Where You Might Be Swept Off To

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.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Beginning a new adventure with your family is one of the greatest things about having one.

As I post about the various books, television, movies and other inputs I enjoy often the moments that bring me the most pleasure are those that involve the ones closest to me. Starting The Fellowship of the Ring with my eldest daughter is one of those moments.

We’ve all read The Hobbit together so continuing the story on with her in a world that I treasure immensly reminds me not only of the power of stories, but of the power of sharing them.

nine walkers

The Company of the Ring

An unexpected bonus has been seeing the world through her eyes, for the first time. So many questions I don’t even think about, and yet they are jumping off the page at her: why should the hobbits trust Strider? is Barliman Butterbur one of the good guys? who are the Black Riders?

And WHERE THE HECK is Gandalf? This one was really eye-opening; I didn’t see before how much you feel Frodo’s anxiety at the unexplained absence of the wizard.

This only made the Bridge of Khazad-dûm that much more heartbreaking. The Fellowship was not alone in shedding tears for their fallen friend that day.

But a new day is coming and we press on. We’ve since finished the book and are currently on our way to confront Saruman in The Two Towers.

More adventure to come!

I believe we began the book on May 19, 2017 and finished on June 8th. I didn’t take very good notes so I’m not sure if those are the right dates (especially the finishing date.) However I know they are close and I know we started The Two Towers the same night we finished part one of The Lord of the Rings.

 

 

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Textual Ruins – Drout on Reading Tolkien

Fantastic talk by Michael Drout at Carnegie Mellon University posted to YouTube in October of last year (2013).

You get phrases like “epistemic regime” – which he does explain – but you also get another reason to read Tolkien: textual ruins!

What? That doesn’t excite you? Check out the talk and you’ll see why it should!

This lecture deserves to be parsed out and thought over, in a longer post that basically says, “this is cool, and this was really cool! and Lord of the Rings! and that point was awesome!” but for now just watch it for yourself 😀

Cerebrations of the past tense

Originally posted at GameSpot on November 19, 2007

(Or, recent thoughts I’ve been meaning to get in here but haven’t had the time.)

These are not in order of importance, just simply how they’ve come into my brain:

Able to see World in Conflict over at my brother-in-law’s house a few weeks ago – the game was just as amazing as the GameSpot review made it out to be. The first thing that struck me was the graphics – stunning. The detail of the terrain, weather effects, lighting, and the smoothness at which the game ran was fantastic. True, he has a state-of-the-art PC that can handle the heavy load – but even at a lower resolution things would have looked great. The level he showed me also had some fun game play, which kept things moving with good voice acting and high drama. All that being said, it was a treat to see what’s currently out there as far as high-quality RTS.

On that same PC, he booted up Medieval II: Total War for me as well. Shogun Total War is one of my all-time favorite games, and I eventually hope to own the entire Total War series. Until then, however, this small taste will have to tide me over. Simply put, I can’t wait. It’s worth noting, however, that this game (from what I could tell) was more of what I was used to playing Shogun, just beefed up and expanded. That’s not to take away from the game at all – in fact, I see it as a compliment. I hope to spend many future hours with Medieval II and the whole series.

A few memories of old Tom Clancy games. My brother-in-law had the gold edition of the first Rainbow Six – a title I used to own – with all his other games. I never could really get into that game. If I had to nail it down, it probably was because I wasn’t that good at it. All the planning, all the map points, all the trial and error – it just didn’t add up to a fun experience. It came down to me executing a well-laid plan – and then doing just as well without said plan and shooting anything that moved.

I had to take back Band of Brothers. I appreciate the need to be realistic, but having the characters swear at least once every sentence made me pop and game out and take it right back to the store. To be fair, the first sequence in the game drops you right in the middle of a battle, and there’s no doubt a heavy amount of loud swearing would be taking place in that situation. Also, to be fair, I’m a father now – and I can’t have that crap on in the background. It’s too bad – I was really looking forward to getting into that game for awhile.

Currently playing Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, and I’m stuck at the second battle against Gothmog. I know I’ll re-visit this thought when I finish the game, but it’s not really “fun” to play. I love the source material, but that’s what carries me through. On its own, I would have stopped playing a while ago. There are some perks that stick out, and I’m glad I’ve been able to see them: 1.) Fighting (or playing as) the Balrog was sweet. His animation is done extremely well; I really feel like he’s a powerful enemy when he steps up to the plate. 2.) A sense of “being there.” Oh, it doesn’t happen a lot in the game – but when the sunset hits the wall of Helm’s Deep just right, I feel like I’m in the movie. 3.) Since the characters are the same models used in The Two Towers and Return of the King, I feel like I’m playing with weather-worn friends when they show up. I played as those characters for hours on the other games, so there’s a “welcome back” feeling when they join my party for a battle in The Third Age.

Unfortunately, a strong feeling of being boxed in by the game, big differences in difficulty from one second to the next, and a weak story (with Tolkien’s literature as a backdrop? How could they have a weak story?!) crush any of these small joys from making it a fun game. Will I ever finish it? Yes. Will I ever play it again? No.

We had a couple over this past Friday and they brought the Wii. I’ve been able to play the Wii at several friends’ houses’ and I really enjoy the console. I mean, you’ve got to love a gaming system that makes bowling that fun. My wife and I were also able to introduce them to Halo, and that was a lot of fun as well. I love that moment when someone says, “Well, we better get going…what time is it…12:40!? Just one of the many reasons why I enjoy this form of entertainment.

Warmed up Fable: The Lost Chapters and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Substance this past weekend. Not really playing, just looking around. I wandered around a little in Fable, and watched the cut scenes from MGS2. I don’t have the time to play these games through again at this point, but a little remembrance tour always makes me feel good.

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