Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

Portugal 2015

House Dembski-Bowden recently got back from a trip to Portugal, which was a cross between beautiful, serene, a hellish skullfuck of being without decent wi-fi, and the easily imaginable chaos of a toddler in the middle of his toilet training.

D’you want some photos?

Tough shit. Here are some photos.


Firstly, GO SUNS. Let’s just get that out of the way.

Here's a sea wall on a beach, to defend against, like... mermaids or whatever.

Here’s a sea wall on a beach, to defend against mermaids. Portugal’s capital is called “Lisbon”, which translates as “Besieged by clans of fish-people” in Old English.


If you look closely along Portuguese beaches you can find mermaid bones among the rocky coastal defences. These can be sold to the government for cash money.


This is an authentic picture of a human child looking ardently around the nearby landscape for the best spot to throw his next fucking tantrum.


Cool sculptures line the road in the Sintra valley. Top scientists suspect this one is a metaphor.


After the turbulent Fin Wars, the people of Portugal soon took to building their castles on top of mountains, not just to avoid the weaponized shrieks of the mermaid-queens, but also because it looked totally rad.


This is a ceiling. Man, whoever owned this palace sure liked magpies.


I’m smiling, but right after this photo I said “Stop drumming on my head, you little cunt.”


I love you, Katie, but this photo is some wildly pretentious bullshit.


Then we saw this little tower-castle-thing, which was great.


It even had a tiny scale model of itself, which I wanted to steal and use as 40K scenery. I didn’t in the end, not because I’m a coward but because it was made from some kind of supernaturally dense stone that no mortal muscles could lift. That’s why.


A Renaissance statue commemorating the great art of White People Dancing.


Alexander Dembski-Bowden, sponsored by pop culture.


Then we went to an aquarium, or an oceanarium, or whatever.


Don’t look at me, you ugly bastard. YOU KILLED STEVE IRWIN.


Yeah, that’s right. You better run.


Shakes pauses for a brief prayer to some imaginary fish pantheon. No doubt thanking them for the teddy octopus we bought him, which he loudly and publicly decided to name… Mr. Octopussy.




“Is that Dory?” Shakes asked 800 times. “Is that Dory? Is that Nemo? Where’s Dory? Is Nemo here?”


Yes, Dory was there. I wonder how many aquarium staff worldwide curse that Goddamn movie. How often do they hear kids banging on about it?


Nemo was similarly present.


Ugh. This hideous bastard again.


This is the smuggest, most self-satisfied frog I’ve ever seen. He knows things, this guy.


I saw this enterprising little fellow just stuck on the glass, like a greasy green Tic-Tac, and I sort of wanted to eat him.


This is a puffin.


And this is a puffin’s anus. Did you know that “puffin” in Norwegian is “lundefugl”? Isn’t that the greatest word ever?


This room, in one of the palaces, was historically known as the Grossly Overcompensating For Something chamber.


“Yeah, no, let’s make a chandelier out of moose horns and deer heads. That won’t look tacky as shit at all.”




Look how tired this owl is.


I don’t know what Rihanna is doing here.


Here’s Shakes at the bottom of the Sintra Initiation Well, where the Knights Templar used to do Templarish things, like rob people and blame the Jews. I told Shakes there were goblins down in these tunnels, and when I tried to walk away alone he started crying, scared that “the bad guy goblins” would “get me”.


I didn’t spit down on those people, I promise.








Have you guys watched Daredevil, yet? How awesome is the Kingpin in it!? I love the way they’ve portrayed him with all that power stemming from deeper insecurities, like a monarch laid bare. Really great show.


The library at the Mafra National Palace was absolutely breathtaking, in the most literal way. Very humbling. Very awesome.


So naturally I imagined Space Marines on all the balconies shooting each other, because I bet the Siege of Terra looked a little like that.


And last of all:


[Sadly eats ice cream]

Katie took all of these pics. Well, except the Rihanna ones. I took those.

April 14, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Good Looking place. Strangest thing though out of all of them is no hat. Always thought you would have replaced the beanie with some other sort of summery related headgear. Maybe a panama like the man from del-monte…

    Comment by Craig | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  2. Glad you enjoyed my (well, I don’t own it but..) country. Nice photos.
    Sintra is Lord Byron’s place and one of the most majestic places to sit and write. Most days of the week there is a mist enveloping it..
    Thank you for your visit and keep writing awesome books…

    Comment by Paulo Goncalves | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  3. You seriously need to do a book of your annotated photo collections. Comedy. Fucking. GOLD.

    Comment by qui3tman | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  4. Daredevil was utterly rad. I think I’ll be hearing Vincent Donofrio’s voice whenever you have Abaddon speaking in your books.

    Comment by Dougal Cochrane | April 14, 2015 | Reply

    • Great. Now I want to hear Abaddon tell someone to get their big butt back in the house, just because.

      Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  5. Now that you have been down the inner circle of Aldurukh would you please write more Dark Angels instead of letting Gav do it?

    Comment by Brother dean | April 14, 2015 | Reply

    • +1000

      Comment by Ryan Stephenson | April 15, 2015 | Reply

  6. Yo Aaron that was quite a trip, but I warn thee. Here in Italy we have a similar castle full of horns and skulls (but not chairs made of them tho):

    Come to visit us. It’s totally not creepy.

    Comment by Giorgio | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  7. Dude, that must be some depressing ice cream. My minions… uh, kids, I meant kids… they all go nuts! Kind of like minions… weird.

    Comment by shavenwookiee | April 14, 2015 | Reply

    • Fish-people, you heard it here first folks!

      Great photos, brilliant comments.

      Comment by Dan | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  8. Just think, once this one gets past the tantrum stage, you’ll have another one just starting it. At least you’ll be able to look at Alex and be like “See this? You totally did this, too. No, don’t give me that commiserating look, I don’t want to share sympathy with you, I want to see you writhe in the same fountain of suffering you dunked me in. Savor it. Savor it ALWAYS.”

    Comment by Khestra the Unbeheld | April 14, 2015 | Reply

  9. Had a number of genuine laugh-out-loud moments while reading the photo comments.

    Thank you for the mirth Word-King!

    Comment by Ryan Stephenson | April 15, 2015 | Reply

  10. Those are some really beautiful impressions — I had no idea Portugal was so full of grimdark 😉 Thanks for sharing!
    Your captions had me laughing at the top of my lungs more than once, though, and were the real star of the show — you should make shit up for a living…oh wait 😉

    Comment by krautscientist | April 15, 2015 | Reply

  11. Missed opportunity to retcon Lord Huron’s first name in Blood Reaver to “Lundefugl”. All hail Puffin Blackheart.

    Comment by triceratopping | April 15, 2015 | Reply

  12. If you want grimdark, visit the catacombs, tombs and cathedral in Austria – and take a day trip to the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic – it fucking looks like Khârn’s living room, with walls and chandeliers made of bone…

    And if you do come, you are hereby cordially invited to visit the south of Austria for an indeterminate number of beers and some fanboys to carry you around on a litter.

    Comment by Dr. Hobo | April 20, 2015 | Reply

  13. Nice photos!
    Although…. You have “nemo” correct but I’m afraid that’s not a “Dory” what you have there is a “powder blue tang,” Dory is a “regal tang” :-p
    Fish geek

    Comment by marsekay | April 23, 2015 | Reply

  14. i would not have been able to restrain myself from a Gaston impression in that hall full of horns and antlers… “I use antlers in all of my de-co-rating…!”

    Comment by Robert E. Langford | August 14, 2015 | Reply

    • /thread, Win. Lol!

      On a more coherent note, great photos and that library does need Space Marines shooting each other in it.

      Comment by sonsoftherock | February 12, 2019 | Reply

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