Monday, February 12, 2007

"i--am not--a man!!"

ahhh... gotta love that eowyn in Return of the King ;) a small cheer arose from the crowd when she uttered those words in the nazgul's nonexistent face right before she stabbed him.

i had such a blast watching LOTR a couple of weekends ago! there was an organized 3-day showing of the extended versions at CanIL... i hadn't seen the movies or read the books in a few years, so it was great to get all hyped up over LOTR again. and CanIL has quite a few hardcore fans, which made the experience even better :) it's awesome when i can hum the melodies, discuss both the movies and the books and what was added, changed or left out,
and swoon over aragorn and legolas and faramir with fellow admirers!

i took an english course in my second year at UofT called Science Fiction and Fantasy, and one of the books we studied was The Two Towers... it was my professor's favourite volume of LOTR and it eventually became mine. one of the characters i grew to really admire was faramir. TT had not yet been released at the time, and the whole class was eager to watch it at the end of the fall semester. you can imagine, then, with the book so clear in my head, my disappointment at how much they changed the story around in the second movie:

So were there any weak spots? Afraid so. I found myself utterly bewildered by the radical rewriting of Faramir, the brother of Boromir. I had heard something about this going in, but I had told myself that I'd just chalk it up to making the novel fit the screen. But it's just too much. Faramir's character was supposed to be the gentler, wiser version of Boromir who should have been with the Fellowship to begin with. Instead, we get an untrusting militia captain, who falls for the seduction of the ring nearly as hard as his brother did. Granted, the story still works, and still makes sense, but I always loved Faramir in the novels. Here he loses the charm he held in print by losing whatever characteristics separated him from Boromir. It's too bad, but it's not the end of the world. I guess if fans lived with the loss of Tom Bombadil, they can take a drastic change to another lesser character as well. Secondly, in the book, Faramir is able to easily resist the lure of the Ring. The filmmakers felt this would contradict their central premise, that no one can resist the Ring. The filmmakers realized that the encounter with Faramir, the only human they encounter in their journey, was the only opportunity they had to make the Ring a major issue in the middle film.

i can't remember where i got this excerpt from... it was part of an online review of the movie, but it expressed my sentiments exactly. anyway,
watching the movie again this weekend, i found that i still couldn't let it go... when faramir said he was taking the ring to gondor, i couldn't help muttering under my breath and shaking my fist at the screen.

but let me backtrack to the first movie.

i never liked boromir much, and i initially despised him after i first saw how the film misrepresented faramir's character. but this time around, watching boromir succumb to the temptation of the ring and try to take it from frodo... i found myself empathizing with him. he's human, you know? the great thing is, he realizes the error of his ways and repents. he loses his life trying to save merry and pippin... which is all he can do to make up for what he's done. and he's lucky, aragorn gets to him in time for him to confess what he's done, and so he dies with the peace of knowing his king has forgiven him and is by his side.

not everyone can be as lucky as boromir. some people leave this world never realizing how sinful they are... some do but are too proud to repent. some repent in their hearts but never get the chance to face those they've wronged to ask for forgiveness. some just never get around to it, thinking they have all the time in the world, but then some ill-fated event takes place and it's too late to say or do anything.

and so... the story of boromir is not so bad. at the end of the day, it's all about finishing well... finishing strong. when the filmmakers decided to make faramir 'more human' at least they got something right cuz he still finished strong...

...with eowyn by his side ;)

front row line up - me, A, K, C, J

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

¡feliz cumpleaƱos!

last month, my roommate A celebrated her birthday. i wish her all the best... and we both wish H were here to have celebrated with us. H, if you're reading this, know that we miss you dearly!

CanIL common room

p.s. template look familiar? out with the old, in with the older!

the meaning of human freedom (in the moderately Calvinistic model)

"What does it mean to say that I am free? It means that I am not under constraint. Thus, I am free to do whatever pleases me. But am I free with respect to what pleases me and what does not? To put it differently, I may choose one action over another because it holds more appeal for me. But I am not fully in control of the appeal which each of those actions holds for me. That is quite a different matter. I make all my decisions, but those decisions are in large measure influenced by certain characteristics of mine which I am not capable of altering by my own choice. If, for example, I am offered for dinner a choice betwen liver and steak, I am quite free to take the liver, but I do not desire to do so. I have no conscious control over my dislike of liver. That is a given that goes with my being the person I am. In that respect my freedom is limited. I do not know whether it is my genes or environmental conditioning which has caused my dislike of liver, but it is apparent that I cannot by mere force of will alter this characteristic of mine.

"There are, then, limitations upon who I am and what I desire and will. I certainly did not choose the genes that I have; I did not select my parents nor the exact geographical location and cultural setting of my birth. My freedom, therefore, is within these limitations. And here arises the question: Who set up these factors? The theistic answer is, 'God did.' "

From Millard J. Erickson,
Introducing Christian Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 125-126.