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Ok, I admit that I've failed somewhere before. But anyway welcome. Just a brief intro on what you should expect here:
1. Football. Not gonna post much of that any soon since season is over. :S
2. Anime, Games, etc. Just abt anything conceivable under the Japanese radar barring anything and everything Rule 34. Now that's illegal. Period. -.-;
3. Music. Everything to do with it is listed under the tab.
5. Unacceptable humour: Anything and everything is fair game here. As long as I don't get rounded up by the ISA. -.-'

6.
The Known World=Fantasy world building in process. I: Used to be glossary, now devoted to random rambling; II: Character Concepts; III: Lore.
7. der Wolf=my Fictionpress account under the moniker Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu. A Ranger's Tale is hosted under this page. :)
8. New section now upped. Maybe I should also gun for upping A Ranger's Tale here since I do have this funny feeling that traffic coming to here is way more than whatever I'll get in FP.

Statement of intent: Everything said here is a figment of personal opinion, be it me or anybody commenting. I try to be responsible, but my parents=/=parents of the world.

@Druid of Luhn: Crap. Should have remembered far earlier to give you the credit for your CSS text box code. :(

A/N: But sadly, it seems that your CSS text box code has now been halved efficiency wise. :(

That most important note I should have added: Any images posted in this blog are NOT my own stuff. I got them from Google image search, I don't earn any shit by being a thief and liar. Those responsible for the pictures, rest assured that you all are great artists in your own regards. Sadly, we all know what limited space means in terms of posting.

Latest Note: Changed alignment for my page widgets due to my worry that I can't centre align the thing.

Note on A Ranger's Tale: In case any complaining fella wants to have a legal case with me, let this be known that A Ranger's Tale is rated M by default. I've upped the swearing and somewhat a bit on the dark/gritty factor. You all have been warned, let no little boy and girl enter the forbidden realm.

Latest on ART: A Ranger's Tale now starting to kick back in gear. But I really hate the insanely fluctuating climate here in S'pore.

P.S: Oh, and one more thing. Vid below is yet another ideal OP for A Ranger's Tale.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Shameless Selfie plug of the Year?

[Perhaps the only country which has a release date later than that of Australia is Japan, where the movie will be hitting the theatres on 28 Feb 2013.]
-Source

[According to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the Hobbit sequel finished No. 1 in the box office by hauling in 829,583 admissions as it showed on 809 screens across the country from Dec. 13-15. Since opening here on Dec. 12 it has drawn a total 969,491 admissions.]
-Source

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We all know my dearest island nation has managed to score quite a few firsts. We got our first Mourinho visit, our 1st CR7 visit, our first major kimbeh winner... so what else is new?

More (or not so) recently, Tenasha managed to score herself three whopping feats. Namely TNP Babe of the Year nominee, first local DJ in Top 50 DJ list, and this also.

Quite a few bloggers and personalities also got their 10 yrs of fame, but def not this one. While I do not profess myself to be a fame chaser (hey, I nvr stopped working despite doing this blog for 1+ yrs), this boliao lobo still wants to chapsiao this whole fame game. After all, I got nothing to lose, right? Who knows I might be the first local bastard to score my first also? No, I don't mean replicating John "free scoring" Terry, but rather being the first S'porean to have brunch with Christopher Tolkien. Here's hoping for a freaking miracle.

Intro (on my sad lonely life in the mountain)
Despite my sucky grades from late primary school till ITE, one thing I can be proud of is my language capability. A lot has been said on locals half inept in bilingualism, but surely my existence alone is enough to debunk this myth, no?

I suck in sports, that's why I was cruelly taunted as Andrés Escobar.
I suck at maths, that's why I only got C5 (or was it C6) for my GCE O'Level elementary maths.
Quite obviously no one knew how to bring out the best in me, that's why I tend to sleep throughout class lessons while giving whoever seated behind a legit excuse to kick my chair and scolding me like some self-righteous prick (and to be fair, I still remember that fella's English name).
I suck in getting girls, I ended up either earning scorn or getting ignored.

Thankfully, for all my ineptitude and bastard status, this outcast of Student GOP managed to carve out his own niche. I don't have to prepare much for my GCE O'Level Chinese, I scored B3. In some ah-beng+ah-lian secondary school where you're lucky enough to score D7 for GCE O'Level English, I got a C6 (or was it C5?).

So what are you trying to say, you bloody emo?
Well, I admit the above mention past sounds rather self-vindictive, but that's me trying not to be bitter come tomorrow's counselling follow-up session. iirc I still remember back during my secondary 2 where it's cool to hate harmless kittens and classmates, my English cum form teacher, Ms Ho gave us a composition homework. Basically, we have to exercise our creative juices and write up a composition based on a starting sentence. As expected, my work wasn't upped for class display, but ironically I actually scored equal/higher than one or two classmates' stuff. It was then I realised one thing: the only reason why my work wasn't upped for display is due to my work considered too long. I think like 800+ words despite minimum limit around 100+ words.

You can write very well, Minghui. But know that you've written too much and you won't have the luxury of time come examination time.

Or something like that. So what was my stuff about?

1. It's high fantasy.
2. Main character is a Dwarf, plot focus is war and more Dwarves.

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Thorin Oakenshield: Protagonist or Hero?
It is said that Thorin's shield was cloven and he cast it away and he hewed off with his axe a branch of an oak and held it in his left hand to ward off the strokes of his foes, or to wield as a club. In this way he got his name.
~Lord of the Rings: Appendix A III-Durin's Folk

Credit: EM-MIKA

Protagonist [noun]
1. the leading character or one of the major characters in a play, film, novel, etc.
"the novel's main protagonist is an American intelligence officer"
2. an advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea.

"he's a strenuous protagonist of the new agricultural policy"

Hero [noun]
a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
"a war hero"

Before I start, allow me to sound that *spoiler alert* horn. Yes, you all have been warned unless you've watched the movies or (even better), read the books.

Disclaimer!
I do not profess to read the original works. The internet is my best friend, actually I also haven't touch G.R.R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire despite having written quite a few character analysis posts.


At first (especially in Part 1), Thorin seems to be your customary hero. Strong, stoic, out to recover everything and exacting justice onto every evil doer. If only things are that simple. Those who have seen Part 2 will know the meaning behind "false dawn". Make no mistakes about this, Thorin Oakenshield's character is all about a hero's false dawn.

Why do I use this self-invented term?
Firstly, we must know that Thorin's bravery precedes himself. We all saw this part in the movies. However, the original work had nothing of that. While Thrór was indeed murdered by Azog, said event actually sparked a massive conflict aptly named the War of Dwarves and Orcs.

The outcome?
Tragic victory for Durin's Folk and utter annihilation for Morgoth's critters.

Up the steps after him [Azog] leaped a Dwarf with a red axe. It was Dáin Ironfoot, Náin's son. Right before the doors he caught Azog, and there he [Dáin] slew him, and hewed off his head.
~Lord of the Rings: Appendix A III-Durin's Folk

The only problem?
The Dwarves were unable to reclaim what was rightfully theirs, i.e. Khazad-dûm, due to Durin's Bane.

But we will not enter Khazad-dûm. You will not enter Khazad-dûm. Only I have looked through the shadow of the Gate. Beyond the shadow it waits for you still: Durin's Bane.
~Dáin Ironfoot

The actual history of the Dwarves, is rather un-straightforward, so I suggest any curious cat to go Google for it. For now, let's just say that Moria (i.e. Khazad-dûm) was the cause of many riches and sorrows. And herein lies the focal theme of The Hobbit.

Greed
Gold and gems, who doesn't want it? Anyone who says "I'm cool with 1K SGD per month" is a bullshitting liar unless he/she belongs to a Buddhist temple for life. Even I can never be this brazenly bold. Yet, how much is enough?

A lot has been said on J.R.R Tolkien's landmark work being Lord of the Rings (originally it was one whole book, not a trilogy. His publisher seemed to believe one-shot release=a harebrained scheme). Indeed Tolkien Sr actually started writing LotR before starting on The Hobbit. Yet, we only managed to see the real Bilbo Baggins after witnessing Frodo's exploits.

I believe Tolkien Sr had really matured a lot as a writer after LotR (anybody denying this likelihood is a certified cretin. Period). While Lord of the Rings is pretty straightforward in terms of black and white morals, The Hobbit is one different kettle of fish altogether.

Firstly, despite Bilbo being the titular character, it must be stated that Thorin was the undisputed protagonist. Just like why Lord of the Rings was referring to Sauron, similarly Bilbo should only be seen as the catalyst character.

This is a story where regret and vengeance seized centre stage, NOT some fairy tale message of "Right equals Might, all's right with the world". Even though Thorin finally admitted his erroneous ways come the final end, everything was sadly beyond reparation.

It's quite interesting to see why such a noble character can easily turn over to the dark side. Thorin's honour would always start with his people and end at his people. This, we all understand. In Thorin's relatively short lifetime, there were four factors standing out. Factors which showed us what truly made Thorin... well, erm, Thorin.


It was Thorin, but you could only have told it by his golden chain, and by the colour of his now dirty and tattered sky-blue hood with its tarnished silver tassel.
~J.R.R Tolkien; The Hobbit, "Barrels out of Bond"

1. The first factor indicates the kind of life Thorin has led thus far. No one recognises his birthright save those whom he knows. As the story progresses, what seems to be a background detail turned out to be the focus of Thorin's inner conflict.

Firstly, it can be construed that this was a major factor contributing to his standoff against the Elves of Mirkwood. The animosity between Dwarves and the Eldar was widely known, this was also the reason why the friendship between Legolas, son of Thranduil, and Gimli, son of Glóin, should be seen as much more than merely symbolic. It might not so much on Thranduil's part, but rather Thorin's refusal to bend the knee for civility's sake (albeit every standoff requires two hands to clap).

Secondly, why Thorin refused to share the gold with the Lake-men might not just be about the infamous Dwarven greed for riches. Above all, whatever wealth gained after Smaug's demise belonged to Durin's Folk by their own right. Remember what Erebor meant to Thorin and we'll understand why he would stubbornly deny Lake-town its deserved share of the spoils.



2. Second factor lies in my opening intro in bold italics, namely his wooden "shield". Why I add quotation marks here is because said armour was also used as an offhand weapon on a 50-50 priority basis. In medieval duels, I'm pretty convinced that 'tis normal for a battling knight to use the shield as a repelling tactic. But using it to smite opponents on a consistent basis? Sorry, but there can only be one Tyrion Lannister. What's so special about this part, you might ask?
To me, this is a symbolic testimony to Thorin's resilience and a subtle hint on his personal resolve. Remember, folks, the reason why he and the other twelve left the stability offered by Eriador and the Blue Mountains.



"That stone of all the treasure I name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it."
~Thorin Oakenshield

3. Perhaps the driving force behind Thorin's greed was the Arkenstone. Firstly, we must get this clear. Thorin was NOT around when Smaug sacked the Lonely Mountain (not to mention Lake-town as well). We're not talking about just one single gem painstakingly crafted, we're talking about history. Apparently, not only did the Arkenstone held an important part in Dwarven pride, above all this was also the greatest motivation Thorin derived from. Maybe we should just pause awhile and ask ourselves this question: Would Thorin's heart burn so deeply for Erebor had not Smaug kept the Arkenstone close by his side?

The Arkenstone represented the past glories of Durin's Folk, this we can compare it to Narsil's importance to the Dúnedain.
At the same time, Arkenstone also represented many a shattered glory awaiting revival, this we can liken it to Aragorn's Anduril.

Yet, unlike Aragorn who was regarded as a pragmatist, Thorin could be said as an idealist. Remember the reason behind Aragorn's quest lies in his love for Arwen Undómiel, but to Thorin, only his kingdom matters. More oft than not, a pragmatist is able to see things in a more objective light compared to whatever personal bias an idealist would harbour otherwise.
Mayhap this was truly the source of Thorin's greed, the only reason guiding his hand.

A/N-From the above mentioned parallels, we can pinpoint a common ground between Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Everything begins and will end with a legacy of loss and sorrow. In fact, it's not hard by now to discover an eerie parallel between Thorin and Company and the Grey Company.

Because I've spent too much time in OCD mode...
Aptly nicknamed "Biter" by its namesake foes, it was said that Orcrist "had killed hundreds of goblins in its time, when the fair Elves* of Gondolin hunted them in the hills or did battle before their walls"**
*Orcrist, together with Sting and Glamdring, was forged by Elven craft.
**Source-Tolkien Gateway

Orcrist, Thorin's signature weapon apart from his wooden "arm". Unlike that other blade (Anduril) belonging to another king (Aragorn), Orcrist held no meaning in terms of the legitimate right to rule. Yet, it serves to remind us of Thorin's hatred towards Orcs. The conflict between Durin's Folk and Orcs has always been the mainstay of many a heroic tale, every Dwarf felled by Orcish hands only serves to add fuel to Dwarven fire. In fact, the climax battle had never involved Smaug, but rather against a massive army led by Orcs. Better known as the Battle of Five Armies, i.e. Dwarves, Elves and Men against Orcs and Wargs, alas this would be Thorin's last battle.
Indeed what was Thorin's greatest weapon in war turned out to be a symbol of alliance and hope. Nothing can be more ironic than the fact that it was the Elves who forged Orcrist, Sting and Glamdring.

Three blades owned by Thorin, a Wizard, a thieving Hobbit bold.
Three blades crafted by those he loathed.
Exile and unbreakable bough strengthened the king.
Arkenstone in the end afflicted him.
Surely good food and finest drink soothes the merry soul.
May Námo put to rest Thorin Oakenshield's only gold.

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