21st Century Pagan

I get home from work and I’m in a really good mood since it’s been raining all day and it feels like autumn has finally arrived. The happiness turns to horror as I pull into the drive and I see drifts of snow everywhere. It hailed so much that the piles are close to a foot thick in some places. Why? It’s not even October yet! Let me have this brief period of joy in my life, Colorado, before you start reminding me that winter is just waiting to coming crashing down on us all.


Jules Louis Machard (French, 1839-1900)


Jules Louis Machard (French, 1839-1900)

(via artgeg)

“The first meeting I had with Peter, Fran and Philippa was the casting. I was given a scene to read that was actually a construct –it wasn’t from the book. It was at this point that I became really excited by the idea, that the book was going to be the backbone of a much more fleshed out, well-rounded story. The scene they gave me to read was Thorin talking to Balin about who the Dwarves had once been, what they had become, why the Wizard had come to him with the map and key, but that he didn’t feel he had the strength to do this. In one scene, the writers had captured exactly what the character was all about –his dreams, his regrets, his insecurities, and his power.
Throughout the filming process, I was able to bounce my ideas around our forum. Often, ideas would spring from drafts of scenes being ‘workshopped’, or in progress. As we all grew to know and understand Thorin, the collaboration became easier. The way the character looked was very much in Peter, Fran and Philippa’s hands; the way he moved, spoke, and delivered the ideas on the page were mine and Tolkien’s. I was inspired very much by a particular pencil sketch of John Howe’s, particularly the hands, eyes and nose. I felt they weren’t dissimilar to my own. There was also a gentle, pensive attitude in the picture which I hadn’t seen in Tolkien. It gave me a useful colour to paint with.
The most exciting part of the collaboration though, isn’t when one sits down to negotiate for ideas to make it into a script or film, but when they appear in the script at the very moment when they are desired. This happened a lot. This is when I felt we were all in tune. The lines never had to be learned. I suppose Peter, Fran and Philippa were hearing my voice when they wrote the scene –another great compliment –and when imagining that scene, I was in tune with the flavour of neo-classicism that I felt our writers were enjoying: the Dwarf Kingdoms felt like the great fallen Roman empires, and the literature and philosophical ideas were in line with Greek tragedy, at times Shakespearean. I felt that it was appropriate to allow myself to wander down that path, after all Thorin was heading for a kind of megalomaniacal insanity, which is a difficult thing to play without embracing that ‘full throttle’ style of art.
I always imagine characters who are defined by their history. If it’s not there then I will inevitably construct a detailed biography. For Thorin this was very easy as Tolkien had given so much material to us through various other sources in his literature, but I still needed to investigate a more domestic biography; ‘What do Thorin and Dwalin “chew the fat about”?’ or, ‘What was Thorin’s relationship with his sister Dis like?’ I felt that might inform how Fili and Kili would feature in Thorin’s life.
The difficulty with Thorin is that he enters the story on the edge of failure, but with everything to win. I remember thinking when I first read the scene of the casting, that here is a character who felt like a dying ember, yet with the energy and hope to reignite into the furnace that once powered this great warrior. But, he has all the potential to fail.
I connect personally with the last sentiment. I was never really sure if I could pull this role off; I felt secretly that many others also felt the same and it’s one of the reasons I could never sit down on set (I am a pacer, apparently). I could never rest.
Thorin is the same. He hasn’t slept easily in his bed since the Dragon expelled them from Erebor. Thorin’s grandfather went mad and his father disappeared a year ago to the day when the Quest begins. The desire for revenge upon Smaug and also on Azog, who beheaded his grandfather, has been bequeathed to him. That’s a huge burden to carry, and one that can’t be shared.
The glory of returning his people to their homeland is also in the mix, along with the personal revenge on the slaughter of his family. Also, buried deep inside of Thorin is a dormant lust for gold, a lust inherited from the line of Durin, and just as the Dragon who will be woken when the King returns to the Mountain, so too that dormant illness inside of Thorin will awake. He knows this and fears it.
So really, the ‘engine’ which brings Thorin to lead his fellow Dwarves to their destiny is fuelled by the past but is ‘front wheel’ driven, towards their future, their destiny, their prophecy. It’s a great place to imagine a character because they are always in flux, pulled towards something, which they fear, springing from a rage-fuelled past.”


Richard Armitage, Actor, Thorin

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles, Creatures & Characters. 

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I think It’s done ! Yeepeeee ! #art #mariposa #mongolia #reindeer #watercolor


I think It’s done ! Yeepeeee ! #art #mariposa #mongolia #reindeer #watercolor

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Spot illustrations of Norse Gods. Ink, watercolor, digital.

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Anonymous said: yes talk about eowyn and antifeminism



Okay, so this might be a little lengthy.

I will admit, when I first read The Return of the King (I was ten) and I realized that Éowyn had “given up” fighting and warfare for healing, I was offended. I was hurt. Éowyn was a lot like me - fiery, headstrong, determined - and suddenly I was faced with this realization that I was expected to settle down and be quiet and be nice and just not do what she did. I hated it. She was still my favorite character, but I really resented Tolkien for doing what I thought was something horribly sexist.

And then? Well… then I grew up. Oddly enough I sort of became Éowyn. I grew depressed. I fought not to protect others but because somewhere in the corners of my heart I sought death. I fell in love with the idea of someone rather than the true person, and it turned me hard and cold. And suddenly it made sense. Suddenly I understood that she didn’t fight for any healthy reason. She went to war to die, both because she felt trapped by society and because she felt she had no other choice. She wanted the glory of battle, not the joy of knowing that she was protecting her homeland. This I think is best evidenced in her argument with Aragorn - he’s pointing out (very wisely) that she’s not being left behind with the women and children, she’s being charged with the defense of Edoras. Somebody has to stay behind and rule and do queenly things, somebody has to protect those who cannot fight. And she doesn’t want to do that. She wants to fight for herself and her own reasons, she wants the glory. Aragorn calls her on it, tells her that soon she could be called to fight, “valor without renown”, and she hates that. So she suits up, goes off to battle, and seeks to die because she thinks that being left with the responsibilities is somehow lessening her value as a person.

It takes a stint in the Houses of Healing to show her that she’s wrong.

I almost think that it was her relationship with Faramir that brought her around. Not in a “love transforms you” sort of way, though. Because Faramir is the opposite. He doesn’t seek out war and valor. He wants to fight to protect his people, but his true joy is in peacetime. I’d say that being exposed to that mindset helped her see how wrong she was, which is why in the end she chooses to lay down her sword.

Personally I don’t think she stopped fighting, but I think in the future she fought to protect her people rather than for her own gratification.

I see a lot of myself in Éowyn. Always have. And so it’s hard for me, looking at Tolkien’s work eleven years later, to see this very natural character growth as antifeminist. Especially when we’ve got women like Lúthien, Aredhel, Nessa, Nienna, Varda, Galadriel, Míriel, and Haleth to show that Tolkien did in fact respect women, did believe that they could be valiant and could be whatever they wanted. I think his message with Éowyn was not “women shouldn’t fight”, but “if you fight, fight for the right reasons”. It doesn’t help that he was very  opposed to war and to bloodshed for its own sake.

This is the only Meta Fridays post I’m probably going to reblog here, but it’s because I’ve gotten a lot of questions/comments about Éowyn from readers and it pretty much sums up my thoughts in one post.



I am getting so good at estimating how heavy a box is going to be after six flights of stairs I should put it on my resume.

I am so tired of packing, you guys.

I thought you finished moving already, dear? Are you moving again?

I wish. We moved six months ago and we’re moving again in two weeks. This one s a year lease, though, so I’ll have a little bit of a break. We’re a bit nomadic because of husband’s work.

I am getting so good at estimating how heavy a box is going to be after six flights of stairs I should put it on my resume.

I am so tired of packing, you guys.


Both of our jaws dropped when we saw this… look how stunning it is!!

Gorgeous plate of Beryl var. Aquamarine crystals with bi-color Fluorite on Muscovite
Nagar, Pakistan

(Source: exceptionalminerals.com, via dragons-bones)