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Posts Tagged ‘The Lord of the Rings’

January 3rd is J. R. R. Tolkien’s birthday. Yes, yes, I know that is tomorrow–but if you are to celebrate properly, you must prepare.

I say, look for a birthday tree and make certain to sit beneath it on January 3rd with The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, or another book by Tolkien. Read a chapter or two, and allow the magic of Middle-earth to brighten this everyday world for a few minutes. Laugh at Bilbo’s reluctance to embrace adventure. Smile at the antics of Pip and Merry. Wish for a friend as faithful as Sam.

I recently read an interesting post at The Writing Cooperative about Tolkien by Hunter Liguore, The Tolkien Toast, which you might enjoy.

So when tomorrow arrives, lift a glass to one of the giants of fantasy literature–for as Tolkien wrote: “It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”

 

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IMG_2395 Only 2 weeks until Halloween and 6 days until HallowRead. So I decided to share with you one of my favorite readings of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven. Actor Christopher Lee is the reader.

A bit of background: Christopher Lee began his film career in 1947 in the Gothic romance, Corridor of Mirrors. Lee co-stared in classic Hollywood horror films with Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff, and other well-known horror actors. He also played Sherlock Holmes in several movies. Star Wars fans will recognize him as the villainous Count Dooku.  Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies will remember him as the wizard, Saruman, Interestingly, he was the only member of the casts to have actually met JRR Tolkien. Other recent films he appeared in include: Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows.

The Raven is a long poem, so be prepared to lean back, relax (if you dare), and listen to a marvelous Raven recitation by British actor, Christopher Lee.

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After skimming this article, I discovered I hadn’t read all of the books mentioned, so I’ve added a few novels to my “To Read” list. Most of the books on the list I’ve read. I agree with the article’s authors – The Lord of the Rings, War of the Worlds, Dune, A Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Foundation, The Martian Chronicles, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc. have changed science fiction and fantasy, and added to the genre.

There are other authors who’ve changed my perception of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but the writings of JRR Tolkien, Jules Verne, HG Wells, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, George RR Martin, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. LeGuin, Douglas Adams, and the other authors listed in this aricle stand out.

By the way, the artwork featured in the post is nice, too.

What do you think of 21 Books That Changed Science Fiction and Fantasy Forever? Were your favorites named?

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Thanks to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for the link to this article on a Prehistoric Crocodile named after a JRR Tolkien creature. The reptile weighs in at over 900 pounds, so it’s no wonder the beast has been named after The Lord of the Ring’s Balrog which dwelt in the deep, dark Middle-Earth mines of Moria. 

Yes, Tolkien fan that I am, I can always find a way to celebrate one of my favorite authors!  Here’s the link.

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tolkien On the pending publication of Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien said: “I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.”

As a fan of LotR, The Hobbit, and other works by Tolkien, I can’t imagine him doubting the merit of this trilogy. Yet, I know as a writer when a book (or even a story, poem, or non-fiction piece) of mine is published, there is both joy at seeing the completion of a work and a sense of dread anticipating the less than positive comments and inevitable bad reviews.

Even those best books don’t please everyone, so I know there will be those readers who think my child (my book) is ugly or stupid. And though I steel myself for those critical comments and reviews, I know, I, too, have exposed my heart to be shot at.

I wonder if reviewers and readers who post reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere know how their words effect the author? Do you try to make your comments constructive criticism when you don’t care for a book? Or not?

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In my internet travels, I discovered this Tolkien-themed blog, A Tolkienist Perspective. This blog contains lots of information on JRR Tolkien, his books, the films, and his mythical worlds. And if you’ve always wondered about the Nazgul, here’s the link to an interesting essay on the subject.

Tolkien fans, do you agree with the essay?

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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Busy today tidying up (though in truth I can only make a small dent in the tidying that needs doing). As I slide books back into their slots on my bookshelves, I noticed the great number of stories that have swords or blades in them.

My favorite swords are the lightsabers of the Jedi knights of Star War’s fame, King Arthur’s Excalibur, and the famed sword/s of The Lord of the Rings. There is always the debate whether Arthur had one or two swords. One pulled from the stone and a different blade given to him by the Lady of the Lake seems to indicate two different swords, but there are other takes on these mythical events.

As for The Lord of the Rings’ sword/s, I refer to Narsil, the blade broken into shards during battle. Isildur, son of the king, used the hilt-shard to slice the finger with the One Ring from the hand of Sauron. The Ring takes quite a journey, eventually ending up in the spindly hands of Golem, then in the pocket of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. From there, the Ring is placed in the care of Frodo, and finally is destroyed in the lava of Mount Doom. Now, back to the Shards of Narsil. These broken bits of sword, are re-formed into a new blade which is renamed, Anduril – The Flame of the West, and given to Aragorn to use. And yes, JRR Tolkien geek that I am, I didn’t need to research these names!

I found an interesting list of 15 Legendary Swords which not only includes my favorites, but a dozen more. By the way, I find the inclusion of William Wallace’s sword a novel idea. I wonder if it would have been on the list prior to Mel Gibson’s movie?

Skean copy In my fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, the blade mentioned in the title is a boot knife, though I do have Beck use a fighting blade, too. As I work on the sequel, I’m toying with the idea of introducing a magical sword — but I worry it’s a cliché’. What do you think?

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Romance is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur.” wrote JRR Tolkien. Though one usually doesn’t think of Tolkien when one thinks of Valentine’s Day and romance, there are love stories woven through many of his tales. With a few exceptions, those love stories are intense, long-enduring, require suffering or sacrifice on the part of the couples, and have tragic endings.

“What a terrible thing to bring up on Valentine’s Day!” you might say. And though those passionate and ill-fated love stories abound in Tolkien’s fiction, he also gave us the quiet love of the hobbits, Samwise Gamgee and Rose Cotton. I think it is no accident that hobbits (Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) were central to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and it is through their eyes that the reader views much of the action.

Most of us aren’t cut out for dangerous adventures, battles with gigantic creatures, and walking for months through perilous lands over-run by armed enemies. Just like most of us aren’t cut out for romances filled with drama, terrible tragedies, and doom. Instead, we appreciate the simple happiness that comes from finding someone who cares for us and for whom we care.

There’s a wonderful comfort in the ordinariness of Sam and Rose. They love each other with the sort of love that we modern-day humans can identify with, and perhaps discover in our own lives:

Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.” – JRR Tolkien, the last lines of The Return of the King.

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers. And may your life be filled with love.

For another Tolkien-inspired post, visit: http://ljagilamplighter.com/2013/02/13/wrights-writing-corner-guest-blog-vonnie-winslow-crist-on-writing-adventures/

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Animals and Nature are usually woven into my stories, poems, non-fiction, and art. I think my interest in Nature and all her creatures started when I was young. My Granny, who lived on property that joined my parent’s backyard, gardened in the early morning and was kind to the neighborhood strays and neglected animals. As a child, I could usually be found tagging along with her.

My family vacationed for a week each summer from the time I was 5 in a cabin in the West Virginia mountains. Deer, raccoons, opossums, snakes, bears, crayfish, minnows, salamanders, bats, and birds were plentiful and often encountered. Unfortunately, so were mice – but that’s a different tale!

I’ve always enjoyed growing flowers, vegetables, and berries. I’ve always loved watching wild animals and having pets. In fact, since I’m short, have never been thin, and quite enjoy a well-prepared meal, I think I’d have made a rather good (though tall at 5’2”) hobbit!

In the beginning of The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien describes the day Gandalf stopped by Bilbo’s home to warn of the coming dwarves thus: “one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous…” More green – that sounds lovely to me.

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien writes that hobbits are fond of gardening. I especially like the picture painted by this quote from The Fellowship of the Ring (and I can close my eyes and see the image filmed by Peter Jackson for the movie):

Inside Bag End, Bilbo and Gandalf were sitting at the open window of a small room looking out west on to the garden. The late afternoon was bright and peaceful. The flowers glowed red and golden: snap-dragons and sunflowers, and nasturtians trailing all over the turf walls and peeping in at the round windows.

‘How bright your garden looks!’ said Gandalf.

‘Yes,’ said Bilbo. ‘I am very fond indeed of it, and of all the dear old Shire…’”

 I gaze out my window at flowers red and golden: roses, snapdragons, and butterfly weed, and at nasturtiums trailing over a brick wall, and scratch my dog behind her ear. I know I am very fond indeed of Nature, all her creatures, and of living at Wood’s Edge. In both of my short story collections, Owl Light and The Greener Forest, as well as my young adult novel, The Enchanted Skean, animals and plants play important roles. And I suspect, they will always have a special place in my creative work.

For those who’d like to listen to an excerpt from “On a Midwinter’s Eve,” the 1st tale in Owl Light, it’s the reading that begins about 14 minutes into the September 2012 “Nature and Animals” Broad Pod from Broad Universe: http://broadpod.posterous.com/september-2012-animals-and-nature In the excerpt, an owl, wolf, and the winter woods play a role. The complete story has even more animals in it.

So as Bilbo’s much anticipated Birthday Party approaches, I urge you to celebrate Nature and read (or listen to) a story featuring some of her creatures.

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There’s more than meets the eye (and ear) in names. When naming their children (or pets) people often look through baby-naming books or on-line listings of names for their meanings. Some writers use those same naming guides, some pick the names for their characters and places based on sound, and some select names based on the images those names conjure up when read.

In the work of JRR Tolkien, we know that characters named Samwise, Merry, and Pippin will be likable. And when we hear Grima Wormtongue or Sauron the Great, Eye of the Dark Tower we expect evil. Who wouldn’t like to visit such pleasant sounding venues as Rivendell and The Shire? But when we hear the names Mirkwood and Mount Doom, we expect them to be dangerous places.

I sometimes use those baby-naming books for characters and places. The meanings and country (or people) where the name originated are important. I also use names from various myths and legends. Archaic words from a thesaurus or an old dictionary are another fabulous source for original sounding names. One of my favorite ways of gathering names is to jot down unusually named roads, towns, points of interest, etc. as I travel.

For my upcoming high fantasy Young Adult novel, Enchanted Skean – Book I of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir, in addition to my usual name sources, I combined bits and pieces of the names of family members and friends. For example, Stacy and Jason became Stason (one of the Hunters), John and Karen became the Joren Canyon, Wendy and Bob became the Wenbo River, and another Hunter was named Kelto (from Kelly and Tom). I even re-arranged the letters of some family members’ names to come up with places. Example: Timothy became the Mothyti River. And, one of my favorites, a type of goblin that runs in packs whose description might make my friend Denise (Dee) laugh – became the Grindee.

I’m not sure readers care where the names of characters and places come from. I suspect the source of naming is less important than creating believable, breathing, three-dimensional characters and places that can be almost seen, heard, smelled, and touched. But writers have their quirks – and meaningful naming is mine!

Today’s Tolkien trivia is based on names. 1- What was the creature Gollum’s original name? Yes, that’s an easy one. Here’s something a bit more challenging. 2- What was author JRR Tolkien’s full name? Tolkien buffs got that quickly, too. So, let’s try a more challenging question. 3- What are the names of Bilbo Baggins’ parents?

Answers to Tolkien trivia:

1- Smeagol.

2- John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. As a child, he went by his 1st middle name, Ronald.

3- If you look at the Baggins of Hobbiton family chart in Appendix C – Family Trees of The Lord of the Rings, you’ll see Bilbo’s parents were Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took. [The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994, p. 1074].

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