Back to the Beginning

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What’s worse than starting at the beginning? Starting all over again.

Beginnings are hard, usually because they start at the ending of something else.

This year marks the beginning of my 30’s and the end of my 20’s. My original goal was to publish a book by the time I turned 30, but alas, I am only starting–or rather starting over yet again.

How could I not finish a book in a decade? Well, I did, actually. I completed a draft for book one and two. I spent hours outlining, researching, writing, re-writing, falling in and filling in plotholes.

So why is there not a completed MS?

I believe your twenties are for discovery and learning.

What I discovered: There were a lot of plot holes in my writing.

What I learned: This story was good but it could be better. I also discovered that my major supporting character should really be my main character. That changes everything.

So after starting all over on the outline, yet again, I finally began the first chapter for hopefully the last time.

So I didn’t accomplish my original goal. I thought I’d be finished by now, not starting over. I didn’t publish, but I did accomplish something. With diligent research and outlining and planning, I think I will be able to write the best book I possibly can by the time I’m 40.

 

Be the Centaur of Attention (Part Two)

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One of the complements I keep getting for my centaur costume is the sculpting. It doesn’t look bulky or unnatural and it moves realistically. Not only does it look real, it feels real. Because I use foam instead of chicken wire, it’s warm and soft like a living, breathing, creature.

Most of the centaur costumes I found online were framed with either chicken wire or layers of foam that were carved into shape.

This isn’t how I did it. Not to toot my own horn, but I think my way is easier.

Ready to learn how I did it? This post will be dedicated almost entirely to how to sculpt your centaur costume.

Making the Legs

Remember how I said to put off glueing the pipes on the legs. It is now ok to glue the PVC pipes together.

Now that the legs have a skeletal frame, they need some meat.

I used a 1 inch poly foam that I bought from Hobby Lobby in a giant roll.

I used the paper outline as a stencil for the foam so it would line up with the pipes and cut out four pieces (two for each leg). I then put one piece of foam on either side of the PVC pipe legs (like a sandwich) and stuffed those into panty hose. You were probably wondering where that was going to come into play. This gives them a curvy appearance and holds the foam together without glue and shapes them without having to carve.

After that, I used some stuffing to round out some of the places even panty hoes couldn’t make curvy.

I did the same thing for the body, cutting out foam pieces shaped like the back. I cut holes in each piece so the middle pipe would go through and hold them in place. I cut about four of these. You could even use a solid block of foam, but this was cheaper and made it lighter, because I just filled in the space between with stuffing.

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After this I glued the PVC on the frame together.

Attaching the Tail

Now is the time to add the tail–well, part of it anyway. Remember the plastic tube. I ran a wire through it so that I could attach the tube to the PVC pipe, but also to make the tube bend. When I add my hair later, the wire can be bent so the tail can be bent up to give  it a more realistic look.

Making the Harness

I’m actually going to dedicate an entire post to this in the future. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because this was a lot of trial and error, so I’ll have to make some doodles. The concept comes from a security harness–like for climbing mountains. We’ll come back to this.

Sculpting the Body

After this, you’re ready to build up your body. So why didn’t I use chicken wire like everyone else? I did at first, but I didn’t like it. It made it too bulky. So after three nights work, I tore the chicken wire off.

After much banging of my head and laying on the kitchen floor sobbing and moaning, I decided to put batting around the frame (not the legs) and stuff that with polyfiber stuffing to fill it out just as I did with the legs. The batting is optional, but it helps the stuffing stay in place. Here is a picture below of the costume with the batting and the panty-hoes-covered legs. As you can see the harness will be attached around the foam underneath the batting.

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The stuffing, as I’ve mentioned before, makes the costume lighter and lovable. The kids at practice could not stop touching it, just like a real horse. If I’d used chicken wire, the costume would not move as realistically and it would feel fake. I got extra points for realism. It was a treat for the kids, which made it worth all the hard work.

Covering the Frame

After this came my least favorite part: sewing the body. I bought three yards of fabric  to cover the frame from legs to front. Since there aren’t any patterns for centaur costumes, obviously, I bought a plastic tablecloth to make my own. It was based on the pattern you might find for a stuffed animal. I did not want a seem on the back, so I designed my pattern so the seam would be on the bottom sides,  but for simplicity, you could follow the concept that is used for stuffed animals, which includes a back seam.

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Once I cut out the fabric, I put it over the body and pinned it in place. Once it was pinned in place, I then sewed it on the machine. This was probably the most challenging part because I’m not a good sewer.

Important note: I was able to pin it and slide it on and off the body because I used a 4-way stretch fabric. Originally, I was going to use a 2-way stretch fleece. This would have made it harder to sew and hinder the movement of the legs.

I chose to use a 4-way stretch fabric in a polyester/nylon blend. This way the fabric would be less likely to tear or move unrealistically. It can also be stretched onto the frame so that all the sewing can be done on the machine, limiting how much handsewing you’d have to do. Not only can it be stretched on like a pair of tights, but it can be removed for mending or washing.

Jo-Ann Fabrics has a new cosplay line of four-way stretch fabric. This is great for making super hero costumes. I wish they’d had this while I was working on this project. Oh well.

I left some extra fabric in front so I could tie the costume around my waist; this held the horse body flush with my own body. I just tied the extra fabric in a knot; nothing fancy. Don’t worry, the knots are hidden by the next step.

I sewed a very basic fur belt to hide where the costume attached to my body. I literally just used a safety pin to fasten this in place, but you can use snaps or Velcro. I used the same color fabric to sew fetters for the legs and for the front legs to hide my shoes. I sewed elastic in these so they slide on and off. I didn’t want them to be permanently attached to the costume so that they could be removed in the event I need to wash or fix it.

Attaching the Tail

Remember the tube for the tail? I left a hole in the fabric for that to stick out. I tied a wig to it to create the tail. You can pick up a decent wig for 5-20 bucks. Fall is a good time to get them because most stores will be carrying them for Halloween. The wire that I ran through the tube made it possible to bend it so the tail would not drag.

So this is the costume so far. Next week I’ll try to post the DIY harness. After this the final steps are putting the costume on and making it walk. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. For those of you who are in the process of creating your own costume, I hope this helps. Let me know if any of the steps needs more clarity or depth.

Be the Centaur of Attention (Part One)

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If you want to be the center of attention at a con or costume party, dress as a centaur.

As many of you know, I built a centaur costume for my role in the Ole Olsen production of The Lion, the Wtich, and the Wardrobe.

This was going to be one very long post (a very, very, very long post), but I’ve recently decided to break it up into several smaller post outlining–in detail and with pictures–how to create a walking centaur costume from start to finish.

I recently had someone contact me wanting help creating a costume. There’s so much advice and information to give, it only makes sense to start at the beginning.

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Create your Concept

The first thing I did was what anyone would do … consult Google of course to see how other people mastered this challenging costume.

And boy was I not disappointed … in the number of pictures of finished projects, that is. What was lacking was a detailed how-to instruction. No where in the infinite interweb, could I find a complete guide, not even on YouTube.

When Google and YouTube failed me, I read forums and watched videos to develop my concept.

My DIY project just became a FIOY (Figure it out yourself) project.

It is my personal theory that cosplayers fall into two categories:Those who like to keep their ideas and techniques a secret and those who like to teach others.

Apparently I will be the first person to share a step by step tutorial from beginning to end.

From what I could tell, other people used chicken wire, metal or PVC pipe frames, and hinges for the joints. They then crisscrossed wires from the horse legs to their own legs.

All of their ideas seemed to work …but

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After trial and error–many, many trials and errors, I decided against chicken wire and attaching the wires to my legs, or using drills or hinges of any kind.

By creating my own design, what I ended up with is a lightweight, walking centaur costume that is fully washable that can be assembled with only one step requiring another person.

What You’ll Need

  • PVC or CPVC piping. I don’t know what the difference is. I just asked the guy at Lowes which one cuts easier. You will only need about two pipes. 1 inch or 3/4 inch pipe.
  • A pipe cutter or hacksaw. I got a cutter for $10 I like the cutter because you can cut them in the house without messing up tables or floors. Got it at Lowes.

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  • PVC pipe joints, tees, elbows, and bushings (I’ve included photos of which ones) You’ll need 4 T’s, two larger T’s, 8 elbows (2 90 degrees, 4 45 degrees), 2 caps, and 2 bushings.

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  • PVC glue (cement glue)
  • Marker (for marketing–duh)
  • Measuring tape
  • 1 inch poly foam. I got a big roll at Hobby Lobby
  • Fabric for body. roughly a yard to a yard and a half or two, depending on how long. (I recommend a spandex, rylon, polyester variety–something that stretches four ways if you want it to move naturally like skin) Go to Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • Material for a harness (I used the material you find on backpack straps). I bought several yards.
  • Black faux leather (for hooves)
  • Panty hose or tights (not for your legs. doesn’t matter what color)
  • Parachute buckles and strap adjusters
  • Rubber chair tips
  • Faux fur
  • Knife
  • Clear tube (optional)
  • Metal wire (optional)
  • Wire cutters (if you use the wire)
  • Fishing wire (10 or 15 pounds)
  • Fake hair or wig
  • Stuffing
  • Batting (optional)
  • Tylenol or Aleve. I really like Aleve for headaches
  • Alcohol (don’t mix with the pain meds)
  • Music or show to play in the background (the longer the better because this could take time)
  • Bandaids for boo boos

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Make sure you have a large area to build this. Remember, you’re making the butt of a horse. You’ll look like a weirdo, so I recommend making it outside where your neighbors can see. Weirding out neighbors will make the project more fun. Also you won’t have to worry about getitng marker, glue, or cuts on your nice floor, carpet, or other surfaces.

Now that you have your supplies, let’s go ahead with the next step.

Measuring

I can’t just give you measurements because how long you make it or how tall depends on your body.

Have you ever been told, measure twice, cut once? Take this advice.

First I measured from where the frame would rest on my lower back to my feet (if you’ll be wearing highheels or platforms for hooves, don’t forget to factor that in. Measure how long you want it and how wide. Make it thinner and shorter than you want the finished project to be. This is only the skeleton. Remember you’ll be adding height and thickness with your foam and stuffing.  I made it waste high so the straps would come around my waste like a seatbelt.

 

Building the Frame

Now you are ready to start making cuts in your PVC pipe. Measure and mark and then just cut.

 

This is the basic structure for the body.

After I laid them out, I attached the pieces with the fittings. DO NOT GLUE.

The section in the middle is for support–also to hold the foam in place (we’ll cover that more later).

Next I cut out the legs.

To make the legs, I drew an outline of the legs and cut the pieces so that when they were jointed, they would make a shape like that of a horse.

Fit all the pieces into the fittings and do a trial walk. DO NOT GLUE.

As you can see, the front of the skeleton is held together with 90 degree elbows while the back has T’s. This is so you can attach the legs. I’m not sure if you can see in the pictures, but the big T’s are for the legs. This is how I created a joint so the legs move back and forth. Because the big T’s are larger, They fit over the little T’s. I put a piece of pipe through to connect them and put a cap on the end so it doesn’t fall off. What I like about the way I did this is that it requires no screws or drills or hinges. If for some reason, the costume breaks, it is fixable. If you use a hinge or screws, once it breaks, it’s harder to fix. The picture on the end shows the bushing that you attach to the big T so that the fitting will hold the smaller PVC pipe (that way you only have to use one size pipe).

I hope this helps you get started. The next post will show you how I sculpted my costume using foam and stuffing.

If any of these steps are confusing, or if you  need a deeper explanation, please contact me in comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Stay tuned.

Fictional Fridays #17

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I just wanted to share this delightful post from my latest follow Nandini, who I found via a meet and greet posted by Smorgasbord. I thought this was a great way to find more blogs to follow. I highly recommend you check out the meet and greet here. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/welcome-to-the-party-meet-and-greet-some-new-bloggers/

Pages That Rustle

Who thought holidays could be more stressful than the months I have to attend college? Strangely, I find myself having no time to do the things I want to finish and having all the time in the world to complete TV series in record time during my semesters. Another example of time being a vindictive creature, I suppose. Putting aside selfish concerns for a bit, I decided to write something, anything, to take my mind off of things. Here is the result (Incidentally, it fits this week’s Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes Prompt Challenge #33 – Favourite Food).

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Boycotts & Books

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I think one of the most overwhelming things to do in life is spend a gift card at a book store.

Yes, it is possible to be overwhelmed by a good thing.

The money/book ratio is always off. There is never enough money on the gift card to buy all the books you’d want to read, so you want to make sure you pick out a good one.

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This task becomes even more overwhelming when the gift card happens to be the last gift card I ever received and ever will receive from my mother.

I just felt like it should be used to purchase a special book.

With Mother’s Day being this weekend, inconveniently and tormentingly close to my mother’s death, I have decided to avoid all stores that sell Mother’s Day paraphernalia … which just so happens to be every store. I miss her and I want to buy her a present. I can’t, so I don’t want to be reminded that she won’t be here this holiday.

Due to my Mother’s Day boycott, as you can imagine, it was really hard to find something to do or somewhere to go during my lunch break. So I drove around for fifteen minutes before remembering I still had a gift card from my mother from Christmas.

Since I miss her, I thought this was either a really good time or a bad time to spend it. It was really a coin toss, so I decided to chance it.

So began the overwhelming task of picking out a special book.

I found a few series I’d like to try: John Gwynne’s Ruin series and S.M. Stirling’s Change series.

I also batted around getting my own copy of Empress by Karen Miller so I wouldn’t have to sneak my sis’ copy whenever I want to read a passage.

I ended up getting a new copy of the Silmarillion. Yes, I already have it, but I hate the cover of the copy I bought (and that was the least ugly cover at the time).

I found a copy that matches my copy of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

My mom wasn’t a fan of Tolkien or fantasy for that matter, but she’d be happy I got something I really like and will treasure forever. Now whenever I read it I’ll think of my mom … and how much she didn’t like Lord of the Rings.

For those of you who will be acknowledging the holiday, have a good one. Hug your moms. Srsly. I still remember my last hug. It was worth more than all the books on my shelf. If it’s Sunday, and you’re reading my blog, leave your computer right now and go spend time with your mom!

 

 

Fight of the Fandoms

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While everyone else on the Interweb is arguing about Batman vs Superman or Iron Man vs Captain America, I’ve been making my own matches.

I keep up with a lot of shows, and one thing I always do, aside from ship (I ship everything), is pair off different people to see who would win in a crossover tournament. I’m not talking about DC vs Marvel or Goku vs Superman (Goku would win–no question). These are my picks for cross-fandom fights.

Let the battles begin!


 

Drogo vs Rollo

These men could be brothers from another mother. Just look at the pics. They’re even making the same face. Not only do their names rhyme–well, kinda/sorta, but they both rock that long hair/beard combo, have body paint and/or tattoos, and forgo wearing shirts (possibly to show off the tattoos). And those are just the visual similarities. They both have arranged marriages to prominent women (whom they can’t talk to because they speak another language), hot tempers, legendary warrior status, an interest in power and destiny, and have both been referred to as “savage” while being hailed as one of the finest warriors alive.

So which of these men is really the finest warrior alive?

I don’t think you need a prophesy to predict who wins this match. I’m going to roll with Rollo.

I can hear you disagreeing through the Interweb. I know that Drogo has that long braid that suggest he’s never been defeated, but come on, look how fast man hair grows. He grew that braid in two years tops. In all fairness, we don’t get to see him fight, just a raid here and there and that one knife fight that awards him his lethal boo-boo. Rollo has a lot more on screen battles to base this victory on.

Let’s look at Rollo. Whether he’s fighting with his brother, against his brother, with his brother, or against him, he’s hard to stop. He fights–as Odo puts it–like a wild bear. Jumping shield walls, lifting men on spears, thwarting war machines. He even gets trampled by six horses and thrown off of a wall and still lives.


 

Catherine De Medici vs Cersei Lannister

This has got to be my favorite crossover match. This is a battle, not of brute strength, but of wits. Both are masters of manipulation and poison–and fashion. These ladies look like they raid each others’ closets or shop at the same store. With wavy gold hair in intricate updos and flowing red gowns, they look like they could be mother and daughter. Aside from the fact that they both rock red dresses, they have very similar personalities: they’re smart, cunning, snarky Queens who love to drink wine and get their way.

Their greatest commonality: They would do anything for their sons … anything.

I hate to say it, but once again, my vote is not for the GoT character, but for Catherine. Even when she’s caught, and she’s seldom caught in her own webs, she gets her way out of it. She certainly wins more than she loses. I don’t know that I can say that for Cercei. Catherine gets away with murder, lies, attempted murder, adultery and far worse. She just has a lot more power and influence than Cersei.

And you’d have to be nasty to beat Cersei. I think Catherine’s cut out for the task. I mean, she bought Narcisse’s horse, gave it to him as a gift, and then killed it and served it to him as a steak. That’s pretty cruel. I’d hate to think what she’d do to Cersei.

This next one is for fun of course


 

Jaime Lannister vs Luke Skywalker

Because the one armed thing and the sister thing.

It might not even be a fair fight since Luke has the force and he just has to force stab Jaime with his own sword. With regular blades, Jaime would win, but I think the force and my vote goes to Luke on this one.

So what about …


 

Jaime Fraser vs Jaime Lannister

I didn’t pair these two off just because of the name. No doubt this would be one of the sexiest cross-fandom fights. Two men fighting face to face, smolder against smolder. To be honest, I’d be just as happy to see them kiss. But on a serious note, I do think they would be pretty evenly matched. However, I think due to having more polished skill, Jaime would win, one handed or not.

Ok another one for fun


 

Ned Stark vs Boromir

The resemblance is uncanny. Gee, I wonder why.

Prepare for the greatest meme war–or sword fight.

Let’s look at what they have in common. Both fight with big swords, both are played by Sean Bean. Both die. Really ’nuff said.

I think Boromir would win almost simply for being younger. Not only that, but going off of on-screen battles, look at all the orcs Boromir kills. Ned can’t even get a hit on Jaime.

I know you all think I’m biased against Game of Thrones at this point. So let’s just pair off another and see if he wins or he dies.


 

Samwell Tarly vs Samwise Gamgee

Everyone needs a Sam.

I’m sure Martin wasn’t at all influenced by Tolkien when he invented this character. cough, cough …

This might not sound like a great fight. They don’t look like much and they don’t have a lot in the way of self confidence, but they’re loyal and stalwart. Endanger the ones they love and they’ll show you what they’re made of under that huggable exterior.

So who Sams better?

To be Frank (or should I say Sam) I think Samwise would win. Look how brave he is in Mordor, especially when he takes on all those orcs alone to rescue Frodo. I don’t think Samwell could survive Mordor. I do, however, think Sam could handle the black, though I think he’d miss the taste of strawberries and Rosie.

It’s time for a three way


 

Katniss vs Hawkeye vs Legolas

These are the most notorious archers in all of fandom. Let’s see who’s the most bad-ass bowman–or woman.

I haven’t seen all the Hunger Games movies, but I like Katniss, from her braid to her rebellious, independent nature. She is a survivalist, but can she survive this three-way match?

Well, Hawkeye does have those massive forearms, some awesome moves, and he does shoot Loki out of the sky–even though Loki does catch the arrow before it explodes (crying foul on that one). Surprisingly enough, he does run out of arrows. Could this cost him the win?

Legolas runs out of arrows too, but look how much better he compensates. Legolas doesn’t even need his bow. It just makes him look good. Who needs a bow when you have batshit badassery. Everything Legolas does is awesome and sometimes just plain ridiculous, from taking down an oliphant like it ain’t no shit to riding a bat. Whether stupid or awesome, no one does it like Legolas.

I really think the odds would be in Legolas’ favor.


 

Eowyn vs Lagertha

I put these two together for the obvious reasons. For starters, they’re both shield maidens. That alone makes them worthy opponents. They’re both also amazing fighters who don’t let any man hold them back. Not to mention they both have awesome blond hair and are loyal to their families.  I’m really not sure who would win. Eowyn does kill the Witch King, which no man can destroy, but Lagertha has killed … a lot. To be honest, this one I’m leaving as a draw.


 

Oberyn vs Rey

These two are very different, but I picked them for their fighting styles. They both fight with staffs or spears. The scene in Star Wars where she’s bashing those guys with the staff reminded me of Oberyn fighting the Mountain.

So I thought, which of them would win in a battle of staff vs spear.

Even though Oberyn uses poison to his advantage, Rey still has the force, and a natural fierce fighting style.

So … in this case, even though he’s a master, I’d say Rey. She seems to share Oberyn’s passionate temper, and could easily be one of his daughters. Being a sand snake would certainly suit her considering where she lives. She’d easily fit into the Game of Thrones universe sans force.


Daenerys vs Hiccup

I know, I need a Daenerys show down. I couldn’t think of who to put her against. In all honesty, she doesn’t fight for herself so much as she has an army and dragons to fight for her, so I’m going to put her against another dragon user. Let’s just do Daenerys vs Hiccup.

Since the dragons do all the work, technically this fight should be called

Drogon vs Toothless

Named after Drogo, he’s the troublemaker in the bunch. He’s also larger and more aggressive than the other dragons.

Even though Toothless has a history of taking down larger, stronger dragons, I think Drogon could take him. He certainly doesn’t stand a chance if all of her dragons join in the fight.


Merlin vs Gandalf

For obvious reasons: they’re wizards.

To judge this fight, let’s look at their powers.

Most of Merlin’s spells seem to be like a force push. Other times he moves objects, often to make them fall on his enemies. He can also disguise his appearance and summon a dragon.

Alot of Gandalf’s spells are similar from the force pushes to the summoning animals. Though Gandalf summons eagles. He can also emit light from his staff to light a path or fight shadow foes. He can also … perform exorcisms?

Wizard powers seem to be a little confusing, but I’m going to bet that Gandalf is the more wizardy wizard.

This last one is just a tease


Stormtroopers vs Vogons

Here you go, the worst shots in the universe will come face to face to … miss each other entirely.

The win goes to whoever lands the first shot.

Well, looking at the on-screen bullseyes … the Vogons have one hit in the entire movie. The stormtroopers have made a few more hits, and just like the Vogons, nonefatal

So the worst army in the universe goes to the Vogons.


I hope you enjoyed the list. Let me know if you agree/disagree. What are some more awesome cross-fandom fights?

 

Life, Death, and the Immortal Four

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Today is Tolkien Reading Day. As always, there is a theme. This year’s theme is life, death, and immortality.

Morbid, huh … or is it?

Many of you may be thinking this is a far cry from last year’s theme of friendship, but I think it goes hand in hand and strikes a very similar chord–though maybe a more solemn tone.

We know that Tolkien’s relationships influenced his writing, but do we realize how much their deaths did as well? Read any of his books and you’ll find themes of immortality/mortality, death/life, and loss. The Lord of the Rings quickly comes to mind, but themes of loss and death can be found in even his lighter works, such as the Hobbit.


 

The Immortal Four

Tolkien was greatly inspired by the lives and deaths of his friends and members of his writing group, The Tea Club Barrovian Society (TCBS).

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The members were Tolkien, Robert Gilson, Christopher Wiseman, and Geoffrey Smith. Like Tolkien, they were all academic, philosophical, poetic, and artistic young men, and they became very close friends.

Several of the members died during the First World War in battles that are said to have inspired the wars of Middle Earth, particularly the Battle of Somme, which was a gruesome battle that took thousands of lives and ruined the landscape. This was supposedly and very possibly the inspiration for Mordor.

The first to die was Rob Gilson. In a very heartfelt letter sent to Tolkien by Smith you get a good sense of the strong bond and deep connection that the members had for one another.

My dear John Ronald,

I saw in the paper this morning that Rob has been killed. I am safe but what does that matter? Do please stick to me, you and Christopher. I am very tired and most frightfully depressed at this worst news. Now one realizes in despair what the T.C.B.S. really was.

O my dear John Ronald what ever are we going to do?

Yours ever.

G. B. S.

Not long after, Smith died as well, leaving only Wiseman and Tolkien. In this letter to Tolkien, Wiseman grieves the loss of their members while declaring that death cannot end their ideas and goals.

…there will still be left a member of the great T.C.B.S. to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve the T.C.B.S. Death can make us loathsome and helpless as individuals, but it cannot put an end to the immortal four!

The immortal four is the perfect epitaph, because though they died, they lived on in Tolkien’s memory and in his writing. Their ideas, discussions, and Smith’s words, “May you say things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them.” inspired Tolkien to write The Silmarillion and other stories of Middle Earth. We wouldn’t have The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings if not for these men.

So essentially what I’m saying is the death of his friends gave Tolkien a kick in the butt to start writing. He certainly felt the pressures of being one of if not the soul survivor of the group. Tolkien’s burden of carrying their stories, their memories, and their ideas is clearly comparable to Frodo’s burden of carrying the one ring. I have to wonder if Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Sam weren’t inspired by the immortal four. There were four hobbits and four members of the T.C.B.S. Coincidence?

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Tolkien’s Immortality

I don’t think we’ll ever live in a world where people aren’t familiar with Tolkien and his books. While no one can live forever, like Tolkien’s elves, he certainly has achieved immortality in its most obtainable sense.

Anyone will tell you, Tolkien lives on because of his books. Another way he lives on is through his friends, family, and children.

Christopher Tolkien (3rd and youngest son) is said to be the most like his father: a soldier, scholar, writer. Of all of his four children, Chris was probably the favorite. In one of Tolkien’s letters, he refers to Chris as a “special gift” to him, “in a time of sorrow and mental suffering.”

Just like with the Immortal Four, you can see where his relationship with Christopher inspired his works.

Chris completed his father’s writing just as Frodo finished Bilbo’s writing in the Lord of the Rings.

Without Christopher’s efforts, the Silmarillion would never have been finished. This act in itself speaks of immortality. If someone else picks up the story where you left off, then does the story end?

Which reminds me of something Bilbo says, “Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”

Indeed, Tolkien is immortal, even in death, because of the love his son has for him. Chris loves him so much infact that he is very protective of his father’s works. He wasn’t particularly fond of Jackson’s films, so it’s very unlikely that we’ll see a Jackson adaptation of the Silmarillion. sigh …

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Speaking of Peter Jackson’s films. Whether or not Chris thinks they measure up to the integrity of his father’s work, they are helping to preserve Tolkien’s memory by rekindling an interest in his writings and creating new fans of his works.

Even when Chris Tolkien dies, Tolkien will live on because of his fans. His work continues to inspire readers even to this day. With holidays celebrating Tolkien (such as Tolkien Reading Day) it’s practically impossible for Tolkien to be forgotten.


 

Life, Immortality, and Death in Tolkien’s Works

This would be a never ending blog post if I listed all of the stories that have to do with life, death, and immortality. However, if you’re looking for a passage to read to observe Tolkien Reading Day, you could read Boromir’s death, The end of the Return of the King where Frodo sails west, The Appendix: Story of Aragorn/Arwen, Thorin Oakenshield’s death, the story of Beleg and Turin, The Story of Glorfindel, or the story of how Aule created the dwarves.

I chose a story that combines all three: life, death, and immortality. This Tolkien Reading Day, I’ll be reading chapter 24 of the Sil where Elrond and his brother Elros are given the choice which kindred (man or elf) they will join. Elrond chooses the side of the Firstborn and remains immortal while his brother chooses to be a king of humans, thus forsaking his immortality–though he does live for 500 years. I can’t think of a better chapter to read than one where characters literally have to choose between death and immortality.


 

The Story Must Continue

Tolkien’s life was full of loss: his mother died at an early age, his wife died before him, he lost many friends to war. This is why he is so able to successfully articulate the feelings of loss in his writings: The death of Beleg, of Boromir, of Frodo.

Despite that, he seemed to have an optimistic attitude about death with descriptions of white shores and a land of ever green. He seemed to view death as a beginning, not an end.

While I don’t share his sentiment, I find his attitude regarding death to be very hopeful and optimistic. I hope that’s the feeling you’ll come away with this Tolkien Reading Day.

Please share and comment below. Let me know what you’ll be reading today. Will you be reading a passage with the theme of life, death, or immortality?