Zoltan Istvan interviews Rich Lee, http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/istvan20140708 (via grinderbot)
I would like this so very much.
Zoltan Istvan interviews Rich Lee, http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/istvan20140708 (via grinderbot)
I would like this so very much.
Khutulun: the Wrestler Princess (1260-1306)
So that was a hell of a first week for this site.
First, a small announcement: yes, I am working on an RP book. Don’t know when, don’t know how, but someday! Want to know more, sign up on this mailing list - no spam, I promise. (also I tweaked all the text throughout the entire signup process to be as amusing as possible)
Second: I had several mistakes in the writeups when I launched this — some big, some small. More details at the end of this post, but for now: go back and re-read Nzinga Mbande’s entry, please. Other ones were tweaked, expanded, qualified, but hers was outright corrected.
Now on to the newest Rejected Princess: Khutulun, Khan princess of 10,000 horses.
Quickly, a bit of background on the Khans’ Mongol Empire, in case you don’t know much - bottom line, it was a big deal. At its height, it was the largest contiguous empire in human history, stretching from China to Europe and the Middle East. The whole thing was started by Genghis Khan (maybe you’ve heard of him), who unified a number of nomadic tribes under a single banner. While he did bring many advances to the regions he conquered (religious tolerance, increased trade, meritocracy — all good things), you probably know him more for his reputation for brutality. Certainly he was known for it back in the day, too.
And it was not undeserved. Here’s an example: buddy once conquered a nation called the Khwarezmid Empire. Right after taking control, he decided to erase it from existence, burning towns to the ground and killing everyone in its government. He went so far as to divert a river through the deposed emperor’s birthplace, wiping it off the map. This sort of thing was what he was known for, and it was those warlike traits that he passed down to his descendants.
Khutulun was his great-great-granddaughter.
By 1260, the year Khutulun was born, the Mongol Empire was starting to fray at the seams, and civil war was imminent. Basically, some of the Khans — Khutulun’s father Kaidu among them — favored the old ways of riding, shooting, and other trappings of the nomadic lifestyle, while Kublai Khan — Kaidu’s uncle — was more into politics, governing well, and other things that no doubt bored the average Mongol to tears. Eventually Kaidu and Kublai began outright warring against each other, in a conflict that would last thirty years. Throughout this, Kaidu relied on one person above all others when it came to military expertise, and, spoiler alert, it was not any of his 14 sons — it was Khutulun.
So, Khutulun: as you could imagine, growing up with 14 brothers in an old-school nomadic Mongolian household, she had no shortage of testosterone around her at any given time. She grew up to be incredibly skilled with riding horses and shooting bows — Marco Polo, history’s greatest tourist, described her thusly:
"Sometimes she would quit her father’s side, and make a dash at the host of the enemy, and seize some man thereout, as deftly as a hawk pounces on a bird, and carry him to her father; and this she did many a time."
I mean, picture that. You’re up against a horde of Mongolian warriors riding into battle. You’re tracking the movements of this huge chunk of stolid soldiers, trying to read which way they’re going. Suddenly, one of them — a woman, no less — darts out from the group, picks off a random person in your group, and runs back, before you even know what’s happened. That’s intimidating as fuck.
But all of this paled in comparison next to her skill with wrestling.
The Mongols of Kaidu Khan’s clan valued physical ability above all things. They bet on matches constantly, and if you won, people thought you were literally gifted by the gods. Now, these weren’t your modern day matches, separated out by things like weight class and gender — anyone could and did wrestle anyone else, and they’d keep going until one of them hit the floor. This was the environment in which Khutulun competed. Against men. Of all shapes and sizes.
She was undefeated.
Now, okay, back up. How can we be sure of that? Well, according to Marco Polo (and this is corroborated by other historians of the time, including Rashid al-Din), papa Kaidu desperately wanted to see his daughter Khutulun married, but she refused to do so unless her potential suitor was able to beat her in wrestling. So she set up a standing offer, available to all comers: beat her and she’d marry you. Lose, and you give her 100 horses.
She ended up with 10,000 horses and no husband.
Now, in these sorts of texts, 10,000 is like saying “a million.” It’s shorthand for “so many I can’t count them all” — you may also remember that Mai Bhago also fought 10,000 Mughals at Khidrana. While 10,000 may have been hyperbolic, suffice to say, it was a truly ludicrous amount of horses, supposedly rivaling the size of the emperor’s herds.
She remained this stubborn about marriage even as she got older and pressure mounted on her to marry. Marco Polo tells of a time where a cockier-than-average suitor challenged her. This dude was so confident that he bet 1,000 horses instead of the usual hundred. Apparently he was a decent fella, too, because Kaidu and his wife really dug him. Khutulun’s parents approached her privately and begged her to just throw the match. Just lose intentionally, they said, so you can marry this totally decent guy.
She walked away from that match 1,000 horses richer.
Unfortunately, due to her stubborn refusal to take a husband, people began to talk. Rumors began to spread around the empire that she was having an incestuous affair with her father (these sorts of slanderous rumors, you may begin to note, are a recurrent problem for historical Rejected Princesses). Realizing the problems her refusal to marry was causing for her family, she did finally apparently settle down with someone — although who, exactly, is subject to some debate. Whoever it was never beat her at wrestling, though.
Near the end of his life, Kaidu attempted to install Khutulun as the next Khan leader, only to meet stiff resistance from others — particularly Khutulun’s many brothers. Instead, a rival named Duwa was appointed to be Great Khan, and Khutulun’s story here begins to slide into obscurity. Five years after Kaidu’s death, Khutulun died under unknown circumstances, at the age of forty-six. Afterwards, the Mongol Empire, particularly the more nomadic factions, began to crumble. Khutulun could be considered one of the last great nomadic warrior princesses.
After her death, she was forgotten for centuries. She only began her comeback to historical prominence starting in 1710 when a Frenchman named Francois Petis de La Croix, while putting together his biography of Genghis Khan, wrote a story based on Khutulun. This story was called Turandot (“Turkish Daughter”), but it was greatly changed from the facts of her life. In it, Turandot challenged her suitors with riddles instead of wrestling matches, and if they failed her challenge, they were killed.
Centuries later, in the early 1900s, the story of Turandot was turned into an Italian opera — except, getting even farther from Khutulun’s actual history, the opera became about a take-no-nonsense woman finally giving in to love. Ugh.
But while the West may have totally rewritten history with its recasting of Khutulun into Turandot, Mongolia continues to honor Khutulun’s actual story to this day. The traditional outfit worn by Mongolian wrestlers is conspicuously open-chest — the reason being to show that the wrestler is not a woman, in deference to the undefeated Khutulun.
- The scene is set at night as a reference to Khutulun’s Turkish name of Aijaruc (used by Marco Polo), meaning “moonlight”.
- She wears a silver medal around her neck — this is a gergee (also known as paiza), a medallion given by the Great Khan that signifies the power of the holder. It was usually reserved for men. Most women instead used seals to signifiy their status — Khutulun is the only woman ever mentioned as owning a gergee.
- Her outfit is not a wrestling outfit by any stretch, but Mongolian fashion is so bright, colorful, and interesting, that I wanted to show that off. The outfit I chose is mostly based off of a man’s outfit, but given that she had many masculine qualities, I thought that was okay. For alternate takes on how she might have looked, check out “additional information,” below.
- She was described by Marco Polo as being broad and powerfully-built. This obviously doesn’t square very well with the standard aesthetic of animated princesses, so I tried to meet in the middle on it. She’s noticeably broader than everyone else I’ve drawn, but she’s also angled in such a way that it’s a bit hard to tell.
- The idea for her pose was inspired by portraits of noblewomen sitting demurely with their hands in their laps.
- The background is filled with horses and yurts — the Mongols of Kaidu’s tribe almost certainly slept in yurts. Well, technically, the Mongolians called them gers (thanks theredfolio!), but I just love the word yurt (which is Russian, a group whom the Mongolians hated). I’m sorry, ancient Mongola. I can’t help saying it. Yurt. Yurt yurt yurt.
- Kaidu (seen in the background laughing his ass off) was actually a smaller, thinner man, supposedly with only 9 hairs on his entire head. That isn’t what I portrayed, but the point of him being in the image was to have him laugh, so I went for a more bowl-full-of-jelly kind of design instead.
- They are, of course, on the Mongolian steppe. The wrestling match described by Marco Polo actually happened in a palace, but I wanted to capture her nomadic nature. Also, moonlight.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- This article is probably the most in-depth overview of her life that I’ve found yet. It’s written by Jack Weatherford, who wrote an entire book on female Mongols.
- This short comic about her life (by the inimitable Molly Ostertag, whose webcomic Strong Female Protagonist just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign) is pretty great.
- The Book of Sir Marco Polo the Venetian: Concerning the Kingdoms (volume 2) - my primary source. Only talks about Khutulun for a few pages, but the whole thing is pretty great. Marco Polo is just a trip to read.
A handful of people wrote in to suggest her, but the first was my brother, so credit goes to him. He wants to remain anonymous, and I have seven brothers in all (a lot, but nowhere near Khutulun levels), so hopefully that should be a decent smokescreen.
BOOKKEEPING (I know, this entry is never ending)
Like I’d said earlier, I’ve made corrections to almost all of the entries since initially launching this last Wednesday. I highly recommend going back to read, at bare minimum, the entries for Nzinga, Fredegund, and Sita. Many thanks to those who wrote in with additional information.
A word specifically on Nzinga. No other way to put it, I fucked up her writeup. I knew a fair bit of the more outlandish claims should be treated as rumor, and thought I’d indicated as such on the page. It was not until it had been up for maybe 3 or 4 days that I realized the language didn’t indicate that at all. It took me that long because nobody wrote me about it — maybe you reblogged me, but I’m new to tumblr, and trying to keep up with stuff here is like drinking from a firehose. I found out about this by stumbling upon communities of people (understandably) angrily talking about it, and about me, which was a bummer. I fixed it once I realized that and am trying to get to the bottom of the historical source of those rumors for future edits to her entry. If you take one thing from this, it’s that, if you see inaccuracies, let me know. If you take another thing from it, it’s that history’s hard to get right. I cover a bit of this in an interview here.
This site was originally just some cute doodles I did for my friends about some stories I’d read about online and poked around with at the library. I put it on tumblr so my friends could share with their friends, and suddenly it’s on Huffington Post and I’m being held up to a professional standards. I’m doing my best to meet them (I hope that shows in the incredibly long post about Khutulun). However, I should have done better from the get-go.
From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for getting her entry wrong. I want this to be a place where people can trust the information portrayed, and get interested in history themselves. From here out, I’m going to try and provide sources wherever possible. I hope that you’ll forgive me this inaccuracy and keep reading in the future.
And as a gift for reading this far, here’s a daily affirmation.
Tune in next week for another princess. Here’s a hint: fight for Pedro!
I’ve posted about Khutulun before, and talked about her at the Once and Future Badass panel at WisCon! I think she would make an amazing princess for a movie…more about women of color in history here.
a little love story about mermaids and tattoos
The four Poe sisters and Link. From Saturday at Katsucon. It was an honour to shoot with these cosplayers because they were amazing, and their cosplays were fantastic. I hope you enjoy these photos
We had such an awesome time shooting this group! Costume designs were inspired by Algosky’s Poe Sisters fanart.
Some Gerudo screenshots.
For those who want an ingame referance of the 3ds version :).
I still want to bulk buy these and adonize batch pink.
And it would still get stuck in my hair…
now THIS is what I’m fucking talking about
EDIT: IT FUNCTIONS AS A FUCKING ORANGE PEELER, AND EVEN A LAMP IF YOU HAVE A STRING AND SOME OIL. SERIOUSLY???
JUST IN CASE YOU APPARENTLY NEED AN EMERGENCY ONE FOR RELIGIOUS SERVICES?
Buying these asap.
don’t worry, your english turned out fine, dude.
as a foreword of warning,
it is best that you don’t use this post as a standalone tutorial,
instead, try to use it as a study aid to help you make sense of real-life references.
(same applies for any decent “art tutorial” out there, really. :p)
bolded numbers correspond to the numbers on this post’s pictures.
Some of my stranger personal canon: I imagine that blue tektites (as seen in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask), are edible and taste sort of like crab :]
Having an anxiety disorder is like that moment where your chair almost tips or you miss a step going down the stairs but it never stops
THIS IS THE ONLY DESCRIPTION OF ANXIETY I HAVE EVER IDENTIFIED WITH
THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
BUT HOURS- SOMETIMES DAYS- LONG
feeling intimidated by people you want to be really good friends with
This is me:
I’m the girl who got headbutted. You might recall this incident from a few years back with either a feeling of support and the urge to high-five me, or an intense dislike because I’m mad feminist, hell-bent on making up stories to demonise men. If you are not familiar with the story, I will give you the short version; I saw a man attacking his girlfriend and I stepped in to stop him, resulting in him headbutting me after a lengthly confrontation where he threatened to have me killed. The man was prosecuted. I made a post about it on my personal blog which had about two hundred followers. The post gained a monumental amount of attention, but a couple of months later, someone decided to ‘prove’ that I had made all of it up. I was the centre of an online witch hunt for months. I was threatened, bullied, laughed at and shot down whenever I tried to offer a rebuttal. I wasn’t too bothered, because the man had been sent to prison and I stayed in contact with the young girl who was very grateful that I had stepped in. It didn’t matter to me that a few thousand people thought I had made it up; I knew the truth, the police knew the truth and my friends and family knew the truth. I stopped using my blog and ignored all the mad comments.
But it continued. It snowballed dramatically. Before I go on, I can assure you that this happened. I promise. You can Google my name, Laurie Malyon, and you are one click away from finding numerous articles very clearly stating my attacker’s sentencing.
I’ve put up with comments and threats for almost two years now, and whilst everyone around me tells me to ignore it I can no longer sit back and watch people slander me on the Internet. I realise that I am utterly powerless in changing the opinions of 500, 000 people who are too lazy to spend five seconds doing some research on Google, but I’m going to give it one last go before I stop talking about this godforsaken controversy forever.
I did a good thing. I am proud to say that. I stepped in when many others would not have. It’s very easy to see something like that and pray that someone else stops it so you can remain a bystander, but there was no one else around to stop it when I saw it and I’ll be fucked if I’m ever going to sit by and watch somebody be harmed intentionally at the hands of someone else. I am still in contact with the girl. I see her perhaps once every two months, and she still thanks me every time she sees me. I helped her out of a situation that everyone was too scared to help me out of when I was her age. I stepped the fuck up.
The comments I have received about the situation make me very, very upset. I am a human with real feelings and I can read everything that people write. I’m put to shame on feminism blogs that read the ‘debunking’ post and didn’t think to research it. They say that I’m giving feminism a bad name by lying. They say that I’m an attention whore. They say that I’m an idiot for claiming to have stepped into a domestic situation because that can often make it worse. They ask if I’ve ever even heard of a domestic situation. They tell me I deserve to be in a domestic situation for lying. They say that I’m ugly. They say the amount of makeup I wear in my photos is silly and I look like a slag. Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that absolutely negating the entire point of feminism? As a well educated and practising feminist, it is not the comments from men saying that they’ll ‘give me a real black eye’ that upset me, it’s the comments that are hateful and shaming from my fellow sisters.
A lot of people speculate (because I’m a loony feminist) whether or not I’d have stepped in if it were a woman beating a man. Of course I would have. Violence is violence and I completely agree that anyone attacking anyone should be stopped. Twisting it into this and challenging me on it creates even more diversion from the real issue. Why the hell are people trying to pick so many holes in my story? Was it really that difficult to believe that I was a normal girl, on her way to work, who simply stepped in when I saw someone in need? Why have I been questioned and scrutinised for two years? Surely the anger shouldn’t have been directed at me for posting about it, but towards the man who succeeded in assaulting two young women, entirely unprovoked?
I am not taking it any more. I am not remaining silent whilst people call me names and post about how I deserve to die. I am sick to the back teeth of being branded a ‘whore’ by feminists who aren’t really feminists if they’re using a word associated with slut shaming when nothing about my story even mentions anything sexual. I am fed up with being told by men that they’d rape me then give me a black eye with their dicks and how no one would believe me if I tried to get them arrested because I’m that mad man-hating feminist who lied about being headbutted.
I’m trying to undo all the unfair comments with this post. I’m speaking out to the 3.6 million of you who have read about the situation, whether I was portrayed as a do-gooder or a liar. I am asking you to share this so that I can attempt to clear my name. I understand that the post has spread like wildfire throughout the Internet in it’s entirety and that it’s unlikely I will get any kind of redemption from this, but even if this makes 100 people believe me I’ll feel a little happier about the whole situation.
I’d like to thank the masses of you who believed me and who have offered me your kindness and support from the start, and I’d also like to mention that the chap who ‘debunked’ my original post is on my side. He deleted his blog and apologised to me over a year ago. We went out for a burger to talk it over. We cool.
It’s actually a legit rambling of headcanon-ish-ness, despite the impression of my doodling above…
Basically, I like to think that Ganondorf’s hatred (and attempted genocide of) the Gorons is personal, and that he and Darunia are quite familiar with, and opposed to, each other.
All the way back to their childhoods, in fact, where dislike came about for petty childlike things that would grow into adult prejudice and active spite.
I love thinking about the history they could have together.
Now, both being the ‘royalty’ of tribes within Hyrule, I figure both of them probably ran across one another at the castle, as both would likely have been required to present themselves to the Hyrulian King. Generally, I figure they both made their first trek to the castle at a young age, dragged out by their guardians/parentals/current leaders of their respective tribes.
So a young Ganondorf with some sisters in tow, and a young Darunia with presumably his father/predecessor standing by, would have crossed paths at some stage. Royal events, yadda yadda.
Now the Gorons and the Gerudo have interesting counterpoints as it stands.
One, an all female race of desert dwellers doing it tough, masters of archery and skilled warriors with a blade, as well as known thieves. Also likely stonemasons, if the Gerudo symbol scattered around Hyrule on giant slabs in game was any hint.
The other, a mountain dwelling male dominated tribe of sumo wrestlers, who eat rocks—including gems and presumably metals as well—who are known for explosives and blacksmithing. It’s fair to say the Gorons were miners, as well.
Now just off that alone, I’d say the two tribes never really got along all that well to begin with. Both seem to be belligerent and headstrong races, very independent, and with obviously clashing social structure/ideals.
During Ocarina of Time, as well, the reaction to the Gerudo mask by Gorons isn’t favourable at ALL. Darunia himself flat out says he HATES them, and granted, that is after Ganondorf pulled the ‘starve them to death’ card, but that still doesn’t explain why he hates all gerudo and not specifically (in reaction to the mask) make a hateful comment about Ganondorf himself.
The Gerudo don’t seem fond of Gorons either. Realistically, given the Goron basically think nothing more of most jewellery than a snack, I’m sure thieves would steer well clear of them just on that principal alone—the way the Gerudo prize their gems is probably a massive source of friction too, spiritually speaking. It’s entirely possible that the very symbolism of a Goron eating gems like topaz may even be considered blasphemous in their culture.
Couple that together with what we learn in Skyward sword about the desert having been mined, and then the fact that by Ocarina days, the Gorons are notably the only race who seem to be miners of any sort… Chances are, before the unification, the Gorons may have even had a hand in pilfering some of the desert’s buried goods, or trying to.
And I’ll bet they went tooth and nail during the war.
But back on track, a young Ganondorf and Darunia invariably knew each other, and I generally think they’re about the same age.
I wonder if perhaps Darunia, from his patriarchal tribe, viewed Ganondorf’s no doubt androgynous dress sense and general appearance as overtly feminine and mock worthy, or otherwise also tried to impress specifically masculine traits on the other? Darunia, boisterous and unyielding in his opinions, might have even been the first person to openly question Ganondorf’s masculinity, or worth as a male, in a deriding or doubtful fashion.
Likewise, I think Ganondorf would have been quite snide with Gorons. They aren’t exactly known for their wit, and as a young Prince among thieves, I’m sure Ganondorf was far better studied and more than likely a witty little brat who jumped at the chance to outsmart and humiliate the Goron’s next Patriarch. Especially considering I actually headcanon that Darunia—and most Gorons—are illiterate and can’t read very well, which is why they pass down stories and knowledge orally.
I think a petty little rivalry between them, whenever the two stayed at the castle at the same time, set the ball rolling on their hate. Little tests to prove they were above the other, or better at something, striving to claim themselves and their people superior.
Sumo matches in the courtyard before supper. Their people’s achievements spouted with growing exaggeration in order to seem the more impressive.
Ganondorf can light a magical flame in his hand, can you do that, claybrain? Darunia can bite a rock in two, ha, chip one of your precious teeth did you, ‘princess’?
You’re a liar and a thief. You’re an idiot rolling down hills.
And then the line is overstepped as they get a little older, and they each cross it happily, going from boyish rivalry to early teens with a grudge.
Turns out Darunia likes Topaz as well, and decides one day to take a chunk out of Ganondorf’s head piece.
Ganondorf sets of some ‘special crop’ in a castle wing and frames Darunia for it.
Gorons severely limit trade with Gerudo, and ban the selling of their weaponry to the West without authorisation.
The Gerudo cut the bridge and begin to hoard their sand and terracotta clay, charging premiums to the Gorons for continued supply.
Ganondorf comes asking after the Spiritual stone of fire, as a King, and has not come for the stone but an excuse to act against his old foe.
Darunia formally tells him to fuck off, as a Patriarch, and cuts the last of the ties with the West for good measure.
Ganondorf cuts off their food supply, smug that someone other than the Gerudo will know what it is to suffer starvation.
Darunia is the first to resist the King of Evil’s reign, and for the first time, flounders to respond in their bitter feud. Thanks to all those tales they used to trade, brazenly boasting their tribe’s legends, Ganondorf has just the thing in mind to silence Darunia once and for all and prove who is superior.
Jokes on him when Darunia turns out to be a sage, so I guess it all ends in a draw anyway, but this is how I like to picture things between them.
I just love the idea of them having been little shit kids that just wanted to rip each other’s eyes out, as well.
All of this is so interesting! But the most painful arrow in it is
Darunia literally couldn’t understand Ganondorf’s problems on any level. They don’t suffer any of the misogyny from Hylian standards that the Gerudo do. They don’t need Hylian or human men (when there’s no king) to ensure the survival of their people; they probably reproduce asexually and then adopt each other. They don’t need human-made goods to live; they largely don’t wear ornaments or clothes. They eat rocks, they practically cannot be hungry as long as they can dig into the right hole in the ground.
and in his anger (and it wasn’t right, it was cruel, but perhaps with context we can see his frustration and rage) Ganondorf shared his one reality that might make Darunia understand. How to starve.
At some point in his magnificent, all-encompassing career, Leonardo Da Vinci drew a whole page of cats.