Exalted Movie Mondays – 300

August 23, 2010

Sometimes, my posts here seem almost irrelevant. Sometimes, a movie doesn’t need me to tell you why it’s Exalted. 300 is one of those movies. I can’t imagine any of my readers is unfamiliar with this film, but I’ll give the basic plot a little going-over, just in case.

300 is the story of the three hundred Spartans who went to battle with Xerxes and his Persian army in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. It’s one of the most inspiring true battles I’ve ever heard of, and the story told is no less inspiring. It is a tale of heroism and bravery, of uncompromising morals in the face of utter annihilation, of gods and monsters. The men are warriors, larger-than-life, the villains are beyond comprehension in their obscenity. It is an amazing story, no less amazing for knowing how it ends before it starts.

The thing about 300 that has always struck me, however, is that it didn’t really happen, and I don’t just mean that it’s a fictional movie. The entire narrative of the film is propaganda, being told by the narrator, Dilios, one of the titular Spartans as he rallies the Spartan army. The narrator himself is untrustworthy, the battles are portrayed as terrifying and epic whether they were or not. We never meet any of the characters, except within Dilios’ story. The Persians are described as monsters and monstrous, but we don’t know. The Spartans are described as heroic and shining, but we don’t know. In the end, all we have are the words of a Spartan soldier who can hardly be said to be an unbiased observer, even if he weren’t trying to whip his men into a battle frenzy.

Nevertheless, the heroics and acrobatics presented within that narrative are Exalted, without question. The Spartans’ defiance is nothing short of legendary, and they definitely meet their badass quota. If, somehow, you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it, especially for fodder for Mass Combat stunts. It’s a thrilling tale with action dialed up to eleven, and perfect for Exalted. Give 300 a ride, let me know what you think!



  1. An interesting point about Dilios as an unreliable narrator. I’m pretty sure the battle of Thermopylae WAS pretty intensense, and the Spartans WERE complete badasses throughout. Dilios is unreliable only in the depths of the Persians evilly evil of evil. Historically, the Persians ran a fairly tolerant empire, while the Spartan had National Rape the Helots Day.

    300 probably has one of the best heroic last stands in any movie. I think the Spartans work better for portrayals of Lookshy than of Solars. Lookshy being such a wonderful amalgam of Spartan and Feudal Japanese culture.


    • Dilios as an unreliable narrator isn’t meant as a judgment call against him. Nor is it intended to belittle the actual Battle of Thermopylae and the participants therein. It’s just interesting that the entire movie is literally battle propaganda, and that piece of information only really becomes apparent at the end (even though they totally tell you right up front).

      You’re right about the Spartans being an excellent analogue for Lookshy, though. I hadn’t even considered those social parallels. Thank you!

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