April 23, 2011

The Children of Húrin

About a hundred years ago, I read a short little book about a short little person who had a very big adventure.  The book was entitled The Hobbit, and it was written by someone with more than the usual number of initials in his name.  So taken was I by this book, that I immediately acquired a much larger work by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and sliced out a sizable junk of my childhood following Frodo and Gandalf on an epic journey through Middle Earth.

Then, I grew up and promptly forgot about them.

Unfortunately, a fellow named Peter Jackson, along with a host of other people, brought the whole fantasy vividly back to life for me.  Once again, I was lost in a fantastical world not so different from our own as to be unbelievable yet not so like it as to be mundane.  My memories of the story were weak enough and the technology of the day was advanced enough that I felt transported to a realistic world that mirrored one I had known in my youth.  I bought the deluxe DVDs with all the extras.  Each film meant that I spent over $100 in movie going and follow-on merchandise. I was enthralled.  There was a time when there wasn't $100 worth of merchandise to buy!

Time has passed and the movies are gone. But, Chris Tolkien is still trying to milk his father's empire for all it is worth. Do I blame him? No. I would do the same if I were in his shoes. His efforts are the reason The Children of Húrin became known to me. Unfortunately, I wish it hadn't.

I don't remember JRR's style. Maybe it was different in The Lord of the Rings.  But I remember the story.  I remember how it gripped me; how I couldn't put the books down; how the tale dragged the boy willing through it.  I remember the rapture. None of that was evident in this work. The voice carried the overbearing tone of a storyteller. The names were difficult to pronounce and hard to remember, and it didn't help that the main character ended up having about 10 different ones. The story was hurky-jerky, and seemed initially to have no point.  In the end, that was borne out.

The children of Húrin are a doomed offspring. There is no real victory in the end. The story is a tragedy. I hate tragedies. I put the book down several times. In fact, at one point, I put it down for several months.  Only sheer determination to finish what I had started caused me to pick it up again.  The story's flow did eventually pick up, and eventually I got into it.  So, in that regard, I'm glad I finished it.  But, I don't recommend it.

If you are die-hard Tolkien fan, you might find some satisfaction in knowing that you have read more of his stuff.  Don't expect to find anything related to The Lord of the Rings.  If you're a casual fan, however, don't bother.

April 19, 2011

Rumors of My Demise...

...never started.

Life threw me a curveball a few weeks ago, and I disappeared from the web. Only a small circle of friends knew why I had disappeared. Maybe someday I will explain here but probably not. Those of you who are investigative types will probably figure it out. To the rest of you, I'm sorry to leave you in the dark. Thank you all so much for your e-mails of support and inquiry in my absence. Here are a few I would like to share:
“Hey, if you're dead or something, can you let us know?” ~4EvrLost
“Stoney, where the $@#$! are you?!?! The #$&#@ web feels so *@#$! empty without you!” ~Em
“Wow, its like you dropped off the face of the earth. I mean, not like earth has a face, but you know what I mean. The moon has a face, sorta, but you couldn't drop off of it...earth's moon. There are probably other moons with faces that don't have enough gravity to keep you on it, so you could drop off one of those. Well, it's not 'dropping off' per se, its more like floating away. But, you probably wouldn't be on one of those anyway. ... Would you!? Oh, man, that would be so cool though. Hurry back and let us know how it went.” ~0v3rQualiphil
Thanks all. Your heartfelt comments are encouraging. Unfortunately, I wasn't on a moon with a face but without enough gravity to hold me. The gravity of the situation was quite enough.
One weird piece of serendipity happened in my absence. All of the bloggers that I follow posted new blog entries after months of hiatus. I guess when I'm not around to distract you with my posts, you find better things to do.

Hard to imagine.

Here's what you have to look forward to in the next few weeks:
  • I just watched the movie Inception. I will write a review.
  • My thoughts on the book The Children of Húrin.
  • Some philisophical ponderings on watching movies performed by actors who's lifestyles you hate.