Friday, December 25, 2015

The New Generation: StarWars Is Back ~ The Fan Experience

starwars 7 premiere night images

  I finally know what it's like to sit in theater full of ardent fans clapping and cheering at shared loves. It is one of the most AWESOME sensations in the world. Whoo! My friends and I had reserved our tickets early, (they on the night of the release, mine a couple evenings after). We got the premiere early, although we weren't not the first ones there--and I was tickled that we were the first seated. That was interesting, walking into an empty theater looking for our labeled seats. Then waiting for the place to fill up with other costumed dandies and the lights to dim.
  When they did and the lettering stretched across the screen a cheer went up and quickly quieted down, as we all just watched. And I realized that I didn't remember feeling so in the moment when watching the prequels at the theater. Except for the first, but I was so young that I don't remember watching the intro roll at that point either. But this--this was different.
  The camera panned to the side and the silhouette of a ship showed against the backdrop of a gleaming planet in stark tones. Well, I thought. This is starting off properly.

  The movie was spectacular. It had the feel of the originals, the cinemagraphic tone, and the pace and excitement that has become a byword of the stories. The characters easily won my heart.

  I had a few expectations that did not happen to take place. I had expected Rey to be Han and Leia's daughter. I had expected there to be a feeling of the old gang, with a lot more involvement on the part of Leia, Han, and Chewie. I had pictured Leia and Han still together, Rey was their daughter probably making off with the Millenium Falcon, and she gets in trouble and they have to jump in and they're all led on a merry chase and adventure.

  Once I realized she was not, it didn't take long for me to suspect that she was Skywalker's daughter. does led me to wonder (as are thousands of other people) why she was abandoned on Jakku. What I had thought was Tattooine in the trailer is actually Jakku, and I'm really rather relieved, even if they look a lot alike. It's a good turn to start the new adventures on a new planet.

  There were only two disappoints that I had. First, that Harrison Ford got his wish. Really ticked off. Months ago I heard a rumor that he was going to, and I immediately shut the page and just never looked up another bit of StarWars news. I was terrified that I'd hear anything else. And my longest crush ever dying? No thanks. Didn't need to hear it, much less see it happen. Han Solo had a lot more to offer in my opinion, but still--his death still served a purpose. And I know Ford really wanted this for his character. So. I'll get over it. Eventually.
  Secondly, that there wasn't that major involvement, that old gang feel. But it was not so big in the face of all the excitement and my satisfaction with the story. I was sad that Leia didn't yell at least once. I was looking forward to hearing her bark orders, and run the place with the fiery passion that I loved. Didn't get to see that. So...yes, I was a bit disappointed. Everything was so sedate compared to what I was used to regarding the characters. Yes, people change with time but their essence often remains the same. It could be argued that such painful experiences have changed them, but I still expected more fire. More sparks. A little bit of clash between her and Solo. But still, it wasn't so big that I dwell too much on it.

  Overall the movie was fun, I'm thoroughly excited, I loved the new characters, the new storyline. I'm thoroughly revved for more. And I'll never forget the big cheer that followed when we saw that a piece of junk referenced was actually The Millenium Falcon. Never forget the love.

  Oh, and keep in mind that more spoilers will be coming. Bwhahaha. Come on I can't help it it's STARWARS!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How Our Characters Look Back At Us

fountain pen pic

One thing I was pondering on recently was my tendency to be so slow with my writing. I reflected on this, and was challenging myself on why I didn't write stories that catered to my natural strengths, (description, character development) in trendy, lucrative contexts. Because I know that I'd be able to do it. If I chose to write some pot boiler full of sex and booze I'd be able to satisfy readers amply. Because it's not hard to do that, when all the reader wants is kicks and I'm perfectly able to be creative with their fantasies. And create a simple story. Picture it, context it, stamp it's done. Pretty much.
  And I realized it's because I want to write stuff that challenges people--and by extension, I want something that would challenge ME. Challenges my world, my life, my thinking. And it's so hard to write about that at times because I am always learning, always reflecting and going back and trying to make sense. It's an ongoing organic state of being that--just in living--makes it hard to get down a story in any timely manner. Because what I want to write about, comes from revelation. And every new day challenges the past one. What I learn today will make me look at my characters anew. And when today always comes again, our characters grow before our eyes, along with ourselves.

  But where to say the end?

  Now that is the question.

  ~ E. C. S. 

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Stark Space of Chaos ~ Insights from the Dark Knight Script

joker behind bars

Recently I've been reading stuff suggested by a Stephanie Palmer in her Screenwriter Starter Kit. Among the blogs, articles, and podcasts she suggested she provided many different links to scripts that are available for viewing online, and I was flipping excited when I saw one of my favorites, The Dark Knight, as one of the firsts. She suggested doing them one at a time (which I totally agreed with) and it was a quick toss up between DK and Christopher Nolan's other incredible work, Inception. (Some of have called it his brain child). But DK happens to be a bigger love of mine, so...Inception will come second.

  Palmer suggested taking notice of the beat of the sequences, the major change in a given scene, see how it plays out into the scheme. It's also giving me a look at the structure of putting it down on paper, how the idea of the scene plays out in type on the page. One of the most interesting things is seeing little things that are different in the script than in the movie--seeing how they changed it when it came to filming.

  One thing really arrested my attention. In the scene when Joker unveils himself, and the bank manager is on the floor, Joker sticks the grenade in his mouth. When Joker moves away in the truck the attached string pulls out of the grenade, and we get a shot of the bank manager looking at the plume of smoke going up in the air. But in the script, he's surrounded by customers that scurry away from him when they see this. (In the movie they're far away in the background, the manager has a solitary presence).

  I immediately had a reaction of dislike to this version--and then tried to figure out why. Quickly realized the reason. It completely changed the interpretation of the scene, which was one that played into the theme of the story arc. The stark, mysterious and ominous landscape, that image of a city both dark with light in the distance, the singularity of an intimate psychological game on ground zero of your mind. An image of you, alone, forced to look at your own image, and discover what it is.

  This scene, if done as it is on the page, takes away the solitary experience. The truth that Joker even speaks of, when he points out that people freak out if "one random person is going to die", but don't if the papers say a truckload of soldiers will be blown up. It makes it personal, intensely personal, when the scene is done as it is on the screen. Private, at least in the frame of the screen. One on one, just you and the embodiment of chaos having a keen look.

  It amazed me, this proof and my own personal experience of it of how one scene plays into the whole. Definitely has been an intriguing lesson.....

  I'll be sharing more as I keep up my study in screenwriting.


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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Inheritance of the Force ~ The New Saga

luke skywalker the force awakens

   Anyone who knows me knows that I am freakin' excited about the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. When I first heard about the Star Wars franchise being sold to Disney, it felt...WRONG. And technically I still don't like the idea, I liked Star Wars being its own thing, Lucas the Star Wars god. (Regardless of some fans' opinions). But the idea of upcoming movies being added to the franchise--man, I was excited. And then I was freaking out. What if they ruin it? What if they just load it with a bunch of CGI like the prequels? While I like the prequels, they don't have the beauty of the originals. The Original Trilogy will always be my favorite.

  My worries however started waning when I heard that J.J.Abrams was going to be doing the movies, and that he wanted to go back to the old ways of doing things, going back to the sets, and only using CGI as it was intended. When necessary. I was like, "Oh, finally! Someone after my own heart! Thank God. And I mean that." And then I got to see the leaked photos, go to see the bit of behind the scenes shots, and interviews will J.J, and it just gave my heart relief. It looked awesome. And then...the teaser trailer was awesome. And then...the official trailer just blew me away. That initial backdrop of the speeder racing across the desert with the Destroyer in the distance--it just made my heart stop.

  I am just over the moon with expectation. Not only do I have great confidence (only a little bit of dubiousness left--natural fear. This is, after all, continuing a huge canon of fan-loved material) but I'm eager to see what new things the cast and crew will bring to the saga now. A story should always be organic, while being true to itself.

  But I got to tell you, the best part was "Chewie, we're home." Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. Ah! Beautiful. I was so overwhelmed I did a weird laugh/squeal, and I said to my dad, "I'm sorry, I'm just so excited!" And he responded, "Ha, I can tell." But then, it's not uncommon that I get those queer looks from people. I'm just passionate, that's all.

  I cannot wait until Christmas. I wonder if I should dress up as Han Solo.

  What are your thoughts? Are you confident that The Force Awakens will live up to its inheritance? You have to admit though--Luke Skywalker looks freakin' good with a beard.


P.S.  As an after note, I thought about titling this "Something Forceful This Way Comes" but then I thought, "Girl, that's just too cheesy. Just stop."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2014 Books Read Recap, Round 1

  I promised a recap of my favorite books that I read last year. There's going to be several posts, as I was lucky enough to have a lot! These first five I enjoyed a lot. 

A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel
Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens(finally read that one!)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (fantastic)
The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis  (absolutely in love with C. S. Lewis's work!  This was brilliant).

 A Case For Christ
   I had read A Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel a few years before when I found A Case For Christ at a thrift store, and was eager to see what research the author had put into forming an argument for the legitimacy of the Christian faith in Jesus's existence and message. I was fascinated by the different aspects of his research, for example learning about the importance people like the Hebrews put on the conciseness of things that were passed down, that nothing be changed. If they allowed such things, then the purity of that heritage couldn't be depended on. Eventually it would just be a story, not their history. This book I intend to read again!

 Paris Letters
  I have been following Janice MacLeod's blog for a few years now, and I LOVE her photos and updates for how she's succeeding with her Etsy business, her books, and the new people she's been connecting with. It's always fun. Especially learning about her life in Paris! She wrote Paris Letters as a way to share her path to getting to where she is now, to how she had to make sacrifices in the beginning to make a way to have her long 2-year (or was it 1 year?) vacation in Paris, to find new inspiration and find something different in life. This read was a happy, fun roller coaster ride. It was just so fun. This is the type of book to curl up with with a nice latte and just have a good time. It certainly inspires you to find a way to have your own long inspiration-filled vacation.

Great Expectations
  I actually watched the 2011 BBC miniseries of this first, which I just completely fell in love with. It just captured my imagination, and spurred me to finally read the book. The book, while having spots that drag out a bit, was a lovely treat. I laughed a bit at Dickens' tendency to carry on a sentence, as if to put himself through an exercise of how long he could keep it going. But the story plot, the characters--they really stood out. Especially the psychology behind. I just enjoyed it so much!! Looking forward to reading more of Dickens' work. I've already read Oliver Twist, which was fun, but I especially looking forward to A Tale of Two Cities and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. (Another miniseries that I love!!)

Ender's Game
  Whoa. This went to the top favs pretty quick--Card's writing is superb, and the way he portrayed live in the training and the war itself--it was a real action-filled study. Had a lot of truth in it. I watched the movie first (often a prerequisite to a lot of my fav books--I read so randomly that books that end up being a favorite often have a movie made after them. But there are tons of treasures that haven't been adapted that I just hold on pedestals), and almost immediately went and checked out the book. Orson Scott Card's writing is sharp and insightful. It's fueled by imagination but lives on a bedrock of logic. He's on my favorite author list. I was lucky enough to find some of his other works at the thrift store! Obviously I piled them all in my cart.

The Great Divorce
  Whoohoo--I LOVED the symbolism and setting that had me guessing and thinking about the circumstances, characters, and meanings behind this merry-go-round of dream-like realities. It was so thought-provoking. I love stories that really make you see things in different ways, keep you guessing, and then present it in a way that makes you sit back and just think about it. You know truth when you touch it. C. S. Lewis is the author I love reading most when I want to read insightful work on Christian ideas/messages. I never finish dissatisfied. He always writes with experiences, conviction, and intellect. Often enough, when I read something from others, it sounds like the same thing you'd hear in Sunday School. I want something that has been lived.

  Reading is always a journey--that's the great thing about it. Just in reading new things you get new ideas, new ways to see things, and best of all--new awesome authors to follow with the anticipation of a pup awaiting a meaty bone. (Okay, perhaps I could have used a better alliteration, but I've been dealing with my pup, so this image came quickly). ;)

  I'll be sharing more books from 2014 soon!

  E. C. S.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Humanity In the Hands of an Innocent~ Edward Scissorhands

  There was a movie that I had seen as a kid. I was absolutely in love with it. Growing up, I could only remember fragments of it, fragments that stuck in my head, blurry but romantic images of what I perceived the story to be.

  Just recently my library started allowing movie rentals up to 4-6 weeks, (yes, wow) and so I've started regularly checking out movies, because I knew I'd be able to get them back on time. I was thrilled to come across Edward Scissorhands--I hadn't seen it in over ten years, and once I got home I popped it in.

  SO different than what my childhood perception of it was. One element was the same--the kindness of Peg, and Edward's need to please, to love, and to be accepted. I love his character.

  But one thing disturbed me--my nostalgic memory portrayed the story as something pure, and bittersweet--and to a great extent it is a strong underlying current. What I didn't remember was all the neighborhood dirtiness, portrayed by the women. They rather reminded me of the people of Sodom, only clad in 60's notstalgic sweetness and pastel colors. It got to me to almost hate it in a way--I disliked Joyce especially, the next-door whore with less class than a dung beetle.

  But when I thought on it a bit, I realized that everything about the movie actually serves a very crucial point. It is essential, despite the distastefulness. Every good person, every...less likeable person...was part of a purpose.

 Peg, the motherly heart that can't stand to alienate anyone, even when to some it would be obvious; her husband, the typical voice of paternal wisdom yet rather blank on those around him, the son who is just minds his own fun, and Kim, the child of the world caught up in her own time.

 Then Edward, the creature born of a mysterious Inventor's imagination. Little by  little he was created, given the heart of an innocent child (figuratively speaking), and at the very last, his master intended to give him hands--hands with with to touch, to feel, to work with. Yet he died there right at his feet, at the crucial moment that would have given him something that he desperately wanted. Hands with which to reach out in gentleness. The Inventor, to me, serves as a very strong, illusive symbolism of that Someone mankind often feels like is not there when we need him.

  Then there is the Neighborhood. The neighborhood that functions like a cesspit of gossip, however innocent or trivial, it gets passed around, smeared on here and there. All the while smiling. All in good fun. And any new things, well--everyone wants a piece of it. Like something to be gobbled up for their own amusement--especially for Joyce, the ravaging machine incarnate.

  From his forsaken loneliness Edward Scissorhands is taken into the world, embraced by Peg and her motherly love, and farcically taken in by the neighborhood with its sweet manners and simpering exterior. In his tenderness and desperate need for acceptance, he trims their hedges, he skewers their kabobs, he lends his creativity to their hairstyles and everything he can touch. Even though he bumbles through their customs, their rules, and struggles not to tear through the clothes they give him, hiding his own beneath.

  Yet, easily, but the slightest thing, it can come tumbling down because the jealousies risen from something that cannot be corrupted, the Innocent is used, framed, cast out. Chased away like a monstrous beast, it's only real defender is the child of the world (Kim) who has recognized purity because it has stood alongside what she has, and she has realized the difference. Recognizing the preciousness, that purity, her own goodness reawakens to the beauty of it and causes her to confront what she once accepted. She craves what Edward represents.She's even beginning to love him.

  It seems that the story is much of a commentary on the fact that humanity at its purest is only victimized by the world, ravaged, and cast out when it can't have its way with it. Even by the painted-pretty societies that pretend to be civilized and open-minded, backed by values that welcome in the lonesome wanderer. When in reality, they are still the savage wilderness, with a false face, waiting for the kill, with the rest of the animals.

  And, perhaps, it is also a question to a mysterious maker to why He didn't give his creation the tools with which to fully make a difference in the world. Why, in the end, he was disarmed. He had so much to offer; but what perhaps made him special, also alienated him from the race he wanted to be part of. I think it is a truth, that perhaps our own humanity is alien to many of us. And to keep it safe, many hide it away, where although safe, its beauty and truth is concealed from where it will do good.

  In the end, it is Kim who makes a sacrifice, along with Edward, who flees to solitary safety. Kim lies about Edward's death, and walks away so that he might survive, even within the cold stone walls of his old home, alone with his own creations. Far away from the eyes of the Neighborhood and the people in it. The only reason that the Kim knows Edward has survived, is because something as simple as snow still falls from the direction of the gated castle. She, and the neighborhood, are blessed with but a dusting of what they could have, as Edward Scissorhands tirelessly creates piece after piece of art, all in memory of the world he wanted, and the girl he loved. But away from everyone else, who were too blind to recognize what they could have had.

  ~ E. C. S.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Books Read In 2014

  I made a goal last year to read 40 books--I actually exceeded that goal with a total of 53. I'm making a goal of reading 50 books this year, since I'm obviously capable of reaching it. So far I've only done 4 (been spending so much time on my business) but I'm sure I'll find a way of reaching that goal! Heaven knows I can't keep away from books for long. I'm currently working on the last books of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. It is incredibly fun and insightful--you can only imagine how fun and interesting it is for me to see what it must have been like to make the movies! Every time I get a book on the making of a film, I get more determined and encouraged to get into the film industry myself.

  This is the list of the books I read in 2014! In later posts I'll be talking about the ones I liked most. There were too many to talk about them all in one! I'd love to hear about what you read in 2014, and your goals for this year!

  Any specific books you're trying to get off your to-read list? On mine is the Grimm Fairytales. And Barnes and Noble has this exquisite edition--even if I do have the collection on Kindle, I'm determined to have THAT GORGEOUS BOOK!

Enjoy! Let me know if you've read any of these yourself!

A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel 

Blessings For Women by J. Countryman company

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw

Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Brian Froud's FaerieLands: The Wild Wood by Lee Child

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Atherton: Rivers of Fire by Patrick Carmen

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Marilyn's Last Words: Her Secret Tapes and Mysterious Death by Matthew Smith

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli

A Series of Unfortunate Events 1-9 by Lemony Snicket

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

The Fairty Tales of Charles Perault

Sisters of Sinai by Janet Soskice

The Problem With Pain by C. S. Lewis

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Essential Guide by BBC

Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Forgotten Realms: Dissolution by Richard Lee Byers

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Doctor Who/Star Trek Assimilation by Scott Tipton, David Tipton, and Tony Lee

The Magic Bullet by Larry Millett

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J. K. Rowling

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Maurillier

Agatha Christie The Grand Tour: 
Around the World With the Queen of Mystery
by Agatha Christie

In Defense of Sanity
The Essays of G.K. Chesterson
by G. K. Chesterson and Dale Ahlhquist

 Hope you enjoyed the list! I'll have a lot to say about Chesterson, Juliet Marillier, J. K. Rowling, as well as a few other authors I'm now a fan of!

  ~E. C. S.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thorin Oakenshield on the Pier of His Fathers

  Some people's soft spot is for romance, the idea of flaming love, or forbidden love--mine has always been true friendship. Any real love, it seems to me, starts with the sincere beginnings of friendship. My favorite theme in The Hobbit always has been, and will be, the friendship between Thorin and Bilbo. I love it. I feel that it isn't sufficiently touched on in the book.

  One thing I loved in the movies was that Thorin was explored more, as a character. In the book, I was very much irritated that someone who had the drive to take back his homeland and lead a gang of rowdy dwarves was portrayed only as a determined, pompous grumpy-gus. I sensed that there was much more to him, much to be admired and known. In the movies I got to know, as we all did, what Thorin believed in, what he feared, what he loved. And his developing friendship with Bilbo--oh man, I loved it.

  And of course that's what makes the end so really heartbreaking. I knew it was coming, but still, they did such a good job (with the movie) that I admit I did cry just a bit. I rarely cry at all, but I can tell you I've always been a sucker for warriors' deaths. Especially ones that I truly care about. Here's an example of two people who found a reason to believe in the other, both of them characters who didn't form such respects and friendships easily. And when Bilbo goes back to Bag End, stating that the person who had employed him was a friend, it made me ponder on the whole journey of their friendship. And I think that's the major backbone of the whole story. It's not just the precursor to Lotr. The events that set that future in motion. It's not just the series of events that brought a homely hobbit from his comfy hole out into the wide world to the point where he is a major mover in the world of men, facing a dragon, negotiating in battle, fighting for those he has traveled with. It's a good example that life often is more about the relationships we form, the iron bonds of friendship that enable us to believe, to keep faith, to realize the value of things.

thorin oakenshield king pics

  In the end, I was wondering--who was Thorin really? Understanding the whole of him, what would I see, not just the tortured warrior and king? I have watched him closely, as he is a favorite character, but I often find that even with close, excited observation of a beloved character I still miss things that I can only reflect back on once the story is over, and I have the whole story arc in its entirety before me. I presume that is what it must be like in some respects, looking back on one's own life, remembering the events that have brought that person from one point to the present. Time and perspective cast illusive beams of light, only bringing illustration when we are prepared and the moment of curious reflection pricks us to look back.

  I think, in the whole, Thorin was a lover of his own country. His people. He had a lot of heart. Bitterness has easy footholds in any human heart, masking much of any possible tenderness. Thorin was driven with the belief that it was his destiny and duty to bring back the stability and glory of Erebor. It was his inheritance to rise it from the ashes that Smaug had left it in. His love was for those who were true of heart, well portrayed by the line (which won my heart the first time I heard it in the original trailer--I knew then it was going to be a great movie!):

   "I would take each and every one of these Dwarves over an army from the Iron Hills. For when I called upon them, they answered. Loyalty. Honor. A willing heart... I can ask no more than that." 

  Tell me that isn't worth remembering.

    As the journey continues, you see how much his determination is turning into something poisoned. I believe we can want/strive for something so hard that it starts becoming something else entirely. A bane. As the group got closer and closer to their goal, we see this needy, almost greedy glint flash occasionally in Thorin's glance. He still remains the dauntless leader that they need throughout it all, fighting for their lives as they try to outwit The Dragon, Smaug--but you can see the change. As Balin's says, he is not himself.

  Those who've read the book knew it would only get worse. That the things we respected would be twisted, only glimpsed here and there in their pure form. In the movie we were mercifully given moments where Thorin forgot about everything, and was reminded by Bilbo of the simple, pure things that matter in life. Things so simple, ordinary, that they make Thorin smile. Because Bilbo does not dwell on gold, or riches, or kingdoms. But the good things of home. Whatever form it takes, meaning for him, his garden, his Hobbit hole, his books. Yet all too soon, regardless of the worries and railings of his fellow dwarves and friends--Thorin descends into madness as we knew he would.

sons of durin pic
  I find it so interesting, how the fear that he would end up the same as his fathers before him turned out to be justified. Like Aragorn, he fears the weakness that has run in his bloodline, claimed the honor of those before him--but unlike Aragorn, who was able to rise above it all, Thorin does have his descent into darkness--his step onto the road of destruction. Thorin falls into the history of his people, his forefathers, into its glory, into its madness--and its end. The sons of Durin do not see the morn after the war. It is a truth that often enough, the things that make a kingdom great bring with them the veins of evil that lead to its demise. In this case, it was the rulers, the bloodline. So obsessed with the riches and glory of what their nation had brought forth that it became a poison.

  Thorin feared this, but was so imbued with the same lifeblood that even the most honorable desires that moved him to regain the lost kingdom for his people did not prevent him from turning back on himself, touching those tempting lusts for gold, for glory, for power. Yet honor can live alongside even the darkest strains of greed. And it is to be thanked that there are those who continue to stand beside us, be the best sort of friends that anyone can hope to have in this world. Those that still believe in us, and remind us of the best of ourselves--challenge us when we turn our back on what is true and good. Remind us of the simple, good things in life.

  I don't believe that Thorin would have been able to come back if it had not been for Bilbo's friendship. Nevertheless, one pays the price for their deeds. In the end they still fall on the sword that they have made for themselves. Some just have the blessing, the privilege of one last defense for what they truly believe in.

  Thorin lived--burned--under the banner of what his people and kingdom stood for, was the impersonation of all his forefathers before him, the good and the evil, in all its tortured complexities. It is a credit to him, and to what he truly believed in, that he was able to come back in time for the final defense. To rise to the challenge, standing taller for a moment then his predecessors. To truly give of himself in a way that could be glorified in song, even as, as so often happens, his bloodline did die away. Our cost in life is terrible. Yet the good we do is greater still.

  The honor of Thorin's life, and how his desires, greed, and righteous fear drove him, will always be memorable. A fallen king--but a fallen king in glory.

  His will always be one of my favorite stories.

  ~Elora Carmen Shore, Pendragon