Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Earthsea TV Series

Lookfar approaches the Dragon of Pendor
His Dark Materials. The Wheel of Time. The Lord of the Rings. Now Earthsea. One thing we owe GRRM, the popularity of HBO's Game of Thrones broke the barrier between the Fantastic and TV Series.
But Earthsea is special. The characters are non-white, the landscape is an archipelago, and the emphasis is on understanding nature and human nature rather than possessing power over them. Ursula K. Le Guin was a master, so let us pray to Segoy and the freed soul of Erreth-Akbe that the TV Series will be worthy of her.

"When it rained Ogion would not even say the spell that every weather-worker knows, to send the storm aside. In a land where sorcerers come thick, like Gont or the Enlades, you may see a raincloud blundering slowly from side to side and place to place as one spell shunts it on to the next, till at last it is buffeted out over the sea where it can rain in peace. But Ogion let the rain fall where it would." – The Wizard of Earthsea

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The red ship draws nearer...

The editing of the Fantasy series I wrote is now finished. All that remains to be done is formatting along with the sadly many and varied other little tasks required before sending it out to a publisher. That and several related logistical decisions. But the lion's share of labor is complete.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

"You are the ocean’s gray waves..."

Almost two years ago today I finished playing Fire Emblem: Fates - Birthright, but what would have happened if Corrin did not choose Nohr or Hoshido? Today I begin the journey to find out in starting Fire Emblem: Fates - Revelation. Indeed, the great joy behind all Fire Emblems games is that the plotlines are worthy of books, poignant and heart-shattering often enough, with fully developed characters to pull those heartstrings. Anyway, now it is time to get to the bottom of several mysteries left unsolved in Birthright, as well a likely not so Bottomless Canyon and a lake. And, hopefully, save a few lives I could not before.

"You are the ocean’s gray waves
Destined to seek
Life beyond the shore 

Just out of reach
Yet the waters ever change
Flowing like time The path is yours to climb."
- Azura's song

Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 22 in the year 3019 of the Third Age

On this date in Middle-earth: on August 22nd in the year 3019 of the Third Age, the Fellowship of the Ring reaches Isengard and there the eight members meet Treebeard. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli bid farewell to Gandalf and the four Hobbits, and Aragorn says that, while some of them may and likely will meet again, never again will they all be together and thus the Fellowship of the Ring is now at an end. Aragorn then returns with his knights to Gondor while Legolas and Gimli head (much to the latter's displeasure) to Fangorn. Gandalf, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin continue on to the Shire (with Galadriel and Celeborn traveling with them for a time).

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Wheel turns

Usually I do not do this with books, but then few books are as long as The Wheel of Time: a fourteen volume series each book of which is 700+ pages. Hence I knew from the start that I would be reading Robert Jordan for years, and indeed it was the  excessive length (even by my standards) alone that for a decade kept me from picking it up. But I did, and a year ago today I witnessed the tragic death of Lews Therin Telamon, called the Dragon, Lord of the Morning, and lastly Kinslayer. A year ago today I started The Wheel of Time and took the first steps on the great journey with Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, and his friends Egwene al'Vere, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, and Nynaeve al'Meara. It has been a thrilling ride thus far, a thoroughly enjoyable and truly unique Fantasy, and I am happy to report that the rumored glacial pace has yet to materialize. Of course, having recently started book #6 and hence being less than halfway through the series, I must acknowledge that a year ago I also said that "unlike usual, I do not silently swear to finish this series, but by the Light I mean to try!" A double-oath I mean to keep but, right now and come what may, I have every intention of seeing Tarmon Gai'don through to the end.
Meanwhile and as the Aes Sedai say, the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

I have just started Lord of Chaos

The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just started Lord of Chaos, Volume #6 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
War gathers as those Aes Sedai opposed to the Reds remain uncertain regarding Rand, fearful of his growing power, policies, and the fact that he is a man. All despite him being the Dragon Reborn and humanity's one hope. But if the Prophesies say that Rand will break the world then the world seems determined to beat him to it. Yet all pales before the balefire threat hatched in Shayol Ghul, as the Dark One risks the Pattern to slay the Dragon.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

I have just finished The Fires of Heaven

May the Light illumine you, Moiraine Aes Sedai
The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just finished The Fires of Heaven, Volume #5 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
"For once the Dragon walks the land, the fires of heaven fall where they will, until all men's lives are ablaze." Thus now do the Rising Sun and Crescent Moon bow to the Dragon Reborn even as the Daughter of the Night fell while the Destroyer of Hope still rules the Golden Bees. Meanwhile the One Man departs in grief as Lion Throne is left empty and the sundering of the Flame breeds a new war. As Rand said to the agreement of Davram Bashere, Marshal-General of Saldaea, "peace is far off yet. It will be blood and death for some time to come."

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

My father and I just finished The Revenge of Samuel Stokes by Penelope Lively

My father and I just finished The Revenge of Samuel Stokes by Penelope Lively.
A solid and humorous book, as makes sense when dealing with a powerful ghostly landscape designer who can turn green houses into Greek temples among much else.

Good, flexible thinking and work Tim, Jane, and Tim's Grampa.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

His Dark Materials: Season 1 Trailer

I think the title of this post speaks for itself, so I will be brief; HBO sees its as a potential Game of Thrones successor. But this war is about nothing less than free will and the loving ties that bind. Here is hoping it captures that bright spirit as well as the drama.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

An Arthurian Epic without peer

My father and I just finished Silver on the Tree, the final book of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence.  
The series that is one of our oldest and highest pinnacles of Fantasy, an Arthurian Epic that helped forge our love of the genre and, for me, crafted my view of the world almost as much as The Lord of the Rings.
"When the dark comes rising, six shall turn it back; 
Three from the circle, three from the track; 
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; 
Five will return, and one go alone." 
Thus by the Six and the Pendragon's sword Eirias, by the Light and the great Circle of Old Ones, the Dark has been put to flight forever and world belongs now, wholly and truly, to humanity.

“For remember, that it is altogether your world now. You and all the rest. We have delivered you from evil, but the evil that is inside men is at the last a matter for men to control. The responsibility and the hope and the promise are in your hands-your hands and the hands of all men on this earth. The future can not blame the present, just as the present can not blame the past. The hope is always here, always alive, but only your fierce caring can fan it into a fire to warm the world." - Merriman Lyon, first of the Old Ones, Merlin

Farewell for now, for we shall meet again, Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew, Will Stanton, Bran Davies, Merriman Lyon, and all those others affiliated with the Light.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series is coming to Netflix

The original creators of the anime, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Bryan Konietzko, will serve as the executive producers and showrunners. Just as well, seeing as they have to live up to the standards they themselves set in Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fossil Island at last

Hidden deep behind the stormy clouds lies a newly discovered area called Anachronia. At least, that is what it is called now. But for over a decade this place was known to RuneScape players Fossil Island, a land northeast of the dark land of Morytania. The island was spoken of by the Varrock Museum's curator, Haig Halen, who mentions that reaching the yet-unexplored island is one of Varrock Museum's projects. A canal barge was under construction in the northern part of the Varrock Dig Site, overseen by the barge foreman, and claimed to be used to travel to the island via the River Salve. Obtaining 100 museum kudos was to be required to participate in the expedition. But the barge was never built, or rather its building epitomized the phrase "getting nowhere fast." But now, at long last, and we can visit this Land Out of Time...and find that the fossils have a bit too much flesh and bones on them for safe archeological research. (I would say more, except my ban on spoilers applies for video games too.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Road Goes Ever On

"The Road Goes Ever On" by Matěj Čadil
So much of the heart of Fantasy is about the journey, and while a character's personal growth is of critical importance to any good story, Fantasy has the distinction of being able to send both their characters and readers alike to places they never dreamed of. Of blending the inner journey with a wondrous outer one, each affecting the other in key ways; and no author does this better than J.R.R. Tolkien. Having recently read The Lord of the Rings again, I was struck many things that greater age and experience gave me the eyes to see, but perhaps greatest of all was the impression that Tolkien nailed the journey element perfectly. Something I say not out of blind loyalty but rather total conviction and having read countless other Fantasy books since I last picked up LOTR; having walked many roads both wondrous and perilous with more dear friends than can be counted. But when reading The Lord of the Rings again I was struck by how each section, each mini-adventure, was perfectly timed, lasting neither overlong nor short and flowing flawlessly into the next section. One truly feels like one is going on the journey alongside the four Hobbits (five if you count The Hobbit and Bilbo).
Truly Tolkien is the master of the journey, as even his famous The Road Goes Ever On walking song is perfect for sing while walking, each word taking no more than a single breath and arranged to suit of the natural rhythm of walking feet. A fact I know from experience and can thus say that the tune lightens the step and soul after a long day.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Still round the corner there may wait  
A new road or a secret gate,  
And though I oft have passed them by,  
A day will come at last when I  
Shall take the hidden paths that run  
West of the Moon, East of the Sun."

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Dragon Reborn comes

I find it difficult to listen to the song The Dragonborn Comes without thinking of The Wheel of Time these days, so I decided to rewrite the lyrics to fit Robert Jordan's epic as opposed to Skyrim: Elder Scrolls. Personally, I think it came out rather well, with the second half inspired by another set of rewritten lyrics. Sadly, I have yet to replace the Dovahzul part of the song with something written in the Old Tongue because I fear running into spoilers...but mayhaps I shall after Tarmon Gai'don.

Our hero, our hero claims a shepherd's heart
I tell you, I tell you, the Dragon Reborn comes
With a soul wielding the Power of ancient Aes Sedai

Twice and twice, he shall be marked, 
Twice to live and twice to die
It's an end to the evil of the Creator's foe
Beware, beware, the
Dragon Reborn comes
For the Shadow doth rise, and his legend yet grows
You'll know, you'll know the
Dragon Reborn comes.
With the soul of the Dragon and the might of the sword
When the Forsaken are loose and the seals are no more
He will save the world yet break peoples and land
By the Wheel of Time, here he stands
By the countless of evils our hero has slain
The Shepherd of the Night shall know his bane.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

My father and I just started Silver on the Tree

My father and I just started Silver on the Tree, the final book of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence.
The circle of Old Ones stands ready with the Drew children and the Pendragon to face down the Dark's final and greatest rising. But to do that they need the last of the Light's great Things of Power - the crystal sword Eirias.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My father and I just finished The Grey King

My father and I just finished The Grey King, book four of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence.
We have always named this series as among the greatest of the greats, an Arthurian Epic without peer. This book brings the latter element into the fore as in the oldest hills of Wales the Harp of Gold must be found by the youngest of the One Ones to wake the Sleepers so that the Light may in full strength ride to the rescue of the world from the rising Dark.

“On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills
Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the light shall have the harp of gold.

By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call;
Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.

When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall."

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lament for Boromir

Among so many other things, one element of J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings that stands out is that so many characters sing songs – with the full and sometime several-page-long lyrics in the books – rather than him simply writing so-and-so person sung a song about such-and-such. Tolkien actually goes the full mile, being the perfectionist he is, and yet these songs are so often ignored! I know that, until recently, I skipped them entirely in my eagerness to get back to the story. Yet when they are not ignored they still go unappreciated, I feel, since we cannot hear them sung they deserve to be.

Until we can. Here is the funeral song sung by Aragorn and Legolas for Boromir:

Aragorn sang: 
Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass grows
The West Wind comes walking, and about the walls it goes.
‘What news from the West, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight?
Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight?
‘I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey,
I saw him walk in empty lands until he passed away
Into the shadows of the North, I saw him then no more.
The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor,
‘O Boromir! From the high walls westward I looked afar,
But you came not from the empty lands where no men are.’

Then Legolas sang:
From the mouths of the Sea the South Wind flies, from the sandhills and the stones,
The wailing of the gulls it bears, and at the gate it moans.
‘What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Boromir the Fair? He tarries and I grieve.
‘Ask not of me where he doth dwell – so many bones there lie,
On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky,
So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea.
Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me!’
‘O Boromir! Beyond the gate the seaward roads runs south,
But you came not with the wailing gulls from the grey sea’s mouth’.

Then Aragorn sang again:
From the Gate of the Kings the North Wind rides, and past the roaring falls,
And clear and cold about the tower its loud horn calls.
‘What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the bold? For he is long away.’
‘Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought,
His cloven shield, his broken sword, they to the water brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest,
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.
‘O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze,
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.

"You left the East Wind to me," said Gimli, "but I will say naught of it."
"That is as it should be," said Aragorn. "In Minas Tirith they endure the East Wind, but they do not ask it for tidings"