Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Stephen Hayford

2012 is over already? A while ago when anticipating the release of The Hobbit the year seemed so far away and now it's done and we're all still alive - no apocalypse yet!

I'm going to mirror my post from last year and go through a few good things from this year...

Early in the year I went on a young women's retreat - it was silent (we didn't talk much but listened a lot) which was awesome because it was a lot easier to focus on talking to Jesus, and also great because I didn't have to awkwardly try to socialize! Ok, mostly the first reason, but it was the best retreat I've been on and I'm so thankful for it.

I did another musical this spring/summer and it was, well, pretty much the best show I've done too. Since it was my fourth show with this group I felt more comfortable than I had before and that was so nice. And the musical itself was a ton of fun too. Though I still had some challenges in it, I totally loved it.

Got my learner's permit in May and drove as much as I could to get my license in August! Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me!

Star Wars Celebration VI, which I already talked about in another post so I won't go on and on about how great the experience was again.

This fall I started college! And so far I've survived!

What really helped me survive was joining a small church choir that I absolutely love! We have a really nice group and the music is really enjoyable.

And as I mentioned at the beginning, we finally got to see The Hobbit! I would say it's pretty worth the wait.

Oh, other fandomy things - I finished all the Ace Attorney games (and sealed my obsession with the series), got through all of Once Upon a Time and Fruits Basket (loved both) and started Doctor Who (I currently have one episode left of season 1).

I said this last year, but connecting with friends and family meant a lot to me this year - meeting new friends and strengthening old friendships. I love you guys (that includes you, followers)!

I had two lists last year, things I planned (did them all) and some things I was hoping to do. Let's see how I did on the second list...

Make a account and write more. (Technically it's not midnight yet so I could make an account real quick but that sounds like cheating. So no, I didn't do that, and didn't write too much either - writing seemed particularly difficult this year, though I do have some blog posts I'm proud of.)

Do Script Frenzy in April. (Yep! Did an Ace Attorney fanfiction script which I think was pretty bad, but it was still fun and I got to the 100 pages. Unfortunately, the program ended this year so if I do it again it will be unofficial.)

Get better at music, writing, and my recent interest of drawing. (Definitely better at music, a little change at writing maybe, and drawing...I'm not really sure because I'll get lucky and draw something good once in a while, but then aren't so good the rest of the time so it's hard to tell)

Make a Jedi costume for Celebration VI. (Yes! Mostly...I still don't have a belt or boots and I recently discovered my tunic has a hole in it after washing it, so it needs work all around.)

Read more...and not just fanfiction. (I'm afraid I didn't read much of anything this year. There was the Fruits Basket manga and a few other things scattered through the year.)

Don't have many plans for next year besides school, so skipping that and on to things I hope to do this year and resolution type things:

Watch The Avengers (maybe even tomorrow), Doctor Who, Sherlock, more Once Upon a Time, Star Wars 3D movies, and The Hobbit part 2!

Costuming - fixing my Jedi costume, and I'd love to do an Ace Attorney cosplay (specifically Maya Fey who I think wouldn't be too hard), and maybe LotR-ish cloaks.

Write - blog posts, stories/fan fics, and lyrics (I have several big projects involving lyrics-writing I really want to work on).

Better manage computer time - drag myself off Tumblr more in favor of sites where I talk to friends and/or have way to improve myself (through writing and some reading).

Try to exercise once in a while (which would be more than I do now), eat a bit more healthily, and get to a place where I'm healthy and feel good about my body (also known as wanting to try and lose some weight without worrying my parents).

Work on my spiritual life. Way.

...This list looks a lot harder than last year's. Wish me luck!

Guess that's all for now! I'll just be here listening to people bomb us--I mean shoot off fireworks. Hope 2012 was a good year for you all, and hope 2013 is even better! (and that it doesn't take you too long to remember to write the correct date!) May the Lord be with you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bilbo Baggins on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit of The Shire and an elf-friend. He recorded an account of his famous adventures in his memoir There and Back Again, which was translated by J.R.R. Tolkien and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

I was quite looking forward to seeing this adaption of my book and I must say it did not disappoint! Of course quite a bit was changed from my memories of the adventure, but the film was quite enjoyable. For one, the locations are beautiful. The country they use to represent Middle-Earth, New Zealand was it? has remarkable landscapes that I must say do my land justice. The sets they build, such as Bag-End and Rivendell, are quite good, and I hear that many fans are happy to see them again after the Lord of the Rings films and "come home" in a manner of speaking.

Martin Freeman did an excellent job portraying me, I thought. Not only did he bear a good resemblance to me in my younger days, but he also provided a fairly accurate representation of me back then. I laugh to see how distraught he (I) was at all of the dwarves coming to tea! Yes, the old Bilbo Baggins didn't like surprise visitors, but now I always look forward to visits from my old companions.

The movie Thorin was a bit different, perhaps more likable for those who do not know him, but still showed his importance. His motivations are changed from the simple want for gold to wanting to help his people, and although it was not a focus in my book, I'm sure the thought of winning back their home did not escape the real Thorin.

His rivalry with Azog was quite interesting, and I am quite glad he never actually attacked our company! We had plenty of adventures without him! For that part of the story, I am quite in the dark. How strange it was to sit in the theater on pins and needles, knowing the outcome and being quite safe, but still wondering if 'we' would survive our encounter!

Unlike my book, the film also showed many of Gandalf's dealings during our adventure. It was nice to see Radagast the wizard in it, as I have never met the fellow, and understand a bit more of just what Gandalf was up to when he wasn't with us. He told me a bit, and described an encounter with Radagast during the Council, but seeing it made it much more real.

I must credit the filmmakers on their research! While the story of the Bullroarer is common knowledge in the Shire, not as many outside know of it. Also I believe I never mentioned that the spiders were from the line of Ungoliant in my book, did I? I've forgotten now. Perhaps Frodo mentioned it somewhere.

There is so much to talk about but I'm running out of paper! Let's see - the rest of the dwarves were all right, the singing good, the plate-tossing quite amusing (though I fretted through the whole thing!), the appearance of my friend Lindir was nice, oh, and Smaug! What a clever idea to avoid showing him throughout the film. It made for interesting shots during the battle. And his large eye opening at the end! Sent a shiver down my spine. I look forward to seeing the dragon in his entirety, but only on film! I should never like to meet a live dragon again.

I suppose that about does it! I'll likely remember something I wanted to say after I send this off - I'm getting old now! I hope you all have a merry holiday season and happy New Year! Sílo Anor bo men lín! May the sun shine on your road!

Arda here! I saw The Hobbit the Sunday after it came out and loved it! It was so wonderful to go back to Middle-Earth and see familiar places and characters. But now we have to wait a whole year! Well, we waited even longer for this one so I suppose we'll make it. Anyway, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! May the Lord be with you!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Tolkien Tag - Nessima's blog party
Nessima of Arda Nessimava is having a blog party! Today she did a tag and it looked like fun, so here we go! (spoilers ahead if anyone is being careful)

1. How did you first hear about LOTR & The Hobbit?
I can't remember the first time, but it was around the time the LotR movies came out. My brother read the books and got my mom and I to read them.

2. How many times have you read LOTR/The Hobbit? Or have you yet to read it at all?
Probably 3-5 times each...the first time Mom read them aloud to me, sometimes I'll just read parts - it's hard to remember.

3. Would you name your child after a character from it?
I'd like my kids to have normalish names, but I might consider Melian (Silmarillion character) for a girl's middle name.

4. What are your thoughts on Tom Bombadil? Do you think he should have been in the movie?
He's a lot of fun - really like his songs! It would have been fun to have him in the movie but he doesn't move the story along so I understand leaving him out.

5. Do you have a favourite piece of poetry from any of Tolkien's books?
Oh my...The song of the troll, there is an inn, Lay of Luthien, to the sea, and of course In Western Lands!

6. Have you read any of Tolkien's work besides LOTR and/or The Hobbit?
I've read The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales (and Bilbo's Last Song but that's really short). Liked them a lot, especially Unfinished Tales, but a bit hard to understand!

7. Can you write in the Tengwar?
Only if I have a guide! It's really pretty.

8. Were you at all disappointed that Prince Imrahil wasn't in the movie?
I don't remember considering it much when I first saw the movies - I like him, but it's another character to introduce and explain who doesn't do too much so again, I understand.

9. What would happen if you and Denethor were put face to face?
He would probably think "who is this and why is she here this is unimportant why does Mithrandir keep bringing these people..." and I would think "oh my goodness he rules Gondor but Faramirrrr." Or I'd be terrified because he's dead.

10. Would you rather reside in Edoras or Minas Tirith?
I guess I'd go Minas Tirith because of Aragorn, and the city is really cool. I love Rohan though.

11. What think you of Éomer's armour?
Never noticed it...I thought his helmet was a little weird, but I don't hate it.

12. What do you think of Boromir?
I like him, the poor guy. I can't say he's completely responsible for blowing up at Frodo since the Ring was influencing him, and he's human so more susceptible than a hobbit or elf (I think anyway). I like his relationship with Faramir a lot.

13. Which is your favourite LOTR couple: Sam & Rosie, Aragorn & Arwen, or Faramir & Éowyn?
Sam is my favorite character and I go by the name Rosie on some websites so I love them, and Faramir is adorable and Eowyn beautiful and they're both so strong so I love them too.

14. Did you shed any tears when Thorin died?
No...sorry, never liked Thorin too much. He's kind of grown on me recently, but...maybe the movie will make me like him more.

15. Which is most terrifying of the following: orcs nabbing you in your sleep, giant spiders crawling out of dark tunnels and forests, Nazgul standing right over where you're hiding, or a ghost army that doesn't like you very much?
My first thought is the spiders - I can't take spiders a fraction of their size, so I wouldn't do too well with that. I think I should be more worried about the others though.

16. How well would you enjoy life as a hobbit? Would it be preferable to being something like, say, an elf? Or a Ranger?
I'm most like a hobbit so I think I'd enjoy it pretty well, but I'd like to visit the others!

Can you guys believe that there is actually a live action version of The Hobbit in existence and the general public, regular people like you and me, will get a chance to see this movie in less than two weeks? And said movie looks awesome?

That's why the world is ending. It can't handle it.

Kidding of course! Thanks for reading all, and may the stars shine on your path!