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Until a few hours ago, the only thing I'd eaten today was moist, dense, fluffy, wonderful chocolate cake with delicious white frosting for a long, late, languid brunch, while discussing LotR minutia. It was SO GOOD. And very, very filling. We could have rolled home.

Then I got back, watched the latest SPN episode, mentally forehead-flicked Sera Gamble, and let it go. It will be what it will be, and I'll remember to just enjoy it for what it is. Meanwhile, I have fic like this touching on Sam in ways the season should be, although that also makes me sad since I've never had to say things like that before. Hopefully the needed tweaks will occur forthwith and we can get back to watching something that matters in more than an existential way.

Enough of that. Lord of the Rings is a mindblowingly good piece of moviemaking and storytelling. Watching it with a bunch of nerds who have not only watched it multiple times but are conversant/obsessed with the books is a truly delightful experience. Watching it with ubelievably good, solid food, culminating with sitting around on the kitchen tiles eating chocolate cake at midnight before the last push with the last disc of Return of the King, is simply transcendent.

It's been a year since last time I did this, and I have a greater appreciation for story itself, and there's more rawness in my life right now. All these things contributed to my being able to simply sink into the story unfolding in front of me, to feel the depths and currents often only hinted at. It's been a while since I read the books, but there was always something very reserved about them, to my mind. Or maybe that's me not being able to easily delve into the subtextual heart and soul of stories, at the time I was reading them. Having the story embodied onscreen is a much more visceral experience; this time around, I especially noticed the echoes of WW1 warfare throughout each thread. I mean, it's medieval in form, but tonally Tolkien's experience in the trenches saturates it.

This is one of the reasons I just love Boromir. He was Gondor's greatest battle captain for generations. All his life he has waged war against the darkest power in the land, fighting to protect his people, losing so many men. He knows what Mordor's armies do to those they capture; he knows what Mordor is like on the inside. (Not saying he was captured and tortured in Mordor. Hold off on the whump-bunnies, everyone.) Just saying, he's been toe-to-toe with the enemy all his life. We see only the very last act in a long story of valour, sacrifice, desperation and despair. The weight he carries is terrible, and he can't share it. And finally, at his death, it is his love and loyalty to his people that engages Aragorn's, and determines his taking up his responsibility as king. Making fun of Boromir for being a crybaby (which some do, and I was rather sharp with them about it) is just about equivalent to making fun of Dean for being a crybaby. Technically I guess it's true, if you have no concept or no respect for what they've done and gone through.

I can never quite decide if he or Éomer is my absolute favourite character. Boromir is more conflicted, but there's something about Éomer's simplicity in life that really appeals. And they're both protective, warrior-bent, somewhat loutish older brothers with the weight of command on them. Huh. Go figure.

Sounds like an excuse to do a poll, 'cause I've never done one before, and why not? (All based on real conversations from this weekend, and yes, it got a lot more complicated than this.)

(I have now tried it out. It seems to work. Hooray.)

I have

only seen the movies
only seen the movies, but the extended editions, quite a lot
only read the books
read the books, seen the movies
realised I can identify every detail where the movies deviate from the books, the ancillary books and their lore

My all-time favourite character is

... because

If I lived in Middle-earth, I'd be

a hobbit
a dwarf
a Rivendell elf
a Lothlorian elf
an Ent
a wizard
totally geeking out
lost and confused

... because

The real hero of LotR is

Merry and Pippin

... because


( 10 speakses — have a speak )
Nov. 15th, 2010 05:25 am (UTC)
I can't pick just one hero. They are all heroes in their own threads. Even Gollum was a hero, in his own way. (Because sure, Frodo wouldn't have made it without Sam, but the ring wouldn't have made it into the fire without Gollum!)

Also, thanks for the recc. :)
Nov. 16th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Well, it depends on your definition of hero, I guess. Which is why it's nice and vague! To me, Gollum can't really be a hero, unless they're purely definied by the end they achieve (even inadvertantly). And no love for Gandalf? :)

*adds you to the list of friends who speak elvish* (My pastor is teaching it to his family. Also, he owns a replica Andúril. O.O) I don't, though. If I were going to learn a language (and that kind of time is not going to happen) it'd be Hebrew, probably. I love the sound. Or Dutch, because of family. /ramble

Also, you're welcome. :)
Nov. 16th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
Hey, I love Gandalf! I said OTHER, didn't I? Lol.

Did you see my Arwen photoshoot I recently did? I don't remember. It's under my cosplay/sewing tags. Anyway, I have her sword, and although it's not in the books it is beautiful.

My uncle who passed away earlier this year was a professor of Tolkien in English Lit. I'm not sure if that's the right term, but he was literally a Tolkien scholar, a member of the Tolkien society, and he taught college graduate level classes on Tolkien. He fostered my LOTR love at a young age. :) I don't really speak elvish but I've spoken it plenty of times - in my college speech class I did Galadriel's poem about Valinar for an interpretive speech once and it was awesome. I have these tapes of Tolkien reading it himself that my uncle gave me one year for Christmas. My uncle could SPEAK both the Sindarin and Quenyan elvish, Dwarvish, and the Black speech without batting an eye. (And also a good bit of Klingon, LOL.)

*sigh* I miss him.
Nov. 16th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
I briefly looked at it, and it was gorgeous, but I don't think I had time to comment or anything. Life has been ... LIFE. A lot. I'll have to go have another look at her sword. My goodness, the weapon design for those movies was just STUNNING. I mean, it all was, but. Guh.

Your uncle sounds amazing! He sounds like he was someone worth spending some long, lazy time with.
Nov. 15th, 2010 09:10 am (UTC)

There's no way I can pick one answer with any of these. Glad you did ticky boxes.

The Hobbit was the class book for grade 7. I read it non-stop after we read the first chapter in class and then went on to Lord of the Rings. I spoiled everyone on Gandalf dying and didn't tell them he came back! Heh.

I actually started listing all the characters as my favourite before realising that was silly and just said the ones I didn't like. I think Eowyn has always been my supersekrit favourite and I could've happily been Rohirrim (we had horses at the time) except now I've seen where they live and that seems a bit harsh for me. Gondor was always a draw - a place of learning was always going to sucker me in, but then Lothlorien was as well! Dilemma.

And I've always liked the Greenwood elves. Thranduil has always fascinated me. I haven't read all the ancillary books yet, but those I have I've really enjoyed.

Wow. I'm... kind of in the mood to read it again. DAMMIT. I have stuff to do!

Nov. 16th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Well, I aim for flexibility in my user interface. :D /garble

I spoiled everyone on Gandalf dying and didn't tell them he came back! Heh.

... ILU.

I get you on the favourite characters. Although I have to admit that I love the twisted ones, too; they're so epically tragic in their fall. Wormtongue especially was piteous, in the best possible way (character/narratively speaking). Of course, I love the Shakespearean tragedies for pretty much exactly that reason ... and Boromir is my almost-tied-for-first favourite character, so *shrug*. The frailty and strength of the human soul. Mm.

As far as female characters, we aren't given that many to identify with (that male-warfare mentality and all), so I get why most ladies love Éowyn, but is there any more particular reason for that choice (feel free not to answer, I'm just being nosy). I mean, Galadriel, Arwen and Goldberry are all a little remote!

Wow. I'm... kind of in the mood to read it again. DAMMIT. I have stuff to do!

You're welcom. :)
Nov. 16th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)

Heh. It was the least I could do for that class....

Oh I totally understand loving the twisted downfally stories, but they're rarely my favourite characters. I mean, don't get me wrong, bad guys = love for me, but not in this world. And I've never classified Boromir as a bad guy though I've seen that meme for a long time. I realy liked him and I liked him stepping up and going off to save the world. Always a win with me. Just because he lucked out in being the only human and thus not having a few natural defenses against the ring... well...

And Eowyn was my favourite because she said, "Fuck this patriarchal bullshit, if I wanna go to war, I'm going. Also: totally taking out the chief bad guy on the battlefield. Booyah." I mean, ok, at 13 words like patriarchy aren't really what I was thinking, but you get the drift. And though I'm eyerolly now at the must-marry-everyone-off-at-the-end thing, I really loved Eowyn and Faramir together. Faramir has always been my favourite brother, I must admit. Doesn't hurt to have David Wenham involved now. ;) I've always loved Galadriel and her power and reserve but she's not the favourite because she didn't get in on the action. I tend to identify with proactive heroines.

I did like Goldberry, because hey, always been predisposed to liking the good witches. :) And Arwen always seemed a little tragic to me, with the whole loving a mortal thing. You're right about the remote though. I didn't really get a sense of individual character when it came to the books since she seemed set up as 'just' the love interest. I liked that about the movies. She seemed far more real and relateable there. Maybe more 'screentime'? I dunno.

Actually, I'm thinking I'll pull the Silmarillion out and read some more. I've been savouring that one. *looks at stack of books on bedside* Hm. There's a long queue at this point!


Nov. 16th, 2010 08:39 am (UTC)
First? Icon!flail! That is AWESOME. *averts eyes*

Yeah, I never thought of Boromir as a bad guy. Flawed, sure. Bad boy? Maybe a little bit. But then, one of the things I like about LotR is that everyone is corruptible, except maybe Tom. Who is thus irrelevant to the story of the ring, and well done Jackson et al for treating him accordingly. One of the guys I watched them with this weekend holds to the theory that Tom is Sauron's older brother, and that Sauron's just really really pissy at him. Very Eddie Izzard: DAMN I will kill EVERYONE in the WORLD. Like he saw Goldberry first, or Tom wouldn't stop giving him wedgies and noogies or something. Not compatible with anything at all in the Silmarillion, I don't think, but it makes us laugh. We have a lot of theories.

Speaking of theories, we did actually discuss the story from a WW1 soldier's point of view, the leaving of hearth and home to fight the Great War, with men who became forever brothers. Women just weren't an active part of that; they were the reason to fight, and the prize for victory won is to make a home with them in peace for the rest of your days (and since there were only three available females in Middle-earth – my apologies to Rosie, who I forgot before – representing the main class/race stratification and marriage aspirations of the Fellowship, so of course they all end up paired off). So Éowyn was indeed remarkable, although having literally fulfilled the Birnam Wood prophecy from Macbeth, I guess Tolkien wanted his own "think outside the box" prophecy fulfilment. And being killed by a WOMAN would no doubt be an unthinkable solution in that paradigm.

Considering he put "Lúthien" on his wife's gravestone, and considering (if memory serves) he grew up in a boarding school after losing his mother at a fairly young age, we figured he very much put women on pedestals, seeing them as unearthly, wondrous creatures than man knew not aught of but was unbelievably fortunate to receive. Hence the greatest, and also most tragic, love stories are the human male/female elf ones. (I can never remember the middle one, Elrond's parents.)

Anyway. Faramir was my favourite brother to begin with, and I still love him and am really glad he and Éowyn hooked up. But I think older brothers will really always own my heart. I want fic where they meet each other at some point, kill some orcs and go drinking, and propose to get their younger siblings together. (Wow. Fanficcing can desecrate anything. Nevermind.)

... I talk a LOT. O.O I blame Tolkien!
Nov. 17th, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)

Yoink away!

I like that theory. Sibling rivalry is always awesome. Bring in the superpowers and dragons and you've got a hit!

... and that one. Actually I've heard that one before, particularly in regards to all the Inklings. They lived and worked and fought in such male spaces that it's really one of two outcomes.

Wait, Faramir and who kill orcs and go drinking??

Nov. 17th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
lol, no, Boromir and Éomer kill orcs, go drinking and decide to introduce their younger siblings to one another. :D I figure it's possible, with all their going about fighting things, that they'd run into one another at some point. And then they can be all, I'm manly! You're manly too? Let us go be manly with the killing and the drinking together! Huzzah!

Yeah, the English didn't really hold with Option B for intensely male environments. Too Greek. Unseemly, you know. Not cricket.
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