Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence 2015 (hosted by Hamlette)


It is again time for Hamlette's A Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence! And I'm so proud of myself for actually participating this year because I reallllllly love Tolkien and have reallllllly wanted to participate in this blog party before, but never made the time!

Please come and join in the fun if you like, post answers to Hamlette's questionnaire on your own blog, leave a comment on her post letting her know you've done so, participate and revel in all things Tolkien!

Now, on to this lovely questionnaire Hamlette developed!

1. What draws you to Tolkien's stories?  (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.)

A. So, I love fantasy. Hopefully everyone knows that by now. I can pretty much attribute that love first and foremost to Narnia, and because of Narnia, I tried Tolkien's world. Never looked back. You know how they say some stories are epic? An epic love story, an epic adventure, an epic this or that? Tolkien's stories are all of those things and more. The world feels real, the characters feel real, and these are life and death struggles of good against evil, at the very basic level of our being. These stories are alive, and that's why I love them.

2. What was the first Middle Earth book you read and/or movie you saw?  What did you think of it?

A. I saw The Hobbit animated film when I was around 10 or so and then read The Hobbit for the first time when I was 14-years-old and we'd just moved to a new state and I needed some familiarity. Really loved the animated film as a kid until I realized that Gandalf's name was horribly mispronounced. The book? It's still one of my favorite books of all time. A kid's adventure story like The Princess and the Goblin, nothing more or less, and that's what I love about it. Tolkien's world hadn't been fully developed yet and so I love the simplicity of The Hobbit.

3. Name three of your favorite characters and tell us why you like them.

In a world as dark as the one Tolkien penned, the characters need a father figure to guide them. Gandalf is that figure. It doesn't mean he's always right in his judgement calls. Let's be honest, he makes some mistakes. But I always felt that Gandalf was always dependable. I especially love him in The Two Towers film when he says "Look to my coming, at first light, on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the East." And when that fifth day comes, at dawn, guess who's there, riding to save the day?

Gandalf, who is so powerful and mighty, is a lover of small things and small people. He doesn't discount someone simply because they could not be counted among the very wise or the very great. He's a lover of hobbits, a people that don't always love him back, but who he goes out of his way to befriend and defend with his life. What's not to love about a character like Gandalf?

I gave serious consideration to my options for this second choice. I've never actually chosen Aragorn as a favorite character, not when it comes to one of these types of tags or memes. But I do love him know, far more than I ever did when I was young and watching The Lord of the Rings movies for the first time.

When you love Aragorn, you're loving three versions of him. You love Strider, the mysterious Ranger who you're not entirely sure can be trusted. You love Aragorn from the films, the reluctant king. And you love Aragorn the noble-hearted, self-assured king in Tolkien's stories. Three different versions of the same man, and it has taken me 14 years to reach the point of loving all three versions.

Strider, I think, will always be my favorite version simply because he is so enigmatic. I'm rarely drawn to kings, so it makes sense I would love the kingless version of Aragorn the best, but I must deeply respect the Aragorn of Tolkien's original work and empathize with the tortured soul version of Aragorn that Peter Jackson invented. All three have merit.

This should surprise no one and if it does, well, that just means I haven't talked about him enough.

Bilbo was the very first character of Tolkien's that I ever encountered, both in film and in book form and he is steadfastly adhered to my heart. Bilbo is now, and always will be, one of my top 5 favorite characters.

He's the one who you would never, ever suspect of wanting to go on an adventure. He's peaceful and calm at home, and yet, he steps outside himself and into one of the greatest literary stories of all time. He took the literal step of faith and it transformed him. He is like my own personal hero. I'm content and complacent in my life, but if Bilbo can take such an enormous step of faith, then why can't I?

4.  Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention?

A. In the films, how about all of the dwarves except Kili, Fili, and Thorin? In the books, how about Arwen?

5.  What Middle Earth character do you relate to the most?

Samwise Gamgee
"If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been."

Now this is me. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear that the future will never be as amazing as the life I'm experiencing right now. I am Sam, in more ways than I really want to admit, but I'm also Sam in the ways that speak of loyalty. Even though the idea of leaving the Shire scared him, his loyalty to Frodo was stronger than his fear. He conquered it for his friend. That is also me. I can conquer any fear if my friends and family need me.

6.  If you could ask Professor Tolkien one Middle Earth-related question, what would you like to ask him?

A. Who the heck is Tom Bombadil? The world has no dominion over him, just as the Ring has no dominion over him, but he's absent-minded and disinterested in helping save Middle Earth. Who is HE?

7.  Are there any pieces of Middle Earth merchandise you would particularly like to own, but don't?

A. I would love to own Nenya, the Ring of Adamant that Galadriel wears. To say nothing of Gandalf's hat, his staff, Bilbo's Sting, the actual Deed of Contract that Bilbo signed and any other number of things. I'm a Tolkien nerd to the core.

8.  What battle would you absolutely not want to be part of?

A. The Battle of Helm's Deep is an ugly affair and I would want no part of it. Just the terror leading up to the battle itself would probably be enough to kill me.

9.  Would you rather eat a meal at the Rivendell or Bag End?

A. After seeing what the dwarves were served at Rivendell, definitely I'd rather eat at Bag End. Cheese, bread, fish, all sorts of delicious foods. Bilbo has quite the amazing larder. Or, errr, he did until the dwarves munched their way through it.

10.  List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.


  1. These stories are alive

    YES! They are.

    You've got me trying to imagine how Gandalf's name could be mispronounced. Was it sort of French, like, "Gan-DAHHHHHHHHLFFFFFCCCGGGHHHHHHPPLLLLLLLLLLPTUI." Was it Germanic, all "GAHN. DAHLF." Or was it weirdly Midwestern American, "GANN-dallf."

    I like Strider best too, of all Aragorn's incarnations.

    Back during the LOTR read-along, someone answered my question of who Tom Bombadil is, and I am lazy and not looking it up right now, but basically he was based on someone from Norse mythology who was sort of uncorruptable, the god of the forest or something like that. Which explains why I've never figured him out, because I'm not at all up on my Norse mythology.

    Helm's Deep is my answer for 8 too.

    I love your quote choices. Aragorn's speech brought tears to my eyes, just reading it here. So, so good.

    I'm very glad you've been able to join the party at last!!!!

    1. Okay, so the pronunciation wasn't quite that bad. It was more like Gandolfe. Which is wrong and very annoying when you know it's wrong.

      Norse mythology, eh? I can see that!

  2. Great post! Hopping over here from Hamlette's. I couldn't agree with you more on your answers. I love Aragorn best as Strider too. The mystery is fun and intriguing.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, Strider is pretty awesome, just that whole aura of intrigue surrounding him.

  3. Oooh, your answer to the first question was awesome. Yes, this is perhaps the only fictional story I've experienced that deserves the appellation of 'epic' in its fullest sense. Well said!

    GAAAAAAAHHHHHNDAAAAAHHHHLLLLFF!!!! Just felt like doing that for some reason.

    Heehee, now that you mention it, yeah, I want all that merch too:D

    "I bid you STAND, MEN OF THE WEST!" *shivers*

    Great answers! Twas great fun reading them:)

    1. Aragorn's speech never fails to move me. Such an important moment in the trilogy, possibly the most important, although that is debatable since there are so many incredible speeches.

  4. My brother had a copy of the animated Hobbit film, but I could never make it through the entire thing, which is probably why I don't remember how Gandalf's name was pronounced in it. You wouldn't think it was possible to mess it up really badly.

    1. Well, they pronounced it Gandolfe, with a really long stress on the O. Very annoying when you know how his name is supposed to sound.


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