Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Beat to Quarters Drinking Game

For a bit there I was considering looking at how the book's publication in 1939 influenced its writing, but then I thought: Dude, it's summer, and I have a series about grog-swilling sailors. Drinking game! Can be readily adapted to any Horatio Hornblower novel.

Take a drink whenever:
--Horatio's neurotic insecurities, which are particularly bad in this one, make you want to beat him over the head with a belaying pin. Even though you don't actually know what a belaying pin is.
--Forester has his characters run around talking about the mizzen topgallant staysail and expects you to understand it
--for that matter, you'll also need a drink whenever a sticky situation or dramatic plot point is resolved through naval jargon
--however, have a drink in celebration when Hornblower orders his men to fother a sail, because thanks to A&E's adaptation The Duel, you actually know what that means.
--someone refers to Horatio by one of his unfortunate nicknames, such as "Horry" or "Horny"
--he snaps irritably at poor Lieutenant Bush
--he paces the deck
--Forester describes Hornblower's mind as "analytical," "calculating," or "mathematical."
--Hornblower has a mood swing worse than a PMSing teenage girl
--Hornblower gets fucked over by the Admiralty
--Hornblower worries about getting fucking over by the Admiralty
--poor Maria is annoying or compares unfavorably with other women
--take a swig of some grog, perhaps rum, and toast his crazy genius when Hornblower makes his men dance hornpipes while rowing them into battle
--Horblower goes up against a larger ship that out guns him while his dismasted ship sinks beneath him, they lose the weather-gage even as a storm is brewing on the horizon, their guns are out of range, the tangled and destroyed rigging has caught fire, and oh no! a volcano just erupted and here comes a tsunami tidal wave to drown them all! and he still manages to save the day
--have a glass of sherry or cognac, something appropriately snooty, when Hornblower has to meet with the local Viceroy/Govenor/insane despot in his shabby dress blues.
--Hornblower takes a game of whist too seriously
--Horblower thinks about how much he dislikes Lady Barbara
--have a glass of wine during Hornblower and Lady B's cozy tete-a-tetes at the taffrail
--have one of those coconut drinks with the little umbrella while they refit the ship at the Isle of Coiba
--Forester makes a transparent attempt to rally the beleagured spirits of the British reading public by going on about how his sailors thrive under adversity
--enjoy a shaken (not stirred) martini whenever Hornblower tries to be all nonchalant and Bond-like in front of his officers and crew
--toast Lady Barbara with some absinthe, maybe, when she defends the Romantic poets against Hornblower's neoclassicists (he would like Gibbon and Dr. Johson. Typical)
--enjoy a Sex on the Beach (somebody should, after all) as Hornblower fails to make it past second base with Lady B in Chapter 23
--Hornblower consoles himself with the thought that he did his duty

It's just a crime that they haven't filmed this one with Ioan Gruffud (I spent the whole novel wondering who they should cast as Lady B, and decided on Rosamund Pike). I mean, there is the 1950s Gregory Peck version, which doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to the book from what I remember. And I've decided to find it amusing (rather than sad) that one of my favorite parts is when Hornblower and Lady B are arguing over the merits of Wordsworth versus Gray. Though Horatio's suggestion that "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" would have been better if it had been written by Pope in heroic couplets makes me shudder.

Oh, and guess who got a nice shiny harback copy of Sanditon, by Jane Austen and Another Lady, for fifty cents? Yeah library sale table!


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