The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Part One
A Classic Fantasy Tale, with a range of Fantasy Characters (including Elves, Dwarves and Men), that sees a Quest of Power, through the Roots of Adventure, in the Darkest Days of Middle-Earth. With a guiding Wizard, and a bare foot Hobbit (one of the Little People), it's The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring:
I've always thought, that this is one of the best, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novels, that you can ever read :) There's several reasons for this ... First: is it's use of Humour ... I found myself laughing, when Sam (one of the Hobbits), is pulled through the Window (by Gandalf the Wizard), after having eavesdropped, and making out that he hadn't - he was cutting the Lawn you see! I also laughed, when Gimli the Dwarf, tasted some Cram (a Travellers Bread), having not believed, that it will taste very nice (even raising an eyebrow) - then promptly eating, the whole piece! I also found humour, in the strangest of places, such as when Gandalf had nearly been destroyed - well, well, he flew down some stairs, after encountering a foe, that he could not best, whilst joking about it! Second: is it's range of Fantasy Locations ... First and Foremost, my favourite is the Dwarven Mine/City of Moria. I especially liked the Ancestry of Moria, that it was once the most prized, of all the Dwarven Realms (owing to it's Mining of Mithril - the Dwarven Wonder Metal), which was in-turn lost, to the Orcs/Goblins and Durin's Bane (a large Fire Breathing Western Dragon of a Daemon, that even the Elves Fear). Moria is now a dark place, which Gandalf leads our Adventurers through, with his Bobbing Wizards Staff of Light (akin to a Will-o'-the-wisp). I especially liked the idea, of Moria's Dwarven Doors, that can only be seen in Moonlight (and opened with a specific word/phrase). I also found comedy here, as I laughed at Gandalf, being outwitted by a door! Of Moria itself, did I like the idea of staircases hewn from stone, together with cavernous pillars (that defined a City in Starlight), together with Tombs of the Fallen (still blessed in daylight), and Treasures of the Deepest Mines (that Dwarves still dream of). I also liked, what I feel was the reason that Moria was built (by the Dwarves) in the first place - a Magical Lake (called the Mirrormere), which Shines with Stars in it's Waters so Deep :) It is with some irony then, that although I love the Green Places of this World, that I have often felt a Desire, to explore the Dark Halls of Moria myself! In stark contrast to Moria, are the Fantasy Woods, of the Old Forest. It's a mythical place, that Tales of Old, used to scare young Hobbits with - and yet, Frodo Baggins (the main Fantasy Character of this Tale), decides to venture that very way :) Now I like Woods, and I like Trees, but the Trees of the Old Forest, are not like other Trees (they can move/walk, and they can talk/be-spell) - it's Old Man Willow you see. He's a Magical Willow Tree, who does not have the Hobbits best interests at heart! Although I find the Old Forest to be a Dark Place (perhaps even more so than Moria), it leads to one of my favourite Fantasy Characters - Tom Bombadil :) He's such a fun/comedy element, that it's hard to feel all Dark and Gloomy, when he's around (especially with that Bobbing Hat of his!). Now it feels to me, as though Tom is some kind of Nature Fairy (as he's always been concerned with Trees) - yet even if he isn't, then his sidekick (Goldberry), is certainly a Water Fairy :) In any case, I like the fact, that both Tom and Goldberry, tend to the Old Forest, and look after Frodo (after Old Man Willow, gets his Roots to him). To me, the Old Forest feels as though, it's full of Magic - both Good and Evil, that's just kind-of mixed together, in it's raw, natural form. It's a powerful place, that I feel, could have played a larger part in the Tale (together with Tom Bombadil). Third: is it's range of Fantasy Characters ... The Fellowship of the Ring, is itself comprised of a Motley Crew: four Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin), two Men (one called Aragorn, one called Boromir), one Elf (called Legolas), one Dwarf (called Gimli), and Gandalf (the Wizard). I like the idea of the Fellowship (aka our Adventurers), because it is a contradiction - you have powerful members (such as Gandalf and Aragorn), mixed with weaker members (such as Merry and Pippin). Whilst in the middle, do you have members that are a bit of both: both in terms of alignment (such as Legolas is to Trees and Nature, whilst Gimli is to Stone and Anvil), and in terms of not judging a book by it's cover (such as Frodo at first appearing weak, but over time, does Frodo become the appointed/recognised strongest, Ring Bearer). Of these Fantasy Characters, would I say that my favourite is Gandalf, though I wouldn't normally like Wizards! Gandalf is an exception, for he's more like a Warlock - a Wizard and a Warrior, all rolled into one :) Next would there be Aragorn - as I like the fact, that he is descendant from Kings (although I'm not so keen, on his Strider personality, in the earlier parts of the Tale). Then would there be Gimli, as there's a fair amount of humour, surrounding his character: A Dwarf! Which plays right into, the grievances between Dwarves and Elves (with several twists in friendship, along the way). In any case, I especially like the portrayal of Elves within this Tale. I like their connection with Nature (especially of the Woods, plus Spells of the Sea), and I like the fact, that there's at least three, families of Elves found, within Middle-Earth: those from Rivendell (who were there at the start, when Darkness first showed it's face), those from Mirkwood (who still have dealings with Men, and is the home of Legolas), and those from Lothlorien (who Guard a Treasure of Middle-Earth, and befriend the Fellowship). I also liked the way, that the Elves are used, to underline an important point/theme (within the Tale): the Elves may be Powerful, blessed to live much longer than Men, skilled in the Art of Combat (especially Bow and Arrow) - yet just like the rest of Middle-Earth, they do not have the power, to throw back the Darkness/Evil by themselves! Or do they?
If Ever there was a Theme Park ride, that was turned into a Comedy Ghost Film, then that role belongs Solely, to Disney's - the Haunted Mansion:
As I have rode the Haunted Mansion ride (in Magic Kingdom) many times, I felt that this Fantasy Film, had a steep milestone to live up to (or is that a steep Gravestone to live up to?) ... For starters, it is hard to have a Haunted Mansion, just by itself. You need a storyline, and this film's storyline, of a love triangle (with a twist), really fits the Raven's bill! The film starts properly (for me), at the Iron Gates of the Haunted Mansion - which are of course, padlocked. Yet with some Ghostly magic, do the Mansion's Gate's then open ... And it is here, that I raised an eyebrow - as would I have been brave enough to enter? Probably not! Fortunately, such concerns are not faced, by the adventurer's of this film: the Evers Family :) And through those Iron Gates? Well ... First and foremost, I love this film's Fantasy Location - the Haunted Mansion itself :) There's Haunted Hallways, and Ghostly Stairs - with Spooky Curtains, and Guardian Knights. There's Spectral Ballrooms, and Darkened Bedrooms - with Glowing Candles, and Spying Portraits. There's Mothballed Libraries, and Marbled Studies - with Secret Passages, and Gothic Fireplaces. For this Haunted Mansion's, all Shroud in Dark - with Shimmering Cobwebs, and Scurrying Spiders, to Sleepless Tombs, and Spectral Carriages! For this Haunted Mansion's, all Cast in Light - with Flickering Candles, and Fiery Chandeliers, to Maleficent Green, and Whispered Balls! And of this Mansion, do I feel - no finer home, for Ghostly Haunts :) And it is here that I found, the next part of this Ghostly Tale, that I quite like ... As the Mansion itself, plays right into the variety of Ghosts, that are found within it's Haunted Halls :) There's Apparitions (both Touch and Wraith). There's Ghostly Balls (both Soul and Guide). There's Musical Instruments (both Sound and Chase). There's Replay Memories (both Masquerade Ball - and Locked in Time). There's Hitch Hiking Ghosts (both Speak and Hide). There's Suits of Armour (both Haunt and Axe). There's Spectral Horses (both Cart and Gallop). For in this Haunted Mansion - there's always My Way, You Know! Yet in all of this, did I find - three particular Ghosts, that are my favourites. First: is Ramsley (the Butler). For his Fantasy Character (being both straight faced and straight backed), helps guide the film, and is fundamental to it's storyline. Added to this, is the fact that Ramsley, made me jump three times: i) when he appears from the Knight's Corridor (in flashes of lightening) - would you hold your ground? ii) when he appears right behind Mr Evers (making him jump). iii) when he appears right behind Mrs Evers (making her jump). In all three, does Ramsley appear - to be Lending a Hand ... Second: is Madame Leota (the Gypsy Tarot Reader). Who for me, provides much of the comedy - whilst also guiding the Fate of both Mr and Mrs Evers (in a more helpful way). Madame Leota, is also responsible for some of the best footage, that's found within this film (in both terms of plot, and special effects). And of this best footage, do I have a favourite scene ... It's where Mr Evers first meets Madame Leota - and is soon being flown around the room: with Dancing Trumpets, Drums, Harps and Tarot Cards! Which eventually leads to, Mr Evers being chased down a corridor, by a whole ensemble - of Musical Instruments :) Third: is the Ghost Ball (which appears to Mr Ever's son and daughter). I liked the fact, that the Ghost Ball, is really a Will-o'-the-wisps - that has an honourable Quest, for the two children to undertake (even if it would have scared me, in reality!). I also enjoyed the humour, that surrounds the Ghost Ball - where the sister would follow it (being Brave), whilst her brother would not (shaking like a leaf). Even so ... There was one part of this film, that I found a little scary (especially the first time I watched it). It's where Mr Evers, undertakes the main Quest of the film (once he arrives at the Mansion), and goes down into the Mansion's Crypt. I was surprised by the Walking Dead (that he encounters down there), and felt that it would take a very brave person indeed, to Willingly Dive, Under the Water! Mind you, I now suspect that Ramsley, was solely responsible/behind this (in a bid to prevent Mr Evers, from completing his Quest). Although, if you don't like Spiders - then you'll probably be squinting, right after the Walking Dead scene, as well :) Overall: I feel that this is a lively Ghost Film, which brings the Haunted Mansion to Life - in a way that captures the fun side - of the original Haunted Mansion ride :) Yet at the same time, do I feel that the film, also contains an important message, about the need to maintain - a work life balance :) It took Mr Evers (as played by Eddie Murphy), several interactions with Ghosts - to fully realise/remember this ... Added to this, is the fact that several sub-plots of the film, are about Facing Your Fears, together with: You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail - But You Only Truly Fail, When You Stop Trying! And you get a Fantasy Film, that has much more on the Inside of the Mansion, than on the Outside :) Finally ... I just loved the comedy scene in the Library/Study - as we all want a large Painting of Ourselves, hanging above the Mantelpiece - don't we? And if you should decide to join us ...
In the Boughs of these Trees, in the Lights of this Forest - with the Twists of a Vine, and the Guise of an Angel:
I like the fact that this Angel, is entwined with both mystery, and the darker side of Fantasy. The mystery comes from this Angel's attire ... Her feathered wings make me think, of the caring nature, of a Guardian Angel. Yet, that draping cloth (at the middle/back of her wings), makes me think of both a Battle Angel (the cloth's symbol, which reminds me of a Medieval Battle Standard), and of an Angel, that has Lost her Wings (possibly having, removed them herself!). There's also further evidence, of the latter of these - as it's as though this Angel's Wings, are both chained and weighted down: how could she possibly fly, with those large banded/attached jewels, on the apex of each wing? The darker side of Fantasy, comes from this Angel's interaction, with the background ... As I feel that these Woods, are not a friendly place! This feeling comes from, the creeping fingers of the Trees branches (which are jagged around their edges) - whereby if I look too long, start to send a shiver down my spine! Which in-turn, is further refined, by the darkness of this Angel's face - both the Glyphs, and her Tears of Black. Yet here, does the darkness play right back into mystery - as it's hard to say, exactly why, this Angel is so sorrowful ... There's no immediate clues, and it was only with a careful eye, that I first noticed - those falling feathers (bottom-left, under her wings). Thus, did I start to think, of the concept of a Fallen Angel. But, whether this Fallen Angel is her, or a companion Angel (possibly her lover), I cannot say for sure. And it is in attempting to answer this question, that I feel that Steve - fuels the mystery of his artwork ... It's a mystery, whose rising heat, is also further fuelled - through Steve's choice of background: as it's a background, that I would not expect, a Guardian Angel, to be found within. But it is a background, that I would expect, an Angel of the Damned, to be found within. And yet here, do I find a twist - for this background's white, seems as though, it's a Guiding Light. Yet given the fact, that this Angel, is in-front of this light - does she not in-fact, bar your way? And in doing so, would that not meet, the definition - of a Guardian Angel? If that were so, then I feel that this Angel's Wings, have been shaped to be - as if they are a Shield. For they guard against the creeping fingers of the Woods: the outermost topmost curve of her wings, reflect the shape of the white light's halo (especially towards the canopy of the trees). Thus, do I feel that this Angel, wants some time away from the World - and in doing so, perhaps she chose a place, where she would be least likely, to be disturbed? But then again, do I find that this Angel, is also in the Realms of Fairy Glamour ... For perhaps this Secluded Cove, that she chose - is the inner Kingdoms, of a Broken Heart? Which would indeed, explain the presence of a Garden Swing - as her sorrow varies, with the ride each Day, from Day to Night! What of Steve's choice of artist techniques? Well ... I think it's most important, that we consider - his use of lighting. I speak of the light, that's on both the Angel's Dress, and the Angel's Wings/Feathers. Now, I feel that this light, does not come from the background: for the angle of the light, especially upon the Angel's Dress - makes me think of a Spotlight! And if that were so, does this Spotlight, play right back into, this Broken Heart theme - where this Angel's sorrow, far outweighs the common sense, of everything else! But here, do I find that Steve's decision, to include a large Silver Runic Glyph (top left) - helps point the way back ... For it's Sharp like a Sword. It knows what it Wants - to bring both Clarity, and Balance to the Scene. Whilst it's Central Pattern - reminds of me of that Battle Standard :) Which in turn, gives Seed to a new Idea: Grow up (her reaching right arm), and Move on (the Guiding Light). Overall: A Gothic Angel, whose Fairy Glamour, becomes entwined - with the Paths of the Heart. A Dark Angel, who Fell from somewhere High, but with a Riddle of Thought - Rises straight, for a New Chapter. For she's a Sad Angel, who Sits on the Swing of Romance - in the Hearts of the Wood.
Fairy Glamour robes of Fine. Fairy Glamour masks of Flower. Born of Drama and of Moonlight - this Lavender Fairy, donned Mask of Fairy Queen:
In Fairy Realms of Garden Throne. In Fairy Paths of Lilac Flower. A Posing Fairy came to me - in Midnight Realms of Purple Pink. She spoke of Fairy, twist of Precious. She spoke of Faerie, hint of Gentle. In Fairy Dreams of Lilac Bud. In Fairy Ways of Fuchsia Pink. A Dancing Fairy came to me - in Moonlit Realms of Silver Light. She mused of Beauty, twist of Passion. She mused of Nature, hint of Cherished. In Fairy Homes of Midnight's Bright. In Fairy Runes of Silver Glyph. A Guiding Fairy came to me - in Cosmic Realms of Heaven's Body. She shone of Ethereal, twist of Power. She shone of River, hint of Way. This Fairy Portal - of Midsummer Night's Dream! Where did the Portal lead? To Fairyland of course :) Titania's Palace and her, Masquerade Ball ... There be Dancing Fairies, with Light of Foot. There be Singing Fairies, with Choirs of Bird. There be Hover Fairies, with Sweet of Nectar. There be Skipping Fairies, with Pots of Gold. There be Flying Fairies, with Scent of Pollen. There be Swimming Fairies, with Fountains of Fun. For at Titania's Masquerade Ball, can you find the Fairest of the Fairy Folk :) There be Flower Fairies and Animal Fairies. There be Glitter Fairies and Element Fairies. There be Dream Fairies and Wedding Fairies. For at Titania's Masquerade Ball, can you find both Fairy Verse, and Fairy Rhyme. As it is, with the Writings of this Silver Pen - the Fairy Glyphs, revealed in Moonlight. What did they say? With Curves in Shape and Precious Eye - Titania, Queen of Fairyland. With Wings in Pair and Flutter Wink - Titania, Madam Butterfly. With Chains in Hold and Snowdrop Gem - Titania, Heaven's Scent. With Foils in Purple and Whitened Cheeks - Titania, Fairy's Glamour. With Flowing Hair and Darkened Eye - Titania, Fairy's Lore. With Spells in Cosmic and Guiding Light - Titania, Will-o'-the-wisp. Hows that you say? With Flutter Wing and Flutter By, these Guiding Lights spoke to me - of Fairy Portal. With Hover There and Wait for Me, these Bobbing Lights called to me - of Fairy Door. With White of Wing and Glowing There, these Butterflies flew to me - an Invite to a Ball! So it was indeed, with one step forward I came to be - at Titania's Palace and her, Masquerade Ball :)
Butterflies of this Thought, and Kingdoms of the Sleepy, what is it that you Dream, when this Fairy - nestled in these Boughs?
To the Woodland of the Earth, in the Roots of the Trees - with the speak of the Timeless, slept Serenity. To the Curls of his Tail, in the Dress of a Fairy - with the mind of a Cat, purred Serenity. To the Troughs of this Land, in the Moors of this Realm - with the flutter of a Breeze, dreamt Serenity. In the Sleep of this Willow, with the hint of a Wisp - two Whiskers of Friend, Serenity and Purr. I feel that this artwork has a calming effect upon my soul. I suspect that this is because of it's clever use of blue - both upon this Fairy's dress, and upon the Woodland fog. The blue of the Fairy's dress is used to great effect, as it is responsible for much of the light (of this Fantasy scene). When combined with the blue of the fog, do I feel that Rachel achieves, two powerful effects. First: she creates a night-time scene (where this Fairy rests), but within the magic of a Woodland Realm - the Moors of this Fairyland! Second: she brings balance to the scene, through the suggestion of height, which allows me to focus - on this magical Fairy. I also feel, that Rachel has made use of Fairy Glamour, within two specific places. First: glamour upon this Fairy's wings, which could also simply be, a butterfly resting, upon the back of this - Woodland Queen. Second: glamour upon this Fairy's cat, whose shape seems to mirror, the path of this Fairy's dress (when flipped left to right). As such, I feel that there's a link, between the embroidery of her dress, and the whites of her cat. For it feels as though, this embroidery pulls you down, and in doing so - is it akin to Fairy Dust, where perhaps this Fairy, is something of a shape-shifting cat? If that were so, then the blacks of this cat, are used to suggest, further connections - both in terms of shading, and in terms of balance. For example, if we take the black of this Fairy's eyelids, together with the black of her butterfly wings - then not only is the shading the same (blurred around the edges), but it is used to create a balanced group of three (that appears to be at the same level in the artwork). What of the colour magenta? Well ... I find it interesting, that it is used in two specific places - towards the top of the butterfly wings (in darker tones), and towards the front of this Fairy's hair (in paler tones). As the shading of this Fairy's hair, spins you down - so do I detect, the faintness of magenta, upon the lower-half of this artwork (especially on the bottom left). As such, I feel that the colour magenta, has been used to suggest the existence of a second light source! If that were so, then it's a light source - that seems at home, within the Moors of this Fairy Realm. What of the finer details? Well ... This Fairy's skin, is refined through the inclusion of a necklace, and two bracelets. In Paths of Two, I feel that these necklaces, are akin to - Paths of Power. The glitter upon these necklaces, matches the embroidery upon her dress, which in turn - casts Fairy Dust upon this scene of Fairyland! Overall: an adventurous theme was chosen for this Fairy and her Cat. It's one of Peace - and of Rest. It's one of Sleep - and of Snore. It's one of Magic - and of Dream. Running through the Woods this night, dreaming of a Path to take, the bobbing of the Light this night. The flutter of my Wings this night, the breezing of the Windless flight, the guiding of the Light this night. The bending of a Bough this night, the rising of a Light so bright, Will-o'-the-wisps guide this night - Serenity, and much delight.
This is by far the best Sword and Sorcery fantasy novel that I have ever read:
I was hooked from the first page! Prince Rupert has been sent upon a Quest: to slay a Dragon and rescue a Princess. But being Prince Rupert, the Quest does not go according to plan - and it is instead, just the start of his Adventures! I especially like the fact that the novel is packed full of Quests - both main Quests (such as the Quest to find the High Warlock) and sub Quests (such as the Quest to find out what has happened in Coppertown). Prince Rupert is not your typical Prince - he is a Second Son (in line to the Throne), and was regarded as a good-for-nothing (by most of Castle Society). I like the fact that Prince Rupert has numerous challenges to overcome, and in doing so, proves them all wrong! Even so, it's his Quest for the Dragon that changes his Character the most, as he has to pass through the Darkwood - which hones his fighting skills (by improving them the hard way), and earns him new friends (with which he returns to Forest Castle). My favourite main Quest has to be the Quest to find the High Warlock - as I like the fact that Prince Rupert takes command of an entire Troop of Guards, together with the Kings Champion, and leads them into the Darkwood. It is hear that the Champion starts to gain some respect for the Prince Rupert (instead of just seeing him as a threat to the Throne). I laughed when they first met the High Warlock - as he is somewhat anti-social, has some-what lost touch with the world (not having been outside his Dark Tower for years), and puts a Dead Rat in every barrel of Wine that he brews! He is also the most powerful Sorcerer that the Forest Land has ever known - and is perhaps, the only hope of throwing back the advance of the Darkwood (a Magical place that's full of Demons and the Night). Both the High Warlock, and the Dragon, provide much of the comedy (for me) - especially when it comes to what the Dragon wants to eat (mountains of food first, then will talk). My favourite minor Quest has to be when the Princess Julia (a friend of Prince Rupert's) goes on an expedition (within Forest Castle) to find the Old Armoury (which happens to be in the missing South Wing). How can a Castle Wing go missing you ask? Well, Forest Castle is somewhat unique: with Ancient Spells and Wards cast within it's walls - it's larger on the inside (than it is on the outside), and as such, most of the Castle rooms/halls change places everyday! I was excited when the Princess Julia (eventually) stands before the Doors to the Old Armoury - especially when you learn/remember that it's also where the most Powerful Swords ever made by Man are kept (the three Infernal Devices) - the three Broadswords, Rockbreaker, Flarebright and Wolfsbane. The storyline manages to merge Battlefield Drama with Castle Politics and Intrigue. There's a Plot to Overthrow the King, and appoint a new one (although not who you would expect). There's also several Traitors (one who I had expected all along), and another (who I didn't see until the very end). My favourite Warrior has to be the Kings Champion. The Tale goes to great lengths to build him into a Hero out of Legend (which indeed he is): towering above the heads of mortal men, covered from head-to-toe in the Armour of a Knight, swinging his Axe effortlessly (against a never ending Tide of Foes), placing the Might of Steel above all others - defiantly against the use of Magic (although there's a twist towards the end!). I also approve of the use of Magic within this Tale - with it's first use being when the Dragon casts a Spell, so that Prince Rupert may make the Rainbow Run: a light appears before him (like a Will-o'-the-wisp) that leads him to his Destiny (or at least - part of it). I also liked the idea of the High Warlocks Teleportation Spell - although as we learn, he is not the only Sorcerer that's capable of such magic. I also enjoyed reading the parts where the High Warlock flies high above the heads of his Foes - casting Bale-fire, denying entrance to the Foes of Forest Castle. Another favourite Fantasy Character (of mine) is Breeze - Prince Rupert's Unicorn. He is also Prince Rupert's friend - who grumbles when he is fed grass (wanting barley only), who fights by his side (saying that the Prince won't last long without him) and who jokes from time to time (especially the part where Prince Rupert says: Were just going back into the Darkwood a little way - and Breeze replies: So I'll suppose we'll only be killed a little bit. Forget it!). Overall: this is an amazing Tale - which has kept me turning the pages, until many the early hours. I'm still amazed at how much the author (Simon R. Green) has managed to pack into just over four hundred and forty pages - whilst not seeming to rush the Tale (at all). If you like Adventure and Fantasy, mixed with Swords and Bale-fire, mixed with a Dragon and a Unicorn, mixed with Demons and a Demon Prince - then this is a Fantasy Book/Novel that you should definitely consider reading! It's also a book that I've reread several times over the past few years - five or six times now, as I enjoyed reading it so very much!
Two Kingdoms at War, two Shades of Grey, with Human Greed, and a Dark Fairy Godmother:
This is the best Disney film that I have ever watched! For one reason: It's Sleeping Beauty - with a Twist! The Twist comes in the form of some Disney Fairy Magic - as the storyline is now placed within: The Realms of the Fairies. Maleficent is a Fairy, who befriends a human boy (called Stefan), and for a time, it seems that both Humans and Fairies, can live together in Peace (after Stefan shows that he cares for Maleficent). But alas, as Stefan grows-up, he becomes more ambitious (wanting to become King), eventually leading him to betray Maleficent: resulting in Conflict and War (when Maleficent learns the reason behind Stefan's betrayal). My favourite character is Maleficent - and I enjoy watching the development of her personality: from a young Fairy (who Heals the Branch of a Tree), to a teenage Fairy (who shares her First Kiss with Stefan), to an adult Fairy (who forgives Stefan for ignoring her), to a vengeful Fairy (who places a Curse upon King Stefan's daughter - Princess Aurora), and finally, to a Fairy who seeks to atone for her mistake (by seeking a way in which to revoke the Curse). I was fully sold on the idea of Maleficent, being a Fairy, who just happens to have lost her way - when she chose to embrace the human emotions of hate and vengeance. It is here that we see the darker side of her character - as she turns the Moors (of the Fairy Kingdom) into a dark place: by growing a Wall of Thorns (to keep Humans out), and claiming a Fairy Throne for herself (thereby forcing various Mythical Creatures, to bow to her). Despite this, I was relieved when the storyline confirms that Maleficent is not evil - with the proof coming from three scenes (for me): when Maleficent helps to feed the Princess Aurora (after her appointed nannies are shown to be inadequate for the task), when Maleficent saves the life of the Princess Aurora (after she falls off a cliff) and when Maleficent later realises, that she is indeed, Princess Aurora's Fairy Godmother (as is pointed out by the Princess Aurora, herself!). On the other hand, I found the development of King Stefan's character to be somewhat ironic (as he was supposed to be the Hero): from a young King (who wants to protect his daughter), to an older King (who becomes consumed with the idea of revenge - using his Knights to hunt Maleficent down), to an uncaring King (who wishes to exploit a weakness of Fairies - the fact that Iron burns them), and eventually, to an insane King (who ignores both his wife, and his daughter - being concerned only with vengeance - for a wrong, that was started by him, in the first place!). I enjoyed the comedy that's found within this film - especially when some mud hits Maleficent in the face: as a result of Aurora having a mud-fight, with some Toad-like Fantasy Creatures (called Wallerbogs). I also found laughter in the scenes that revolve around Aurora's three appointed nannies (the Fairies Knotgrass, Flittle and Thistlewit) - as Maleficent causes them to have some disagreements (such as when it rains inside their cottage). When it comes to the Princess Aurora, I was impressed by the consistency of her character: as, no matter her age - she cares for the animals and woodland, and it is this that has the biggest influence on Maleficent (as Aurora steals what was left of her Heart). I also enjoyed the twist that surrounds Aurora's True Love's Kiss - especially when you realise, just who Aurora's True Love is! What about the sidekicks? My favourite has to be Diaval - a Raven that Maleficent saves from death (at the hands of a human), who becomes her Eyes within the Kingdom of Men. The Raven does not stop there though - as he befriends Aurora (by rocking her cradle), and is something of a shape-shifter, as he turns into a Wolf, and eventually into a Fire Breathing Dragon (who helps to save Maleficent - from a net made of Iron). What about my favourite scenes? I have three: when Maleficent takes to the Sky (flying through some breathtaking scenery - beating her powerful Fairy Wings), when Maleficent first embraces the Dark (walking to the Moors in a darkened mood - uprooting rocks in her anger) and when Aurora visits the Moors in the Evening (meeting some Blue-Glowing Fairies - and seeing some Pink Will-o'-the-wisps). Overall: Maleficent is an amazing film! The storyline kept me glued to my seat - which is the opposite to what I had expected (as we all know that Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger upon the Spindle of a Spinning Wheel). Yet, even knowing about the Spindle - does not diminish, the enjoyability of Maleficent, at all! And I should know, as I have now watched it five times, and it still seems just as Magical. I feel that Maleficent deserves to be watched in Blu-Ray/HD - as this is when the Moors, and the Mythical Creatures, come Truly to Life (I just love the clarity of the Night Time Moors, when viewed in Blu-Ray/HD). This is a film that made me feel that I was flying high above the clouds, and as such, it has stolen my Heart!
When it comes to finding out about Mythical Creatures, this is my favourite book to read:
I like the fact that I can watch a fantasy film, or read a fantasy novel - then (usually) consult this book, for the background/history of the mythical creature (that I was interested in). Its entries are organised alphabetically - which saves time, when you know the name of the mythical creature (that you wish to lookup). With the reading of numerous entries, I have realised that mythical creatures originate from many places, and that several countries will often share, the same belief (in a particular creature). For example: some are found in the beliefs of ancient cultures (such as the American Indians), some are found in a different time (such as the belief that humans, could at one time, converse with the animals), some are found in nature (such as the belief that monsters are responsible for the shaping of the Earth/Weather) and some are found in specific locations (such as the side of a mountain - or a secluded loch). Three adventure-fantasy entries that I enjoyed reading are: Dragons (a wealth of information on - I especially liked the descriptions for Japan/China, together with the connections to strength, power and treasure), Elves (with several different views of) and Trolls (who are usually bad news - for adventurers/travellers). Two dark-fantasy entries that I enjoyed reading are Vampires (present throughout time and culture) and Werewolves (who have an interesting connection with ancient battles and warriors). The book also has entries for many lesser-known/local mythical creatures, a good example being the Great Horned Serpent (who was/is believed to help keep the waters of the Great Lakes calm). I like the fact that some entries also cross-over with others, for example: both Dragons and Elves have connections with Will-o'-the-wisps (where such lights were perceived as being gifts from them). I also like the fact that the book considers the mythical properties of animals that we live with today (such as Cats and Dogs). Overall: This is a book that I enjoy consulting - but can find it hard to put down! I think part of this is due to the paper that it's made from - it just feels somewhat magical (especially with its inviting/oldish smell). For the most part, this book is text-based, but that doesn't seem to matter - as I find images come easily (from my imagination). At almost seven hundred pages, it's quite good to pick a random page and put your feet up!
A tale of two bears, with Castles and Kingdoms, a matter of pride, with Magic and Fate:
The corset of a Princess, the hands of a fighter, the teachings of a Queen, the stubbornness of a King: Merida. Betrothed to a Lord's son, the freedom of a loner, the quest for perfection, the skill of an archer: Carrot-topped. The drive for adventure, the demand for etiquette, the love of a family, the distance of a mother: Princess! I like the way that this film portrays the relationship between a mother and her daughter: Merida is head-strong (having little interest in becoming the Queen), whilst Queen Elinor is inflexible (demanding that she prepares for the role). I like the fact that Merida chooses to go her own way: she would rather explore the Kingdom (and make use of her bow and arrow), than dress like a Lady (and undertake the activities that befit a Princess). I also feel that there's some truth in the way that fate is portrayed within this film: you can be free to choose your own path/fate, you can have the option of working hard to change your fate, and that sometimes, when your feeling lost, the Will-o'-the-wisps (or equivalent) may appear - to help you get back on track. I especially enjoy the comedy that's found within this film, with most of this coming from Merida's three brothers (Harris, Hubert and Hamish) - who remind me (so very much) of my nephew! My three favourite (comedy) scenes are: when King Fergus has his leg tied to the table (causing it to fall over and spread it's food all over the floor - Boys!), when King Fergus has managed to calm the fighting tribes (only to have the fights start over again, as a mace is clobbered onto Lord Dingwall's foot - Boys!) and when the Boys! are turned into three little bears (as I could not help but imagine the mischief that they could get up to now). Overall: a highly entertaining film that makes good use of the atmosphere that is typically found within woods (such as quietness, mists and being on the wrong path), together with the fun that you would expect from a medieval castle (such as feasting and jesting). There are also some lessons on the importance of finding your own fate (which may be at logger-heads with other peoples point-of-view). Just one spell remains: would you follow the wisp?