Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

Best 5 Fictional Villains

Villains are examples of where people and characters diverge. In real life, we like the bad guys and shudder over the bad guys. But, in literature, we love the villains for being so bad. We appreciate them for their nastiness. So, here they are, and in no particular order.

Count Olaf  

from A Series of Unfortunate Events

I’m not sure how he slid into the list, but I like him, somehow, he’s sneaky like that. (: Only one eyebrow sits above his eyes, he’s the master of disguises, former VFD member(if I remember correctly), and quite the bad guy. Together with Esme, they could do nearly anything. Well, except outsmart the Baudelaires, that is.

Saruman

from Lord of the Rings

Tolkien develops the White Wizard better than Sauron, though in the end Sauron is Middle Earth’s main, strongest villain. I’ve always wondered why that is. Anyone know?

“His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords.”  -Psalm 55:21, ESV

Doesn’t this verse fit Saruman perfectly?  

 Jadis(a.k.a. the White Witch) 

from The Chronicles of Narnia

My favorite appearance of hers is in The Magician’s Nephew. 

Loki

from various Marvel movies

His sarcasm, origin(Norse mythology; also where we got the names of our days from), and costumes are quite awesome. I haven’t seen him in the Thor movies, but I’ve heard good things. 🙂

The Wicked Stepmother

from 2015 Cinderella 

As a huge member of the LotR fandom, watching Cate Blanchett(Galadriel!) play a unlikable, thoroughly evil character hurt. But I got over that. I loved watching the newer movie dive deeper into a character after the original story and cartoon had barley scratched its surface.


“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.”- Tom Hiddleston, actor for Loki

So, those are mine, who are your favorites?

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On the Subject of Hobbits, Dragons, Virtue, and How Fantasy Relates to Us in the 21st Century

Note: I wrote this review over a year ago, so please excuse any consequential grammatical mistakes or the such.

According to Angelina Stanford, 150 million copies of the Lord of the Rings have been sold, as well as 120 million copies of the Chronicles of Narnia. Not only is fantasy very popular, but it has existed since the ancient world. Sadly, many people view fantasy as pure entertainment. I would like to argue that fantasy has a direct impact on our daily lives for three reasons: Fantasy calms our fears of sin, allows us to escape, and increases the beauty of virtue.

The first reason is that fantasy calms our fears of sin. Sin is a very real thing, and it has been at work since the fall. It corrupts every human’s thoughts, feelings, words, actions and lives. Also, fear is a consequence of sin, and an emotion nearly everyone experiences. Fantasy is not intended to instill fear, but to fight it! G. K. Chesterton explains, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist, children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” Although evil may be overwhelming, what is good and true will prevail. This is the Christian’s hope. Tolkien provides an excellent quote, “…the true form of fantasy is the… sudden joyous turn, it’s a sudden and miraculous grace, it is the denial of universal final defeat, it gives us a fleeting glimpse of joy,joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief, and therefore, these stories are not escapist, they are the ultimate reality…” And so, fantasy shines a light of hope in this world of the dark fear and sin on the “ultimate reality” of the truth of the gospel.

The second reason is that fantasy provides a means of escape. In the modern world, we are surrounded by the beeps, rings, alerts, and other various sounds of technology. Additionally,  as I already mentioned the world is sinful and often stressful. To escape into a world such as Middle Earth or Narnia brings a break from these distractions and discouragements.  Tolkien adds his insight, “I have claimed that Escape is one of the  main functions of fairy stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which “Escape” is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”

The third reason is that fantasy increases the beauty of virtue. What is virtue? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, virtue is defined as morally good behavior  or character. In Latin, “virtus” could be translated as either virtue or courage.  We find a lot of both in fantasy, especially the classics, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. Douglas Wilson summarizes this beautifully, “If our sons are to be prepared to encounter the world God made, then their imaginations must be fed and nourished by the stories of the Red Cross Knight, Sam carrying Frodo, Beouwulf tearing off Grendel’s arms, and Trumpkin fighting for Aslan while still not believing in him. Fairy stories make virtue not just right, but lovely.” Surely this does not only apply to our sons, but to everyone! Although we may never be asked to fight in battles against the Telmarines, carry a magic ring to Mount Doom, or  fight dragons for stolen treasure, we are called to be virtious everyday, and thereby give God the glory! Similar to virtue, is integrity. C.S. Lewis says, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” This is an especially powerful quote when I consider that I usually struggle with the question, “How does this relate to me?”, more often after watching these movies, than after reading these books. I think this is partly because the actors in these movies have cameras following them, and they know that many people will view the movies. Whereas, the characters in fantasy did not know that books would be written about them, much less movies! Sam, from Lord of the Rings, did speak of the stories that would be told about Frodo, but Frodo had to add the part about Samwise the stouthearted, because Sam was to humble too mention it himself. (I’m very sorry if you have not read this, it is in the second book)

To conclude, fantasy relates to us  for three reasons, it calms our fears of sin , allows us to escape, and increases the beauty of virtue. If you are interested in reading more fantasy, I recommend The Chronicles of Narnia, Beowulf, The Chronicles of Prydain, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings. And if you are interested in learning more about the power of fantasy, I recommend Angelina Stanford’s talk. A great deal of my material and inspiration is from her talk.


“I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” – C.S. Lewis, from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Lord of the Rings Movie Series- Pros and Cons

Elijah Wood as Frodo in Peter Jackson's live-a...
Elijah Wood as Frodo in Peter Jackson’s live-action version of The Lord of the Rings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WARNING: Major spoilers.

Note: I wrote this review as a fresh Lord of the Rings nerd a few years ago, so please excuse any consequential grammatical mistakes or the such. 🙂

Last night my dad and I finished watching the Lord of the Rings movie series(a feat which took nights to accomplish, ;D). Some people find this series better than the books. One the other hand, some people dislike the fact that it is not quite loyal to the books in certain respects. Here I have organized my thoughts into a list of pros and cons:

Pros:

1. Sam(my favorite character!) remains still loyal to Frodo, for the most part. And like Pippin said “he would be willing to jump down a dragon’s throat” , for Frodo.

2. Pippin and Merry entertain us just as much(and perhaps more) as they do in the book.

3. Ian McKellen portrays Gandalf excellently.

4. They included one of my many favorite quotes from the book,”I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.”

Cons:

1.They left out many people, events and places from the book: Tom Bombadil, Goldberry, Farmer Maggot(except for very briefly where he is chasing away the hobbits, instead of helping them), The Scouring of The Shire, the conspiracy of Pippin, Merry, Sam, and Fatty who helped Frodo, and finding the troll who had turned to stone.

2. They added many events to the movie: Pippin and Merry accidentally coming along with Sam and Frodo to Rivendell, not because they had been planning to help him, Gollum convincing Frodo that Sam had eaten the last lembas bread, and the whole love thing with Arwen and Aragorn in the first and second movie.

3. On the topic of love, In the first and second movies there was too much romance between Aragorn and Arwen. The part where the vision of Arwen gives Aragon new strength after the Warg attack is quite “made up”. But, then in the third movie Sam and Aragorn marry their wives, yet I don’t remember Eowyn and Faramir marrying.  unnecessary romance in the first and second movies, how couldn’t they add the marriage of Eowyn and Faramir? As you can relate(if you’ve seen it), the movie series did a pretty good job overall, but added/left out too many things. All in all, I think that the Lord of the Rings movie series are worth my time. But, I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to say that the movie series are better than the books.