The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:
Viking Dragon - Sentinel of the Skies - Western Dragon
On the Teeth-like Rocks, in the Guise of a Western. At the Crest of a Tide, in the Cries of a War-host. That's just where you'll find him - Viking Dragon, and his Viking Longboat:
For when the Vikings go to War, is it not just their Longboats, and their Viking Warriors, that they take to Conflict! For there's also their Dragons, their Sentinels of the Skies ... In Mighty Red and Conquering Green, they match their Longboats - Sails and All. With twist of Silver, Armoured Clad, they match their Longboats - Shields and All. With cries of Roar, Piercing Shrill, they match their Longboats - Drums and All! For this Sentinel of the Skies, and his Viking Warriors, has just made - Landfall ... To Newfoundland have they come, this Western Dragon, and his Raiding Party - the first of their Kind, a Herald of their Viking War Fleet, from across the Atlantic. A Treacherous Expanse, of Open Ocean, that honed these Warriors, in thoughts of Odin: To War, to War! To Conquer, to Conquer! To Pillage, to Pillage! This Newfoundland :) From Scandinavia they spread, in Ages of Dark, with Rays of Light, that Shined the Way - yet always following, the Paths of the Warrior ... For this Viking People, tamed their Dragons, in Ages Past, to Fight for them ... These Viking Dragons, know of Norse - both how to Speak, and Riddle with Script. These Viking Dragons, know of Odin - both being Cruel, Kind and Wise. These Viking Dragons, know Valkyrie - both Wingless Angel, and Souls to Valhalla! For to them, to Die in Battle, at the front of a Viking War-host, donned Valkyrie's Hero: a Dragon's Glory, in which you'd find, the Bodies of the Slain, piled all around them :) For these Viking Dragons, are a Western Kin ... With Dragon Wings, they Soar the Skies, and Dance through Clouds. With Dragon Fire, they Burn the Woods, and Heat the Anvil. With Dragon Teeth, they Drink the Foes, and Grin of Wrath. With Dragon Armour, they Turn the Arrow, and Bend the Sword. With Dragon Claws, they Slash the Ways, and Slice the Enemy. With Dragon Tails, they Wrap the Rocks, and Anchor Themselves. For these Viking Dragons, know of - the Art of War ... A Dragon lands on a Precipice, to survey the Land. A Dragon elongates his Neck, to view Around. A Dragon sniffs the Air, to smell of Foe. A Dragon licks his Tongue, to answer This, of Riddle God: What is this - Newfoundland? Just the Jagged Outcrop, of a Mountainous Rock? Just the Patterned Layers, of an Eroded Sea Scape? Just the Alcove Shape, of a Secluded Lagoon? But with a Sniff and a Lick, does this Dragon know, the answer to this Conquest's Riddle: for he's a Viking Dragon, that's been Bred and Raised, in the Castles of War :) He smells the Tide of Conflict, ten thousand Foes to march on him. He tastes the Air of Battle Lines, ten thousand Foes to come to him. He feels the Power of Enemy Commander, ten thousand Foes to aim at him. But this Dragon does not Cower, for he's a Western Might! He Plants his Feet, and Wraps his Tail, around his Teeth-like Rock. He Focuses his Eyes (through Armoured Helm), knowing well - Horizon Glare. He Roars a Dragon's Defiance, amongst the Cliffs of Armoured Sea - calling in he's Dragons Kin. For this Viking Dragon's, just the Herald, of a thousand Viking Longboats, and their Dragon Sentinels! And if he Falls, before they get here? Then to Valhalla will he go, on the Wings of a Valkyrie, off from Newfoundland - to Odin's Dragon Land :)
On the Snow Covered Slopes, in the Guise of an Angel. At the Rooftops of the World, in the Herald of an Arrow. That's just where you'll find her - Viking Valkyrie:
For when the Vikings go to War, is it an Honour for their Fallen - to Die in Battle ... Whether born of Axe, or born of Sword. Whether born of Bow, or born of Fire. It matters not! For Valkyrie walks, the Battlefields of the Slain - knowing just is, what it is she wants :) The Bravest of the Brave. The Strongest of the Strong. The Deadliest of the Dead. For these Fallen Viking Warriors are to her, nowt but the Heroes of a Viking Hel ... To some comes the Kiss of Death - to Valhalla, to Valhalla! To others comes the Kiss of Life - to Rot, to Rot! For only to Valhalla, do the Heroes go ... These Viking Warriors, Masters of Sword. These Viking Warriors, Masters of Axe. These Viking Warriors, Masters of Fire. These Viking Warriors, Masters of Wrath! As it is with these Heroes, and their Fighting Ways ... Would they charge a Battle-line, hundred to one? Yes! Would they hold a Mountain-Pass, thousand to one? Yes! Would they jump into the Midst, of an Army of Men? Yes! For to these Heroes, is the Eternity of their Names, more important than their Lives. As in Viking War-cry, will their Names live forever! As it is with this Valkyrie - and her Kiss of Death ... Her Curves of Beauty, that be-nigh her Blood Lust. Her Sword of Ascension, that dishes-out her Judgement. Her Looks of a Goddess, that be-spell no Angel. For she's a Viking Ghost Warrior herself - who with a flick of her Sword, dispenses her Judgement. A Herald of Odin, who's versed in Seduction - who with a twist of her Blade, brings Death to the Mighty. As she walks through this Battlefield, eyeing the Slain. As she stands in this Battlefield, asking the same ... Are you a Mighty Hero, out of the Viking Wars, who faced Death in Battle, against overwhelming odds, where none but the Strongest and the Bravest, have the right to be called, a Viking Hero out of Legend? Yet you fell this Day, amongst these Snow Covered Slopes - though your Fury was known, amongst the ranks of these Men? Yes ... Then I fly you to Valhalla, just in time for this Night, with the Feasts of the Mighty, and the Healing of the Angels. For you - Viking Warrior, I bestow my Kiss of Death :) To Valhalla, to Valhalla! And after your Feast this Night? Well ... Tomorrow, to Battle shall you go ... Blood shall be spilled. Arms shall be broken. Shields shall be splintered. Skulls shall be cracked. Swords shall be swung. Axes shall be arced. Bows shall be thrown. Fires shall be cast. To Battle, to Battle! In the Halls of the Slain, in my Master's - Valhalla :) For your a Mighty Viking Warrior, who shall Fall again, Tomorrow's Day, but shall Rise again, Tomorrow's Night! Feast with the Mighty, then Fight again. Then Fall again, then Feast again ... But your Name! Shall be known by Odin, and heard each Day, upon thy Battlefields of Valhalla, Forever and Forever, your Name shall be Known, my Mighty Viking Hero, my Mighty Viking Warrior, in this Viking Hel of Valhalla, in Odin's Halls of the Slain :) For in Valhalla, shall your Viking Name, be both War-cried and Remembered, Forever and Forever! Viking Valkyrie - Viking Ghost Warrior :)
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Part Two
No indeed, the Elves do not! But what of Men, can they throw back the Darkness of Sauron, all by themselves? For a Time, does this Classic Fantasy Tale, appear to suggest (at least to me), that Men very well can! Or perhaps instead, I to (like Boromir), was under the Spell of Darkness, and the Power of the One Ring, to Rule them All:
For the forth point, on why this is one of the best, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novels, that you can ever read - is it's range of Dark Fantasy Creatures ... At the Head is Sauron, a Dark Sorcerer, whose Magnificence of Old, is only hinted at (within this Tale). Even so, did I quite enjoy, the Chapter called The Council of Elrond, as it lays the seeds, for the Character of Sauron, in the Later Days of Middle-Earth. He wants the Ring, the One Ring that he made, the One Ring, that he placed much of his Sorcerers Powers in! For me, the One Ring, goes hand-in-hand, with Sauron's most prominent, Dark Fantasy Creatures - his nine Black Riders. Who are akin to Phantoms, with no physical form, other than Dark Visage in a Cloak. They wield Blades, that are both Cruel and Evil. I shuddered when Frodo was wounded (by such a Blade), at the thought of what he could become - a Wraith of some-kind! I feel that Frodo was right, when he chooses to avoid the Black Riders, even though doing so, meant entering the Old Forest (the lesser of two Evils). I found myself sitting, on the edge of my seat, when Frodo was racing for Rivendell (the Elven home of Elrond), with Black Riders chasing him! Added to this, are Sauron's Black Dragons (although here in this Tale, is it just the briefest of glimpses - with a bow shot from Legolas, downing the Dragon). And yet, are there also, other Dark Fantasy Creatures, at work within Middle-Earth - although I feel, that they have no direct knowledge, of the One Ring itself (and thus, do not directly, answer to Sauron). For example, I liked the Orcs and Goblins of Moria, together with the concept of the Balrog (a large Fire Breathing Western Dragon of a Daemon) - who to me, is one of the Oldest of the Old. An Elemental Dragon/Daemon, that lives in the Hottest Fires of the Earth. Yet do I find, that both the Balrog, and the One Ring, have a connection (at least in a saying): Delve Too Deep in Greed, and Pay the Price! The Black Riders delved too deep - what once was King, now Phantom of the Night (and Day!). The Dwarves delved too deep - what once was Moria, was lost to Dark (Durin's Bane - a Balrog!). And of the Wraiths? The Barrow-wights, sent a shiver down my spine! As there's something Unnatural, about former Kings, and Warriors of Old, that feel that they, still have a Hold, on the Living. Wake up Frodo! Fifth: is it's range of Fantasy Swords ... I've always liked the idea of Magical Swords, and the background build-up, to the Sword of Elendil, is no exception: a Sword that was shattered, upon an enemy of Old (Sauron), that is reforged, and renamed Anduril (Flame of the West), the Weapon of Kings (borne by Aragorn) - made me want one :) Added to this, is Gandalf's sword, Glamdring - which I for one, have long desired, to look upon! Yet, do I like the fact that Glamdring (borne by the mighty), is also matched by Frodo's short-sword Sting (borne by the lesser/Little People), as both gleam/glow blue, when in the presence of Orcs - which if you think about it, would be slightly scary, whilst deep in the Mines of Moria! Sixth: is it's range of Fantasy Castles ... For me, there's four that immediately spring to mind: i) Rivendell. The Fantasy Realm of the Elves, with it's Last Homely Gardens, and it's Waterfalls of Sea in Dream, and it's Ford of Guardian Horses (in Force of Water - commanded by Elrond). I liked the idea, of Powerful Elf Lords in Rivendell, that could resist the Darkness, at least for a Time :) ii) Minas Tirith. The City of Men, the City of Kings, that is foremost in the Defence, against Sauron's Armies. I to (like Frodo), found Hope growing in me, at the description of Minas Tirith (within this Tale) - especially at the mention, of it's Towering Battlements :) iii) Minas Morgul. Is perhaps the clearest indication to me, of the One Rings power to Corrupt, as what once was Good, fell into Ruin (owing to the neglectfulness of Men), and became a Fortress of Darkness! I did not like the thought, of both Fear and Dread, to be found there - in the plenty. iv) Lothlorien - not a Castle as such, more a Stronghold in the Trees of the Elves. I liked the idea, that the Elves of Lothlorien, climb upwards, and live in a Kingdom amongst the Treetops :) As to me, a City in the Trees, feels like a strong connection, to the Roots of the Earth, and Nature. Seventh: is the Hobbits themselves ... I found myself, constantly amazed in this Tale, that the Affairs of the Mighty (such as Wizards, Kings and Sorcerers), are at the Mercy, of the Little People: Frodo Baggins, and his trusty companion - Sam Gamgee :) For even with all of Sauron's Might, he can't find a Hobbit! But Gandalf can, yet bows to Frodo - for Frodo is the Ring Bearer :) As chosen by - the One Ring. And what of Merry and Pippin? I find these two Hobbits, to be of less importance (especially in the second half of the Tale), but Gandalf holds them in High Respect. I like this, because the Good Deeds of the Tiny, can unravel the Dark Deeds, of the Mighty :) Overall: An amazing, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel, that took me longer to read, than I had expected - as I reread several parts (especially the Mines of Moria). I also feel, that there's a deliberate shift, in the concept of the Main Fantasy Character (as you read this Tale). It's always Frodo, but at the beginning, I thought for a while, that it was Gandalf - until he met his match! I especially like the fact, that this Fantasy Tale, is a David verses Goliath, that's played out on a bigger scale - with Powerful Elements, on both sides :) Finally: The One Ring, is a Ring of Power, is a Quest of Power, between Good and Evil - whose Fate is most directly, in the Smallest Hands of the Land, the Underdog: Frodo Baggins :)
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Part One
A Classic Fantasy Tale, with a range of Fantasy Characters (including Elves, Dwarves and Men), that sees a Quest of Power, through the Roots of Adventure, in the Darkest Days of Middle-Earth. With a guiding Wizard, and a bare foot Hobbit (one of the Little People), it's The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring:
I've always thought, that this is one of the best, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novels, that you can ever read :) There's several reasons for this ... First: is it's use of Humour ... I found myself laughing, when Sam (one of the Hobbits), is pulled through the Window (by Gandalf the Wizard), after having eavesdropped, and making out that he hadn't - he was cutting the Lawn you see! I also laughed, when Gimli the Dwarf, tasted some Cram (a Travellers Bread), having not believed, that it will taste very nice (even raising an eyebrow) - then promptly eating, the whole piece! I also found humour, in the strangest of places, such as when Gandalf had nearly been destroyed - well, well, he flew down some stairs, after encountering a foe, that he could not best, whilst joking about it! Second: is it's range of Fantasy Locations ... First and Foremost, my favourite is the Dwarven Mine/City of Moria. I especially liked the Ancestry of Moria, that it was once the most prized, of all the Dwarven Realms (owing to it's Mining of Mithril - the Dwarven Wonder Metal), which was in-turn lost, to the Orcs/Goblins and Durin's Bane (a large Fire Breathing Western Dragon of a Daemon, that even the Elves Fear). Moria is now a dark place, which Gandalf leads our Adventurers through, with his Bobbing Wizards Staff of Light (akin to a Will-o'-the-wisp). I especially liked the idea, of Moria's Dwarven Doors, that can only be seen in Moonlight (and opened with a specific word/phrase). I also found comedy here, as I laughed at Gandalf, being outwitted by a door! Of Moria itself, did I like the idea of staircases hewn from stone, together with cavernous pillars (that defined a City in Starlight), together with Tombs of the Fallen (still blessed in daylight), and Treasures of the Deepest Mines (that Dwarves still dream of). I also liked, what I feel was the reason that Moria was built (by the Dwarves) in the first place - a Magical Lake (called the Mirrormere), which Shines with Stars in it's Waters so Deep :) It is with some irony then, that although I love the Green Places of this World, that I have often felt a Desire, to explore the Dark Halls of Moria myself! In stark contrast to Moria, are the Fantasy Woods, of the Old Forest. It's a mythical place, that Tales of Old, used to scare young Hobbits with - and yet, Frodo Baggins (the main Fantasy Character of this Tale), decides to venture that very way :) Now I like Woods, and I like Trees, but the Trees of the Old Forest, are not like other Trees (they can move/walk, and they can talk/be-spell) - it's Old Man Willow you see. He's a Magical Willow Tree, who does not have the Hobbits best interests at heart! Although I find the Old Forest to be a Dark Place (perhaps even more so than Moria), it leads to one of my favourite Fantasy Characters - Tom Bombadil :) He's such a fun/comedy element, that it's hard to feel all Dark and Gloomy, when he's around (especially with that Bobbing Hat of his!). Now it feels to me, as though Tom is some kind of Nature Fairy (as he's always been concerned with Trees) - yet even if he isn't, then his sidekick (Goldberry), is certainly a Water Fairy :) In any case, I like the fact, that both Tom and Goldberry, tend to the Old Forest, and look after Frodo (after Old Man Willow, gets his Roots to him). To me, the Old Forest feels as though, it's full of Magic - both Good and Evil, that's just kind-of mixed together, in it's raw, natural form. It's a powerful place, that I feel, could have played a larger part in the Tale (together with Tom Bombadil). Third: is it's range of Fantasy Characters ... The Fellowship of the Ring, is itself comprised of a Motley Crew: four Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin), two Men (one called Aragorn, one called Boromir), one Elf (called Legolas), one Dwarf (called Gimli), and Gandalf (the Wizard). I like the idea of the Fellowship (aka our Adventurers), because it is a contradiction - you have powerful members (such as Gandalf and Aragorn), mixed with weaker members (such as Merry and Pippin). Whilst in the middle, do you have members that are a bit of both: both in terms of alignment (such as Legolas is to Trees and Nature, whilst Gimli is to Stone and Anvil), and in terms of not judging a book by it's cover (such as Frodo at first appearing weak, but over time, does Frodo become the appointed/recognised strongest, Ring Bearer). Of these Fantasy Characters, would I say that my favourite is Gandalf, though I wouldn't normally like Wizards! Gandalf is an exception, for he's more like a Warlock - a Wizard and a Warrior, all rolled into one :) Next would there be Aragorn - as I like the fact, that he is descendant from Kings (although I'm not so keen, on his Strider personality, in the earlier parts of the Tale). Then would there be Gimli, as there's a fair amount of humour, surrounding his character: A Dwarf! Which plays right into, the grievances between Dwarves and Elves (with several twists in friendship, along the way). In any case, I especially like the portrayal of Elves within this Tale. I like their connection with Nature (especially of the Woods, plus Spells of the Sea), and I like the fact, that there's at least three, families of Elves found, within Middle-Earth: those from Rivendell (who were there at the start, when Darkness first showed it's face), those from Mirkwood (who still have dealings with Men, and is the home of Legolas), and those from Lothlorien (who Guard a Treasure of Middle-Earth, and befriend the Fellowship). I also liked the way, that the Elves are used, to underline an important point/theme (within the Tale): the Elves may be Powerful, blessed to live much longer than Men, skilled in the Art of Combat (especially Bow and Arrow) - yet just like the rest of Middle-Earth, they do not have the power, to throw back the Darkness/Evil by themselves! Or do they?
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:
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 :)
If Ever there was a Theme Park ride, that was turned into a Comedy Ghost Film, then that role belongs Solely, to Disney's - the Haunted Mansion:
As I have rode the Haunted Mansion ride (in Magic Kingdom) many times, I felt that this Fantasy Film, had a steep milestone to live up to (or is that a steep Gravestone to live up to?) ... For starters, it is hard to have a Haunted Mansion, just by itself. You need a storyline, and this film's storyline, of a love triangle (with a twist), really fits the Raven's bill! The film starts properly (for me), at the Iron Gates of the Haunted Mansion - which are of course, padlocked. Yet with some Ghostly magic, do the Mansion's Gate's then open ... And it is here, that I raised an eyebrow - as would I have been brave enough to enter? Probably not! Fortunately, such concerns are not faced, by the adventurer's of this film: the Evers Family :) And through those Iron Gates? Well ... First and foremost, I love this film's Fantasy Location - the Haunted Mansion itself :) There's Haunted Hallways, and Ghostly Stairs - with Spooky Curtains, and Guardian Knights. There's Spectral Ballrooms, and Darkened Bedrooms - with Glowing Candles, and Spying Portraits. There's Mothballed Libraries, and Marbled Studies - with Secret Passages, and Gothic Fireplaces. For this Haunted Mansion's, all Shroud in Dark - with Shimmering Cobwebs, and Scurrying Spiders, to Sleepless Tombs, and Spectral Carriages! For this Haunted Mansion's, all Cast in Light - with Flickering Candles, and Fiery Chandeliers, to Maleficent Green, and Whispered Balls! And of this Mansion, do I feel - no finer home, for Ghostly Haunts :) And it is here that I found, the next part of this Ghostly Tale, that I quite like ... As the Mansion itself, plays right into the variety of Ghosts, that are found within it's Haunted Halls :) There's Apparitions (both Touch and Wraith). There's Ghostly Balls (both Soul and Guide). There's Musical Instruments (both Sound and Chase). There's Replay Memories (both Masquerade Ball - and Locked in Time). There's Hitch Hiking Ghosts (both Speak and Hide). There's Suits of Armour (both Haunt and Axe). There's Spectral Horses (both Cart and Gallop). For in this Haunted Mansion - there's always My Way, You Know! Yet in all of this, did I find - three particular Ghosts, that are my favourites. First: is Ramsley (the Butler). For his Fantasy Character (being both straight faced and straight backed), helps guide the film, and is fundamental to it's storyline. Added to this, is the fact that Ramsley, made me jump three times: i) when he appears from the Knight's Corridor (in flashes of lightening) - would you hold your ground? ii) when he appears right behind Mr Evers (making him jump). iii) when he appears right behind Mrs Evers (making her jump). In all three, does Ramsley appear - to be Lending a Hand ... Second: is Madame Leota (the Gypsy Tarot Reader). Who for me, provides much of the comedy - whilst also guiding the Fate of both Mr and Mrs Evers (in a more helpful way). Madame Leota, is also responsible for some of the best footage, that's found within this film (in both terms of plot, and special effects). And of this best footage, do I have a favourite scene ... It's where Mr Evers first meets Madame Leota - and is soon being flown around the room: with Dancing Trumpets, Drums, Harps and Tarot Cards! Which eventually leads to, Mr Evers being chased down a corridor, by a whole ensemble - of Musical Instruments :) Third: is the Ghost Ball (which appears to Mr Ever's son and daughter). I liked the fact, that the Ghost Ball, is really a Will-o'-the-wisps - that has an honourable Quest, for the two children to undertake (even if it would have scared me, in reality!). I also enjoyed the humour, that surrounds the Ghost Ball - where the sister would follow it (being Brave), whilst her brother would not (shaking like a leaf). Even so ... There was one part of this film, that I found a little scary (especially the first time I watched it). It's where Mr Evers, undertakes the main Quest of the film (once he arrives at the Mansion), and goes down into the Mansion's Crypt. I was surprised by the Walking Dead (that he encounters down there), and felt that it would take a very brave person indeed, to Willingly Dive, Under the Water! Mind you, I now suspect that Ramsley, was solely responsible/behind this (in a bid to prevent Mr Evers, from completing his Quest). Although, if you don't like Spiders - then you'll probably be squinting, right after the Walking Dead scene, as well :) Overall: I feel that this is a lively Ghost Film, which brings the Haunted Mansion to Life - in a way that captures the fun side - of the original Haunted Mansion ride :) Yet at the same time, do I feel that the film, also contains an important message, about the need to maintain - a work life balance :) It took Mr Evers (as played by Eddie Murphy), several interactions with Ghosts - to fully realise/remember this ... Added to this, is the fact that several sub-plots of the film, are about Facing Your Fears, together with: You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail - But You Only Truly Fail, When You Stop Trying! And you get a Fantasy Film, that has much more on the Inside of the Mansion, than on the Outside :) Finally ... I just loved the comedy scene in the Library/Study - as we all want a large Painting of Ourselves, hanging above the Mantelpiece - don't we? And if you should decide to join us ...
In the Boughs of these Trees, in the Lights of this Forest - with the Twists of a Vine, and the Guise of an Angel:
I like the fact that this Angel, is entwined with both mystery, and the darker side of Fantasy. The mystery comes from this Angel's attire ... Her feathered wings make me think, of the caring nature, of a Guardian Angel. Yet, that draping cloth (at the middle/back of her wings), makes me think of both a Battle Angel (the cloth's symbol, which reminds me of a Medieval Battle Standard), and of an Angel, that has Lost her Wings (possibly having, removed them herself!). There's also further evidence, of the latter of these - as it's as though this Angel's Wings, are both chained and weighted down: how could she possibly fly, with those large banded/attached jewels, on the apex of each wing? The darker side of Fantasy, comes from this Angel's interaction, with the background ... As I feel that these Woods, are not a friendly place! This feeling comes from, the creeping fingers of the Trees branches (which are jagged around their edges) - whereby if I look too long, start to send a shiver down my spine! Which in-turn, is further refined, by the darkness of this Angel's face - both the Glyphs, and her Tears of Black. Yet here, does the darkness play right back into mystery - as it's hard to say, exactly why, this Angel is so sorrowful ... There's no immediate clues, and it was only with a careful eye, that I first noticed - those falling feathers (bottom-left, under her wings). Thus, did I start to think, of the concept of a Fallen Angel. But, whether this Fallen Angel is her, or a companion Angel (possibly her lover), I cannot say for sure. And it is in attempting to answer this question, that I feel that Steve - fuels the mystery of his artwork ... It's a mystery, whose rising heat, is also further fuelled - through Steve's choice of background: as it's a background, that I would not expect, a Guardian Angel, to be found within. But it is a background, that I would expect, an Angel of the Damned, to be found within. And yet here, do I find a twist - for this background's white, seems as though, it's a Guiding Light. Yet given the fact, that this Angel, is in-front of this light - does she not in-fact, bar your way? And in doing so, would that not meet, the definition - of a Guardian Angel? If that were so, then I feel that this Angel's Wings, have been shaped to be - as if they are a Shield. For they guard against the creeping fingers of the Woods: the outermost topmost curve of her wings, reflect the shape of the white light's halo (especially towards the canopy of the trees). Thus, do I feel that this Angel, wants some time away from the World - and in doing so, perhaps she chose a place, where she would be least likely, to be disturbed? But then again, do I find that this Angel, is also in the Realms of Fairy Glamour ... For perhaps this Secluded Cove, that she chose - is the inner Kingdoms, of a Broken Heart? Which would indeed, explain the presence of a Garden Swing - as her sorrow varies, with the ride each Day, from Day to Night! What of Steve's choice of artist techniques? Well ... I think it's most important, that we consider - his use of lighting. I speak of the light, that's on both the Angel's Dress, and the Angel's Wings/Feathers. Now, I feel that this light, does not come from the background: for the angle of the light, especially upon the Angel's Dress - makes me think of a Spotlight! And if that were so, does this Spotlight, play right back into, this Broken Heart theme - where this Angel's sorrow, far outweighs the common sense, of everything else! But here, do I find that Steve's decision, to include a large Silver Runic Glyph (top left) - helps point the way back ... For it's Sharp like a Sword. It knows what it Wants - to bring both Clarity, and Balance to the Scene. Whilst it's Central Pattern - reminds of me of that Battle Standard :) Which in turn, gives Seed to a new Idea: Grow up (her reaching right arm), and Move on (the Guiding Light). Overall: A Gothic Angel, whose Fairy Glamour, becomes entwined - with the Paths of the Heart. A Dark Angel, who Fell from somewhere High, but with a Riddle of Thought - Rises straight, for a New Chapter. For she's a Sad Angel, who Sits on the Swing of Romance - in the Hearts of the Wood.
There be those places in this Dragon Land, that still-guard, the Treasures of the Ammonite. Be Runic Glyph. Be Lavas Heat. This Dragon's Rock, with twists of Ancient. This Dragon's Spire, with curves of Tale. This Dragon's Perch, with scribes so Wise. Donned Ward of Power. Known Vault of Lore. This Dragon's Place, with watch so Sentry :) This Dragon's Tower - of Dragon Sentinel:
It's where the Perch's Architects drew their Lore - of Dragons Guard, and Dragons Form. It's where the Sleeping Sentinels spied their Lore - of Dragons Hoard, and Dragons Stealth. It's where the Primeval Watchers scribed their Lore - of Dragons Time, and Dragons Stone. It's where the Foundry's Blacksmiths smelt their Lore - of Dragons Arm, and Dragons War. It's where the Wisest Warlocks chant their Lore - of Dragons Power, and Dragons Myth. It's where the Element's Warriors learned their Lore - of Dragons Dream, and Dragons Muse. Where's that then? Why ... In Dragon Sentinel, of Dragon Land - but of course :) For within this Dragons Land, be thy Dragons Wards - in Midnight's Realm, a Dragons Sentinel! For only in Two Moonlit Sky, can you find the Runes - of Ancestral Dragons Past ... Thy shape of Ammonite, with Twist of Ancestor. Thy way of Tone, with Sound of Sea. Thy rise of Glyph, with Arc of Cuttle. Thy coil of Spiral, with Wind of Sea. Thy curve of Nautilus, with Thought of Lineage. Thy hint of Meaning, with Rune of Fossil ... What's that you say? A Hidden Riddle! These Passer-bys, know not for sure. These Passer-bys, know not look up. These Passer-bys, know not of Power. These Passer-bys, know not of Fire. These Passer-bys, know not of Perch. These Passer-bys, know not of He! As it is with these Dragons, and their Hidden Ways. As it is with these Dragons, and their Magic Wards. As it is with these Dragons, and their Treasured Secrets. As it is with these Dragons, and their Emerald Griffins :) But - what's that you say? He's not a Griffin! Well ... Clad in Armour, clad in Gold - Anointed Guardian, knows of you. Clad in Whisper, clad in Hush - Silent Sentry, watches you. Clad in Timeless, clad in Bound - Runic Keeper, knows of thee. Clad in Talon, clad in Barbed - Tireless Warrior, watches thee. As it is with these Western Dragons, and their Griffin's Role ... Set in Stone, Guard through Time. Cast in Iron, Watch through Age. Bed in Marble, Hard as Rock. Cast in Metal, Hot as Fire. Rest in Bedrock, Wise through Eon. Stirred in Guard, Woke through you! This Dragon Sentinel, of Midnight's Realm - revealed in Moonlight, came for you!
Of all the Chaos Dragons, there is none more spoken of - than Galrauch. What once was Elven Dragon, Golden Drake. Became twisted and deformed, as with the Powers of Chaos! For it was upon the battlefield that Elven triumphed, but just for the smallest Twist of Time ... Having consumed a Seed of Chaos, did Tzeentch (Chaos Sorcerer), work his Magic. Thy Lord of Change, changed this Dragon - from Spire of Light, to Blade of Dark:
This is the first such Fantasy Character/Model, that I have ever constructed - which took me a little over eight years to complete! Well ... Not eight years exactly - more like, I just started to assemble and paint, this Warhammer Figure, at the start of this year :) Whys that you say? Perhaps I to, had become Lost in the Realms of Chaos? Or perhaps instead, it was just that I remembered, where the box was! But then again, perhaps it was only now, that I felt just capable - of assembling this model :) Yes, I think that was it ... For I knew from day one, that this model would be difficult to assemble. Whilst I forget when it was, that I first cleaned/filed the metal edges of this Dragon. I know for-well when it was, that I found myself in the Realms of Superglue! Lost in Time, Lost in Glue, did I reach for - my Dremel Multitool :) For it was indeed, that I pinned this Dragon's Wings, to this Dragon's Body ... And here did I learn a lesson: drill the hole in the Dragon's Body first, insert a cocktail stick, trim it (so it's just poking out), add a dab of paint to the end of the cocktail stick (I used red), press each Dragon's Wing to the Dragon's Body, and with a Rune of Tzeentch - do you know just where to drill the matching hole! And what of the cocktail stick? Well ... Just drill it out :) It was then to the Dragon's Heads (which glued on fine), and the Dragon's Tail (which I lost several evenings to - eventually having to pin). Yet, with both the Dragon's Heads and the Dragon's Tail, together with the Dragon's Body - did I have to use Modellers Putty, to fill the gaps :) Thus, do I feel, that it took me about a month (in the evenings), to assemble this model. It was then onto the Realms of Painting ... I started with a white undercoat, then changed to black (both undercoat and base). I then dry-brushed the Dragon in Dragon Red (Army Painter), and highlighted/refined in Magenta Ink (I really loved that part!). I then found myself painting in Warlock Purple (Citadel Colour), along both the edges, and the folds of Daemon flesh - which I again dry-brushed in Magenta Ink. It was here that I decided to paint the Bones, Talons and Barbs of this Dragon ... Undercoat in white first, then Ushabti Bone (Citadel Layer) over the top. This proved to be a challenge - as there was a lot of Bones, Talons and Barbs! I especially found it awkward, along the Finer Bones of this Dragon's Wings. It was then that I consorted with Tzeentch ... For I was lured into a whole multi-coloured spectrum, for the highlights/details of my Chaos Dragon: Angel Green (Army Painter), Amethyst Purple, Emerald Green, Enchanted Blue, Golden Yellow and Tuskgor Fur (all Citadel). I used these colours for the patches of cracked Dragon Skin, and the various Snaking Cords/Veins. It was then that Tzeentch, spoke to me again ... Before I knew what I was doing, had I picked up a paint brush, and started painting shapes over my Dragon's Wings (where the small faces showed through the webbed skin/folds). Then did I battle, for I realised that these were Patches of Contagion - that looked too disjoint to the Dragon's base colours. I eventually resolved this issue, through the use of Tuskgor Fur - painted around the outside, of these Patches of Contagion. It was then, that I remembered my Dragon's Eyes ... I based in white, then painted over with Dragon Red. I was initially concerned about their shape (as some of the red paint ran), but in the end - this worked out fine :) As for the finishing of my Dragon, did I decide to dry-brush in Shining Gold (Citadel Metallic - the really old one). It was as though, I was Tzeentch himself! For my Chaos Dragon, simply snapped into focus - and I found myself in total awe, at the detail, that I'd managed to work in :) Overall: An amazing Western Dragon, Fantasy Model - that I know is Pride of Place, within my collection of Fantasy Characters. It's a model, that I rushed to collect (several years back), but then managed to forget about (for the most part). But recently, I suspect that Tzeentch started to whisper to me (from the Warp), as I found myself dreaming of Galrauch - especially the Desire to both assemble, and paint him! For me, Galrauch is more a Collector's Dragon :) I spent so long painting him (enjoyably), that the thought of fielding him in battle, just scares me! Indeed, was it here that I knew just when my Galrauch was complete - as I started to obsess too much, about dropping him (whilst painting!). Finally: a unique Warhammer Character/Model, that seems to have disappeared largely, from the Ranks of Chaos these days. Whilst we may never know why that is - perhaps Galrauch sleeps? I do know of one Tale, that this Dragon still Reigns in ... Galrauch roars upon thy Field of Battle - knowing not Now, what he Once was. Galrauch roars upon thy Collector's shelf - knowing just Is, what he Became. For Galrauch is a Chaos Dragon :) Writhed in Power. Writhed in Chaos. Off to War, and Hunt the Elven!