“Not As Certain As Being Left Behind…”

I recently read Kelly’s post on not breaking your word a few days ago and now I can’t stop thinking about friendship.  What set me off on my maniacal thinking spree, and you can see from my comments on her post, was the relationship between Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Now, I know I’m a Tolkien Purist and I’ve come to admit it on this site, though I was in denial for a long time.  But overall, I loved what Peter Jackson did with the Lord of the Rings movies.  I think he did a great job.

The one thing that extensively pissed me off (other than the elves coming to save the day at Helm’s Deep, but that’s for another day) is a minor change he made to Sam and Frodo’s relationship.  Sam is the most loyal friend to Frodo and when he made the promise to Gandalf that he wouldn’t leave Frodo’s side, he meant it.

sam and frodo travel

There are tons of scenes in the movies that exemplify this, but there is one scene that strongly contradicts it.  In Return of the King, Gollum frames Sam by making it look like he ate the last of their food and Frodo gets so angry that he tells him to leave.  And Sam leaves.

What?  In the books, Sam never left Frodo’s side.  NEVER. Frodo treated Sam like dirt at times, due to the Ring, but Sam still saw Frodo through to the very end and never once turned around.  I love that perfect model of friendship.

Of course, my thoughts turned to Star Wars and I was curious to know if any of the friendships in Star Wars could pass the Sam/Frodo test.  And I realized that, wait a minute, there are not many friendship relationships throughout the saga that are not impaired by romance.  (N.B. I would love to go into Ahsoka and Anakin’s relationship, but I try to stick generally to the movies in this blog)

The closest relationships that passed the Sam/Frodo test were Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan and Han/Chewie.  Sure, Obi-Wan and Anakin were good friends, but they would not have stood the Sam/Frodo test because Anakin did something like betraying his best bud and murdering a bunch of people.

Out of both remaining friendships, I am leaning more towards Han and Chewie for passing the Sam/Frodo test.  Chewie Chewie hanhad a life debt to Solo, so in a way he was kind of forced upon him.  Sam was required to follow Frodo and stick by him on orders from Gandalf.  Where Han went, Chewie went.  Their quest was to help rid the galaxy of the Empire, whereas Sam and Frodo had to rid Middle Earth of the One Ring.  When Han was put into carbonite, Chewie fought to keep him “alive”, but Han asked him not to start a fight that he knew they would lose, but instead to protect Leia.  This order is different from the one Frodo gave to Sam in the ROTK movie.  Whereas Frodo’s order was said out of hatred because he thought Sam betrayed him, Han was giving Chewie an order to stay behind out of love for both him and Leia.  Different motives, big difference.

Even though Han and Chewie come close and pass the Sam/Frodo test, I’m not sure their relationship has the extra oomph that Sam and Frodo’s has.  A big difference is the fact that throughout 2/3 of LotR, we see Sam and Frodo interact by themselves (okay-Gollum showed up, but I’m not counting him), but other characters constantly surround Han and Chewie, so we don’t exactly know the depth of their friendship.  It’s much too…well, “real” for that extra level.  It’s Sam/Frodo taken down to our everyday lives.  They bicker at times and get frustrated with each other, but they still bounce ideas off of each other and lean on one another to help get through the tough times.

But the more I thought about different kinds of loyal friendships, the more I got to thinking: am I Samwise Gamgee to any of my friends, my ultimate idea of friendship perfection?

I think I was, once.  Similar to how Frodo and Sam lived near each other, I grew up in the house next to a girl who was adopted at age 7 from Brazil.  Our parents basically forced us upon each other: she needed a friend her age that could teach her English.  Our friendship grew exponentially after the first year of language struggles to the point where I could tell her anything.  Her parents moved her to a more “Brazilian friendly” (their words, not mine) community when we were 14 because they thought she was not making enough friends in our hometown.  In her new community, the Brazillians rejected her because she could no longer speak Portuguese and the Americans rejected her because she didn’t fit in with them.  At age 16, she tried to kill herself and was hospitalized.  At 17, she dropped out of high school and left her adoptive parents home swearing never to talk to them again.  At 18, she was a stripper and living with a guy where all they did was smoke a bunch of pot.  By 21, she had cleaned up a little and was no longer a stripper, but nevertheless had trouble holding a job and still was not talking to her adoptive parents.  At 23, she had found a new boyfriend and was moving to Rhode Island to be with him.

I have no idea what happened to her after that.  I stayed close with her all the way up until the end.  She was my Frodo, and I wanted to stick it out with her no matter what.  Because at the end of the day, though we seemed so different, my loyalty to her and our friendship was unparalleled.

But from ages 21-23, I was engaged to my now husband.  I told her I wanted to marry him before we were even engaged.  Somehow, I just knew he was the “one” for me.  Her reaction, however, was not what I expected.  She said, “But there’s still so much we need to do together.  How can you get married so young?”  I told her we could still do stuff together; being married wouldn’t make a difference.  I thought I had pacified her fears and insecurities.

Once I was engaged, I asked her to be my bridesmaid and she accepted graciously.  She was going to be first in line after my sister.  And then 6 months before my wedding, she stopped contacting me.  Last I talked with her, she was moving to Rhode Island.  I called her cell so many times, called her sister (the only person from her family she still kept in touch with), emailed her, called her ex-boyfriend…but all to no avail.  She does not have facebook, so that was no help either.  Eventually she changed her number and the cell number I would call said it was disconnected.  To this day, though, I still have that number in my phone and refuse to delete it.  I keep hoping that maybe she will reach out again and find me.

Did she think I was betraying or leaving her by getting married?  Did she just not have enough money to pay for being my bridesmaid?  Did she think that we were now on two different life paths and felt it better just to cut me off?  Maybe all of these answers, maybe none.

Since then, I have never felt the Samwise loyalty that I felt towards her for any of my other friends.  The closest person wouldfrodo and sam mount doom probably be my husband, and even that’s different since it’s a romantic relationship.  My friendships now reflect a galaxy far, far away, more than those in Middle Earth.  I don’t think it’s sad that my friendships are now closer aligned to those in Star Wars, because I love the real relationship between Chewie and Han.  But I do mourn the strength and bond of my former Middle Earth friendship that I have never experienced since.

“It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,” said Frodo, “and I could not have borne that.”

“Not as certain as being left behind,” said Sam.

“But I am going to Mordor.”

“I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”


Boston Comic Con Recap

I had way more fun at Boston Comic Con than at ConnectiCon – mainly because I recognized the costumes and…*drumroll please*…my Old Republic Jedi Knight costume is finally done!  I AM SO PUMPED.  Finally, six years later!  And, without further ado, here’s a great photo of me and Batman facing off:

me jedi vs batman boston comic con 2013

(These flickr photos are better though)

All I have left to do in order to join the Rebel Legion is fill out the application, send in the photos, pick a name (I have no idea why I need to pick a name.  What’s wrong with my name now?), and then I should be good to go.  It feels surreal…I found out about the 501st and Rebel Legion 14 years ago, decided I wanted to join six years ago, and lack of money/time/attention really held me back.

But BCC was full of fabulous Marvel, DC, Transformers, TMNJ, Star Wars, and so many other costumes that I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them.  The amount of effort and creativity (and money, I’m sure) that people put into their costumes just amazes me.  As for panels, I only went on Sunday because of something I couldn’t get out of on Saturday, but the costumes were way more fun than the panels.  I could have wandered the exhibit floor forever just taking it all in.  It was also weirdly satisfying to walk through the floor and have people ask to take photos of me in my cosplay.  Usually it’s the other way around and I’m asking people if I can take a photo of them!

Here are some of the photos of cosplay that are on my instagram account:



However, you can never go to a Con without having a little bit of frustration at other fans (wait, that’s just me?  Oh).

Two moments really irked me.

First – there was a company out there, and I don’t want to say who, but they were selling a shirt that said “Fuck Lucas” in the writing of the opening crawl.  I don’t understand it.  I sought out this booth because I liked a shirt someone in the con was wearing and when I asked where they got it, they directed me to this certain exhibitor.  However, their premise as a company is that they think Lucas ruined Star Wars by creating the prequels, so they are stressing that only the Original Trilogy should count as “Star Wars”.   But, to me, that doesn’t make sense and here is why I got so angry at that shirt:

  1. My main reason I didn’t like it is because Lucas gave us Star Wars.  As much as you might not like the prequels or anything else he’s done, he still gave us the universe we love.  So don’t blast the guy.
  2. The use of a swear word.  Really?  How often will I actually be able to wear this shirt out in public now?  I can’t wear it out shopping or to the supermarket because I have some semblance of respectability.  I want to draw people to the love of Star Wars, not make them think I’m a crazy Star Wars fan.

Second, and this was a bunch of highs and lows, was the Hobbit panel (actors who played Kili and Fili) that I had been dying to see.

Low: We ended up getting to the panel 10 minutes before it was supposed to start because we had been at a Scott Snyder/Batman panel…and it was completely full.  The con staff member (I almost wanted to write “bouncer”) turned us away at the door and I could feel my face just drop.  This was pretty much the only panel I wanted to see at BCC so it was hard to stand there and see the door shut in my face.

High: As we were turning away, the actors walked by, probably saw extreme anguish over my face and said, “Hey, you guys want to get into our panel?  Come with us, we’ll let you in.”  Oh wait, what?!  Did Aidan Turner just talk to us?  And he said to follow him?  Oh my goodness, so cool!  A staff member let us in through the back and we had to stand, but hey, whatever!

Low: Ok, the panel sucked, and not completely because of Aidan and Dean.  I realized why so many people make fun of girls in conventions.  The whole panel felt like I was at a Justin Bieber concert: the majority of the audience members were girls ages 13-17 with lots of screaming, giggling, and horrible/not thought out questions.  I’m trying so hard not to be judgmental, but let’s face it, I was.  I had high expectations for this Q&A and was interested in learning what it was like working with Peter Jackson, what the set was like, stories from the set, etc. and instead I had to listen to incessant questions that had nothing to do with the Hobbit.  Don’t get me wrong – Aidan and Dean are very good looking, but this was a Hobbit panel, not a let-me-fawn-over-you panel.  I also fully acknowledge that I’m a bit of a Tolkien purist (though I try to fight my urges) and when the girls were asking questions that showed they had not read the Hobbit, I just cringed inside.  About one in every eight questions were actually interesting to me and I don’t feel like I learned anything new.  It reminded me of this comic from FoxTrot when LOTR came out:

foxtrot Orlando Bloom has ruined everything

And there I was: judging other female fans through I thought I never would.  All I could think of was, This is why guys make fun of us when we got to cons.  How would they be able to know how serious you are about a subject if they only went to a panel like this?  Sigh.  Live and let live, right?  RIGHT?!  I think I’m being an Elite Fan right now…

So to recap – great cosplay at BCC; blew me away.  I only went to two panels so I can’t speak much about their panels (however – the Scott Snyder panel was really good and more to my taste, I was just out of it a lot of the time because I don’t follow Batman comics).  Exhibit hall left much to be desired in terms of little trinkets as they were mostly selling comics (I know, I know, it’s a comic con), but if you love comics, I’m sure it was great.

Since I have my costume done and will soon be joining the Rebel Legion, I may be getting into these events for free.  The down side is I’d have to work the booth, but that can’t be that bad, because free conning is always a good thing!

Do You Wish Me a Good Morning or Mean That it is a Good Morning…

…whether I want it or not; that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?  So glad they put this line in the movie because it’s my favorite quote from the Hobbit!

Ok, I’m deviating a little bit from Star Wars here, but I figured I would put in my little review on here of one of my loves: Middle Earth.  If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie yet, you may want to stop reading.

I vacillated back and forth with this movie.  At times, I loved it and was so happy to see Middle Earth again, along with the great sweeping views of the company marching to their destination.  New Zealand was just as stunning as it was in the first trilogy and it made me want to go visit there so badly.  I really liked Martin Freeman as Bilbo and if you’ve read the book – I thought he did a great job of portraying this Hobbit who, you know, just wanted to be at home in his Hobbit hole with a cup of tea but instead gets thrown haphazardly into an adventure.

Jackson did a great job distinguishing between the Dwarves because in the book, I feel like they all blended together and the only thing I remembered was that Kili and Fili were related and that a lot of them had funny sounding names.  Bifur…Bombur… Bofur…What?  Their personalities didn’t stick out to me when I read it, even Thorin didn’t have a personality to me other then wanting to get back his place in the mountain.  However, you still can’t keep track of them in the movieand my husband even said, “He’s gotta start killing off some of them dwarves so I can figure out who they are,” which definitely made me laugh.  Tough luck, Mate, on that one…they all stick around.  At least Jackson made sure they all had different personalities in the movie and it was harder to have them all blend together.

The best scene, easily, was Riddles in the Dark.  I am SO happy PJ did that scene justice.  I’m sure Jackson knew the pressure for that scene, considering how much everyone loves it and Tolkien fans would want nothing but the best Freeman and Serkis.

Riddles in the Dark

Riddles in the Dark

I definitely didn’t mind the added scene of the White Council and I thought I was going to hate it.  It wasn’t in the book, but it is part of the history of Middle Earth.  I can’t speak too much of it since my knowledge of the materials extends only to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit, but I thought the White Council scene definitely added a bit of substance that the movie had been lacking.  Oh!  And!  The Necromancer is apparently Sauron?  I never knew that, but researched it after watching the movie because I wanted to know if the addition of him was legit or just PJ trying to up the drama.  He was briefly mentioned in The Hobbit, but it seemed like it was more in passing and not that important.

But speaking of additions, I did not like the White Orc who apparently is Azog.  He was in the books (appendices maybe?  It’s been a while), but definitely not to the extent he was in this movie.  Don’t get me wrong – I understand why they needed him.  If they are not going to have Smaug factor into this movie, then they need a villain for us to hate.  So I understand why he was there, but I guess I didn’t like the addition.  Perhaps it’s the purist coming out in me.

The movie was also long – and I found that it was too long.  I understand Lord of the Rings was also very long, but it really is the differences between the novels.  Lord of the Rings is a weighty story with the doom of their world always upon them and evil lurking in every corner.  It is chock-full of information and descriptions, so much so that at times I get incredibly bored.  The Hobbit, in contrast, was written to be a children’s novel and is quite funny.  Bilbo is an interesting and relatable hero who makes you laugh at times by, yes, forgetting his handkerchief and catching head colds.  At times I felt like the movie dragged in places it shouldn’t (the stone giants) and at other times the dramatic looks between characters were over the top.  There are a lot of flashbacks, to the point that I felt like I was watching that awful TV show The Revolution (yes, I actually watched the first few episodes of that) and it caused the movie to drag even more.  Even the battle scenes are long…and I loved the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings.  I just wanted to shout to PJ, “Stop making this longer than it needs to be!”

Radagast is also portrayed very differently from the book, making him out to be a kooky, hippy, shroom-loving wizard.  Why?  Not needed.

radagast the brown

This movie was so full of fluff and filler material, that I don’t think it needs to be made into three movies.  Even with all the history he is adding into it, maybe two or two and a half movies?  At most.  I just felt like I often had thoughts of: “We’re only here in the book?  Shouldn’t we be further along?”  To me, that means the movie is too long.

Overall, I found the movie was enjoyable and lighter hearted than Lord of the Rings.  I heard complaints about that, but honestly – the book is more fun too.  I hope people kept that in mind when watching the movie and didn’t go in expecting a Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit is not Lord of the Rings; it’s a book written for children, not adults.  Perhaps I should keep that in mind too?

Hobbit and dwarves

My New Video is Out!

Mr. Reticent and I have been working hard on our latest video.  This one is unrelated to Star Wars 😦  Sorry.

We based it off of the news that Peter Jackson decided to release the Hobbit in 3 movies.  If you follow the fan forums, you’ll see that some fans were really upset about this and thought that Jackson is ruining Tolkien’s story.

The Hobbit is one book, a lot smaller than Lord of the Rings, and is also a children’s story on top of that so it is not as heavily bogged down with information as Lord of the Rings.  To create 3 movies out of it seems a little ridiculous.  Jackson did mention he will be including other parts of the Middle Earth story into the movie, but fans are still all riled up that he is continuing to call it the Hobbit, if that is the case.  Some people are claiming he’s been taken in by the Hollywood money/cash and has become a sellout.

Based on all this, and because it amused me, I created our new video.  I realize that this video does not have the broad appeal as the last one did (everyone pretty much knows the story of Star Wars), but I’m hoping Tolkien fans will enjoy it.

As for my personal feelings on this subject – I was definitely a little wary when Peter Jackson announced that he was making one book into three movies.  However, I also believe that if anyone can do it, Jackson can.  So I will suspend my disbelief until I see it.  Hopefully he will not let us down!