A to Z Challenge: More Fictional Favorites! Day 17: Queen Galadriel

Q is for — Queen Galadriel from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0

Descended from Elven Kings, the fair Galadriel was one of the greatest and most powerful of all the Elves in Middle-earth. She and her husband, Lord Celeborn, ruled the forest realm of Lothlorien, and they aided Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship of the Ring on their journey to destroy the One Ring. Galadriel wears one of the three Elven rings of power, Nenya, the Ring of Water.

Her daughter, Celebrian, married Lord Elrond, ruler of the Elven House of Rivendell, making Arwen Evenstar her granddaughter.

I admire Galadriel’s courage and quiet strength, her wisdom and grace. She, along with Gandalf, maintained vigilance against the return of Sauron and stood strong in the face of Sauron’s evil. When tempted by the power of the One Ring, she was one of the very few to resist its lure.

Though her character did not appear in The Hobbit book, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies included her in scenes of the White Council and the battle of Dol Guldur. Purists may beg to differ, but I enjoyed the added scenes and the historical depth they brought to the story.

Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia


Photo Credit: pixshark.com






© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

A to Z Challenge: More Fictional Favorites! Day 2: Bard the Bowman

B is for — Bard the Bowman from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0

No list of my favorites would be complete without at least one Tolkien character. (I had three last year.) 🙂

Of all the characters in The Hobbit, I found Bard one of the most heroic. When Smaug wreaks havoc on Laketown, Bard alone faces down the terrifying dragon and kills him with his black arrow. He is courageous, fair-minded, and compassionate and does his best to help his fellow townspeople regroup after the destruction of their town.

I love Luke Evans’ portrayal of Bard in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies — the way he loves his children, how he stands up for what he believes, and how he helps the Dwarves against his better judgment because he can’t ignore those in need. I feel for him every time someone brings up his ancestor whose missed shots long ago failed to kill Smaug, as if it were Bard’s fault and he who should be ashamed. The confrontation between Bard and Smaug at the beginning of Battle of the Five Armies was, for me, the highlight of the whole movie. That and Bard’s interactions with the hilarious Alfred.

After the battle, Bard oversees the rebuilding of the city of Dale. As a descendant of the Lords of Dale, Bard eventually becomes King of that city and returns the city and its people to prosperity once more. I wish the real world had more leaders like Bard.



Photo Credit: http://moviepilot.com

Photo Credit: http://moviepilot.com







© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

Celebrate the Small Things!

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here. CelebrateSmallThings_Badge

I actually had some time to wind down this week, which was really nice for a change. I’m celebrating:

  1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug extended edition! It arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I finally had a chance to watch it.
  2. The cover design for my upcoming fantasy novel is almost done!
  3. Thanksgiving vacation from school! My brother and his family are coming up again from PA, so we’ll be spending a few days with them.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

What other celebrations are going on out there?





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2014. All rights reserved.

A to Z Challenge: Fictional Favorites, Day 7

G is for — Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Who else but Gandalf, wandering wizard and guardian of Middle Earth? He is the epitome of a great spellcaster, the standard to which all other wizards are held, at least, by me. When I hear the word “wizard,” an image of Gandalf immediately comes to mind. His long gray hair and beard, gray robes, tall peaked hat, and crooked staff personify my ideal of a wizard. And not only does he wield powerful magic, he wields a sword equally well — a formidable opponent indeed. Yet wisdom and compassion rule his actions, and love for his fellow Men — and Hobbits — and all those who work for the good of Middle Earth. Actor Sir Ian McKellen plays him perfectly in the Peter Jackson films. He IS Gandalf.

When Gandalf arrives on Bilbo’s doorstep, Bilbo wants nothing to do with him or his adventurous quest. I, on the other hand, would have leaped at the chance to take part in such an adventure and, in my younger days, often imagined doing just that. What a thrill it would have been! And I suspect I’m not the only one to have had such imaginings. I’m sure there are many kindred spirits who would have loved to hear those words: “I am looking for someone to share in an adventure…”

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf
Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

Gandalf and Bilbo from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

Gandalf and Bilbo from
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia


A to Z Challenge: Fictional Favorites, Day 2

B is for — Bilbo Baggins and Belle — from The Hobbit and Disney’s animated film, Beauty and the Beast.

Bilbo Baggins, the unlikely hero from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has always been one of my all-time favorite characters. The way he goes from timid, complacent stick-in-the-mud to spider-slaying, dragon-braving adventurer inspires those (like me) who hesitate, and encourages us to go forth out our doors and into the wild.

Many times I watched the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated Hobbit, living Bilbo’s journey with him, persevering even though I’m arachnophobic and not nearly as good with riddles. One of my favorite moments from this movie is when the Dwarves are singing — “Far over misty mountains cold…” — and Gandalf and Bilbo speak:

Gandalf: “There’s a magic in that music.”

Bilbo: “And it moves through me.”

Gandalf: “You feel the love of beautiful things.”

Bilbo: “To go and see the great mountains and hear the pine trees and waterfalls.”

Gandalf: “To wear a sword instead of a walking stick.”

Bilbo: “Just once…”

Another favorite moment is when Bilbo climbs the tall tree in the middle of Mirkwood and sees all the butterflies fluttering in the sunshine and feels the breeze on his face. He doesn’t speak, but shares his thoughts: “There are moments which can change a person for all time, and I suddenly wondered if I would ever see my snug hobbit hole again. I wondered if I actually wanted to.”

Those moments always stir in me a yearning to take that step out my door and go.

Belle, from Walt Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, is another such inspiration. The “odd” girl with her nose in a book could so be me. I admire her spunk, her courage, and her cleverness. She’s not afraid to stand against the crowd.

When I first saw this movie when it came out in 1991, I was entranced. Everything about it was magical — the exquisite colors in the opening sequence, the engaging heroine, the wonderfully quirky denizens of the enchanted castle, the rousing and romantic songs, and the Beast — a cursed prince who needed someone to find enough good in him to love. Add to that the scary scenes with the wolves, a frighteningly charismatic antagonist in Gaston, and the hilarious battle between the ensorcelled castle servants and the villagers and you get a movie that immediately became my #1 favorite Disney movie, ever. It still reigns today. Not even the excellent Tangled or Frozen could knock Beauty and the Beast from its pedestal.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's Hobbit Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in
Peter Jackson’s Hobbit
Photo Credit: LOTR Wikia

The Hobbit!

The Hobbit!

Belle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, 1991 Photo Credit: Disney Wikia

Belle from Disney’s
Beauty and the Beast, 1991
Photo Credit: Disney Wikia