What a joy it was to find out that Hamlette is once again hosting A Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence at her blog, The Edge of the Precipice! I've been in such a lovely Tolkien-iverse in my mind all day, and decided to re-read The Children of Húrin to mark the occasion, so you can expect a review somewhere during this week. I adore that book, let me just say that now. But before I get there, let's fill out the nice tag that Hamlette has made for her blog party.
1. Who introduced you to Tolkien's stories?
I got interested in Tolkien all on my own – though there's no doubt that the massive Tolkien hype of the day (the Return of the King film had just come out) had much to do with the reason why I got intrigued in the first place.
2. How old were you when you first ventured into Middle-Earth?
Like I said, all the LOTR films had been made when I started reading the book, so it must have been somewhere in 2004... which means I was thirteen years old. Funny, I was quite sure that I'd been a couple of years younger than that, but it must be thirteen.
3. Did you read the books first, or see the movie versions first?
I definitely read The Lord of the Rings before seeing any of the films. Possibly, I saw the films before I read The Hobbit or any other Middle-Earth related books.
4. A dragon or a balrog – which would you rather fight?
What a scary choice to make! I would go with the dragon, because they have exactly one redeeming feature compared to balrogs – they don't live deep underneath creepy mountain passageways. So with a dragon, there would be a smaller chance that I'd end up fighting somewhere pitch-black underground. Oh, and the dragon might even have the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch. One can always hope.
5. Who are three of your favourite characters? (Feel free to elaborate on why)
No matter how hard I think about this, I'll have to go with the same three characters that I named in last year's Tolkien blog party. I'll try to elaborate differently this time!
Number 1: Bilbo Baggins. I remember so well how I became an adamant Bilbo fan during the very first pages of The Lord of the Rings at my very first read, (apparently at the age of thirteen, seriously, how can it have been so late in my life?). Something about his character, his personality and what the other hobbits said about him (mainly how odd he was) just instantly clicked with me. In addition, the last two years for me have been very much about re-establishing my personal goals and coming to terms with the strengths and flaws about my personality, and I've found even more respect for Bilbo as an immensely inspirational character. I also think it's quite an accomplishment that he goes on quite cheerfully about his life and outlandish contacts "outsiders" despite what practically everyone in Hobbiton says about him. Bilbo just is the most awesome hobbit in my mind, and always will be.
Number 2: Aragorn. Two of my very favourite passages in the book are Aragorn's first appearance (as Strider) at the Prancing Pony, and the first pages of The Two Towers when he's tracking down the Uruk-hai. He knows a lot of stuff about all sorts of lore, is just the man you want when a fight breaks out, and has wonderful understanding and compassion to people and races that are very different than him. Despite all this wonderfulness, I've never felt that his character is too perfect.
Number 3: Éowyn. The Lord of the Rings is even more male-centric than Shakespeare's plays, which is saying something, but at least there's Éowyn. She carries a great mental burden all her life feeling like she can't rise up to her aspirations because she is a woman but never hesitates to show her loyalty to others. I respect her characterization more each time I re-read The Lord of the Rings. (But I still don't like Miranda Otto's portrayal of her, sadly.)
6. Have you ever dressed up like a Tolkien character?
I haven't, but now that I think of it, that would be so much fun. There would be so many great costumes to choose from...
7. If someone asks you to go on an adventure, how do you respond?
"Heck yes! Can you give me ten minutes to pack?"
8. Have you read any of the "history of Middle-Earth" books?
I haven't, but I saw them on the library's shelves just this week and was sorely tempted to borrow some. However, I already have so much to read right now and Middle-Earth is the kind of thing you really want to give your full attention.
9. Would you rather drink a bowl of Ent Draught or a glass of Old Winyards?
I don't drink anything with alcohol, so it would be Ent Draught. I would probably love it, it sounds so fresh and vitalizing. But then again, I wouldn't necessarily want the side-effect of growing taller... Yes, I'm saying that even though I'm no more than 155 cm tall. I like my size!
10. List up to ten of your favourite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep...that have taken hold.”
“Where did you go to, if I may ask?' said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along.
To look ahead,' said he.
And what brought you back in the nick of time?'
Looking behind,' said he.”
"But no living man am I! You look upon a woman."