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The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:

The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, The Hobbit - Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel, Trollville

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The Hobbit - Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel

This Classic Fantasy Tale, sees a Quest for Treasure, in the Lost Kingdoms of the Dwarves, with a Guardian Fire Drake of the North, who goes by the name of Smaug. It's The Hobbit:

The Hobbit - Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel

Whilst it had been quite some time, since I'd last read The Hobbit, I was amazed with the amount of humour, that's found within it's opening chapters (particularly the very first - An Unexpected Party). I especially found it funny, when the leader of the Dwarves (Thorin Oakenshield), ended up with several of his fellow Dwarves, right on top of him - when The Hobbit (aka Bilbo Baggins), abruptly opened his front door :) I also liked the fact, that Bilbo initially has no idea, as to what is going on - why are all these Dwarves here? But soon finds himself, pouring over a Treasure Map, wondering where the Secret Door is! Which in-turn, leads to Bilbo and the start of his Adventures - having just been recruited by the Dwarves (based upon the recommendation, of Gandalf the Wizard). And it is this recommendation, that I feel captures the Heart and Soul, of this Fantasy Tale ... As The Hobbit does not at first, appear to be the best companion, for Thorin and his Dwarves - let alone their Quest! For one simple reason: The Hobbit / Bilbo Baggins, has only ever read about Adventures in books - preferring instead, to put his feet up, and have his second breakfast :) Indeed, is this low opinion of Bilbo, held by Thorin Oakenshield, and several of his Dwarves - which plays right into, Bilbo's desire to prove them all wrong :) And as such, did I enjoy the irony (that is experienced), as Bilbo's character, becomes central to the Tale - even gaining a Strength of Character, that supersedes the Dwarves (as eventually, he is more of an advisor to them). I found this particularly true, in three specific places: i) When Bilbo rescues the Dwarves - from the Darker Fantasy Spiders (otherwise the Dwarves would have been a juicy meal). ii) When Bilbo rescues the Dwarves - from the Not So Friendly Elves (otherwise the Dwarves would have been captive, in the Dungeons of the Elves for quite sometime). iii) When Bilbo is asked by the Dwarves, to tackle the Dragon Smaug (the Guardian Fire Drake of the North) - as Thorin and his Dwarves, dared not to enter, their own Underground Kingdom ... Yet in all three, do I feel that Bilbo's character, has come a long way - but still remains the same, as that first cheeky Hobbit, who dared to pick the pocket of a Mountain Troll, and land them all in a Stew! What of the Tale's other Fantasy Characters? Well ... There's three, that I quite like ... First: is Beorn (the shape-shifter). I liked the idea of a Man, that could take the form of a Bear - whilst also being able to talk, to an entire variety of animals (from Bees to Horses). I also liked the idea, of Beorn's Gardens and Lands - as he uses his shape-shifting powers, to guard his Domain, against the creatures of Darker Fantasy (such as Goblins and Wargs). I especially enjoyed, the comedy that surrounds the introduction of the Dwarves to Beorn (which is again contrived by Gandalf) - enter two by two, a minute or so after each other, OH! you may as well all come in then! Second: is Smaug (the Fire Drake). Being a Western Dragon, he meets this definition in every sense of his Being - large, powerful, clever (enjoying Riddles), breathing Fire, rows and rows of Teeth, armour as strong as Steel, hoarding Treasure, rending walls and eating all (especially Men and Dwarves). Yet does Smaug, still have a twist of an Eastern Dragon - the ability to speak :) And as such, did I enjoy Bilbo's conversations with him, especially when Bilbo thought, that he could outwit a Dragon! Bilbo dares to steal a Golden Cup - yet Dragons know, every ounce of their Treasure :) For Smaug's personality, is the Darkest of the Dark - it's HIS Mountain, and it's HIS Treasure, that HE stole from the Dwarves, a Long Time Ago. Third: is Thorin Oakenshield. I found that his character, tended to fluctuate somewhat. On the one hand, he will take charge (such as when planning a Quest for Treasure, or meeting a Great Goblin in Battle) - but on the other hand, can Thorin tend to give up in a huff (such as when the Dwarves, are unable to find the Mountain's Secret Door). An interesting character then - as we have to remember, that it was Thorin's Quest in the first place! And of that Quest, does Thorin also wish to retake, his Lost Dwarven Kingdom - of the Mountain. It's a Dwarven Kingdom, where I enjoyed imagining - what it would once have been like, at the height of it's powers: Countless Dwarves - mining Crystals and Gems, Endless Dwarves - Forging Swords and Armour, Robust Dwarves - hewn by the Harshness of the Rocks, Timeless Dwarves - hewn by the Ages of Old, and the Timelessness of Bonds :) And it is these Bonds, that Thorin's most Treasured Treasure (the Arkenstone), is most directly - at conflict with! For the Arkenstone (to me), seems to represent Greed (both Bilbo Baggins, and Thorin's). Thus, was I not too surprised - by the disagreement that arises, between Thorin and Bilbo! Although I was surprised, when Thorin pulls it back, and makes amends with Bilbo, just in the nick of time :) Overall: I feel that The Hobbit, is an enjoyable Fantasy Tale, that successfully incorporates, the important features, from the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy genre. The Swords are the Dwarves, Elves and Men - with the twist of a Hobbit, who could not hope to lift a Sword! But a Knife/Dagger - Bilbo can do that :) The Sorcery is directly from Gandalf, and indirectly from the Dragon's Hoard, and the Dwarves Arkenstone (their Achilles Heel). The Darker Elements, come from the Dragon and the Goblins, together with the Fantasy Character called Gollum (who Bilbo meets beneath the Mountains). Whose Gollum you say? For me, he's a key ingredient, to the popularity of Bilbo - as after Bilbo meets Gollum, does Bilbo's character, seem to tend towards an advisor (for the Dwarves). Thus do I feel, that it seems to be Fate, that Bilbo was destined for Adventure - in the first place :) Finally: an important question arises - is it still worth reading The Hobbit book, after you have watched the three Hobbit Fantasy Films? Yes is the answer to that! The Hobbit book, I found to be much simpler (less extravagant), and as such did it seem - much more magical :) Just one thing remains, where is that Treasure Map? And thank goodness for the Adventurous side - of the Took in Baggins :)

28/02/2017 | Victorian Hawk | Web: The Hobbit (Books)

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Hey mon - woh there! Da thee seek Adventure? Or da thee seek our Treasures in da Cave? Be off with thee! This be no place for Weak of Spirit ... From Mountain Caves to Under Hills. From Roots so Deep to Stones in Peril. Speak up now! What Magic you say? Tread lightly mon! Be gone! Be gone! This Spirit we have, born in Quest. This Spirit we have, Transcend through Time:

Trollville - Norway Trolls

At Norway's foot ya say? Yee are not the first to utter this phrase! In Scandinavia ya say? Yee shall not be the last to verb this way! I speak in Nature, I speak of Charm. For we've a family of Trolls - that bar ya way, along thy way, to Trollville. Bee - no Sunlight here, on Cloudy Day! I speak da Riddle, I speak da Door. What say yee, oh Smiley Troll? Two hands in pocket, with Forest step - da dips me toes, in Icy Spring: Butterfly. What say yee, oh skiing Troll? Two feet in place, with Mountain curve - da shouts me name, from Sloping side: Spring. From Trollville da we - Smiley Ski! What say yee, two-headed Troll? The branching of da River pass, the roots upon da Barking Tree - da Seas me swim, through Rapids ahead: Forth. What say yee, oh Hiking Troll? One hand in place, with Nature's Wood - da Tweets me worm, from Cuckoo in nest: Pass. From Trollville da we - two Paths to Hike! What say yee, oh Bearded Troll? Two Greys in White, with Windy hair - da Hides me way, from Greener hat: Yee. What say yee, oh Wizened Troll? With Magic of me, plus rhyme in thee - da Guides me way, from Norse to thee: Knot. From Trollville da we - Bearded Wise! For we've a family of Trolls - that bar yee way, along thy way, to Trollville: Butterfly Spring Forth - Pass Yee Knot! What's that you say? How dare you speak! Be turned to Stone ... These Trolls of Trollville, know thy Runes! Adventure: he seeks the way - but Trolls and their Magic, twists trails. Peril: she seeks the Gold - but Trolls and their Magic, like da Self, do Good in Life. Quest: they seek fulfilment - but Trolls and their Magic, go Fast or Slow but Go! What's that you say? You seek the Spirit of Norway? Well ... There be Seaside Towns, with Lantern pools. There be Homely Inns, with sense of Quite. There be Warring Blood, with Songs of Viking. There be ... Viking Longboat? We know thy name! Troll Magic - be Still be Quite ... In sense of Touch, this Viking name. In heat of Fire, this Viking came. In cold of Steel, this Viking thrust. In Valhalla, this Maelstrom ride! For wee six Trolls, bar yee way ... In Norway flows, with Seas of Wrath. In Arctic swells, with Wrath of Ice. In Mountain foot, with Blades of Rock. In Northern heights, with Shards of Mist. In Thoughts of Doubt, with Seeds of Self. In Thoughts of Lone, with by Myself. Go back! Go back! For wee six Trolls, test your Soul ... This Norway Spirit, in Paths of Daring. This Norway Spirit, Refusal to Quit. This Norway Spirit, Abide in Time. This Norway Spirit, with Thoughts of Flame. This Norway Spirit, with Strength in Grip. This Norway Spirit, with Know thy Truth! For wee six Trolls - know Spells of Old. For wee six Trolls - know Paths of Power. For wee six Trolls - know Beauty and Charm. A Spell we Cast, for Tests be Past ... Yee may pass. To Trollville!

26/02/2016 | Victorian Hawk

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The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures

When it comes to finding out about Mythical Creatures, this is my favourite book to read:

The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures

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!

07/11/2014 | Victorian Hawk

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