He Certainly Feels Very Highly of Himself

Welcome to our very first official book read through.  This is a special moment for us because it’s the first time we’re ever reading Star Wars:  Shadows of the Empire, and it’s our first time doing a read through.  We hope you enjoy following along with us and introduce another perspective. 

Without further ado let’s begin.

Summary:

The prologue of this book tells a scene from the movies as Darth Vader and the Emperor are discussing Anakin’s child (Luke Skywalker), his existence, and whether he should be destroyed or turned to the Dark Side.  Vader convinces the Emperor that he can turn Luke to the Dark Side and the conversation ends.  This isn’t new information for movie watchers, the interesting piece of information is that someone else was listening in.  Prince Xizor was, unknown to Vader, also present during this meeting.  It seems he was there at the request of the Emperor.  Xizor has an understanding that Vader’s name used to be Anakin, and he finds Luke’s discovery very interesting.

Chapter 1 opens up with a flashback to events from Empire Strikes Back.  The scene where Han Solo becomes frozen in carbonite unfolds as a nightmare for Leia Organa and she awakens drenched in sweat on Tatooine.

Luke is going through his own struggles with a self taught Jedi training session on a tight rope at a local Tatooine carnival.  With it being late at night he has this area completely to himself, excluding the guard outside he had used a Jedi Mind Trick on.  His objective:  become one with the Force and cross the tight rope without fail.  Memories from his meeting with Vader on Bespin and the cave on Dagobah enter his head, Luke can sense the Dark Side of the Force growing but he fights it.

Chapter 1 ends with Prince Xizor’s storyline.  We learn that Xizor is the leader of Black Sun, the strongest criminal organization in the Galaxy.  Xizor is of the Falleen, a species that is generally considered the most beautiful of all humaniod species.  We learn that he’s considered to be the 3rd most powerful being in the Galaxy, behind the Emperor and Vader, we also learn he has aspirations to become the 2nd most powerful being.  This must be his motivations for assembling a group of professional killers.  Currently he has Guri, a human replica droid programmed to be an assasin, the only one of her kind.  During the chapter he sends her off to enlist the Pike Sisters, twin sisters who are masters of teräs käsi.  He has a plan and his plans never fail.

At the end of the Chapter Xizor is prepping for a meeting with Vader, one that he would have face to face in a few minutes time.

Thoughts:

Xizor definitely seems like a man who is over confident in his abilities.  Right off the bat he underestimates Vader’s power, we’re not sure if he thinks it’ll be incredibly easy, but he does believe that he’d be able to over-throw Vader as the number 2 bad guy.  This makes us think he doesn’t know much about the Emperor or Vader and their history with the Force.  How, or what, Xizor is going to do for his plan is obviously unknown to us, but we are intrigued by his character already.  It’s not often a bad guy comes into a story and gives the feeling that he can back up all the talk, but something about Xizor makes us think he’s got what it takes. 

It’s also interesting that Xizor and Vader are in such close proximity to each other, as the chapter ends Xizor is minutes away from leaving his quarters to go meet with Vader.  Are they on the second Death Star, are they on a Star Destroyer?  We don’t know, but we’re interested in learning how and why these two are at the same location.

Luke and Leia seem like the natural storylines we’ll be following alongside Xizor.  We’re going to enjoy the inside track into their heads as they move throughout this book.  Luke, it seems, will be self training the Light Side while simultaneously battling the Dark Side.  We’re hoping Force Ghost Obi-Wan makes an appearance to provide words of wisdom.  Leia seems like she’ll battle with the need to save Han, save the Rebellion, and her own connection to Luke.  There’s a lot going on with these siblings, who don’t know they’re siblings yet.

As of right now, this book is taking place closely after the events of Empire Strikes Back, which is initially confusing for us.  For some reason, we thought this book took place after Return of the Jedi, but hey, this is only Chapter 1, we have an entire book left to go and there’s nothing keeping the story from jumping forward in the timeline. 

Questions:

We have many questions that remain to be answered.  As we read through the book we’ll keep track of the questions and if/when they get answered.  Here’s the highlights.

  • What is Xizor’s plan?
  • Why is he in such close proximity to Darth Vader?
  • Where are they?  On the Second Death Star?
  • What other assasins will Xizor recruit?
  • What are Luke and Leia’s next steps?  They’re on Tatooine, Han should be there too, so what’s their next move? 
  • Will the events of this book trickle into Return of the Jedi and beyond, or will this book be firmly placed in the timeline between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi?

Let us know your thoughts about Chapter 1, do you get that feeling that Xizor could actually accomplish his goal, do you think that we’ll see Luke battle the Dark Side more?  Let us know your thoughts and any other comments you might have in the comments below.

Thank you so much for your time and remember, deep roots are not reached by the frost.

– The Wandering One

Trials of Hard Work

Ranger’s Apprentice:  The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (2004)

Fresh off our recent completion of The Hobbit we turned around and burned through Ranger’s Apprentice:  The Ruins of Gorlan far quicker than we expected.

We’ve read this book before, usually when that happens it can take us a while to finish a book, but Ranger’s Apprentice does a great job of capturing our attention with action, humor, and a solid display of archery skills.  We’re big fans of archery so, naturally, a book that displays this skill in the forefront gets major props from us. 

The Ruins of Gorlan follows the story of a castle ward named Will, his family name unknown.  As a baby Will had been left at the castle doors with a single note stating Will’s father died a hero and this boy should be cared for.  Since then Will’s grown up at Castle Redmont studying, learning, and waiting for the day when he turns 15 so he could request an apprenticeship at the Battleschool.  There, he would begin his journey into Knighthood and become a hero like his father.  Unfortunately for Will, he didn’t have the stature and traits ideal for Battleschool recruits, so when the day finally came for him to choose his apprenticeship he was left with no options, facing a life as a commoner in the fields.  It would’ve been honest hard work, but not the life of a hero.

Enter Halt, an elite member of the Ranger Corps, and Ranger of Castle Redmont.  Halt had taken notice of Will’s dexterity and stealth he’d displayed growing up at the castle.  However, it wasn’t until Will completed one final test that Halt knew he wanted Will as his apprentice, and so begins the tales of the Ranger’s Apprentice. 

This story does a great job of showcasing character growth, positivity, the results of hard work, and facing one’s fears.  Will starts out as this shy timid character but as he begins his Ranger training he gains strength and confidence he never knew he had.  This first becomes apparent when he runs into his old bully, after his training there was no fear in his eyes that the bully was accustomed to seeing.  Granted, Will tends to be shy at times but he never doubts his training but, with the help of Halt, Will grows into a young man capable of handling life’s crushing events.  As the story changes into dangerous plot points Will trusts his training and more importantly, Halt.  It becomes clear that this master and apprentice are poised to protect the realm for a long time. 

Sidenote:  the book also follows the journey of another castle ward named Horace, Will’s childhood bully.  Horace, having the strength and stature perfect for Battleschool has his eyes set on becoming a Knight worth remembering.  His plan becomes derailed when he enters Battleschool, there his natural ability becomes over-shadowed by constant hazing and demoralization from three upper class students. Horace goes through his own character growth as these experiences change the young man and push him to actions he never thought he could accomplish. A little spoiler, he does make it through his trials on a positive note, and he even creates a friendship that he never looked for.

We look forward to reading more adventures about the Ranger’s Apprentice and we hope you join us along this journey.  Hopefully one day we’ll see a live action movie/tv series version of these stories.  In one of our first posts we highlighted the Ranger’s Apprentice series as a great option for a new Netflix TV series.

Thank you for your time, remember from the ashes a fire shall spring.

– The Wandering One

Do These Movies/TV Shows Deserve Their Own Game?

Don’t you miss the days when a new action or fantasy or superhero movie was paired with their very own video game?  Ok, maybe not.

We recognize that the video game industry has broken into it’s own great storytelling.  We understand, the argument exists that these games no longer need a movie counterpart to make sales, but at the same time we feel there’s movies out there that deserve their own video game.  Some characters are created and we just want to play as them or in their world.

Just to add a little extra, we also set aside a game they could be modeled after, in terms of graphics, character design, or gameplay.

Let’s begin.

Fully Immersive RPGs

Not every storyline is chalked up and ready for a fully immersive RPG, but there are a few lands out there that deserve to give fans the freedom of exploration.  Here’s our list of Movies and TV Shows that deserve a fully immersive RPG game.

Game of Thrones

The premise writes itself, create your character and fight for the Iron Throne or defend the world against the Whitewalkers.  Let’s set the player up in an open world setting, you could build alliances, travel to different lands, raise an army, take over kingdoms, and sit upon the Iron Throne.  Or, if you’d prefer to be a savior of humanity, join the Night’s Watch and support them in their defense of the Wall.  We’ll throw in the open world/fighting designs/graphics from Skyrim and The Witcher games.

Avatar:  The Last Airbender

Let’s dust off the boots on Avatar and bring a new spin on it.  No your character will not become the Avatar, but in this new age of Avatar their powers are highly sought after by less than savory characters.  Not necessarily new, but your character will be.  You have been born into a line of benders that have been tasked with defending the Avatar from these foes.  Create your character, travel to new lands, grow your bending, and maybe have some fun along the way.  Perhaps this might be better served in the next category, but we’d love to see a fully immersive RPG in this world and turn the dials to the max. 

We have some thoughts on how this story could go but hey nothing’s finalized. 

As we’ve stated the main character has been born into this line of benders who protect the Avatar.  You train with your brothers and sisters, you train with the Avatar, and finally when you’re ready to enter the ranks of the elite, you join the Avatar on missions.  However, on your first mission your company gets attacked, the Avatar is captured, and you’re the only one left alive.  Half the world thinks you tricked the Avatar “because you’re really a member of the clan who attacked”, the other half believe you were too young and not strong enough to protect the Avatar, but no matter what everyone blames you.  You set off on your own to track the Avatar down, bring honor back to your name, and prove yourself.  Along the way you struggle with your identity as you try to hide who you are.  Despite all odds, you make friends along the way and uncover hidden truths about the world around you.

Let’s set this new game up with an non-cartoon Assassin’s Creed inspired design and fighting mechanics, but give the fans that open world immersive RPG.

Action/Button-Masher RPGs

We’re splitting RPGs into two categories here, there’s the casual button masher ones that have tons of action but aren’t to difficult to get through, then there’s the fully immersive RPGs that take a little more finesse.  We’re looking at movies/tv shows that match up to a fun to play action adventure.

The Hobbit Franchise

We poured so many hours into The Lord of the Rings games growing up, whether that was The Two Towers or Return of the King,  either one was our favorite game.  It’s a little disheartening that The Hobbit movies never got their chance to create an action smash video game but tweaked to include some RPG elements for character design and progression.  Even if the movies faltered too far from the books at times the story would’ve meshed well with a video game.  Who wouldn’t want to run around Middle-earth as a young spry Bilbo Baggins? 

We’re looking to take inspiration from the War in the North video game on level building, design, and character growth.

Thundercats

Have they ever made a Thundercats game?  We’ve dabbled with a few on the old Cartoon Network website, but I don’t remember a game being made for an actual console.  Needless to say, we think a game about of favorite feline heroes and heroines is certainly in order.  We’re looking at the Dragon Age games for inspiration, this game does a decent job of putting a team together where each member has their own unique set of abilities.  Thundercats just needs a few tweaks, perhaps a non-cartoon design, RPG character growth, and possibly gear customization.  If we add in those elements and fighting/level design inspired by the Dragon Age Franchise, we feel like this would be a great game worth playing.

Action 3rd Person Shooter

You can’t go wrong with a solid 3rd Person Shooter, for us there’s just something about seeing your character boss through levels that makes it so much better than a 1st Person Shooter.  What pains us is when 1st Person Shooters offer character customization, why?  What’s the point if you can’t see your character?  We digress, there’s great stories out their that will fit this video game mold.

Voltron:  Legendary Defender

We’re very surprised no one has put this game into action yet considering how popular the TV Show was.  Maybe it’s the flying lions or super huge mechs, but who wouldn’t want to play a game as a Paladin of Voltron flying through the galaxy fighting Galra and gaining new abilities along the way.   The story is strong and meaningful, each character has their own set of challenges they must accomplish, and most importantly there’s action around every corner.  There shouldn’t be much stopping a video game studio, they’ve made Zoids games and Gundam games.  All you would need to do is put those two together with a Just Cause franchise fighting mechanics and vehicle management system and you got yourself a Voltron game.  We know that’s an incredible undertaking, but in it’s simplest form we’re looking at a game that takes design, fighting mechanics, vehicle piloting, and character growth from the Just Cause series.

The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian has been a huge success for the Star Wars franchise and in response we should get a video game to pair with it.  The different episodes are laid out well enough that each could function as its own video game level.  Perhaps the game should throw in some extra “prequel” levels in the beginning to showcase more of Mando’s skill, but other than that a one to one re-imagining would still be a great game.  Similar to Game of Thrones the premise writes itself, control Mando and protect the Child.  We think you could take inspiration from the Red Dead Redemption franchise for design and gunslinger mechanics.  Or, they could always dig up the Star Wars:  1313 files and set the game up that way.

Kid’s Game Action Adventure

We say kids action games but really we’re just talking about an animated action adventure story that implements puzzles.  Games like this from huge franchises are universally loved, and we’re hoping we can add a few more games into this genre.

Moana

Moana burst onto the big screen with a bang and quickly became one of our favorite Disney movies.  Unfortunately, no game was made and we never got the chance to sail the open seas, traveling from island to island, or make sure the dark forces of the world were kept at bay.  For us, that sounds like an awesome game we’d like to play, throw in a few moments where we get to play as Maui and we’re sold.  We’re going to opt to keep the cartoonized features of this game and grab gameplay, character growth, and design from the Legend of Zelda franchise.

Onward

The world of Onward is vast, unexplored by fans, and full of magic.  This movie burst in to theaters early 2020 right before everything started shutting down.  After we watched this film we couldn’t help but feel incredibly excited about what the future holds for Ian and Barley.  With all the Dungeons & Dragons references throughout the movie it’s hard not to draw inspiration into this game.  It’d be a great way to showcase the types of magic Ian could cast and the guardian abilities Barley would learn.  This is one game we’d love to play. 


Thank you for taking the time to read through this post, we know we got very long winded on a few of these.  Let us know what movies or TV shows you’d like to see turned into a game!  Maybe they already made a game but you’d like to see them redo it right!  Let us know in the comments below.

Remember, the crownless again shall be king.

– The Wandering One

The Dark World

This is an original writing of mine.

To give you some background, I wrote this for a job application to be a content writer for the new The Lord of the Rings video game. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, but I thought I’d share this with everyone. The objective was to put together a 500 word short story. After I applied I made a few tweaks to it, so it might not reach 500 words now, or it might be over, I didn’t count.


Dark. Cold. Black. Bitter. Years ago the world changed.  Darkness spread from the depths of the Earth and exposed its inhabitants to the cruel and brutal Age of Despair. One by one the races of elves, men, dwarves, and other beings fell into decay. Leaderless and scattered, the races of the world gave up hope. Those who remained decided to submit themselves to the darkness, for it had become easier to live in the darkness than to fight for the light.

Darkness. From darkness this evil spread and filled the hearts of the pure with anger, fear, hate, and suffering. From darkness, despair was born, and from darkness appeared The Warlok. It had been an age since Warloks were strong enough to protect the lands, now there are too few to lead the beings of this world.

This Warlok was different, he came from darkness when most Warloks are born of light. Some may be born during the Odd Times of dawn or dusk but a Warlok has never been born in darkness. He carries himself in a peculiar fashion, walking in garbs traditional for commoners and caring little for the riches of the world. His travels are erratic, coming and going as he pleases, and yet, he always helps those in need.

In the days of old, Warloks were appointed Trials, their life’s tasks, to prove themselves to The Order. Most Warloks completed many Trials in their lifetime and after doing so became branded, thus proving themselves faithful to The Order and displaying their experience. This Warlok, however, has received no brands and has never followed any order. He travels the land with one sole purpose, to defy the darkness.  

Cold. “Walking the world alone leads to many travels in the cold.” Feran remembers his master’s words well, this night is no exception. Feran feels the change.

“The cold is spreading,” thought Feran, “it won’t be long now.” Settled into a clearing in the woods, the Warlok stoked his small fire.

The colder the world gets, the easier it becomes for evil spirits to prosper. On nights like these, one should expect a spirit to interrupt the stillness of the night, hunting for remnants of pure souls. Warloks’ souls are natural beacons of light, but in times of despair, a young Warlok’s soul can quickly turn against them and become cold. Cold against the world, cold against hope, and cold against the Order. The growing despair caused young Warloks to defy the Order, and with no Order to protect the lands, the cold began to spread like wildfyre.

Black. Exhausted and sore from his travels, Feran peered into the black beyond his fire’s small flames. Even the dimmest lights can attract unwanted beings in the dark, he understood the risks but he needed a break from the cold.

“Just a few more minutes,” Feran thought.

Preparing, he shifted his stance to a meditated position, calm but focused. In that moment everything became silent, he took a deep breath and the black overtook him.

Bitter. “Bitter are the moments when we wake. The world ahead of us is never the same as the one behind. It’s easy to despair, harder to remain hopeful.”

Feran’s master rambled on, “Things always get worse before they get better.”


So there you have it, let me know your thoughts. Feel free to tear it apart or provide constructive criticism, I’m no pro. Also if you wish you find out what happens next to Feran I’ll expand the story further.

Thank you for your time and remember, a light from the shadows shall spring.

– The Wandering One

Ranking the Strongest Members of the Jedi Order

As you probably already know, there’s no shortages of Jedi ranking lists on the internet.  The majority that we’ve seen call their lists an actual ranking, meaning it’s based on “facts” and “evidence” instead of personal preference.  Our list will really be based on our preference and what we think the rank is.  We’re not saying this is the end all be all of lists, we’re just going to compile our thoughts into an ongoing/running list of ranked Jedi purely based what we’ve personally seen, read, or played.  To clarify, we’ll look at the actions and skills showcased throughout the movies, TV shows, written material, and video games.  This is by no means a complete list, but as we continue to read and absorb more Star Wars material, we’ll go back and update this list accordingly. 


Now, let’s start with the elite, five of the strongest members of the Jedi Order.

1. Yoda

Sources:  Episode I, II, III, V, VIII, The Clone Wars
Lightsaber color:  Green
Species:  Unknown “Yoda’s Species”
Homeworld:  Unknown

No real need to justify this ranking here, Yoda is by far the strongest pound for pound Jedi in history.  No one has been able to rival his skill with a lightsaber and his use of the Force.

2. Anakin Skywalker

Sources:  Episode I, II, III, The Clone Wars
Lightsaber color:  Blue
Species:  Human
Homeworld:  Tatooine

If Yoda was the strongest Jedi ever, Anakin was the heir apparent.  He held a strong connection with the Force that allowed him to see visions of the future, he excelled in lightsaber combat, he could quickly manufacture tech as needed, and he was one of the best pilots in the Order.  Any Jedi would’ve loved to be great in either of those categories, but Anakin, he excelled at all of them.  During The Clone Wars he proved to be a risky but crafty statistician as he was able to outsmart Separatist Generals time and time again.  His do-it-all approach allowed him to be a respected General in the eyes of his Clones and a strong Master for his talented Padawan.  Anakin’s ceiling was incredibly high, if only he had listened to Yoda. 

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

3. Revan

Sources: The Old Republic
Lightsaber color:  Purple, Blue, Green
Species:  Human
Homeworld:  Unknown

We think there is an argument here, that no other Jedi, besides Anakin, has shaken the course of history in the galaxy like Revan’s actions did.  He was raised like most Jedi in the Temple, rebelled against the Jedi Order to fight in the Mandalorian Wars, ended the Mandalorian Wars, turned to the Dark Side, started the Jedi Civil War, brought the Galactic Republic to its knees, was captured and brought back to the Light Side, fought for the Jedi, defeated the Sith, and ended the Jedi Civil War.  He eventually would go on to fight and withstand another great onslaught of the Dark Side, only to have his spirit lingering in the galaxy, split between the Light and the Dark.  Darth Bane would go on to utilize an old Sith Holocron of Revan’s and initiate the Rule of Two, forever altering the History of the Sith.  There’s no doubt in our minds that Revan was the most powerful force user of his time, the historical influences his decisions had and his Jedi capabilities rank him this high on our list.

4. Mace Windu

Sources:  Episode I, II, III, The Clone Wars
Lightsaber color:  Purple
Species:  Human
Homeworld:  Haruun Kal

The majority of this list stems from how well these Jedi performed against formidable opponents.  While Mace Windu’s actions during The Clone Wars deserve a top 10 recognition, his face off against Darth Sidious in Episode III puts him in the top 5.  Obi-Wan, unfortunately, never had the chance to square off against the evil Emperor, so Mace passes him, just by a hair though.  There’s been some speculation about whether or not Darth Sidious actually planned on killing Mace or if he was just waiting till Anakin showed up, regardless of that theory, Sidious was fighting to kill in the beginning.  The proof?  He killed Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Agen Kolar early and without hesitation.  Mace was not only able to avoid Sidious’ attack, but fight the Sith Lord to defeat.  For this reason, and Mace’s strong sense of the Force, we believe he earned the 4th spot on our list.

5. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Sources:  Episode I, II, III, IV, V, VI, The Clone Wars, Darth Maul Shadow Hunter, From the Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Lightsaber color:  Blue
Species:  Human
Homeworld:  Stewjon

Obi-Wan Kenobi will always be linked to the Skywalkers.  Ever since Qui-Gon saved little Ani from slavery, Obi-Wan has been a main presence during his growth, maturity, and, unfortunately, downfall.  This wise and skillful Jedi didn’t just train one of the most powerful Jedi in history, he also squared off against him in Episode III.  Of course, by that time Anakin was a young Darth Vader, and while his skill and power surpassed Obi-Wan’s, he couldn’t keep his emotions in check.  Obi-Wan defeated the young Sith Lord adding to his list of already impressive victories.  He also defeated Darth Maul as a Padawan, he was the only Jedi to defeat General Grievous, he lead numerous successful campaigns during the Clone Wars, he survived an attack from and severely injured the revived Maul and his brother Savage Opress, he defended Tatooine from multiple foes while protecting Luke, he began Luke’s Jedi training, and just like his master before him, he gained the ability to become a Force Ghost upon his death.  We’ve seen many lists leave Obi-Wan out of the top five, but we feel he’s deserving of this elite group.


We’ll continue to update this list, add Jedi, and shift them around as we watch and read more Star Wars content.  What’d you think about our top five?  Do you agree? Disagree?  Let us know!

Thank you so much for your time and remember, not all those who wander are lost.

– The Wandering One

What Would You Name the LOTR Amazon Series?

Let’s start off with what we know. 

Based off the map released by Amazon (above), we know that the setting of this story will be in the Second Age of the world.  How do we know that?  Off the south-western borders of Middle-earth is the island of Númenor, which only existed in the Second Age. 

It was recently reported by TheOneRing.net, that the show would feature Elrond, Galadriel, and Sauron.


Based off of those clues here’s what we can guess about the show.

The story will feature the three characters mentioned above.  In all the events that take place during the Second Age, there is only one event that includes Elrond, Galadriel, Sauron, and the Númenóreans.  It’s called The War of the Elves and Sauron. Sauron helped the Elves make the rings of power, he also tricked them into helping him make the One Ring.  An Elf named Celebrimbor discovered Sauron’s true purpose and helped the Elves hide the Three Rings.  This act infuriates Sauron and he begins his war against the Elves.  The Three Elven Rings are sent into hiding and Gil-galad goes on to lead the Noldor army against Sauron’s forces.  The Elves do their best to defend against his onslaught, but Sauron with the One Ring is too powerful.  For seven years, death and destruction laid waste to Middle-earth and, in the end, Tar-Minastir had to send a great navy from Númenor to help the Noldor defeat Sauron.

Knowing what we know and guessing the plot based on what we know, we would name this TV series, The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rings.  Essentially because this war was Sauron’s effort to control the rings of power.  It’s not an incredibly creative or metaphorical title but it’s simple and it works.  It’s also a little nod to Tolkien’s preferred title for the third book in The Lord of the Rings, which was originally The War of the Ring.  It could be titled Sauron Defeated, but that’s a little obvious as to what’s going to happen.  We’re still going to stick with War of the Rings, it’s an easy clear name that fits the plot of the story.

What’d you think the TV series should be called?  Do you like our choice?  Dislike it?  Let us know in the comments below. 

Thank you so much for your time and remember, from the ashes a fire shall be woken.

– The Wandering One

How Hard Was it to Break into Hogwarts?

Periodically between reading The Hobbit, we’ve been listening to the Harry Potter audio books, which we’ve surprisingly enjoyed.  Now we love the good old fashioned reading, but if we’re tired of music throughout the day an audio book has been a great change of pace.  Now, let’s begin the discussion.

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black reveals that he had been using Crookshanks to sneak into Hogwarts and find Peter Pettigrew.  For us that seemed all too easy, esentially what we’re discussing is the idea that all one has to do is find a highly intelligent animal or train one of your own and Hogwarts’ doors are open to you.  With magic at your disposal we’d have to imagine that training an animal would be oh so simple, for example, Mad-Eye Moody made a spider dance on tables and do cartwheels across students’ tables.  That was through the Imperius Curse, but still, if you’re a dark witch or wizard you’re not going to have second thoughts about using an Unforgivable Curse.

Sirius, of course, had prior knowledge of secret passageways in and out of Hogwarts, so that helped him, but it seems like any wizard could just Imperius an animal to do something dastardly, or if that failed, use magic to train the poor beast.  Hogsmeade is open to all manner of witches and wizards, why not just take your animal with you and let them get to Hogwarts from there.  Also, a dedicated witch or wizard might just want to spend the time becoming an Animagus to find their way in.  Rita Skeeter seemed to have no problem flying around Hogwarts as a bug, Sirius Black was able to walk around as a giant dog.  What exactly are the Hogwarts border enchantments designed to prevent?  Would they prevent an Animagus?  Would they stop a regular animal, what about one under the Imperius Curse?  We’ve seen all manner of witches and wizards get inside Hogwarts, but what about using an animal, it seems like the most covert way to achieve your goal without actually getting caught.

Let us know what you think, did we bring to light a loophole here?  I mean why didn’t Voldemort just send Nagini to go kill Harry, seems pretty simple, “Nagini, crawl into Hogwarts and kill Harry Potter, also don’t talk cause he can speak Parseltongue and he’ll hear you.”  Boom, done.  We know why he never did that though, Voldemort always wanted to be the one to do it himself.  Back to the end, does this seem like a simple way to infiltrate Hogwarts?  Magic always seems to offer infinite possibilities, but utilizing an animal for your benefit looks to have very low risks and high rewards.  Of course there are multiple examples of people finding their way into Hogwarts without animals, but those should be saved for a separate conversation down the road.  This was a topic we’ve never heard before, so we wanted to get your thoughts on the subject.  Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you so much for your time and remember, the crownless again shall be king.

– The Wandering One

Other Storylines the LOTR TV Show Should Be About

As we continue this series we’ll give a little background to where we’re at today.  While a story about the War of the Elves and Sauron is shaping up for Amazon, there are still many stories to be told in the Third Age.  In fact, when we first heard about the Amazon TV Show based on The Lord of the Rings we felt an anthology series would be a great way to tell a wide variety of Lord of the Rings stories that deserve some expansion.

Our first idea was a storyline centered around Elrond’s sons, Elrohir and Elladan.  Prior to the events of The Lord of the Rings, these two brothers go on an incredible journey of their own.  You can read that post HERE

Our next great event in the Third Age involves a courageous and determined group of Dwarves:

Balin leads a group of Dwarves in a valiant effort to reclaim the Mines of Moria.

Like many of these expanded stories we don’t know much about what happened in the Mines of Moria during this ultimately failed expedition.  True, this story doesn’t have much impact on the events in The Lord of the Rings, but we at Of Blades and Kings are craving a unique story for the Dwarves of Middle-earth, and we feel this is one of them.  Before we break into the possibilities for this story let’s break down what we do know about this event. 

In the year 2989, rumors and talks of treasures of old had begun to spark up amongst the Dwarves of Middle-earth, they spoke of Moria with longing and fear.  It had been many years since Durin’s folk fled from the “nameless fear” inside the mines, and no Dwarf had dared to enter since, besides Thrór, and he was killed.  But, too much time had passed and as the stories of the glory of Moria reached his ears, Balin was resolved to try and reclaim it for Durin’s folk.  With him he took Ori and Óin, and many other Dwarves on this expedition.  At first, news was coming from Moria at a good rate, the news was also encouraging, they were making progress reclaiming the Mines, but by the time of The Lord of the Rings, it had been a long time since anyone heard from them. 

Glóin came to the Counsil of Elrond to speak of this news and hopefully find understanding of what happened and what to do.  Unfortunately, for the case of Balin, not much discussion was given, seeing as the main purpose of this meeting was to decide what to do with the Ring. 

It isn’t until the Fellowship travel to the Mines of Moria that we learn what happened to these mighty Dwarves. 

  • They drove the Orcs away from the main gates of Moria and slew many as they made their way further into the Mines.  A Dwarven warrior named Floi, slew a great enemy, but was killed by an arrow.
  • The Dwarves took the twentyfirst hall of the North end to dwell in.  Balin had set his seat in the Chamber of Mazarbul.  Balin was named the Lord of Moria.
  • 5 years the colony lived, perhaps thrived, in Moria, they were able to mine for gold and they were successful in finding mithril.
  • Unfortunately the success wouldn’t last long, in the 5th year Balin was shot by an Orc.  He slayed the Orc, but many more came and he died from his injuries.
  • Disaster follows, the Dwarves are forced to make a last stand against the Orcs of Moria, none were left alive to tell their tale. 

Few were mentioned by name, but Balin, Óin, Ori, Floi, Frár, Lóni, and Náli all deserve for their stories to be told.  What else happened in those mines?  What was the struggle like?  The victories, defeats?  Did they all want to be there?  What drove them to keep pushing on?  In this tale we can learn a lot about the Dwarven race, we can see how they interact with each other, how they work, how they fight, and how they live.  In The Hobbit, we see some of this, but it’s Bilbo’s story, and rightly so, the Dwarves of Middle-earth need their own story and, tragic as it may be, this event could give us that story.  The question of how this happened still leaves more details that should be fleshed out. 

Let us know your thoughts, do you think this story needs to be told?  What about the Dwarves of Middle-earth, do they even need their own story?  Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you so much for your time and remember, all that is gold does not glitter.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

October 11th

He drives the Riders off the Bridge of Mitheithel.


On the 9th, an Elf named Glorfindel left Rivendell to try and help Frodo reach Rivendell safely.  Today he reached the Bridge of Mitheithel, also known as the Last Bridge, this was the only safe way to cross the Mitheithel River.  Mitheithel is also translated to Hoarwell. 

The Black Riders had hoped to camp out at this river and block Frodo’s crossing.  Had Glorfindel not fought and driven them off, Frodo’s journey would’ve likely ended at this bridge.

It doesn’t seem like an important moment but it’s huge for Frodo’s journey.

Thank you for your time and remember, from the ashes a fire shall be woken.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

October 9th

Glorfindel leaves Rivendell.


Knowing that the Black Riders were traveling the Wild in search for the Ringbearer, Elrond sent Glorfindel to track Frodo down before the enemy.

Glorfindel, being a powerful Elf, had the strength to facedown the Ringwraiths and get Frodo to Rivendell safely.  There’s not many beings in Middle-earth who could perform this feat, a testament to his strength.

Up to this point, Gandalf, Elrond, and Strider all had plans for getting the Ring to Rivendell, and nothing has gone according to any of their plans.  We must applaud these powerful individuals as they made level-headed and swift decisions in the face of uncertainty.  It really connects actions to Gandalf’s words.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us…”

All they could do was make decisions based on the time they had left, but they never let the moment get the best of them.

Thank you for your time and remember, the old that is strong does not wither.

– The Wandering One