Marco Polo: The Animated Biography

Marco_Polo_portraitMarco Polo, the famed merchant and traveler who introduced Europe to China and Central Asia.

Marco Polo traveled the Silk Road and spent time in the court of Kublai Khan, the great Mongolian leader.

After an epic 24 year journey Marco Polo returned to Venice and was imprisoned by Genoa forces occupying the city. While in prison Polo dictated his adventures to a fellow inmate.

His book “Livres des merveilles du monde” (Book of the Marvels of the World), now known as “The Travels of Marco Polo” inspired hundreds of adventurers including Christopher Columbus.

Marco Polo: The Animated Biography

5 Reasons You Should Watch Marco Polo

MarcoPolo_Netflix_PosterMarco Polo is a Netflix Original series released on 12 Dec 2014. It’s a 10 episode series exploring the life and times of trader and adventurer Marco Polo’s time in the court of Kublai Khan. Historical dramas based in ancient and medieval times are becoming more popular these days. Shows like Rome, Spartacus, Camelot, Pillars of the Earth, Vikings, the list goes on and on.

But like anything nowadays in the historical fiction/fantasy genre it draws comparisons to the highly popular, Game of Thrones. While one is pure fantasy the other uses historical events as it’s guide. You won’t find White Walkers, wargs or greensight in Marco Polo. You will find stunning landscapes, epic battles and political intrigue. If it helps to relate it to Game of Thrones, think of it as a series based entirely on the Dothraki.

Here are 5 reasons you should watch Marco Polo

  1. Kublai Khan
    Benedict Wong plays the Khan of Khans and he steals the show! This series could have been title Kublai Khan. Wong dominates every scene and if the real Kublai Khan was as imposing it’s no wonder he controlled most of Asia. Watching Benedict Wong portray Kublai Khan, there is no doubt he is the Khan of Khans!
  2. Empress Chabi and the Blue Princess
    The women of Marco Polo are fascinating! They offer a interesting glimpse into the espionage of the ‘subservant’ female role in Medieval Asia. Joan Chen as Empress Chabi and Zhu Zhu as Kokachin, the Blue Princess are outstanding. As the series unfolds their characters blossom to their full potential. If you think their beauty is impressive wait til you see them fight!
  3. Bayan the Hundred Eyes
    In history Bayan the Hundred Eyes was a great Mongol General. In Marco Polo Hundred Eyes is a Taoist monk and Kung Fu master who trains Marco Polo in all the aspects of, well, Kung Fu. To add another level of awesome to Hundred Eyes, he is completely blind, kind of ironic. Don’t let his lack of sight fool you, he is still a great warrior.

    It’s fun to watch Marco Polo get beat so easily be a blind monk. During the series Hundred Eyes even ventures out and joins the great (and small) battles of the Mongol army. Game of Thrones may have Syrio Forel but he’s no match for Bayan the Hundred Eyes!

  4. Production Value
    Netflix and The Weinstein Company spent over $90 Million on this series and it shows. From the sets to the costumes to the vast landscapes. Marco Polo was filmed in Kazakhstan not Mongolia or China. Kazakhstan borders both China and Mongolia and was conquered by Genghis Khan, so it’s a good stand in. The set designs and costumes are outstanding! There are amazing sword fights, Kung Fu and even epic battles between the Mongols and Song Dynasty.
  5. Marco Polo
    While the series may bear his name, Marco Polo is almost a minor character. And as the series progresses he fades to the background making way for members of Khan’s court to take But it is through his eyes we see the court of Kublai Khan and the Mongolian army. We get to experience the strange new world right along with him and that’s part of the intrigue. He provides the ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ plot device
  6. Bonus Reason: History
    Marco Polo does a good job keeping true to the history, at least the broad aspects of the history. The personal interactions and encounters are most certainly dramatized for the show. The show writers had a great source to work from though, the actual writings of Marco Polo. He recorded his travels and adventures throughout Asia for all of us to enjoy!

Currently there is only one way to watch Marco Polo and that is on Netflix. Unlike the other original series Netflix produces, Marco Polo looks like it may be only one season.

Search for King Harold’s remains in Waltham Abbey to begin

Waltham_Abbey_ChurchThe search for King Harold’s remains will begin next week on the anniversary of his apparent death.

Oval Films and Stratascan, the teams that discovered the remains of Richard III beneath a car park in 2012, will carry out the scan at Abbey Gardens in Waltham Abbey on Tuesday.

The teams will search the area in the hope theories that he was given a formal funeral at the Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross and St Lawrence are true.

An initial ground scan was planned to take place on September 2, but postponed due to a delay in securing a licence.

The scan date will also mark the 948th anniversary since his apparent death at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

However, he is also believed to have been dismembered by his killers after being shot in the eye with an arrow during the battle.

The search is being sponsored by author Peter Burke, who claims to have identified a link from Harold’s daughter to the current Royal Family, which he believes could be used to identify the remains.

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies Final Trailer

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Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Comes To Xbox 360

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Underground medieval palace revealed by surface survey

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Game of Thrones: ‘Iron From Ice’ hits the App Store today

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If you need a little more Game of Thrones this winter you’re in luck! Game of Thrones: Iron From Ice arrives in the App Store today. (You can pick it up on Steam if you have a Mac or PC) Unlike previous Game of Throne games, this one is licensed by HBO and features the…

New research suggests King Richard III was a blue eyed, blonde

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The bones of the king under the car park have delivered further shocks, 527 years after his death and more than two years after his remains were discovered in Leicester: Richard III was a blue-eyed blond, and the present Queen may not be descended from John of Gaunt and Edward III, the lineage on which…

MAP#60: Council of Constance: Heretics, Schism and the Teutonic Knights

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MAP#59: Author Ian Macgill, 1066 and The Rhyme of King Harold

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Journalist and author Ian Macgill found his writing passion traveling through the jungles of South America. As a young man Ian was awarded the Winston Churchill fellowship and traveled through South America studying ancient sites. His adventures in South America would make a great book as well! After his travels he returned to Britain and…

Coventry Cathedral medieval crypts to open to public

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Three medieval crypts at Coventry Cathedral are to be restored and opened to the public. One of the crypts, currently filled with rubble from the Blitz, is thought to contain at least three tombs and human remains dating back to Tudor times. The other two are waterlogged and will be dried out. The restoration money…

Gould Library hosts exhibit exploring medieval manuscripts

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A new exhibit in the Carleton College Laurence McKinley Gould Library explores medieval manuscripts and how medieval peoples produced and derived meaning from word and image. The “Process of Illumination: Word, Image and the Scribal Imagination in the Middle Ages” investigates the relationship between word and image in the Middle Ages by critically examining a…

The Undead Knights Templar

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On Friday the 13th, 1307 thousands of Knights Templar were arrested on charges of heresy, devil worship and renouncing the cross. After years of imprisonment and torture, King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement began executing the Knights. By 1314 King Philip dissolved the order and the remaining members of the Knights Templar began…

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