Title: Swallow
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empy
Fandom: The Hobbit (movieverse)
Pairing: Dwalin/Fili, tiny implication of Fili/Kili
Rating: hard R
Disclaimer: the characters belong to the Tolkien estate. No infringement is intended.
Summary: Dwalin lets his mind wander. (Very much a PWP.)
Note: Another fic that was supposed to be a little misfire fill for the [livejournal.com profile] hobbit_kink kinkmeme and then Dwalin suddenly had me in a headlock and told me about the dirty things he wanted to do to Fili which got out of hand. Um. Partially inspired by this screepcap. The actual layout of Bag End has been tweaked a little to make things work.

Originally posted here. Also available on AO3 here.

* * *
Swallow )
Title: Storyteller
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empy
Fandom: The Hobbit (should be compatible with both movie and book)
Characters: Thorin, Dis, Fili, Kili
Rating: G (genfic)
Disclaimer: the characters belong to the Tolkien estate. No infringement is intended.
Note: written as a misfire fill for the [livejournal.com profile] hobbit_kink kinkmeme and originally posted here. (I intended to write a cracky little fill for a laugh and then this suddenly happened. I don't even.)

Storyteller )
So I saw The Hobbit a second time yesterday (in 24 fps 3D this time as well since 48 fps wasn't available here), and I noticed so much more than during the first viewing. The first one was a midnight screening on Tuesday/Wednesday, and if you combine that with first-viewing flailsquee, you get one overwhelmed fangirl who will end up missing some details. *g*

I got all of three hours of sleep before going to work on Wednesday, so even if I'd tried, I doubt I would have been able to produce anything particularly coherent then. (Not that this review is that coherent either, but you know what I mean.) That's why I watched it a second time before attempting a review.


Things I loved:
- The cinematography. Holy cats, it was beautiful. Erebor and Rivendell both took my breath away utterly, and the big sweeping landscape shots are pure scenery porn. There's so much colour, but it never looks cartoonish or garish, because each place has its own palette of colours and shades. Darker muted jewel tones for the Dwarves and their halls (all that emerald green in Erebor was gorgeous, and not just because I love all things green), clear bright colours for the Hobbits, warm tones for the Last Homely House that seems forever lit with soft mellow late sunlight. Oh, and when they look toward the Lonely Mountain that shimmers in the distance, I teared up, both because it was so beautiful and because the music swells in a way that felt like a punch in the chest.

- The music. It made me cry, because when the familiar themes and flourishes kick in, it's like coming home again. Actually, the whole film was like coming home again, and brought back memories of how excited I was when the previous films came out. I love how there are echoes and hooks in the music that tie it to the earlier scores, because it just heightens the sense of this being a trip back, even though chronologically speaking it isn't an ordinary return but a jaunt back in time. Howard Shore's a genius.
Also, the songs: Misty Mountains... I get shivers every time I hear it. Every time. I also liked the fact that they've managed to get the washing-up song in there and made it jaunty and silly but not too silly.

- Riddles In the Dark. It was amazing, and Gollum is just mindblowing. The way his face moves, and the way you can see that it's not just some CGI construct but actually Andy's face moving... wow. The tension in the scene was amazing as well, and it was genuinely chilling (and nail-biting, even if I knew perfectly well how it would shake out).

- Smaug, or what little we see of him. I actually like how there are only hints and little flickers, tail and claws and silhouettes, never the whole thing.

- The Elves. Lee Pace manages to look utterly composed and beautiful even though that crown could easily have ended up looking unfortunate. And that stag elk strange hybrid stag-elk* he's riding. Wow. I also love Elrond's armour and the fact that it wasn't merely silver or gold but this magnificent mahogany shade. And Galadriel... *sigh* So, so beautiful and radiant, and I was flailing all through the scene where she reassures Gandalf that if he needs her, she will be there. (And the background elves got a few good moments. Lindir Figwit Lindir's face when the Dwarves marched into Rivendell was just priceless. "What in Varda's name...EW. Dwarves." Ditto for the pained look on his face during the dinner.)
EtA: re that stag-elk: some people are claiming it's a Megaloceros. Hmm. Oh well, whatever it is, it's damn impressive. And so is the fact that Thranduil appears to be riding it side-saddle.

- The battles. Visually impressive, and they also carried a big punch, particularly when Thrain was killed. The final battle between the Dwarves and Azog and his Wargs was also very impressive. All that fire and smoke, and the way it was used to heighten the contrast between flames and darkness. (And gah, when Thorin stalked through the blazing fire toward Azog. Hnnnngh.)


File under "GUH":
- Thorin. *flails* I can't. Proud, stubborn, snarly, gorgeous Thorin. Yes, he's given to brooding and has a chip on his shoulder the size of the Carrock, but he's also fiercely loyal and determined. And hot. Oh god, so hot. Every time he spoke, my brain stalled for half a second and just refused to process the words because his voice was so ridiculously sexy. And let's not even get into the whole hair/braids/armour thing. Or that intense gaze. GUH. I want to do all kinds of terribly naughty things to him. His smile is also devastating. (I think I said to [livejournal.com profile] littlemimm that my reaction was "Oh Thorin, you should smile more. ... actually, wait. I'm not sure that's such a good idea after all, because my heart appears to be skipping beats now." :D) When he smiles at the very end as he's hugging Bilbo, I swear I let out this odd little squeaking noise.

- Fili and Kili. (I'll be completely honest: I favour Fili, but Kili is certainly not to be sniffed at.) So adorable and so hot, and yes, I'll admit that the whole brother thing does play in. (Oh come on, it's not like you didn't see that coming. *g* This is me, after all. I have something of a track record when it comes to this kind of thing.) And Fili's roguish grin is wibble-inducing and makes me want to grab him by his braided beard and drag him off so I can find out if he's as wicked as his smile suggests.

- Dwalin. (Please stop staring, it's unsettling.) I don't know if it's the tattoos or the general badass vibe. There's just... something about him. And his way of sticking close to Thorin is rather aww. (Also: just a cracky theory, but was that Glasgow kiss that Dwalin greets Balin with a sly little nod to the fact that both Ken and Graham are Scottish?)


Gripes:
- the humour. I found quite a lot of it grating, and while I tried to give the film more leeway since the source is quite light-hearted, I couldn't forgive all of it. Some of the jokes/sight gags were funny, yes, and they slotted neatly into the film, but some were just tired or overdone. I should, however, point out that I have a fairly low threshold for that sort of thing. I don't care much for slapstick.
Thank goodness they didn't try to get all the gags from the book in. Like the four-Dwarf pileup at the very beginning, for instance, because even if having Thorin show up alone deviates from the book, it looks a lot better than having him crash in.

- Radagast. Not the character in itself, but the way they made him this scatty, bumbling fool. Yes, he's a little... peculiar, but they went too far with the fussing and the crossed eyes and the general air of "Oh, he's a funny sort". (I suspect this was caused by what I mentioned above: the fact that I tend to be a bit allergic to slapsticky humour.)

- Azog. Compared to his henchmen, he looked half-finished and glaringly CGI'd. The movements were smooth and realistic, but the scars and the skin looked so fake. He looked like a model that they intended to add texture/colour to and then forgot. (I also found it a bit baffling that they had to ram him in there as one of Thorin's active foes. Poor man Dwarf man has enough on his plate and enough grudges already.)

- The Wargs. I had issues with the Wargs in LotR and I have issues with these. :/ They just don't look right, or even like wolves. There's something about the shape of the head that just makes me think of tigers or dragons rather than big vicious canines.

- The Eagles. They were beautifully rendered, so no gripes there, but why didn't they talk? Why didn't they take the company to their eyrie, choosing instead to just dump them on a peak and then fuck off?

- The pacing. As soon as Bilbo set out on his journey, it was all breakneck speed. Granted, there is a lot to fit in and a lot does happen to him, but agh, could we have slowed down just a little. (I told [livejournal.com profile] littlemimm that by the time they got to Rivendell, I needed a breather.)


You know, the length of that last section makes it look like I didn't like the film. D: That's not the case at all. Most of the gripes were about small things, and I just ended up rambling about them. On the whole, I loved the film. It's not perfect, but things rarely are, and I was still blown away by it. I was a-flutter and excited and flaily when I walked out of the cinema, and I think that's one of the best feelings to have after seeing a film. That fannish joy. (And this time I had someone to squee with ([livejournal.com profile] littlemimm) unlike on the previous go. Oh, it was almost painful not to be able to grab someone and go "OMG Thorin I just can't and did you see Lindir's face when they trooped in and is it just me or is December 2013 much too far off?")


This ended up being rather long, but I'm still sure I've forgot to mention so many things. Oh well. I may end up writing up another post later, possibly after the next round (during which I'm sure I'll notice yet more details that I missed during previous ones).
Apparently we were freakishly lucky and early again, because the Finnish premiere of The Hobbit was at midnight (well, twelve minutes past, to make it 12:12 on 12/12 2012) here. I attended one of the midnight screenings (24 fps 3D) and am so tired right now that I'll make this post a short one and then post another more thinky review either tomorrow or when I've seen it a second time this weekend. Three hours of sleep (and then eight hours of work after that) means a very sleepy and fuzzy-headed Empy.

So, my short and spoiler-free reaction is this: visually lovely omg. Not perfect and a bit uneven in parts since the balance between humour and more sombre notes was odd (occasionally off, even), but very enjoyable nonetheless. (Also: dear god Thorin I can't.) And as with the earlier movies, the length really isn't an issue. It doesn't feel three hours long.

As for whether to see it in 3D or not: some of the shots were stunning in 3D, others felt gratuitous, and I don't think you lose that much if you see it in 2D instead.

... I need a new icon. (And fic recs, if anyone's been scouting already. *g*)
So, it's that time of the year again: time to sign up for the Lord of the Rings Secret Santa exchange! Slash, het and gen, fic and fanart; you can request it all, so why not join in? (Please note that this is an FPF -- Fictional, not Real Person -- exchange.) The sign-up post is here, and sign-ups will run from now until October 28th.
    Important Dates:
    Sign-ups: Oct. 10 to Oct. 28
    Assignments sent out: Nov. 5
    Fic/art due: Dec. 14
    Fic/art posted to the community: Dec. 24



Please make your story more than 500 words (1000 is better). For fanart we'd expect you to spend at least a couple of hours on your work. We're looking forward to the exchange, and hope you are too!

Don't forget that [livejournal.com profile] lotr_sesa is open to all the Peoples and Ages of Middle-earth, including those of The Hobbit!

Do join us, won't you? Pretty please? There's still two days to go.
Let's see if I still know how to work this thing.

I've been meaning to post at least a wee note about Avengers for over a week, but failed to do so. For some weird reason, it premiered in Finland on April 27th, ie ahead of the US premiere, and that almost never happens with big blockbusters. I was also lucky enough to get to see it two days before the Finnish premiere thanks to a workmate.

My reactions are under a cut because they're spoilery. Spoiler cut #1 )

In other movie news: this week, I saw Cabin In the Woods, and I'm a bit torn on that one.
Spoiler cut #2 )

Huh. That ended up being a bit longer than I thought it would be.
empyreus: (aurora borealis)
( Feb. 25th, 2012 05:31 pm)
I've been very quiet of late because RL isn't treating me that well. It's nothing major, it's just the accumulated pressure of a lot of persistent stress and poor sleeping habits. Most of the time, my mood is more or less 'meh', and I feel terrible about how it makes me withdraw from people and from being social (RL and online - I absolutely suck at commenting or replying to comments). From updating. From posting fics (challenge fics from last year, gah). I've meant to write about so many movies and shows I've seen that I've liked (Thor, The Borgias, BBC Sherlock, War Horse...) but somehow I can't seem to gather my thoughts when I sit down to update. Ditto for looking into the fandoms for the ones mentioned above. It feels a little like they're too large, too active and that I'll just get something terribly wrong if I venture in. Yes, it's entirely possible to get performance anxiety about something like that. I'm worryingly good at it.

And now, on a much cheerier note: many, many terribly belated thanks to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon, [livejournal.com profile] savageseraph and [livejournal.com profile] eve_n_furter for the glass hearts. ♥ (And special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon for the userhead. *squishes*) They really cheered me up.

Finally, the mandatory weather note (I am a Finn, after all, and we're obsessed with the weather): the light has been returning at which seems like a much faster pace than usual. We're already up to almost ten hours of daylight. The shortest day was a little under five hours, and that was only two months ago. It's making my mood a little lighter, because the persistent darkness during the deepest winter has begun to get to me in later years. I don't know why. Not even the snow (which we still have lots of) seems to add enough light then.
I've decided to sit [livejournal.com profile] yuletide out this year, and it already feels weird. This would have been the ninth year in a row, so it does sting a little, but I realized that I just don't have the time or the energy (fannish or otherwise) to do it justice this year. It feels like I'm already running on fumes.

I may end up participating in Yuletide Madness, though.

This post almost ended up beginning with the words "I fail at updating", but then I decided against stating the obvious. *g* I'm still here and I read my Flist almost daily, I've just slipped into lurker mode. I have at least one fic I should get around to posting, but somehow I never manage to get it done. Oh well, one fine day. :) Preferably before the holidays, unless the DDOS attacks continue.

Speaking of the holidays: it's the 4th of December and there's still no snow here. None. There've been a few flurries, but the snow has always melted away during the day. I can't remember the last time this happened, or the last time the autumn was so unseasonably warm - there's barely been any night frost. Instead, we've had dense mist and endless rain, and while the mist is quite beautiful (particularly when paired with the first light of a sunrise), it feel all wrong. The lack of snow is also making the lack of light more apparent. We're down to roughly five hours of daylight, and without snow to reflect the light, the days seem even shorter and more depressing. It's dark when I go to work and dark when I get home, and since I sit with my back to the window, I don't even see the light during the day. Meh.
empyreus: (ill)
( Aug. 13th, 2011 09:56 am)
It seems all my updates this year are along the lines of "Sorry about the month-long posting break, I'm still here." :/

I *am* still here, I just fail at updating. And fannishness. For the last two months, I've been feeling sort of adrift. Not quite cut off from anything, just... I don't know, floating around. Work-sleep-work-sleep-work, with little energy for anything else. I'm finding it hard to focus (which I suspect is caused by not sleeping enough) and apparently my body isn't amused by the strain either. My blood pressure was horribly high the last time I had it measured (this Thursday), and even though I suspect it was caused by all the screwups that happened at work that day, I suspect it's higher than it should be even on calmer days. My memory is suffering, too, and I keep having moments of "Wait, what the hell was I going to do next?" and "I swear there was something I needed to do, but I can't remember what it was".

The worst thing is that I feel even less social than usual, but mainly because I'm so tired. Meh.
Tags:
empyreus: (coffee)
( Jun. 15th, 2011 10:09 pm)
I just realized I haven't updated for a month and a half. Erk. Sorry about that. The main reason for my silence is that I've just had a lot to do, and work* is slowly sucking all the energy out of me due to what seems like a pile-up of clusterfucks. My workmates are really nice, it's the work itself that's draining me.

While I've been silent, I still read my Flist more or less daily, I just fail at updating my own journal and at answering comments and at being fannish, sigh. :/

Oh! Before I forget: Happy belated birthday, [livejournal.com profile] tvillingar (and everyone else I've forgot to congratulate due to having a mind like a leaky sieve)! And thank you so much for the v-gift, [livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon! *squishes*

______
*And now I realized I haven't even mentioned that I've got a new job now. Nothing glamorous, but more regular than the old one.
Dear [livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon, as you've no doubt noticed, we've (led by [livejournal.com profile] foxrafer) thrown a virtual housewarmning party for you. Drinks and nibbles to your left and lots of love from all around. :) *squishes* ♥ ♥ ♥



I would have wanted to offer a more grand gift, but unfortunately rules regarding the mailing of actual Men of Gondor Rangers hot actors people put a stop to that. :/ So I decided to craft something that can effortlessly cross the sundering seas. A wee gift under this cut )

And on a more personal note: do I tell you that I love you often enough? Because I do. You're such a wonderful friend, and I can't thank you enough for everything. (Even the crackfic bunnies. There, I've said it. *g*)
Happy birthday to Sheffield's gift to the world - Sean Bean!

May he never, ever find out how we celebrate. *g*

Subject line gacked from the Uncyclopedia entry for Sean.
empyreus: (Nijinsky)
( Mar. 27th, 2011 06:29 pm)
Damn! My journal turned ten yesterday and I missed it. Oh well, better late than never. :)

Ten years. Wow. Ten years of fannishness* (and different fandoms) and randomness, and ten years of reading about the lives of all the fantastic people on my Flist. I love you all. *squishy hugs* It doesn't feel like it's been ten years already, and yet somehow it does, but certainly not in a negative way.

_____________
*Fannishness on LJ, at any rate. *g* I took my first shaky steps in online fandom back in 1995-96.
Gacked off [livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon:

Leave a ONE WORD comment (if you're moved to do so) that you think best describes me. It can only be one word, and no more. Then copy & paste this post to your own journal so that I can leave a word about you.
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empyreus: (rare exports)
( Jan. 7th, 2011 02:40 pm)
Finally got around to watching Rare Exports last night. It's a funny movie, but dear god, it fails the Bechdel Test so hard. There isn't a a single female character in the movie. (Okay, there could possibly have been a female child in one of the sacks of children, but I never actually saw one.) I think the only female we were shown was in a book illustration. Two female named characters were mentioned (one in speech, another was just a name on a list), but never shown or heard. I have no idea why. It's not like the plot hinges on all the characters being male, FFS. Fail, Jalmari Helander. FAIL.

It's a pity the movie fails so hard on the above-mentioned front, because it's quite quirky and occasionally hilarious. Genre-wise, it's a crossbreed of fantasy, horror and comedy. Personally, I think they should have gone for more horror than comedy, because there was definite horror potential. The beginning was very promising, but then it started getting weird (the wrong kind of weird, I should add) and a little sloppy towards the end. (And let's not mention the kaamos plot hole.)

Two short films have been making the rounds on the internet for years: Rare Exports Inc. (2003) (YouTube is being a dick when it comes to this one and refuses to show it unless you're logged in because it's been flagged as having inappropriate material - possibly because it briefly features some naked wrinkly old men and a bit of blood) and Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions (2005) (this one has some Finnish dialogue that isn't subtitled, but the narration is all in English). The 2010 movie (confusingly named Rare Exports as well) seems to be a prequel of sorts to the shorts, but you don't need to see them to make sense of the movie, and you don't need to see the movie to make sense of the short films, either.

I should probably include a warning here: the short films are rather wtf and violent, and can potentially be disturbing. They're meant for adults, not children.

A note about the trailers: the international trailer is shite. Or, rather, it's a real curate's egg: good in parts but failed as a whole. The main problem is the cutesy music at the beginning and the narration. *sigh* Thankfully, there's an English version of the Finnish trailer, and that one captures the spirit of the movie a little better. You can see that one here.

Spoiler cut - here's a run-down of the basic plot (and my usual teal deer explanations of Finnish traditions) )

... and this was meant to be a short review. It turned into teal deer instead. Oops?
empyreus: (academia)
( Jan. 3rd, 2011 04:39 pm)
So. I suppose I should be making a reveal post re: [livejournal.com profile] yuletide. I've been offline for most of the week after Christmas, hence the silence. I only wrote one fic for Yuletide, because my muses wouldn't cooperate enough for me to manage any Treats. (That, and I was online only sporadically during Christmas, too.)

The fic I wrote is A Way Out (American Gods), for [personal profile] d_generate_girl. I like how it turned out, even though I hadn't intended to go with that part of the prompt at first. At some point, the story just got me in a headlock and dragged me off, and all I could do was go with it. I ended up doing such weird research for it (most of which didn't end up in the fic), and along the way, I was fortunate enough to encounter some wonderful coincidences. And I got to splash about in Norse mythology again, which was great. (I think one of the weirder impulses I got during the writing was to seek out Peter Madsen's fantastic Valhalla series again. I grew up reading them and loved the stories and the artwork.) What was interesting was that another writer also did a take on the same part of the prompt, and that one was very different: Making a Plan by vocal_bard . Go read that one too, it's great.

I'll post the YT fic here a bit later, but in the meantime, you can read the fic here (please note that the fic contains material that can be triggery - it deals with suicide).

The fic I received was the wonderful Animals (District 9) by [livejournal.com profile] floranna, and I suggest you go read it now. I really like the way it lets us have a look at Christopher's life pre-movie, and how he ended up being a single father. (Also, what are the odds that I end up with a Finnish writer? *g*)

I also received a YT Treat: a lovely introspective Nikolai/Kirill piece - Skin Deep (Eastern Promises) by [livejournal.com profile] cousinshelley.

And because no holiday season is complete without [livejournal.com profile] lotr_sesa, I also wrote LotR fic (and dear god, I just remembered I never posted my [livejournal.com profile] sons_of_gondor Halloween fic over here in my journal *facepalm*). In that challenge, [livejournal.com profile] erfan_starled wrote Explorers, Past and Present for me. Yay for Glorfindel/Celeborn fic! The masterlist for that challenge is here.
empyreus: (yule sean)
( Dec. 24th, 2010 09:53 pm)
Happy Holidays, everyone!

I'm stuffed to the gills, warm and happy (because we celebrate Christmas today rather than tomorrow), and now I intend to do nothing for the next two days. (Okay, I might occasionally get up and make some coffee or get some more chocolate. *g*)

And thank you [livejournal.com profile] azewewish, [livejournal.com profile] idiosyncratic, [livejournal.com profile] ribby and [livejournal.com profile] shalna for the lovely cards and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] discord26 for the vgift!
[livejournal.com profile] yuletide fic done and posted! I need to make some final tweaks (I think I missed a tag, and I may have a typo), but at least it's posted. I'll edit after the deadline, because the servers are already groaning under the pressure. It took me ages to get the form and the preview to load, and the final upload took so long I thought I would have to start over.

And now, some sleep. All of three and a half hours of it, because I need to get up at eight tomorrow. Today. In the morning.
Happy 93rd, Finland.

Oi, Suomi, katso, sinun päiväs' koittaa,
Yön uhka karkoitettu on jo pois,
Ja aamun kiuru kirkkaudessa soittaa,
Kuin itse taivahan kansi sois'.
Yön vallat aamun valkeus jo voittaa,
Sun päiväs' koittaa, oi synnyinmaa.

Oi, nouse, Suomi, nosta korkealle,
Pääs' seppelöimä suurten muistojen.
Oi, nouse, Suomi, näytit maailmalle,
Sa että karkoitit orjuuden,
Ja ettet taipunut sa sorron alle,
On aamus' alkanut, synnyinmaa.


- The Finlandia hymn by Jean Sibelius -

(You can hear it performed by Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat here. Gives me chills every time I hear it. Ditto for the rest of Finlandia.)
Tags:
Today's fic pimpage: people, go read this fantastic LotR RPS historical AU that [livejournal.com profile] caras_galadhon wrote for me. I tossed around some cracky ideas in chat, and she spun fantastic tales from them. *loves*
.

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