Posts Tagged ‘Dwarves’

I hope you like bravado. We have plenty.

And footpads. We have those, too.

And footpads. We have those, too.

That is to say that the leader of this group of men has stopped Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin on the road, and seems intent on lecturing them about what the Shire needs. It needs guidance, he seems to think, and he and his pals are going to provide it. Their boss, the mysterious Sharkey, has control over Lotho Sackville-Baggins, but he can remove him as “Chief” at any time if he wishes. Frodo reminds this man that his boss (we all know it’s Saruman) has no power anymore. He was thrown down. A new king reigns, and his people will reclaim the land scoured by these ruffians. The man laughs at that.

This makes Pippin mad. As a sworn man of Gondor, he stands up for Aragorn. Swords are drawn.

I want to jump back a bit and cover something that I meant to do earlier. Sharkey is not some random name meant to refer to sea creatures. Very little is made in Middle-earth of sea creatures, so that hardly makes sense as a reasoning. In fact, Sharkey is a bastardization of “sharkû”, meaning “old man” in the orc tongue. Saruman is indeed an old man, and I would expect that these men (part-orc/goblin or not) are using that term in a more colloquial sense. Thus, Sharkey.

However, he's less friendly than Jabberjaw.

However, he’s less friendly than Jabberjaw.

BUT, for those of you who may have super-fanned the films, you may recognize this word. Sharku (note the dropped “û”) is the warg-riding orc who fixes to throw Aragorn of the cliff in Two Towers. This scene is not in the book. Sharku, the character, is not in the book. This is a re-appropriation of a known term into another context.

Of course, you can then make matters worse by noting that the actor who played Sharku also plays Snaga, an orc in the company transporting Merry and Pippin, and…oh, yeah, he’s also the guy who plays Nori in the new Hobbit films. Jed Brophy is Peter Jackson’s…um, BROphy.

No one dies today.

“Fearless hobbits with bright swords and grim faces were a great surprise. And there was a…”

Read Full Post »

Well, now we can get over that moment where Frodo almost attacked Sam, and it’s awkward. Frodo recoils from a vision of Sam as a greedy orc grasping for his treasure. He sees Sam again, and he’s hurt by Frodo’s aggression. They both know it’s the ring’s doing, and though Sam wants to help, this is a burden that Frodo must bear alone.

Alone, huh?

Alone, huh?

Sam breaks the tension by offering to go and scrounge up some clothes and gear for the two of them. Frodo needs new clothes, and they might as well go with matching orc attire so as to better blend into Mordor. Thankfully, there’s plenty of stuff lying around on the dead orcs. Sam goes down to look, and leaves Frodo with instructions to keep the ladder up until he hears Sam’s password.

My only quizzical moment is why Sam and Frodo are even worried about orcs sneaking around and surprising them in Cirith Ungol. When Sam pulls Sting out to show Frodo that it also has been kept safe, they notice that the blade isn’t glowing. So…no orcs! Yeah, that’s what that usually means.

But, yeah. I feel like maybe I’m losing steam. Let’s move on to something that I’ve been thinking a lot about.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, And Why Some Little Things Can Make a Good Thing Confusing: A Special Feature:

So, to start, this is still a good movie. Now, this new trilogy will always fall short when compared to the original Lord of the Rings films, but one can’t be surprised. Overall, I think I liked this movie better than An Unexpected Journey, but I also found more problems with it.

I found the departures from the original story more jarring here. No, Tauriel isn’t my problem. I actually fully support creating another wood elf to hang around with Legolas, because you know what? Those characters aren’t really named in The Hobbit. Obviously, in connecting that story to the canon of Lord of the Rings, Legolas has to be there, because he’s the son of Thranduil, king of the woodland realm. Sure, make up someone like Tauriel, because you need more than just Legolas and Thranduil to connect to when you’re hanging out with the elves in Mirkwood, especially when Thranduil’s being a jerk and Legolas is pretty blindly following his orders, at least at the start. However, it’s the nature of Tauriel’s storyline as it evolves that makes me cringe. Really? She’s falling in love with Kili? What? Add on to that the fact that we now have Fili, Kili, Óin, and Bofur awkwardly staying behind in Lake-town, and suddenly the dwarves are all split up instead of going to gaze upon their treasured lost kingdom. And you know what? I see an easy way to fix this: don’t have Kili get hit by a poisoned arrow and get sick. Newsflash: Fili and Kili die in the end. What’s the point of having Kili fall ill now? I certainly don’t want to see the storyline changed so much that we have dead characters not dying. Legolas and Tauriel still have plenty of reason to follow the orcs to Lake-town, and then that’s not deliberately changing anything from the book. Just because it doesn’t mention that this happened doesn’t mean it necessarily didn’t. I can handle that. However, it does mention that all the dwarves go to the Lonely Mountain. Don’t change that.

But you know who’s gonna die? Tauriel. She gonna die. Why else wouldn’t she show up in some way with Legolas in Lord of the Rings? She’s going to die, and in some way that can be fuel for Legolas to go on this crazy quest later on in his life. And maybe, since she loved a dwarf, he understands the value of befriending them? I don’t know. This is weird.

Filler image to break up the text!

Filler image to break up the text!

Meanwhile, there’s something that worked in the first film that is suddenly complicated here. I had liked the addition of Azog (even though he’s not really around during the time of The Hobbit) to provide a consistent and known antagonist. Suddenly, in this film, he goes away. Instead, he places Bolg in his place to hunt Thorin and the dwarves down. Azog goes and hangs out in Dol Guldur. So, what was the point of building Azog up in the first film if he’s not going to continue in that role? Since Bolg is the orc who actually makes sense in established canon to be the one doing the hunting, why not have him doing that from the beginning? In textual canon, Bolg is Azog’s son, and ends up leading the orcs in the Battle of Five Armies at the end. Sure, have him show up sooner, whatever. Again, known antagonists are a good thing, but having a whole film of Azog and then discarding him is silly. And, truly (again in textual canon), Azog was killed by Dáin long ago. We could still have that happen, because Dáin shows up later at the Bo5A (I made that up just now)! Why not have Dáin kill him then? Ah, but probably not. We’ve established Azog as Thorin’s mortal enemy, so Thorin will probably get the honors. See why this gets confusing? And it could have been avoided if this was all just Bolg from the start. Bah.

Among other things I found jarring were the extended chase and battle with Smaug in Erebor (extended action sequences sell, you know) and the business about Bard having to using some silly contraption with the black arrow (which isn’t really a true arrow – more of a bolt) to fire at dragons. In the book he uses a bow. Bows are simple. A bow shouldn’t be able to bring down a dragon, but it does, and that’s what’s cool. When Bard inevitably shoots Smaug down in the next film with this wind lance thing, it’s not going to be as impressive as if he had done it with his modest bow. Also, Bard in the book is a soldier of Lake-town, not some smuggling miscreant. Why not let him have some honor?

Gosh, I’m going on and on here, but here’s the thing: this move is entertaining. I can live with changes, though these are paining me more than some others have. Thankfully, I still have the wherewithal to be able to separate those feelings from my enjoyment of a film. May that never cease.

And, we all just have to laugh when Bombur presses Z or R twice and barrel rolls a score of orcs down.

In looking ahead, how is the last film going to start?! Smaug is literally seconds away from attacking Lake-town. That’s no place to just jump back into a story. Ball’s in your court, Jackson.

No one dies today.

“Then he got up, drew the grey elven-cloak…”

Read Full Post »

Up and up Sam goes, until he comes to something of a landing before the doorway to the tallest tower. The fighting must have been bad here, as the courtyard is strewn with more bodies. From the darkness of the door that Sam intends to go through, he hears voices.

Somebody's still home.

Somebody’s still home.

A wounded Shagrat is arguing with a lesser orc. This orc, Snaga, is afraid to go downstairs. They’ve been trying to get word out about the battle at Cirith Ungol, but Gorbag’s forces have killed their messengers. The two orcs that Sam saw shot outside the gate were a part of this very plan. Shagrat isn’t too happy, and it seems like they’re doomed either way.

First Mentions:

-Snaga (of Mordor): This is our second Snaga, and I’ve learned that that name is commonly used to name orcs that are somehow lesser. The first one was from Isengard, and was a part of the group transporting Merry and Pippin.

-Radbug: An unfortunate orc, probably under Shagrat’s command. Shagrat killed him from what sounds like insubordination.

-Lagduf: One of the orcs shot outside trying to deliver the message of the battle.

-Muzgash: The other orc shot outside.

-the Black Pits: Sound to be punishment holding cells (or an execution method) for traitors to Mordor.

Eavesdropping can be useful, like for instance how Sam learns that Shagrat is injured. He also seems to have killed off Gorbag, and it seems nearly positive now that these are the only two orcs left alive in Cirith Ungol. At first I thought that it must have been Radbug who stumbled into Sam, and Shagrat killed him for his stupidity, but now I’m thinking that it was Snaga. By now, he must know that no other orcs are left, just this intimidating figure that he saw. The scream Sam heard a while ago while down in the lower levels was probably Shagrat killing Radbug, and thus motivating Snaga to head downstairs. Now the argument that probably happened earlier is going on again. Orcs are not that smart.

Though times are changing.

Though times are changing.

That’s a long way of saying that things are still working out incredibly well for Sam. This is almost too much luck for one person to have go their way. I’ll take it.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:




Orc names are actually some of the best around. They lack the pretentiousness that a lot of other races’ names possess, except for the dwarves. Dwarves tend to win every time.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 3

No one dies today.

“‘You won’t escape by skulking here.'”

Read Full Post »

It’s always annoying having to deal with the particulars. Sure, you can march off to war and distract Sauron all you like, but that won’t change the fact that he has a bigger army than you, and that one is still camped out just north of Minas Tirith. In one quick attack, he could swipe the city away from Gondor. What would be the point of returning to a ruined homeland?

Yeah, that army that the Rohirrim skirted around by hiking through the woods with Ghân-buri-Ghân is still there!

And they're bored.

And they’re bored.

Gandalf counsels all to leave some force behind in Minas Tirith to defend against a counterattack. The force sent to Mordor should be considerably large, but since there’s no hope of really attacking the black land anyway, it only has to look big enough that it might cause Sauron some concern. And they should get ready to go in two days.

At first that seems ridiculous. With all the men injured from this past battle, getting ready to go will be hard. However, Aragorn remembers that scads of men from the southern coast of Gondor are riding or sailing up to Minas Tirith. After he cleared out the corsair ships, he asked those who could not join him up the river to come along as fast as they could. Well, they should be here soon! That will fill out the forces both on offense and defense.

On a side note, Imrahil wonders about the strength of Minas Tirith with its now ruined gate. Aragorn suggests that dwarves may be hired to fix it. Yes, Gimli, your stoneworking laments will pay their dues!

Well, someone's Happy!

Well, someone’s Happy!

Oh, wait, so Aragorn’s going to be a great king because he inspired so many more men to march up to Minas Tirith, and now they’ll come in handy? Gosh, I’d have never guessed! So great he will be! Let’s keep hitting that point over and over and over again.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


Erebor is another name for the Lonely Mountain, which of course is featured prominently in…

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 24

No one dies today.

“Aragorn should find some two thousands of those that he had gathered to him in the South; but Imrahil should find three and a half thousands;…”

Read Full Post »

We’re still listening to this tale. Gimli’s picked it up now, but the story’s the same.

Aragorn has driven the Haradrim before him in retreat to the ships waiting for them. Fear of the ghost army has run rampant, and some ships have even retreated away before anyone arrived. The battle is a quick one. When Aragorn calls the ghosts to fight, they sweep over the Southrons, driving them away with fear and slaughter.

Yeah, you know.

Yeah, you know.

There isn’t much for the men behind to do to clean up. Aragorn leads them onto the remaining ships, freeing slaves, and begins preparation for the journey up the river. He then releases the dead from his service.

So, that’s when that happens. They don’t make it all the way to Minas Tirith. The movie just added them there, probably because the Dúnedain aren’t shown meeting up with Aragorn before taking the Paths of the Dead.

Completely unrelated to anything, I stumbled upon a keyboard shortcut for accents and such today. It had made me very happy. Só. Vëry. Hâppy. This means you might notice me talking about Éomer and Éowyn more often, or the Dúnedain, Glóin, Barad-dûr…you know. It would have been really helpful to know during those chapters where Merry and Pippin were hanging out with orcs all the time.

Meanwhile, don’t forget, just for framing purposes, that Merry and Pippin are the ones listening to this whole story right now.

I heart frame.

I heart frame.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


Four tellings? Only once, please.

Days Until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 29

No one dies today.

“‘And thereupon the King of the Dead stood out before the host…'”

Read Full Post »

A very, very late post after the end of my birthday/farewell party. Not much energy here. Let’s go.

Gimli wants to show Merry the caves behind Helm’s Deep. No time for that, though. Aragorn, meanwhile, has been in thought and conference with Halbarad in a chamber since their arrival. A summons was heard by the rangers and Elladan and Elrohir, though no such call was sent by Aragorn. Legolas and Gimli speculate whether this was sent by Gandalf, Galadriel, or someone else. No matter. The guys are here now.

Should Legolas and Gimli have called out to their own people? No, Legolas says, war comes to them anyhow. They have no way to help.

Yes, yes, yes. That’s what I have. Things happen. It’s not all that horribly exciting. I have a lot to get to.

Thank you, Chicago. You’ve been fantastic.

My kind of town, Chicago...

My kind of town, Chicago…

No one dies today.

“For a while the three companions walked together, speaking of this and that turn in the battle, and they went down from the broken gate, and passed the mounds of the fallen on the greensward beside…”

Read Full Post »

Woah, it’s been a long time since we had any sort of an extended history lesson. We get one today.

You see, Faramir is not totally ignorant of the past. He tells Frodo that the rulers of Gondor have passed down lore for generations, ever since the first Steward took over from the last of the line of Anárion. He and Boromir learned much of this lore, although Boromir was always concerned with why his family could not be considered kings after so many years had gone by without the return of the true line of kings.

Game of Thrones: what happens when Sean Bean is a whole lot more honest about the true line of kings.

Game of Thrones: what happens when Sean Bean is a whole lot more honest about the true line of kings.

However, Faramir brings himself back on track, mentioning that these ancient books and scrolls are what originally brought a certain grey wizard to Minas Tirith. Gandalf liked to go over their histories. Unfortunately, Frodo has to inform Faramir of Gandalf’s fall. Oops.

First Mentions:

-Mardil: The first Steward of Gondor, who took the throne in regency. So that makes him Faramir and Boromir’s great-great-great…etc. grandfather.

-Eärnur: The last king of Gondor. He died childless, riding off to some battle or another. That was dumb.

It feels like a common trope: you have two brothers, learning from the past, but one thinks that things should change a little bit instead of always being done one way because “that’s always the way it’s been done”. In a right/left sense, Faramir is conservative and Boromir is liberal. Conservatism is championed in this world. You don’t want to go around changing tradition. I’ve seen a theory about how Sauron stands for industrialism, and his constant pursuit of new technology is his evil. Keep it simple, stupid.

KISS, for effect.

KISS, for effect.

Also, we get a preponderance of different names for Gandalf! Two of them I’ve never even heard of before. That’s crazy. Let’s take a look at them…

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:






Those last three are Gandalf’s names. Tharkûn is from the dwarves, Olórin from the Valar, and Incánus from the mysterious south. I haven’t heard Tharkûn or Incánus before, but Olórin is pretty commonly known as his true name, if that’s what the Valar call him, anyway.

No one dies today.

“‘I saw him fall into the abyss.'”

Read Full Post »

Our time here with Saruman is done, as evidenced by the shrieking coming out of Orthanc. It seems that Saruman has discovered Wormtongue’s folly in throwing that black orb out the window. We’re going to leave them to their bickering.

Returning to the broken gate, our heroes come across Treebeard, and Gandalf introduces the three hunters to him. The ent welcomes Legolas to walk in Fangorn. However, Legolas explains his deal with Gimli to visit Fangorn together, along with the caves behind Helm’s Deep. Treebeard is…less than eager about a dwarf entering Fangorn. Especially such a smooth one as Gimli, who drops his axe on the ground as he bows in respect.

The ents will surely look upon that fondly.

The ents will surely look upon that fondly.

Treebeard had assumed that Legolas would want to bring other elves with him. Since elves have such a close relationship with trees, I guess that Treebeard is okay with all of them. Dwarves, on the other hand, are known for digging, mining, and all sorts of construction. That runs counterpoint to what a shepherd of the trees would want to see around their lands. So…how does Gimli gain the favor of Treebeard? I think we’ll just have to wait and find out.

Meanwhile, what is Gandalf’s plan for Saruman, even after all this war is ended?

Nothing. Simply nothing. Gandalf does not want to control the world, obviously, and one cannot take down Orthanc without great power. Should Saruman hole up in the tower, that would be his decision, and Gandalf would not try to force it down around him.

Orthanc: the anti-Jenga.

Orthanc: the anti-Jenga.

Everything is okay for now. Since we’ve moved past negotiations with Saruman, we can joke about how dwarves are silly and shouldn’t be allowed in forests.

“‘This is a strange friendship!'”

Read Full Post »

Saruman’s plan of action is pretty clear: play the victim, and convince Théoden that Gandalf’s ideas will lead him into ruin. That should work, right?

Maybe if he forgets that whole army you sent against him...

Maybe if he forgets that whole army you sent against him…

Frighteningly, the plan starts working. Théoden is unable to speak, and his men feel in their minds the need to agree with Saruman. In this hesitant moment, Saruman holds sway over all. Gimli speaks, briefly angering Saruman and breaking the spell, although the wizard calms himself down and gets back to work again. This time, Éomer speaks, pleading with Théoden to remember Gandalf’s warning.

Oh yeah, Gandalf. Why doesn’t he just pipe in and tell Théoden to do something? I guess it has something to do with that “Don’t meddle too much in the affairs of mortals” thing he has. Bugger.

In the scheme of things, however, this shows just how powerful Saruman is. It isn’t just the lesser men he’s reaching, but Théoden as well. Possibly not as strongly, but even the king is moved by his voice. The more Théoden hesitates, the more time Saruman has to work his magic. It happens in most action or sci-fi movies: don’t let the captured evil person speak, or he’ll just wreak havoc on your mind.

This is your brain on Saruman.

This is your brain on Saruman.

Does Gimli have more power, as he can speak out at first? Maybe. Dwarves are known to be a sturdy folk. But, are they the Toydarians of Middle-earth?

No. Because Toydarians are stupid.

“‘Have we ridden forth to victory, only to stand at last amazed by an old liar with honey on his forked tongue? So would…'”

Read Full Post »

Mm…yes. Quite.

Haters gonna hate.

Haters gonna hate.

Everyone arrives at the foot of Orthanc, the black tower looming menacingly over their conversation. Gandalf leads the way up the stairs to the door, with Théoden following. He wants to bring Éomer along with. Gandalf brings Aragorn as his second, and expects no one else to join. Joke’s on him! Legolas and Gimli want to come, too, as the only elf and dwarf present. Okay, you guys.

Meanwhile, all the riders sit uneasily outside. Merry and Pippin are there, too, wondering if their presence is even necessary. Why did they come on the journey in the first place?

Cheer up, lads! Hasn’t this been exciting? The battles with orcs, capture-times with orcs, hanging out with orcs…wasn’t that all fun?

Perhaps not. Well, anyway, now is no time to be bemoaning their situation. Gandalf has warned against any sort of levity. In solidarity, perhaps I should end levity as well.



JK, levity is awesome.

Besides, what else are Merry and Pippin good at? Honestly, they’re the most comic-relief type characters in this book. Other than Tom Bombadil, of course.

Casual Tom Bombadil reference.

What do I want to say tonight? I feel like I have something…but I’m running out of ideas as I type. Bollocks.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


Just like Chris Malleo.

“‘What did we come for? We are not wanted.'”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »