No this isn’t about Pandaria, just a heads up, though there is a reference to this in WoW.
On this fine Saturday morning, a day far too hot to go outside, one of my favorite movies has started:
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). The film is directed by Peter Weir and stars Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) and Max Pirkis (Rome) among others.
Yes, I love historical films but I know absolutely nothing about sailing and less about British history during the early 1800s. But the main character, Jack Aubrey is this rough navel officer who has this curious artistic soul.
He enjoys playing the violin yet he’s far from being a dandy which is what you usually see in characters of this sort, he is a very complex character who is completely dedicated to his job in the British Navy and all that entails.
The movie is actually based on multiple books by writer Patrick O’Brien and watching the movie led me to start the whole series, 21 books in all with the last one never completed due to O’Brian’s death in 2000. The movie is just a toe-dip into an incredibly rich world!
I have to say that I didn’t read the books but listened to them since I had an ongoing subscription to Audible. One of the things that I thought uncanny is that this modern writer has truly captured the essence of that time. I have read Jane Austen‘s books written during in same period that the series is set and the speech is the same. It’s amazing that he pulls it off book after book.
And I also have to admit that I understood little of the technical aspects of tall ship sailing but the love of the characters “Lucky” Jack Aubrey and his friend Stephen Maturin prompted me to research the technical things: parts of a ship and what they do, winds, shipping lanes, period foods (what is lobscouse, spotted dick or dog, and treacle-dowdy?)
It’s a world where everyone is called Mister no matter the rank, storytelling is held in high esteem by the men since few could read, yet throughout most of the series they are at war with France and the USA so the often brutal life onboard is in no ways withheld.
Because of the war, there is plenty of political intrigue that lies behind much of what is going on in the story. You can really get sucked into the story and when finishing one book, I had to start the next immediately.
Blizzard has referenced the books in Cataclysm, you can find Admiral Aubrey at Northwatch Hold in Southern Barrens. I’m so glad they promoted him!
Along with his captain’s steward Killick not too far away.
If I’ve tempted you, a list of the books in order are:
Master and Commander (1970)
Post Captain (1972)
HMS Surprise (1973)
The Mauritius Command (1977)
Desolation Island (1978)
The Fortune of War (1979)
The Surgeon’s Mate (1980)
The Ionian Mission (1981)
Treason’s Harbour (1983)
The Far Side of the World (1984)
The Reverse of the Medal (1986)
The Letter of Marque (1988)
The Thirteen Gun Salute (1989)
The Nutmeg of Consolation (1991)
Clarissa Oakes (1992) – (The Truelove in the USA)
The Wine-Dark Sea (1993)
The Commodore (1995)
The Yellow Admiral (1996)
The Hundred Days (1998)
Blue at the Mizzen (1999)
The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (2004) – (21 in the USA)
There are also many companion books and websites. One book that I picked up is Harbors and High Seas by Dean King which has info about tides and trade winds and currents as well as maps.
It’s been a few years now since I finished the last book but I’ve been missing them so I think it’s about time to hit the high seas once more!