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"If they do not write the kind of books we want to read, we shall have to write them ourselves." -C.S. Lewis

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November 2014

“The Last Goodbye,” An Ode to the Fans

billyboyd

Since it was announced that Billy Boyd would be performing the credit song at the end of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, I have been anxiously awaiting the release. Since the release of the song, “The Last Goodbye,” I have been listening to it non-stop. On a personal level this song holds an enormous amount of emotion for me. I’m leaving tomorrow morning to move two states and multiple hours away from the only home I’ve ever known. Listening to this song in the car at night while I was driving alone after saying goodbye to yet another good friend was probably not the best idea. It was as if it was raining, only my eyeballs didn’t have windshield wipers.

The last time I discussed the power and the scope of credit songs, I compared the songs from the first two Hobbit films (you can find the post here). While I adore both songs, I have to admit that “I See Fire” was my favorite, but this time around, Billy Boyd has blown all the others out of the water. He is now tied with Annie Lennox’s “Into the West” for best performance of all six movies. The music is beautiful, Billy Boyd’s vocals are flawless, and the lyrics are so intimate and personal.

I saw the light fade from the sky 
On the wind I heard a sigh 
As the snowflakes cover my fallen brothers 
I will say this last goodbye 

Night is now falling 
So ends this day 
The road is now calling 
And I must away 
Over hill and under tree 
Through lands where never light has shone 
By silver streams that run down to the sea 

Under cloud, beneath the stars 
Over snow one winter’s morn 
I turn at last to paths that lead home 
And though where the road then takes me 
I cannot tell 
We came all this way 
But now comes the day 
To bid you farewell 

Many places I have been 
Many sorrows I have seen 
But I don’t regret 
Nor will I forget 
All who took the road with me 

Night is now falling 
So ends this day 
The road is now calling 
And I must away 
Over hill and under tree 
Through lands where never light has shone 
By silver streams that run down to the sea 

To these memories I will hold 
With your blessing I will go 
To turn at last to paths that lead home 
And though where the road then takes me 
I cannot tell 
We came all this way 
But now comes the day 
To bid you farewell 

I bid you all a very fond farewell.

This new song accomplishes so much in its short four minute lifespan. First, it concludes the Battle of the Five Armies movie and entire Hobbit trilogy. Even if you have not read the book, the subtitle of this final film indicates a massive loss of life and pure devastation from the dragon and from war. This is more than little Bilbo Baggins could ever have imagined he would witness in his lifetime and the song is clearly from his point of view.

The next point about this song, and one that I feel should be obvious to anyone who has been committed to these movies since they first emerged almost fifteen years ago, is that this song wraps up an emotional experience for everyone involved in these films. Peter Jackson started filming The Lord of the Rings in the late 1990s. Yes, the 90’s! While I could write a long list of the differences (and some might argue many are for the worse) between the two trilogies, there is no lack of emotion, heart, and genuine love that went into the making of these films. From the director to the actors, to the folks who made everyone’s coffee at 3:00 in the morning, there was a sincere devotion to making these movies and that is why they will live on as classics, especially the groundbreaking and Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings. Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in those early movies, is the perfect person so present this farewell message. He performed the song “The Edge of Night” featured in the track “The Sacrifice of Faramir” on the Return of the King soundtrack, and as in his latest hit, his voice transports listeners to a haunting and war-torn Middle-earth.

The final accomplishment of this song is its ability to mirror the final song of the last trilogy, “Into the West” by Annie Lennox.

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You’ve come to journey’s end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You’re only sleeping

[Chorus]
What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don’t say: “We have come now to the end”
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again

And you’ll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

[Chorus]

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West

Both songs talk about the journey west, though in two different dynamics. The relationship of night falling to a road that is calling is so poignant and appropriate to two sets of movies whose primary theme is the journey. These songs both sound so reminiscent of a joyful yet sorrowful time; the ending of battles, and the end of an era in film. And of course, both songs are from the perspective of the main hobbit character of each trilogy.

I think that this song will have an even more profound impact on viewers when they hear it for the first after seeing The Battle of the Five Armies. I am confident that if you are not already crying like a baby at the end of the film, you will be by the end of the credits.

Hobbit Battle of Five Armies Trailer: Review

SPOILERS: For any of you who have not read the book, there are spoilers in here for you.  If you have read the book, continue reading!

hobbitbofa

“Can One Actually “Review” A Trailer?”

Well, I’m going to try because I definitely have some opinions on what may (or may not) be coming December 17.  First of all, let us take a moment and reflect on these last fourteen years, since 2001, of the Middle-earth saga with which Peter Jackson has graced us.  I must admit, despite my ongoing project which highly praises these films, I have had my doubts, regrets, and complaints about these last two Hobbit films.  I should start this post by stating that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will ever make me despise Jackson or these films.  I feel that way too much CGI was used and filming in 3D was a major mistake, but I will love these films until the day I die, no matter how many flaws they contain.

bardandthranduil

Let’s just marvel at this image.

First things first, these two men are wonderful.  I seriously have no idea how Luke Evans can take an obscure and random character like Bard the Bowman and turn him into one of my favorite characters in these films, but he did it and what an amazing job he has done to this point.  I cannot wait to see what he does in this final film.  The same must be said about Lee Pace for his role as Thranduil because that is a character with some serious ego issues.  He has lived thousands of years, rules one of the most ethereal realms in Middle-earth, is an astoundingly strong warrior, and is the father of an equally respectable character.  Interestingly enough, all of these points can be said about Elrond as well, but somehow he is much more likable than Thranduil.  This is a powerful image since Bard and Thranduil are in this for two very different reasons.  Thranduil’s is quite selfish (he is apparently seeking a necklace he commissioned the dwarves to create for his wife years before the dragon destroyed Erebor), but Bard’s is here for peace and protection of his people, which is a very noble quest.  Anyway, I think the bottom line from this image is that the Battle is going to be EPIC, in every sense of the word.

P.S.  Anyone else curious as to how Bard kills Smaug?  They made it painfully clear that the windlance is the only weapon that can kill Smaug, but Bard the BOWMAN should be slaying the dragon with a BOW and ARROW!  Just a thought.

saruman

“Leave Sauron to me.”

Battle of Dol Guldur?  Anyone?  There is something moving about Galadriel clinging to her son-in-law in this image that just strikes me.  I wanted to see her in armor, but se la vie.  I am very interested in how Saruman’s relationship with Sauron will play out in this film.  According to the Appendices, Saruman has delayed the White Council from taking action against the Necromancer several times and has already placed spies along the Anduin in search of the One Ring.  I am hoping Saruman wishes to “deal” with Sauron himself in order to create some kind of alliance with him.  The whole Dol Guldur sequence should be quite a spectacle, especially when one considers the image of the Nine standing around Galadriel and Gandalf.

thorinandkili

“Everything I did, I did for them.”

Anybody have a tissue?  Yes my pathetic self cried when I saw this (or at least teared up), which means I will be a wreck in the theatre.  I am a little disappointed that this image is with Kili (who Thorin opted to leave behind in Lake-town) and not Fili (who is the rightful heir to the throne), but any image with Thorin and his nephews will get me going.  This is definitely a tactic to make the audience love these characters, and therefore make their death even that much harder to witness.  It also makes the next two images difficult to swallow as well:

kili

“I will not hide, while others fight our battles for us!”

After the release of this trailer, I spent a lot of time scrolling the forums, mostly TORn, and I found a majority of people had a difficult time understanding why Fili was not making this argument, again going back to the whole “he’s the heir” thing, but honestly, I think it is appropriate that Kili is lashing out like this.  Fili, as heir, would have been brought up to respect his elders, especially Thorin and would never dare oppose him openly like this.  Kili, on the other hand, is more impulsive.  The book says that of the group, the only three who felt differently than Thorin were Bombur, Fili, and Kili, and let’s be honest, Kili is more likely to not hold his tongue than the dignified heir and the over-sized cook (who, let’s remember, hasn’t had a single line in both movies so far).

dwalin

“You cannot see what you have become.”

This line did not bring me to tears, but it might in context, because Dwalin is the LAST person in the entire company who would openly condemn any of Thorin’s words or actions.  If he is telling Thorin he’s gone off his rocker, than things must really have taken a turn for the worse.  Another complaint among the fans was that this scene seemed forced, because it goes against the entire character arc of Dwalin that has been established in these films.  I disagree.  A statement like this coming from Balin or even Bilbo does not evoke much emotion, because you expect it.  But Dwalin.  The tough, tattooed, badass biker-looking dude in the company??  Now those words carry some weight.

thranduilandgandalf

“You started this.  You will forgive me if I finish it.”

It’s about time somebody pointed out who is actually responsible for all this.  Granted, Gandalf’s meddling pretty much saves the entire northern region from Smaug and the Necromancer (temporarily), then single-handedly puts into motion the events that save all of Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings, but he is reason everybody dies in this story.  He ends the line of Durin!!  Dain Ironfoot might save the day and reestablish the kingdom under the mountain, but he is not a direct descendant.  All three of those characters die in this movie.  Anyway, I’m happy someone is finally recognizing who actually starts the Battle of the Five Armies.

thranduilandtauriel

Finally, my favorite people, THE ELVES!  As much as I hate Tauriel (for personal reasons, and few cinematic ones as well), this still image is so powerful.  Thranduil is fighting the Captain of his Guard.  Why?  A few have pointed out this scene might be in the middle of a battle and she sneaks up on him while he’s fighting orcs, but I don’t think Tauriel is that careless.  She has already defied him once, put his son in as much danger, and has created a fuss all because she is superficially in love with a dwarf she just met (why does this sound like a Disney movie?  “You can’t marry a man you just met.”  Sorry, I digress).  I think Thranduil has just lost it.  He is under a very similar sickness as Thorin when it comes to treasure.  There are way more similarities between Thorin and Thranduil than either would care to admit, but this image proves it.  He is willing to cross blades with one of his own most loyal and trusted officers.  (I say cross blades, but I’ve been corrected that he bats her bow out of her hand, “cross blades” is just used adjectivally here.)  Either way, I am highly anticipating this scene.

taurielandbolgfighting

legolasandbolgfighting

whoissheholding

I want to know what is going on here.  I feel like this is all taking place at the same spot.  Geographically it looks the same and Tauriel and Legolas are both fighting the same foe, Bolg.  The last image looks like Tauriel is holding someone.  A friend suggested she is wounded and holding herself but her hand is out too far and she is crying.  A warrior would not cry for her own wounds but she would if someone she loved was suffering.  Perhaps she is holding Kili who has just been killed by Bolg, Tauriel tries to avenge him, gets thrown against the mountain (image not posted here), and Legolas comes to avenge her?  I still very much want Beorn to be the one to kill Bolg, as he did in the book, so I’m not sure how the fight would end if that happens, but this series of stills definitely has me intrigued.  Whatever happens, I will be very happy if/when Tauriel meets her end, so here’s rooting for that scenario!

Overall conclusion:  There is still way too much CGI for my liking but I can get over that.  There are a lot of good one-liners to remember in this trailer so I know there will be unforgettable moments littered throughout the film.  One thing I know for sure, I will need more than one box of tissues.  Not only because this movie will be filled with devastating death scenes, but because this is the end of an era, folks.  Short of Star Wars (and even then I have my reservations about the last three films), there is no comparison in cinematic history with what Peter Jackson has done with Tolkien’s beautiful masterpiece and it can never be repeated.  Enjoy this hype while it lasts and join me in thanking Peter Jackson for fourteen wonderful years.

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