War and Peace Character Cheat Sheet December 13, 2011 11:12 PM   Subscribe

War and Peace Character Cheat Sheet?

Maybe a year or so ago I saw a comment on Metafilter which was more or less a War and Peace character cheat sheet. It listed the character names you actually had to remember reading the novel. It may have been a joke. Either way I would like the list as I am attempting the novel for my holiday reading, and I am horrible with names.

Vacillated posting this to Ask or here. What is the correct etiquette?
posted by arha to MetaFilter-Related at 11:12 PM (23 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

This is the one! Questions about Metafilter go here, and since this is specifically about searching for something on MeFi... here you are, all tidy and proper. :)
posted by taz (staff) at 11:15 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, I used to have an edition of War and Peace that came with just such a cheat sheet as a placeholder card. It was AWESOME. I wish I could remember who the hell I lent it to.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:20 PM on December 13, 2011


Can't find the comment, but there's a character tree in the Wikipedia entry, not sure how useful it'll be.
posted by arcticseal at 11:40 PM on December 13, 2011


War and Peace : Everybody either dies or gets married
posted by Afroblanco at 1:25 AM on December 14, 2011


Here are bukvich's tricks for reading War and Peace, from the "Difficult Books" AskMe posted in 2010. So, it's older than a year, but could that be the comment you're looking for?

(Thanks for reminding me of that thread and the comment, in any case. Hope you enjoy the novel!)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:30 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I just bought myself an e-reader which comes with War and Peace (amongst 99 other classics) pre-loaded, but I've read that it's tricky to keep track of the names, so I was daunted.

Nice work, arha and taz and all commenters. Thank you, and I'll be thinking of you all as I read, reclining in the summer heat on the balcony of an Australian pub, post-Christmas.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:34 AM on December 14, 2011


rangefinder 1.4 : that is so close, not it, but thank-you!
posted by arha at 3:56 AM on December 14, 2011


War and Peace is not that difficult! It's equal in size and amount of characters to a modest modern-day fantasy epic. The language is not difficult to get to grips with either (provided your translation is average or better; I read the excellent modern Norwegian translation).

A page out of a small notebook and a pen will suffice if you have trouble keeping the characters apart, I think.
posted by Harald74 at 4:15 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's the one I made while reading the book.
posted by exogenous at 5:01 AM on December 14, 2011


There actually an app you can get for this very problem (if you can stand to read on an iphone or ipad), which is incredibly useful. It works by systematically replacing the personal names of characters in any book with the names of charaters from Star Wars (in decreasing order of importance) - this is on the basis that "our generation" will always remember exactly who is who in Star Wars. So, if you have a book with 3 main characters, it will replace their names with Luke, Leia and Han Solo. If you have 5 characters, you get Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, C3PO. And so on and so forth.

This totally solves the problem of remembering who is who, and you get an effect like this:

"Well, Luke, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Oregana's. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Han Solo - I really believe he is Han Solo - I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my 'faithful slave,' as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see I have frightened you- sit down and tell me all the news."

It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Chewbacca, maid of honor and favorite of the Empress C-3PO. With these words she greeted R2-D2, a man of high rank and importance, who was the first to arrive at her reception. Chewbacca had had a cough for some days. She was, as she said, suffering from la grippe; grippe being then a new word in St. Petersburg, used only by the elite."


I think the app is called "MemoryForce".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:02 AM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


War and Peace is not that difficult! It's equal in size and amount of characters to a modest modern-day fantasy epic.

This is a really good comparison, down to the battle scenes and everything. I thought it was a total page-turner. It's certainly no Infinite Jest.

Just skip the epilogue.
posted by dfan at 6:05 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So which chapters are "the entirety of the winter between Andre's stonewall and Natasha's betrayal"? I ask for the future moment when I read War and Peace, which I'm totally planning to do before I die, which will not be anytime soon, I'm sure.
posted by mediareport at 6:08 AM on December 14, 2011


Those characters are called 'cyrrillic'.
Glad to be of help.
posted by joost de vries at 6:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


> So which chapters are "the entirety of the winter between Andre's stonewall and Natasha's betrayal"?

I forget. You will notice. The plot becomes really slow as there are like twenty consecutive pages of little but Natasha pining over Andre. From where that starts basically nothing happens for ninety pages until she decides to run away with Boris then shit starts happening very fast.
posted by bukvich at 6:45 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


From where that starts basically nothing happens for ninety pages until she decides to run away with Boris then shit starts happening very fast.

can we get a spoiler tag, please
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


can we get a spoiler tag, please

spoiler:













The Russians kick Napoleon's ass.
posted by bukvich at 7:15 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


...Why are there so many porny images popping up when I GIS for "spoiler tag"?

Rainbow Dash would NEVER DO THAT. *shudder*
posted by maryr at 7:38 AM on December 14, 2011


Am I the only one who opened this thread thinking this would be a reference to a character sheet listing Bolkonsky's dexterity, hit points, and so forth?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:35 AM on December 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


I've been sufficiently RPG-obsessed lately that I read that as "War and Peace Character Sheet" and wondered what the stats would be.
posted by Zed at 10:48 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


SPOILER:









Up up, down down, left right left right, A, B, Start, and then you become God and can control history.
posted by not_on_display at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2011


If you don't want War and Peace spoilers, I'd recommend against reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (and uh, also this thread). I came across a passage in there that was very suddenly basically like, "Natasha and Pierre get married!"

This happened at a point when my husband and I had been reading War and Peace aloud to each other for the past year, and were only about 2/3 of the way through. Oops.
posted by booknerd at 1:43 PM on December 14, 2011


It's not that there are so many characters, it's that if you aren't familiar with Russian names, every diminuative seems like a new name.

in English, the equivalent might be:

Mrs. Margaret Doe (formerly Miss Margaret Graham)
Mrs. Stephen Doe
Mrs. Doe
Ms. Doe
Margaret
Peggy
Peg
little Peggy

They all convey a different tone or relationship.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone, I think this has given me enough to proceed with. I am the kind of idiot who reads the ends of books first so the 150 year old spoilers haven't put me off.

As an aside I think there should be more games based on classic literature. I had a weirdly detailed dream a few weeks back where I designed a web game based on Pride and Prejudice (it was a platformer and you played as Mrs Bennet).
posted by arha at 4:37 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


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