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.

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So, how does everyone else feel about prequels?

Yesterday, prompted by my trip to the movies to see Prometheus, I vented my spleen about how I hate prequels. Now I want to know how you all feel.

Do you like them? Do you hate them? Do you not care, so long as you get to see more Duncan Idaho/Legolas/facehuggers/Lestat/Severus Snape?

I’m curious.*

*And not because I’m thinking of writing a Beware the Hawk prequel. Because I’m not.

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

Bearded ladies are all winners.

I have two contests going on this blog right now. This post will announce the winners of the Bearded Lady contest. The Spy Week giveaway winners will be announced later in the day. Promise.

Remember when you were in summer camp and there was a contest of some kind? And you got all nervous and excited because you thought you might win, but you were afraid you might lose? Then all that angst turned out to be for naught because everyone’s a winner.

Right. I’m about to pull a summer camp on you all. The free-the-Dwarven-ladies-of Middle-earth protest beards have been submitted. And, I can’t pick one winner, so everyone wins.

Now, if you’re an eye-clawing, hair-pulling, extremely competitive person, this refusal to judge may seem lame, but when you see the contestants, I know you’ll understand.

Now, for you who have just tuned in and have no idea what a protest beard is or what I’m blathering about, let me condense this contest into a few heavily hyperlinked sentences:A couple weeks ago I posted about the horrible gender inequality among Middle-earth dwarves. In that post I wore a couple of protest beards that I had made myself and Photohsopped into a grassrootsy PSA for dwarvish women’s lib. That got a lot of hits, so 10 days ago, I asked readers to submit photos of themselves wearing their own protest beards.  There. That should bring you up to speed.

Oh, and one more thing. If you missed the contest deadline and you still want to send a beard in, please do. If I get any more beards I will post them on the blog, because I love dwarvish freedom, and also because I love silly photos of people wearing  paper beards with slogans of protest on them. Who doesn’t?

Now – on to the contestants, who are also the winners: Continue reading

Beard contest update.

Let me take a break from writing about my book and return to a topic of some importance: equality for Middle-Earth drwarven women.

Free the bearded ladiesSome of you might remember that I’m hosting a beard contest. I’m asking people to send me beards of protest (or solidarity.) Click here for more information.

The contest ends on Jan. 20, and I need more beards. The prize? A copy of my e-book. If you already have one, I will totally think of something else, and you will get a prize. I promise. Also, all contestants will have their photos posted here. That’s right. Instant fame. A showcase for your wit and your lovely faces! Who can resist that?

So make a beard, write a slogan on it that reflects your feelings about the dwarven ladies in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, put it on, take a picture and send that puppy to me at annjoconnell<at>gmail<dot>com.

You won’t regret it!