I liked this questionnaire by Myla enough to answer it myself and save it to a .txt file. I save a lot of typed up things to .txt files on my computer. It’s the digital analogue of my habit of thinking in pen and pencil on paper. Then, more and more people started answering it, and reading all the different posts made me wish I could participate a little more actively than having the answered questionnaire saved on my HD.
Therefore, Tolkien questions:
The Lord of the Rings Themed Questionnaire
- 1) Books or films?
- Books. No question. The films are cool and very proficient spectacles, but the book is where it’s at.
- 2) Which character do you connect with the most?
- An instant sympathy for dwarves aside, I do like Galadriel a lot and old Bilbo, because he strikes a good balance between the hobbit-y good life and being interested in stuff.
and Treebeard, of course.
- 3) What are your top 5 favorite tracks from the soundtracks?
- Oof… I’m not much for remembering score pieces. I like fangorn (scary tree music!) and gollum’s song (björkish!).
- 4) Which scene always makes you cry?
- Books: The Grey Havens is probably closest, because you get plunged into it right alongside poor Sam.
- Films: The rally of Rohan before the battle of the Pelennor Fields, because I like the grim warrior fatalism of Bernard Hill’s Théoden.
- 5) Where would you live in Middle-earth?
- In Mount Gundabad, after a dwarven reconquista! It’s a proper dwarven place, it’s not too far from the Shire and it’s out of the way up in the north, where it isn’t too warm.
- 6) Which race would you be?
- Loner, spectrum person, stubborn: probably a dwarf.
- 7) Orcs or Uruk-hai?
- I have a bit of a weak spot for the large, long-armed orcs with the 1950s english working class accent.
- 8) Favourite character?
- Galadriel! she’s a freaking powerhouse and a tough-as-nails badass and wise.
And all the dwarves.
- 9) Which character do you look the most like?
- If I hide my ears, I might be able to pass as some sort of sindar/nandor-mongrel. I’m tall and pale.
- 10) Who is your favourite pairing? (canon or non-canon)
- Éowyn & Faramir because they just fit so well.
And, albeit not a romantic pairing, I like the moments between Galadriel & Gimli a lot, too.
- 11) Who is your least favourite pairing? (canon or non-canon)
- Galadriel & Celeborn because Celeborn is such a boring wuss.
- 12) What unpopular opinion do you have for the movies?
- The archery sucks, which is a bloody shame, given that the books are one of the very few cases in fantasy literature that mentions things like bracing bows before shooting them, spending all one’s arrows etc.
It’s pretty normal film archery fare, though. But the Hobbit films had abysmally sucky archery. I want to punch the people responsible for these in the face.
- 13) If you could change anything about the movies, what would it be?
- I’d probably make them not the more commercially viable ‘novel-like’ re-tellings of the story, but have them keep their strong literary perspective: The book is the end result of a long line of copies of a partaking person’s account of something. This permeates everything of it. It’s what sets it apart from pretty much all the fantasy novels with Tolkien-inspired furnishings.
That also means the Scouring of the Shire is going back in.
- 14) How do you think Tolkien would have felt about Peter Jackson’s adaptations?
- Hmm, I suspect he’d see why they did what they did, but I am also pretty sure he’d think it’s not his story.
- 15) Whose wardrobe would you like to have?
- Not strictly LotR, but I’ll take the dwarven armoury Thorin & co. dug out in Erebor, thank you very much.
- 16) Rivendell or Lothlórien?
- Lórien because trees.
- 17) Least favourite character?
- Boromir, because everyone knows the combination of little insight bolstered with pompous ego.
Ugh, I’m trying to remember that other character I really can’t stand, but for the life of me…
- 18) Have you ever cosplayed as one of the characters? If not, who would you choose?
- Nope, but either a dwarf in full armour (that’s the elaborate, ignoring my height, version) or a Nandor archer (easy version).
- 19) What scene makes you laugh the most?
- ‘NOT THE BEARD!’
‘…don’t tell the elf’
‘that’s not an elf maid’
‘these are rhosgobel rabbits!’
and pretty much every insult Gandalf lobs at hobbits or poor Barliman.
(Scene means film, to me. Books have sections)
- 20) If you could meet 3 of the actors, who would you choose?
- Hmmm, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, and John Rhys-Davies.
- Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Richard Armitage from The Hobbit.
- 21) What are your top five favourite lines from the films?
- Until I get time to take notes which lines actually gain a certain something in the films, please refer to the scenes/lines I mentioned earlier.
- 22) What are your top five favourite lines from the books?
- This always changes!
- 23) Who do you think is the most underrated character?
- Probably Galadriel. The books at least hint at her potential, the film makes her a lame token elf etherialwomanqueensomething, but the Silmarillion shows she is a fierce fucking badass.
And, of course, the Druedain! Everybody forgets Ghan-Buri-Ghan and his folks!
- 24) Have you watched any of the animated films? If so, what are your opinions?
- Yes! I actually quite like the gutsiness of the 1978 Bakshi film when they mix looks like classical animation and rotoscoping, abstract backgrounds etc. That is a dedication to pure visual impact we don’t see these days because ‘it’s not realistic!’ and that is apparently supposed to be somehow important.
- 25) How has LOTR affected your life?
- It’s probably the first big literary universe I really got into heads over heels, and also one of the deepest. It’s been 20 years at least, and it hasn’t stopped giving.
It also certainly played a big part in my preferring fantasy over sci-fi. And it gave my nerd score an early boost, just in case my social interaction penalties in high school weren’t severe enough.
- 26) Which characters would you want in your Fellowship?
- A small skirmish band of dwarves, because when the shit hits the fan, you need dwarves.
Aragorn because he’s level-headed and skilled as fuck in all the things.
Gandalf because Gandalf.
Galadriel because Galadriel.
And a few hobbits for good measure.
Treebeard if he wants to tag along, but I feel that wouldn’t really be his thing. Who knows, though? You gotta ask, and it would be such a hoot.
- 27) Weapon of choice?
- Belthronding and a good dwarven axe.
- 28) Would you have volunteered to destroy the Ring?
- That’s one of the things I did think a lot about, actually. It’s easy to say ‘yes, of course!’ but I guess it’s very much like everyone proclaiming from 60+ years postfactum that they’d been in the resistance in Nazi Germany. It’s easy to fantasise about these decisions from the safe distance of a few decades of time or the pages of a book, but it’s far removed from actually making them, when your horizon is clouded by the situation you ended up in, and your life and well-being on the line.
While I kinda trust myself to see the necessity of destroying it over using it against Sauron, I am very much not sure if I would have dared to take on actually destroying it.
- 29) Who do you think is the most attractive character?
- Galadriel, Nienor, and Éowyn
- 30) Do you own any LOTR merchandise? If so, what is your favorite item?
- I’m afraid I really only have the art book for Fellowship. That’s probably because I am much more enamored with making my own designs than tacking on to the films’ merchandise wagon.
- 31) Have you read the book?
- Very much so, yes. Even way before the films came out. Thanks, dad.
- 32) Have you ever had a LOTR marathon? Describe your perfect marathon.
- Yes I have.
My perfect marathon would obviously involve a good screen, BluRay extended editions, tea, good food, cake, and a small band of equally enthusiastic folks to share it with.
- 33) When did you first watch the films and/or read the book?
- The books when I was quite young – if I recall correctly, I read The Hobbit while in elementary school and The Lord of the Rings shortly after, probably in 5th or 6th grade.
I didn’t watch the Fellowship until a good while after it was out and already discounted on DVD. I was one of those people pissy about all the hype and suddenly everyone being an expert on lotr while only regurgitating the roughest of ideas of the story. But then, I was 19. When I picked it up on DVD, I was actually quite surprised by the quality.
I’m still way more partial to the books, but I do like so much production quality being spent on fantasy and that it roped so many people in to Tolkien enthusiasm.
- 34) What is your favorite film/book?
- Oof, that’s difficult. I like each of them for something unique, so I can’t really make a pick. Which I prefer over others is mostly a matter of mood.
Lord of the Rings proper: It’s the mother text. It’s not only that it’s a richly constructed world (that’s something people did before Tolkien, and that he invented languages is just the kind of detail he happened to obsess over) or that it’s set in an imaginary past (that’s also something done before Tolkien), but that he wrote it as if it was an old piece of myth, with the kind of ‘abrasion’ and ‘smoothing over’ that happens during a long history of copying texts, slowly turning a personal account into myth. He didn’t write a novel in the strict sense, he created a linguistic mock-artefact.
Hobbit: It comes with an extra serving of dwarves! The middle-earth canon being written from such an elven-centric point of view, dwarves just got the really short end of the stick.
Children of Húrin: So wonderfully dark and tragic, and all without grimdark!
Unfinished Tales: Even more backstoryyyyyyyy!
- 35) Get drunk with/marry/fight to the death. (Pick three characters)
- Drinking: Tea with Bilbo
- Marry: Galadriel? Éowyn? Nienor? How would I know without actually knowing them?
- Fight to the death: If I don’t have to kill Celeborn to marry Galadriel, Boromir, because I can kinda make my peace with some chaos and evil in the world, but have a very hard time with pompous, decadent idiocy. Boromir today would be a loudmouthed american, war crime apologist, proud republican, born-again christian, and NRA member. How’s that for unpopular opinion?
- 36) Which scene scares you the most?
- Hmmm, I’mm not really scared by any scene, but am quite impressed by Frodo’s and Sam’s increasing hardship through the ring in Mordor. If only to piss off a friend who dismissed it as ‘half a book of “frodo suffers”.’ But he thinks Game of Thrones is better writing, so what does he know anyway?
- 37) Gondor or Rohan?
- Horse people or city-dwellers? What kind of choice is that?
- 38) Which character(s) would you want as your parent(s)?
- Someone cool and kind like (film) Balin.
- 39) Which characters would you want as your best friends?
- Good people, like the hobbits, Gandalf, Gimli, Faramir…
- 40) When was the last time you watched the films/read the book?
- I have the films running every once in a while, and just completed a read-through for SUPER SEKRIT PROJECT.
- 41) Favourite horse?
- WAT? (I’d not say no to one of those armoured war goats from BOTFA, though.)
- 42) If you could spend a day in Middle-earth, what would you want to do?
- 24h introduction to blacksmithing with the dwarves!
- 43) Is there anything you would change about the books?
- 44) What do you think is the greatest lesson LOTR has to offer?
- That having big, ambitious dreams make one corruptible on a much larger, more dangerous scale.
That a simple, good life is a good thing.
- 45) What would your dream home in Middle-earth be like?
- A cozy house with a lot of books, with a dwarven smithy and how I’d imagine an elven woodworking shop, somewhere in the forest, 1–2 days travel from the Shire.
- 46) How would you describe what LOTR means to you in one word?
- 47) Which death makes you the most sad?
- Again, not strictly LotR, but: Nienor
- 48) Favourite behind-the-scenes moments from the films?
- Fun: Orlando Bloom actually singing ‘they’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!’
- Serious: Whenever you see the level of craft and dedication of all the propmakers.
- 49) If you could own any item from the films, what would it be?
- The smaller one of Gimli’s axes is pretty neat.
- 50) If you had the opportunity to meet the Professor, what do you think you would say?
- First of all, many thanks. Other than that, I’d love to discuss with him his ideas on myth in general, possibly with a focus on the Ainulindale and the dwarves.