Finished Lord of the Rings! At last!

An era has ended for me, for I have just finished the Lord of the Rings! That’s right, after about half a year of on/off reading, I have finally got to the end of those devilishly hard-to-read books.

Why did it take so long? I really don’t know. The truth is that the Lord of the Rings are excellent books, excellently written and following an excellent storyline. And when you consider to wealth of background detail which has gone into these stories, you’d be hard placed not to find someone who would not be amazed. However I think that the reason it took me so long to get through these books was that, despite being amazing, they took a lot of concentration to get into the words, to take in the story, which meant that I could only really read a few pages at a time. Another thing that added some 2 months to the process, was the fact that at the back of the last book is the Appendices. These are 100 pages of background information to the Lord of the Rings, half of which is good, a quarter is ok and the last quarter is incredibly boring.

Now, most of my thoughts were ‘How is this book the same or different to the films’. Well the answer varied. At some points Peter Jackson’s films followed the book to the word wheras at other points it differed intensly with scenes being dropped out or put in. Mostly this was for the better however there were a few occasions when it was not (see old posts).

I would defiantly recommend these books to anyone who loves reading, reading fantasy and reading fantasy for months on end.

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

CIMG9143There are many books in the world where one read simply doesn’t do them justice. There are some books that have to be read, if not over and over again, at least more than once. Three of these such books are Northern Light, the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass, or ‘His Dark Materials’ if you want to sound fancy.

Northern Lights focuses around the young girl Lyra, who lives in a world parallel to our own. This world has many differences. The North is ruled by a kingdom of vicious, talking Ice Bears whilst the skies are roamed by clans of witches. However the main difference is that people’s souls walk beside them in animal forms known as Dæmons. Lyra lives in the stately; Jordan College where she has been left by her uncle Asriel when her parents were killed in an airship accident. However her care-free life is destroyed one day when, hiding in a cupboard in the strictly out-of-bounds retiring room, she saves her uncle from an attempt to kill him by poison. Soon she is whisked away from Jordan College by the evil Mrs Coulter (who turns out to be Lyra’s real mother whilst Lord Asriel is her father) and then rescued by the boat-dwelling Gyptians who take her with them on a mission to the North to recover children stolen by ‘The Gobblers’.

This for me was a great book with a brilliant storyline and superb writing style. The first chapter stood out the most for being brilliantly written and subtly (see what I did there) revealing tiny details which become vital throughout the rest of the trilogy.

I particularly like how Pullman has subtly modified everything about our lives to create Lyra’s parallel universe, from Geography, place names, language, fashion, religion and knowledge of science.

This first book was the basis for the movie ‘The Golden Compass’. But don’t get me started on that. I hated that film, and I mean HATED it.

COMING SOON! I review the next in the trilogy; The Subtle Knife.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

The fault in our starsI read ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green, for two reasons. Firstly everybody I knew seemed to have read it and secondly, it had a really cool cover.

It tells the story of Hazel, a girl with cancer who is using a constant stream of drugs to keep her alive. One day, at a Cancer support group she visits, she meets Augustus Waters and evidently she has to fall in love with him.

The story then progresses. Hazel and Augustus go to Holland to meet Hazel’s favourite author who turns out to be a drunk, whilst nearing the end of the book Augustus’ cancer comes back and kills him.

In my opinion the storyline wasn’t a particularly strong one, or maybe I’m just not cut out for romance novels. However I do think that John Green wrote the book superbly. The first few chapters especially had a firm writing style and made you really connect and emotionalise with Hazel.

Out of ten? I would give this book an eight.

Osgiliath? When did they go to Osgiliath?

That, and by that I mean the title, is a very good question. Where does it say in the Lord of the Rings, or in any of the dozen books of notes accompanying them that Faramir took Frodo, Sam and Gollum to Osgiliath? Nowhere. So why the hell does director choose to add in that tiny little seen, taking up about fifteen minutes of the movie which could have been used for some of the things he left out.

Now don’t get me wrong I agree that no film can follow completely with the books. I understand that some scenes have to be taken out and some added in, that lines need to be swivelled around a and personalities changed, however I think in this scene Jackson goes to far.

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Most of you will probably not know what the hell I am talking about so I will explain thus. In the Two Towers book, Frodo and Sam are captured by Faramir, Captain of the White Tower of Gondor where they are taken to his base at Henneth Annûn. Here he questioned them about the One Ring, realised they were working to destroy it and let them go.

However in Peter Jacksons ‘Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ movie after being captured Farmarir they are kept prisoner in Henneth Annûn and, after discovering the one ring, Faramir decides to take the one ring to use to help the city of Gondor. He then takes the hobbits, along with Gollum, to Osgiliath where they arrive in a city at war and being bombarded by an attack from orcs and Nazguls.  In the film Faramir also tortures Gollum which was actually quite sad to see.

I don’t know why Jackson did it. Maybee he wanted to show off that his stunt team could successfully tear down the rood of a building, or maybee he was having fun with his remote control Nazgul. It’s not even as if they have made the story any better by doing it this way. Another point to Tolkien.

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The Higher Institute of Villainous Education

HIVE; a school hidden on a mysterious island, in the middle of the Pacific island. HIVE; a school house in a volcano, home to scientists, assasins and talking cats. HIVE; the ultimate school for villains.

The HIVE serues follows the trail of Otto Malpense, Wing Fanchu, Laura Brand and Shelby Trinity as they begin their shady education at HIVE, being trained to become master villains.

During their HIVE careers they face dangers beyond imagination. Giant, mutant plants, killer robots and an out of control artificial-intelligence.

Along the way they begin to discover the secrets behind their own lives from Otto; born to house Overlord; the Artificial – intelligence or Wing whose father was a scientist and died to protect his secrets.

I would definitely recommend this series to any teen-reader as it is a great combination of adventure, action and science fiction.

The PenPal Magazine

At school I am currently undertaking the ASDAN CoPE qualification.

To complete this you have to undertake several tasks and challenges which you can undertake in any way you can. Here is the latest task I have been given:

“You have two weeks to publish and book or magazine of at least 6 pages, which costs £2 per copy. However you have no money to pay for it to be printed.”

To complete this challenge I created a magazine called ‘The PenPal Magazine’, and sold black and white copies (which I printed out for free at school).

The magazine is full of previous blog articles which can all be found on this blog. Now I have done this task I would like to share my magazine with everyone, so you can read it as well.

Magazine Cover Magazine Pages

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

I may confess that I spend too much time watching films over and over again, and rarely straying out from a select few. However recently I have engaged myself with the award winning, Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The stories are set on the mystical land of Middle-Earth, a place ruled by the evil tyrant Sauron.

The stories mainly focus on young Frodo Baggins, a hobbit who is on a quest to destroy the one ring; the source of Sauron’s power and therefore rid Middle-Earth of Sauron forever.

Along the way he meets loads of people such as Gandalf the Grey (played by Ian McKellen) and the evil creature Gollum (voiced by Andy Serkis).

I would whole-heartedly recommend these films to anybody in need of something to watch, as I have really enjoyed them.

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