When Your Ship Sails

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It must be nice to have a ship sail. For the record none of my ships ever sail: Aragorn/Eowyn, Rollo/Lagertha, Sebastian/Mary, Motoko/Batou, Finn/Poe just to name a few.

Before I proceed, this is regarding a moment from the season finale of Game of Thrones, so if you haven’t seen it SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

Consider yourselves warned.

For Dany/Jon shippers, last night had a very satisfying moment. To be honest, it was pretty fun to watch for us nonshippers too. I mean, damn, that was a steamy scene.

While I’m undecided how I feel about Dany/Jon (Sorry Aegon) getting together, I do know what ship I’d like to see sail.

So … while everyone is starting to build a boat for Tormund and Brienne, I’m still hoping my Brienne and Jaime ship will sail.

Last night did give me some hope when Jaime left King’s Landing for the North where Brienne of Tarth just so happens to be.

I know people like the idea of Tormund and Brienne and their giant children, but I’ve been rooting for this ship since season 2, damn it. They just have such good chemistry.

Well, since the next season isn’t going to air until 2019, I guess I”ll have to wait two more years to find out if Jaime and Brienne get together.

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What ships do you want to see sail? Which ones would you like to sink?

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Why do I love characters everyone else hates?

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It’s inevitable, if I like a character … everyone else hates them.

Does this ever happen to you? Here’s my list. Like them, love them, hate them. Please let me know.

Game of Thrones

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In light of the new season, let’s start here.

Everyone hates the Lannisters. I love them. I think I tend to like characters who are morally grey. My favs are Cersei, Tywin, and Jamie. Tyrion is actually my least favorite, despite his popularity with the fandom.

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But let’s focus on the characters I like that others don’t. For starters, Jaime Lannister. But many fans like him now, you might say. But did they like him from season one, episode one? I did. Most fans spent three or four seasons wishing Jaime dead. Somewhere around the fifth or sixth season, I started reading articles online where people were defending Jaime. People started to see what I saw: a misunderstood character who has fallen from his path after being shamed for rightfully killing a mad king. He is fiercely loyal to his family, even willing to kill a young boy to hide a secret that could jeopardize his children. Even the incest with his sister is about loyalty and love, not sleaze. I saw a character who is going to have a redemption arc and regain his honor.

Cersei_Lannister-Lena_HeadeySo now for the big one: Cersei Lannister. From the get-go people hated her. As with all morally grey characters, she isn’t without her reasons and her redeeming qualities. She is introduced as a woman who loved a husband who would never love her back because of a fierce and stubborn hangup for an old flame. How frustrating is that. She loved her brother because he was the only one she felt she had a place with. She hated Tyrion because her mother died. She lies, conspires, and manipulates to keep her children’s secrets unknown and their butts on the thrown. Little finger schemes only for himself and people LOVE him? People think she is power hungry, but she only took the thrown after her youngest son fell to his death. She would have never killed him to have the thrown. Even though he was soft, weak, and unfit to rule, she still supported him. It wasn’t until after she’d lost all of her children that she assumed the throne, and even now, her motivation is to use that power to avenge her children’s deaths from the Tyrels, the Martels, and the Starks.

So why is that so bad? Yes, she can be cruel, but she is a sympathetic villain, or at least I think she is.

Lastly, who loves Theon Greyjoy. I love him, or at least I love him in the latter seasons. He starts off as a prick, but I see another redemption story coming. Honestly after he helped Sansa, I’m willing to forgive a lot of his former shit.

Vikings

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It’s hard enough to find someone who likes the show Vikings let alone finding someone who actually likes my favorite characters.

9a286627b386a8eacbbf50e57ac995a6--vikings-tv-series-vikings-tv-showOne of my favorite characters is Rollo. He is the brother of Ragnar. During the show he constantly alternates between fighting with or against his brother. Basically what other fans see is a villain. I see a man who is tired of living in his brother’s shadow who is struggling to find out what his own destiny is. Some of the fan hate is legit and brought on by Rollo’s relationship with women. Relationship being a generous word. He worships his brother’s wife, but treats women badly, especially Sigi who does what she can to support him and his ambitions. He realizes he treated her badly when she dies and tries to drink himself to death. After this eye opening experience, he meets Gisla and we see a reformed Rollo. He changes his clothes, cuts his hair, denounces his faith, and removes his warrior arm  band to gain her acceptance.

Even though he is not a ladies man, he was always a good uncle at least. One of the arcs I wish the show would focus on more was the relationship he had with Bjorn. His relationship with his nephew was always a redeeming quality. Hopefully this something they will focus on in the seasons to come.

Aslaug_4b_2You’d think  the backstabbing, woman-abusing killer would be the most hated character on the show. You’d be wrong. Aslaug, Ragnar’s second wife is the most despised character to date. Why is this? I see Aslaug as the discount Cersei of Vikings. Basically, he met her on his journeys and gets her pregnant. All she wants it for him to take responsibility and help care for her child. His current wife becomes outraged (rightfully so) and leaves. He stays married to Aslaug for some time before they eventually become distant. It is clear he still loves his former wife and blames Aslaug for her leaving. Their marriage really falls apart after the birth of their son Ivar. Ragnar wants to leave him in the wilderness to die, but Aslaug wants to take care of him regardless of his deformity. Feeling unloved and betrayed, she does end up having an affair with another man. She doesn’t start scheming against her husband until he starts proving that he might be an incompetent King. His friendship with a priest makes not only Aslaug question his faith in the Norse gods and his loyalty. She doesn’t actually assume the throne until he dies. She doesn’t try to kill him. She literally waits until he is killed. Ragnar even apologizes to her before the end for the way he treated her. So, if the main character admits he’s wrong, why do fans hate her?

Part of this is because Vikings fans seem to be very loyal to Ragnar or what I call Team Ragnar. They ignore the fact that he is supposed to be de-evolving as a human being as he evolves in status. He goes from being a farmer to an earl, to a king. As he gains power, he loses a part of himself. Fans will defend him to the death no matter what he does, even though he’s supposed to be a character who is losing himself.

e3dbb420230eab8bec694b1b35239ad4--vikings-tv-series-vikings-tv-showLastly, I’d like to talk about Porunn. She was introduced in season two or three as a love interest for Bjorn. I appreciated that she had an arc outside of him. She was a slave who was freed by Aslaug (you know, evil Aslaug) and wanted to become a viking. Fans hated her. They blamed her for Bjorn not being in plot. She’s been gone for two seasons and he’s yet to really rejoin plot. That is the problem of the writers, not a character. I really welcomed Poroun as a character. There wasn’t a lot of women representation at the time, and none from the slave class. I thought she offered an interesting perspective. Also, it was good conflict to have her fighting alongside Bjorn. She was inexperienced and hasty to become a warrior, which resulted in her becoming maimed in battle. Now when I say maimed, they gave her some cool face scars. But the character fell into depression because she viewed them as a mark of shame. She was so depressed she even pushed her husband, Bjorn, away and struggled to love her daughter. That last sentence is why they really hated her. What kind of mother abandons her daughter? Why is she so whiney? Sound familiar? Sounds like she might have had depression and post par-tum. Again, this was great conflict for the character and for Bjorn. I think it was interesting having a character struggle with her relationships, especially with a child. There are many women who struggle with or without depression, and like this character, they are demonized. I thought Porunn offered a lot of refreshing perspective and conflict that they lost when they wrote her off.

 

The Hobbit

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I’m just going to say I loved the movie everyone hated. and I loved the character nobody liked. You know who I’m talking about.

So why did so many people hate Tauriel.

  • She wasn’t cannon
  • She was an oc
  • She wasn’t “supposed to be there.”

I do think there were some flaws to her character, but I think she had more purpose than just being a love interest. She had her own desires and goals. She was a good friend and loyal. On that note, when they say she shouldn’t be there, in the book, Tolkien summarizes, which is the book equivalent of a montage, their time in Mirkwood. If they only used characters named in the book, Thranduil would be alone. So they fleshed out a few to make the world more real.

All in all, the movie was a sausage fest, so it was nice to have some roast beef added to the table.

The Walking Dead

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Where to start. Let’s just start with Andrea.

This was a character I really identify with as a single woman and a sister. I just felt like she was always getting screwed and called out by the other characters for stuff that they let other characters do. They refuse to give her a gun because she wants to kill her sister herself when she tunrs. They treat her as though is is crazy and irrational. Meanwhile, Shane is allowed to have a gun … need I say more.

I thought she was great. She was always with the guys or fishing. You didn’t see her being trapped in a domestic woman’s role like Carol (Thank goodness Carol baddassed up) or Lori. She caught fish for the group, went on supply runs, and learned how to shoot. She eventually teamed up with Badass Michon. At this point, fans already hated her, as fans often hate the blond independent woman with personality. Honestly, I didn’t dislike her until the arc with the Governor. It just got boring until she discoveed Michon’s pointlessly cryptic warnings were true.

Lori-Grimes-1Ok, I put it off. Let’s tackle Lori. Ok, while I don’t love Lori, I don’t hate her for the reasons other fans do. She was created to be the voice of reason for Rick who struggles to maintain his humanity and ideals in a apocalyptic world. Sadly, the fans hated her by episode one, despite the fact that she … hadn’t really done anything despicable. She wasn’t technically having an affair. The set up showed that their marriage was suffering, so it makes since that after she thought he died, she would move on. That’s her right. Women get to have relationships after their husbands die. While audiences had context that he was alive, they forget she does not have this context. She ends the affair with Shane after finding out her husband is alive. It’s Shane that tries to keep it going. The result: a tired love triangle that carries on long past it’s expiration date.

The reason I don’t like her: She seemed very against the women learning to shoot as Andrea suggested they do, believing it was “woman’s” roll to maintain civility and normalcy. Fuck that shit. I commend Andrea for her rebuttal that not everyone has a husband to protect them and that it’s selfish to put themselves in a position where they can’t take care of themselves and make themselves a liability to the group. My main reason I don’t like her: she throws up the abortion pills. It’s stupid and selfish to have a baby during a zombie Apocalypse. Need I say more.

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  • She had a Cesarean: therefore, she can’t have the baby without another cesarean. How did she think she was going to accomplish this?
  • A baby would be vulnerable and most likely be eaten if it didn’t die of all the other ways babies die.
  • A post apocalyptic world is no place for a baby or a child. How can they be happy? How can they have any semblance to a normal childhood?
  • The baby will endanger the entire group. Did she ever watch MASH. Doesn’t she remember that last episode where the woman had to suffocate her baby so the group doesn’t get captured.

Reign

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The show itself gets a lot of hate from critics but it’s a guilty pleasure for its fans. Catherine De Medici is one of my favorite characters. I must have a soft spot for powerful women who use their power to protect their children. I guess you could say she is the Cersei Lannister of the WB network. Basically she hears a prophesy that Mary will cause the death of her son, so she does everything in her power to stop her from wedding him. Fans of the show despise her for coming between the two lovers. She is the spice of the show. She’s witty, she’s powerful, she’s sassy, and even a little sexy. What’s not to love, and eventually she ends up using her abilities to help Mary.

Basically I think what it comes down to is that people just don’t like conflict, but tv shows would be very boring if no one ever opposed each other or if all the characters were perfect and morally white. We need these flawed, conflict causing, morally grey characters to make drama … well … dramatic.

Well, I think that makes my list. Who are some characters you love that everyone else loves to hate?

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

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It is a beautiful sunny Friday, or at least it is if you’re looking on the bright side of life, which I do. My sunny optimism might just be why I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award.For starters, I want to thank Lee for nominating me and for following my blog and posting such nice praise about my recent cosplay project. I have enjoyed following you back and I found some more people to follow because of your post. Please everyone check out Lee’s blog Tolkien Read Through 

So let’s get down to business … to defeat the Huns.

Rules:

– Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog. Check
– Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you. Will Do
– Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
– List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog. Check

Here are the Questions

I just love these types of questions.

1. What is your favorite book ever?

This is a tough one. It’s between the Silmarillion by Tolkien or Empress by Karen Miller. I’d probably  have to choose the Sil, not just for the stories, but because of the author’s love of the book. It really strikes a chord with me that it was his pet project that he never finished. I have a pet project of my own. Like Tolkien, it might be a little too ambitious, and I’m afraid I will never get it done.

2. How did you get into reading?

I used to watch my mother read. She read all the time and made it look like so much fun. It was the one thing she did, aside from watching soap operas, that we were not allowed to interrupt. I wanted to be able to read chapter books with no pictures like she did, especially Les Miserables. I passed it in a library as a child and thought it was huge. I asked my mom about it and she couldn’t tell me anything about the story, except that it was old and looked depressing. I was intrigued by the girl on the cover and wanted to see what it was about. I own it now, but I’ve yet to read it.

3. What was the first book you read?

I’m pretty sure it was Suki the Kitten, which is a book I got as a child from a garage sale. I liked cats. I remember struggling to read the word, window. My mom made me sound it out and she wouldn’t help me with it. I saved it for my kid. It was one of the first books he read. I’m hanging onto it in case he has kids.

4. What is your favorite quote?

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

I have to say that I like the way the movie worded it better, but this is still true today. What a greedy world we live in. This should be posted somewhere in every corporate office.

5. What is your favorite atmosphere for reading?

No favorite atmosphere. I could read in a plane or on a bus or on a train. I could read here or there. I could read anywhere. In a box with a fox, in a house or with a mouse.

6. How do you prefer discovering new books to read?

I really don’t have a preference. I just like them to jump out at me: an ad on twitter, a book  on the shelf that captures my eye, a dusty book in the bottom of a box at a garage sale. It doesn’t matter. A referral from a friend is always good. My sister told me to read Empress. My ex told me to read Game of Thrones (before it was cool). I enjoy both books. Sometimes your favorite stories are forced on you. Two of my favorite books, I was forced to read in college. Well, I wasn’t forced. It was the story of Gilgamesh and The Iliad. I just keep re-reading the Iliad hoping the Trojans will win …

7. Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?

I like ebooks because I can take them to the gym, but I do prefer physical books. I like to look at them on my shelf. I like to hold them. I like to smell them.

8. What inspired you to start your blog?

I had a friend start a blog. Sarah Wright. So when she was visiting, I checked out her blog and started my own. It was so fun getting to share my thoughts and interest and connect with other readers, writers, and geeks.

9. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

My blog post is obviously making a play on rite of passage. I was basically writing about my writing journey and the process. It’s then evolved to include my other interest.

10. What are the things that inspire you?

I’m not sure what initially inspired me. But reading inspires me. This particular story was inspired by a fanfic, I’m not ashamed to say.

I also get inspired by my own experiences and the experiences of others.

I think your feelings, your beliefs, and your passions can inspire you. Your stories need to convey something, have a deeper meaning, and what better than something you are passionate about.

I usually touch on ethical themes about hate, violence, war, and human rights, which are things that are close to me. I also like to touch on family issues, so my family inspires me a great deal. The feelings I had when my brother left to join the military; how close all four of us were as children and how time rifted us apart, the close bond I have with my mom and sister, how devastating it was to be separated from my sister for the first time during college, my conflicts as a mother, how you can love someone and hate them at the same time. Family and love are complicated and I like to show relationships in a real and honest way.

11. When you write something, do you prefer to do it by hand or type straight away into your blog?

I just type it straight into my blog. My handwriting is so bad, I wouldn’t be able to read it. But sometimes I still write my book in a notebook. There is a special and direct connection that your brain can make with your pencil that it cannot make with keyboards, because your fingers leave the keys, which interrupts it.

Here are the blogs I’d like to nominate: this was a hard list. So many more people I’d like to include. Please check them out.

1 Sarah Wright: Blood & Ink

2 Staci Reafsnyder

3 Carrie Rubin

4 Rachelle M.N. Shaw

5 Jon

6 Lori Maclaughin

7 Shannon Noel Brady

8 The Story Reading Ape

9 Middle-earth Reflections

10 Jane Dougherty

11 Ali Isaac

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?

 

Sound and Fury: Fantasy’s Best Fight Scenes

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From spectacular choreographed sequences to outright reality-defying stunts, fantasy fight scenes have always stood out in literature and cinema. What other genre gives you battling robots, monsters, giants, and rats of unusual size? I figured it was time to put together my list of best fantasy fight scenes ever–according to me.


Firstly, let me just say these are not in any particular order. It’s hard enough to choose which fights make the list without having to rank them. Secondly, this list is based on my own preferences, so if I left out some iconic fight or your favorite, please feel free to disagree in the comments below. Considering this is a post about fighting, I feel like that would be appropriate. Thirdly, what constitutes a fight? Basically not a battle. It doesn’t have to be mano o mano or a one on one duel, but it can’t be a full-scale battle. Fights usually focus more on the inner conflict or personal investment of a couple of characters–not entire armies.

Gandalph vs Saruman: The Lord of the Rings

Who doesn’t like to watch wizards or old people fight? What could be better than both. This is a great fight because they wipe the floor with each other without touching. They are seemingly slapped, thrown, dragged, pushed, and hurled by magic–that I assume is coming form their staffs. What really makes this wizard war fun is the fact that the characters are played by Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Christopher Lee. I couldn’t imagine anyone else in these roles. The head-to-head (or staff-to-staff) fight between Gandalph and Saruman is certainly a highlight of the first film, especially after Lee’s death.


Hector vs Achilles: Troy

This movie has a lot of downfalls–fight scenes not being one of them. The best one is the death match between Hector and Achilles. To say I’m not a fan of Brad Pitt is a huge understatement. He ruined Troy in the same way he ruined Seven Years in Tibet with his bad acting and poor attempt of an accent. Even his face can’t act. It doesn’t help that this flopping fish was thrown in a sea of wonderfully talented actors: Eric Bana, Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, Orlando Bloom (even at his worst can out-act Brad), Sean Bean (doesn’t die in this film believe it or not), and Diane Kruger. Back to the fight scene. This one stands out not only for it’s well-orchestrated choreography, but also because this is before the overuse of CGI. My younger followers might be asking what did they do before CGI? Train the actors to fight of course. They didn’t use stunts for the fight scenes either. If you thought their characters were obsessed with honor, Pitt and Bana had an honor system of their own where they paid each other for any accidental blows. Pitt paid out $750 to Bana. Bana paid out nothing, proving who is the better actor and fighter. Sorry had to make one more dig at Pitt because he’s the pits. Anywho, aside from the fact that there is almost more at stake with this one on one fight than any of the full-scale battles in the film, it’s just exciting to watch. It’s high powered, action-driven man-on man action.


Aragorn vs the Nazgul: The Lord of the Rings

Yup, another from the Lord of the Rings. I know there are a lot of fights in this trilogy, but this one stands out in my memory. Firstly, it’s the Hobbits’ first fight, which they epic fail. Again, as with Troy, all the actors were trained to fight. Sean Austin (Sam) was really disappointed because after learning elaborate fighting sequences, he was told by Jackson to pull back. In an interview he stated being worried no one would know he was good at this “sword stuff.” The best part of the fight in my opinion is where Aragorn fights with a sword and torch in a display of epic badassery.


The Man in Black vs Inigo Montoya: Princess Bride

If you were afraid this one wasn’t going to make the list, fear no more. How could I exclude this epic sword fight complete with witty repartee, hilarious commentary, ostentatious bravado, and swashbuckling badassery. Elwes and Patinkin were both trained by coaches to master the sword right and left handed. Did I mention their coaches also worked on Star Wars. That means not only could Westley fight with Bonetti’s defense and Capa Ferro, he could also easily master a lightsaber. What really stands out in this fight is the fact that these two have no beef with each other, which actually makes it really funny. No vows of revenge, threats of pain or torture, just compliments, heart-to-hearts, and playful banter.


Jen vs Yu Shu Lien: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Yes, some ladies finally made the list. Probably one of the most memorable fights, not just between women, but in cinegraphic history. When I refer to the fight between Jen and Lien, I’m actually referring to the rooftop chase as well as the final showdown; however, the clip is just the final showdown. This fight is just marvelous. Probably one of the most spectacular fight sequences ever. It’s as exciting as it is beautiful. They are impossibly graceful and agile, not to mention they can fly.


Neo vs Agent Smith: The Matrix

This is a classic. What television show hasn’t referenced this iconic battle. One of the reasons this fight stands out in my memory is because I just remember thinking, there’s no way Neo can win. The odds are stacked so heavily in Agent Smith’s favor. Another reason is the variety of fighting styles from gun fights to karate. It’s almost Dragon Ball Z-esque with all the rapid fire punches. Partly the time the movie came out helps. A fight scene like this would not stand out anymore in a world where we’ve seen it already. But for the time, this was cutting edge. I think most fans agree though. This fight still stands out even above the final showdown because of the tasteful use of CGI. The more they tried to top this fight in later films, the more this one just comes out on top.


The Black Knight vs Arthur: Monty Python

This is the funniest fight to make the list. It’s probably even more iconic than Princess Bride. It’s just clever and silly. Not to mention the black knight is played by my favorite Monty Python comedian, John Cleese. I really like the humor, from the moment Arthur tries to pass him, exclaiming that he “makes him sad” to the point where he literally has to disarm him. This fight as well as the entire movie is extremely quotable. I’m sad to think that there will be a generation that won’t understand references from this film.


The Mountain vs Prince Oberyn: Game of Thrones

Of all the fights in A Game of Thrones, you might be wondering why this one? Let me explain . . . No, there’s not enough time . . . Let me sum up. This fight had an Inigo Montoya feel. You could easily replace Oberyn’s lines them with, “Hello my name is Prince Oberyn. You killed my sister. Prepare to die.” I loved his emotion and energy tied in with his desire for revenge. I was really wanting him to win. It was a pranciful revenge–had only it ended in revenge. Don’t watch to the end if you are squeamish or don’t want spoilers. One of the things I liked the most about this fight was the variety and contrast. They pitted a nimble, handsome spear fighter with a large, ugly man with a long sword. What you get is a fight of skill vs strength. It’s just visually stunning.


T-Rex vs Raptors: Jurassic Park

Ok, credit goes to the first movie, not Jurassic World when it comes to memorable dino duels. Let me start by saying, I loved Jurassic World, so my preference isn’t based on a bias. I just really liked that short-but-sweet final battle between the T-Rex and the raptors. It looked more realistic than the final fight in JW,  Also, in comparison, it wasn’t over the top. It had that great finisher. T-rex hurls the raptor into the bones and roars while the banner is falling. Great stuff, great stuff..


Per my sister’s request, here are some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make my cut.

  • Flynn Rider vs Maximus: Tangled
  • Moon vs Flying Snow: Hero
  • Tristan vs undead Septimus: Stardust
  • Elsa vs guardsmen: Frozen

There you have it. Please agree or disagree in the comments below.

Take a Break from Life to Watch this Video: Game of Thrones/Taylor Swift Mashup

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Life has been firing lemons from a lemon-grenade launcher at me all week, so instead of my planned post, here’s one I whipped up in a pinch just for fun. After all, humor is the cure-all for life’s troubles. But don’t worry, for those of you who follow me for content, I will try to resume my regular blogging schedule on Tuesday with a new Tuesday Tip.

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A blog post is coming. It’s on it’s way. It’s gonna be amazing.

In the meantime, I’m going to be catching up on my blog, writing, editing, and life in general, I’ll also be catching up on Game of Thrones. One more disc and I’ll be finished with season 4.

And speaking of Game of Thrones, if you haven’t seen it yet, please enjoy this Game of Thrones/Taylor Swift parody “Blank Page.” I promise you, there are no spoilers, but I warn you, it will be stuck in your head for days.

http://www.nerdist.com/vepisode/nerdist-presents-game-of-thrones-meets-taylor-swift-in-blank-page/

Favorite Fantasy Deaths

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Tuesday I told you how to kill and how not to kill your characters. For fun, let’s look at some of the fantasy genre’s best deaths. Those that made us laugh and those that made us cry.

The Lord of the Rings: Boromir

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Even though this list isn’t in a particular order, this one definitely belongs on the top of the list. Not only does the death of Boromir dissolve the fellowship, it proves the danger of the One Ring (for those of us who may have been questioning its power). Those who are tempted by it (Gollum, Isildur, Boromir, etc), ultimately meet their demise. All of that aside, who doesn’t enjoy a death scene where men hold and kiss each other. With all the pawing, kissing, and panting, this could have easily been a make-out scene if not for the arrows.

Dragonheart: Draco

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For a B movie, this death gets an A. Fans of the movie loved this movie for what it could have been if not for the poorly developed characters, bad acting, and bad writing. For what it’s worth, there’s emotional payoff at the end to make up for all that. You know the dragon is toast from the moment he performs the scientifically impossible feat of sharing half a heart with a human (so much wrong with this scenario). To kill the villain, he has to sacrifice himself. And worse, his best friend has to be the one to kill him. Heavy stuff. In the end, the sad, defeated Sr. Bowen ask his dead friend, “Where do we turn?” The response: “To the stars, Bowen. To the stars.” Best last words ever–delivered after death on top of that as Draco becomes a star constellation. Those words combined with the theme song made me sad and tricked me into thinking this was a good movie..

The Hobbit: Thorin Oakenshield

The_Hobbit_Battle_Of_The_Five_Armies2014720p_DVDScrx264Ok, for those of you who hate any deviation from the books, I think Peter Jackson improved the final words of Thorin Oakenshield. Those tear-jerking last words are not only relevant to the story, but to modern society. “If more people valued home above gold, the world would be a merrier place.” Those final words left me crying and nodding in agreement. I was also very moved by Bilbo’s reaction to his death, but I don’t think enough time was spent on that or the other dwarves’ reactions. I also think they should have included his funeral. Regardless, I will remember this death as one of the highlights of the film. Not enough emotional payoff or closure for the Bilbo/Thorin friendship arc, but good never-the-less.

The Princess Bride: Westley

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Well, this hardly counts. After all he was only mostly dead. But reading or watching this for the first time, who didn’t react like the little boy from the film. Fake deaths were sort of a specialty of Westley. After all, this wouldn’t be the first time he “died.” Buttercup loses him to pirates long before the pit of despair or the zoo (depending on the book or film. I prefer the movie). Another reason this is a great death. He’s topless. Notice he has a shirt in the next scene. So thoughtful of Inigo and Fezzik to remember to put a shirt on a dead guy before taking him to the house of Miracle Max. In all honesty, what really makes this a great death is because he doesn’t die, and why not? For love, of course. It cannot stop true love, only delay it a little while.

Braveheart: William and Murron

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This is a two for one. I really couldn’t pick between the two. The entire story is the result of the death of Murron. William spends the entire movie fighting for freedom, which includes certain freedoms that married people are supposed to have (wink, wink) that are denied by the English. You feel the love for his deceased wife in every scene, especially in the last scene. As he’s dying he clutches her childhood gift to his last breath and thinks he sees her walking toward him out of the crowd. That was a good emotional cleanse after watching a guy get tortured. Good end to what could have been an overly gory scene.

A Game of Thrones: Ned Stark

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I know Game of Thrones fans are very sensitive about spoilers, but at this point is Ned Stark’s death considered a spoiler? This happened in season one, people. Besides who was surprised. He was played by Sean Bean: most of his characters die! Who couldn’t love the honorable Ned Stark–except for maybe Jaime Lannister. He was a good father and husband . . . aside from the fact that he cheated on his wife. Not so honorable after all, are you Ned? Regardless who didn’t cry when they cut off his head, a scene that empowered Arya and Robb . . . and momentarily empowered Sansa. If she’d just pushed Joffrey off the building. Almost, Sansa.

A Game of Thrones: Viserys

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For those of you not familiar with the name, maybe this picture will refresh your memory. This is one of those great deaths because of the irony. All he wanted was a crown . . . and he got one. Need I say more.

Star Trek: Spock

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This is how great this death is. I haven’t even seen this movie yet, and I want to cry. That’s the power of this picture. That hand. That face. That noble sacrifice. I don’t even know what he died for. It’s particularly sad today considering as I was writing this post, Leonard Nimoy passed away. What a sad day for fantasy fans.

Star Wars: Qui Gon Jinn

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Like DragonHeart, this wasn’t the best movie, but Qui Gon Jinn is sort of the Draco of this film. He’s noble and good–sort of Jesus like. I think his death is the highlight of this film (considering Jar Jar didn’t die). Obi Wan dramatically shouts NOOOOOOOOO!!! and then there’s that thing Qui Gon does with his finger where he just taps Obi Wan’s face. It’s got all the elements of the Boromir death/makeout scene.

Bridge to Terabithia: Leslie Burke

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I think this one gets overlooked for several reasons. It’s not dramatic–heck it’s even off screen. The girl doesn’t get shot by a hundred arrows, beheaded, or drawn and quartered like our above heroes. She simply drowns. It’s so touching and sad because of how the characters react. I cried and cried while all the characters cried. I’ve only seen this movie once, and I’ll never watch it again. Too sad. Leslie is just a wonderful character you can’t help but like.

Share your thoughts. What is your favorite fantasy death? Which ones made you cry or laugh?