Hey! I like to do this every few years or however long it is. The important things I have to say are:
1. Above are the arms of Tam Dalyell, former socialist MP. I think we can all agree they are a mess. Normally I would say that the sheer fussiness is the problem but oddly I think this one might work if it weren't for the hideous crossed weapons.
Normally, arms get muckier over time as you add achievements and folderols to pacify the families of wives you have taken because they were rich and whose daddies are furious their names will die out. But here the crossed weapons have been there from the start, because the quarter repeated top left and bottom right show the original arms of Tam o' The Binns, the founding father of the house, who was a bloody baron in the seventeenth century. He was a royalist (his reputation was probably blackened by the few of his enemies he left unslaughtered).
He also had exciting times as a successful Scots general in the armies of Moscow. Quite a lot of Scots did this and not just in Dorothy Dunnett. He also beat the devil at cards, and the devil threw the card table at him, but it missed him - the devil can't throw very straight but he has a huge arm, like an early Byron Leftwich (NFL joke) - and ended up in the pond.
This doesn't explain the naked man. If I didn't have to write a bee play I would do more research.
2. Language watch: people are using the words obviously and of course all the time and I think it's a problem. Even if something is obvious to you, if many people disagree, then it it's most likely not obvious and there is no 'of course' about it. The only alternative is that all these other people are evil or mendacious. So if you use the words, then you build a framework wherein people disagreeing with you are evil and bad. Usually, they just have different points of view or priorities.
I do it, obviously. Also, this is not saying some things shouldn't be 'of course'. Of course racism is wrong, etc. But because there are such clear wrongs going on right now, I think the language is leaking to a lot of places where things really, really aren't obvious and saying they are is digging you into a mindset that's not helping you and it's not helping me.
3. Language watch 2: broken and destroyed, used of people's emotions: 'I am broken by this news', 'This destroyed her', etc. I think this is recent (last few years). It is now solidly in contemporary novels. I assume this means it will stick and people will be surprised it didn't exist before but I think it didn't really. Certainly not in any routine way.
4. Language watch 3: I have mentioned that novelists use 'skittering' too much before. This hasn't stopped them. You'll almost never get through a book without it and very frequently you will get it more than once. This is much more often than the word appears in the world. There is something about it that really appeals to writers while writing.
(I know this because I noticed in my second book in time to reduce the skittering and I hope I took it down to one but maybe I thought I should be permitted two which I really shouldn't have been. I am so weak.)