I think one of the hurdles that Romance of the Three Kingdoms presents for someone who doesn’t speak Chinese is the hundreds of names that the novel throws at you. It is especially frustrating early on because you don’t know which characters are important and which will never be heard from again.
So I’m going to try to do something about that. I’ve started creating network graphs showing the relationship among the characters in each episode. If you go look at the posts for the first three episodes, you’ll see graphs there now, and I’m working on the graph for episode 4. Check out the interactive versions so you can zoom in, drag the nodes around, and filter the characters by traits like their allegiance and whether they are civil or military officers.
The arrows on the graphs points from one character to the character he/she is serving. Of course, technically, so far everyone is supposed to be serving the emperor, but we know that’s not true. So what I’m trying to do is to map out the power centers. It’s not an exact science and there will certainly be ambiguous cases.
The graphs do not list every single character from each episode. I’ve left out some really minor characters. Also, for each episode, I will remove some characters who might have mattered in previous episodes but are no longer important (either they’ve been killed or are just never heard from again).
If you are curious, I created the graphs using Google Fusion Tables by following these directions. In a perfect world, I would create something like this. However, given that I am short on the time, knowledge, and skills needed to do that, we’ll have to content ourselves with what we’ve got.
Who are all you people?