It's Tolkien Week again! Which means time for my annual Tolkien Blog Party on my other blog, The Edge of the Precipice. As usual, I'm going to answer the questions myself over here :-)
1. What draws you to Tolkien's stories? (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.)
The characters, mostly. Yes, Middle Earth is a cool place, but without the characters who people it, I wouldn't be interested in it. I want to hang out with these imaginary people, help them, comfort them, just live my life beside theirs. That's what brings me back to these stories over and over. And that's probably why I'm struggling with The Silmarillion so much -- I only care about a few of the characters, and they're only in a chapter or two each.
2. What was the first Middle Earth book you read and/or movie you saw? What did you think of it?
I first read The Hobbit when I was probably 15 or 16. I liked it kind of okay. Truth be told, I still like it only kind of okay. Anyway, I didn't like it enough to want to read another thousand pages of what I assumed would be more of the same, so I never read The Lord of the Rings.
At least, not until 2001, when Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring came to theaters. After just one viewing, I was enthralled with Middle Earth, promptly bought the book and started reading, and have been a devoted fan ever since.
3. Name three of your favorite characters and tell us why you like them.
In 2013, I talked about Boromir, Sam, and Gandalf. In 2014, I talked about Eomer, Aragorn, and Faramir. Who on earth can I talk about this year?
Bard, of course. Back in April, I wrote this whole long post about him, so here I will briefly quote what I said in this other post: I identify very strongly with Bard -- the decisions he makes, the way he interacts with people, even the words he chooses are all things I feel I would do if I were in his position. His family is his focus; everything he does, he does to care for and protect them, and that is very much my life.
And I've always been fond of Elrond. He's wise, he's stalwart, he's kind, he's helpful. And, as the flashbacks in LOTR and the magnificent fight scene from TBOTFA showed, he's a crazy awesome warrior.
Thanks to Peter Jackson's movies, I'm also terribly fond of Bilbo Baggins now. He still kind of bores me in the books, but in the movies, he's wonderful. I think he's got one of the greatest character arcs I've ever seen, going from a complacent homebody to a determined ambassador for doing the right thing.
4. Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention?
Definitely. Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth and Glorfindel both got shunted aside for the movies, which I find really annoying. They're both awesome warriors and fairly important in the books, and I like imagining who should have played them.
Also, Elrond's sons Elrohir and Elladan are super cool and don't get mentioned much. And they're not in the movies either. I like imagining Aragorn growing up around them and being so happy when he was old and capable enough to go on real adventures with them.
5. What Middle Earth character do you relate to the most?
Bard the Bowman, as I said above. Movie Bard, that is -- Book Bard is woefully underdeveloped, IMHO. I also identify greatly with Samwise Gamgee, in both book and movie.
6. If you could ask Professor Tolkien one Middle Earth-related question, what would you like to ask him?
Did you forget about Elrohir and Elladan being along when they were going down the Paths of the Dead and you kept nattering on about how Legolas was the only one who wasn't afraid, because he was an elf? Or did they not count because they're half-elven? Or is it a special Wood Elf thing to not be afraid of ghosts? Or did you just plain forget about them for a couple chapters? (Yes, that's really all one question.)
7. Are there any pieces of Middle Earth merchandise you would particularly like to own, but don't?
Right when TBOTFA came out last year, I found an amazing replica of Bard's coat on Etsy. It cost like $500, so obviously I didn't buy it, but yeah, I drooled.
8. What battle would you absolutely not want to be part of?
Well, any of them, to be honest. But particularly Helm's Deep. It makes me feel trapped. I guess I wouldn't mind being one of Eomer's troops that rides to the rescue, though.
9. Would you rather eat a meal at the Rivendell or Bag End?
Rivendell. I've got a Hobbit cookbook, and Hobbit food is extremely tasty! But... I can make it myself. Elvish food, on the other hand, must surely be beyond human skill, and also be more tasty than I can even imagine.
10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
(Once again, I'm choosing different answers from the past two years. The great thing about these books is that I have so many favorite lines, I won't be running out of 'new' ones any time soon!)
"Look out for me, especially at unlikely times!" -- Gandalf
The road wound away before them like a piece of string. (Fellowship of the Ring.)
"A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship." -- Aragorn
"The time of my thought is my own to spend." -- Dain
"May your beer be laid under an enchantment of surpassing excellence for seven years!" --Gandalf
"However it may prove, one must tread the path that need chooses!" -- Gandalf
In the dark at the rear, grim and silent, walked Aragorn. (Fellowship of the Ring)
"Ah! the green smell!" he said. "It is better than much sleep. Let us run!" -- Legolas
"In the morning counsels are best, and night changes many thoughts." -- Theoden
"Need brooks no delay, yet late is better than never." -- Eomer
Please join the party if you're a Tolkien fan! The initial post with these questions and the link-up is here, the giveaways are here, and I'll be posting games and other Tolkieny goodness all week long.