Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

This tag is going around and I was tagged for it over on Sidewalk Crossings by DKoren.

1. You Must Be Tagged to take the Q and A quiz
2. You must tag (notify) at least three other bloggers (or whatever they are on) for this Q and A
3. You must answer the following questions to the best of your ability
4. You must have seen The Battle of the Five Armies to be tagged/take the quiz
WARNING!  There's going to be spoilage!!!

1. Tell your story of how you came to see the movie(s) or got into Tolkien in the first place.

My introduction to Tolkien was The Hobbit, not the book, but the cute animated film by Rankin Bass from the 1970s. Anyone remember it? I was probably 10 at the time, maybe a little younger, and I just loved it. So imaginative and clever. I read the book for the first time when I was 14, just after I moved to Colorado and was feeling lonely. It took my mind off the upheaval of moving and leaving all my friends behind, kind of like Bilbo leaving his comfortable life for a new adventure. So I became a true fan at the age of 14 and never looked back.

2. Who are your three favorite characters in The Hobbit Trilogy?

Bilbo, Gandalf, and Smaug.

I always have been, always will be a hobbit fan. As you now know, I've loved the story from the time I was a little munchkin and Bilbo was a big reason for my loving it. I think Martin Freeman gave a spot-on performance and the only thing I would change is giving him more screen time.  

Gandalf is amazing. It doesn't matter what movie he's in or what form he takes, he's incredible. But Gandalf the Grey has always been my favorite and so to have three more movies with my favorite incarnation of Gandalf was delightful!

As for Smaug, dragons are cool. All right, he's a bit on the nasty, murderous side, but he is a dragon, after all. The saddest part for me in the entirety of the last film is Smaug's death. When his light goes out and his eyes die, I just wanted to cry, I felt so bad. The last dragon in Middle Earth dies in such a way. I can't excuse his behavior, but I grieved for him just the same.

Honorable mentions are: Thranduil, Elrond, and Legolas

3. Did you cry during The Battle of the Five Armies, and if so, which scene(s) and what type (sniffling, sobbing, choke-crying)?

No, I did not cry. I felt a little bad for Bilbo's emotional upheaval, a bit of transference going on from him to me, but not enough to awaken even a smallish tear. The closest I came was Smaug's death and Bilbo's reaction to Thorin's death.

4. Were the deaths compelling to you, and if so, whose?

The one death that was compelling, as you already know, was Smaug's, see above. I don't like seeing the last of anything die, let alone something as magnificent as a dragon. 

I also felt a little bad for Thranduil's elk. He was pretty awesome and again, such a unique creature shouldn't die.

I'll be honest, I'm shocked at how little the deaths moved me. Maybe a second viewing would help. After all, I blubbered my way through The Lord of the Rings without any problem or restraint. Haldir died and I was a mess!

5. Overall, were you satisfied with the movie itself?

Nope, not at all. Too many changes to the original story, too much bloating, too much Kiliel, and I would give anything for the people of Laketown to feel like they lived in Middle Earth instead of wandering out of a Dickens' novel. Really. You know it's bad when your favorite moments are the first 20 minutes before the title even rolls.

The rest of it, the Laketown people especially, just felt like a rehashing of characters already done. Like Alfred. Did we need another Grima? A Grima that I actually hated worse than Grima and had the gall to live through the trilogy? And what's up with everyone trusting him? Alfred, watch my kids. Alfred, look about Bilbo. Alfred, do this, and Alfred, do that. Nope, he'd have been out on his ear in a second. It's not like people didn't know what he was like, a treacherous little leech!

I also cannot believe that Legolas has now been degraded to the loser in a love triangle. Excuse me? How the heck did that happen? And now he goes off to join the Dunadain (wait, what?) to get over his attachment to Tauriel? Nope.

Overall, I disliked how much time was given over to unimportant side plots and characters that Tolkien didn't create.

 6. Describe the movie in one word.


I wanted less, far, far less than what PJ gave us, yet at the same time, so much more than he gave us. Does that make sense? I wanted The Hobbit and he wrote his own story. I never considered myself a true purist until this moment, but I guess I am, at least where this story is concerned. I can even handle RDJ's Sherlock Holmes movies that pretty much butcher the character of Holmes, but I experienced no enjoyment with this final installment of The Hobbit trilogy. I just wish PJ had been able to let it stand on its own, be its own story, instead of trying to recreate the epic that he already made with The Lord of the Rings

I know that I am in the minority so all I can do is apologize to all of you who loved this movie. I'm sorry and I wish I saw in it what you did. Believe me, I do wish it.  

Consider anyone who wants to do this tag . . . tagged. :) 


  1. I felt bad about Smaug (anything dies, I feel bad for it) ... and Thruanduil's elk's death also. Even though when Thranduil hit the ground he was in a fighting mood, and that was cool. HE WAS COOL. So much more character development with him in this film. And the scene with him and Legolas, and then him making up with Tauriel in a silent wave of understanding ... beautiful.

    Maybe in the EE Alfred will die. I have a feeling there's a missing scene in there somewhere. Little rotter.

    1. I think in my second viewing, when I have a chance to see it again, I'll probably catch more of the nuances between Legolas and Thranduil and care about them enough to sniffle. I just need to rewatch the other two films and then go see the third with everything fresh in my mind. Yes, that is what I shall do, and I shall try to keep an open mind. Caitlin liked it better with her second viewing, so I'm hopeful.

      And here's to Alfred's upcoming demise! If only!

    2. This movie really has become, for me, all about relationships, which is why I love it. It's full circle on some things.

  2. Oh yes, Alfrid. I'm not sure why Bard thought he would stand watch, and I did get a bit annoyed with Bard for trusting Alfrid with his children, because I wouldn't have, but he really just told Alfrid to get them to safety. Which... Alfrid was totally capable of. Alfrid would find any way possible of getting himself to safety, so basically Bain and Sigrid and Tilda (and all the other women and children) just had to follow him to safety. I liked Bard giving him more chances, because that made me like and respect Bard as a good, kind man. And I liked that Bard let him go in the end, because Alfrid wasn't evil, he was just a coward and an opportunist. How long is he going to last outside Dale, even with a dress full of money? He's not going to be happy, he's not going to be prosperous, he's just going to continue being an unhappy leech. He's not worth spending time and effort on, which Bard realized, so goodbye and good luck.

    1. I think, for me, I'm not really someone who gives that many second chances to people, especially if I've seen a pattern in their behavior and they've done nothing to prove to me that they've changed. That's probably a flaw in my character, but that's one main reason why I can't stand Alfrid. At least with Grima, he was thrown from Theoden's court. Why should Alfrid be allowed to stay until he leaves of his own choosing? I just couldn't follow Bard's methodology behind his treatment of Alfrid. I guess he's more forgiving than I am. Oops!

    2. Well, I'm headed off to see it again right now, so I'll pay attention to Bard's behavior toward Alfrid and see what I can make of it :-)

    3. I feel so bad! Not liking this last movie just feels so wrong for me. I'm a huge Tolkien fan, have been for years. I just don't know where this is coming from. So I am making an oath to myself. I will rewatch the movies, all of them, on my own, and try to just let any emotional disconnect go. Because I really hate not loving the series. It's just wrong that I nitpick over things that are probably on par with the changed storyline in The Two Towers. I need to give them another honest chance and so I will. I hope you had a good time seeing it again!

    4. Is it that ISFJ loyalty thing kicking in, where you feel like you ought to love these because, well, it's Tolkien? I had that for the first two of these, where I just didn't love them like I love LOTR, and I was miffed about that. Mad at myself, not Jackson & Co. Just wanting so much to love them and not connecting like I'd hoped. So I just let myself enjoy being in Middle Earth and kind of let go of my need to love them. And then got blind-sided by loving this one so goofy much. (I just got back from 3rd viewing, it's 1am, I've had caffeine. This may be a long and possibly off-kilter comment.)

      But I have an edge with this movie series: I don't love the book. I just don't. I've come to like it, but I don't love it. So I've been very open to changes to it from the get-go. The funny thing is, I now feel like although some of the exterior things have changed, the heart of the story is still there, still pure. In fact, I can see it much more clearly here in the movies than I ever did in the books. Jackson stripped away the condescending narrator I hate, the conceit that this is a cute and funny story to tell kids. He took it seriously, and so I finally can too. He showed me the bravery of a Hobbit and the loneliness of a dwarf king far more clearly than the book ever did. He's made me like Thorin, which I never ever have before. He's made me like Thranduil too! And he's given me my absolute favorite Middle Earth character. I'm so sorry, Boromir -- I will always love you, very truly. But I love Bard more. Bard is everything Boromir almost was, everything Boromir should have been: noble and pure-hearted and honorable and a valiant.

      Hah! It tells me I can't write more than 4,096 characters in one comment. Okay, everything about Alfrid goes in the next comment.

    5. So about Alfrid. He's not like Grima. Grima is cruel and creepy, a disgusting worm that craves what he can't have. Alfrid's an opportunist and a coward, a self-seeking jerk who looks out for himself above all others. But he's not leering at Sigrid and poisoning Bard's mind and banishing Bain. He's a guy who will hitch his wagon to the nearest star, and when the Master of Laketown goes down with the ship, he joins up with the next obvious leader, the future king. Yes, he helped the Master empty the town treasury, he kicked someone off the boat, he crawled over someone else trying to get to land. But he's pitiful, not putrid. And he does do useful things now and then, when he must.

      Why does Bard stop them from lynching Alfrid on the beach? Because lynching is wrong. Why does he put Alfrid on watch once they get to Dale? Because Alfrid wasn't doing anything else useful. And besides, watch for what? Bard doesn't know there's an orc army or two headed his way, he doesn't expect the dwarves to attack because why would they, and he certainly doesn't expect Thranduil to show up with food and warriors. He probably stuck Alfrid there on watch because he knew if someone tried to sneak off with the food in the middle of the night, Alfrid would be all over stopping that. After Alfrid fails as a watchman, Bard doesn't really trust him with anything else. It's Gandalf who charges him with finding Bilbo something to eat and a place to sleep, and with keeping an eye on him. And Alfrid clearly did find Bilbo a bed, and in the morning he brought him food, grudgingly or not. He didn't eat the food himself and sleep in the bed himself. Later, Bard charges Bain with getting Sigrid and Tilda to the great hall, and tells them that all the women and children should go there. Alfrid stomps up and volunteers to help, and Bard's like, "Oh, fine, you go too. Just don't stay there," even though he pretty obviously expects Alfrid to stay in hiding. Finally, when he finds Alfrid running away, he lets him go because what's his other choice? Fight Alfrid? Bard's exhausted. Try to convince him to stay? Why bother. Better to let him go his own way and not have to deal with him anymore.

      Okay, so anyway, now I can go to sleep, now that I've got that all typed up and out of my brain :-) I do hope you give them all a fresh viewing, and that maybe when you see the whole story Jackson is telling, that it's the same story, just with different frosting and sprinkles on top of the perfect deliciousness, you like it too.


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