Sunday, 22 September 2013

'A Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence'

A big, happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! To acknowledge and celebrate my love of Tolkien I'm taking part in Hamlette's blog party over on the The Edge of the Precipice. Here are my answers to her delightful questions
: )

1.  Have you read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? If so, how many times?
Of course I've read both of these books! They're two of the greatest books ever written and what kind of Tolkien fan would I be if I hadn't?! I know I've read both of these books at least three times over the course of my life, probably more. I've also read The Silmarillion. I don't enjoy that book as much as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and I wouldn't class it as one of my all-time favourites but it's still an astonishing achievement and all Tolkien fans should read it. Things that are only briefly mentioned in The Hobbit and LOTR are covered in much more depth in The Silmarillion and it makes you appreciate the history and mythology of Middle-earth even more. I'm also currently reading Tolkien's retelling of the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight story and I'm really enjoying it so far.

2.  Have you seen any movies based on them?
Yes. I've seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey. I dearly love all of these films although they're not perfect adaptations of course. There are certain things about them which annoy me. I don't like how the LOTR films handled Faramir's character, I don't like that they made Aragorn a reluctant hero, and I think a couple of the actors that were in it were miscast (Orlando Bloom, Miranda Otto). But I love everything else about the films! They're incredibly well-made, most of the actors were extremely well-cast, the films were mostly faithful to the book, and Howard Shore's music was fantastic. There was also all of that wonderful New Zealand scenery (see below). One of my major ambitions in life is to go to New Zealand and visit the locations that were used for the films. I also like that they expanded Arwen's role and took out the Old Forest section. Don't get me wrong! I love that section in the book. It's a nice little diversion. I just can't see it working in an adaptation. The Lord of the Rings is one of my favourite books and Peter Jackson's film trilogy are some of my favourite films. I also loved The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey. I'm still not sure if the decision to split The Hobbit into three films will ultimately pay off but I was very, very happy with the first film. I'm really excited about the next Hobbit film. It will have Benedict Cumberbatch, Lee Pace and Evangeline Lily in it!

Aside from the Peter Jackson films I've also seen the animated film version of The Lord of the Rings. I'm not a fan. I can't stand the rotoscoping and the way that they animated some of the characters. I can't stand the fact that they call Saruman "Aruman" at times. I hate what they did to Sam!

I'm also a recently converted fan of The Lord of the Rings musical. It's not a movie adaptation of course but I just thought I'd mention it. The music in it is absolutely gorgeous. I especially love Lothlorien and The Cat and the Moon (best drinking song ever!)

3.  Who first introduced you to Middle Earth?
Well... I can't remember anyone specifically introducing me to Middle-Earth. I did start off with the books though which I'm very pleased about. I always aim to read books before I see their adaptations. I guess Tolkien introduced me to Middle-earth : )

4.  Who are your three favourite characters?  (Feel free to elaborate on whys.)
Three! Just three! Oh Hamlette how can you be so cruel?! One does not simply pick three favourite characters! It would be easier to say which of the characters I don't like! Answering this question will require some thought...
  1. Aragorn. He's got an awesome entrance in both the book and The Fellowship of the Ring, and I love how mysterious his character is at the beginning. Much like Gandalf, Aragorn knows far more than he's letting on and he keeps his cards close to his chest. And then it turns out that Aragorn is noble and honourable, a badass fighter, a fantastic leader, and has a very interesting backstory. I like Aragorn more in the book because he's much more self-confident but I do really love Viggo Mortensen's portrayal of him in the films as well. I love his "My friends... you bow to no one" line in The Return of the King film. It helps that Viggo Mortensen is so incredibly attractive as well ;) 
  2. Sam. Without Sam, Frodo would have never been able to achieve his quest and complete his mission. Sam is an incredibly brave and loyal friend and is for many the unsung hero of The Lord of the Rings.
  3. Legolas. I really love Legolas but only in the book. Legolas doesn't seem to have any sort of personality in the Peter Jackson films due to Orlando Bloom's bland acting. When I first saw the films I assumed that Bloom was deliberately giving an emotionless performance to try to show the character's otherworldliness. But then I saw Bloom in other films and I was like "Nope! He's just a very wooden actor!" Anyway, I love Legolas in the book. He's a badass Elven Prince and he's very dignified and ethereal, which I find fascinating. But Legolas is also one of the most cheerful and carefree characters in the book and he seems to have quite a sly sense of humour.
  4. Faramir. Faramir is actually tied with Legolas for third place. I really love Faramir but, again, only in the book. He has so much more depth in that. In the films Faramir just comes across as a slightly more strong-willed version of Boromir, whereas Book Faramir is actually much closer to Aragorn in terms of personality. He's about as close to a true Numenorean as someone from Gondor can get. Faramir is badass - have you gathered that I love badassery? - and his romance with Eowyn is very sweet. 
That was really hard! I also love Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Eowyn, Merry, Pippin, Thorin and Fili and Kili. Smaug, Gollum and Saruman are brilliant antagonists as well of course. My favourite character from The Lord of the Rings that wasn't in the films would be Glorfindel. He almost single-handedly defeated the Witch King of Angmar and his army, it was he who saved Frodo from the Nazgul, it was he who predicted that no mortal man would be able to kill the Witch King. And he also killed a balrog! And unlike Gandalf, Glorfindel didn't even die and get resurrected in the process! Oh, and I also really love Beren and Luthien from The Silmarillion.

5.  What's your favourite Middle Earth location?
This is also really hard! I love different locations for different reasons. I love Hobbiton because it's such a peaceful place. It would be a great place to live. You could go for long walks in the Shire and hang out at the local pub where they'd be a roaring fire. You could eat lots of food over at Bilbo and Frodo's place whilst listening to Bilbo's stories. The only possible downside is that it might be a bit dull which is why I'd also love to live in Lothlorien. It sounds so beautiful and magical and peaceful that I really don't think that I would get bored there. I could also hang out with the Elves, listen to their music and singing, and hear lots of interesting stories from the good people who get to pass through the forest. I would also love to visit the Grey Havens and Valinor. I imagine windswept rocky beaches and mountain views there.

6.  If you could belong to one of the races of Free Folk (Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Ents), which would you choose?
The Elves because I've always found them to be the most interesting and fascinating of the Middle-Earth races.

7.  Would you rather eat lembas or taters?
Lembas! I'm sure Sam cooks taters very well but I'd want to try something I've never eaten before.

8.  If you lived in Middle Earth, what weapon would you prefer wielding?
Ideally I'd want a bow and arrow because that way you can kill your enemies from a distance! I'd keep a sword or a dagger with me as well though just in case I was caught unawares.

9.  What draws you to Tolkien's stories?  (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.)
Oh, there are so many things. I love Tolkien's stories because they're so exciting and epic and action-packed. I love that the world of Middle-earth is so incredibly detailed. I love the stories because of Tolkien's amazing imagination and inventiveness. He was a genius and a man who truly understood mythology and language. I love Tolkien's writing-style and his humour. I love the stories because of the brilliantly engaging characters. I love the themes of the stories (bravery, friendship, hope, self-sacrifice, etc). The books and the films have been a major part of my childhood and really helped to make a me a fan of fantasy.

10. List up to five of your favourite lines/quotes from the books or movies.

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

“A day may come when the courage of men fails… but it is not THIS day!”

“I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee… here at the end of all things.”

“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” 

“Where there's life there's hope.”  

Ok, ok, I put up six quotes! I cheated : D


Hamlette said...

Cheating is not allowed!

I'm so kidding. I've been working on my answers for this, and right now I think I have it narrowed down to... twelve favorite lines. Torture!

But anyway, my husband is a HUGE fan of Glorfindel too! Every time we watch the movies, he laments about how Glorfindel got left out just to make Arwen cooler, etc. I agree that he's very awesome.

Thanks for joining the party!

Indigo Montoya said...

You're welcome : D Yeah, on the whole I actually like Arwen's expanded role in the LOTR films but I think not seeing Glorfindel was a mistake.

Really looking forward to reading your answers!