The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

And with this, Peter Jackson finally wraps up The Hobbit. Thank goodness.

What happens in this movie? Fighting. Thorin suffering from “dragon-sickness.” Bilbo sneaking around a bit. Legolas being unbelievable (even if he does run out of arrows for once). Tauriel being… not much use, actually.

The Good

  • Martin Freeman as Bilbo. He has just the right “aura” for the character. It’s just a pity he didn’t get to do more.
  • Peter Jackson knows how to direct battle sequences. It was easy to follow the different segments of the battle; I never felt too confused by the action or the editing.

That really is all the good I can think of… What follows next is a chunk of ranting:

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The Hobbit 2 Approaches…

I have been rather cranky about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Even though it’s not out here yet. (Will be soon though – this week!)

You see, the existence of Tauriel began to annoy me on many levels, starting from the first full trailer where she was spouting things like “This IS our fight” and I thought: Oh no, she’s going to be the preachy “wise” sort that thinks the Elves should help the Dwarves. After seeing more pictures of Tauriel – they have chosen to feature her (and Legolas) really really heavily in the promotions for the movie – I then found that her red hair disturbed me too. Elves don’t have red hair! But I looked it up and found that I was wrong. Elves can have red hair – but it seemed largely limited to the family of Nerdanel, wife of Feanor. And they are Noldorin Elves, whereas the Elves of Mirkwood are mostly Nandor or Avari (I can never remember which) or Sindarin. I could have borne it all to an extent, accepting the red hair colour as an artistic choice on the production team’s part…

But then Joyce said that it looked like Tauriel was going to be a love interest for Legolas as well. I had been assiduously avoiding the second trailer as I’d had a feeling it would just tick me off. I couldn’t avoid it after what Joyce told me, and to my dismay, she was right. I haaaate that. It’s so… Expected? They just had to add a beautiful female character to the story. Of course she’s an Elf, not a Human (are normal women too boring?). Of course she’s feisty and a great fighter, and of course she’s also red-haired – so she’ll stand out more (Natasha Romanov, anyone? Or Merida?). Of course she has a tragic backstory which makes her “wiser” and choose to support the Dwarves. Aaaand of course, Legolas is going to fall for her. I simply can’t stand the whole combination. Someone wrote that she seems like a Mary Sue character out of fan fiction and that is the most accurate description of her and the most accurate explanation for why so many people – like myself – have such strongly negative reactions to her. I like Legolas, but I would gladly give up his presence in The Hobbit trilogy completely if it meant I could be rid of Tauriel too.

And so, as if to console myself, I have been listening to podcasts by the Tolkien Professor. They are the most intellectual yet not pretentious discussions of LOTR that I’ve heard. (… Not that I’ve had many intellectual discussions of LOTR.) I assume this is because it’s a discussion amongst fans – fans who are not all academicians. A discussion between people with PhDs in Tolkien literature would drive me nuts because I wouldn’t understand even half of what was said. (Despite an MSc, I am pretty sure that my mind was not made for that level of thinking. Too straightforward for all that, and it bores me once it goes past my threshold.) It’s been a joy to listen to the podcasts, especially the series on The Silmarillion. So many interesting ideas people put forth!

I even managed to join in one of the Tolkien Professor’s informal classes on The Return of the King. Saw a tweet that the class would start at 10-ish in the morning on Friday (10pm EST Thursday), but I had a class of my own at that time. :( However, my students ended all their presentations in about an hour and I was lucky that ROTK #7 was still in session when I got back to my office. Got the Webinar thingy running and joined the class! The uni has a good enough Internet connection that I didn’t have any problems streaming the video feed. 8Db

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I’m sitting in one of the computer labs right now. Not doing work. Because a circuit tripped – or they turned it off for some reason – this morning and there has been no air-con in my office since around 10-something this morning. The computers don’t work either. The lights and fans work but since the computers are dead, that means… I can’t do any work.



Sat around for a while then it got too hot and I escaped into this computer lab. I normally have a class in this lab at this hour (2pm) on Tuesdays, but it’s almost the end of term and I finished teaching the syllabus a couple of weeks ago. So now I’m in the lab, where the computers work and there is air-con. Still can’t do any work because all my files are on my office computer.

(I’m not the only one not doing anything – my two colleagues with whom I share the room have also vanished somewhere; presumably for a long lunch or to someone else’s room.)

So I’m just reflecting on stuff. Like Disney. And Disney buying Star Wars. And how that means that Disney now owns nearly everything that I like. I’ve always liked Disney so on its own Disney is already a big thing to me.

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M is for Menelmacar

Otherwise known to Men as the constellation of Orion. Menelmacar in Quenya, Menelvagor in Sindarin – both meaning “Heavenly-swordsman.” (Yes, I’m still having mini moments of LOTR-mania. Maybe it’s time for a proper “LOTR” category on my blog.)

Picture sourced from… somewhere on Google Images. 8D

Hm, that’s not the full constellation though – just the main part and the most recognisable. The three stars in Orion’s belt are super easy to spot in tropical skies. I don’t recall seeing it much in Edinburgh. Then again, I didn’t exactly feel like standing out in the cold to look for stars. And when it wasn’t that cold, well, that was when the sun set at midnight or later and rose before 5AM, which cuts into any star-gazing activities.


L is for Lord of the Rings

Meet my Tolkien collection.

Five are “inherited” from my mother (and the slightly pitiful state of Fellowship of the Ring is my fault – I’ve read it rather too often, perhaps). The Book of Lost Tales (Part One) and The Shaping of Middle-Earth were gifts. The Complete Tolkien Companion (it’s like an LOTR encyclopedia), Unfinished Tales and Tales from the Perilous Realm I bought myself.

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Library Musings


It says something about the state of our academia when, searching my uni library’s database for “Malaysia,” I find 423 items listed – and most of it written by Westerners.

Guess that also says something about the sheer lack of interest Malaysians have in Malaysia.

I kind of have a niggling feeling that if I had tried the same thing in MMU’s library database, I wouldn’t have turned up that many items. USM’s library might have a more substantial collection, but probably not in English… Speaking of English, when I have time, I’m going to go look for these books: Problems of learning English as a second language : an investigation of factors affecting the learning of ESL in Malaysia and The English of Singapore and Malaysia. Interesting, right?? Shouldn’t be too hard to dig them out – I’ll bet no one is going to borrow them anytime soon.


“Lord of the Rings”

I realised that it was incredibly silly of me to have worried about bringing the LOTR books along with me in case I wanted to read them. (FYI, I didn’t bring them – I only brought Pride & Prejudice with me.)

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