Happy New Year! It seems to be 2014 already, which is something my mind is having a hard time comprehending . . . And I know for a fact that I’m going to continue to write and type “2013” for a long time still (case in point: I accidentally typed that when I was trying to type 2014 up there), but I’m excited for the clean slate and open possibilities of a new year!
Which no doubt includes posting on my blog more regularly. *glances around and dusts things off, disappearing in a particularly large cloud of dust, from which I shortly emerge, coughing loudly and trying to pretend I’m not* From the looks of things around here, and judging mostly from the fact that the last time I posted, NaNoWriMo hadn’t even ended yet, it might be presumed that I did not survive November. In fact, I barely did; but it was a close call.
When last I posted I was very behind on my words for the month and still going slow, but in the last couple weeks of NaNo I pulled an epic comeback and crossed the finish-line victorious at 50,237 words. Alas, my story is not finished (and in a sense only begun) but despite that I’m immensely pleased by how Underground Rainbow has turned out so far — especially the characters taking over and coming out so wonderfully — and overall I had a superb NaNo 2013!
Still, when December hit I had some intense writer’s burn-out and have been too exhausted from my writing (not to mention out of breath from a whirl of pre-Christmas activity) to even think about blogging.
But all that to say, I have at last returned! Hence one of the reasons for the “return” in the title of this post. Though . . . “many” probably does not apply. And I don’t know if anyone is happy about it either. But the subject of my return is not the only thing I’m here to talk about.
You see, it’s also a birthday. Not mine, of course, but the birthday of my favorite author. I love a lot of old books written by authors who lived awhile ago, but even though most of my favorite authors are no longer among the living, I like to remember them and appreciate their wonderful books by celebrating the authors’ birthdays. So today I’m here to do just that.
Once upon a time, on a January 3rd, 122 years ago (in 1892 to be precise) J. R. R. Tolkien was born.
(Please note the “i” before the “e” in Tolkien. That is the correct spelling, which some folks, even in published books, cannot seem to remember, and tend to reverse it and spell it like “Tolkein”, which I shudder just looking at. And hey look; even my spellchecker knows that’s the incorrect way to spell it . . . This is a minor aside to all such people, correcting them, even though I’m sure none of them is reading this. “Tolkien” — “i” before “e”, please. I’m not nit-picky, no; not at all. Whatever gave you that idea?)
I’ve never gone so far as to bake a cake or anything (yet), but I always mark my calendar and each January 3rd I go about in a celebratory feeling of appreciation for everything Tolkien wrote and how much epicness and enjoyment his books have caused (not to mention how much of an increase of books written in the fantasy genre — my favorite — there have been since The Lord of the Rings was published). The Lord of the Rings is probably my favorite book, and well overdue for a reread; but every other thing by Tolkien I’ve read I have likewise enjoyed immensely.
I have a map of Middle-earth framed and hung on my wall. I happen to have in my possession 63 books by or about Tolkien or his stories — yes, I just counted. Some are multiple copies of various books by him, but the fact remains. If you just said I’m obsessed, I fear I won’t argue with you. I also own all the soundtracks for the films based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit so far — I feel like the music of Howard Shore in the movies are a much better adaptation of Tolkien’s books than the movies themselves.
Which brings me to the final point of this post: I saw “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” the day it came out. I had planned to review it on my blog, and had such low expectations (except for the music) that I already had picked out what I was going to say in my review. It was going to be this:
My review for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”:
I enjoyed the music.
. . . Yup, that was going to be it. Now, the music was splendid, but that’s not all I enjoyed, and nor can I just let the awfulness go unnoticed, so I’m going to have to amend my review. (Caution: May contain spoilers…)
Recipe for a certain movie:
- Take one well loved book.
- Chop in three parts.
- Take all the events and tumble them together so they’re not separated at all. Mix well.
- Throw in lots of made up stuff — whatever you like. (It doesn’t matter if it has nothing to do with the original book or characters. The fans of the book can protest but they can’t really do anything.)
- Add a pinch of Radagast and Gandalf doing stupid out-of-character things, and a sprinkling of far-fetched over-the-top “battles” between light and dark.
- Mix in some insane dwarf plans for getting rid of Smaug, and lots of parts where he could have blasted them all with fire but for some reason decided not to. (?)
- Add generous helping of ridiculous love affair that doesn’t work, between an elf and a dwarf. (Come on; seriously?)
- Season with non-stop action throughout (Legolas is a good help for this).
- Carefully chop the ending off to leave enough bits dangling so people will come back for the third part.
- Serve cold (December will do) to indignant audiences.
- Note: Be sure to top with brilliant actors and spice well with beautiful epic music so no one will notice.
Lot of parts annoyed me, and I could go on and on about it. But on the whole, as a movie, it was a really fun movie and I enjoyed it a lot. It just wasn’t anything like the great book it was supposedly based off of. I loved Bard — he was great. Bilbo was splendid as ever. The Dwarves were fun at times. I oddly really enjoyed Legolas (one of the bigger but less naughty additions — at least he would have been in the area). His parts were some of my favorite, especially a certain fight near the end . . . Also most of the river/barrel sequence was hilarious and awesome. And Thranduil! I don’t know why, but he was spectacular.
As such an extreme book lover, I only enjoyed the movie because I had been keeping up with the rumors of the horrible things they were going to do to it and resigned myself to the fact that it would be ruined even worse than the first one, and it was only by that mental attitude that I managed not to get extremely annoyed. With the first one at least I could list the problems and complain about them; with this, there are too many changes and I’m giving up and just looking at them as completely different entities.
Today being the birthday of the man who wrote The Hobbit, I’m going to appreciate the real Hobbit — the classic and wonderful book that I’ve so enjoyed reading so many times, and that led to the writing of my favorite book ever. My thanks to Professor Tolkien — Happy Birthday.