Characters of Cimmeria: Gorwinua

gorwinua

Gorwinua was the finest bard the lands of Cimmeria ever knew and one of the many heroes who fought against draconic tyranny during the Dragon War. During her life she was a shining exemplar of Orcish virtues. She organized Orc armies, practiced the traditional rituals, and chopped down foes with the best of the Orcish warriors. Gorwinua remains a powerful cultural icon for all Orcs. Many Orc leaders have attempted to emulate her accomplishments hoping to unite their fractured peoples, but none have yet succeeded. Continue reading

The Hobbit Part 3 Movie Review

I finally convinced my wife to see one of “my movies” at the movie theaters!

My wife usually picks every movie we go out to see so it was exciting to finally see something that I wanted to see more than she did.

We saw The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, finally concluding Peter Jackson’s movies in Middle Earth and tying to the two trilogies together.

The movie contained a lot of the scenes I was waiting to see. Thorin’s last speech, Bard slaying Smaug with the black arrow, the arrival of the eagles once again. Awesome stuff!

The movie starts off with Smaug coming to burn Laketown. Everyone evacuates. Bard makes a last stand on the bell tower and shoots Smaug with the black arrow.

Smaug’s death is satisfying, but it feels like too big of a scene for the start of the movie. It would probably feel much better if the three movies were watched in sequence instead of just starting off with Part 3.

The next section of the movie concerns Thorin slipping into a greed-fueled madness called “dragon sickness” by the other characters.

The madness plays very similar to the corrupting power of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings movies. Thorin hears echoey voices, the camera rotates to oblique angles, and the soft whisper of Sauron can be heard just below the surface. It adds a supernatural element to Thorin’s madness and makes it more believable when he eventually shakes off the greed and returns to his former self.

The rest of the movie is almost exclusively what it says in the title, The Battle of the Five Armies. Tons of action scenes and no character development beyond some characters feeling sorry for the death of other characters.

But the action scenes! Woo! High notes include:

Bard riding a wagon down a flight of stairs into an ogre and stabbing the ogre with a spear.

Thorin and one of his dwarf buddies see a horde of goblins coming towards them and they say, “We can hold them off. There’s only about a hundred of them.”

Legolas fighting one of the orcs on a stone tower that has fallen over to construct a bridge between two cliffs. Every missed blow by the orc causes a chunk of the tower to collapse!

Thorin and Azog the White Orc’s final showdown on a frozen river.

The elf king riding on a elk mount that picks six orcs up by its antlers at once and tosses them all aside after the elf king decapitates them with one stroke.

The hilarity of the ogres in general. They’re used as battering rams by having them wear stone hats and then running into walls. They climb over shorter walls and the walls collapse under the ogres’ weight. I started to feel sorry for all the poor little ogres by the end.

Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel take on the nine ring wraiths and win.

Dain, Thorin’s cousin, riding a pig and talking in an exaggerated accent while he headbutts orcs.

And so much more!

One of the more heartwarming parts is when Bilbo returns to the Shire. He hangs on to the Ring and within a few shots we see him slowly age until it’s his 111th birthday party and Gandalf is coming to see him once more.

Of course there are some things that the movie left out. Probably not necessary given how much time was devoted to action scenes, but it happened (or didn’t happen depending on your outlook).

The missing scene that I noted was how the eagles affected the battle. They showed up and that was about it. We still got to see Legolas and Thorin fighting the orc generals, but the actual soldiers were never seen again.

I also remember more of the 13 dwarves dying in the battle, but its been a long time since I’ve read the book. Perhaps my memory is just faulty.

Great action movie! Still felt true to the books as I remembered them. Almost a complete lack of character development and social drama though.

Thorin’s madness is supernatural and thus hard to sympathize with.

Bard slowly turns into a king, rejecting it at first, but accepting it later. Unfortunately this is a neglected side plot (accurately reflects its importance in the book though).

Bilbo’s desire for home is the only other social plot that had any realism in it. The other conflicts were predictable and bland.

But the epic fighting was why I went to the movie and it deliver on that count all the way!

-Mister Ed

Order of the Stick

I read a few webcomics and one of my favorites is called Order of the Stick.

There are different genres of webcomics just like any other medium.

My favorite genre combination happen to be humorous comics about video games or D&D written by physicists or computer scientists.

Anyways, Order of the Stick fits pretty well into that genre.

Order of the Stick is drawn and written by Rich Burlew, a game designer who now does the comic full time.

The comic is about a band of adventurers named the Order of the Stick fighting the evil lich, Xykon.

As you can see the comic is drawn in a fairly simple style which is occasionally lampooned by the characters themselves. For example, Roy’s feet are different sizes and there is a comic where he talks about how his big shoe goes on his left foot.

Speaking of Roy, the main characters of Order of the Stick!

Roy is the black guy on the far right of the picture above. He is the leader of the Order of the Stick, an intelligent and principled fighter who fights Xykon due to an oath sworn by his father.

Next is Haley, a rogue with a complicated past. She joined the Order of the Stick to earn money to pay her father’s ransom. She’s stayed on due to the good work the group does and because she’s started dating the next person in line.

Elan is the blond guy playing the musical instrument. He is hyper aware of storytelling tropes. He also has an evil twin, a good mother, and an evil father. Elan is a bit dumb when it comes to anything that isn’t a storytelling device, but he has a pure heart.

Durkon is the short bearded guy. He’s a dwarven cleric. He looks out for everyone else in the party. He has a strong sense of honor and is always ready and willing to do the right thing.

The short bald guy behind Durkon is Belkar. He’s an evil halfling psychopath. His journey with the party is basically a form of community service for murders he’s committed in the past. You’d think this is weird, but its a fairly common gimmick used in D&D. The cat walking next to the party belongs to Belkar and is named Mr. Scruffy.

Flying above the party is Vaarsuvius, an elven wizard. Vaarsuvius is arrogant and uses magical power to cruelly avenge the slightest insult. Vaarsuvius’ gender is never revealed in the comic and is joked about on a few¬†occasions.

Xykon is close to achieving his goal of using an ancient evil to rule the world, but the Order of the Stick is ready to stop him. Of more concern is Xykon’s assistant, Redcloak, who is planning on double crossing Xykon at any moment.

That’s enough on one comic for now!

-Mister Ed