A review of The Hobbit

Bilbo

I just came back from watching The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey.  I saw the film in 2D and was more than satisfied with the graphics.  I reread the Hobbit in anticipation of the movie so I could see how faithful the story was.  However, I had been following Peter Jackson’s blog on the desire to create a trilogy by adding on more of the story of the Necromancer and Dol Godur.  For those that have not read the appendix in the Lord of the Rings, you will learn more about this aspect of the story, just briefly mentioned in the Hobbit.  To learn even more, check out the Silmarillion and the Unfinished Tales of Middle Earth.

Where Jackson is taking the story will answer many questions for those who do not know about the full universe of Tolkiens’ creation.  There is one scene where Gandalph is reunited with Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond in Rivendell.  If all you have ever read is the Hobbit, you will immediately recognize this meeting never took place.  There is a scene where Radagast the Brown appears in Dol Godur to witness a surprise.  This too is not in the book, but is referenced in other stories and appendices.  What makes Jackson an innovative filmmaker is that he can take the slightest narrative and expand it into a visual masterpiece.  One scene has our band of adventurers being caught in the middle of a war between rock giants.  The reference to the rock giants is in the Hobbit, but just barely.

For people like me who have read and reread Tolkien’s writings, we discover something new almost every time we read them and then wonder what it would look like on the screen.  There are always going to be disappointments with the film version.  I was slightly disappointed with the meeting with the trolls and the addition to Azog as the chief antagonist to Thorin.  I was very pleased with the riddles in the dark scene, it was funny and moving at the same time.  You once again have a love / hate relationship with Gollum.

In the end, I came away having a fondness for Bilbo and the Dwarves. This is important to me with any film and it is reinforced with Howard Shore’s new music and retro recall from the Lord of the Rings.  You feel as though you never left the series.  Bilbo ends the movie with his statement,  “Well at least the hardest part of the journey is over.”  Oh, the best is yet to come Bilbo and I want to be part of the journey.  I will go see the Hobbit again for sure, some movies are much better with the big screen and super sound system.  The Hobbit is well worth the two  and three quarter hours.  You will soon recall why it has been an enduring and endearing fantasy story since 1937.  Good job Peter Jackson and crew, but why do you make us wait so long?  It is pure agony precious.

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Prepare for Battle!

You surely recall Gandalf saying these words as Minas Tirith was about to come under siege by the forces of Sauron, “Prepare for Battle.”  When I began writing the siege of Masara in the third book of my trilogy, Last Stand of the Living, I wanted to exceed the battle scene of Pelennor Fields.  In the Silmarillion, there is also the battle of sudden flames in which orcs, balrogs and dragons join Morgoth’s forces.  Unlike the Lord of the Rings, I wanted a single and decisive battle with varying twist and turns.

Let me set the scene.  The hero, Arimar, has undergone a quest to free those enslaved by a possessed king.  He has struggled mightily to return to his homelands with those he earned freedom for.  He has reconciled the races, but now he has discovered that the forces of evil are gathering an army to destroy the last of ten heavenly worlds.  These forces consist of giants, dragons, men, hybrid demons and weapons.  The forces of good are asked by the creator to do no more than withstand the onslaught for forty days and forty nights, with a final revelation to be given.  The small forces of good, 140,000 must build a five mile long wall and trench in six months to withstand this onslaught.  Arimar appoints one male each of the races as the captains for this battle to stand and defend a section along that five mile wall.

Word has been dispatched to call for aid from all of the seven races, yet the couriers are captured, leaving only the 140,000 to fight this battle against millions.  Arimar’s Dayanaran (think of someone from India) friend, Murlach, is a military engineer that designs weapons to kill as many as possible.  Everyone, including the young and elderly are taught in some manner to fight, to make their last stand.

At this point, I will give you no more details, except to prepare you for the largest battle scene, in my opinion, to ever be written, for it not only involves all the mortal forces of good and evil, but the ethereal forces as well.  My readers best describe this battle as an emotional roller coaster. The first two books set the stage of this mythical world and its characters, but the final story will grip you paragraph by paragraph. As George RR Martin kills off characters for seemingly no reason, the deaths in my story have a purpose, only revealed at the very end of times.

Prepare your heart for the battle ahead and have tissue ready.

Where did my trilogy idea come from?

Thanks to fellow author Victoria Grefer for posing a question she receives from readers asking her about her stories.  Where did your idea come from? Well here it goes. I had already decided to write a story inspired by my love of all things JRR Tolkien and specifically the Lord of the Rings. The story definitely involves an epic quest, war, love and sacrifice.  Then I was challenged by a group of men in a Bible study group, to include a creator in the story. As one stated there are plenty of stories where evil has a face, but good is some unseen and benign presence.

Let me explain that the Bible is a fantastic source for creating epic stories.  However, I believe in free will and not being judgmental or preachy.  This is a story about the near loss of all life and paradise to evil.  For this I referred to the historical account of the siege of Masada.  Those who are not familiar with the story, it is a story of a band of Jewish rebels who held off a Roman legion at Masada.  These rebels held off the Roman’s for months.  In the end, when the Roman’s had finally stormed the fortress, everyone had been killed by their own kind, with the assumption the final person committed suicide.  They did this to show the Roman’s they would prefer death over slavery and torture.

Now from this story, I formulated the following questions to my story premise:

  1. How was my fantasy world created and how was evil born?
  2. How would one react to be called the Chosen One?
  3. How would you react to those of different races?
  4. Would you lose your faith and denounce your creator if you were the last one standing?
  5. What was the creator’s test for this last person standing?
  6. What if this last person passed the test, what would the creator do next?
  7. What is the purpose an afterlife?

From these questions the chapter outlining began, followed by research and finally writing and editing.  In all, this epic effort took ten years. The core values of the story are contained in a fantasy realm, complete with monsters and demons, and unbelievable accomplishments of the hero.  I can promise you this much, remain faithful to the end and you will be touched.

One final point, this trilogy is about the human family, which includes all of us, our parents, our children, our races and our differences.  Evil works to separate us day and night, and the outcome of their interference is the destruction of us all. Evil leads us to hatred, bigotry, bullying and finally war.  It is the story of the reconciliation of our differences to come together to defeat evil. It is not only allegorical, but topical to our times.  How will we respond?  Will we make the stand for good over evil.  Read the trilogy, think it over and then let’s talk about it.

What is your trilogy about?

I read a tweet on the dreaded question we authors are asked, what is your story about?  Well since I have three stories, it first is a trilogy and second it is a mythology.  If you do not understand the concept of  a mythology, then refer to Greek and Roman mythologies, Norse and others.  A mythology deals with creation, the conflict in the immortal world and the interference in the lives of mortals.  Finally a mythology deals with the end of times.  Many people believe religions are also mythologies. The Bible for example, has a creation and end of times story, and many of the stories are very similar to Hindu stories and the stories of other cultures, which appear to be passed around orally, then in writing.

Most of you may know of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  Yet, when I ask people of the Silmarillion, they know very little.  This book was Tolkien’s creation and history story.  I’ve always been amazed at readers who don’t want to know about the origin of Elves, Dwarves, etc… In the movie, Gandalf names the Balrog as a demon of the ancient world.  What ancient world?  Tell me more!   Where the heck did Sauron come from?  I loved the opening scene of the Fellowship of the Ring with the first battle between the alliance and Sauron.  I want to know more, more, more.  My first story in the trilogy is titled Rise of the Fallen and the first nine chapters are devoted to the creation story and thousands of years of history.  If you do not read those chapters closely, you will miss many hints to be revealed and surprise you in books 2 and 3, and the story will make no sense.

Like Tolkien’s mythology,  I created my own races and demons, but inserted some characters we are accustomed to; namely races of men, giants and dragons.  I vowed the story line and ending would be unique, and that each book would be more fast and furious with each passing chapter and a cliff-hanger at the end of each book, and a satisfying conclusion.  The themes in this mythology are based on our human needs: peace, love, family, neighbors, and faith in something greater than ourselves.  I vowed when writing this story that it would touch a reader’s emotions, not only once but multiple times.  If you complete the story without crying, then I failed at the message of the story.  This is why the story took ten years to write and why I ran it through a focus group before release.

Be open minded, stories that might appear as a religious story in the beginning, can turn out to be an epic journey you find yourself wanting to read over and over.

Of Mythology

My trilogy “The Chosen One of Allivar” is difficult to describe in a 30 second elevator speech as many have suggested. So, after long and hard thought, the best way I can describe it is to use a quote from one of my research aids. “Mythology” the visual reference guide by Philip Wilkinson and Neil Philip, which is an excellent read by the way. The header on page 14 pretty much sums it up.

“Myths are sacred stories. They tell of the creation of the world; the emergence of gods and the first men and women; the adventures of heroes and the audacity of tricksters; the nature of the heavens and the Underworld; and what will happen when time comes to an end. Every human culture has its own myths that are passed on from one generation to the next.”

And there you have it. The trilogy is a mythology and nothing more. It is not a stealth Christian story, although Christians, Jews and Muslims may find many similarities to their faith. I am not espousing a new religion, just a story. I recall how JRR Tolkien had presented “The Silmarillion” to his publisher and how they rejected it. “The Silmarillion” is the creation story of Tolkien’s universe and laid the history for the complete comprehension of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”. In my opinion, to not read his entire works is to miss out on a great mythology. From this knowledge of Tolkien’s world, the great Greek and Roman myths, the canonized and non-canonized stories of the Bible, I began to craft my very own mythology.

The first nine chapters of book one, “Rise of the Fallen”, deals with the development of my universe and sets the stage for the 18 books to follow. The trilogy can be read alone because it has a definite beginning and ending that completes a full circle. The “chronicles” are sixteen stories that will expand upon the mythology and will lead right back into full comprehension of the mythology, but just from a different perspective. I promise those that have read the complete trilogy, they will not be disappointed.

For those who immediately drop the first book before completing the trilogy, all I can say is keep an open mind and continue to its conclusion. For those that do not believe in the Torah, Bible or Koran, read my stories simply as literature. Study them for the great stories and philosophy. I, for one, believe in free will, so exercise your free will to gain as much knowledge as possible. I can promise you this, if you make it to the final battle between good and evil in book three, “Last Stand of the Living” you will be on visual and emotional overload.

To learn more, start your journey here on my website

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Rise of the Fallen (Published)

Bound to Forbidden Lands (Published)

Last Stand of the Living (Published)

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The Fall of Helloria (First Edit Phase Feb 2013)

The Fall of Europia (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Jeronia (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Isoria (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Glutonia (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Floria (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Denmaria (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Clempatria (Premise Phase)

The Fall of Borealia (Premise Phase)

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The Age of the Warrior (Premise Phase)

The Age of the Barbarian (Premise Phase)

The Age of the Slayer (Premise Phase)

The Age of the Bloody (Premise Phase)

The Age of the Damned (Premise Phase)

The Age of the Conqueror (Premise Phase)

The Age of Light (Premise Phase)