What does your heart tell you?

Today I thought I’d do a bit of a Q and A so you can get to know me a bit better, at least in terms of all things Tolkien.

I’ve been sitting down for a few days and thinking of various questions to answer. They’re questions I’d probably ask someone if I found out they were a bit of a Tolkien fan like myself (obviously, not all at once though…. that might scare them off!).

If there are any more questions you’d like answered, please comment and I’ll put them in a future post.

I have written the questions in red, and answers in black italics, just for ease of reading…. after the extremely, extremely word heavy post which was the last one, I thing some ease of reading will be much appreciated.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in! (These are in no particular order, other than how they popped into my head).

 

1) Which is your favourite Tolkien book?

     The Hobbit- not the first Tolkien book I read, but I find it most exciting out of all of them. It feels a bit more pacey than Rings or Silmarillion.

2) Which is your favourite LOTR/ Hobbit film?

    Toss up between Two Towers and Return of the King. I love Two Towers because of all the Rohan and battle of Helm’s Deep, and I love Return of the King for the conclusion of the various character’s stories.

3) Who was your favourite character?

     Bilbo Baggins. The reluctant hero, and a very likeable character who shares a lot of the viewpoints of the reader, especially in terms of experiencing things like Wargs and Dragons for the first time. 

4) What is your favourite quote?

     “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

5) Which race would you want to be?

     Toss up between a Hobbit basking in the rural idyll, or a Man (woman) of Rohan… mainly because I love horses.

6) Where in Middle-Earth would you want to live?

     Same as above really. I can’t make up my mind between peace or horses…

7) Fangorn or Mirkwood?

     Fangorn. There are talking trees. TALKING TREES!

8) Rohan or Gondor?

     Rohan. No surprises there.

9) Favourite sword?

     Herugrim (Fierce Sword)- Theoden’s sword. Although, I do largely base this off the fact that Bernard Hill who plays Theoden is left handed. Any sword in the left hand will always catch my eye. Yay for lefties!!

10) Favourite Tolkien artist?

     Joe Gilronan- I love the landscape focus and slightly misty quality of his work, which allows you as the viewer to fill in the blanks from your own imaginings of Middle Earth.

eleventy first

Bilbo’s Eleventy-first birthday party by Joe Gilronan

11) Favourite piece of Tolkien inspired music?

     Now and For Always from The Lord of The Rings Musical, just because it’s such a Hobbity song as I imagined what Hobbit music would be like when I read the books. And Edge of Night, sung by Billy Boyd as Pippin- simply because it had me in tears the first time I heard it. As did Into the West by Annie Lennox (even more so when I learnt the back story of the song). So really, I have 3 favourite pieces of Tolkien inspired music…… fail.

12) Which character would you like to be?

     Eowyn- because she’s about the only woman in the Middle-Earth books who has some real fire power!

13) Adventure or home?

     Adventure. If I’m at home for too long I get itchy feet. I’d much rather be out and about seeing the world.

14) Merry or Pippin?

     Merry. Without a doubt. I’ve been known as Merry most of the way through secondary school- mainly because I keep my friend nicknamed Pippin on the straight and narrow.

15) Fili or Kili?

     Fili. Because he is awesome, especially in the films. And he’s (currently) my more ambitious cosplay to date which has been successful. Sooooo much leather and fur……

16) Boromir or Faramir?

     Faramir. Less of a warrior than his brother, but more of a thinker. I like that in a man.

17) Which character are you most like?

     Merry- I tend to keep my friend grounded but do like getting into mischief as well.

18) Which actor portrays their character best?

     Martin Freeman or Viggo Mortensen. They play Bilbo and Aragorn more or less exactly how I imagined them to be when reading the books.

19) Favourite poem/song in the books?

     I Sit and Think. Or Bilbo’s Last Song. I find them really powerful in terms of the images they evoke.

20) Favourite character development?

     Thorin Oakenshield. I love his development towards the end of the Hobbit from one overcome by the dragon sickness, to a complete repent culminating in my favourite line from the book- “if more or us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, the world would be a merrier place.” Pride comes before a fall, but there is still hope of redemption.

21) Favourite image from the books?

     The Hobbits stuck in the Barrow Wrights lair. That creeped me out the first time I read it, and it creeps me out to this day.

22) Favourite image from the films?

     The Dwarves lining up outside the hidden door to go back into Erebor. I don’t know if it was the music there that caught my attention, but I think it’s so poignant… especially considering future events.

23) Which character would you want to live with?

     Legolas. Because I’d like to see if he ever does anything not very Elven. Like farting or washing dishes.

24) Which mystical creature would you want as a pet?

     Giant Eagle. They would be an awesome form of transportation to work. Also, you’d never have to fight for a parking spot when shopping.

25) Which character do you dislike the most?

     I hate to say this….. but probably Frodo. Yes, I agree and like him for the fact that he is incredibly strong to resist the power of the ring for so long, but I find him a bit annoying from the viewpoint that he can’t seem to do anything for himself. He always has to be saved by someone else.

26) Eowyn or Arwen?

     Eowyn. Because she’s badass.

27) Would you wish for immortality as Elves have?

     No. Life must get pretty boring after forever.

And there we have it, a Q&A session about my Tolkien. Remember, if there’s anything else you’d like to know, please send me a message. Also, I’m kind of interested to know your answers, so please feel free to copy the questions and put in your own answers…. just make sure to link me into it so that I can read them!!!

And, until next week my lovely Rohirrim folk;

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”

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All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you…

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And so, based on that wonderful quote by Gandalf the Grey, as blossomed from the mind of one of my most beloved authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, I begin this blog.

In this blog post, being the first one I have ever written (if we completely disregard the wreck which was my last attempt at blogging), I will simply share a few things about myself, and why I have with the “time that is given” to me, decided to create a blog dedicated to all things Tolkien, and outline what some of those things may be.

So, starting at the beginning of the story. I always find that this is the best place to start…

Some people may know my real name already. Some people may not. And, although I have absolutely nothing against any of you, I’m not putting my real name on here (privacy, yardy yardy yar…). For the sake of this blog, I am SujiSuzy. At the time of this blog, I am 23 years old, and about to set out on one of the most pivotal years of my life thus far. I was born in London and moved to Kent when I was 10, and with the exception of four years of university, have lived here a most of my life and always refer to Kent as my hobbit hole. I hold a degree in BSc Geography with Japanese Language, as well as a PGCE Masters in Geography and Educational Theory. By profession, I was one of those mad (and slightly eccentric) people who have decided to venture into teaching at secondary level (11-18 year olds), and am about to begin my first full-time post as a teacher of Geography in Buckinghamshire. I’m about to fly the nest for good, and spread my wings under new and blue skies.

I have three great passions in life; Japanese language and culture, Scouting, and things which fall under the general umbrella of what I call ‘Tolkien Stuff’. Since the age of 14 I’ve been learning Japanese, and have been lucky enough to study in Japan twice- once at a language school, and once at a university in northern Japan. Both the language and culture fascinate me, and I am always venturing to learn more. I can’t wait until next summer when I will be going back to Japan for 3 weeks for the first time in 5 years- it’s going to be epic! As a child I was in Rainbows and Brownies before becoming a Girl Guide, which I despised for the lack of adventure (and of course, I mean no offence to Guiding by this, it is simply a reflection on what Girl Guiding was at the time, particularly in my District), and so I switched to Scouts instead… and after 13 years I am still Scouting, although now as a leader opposed to one of the kids (although, I sometimes think I’m more kid than leader!). I am forever grateful for all the opportunities which Scouting has given me, both in term of new skills and in the role it played in forging the person I have become today.

And finally, the third passion in my life- Tolkien. The one you’re all here for.

Growing up, my Dad was an avid reader and endeavored (successfully), to get me into reading. One of my fondest memories with my Dad is him bringing this new and highly raved about new book home called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” when I was about 7 years old, and reading it together at bed time. As I grew older and more able to read on my own, more books came out, and dad and myself would race to finish them first. Through sneakily reading under the duvet at night, I am proud to say the last 4 books are my trophy! Although I can’t remember precisely when it happened, I do remember my Dad trying to read The Hobbit to me. I can’t have been much more than about 6 or 7, as past that point I really read on my own. The Hobbit and Great Expectations are the only books my dad ever failed at in trying to get me to read them. Great Expectations I still haven’t read… I have bad recollections of studying Hard Times at A Level, but give me time, and I will re-read both of them. And in fact, I didn’t read The Hobbit until about 5 years ago. I think the main problem at the time was that I was in the typical young girl phase- I loved pink, and books about ponies and princes rescuing damsels in distress. The Hobbit just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Fast forward 5 years or so and The Fellowship of The Ring came out at cinemas. I was about 11 and still not overly interested in that sort of thing, but my Dad took my younger brother to see it at the cinema, and both loved it. In that sense, my brother had a far earlier encounter with Middle-Earth than I did. My Dad bought it on video (yes, you read correctly, video, I am of that era), and although I saw bits of it now and then when my brother watched it, I still wasn’t interested, much to the male half of the family’s great annoyance, and my Mum’s great relief.

However, at that point in my life things were starting to change. I wasn’t as much into pink and ponies as I once was, and I was becoming far more interested in being outdoors and playing around in mud for hours as I started Scouting. I was also about to start secondary school, and my tastes in books were becoming far more diverse. Gone were the days of Shetland in the Shed and Tracy Beaker. A bright (or dark?) new world was opening it’s thin leaves before me- hello Sabriel, Eragon and The Gift. And there it was- fantasy and adventure were my new book loves.

Eventually, much to my Mum’s dismay, I sat and watched the Fellowship of The Ring. By this time, The Two Towers had also been released. I then immediately watched that as well. And suddenly, I was hooked. A world more rich than any other world I had ever seen was unfurling before me and embracing me in its fantastical goodness. Finally, my Dad had succeeded, I was into the fantasy genre. He did not though, as you would expect, then give me The Hobbit to read. Instead he gave me The Lord of the Rings… in it’s entirety, and said something along the lines of “I’ll give you one year.” I think it took me about 5 months- pretty impressive for an 11 year old- it certainly raised the eyebrows of a few teachers at school! But honestly, I was so blown away by it that I’ve never gone back. The depth of the world and beauty of the intertwining stories and themes keep me hooked- you can read The Lord of the Rings over and over and there will always be something new and exciting to find.

I was also very lucky at this point in time, starting secondary school, to find my Middle-Earth  soul mate in the same tutor group as me. I knew this girl in my tutor group, and she always sat on her own at lunch because  no one from her primary came to our secondary school, whereas I knew two people in the tutor group already from my primary days. For some reason (call it fate maybe) I decided to eat lunch with her one day, and found out that she loved The Lord of the Rings as much as I did, and from that moment on we were inseparable… to the point where (and trust me, I am in no way ashamed to say it), the teachers in the English Department at our school and closely followed by most of our year group, referred to us as Merry and Pippin. For anyone who is interested, I’m Merry. That friendship which was created through a shared love of the works by one author is the strongest I have, and did a lot for me to truly cement a love for Tolkein.

Since then, I’ve never looked back. Pip and myself saw The Return of the King together 3 times, saw the stage show in London, dressed up in blankets pretending to be Elves, and got into all sorts of mischief. The tradition continues as we have seen The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug together, and although I am imminently moving away, we will not see Battle of the Five Armies until I come back for Christmas. And the dressing up still continues, although now in the form of cosplay at various conventions around the UK. I have my Fili cosplay which has taken 6 months to finish, and am now working on Eowyn (reasons for doing these characters will become clear in a future blog).

Yes, of course, I have moved beyond Tolkien in a literary sense. Whilst “The Dwarves” series by Markus Heitz and especially “The King Killer Chronicles” by Patrick Rothfuss certainly give Tolkien a run for his money in terms of books I love, Tolkien will always be special for me, since it is what opened the world of fantasy novels to me, ignited my imagination in terms of art, poetry and story writing, and has allowed me to meet so so so many people who share a love for Tolkien.

Thus, in this blog I will be exploring all thing Tolkien- books, films, music, art, cosplay and anything else which crosses my path. I will be sharing my thoughts on the latest Tolkien related things I read/see, exploring my own ideas about the work of Tolkien, and maybe sharing some craft/cosplay ideas and tips. Essentially, I wish to create a community where everyone can contribute ideas and thoughts about Tolkien, in a place where everyone will be heard, appreciated, and above all accepted.

Heck, this turned into an extremely long post. I promise the next one won’t be so long. But at least now, you do at least have some idea about who I am and why I wish to do this. Now is the prime time for me to do this- my life is entering a new, exciting and challenging phase, and I feel now is the point in time to open myself up and explore Tolkien beyond the boundaries of my mind.

So, until next time;

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”