The Two Towers

[Amazon Link]

Slipped this one just under the wire for 2007's reading. I didn't think too highly of its predecessor, The Fellowship of the Ring; I was pleasantly surprised with the differences here.

For one thing, it seems there's more of substance here; the previous volume seemed endlessly occupied with a description of the scenery the Fellowship experienced during its quest. In The Two Towers, there's a lot more going on, and there's not a lot of time for sightseeing.

It's actually two "books": in one, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas reunite with the thought-dead Gandalf; they go in pursuit of the band of Orcs who captured the hobbits Merry and Pippin. Who manage to escape the Orcs, and meet the Ents, who are extremely put out with their old buddy Saruman.

The second book follows Frodo and Sam, as they try to get the Ring properly destroyed in Mordor, possibly the worst place in the world to go. They are accompanied by one of the previous Ring owners, the hideous Gollum, who's even more disgusting in the book than he was in the movie.

And the book ends with a major cliffhanger. Hopefully, I'll read the last one soon.

Last Modified 2012-10-15 3:06 PM EDT

The Lord of the Driveway

On the morning eve of the New Year
Didst Paul, Son of Arthur, King of Pun Salad Manor,
In the Ford of Rollins, in Hampshire New,
Awake to find his world draped in white once again.
And his feelings about that were mixed.
For did not the wizard of PowerPoint, Algore, son of Algore,
Once recently proclaim that the World would warm?
And that the Ford of Rollins would enjoy the climes
Once thought reserved to far-off Miami in the south?
Or at least Raleigh, North Carolina?

But Paul could also see that the world sheathed in whiteness pure
Was kind of pretty.
Although it was also equally fair
After the now-countless previous storms that year
And even prettiness could get kind of old after a while.

And then Paul also recalled the wise words of the ancient Twain,
Who observed the telling truth
That although many talked about the weather,
There were few or none to do anything about it.
Better still to just do what needed to be done.

For the inhabitants of the Manor,
Yea, even Paul himself,
Had places to go, and things to do.
And that was nigh impossible without a new path made
To the Thoroughfare of Willey
For the mighty steeds of the Manor,
Named Camry, Matrix, and CR-V.

So did Paul bundle up
And don his boots with waffled soles
And arm himself with Melnor,
The Shovel Once Broken,
But Recently Repurchased,
From the Store of Hànnaförd,
In the nearby shire of Dover.
Many leagues had Melnor traveled,
From far off lands, over stormy seas,
Forged with techniques long forgotten in Hampshire New,
Its blade a ghastly orange hue.
Still, it got the job done.

And what a job it was!
Because there was no fluffiness in the precipitation,
And the Shire's rumbling plow had, as was its habit,
In clearing the Thoroughfare of Willey,
Left a huge pile at the end of the drive,
And also in front of the receptacles
In which varied forms of communications were placed,
Bringing news of far off lands,
Notices of financial obligations,
Magic picture disks from the Buster of Blocks;
Also dubious offers of beneficial commercial transactions,
And even more dubious promises and pledges of the worthy competitors
In the election eight days hence.

Long and hard did he toil.

But finally finished, Paul looked about him,
At the newly cleared path for the Manor steeds.
And he thought it sort of looked like the fabled trench
Of the Star of Death
In a tale told of long ago
In a Galaxy far, far, away
Down which Luke and his comrades flew
To foil the schemes of the evil Empire.
Perhaps he'd sing a few measures
Of that ancient tale's score
Penned by John of Williams,
As he and the sure-footed Matrix traversed the drive
To the Thoroughfare of Willey
Later that day.

But now the time for warmth and dryness it was,
Back within the Manor walls.
Also, he could use a little lunch, of tunafish and pineapple.
And perhaps finally finish Tolkien's The Two Towers,
Which had started to affect his blogging style.

Last Modified 2007-12-31 7:20 PM EDT

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

[Amazon Link] [2.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

We continue to catch up with the movies everyone else saw in theatres this summer.

And I'm feeling a bit heretical about this, but I'm getting a little tired with Harry Potter. Nothing personal, sorry about your folks and all kid, good luck with saving the world, but … it seems to me that your movies used to be a lot more fun to watch.

Anyway: in this one, Harry continues to be menaced by He-Who-Has-No-Nose, the evil Voldemort. He also has his inner demons to deal with. And Dolores Umbridge is introduced as a bureaucrat from the Ministry of Magic, dedicated to downplaying the Voldemortian menace and depriving the Hogwarts students of needed mad defensive magic skillz against the evildoers.

That would seem to be an on-target social commentary on how the ACLU and their ilk want to yank useful tools for fighting terrorism away from the US government, but the movie almost certainly doesn't mean for us to draw that parallel. I may have missed something, though, since I kept nodding off.

Last Modified 2012-10-15 3:05 PM EDT