It’s summer time, boys and girls, and if there is anything worse than cooking your ass off in triple digit heat, well, you found it! Join your hosts Matt and Robert as they discuss the goings-ons around the mics this week, mostly stuff you should watch, shouldn’t read, or expend energy to care about. So, push yourself over the brink of heat exhaustion and sanity as you strap yourself in for a weekly dose of ear torture, because it’s a brand new episode of Useless Drivel – A Podcast Without a Point!
The time has finally come! It’s been more than a decade since Peter Jackson took the world to Middle-earth for the first time, and now he’s gone and done it again. Don’t let that there awesome Spider-man print there fool you, this is a very Hobbit-y discussion, but we just happen to have a little contest thrown in! We’re joined this week by artist/illustrator extraordinaire, Dennis Salvatier, to discuss all things awesome about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey! Bring your Dwarf-love, skip that second breakfast, and study up on your riddles as you get ready to join us on our journey from The Shire to The Misty Mountains on a brand new episode of Monkey in the Cage!
It’s Wednesday, you know what that means, right? Yep, the time has come for me to show you some awesome Etsy finds that make you want to spend money! Yay? =)
This week I am, not only, inspired by the impeding release of The Hobbit but also because I have been feeling a bit like a hobbit myself lately. There are certain times in life where we all want nothing more than to retreat to our very own hobbit-holes. A safe place to be ourselves, free from stress and worry. Well, real life doesn’t often allow for such flights of fancy… but internet shopping does. So, behold what’s behind the green, round door. Continue reading
In less than six weeks, any geek worthy of the name should and will begin flocking to theaters worldwide to return to Peter Jackson’s vision of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to immerse themselves in the first of not one, not two, but three films! Not only are these movies destined to be blockbusters, there are going to be downright epic and I’m going to tell you why.
So, if you’ve been listening to the podcast (which you should), you’ve no doubt heard numerous times that I do indeed love Dwarves. Not small people (though I certainly have nothing against them), but the tough-as-nails, personable-as-a-stubborn-mule fantasy race of stocky, hard-drinking warrior craftsmen. Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret… they are awesome!
My first exposure to the traditional fantasy Dwarf was through the reading of The Hobbit, well before my gaming days. I was captivated by J.R.R. Tolkien‘s portrayal of the rough-and-tumble folk, ill prepared for their journey to the Lonely Mountain to defeat Smaug and retrieve the Arkenstone of Thrain. Although Thorin’s band are pretty much a greedy bunch of stubborn jerks (typical for Dwarves), it was late in the novel that numerous aspects of Dwarven culture revealed themselves and truly appealed to me.
Once Robert and I started playing AD&D 2nd Edition together, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a Dwarven warrior, and rarely have I strayed from this particular character archetype. I’ve always felt that the characters we create in the game serve to reflect and amplify the aspects of ourselves that we either find most endearing or want to greatly improve. It’s paradoxical really, but psychologically it makes sense. No one, when envisioning an ideal self, wants to scrap the things they like the best about themselves, only amplify them (if this is not the case for you, I suggest professional help). In a fantasy setting, when I could be anything I wanted to be, I chose the race that I felt most fulfilled whom I was and continue to be. Concepts of honor, loyalty, family, drinking, home, hard work, community, drinking, fighting, and drinking are all dogs that bark up my tree. So what better than to roll up a surly Dwarven Battlerager with the Russian name Razumihin that loved to fight more than anything?
Now, I’ve dabbled with character of other races in the past, even elves, but from a playing perspective, I find myself most at ease playing Dwarven characters both in combat and when role-playing. Dwarves by nature are pragmatic and direct; it’s all about function over form, although form does not go unnoticed. This realistic and straightforward approach often boils down to a matter of absolutes:
- In combat – If it’s not my friend, hit it until it’s dead.
- In roleplaying – If it’s not my friend, don’t trust it and if need be, hit it until it’s dead.
- In diplomacy – If you don’t give me what I need or want, prepare to be hit until dead.
- In drinking – I will keep drinking long after your liver is dead.
Needless to say, when The Lord of the Rings hit the big screen with John Rhys-Davies playing Gimli, I damn near shed a tear at seeing (in my opinion) a perfect portrayal of the quintessential Dwarf. I couldn’t help but feel a swell of pride for my adopted people and the gamer in me still loves seeing the role on film. Even now, with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey still 10 months away, I can barely contain myself with 13 times the numbers of Dwarves heading to the big screen. December might end up being a life-changing experience for this Dwarf loving podcast monkey.
Now that you know just some of the reasons I love this particular fantasy race, let us know which are your favorites and why!
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – Last words of Thorin Oakenshield, King under the Mountain