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?

 

Most Romantic Songs in Fantasy and Sci-Fi

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I’m no love expert, but I do consider myself to be a pretty good judge of music. Since Valentine’s Day is this weekend, I thought I’d share my favorite love songs from Fantasy and Sci-Fi.

As the World Falls Down: Labyrinth

Despite what you might think, I didn’t put this song on the list because of Bowie’s recent death. I’ve actually had this post drafted for a while but decided to wait to post it until closer to Valentine’s Day.

For the record, I don’t consider this a romantic movie (unless you count the disturbing attraction that Jareth has for the much younger Sarah or the creepy uncle attraction of Hoggle). Either the song is a wink to the illegal attraction that Jareth has for the MC or–like many of the songs Bowie wrote for the movie–it just has nothing to do with the story and is a complete deviation from the plot altogether. Regardless, listening to this song gives me a similar feeling that I get while listening to Boyz II Men  “I”ll Make Love to You.” It’s the lyrics–the ones Bowie articulates anyway. He can be pretty hard to understand at times.

What girl wouldn’t want a man who promises to place the moon within her heart and the sky in her eyes while painting her mornings of gold and leaving his love in the stars. So many beautiful celestial references–which I’m a sucker for.

I’m not a huge fan of this movie … I’ll just pause a moment and let you get it out of your system.

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As I was saying, I’m not a huge fan, but I thought the scene where she’s in the dream world dancing with Jareth was just fabulously fun to watch with the masks, the costumes, Sarah’s hair, and all that Bowie glitter. I kept thinking what a neat cosplay this would be.

Well, if you love Bowie and 80’s love songs, you’ll just “fall” for this one.

Aniron: Lord of the Rings

This song doesn’t need English lyrics, or maybe it’s the absence of English lyrics that make it so moving. You don’t have to speak elvish to understand the meaning of the words.

It’s just so tear-jerking beautiful. Not a surprise since the song was composed and sung by Enya and conducted by Howard Shore, creators of some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard (says the woman who ran out and bought every Enya cd after hearing this song).

The song is the official love theme of Aragorn and Arwen and can be heard during their love scene, which is a little trite, especially because of their stilted dialogue. However, the romance hardly feels forced because of the song. Omit the music, and you just have two people stiffly facing each other exchanging bad dialogue. Total scene saver.

Tell Me Now: King Arthur

King Arthur is a B movie with an A movie soundtrack. If the screenwriters wrote the movie half as well as Hans Zimmer wrote the music, we’d have a contender for Gladiator or the Lord of the Rings.

To be clear, this is a list of my favorite romantic songs–not romances. The Arthur/Gwen ship was just dreadful and forced to put it kindly, but this song … it just reverberates with feelings and emotions I really don’t think were conveyed by the actors.

What do you think? Tell me, tell me now if you like this song.

That’s All I’ve Got to Say: The Last Unicorn

Poor Prince Leer didn’t know what to say or do to win the love of the Lady Almathea, so that’s what he sang about. What a beautiful, heartfelt song it ends up being for a man who said words were not one with him. Though if he was looking for the right words, he could have borrowed some from Jareth though it sounds like he may have tweaked some lines from Forrest.

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This is just one of those songs that makes me all warm and sappy. If a man ever sang this to me, I’d marry him in a heartbeat.

That’s really all I have to tell you about this song. That’s all I’ve got to say.

As Long as You’re Mine: Wicked

This counts as fantasy right? Anyway, I’ve never seen Wicked, but I don’t have to in order to love, love, love this song. It’s just so sexy. You can tell they want each other badly.

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How can you hear this song without imagining two people locked tightly in each others arms? To be honest, I was a little let down when I finally watched the video. The scene played out a little awkward compared to what I imagined.

This is my favorite song from the Broadway. Yes, even above Defying Gravity. Norbert Leo Butz and Idina Menzel are such a sexy vocal pair–better than when she sang with her husband (cheating bastard–also not as good a singer as Norbert).

Princess Bride: Story Book Love

It would be a crime to exclude Princess Bride from any list having to do with love, considering this movie is all about love, twu wuv, that will fowow you foweva and eva …

This song completely captures the movie’s heart and style. It’s as heartwarming and tender as the film’s happy ending.

It’s one of my favorite love songs of all time. Needless to say, I own it on iTunes, and I will be playing it this Valentine’s Day.

A Love Before Time: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

If this was a list of my top favorite romances, Le Mu-Bi and Yu Shu Lein would definitely make the list; however, this is a list for songs, and as you can see, their song makes the list.

This is a song about love transcending time and death. I dare you to listen to it without being moved. If you aren’t, you have no soul. How can you not be moved by cello music. From the first instrumental note, I was sold. The chords, the lyrics, the instruments. Did I mention the cello? I’m a sucker for cellos.

Then You Look at Me: Bicentennial Man

I’ve never seen this movie, but as a huge fan of Celine Dion, I’ve heard this song–at least a hundred times.

Is it any wonder it’s a romantic song. Written by James Horner and Will Jennings–the writers of Celine Dion’s more memorable hit, “My Heart Will Go On.”

If you haven’t heard of this song, it’s because the movie was a flop, and Celine’s (far inferior song) “That’s the Way it is” was a huge hit on the radio at the time, so sadly, this one was not played on the radio, but included on several of her albums.

If you haven’t heard it, I encourage you to. I think you’ll find it just as memorable as many of Celine’s other hits.

Well, there you have it. Those are my favorites. Which are yours? Any I left off the list?

To all of my friends and followers, have a wonderful Valentine’s day.

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Look to the left of my blog (right below my photo, title, and tagline). See it? Notice anything different?

That’s right, I now have a newsletter.

For those of you who want to stay informed about book releases, promotions, events, etc, just click on Gandalph to sign up.

And because my sister and I share almost everything, we will be sharing this newsletter, so it’s really a two-for-one deal. Sign up for one newsletter and get updates for two authors.

At the risk of continuing to sound like an infomercial–Wait, there’s more!

The first 20 followers will be entered to win a copy of my sister’s debut novel The Quest for the Holy Something or Other or her upcoming fantasy parody (your choice).

So go ahead, sign up. It’s free and easy.There’s no hidden print, conditions, fees, terms, or  clauses. Just important updates about your favorite twin authors.

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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.

Yes! It’s A New Book by Tolkien! ‘The Story of Kullervo’

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Good news for Tolkien fans!

A Tolkienist's Perspective

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In what seems to be a yearly tradition, the Tolkien Estate is treating us to a new book by our favourite author.

If you’ve done some reading about the Professor (beyond Middle-earth, that is), you may have encountered many references about Tolkien’s love for the Finnish epic tale of the Kalevala.

Well, turns out when he was a young man – already teeming with ideas and exquisite writing skills – he decided to write his own version of the book.

Here’s what an excerpt of what Harper Collins had to say on their site:

Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny.

Tolkien himself said that The Story of Kullervo was ‘the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own’, and was ‘a major…

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The Immortal Christopher Lee

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This has been a truly sad year for fantasy fans with the death of Terry Pratchett, Leonard Nimoy, and now Sr. Christopher Lee.

I find it hard to believe that Sir Christopher Lee has died. The cult theories that he was immortal or a vampire seemed legit considering his health and abilities at such a generous age. Even Elijah Woods seemed to agree in a recent tweet stating:

“If anyone was going to be immortal, it was Christopher Lee.”

He seemed timeless. At 93, he could easily have been younger or older considering his acting career started shortly after the second World War (and the fact that he once met Tolkien himself).


christopherleeChristopher Lee was a household name. If you don’t know his name, you’re at least familiar with one of his roles considering he’s acted in over 200 films and played many beloved villains including Dracula, Count Dooku, Saruman, and Francisco Scaramanga (James Bond).

Not to say he didn’t want to be the good guy from time to time, having coveted the role of Gandalf (played by Sir Ian McKellen).


Considering his long, unconquerable acting career, his acclaim, honors, noteworthy deep voice, and superior eye-brow acting (according to adoring fans), perhaps the theories of immortality were true. Christopher Lee will live on in the memory of friends and family of the film industry, in the hearts of loyal fans, and the roles he played.

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?

Who is the better Writer?

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untitledI love Pub-talk; it’s my favorite part of the bar experience. Usually I’m the DD, so I spend more time talking than drinking.

Saturday, I had a great literary conversation while sharing a drink with my sister. I only had one drink, mind you; I would hate to get a DUI while dressed as an elf. After the con, there was an after party at Cook McDoogles, which is an Irish pub in my city’s downtown. My sister and I were talking with two brothers, attendees of the con, when one of them asked an interesting question. Who is the better writer: J.R.R Tolkien or George R. R. Martin?

My initial instinct was to blurt out Tolkien. His books are classics and he’s practically the father of fantasy; however, this does not make him a perfect writer. His writing suffers from info dumping, plot holes, and plot-stopping scenes and characters. That doesn’t mean I’m naming George the winner. He has his fair share of faults as well: A first chapter that doesn’t establish the main conflict, no clear main protagonist, and the overuse of dream sequences. I think I’ll save my opinions for a later post. I want to hear from you. Who do you prefer?