Thursday, August 28, 2008

Standing on the Threshold of Nerd-dom

Entry #1
Harry Vs. Frodo
(If you haven't read The Gauntlet yet, read it first so this will make more sense.)

I checked out the Hobbit yesterday and before "diving into it" (hee hee B), I thought it would be a good idea to record my feelings about the JRR Tolkin books, so we have a record of them, clean and pure before they are muddled with me actually reading them.
First off, I have never been a big fan of Science Fiction, a little more so as a kid, but steadily declined as I grew older until I don't want anything to do with any of it. I have never seen any of the new Star Wars, I have never sat through an episode of Star Trek, you get the idea. Fantasy has NEVER appealed to me that I can remember. At least not since I was a little girl and thought unicorns were cool. I would look at the covers of the books that my friends were reading and it was all about some quest and a magic sword and I would be like, yeah, where's my Nancy Drew?
I have however always had a love for juvenile literature. I loved it as a juvenile and continue to love it as an adult. There is something about reading a children's book and being brought back to that era through the characters and also through being the reader again and how exciting it all was. That is what got me to read the Harry Potter books while I was in New York. My friends Ami and Alex gave me the first book to read and I remember one of Alex's friends saying, "I am so jealous of you, being able to read all these books for the first time!" (this was a Cornell graduate student, mind you) he had read them all a few times I guess. So needless to say, from that point on, I was hooked and I decided that I supposed a little fantasy is ok and fun.
With that being said, the Tolkin books are not a little fantasy. They are a lot! Rowling did create a new little world for her characters to live, but it is my impression that Tolkin created a huge giant world one where I am afraid to be. Like languages and everything and it all makes me sigh and think, I don't think I am up for this. I make fun of the people that speak hobbit or cling-on (wow, that is sure not how you spell that, but happily, I have no idea).
I am sure the books are great to people that like that stuff I am sure they are well written, it's just not my bag baby (yeah). I went to the first Lord of the Rings movie in the theater. I saw the previews and thought the imagrey was stunning and I swear! I was all set to love it and maybe then read the books and enjoy them. Well, this didn't happen. I was absolutely bored to tears. I was kind of surprised, I really did think I would like it. I kept waiting for the credits and waiting and when they FINALLY popped up I actually clapped. I gave up after that and have just had a good time making fun of them. Now, here I am, about to start the books. I will promise to try to have an open mind. Sue, I expect the same from you!
I am going to give Sue a brief testimonial of the Harry Potter books now.
Thanks Ami and Alex for introducing me! I read the first one and thought, well that was a very cute children's book, imaginative and interesting. The second, kind of the same, good kids book, I could see why this series had gotten a lot of kids reading that don't normally. Cute enough to go on and find out what happens next. The third book was a turning point. Upon finishing I was sucked into the whole Harry world by now and just had to know what was going to happen next. The fourth was so good and you could tell Rowling was becoming a better writer and the books got more interesting and darker. Yes, darker is a good thing in my eyes! So, anyway, it was a lot of fun and excrutiating at times waiting for the next one to come out.
All and all, they are a great collection of childrens stories, a fun fantasy world to get lost in. Harry is very likable, Snape is my favorite person to hate (I love Snape, LOVE that Alan Rickman portrays him in the films, not a better actor on the planet for this role), Haggrid is funny (and very different from Coltrane's persona in the films).
Sue, try not to compare them to The Lord of the Rings, just read them with these things in mind, and I gotta say, I'm jealous that you get to read these all for the first time!

22 comments:

Sue said...

Just a couple of things. And we don't need to turn this into a 50 comment nerd fest.

1- It's spelled Klingon-you were close.

2- LOTR has nothing to do with Science Fiction, it is pure fantasy. Reading your blog you seem to understand that, but I wanted to make sure you knew, aliens and distant galaxies are not in the LOTR. And just so you know this tidbit about me, I hate fantasy books too! LOTR are the only ones I read. Well, I read the Narnia books when I was young and Bridge to Taribithea, but those books that B's mom reads? Hell no! Something about LOTR just clicked and stayed with me forever.

3- These aren't exactly considered juvenile books. The Hobbit could probably be considered more of a juvenile book, but the ring trilogy is defintely aimed at a more adult audience.

4- Hobbits speak english. But, the elves have their own language.

5- Tolkien and CS Lewis were best friends.

6- I like Nancy Drew too. One Christmas I could tell a present mom had wrapped for me was 3 Nancy Drew books. One night I carefully opened it, replaced the 3 new ones with old ones, rewrapped it, read the new ones, and then switched them back. The thought of waiting until Christmas just killed me!

7- This was your idea! So quit your bitching!

Emily said...

Who's bitching? That was a heartfelt journal like entry on my feelings. If you find my feelings bitchy, well excuse me!

Secondly, thanks for the info, interesting about Tolkein and Lewis, I have a great regard for CS Lewis, so that is pretty cool info for me. I knew you aren't into other fantasy books, and I knew LOTR was not sci fi, I knew that could be confusing, but eh. The Hobbit and the other 3 books were in the "youth fiction" section at the library, so that is why I had that impression.

I am starting the book tonight!
Cheers!

Sue said...

Emily, first off, thought #7 was sarcastic. You know me, I'm like George Costanza, I like to leave with a joke "I'm outta here!" Hope you get that.

I was only making sure you knew LOTR wasn't Sci Fi. I don't read Sci Fi crap either. Although, I do enjoy the Star Wars, even the newer ones, and you could catch Cam and I watching Star Trek, only the 1960's ones with Shatner and Nimoy though! They are so fun to watch! I've never sat through a Next Generation and those spin-offs.

Anyway, your testimonial is heartfelt, and I truly believe you will read LOTR with an open mind. And I will give you the same respect and wade, not dive (B!) through Harry Potter.

I thought you would enjoy the tidbit about CS Lewis and Tolkien. If I remember right, they were both professors at Oxford while Tolkien was writing LOTR and Lewis was writing Narnia. They used to bounce ideas off each other. Can you just imagine the conversations those two had! Now that is truly the nerd coming out in me. Fantasizing about conversations between 2 authors!

One last thing. We wouldn't have some of our best Led Zeppelin songs if it weren't for LOTR. "Over the Hills and Far Away", "Misty Mountain Hop", "Ramble On (one of the best songs ever written)", "Battle of Evermore". All have direct references to LOTR. Man I hope you kind of like Led Zeppelin, or I just dug my grave a little deeper!

Emily said...

I figured you were joking, but also half serious. Like the george reference though, I loved that "I'm outta here!" episode. George was the best, Rob and I love him.

I do like Led Zeppelin, not that I listen to them anymore. Classic rock really died for me some years ago. I know all those songs, had no idea they referenced LOTR. Ramble on is awesome, I agree.

Sue said...

Twas in the darkest depths of mordor
I met a girl so fair,
But gollum, and the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her.
Her, her....yea.


The jerk store called, hee hee. If it wasn't for George, I don't think I would have ever watched an episode of Seinfeld.

I watched 5 episodes of MTM yesterday. The last one I watched was the one about that loser old football player, Frank Caliendo or something. I can't believe how much of that episode I had memorized. Like when he leans into Mary and just starts spouting off football scores. Cracks me up!

Emily said...

When I saw the beginning of that comment I was like, uh, she's really letting the nerd fest fly, then I figured it was a Zeppelin lyric and was appeased for the most part.

Jerk Store is one of my favorite Seinfield moments. So is his answering machine, "believe it or not, George isn't at home....." and "tippy toe! tippy toe!"

I didn't really remember the football player episode. I really liked it though, he was cute and lovable.

Sue said...

I love George's answering machine! I saw that episode farily recently. I love how he is sitting there kind of dancing to it.

Speaking of nerds, a couple of nights ago I saw one of the funniest scenes in a Family Guy that I've ever seen. Some Al Qaida type dude and goes to heaven. He goes through the gates and there are 72 nerds sitting there with laptops. Some of them wearing wizard and other costumes. One of them looks up and says "were playing Magic the Gathering". The terrorist guy shakes his fist to the air and yells "Osama!". Oh man, I burst out laughing and ended up with tears pouring down my face and hyperventilating.

Emily said...

I just have to say I have been singing George's answering machine all night!:
Believe it or not, George isn't at home; so leave a message at the beep.
Where could he be? Believe it or not, he's not home......
Am I missing something in the middle of that?
Anyway, I am sure that scene in the Family Guy is funny, I have a few questions (I didn't quite get it)
Is the number 72 relevant?
Why does he yell Osama?
Help me out, I want to laugh.

Sue said...

I had George's answering machine in my head all day too. I think you are missing some of the song, but I don't know what it is.

The Al Qaida guys are told that if they die for their religion, there will be 72 virgins waiting for them in heaven. It might be 77. Anyway, so in the Family Guy, he dies and the virgins are nerds playing Magic the Gathering. He yells Osama because it is him who promises them these virgins.

Now do you think it's funny?

Marcus and Haley Crook said...

Haha. I got the Osama joke. That is so hilarious. There is a part on one of them that someone showed me once of Osama being filmed in a cave somewhere and he is all threatening the US and stuff but he keeps messing up and laughing, it's pretty funny. I don't watch that show ever but I have seen a couple clips on youtube that are pretty funny, like the kool-aid guy part is soooo funny! If you haven't seen it, look it up.

Emily said...

HA HA! Yes.

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! I just guffawed again at that. Those would be the only 72 virgins on earth... and at least 3 of them have classes with me. I wish I could join the Harry Pot-Potts and start those books again... I'm jealous. Matt is worried. I want a scarf of bravery. And do we have to start with the Hobbit? I already know what happens. There is going to be 25 pages about wandering through the dark with the bad things chasing them, another eleventeen about being in the barrels that smell like apples, and then about a million+ about being invisible and sneaking into the dragons lair. All with a song and poem to accompany them. So Sue, can I skip the Hobbit? Or do you think that it's essential?

B

Sue said...

I know the Osama one you're talking about Haley. He starts out wearing those big novelty sunglasses! Oh man, that is funny stuff. Have you seen the Southpark when the boys go to Afghanastan to give back the goat (that everyone thinks is Stevie Nicks, hee hee). They do a whole bugs bunny type thing with Cartman and Osama. Osama ends up getting blown up wearing a Uncle Sam outfit and waving an American Flag. Very, very funny episode.

Yes, B you can skip The Hobbit. If you remember the barrels that smell like apples, then you have obviously read it, and don't need to read it again.

Emily said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhhzwjt2AG0

emilyjane said...

B- how did you do that link on my comments to the Neil Young spider article? I don't know how to do it here.

Emily said...

Wow, that last comment was me, I don't know where that profile came from, but I must have made it a few years ago with my hotmail account and the same password. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Right below the "Leave your comment" box, you can put html tags by just putting the little < web address here > arrow things. That's how to make it a link. I want an answering machine message like that!! I also love the Southpark episode with Stevie Nicks the goat. I love that they are so wrapped up in that stupid video game that they don't even care that their real life is so much more exciting than that right then. And thank you Sue for letting me skip the Hobbit. I only read the comic book version, but I think I got all that I needed. Em, do you know your schedule yet??!!

B

Emily said...

I just tried, it said it "wasn't allowed" could be because it's youtube.

ajmah said...

I just have to pipe in here...

Emily, I'm so glad you are trying to read LOTR. For in spite of the fact that they are fantasy (the "in spite" part only applies to you...) I truly believe they are great literature! Sam is one of my very favorite fictional characters; read it for his sake if nothing else. Alex won't let me name a son Sam, so I had to name Ellie after Sam's daughter. (I know... ) Now the real question is are you willing to try The Silmarilion (basically Tolkien's Book of Genesis). Oh, and don't forget to read the appendices at the end. I know that sounds silly, but the part I get weepy over is in the Appendix and I feel it a veritable tragedy that it was not included in the movie.

Sue - you probably don't remember me, but I too am excited that you get to read HP for the first time. I love reading books for the first time (although I certainly enjoy reading them subsequent times as well!!!).

Em - was it Doug Weibel who said that??

Oh, and I have to tell you a funny story. As you may remember I do happen to enjoy a good Star Trek every once in a while, and very occasionally even get on a kick. I do not however speak Klingon, nor do I have any desire to do so. Okay, now the funny part. Cathi and I went on a genealogy trip to essentially pilfer the attic of some lady in St. Paul (her mom was a big researcher... I know I'm a nerd). Anyway, when we got there, her house was literally covered with Star Trek memorabilia, and I mean wall to wall!!! I said something which must have included the term "Trekie" because although I don't remember exactly what I said, I do remember her response: "Actually we prefer to be called 'Trekers'" Cathi and I just eyed each other.... However, the breaking point for me was when I realized what I was trying to place about her... she had the EXACT same haircut and hairdo as Spock, and frankly, it wasn't flattering.

Ami

Emily said...

Haha! That is a great story. I have heard that they prefer being called Trekers, but I have never heard someone actually say it in a serious manner. Props to you and Cathi for keeping some semblance of a straight face.
At this point Am, I can't even imagine reading Tolkein's Genisis. Who knows though? Maybe by the end of the last book I am going to be dressing up in hobbit gear and speaking elf. At this point, I will however promise to read the apendix.
You should (if you haven't already) pop into Sue's blog and read her review of the 1st Harry. It promises more fun I am sure.

Sue said...

I totally remember you Ami. I remember your sister Becky and I think you have a sister that is a year older than me? I cannot remember her name, and I didn't know her too well. But I do remember she seemed like one of the nicest people in the world.

And Ami, you are right. Samwise Gamshee is one of the best things about the trilogy. His loyalty to Frodo is inspiring. I love that you named your daughter Ellie! Spoiler alert! Don't read this Em! That scene in Return of the King when Gollum turns Frodo against Sam is heartbreaking! And after all that Sam comes back! Now I want to read those books again!

Emily said...

I forgot to mention the Doug Weibel thing, I totally didn't know what you were talking about until I googled his name. Then I saw his picture and figured out what you meant and it was either him or the other one (by "the other one", I mean one of Alex's other chess buddies, they were both there that night). Adam maybe?

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