Friday Face Off : The earliest fantasy you recall reading


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

The start of Wyrd and Wonder.  A month long celebration of fantasy. The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder so for the FFO themes I’m choosing fantasy books:


This is an easy one for me  I did read a few fantasy books that I recall quite young, The Wizard of Oz, The Borrowers and The Wind in the Willows spring to mind immediately.  But, without doubt the book that sealed my love of fantasy fiction was Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, I’m pretty certain I read this when I was about 15 and I’m also fairly confident that I formed a huge crush on Aragorn.  Here is a small selection of covers.

My favourite this week:  I can’t really choose but I like these three because : Gandalf/Epic/Ring:

I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – The start of Wyrd and Wonder.  A month long celebration of fantasy : The Top Hat



Month of Wyrd and Wonder

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood


4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy


2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one


6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller


1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground


3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up


December Countdown, Day 30 : Family and Friends – a book with great characters

December book meme (details here).  Family and Friends – a book with great characters :


Rereads?? It is folly, not with 10,000 books waiting to be read should you reread…

Or should you??  Today I’m looking at the September meme from the Classics Club which is as follows:

Rereading a favourite classic at different stages of your life gives you different insights with each reading. Is there one classic you’ve read several times that also tells a story about you?

I like this question.  It made me really think.  I’m not totally sure whether I came up with anything revealing but here goes…

I’ve read a few books more than once or even more than twice.  I’ve certainly read Rebecca a number of times and also a few of Austen’s and Dicken’s works but I’m not going to use one of those as examples because I think I only had a few years in between each reading.  I did read Lord of the Rings when I was about 15 and apart from the fact that I loved the story and the writing I also had a total girly crush on Aragorn –  although according to the book he’s not exactly easy on the eye.  I don’t care, he’s a ranger and he’s hot (in my mind).  I then reread this very recently as a group readalong and I think if anything I actually liked it more.  I don’t know whether that’s anything to do with the age difference, the fact that I just love the story or because I’ve watched the films (quite a few times).  Yes, I still liked Aragorn – and you can all go swooning over Legolas in the movie but Viggo Mortensen is my favourite, but I think I enjoyed the writing a lot more this time and the dialogue – which the film has kept surprising close to!

I think when I originally read this I was hooked on the adventure, and, as I mentioned I did have a bit of a crush going on.  More recently I think I was able to enjoy the quality of the writing and feel a little in awe of what Tolkien achieved.  I admit, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  I read one blogger, who was not a fan, saying ‘if you like to read a description of every leaf on the tree then give it a go’.  Now, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that but, and even as a fan, I can see where that person is coming from and I appreciate description isn’t for everyone.  But, reading this again a few years later certainly didn’t detract from the experience for me.  I also think I took my time a little bit more, admittedly that could simply be due to the fact that I wasn’t racing to the end to see how things wound up or it could be because I’m more patient now!  Even if I’m not more patient I think the real difference is that I’m more prepared to read into things now than when I was younger when I was much more about the swashbuckling, swords and sorcery.

Did this have any lessons for me?  I think I could appreciate Gandalf’s words of wisdom more this time around – particularly in relation to the fact that Bilbo had shown Gollum pity rather than killing him when he had the chance – he after all plays a big part in the journey.  So perhaps the lesson is ‘fools rush in…etc, etc’!

Which leads on perfectly to one of my favourite lines:

“Fool of a Took, throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity!”

Lord of the Rings read along, Return of the King, Part 3

Just finished reading the final instalment of Return of the Kings, the journey has finally reached its conclusion 😦  – sad because it’s now ended.

Of course we all know the ending and these last few chapters have just been the round-ups.  So, without further ado, to this week’s questions/discussion points:

What do you think Gandalf was going to speak with Tom Bombadil about?

You know, I’ve racked my tiny brain about this and genuinly don’t have the first clue (plus ‘racked my brain’ is probably a bit over the top as it’s so tiny – took me about 30 seconds!).  Maybe there’s a clue in the whole ‘rolling stones gather no moss’ saying but I really can’t figure it out.  Need to think on it some more.  I’m sure it will all become really obvious when I read everyone else’s posts and I’ll just be like ‘Doh!’

What did you think of the two weddings? Do you think Eowyn will eventually find happiness with Faramir?

I actually do think think Eowyn will find happiness with Faramir.  Initially they both seemed, to me, to be a bit slightly saddened characters, Faramir because of the way his father behaved and Eowyn because she felt a bit restricted/unhappy in the role she played and also because she had unrequited love for Aragorn (but, you know, take a ticket and get in line!) But, I’ve decidedpersonlly to give them a happy ending, in my vision they are totally enamoured with each other, they make each other feel good, their pasts are put behind them and they move on in a happy way (but I’m a sucker for a happy ending!)

What did you think of their meeting with Saruman on the road home?  I was half expecting someone to just kill Saruman.

Oh, my, god, I did want somebody to kill Saruman – but I think that if one of them had done so it would have been like a blight on their own character.  As it turned out, one bad soul killed the other which felt almost fair! Which sounds a bit wrong given that they both ended up dead  ultimately but it was inevitable.  At first I was almost thinking that if Gandalf had just sorted Saruman out then it wouldn’t have been so dire for Hobbiton  but I think Tolkien was giving the Shire a chance to stand up and show it’s metal.  And, I liked seeing the way Merry and Pippin came into their own like battle-hardened warriors.

Holy Cow I was not expecting the scouring of the shire.  If this is your first time reading, were you surprised? And if this isn’t your first time reading, does the shock get a little easier to swallow on re-read?

Well, I’ve already probably covered this above – it was a surprise, and I have no recollection of reading this the first time (maybe I skipped it ‘oops’) – plus did this happen in the film – I can’t remember it doing so?  Anyway, no the shock is no less a surprise because I genuinley had forgotten!

What did you think of the very end, of the departure of the Havens? 

This is another one of those ‘grey’ areas for me and I think maybe I need to read this bit again (another 8 or 20 times!)  It always feels to me that the people who leave on the boat are actually dying?  But that would just make me feel so sad so I’m actually in denial about that.  And, I’m fairly certain I’m wrong, but it feels like they’re on the last journey over the water with the ferryman taking them to their place of rest.  *shivers*

Characters are supposed to change and develop during a story, right?  Who changed more, Sam or Frodo?

Okay, my first thought was to say that Sam changed more and that Frodo couldn’t change and carry on with his life like he had before which is why he left.  Then I thought, mmm, actually, no, Frodo changed the most which is why he could no longer live the same life as before.  Okay, I was having a bit of internal conflict with this one but I’ve made my decision: Frodo.

And, so we’ve come to the end of our journey.  I almost feel a bit footsore!  Seriously, I’ve really enjoyed this read along and the discussion posts.  I hope that we can all do something similar again, after all:

“the road goes ever on and on”

Thanks everyone! 😀

Other discussions at:

All Booked Up
The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Lynn’s Book Blog
Book Den
Geeky Daddy

Little Red Reviewer


The Return of the King

The Return of the King

Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, read along, Part 2

The conclusion of part 2 of the Return of the King takes us almost to the end of the tale, the ring and the enemy has been destroyed and Aragorn has returned to Gondor to be crowned King.

I was seriously behind with this second part of the read along and I don’t know why but some parts of this section seemed to drag for me more than others.  Anyway, finally got there and my answers to this weeks questions are below.  Questions this week were provided by Carl at Stainless steel droppings.

  1. After witnessing the events of Denethor’s demise, what are your thoughts on him as a father and as a ruler, especially when compared to what happened with Boromir and the Ring.  Well, it’s no secret that Denethor is not my favourite character!  I liked him not as a ruler or a father.  I think on reflection that Boromir’s quest for the ring was inspired by his need to impress his father and return to him something that he thought could be used as a weapon.  I also wonder whether a lot of his sadness in the chapters before he died was really sorrow over the death of Boromir or sorrow that his plans had not come to fruition.  He also sent Faramir, his only remaining son on an impossible task that almost ended his life and was the cause of a great loss of life.  In that respect he was not a great ruler – he cared little for the people who were at his mercy and dictated to them based on whatever whim was upon him without respect for their lives.  So, although I’ve tried to disguise it (lol), I didn’t like him as a father or a ruler.
  2. Instead of riding into the city with pomp and circumstance, Tolkien pens the king’s return as a clandestine act in which he demonstrates his rightful place through the act of healing the wounded.  Your thoughts?  I think that Aragorn didn’t want to return as the King whilst Faramir was ill – he returned to heal the wounded but he didn’t want to be seen as the King maybe because it would have looked a bit sneaky as though he’d taken the throne while Faramir was unable accept or deny his claim.  Plus, I think, they had won the battle, but not the war and so it seemed a little early days to be wanting to return to the city with due ceremony.
  3. For one chapter Sam got to be rescuer and ring-bearer.  What are your thoughts about Sam’s brief time as a ring-bearer in comparison to the others who have born the ring, or wished to? I loved when Sam was the ring bearer!  Everybody else envisioning themselves taking over the world with the help of the one ring, Sam envisioning a huge garden!  You have to love it.  And even after that he realised this was just a dream that would never come to pass. 
  4. In a twist unexpected in many hero tales, Tolkien ends the journey into Mount Doom with Frodo ultimately failing at his task.  How did you feel about this and ultimately how does it make you feel about both Frodo and Gollum?  I suppose it shows the strength of the ring in that at the end it had overcome Frodo as well, if it hadn’t been for Gollum (and his clumsy stumbling feet) the ring would not have been destroyed after all – as neither Frodo or Gollum would have done so.  I don’t think this makes them weak, after all Gandalf and Aragorn didn’t even want to touch the ring because they were so fearful of what they would become.  To an extent it makes you wonder if Gollum could have been redeemed – until you remember that he did murder his friend to gain possession of the ring before he’d even touched it.
  5. Given that The Lord of the Rings is largely about an all male cast, what are your thoughts about Tolkien’s portrayal of Eowyn now that we’ve seen the course of her journey through these culminating chapters of her story? I think that Tolkien was very forward thinking when you read this book and think about when it was written.  He didn’t overlook anybody – all had a part to play and without Eowyn’s part the ending would have been completely different.  It would have been so easy for him to simply keep her in a different place and give that part to somebody else but he let her have a role.  Just like the hobbits, at the end of the day they were greatly overlooked by most and yet they also proved invaluable.  I guess he was trying to show us that everyone counts and can make a difference.  I was a bit surprised when Faramir and Eowyn were in discussion and it almost appeared that Eowyn only sought Aragorn because she would become a queen.  I hadn’t really put that together before then – it made me almost a bit disappointed.  I got that Eowyn had feelings for Aragorn but this made them seem a bit more shallow.  I could be reading that bit wrong though – maybe I should reread.
  6. Much of this section of our reading has been filled with desperate acts with little hope of success.  How do you feel about the mood Tolkien created in the build up both to the battle and the final push into Mount Doom and what are your thoughts on how these sections ended? I think this question reveals the answer to why I have struggled with these chapters of the book, and similarly the way I always feel when watching the film.  Everything just seems so desperately hopeless that I almost just didn’t carry on (but how could I give up my quest to complete the readalong?)  Even though I already know the ending I still find it offputting! But, like the characters I made myself continue but it was a bit grim there for a while (and I’m only reading a book – good job I wasn’t sent to destroy the ring – I’d probably have kept the ring – with great visions of the world being turned into a massive library, overflowing with books – all shall see my vision and READ or be doomed! ha, ha)
  7. The “assigned” sections for part 3 only take us to the end of the actual story. Will you be reading the appendices?  Mmm, nope!  I was going to try and kid everyone (including myself) but the answer is ‘hell no’.  Sorry, I’m such a quitter!!!

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