Arslan and Elam, forming a party of three with Giv, dashed through the night to break past the eastern blockade…
Notes under the cut:
If you haven’t voted yet, here’s your last chance to give me input on how to spell a certain upcoming character’s name. 🙂
For the record: “Alfreed” is an option if enough people complain. 😛 But I personally dislike it because it looks like a typo/variation on “Alfred.” Also, just to throw it out there, the last time I checked, the video game (Arslan Musou) went with “Alfarid,” soooo, I feel kinda justified in my preference for Afarid (or Afrid, either of which would be the contextually “correct” choice despite not matching the transcription). Leave a comment if you feel strongly about this though or if you have a different suggestion!
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This scene is also illustrated!
1. A note from the previous update on “cypress-like”. This isn’t the first time Farangis has been compared to a cypress (see: Giv’s bad poetry), and probably won’t be the last, but it’s no accident that Tanaka has been using this as a descriptor for her:
Persian poets described the movement and poise of their beloved as “Cypress-like”, comparing the elegant motion and enchanting body of a beauty to that of the Sarv, attaching its lithe motion to beauties walking by. [source, further reading]
I keep forgetting to to bring it up, but I think it’s interesting/worth pointing out because cypress symbolism in the West usually has very different associations (death, mourning, etc.); also, the specific term used is 糸杉 (itosugi), which refers only to Western cypress, as opposed to sugi/hinoki, which have their own, entirely different set of cultural associations.
2. Insert usual note about taking liberties with Giv’s lines/POV, because he’s always adjusting to the audience (or lack of one) and it can be tricky to track his shifts of tone.
3. Ghajar: This term is Arabic [alternatively “Ghagar”]. There are many, many names for “Gypsies” in the Middle East, all with varying levels of derogatory connotations, including “Zott,” which we’ll see and I’ll discuss in the next update, but based on context Tanaka seems to be using ghajar as a generic term, contrasting his usage of “Zott” as a specific tribe (like the earlier “zanj,” the historical connotations are obviously much different from Tanaka’s usage). See here for more info.
By the way, I’m aware that Rom/Roma/Romani are the preferred terms these days (at least in Europe?), but most of the sources I’m looking at for Middle Eastern groups still use the word Gypsy (it seems to me because most of them are actually distinct from or have very little overlap with “Rom”, see also Dom), which seems to have relatively neutral connotations in modern American English, and is also probably the most easily understood, so… I will tentatively defer to established usage. Further reading here.
(In case you’re wondering, the original text has the loan word “gypsy” annotated as “ghajar” in one of the only instances I’ve ever seen of katakana used for both the main text and the furigana. XD)
4. On wine gone bad: old wine doesn’t actually cause food poisoning (not that Arslan would know), which is what makes the story especially suspicious. (The wording does make it clear that the current explanation is a “food poisoning” case rather than actual poison — you may also recall the previous mention of food poisoning in Narses’s backstory.)