Thursday, January 3, 2013

Of Hobbits, Dwarves and Beer

The Hobbit
I have to fess up to the fact that I am a Tolkien fan. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy multiple times in the days of my youth. Ditto The Hobbit. (I also went out and bought a copy of The Silmarillion when it became available here in the colonies. The less said about that the better, though there is a fascinating bit in there about Balrogs. In case you're interested in that kind of thing.)

Now I considered The Hobbit to be a rather delightful children's story which an adult could also find entertaining. When I heard that the same crew responsible for the Lord of the Rings movies was going to make a movie out of The Hobbit, I was ecstatic. Seriously. As I said, I am a bit of a Tolkien geek.

But when I was informed that they were to make three movies from The Hobbit, well I was a bit gobsmacked. I mean the book itself is about half the size of one volume of the 
Lord of the Rings trilogy, which they made three movies from. Just how in Middle Earth were they to make three full-length films out of The Hobbit?

Now the Missus and I went to see 
The Hobbit today. When looking for a suitable showing time, I happened to notice the length of the film, 2 hours and 46 minutes! Now I'm back to wondering not only how they're to make 3 movies out of this, how'd they make the first one so long?

But having seen the film, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt it was a fine piece of work by Peter Jackson et al. I now know how they got three movies out of this one wee book. I see where they're going with this. It's not a children's story anymore and ties in well with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which the book never really did and wasn't intended to. The Hobbit being written first and all.

But all that aside, while at the movies my cell phone was vibrating to beat the band. When we left the theater I checked to see who had called. Why, it was none other than my oldest daughter, the Nuke.

When queried as to why I had not answered my phone, I told her that we'd been to see The Hobbit. That's when the conversation took an interesting path.

For you see, the Nuke does not particularly care for the Bagginses of Bag-End. Neither Frodo nor Bilbo does she care for, says they're both a couple of wimps! Says the real star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was Sam.

"Sam? Weepy, constantly crying Sam?" I asked. "He's your hero?"

She explained how Sam basically carries Frodo up Mt Doom and she quite rightly points out that they never would've made it that far but for Samwise Gamgee staying "on mission" throughout all three films. Well, she had me there. Between Sam and Frodo, Sam was the stud, the guy who makes Frodo stick to it. Kinda like Frodo was a lieutenant and Sam his long-suffering sergeant. As you may guess, I like that particular connotation.

The Nuke also doesn't think much of dwarves. Particularly Thorin Oakenshield. Near the end of the film the Nuke was disappointed that "he got his ass kicked", as she puts it. And well, yeah, he did. He got his ass kicked. But hey, he kicked ass earlier in the movie.

"Doesn't mean squat", said the Nuke. "That was early on, he had an entire dwarvish army with him then. Later when the going got really tough and there's just a few dwarves, one hobbit and Gandalf going up against a few orcs and wargs, he gets his ass kicked. Not impressed."

"And what's up with those eagles? Seriously, they get dropped off miles from the Lonely Mountain. What's wrong, the dwarves don't have enough Frequent Flyer miles to get all the way to the Lonely Mountain?" I tell you, the Nuke is being very tough on this film.

But all that aside, I enjoyed the movie. A lot. I can hardly wait for the next one.

I believe I also mentioned "beer" in the post title. I wanted to mention this the other day but was sidetracked by that whole iPad fiasco I mentioned in my last post.

So, while up in New Hampshire we had occasion to go out to eat. As is my wont, when asked for a choice of beverage, I indicated that a Guinness (for strength, of course) would be very nice indeed.

Imagine my chagrin when our waitress indicated that no Guinness was to be had in this fine dining establishment. Somewhat nonplussed I was. Speechless, I sat there with no words forthcoming to indicate what I might wish to drink. Other than Guinness.

At this point, the waitress came to my aid and indicated that they had another beverage of Irish provenance and would I like to try it? Well, of course I said, if it's Irish, bring it hither with all dispatch!

Well, brought it was. But (as evidenced in the photo above) it certainly was most definitely NOT Irish. No sir, no ma'am. For cast your eyes upon this:

Note that it says "Product of England". Yes, mes enfants, ENGLAND!!!! Angleterre perfide!

Not Scotland, not Wales. England. And most certainly NOT Ireland!

Not being a snob, and always interested in new beverages made with hops and such, I elected to not chastise the fair lassie who waited upon our humble table but just stifled myself and drank my ale. Or should I say "Porter" to be a bit more accurate.

Needless to say Lord Cardigan would've had heart failure to see the "black bottle" upon our table. But as we were not in the officer's mess of the 11th Hussars, Lord Cardigan could kiss my arse*. I enjoyed my Taddy Porter rather a lot, thank you very much. It wasn't Guinness but it was tasty.

So another lovely beverage have I experienced and enjoyed. I like to keep an open mind regarding such things and have seldom been disappointed. Of course, if it has alcohol in it, just have a few more to dull the disappointment and move on. After all, I am a retired sergeant.

And proud of it!

*If confused, go read this.


  1. Ah, we part company on a couple o' topics here. I'm a big fan of Tolkien and, like you, have read The Hobbit and the trilogy numerous times. I am NOT a fan of movies (in general), though. I watched (most of) the first of the three "Lord of the Rings" movies and chose to not watch the others... mainly because, like most movies, they SERIOUSLY messed with the mental images I had built while reading the books. And we will NOT stand for anyone mucking about with things of value that we've built, imaginary or not.

    I don't much like Guinness, either, MUCH preferring a good porter in place of the over-hyped Irish brew. Just about the only time I'll have a Guinness is when accuracy counts, as in toasting Our Blogfather. Even then I'll opt for Woodford Reserve more often than not, one of his favorite whiskeys.

    But... as they say: Vive la difference! ;-)

    1. I see your point on the mental images one builds up over time with good books. Best not to mess with those.

      Guinness IS kind of an acquired taste. I acquired the taste in a small pub in London just off St Paul's square. For the five days I spent in London, I was very much a regular there.

      But like you said: Vive la difference!

    2. I first drank Guinness in London, as well. I used to have a pint (sometimes two) at lunch at one of my favorite pubs, but only in winter. Here comes the heresy: I found the Brits brewed a LOT of stouts that were better than Guinness (more taste, "toothier," yadda, yadda). My whole danged beer universe changed during my three years in Ol' Blighty and it's never been the same since.

    3. On that score I hear you very well. My beer universe was greatly remodeled due to my seven plus years in Germany.

    4. Question for either of you. What was your favorite stout? Your expertise would be appreciated!

    5. Still Guinness for me, definitely my favorite!

    6. @ c w: There's some disagreement here, but porters are generally considered stouts. With that in mind my fridge currently contains State Pen Porter (brewed by Santa Fe Brewing company), Sammy Adams Holiday Porter, and Rogue's Mocha Porter. All are favorites but the Sammy Adams is only available in my market during the winter. Samuel Smith (an English brewer) also makes a fine Oatmeal Stout that I can find locally... occasionally. I avoid the Imperial Stouts, mainly coz at 9% ABV (on average) they are a little bit strong for everyday drinking.

      Hope that helped.

  2. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit as well, excited to find out it was going to at least have a sequel when I checked the time and realized they couldn't finish the story in the few minutes remaining. My 14 year old know-it-all teenager is similar to the WSO, always pointing out how unrealistic stories or plot devices may be. Luckily she's a Tolkien fan as well and watched with wonder and amazement vice her normal fault-finding skepticism. By the way, there are apps you can download which allow you to silence the ringer and stop the vibrating on your phone for a specific amount of time. Very handy for my wife who always forgets to reactivate the ringer after mass or movies.

    1. By the way, I expect Lex called Mary the Hobbit due to her height vice something to do with hairy feet! Haha

  3. Haha! Your 14 year old does sound a little like the Nuke.

    Hmmm, Mary as the "Hobbit" always did puzzle me. I never had the stones to broach that topic with Lex. And I would never accuse anyone of having hairy feet. My own being somewhat Tookish. If you catch my drift...


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