Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas (Eve)!

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day--God bless!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Little Things I Love About Tolkien's Works

For once I'm actually posting something when I was supposed to post it. :D  I'm really happy to be blogging again and not just thinking about it--especially since the thing I'm currently talking about is Tolkien.  Because, you know, TWO DAYS TILL BOTFA.  WHAT EVEN.
Anyways, as you probably guessed from the title, I've made a list of some of my favorite Tolkien things. Some of them are more like "Things That Make Me Cry That I Like Anyway Because I'm Insane".  Without further ado, here they are.
~Frodo Baggins.  He's inspired me in so many ways. 

~Faramir and Éowyn.  Oh my STARS, I ship them so hard.
 ~"The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen".  There's another pair I ship to the ends of Middle-earth.

~FARAMIR: one of the few fictional heroes I rate higher than Mr Knightley.
~The "Lay of Leithian"
~The poems in LotR.  Okay, some of them aren't the best, but others are just pure gorgeousness.

~Tengwar and Cirth

~Quenya and Sindarin (I'm afraid I get them sadly mixed up :P)

~"The Fall of Gondolin".  Tuor and Idril are adorable, and Glorfindel's last stand gives me chills every time.

~The Children of Húrin.  IT'S SO TRAGIC.  Especially the bits with Finduilas and Beleg.

~The Hobbit.  No matter what my mood is, TH can improve it. :D
~The History of Middle-earth volumes.  It's like behind-the-scenes videos, except with a book, and I love it.  I really wish some of those scenes had been kept in...

~Fili and Kili.  Book or movie, they're adorable.
~The fact that Thorin dragged a HARP through the Shire.

~The Extended Editions--and the movies in general.  They may not be completely accurate, but they're SO much better than what we could have had.

~The cast, both LotR and TH.  They're amazing.
~New Zealand
~Thorin's speeches :D

~On a more serious note, Aragorn/Viggo's "But it is not this day!" speech.
~Elves.  I've always loved them; probably always will.  I'm a bit like Sam in that respect.

~Elrond.  He loses (*counts on fingers* *gives up*) practically everyone he loves to mortality or death on the battlefield and he never gets bitter and I love him so much.

~Eärendel and Elwing.

~Maglor.  He's so SWEET, and he's a musician, so he gets bonus points from me.

~The Nírnaeth Arnoediad. Why is this even on the list I HATE IT.  LITERALLY everybody dies.  It's not even like LM, where at least five-ish characters survive to the end...

~"Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
~"Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire"

~Many, many more small moments that I haven't space or time to list here--Thranduil not being blinded by prejudice and refusing to "begin this war for gold", poor Bilbo and his cold, Merry and Pippin, Frodo defying the Witch-king, Fingolfin's desperate challenging of Morgoth...and so on and so forth. 
~Some of Tolkien's sentences.  He's one of the few authors that can make me tear up with the sheer beauty of his words.

~The fandom.  We may not totally agree, but most of the time we get along.  And Tolkiendils always come through for each other.

What do you like about Tolkien?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Interview With an Authoress!

Hello everyone!  My dear friend Ashley recently released her first book, Becoming Nikki (!!!), and I'm participating in her blog tour!   She was gracious enough to let me interview her, so without further ado, here are her answers.

~How did you get the idea for BN?

Well, it all started when I discovered ice dancing while watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Meryl Davis and Charlie White were instantly my favorite and I started thinking about how much it would take to get to the Olympics.  I also had come up with the idea of a broken sister-sister relationship (which slowly turned into a brother-sister relationship) around the same time, and, as I started developing the plot of that novel, the ice dancing part eventually fused with it.

~Share a few of your favorite ice dancing videos.


Meryl Davis and Charlie White's Phantom of the Opera Free Dance -
Meryl and Charlie's Indian Original Dance -
Maia and Alex Shibutani (a brother-sister couple : )))))'s Waltz Free Dance -
This dance by Maia and Alex (not sure what it's officially called, but it looks like a Free Dance) -
This beautiful Free Dance by Maia and Alex -

~What was the hardest part of editing?  Easiest part?

The hardest part of the editing was actually editing it. XD There was one point where I found out that thoughts shouldn't be in italics and single quotes ('), and I had to go through and take all of the quotes out. UGH. I got to listen to awesome music while I did it, though. : D

~Which of your characters is your favorite?
AHH. That is such a hard question to answer because I love them ALL. They each have something amazing about them that I absolutely love. I love Nikki's resilience. I love Natalie's humor. I love Alec's strength. I love Dylan's everything. I love Bennett's pick-up lines – he can't pull them off, but it's so endearing. I love them all, even the more minor characters like Aunt Trina and Sam.

~Which of your characters is most like you?

Nikki and Natalie are most like me. I'm quiet like Nikki – but not quite as quiet – and bubbly like Natalie – but not quite as bubbly. They were both the easiest to write because I could always just ask myself, "What would I do in this situation?" and then write that.

~Which authors would you say have most influenced your writing?

I think I've been most influenced by a quite a few authors such as Robert Whitlow, Wayne Thomas Batson, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, R.J. Palacio, Jeanne Birdsall,Suzanne Collins, and Louisa May Alcott – all of whom write for what I call "an audience outside of their intended audience," meaning that they may write for an intended audience, but their books can be enjoyed by people outside of that audience. I enjoyed books like Wonder, Curse of the Spider King, and The Penderwicks because they were full of good writing. Just because they were written for twelve-year-olds doesn't mean that they have to be dumbed-down and at a twelve-year-old's reading level. And that's what I want my writing to be like. Becoming Nikki may be written for teens between the ages of 12-18, but that doesn't mean that a 20-year-old like myself can't enjoy it. *dismounts soapbox*

~Has any event in your life influenced your writing?  Which one(s)?
Great question! I think there are at least two main events that have influenced my writing and those are (1) the American Girl Magazine contest I've talked about a few times and (2) when my family moved to a different state about five years ago. I wouldn't have gotten started really writing if it hadn't been for that contest, and I wouldn't have stuck to it if I hadn't gotten a "second wind" after moving and not having any friends for a few months.

~Was there any part of the book that was really hard to write?
Hmm... I think the hardest part to write was conveying how much Nikki had changed by the end (Becoming Nikki – heh...heh...) and why she'd changed at all. Also, I couldn't re-read the accident scene for a while after I wrote it because it was so intense. (Of course, now I'm going through the same thing with a crucial scene in the very beginning of my new novel, The Art of Letting Go.)

~​If you could put a character from a different book into your novel, who would it be and why?
Huh. I don't know! I think I'd want to put Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility in there because Natalie would enjoy talking to him so much. : D
Thanks for interviewing me!!!

And thanks very much for appearing on my blog, Ashley!  

She's holding a giveaway of a signed copy of BN, which you can enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Defending Frodo

I love most of Tolkien's characters.  Of course, there are some obvious exceptions--Sauron, Gothmog, Morgoth, &c.  Oh, and Denethor.  Can't forget him. :P
But in any case, one of my very favorite Tolkien characters (indeed, perhaps my favorite) happens to be Frodo, so I thought it was fitting that my first Tolkien post this month be about him.
As a general rule, Frodo is not regarded very favorably in the LotR fandom.  I can only think of two or three people who thoroughly approve of him.

The main objections to him seem to be that he is cowardly and weak, so I'll address that first.  (I'll only be defending Book-Frodo here, by the way--I happen to like Elijah Wood's Frodo, but he's a bit less defensible. :P)

First of all, he is NOT cowardly.  Scared, yes--but he faces that fear and rises above it.  He defied the Nazgul, left the Fellowship when it was clear it was necessary, and attacked a giant spider.
"But he's afraid.  Now it's come to the point, he's just plain terrified.  That's what his trouble is.  Of course, he's had a bit of schooling, so to speak--we all have--or he'd just fling the Ring in the River and bolt.  But he's still too frightened to start. [...]  If he screws himself up to go, he'll want to go alone.  Mark my words!  We're going to have trouble when he comes back.  For he'll screw himself up all right, as sure as his name's Baggins."
~Sam, "The Breaking of the Fellowship", The Fellowship of the Ring

You see, he may start out small and scared, but he grows throughout the story.  I didn't like him too much when I began reading either, but by the end of ROTK I was completely rooting for him.
"A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.
`I will take the Ring,' he said, `though I do not know the way.'"

~"The Council of Elrond", The Fellowship of the Ring
I get chills every time reading this, because I think it's one of most courageous moments.  He doesn't want to go; he doesn't hunger for glory.  But he still volunteers because he feels that it's his duty.

As to the weak part--is he weak?
He's one small little hobbit against one of the greatest dark forces in Middle-earth.  He's borne the Ring for seventeen years.  Of course he seems weak.  He's not Aragorn or Gandalf or Elrond.  He doesn't have any special powers, no particular strength--and that is precisely why he was chosen.

One of the things I find absolutely amazing about Lord of the Rings is that when Frodo sets out with the Ring, he knows he can't destroy it.  Galadriel knows it.  Everyone at the Council of Elrond knows it.  He wasn't even able to do the necessary deed in his own home!  But he goes on anyway, trusting that some higher power than Sauron meant for him to have the Ring, and that somehow, the Ring will be destroyed.

And that is precisely what happens: because of his personality, because of his compassion for Gollum, his love for his friends, his determination to keep on going no matter what, the Ring is unmade despite his actions at the end.

He's weak in body, but not weak in mind or heart.  He grows weary, but he doesn't give up.  The Ring is slowly twisting him, taking his heart and whispering to his mind, but he doesn't listen.  And through it all, he keeps on going.  He walks and walks and walks until he falls to his knees--and then he crawls.
"Frodo groaned; but with a great effort of will he staggered up; and then he fell upon his knees again.  He raised his eyes with difficulty to the dark slopes of Mount Doom towering above him, and then pitifully he began to crawl forward on his hands."
~"Mount Doom", The Return of the King
This moment, you guys.  THIS MOMENT.  It is, by far, my favorite Frodo moment.  The strength and courage he displays here are just--no. words.

As the journey goes on, he becomes fully convinced that he's going to die--and that if by some miracle he survives and the Ring is destroyed, he will never be whole again.
"'I don't know how long we shall take to--to finish,' said Frodo. 'We were miserably delayed in the hills.  But Samwise Gamgee, my dear hobbit--indeed, Sam my dearest hobbit, friend of friends--I do not think we need give thought to what comes after that.  To do the job as you put it--what hope is there that we ever shall?  And if we do, who knows what will come of that?  If the One goes into the Fire, and we are at hand?"
But though he knows this, he goes on, motivated by love and the realization which Sam makes later in the story--that there is "light and high beauty for ever" beyond Sauron's reach.

He never stops--not even when he comes back to the Shire and it's been ruined, or when he realizes that he'll never fully heal.  He tries to be part of Sam's family and he finishes the Red Book.   He's kept his humility and gained wisdom, the wisdom that enables him to see what Saruman could have been and grieve at his fall.

Loyalty, honor and a willing heart.  Bronwë athan Harthad (Endurance beyond Hope).
"Here is a jewel among hobbits!"
~"Three is Company", The Fellowship of the Ring 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Happy Birthday!     tjn


(intense gushing and tons of inside jokes and private awesomeness to follow; proceed at your own risk)

I know, I know.  Hacking one's friend's blog is slightly over-done in the world of teenage period drama bloggers, but it's always fun and I always manage to think of something new (or rather newish) to say, so why stop doing a good thing?  It's practically a tradition!  Anyway, today is the extremely auspicious occasion of Jane/Anna/Galannaley's birthday, so I had to hack her blog and write up a post to commemorate the day.  (Oh, and I also gave her blog a wintery makeover.  Yay or nay?)

This Rockwell Painting made me think of all my Friends who are baking up Christmas goodies today....

Two birthdays.  I've now known Jane for two birthdays, and it's an AWESOME feeling.  We've been crazy together for all that time and it's fun to look back on all our friendship through the months.  Like the time Les Miserables came out on DVD and we both freaked out and sent each other long, feelsy emails.  Or the time I totally got her obsessed with Jack Cavanaugh's books and she returned the favour with Johnny Tremain and Betsy-Tacey.  Or when she'd watch episodes of BBC's Robin Hood and send me blow-by-blow emails about each and every one.  There have been tons of other instances of awesomeness but my mind goes blank whenever I try to specifically think of one. (oh, there was that time when we both spent an entire Skye session singing showtunes and fangirling/crying over Percy Hill...)  But just ask Jane.  She honestly astounds me with how she has the details of Skype sessions, chats, and emails cataloged in her mind - she remembers the smallest details, which is great :)


~the Anna to my Elsa

~the Hobbes to my Calvin

~the Watson to my Sherlock

Sherlock Homles: Man of Thought / John Watson: Man of Action - Sherlock

~the Pascal to my Rapunzel

I never noticed how great her feet look, like she is a cartoon and her toes are all curved in like real feet.

~the Piglet to my Pooh

such cute love  relationship quotes @

~the Much to my Robin

Let the admiration you have for another man become the spark that makes you stand and fight to be man you wish to be!

~the Anne to my Diana

“True friends are always together in spirit. (Anne Shirley)” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

~the C-3PO to my R2-D2

Star Wars

~the Toothless to my Hiccup

how to train your dragon. I LOVE this movie! Toothless is the perfect combination of a cat and dog!

~the Elinor to my Marianne

Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, respectively, in Ang Lee's 'Sense and Sensibility'.

~the Bucky Barnes to my Steve Rogers


~the Jane to my Lizzy

PRIDE & PREJUDICE Favourite friendship - Jane Bennet and Elizabeth Bennet

~the Rab to my Johnny

"There shall be no more tyranny..." Johnny Tremain

~the Combeferre to my Enjolras

Did you see them, going off to fight? Children of the barricade that didn't last the night They were school boys, never held a gun! Fighting for a new world that would rise up like the sun Where's that new world now the fighting's done?!

~the Percy Hill to my Johnny Morgan

[who don't have a picture, but SHOULD]

Basically, she's just plain amazing and I'm very, very, VERY proud to have her as my friend.


And have some cake!



Monday, December 1, 2014


Hello, my poor, neglected blog followers.  I do believe I've been absent for...almost three weeks now, which is mainly due to the holiday season--my family was asked to host Thanksgiving, and one thing led to another, and I ended up not having much energy or time left for blogging.
Still, I am here now, with a bit of an Announcement.  As some of you may remember, I did a Lord of the Rings blog party last year with Ashley, but this year we found that neither of us could fit it into our schedules.  So there will be no party like there was for Desolation of Smaug, but I couldn't let the weeks leading up to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies go unnoticed, either. 
Therefore, I'm going to do a challenge rather like the Jane Austen one I did awhile ago, and do a Tolkien Month.  I'll try to do at least one post per week during December, and keep it all Tolkien--Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and maybe some Silmarillion.  We'll see. ;)
(There will be one exception to this, as I'm participating in the blog tour of Becoming Nikki--go the author's blog or her Goodreads page for more information on that.)
If you'd like to participate in this, let me know in a comment.  Then just tag all Tolkien-related posts you do this December with "Tolkien Month" or something of that sort and send me the link!
And to kick all this off, I'll start by asking you all who your favorite Tolkien character is--you can list as many as you want. :D
Oh, and to all the people who have tagged me, thank you very much!  I'll combine all my answers into one big post sometime during January.
Doesn't this look AMAZING?!