Merry Christmas

>> Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Picture by Walter Rane
 Veni, veni, Emmanuel, 
 Captivum solve Israel, 
Qui gemit in exilio, 
 Privatus Dei Filio. 

 Gaude! Gaude! Emanuel 
 Nascetur pro te, Israel.

O come, O come Emmanuel 
To free your captive Israel 
 That mourns in lonely exile here 
Until the Son of God appear. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel, 
 To you shall come Emmanuel. 


So, This is The Hobbit

>> Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

It doesn't matter what I think.
Because of  loyalty to Tolkien and to the previous, well-done movie trilogy, this movie will be heralded as "not as good as The Lord of the Rings, but alright," and people will still flock to see it.
But all I can say is that Tolkien did not deserve that.
It starts out well enough, what with the prologue, and the dwarves barging in uninvited to Bilbo's home and singing, "That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!" And Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage fit their roles perfectly. It seemed, then, that the movie was going to be alright.

But then the quest began and so did my disappointment.
Unnecessary characters who weren't in the book, unnecessary fight scenes, and far too much emphasis on the necromancer--who only gets a passing mention in the book. The movie was very BUSY, with so many fights and  battles and whatnot, so that throughout all the busy-ness, the heart of the story was ultimately lost. Much of it felt like filler, like Jackson was attempting to cram in as much as possible in order to make part 1 of a simply-told children's book a three-hour long explosion.
(If that does little to convince those who have no interest in the books, then may I say how fake the CGI orcs and goblins looked? And the goblins were quite unbearable to watch, as their design made them much more gag-inducing than Jackson's previous creations.)

It's a shame the way it turned out, and I'm afraid I won't be seeing this again.
I still love Tolkien, however, and will forever remain true to the previous movie trilogy. This film, however, seems to have no part with them.

Verdict: You'll probably go see it anyway, but if the book is dear to your heart I advise you look elsewhere for a true adaptation.
Grey Travel Rating: 2/5
Special Effects: 2/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Acting: 5/5
Objectionable Content: An obese goblin's stomach is sliced, a couple of references to the nether-regions. 


The Hobbit Quotes Part 1

>> Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Picture by Justin Gerard
"Good Morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.
"What do you mean?" he said. "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?"
"All of them at once," said Bilbo.

"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"

Far over the Misty Mountains cold,/To dungeons deep and caverns old,/We must away, ere break of day,/To seek the pale enchanted gold./The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,/While hammers fell like ringing bells,/In places deep, where dark things sleep,/In hollow halls beneath the fells./For ancient king and elvish lord/There many a gleaming golden hoard/They shaped and wrought, and light they caught,/To hide in gems on hilt of sword./On silver necklaces they strung/The flowering stars, on crowns they hung/The dragon-fire, on twisted wire/They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Trolls simply detest the very sight of dwarves (uncooked).

"Where did you go off to, if I may ask?" said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along.
"To look ahead," said he.
"And what brought you back in the nick of time?"
"Looking behind," said he.

Even the good plans of wise wizards like Gandalf and of good friends like Elrond go astray sometimes when you are off on dangerous adventures over the Edge of the Wild; and Gandalf was a wise enough wizard to know it.

"Why, O why did I ever leave my hobbit-hole!" said poor Mr Baggins bumping up and down on Bombur's back.

He could hear the goblins beginning a horrible song: Fifteen birds in five firtrees,/their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!/But, funny little birds, they had no wings!/O what shall we do with the funny little things?/Roast 'em alive, or stew them in a pot;/fry them, boil them and eat them hot?

"A very good tale!" said he. "The best I have heard for a long while. If all beggars could tell such a good one, they might find me kinder. You may be making it all up, of course, but you deserve a supper for the story all the same."

"Breakfast!" he cried. "Where is breakfast?"
"Mostly inside us," answered the other dwarves who were moving about the hall; "but what is left is out on the veranda."


A Guide to the Dwarves of The Hobbit

>> Thursday, December 13, 2012

Created by Celtic Traveler via I do not own the pictures, fonts, or the rights to the movie, obviously.


Famous Literary Swords: Sting

>> Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

As you can see, there are no Elvish markings when Bilbo first finds it.
These were added later by the elves at Rivendell.

Sting was lost around the same time as Glamdring, and in the same battle. Along with Glamdring, Sting was found in the troll hoard, where it was described as a blade that "would have made only a tiny pocket-knife for a troll, but it was as good as a short sword for the hobbit". The sword glowed blue whenever orcs or goblins were near (a common property of blades forged in Gondolin).

The sword's gaining of a name is an historic occurrence. After killing a spider in Mirkwood "all alone by himself...without the help of the wizard or the dwarves", Bilbo felt "a different person, and much fiercer and bolder..."

...he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath. "I will give you a name," he said to it, "and I shall call you Sting."
Bilbo carried the weapon throughout the "incident with the dragon" and ended up giving Sting to his nephew Frodo, when the young hobbit was setting out to destroy the One Ring.
The sword seems to come in full circle, for it was on that same quest that Sam took up the sword to protect Frodo and kill the most dangerous and deadly of all spiders, Shelob.

"Let him go, you filth."

At the end of the Third Age Frodo gave the sword to Sam, and the sword became a Gamgee family heirloom.



>> Monday, December 3, 2012

If there's one collection of Greek myths I love, it's The McElderly Book of Greek Myths. It has to be one of the only collections I shall ever buy for my children.

The first reason, of course, is the narrative. Instead of treating the people scattered throughout the tales as stiff, black-and-white archetypes, Mr. Kimmel gives them character, explians their weaknesses and describes their strengths. He really makes them human (if human can be used to describe the mythical beings in the stories.)

Take this example from "Pandora's Box":
Epimetheus came home. He found Pandora lying on the floor...Her eyes were red from weeping.
The overturned box lay in the corner. He knew at once what had happened. "I am so sorry," Pandora said. "I broke my promise...I only meant to take a peek. Instead I ruined everything."
"Don't be sorry," said Epimetheus, taking her hand. "You made a mistake. That is all. the fault was mine. I should have explained what was in the box and why it had to remain closed."
It also has the occasional laugh, as shown in "Persephone and Hades":
Persephone let out a shriek. The ruler of the Underworld was frightening enough. Seeing him in
love was absolutely terrifying.
Even Medusa has depth. She is evil, to be sure, but only came down that path after becoming embittered by the curse that took away her beauty. 
And the romances are told in such a  beautiful way--even if most of them are tragic. (As a poster for the opera Orpheus and Eurydice once said: "Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy goes to Hades to get girl back.")

But the main reason I adore this collection are Pep Montserrat's illustrations. They add such passion and drama to the stories! The emotion in the pictures, coupled with Mr. Kimmel's writing really bring it all to life.
Take a look:
"Now is the time. Kill your father!"

I never wondered what Daedalus and Icarus might have felt
when they were imprisoned--until this illustration.


I Am An Otter

You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".

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