to save the masses from unjust rule. But their agendas differ from those of their opponents only by degrees.
The heroes of fantasy are often presented as liberators—leaders who would deliver freedom or agency. Yet their actual focus is typically on claims of a legitimate hereditary right to kingship and the preservation of absolute monarchy. In the faux-medieval setting of many epics, these ideas might seem logical enough.
For the past seven seasons, Game of Thrones has followed the arc of Daenerys Targaryen, who was forced into exile on the continent of Essos as a child after her father was overthrown as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Her journey back to Westeros to retake the throne has involved the acquiring of three dragons and multiple armies, as well as a slow and chaotic effort to outlaw slavery in a handful of cities in Essos.
Those of humbler origin rarely hold positions of power, and even then they never rise beyond the status of adviser or soldier. Daenerys frees slaves; Jon lets his former enemies, the wildlings, through the ice wall he has been charged with defending. Daenerys came from a family that had for three centuries ruled over a slave-free kingdom. To their own familial traditions, both hold true. While the monarchical coating of many epic-fantasy works is partly a by-product of their medieval inspirations, there may be something more intrinsic to the trope.
Many fantasies follow the path of fable, with invented worlds created not to themselves be examples of good societies, but rather to house those examples. Readers can admire how a character like Jon rules without agreeing with the mechanisms through which he exercises power.
Creating representative government—creating a just society—is a complex process, not one that can be realized in a sudden genesis of utopia. But fantasy often is utopian. Chosen Ones battle implacable foes, and when a foe is defeated, worlds are made right and whole.