Posts Tagged With: Hobbit

A Hobbit, A Wardrobe and a Great War

Check out the trailer for the upcoming series on J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis:

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Categories: Books, fantasy, Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fairy Tales Illuminate What we Forget

If you read older versions of common fairy tales, they were often darker and more adult. They were made more kid friendly at some point, because children cannot always determine fact from fantasy, as Tolkien would argue. However, they do want something rooted in reality that didn’t have to be all cutesie. Tolkien’s first book, The Hobbit would attempt this. He was concerned about some of its more darker moments, but witness its success, and depth that exceeds what often passes for “children” books. And so Tolkien, and later C.S. Lewis with The Chronicles of Narnia, would bring fairy tales out of the nursery and gave something that would drive a child’s imagination and be sophisticated enough for an adult. Then, Lord of the Rings would take this further, bringing fantasy to maturity.

Bradley J. Birzer writes in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth, that fantasy — or fairy stories as Tolkien would often call them — is worth “the effort of entering” in spite of “its many perils and the great possibilities of misunderstanding” because:

…fairy stories illuminate the vast inheritance our ancestors have bequeathed to us…[they] give us a new sense of wonder about things we have taken for granted or which have become commonplace…[and] provide humans with a means to escape the darkness, conformity, and mechanization of modernity…this is not the same thing as escaping from reality. We still deal with life and death, comfort and discomfort. We merely escape progressivism and the progressive dream, which reduces all of complex reality to a mere shadow of creation’s true wonders

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Middle-Earth was much more than elves, orcs and trolls. Of course, what do you expect from an author who was an Oxford scholar who created an entire history, new languages and new races for his mythos? And those things were not even what made it great.

The very human stories were.

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A Mercifully Short 2013 ‘Best of’ List

I’m tired of all the Best of 2013 lists, but here is one more. Maybe it was just me, but there seemed to be yet another overload of films released this year. I was thoroughly underwhelmed by most of them. Sure, a lot of okay films for a few hours of amusement, but nothing I’ll watch again. So my list of favorites is rather short:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Star Trek Into Darkness
Man of Steel
Oblivion

I’m not going to go into drawn out reviews of these. Maybe I’ll do a Hobbit review, which I had intended to write. It would be positive look at the film, so given its success, it probably doesn’t need my comments anyway.
Why no “artsy” films? Because most of them try too hard and are not really that good. If people have to spend countless hours and words convincing you it’s great, chances are it isn’t. Reminds me how Star Wars (not artsy in the traditional artsy sense, but it is art) fans have spent three decades telling everyone how The Empire Strikes Back is the best of those films. Well, maybe it isn’t the best if you have to try that hard. Doesn’t mean it’s bad either.

In any case, how many films (or the books they come from) will you remember a couple months later? People have been reading The Hobbit since 1937. So maybe there is something a little deeper in all that orc-killing? If you really want something a little different than big budget spectacle, don’t miss my Indie Film Fest.

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