Lords of the Rings AND Other Things

In a recent birthday discussion about activities with the Lord of the Rings cast, in literary figures and then in actors, several things became clear.

1. If a magic school the equivalent of Hogwarts began in Middle Earth, its founders would be:

-Elrond for Ravenclaw

-Boromir for Gryffindor

-Samwise for Hufflepuff

-Saruman for Slytherin

2. When visiting a haunted house with a LOTR character, you should take Aragorn.  He’d totally have your back.

3. When on a whale-watching boat, the person to hang out with is Sean Bean.  He has the ability to engage in and enjoy shipboard merriment while simultaneously being aware of the environment and on alert for sightings, even if the other passengers include pranksters.

4. If one had to babysit with someone that someone should be Elrond or Hugo Weaving-can you see the expression on his face when they overhear things he hadn’t wished them to or started running the wrong way?

5. If one of the cast had to be your wedding planner, it should be Andy Serkis.  He’s got directing experience and the ability to make incredibly stressful, going-wrong things laughable.  If it had to be a character, your wedding planner is Faramir. 

6. If one of the cast were to give the first speech at your wedding, it should be Boromir.  He gives short, sweet speeches and appreciates the real life of the party.  Moreover, he’s good at directing everyone else to partake more in the merriment.

7. If one of the cast were stalking you, it should be Billy Boyd.  If one must have a stalker they should be a soulful Scottish singer.

8. The funniest charades partner would be Dominic Monaghan.


Other things have candidates.  For instance

-When going to a haunted house  with the actors, would it be more fun to go with Elijah Wood (reassuringly goofy, but into it) or Liv Tyler (loving the fear, but reassuringly on the brink of laughter)?

-Would the best character stalker be Pippin (hilarious and bearing food) or Legolas (most soothing stalker ever and pretty)?

-Would you rather play charades with Haldir (swishy, painstaking, and interpretive dancey) or Legolas (earnest, stiff, and hilariously helpless at guessing)?

-Who would you most like to maintain an allegedly fancy garden with?  Ian McKellan (“Good work, now let’s knock off and have some iced beverages in our hats”) or Liv Tyler (“All paths lead to beautiful”)?  In characters, would you partner with Elrond (who guarantees both serene learning and a flourishing garden) or Samwise Gamgee (who guarantees growing things and agreement to your plans)?

-Who’d make the best college roommate?  Frodo (quiet, reader, good for dancing at parties and rooting-for-you advice on crushes) or Faramir (quiet, reader, good for hiking and giving perspective on parental issues)?  Or acting-wise, Ian McKellan  or Liv Tyler?

-Who would you like to host a dinner party with?  Gimli (most enthusiastic foodie, good for rousing the carousing) or Bilbo (best thinker of food choices and used to putting up with the worst of manners)?  Ian McKellan or Elijah Wood?

-Would your favorite Middle Earth designer (if all of them became adept for an epic designing show) be Faramir (Symbols, shininess, whites, and blues) or Eomer (Soft cloth, warmth, golds, and burgundies)?

-Who would you most like to bake cupcakes with?  Theoden (coziness, inept comedy, and victory announcements) or Samwise (earnest, peaceful, and up for most of the work)? Or Elijah Wood (goofy, messy, and everything-licking good) or Liv Tyler (calm, sweet partier)?

-Who would you like to ride a roller coaster by?  Galadriel (twinkle-in-her-eye) or Faramir (the light on the horizon is EVERYWHERE)? 

-Who would you most like to read your tarot cards?  Galadriel “(I see things that are, things that were, and some things that have not yet come to pass”) or Bilbo (“This is the most fascinating thing I learned from the elves, let me ponder, hmm”)?  Or Hugo Weaving or Sala?

-Whose self-help book would you most like to read?  Faramir’s “Resisting Rings to find Happiness” or Theodon’s “Getting out of the Ring in your Head”?


Feel free to weigh in with votes, other options, or more questions! 

(For example, ones with too many candidates to put here were With whom would you visit the zoo?  Who’d be the best partner in a non-dangerous but tricksy maze?  And so on!)


Lord of the Rock Operas

What the world needs now is a Lord of the Rings rock opera.  Here’s how it breaks down:


-The human heroes like Aragorn and Bormir are the rock gods.

-Rohan, home of the drum lords!

-Grima Flute Tongue!

-The orcs dance Bollywood (everything could use a little Bollywood).

-Wizards play keytar.

-The Mines of Morrhythm is inhabited by a bal-rap!

-The dwarves are like Stomp.

-Elves are the singers.

-The Eye of Sauron is the great silence, where there is suddenly no music whatsoever.  Because it is evil.


Musical interludes could include:

During the Council of Elrond:

One does not simply ROCK into Mordor!

In the land of Sauron

our hopes will be far gone,

The armies of Mordor

have orcs that are hardcore!


Not 10,000 men

could beard Sauron’s den-

One cannot simply rock into Mordor

We’re on the clock-let’s roll to Gondor!

(*expansive arm gesture as Boromir backs to his chair*)

And the guitar war between Aragorn and Boromir continues.


I see Gollum as having one simple theme music whose verses continue to change to such things as:


Tricksy precious sneaks!

Spies out what we seeks!

So beautiful, so bright!

The precious shall be mine-

Ours, my love!


Master I can se-erve!

Even the hobbit with cur-rves!

We don’t need you here anymore!

Good Smeagol helps now

So-run!  So, run!


They are tricksy, false, liars!

Stupid hobbitses-stupid shires!

The precious is mine!  My own!

We can takes it-us alone!

Our own, my love!


We can commit murd-er,

Herd them up to he-er,

We can survive, sure as sure,

Just trust your precious

Gollum!  Gollum!


Yes? No? Precious?

“What is Dead May Never Die” GoT 2×3

I like riddles!  Beware of Spoilers:


Dear Bran, excellent work!  A shape-shifting shaman is exactly who I wish you to become, don’t believe a word to the contrary!


Dear Catelyn, have you forgotten everything about diplomacy and negotiation since last season?  You show up, interrupt a tournament, don’t follow proper courtesy towards kings even though you remark to Robb that Renley should be called ‘king’ now shows you know better, and snark to him in front of everyone.  Wow, I wonder how your mission will turn out.  Perhaps Filch leaked it all out of you last season when you had to betroth everyone.


Dear Brienne, you had better become more significant later because right now you seem very token.


Dear Theon, finally you inspire a positive reaction from me!  Perhaps you should just stick to yelling all the time instead of going back to snark.  I have to say, I am more surprised you actually wrote a warning letter to Robb than that you burned it.  Of course, I had you pegged for betraying him from the second you opened your mouth last episode, but now I actually see your point.  The Starks never really accepted you as one of their own, they never made you feel as if you belonged.  On the other hand, if you impress your father you will feel you belong again, which you’d long to do in any case, and if you succeed with his cause then you’ll be king after he’s dead.  I mean, you’ll have to kill your sister probably, but you feel like doing that anyway right now.  Of course, your family’s life is rough, but let’s face it-things are rough everywhere these days.


Dear Tyrion, finally I see the wonderful character others have long spoken of!  The plan was marvelous, although rather obvious.  Also, I’m a bit surprised that Baelish managing to find out about the Varys story didn’t seem to be a thing.  I expect more devious plans from you next time.


Dear Marjorie, you are awesome!  I kindof just want to give you the whole game as you are the only person here who knows how to really enjoy herself in unconventional circumstances.  Or who knows how to be perky or sunny at all ever, let alone while still understanding the whole situation she’s in.  Natalie Dormer, I already love you here and I couldn’t get into you as Anne Boleyn at all!


Dear Knight of the Flowers, what happened to your awesomely intricate and shiny armor?  Also, do you have to be so passive-aggressive about things?


Dear Yoren, congratulations on meeting the Gondor boys death equation!  An arrow, a lance, and a sword=three arrow wounds, which is the necessary number for killing a Gondor brother.  The kneeling and facial expressions give it the Boromir style, as well.  Well done!  Just the appropriate way to end your mission to save Boromir’s daughter!  And it was also done to allow two young, shorter folk to get away from the villains, but was vain.  Perhaps they’re taking the children to Isengard!


Dear Arya, I forgive you as you have managed to save Gendrey by quick thinking and what must be quite sharp eyesight.


Dear Renley, glad to see you!  However, I notice there was no Stannis this episode.  IS there a rule about the two of you ever appearing in the same episode?

“A Golden Crown” 1×6

It struck me that this episode showed people mainly just protecting their own interests and acting as sensibly as their personalities will let them.  No diatribes about people being idiots this time!  I almost don’t know to react to this episode, what to do with myself.  In any case, here are some thoughts-and spoilers, of course!


1. The story about men trying to sleep with a woman from all 7 kingdoms and the Riverlands to “make the eight” gives a whole new meaning to pieces of eight.  I really hope they use pieces of eight in this world, for this reason.

2. If being obsessed with a hooker is all they’ve really got to give Theon scenes, why even bother trying to make us care about him right now?  Surely he does something more worthy of notice later?  Right now I still say he’s just a little brat.

3. Robert actually took charge against Cersei and did his job!  Granted, he ran away to hunt right after, but still!  I love it whenever Robert decides to actually do something!

4. Sean Bean gets to be called Boromir again-he finally broke out of his rut!  Granted, it took Baelish right there leading him by the nose to actually do something that works both honorably and with proper political consequences, but still.

5. What is Baelish’s deal here?  I suppose the involvement of Boromir’s wife’s family gives him strong motive to help him in this instance, but I don’t trust the man.  I love that.  The question is-was it really ‘The Mountain’ who did this?  Did Baelish have something to do with it so he could prod Boromir into making such a move against the Lannisters?  I am excited!

6. Also, good luck to the man sent to bring down The Mountain and confiscate all his stuff.  He’s gonna wind up with some horse heads/possibly his own severed skull in his bed some night soon!

7. Now I’m feelin’ me some Tyrion!  Good on you, little man!  After getting past that whole attempting to explain to Mord “possession is an abstract concept” thing.  Perhaps it would’ve worked out with less beating for you if you’d lead off with some stories about donkeys, honeycombs, and whores.  Just sayin’.

8. The Eyrie is such a cool set!  Let us have more scenes there, please!

9. I get the feeling that we’re supposed to have feelings about Jorah by this time, but it just confuses me.  If his dad’s at the wall and the wall guys don’t get families, how does he even exist?  If his dad went to the wall after having him that’s both the weirdest retirement plan ever and also surely it means his dad abandoned him?  Not Jorah should now worry about dishonoring his dad?  Also, about this slavery business and what Ned has to do with it…I don’t feel this was adequately explained.  There must be more going on with that.  Plus, this pledging to Viserys is just weird.  Is he a spy?  Is he in league with Illyrio for intrigue?  Is till miss Illyrio.  Is he really just hanging out there for Daenerys?  How does he know so much about the Dothraki, anyhow?  I just find him extremely confusing.

10. Of all the pathetic moves Viserys made this episode, I found the saddest to be giving Jorah permission to fuck Daenerys.  Like it’s HIM that’s keeping others from Daenerys’ bed.  There’s also the whole leader of a savage horde who will kill you thing.  There’s that.  But then, Viserys seems to completely not grasp that in all his other actions, as well.  Of course he died.  Riding along with a horde and disrespecting them, threatening their queen.  Either they kill him or he winds up on his own-and that little brat won’t find any other help, so either way he’s dead meat.  It was good that he got such an interesting death, though.   The moment he said “they can’t shed blood in their Holy City” my mind answered “Plenty of ways to kill without shedding blood.”  It was a good one, although I shall miss him.  His presence always amused me on this show.

11. Drogo got LINES!  One even in ENGLISH, finally!  Hurrah!  It helps so much.

12. My favorite scene is the one with eating horse-heart.  I found it the most moving.

13. God bless Sansa’s bitchy little heart, she made me laugh out loud.  We went from picturing 13/14 year old girls as sweet innocents who can still count as adults e.g. Juliet to teenage angsty fools like Sansa.  This is a measure of how deeply the concept of teenagerhood has embedded in our society, in spite of being pretty new.  Even in fantasy worlds that emulate older worlds and times, the teenagers be teens.  Hah.

14. I know Joffrey is a cowardly, lying toad, but the man’s got some style.  He knows how to playact a bit, at least if he’s practiced in advance.  Also, given that he’s engaged to Sansa, winning her over is all to his advantage.  Also, he might actually want his marriage to work out.  He’s been living with Robert and Cersei’s marriage, for goodness sake.  He must know how uncomfortable and grating that would be.  Any way you look at it, his being able to creditably pull off that scene with Sansa, who he feels embarrassed about, makes me like him.  If it’s sincere-he has good parental reasons.  If he’s not-you’ve gotta respect good acting, and honestly I think a good ruler needs it.  If he means it now and quickly goes back on it-well at least he won’t end up in a rut of only seeing the same things, like Ned Stark over there denying everything he doesn’t want to think about.  I like him here.

15. Who were these folks with Bran, the normal northerners?  Cause in that case, the Starks are not doing their job.  Standing around saying “there isn’t this thing” doesn’t work on people inside the show, either.  There’s a panic abroad-that’s your job to fix, fellas!  Or at least focus on sometimes.  Also, Ned-your people need hair stylists.  Please import.

16. Is Bran’s dream with the raven indicative of him having a sideline in magic?  Cause if the white walkers attack and Bran can influence them WITH HIS MIND then that will be awesome.  I call shaman!

17. Syrio is always allowed.

18. People Arya feels close to have a bad habit of dying-or having to be driven away to avoid death, if they are canine.  Is the girl cursed?  Micah, Jory…good thing she’s got sword practiced.  She has so much to vent.  Perhaps it’s a good thing she doesn’t get any closer to Ned.  I bet the second they really connect will directly precede his death.  Bran survived the fall because they were competing against each other.  Sansa will no doubt live to enjoy being queen since Arya dislikes her.  What candidate for the throne does the girl most dislike?  That’ll be the one who gets it….so, Joffrey will sit next on the throne, yes?  Key to the series, right here!  If she ever meets some new character older woman she immediately takes a dislike to, I’m gonna say it’s Snow’s mother.

19. By this world’s genetics my older sister must have a different father.  Also, she must have cheated on my brother-in-law cause the niece’s hair does not match his.  I totally called Jaime being Joffrey’s dad, but really-we had to follow around pretending to be shocked that the whoring king had bastards and look at a freaking lineage book to figure this out through….hair color!?!? *gasp*  I find this to take up too much screentime and, you know, rely too heavily on hair color.  I’m incredibly glad it is now out of the way.

20. Whenever it showed Boromir on the throne in his brown, segmented outfit it looked to me like chocolate bars for a minute.  Then the light would shift on it and show little metal parts, but still.  Chocolate tunic!

“Kingsroad” 1×2

I am unhappy.

List of mostly complaints (and spoilers):

1. Arya and Dany seem to be the only characters with any intelligence this episode.  Arya knew what was going on with everything and did all that could be expected of her and more.  Dany’s life sucks and she’s still trying to grasp some sort of happiness, or at least more leverage.

2. My disappointment in Ned Stark is vast.  It’s like he’s still under the effects of the One Ring.  He doesn’t say anything to the point.  Walk in on your wife being a bitch to your son and don’t do anything to comfort either of them, ignore your comatose son, keep insisting that unpleasant things can’t happen even though they totally will, don’t say anything in defense of your daughter-bah!   Honor, my foot.  What he has is the pride and a will to see the world in familiar ways.  I think he was well served by having to kill Lady due to Robert’s unwillingness to stand up to his wife since, after all, Ned has the exact same issue when it comes to talking with his wife and arguing over what’s happening.  Both of them avoid it, and it will bite both of them in the ass, the frank king who at least knows there will be war, and the idiot pretending to be Honorable.  Nothing drove me so crazy tonight as reading all the people talking about how he acted honorably.  He’s a coward about facing unpleasant truths, about changing his ways, and about arguing with anyone he cares about.  Bring back Boromir, please.

3.  “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” = “There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm.”  That is all.

4. Jon Snow seemed dumber by the line.  After last episode I was willing to let his slowness in failing to perceive the similarities between bastards and dwarves slip.   And what is my reward?  He wonders why people read, he boasts prematurely about his role, he still hasn’t learned that hearing ‘bastard’ must needs be all right in his world…

5. Cat needs to chill.  Jon Snow is leaving in a couple days, she couldn’t manage civility for a few minutes?  He’ll be gone FOREVER!

6. Ned’s goodbye to Snow=”Don’t make me have to behead you.”

7. What the hell was Jaime’s costume about?  Lapels and a longcoat seem hideously out of place with all the other costumes I’ve seen thus far.  Also, just generally they are the wrong era.  Is there a reason for this?  Perhaps the Doctor can be involved…

8. Joffrey is quite canon! Draco Malfoyish.  He makes the fanfic!Draco Viscerys seem wonderful.

9. I suppose I must allow that Cat immediately caught on to all the implications of the assassination attempt.  I suppose she can have some intelligence, too.  Hopefully her reunion with her husband will transfer some of that to him.  Geez, only the women have it in this episode.

10. On Cersei’s “black-haired prince.”  This is a lie?  This is about a child that Jaime killed out of jealousy and because he wanted his son to be king?  This is about a son that actually died naturally and her grief over him turned the king off of her and sent him back to the whores and things more zealously, thus pushing her back/into Jaime’s arms?  Whenever I hear her name I keep thinking of the Greek Circe who turned men into pigs and other animals.  So far she’s got a pig for a husband, a brother who’s selfishly pig-like over having sex with her, and a son who’s a cowardly swine.  I wonder if her cruelty would diminish and disappear if she could live in a matriarchal world?  It seems very directly, and justifiably, to stem from her hardships and turmoil over various men.

11. Tyrion puzzles me.  I like what I’ve seen, but so far what I’ve seen is so little.  I keep waiting to find him dazzling like all the other watchers seem to.  Slapping Joffrey does not a hero make, just a sensible prince.

12. Back to Ned-it’s not like he has no bargaining power!  If he’s going to run the kingdom for Robert, that means he’s got plenty of pull.  Why does he not start to exert it, if only in the name of the greater good and making sure his friend sticks to the principles of their mentor or whatnot?-that’d be actually honorable.

13. The Stark son still at home does have some sense.  I repose hopes in him.

14. Sansa is a little fool, but she’s been repaid this week.  I shall withhold judgment til I see how she deals with it.

15. And now, the single greatest question of the entire episode: WHY THE HELL IS ARYA GOING TO THE CAPITAL?  It’s not like the family’s going.  It’s not like the Starks would encourage her tomboyhood by bringing her to see the world, experience life, or learn about anything.  Even the sons are not going.  It’s not like there’s no one to take care of her back at home.  I’ve seen no evidence that there’s an incredibly strong bond between Arya and Ned.  There’s no marriage prospects for her yet that have been mentioned, and surely if there were they could be dealt with later, after her older sister’s wedding, and more importantly-Ned would not be advocating and abetting it by dragging her along so soon.  So, what the hell?


Also: I’ve seen a lot of discussion over the Khal/Dany scenes.  As someone new to the story, my reactions are: As I said in my review of the first episode, the sex between them is far gentler and overall better than I would have expected.  It’s certainly more respectful than Lucrezia’s marriage in The Borgias.  As for this one-it does seem clear that Dany’s desire to please her husband stems from self-preservation, both physical and mental.  She needs to do something, she needs to be someone, she needs to do what she can become a partner with her husband, if only so life won’t suck as much.  It made a very powerful statement to me and all of the actress’s expressions brought it life, courage, and spirit as far as I’m concerned.  Furthermore, Khal’s reactions to her and particularly the way they played the eye contact at the end of their scenes in this episode, led me to see sparks of tenderness, or at least a personal connection.  So, for those upset by the rapist aspect of this story-it’s going gently enough for a new inductee, remarkably so, in fact.  For those confused by the lack of romance between the characters-I totally saw it in there, or at the very least clear foreshadowing for such a story between them, so calm down.  For those of you saying that this situation is always rape, totally agreed.  It clearly does not make impossible other storylines here, at least if you’re not looking for them in specific ways laid down in the books.  That is all.

“Winter is Coming” 1×1

So, I have finally joined the crowd of Game of Throne watchers.  I have not read the books, nor do I really intend to, but the show looks like worthy entertainment.  Thus far, in any case.  Having only seen the first episode I’m merely apprised of the situation, but nevertheless I have some thoughts.

List (spoilers apply):

1. No woman has a good life in this world-and it’s actually admitted.  Interesting.

2. The banished prince who think she’s the rightful king is TOTALLY what a prominent version of fanfic! Draco Malfoy would look like.  Also, I’ve definitely read him act like that, as well, in spite of not having a sister.

3. A king who is really up front about who he is?  This could be new.

4. The king’s guards’ helmets with the cat faces looked really intriguing until a closeup shot showed that the motion of riding makes it look like their cat teeth are clattering.

5. I think Illyrio should live.  His response to “Do you take me for a fool?” was absolute, hardcore, diplomatic brilliance.  “I take you for a king.”  Kings don’t use the same caution that ordinary men use.  Hah!

6. Honestly, I think the wedding night with Khal of Drogo could have been much worse.  She had a white horse and they rode off together pretty literally into the sunset!  It’s a bona fide happy ending! (Yes, I know, I know, but the point stands.)

7. I love the direwolf pups!

8. It was entirely annoying to me how in the beginning people just stood around saying that things didn’t happen or didn’t exist, even when clearly there was a direwolf below the wall.

9. On the white walkers, particularly their bright blue eyes: Don’t follow the lights!  Really, just all roads lead to Elijah Wood so far on this one.

10. I approve of Arya, overall.

11. I am unclear whether Jon Snow is really good at persuading people or if he just influences Boromir easily due to the guilt over bastardy.

12. Everyone is in love with doggie style for some reason?

13. I know we’re supposed to feel for Bran, but come on.  His lying tell was so simple he never would’ve survived on politics and he clearly didn’t have great physical prowess.  It was only a matter of time.

14. I’m betting Joffrey’s real father is the twin, yes?

15. It really was very considerate and well-mannered of the Dothraki to leave Illyrio and the prince-brother out of the expected fighting/three deaths expectations, considering their numbers, necessity, and the groom advantage.

16. “Winter is Coming” is apparently a very pithy and witty thing to say.