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Jan / Feb 2015


BLACKBEARD The Real Pirate




AS YOU WISH The Princess Bride


ONE FOR ALL The Three Musketeers






FOP & THE FOOL The Scarlet Pimpernel




Produced by Charity‟s Place. No copyright infringement intended. All written content is original and nothing may be reproduced without consent. Disclaimer: the opinions of the individual writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Charity‟s Place or Femnista, and the entertainment mentioned is not always appropriate viewing for all ages.

I love a good swordfight. It‟s like dancing, but deadlier. I love the swordfight in 1983 The Scarlet Pimpernel, where it is less life threatening and more played for laughs, as Sir Percy divests Chauvelan of his coat and all his buttons. When my sister introduced me to The Princess Bride, I was in heaven. Its swordfights were epic! Nothing, I thought, could top this… until The Mask of Zorro. At one point, Alejandro has a sword in either hand and fights two villains at once, their moves perfectly synchronized. I made dying whale noises. Then Pirates of the Caribbean came out, with its many sword duels. Between swash and buckle, I got hooked and have been a fan of that franchise ever since. I enjoy a good yarn, with damsels in distress (now, more of them take up a sword and teach the men a thing or two!), and with that oh-so-elegant way to die.

Swordfights can be found in many cinematic tales, but most often in “swashbucklers,” films devoted to telling a daring story of adventure and romance. The sad truth is, there are not many of them in modern times. The old-fashioned swashbuckler has gone away, replaced by bigscreen sci-fi productions and fantasy films. In olden days of yore, they were the big box office money-makers, when Basil Rathbone (an expert swordsman, which makes his sped-up duel in the old black and white Zorro film all the funnier) or Errol Flynn were household names. Even so, the adventure, romance, and the history behind swashbucklers remains near and dear to many hearts. Here, we highlight some of the more famous (and non) swashbucklers, in the hope that you will plunder and pillage your way to a new favorite … or rediscover an old classic. Enjoy! ♥

By Carol Starkey

Blackbeard. The very name struck fear into the heart of any who heard it. Little is known of his past, even his name, though most authorities agree it was some form of Edward Teach. Blackbeard got his name from his wild black beard. He tied black ribbons in it, and wore smoking matches in his hair under his hat. Years later, his name still holds the terror he cultivated and he is still known as the Spawn of the Devil. He built up his reign of terror, though he didn‟t kill as many people as legend would have us believe. Usually, if no one fought him when he arrived to take over their ship, he‟d take their cargo and ship, but let them go free, often marooned on a desert island. The only people he wouldn‟t tolerate on board were women; he‟d strangle them, then toss their bodies overboard. He deserved his reputation, and no one was safe from his quick temper or tempestuous ways. Once, he had his men hold lit pots of brimstone and he and they went below deck to see who could last the longest through their own creation of hell. One by one, each pirate begged to go above until only Blackbeard was left. Another time, he, the gunner, and another pirate were drinking. Blackbeard cocked his pistols and the other pirate quickly left the room. Blackbeard

snuffed the candle, then fired both pistols. A slug ripped through his gunner‟s leg, crippling the man for life. Blackbeard claimed that if he didn‟t kill one of his men occasionally, they‟d forget who he was. Blackbeard started as a sailor under the tutelage of Benjamin Hornigold. Hornigold, a rarity among pirates, was a fair man, and eventually turned himself in for a pardon. Blackbeard wanted no part in that, and continued pillaging and pirating, enjoying the easy piracy of the Carolinas and the West Indies. Eventually, Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the HMS Pearl decided to take matters into his own hands. If the colonies wouldn‟t stop piracy, Maynard would. He found Blackbeard‟s ship in the Ocracoke Inlet of North Carolina, living with his fourteenth wife, a sixteen-year-

old girl. Instead of preparing for battle, Blackbeard and his pirates had spent the night drinking, but the next day, they almost won anyway. Near the end of the battle, Maynard stood within point-blank range, but Blackbeard missed. Maynard shot back, wounding the pirate. Blackbeard fought back with his cutlass, howling through the pain. They fought until Maynard‟s sword broke at the hilt. Just as Blackbeard went in for the kill, another soldier darted forward and slashed his neck. Still he refused to give up. Not until the other soldiers stabbed him with their swords repeatedly did he die. Maynard cut off Blackbeard‟s head and hung it on his ship as proof that the fearsome pirate was dead. He will, however, live on in infamy forever. ♥ Carol Starkley has a husband, three daughters and live-in motherin-law, three cats, five fish, and a hamster. She’s a Christian Blogger. 3


here's only one fictional character that I've loved equally as a child and an adult. Robin Hood first captured my imagination as a lovable fox in the animated Disney film, and I very nearly wore out our local library's VHS copy before it earned a well-deserved rest when I discovered The Adventures of Robin Hood staring Errol Flynn. Since then, I've read at least eight different retellings of the Robin Hood legend, with plenty more on my reading list. The number of film and TV versions is so large that Wikipedia's list of “notable adaptations” is 60some titles long, and I've seen several of them. Robin has been portrayed in a huge variety of ways—as a moody rebel, an almost spiritual figure, a minor character in someone else's story, a noble outlaw, a political hero, a figurehead for outlaws actually led by Maid Marion, etc. Of all these different views of Robin, though, my favorite is him as a laughing swashbuckler.

If you Google “swashbuckler,” the first definition that comes up describes someone who engages “in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or

flamboyance.” In Howard Pyle's book The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and in the 1938 film staring Errol Flynn, this describes Robin Hood perfectly. He can be serious when it matters, but far more often he is a dashing rogue with a ready laugh. Robin is an expert archer, and fairly adept at fighting with the sword

or quarterstaff as well, but he doesn't let that go to his head. When he's bested by someone, he invites them to join him instead of turning them into an enemy. Little John and Robin's meeting and subsequent quarterstaff battle on the bridge is probably the most well-known example, but the one I like best is the tale Pyle tells of Robin's meeting with Will Scarlet. Will is introduced when Robin Hood, Little John, and Arthur-a-Bland set off in search of adventure. Looking down the path, they spot a tall young man dressed in scarlet clothing and wearing a fine sword. He walks at a leisurely amble, twirling a rose between his fingers and stopping every few moments to sniff the bloom. Robin swiftly dubs him an unimpressive “mincing fellow” and challenges him to hand over his purse. The stranger tries to talk Robin out of it, but when Robin insists upon robbing him, the stranger sighs and reluctantly draws his

By Marissa Baker

sword. In a voice full of pity, he says, “It doth grieve me that I must slay thee, thou poor fellow.” Robin, ever a noble combatant, warns that his oak staff will snap the stranger‟s sword and points out a nearby thicket where the stranger can cut his own staff. The stranger politely thanks Robin and tosses the rose away as he walks towards the ticket. Rolling up his sleeves, he grasps a young tree and pulls it straight up out of the ground as easily as if plucking a daisy.

I always laugh as the tree‟s roots snap, visualizing the shocked expressions on Arthur and Little John‟s faces. The stranger calmly trims the clinging roots and branches with his sword until he has a staff equal to Robin Hood‟s. After a “stout” fight, the stranger vanquishes Robin. Things are tense for only a moment before the stranger reveals that he is Will Gamwell,

welcomes him into the outlaw band. For him, winning and losing is part of the adventure.

who accidentally killed his father‟s steward and is fleeing to join the outlaw band of his uncle, Robin Hood. Upon discovering they are kinsmen, Robin forgets his irritation at losing, gives Will a big hug, and

that are simply entertaining without any substance don't hold our collective imaginations for as long as Robin Hood legends have endured. When Robin Hood turns serious, we realize that he

I like swashbuckling versions of Robin Hood because it is so much fun to spend time with him. When I'm re-reading Pyle's version or re-watching the Errol Flynn film, I feel like I'm along on an adventure with an old friend. It's not all fun and laughter, though. Stories

doesn't just run around the country robbing from the rich and giving to the poor because the adventure amuses him, although that does play a role. He is also doing this because he thinks it is right. Robin's laughter hides a deeply thoughtful man. In his familiar setting under the rule of Prince John with the Sheriff of Nottingham as his enemy, Robin is the man who questions his rulers' right to treat the people unjustly even though they always stay inside the law. When Robin realizes the system is corrupt, he steps outside of the law to correct the wrongs he witnesses. We love him for the very reasons that make him an outlaw, and we love him even more because he fights evil without being worn down by it. He doesn't become bitter, he refuses to fight injustice with injustice, and he never stops smiling. He makes us feel like we, too, can oppose evil while still keeping laughter in our hearts. ♥

Marissa Baker is a freelance writer, blogger and full-time nerd. Her work has appeared on several websites, but her favorite place to write is on her blog where she shares thoughts on everything from psychology to yurts to Christianity. She lives in Ohio, and holds a Bachelor's degree in English. When not writing, she loves baking cheesecakes, reading books, belting out Broadway show tunes, and obsessing over her nerdy interests. These include Doctor Who, Star Trek, and 18th- and 19th-Century literature.


nce upon a time, a fat little book was published containing some of the most absurd situations and characters any eager-eyed child had ever cracked open a large tome to discover. A tale of derring-do, devious villains, kind-hearted giants, amiable swordsmen, diabolical pirates, and “twue wuv,” The Princess Bride inspired a cult following that is still alive and kicking more than thirty years later. In fact, it has forever tainted the association of “Buttercup.” I was a fair young thing with a golden head of hair and a big

imagination when my older sister plunked her VHS into our machine and announced that it was high time we meet her “favorite movie.” To this day, I am not certain what made it her favorite, although the fact that her coworkers called her “Buttercup” might have helped (her being a blue-eyed, longhaired blonde beauty). Either way, I was captivated, along with anyone who has ever seen The Princess Bride (… well, maybe not everyone; some people have no soul). So much so that I begged to watch it again … and again… and … I was a kid. You get the point.

Then, I read the book, which was even more delightfully ridiculous … containing a far more insipid Buttercup, lots more complexities and little nuances in the “Pit of Despair,” and a great deal of nonsense. I suppose it is the satirical nature of the story that makes it so endearing; it sets out to be an intentionally stupid story, and it succeeds. It has all the tropes which it then toys with to extremes -- instead of just a dull heroine, we have a dullard heroine; and a young man who is courageous and loves enough to withstand torture and the sucking out of his soul; there

By Charity Bishop

are elements of peril, a suicide attempt by a bereaved, angstridden heroine, a desire for revenge against someone who killed a man‟s father, and … the typical happy ending. But lest you think it‟s a “kissing book,” it‟s not. It has torture, giant rodents, and … Columbo. Okay, Peter Faulk, but he‟s wearing the same wrinkled outfit. It‟s a sassy, silly story that knows not to take itself seriously. Lest you be one of the few poor souls who has never sat through this two hour yarn, allow me to enlighten you as to the basic elements of the plot:

dum-dum (Buttercup) loves pretty boy (Wesley), but he has no money so he goes off to make his fortune and dies in a pirate raid. Or so she thinks. Years later, when she‟s manic depressive and about to marry a hoity-toity prince who has much more diabolical plans for her than motherhood, an oddly protective pirate turns up to rescue her from the clutches of an idiotic genius, a pun-loving giant, and an itchy Spaniard who doesn‟t do small talk and gets right to the point: show me your hand, and if there’s six fingers on it, you’re a dead man.

Fire swamps, torture sessions, giant rats, malicious albinos, and sinking sand later, it‟s all the way it‟s supposed to be, with “twue wuv” winning the day and… okay, so it ends up a kissing book. Just the way we like it. ♥

Charity Bishop is an editor. She spends her free time writing novels and movie reviews, blogging, and MBTI typing fictional characters on tumblr.

By Rachel Sexton


rom almost the beginning of its history, cinema has put action onto the screen. Thrilling adventure has been part of the landscape of entertainment nearly from the inception of moving images. Similarly, classic works of literature provided material for the earliest film productions. Of course, these two things often coincide. The term action implies a sense of motion, such as in various forms of hand to hand combat, which can easily suit the visual nature of the cinema more naturally than the printed page. When we think of the term “swashbuckler” as moviegoers, in fact, a certain type of hand to hand combat comes to mind— fencing. Swords must be crossed and clanged for a movie or television show to be called a swashbuckler. As a classic novel that features a lot of action in the form of fencing, The Three Musketeers definitely qualifies for the term, and it may very well be one of the earliest

swashbucklers. The Three Musketeers is a story adapted for the screen many times, but themes of teamwork and friendship remain the one common thread of every version of the tale. French writer Alexandre Dumas wrote it in serial form for the newspaper Le Siecle in 1844. Set in the 17th Century, the novel tells the story of D‟Artagnan, a young but poor nobleman who leaves Gascony to travel to Paris to become a Musketeer—one of the King‟s guards. He meets three men who are already Musketeers— Athos, Porthos, and Aramis— and ends up facing a duel with each of them. The guards of Cardinal Richelieu arrive to arrest them for illegal dueling, however, and the four win the fight. D‟Artagnan thus gains three friends and entrance into a regiment that will eventually lead to his becoming a Musketeer. Soon, the fact that Richelieu is a power hungry war-monger is revealed, and the Musketeers and D‟Artagnan must stop the Cardinal and his

lead henchman, Rochfort, and his agent, Milady de Winter, who turns out to be Athos‟ exwife. Their success results in D‟Artagnan becoming a fullfledged Musketeer. These characters would appear again in Dumas‟ Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. (The concluding section of this last novel is more commonly known as The Man in the Iron Mask.) The entertainment value of The Three Musketeers has a timeless appeal that has resulted in various film and television versions but there is one adaptation from each medium that proves the endurance of this story. Walt Disney Studios released a film version in 1993, directed by Stephen Herek and starring Chris O‟Donnell as D‟Artagnan, Kiefer Sutherland as Athos, Charlie Sheen as Aramis, and Oliver Platt as Porthos. Tim Curry is Cardinal Richelieu and Rebecca de Mornay is Milady.


This adaptation is faithful in terms of setting, location, and production values, but the dialogue has a modern and humorous feel, and none of the actors even attempts an accent. As a viewer, you barely notice this as you‟re caught up in the plot‟s intrigues and the action. The heroes have an engaging camaraderie and they clearly enjoy playing the comedy of the script as actors. All adaptations portray the Musketeers as more heroic than in the original novel but this version alters the tale in other ways as well. The royal couple the Musketeers protect, King Louis XVIII and Queen Anne (Hugh O‟Conor

and Gabrielle Anwar), are in love but haven‟t admitted it yet; in the novel their interaction is no love match. The love interest for D‟Artagnan (Julie Delpy) is not married in this film though the character is in the novel. Also, the Duke of Buckingham is only mentioned here while playing an important part in the novel. And did I mention the humor? Funny lines abound in this adaptation; they are memorable, enjoyable, and sometimes quite clever. Audiences have been treated to the most recent adaptation of The Three Musketeers on television. Airing on BBC One

in England beginning in January of 2014, and later on BBC America in the United States, The Musketeers expands the story around the four characters we‟re all familiar with. The British cast includes Luke Pasqualino as D‟Artagnan, Tom Burke as Athos, Santiago Cabrera as Aramis, and Howard Charles as Porthos. Peter Capaldi also stars as Richelieu. While this adaptation is authentic to the time period, it is much more of a procedural, with the Musketeers acting almost as law enforcement for the crown of France while overarching plots faithful to the novel take

place as well. Other ways this version is similar to the novel is that Constance is married, and the commander of the Musketeers from the novel, de Treville, is a regular character. Over the course of different cases and the progression of the storylines familiar from the novel, the action and group dynamic the viewer expects from the Musketeers is well established. A second season has just begun in the UK and will soon follow in America. Of course, these aren‟t the only two adaptations of The Three Musketeers to be found in film or television. IMDB lists

versions as early as the silent era, the „30s featured film versions, and there was one in the „70s starring Michael York. In 2011, a version starring Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, and Ray Stevenson was released. It had a definite steampunk style to its visuals and was presented in 3D. The rest of the Musketeer story has a presence on cinema screens as well. The Man in the Iron Mask has had several film versions, most recently in 1998 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Louis XIV and Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons,

and Gerard Depardieu as D‟Artagnan and the other Musketeers. With staying power like this, it is inevitable that the friendship and teamwork wrapped up in action and adventure that can be found in The Three Musketeers will find its way on screen again someday in the future. That leaves just one question: shouldn‟t Musketeers be associated less with swords and more with the weapon that gives them their name? But then, it wouldn‟t be a swashbuckler! ♥

Rachel Sexton is from Ohio and has a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Arts. She loves her parents and her dog Lily. But what you really need to know is that she has to have acting, film, reading, and dance in her life and her favorite fandoms are Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jane Austen, and Once Upon a Time. Plus, she is most described as quiet and her biggest vice is cupcakes. Her main hobby is editing fan videos.


By Rachel Kovaciny


orro! The name evokes a bold image, doesn't it? The swirl of a black cape, the slash of a sword. A jaunty mask concealing a hero's identity, but not his glee at besting another adversary. Zorro doesn't just defend the downtrodden from their cruel oppressors because it's right, he champions them because he enjoys it. He's a bit of a puzzle, that Zorro. He's actually a wealthy Spanish aristocrat, Diego de la Vega, who probably has enough money that he could pay to make life carefree for everyone around him. Instead, he dons a disguise, rides a mighty black horse around his neighborhood and carves Zs at the scenes of his triumphs. Why? Because it's more exciting to do that than to simply buy peace, I suppose. When I was a kid, I thought Zorro was a legend, much like Robin Hood. Based on some kind of historical character, maybe. A folk hero raised to the kind of iconic status that earns you movies and books based on your life. But the truth is, he's an entirely fictional character, made up by an Illinois native

writing for pulp magazines in New York City not quite a hundred years ago. Johnston McCulley wrote the first Zorro story, The Curse of Capistrano, as a serial adventure that got published in 1919. Zorro was obviously an amalgamation of Robin Hood and the Scarlet Pimpernel that McCulley plopped down in old Spanish-controlled California. He had a charm and flair all his own, and readers responded enthusiastically. A year later, Douglas Fairbanks donned mask and sword belt for the first Zorro movie, The Mark of Zorro. Nearly a dozen more Hollywood Zorro films have followed over the years, not to mention TV shows and foreign films, plus countless books, several written by McCulley. Both Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox are said to be planning new Zorro movies. Last year, Benedict Cumberbatch even donned that

famous black ensemble for a short New York Times Magazine film with Reese Witherspoon. This year, a Zorro musical is slated for Broadway. What is it about this rich guy who pretends to be a milksoppy fop and engages in clandestine daredevilry that captures our imaginations? Why did I, as a girl, pore over a storybook retelling of Zorro's story that featured Disney's version, Guy Williams? Why did I, as a college student, decorate my dorm room walls all four years with a poster for the Antonio Banderas retelling, The Mask of Zorro? Why do I now, as a thirty-something wife and 15


mom, revel in listening to the Val Kilmer audio adaptation of the original story? Is it the vicarious thrill I get from Zorro's swashbuckling adventures? The joy I take in seeing wrongs righted, mean people punished, innocent suffering avenged? The tingle of being in on the secret of Zorro's identity while his enemies are fooled so utterly by his simple black mask? For me, it's all of those things. I'd like to imagine that, were I wealthy, accomplished at swordplay, and set down in a world of stark and brutal injustices, I would behave exactly as Diego de la Vega does. I would disguise myself and set about fixing all

the world's problems with my sword and my smile. And maybe that's the key to the question of Zorro's enduring popularity: that smile. There are other swashbuckling heroes with dazzling swordfighting skills. Think of the Dread Pirate Roberts! Inigo Montoya! Captain Jack Sparrow! Will Turner! D'Artagnan! Athos! Porthos! Aramis! All a joy to watch wield a blade. And all of them rather serious about what they're fighting for. But Zorro— he laughs, he quips, he delights in his escapades. Oh he can be serious when the need arises. One does not laugh about suffering or injustice. But Zorro gets a jolt of happiness from his

mission to save the hopeless, and I think that happiness passes on to us, the audience. I don't know if you prefer your Zorro silent, ala Douglas Fairbanks; suave, ala Tyrone Power; or smoldering ala Antonio Banderas. I don't know if you prefer a more arcane flavor, like Duncan Regehr or Frank Langella or Alain Delon. I don't know if you've never watched or read anything concerning Zorro before in your life. But I am quite sure that, whenever you do encounter Zorro, be it for the first or the five hundredth time, both you and he will be smiling before long. ♼

When she's not writing, Rachel Kovaciny passes the time by reading, baking, watching movies, crocheting, blogging, and homeschooling her three children. Her least favorite activities are housecleaning and wearing shoes, and she's been known to go to great lengths to avoid both. She blogs about books, and also has a personal blog that talks about movies and other important things.

By Caitlin Horton


nce upon a time there was a boy who went to sea. His name was Håkon Håkonsen and he was from Norway, the land of majestic fjords, deep forests, and ancient charm. He went to sea, for who knows why, but being a good boy, he quickly worked his way up in the ranks to become a valuable sailor. He returned home several times, obtaining a lease for a farm and marrying the sweetest girl there could ever be. They had three children together, a boy and two girls, and nothing it seemed would ever part their happiness… until he was wounded in an accident and could no longer work the rigging of a ship. This meant he could no longer make payments on his farm and he risked losing it all. But this is not the Håkon of our story. That would be his son, nearing his early teenage years, brave and understanding of matters that shouldn‟t worry children and willing to be all for his family. Håkon Håkonsen decides to accept a commission to become cabin boy on the ship his father used to sail with for two years; he

will earn enough in that time to make payment on the farm so his father, mother, and sisters can live. So once upon a time yet again, there was a boy named Håkon who went to sea. He was not completely alone. His father‟s sailor friend Jens is on the ship, as are all the old Norwegian mates and a kindly Captain. They will sail for exotic ports for trading purposes, first stopping in England to pick up a very important man, an unknown first mate, who will keep them safe from pirates. Håkon learns the ways of the sea quickly, from how to tie a proper knot to how to coil the rope for storage. He learns to laugh when pranks are played on him, learns the proper chain of command on ship, and is every inch the cabin boy he ought to be. But there are some things Håkon doesn‟t understand, like stowed weapons being concealed in a crate marked glass, what to do with a stowaway Australian girl named Mary, why the old Captain died so suddenly, why the new Captain, who was the British first mate picked up in England, is so cruel at times, and what to do when a storm whips up and one is

shipwrecked. It is that feeling of being adrift, so far from home with no-one to help you, marooned on an island with no means of escape that brings the plight of young Håkon to heart. Håkon is not one to give up, even though his island falls under the “law” of well known pirate John Merrick, who uses it to stash his treasure. This is no Treasure Island with Ben Gunn to help, no; Håkon must use the wreckage of the ship and what wits he has to prevent a possible pirate incursion. He cannot remain adrift in his life; he must continue with purpose and survive, and all that he does seems to echo the Psalm 139:9-10: “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the

uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Håkon is not alone in his fight to survive. This message may be why the 1990 Disney film Shipwrecked, known as Haakon Haakonsen in Norway, was one of my favorites growing up. There were no Pirates of the Caribbean swash-swash-buckle -buckle, only the two versions of Treasure Island I knew, the awesome one from 1990 and Muppet Treasure Island, a couple of episodes of Gilligan’s Island, and Shipwrecked. I liked it because it was not about a person shipwrecking their life and never rescuing it, but about someone who answered the 19

challenge of being shipwrecked in life with dignity and ingenuity and was determined to come back from it. That was pretty deep thinking for a 5 year old, which is probably the age I was when I first saw it. It had daring in it, with pirates, cutlasses, and stolen gems, honesty in the form of Håkon‟s family and Norwegian shipmates, and an ancestral connection that I had no idea about at the time but I have since come to appreciate and cultivate as an adult.

Twenty years later I found myself watching it again with as much glee and wonder as when I was a child, wanting Håkon to win, wanting his journey to give him purpose and reunite him with his family. And having the dashing Gabriel Byrne in it, sporting awesome looking sideburns, was always a plus. Even as a kid I appreciated seagoing flair and felt he had just the right amount of chops and even sported the now common guyliner! But I felt even stronger affinity with Stian Smestad‟s Håkon, a

scrawny blond haired boy that was doubted at first by the old Captain because he looked too puny for the job. But as real life stories often tell us, alongside their fictional versions, it‟s not in how one appears on the outside, it‟s what‟s inside their heart, mind, and soul that counts. Håkon proves that despite appearances, muscle is not everything; size does not make up for intelligence, and being shipwrecked does not make you adrift as a person. ♥

Caitlin Horton is a 20-something reader, seamstress, and history buff. She lives a life blessed in the knowledge that she is God's child, and her life has a purpose within the scope of His plan. She encourages her readers to remember, every day can be like Bilbo's "adventure" if you’re willing to take the "ordinary" and add some "extra" in front of it! She blogs about her crafts, and runs a Steampunk Emporium with her family.

By Charity Bishop


he Scarlet Pimpernel is a dashing adventure of secret identities, romance, and swashbuckling action. If you dig deeper and wear a theologian‟s hat (on this occasion, plumed, as any self-respecting hat should be), the discerning Christian viewer can find subtle things to inspire us in our faith.

like Percy‟s journey to revealing his true self—at times, we‟re so deep in the charade that we believe it ourselves; but as our faith matures, cracks appear in our farce and glimpses of our future selves emerge, momentary flickers for others to catch sight

The flamboyant, petty life Percy leads in London is a far cry from the reality. He appears to be obsessed with the things of the world, but his true interest is in loftier things. He wears a façade and plays a part as a fop and a fool to conceal his real identity. The real Percy— heroic, courageous, kind — is nothing like the external shell of shallow conceit. It takes time and suffering for the real Percy to emerge, and for his wife to know him utterly. The man she wed is but a dim reflection of the man he is underneath. We are all mere reflections of our true selves—perfect, sinless, immortal beings not preoccupied with worldly things but focused on loftier things. Our façade is real until Christ enters our life; then it falls away as He pushes us to abandon our fascination with pettiness and focus on eternity. The spiritual stages of our life are

of, as Marguerite does with Percy (“Are you an actor too, playing a part in some strange charade?”). The apostle Paul sums up our charade thus: “We don‟t yet see things clearly. We‟re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. It won‟t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We‟ll see it all then, see it all as

clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” (1 Corinthians 13:12, The Message ) God comprehends us utterly; He sees past what sin does to us, to our soul, to the person we would be in a sinless state. He sees us not only as we are but as He intends us to be in eternity. He looks past our external behavior into our heart, and wants to bring that true self to life. It‟s a painful process, to learn to trust Him. Like Percy, we try to hide from God‟s gaze, fearing we can‟t trust Him with our secrets, but as He removes our masks and forces us to see our reflection, we step away from deceit into the light. Percy endures public scorn to save lives. He believes his cause is greater than the individual (and himself) and is willing to endure mockery and even death to preserve it. Our purpose is no different from his, to save lives. He saves them physically, while we point them toward spiritual salvation. The world is not kind to either of us and calls us all fools, but we can remain strong in the knowledge that we endure for a cause greater than ourselves. ♥


Elora Carmen Shore


n Dead Man's Chest Lord Beckett states “Freedom! Jack Sparrow is a dying breed. The world is shrinking. The blank edges of the map filled in. Jack must find his place in the new world or perish.” I think that Captain Jack Sparrow, originally intended only as an interesting side character of the original three movies, is reminiscent of the sort of embodiment of life that we crave. Elizabeth and Will drive the story, but Jack serves as a certain infusion… a banner representing the grand adventure of life away from strict confines and back-stabbing laws of hypocritical Lords. Though not pretty, I find it interesting that you get to see both sides, in a way.

The laws of civilization can be just as piratical and backstabbing as the anarchy of the freedom of the seas. In every one of us there is a part that craves the ideal of one's own world, the freedom to live within our own Eden, whatever form it takes, even with gnarly elements of darkness.

However in the beginning of the first movie we get to see the picture-perfect life of Elizabeth Swann, the lovely hopefulness in which she lives. Feels a bit idyllic—and the sudden clash with ship-and-crew-less Captain Jack Sparrow acts as a kind of revelation of the world. Jack is a catalyst (more than once) into events and unfolding plots of the stories that carry one into another. He is a man we find we can root for, similarly to Will and Elizabeth, in an cautionary sort of way. There is something about him we crave, even as we know that we can't condone his flaws. Same as anyone though— an interesting aspect, as it allows us to see him as a man, not just that flamboyant, ridiculous adventurer. He sort of embodies the everyman who is in love with life, yet is

ridiculously bumbling through it. Throughout he is a hero, because somehow he makes sense of it all, in one way or another. He‟s a colorful conqueror of circumstantial (or self-inflicted) tidal waves that we‟d have expected anyone to be swept away by. Yet he hasn't been. He lasts through it all.

Jack Sparrow: “Sometimes things come back mate. We're livin' proof, you and me.”

Yet what I find interesting is that even Jack says something that almost is as definitive as Lord Beckett's own statement.

Jack Sparrow: “World's still the same. There's just less in it.”

Barbossa: “Still thinkin' of running, Jack? Think you can outrun the world? You know the problem with being the last of anything, by and by there be none left at all.”

Barbossa: “Aye, but that's a gamble of long odds, ain't it? There's never a guarantee of comin' back. But passin' on, that's dead certain… the world used to be a bigger place.”

His inflection is clear. And it's a universal truth—we destroy our own fairytales. We have dominion of this world, and often enough people stretch their domineering reach out so far that discovery and exploration, the pure adventure of living, dies out at the weight of it, no matter its own

strength. There will be these individuals, spirits of freedom (with all their flaws, sins, perfections, idiosyncrasies, and beliefs) who always survive hidden from the public eye perhaps, but this spirit of old romanticism carries the truth that sometimes the real zest for life is lost within us. The people change, though. Elizabeth and Will are not the same people who set out from Port Royal. Neither is Jack. That is the effect of one's life being tied up with another's— many others at times. Life finds us through people, and hopefully the right people. And you never know when you might come across someone who awakens that love of life again, to put you in touch with those primal strings that sing when we're out at sea, when we're in our natural Eden. Whatever form it takes for us, maybe we all can come back. ♥

Elora Carmen Shore has been writing for almost fifteen years, has published a short story titled Eloise and her first collection of poetry titled A Road to Count the Days By last year, available on Amazon Kindle. It should also become available in print later this year. Her poems have appeared in several magazines, such as Moon Drenched Fables, Moon Washed Kisses, and Vox Poetica. She is currently working on a romcom and a fantasy trilogy. She likes to keep things diverse. Elora can be found at her blogs, Pendragon and Out My Front Door.


“Ancient World�

Claim your topic before someone else does! Promised Articles: Ben-Hur, The Ninth Legion, Esther & Ruth, Clash of the Titans, Gladiator, the Maccabees . Wanted: any character, historical figure, incident, or epic set before 500 AD. Random suggestions: 300-1000 BC, Alexander the Great, Barabbas, Bible Characters, The Centurion, Cleopatra, Hercules, Helen of Troy, Noah, Exodus, Pompeii, Roman Emperors.

Coming April 1st!

Femnista Jan / Feb 2015  

Batten down the hatches for a swashbuckling adventure with ... Blackbeard, Robin Hood, The Princess Bride, The Three Musketeers, Zorro, Shi...

Femnista Jan / Feb 2015  

Batten down the hatches for a swashbuckling adventure with ... Blackbeard, Robin Hood, The Princess Bride, The Three Musketeers, Zorro, Shi...