Sunday, April 23, 2023

I have started The Isle of Battle, Book Two of The Swan's War Trilogy by Sean Russell

I have started The Isle of Battle, Book Two of The Swan's War Trilogy by Sean Russell.

The strange River Wynnd, a haunted river of many branches and secrets that may take travelers to lands on no maps; a river once called the Wyrr, for the mighty enchanter said to sleep within. Yet his children sleep not and war rises as ghosts from a forgotten past with them, for the Westbrook Fair has ended in tragedy, plots revealed and plans gone awry. Now all who would seek and avoid war, be they Renné or Wills or otherwise, must chart a course through those hidden lands, for Alaan alone holds the key.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

My father and I just finished reading The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Lost Stories Collection by Michael Scott.

My father and I just finished reading The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Lost Stories Collection by Michael Scott.

Back in 2012 we finished The Enchantress, the final volume in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. A series that was five years of our lives, five years reading a Legend, for across all our vast Fantasy experience Michael Scott is the best myth-maker there is, welding real-world mytho-history into an epic mythos of a fast-paced, heart-stopping and utterly amazing masterwork. Hence returning to the world of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel in The Lost Stories Collection was the joy of seeing old and dear friends again. Friends like the Alchemyst & Sorceress Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, Marethyu, the Shadow Twins Scatty and Aoife, along with others such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Billy the Kid, and Virginia Dare. Plus a few new faces and tales of first meetings, such as Nicholas and Perenelle getting the Codex and of course nearly getting killed for it.

All told, and as expected, we had a delightful time of it.

I have finished The One Kingdom, Book One of The Swan's War Trilogy by Sean Russell

I have finished The One Kingdom, Book One of The Swan's War Trilogy by Sean Russell.

Two Houses, the ancient Renné and Wills, would drown the divided One Kingdom of Ayr in blood to claim a throne long gone. Yet their war, their hatreds, is but a shadow of the war and hate that rises as shades from the strange River Wynnd. For even as two living Heirs long for peace do secrets and sorcery long dead return. Treachery has blossomed and war has come. Yet I strongly suspect that the road to peace runs through lands that appear on no maps of the land between the mountains. A journey that had just begun. Luck to ye Toren, Elise, Michael, and the Fael and Valemen, and pray that the whist and the children of Wyrr do not call your names.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Middle-earth and Hogwarts return to the big screen.

As I noted in my The History (& Golden Age) of Fantasy page, and as all basically already know, J.R.R. Tolkien is the Father of Modern Fantasy per his The Lord of the Rings while J.K. Rowling began the current Golden Age of Fantasy by producing Harry Potter, a classic that also transcended the term and became a cultural phenomenon so as to inspire another whole generation of readers. Alongside a generation of film-makers, for twenty years ago the iconic The Lord of the Rings movies were released and soon nominated for a total of 30 Academy Awards, of which they won 17, both records for any movie trilogy. Then, over the course of a generation, the much beloved Harry Potter movies came out, described as one of the major Hollywood "tent-poles" akin to James Bond, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Then came the success of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire which broke into the world of TV series in the form of HBO's phenomenally successful The Game of Thrones, followed by the The Shannara Chronicles as an adaptation of Terry Brooks' Original Shannara Trilogy, tailed by BBC's TV adaption of Sir Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, then by Amazon's The Rings of Power and adaption of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. Oh yes, and apparently Radar Pictures is bringing Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald-Mage trilogy to the TV screen. To say nothing of that an Eragon live-action TV series is in early development at Disney+, something I have high hopes for seeing as Christopher Paolini will serve as co-writer and executive producer; to say nothing of the fact that 2006 Eragon film is justly condemned as a cinematic mockery due to the makers utter unfaithfulness to the source material, hence hopefully the new TV series will learn from that.

Anyway, given all this, and that thus far no show has managed to match the success of The Game of Thrones, it should perhaps not come as too great shock that Warner Brothers has ordered a Harry Potter TV series. I will skip the dramatics and lay the facts as I obtained them from The New York Times:

“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” Casey Bloys, the chairman and chief executive of HBO and Max content, said in a statement. “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon, and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World,” he said. A news release announcing the series said it would be a “faithful adaptation” of the best-selling book series, which spans seven books published between 1997 and 2007. Eight hit films based on the books were released between 2001 and 2011. The upcoming show, which is described as a decade-long series, “will feature a new cast to lead a new generation of fandom, full of the fantastic detail, much-loved characters and dramatic locations that Harry Potter fans have loved for over 25 years,” according to the release. It will be available on Max in the United States and around the world. No time frame for the show’s release was given. Ms. Rowling, who has drawn waves of criticism in recent years over her remarks on gender identity issues, will be an executive producer for the series.

That's all she wrote, as is said, but apparently not all she filmed. However, seeing as I never watched the Harry Potter movies, this news carries little emotion resonance with me.

What does carry resonance with me is that Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have declared that multiple new Lord of the Rings movies are in the works. However, unlike with the new Harry Potter show, we are uncertain what these new movies will entail exactly. Will they be another retelling of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or like Amazon's The Ring of Power, an exploration into the history of Arda? Or both? Recent tidings seem to suggest the latter:

“The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim,” an anime film, is due in theaters April 12, 2024. It is set 183 years before the events in Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and tells the story of the Helm Hammerhand, the king of Rohan. Beyond that, there are no more films or dates announced. But the multi-year agreement involves films based on "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," De Luca and Abdy said in a statement. "But for all the scope and detail lovingly packed into the two trilogies, the vast, complex and dazzling universe dreamed up by J.R.R. Tolkien remains largely unexplored on film," they said. Warner Bros. and Freemode will produce the movies with New Line Cinema, the Warner Bros.-owned production company behind the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Elijah Wood, the actor of Frodo, has voiced cautious optimism regarding these new adaptions, saying:

"Obviously, at the core of that, is a desire to make a lot of money. It's not that a bunch of executives are like, 'Let's make really awesome art,'" he continued. "And, again, not begrudging anybody because, of course, it is commerce. But great art can come from commerce. So those two things are not mutually exclusive. But Lord of the Rings didn't come out of that place," Wood noted. "It came out of a passion for these books and wanting to see them realized. And I hope that that is ultimately what will drive everything forward with whatever these subsequent movies are."

A hope I share with him. Frankly, I do not see how we can lose this one. If they flop then we still have the original classics, but if successful...

Saturday, April 8, 2023

The Winds of Winter on Goodreads

Here is a conundrum for you: The Winds of Winter, book 6 of George R.R. Martin's bloody A Song of Ice and Fire, is not out yet; yet on Goodreads has a 4.4 Star ranking complete with over 10,000 ratings and 500+ reviews. How exactly? Well, the earliest reviews (written around 2015) are just what one would expect, devoted fans talking about how much they loved A Dance with Dragons and absolutely NEED Book Six, or telling people to bug off bothering GRRM and just let him write because surely The Winds of Winter will be out in a couple years.

Fast forward to 2022 and 2023:

"Someone please read this to my headstone, as I fear I will be dead many a year from old age before whoever finishes this book, is finally done. Whether it be Martin, or whoever the state has finish and rake in the cash for it, I would have it read to my corpse."

"I've been waiting for this book for so long the whole experience feels like an elaborate joke."

"Oh, my sweet summer child. Do you remember what it was like to have such hope? Such confidence? 2015. It was going to be your year. But as summer of 2022 fades and the leaves begin to fall, it is clear that no one will be reading this book even now, some 7 years later, in 2022. What could have been?"

"It took a nearly fatal run-in with a van for Stephen King to finally guide "The Dark Tower" series to its decades-awaited conclusion. What kind of violent sign from the universe will it take to nudge George R. R. Martin toward the "Song of Ice and Fire" finish line?"

"Five Stars for when Brandon Sanderson finishes it."

"The year is 2199, George R.R Martin has preserved his brain in a freezer and uploaded his consciousness in order to avoid death and continue procrastinating writing this book. My great great grandchild raises me from the grave so I can read this book, and my ghost thoroughly enjoys it."

And then there are the meme ones:

My reaction is epitomized in this review:

"HAHAHHA When I saw that this book not only had ratings but also had tons of reviews I honestly thought "Did I somehow miss an announcement that this book had been published?" Fast forward up until about 5 minutes ago and words can not do justice for just how hilarious and amazing the Lions Share of these reviews are. LOL Some are so impressive and entertaining that I actually created an account for the sole purpose of leaving this "Review/Response". Kudos to all of you who have left some of the most amazing snarky one liners and outlandish scenarios I have ever read online in a review. Thanks for the laughs for sure."
Point of order, I only posted the funny ones here. Others of a similar vein just say point blank that they have lost faith in GRRM – which is fine with me but, again, not funny, a point I emphasize because Dad and I were literally howling with laughter looking at these.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Quote of the month - The Song of Amergin

"I am the wind on the sea;
I am the wave of the sea;
I am the bull of seven battles;
I am the eagle on the rock
I am a flash from the sun;
I am the most beautiful of plants;
I am a strong wild boar;
I am a salmon in the water;
I am a lake in the plain;
I am the word of knowledge;
I am the head of the spear in battle;
I am the god that puts fire in the head;
Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?
Who can tell the ages of the moon?
Who can tell the place where the sun rests?"

Amergin Glúingel