Around the Common Room: January 18, 2013

It’s been a quiet week here at The Hog’s Head, and apparently everywhere else, too–but there are a couple of hefty news stories. First, Christopher Tolkien gave an interview in which the history of his relationship to his father’s work is covered, as are his feelings about the Peter Jackson adaptations. Sample from the latter:

“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”

Second, the White House has responded to a petition to create a Death Star. Despite their rejection of the proposal, they’re apparently gung ho on getting to space. This has provoked some presumably fake diplomatic responses from long-dead Star Wars characters.

Also unfortunately for Star Wars fans, a bunch of wet-blanket physicists have determined that the Millenium Falcon’s jump to hyperspace wouldn’t look anything like what the movies show in Han Solo’s windshield. They’re probably correct, but whatever. They also have difficulties with Batman and James and the Giant Peach.

While we’re talking space, in honor of good sales for Shades of Earth, the finale to Beth Revis’ young adult sci-fi trilogy, the author and publisher have launched a copy of the first book, Across the Universe. Yes, launched it into space. You can watch this on video.

In other news:

The National Book Awards have doubled their nominee list and expanded the judging panel, hoping to increase the chances for a broader range of fiction.

Nerdfighter founders John and Hank Green are known for being made of awesome. They put that on display at Carnegie Hall recently, with guest stars that included Neil Gaiman. According to the story, Hank has the best Patronus imaginable. No dementor could stand up to such happiness.

And in funnies, here’s Zits on the preservation of libraries and Not Always Related on the Butter Knife of Gryffindor.

9 thoughts on “Around the Common Room: January 18, 2013

  1. Sorry I didn’t get around to sending you any links this week, Jenna, but then there was a scarcity of them. I should have a better selection next week.

    On the Zits thing, the link doesn’t appear to work.

    And the article and interview with Christopher Tolkien was brilliant. Just brilliant.

  2. It’s OK. I was busy and tired and didn’t mind having a light week. ;) And I rather liked the Christopher Tolkien piece myself.

    I just tried the Zits link and it worked just fine… didn’t have any trouble with it in either Chrome or IE. Try again? Is anyone else unable to open it?

  3. Must’ve been a glitch in the site then, because now it works for me. Go figure. And it’s a really cute cartoon. :) Reminds me of all the fan fiction where people are snogging in the Hogwarts’ Library. Although Madam Pince never seems to cotton on to it…

  4. HAHA. There’s always that danger in loaning (or borrowing) books.

    As for the fan fiction, Madam Pince never seems to cotton on to the library snogging? It seems like that would’ve made for some good dramatic tension. ;)

  5. Wow, that Christopher Tolkien article was fascinating! What devotion to his father’s work and legacy. I had no idea that J.R.R. Tolkien had left so much unpublished work behind when he died.

    The Zits link worked fine for me. And I like the comic very much, Jenna,, being an old-fashioned, hard copy of the book, loves the smell of libraries gal. :)

  6. Loved the Christopher Tolkien article too. Nothing surprising except for the depth of his sadness. I have had this feeling too about the Harry films. When everyone was reading the books as she was writing them, there was a great excitement and anticipation for the next book. The films didn’t seem to discourage the reading. Now they are all available to read in one go. But so are the films available to watch one after the other. There are alot of little kids too young to read the books who are, nonetheless, exposed to the films at home. I’ve seen parents who aren’t interested in the books offer the films for entertainment or older friends and siblings watching. My point is these young ones are seeing the films before reading the books. I am saddened that the impact of reading this story without knowing the outcome will be greatly diminished, but worse, will they even want to read such a long tale they already know the ending of? For me, the films are like a photo album of a beloved holiday. It’s not the whole story, but I love seeing and reminiscing just the same. But for all those who are deprived of the real joy of reading such a long complex, beautifully written story, I feel sorry. Same with LotR. I think it’s inevitable that less people will read the books because they will see the movies. And even if people like the films so much that they want to read the books, what happens to the mystery?

    1. Agree totally with you, Nana. Certainly it’s good if people see a movie adaptation & are led to read the book, but you’re right, the mystery is gone. I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done about it, though. One can simply hope that people come to realize the depth & richness of the books as opposed to the superficiality of the movies.

  7. My son objected to my point of view insisting that the films only increase interest in the books, but I guess my thing is the excitement of not knowing Snape is a good guy. Not knowing whether Dumbledore betrayed Harry. Not knowing who’s going to die and most importantly, Harry’s final fate. It is a real mystery story expertly crafted so we can sweat it out through Books 5 and 6. Oh well, as my son added, “Acknowledge and move on.”

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