Monday, July 30, 2012

"Yes, that's right. Are we going to cheat?"

"No. We are going to stick to the rules. And the thing about sticking to the rules is that it's sometimes better than cheating."

-- Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett

No, I Still Haven't Disappeared Off The Face Of The Earth

How long has it been since last I blogged? Probably a month or so. In my defense, this last week was a mandatory no-computer week, as enforced by my dad. So no computer for me then!

Haha, that wasn't the real reason. The reason was I really wasn't getting on the Internet much other than to look up stupid things ( is my friend!!!) and listen to silly songs. I wasn't even checking my UNA Portal email. Not that there's much of anything of interest on there over the summer, other than those UNA health e-newsletters that I delete as soon as I see them. I looked at one once. I regretted it. So in the trash folder it goes now. I had to clean out the trash folder today. There were 60 emails in it! I whittled it down to 3. Haha. I cannot STAND having emails cluttering up my inbox or trash folder. I hate excess clutter. I can stand it for a little while, precious, but then it reaches the breaking point and out it goes, precious!

Yes, we had a LOTR marathon this weekend. Can you tell?

Anyway, I have not yet beaten Zoo Tycoon 1. However, I did borrow my cousin Luke's Wii and I beat Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn. Haha! Of course, it was on easy mode. I could rant forever about that game. Or, moreover, how it forces you to do stupid things, like how in the last part of the game it INSISTS that you MUST take several completely worthless characters, like Sothe, Ena, Sanaki, and Micaiah. REALLY. Sothe is terrible. He was okay earlier on in the game, but once you get Volke, who completely blows Sothe out of the water (although my Volke did get criticalled once... sigh... he has a bad Luck stat and things like that happen), he's not great. It was all I could do to get him to a lvl 20 Rogue before he promoted to a Whisper. Bleagh. As for Micaiah... I most sincerely hate her. She's one of the main characters, unfortuantely, so you're stuck with her. She's a terrible unit. The only thing she ever doubled was DRAGONS (who are mind-bogglingly slow), and she only did that thanks to a couple of Speed points she gained there at the end. I mostly used her as a healer, and I gave the best Light tome to Rhys instead of her. Rhys could actually put it to good use. He could double with a Rexaura and DODGE AXEMEN!
Sanaki is okay, but only because she can use fire magic. Otherwise, she shares the same shortcomings as her sister, Micaiah.
Ena... sigh.... WHY do you have to take a pink, useless dragon girl into the last part of the game? She's useless! I mean, you get stuck with another dragon, Kurthnaga, but he's a black dragon and has USES. I put Paragon on him so he gained levels really fast- I got him up to lvl 37 out of 40- and he was useful. He killed spirits and reinforcement units in one turn!
The last part of the game was insanely easy, actually. One of the bosses did something incredibly stupid and teleported himself right next to my units, who had RANGED WEAPONS and could KILL HIM, whereas he was comparatively safer where he had been originally. However, he is the most evil individual in the game and so I was happy to send Oscar over to him and shoot him repeatedly in the face with a Silver Bow until he died. On Turn 7. I play really conservatively and chapters often take me 30-40 turns, so that shows you just how stupid he was. The rest of the last couple of chapters I hung back and used the magical equivalent of catapults to knock out all the dangerous enemies. Nothing beats a giant magical meteor sailing out of the sky to kill a far-away dragon for you... unless it is a giant, magical snowball sailing out of the sky. Thank you, Soren!

And THEN I got involved writing a fanfiction about the game. Sigh... I need fewer projects.

    On a random subject change, I am considering possibly changing my major to chemical engineering.

    On Friday, dad and Elaine went with St. Michael's CYO group to Atlanta. They went to a Braves game (Elaine is now obsessed with the Braves and has what... three t-shirts now, in addition to a keychain at least. She was showing us her loot last night), the Coca-Cola museum (*drools*), and the aquarium, which is apparently amazing. It had a dolphin show and whale sharks. WHALE SHARKS. They were about 27 ft. long according to dad (and I trust his judgment, since he can actually estimate distances and height while I cannot) with mouths four feet wide. The glass for the tank was two feet thick. No kidding! I know all about whale sharks since I have played both Zoo Tycoons (which is, I am convinced, an educational game in disguise). Those games are also the reason why I sigh and facepalm whenever we're at the McWane and some kids run up to a tank, notice the foot-long stingray, and shout, "Look at the manta ray!" or notice the tiny little leopard eel and go, "Look at the moray/electric eel!"

    So, while dad and Elaine were gone, we had a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. Actually, first we had to deal with a cow out. Thankfully, it did not get out of the pasture entirely; it merely got into a pasture it was not supposed to be in. I think the cow was actually Oatmeal. Oatmeal was Snowflurry's last calf, and I bottlefed Snowflurry. Oatmeal was not my choice of a name for the calf. My name choices tend to be a bit... esoteric and eccentric, and so no one approves of them. Put it this way, I got funny looks when I suggested 'Aiglos' for a white calf and 'Morchaint' for a black one. However, I am used to funny looks by now. So I have given up naming them and when Elaine and mom said the calf was the color of oatmel, I went with that.
    Anyway, Oatmeal was in the wrong pasture and had no access to water. She had been in there at least six hours, so we decided to chase her back. Of course, it decided to rain, thunder, lightning, and hail as we began this. Eventually, we just gave her a bucket of water and went back in the house, utterly drenched. Naturally, once we got cleaned up, had lunch, and looked out the window, she was back in the right pasture again. So once the rain cleared up we headed out again to check the fences, and pulled limbs off the wires in two places. It rained on us again.
    That wasn't the end of Friday's chaos, but it should have been.
    Anyway, we watched over the period of three days all the Lord of the Rings extended movies. Haha! I am a hardcore LOTR nerd. Can you tell? No, precious, of course not, it's not like I do anything that gives that impression...
    I have also come to a decision re: my favorite character. For a long time I have said either Legolas or Aragorn (whose name is not even consistently mispronounced in the movie! Everyone apparently has their own ideas of how his name should be pronounced and the only one who got it right was SAURON). However, I'm not really a fan of how Aragorn is portrayed as a reluctant king in the movie, and the excesses of other Legolas fangirls terrify me. So I have decided to go with a much safer option: Eomer! What's not to like about Eomer? He has a horse and a cool helmet, and he can spear giant mumak drivers and cause traffic jams of elephants! Plus, while we were rewatching the extended versions, mom and I noticed just how little attention Eomer gets in the movies. Seriously. After Theodred's death, he is the heir to Theoden and the kingship of Rohan. You think they might, you know, mention this once to establish the fact that he is a strategically important character?
    Noooooo. Of course not. Everyone hates Eomer. They really demoted him to an extra. In the book, he's there at Helm's Deep, makes sarcastic remarks to Grima Wormtongue (zing!), develops a good friendship with Gimli although they started off by nearly killing each other, becomes a good friend of Aragorn as well, and has a completely EPIC moment at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where, when he sees the black ships of Umbar, he sings a song of defiance and holds up his sword:

Out of wrath, out of ruin, to the sun's rising,
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing,
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking,
Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a red nightfall!

    Epic. Simply epic. This is, mind you, after he has seen his cousin, his uncle, and his sister (or so he thinks) all dead in battle. He has nothing left to lose. Then he sees Aragorn's banner on the ships. He throws his sword up in the air and catches it singing. Cue epic pwnage on the forcers of Mordor.

    WHY was that not in the movie? It would have been a dramatic scene and all that? But, no, everyone hates Eomer.
    I understand that they want to have more female presence in the movies. BUT they do it by derailing characters. They make a big deal out of Eowyn, Eomer's sister, wanting to go out and fight. Apparently, the only types of girls that Hollywood can handle are action girls. However, in the book Eowyn does have an important role. While Theoden and Eomer are away holding off Saruman's army, she is the only person the people trust enough to lead the women and children and aged to Dunharrow to safety. At least, in the extended version it has Theoden telling her that she is in command in his absence (no mention of Eomer, however) and he hopes she will defend her people long. She, however, deserts her duty and runs off to nearly get herself killed. I really wish she had been called out on that. But, no.
    I think it's the princess effect. People love princesses. Something about the long dresses, maybe. Anyway, they tried to put more family dynamic in the movies. So we see Theoden mourning his son's death. Very good. We see him expressing grief and rage over the fact that Saruman's Uruk-hai hew the bodies of his soldiers that were already dead. Very good. He has several meaningful talks with Eowyn and is generally very fatherly to her. Very good. He mentions to Aragorn that she had to see her father brought back dead, her mother succumb to grief, and then watch her uncle become a puppet of Sarumen. Very good... hey, wait, NOT ONE WORD ABOUT YOUR NEPHEW, THEODEN?? EOMER WAS THERE, TOO!
    I think they were trying to stop mentioning Eomer so when he turned up at the end it would be more of a surprise for the audience and all that. However, it really makes it seem like Theoden prefers Eowyn to his nephew. Really. I suppose that since she looks like her mother and Theodwyn was his favorite sister, there is some sort of canonical basis for that. But, really. Not ONE meaningful line of dialogue between Eomer and Theoden. All he gets is, "Eomer!" when he comes charging to the rescue at Helm's Deep. Not even a, "Hey, I'm sorry for banishing you and all that." I mean, all he ever does is give military commands to Eomer, to which Eomer mostly responds with a nod and that's it. NO MEANINGFUL INTERACTION!
    Even during the scene at Edoras at the beginning of the ROTK. Theoden gets a meaningful talk with Eowyn. Sure, Eomer stands next to Theoden during the, "Hail the victorious dead!" speech, but it's not like the camera ever focuses on him. Theoden finds time to go talk to Eowyn and encourage her pursuit of Aragorn (seriously, the girl does NOT take a hint. He's 87, has an Elvish girlfriend, and you're STILL chasing him, Eowyn? Really?), but can he say one thing to Eomer? No. It's no wonder Eomer decides to go off to some people who do not snub him and supervises the drinking contest between Legolas and Gimli.
    Eomer does get a good line as they move out: "Oaths you have taken, now fulfill them all, to lord and land!" He's supposed to add, "And league of friendship," but, no. The movie doesn't like to emphasize the fact that Rohan and Gondor swore to aid each other in times of distress. It was a SERIOUS promise- a covenant, in fact. The current Steward of Gondor, Cirion, and the first king of Rohan, Eorl, went up to the Halifirien, the Holy Mountain, where Elendil, the first High King of Gondor and Arnor, was buried, and swore eternal friendship between their countries. Eorl swore ON THE PAINS OF HELL to aid Gondor. Cirion added the Middle-earth equivalent of, "So help me, God," to the end of his speech and called upon the Valar (Middle-earth equivalent of the angels) as witnesses. That was HUGE. Only the Numenorean king had ever publically called upon God, and that was only three times a year, upon the Meneltarma (the holy mountain in Numenor). For the Steward to do it... yeah, that promise was serious business.
    Therefore, every time in ROTK when Theoden says, "Why should we aid Gondor?" I scream at the screen, "Hello! Dude, your ancestors swore on the pains of Hell to do so! Get your butt in gear and take your army to Gondor!"
    Eomer and Eowyn don't really get any sort of meaningful interaction themselves. They do have a scene or two at the beginning of TTT. They share concern for Theodred, their cousin. Incidentally, Theodred and Eomer were like brothers. Wormtongue tried to turn them against each other in the months leading up to the War of the Ring, to no avail. It's nice in a sad sort of way to see Eomer in the extended edition looking for his fallen cousin, and carrying him all the way back to Edoras before he dies. Canonically, Theodred's last words before he fell at the Battle of the Fords of Isen was, "Let me lie here to keep the Fords... until Eomer comes." So they bury him there in the book. (Oddly enough, Theoden and his men go past this area later in the book, and no one mentions that his son is buried there...)
    The only time Eomer and Eowyn have a conversation is in ROTK where Eowyn has just given Merry some miniature Rohan armor. Eomer says, "You should not encourage him." Eowyn: "You should not doubt him." Eomer says, "I don't doubt his heart, only the reach of his arm." Eowyn goes on a rant about how he should be able to fight for those he loves. What she really means, of course, is, 'Let me go fight, too!' (She asks that of Aragorn in TTT movie and in the ROTK book. At least in the ROTK he makes the sensible reply of saying he can't take her with him without at least letting Theoden and Eomer know.) Something about what she says, anyway, strikes a nerve with Eomer. He stands up and goes on a mini-rant of his own about how when Merry gets to the battlefield, and the screams, the blood, and the horror get to him, he will want to run, and he will be right to do so. It's obvious that Eomer is not really talking about Merry- he's talking about her. Eomer has seen his cousin die. He knows he and his uncle are going to certain death. He wants her to be safe. He tried to kill Grima Wormtongue for her sake, remember.
    Eowyn never shows much affection for Eomer, either. No reaction when he's banished. She's just crying over her dead cousin. Understandable. But you'd think when he shows up at the end of the Two Towers she'd say hello or something. You know. "I've missed you," at least. No. Instead, she gets all teary over the fact that Aragorn survived (really...) and completely ignores her brother. Like her uncle. In the Houses of Healing, she never says anything to him when she wakes up. She doesn't even look at him, and he's right there, next to Aragorn, obviously on tenterhooks with worry over her well-being! At Aragorn's coronation, she's with Faramir. NO ONE CARES ABOUT EOMER!
    Poor Eomer... He loves his family, and they all ignore him. I tell you, if there's one thing sure to make you cry... Try the extended scene after the Pelennor Fields, right after Aragorn dismisses the ghosts. Eomer and a few other riders are going through the battlefield. Suddenly there's a scream, and Eomer is running to his sister's body. That scream... gah, it just tears at your heart. The way he holds her limp body and just cries... Goodness, the poor man has seen his uncle dead, his cousin dead, and now (apparently) his sister... Then you see him just anxious for her in the Houses of Healing. The poor guy.
    In the book, Eomer is with Theoden when he dies. They have a meaningful conversation, and Theoden asks him to tell Eowyn good-bye and mentions that she was dearer than a daughter to him. At least he gets to say, memorably, "Hail, Eomer King!" He mentions that he cares for both of them in the book. In the movie... of course not. Why should he? Eowyn's the only one there. So he tells her goodbye and croaks. That's it. Not even, "Tell your brother goodbye for me," or, "Help your brother be a good king," or anything. NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING. It's horrendous! The more I think about it, the more incensed I am for poor Eomer's sake!
    The screenwriters must have hated him. Goodness knows they hated Legolas. They gave him really obvious things to say and/or vague and portentous-sounding things to say. Eomer isn't forced to do anything stupid or out of character, but he's given so precious little time, that... gah... At least Karl Urban manages to do a great job with the little time he's given on screen. I think he really got Eomer's personality and can convey so much even without words. Face it... it's Eomer's expressions (often momentary, too) that crack me up or make me go, "Awesome!" Case in point: drinking contest. He's supervising a drinking contest between an Elf and a Dwarf! That alone tells you something. Watch him during it. It's priceless. The look on his face when Gimli burps. Even better, the look he gives Legolas when the Elf says, "Strange... there's a tingling in my fingers... I think it's starting to affect me."
  As for awesome, Eomer has nailed that. He is consistently awesome. Great armor, great pony (Firefoot! Awesome name!), great spear skills, uber helmet... yeah. I like the way at the Black Gates he just starts hitting orcs with his shield. Love it.
    So, yes, the purpose of this insanely long rant was to prove that Eomer is underappreciated in the movies both in- and out-of-universe. He deserves more appreciation, and so I am going to claim him as my favorite character from now on. EOMER ROCKS!

In Pace Christi,