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kate_nepveu


incidents and accidents, hints and allegations


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Kate kate_nepveu
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Lightning Month in Review

Well. It's been a while.

Saturday, December 11, Chad went off to a physics conference in Canada, leaving Emmy and I to our own devices until Tuesday afternoon. This would have been fine except for the crushing headache I developed Saturday night which kept me awake all night.

The next weekend was the weekend before Christmas, so we went out to my parents' for holiday celebrations. My aunt and her husband did dinner at their house, with my grandmother and a family friend I haven't seen in years, and that was lovely. The weekend after that was Christmas, so we went to Chad's parents for a Polish Christmas Eve (oplatki and oyster cracker fights [*] and soup and fish and pierogi; no vodka shots this year, but sangria again—why does sangria not give me a headache, but regular red wine does?).

[*] Oplatki (or oplatek) are Communion-like wafers; everyone goes around and shares, oldest first down to youngest, and wishes each other a Merry Christmas. This takes a long time, so the kids used to get in surreptious fights with the oyster crackers that go with the soup. The cracker fights are now a tradition to the point that we have a wedding picture of relatives coming up to Chad and dumping handfuls over his head.

The next weekend was New Year's, and we went to a party in the neighborhood thrown by the organ-builder of the open house and spouse. A good time, and I didn't turn into a pumpkin until after midnight. I gave myself the gift of a day not doing work New Year's Day (having spent considerable time at Chad's parents holed up with a laptop), and dozed for a long time and then watched the extended edition of Return of the King.

This was pretty "ehh," in my opinion. In rough order:

  • Weirdly, for all its length, it didn't feel an hour longer.
  • The death of Saruman:
    • Should have been in movie 2, dammit;
    • Felt like its rhythm was all wrong, though that may be because it excised chunks of dialogue verbatim from the book;
    • And was just wrong in leaving Saruman to pollute the water.
  • The little moment when Pippin stops dancing and looks at Gandalf, while the lure of the palantir is growing, should've been left in.
  • The sexist!Eomer moment was properly excised, as was the simple-and-good-hearted!Merry speech.
  • The extra conversation between Denethor and Faramir would have been quite good, if that weird hallucination wasn't there.
  • The Paths of the Dead was a complete WTF change. I think the whole decision to show it was a mistake; keep the banner (at least Arwen would have had something to do in the later movies!) and the surprise; it's such a wonderful image.
  • The Houses of Healing was so perfunctory as to be pointless.
  • And, finally, ARAGORN WOULD NEVER KILL A MESSENGER.

Oh, and everyone can't really arrive at the Pelennor Fields at the same time. I was counting the days, it doesn't work.

Early in December, TNT was running Fellowship, so of course we put it on as background noise, and of course we had to stop everything we were doing and watch the Bridge of Khazad-dum. Only the ride of the Rohirrim matches it for sheer riveting drama and emotional weight; nothing in the second movie comes even close, which is a real pity because the first half of The Two Towers is my favorite part of the book. I'm beginning to reconsider listening to the audiobooks of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; I'm tired of someone else coming between me and the story.

This week, I went out to Syracuse on Tuesday for a court appearance, and am pretty wiped from that appearance, the five hours' drive, and the work generated by it both before and after. However, I was so very incredibly sick of law tonight that I decided to bang this out and then go to bed a little early, to gear up for working through the weekend, again.

And we close with books for 2004.

According to my booklog, I logged fifty-nine books this year (read or listened to); I'm not going to bother listing them all here. I have the following to be logged:

60. Point of Honour
61. Petty Treason
62. Cut to the Quick
63. A Broken Vessel
64. Whom the Gods Love
65. The Devil in Music
66. Venetia
67. O Jerusalem
68. Justice Hall
69. Crown Duel
70. The Grand Tour
71. The Game
72. Trickster's Queen
73. Going Postal
74. The Truth
75. Dog Warrior

76. The Gunslinger
77. The Drawing of the Three
78. The Waste Lands
79. Wizard and Glass
80. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

That's actually more than I thought, though the first year I booklogged, I read seventy-six different things from August through December. Oh, to have time again . . .


(Deleted comment)
62. Cut to the Quick
63. A Broken Vessel
64. Whom the Gods Love
65. The Devil in Music

All by Kate Ross, a mystery series set in the late Regency period.

66. Venetia

Georgette Heyer.

67. O Jerusalem
68. Justice Hall

Two books in the Laurie R. King Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.

69. Crown Duel

YA reprint by Sherwood Smith.

(Did you ever read Exordium?)

(Deleted comment)
They are certainly best if you can read them in a lump.

I'm glad Anne liked them.

(Deleted comment)
Yeah, it's pretty bad, but work has been brutal. I don't think I've finished anything in print since the Dark Tower books back in mid-November, which is pathetic--I'm browsing _Making Book_ before bed, but if I've read anything else I can't remember it.

Good luck on the job hunt.

Aragorn

I have to agree, that was just wrong and unnecessary. I haven't seen the appendices, but I gather that there is some background to the filming of that scene that implies it could have been a great deal worse.

Re: Aragorn

Oh, it was going to be a mano-a-Maiar facedown between Aragorn and Sauron. They apparently got pretty far down that road too, before coming to their senses. What they were thinking, I have no idea . . .

Re: Aragorn

I blame sleep deprivation. Makes me wonder what RotK would have looked like if they had been as (comparatively) well-rested as they were for FotR.

Re: Aragorn

Good point (the primary reaction to the documentaries is, "these people are *insane*." I have no idea how they managed what they did). Or even _The Two Towers_, though I think that the problems I have with that were the kind of thing that they were already tending towards in _Fellowship_.

I am a huge fan of Kate Ross' books and I was devastated when she died. I mourn the loss of my favorite Regency hero ever.

I was going to write a response to you about what I thought of them, but I will take that energy and put it into a draft booklog post to (maybe) go up tonight.

Oh, cool! I hope you do have the time and energy to do this (though given that I'm 20 books and uncountable manga behind in my own logging, it's strangely reassuring to see you have a backlog too).

A skeletal draft has been assembled and will be left to age, or ferment, or develop, or something.

I am unaccountably blocked on writing up the Robins, so it's probably good to skip around.

Happy, happy Athenais. Now I will have to reread them and see if I agree or disagree with your conclusions. I just realized I haven't reread them in awhile. But I do know I loved the fourth book purely because of the singing.

I imagine the fourth would read a lot different that case, certainly.

ROTK

(Anonymous)
I didn't think the extended version added much, either, and in some cases actively detracted--like you mention, the Aragorn beheads Mouth of Sauron moment is flat-out wrong (contrast with the text, where Gandalf makes a point of how Sauron's emissary is dishonoring the laws of diplomacy with his "insolence"). I'm tending to the view that Fellowship (the extended version--which I think did make it a better movie (for one, it made Lorien semi-coherent)) was the best movie of the three. I don't want to sound too Graydon-esque, but I really do think there were some things about Tolkien's vision that the filmmakers fundamentally didn't get. Which is not to detract from their accomplishment, of course, which is considerable even so.

Anyway, sorry to natter on in your comments. Hope work gets better sometime soon!

--Trent

Re: ROTK

I think so about _Fellowship_, even though _RotK_ had more high set points--_Fellowship_ was more a movie.

The extremely slow opening of the extended edition, though, detracts from the rest of it. And I hated Lorien anyway.

Re: ROTK

PS--natter away! It's what it's for.