So I’m reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms in honor of jumping back into Dynasty Warriors. For those of you unaware, they both take place in the late 100s through early to mid 200s during a tumultuous time in China where the Han Dynasty fell after hundreds of years. It’s filled with intrigue, back stabbing, bromance, oaths, and numerous other amazing moments. China would not see a time of peace for generations, most dynasties rarely making it a generation.
I never realized why Cao Cao was portrayed as such an evil ruler until I read this book. Before he even took seat on a throne, when he was still a little puke, he murdered his uncle out of paranoia. To cover it up, he killed more people, until he was finally like, well, I have an army and who is going to mess with me now?
They also have bromance that would make people blush. The Oath of the Peach Tree is an awesome moment, where Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei all swore to die on the same day of the same month of the same year. It’s honestly one of my favorite scenes in the entire thing and it apparently happens before the Yellow Turban Rebellion.
The Yellow Turban Rebellion? It was a Taoist preacher going out there saying the Divine Mandate no longer hung with the Han because of overwhelming famine throughout China (which basically everyone was claiming with different words). How were they taken out? Plague. A few were killed, but overwhelmingly plague killed off the higher ups. Think of it. It’s believed Divine Mandate leaves you when natural disasters take you out. Suck on some irony, Zhang Jue.
In the end you’re left with an evil overlord, an idealist who was the only one with a seemingly legitimate claim that he was related to the Han, and an idealist who found a ring in a well so he could make really a really weak claim. And none of them won. Who won? Do some research. It is possibly the most unfilling ending EVER. Serious, if GRRM is taking any pages from that story, you might as well chuck the books and forget about it. It’s a crazy freaking trip and some of my favorite characters in history and literature were found through the Three Kingdoms.