Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day. I had hoped to get a Christmas story up but just haven't had any time at all. Instead all I was able to do was a quick sketch of Michael Crandon and company out caroling (which was supposed to happen in the story ;)

Reilly, Victor, Justine and Michael out caroling

I hope everyone takes some time to relax today as well. I'll be back soon with more posts.

Happy Holidays!
Slainte, Hazel

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Hobbit Supper! And a Pseudo Review of "The Desolation of Smaug"

I meant to post this Friday when I made it, but... I was too tired that night and have been working ever since so I only got a chance now. But yes! I made a Hobbit supper on Friday to celebrate the release of The Desolation of Smaug which I also got to see that day and LOVED IT!!! I don't care what anyone else has to say, no one is going to sway me in my opinion that it was blooming wonderful. My only problem is that I need to see it again to actually get everything to register since I was having a fangirl attack through the entire movie.

For my supper, I made little meat and potato pies, boiled carrots, and scones with jam and honey. To drink I made "ale" by mixing grape juice and ginger ale together ;) Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I had to fend my brothers off while I was trying to take the pictures.

As for the movie itself, yes, I already said I loved it. It was actually even better than I was expecting. I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but I LOVED what Peter Jackson did with it because in my opinion, he kept all the stuff from the book that mattered but really just fleshed out the storyline, and gave the characters more character. I loved the original story, but I really didn't like how all the dwarves seemed like essentially one dwarf. There were no defining characteristics between them. The actors who portray the dwarves in the movies work so so hard on coming up with backstory and little things that just bring the characters to life and I love that so much about it. Richard Armatage is one of my favorite actors ever--he might possibly even be my favorite, and the emotion and character he put into Thorin is just...there's too much there. I loved how they gave Kili more of a story line in this one as well, though I wish there was more of Fili! They come as a package deal and while he's there, the story didn't focus on him. There was one part in particular that happened to be my favorite in the whole movie between them and Thorin though. I'm not going to give it away, but anyone who knows me well enough can probably guess at what it was ;)

Look! All my favorite characters on one Poster! (Apart from Bofur, I love him too)

One of my main concerns with the movie was that there would be too many elves, but in all honestly, I didn't have that impression when I watched the movie. In fact, Lee Pace did such a brilliant job as Thranduil, that I actually wished he had more screen time. And I liked to see Legolas be not so perfect, younger and more hot-headed. I've never disliked his character, even though he has never been a favorite either. In short, I never watched the movies for Orlando Bloom like some people I know ;) I also didn't hate Tauriel like I thought I would. I still could have done without her, and all the important moments with her in them probably could have been accomplished by Legolas (Okay I have to give this spoiler to explain myself, so if you haven't seen, don't read until the next paragraph!!!) I think Legolas could have healed Kili and at the same time furthered the plot: In my writerly mind, I see it like this: Legolas felt kind of bad for what a jerk his father was to Thorin's company, and so he goes after the dwarves to help them when he finds out the orcs are on their tail. I can't see him leaving Kili to die just because he's a dwarf, that makes no sense, so he would have obviously healed him, and it would have taught him a lesson that dwarves aren't all conceited, and later help to further his friendship with Gimli in the Fellowship, and it would have taught the dwarves that not all elves were the enemy. And I think it would have been especially important for Fili and Kili to have been a part of that exchange, because they were not jaded by the past like the others of the company, so it would help form bonds later. So you see, I could deal with Tauriel, but she felt out of place and unnecessary. Frankly I just think she was the product of lady writers helping Peter Jackson. It always annoys me when people put (especially a non-series) girl character into a movie made from a book. We all know it's only to keep the women viewers happy. Um...well, we already have Richard Armatage, Aiden Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Martin Freeman and whoever else might take your fancy, and for the most part, the girls (like me) are going to be happy. The only girl fans who even care whether there are strong female characters are in the 12-15 age range. And Tolkien's female characters have always been strong and awesome! Remember Eowyn? If he had wanted to put a female character in The Hobbit he would have, and I am nearly certain she would have been just as awesome, but there wasn't a need for one in this story. At it's heart, it's a brotherhood story, a story about home and kin and there wasn't a need for a female character. As I've said many times before, romance does not need to be involved to save someone's life. It is not weird for a man to save another man's life at all and it would not have been strange for Legolas to do so for Kili. (end explanation.)

And so onto Bilbo!!! Yes, Bilbo fans (and I AM one despite what some people like to accuse me of just because I love Richard Armatage more than Martin Freeman ;) Bilbo fans can appreciate this movie. There were so many awesome Bilbo moments that made me really happy. I liked to see him having grown from the first movie into knowing more of what he was doing and pretty much keeping the dwarves in line since Gandalf wasn't around to do it. Again, I think Martin Freeman is perfect in the role and I know he's going to kill me in the third movie (am so and so not looking forward to it) And the part between him and Smaug? Perfect. Just perfect. It was traditional to the book, but again, had, I felt, more added character and Benedict Cumberbatch voicing Smaug was totally awesome. His voice acting was wonderful ;) And yes, they actually did manage to slip a couple tiny Sherlockish moments in. (Yes I totally, maybe almost laughed really hard in the theater when he deduced Bilbo had come from Laketown). Oh yeah, and the visual effects were lovely too.

And that's pretty much all I can put into words. It was the best three hours I have spent all month and now I'm going to go see it again soon =D

And on another note, if you haven't already taken a look at my new blog "Tales from a Modern Bard" go check it out and start reading my story The Voices Beneath an Arthurian retelling from Mordred's point of view. And so I can't be accused of shameless plugging, if you are interested in being a guest writer for the blog, let me know!! You can find my email up in the "Contact Me" tab. I would love to hear from you fellow writers!

I hope everyone is having a good holiday! I will have at least one more post up by Christmas for sure. Until then...

Slainte! And if you haven't already seen Desolation of Smaug GO SEE IT NOW!! And then come back to discuss it with me =)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My New Blog and Story

Hey everyone! I mentioned before that I had started up a new blog, "Tales From a Modern Bard" and it's now officially in use. I will start posting the first chapter of my Arthurian retelling The Voices Beneath later today, and if you're interested, please click the picture below to find out more about the story.

Also, on another note, if you are a writer, whether you're a published author or not, if you would like to participate in guest writing opportunities shoot me an email at I'm going to be looking for guest writers to feature of Modern Bard, and you could do anything from short serials, to one shots and even fun challenges with themes I or another writer will create to write from. If you think that sounds like fun (and trust, it's really going to be fun) I would love to have you! It's a great opportunity to get your writing out there to potential readers. If you're a new author, it will help you get feedback and more exposer, and if you're already published, letting people read your short stories might induce them to check out your novels. So it's a win-win, there's no way you can lose. I also hope that all my guest writers will help critique other guest writers so one of the qualities I look for is to bot give and take constructive criticism in a helpful, non judgmental way.

Click here to view more about the story and the blog itself!