I’m dreaming of a Gandalf the White Christmas.

Today, after another bout of house-hunting, my husband and I stopped in at the Goodwill to unwind and I saw this:

Gandalf

Yes! Gandalf and Boromir. But not just Gandalf and Boromir. There were two Boromirs, two Aragorns, a Legolas and a facially deformed fellow that I can only  guess, thanks to the process of elimination, is Faramir. There were also a knee-high Aragorn and a knee-high Legolas, complete with fake flaming torch and fake bow. So the way I see it, my husband should have been impressed by my restraint when I picked up only Gandalf.

Me: Oh my god. We need this. This is our new Christmas tree topper.

Husband: If you get that, it’s coming out of your own money.

Me: It’s $4. We need a tree topper. It’s an investment.

Husband: (sighs) He’s too heavy for the tree.

Me: (shaking Gandalf) YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

Husband: I’m going to go look at the jeans.

He’s PERFECT for the tree, really. He’s like the British version of Santa Claus, only with a sword instead of presents.

My husband is not getting into the spirit of this. He didn’t support my suggestion that Aragorn should come home with us, too, which would have only made sense.
And the first thing he said when Gandalf came out of the bag at home was “Time for Gandalf to go into the dishwasher.” Which is just rude.

But seriously, Gandalf is a great find. We lost a ton of our ornaments in the flood a few weeks ago, including our tree topper, so we do need a new one. And since The Hobbit is coming out next month, Gandalf is totally appropriate. And if other nerds have the TARDIS on their trees, I see nothing wrong with putting Gandalf on ours.

Later, I was telling Tom that we should get an LED light and put it in the top of Gandalf’s staff and he said “I need to make a Balrog whip out of LED lights.”

Hmph.

My husband would not be talking like that if Aragorn were here.

Dear Legolas, we need to talk.

Dear Legolas,

It has recently come to my attention that – prior to, during and after your stint as my 10-year-old crush – you were seeing other girls.

I am shocked. For all of my tenth year, when I was going through the hell that was fourth grade, you were my own personal, invisible boyfriend. These days, if I bring up your name at a gathering of Tolkien fans, a bunch of the ladies always sigh and get a dreamy look in their eyes. Why, you philandering Ken doll of an elf. It seems that you’ve squired whole generations of girls into adolescence.

Look, Legolas, I am very sorry, but in light of this new information, I am going to have to retroactively dump you.

No, I’m not buying that you’re the favorite literary character of these female fans. Please. Don’t embarrass yourself. You’re not Holden Caulfield or Jay Gatsby. In fact, character-wise, you’re about as three-dimensional as a child’s drawing of a house. No one is interested in your arc. They are interested in the way you fill out a pair of green tights.

I see now that I’ve been naïve. You were the only eligible bachelor in the Fellowship who stood higher than four foot five; other literate girls were bound to notice you. And then Peter Jackson cast Orlando Bloom as you in the freaking movies, and I knew that would draw more fans, but you know what? That didn’t bother me, because I really believed we had something.  I mean, I knew that I’d have to share you with Gimli, but that was fine, there was full disclosure about all that at the beginning of our relationship.

What I didn’t know was that I’d be sharing you with a legion of other teenyboppers. And you, Mr. Greenleaf, failed to mention that you were dividing your time between my prepubescent crush and a hoard of others. You’d think that by the age of 600, or however old you actually are, that you’d have learned to be honest in a relationship.

What’s that you say? That I’m now a married woman who is pushing 35 and that I should get over it?  Legolas, don’t be obtuse. You’re an elf. You, of all people, know that time is subjective. When I read those books, I’m still a gawky fourth grader with few social skills and no hope of a real-life crush, and you’re still my imaginary boyfriend. Also, mister, I’d like to point out that 25 years ought not to mean anything to you. You’re immortal. Twenty-five years should pass like 25 minutes. Yet you’ve managed to forget me already.  Fie on you, son of Thranduil. Fie.

Would Gimli tolerate it if he thought you were seeing another dwarf? I don’t think so.

Which brings me to my point: I’m giving you the axe. You think I won’t really do this, but there is precedent:

  1. In grade school I broke up with my preschool crush, the Grasshopper from the Grasshopper and the Ants, when I realized that he was a bug.
  2. In middle school, I broke up with the Tin Man, after reading the Oz books and discovering that he was actually kind of a weenie.
  3. On a similar note, in high school, I broke up with Luke Skywalker when I could no longer stand his whining.
  4. In college, I broke up with The Crow, because he was definitely not over his ex.

I thought you, of all my childhood crushes, would stand the test of time, but alas, you toyed with my affections, and I can’t stand for that.

Calm yourself, Master Elf. Flutter not your finely-boned hands. Toss not your flaxen mane in despair. Don’t recite Elvish poetry in an attempt to delay the inevitable. Man up, or rather, elf up. You should have seen this coming. In fact, I plan to post this missive online, and then, I suspect, you’ll be getting a lot of letters like this one.

With much regret,

Ann

Send me your beards!

Not your real beards. Keep those on your faces. Please.

I want you to send me your “protest beards.”

What am I talking about? Good question. This past weekend, I posted about the horrible injustices faced by dwarf women in Middle-Earth.

That post – which featured faux PSA photos of me in a faux beard – has gotten a lot of views, and by a lot, I mean more than the eight views a day I usually get (normally because someone’s been Google Searching for a photo of the chick from Alien Nation).

Since there’s been a lot of interest, I’d like to invite you all to send me your protest beards. Below are some examples.

Ads for the bearded lady campaign

Photoshopped-in text is optional.

You can send me your protest in three simple steps:

1) Cut a beard out of paper.

2) Scrawl a slogan on it, condemning the oppression of female dwarves in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

3) Using your cell phone or your computer’s camera, take a photo of yourself wearing the beard.

Then send it to me at annjoconnell<at>gmail<dot>com, which is technically the fourth step, I guess.

I will be accepting entries until Jan. 20, and then I will post the best ones. And because this is a contest there will be a (completely unrelated) prize. (Yaaaay, free stuff!) The person with the best protest beard will get a copy of my new e-book, Beware the Hawk. (Yaaaay, self-promotion!) I really hope I get some photos of beards, because I’d hate to host a contest and have no one show up. So get out your scissors and your Sharpies, and prepare to beard injustice in its lair.