Saturday, February 28, 2015

MEMM - Day 14 - Lord of the Rings character you understand the least

Faramir.


Movie Faramir’s actions are so inconsistent and outside how I would behave, that I just spend the movies puzzled and frustrated by him.  I like him, but I do not understand him.  He’s all over the board.  His personality jumps from competent captain (in guerrilla warfare, anyway), to falling prey to that overwhelming need to be praised/loved by his father, to being cruel, to being gentle, to self-destructive sadness -- and all without ever getting angry.  Faramir never once loses his temper or even raises his voice. I think people who have every right to be angry... and who aren't, bewilder me.

One of the most heart-breaking scenes for me in all the movies is when Gollum is at the Forbidden Pool and Frodo is forced to betray Gollum’s trust.  This scene rips me to pieces every time I see the movie, and I have sometimes left the room and returned when it’s over.  I understand why things have to go down this way, but I don’t understand why Faramir seems to treat the whole thing as a bit of game.  He knows full well when he takes Frodo out there that Frodo will tell him who Gollum is and what he wants to know in order to save Gollum’s life, but he plays it up and gets all smirky anyway.  Be serious, at least, man!  There’s a life at stake!  That, and he way he lets his men treat Gollum.  Why?  Just because Gollum has an ill-favored look?  Gollum’s done nothing to them but fish in the pool (yes yes, that bears the penalty of death, but sheesh!  Kill him, then, don't abuse him.).  Then there’s the weird way Faramir says “I think we finally understand one another” at the end of Two Towers, as if everything that happened up to that point was to make Frodo understand Faramir’s side, not like it’s a two-way street.  I KNOW that’s not what he means, but that’s how it comes across in the way he delivers the line.  It’s not the words themselves, it’s his delivery.  I always shake my head there and make a face at him.


And I don’t understand why he stops thinking whenever he’s around his father.  Denethor tells him to reclaim Osgiliath... he does not say “ride out there in broad daylight right this second.”  In fact, Denethor gives no strategy or battle commands whatsoever, so it is Faramir’s choice as captain, therefore, to interpret his father’s orders.  And he chooses to do it that particular way?  Nope, I don’t get Faramir.  He just makes me shake my head.  Now, I’m all for following suicidal orders when your death will gain something.  I’ll be the first to go do something dangerous that might result in my death if it will buy precious time, or result in some tangible benefit.  No problem there.  But I’m not one for following suicidal orders that will gain zero positive results.  And dying only for the sake of following orders?  No... I’m afraid I’m traitor material...  I would not have obeyed my king.  I do respect Faramir for doing so.  It’s his prerogative.  But I respect Gandalf more for knocking Denethor out and taking over the defense of the city.

I also think he frustrates me so much because I want to protect him from his own self-defeatism.  He’s Boromir’s little brother, and I respect and love Boromir a very great deal.  (I also equate Faramir with my own younger sister.  She and I have a bit of Boromir/Faramir going on, and she reminds me of him... And I don’t understand her a lot of the time either.  Maybe it’s a younger sibling thing?  LOL.)  I believe Faramir simply belongs in a peacetime environment. War is not his strong suit.  He does it by necessity, but he lacks the skill and heart for it (he has no shortage of courage, mind you, but that’s different).  I suspect, if I got to see him after Return of the King, in Ithilien with Eowyn, I might understand him a lot better.

Friday, February 27, 2015

MEMM - Day 13 - Favorite battle

Using the definition of a battle as “a sustained fight between large, organized armed forces,” then I have to go with Helm’s Deep. 

Helm’s Deep is one of those battles that is big scale, but also intimate, if that makes any sense, and it’s a battle that I get very invested in when I watch.  I worry a great deal and really want to jump into the movie screen to help.  The tight confines of the ramparts and fortress help give it that personal feeling.  I like the flow of this battle, I like the rain and the mud, and I love when Aragorn and Theoden bust out to face the orcs head-on.  It's got elves (always an excellent thing), and it's also the only battle with an explosion, which gives it bonus points.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MEMM - Day 12 - Least-favorite costumes


These atrocious choir boy robe/pajama things.  They. Must Go Right Now.


(Interestingly, I just realized all my least favorite outfits are in Return of the King.  It's the only one of the six films with costumes I actively dislike.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

MEMM - Day 11 - Favorite moment/line in The Return of the King

Another very easy one:  Lighting the Beacons.  Yes, I do have patterns, LOL!  My favorite moment in The Two Towers is a sweeping vista of gorgeous scenery shown while my favorite music of the movie plays.  Lighting the beacons in the same:  amazing, sweeping, gorgeous mountain scenery and my favorite cue of the entire movie.  I cry every time this scene hits. It’s so beautiful I just can't contain the tears.  Just like the scene in Two Towers, this scene is the whole reason I watch this movie.  

 
 
 

Since I've been listing three moments for each, my second favorite moment would Pippin’s departure from Edoras with Gandalf.  I love Merry and Pippin here so much.  “Why do you look?  Why do you always have to look.”  And Pippin's "Merry!" as they ride out of the stable, and the way Aragorn runs after Merry to watch them ride away. 


Third favorite moment is Minith Morgul, with the witch king on his fell beast and the exquisite colors of the place.  This was particularly awesome on the big screen... it lacks that terrifying grandeur on a television set, but I still wait for this moment, Gollum and Sam trying to haul Frodo to safety, their hiding behind the rocks while an army of orcs emerges and the witch king presides over all.  Amazing moment.


As for a favorite line... hm.  I don't quote this movie much.  I guess Aragorn's "I do not fear death" line.

Monday, February 23, 2015

MEMM - Day 10 - Lord of the Rings character you relate to the most



Aragorn.

He is both the character I relate to most, as well as the one my family thinks I’m most like.  It goes along with the question "where do you belong in Middle-Earth?"  I belong with the rangers in the north.  (This is kind of like how, if I was in the Game of Thrones world, I would be in the Night’s Watch.)  I’d be out patrolling the borders of the Shire, etc.  I’m perfectly content being out in the woods for long stretches at a time, quietly protecting things from the shadows for most of my life, until forced to step up to the plate.  I tend to avoid leadership roles, but when I’m required to, I am good at it.

I very much relate to his personality, and the way he acts and thinks, particularly in dangerous situations.

And there are so many little moments that are matches for what I’d do in those circumstances.  That look Aragorn gives Pippin when Pippin asks about Second Breakfast?  That is so me.  One breakfast is plenty, dude!  We’re not eating again until dinnertime.  And I would throw an apple at him to munch on instead.


When they escape Moria, and Boromir wants to give everyone a moment, and Aragorn is like no way, we need to keep moving, mourn later.  That would be me.  I would salute the uruk-hai before I fought them, because you always salute your opponent.  It's the honorable thing to do.  The way he’s got his hand on his sword, carefully watching to make sure Borormir returns Frodo’s ring when they’re in the snow.  The way he responds to Legolas at the council, when Legolas tells everyone who he really is... man, even the first time I saw that movie, in my mind, I was already telling Legolas to sit down and be quiet before Aragorn spoke.  (I’ve behave similarly at work when someone tries to recognize me as more than a "mere ranger," er... employee. LOL!)  The way he’s comfortable traveling alone for long stretches.  Singing to himself.  Making promises in the heat of the moment.  His "I do not fear death" line. 


I relate to Aragorn carrying a bow and arrows, in addition to his sword.  I am a multi-weapon girl, and I just love that he has the bow too.  There are situations when a bow is more useful than a sword (and you can't hunt dinner with a sword).  It’s good to be prepared.  I am also extremely partial to the dagger Celeborn gifts him.  If there was one Middle-Earth prop I could take home, it would probably be that dagger.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

MEMM - Day 09 - Scenes/things you laugh at

These are parts that make me laugh with sheer delight because I love them so.  None of these laughs are mocking or because something is silly or stupid.  Just expressing happy, delirious joy.

The Battle of the Five Armies:
Dain’s “Oh, come on!” and “Good morning, how are we all?” and "faithless woodland sprite" lines
Every time Alfrid is on screen.  (Only in this movie, not Desolation)
Anytime Thranduil smirks.
The cave troll with the battering ram on his head that bashes in Dale’s gates and falls over unconscious
Smaug’s undignified dying noises
"You call that a fair trade?" and Thorin's admonishing look (the whole scene between Bard and Thorin, actually)
Podracer noises
"Except an army of elves, it would seem."
"If I'm not mistaken, this is the hafling that stole the keys to my dungeons from under the nose of my guards." "Yesss."

The Desolation of Smaug:
All the dwarves trying to cross the river at once in Mirkwood and Bilbo’s “Oh.”
Bombur jumping feet first into a new barrel in the river
Thorin’s clothes catching on fire and his immediate roll to his feet as if nothing had happened. 
Gandalf introducing the dwarves to Beorn

An Unexpected Journey:
Bilbo passing out
Bilbo’s reaction to the dwarf home invasion.  “I’m sorry.”  “Apology accepted!”  “Has it been canceled?”  “What?  No, nothing’s been canceled.” “That’s a relief!”  And onwards.  The whole beginning to this movie just cracks up.
Bombur catching the egg in his mouth (even funnier after watching the behind the scenes)
Every time Gandalf awkwardly avoids answering one of Thorin's questions 
"If Baggins loses, we eats it whole."  "Fair enough."

The Return of the King:
Hm, I’m sure I must laugh somewhere in this movie, but I can’t think of any moment off the top of my head.

The Two Towers:
“Shall I describe it to you, or would you like me to find you a box?”
Gollum’s scream that he does more than once
Gollum’s drama-queen reactions to having a rope around his neck
“They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard.”
The ent who ducks his burning head into the flood waters
The way Saruman silently pushes Grima and his torch back from his bomb

The Fellowship of the Ring:
“I like half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
Merry’s “What was that?”
Elrond’s “Men are weak.”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

MEMM - Day 08 - Favorite costumes

I will endeavor to keep this list reasonable.  I LOVE the costumes in these movies.  From Gandalf and Saruman’s robes, to the elves amazing outfits, to the men of all the realms, to the hobbits, to Thorin’s company’s multiple costume changes.  The costumes are exquisite and glorious and so perfect for each race. They aid in the story telling as much as anything else.   But, I do have favorites out of all that greatness.  I'll break these down by movie.


The Fellowship of the Ring:
Boromir’s rich outfit that I've wanted to steal since the very first viewing.  Boromir's outfit is my favorite costume in all of Middle-Earth.  The undisputed number one favorite outfit of them all.  I saw Fellowship many many times in the theater when it came out, and each time, I would study and revel in the material and the patterns and textures of his costume.  It’s one of the many disappointments in watching Fellowship on the small screen that I can no longer see all the amazing detail that a big screen viewing affords.


Aragorn’s Strider wear.  What can I say?  It may be a bit grungy but it is imminently practical, and I would totally wear this ensemble myself, given the option. I love it from the boots to the fingerless glove on his sword hand.  His Fellowship costume is my favorite of everything he wears.  He trades in his grey/bluish shirt for a maroon one in TT, and it isn't nearly as appealing as this one.



Legolas’s outfit in Lothlorien.  Sheer love!  Okay, I realize this is what he's got on under his normal outfit, and he's just divested himself of the outer layers, but I love love love it.  The pale blue color, the patterns.  I wants it, precious!


The Two Towers:
Arwen’s lavender outfit.  This costume is so pretty!  It's my favorite of Arwen's outfits (not to mention her hair is gorgeous here too.  I think this is the only time she wears it up, and I love it swept up like this.)


Theoden’s outfit.  I’m particularly fond of the colors he has going on, and the richness of the patterns.



The Return of the King:
Arwen’s red dress, which I can't seem to get a good screenshot of. 


Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin's princely, rich outfits when they ride back into Hobbiton at the end of the movie.  Gorgeous!  I could not get screenshots of them, even though each rides by the camera, they were all blurry.  But it's these outfits...


An Unexpected Journey:
Thorin's splendid outfit with the fantastic long fur sleeveless jacket.  He gets to keep this outfit well into Desolation, which pleases me greatly.


Elrond's blue outfit when he and Gandalf meet with Galadriel and Saruman.  My favorite of all of Elrond's clothes.  I am not fond of his robes in the LotR movies.  This outfit, however... cool jacket and boots... yowsa.


Galadriel's outfit - this is the only time we see her not in white, and it is by far my favorite of all her costumes.  It is just beautiful.


The Desolation of Smaug:
Bilbo’s post-Lake-town blue coat outfit - thank goodness he lost his Shire outfit.  This one is a massive improvement and just rocks. 


Thorin’s post-Lake-town outfit in Erebor after he loses the outer layers. 


Tauriel’s outfit – I want this one badly.  The colors, style, it is both practical and beautiful all rolled together.


The Battle of the Five Armies:
Thorin’s chainmail and outfit at the very end


Elrond’s armor - Elves have great armor to begin with, but this is just a beautiful set.


Bilbo’s outfit when he returns to the Shire.

Absolutely everything Thranduil wears in this movie, from riding wear, to lounging in tent wear, to his cloaks, to his beautiful exquisitely detailed armor.  That is one well-dressed elf.  Can't really get shots of his costumes yet either, but I ooh and ahh every time he comes out in something new.




Friday, February 13, 2015

MEMM - Day 07 - Lines you quote most often in real life

Many many many!  My family has always quoted movies, and many of those are from Lord of the Rings, and now Hobbit.  So this is not favorite lines that I think about all the time.   This is only a list of those lines I could think of that we actually say out loud on a regular basis in public.  There's probably a lot more lines than this, too.  I've roughly tried to put these in order of most used to least used.
 
“Oh, come ON!” – Dain, BotFA (endlessly useful quote)

“Po-tay-toes!  Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” – Sam, TT (can anybody really cook potatoes without someone in the family spouting this off?)

“What’s taters, precious?” – Gollum, TT (not said quite as much as "boil 'em..." but still comes up in the kitchen a lot.)

“Good morning! How are we all?” – Dain, BotFA (Dain just has great quotable lines, that's all there is to it)

“Why me???” – Alfrid, BotFA

“It comes in pints?  I'm getting one.”- Pippin, FotR

“What was that?” – Merry, FotR

“You missed the boat as well?” – Bofur, DS

“What did we miss?” – Thorin, DS

“Isn’t that odd now?” Bilbo, FotR 

“That still only counts as one!” –Gimli, RotK

“They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!” – Legolas, TT -- Or, as it’s more usually quoted:  “They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard-gard-gard-gard.”

“Keep it secret.  Keep it safe.” – Gandalf, FotR

“Men are weak.” – Elrond, FotR

“Our list of allies grows thin.” – Elrond, FotR

“If Baggins loses, we eats it whole.” – Gollum, AUJ

And last, but certainly not least:
“What are you looking at?” – Haldir, FotR (theatrical version only, this moment isn't in the extended).  Which isn’t a real line, see here for explanation, but it gets quoted an awful lot.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MEMM - Day 06 - Favorite moment/line in The Two Towers

A super easy one:  Aragorn riding Brego, up on the hill, while the camera pans around with the most marvelous view ever, ending on Helm's Deep.  I wait and wait and wait for that one moment.  It is the entire movie to me.  It is no coincidence whatsoever that that moment also has my favorite music in the entire movie as well.




Other favorite moments:  the ents going to war.  Not coincidentally, probably my second favorite part of the Two Towers score.

 

Also, the long shot of Gandalf and the Balrog plummeting into the giant cavern, because the shot is exquisite, the way the darkness brightens, the lake picks up the reflection, and then they appear, falling.  Love love love it!


As for favorite line.  Hm.  "They're taking the hobbits to Isengard!"  LOL.  Or "Not listening!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MEMM - Day 05 - Favorite soundtrack

What would these movies be without the music?  Nothing!  Howard Shore has composed some of my favorite music for these films.  I love all the scores, except for An Unexpected Journey.  I don’t mind that one, don't get me wrong, and I do listen to it on occasion.  It’s just not a go-to like the others.  All five of the other scores have received a ton of playtime over the years.  One of the things I loved most about when the original scores came out was that they had multiple covers with multiple characters to choose from.  I grabbed Aragorn ones, of course, although when Return of the King came out, I could never find the Aragorn one, so I took the Theoden cover instead.  My sister has a completely different set of the original short albums.

(my LotR/Hobbit CDs)

The special edition of The Battle of the Five Armies is my favorite score.  It hasn’t really left my player since it came out.  It has some of my favorite cues of all six films.  “To the Death,” “Ravenhill,” “Sons of Durin,” “Battle for the Mountain,” “Fire and Water,” “Guardians of the Three,” and “The Last Goodbye” are probably my favorite cues, in that order, but there isn’t a single cue on the album I want to skip.  This score contains some of my favorite of all of Howard Shore's themes for the Middle-Earth movies.  I can't get enough of it.

Directly behind it, as second favorite, would be the complete recording edition of Fellowship.  I couldn’t even tell you what was on the short single-disc version any longer, as it was missing most of my favorite music, and I haven’t listened to it since I got the complete version.  Favorite cue on the complete album:  “Khazad-Dum,” followed by “The Road Goes Ever on... Pt 1.”  I also love “The Passing of the Elves.”  The complete Fellowship is wonderful and I will never ever tire of putting it on.

(Okay, I checked out the short Fellowship album right now, out of curiosity, and no.  Definitely missing all the music I love.  It has “The Bridge at Khazad-Dum,” but it’s a much shorter cue than the one on the complete CD, and it starts much later in the movie and leaves off all the music when they’re first running down the stone stairway, which is the whole reason I love that cue to begin with.)

However, while I own the complete scores, for listening purposes, I prefer the short albums for both Two Towers and Return of the King.  I used to listen to Two Towers ALL the time, as it was a perfect disc for listening to in the car. 

Return of the King has some of the best musical moments of all the scores, but it is not my own favorite overall score.  But “Minith Tirith” and “The White Tree” are my favorite cues off the short album.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

MEMM - Day 04 - Favorite sword

I love swords.  I love fencing.  These movies are filled with amazing, beautiful, deadly weapons! The swords the elves use, particularly Thranduil's blades, are gorgeous, all that intricate work... however, they're not my favorites because I like symmetry. And elf blades are single-edged.

I have two favorite swords.  First up: Aragorn's sword.  NOT Anduril.  I have no love of Anduril.  No, I love Aragorn's first sword.  The practical, well-used one.  I have always loved and wanted that sword soooooo much. It's aesthetics and shape please me immensely.  I love the width of the blade, the length of it, the pommel, hilt and guard shapes.  You can use it one-handedly or two-handedly.  It is what I would want to carry.

 (this one!)

(I actually DO have a full-sized plastic version of it leaning against my wall nearby that pleases me greatly.  That is one long sword!  My nephew gifted this to me.  It was actually his Christmas present this last year from me, but he gave it back to me.  This is because he assigned everyone in our household a Middle-Earth character that we match, and I am Aragorn. Aragorn must have Aragorn's sword, after all!  My nephew is Legolas, so what would he want with Aragorn's sword?  None of us have gone by our real names since early December, and I mean that seriously.  Dinner conversations can go like this:  "Hey, Tauriel, are there any more mashed potatoes left?" "No, I think Gimli ate them."  For reals.  It is all highly amusing having an imaginative 7-year-old around.  And a LoTR-loving family perfectly willing to go along with the fun.  So yes, if you call out "Aragorn!" and I'm around, I will answer.  It's habit now!)

(And it gets used whenever Legolas and I have to fight orcs around the house.  There are a surprising amount of orcs in the house one must take care of around here.)

My other favorite sword is Sting.  I probably wouldn't have answered Sting until I held it.  My nephew received a replica for Christmas (yes, there was much LotR sword-giving this past Christmas!).  It was supposed to be a toy version, but this is no toy.  This is a real blade, and it is the most amazing thing to unsheathe and hold.  Sting was always a great sword in the movies, but I fell completely in love with it after holding it.  It is such a pretty sword.  Also, Sting glows blue when those pesky orcs come calling, and no other sword seems to do that.



Glamdring would be my third favorite.  It is also an amazing sword.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

MEMM - Day 03 - A location you love

To live in:  Beorn's realm/house.  I want to live here soooooooooo badly.  Mountains, valley, meadows, streams and ponds, fabulous house, tons of animals and a garden.  Nobody else nearby.  Quiet.  I would be very very happy here.



To visit on holiday:  Rivendell and Erebor.



I wouldn't want to live in Rivendell or Erebor, but I would love to visit them every now and then.  Both are magnificent and beautiful in different ways.  I would like to see Erebor both in its colorful heydey, and also post-Smaug.  Cuz, really, who doesn't want to run and play and slide on a mountain of gold coins?