Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien

                      I read the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was in middle school.  I remember I had borrowed the books from one of my dad’s friends and it was a big deal because they were some special editions or something and it took me about a month to read each book.  Anyways,  back then I did not really realize the scope of Middle Earth and all of Tolkien’s labors.  I was just really focused on hearing this popular tale and being able to pass some test that checked my comprehension.

I had not realized that Tolkien had put so much effort into developing this idea of Middle Earth, and languages, and all the inhabitants.  I am glad to revisit the Hobbit because I do not remember the voice it was told in before.  I like to imagine it, as a lonely old man who has some story the he knows you are craving to hear.  The old fellow is happy to have company and chit chat so he lets himself get side-tracked with family history or any other fun facts that may enter his mind but are not absolutely vital to the story (It is a little funny to note that the gentleman that I originally borrowed the books from had a model train set up throughout his garage, but I digress, and that seems to be the exact kind of side note the old Narrator would mention.)  I like this kind of narration for the tale because it adds that kind of feeling of attachment to the story.  If I were a reporter trying to get some scoop from some random old grandpa in a nursing home I would be frustrated and bored to tears with his ranting but, I am reading the book for pleasure and there is no rush.  There are too many details to try to soak up as the tale unfolds so I feel like I might as well stop and smell the roses from time to time.  I really do not have much personal interest in the Took ancestry but, when Tolkien mentions in passing how a Took simultaneously clubbed an ogre’s head off and invented golf, I am delighted.  Those little things give the writing so much down homey charm that nonstop-action-packed-thrill-rides lack.  The whole development of every aspect of Middle Earth seems to be an act of love.  Now that I know that Tolkien was an orphan and a soldier, I wonder if this realm was his escape of sorts.  That seems like a really easy psychobabble answer.  He could have just been a Star Trek nerd a few years premature.  Either way, I am impressed he cultivated this idea his whole life and, I am glad it wound up making him money and our entertainment.

Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice

            Unfortunately, I had seen the movie before I read the book for this class so everything I am envisioning as I read is narrated by Brad Pitt.  I have the same problem with Edward Norton Narrating all of Chuck Palahniuk books in my head thanks to Fight Club.  Other than that, I would say Anne Rice has got a good thing going here with Louis reflecting on all of his vampire existence.  I like the emotional aspects of vampires and the toll that immortality takes on a soul.  If a vampire even has a soul.  The plight for humans seems to be that life sucks and we do not know what happens afterwards.  Our happiness is Depending upon how much your life sucks and what you hope happens after death.  Vampires are stuck in this life for God knows how long in a constant state of suck.  Humans can at least hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel with whatever religion they subscribe to.  I imagine you suddenly loose any sense of urgency when you are going to be around until the end of the world.  The only real deadlines to be met are coffin time by sunlight and feeding. 
            What I do not get about vampires is why they value human blood as the highest.  If you go with the thought that vampires are a myth created by humans then it makes sense to make our blood the most coveted to increase their fright factor.  However, whenever I over analyze it I think about how a human bite wound is more dangerous than a dog bite because of all the filthy things we have growing in our mouths.  In composting, human fecal matter is the most difficult and time consuming matter to use due to it’s high toxicity.  It stands to reason that human blood would not be the purest around.  I  agree that the fresh blood of youth would be desirable but, maybe from seal cub or kitten.  I think Lestat once said he was dizzy from the blood of a wine drunk guy or something and he did not enjoy it.  In modern society, if a vampire wanted to keep a low profile, the easiest people to prey upon would be the homeless and hookers.  Their disappearance would go largely unnoticed and most authorities would probably say good riddance.  The only problem is that in modern society most of those people have some sort of addiction or transmittable disease.  I do not want to put a negative generalization on down trodden people but I would definitely need some substance to cope with the horrors of homelessness or prostitution.  I guess being undead makes you invulnerable to diseases but I am wondering if a vampire could pick up a meth addiction from feeding off a addict.  Then the vampire would have to quench his need for blood and crystal meth.  Vampirism would take marijuana’s place as the gateway drug.