We know nothing about the teams battling it out in the football World Cup (except that the Italian, Spanish and Croatian teams look fabulous). But when we heard that Spain, which had lost to the Netherlands 1-5 (Was Iker asleep?), was up against Chile, we decided we were rooting for Chile. Because Pedro Pascal who played the Red Viper Oberyn Martell of Dorne is Chilean! And used his father’s accent in the role (He himself has lived in New York for ages). The Red Viper did not make much of an impression on us when we read A Song of Ice and Fire, but with Pascal in the role (and Benioff-Weiss speeding up the story), whoa!
And Chile kicked defending champion Spain out of the World Cup, 2-0. As Butch texted: Spain eliminated on Rizal’s birthday. Venganza!
Which reminded us that today is Jose Rizal’s birthday. Yikes, we had forgotten. Why is it that we mark his death rather than his birth?
What do the Red Viper and our national hero have in common? Venganza! Oberyn Martell did it through mortal combat with The Mountain (Finish him off now! Get away from that–oh yucch), Rizal’s mysterious Simoun planned to do it with some nitroglycerine in a lamp shaped like a pomegranate.
This being Jose Rizal’s birthday, we looked up the list of the books he owned in Under Three Flags: Anarchism and the Colonial Imagination by Benedict Anderson. The library that Rizal brought back from Europe included books by the following authors.
Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand (Was the steak named after him?)
Alexandre Dumas pere (5) – Of course, El Filibusterismo being heavily inspired by the revenge classic The Count of Monte Cristo.
Victor Hugo – Everyone read Les Miserables; today everyone sings the songs.
Eugene Sue (10), author of sensational novels that dealt with social ills
Emile Zola (4)
Edward Bulwer-Lytton of “It was a dark and stormy night” infamy
Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe?
Charles Dickens – Of course, but which one.
William Makepeace Thackeray – Vanity Fair, we suppose.
E.T.A. Hoffman – Fantasy and horror author
Alessandro Manzoni – I promessi sposi
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra – Don Quixote, we presume.
Anderson points out that these authors had been mentioned in Rizal’s letters: (Hans Christian) Andersen, (Honore de) Balzac, Johann Peter Hebel, and (Jonathan) Swift. Rizal also had access to the library of Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, in whose house in Paris he had been a guest for several months.