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Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


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Classical Paintings Given a Fantasy Flair

Thanks to Lothlenan and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda. “Classical art is beautiful to look at, but some of us have a hard time relating to it. A digital artist on Tumblr named Lothlenan is changing that by turning some of fine art’s most timeless pieces into geeky fantasy settings. So far, they’ve revamped 7 tableaux, inspired by fandoms like Sailor Moon, Adventure Time, and The Legend of Zelda. It’s amazing how century-old paintings take on such a modern feel when combined with elements of Anime!

If you’re a geek extraordinaire and can’t even deal with how flipping cool these paintings are, you’re in luck – Lothlenon currently operates a Redbubble store where they sell stunning prints of each design. Who wouldn’t want an impressionist Totoro-à-la-Monet on their wall?”

#1 “Woman With A Parasol” By Claude Monet

"Woman With A Parasol" By Claude Monet

#2 “The Accolade” By Edmund Leighton

"The Accolade" By Edmund Leighton

#3 The Scream (of Nature) By Edvard Munch

The Scream (of Nature) By Edvard Munch

#4 “A Portrait Of Louis Xiv” By Hyacinthe Rigaud

"A Portrait Of Louis Xiv" By Hyacinthe Rigaud

#5 “The Swing” By Jean-Honore Fragonard

"The Swing" By Jean-Honore Fragonard

#6 “Lovers On A Swing” By Pierre Auguste

"Lovers On A Swing" By Pierre Auguste

#7 “Self Portrait With Her Daughter” By Madame Le Brun

"Self Portrait With Her Daughter" By Madame Le Brun


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Puzzle Book With Pages That Must Be Solved

From industrial designer Brady Whitney and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Some books are hard to read, but few are as difficult as the Codex Silenda. Why? Because it actually won’t let you read it unless you’re smart enough to unlock it.

The laser-cut, hand-crafted, five-page wooden book is created by industrial designer Brady Whitney, who’s been raising funds for the project through Kickstarter. “Each page features a unique puzzle that requires the user/reader to unlock the corresponding bolts in order to progress to the next page,” read’s the website. “As the puzzler moves through the book, a story begins to unfold, depicting the story of an apprentice in Da Vinci’s Workshop who encounters the same Codex. However in the story the Codex acts as a trap set by Da Vinci to capture any would be spies/snoopy apprentices in order to protect his work. The only way to escape is to solve each of the puzzles before the master returns from his trip.”

 


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Day 3 of San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Here is a photo journal from Sunday, my favorite day at San Diego Comic-Con #SDCC2016:

WarcraftOrc

Warcraft Orc brings the boom.

IlloPanel

“Calling All Kids Draw Off” panel with illustrators (l to r): Jenni Holm (SQUISH), Matthew Holm (BABYMOUSE), Nathan Hale (HAZARDOUS TALES), Jeffrey Brown (JEDI ACADEMY), Lucas Turnbloom (DREAM JUMPERS), Dana Simpson (PHOEBE AND HER UNICORN), and Judd Winick (HILO).

JenniHolm

The immensely talented and somewhat stressed-out Newberry honoree, Jenni Holm.

JeffreyBrown

With JEDI ACADEMY author/illustrator Jeffrey Brown.

NathanHale

The hilarious HAZARDOUS TALES author/illustrator Nathan Hale.

HumorPanel

“Kids Book Authors Bring the Funny” panelists (l to r): Dan Santat (ARE WE THERE YET), Ed Masessa (WANDMAKER), Greg Grunberg (DREAM JUMPER, Lucas Turnbloom (DREAM JUMPER), Brandon Snider (PETER POWERS), and Nathan Hale (HAZARDOUS TALES)

EdMassesa

Ed Masessa wears the best t-shirt of the Con.

SantatKids

Dan Santat’s sons are not impressed with their dad’s oratory.

BabyLeia

Happy baby Princess Leia

AgentPanel

My panel with literary agents (top to bottom, l to r): Kelly Sonack (Andrea Brown Literary), Deborah Warren (East West Literary), Taylor Martindale Kean (Full Circle Literary), Jill Corcoran (Jill Corcoran Literary), and Jennifer Azantian (Jennifer Azantian Literary).

Predator

Predator has anger issues because he still doesn’t have a literary agent.


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Crocheted Superhero, Video Game & Comic Characters

A fun yarn from Geeky Hooker and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“A not-so-long time ago (5 years ago), in a galaxy not-so-far away (Milky Way, Earth, Houston TX), I taught myself how to crochet. I tinkered around, starting out with lumpy generic little dolls, until I got bored and started making lumpy little superheroes instead.

From there things got a little out of control, and it got to a point where if it was geeky and fun, I’d try to make it out of yarn. Captain America? Done! Chewbacca? Got it. Frida Kahlo, for no reason other than the fact that I REALLY wanted an excuse to put a tiny little unibrow on her? Done and done. Five years later, I’ve amassed a collection of little characters ranging in categories from comic book characters to sci-fi monsters to stuff in the all-encompassing “I just freaking felt like making it” category.

Sometimes I keep the little guys for myself, but most of the time I give them away, and every year I make a bunch to scatter around San Diego Comic-Con for people to find. I tag them with my contact info, and then I cross my fingers and hope that they’ll be given good homes. So far I’ve had a good turnout of adoptions, and hopefully they’ll eventually take over the world, one goofy little sack of yarn at a time!”


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Fun at WonderCon 2016

My sons and I made our annual pilgrimage to WonderCon to enjoy great art, revel in geekiness, and meet lots of interesting people. Here’s a samplingWC2016-05

Josh & Harrison outside the LA Convention Center

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The BACONNATION food truck. It’s porktastic!

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Not to be outdone is the Godzilla-themed MeSoHungry food truck.

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Why, yes, I WAS wondering what a Star Trek-cat mashup would look like. Scotty is a Scottish Fold! Chekhov should’ve been a Siberian.

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Captain Mexico and Mexican Punisher and a Trump pinata saying “Por ser un pendejo”. Well played, guys.

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Harrison as a dwarf barrel-rider from The Hobbit at The OneRing.net booth. He’s got the long hair – just needs a beard and some scale mail.

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My sons in front of our books at the Mysterious Galaxy booth.

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Josh with a Type-2 Energy Weapon, more commonly known as the Gravity Hammer – a powerful, two-handed melee weapon used by the Jiralhanae in the Covenant Empire. Or so I’m told.

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A quick photo prior to our panel. From right to left, authors: Barney Saltzberg, Josh Herz, Harrison Herz, Dan Santat, Bruce Hale, and Lisa Yee. Lisa was not part of our panel, but she is legally required to be present when Dan is in public. 🙂

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I secretly brought a furry trapper hat to make a THIS IS NOT MY HAT joke. Little did I suspect that all other four male panelists would be sporting hats. From right to left: Jon Klassen (including priceless expression), Antoinette Portis, Bruce Hale, Dan Santat, Barney Saltzberg, and Henry Herz.

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Me looking all moderatory while Bruce Hale answers a question from the audience.

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Me looking like the cat that ate the canary because I’m signing books with Jon Klassen, Antoinette Portis, Barney Saltzberg, Dan Santat, and Bruce Hale.

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This is Jon Klassen, but THIS IS NOT MY HAT. I’m wearing Bruce Hale’s famous fedora!


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My Awesome Adventure at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

I had a fabulous time at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Below are the authors and entertainers I was thrilled to see or meet. In chronological order:

01RonPerlman

Ron Perlman – He’s not that fuzzy in real life, but the lighting wasn’t good. Perhaps best known for his movie role of Hellboy and his TV role of the original Beauty and the Beast (with Linda Hamilton).

02WilliamShatner

William Shatner – James Tiberius Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, and demigod to all nerds. He read to us from an autobiography of Capt. Kirk. He’s a very funny guy. “Rock climbing and horseback riding” became a euphemism for sex. And he mercilessly teased the book author about the latter’s quoting of Wellington, “Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won.”

03NaomiNovik

Naomi Novik – New York Times bestselling author of HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON – fantasy set in the time of Napoleon. The French and British have air forces comprised of human crews riding dragons!

04JulieKagawa

Julie Kagawa – New York Times bestselling author of the IRON FEY and BLOOD OF EDEN fantasy series.

05KevinAndrewMurphy

Kevin Andrew Murphy – He has written gamebooks for Steve Jackson Games and White Wolf. He is one of the contributors to the WILD CARDS book series edited by George R. R. Martin.

06JrWonderWoman

Junior Wonder Woman – I have no idea who this cutie is, but she makes a darling Wonder Woman.

07SusanDennard

Susan Dennard – She is the fantasy author of the SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY series as well as the forthcoming WITCHLAND series.

08RaymondFeist

Raymond Feist – New York Times, bestselling fantasy author of MAGICIAN, SILVERHORN, A DARKNESS AT SETHANON, and the RIFTWAR series.

09RichardKadrey

Richard Kadrey – New York Times bestselling author of the SANDMAN SLIM urban fantasy series.

10BrandonMull

Brandon Mull – New York Times bestselling fantasy author of the FABLEHAVEN and BEYONDERS series.

11CharlieJaneAnders

Charlie Jane Anders – She has contributed to a number of anthologies and magazines, as well as the i09 website.

12SeananMcGuirre

Seanan McGuire – John Campbell Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the OCTOBER DAYE urban fantasy series.

13Khaleesi

Daenerys Targaryen – The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. Now THAT’S a good way to end my first day at Comic-Con.

14BernieSanders

Bernie Sanders – A parody shotgun-toting Bernie Sanders billboard. “Feel the Bern!”

15MadMaxMusician

Mad Max Musician – sorry for the blurriness, but this speaker-toting musician was great.

16EndOfLine

End of the Line – Is seems like this would be a somewhat depressing job…

17AlexandraBracken

 

Alexandra Bracken – New York Times bestselling author of Brightly Woven

18JasonHough

Jason Hough – New York Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator series and all-around nice guy.

19KidCosplay

Young Cosplayers – This poor mom has her hands full with a rambunctious and an exhausted little cosplayer

20WonderWoman

Wonder Woman – Forget the magical lasso, this life size Wonder Woman statue shows off the new, badass version of the classic heroine, complete with sword and shield.

21MadMax

Mad Max Cosplayers – “Shiny!” These Mad Max cosplayers are awesome. “Live. Die. Live again!”

22EricShanower

Eric Shanower – the talented graphic novelist, adding some original artwork for a fan

23SFFfamilyfeud

Science Fiction Fantasy Family Feud Panel – An incredibly star-studded and hilarious trivia game panel, with authors Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive series), Patrick Rothfuss (the Kingkiller Chronicles series), Ernie Cline (Armada), Naomi Novik (Uprooted), Chuck Wendig (Zer0es), Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy), and Austin Grossman (Crooked).

24ChuckWendig

Chuck Wendig – the hilarious, prolific, and blasphemous author of Zer0es and host of terribleminds.com

25CeceBell

Cece Bell – the sweet author/illustrator of El Deafo

26UglyDoll

Ugly Doll – the only thing funnier than Star Trek themed Ugly Dolls is a dead redshirt Star Trek themed Ugly Doll

27ThorLoki

Thor, Loki, and Lady Thor – one of the most stunningly accurate cosplays I’ve ever seen. They even look like the actors.

28WetaArmor

Weta Workshops – replica suits of fantasy armor from the mad geniuses who made props for The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

29DanSantat

Dan Santat – the Caldecott-winning and over-caffeinated author/illustrator of Beekle.

30MyPanel

Fantasy Literature panel – The best part of my Comic-Con adventure was moderating a panel with the NY Times bestselling fantasy authors (l to r): Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn), Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Jonathan Maberry (Rot and Ruin), and Zac Brewer (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod).

31MargaeryTyrell

Margaery Tyrell – And, we end my second day of Comic-Con with a picture of a Maergery Tyrell (Game of Thrones) cosplayer.

32MassEffect

Mass Effect – some nice ensemble cosplay

33Incredibles

The Incredibles – some great family cosplay from one of my favorite animated movies. “No capes!” I asked the boy if those were his real muscles, and he said they were not. Gotta’ admire his self-awareness.

34CuriousGeorge

Curious George – and the Man with the Yellow Hat. Right before I took this picture, “George” gently pushed over a nearby baby.

35Goodbye

Goodbye Comic-Con 2015 – see you again next year!


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Archers of Legend

With San Diego Comic-Con going on right now, it seems only fitting to take a look at some of the great archers of legend from novels, comics, manga, movies and video games.

Bard the Bowman (The Hobbit)

bardbowman

Per wikipedia: “Later known as Bard I, he appears in The Hobbit. Bard of Esgaroth was a skilled archer and the heir of Girion, the last king of old Dale. He was described as “grim faced” and while a guardsman of Esgaroth he was often predicting floods and poisoned fish. He rallied the guards to defend the town when the dragon came. Bard was able to slay the dragon Smaug with the Black Arrow after a tip from the old thrush (who had overheard Bilbo Baggins’ description of Smaug) had revealed an unarmoured spot on the dragon’s underside. Bard claimed a twelfth of the treasure amassed by the dragon, which he subsequently shared with the Master of Esgaroth to rebuild the town, but the Master stole the money and ran off into the wild where he died. After its rebuilding, Bard was the first king (Bard I) of restored Dale, followed by his son Bain, grandson Brand, and great-grandson Bard II. In Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of The Hobbit, Bard is played by Welsh actor Luke Evans.”


 

Cupid (mythology)

cupid

Per wikipedia: “In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning “desire”) is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin also as Amor (“Love”). His Greek counterpart is Eros.”

“Although Eros appears in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid’s arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves mostly to set the plot in motion.”


 

Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead)

DarylDixon

Per wikipedia: “Daryl Dixon is a fictional character from the horror drama television series The Walking Dead, which airs on AMC in the United States and is based on the comic book series of the same name. He was created by writers Frank Darabont, Charles H. Eglee and Jack LoGiudice and is portrayed by Norman Reedus. The character was introduced in the first season as a Southern expert tracker who constantly lives in the shadow of his brother, Merle. Despite his ill temper and volatility, he is tolerated by the core group of survivors due to his skills in hunting animals and fearless efficiency in killing zombies (dubbed “walkers” in the series).”


 

Green Arrow (DC Comics)

greenarrow

Per wikipedia: “Green Arrow is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Morton Weisinger and designed by George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His real name is Oliver Queen, a billionaire businessman and owner of Queen Industries, as well as a well-known celebrity in his locale of Star City. Sometimes shown dressed like Robin Hood, Green Arrow is an archer who invents trick arrows with various special functions, such as glue arrows, diversions (smoke), net, explosive, time bomb, grappling, fire extinguishing, flash, boomerang, tear gas arrows, cryonic arrows and even a kryptonite arrow. At the time of his debut, Green Arrow functioned in many ways as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman character, but writers at DC subsequently developed him into a voice of progressivism very much distinct in character from Batman, with his own supporting cast.”


 

Hawkeye (Marvel Comics)

Per wikipedia: “Hawkeye (Clint Barton; also known as Goliath and Ronin) is a fictional character, a comic book superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Don Heck, the character first appeared as a villain in Tales of Suspense #57 (Sept. 1964) and later joined the Avengers in Avengers #16 (May 1965). He has been a prominent member of the team ever since. He was also ranked at #44 on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes list.”

“Hawkeye is portrayed by Jeremy Renner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a shared fictional universe that is the setting of films produced by Marvel Studios. Renner first made an uncredited cameo appearance as Hawkeye in Thor (2011) and later reprised the role in The Avengers (2012); he is set to return to the role a third time in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).”


 

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

katniss

Per wikipedia: “Katniss Everdeen is a fictional character and the protagonist of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Her name comes from an edible plant called katniss. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence portrayed Katniss in The Hunger Games films.”

“Katniss and her family come from District 12, a coal-mining district that is the poorest and least populated district in the dystopian fictional autocratic nation of Panem. In the course of the first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to replace her sister, Primrose “Prim” Everdeen, after she is called forth during Reaping Day, a day in which, annually, one male and one female tribute between the ages of 12 to 18 are called forth from each district to fight to the death in an arena and only one person can come out alive from all 24 people in what are known as the Hunger Games.”


 

Legolas (The Lord of the Rings)

Legolas

Per wikipedia: “Legolas was the son of Thranduil, King of the Woodland Realm of Northern Mirkwood, who appears as “the Elvenking” in The Hobbit. Thranduil ruled over the Silvan Elves or “Wood-elves” of Mirkwood.”

“Although he lived among the Silvan Elves, Legolas was not one himself. His father Thranduil had originally come from Lindon; he and his son were actually Sindar, or ‘Grey Elves’.”

“Legolas was introduced in The Fellowship of the Ring, at the council of Elrond of Rivendell, where he came as a messenger from his father to discuss Gollum’s escape from their guard. Legolas was chosen to be a member of the Fellowship that intended to destroy the One Ring. He accompanied the other members in their travels from Rivendell to Amon Hen, serving as the group’s archer.”


 

Link (Legend of Zelda)

link

Per wikipedia: “Link refers to several different incarnations of the same fictional character and the protagonist of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series. Link has been featured in other media from Nintendo, including its merchandising, comic books, and a cartoon series.”

“Link is depicted as a child, teenager, or adult of the Hylian race, originating from the fictional land of Hyrule. Link often travels through Hyrule, defeating creatures, evil forces, and the series’ primary antagonist, Ganon, while attempting to save Princess Zelda and Hyrule. To defeat him, Link usually requires the mystic Master Sword and Light Arrows, or a similar legendary weapon, obtained after many trials and battles, and magical objects or using other items such as musical instruments and weaponry.”


 

Merida (Brave)

merida

Per wikipedia: “Princess Merida (Scottish Gaelic: Mèrida) is the main character from the 2012 Disney Pixar film Brave. Merida was added to the Disney Princess line-up as the 11th Princess and the first Pixar character in 2013.”

“Princess Merida is the 16-year old daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, who rule their Scottish kingdom. Queen Elinor’s traditional expectations that Merida take a husband and become a proper royal lady come into conflict with the single-minded and impetuous Merida’s insistence that she control her own destiny. Merida has greatly perfected her skill in archery, and is one of the most skilled archers in the kingdom.”


 

Neytiri (Avatar)

neytiri

Per wikipedia: “To explore Pandora’s biosphere, scientists use Na’vi-human hybrids called “avatars”, operated by genetically matched humans; Jake Sully, a paraplegic former marine, replaces his deceased twin brother as an operator of one. Dr. Grace Augustine, head of the Avatar Program, considers Sully an inadequate replacement but accepts his assignment as a bodyguard. While protecting the avatars of Grace and scientist Norm Spellman as they collect biological data, Jake’s avatar is attacked by a thanator and flees into the forest, where he is rescued by Neytiri, a female Na’vi. Witnessing an auspicious sign, she takes him to her clan, whereupon Neytiri’s mother Mo’at, the clan’s spiritual leader, orders her daughter to initiate Jake into their society.”

“Colonel Miles Quaritch, head of RDA’s private security force, promises Jake that the company will restore his legs if he gathers intelligence about the Na’vi and the clan’s gathering place, a giant arboreal called Hometree, on grounds that it stands above the richest deposit of unobtanium in the area. When Grace learns of this, she transfers herself, Jake, and Norm to an outpost. Over three months, Jake grows to sympathize with the natives. After Jake is initiated into the tribe, he and Neytiri choose each other as mates, and soon afterward, Jake reveals his change of allegiance when he attempts to disable a bulldozer that threatens to destroy a sacred Na’vi site. When Quaritch shows a video recording of Jake’s attack on the bulldozer to Administrator Parker Selfridge, and another in which Jake admits that the Na’vi will never abandon Hometree, Selfridge orders Hometree destroyed.”


 

Robin Hood (mythology)

robinhood

Per wikipedia: “Robin Hood (spelled Robyn Hode in older sources) is a heroic outlaw in English folklore, and, according to legend, was also a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Although such behaviour was not part of his original character, since the beginning of the 19th century he has become known for “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor”, assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his “Merry Men”. Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes. According to some accounts, the legend has its roots in the activities of actual medieval outlaws, or the ballads or tales that circulated about them.”


 

Sailor Mars (Sailor Moon)

SailorMars

Per wikipedia: “Sailor Mars is a fictional lead character in the Sailor Moon manga series written by Naoko Takeuchi. The alternate identity of Rei Hino (or Raye Hino in the English adaptations), a teenage Japanese schoolgirl and Shinto priestess, she belongs to the Sailor Soldiers, female supernatural fighters who the franchise’s main girl characters transform into to fulfill their duty of protecting the Solar System and the franchise’s eponymous protagonist from evil.”

“Sailor Mars is the second Sailor Soldier to be discovered by Sailor Moon and the secondary leader of the Sailor Soldiers after Sailor Venus. She possesses powers associated with fire, as well as psychic and spiritual ones.”


 

Susan Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia)

SusanPevensie

Per wikipedia: “Susan Pevensie is a fictional character in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series. Susan is the elder sister and the second eldest Pevensie child. She appears in three of the seven books—as a child in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, and as an adult in The Horse and His Boy. She is also mentioned in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Last Battle. During her reign at the Narnian capital of Cair Paravel, she is known as Queen Susan the Gentle or Queen Susan of the Horn. She was the only Pevensie that survived the train wreck (because she was not on the train or at the station) on Earth which sent the others to Narnia after The Last Battle.”


 

William Tell (mythology)

williamtell

Per wikipedia: “William Tell (in the four languages of Switzerland: German: Wilhelm Tell; French: Guillaume Tell; Italian: Guglielmo Tell; Romansh: Guglielm Tell) is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th-century Swiss chronicle.”

“It is set in the period of the original foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century. According to the legend, Tell—an expert marksman with the crossbow—assassinated Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of Habsburg Austria positioned in Altdorf, Uri.”

“Along with Arnold Winkelried, Tell is a central figure in Swiss patriotism as it was constructed during the Restoration of the Confederacy after the Napoleonic era.”

Click to Retweet: Archers of Legend at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-GS via @Nimpentoad