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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Zhōu Yú 周瑜

Posted by Ricky Chua On 3:22 PM No comments
What's with the cartoon?
In the original portrait, Zhou Yu is shown holding the hilt of his sword, seemingly about to draw it out. In this cartoon version, they comically show him being unable to pull out his sword.

Who is he:
Nicknamed "Zhou Yu the Fair" for his good looks, Zhou Yu was the most famous of all Sun Wu 孙吴's advisors. Both a military general and a strategist, he became Sun Quan 孙权's able right-hand man and was the brains behind the battle of Red Cliffs 赤壁之战. Unfortunately for him, Zhu Ge Liang 诸葛亮 is just too incredibly clever. Despite coming up with schemes to rid Zhu Ge Liang, Zhou Yu simply cannot outsmart the unrealistically intelligent Zhu Ge Liang. The story seems to downplay Zhou Yu's achievements and make him seem second class and inferior to Zhu Ge Liang. Yet Zhou Yu's contribution to Cao Cao 曹操's defeat at Red Cliffs is incredibly significant and has guaranteed him a place both in the history books and in semi-fictional accounts of the era.

Character ability 1: "Dashing Hero 英姿 (yīng zī)"
Zhou Yu can draw 1 additional card during his drawing phase. This means he can draw 3 cards from the deck instead of 2 at every turn.

Character ability 2: "Sow Dissension 反间 (fǎn jiàn)"
During the action phase, Zhou Yu can ask any one player to guess a suit (eg: hearts, diamonds, clubs or spades). This player while then have to pick one of Zhou Yu's on-hand cards and show it to everyone. If the selected card has the same suit as that which the player guessed, nothing happens. If it is not the same suit, the player loses one unit of health. Regardless of the result, the player will always get to keep that card which he or she picked. Limited to one use per turn.

Ability's relation to story:
Ok although history states that Zhou Yu was a handsome young man, but I don't see why he should get to draw 3 cards for being good-looking. So I'm bullsh*tting any connection this has to the story.

"Sow Dissension" is comes from a significant event leading up to the battle at Red Cliffs, where Cao Cao is tricked by Zhou Yu into executing the only 2 generals with experience at naval combat, Cai Mao 蔡帽 and Zhang Yun 张允. Unfortunately, that too has nothing to do with how the ability is played in the card game.

Additional info based on story:
1. Most famous achievement - Defeating Cao Cao at Red Cliffs. Zhou Yu used a series of ploys to completely fuddle Cao Cao, all of which ran concurrently. These include getting Pang Tong 庞统 to trick Cao Cao into shackling his ships together, getting Huang Gai 黄盖 to feint defection so as to set the ships ablaze, making use of Jiang Gan 将干 to sow dissension between Cao Cao and his navy generals Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.

2. Cause of death - One of the most famous episodes in the story talks about Zhu Ge Liang "frustrating Zhou Yu 3 times". Zhou Yu was completely outwitted by Zhu Ge Liang and loss troops, Sun Quan's sister Sun Shang Xiang, as well as important nodes such as Nan Jun 南郡 and Jing Zhou 荆州. Zhou Yu literally vomited blood and died of frustration. Historical records, however, showed that Zhou Yu died while preparing for a battle, thus rendering the storyline as dramatization.

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