Series Review: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

In the wee hours of this morning, I finished the epic saga that is Lord of the Rings, and I was slightly distraught. It’s a surreal feeling, knowing that you’ve just completed one of the most beloved stories in human history and you’ll never again be able to read it for the first time. Reading this trilogy is an adventure in and of itself: you meet new monsters and explore new worlds that you never would have dreamed were possible, and yet, you see yourself in the story as well. I give LotR a 9.3/10 (stars? cupcakes? What is my rating system?).

Things I Like:

  • I feel like at this point complimenting Tolkien’s world-building skillz is just white noise, but come on. Middle-Earth is developed to the point of insanity. From the geography to the history to the creatures, the level of detail in the description and creation of Middle-Earth is unrivaled. This land, complete with all of its quirks and weird symbols and billions of different names for the same thing, is a brilliant display of human imagination.
  • The bromances are  perfect. Though I definitely do not frown on romance, the main relationships in young adult literature usually contain some sort of romantic involvement. LotR is a really nice break from that because the main relationships are friendships. Legolas and Gimli are bros. Merry and Pippin are bros. Sam and Frodo are the bros to end all bros. I love books where strong relationships aren’t romantic, because it shows that you don’t have to be in love to love somebody.
  • The way the ring ends up getting destroyed is surprising and interesting. I was expecting some big march to Mount Doom that ends in Frodo making a heroic speech and tossing the ring into the flames while simultaneously engaged in a sword fight with Sauron himself. (Sam is in the background slaying Nazgul or something.) But it ends up that Frodo doesn’t choose to give up the ring; instead, Gollum fights him for it, bites off his finger, and falls into the fire with the ring. Frodo doesn’t really succeed, but the quest still succeeds… I didn’t see that coming.
  • The last six chapters of Return of the King are essentially one giant epilogue, which is exciting. Though it limits the possibility for fanfiction, I love knowing what happens to the characters after the climax of the story.
  • I really like Eowyn as a secondary character. Her character calls into question the patriarchal tendency of Middle-Earth: she proves that she can kick butt in battle even as a woman (*gasp*), but she only really becomes happy when she marries Faramir. Her character is sad but also really complex, especially in a feminist context.
  • For some reason I just really enjoy Ents.
  • The battle scenes are well-written and entertaining. There’s not really any gore (which is good because I can’t handle gore), but it still feels exciting and action-packed. Tolkien does an excellent job of giving the reader a bird’s-eye view of a battle.

Things About Which I Have Conflicting Feelings:

  • FRODO LEAVES SAM! This upsets me greatly. Frodo just casually sails away without really even having a bro moment with Sam, who has pretty much lived to serve Frodo at this point. Sam literally carried Frodo up Mount Doom. THEIR FRIENDSHIP IS SO BEAUTIFUL; IT SHOULD NOT END. EVER. (The reason I have conflicting feelings about this is because, while the tearing asunder of the bromance is quite sad, it introduces an important idea. Sam being left by Frodo calls into question the nature of selflessness. Nowadays we tend to praise people for “being their own person” and “not letting anyone else make their decisions,” but Sam doesn’t really do that until his return to the Shire. He selflessly serves Frodo for three whole books, and when he is given the opportunity to be on his own, it’s actually really sad. Is there a way to be selfless and still be yourself and have your own life? Thematic question!)
  • The language is fancy. This adds to the grandiose nature of the story, but also makes it more difficult to read.

Thing I Don’t Like:

  • Gandalf kind of started annoying me after a while. I get that he’s all wise and powerful and stuff, but I got sick of the way he would show up and magically solve everyone’s problems. In the end he stops doing this, which is good, but still. His whole magical helper deal seems a little too magical.
  • That’s really the only thing I don’t like.

Favorite Character: Samwise freaking Gamgee. He’s so loyal and adorable and I love everything about him. Quite honestly, if he were to show up at my front door right now and ask me to marry him, I would.

And with that slightly creepy and obsessive note, I think it’s time for me to sign off. Lord of the Rings is a beautiful thing. *awkward ending*

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New Lizzie Bennet Video

*inhuman squeals of excitement*

My two friends (yes, only two) who watch the Lizzie Bennet Diaries are currently not answering their telephones, so I must resort to fangirling over the Internet about this fantastical day. A new Lizzie Bennet Diaries video has been posted. We were not expecting this video. There had been no tweets about it beforehand, no announcements on the Pemberley Digital blog, not even hints. It dropped like a surprise Beyonce album, and it was beautiful.

It’s been over a year since the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the modern-day video blog adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, ended. Unfortunately, I did not discover this series until last fall, but I fell in love with it nonetheless. Today was a particularly exciting day for the LBD fandom because, for the first time in over a year, we received new video content. It was particularly exciting for me because I’ve never been a part of the hype of a new Lizzie Bennet video (curse me for joining fandoms too late). Being able to join the crazy tweets and frantic phone calls today was really fun.

I love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries for a couple of reasons:

  1. Their creativity in bringing this classic tale to life is positively genius. To modernize a classic is one thing, but to take a story whose fans love it with an unbridled passion and reproduce it in an entirely new format? That’s a huge risk, but the creators of LBD were brave enough to take it. That level of creativity is something that makes me proud of mankind.
  2. The fan community is amazing and supportive. Just follow the “LBD Care Center” on twitter and you’ll know: these webshow people mean business. It feels like one big family, especially because the actors and producers (I’m looking at you, Bernie) are so connected to their fans and to each other.
  3. The transmedia experience is incredible. The characters have twitter accounts so fans can watch them tweet back and forth at one another, which adds a whole new level to the fans’ relationships with the characters. The twitter accounts stopped tweeting after the end of LBD, but for a few weeks around the one-year anniversary they picked back up, which was really fun to watch. (I had my share of all caps tweets during that time.)
  4. The way they took on and changed Lydia’s character is beautiful. Her relationship with Lizzie was definitely my favorite change that LBD made from the original plot of Pride and Prejudice. 
  5. Costume theater!

In short, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a wonderful display of human creativity and of the awesomeness of fan communities. Storytelling truly does bring people together; the LBD fandom today is definite proof of that.

Greetings

Hello, Internet, and welcome to this thing.

Basically, I suck at introductions and at this point you should probably just stop reading. I wish I could just jump right into the pool of blog, but I am not a jump right into the pool kind of girl. I am a test the waters kind of girl, and also one who likes ceremony. It would feel wrong to start without an introductory post.

First, you should hop on over to my about page and read all about me because I’m a narcissist and that makes me feel better. (Not really.)

Also, and this is probably just me, but I feel like the font on this theme is enormous. For some reason it’s stressing me out. Feel free to zoom out if it’s stressing you out, too. I won’t be offended. (Someone please explain to me why I thought that was funny.)

I will also now explain to you that on this little thing of mine, you can expect to read posts of four types:

  1. Music recommendations. I listen to a lot of acoustic/singer-songwriter stuff, so I will probably be posting a lot of recommendations of artists and songs who aren’t very well known.
  2. Book reviews. I heart reviewing books as I detail what I liked and didn’t like, as well as my favorite scenes and characters.
  3. Christian blurbs. Sometimes, God will lay it on my heart to write a thing, and I will write that thing.
  4. Other crap. I’ve been known to write from the point of view of my hair, so I really have no idea what this category will contain.

Feel free to pick and choose which of these you would like to read. I hope you enjoy the world of blog. (Ugh, you guys, that was so cheesy. Help.)