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How do I love Tolkien? Let me count the ways

Today is the birthday of my favorite author JRR Tolkien. Non-readers and non-fantasy book readers are more familiar of course with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (3 movies out of 1 short book still confounds and amazes me). And while I love those movies to death of course (the LOTR trilogy is my all-time favorite movie. Yes, I consider them just one) I have a different kind of love affair with his books, his works that were put together by his son Christopher after his death, and just the world he created in general. So why do I love him and his work so much?

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I got my non-Bible life verse from Fellowship of the Ring

From the moment I read this passage from the first Tolkien book I read, I fell in love with it, and since then “not all who wander are lost” has been my “tag line.” While of course the poem pertains to Aragorn (who of course happens to be one of my favorite characters), that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to it. Being an emotional nomad, my heart is prone to wander here and there and so the line really speaks to me.

Not all who wander are lost

He tells the stories of Middle Earth like it was a real world

When it comes to world-building, I haven’t read anything yet that can compare to Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Each race (and sub-race) has its own detailed language, culture, history, characteristics, story, etc. I’ve probably read The Silmarillion, which talks about the whole history of Middle Earth, from its creation up to the time when the events of The Lord of the Rings transpired and even beyond. If your only exposure of Tolkien is LOTR, believe me, it is just one part of a very large picture. Too bad Peter Jackson can’t touch Tolkien’s other works, it would have been awesome to see some of the stories in the Silmarillion and the Histories of Middle Earth and The Lost Tales come to life on the screen. I will not trust any other filmmaker to touch that, but alas, the Tolkien estate will not let him. So until then, these stories will have to stay in our heads, and you will not hear me complaining.

Not my collection, but i wish it was!

Not my collection, but i wish it was!

He created some of my favorite fantasy characters

Varda. Lorien. Tulkas, Nienna. Arien and Tilion. Fingolfin. Galadriel. Gil-galad. Earendil. Melian. Beren and Luthien. Turin Turambar. Thorin Oakenshield. Aragorn. Eowyn. Faramir. Theoden. Pippin. Samwise. Whether their characters’ stories were short or epic, I will forever treasure having been privy to their journey, their pain, their triumph, their tragedy. I feel like I went through everything with them, and when their respective chapters came to a close, i felt like I lost a friend. And yes, I’ve named a few toys or gadgets after some of these characters.

Trivia – their joint tombstone refers to Tolkien and his wife, Edith Mary as Beren and Luthien, which is probably the best “love story” in his Middle Earth. Altogether now…”Aaawwwww”. If you don’t know the story of the ill-fated (somewhat) and star-crossed lovers, that is one incentive for you to read Silmarillion.

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The women are few but memorable

Tolkien has often been accused of “hating” female characters as most of the stories, especially in The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy are testosterone-filled escapades. But the few women he was able to flesh out were memorable indeed. Melian used her power to protect those she loved. Galadriel is one of the oldest and most powerful elves still in Middle Earth. Luthien is no damsel in distress and she dared to go against the greatest evil. Eowyn uttered the classic line, “I am no man!” Arwen was….well she was pretty. Haha. Yeah, he could have written her better, but hey, Aragorn saw something in her, so maybe she wasn’t all that bad.

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Evil is not ambiguous and good triumphs in the end

While I do love modern stories, sometimes there is just too much ambiguity when it comes to the nature of evil. The rise of the anti-hero is exciting for storytelling, but disturbing for my peace of mind. In Tolkien’s world, the villains (Morgoth/Melkor, Sauron, the orcs) were not mistreated or abused that’s why they rebelled and became evil (okay, maybe the orcs had no choice but you don’t hear of an orc who suddenly chose to become good). They just were full of hatred and malice and lust and greed. They say he wrote the LOTR trilogy as an allegory for his experiences in World War I and obviously, his view is that there is no justification for war. It is just evil. But in the end, goodness will always triumph. And in a real world that sometimes doesn’t always reflect that, his stories and his own world are a comfort and a reminder that at the end of it all, it is not the most powerful or the proudest or the strongest that will win the battle.

And of course the quotes, the wonderful, beautiful quotes (not my art, click here for source)

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Books

 

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Random thoughts while watching The Desolation of Smaug (no spoilers I think)

No spoilers. Maybe

  • Ayala Cinemas you suck! A lot of ads and no trailers at all? Dont you know that trailers are part of the moviegoing experience?
  • Wow that’s an early cameo by that person who always makes a cameo in all Middle Earth films
  • I still catch my breath whenever I see Thorin Oakenshield, especially when it’s a glamour shot

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  • People eating noisily in a movie house, I hate you with a fire of a thousand dragons
  • Thranduil, showing us that he’s way prettier than his son

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  • Ooohh a pretty elf may just have been friendzoned
  • Kili showing us that height doesn’t matter

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  • Where’s the dragon? I wanna see the dragon!
  • Why is there a crying baby in this cinema? Isn’t this supposed to be not suitable for young children? Creatures get killed and decapitated and worse!
  • My arachnophobic JDP boss will never be able to watch this film
  • All I can think of now when I see Radagast (you know the fellow with bird poop in his hair) is this Dr Who short film

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  • “You made me nosebleed, you’re going to pay” said a pretty elf
  • First Cumberbatch audio “sighting” *shivers* but still not the dragon
  • Bard has got the scowling down pat

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  • Wait, orcs cannot be that lithe and stealthy!
  • Dragon! You can never have too much dragon! I am fire and I am death!

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  • Is it so wrong that I am going gaga over Smaug’s voice? I think Cumberbatch can voice the animated version of Twilight and i still would not hate it/him

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  • Oooohh shiny! I want the shiny!
  • Thorin, I have the lack of height to be your dwarven queen! Pretty please
  • Okay, I dont hate Tauriel at all

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  • What? I have to wait another year???
 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Movies

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Pop Culture Things I’m Excited About Now

1. The Dark Knight Rises

Obviously, if you really know me, this would be my first item since Batman is my favorite superhero and Christopher Nolan is my favorite director. And this trilogy by Nolan has to got to be one of, if not, the best superhero movie adaptation. While I’m always cautious about my expectations on big-budget movies, I expect nothing less but perfection in this third film. That’s how much Nolan has earned my trust. And from the reviews I’ve seen so far, he does not disappoint. “Oh my goodness” and “He didn’t just do that!” action sequences, a detestable yet weirdly appealing villain, dystopian sensibilities, emo soul-searching internal dialogues, venerable father figures, a tender romantic angle (maybe 3rd time’s the charm for Bruce), supporting characters that can actually do a spin-off (I’m looking at you Joseph Gordon-Levitt): these are the things I’m expecting and will probably get (based on reviews I actually read)

2. Superman: Man of Steel

Since we’re talking about superheroes….I am not the biggest Superman fan but all the news from the Comic Con this year gives me hope that this might just be an interesting take on the franchise. Besides, how can you resist Henry Cavill?

The poster looks awesome too

3. The Hobbit

It’s still 5 months away but already I am excited beyond belief about a return trip to Middle Earth. While Westeros has captured my imagination for the past months, my first love would always be JRR Tolkien’s creations. Peter Jackson has taken a somewhat “liberated” approach to the adaptation by including fan favorites Legolas and Galadriel who aren’t even in the book, but of course in Jackson we trust. And all those video diaries during the shoot has added to the anticipation. Now it’s time to re-read The Hobbit, and re-watch the whole LOTR trilogy (extended versions and behind the scenes videos included of course)

4. Game of Thrones Season 3

Speaking of Westeros…March 2013 is indeed so far away (why? why? why?) but the  introduction of the new cast members for Season 3 has hyped up the excitement this early. I’m very happy with the casting of Jojen Reed (one of my book favorites) – the boy who played Liam Neeson’s son in Love Actually and the voice of Ferb (Phineas and Ferb is a cartoon on Disney) – Thomas Brodie Sangster. Dame Diana Rigg (who played Emma Peel in the original Avengers – nope, not that Avengers) will play Lady Olenna, the grandmother of Margery and Loras Tyrell. Richard Dormer looks old-handsome enough to play Beric Dondarrion who is actually….okay, i won’t spoil it for those who didn’t read the books. To see the rest of the new cast, watch the video below

5. Fringe Season 5 

I am still in denial that this is the last season of Fringe. Just like with the departure of Buffy, Lost and The X-Files (I’m sensing a pattern here), my TV life will never be the same when it ends. But in the meantime, I will look forward to this last season which will be mostly set in the future, which might mean more Desmond, I mean Henry Ian Cusick time 🙂

6. The Newsroom

I was a bit hesitant to show the first episode of this new Aaron Sorkin penned drama to my classes because I was afraid they wouldn’t appreciate the rapid-fire dialogue and sometimes preachy journalism tone. But to my surprise, they enjoyed it and even developed a new-found appreciation for their tv production class. And since it was my 3rd viewing of that episode, I still laughed, got teary-eyed and slow clapped in the same parts. Looking forward to watching the other 3 episodes currently shown.

7. So You Think You Can Dance Season 9

I really wish more people I know would watch my favorite reality competition program (yes, more than AI or even The Amazing Race, which has gotten a little stale for me) so that you would understand why I go ga-ga over choreographers and why my heart breaks everytime a dancer is sent home. It’s no easy feat for dancers from different styles to dance with each other and randomly draw a dance style that may well be out of their comfort zone. But they do this week in and week out and so the frustrated non-dancer in me has to stand up and applaud them every week too. Plus Cat Deeley is the best host ever!

8. New albums!

Most of them are months away again, but I am eagerly awaiting new albums from Mumford and Sons (finally! Their album is constantly being abused on my iTunes), The xx, Passion Pit, The Shins, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power, Mazzy Star. Plus all these new albums I’ve been discovering on noisetrade. (check out my post on this)

9. Skycable now offers Goal 1 and Goal 2

Only fellow football fans would understand why I am both ecstatic and afraid of this new development. Goodbye sleep is all I can say.

10. The London Olympics 2012

I dunno if it’s the Muse song or the P&G ad that has me actually looking forward to this, even though I would only be following swimming, tennis, maybe gymnastics and of course football (I don’t think any of those sports have Filipinos competing in them right?)

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Top 10 Tuesday

 

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