Saturday, 31 October 2015

Film Review: The Return of the King, Part 7

Happy Halloween! Or NaNoWeen, if you're like me and the 31st of October just means that NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.

If this instalment of The Return of the King was an episode of Friends it would be called 'The One With All The Endings'. There's an awful lot of them in here. This is the very end of the trilogy. There will be tears.

In the last part of this review the battle in Gondor ended, so Aragorn and the gang headed to the Gates of Mordor to challenge the big boss himself. Oh and Sam rescued Frodo from the orcs and they headed up towards Mount Doom for the final bit of the quest.

Here's what happens next.

307. Oh look. Gollum didn't die after all. He decided to just head straight to the Cracks of Doom to wait for Frodo and get the Ring back there.

308. And there's another battle going on outside the gates. It's like the whole of Middle-earth is fighting about one thing or another.

309. I love that the moth shows up right in front of Gandalf and then the Eagles show up. It's a nice little call back to the first film (and to the end of the first Hobbit film now as well).

310. It's Elrond and Isildur all over again!

311. Frodo's just like, 'nah, actually I think I'm going to keep it'.

312. That chain is not very strong if he can just snap if off the Ring. They should maybe have tried something a little bit sturdier considering how important it was not to lose the Ring.

313. Gollum's got a good sense of direction, he was able to locate Frodo and his hand in order to bite off the finger with the Ring on it.

314. Okay, I do feel kind of sorry for Gollum at this next bit. He's waited so long to get the Ring back and then he just gets a bit carried away with the gloating and celebration.

315. I like that the Ring sits on that little bit of solid lava for a moment before it finally sinks into it and breaks up.

316. It's kind of funny how the Ring is destroyed and all the orcs and other creatures just kind of run away.

317. Also, it makes me laugh how the Eye of Sauron kind of looks from side to side as the tower topples over.

318. And then that moment where everyone cheers and celebrates before realising that actually that probably means Frodo has died because Mordor is sort of destroying itself and the massive volcano the Hobbit was in is erupting.

319. Frodo seems to be feeling a little bit more like his old self again at least. Even if they didn't get off that slope, at least he'd be able to suffer alongside Sam in the end.

320. Sam's face just looks like he's thinking 'Oh, now you can see the Shire.'

321. 'I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.' Love that line too.

322. The Return of the King Fade to Black Ending #1.

323. Frodo and Sam have now passed out, presumably because of the heat and fumes.

324. I like that Gandalf went with three Eagles to pick them up. I like to think that the third one was in case Gollum had survived too.

325. I also like the way that the background turns into Frodo's pillow in the Houses of Healing. That's just a neat transition.

326. This bit is all sort of dreamlike with the bright light and the weird slow motion talking and laughing. Also, I know you're all pleased to see one another but just what is so funny guys?

327. You know this is a special occasion because Legolas finally has a different outfit.

328. I want to know just what Merry was demonstrating there when he leaps over on Frodo's legs. Perhaps he was showing how they brought down the Oliphaunt.

329. The Return of the King Fade to Black Ending #2.

330. The King has returned. Officially now.

331. He's got the politician way of speaking down anyway. Though the little singsong isn't so political.

332. Legolas is so coy when he looks back over his shoulder.

333. Elrond's like 'Happy Coronation, Man. Here, have my daughter.'

334. I love Arwen's headdress thing.

335. Hehe, the big snog is not so refined and kingly, but even Elrond seems to approve. And Arwen seems very happy. Then again, I'd be giggling if I'd just kissed Viggo Mortensen like that.

336. 'My friends, you bow to no one.' I love how the Hobbits look all confused and surprised and awkward at everyone bowing to them. It's cute.

337. I love how they skip over the return journey by just covering the route over the map.

338. I do sometimes wish they'd done The Scouring of the Shire, but I think that would've stretched this trilogy of films out to a quadrology and that would've meant the story was a little bit thin. I'd rather they leave some stuff out than not have enough to bulk up the story.

339. Go on, Sam. Go for it. I like that he has a quick sip of whatever the Middle-earth equivalent is of Dutch Courage.

340. Oh look, Jackson kid cameo again. They're a bit older there than at Bilbo's party at the beginning, so we know a couple of years have passed since the beginning.

341. This bit is just like the very beginning of the first film, except this time it's Frodo sitting in the study writing, instead of Bilbo. It's a nice way to bookend the story.

342. I like that framed picture on the wall in the background. It's a tree and I imagine it could have the Baggins family line written on it.

343. I've got a funny feeling that this bit might have been filmed quite early on in filming the trilogy because Elijah Wood looks really young compared to some of the scenes we just saw.

344. Bilbo's really aging now. He's really, really wrinkly. He kind of looks like a Podling from The Dark Crystal.

345. Actually, he's a bit Gollum-ish as well. It's the baldy head and sticky out ears I guess.

346. I just want to give Merry and Pippin a hug. They're so sad and upset.

347. 'I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.' Love that line.

348. It's a little bit mean of Frodo not to tell his friends that he was planning to leave.

349. Also, why is he talking in slow motion here.

350. Oh and now I want to hug Sam as well.

351. It's okay, Frodo's hugging them all for me.

352. And Sam even gets a kiss. Lucky Sam.

353. I like that Frodo smiles again when he gets on the boat. That makes this seem less sad and more hopeful of an ending.

354. And that's them off at last. I love this music.

355. And now for a change, let's have a Fade to White Ending.

356. The kids in this scene are the actor's real children as well. I love that this such a family film, that the people making it got their family members involved with it.

357. And it's so perfect that the last words of the film are the same as the in the book. It couldn't have ended more perfectly.

358. I love the end credits here though they go on for around twenty minutes.

359. The sketches are a lovely touch. I've got the 'Art of' books for each of the films and I like to look at the pictures John Howe and Alan Lee drew for the production.

360. 'Into the West' always makes me think of funerals, but it's a beautiful song and the perfect way to end the trilogy.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: New Moon, Chapter 3 (Part 1)

Friday means that it's time for another Chapter-by-Chapter post. I'm aiming to keep these going through November, hopefully we've got some short chapters coming up. All the same, this chapter is insanely long, so I've split it in to as it was running to well over 2,000 words.

In the last chapter we saw the aftermath of Bella's birthday party boo-boo when Jasper went crazy with blood lust. It was okay though, because Carlisle is a doctor so he was able to patch her up. Then Edward took her home to bed.

Today's chapter is number three: The End.

What Happens?

Not a whole lot really! Things are awkward between Bella and Edward. Oh, and Bella tries out her new camera and scrapbook at last.

Thoughts as I read:

I've had spoilers for this book so I've got a funny feeling I know what's coming. With a title like 'The End' coming not even a quarter of the way through the book, I'm fairly certain we're about to witness a Bella/Edward break up somewhere in the next thirty pages.

As is traditional, the chapter begins with Bella waking up in the morning. Edward heads out quickly and meets up with her at school.

Edward was waiting for me at school, as usual, but his face was still wrong. There was something buried in his eyes that I couldn't be sure of – and it scared me. I didn't want to bring up last night, but I wasn't sure if avoiding the subject would be worse.

Bella's wondering about how everyone is after the events of the previous day. I hope she actually gives voice to some of these questions because I'm wondering much the same thing myself. We have to wait for her to run into Alice to ask them though. Unfortunately she's off school today because she's had to go away someplace with Jasper.

Do they have vampire rehab? It sounds like the sort of place Jasper would end up going. Edward isn't giving away very much information other than the fact that they were trying to get Jasper to go stay with another little group of vampires in Denali. So not vampire rehab, but hopefully a group of vampires who live without trying to drain every human who gets a paper cut in their vicinity.

The development with Jasper has made things awkward between Bella and Edward. It's not a huge change really since I usually feel like things are pretty awkward between them. Bella's realised that Edward is feeling down about the fact all his family is having to go away and it's mostly because of her. Well, Alice and Jasper are really the only ones who have gone away because of her. Emmett and Rosalie might have gone away too but I think that's more because they just don't age and people will notice if they hang around too long.

That's got me wondering, if a vampire wanted to stay in a place for a long time, do you think they would have to use some sort of prosthetics to make it look like they were aging?

While I've been wondering about that, Bella's been thinking about seeing members of the Cullen family. She can't imagine Alice staying away from Charlie because there's some sort of weird relationship between her friend and her father; plus she'll need to go to hospital fairly often, so she'll still see Carlisle. She just can't go to their house anymore.

How did Jasper cope at school every day then? I mean, surely people at school got paper cuts and nose bleeds and other injuries that caused them to bleed. How did he handle those?

The chapter continues giving us a little recap of what happened to Bella the summer before. We read that book so we can skip past that. Bella continues wondering about whether it wouldn't be better to just go away with Edward and let his family all return to their home the way it was before. Apparently this will be better for him than his family being scattered all over the country. Um, perhaps Edward would rather be at home with some of his family than halfway across the country with none of his family.

We skip over Bella's time at work and barely a paragraph later she's on her way home, to find Edward's car parked outside her house. This is strange because normally he sneaks in through her window. What's even stranger is that Charlie and Edward are just hanging out watching sports on TV. This is one of those 'we need to talk' moments.

While she waits for Edward to join her, Bella starts looking at her birthday presents. She's starting to think that the best place for her to be is away from his family and suddenly she's feeling quite sad at the thought of leaving Forks. She's even beginning to appreciate the camera and scrapbook.

Regardless, I snapped a picture of my room. There wasn't much else I could do tonight – it was too dark outside – and the feeling was growing stronger, it was almost a compulsion now. I would record everything about Forks before I had to leave it.

I have a funny feeling that's you're not the one who's going to be leaving, Bella. She goes on to ramble about how perfect things are right now, I'm guessing she means before she got the paper cut because things the last few days haven't exactly been great for her.

All the same, she gets in a little photo session with Edward and Charlie. Then Edward gets up to go, telling Bella that he won't be stopping tonight. I have no idea what any of this is actually about. And considering the fact Bella then goes to bed, I'm surprised that the chapter doesn't end there.

I actually took a break from reading before continuing on with this book. It's such a long chapter that I felt the need to fortify myself with a relaxing bath and a healthy snack so I could keep reading. Anyway, Bella's been taking more photos and contemplating how much she will miss all the green stuff that she spent most of the first book complaining about.

Bella's still on another planet thinking about Edward and her vagueness is making me feel rather ambivalent about the whole story. The writing also feels kind of clunky:

At lunch, the silence continued. I felt like I was going to start screaming at any moment, so, to distract myself, I leaned across the table's invisible line and spoke to Jessica.
"Hey, Jess?"

I can't help but think that there might have been a better way of writing this bit. I mean, I can't exactly talk. I've never had a book published, let alone one that's been turned into a series of blockbuster hits, but still, I like to think if I did, I'd manage to edit out any of the really clunky bits like this.

Serious, this chapter feels like there's an awful lot of nothing happening right now. This is followed by Bella's friends taking photos with her camera, using up all her film and then it jumping to the end of the school day. Honestly, what was the point in that?

We do learn that Edward shows up in photos, which prompts the usual diversion into how wonderful Edward looks. We've heard it all before so I don't think we need to go into all that again. Anyway, she flicks through the pictures and Edward ends up looking colder and colder as she goes. Plus compared to him, she looks decidedly average. This is yet another nail in the coffin of Bella remaining mortal. For her and Edward to be happy together she obviously needs to become a vampire.

Bella works on her scrapbook for a while and even remembers to send her mum a thank you note, showing that her skills have improved somewhat since the last book, when she ignored her mum's emails. And so ends another day.

Since that's how these chapters often end, that seems like a good place to stop until next week.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Nativity Update: Here's Joseph!

It's been two months, almost to the day, since I last shared my progress with my Nativity. This is because until a couple of weeks ago, that's how long it's been since I last did any real work on it! You can see why I thought it was a good idea to start knitting it back in July in order to make sure it was ready for December.

Last time I shared Joseph he looked something like this:

And that's how he remained for a very long time.

Before I went to Wales I knitted up his arms but didn't get around to seaming them. Armless Joseph then spent a month and a half hanging out on my side table with a bunch of balls of yarn and my three completed Wise Men, waiting for his hands, beard and hairpiece.

I decided to take a break from colouring in and grabbed my knitting stuff to sew up Joseph's sleeves while we watched Columbo. In the time it took to watch the whole episode I not only seamed both sleeves, I knitted his hands, sewed them up, stuffed the arms, sewed the hands in and started preparing to attach them to Joseph.

When we relocated to the bedroom to watch M*A*S*H I got the arms sewn on, knitted his beard and made a start to his hairpiece, which I finished the following night. That's right, in two evenings I managed to get everything done to finish poor Joseph who has been standing around in pieces ever since August.

I feel kind of bad.

He's looking pretty good now though:

Now I'm working on the shepherds. The scene in the booklet has two shepherds so I decided to do them both at the same time since they both use the same pattern, just in different colours and I figured that if I did them one at a time I'd get bored doing the second one. I used the same approach with my chicken family a couple of years ago. It doesn't make the actual knitting any quicker since you're still doing the same number of stitches in total, but it forces me to do them both without taking a long break between finishing one and starting another.

I got both bodies knitted, sewn up and their faces embroidered. After that it's the robes which I've been working separately; I got one finished at the weekend and I've been working on the second one while we watch M*A*S*H in bed. That's the biggest bit to do so hopefully I won't lose momentum after I finish like I did with Joseph. A week from now I should be starting on some sheep for the shepherd to look after.

Once the shepherds (and their flock) are done, it's just Mary, the cradle, the baby, the donkey and possibly an angel to do. I might make an innkeeper as well if there's time. If not, he can wait til next year. At least Joseph is finally finished.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Book 9 of 2015: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

The fifth week of the Reading Challenge (a book with a number in the title) didn't take much work to pick. I have a couple of books on my shelf with numbers in the title but they're either midway through a series that I didn't want to read out of order, or the first in a series that I wasn't ready to start reading yet. Plus I'd committed myself to reading the 'classics' so I went searching on Amazon and Project Gutenberg for something that might be suitable.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne fitted the bill pretty nicely. And it was an old book that I'd never read before. Perfect.

This is the story of Pierre Aronnax who, along with his manservant, Conseil, and harpoonist, Ned Land, join an expedition to find and kill a mysterious creature which has been terrorising the waters around the world. When they finally track it down they learn that it's not a narwhal as they suspected, it's actually the Nautilus, captained by Nemo, whose intentions for his submersible are not all scientific.

I read Around the World in Eighty Days several months ago and really enjoyed it, finding the sense of humour in it had aged very well, so I really looked forward to starting 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It struggled to find it on Amazon as a free download, so purchased an edition with illustrations for the grand sum of 40p. It was only after I'd done this that I found it on Project Gutenberg and realised I could've gotten it for free instead.

As it happened, I read an awful lot of this book on my phone while I was out the house, thanks to Project Gutenberg. It meant that I got through the first half of it very quickly (just two days). Though after that I slowed down quite a bit during the second half and it took me the rest of the week to finish it off.

As with Around the World in Eighty Days, I found Verne's style quite funny. I guess you could almost describe it as being sort of deadpan and there were moments that I read and found funny though it was unexpected. I wasn't sure if I was finding humour in things that weren't, or if they were intended to be taken the way I was reading them. It made it an enjoyable read though.

The one thing that was a little bit lost on me was all the descriptions of fish and specific details of marine life. It wasn't quite to the degree of Moby Dick but I felt like it was approaching it at times.

One of my one complaints about this specific edition I read was that the illustrations were all clumped together at the end. If I'm buying a copy for the illustrations, I expect the illustrations to be in the actual text. I reached the end and then found pictures which referred to things I'd read about over two hundred pages before. It was weird and kind of pointless. At least buying this edition did teach me that you can download copies of books from Project Gutenberg and even get them in the right format for reading on your Kindle.

Having read this I'm now planning on reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth at some point. In fact, I've enjoyed the two Verne books I've read so far so much that I'd like to get them as actual book-books at some point.

Monday, 26 October 2015

NaNoWrimo: Pre-NaNo Useful Stuffs

What are you doing this Sunday?

Of course, the correct answer is 'getting a head start on my 50,000 words' because Sunday sees the start of National Novel Writing Month. That's where you try to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. That's right, 50,000 words in thirty days, that's roughly 1,667 words per day. More if you've got a slightly higher target for the month (I'm aiming for 75,000 words which means I need to get 2,500 words each day).

In honour of this momentous occasion I thought I'd share some useful things for NaNoWriMo, in no particular order.

Obviously, if you're taking part in NaNoWriMo, the first place you need to go is to to register on the site. Commit yourself to your novel, give it a title, write a synopsis and upload a cover for it. That's pretty much the first step in the NaNoWriMo addiction programme. While you're there, add me as a buddy.

One of my favourite things about NaNo is the fact that there's this sort of mass hysteria surrounding it. Everywhere you look online you'll find people talking about it. NaNo converts are a vocal bunch so as well as joining in on conversations on the NaNo forums, don't forget to look out for chat on Twitter and the Facebook group.

You're going to want to decide on your strategy for approaching the month ahead. This post on the forums is pretty helpful in breaking down the different word count goals you might go for depending on when you'll have time to write during the month. I always find the steadily decreasing word count goal helpful because it takes advantage of the energy spurt you have at the beginning of the month and factors in the likelihood that your available time will decrease over the course of the month. You can even print it out, pick a day each time you sit down to write, cross off that total once you've done it and then aim for a different one the next day. So long as you cross off each day, you'll still make it to 50k by the end of the month.

What about when you've got the days when you can write nailed but you still don't know what you're going to write about?

That's okay, there's a whole forum for that. Head over to the Adoption Society boards where you can adopt everything from a plot, an opening line, a dying line and even a fellow WriMo to make an appearance in your NaNovel.

And I've just got time for a few more last minute reminders.

Back up your work!No seriously. Back. It. Up. Use a pen drive. Use two pen drives. Email it to yourself. Email it to your mother. Burn it onto CD. Print it out. Make copies. Nothing will kill your motivation faster than losing two days worth of work.

Don't stop writing.Write something, anything, every day. The only thing worse than not meeting your word count target is not writing anything. Remember, if you miss your quota for the day, that's fine. Check how many words you still have to write, divide it by the number of days left in the month, and go wild. Don't try making up the difference all in one day, you'll just depress yourself. Take advantage of days off, weekends, holidays, whatever. Build up a buffer so you can get away with writing less on a day. If you miss one day, it makes it a lot easier to miss another day.

Don't edit.There is a time and a place for editing. It is not November. By all mean, go back and reread what you've already written but don't write anything. Sit on your hands. Write a note to yourself about what needs to be changed. Move on and start writing something new. NaNo is about getting that first draft down; it doesn't have to be Shakespeare, it just has to be there. Editing slows you down and during NaNo you need every second for writing. So write.

Back up your work!Just because it's that important, it deserves saying twice!

Have you got any tips, tricks, NaNo stories, or pep talks to share? Why not Guest Blog here during November?

Send me an email at and let me know what you want to write about and I'll slot you in.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Weekly Rundown: Taste of the Tropics

It's been a fairly wintry week this week, which has meant I've not been up to very much.

There have been no disasters of the curtain pulling down variety. There have been no trips off the island (not for me at least). I've not been on any nice walks. The weather has been downright yucky so I've been bundling up indoors and only venturing out when it's absolutely necessary.

When it's absolutely necessary includes when my stubborn labrador refuses to poop in her garden, therefore requiring her owner to schlep back inside, swap her jammies for jeans and go out for an impromptu walk. Tara seems to be of the opinion that if it is cold and wet in the garden, some magical process happens outside the garden gate whereby it is suddenly warm and dry. Each time she refuses to go in the garden, she seems surprised to learn that it is just as cold and wet on the rest of the estate. Of course that doesn't stop her trying it every time.

Yes, it's been such an eventful week for me that my Weekly Rundown post is about my dog's toileting habits. Let's try again, shall we?

Yesterday we decided to perk up our weekend with a bit of exotic fruit, courtesy of Tesco and some vouchers they sent me to get £4 off any of their fresh exotic fruit.

I like fruit, but Mr Click and I tend to stick to what we know (apples, pears and bananas mainly) and only try some of the fancier stuff when it's in a tin (I may have a slight addiction to tinned mangoes). One of the main things that puts me off trying unfamiliar fresh fruit is not knowing what to do with it.

Such a happy selection.
I gave Mr Click responsibility for selecting our fruit so he decided to go with a theme when he picked these. From top to bottom we have papaya, persimmon (also known as sharon fruit) and passion fruit. Because we were getting these for free (or nearly free) we weren't too scared to experiment with preparing them, safe in the knowledge that if we messed up, we'd not wasted any money.

And I have no idea what I was afraid of, because it turns out that these are all really easy to prepare.

We started with the papaya. These are prepared a little like melons. Mr Click expertly chopped the top off of one, then cut it in half.

See all those black seeds. You just scoop them straight out. You can either leave it as is, the way you'd eat a honeydew melon, or you can chop it up into pieces. We cut ours up so we could stick it in a bowl with some ice cream, but if you were just wanting a quick snack, you could take a spoon to it and go wild.

The persimmon was even easier to prepare than that. It was so quick and easy, in fact, that Mr Click had finished it before I'd even gotten round to taking a photo!

The persimmon has a leafy bit on the top, which you cut out kind of the way you'd take the top out of a strawberry. The whole thing is edible, skin and all, so we just chopped it up into chunks and threw it in the bowl.

I'd actually had this before, thanks to a friend at work so I knew what to expect. I think it may actually have been my favourite of the fruits we got in this offer. I'm very pleased that I've still got another two to have this week.

Finally we had the passion fruit. Now I like passion fruit in drinks but I honestly couldn't have picked out a passion fruit in a line up. They're quite weird looking fruits. You don't eat the outside, instead you eat what can only be described as somewhat like frogspawn, which is inside.

It's basically what you would get if a coconut had a love affair with a frog. And it tastes really good, even if it looks kind of gross.

This is probably the easiest one to prepare. The outside it kind of tough, you just cut through it and then spoon out the inside (being careful not to get any of the white stuff). By this point we'd added a good old dollop of ice cream to our papaya and persimmon, so this got popped on top.

Perfect for a nice cold wintry day. These fruits are all loaded with Vitamin C and other nutrients which should help to keep the winter bugs at bay.

In the future, I think we'll definitely be a little bit more adventurous with our fruit. It turns out just because it's exotic, it doesn't mean it's impossible to prepare. I'm quite looking forward to another portion of it tonight.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Film Review: The Return of the King, Part 6

Time for the penultimate portion of The Return of the King. You'll be pleased to know that from the start of November we'll be done with this chunk of Middle-earth's history; we'll be going back in time for the prequel instead!

During last week's instalment we saw a lot of fighting. Denethor really started to lose it (or should that be continued to lose it), Theoden led his riders into battle and there was a really frigging huge spider!

253. Gandalf's pretty much just quoting the end of The Lord of the Rings here. Do you think he's read the book?

254. I do actually love this scene. It's a little moment of quiet in the middle of battle. One soldier offering comfort to another solider.

255. And then there's a big bang on the gate which makes me jump and pulls me out of it!

256. That moment when Théoden sees the Witch King of Angmar riding towards him you can see the look on his face as he's thinking 'oh no, not going to get out of this one'.

257. Well done, Éowyn.

258. And now it's Éowyn's turn to question why she picked this particular battle.

259. Meanwhile, on the other side of the battle, a troupe of orcs are waiting for the ships to get in. They're going to get a surprise.

260. 'There's plenty for the both of us. May the best Dwarf win.' Hehe, I forgot the competition carries on through this battle.

261. 'You fool, no man can kill me. Die now' *dramatic removal of helmet* 'I am no man!' *stabby sword action*

262. I love how the Witch King just sort of implodes. What a way to go.

263. But the battle rages on anyway.

264. I've forgotten huge chunks of this film. Like how Éowyn was nearly gotten by that orc leader, but Aragorn and Gimli save her without even knowing it.

265. Honourable Mention to Legolas for the scene with the Oliphaunt, complete with skating down the trunk thing.

266. 'That still only counts as one!' Hehe.

267. That battlefield is getting quite quiet now. I like how the Army of the Dead sort of swarm into the city like smoke. It's a nice effect.

268. I wish Théoden didn't die. I think he's one of my favourite characters in this film.

269. In the close ups, Éowyn doesn't look as dirty as she did when she was crawling across the field.

270. Gimli does have a point. It'd be handy to hold onto the Army of the Dead until after they've done battle at the gates of Mordor. Especially as both Gondor and Rohan have lost a lot of people in the fight.

271. Oh look, it's a cloak from Lothlórien.

272. Éomer is really dramatic when he discovers Éowyn's body. I mean, I know he's upset and shocked, but he's really vocal about it.

273. The Houses of Healing is one of my favourite bits in the book and I wish this had been expanded on a little more here. I mean, they do cover the gist of it, but it's a montage, not actual full detailed scenes.

274. I do like the song playing during this bit.

275. Aw, Pippin's still looking for Merry and no one's even helping him. That's a shame.

276. Role reversal, now Pippin's looking after Merry. I want to cuddle them both.

277. And back to Mordor where Frodo's not wearing very much and he's at the top of a tower. I'm sure there were some very disappointed fangirls who were hoping to see Elijah Wood naked, since that's how Frodo is at this bit of the book.

278. It's been a good few minutes since we had a fight scene. What do you say we have another one?

279. Thankfully the orc versus orc battle will clear out most of them so Sam has a clear pathway to Frodo.

280. Nearly clear pathway to Frodo anyway.

281. 'That's for Frodo. That's for the Shire. And that's for my old Gaffer!' Love Sam.

282. Go Sam! He's such a hero.

283. I wish they could've included something showing Sam's vision of himself commanding an army of gardeners with the Ring of Power, before deciding that it wouldn't work. I'm not sure how they would've done it but it would've just helped to show his character a little more.

284. I like that they show the eye as kind of a searchlight over the land.

285. I think Gandalf really knows what he wants them to do, he's just kind of pushing for everyone else to get the plan and suggest it, so it's not like it's his idea.

286. Hehe, I love Gimli's response the plan.

287. Time for Aragorn to commune with Sauron in the shiny marble.

288. I've never been entirely sure if when the Evenstar shatters if it was a vision or if it was real. I'm guessing that because the next scene focuses on Aragorn's chest and it's not visible that it actually breaks.

289. Aw, Éowyn and Faramir. I wish we had more of their relationship together, especially the bit where she goes to him to beg to go to battle again.

290. Aragorn and crew successfully draw off the orcs to the gate, and very nearly get Frodo and Sam discovered within the borders of Mordor as well.

291. Busted! That could really have backfired if they hadn't been able to get away unnoticed.

292. Poor Sam having to throw away his cooking stuff. He's carried it so far.

293. I like the bit in the book where Sam spots the star. I actually used that in an essay I wrote about The Lord of the Rings in school, about light versus dark in the story.

294. I know he's practically at death's door, but Frodo wastes a fair bit of that water he drinks. There might not be a return journey, but they'll still need enough to get to Mount Doom!

295. Did the Eye of Sauron actually see Frodo then? Or was it like that moment where you catch something out the corner of your eye, try to focus on it, but it's gone? Actually I'm just generally curious about the Eye. How does it feel? Can it feel? It doesn't have an eyelid, so it can't blink? How does it think or tell its armies what it wants them to do? We'll probably never know.

296. Ooh, someone needs a chapstick.

297. I didn't realise until I watch the special features, but apparently the Mouth's mouth is scaled up in size to make it just a little bit more unnatural looking. And something they toyed with was turning it ninety degrees to make it even weirder.

298. Aragorn's reaction to the Mouth of Sauron is perfect. That certainly got Sauron's attention.

299. Those soldiers look like no one actually told them they were headed to certain death.

300. Lucky Aragorn was there to rally them all, otherwise I suspect the leaders and remaining members of the Fellowship would've been left standing in front of a cloud of dust as the soldiers beat a hasty retreat.

301. Aw, I love Legolas and Gimli. That moment there shows how far they've come since the beginning.

302. Go on Frodo and Sam. You're so close! You can do it!

303. Sam's trying so hard to cheer Frodo up and Frodo's just like 'nah, don't remember any of it'.

304. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!' + dramatically swelling music = brilliant moment in film.

305. Go Aragorn!

306. I love that it's Merry and Pippin who are right behind him. Even if they are overtaken by everyone else about ten seconds later.

Next week get ready for lots, and lots, and lots of endings.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: New Moon, Chapter 2

I'm sorry if bits of this blog post look a little strange. At the moment I'm trying to get my voice recognition software up and running in preparation for NaNoWriMo. I'm trying to go back and edit my mistakes; I'm getting a lot of practice at doing that! Apparently the more I practice, the better the computer will be at understanding me. I'm really getting the hang of the voice commands, so clearly I'm learning something, even if my computer isn't.

Anyway, let's get on with reading New Moon. This chapter is called Stitches.

What happens:

Carlisle patches up Bella's arm and has a discussion with her about religion and souls. We also learn a little about what happened the night he turned Edward. With Bella all put back together again she's able to go home, and as usual, Edward stays the night. But it seems like he might be preparing to go somewhere.

Thoughts as I read:

As the last chapter ended with Bella falling into a glass table, I'm fairly certain that the stitches in the chapter title are going to refer to those. There was an awful lot of glass in Chapter One so I'm guessing there's going to be an awful lot of stitches needed. The chapter is also about twenty pages long, so there'll almost certainly be some stuff with Edward being angry with Jasper (and himself, for putting Bella in danger, again). And Bella will probably use it as an excuse for Edward to turn her into a vampire, which he'll refuse to do. And this will cause grumpiness.

Carlisle takes charge of the situation and orders Emmett and Rosalie to haul Jasper away; Rosalie is obviously enjoying this, or at least is pleased that things have turned out the way she was expecting them to. Meanwhile everyone else tries to stem the bleeding and decide whether they can fix the damage here or if Bella needs to go to the hospital.

Bella doesn't want to go to the hospital because then she'll have to explain why her arm has been cut to ribbons, for the second time in however many months since she 'fell down some stairs and through a plate glass window'. Edward's being all intense and watching Bella, which I thought was because he was worried, but then Bella says something which makes me realise that's not why he's being all hard and intense:

"I can handle it," he insisted. But his jaw was rigid; his eyes burned with the intensity of the thirst he fought, so much worse for him than it was for the others.

I actually kind of like Bella for a moment when she basically tells Edward to get over himself. Carlisle takes her side as well and soon Edward is despatched in search of Jasper. It doesn't take long for Alice to follow him; clearly Bella just smells too good to resist. Carlisle must have nerves of steel!

Just as I'm wondering how Carlisle is able to resist temptation when everyone else has had to leave the room to save Bella from being ravished, Bella asks him how he's able to do it. Apparently it's just a matter of practice. Bella continues to make small talk with her doctor as he pulls numerous bits of glass out of her arm.

We do learn that Carlisle is able to smell what is wrong with people and so is able to use his skills to save people who might not have been able to be saved through normal medical procedures. I wonder what sort of things he is able to tell about people using his sense of smell. Considering Edward tasted the morphine at the end of the last book, I'd guess he could probably tell if someone had taken an overdose, perhaps if they had diabetes or leukaemia or sickle cell anaemia, stuff that would make a person's blood smell differently.

While I'm wondering this, Carlisle starts preparing to sew up Bella's arm. Surely she's still going to have to explain the bandage and stitches to her father, even if she's avoided a trip to the hospital! Bella's not thinking about this though, she's still pushing for information about why Carlisle works as a doctor if it takes so much effort to not nom on his patients.

This prompts a recap of Carlisle's history, whilst he burns all of the stuff with Bella's blood on it. So now the house is going to smell like a Bella barbecue, I'm not sure that's going to help matters particularly!

The conversation then takes a turn towards religion. Carlisle's questioning his faith and Bella's revealing that neither of her parents are religious either. I'm curious because I'd read that this series of books promote Mormon values pretty heavily. I was expecting this conversation to reveal Bella's beliefs. Perhaps that's actually something which Meyer's been subtle about. It'll be interesting reading on to find out.

Oh and now we're moving on to what Edward believes:

Carlisle guessed the direction of my thoughts again. "Edward's with me up to a point. God and heaven exist… and so does hell. But he doesn't believe there is an afterlife for our kind." Carlisle's voice was very soft; he stared out the big window over the sink, into the darkness. "You see, he thinks we've lost our souls."

This is all getting very deep for a book in the Twilight series.

Actually I'm starting to get a bit lost in this conversation. They're talking about souls and what that has to do with Edward being with Bella. Oh, I think Carlisle knows Bella wants to be turned but that doing that could endanger the soul that Edward may or may not have. I think.

The direction this conversation has taken makes me wonder just why Carlisle decided to turn these other people into vampires in the first place. Looks like he's read my mind because the next thing I know we're getting Edward!Backstory.

"Yes. Her name was Elizabeth. Elizabeth Masen. His father, Edward Senior, never regained consciousness in the hospital. He died in the first wave of the influenza. But Elizabeth was alert until almost the very end. Edward looks a great deal like her – she had that same strange bronze to her hair, and her eyes were exactly the same color green."

This is starting to get a little Harry Potter now.

Carlisle promised Elizabeth, as she lay on her deathbed, that he would save her son. And he got the impression that somehow she knew what he could do. So he did it. It basically involved hurting Edward the way he had been hurt, because although he'd decided he had to have a companion, he didn't actually know just how he was supposed to go about doing it. Oops.

Speaking of the devil vampire, Edward shows up, all ready to take Bella home again. Bella decides that she'd rather Carlisle take her home, she is still covered in blood after all. It's one thing wanting to be with someone forever, it's an entirely different thing to be left alone with that person when there's a chance they want to eat you.

She found me a shirt of Esme's that was close to the same color mine had been. Charlie wouldn't notice, I was sure. The long white bandage on my arm didn't look nearly as serious when I was no longer spattered in gore. Charlie was never surprised to see me bandaged.

Just like that the party is over and Bella's heading home and apologising for getting the paper cut that caused all of this trouble. This annoys Edward because if it wasn't for her being with him a paper cut would've been just that, a paper cut, not an invitation for his family to suck her blood. It just escalates from this point onwards, now Edward's suggesting that Bella would've been better off hooking up with Mike rather than him.

Which annoys Bella. Which just causes the argument to keep on going.

And despite this, Bella still asks Edward if he's going to spent the night with her.

"For my birthday," I pressed.
"You can't have it both ways – either you want people to ignore your birthday or you don't. One or the other."

He has a point.

Whatever issues he's having right now, Edward decides that he would much rather spend the night with Bella. So he promised to meet her upstairs. I hope he's going to let Carlisle and Esme know what he's doing otherwise they might think that he's chowed down on Bella on the way home or something!

Inside Charlie makes fatherly small talk with his daughter, asking how the party went. He does notice the bandage on her arm but doesn't seem overly concerned about just what happened to his incredibly accident prone daughter. If I was Charlie I'd be a little bit suspicious that on two occasions when my daughter was visiting this guy's family she ended up injured in some way.

Up in her room, Edward does the honours and starts unwrapping Bella's presents, presumably in order to make sure that she doesn't injure herself again and drive him into a feeding frenzy of his own. Inside the gift from Carlisle and Esme are two plane tickets to Jacksonville. Is that where one of the colleges is? Despite it being all sunny there, Edward is happy to go along with her and never leave the house. That sounds fun. Imagine how cranky he'll get when he has to spend all of his time cooped up indoors!

The other gift is from Edward. That good old standby, the compilation CD, featuring the music that he composed for her. Okay, that is kind of sweet. Unfortunately Bella's arm has started to hurt so Edward takes it upon himself to get her some pain relief:

"Charlie," I hissed. Charlie wasn't exactly aware that Edward frequently stayed over. In fact, he would have a stroke if that fact were brought to his attention. But I didn't feel too guilty for deceiving him. It wasn't as if we were up to anything he wouldn't want me to be up to. Edward and his rules…

Jeez, if you're going to sneak around and break your parents' rules, at least do something interesting and worthwhile.

It's okay anyway, Edward is able to get the Tylenol before the door even closed and then he very carefully puts Bella to bed. She asks for a goodnight kiss and the pair of horny teenagers suddenly start acting just like that. It's not clear whether Edward is being fuelled by lust or by the desire to eat her. They stop before it goes too far and Bella agrees to go to sleep.

Except she has a strange sort of sense that the kiss was like one before; one when Edward was saying goodbye to her for what might have been forever.

Ooh. I think this means he'll be going away soon. He's probably do it to be all noble like he's taking her away from danger, and she'll be all mopey and devastated because it's the end of the world. God this is going to be a long book!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

NaNoWriMo: Guest Bloggers Wanted

Remember how last Christmas I invited a bunch of friends round to guest blog for me?

Well, I'd planned to do it again and then ran out of time to organise it, so I thought what have I got even less time to organise? Oh, I know, guest bloggers for NaNoWriMo!

So here we are.

Have you participated in National Novel Writing Month before? Did you win? Did you write ten thousand words, hit the dreaded Second Week Slump and spend the rest of the month eating ice cream and watching old Nickelodeon cartoons?

Have you never joined in the craziness before? Do you think this is going to be the easiest thing you've ever done? The hardest? Do you not have a clue and only just signed up after clicking the shiny link up there?

Do you think you've got valuable hints and tips to share? Know a surefire way to banish the inner editor? Do you hate NaNo and wish everyone would just shut up about it?


I need you!

I'm looking for some people to write guest blog posts for the month of November. You don't have to be a blogger to join in, if you don't have a blog or site for me to link to you on I can always link back to your NaNo page (you might get a few more buddies that way).

I'm imagining people writing Pep Talks, like the ones which are emailed out through the month, but you can share your positive or negative experiences of NaNo, tips and tricks, funny NaNo related stories. Hell, send along some of your funniest NaNoisms or an extract from your NaNovel! That'll be fun to read too.

If you're wanting to be featured on the blog, simply email me at to let me know what you're planning to write (just so I can make sure I don't end up with six posts about how Word Crawls are amazing, they are, take it from me).

You should aim for your post to be between 400-800 words long and if you could include a short bio (who you are, where we can find you online, a picture if you feel like sharing) to include with your post. Let me know where I should link it to (blog, social media, NaNo site, something else) and include any other pictures you'd like me to use in the post.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Book 8 of 2015: Strata by Terry Pratchett

Away back in January this year I decided to work through the remaining unread Terry Pratchett books that I have in my collection. I had started with The Dark Side of the Sun around a month beforehand and so tackled Strata towards the end of January.

Strata is a science fiction novel published way back in 1981 and is a kind of test run before he went all out with the concept of the Discworld. It follows the character of Kin, who helps build planets, as she is recruited to attempt to find a 'flat Earth'. So she travels across the galaxy with a motley collection of aliens in search of this mystery planet and the reason for its existence.

I do have to admit that I wouldn't class Terry Pratchett's sci-fi books among my favourites. I read The Carpet People many years ago and I really enjoyed that, but I just couldn't get on with The Dark Side of the Sun. Strata kind of bridges the gap between the two. I did prefer this one to The Dark Side of the Sun. It just felt more well-rounded and seemed easier to follow compared to the earlier novel.

That said, it did get a little trickier to keep up with during the second half. It wasn't a long read, but I felt like I was dragging my heels a little once I got past the middle. I feel like in the beginning Terry Pratchett was really good at setting up a story but then would end up with lots of tangled strands which he couldn't quite keep straight enough to give them all the same weight.

It's ironic that this is one of the things I love most of all about his later Discworld novels. He sets up all these strands and then gradually brings them all together to weave them into the end of the story. I think it's something which he took a while to perfect, but it's interesting to see that he was working on it right back in his earliest novels.

Strata is also full of little jokes and one-liners. It's just what I've come to expect from a Terry Pratchett novel. There are lots of little links to the Discworld books; the idea behind the Disc actually gets mentioned by the characters at one point! I caught a reference to a bar called The Broken Drum at one point as well.

Reading these early Pratchett books has shown me that he was playing around with the idea of Discworld for many years before it became the familiar place we've come to know and love today. I wish that I'd read these books many years before so that I could've asked him about them when I met him. I'd love to know more about when he came up with Discworld and whether he intended it to be a sci-fi story before it finally settled on the fantasy genre.

Monday, 19 October 2015

TV Series Review: Columbo

Several months ago Mr Click suggested that we start watching Columbo. We were on a bit of a detective jag having recently watched BBC's Sherlock and the American series Elementary so Columbo seemed like a sensible series to follow them up with. Plus it seemed long enough to take us through to the start of our Christmas viewing.

I know that I saw this every time I watch a programme that my husband has chosen, but I wasn't really all that keen to start with Columbo. I'd seen odd bits of odd episodes on TV in the past and I didn't think it was going to be that good.

As usual, I proved myself wrong and I did end up quite enjoying the series.

If you've never seen an episode of Columbo, it's slightly different to the usual format for a police procedural. Instead of a crime being discovered, reported and solved; the episode begins with the person who is committing the crime so we see how it's done and watch them try to cover their tracks. Then Columbo comes in and solves it all, proving it wasn't as perfect a crime as the bad guys thought it was.

I'll admit, I'm used to the common police procedural format, so this structure took a little getting used to. There are some episodes where Columbo doesn't show up for half and hour or more (most episodes run somewhere in the region of 90 minutes) which surprised me. After all, for a series called Columbo, you'd expect the title character to have the majority of the screen time, and that wasn't always the case.

The series spans thirty-five years from Columbo's first appearance to his last. Considering the longevity of the series, it's almost surprising that Peter Falk continued to play the character throughout the series (sadly the same cannot be said for the dog who was often seen as Columbo's companion).

What with it running for such a long time, it's really strange to see how Columbo goes from being so young in the early episodes, to so old in the later ones. It's especially strange when you consider that he continues wearing the same outfit for the duration.

Before we watched this, I had this idea in my mind of Columbo being this bumbling daft detective who kind of solves crimes by just kind of accidentally stumbling onto the solution. Obviously I was wrong.

Something you realise as you watch it, is that Columbo is pretty much playing an act the whole time he's investigating a case. He is a bit of a bumbling detective, but it's a show that enables him to get the suspects to lower their guard around him, so they give themselves away and allow him to expose them as the murder.

He picks up on teeny tiny clues that other people overlook and then keeps on pushing the person he suspects. Usually this leads to the suspect telling Columbo what they think happened, which means Columbo can tell they know more about the crime than they should. If you're a suspect in a crime and Columbo starts asking you how you think it was done, tell him you haven't got a clue and that's his job because seriously, if you talk, you'll just give yourself away.

Another easy way to figure out if someone's a murderer in an episode of Columbo is to check if they've been in it before. There are a few people who seem to crop up every five or six episodes and they're usually the ones who did it.

Ditto if you're a big name. William Shatner was in it twice and, most surprisingly to me so was Billy Connolly!

It was such a bizarre combo that I think it was easily my favourite episode. Billy Connolly always sounds like a favourite uncle to my ear, so having him be in an episode of Columbo and being not such a nice guy was a tough one for me to get my head around. It was such a strange mix for me, I couldn't help but like it.

The box set we have also includes a couple of episodes of the ill-fated Mrs Columbo. A series that ran for less than twenty episodes and went through about three different titles in that time. We watched the first one (thankfully only 45 minutes long) and then decided we couldn't put ourselves through that again and didn't bother with the second 'Mrs Columbo Bonus Episode'.

On the whole I did really enjoy this series, and I'm going to miss watching it in the coming weeks. We managed to time it pretty well because we knew we needed to finish the series by the beginning of November (when we start watching our Not-Quite Christmas films), so we've got a couple of weeks to get through. I think we were considering watching the first series of Outnumbered which is quite the change from Columbo.

And I think I've learnt my lesson now. When Mr Click suggests we watch a programme, I'm going to hold my tongue. Generally he's right and programmes aren't as bad as I think they are. Except Thriller, you were definitely wrong about that one, my dear husband!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Weekly Rundown: Not Mine

This week I had an appointment in Glasgow on Thursday. I'm always dubious about traveling at this time of year because the chances of the ferries being disrupted rise incredibly around this time of year. But the forecast was good; the weather was lovely.

Of course there's some slight disruption at the moment owing to the fact that the ferries are going to Gourock instead of Wemyss Bay while they do some work on the pier. It means that our trip to the mainland now takes an hour, rather than the usual 35 minutes. The plus side is that whereas there is only one train an hour from Wemyss Bay to Glasgow, there's three an hour from Gourock, so we can make back the extra travelling time on the train journey.

It was all going to be fine.

Until we saw the CalMac site on Wednesday. There was going to be disruption to the ferries on Thursday.

This caused a slight bit of panic and confusion. Especially when we saw that the Clyde was going to be closed to all traffic for a period on Thursday.

And why all these drastic measures?

They'd found an unexploded mine in the Clyde. It's somewhere in the region of seventy years old and given it's age they suspected that it may have been rather temperamental. So naturally precautions needed to be taken, including evacuating half of Gourock.

Luckily the first boats ran without any trouble. It was a good excuse to spend a little bit longer in Glasgow. I took advantage of not being able to get home to do a little more Christmas shopping. Obviously I can't say what I got here because it was for Mr Click and he reads this blog; you'll have to check back here towards the end of December to see what it was.

It was wonderfully wandering around Glasgow, not in a rush to get back, taking my time to look around shops that I wouldn't normally get to go into. We even visited Vodafone to get Mr Click a new SIM card since his phone hasn't been too good at talking to mine recently. We had Chinese for lunch and then casually made our way home afterwards.

There was a bit of a panic along the way. I checked the CalMac site on the way back, only to read that the train station was closed to all traffic. Luckily they changed their minds about that before we got in. But we still had a bit of a wait before the ferries were given the all clear to go.

It made for a pretty long day. You forget how much you rely on the ferries until something changes and it throws you out completely. On the whole, the extra time on the ferry isn't too bad, or at least, it wasn't the way when I had access to the free wifi so happily sat there checking the NaNo forums. On the way back it felt like ages because I was so tired and the wifi wasn't working for me.

As I had such a long day on Thursday, I'd planned to take it easy at the weekend with nothing more taxing than getting a haircut. Well, as so frequently happens, all did not go to plan.

It should be noted that I'm a pretty accident-prone person. I did, after all, manage to drive four and a half inches of wood into my thigh whilst teaching a class of Primary Fours maths; quite possibly the pinnacle of all accident-proneness. I can't deny that I often leave a wake of destruction in my path, not until a human version of a deep sea mine.

Well, as we were leaving the house for my haircut yesterday, I sat down on my beanbag to put my shoes on. Felt something tug behind me followed by a popping noise and a second later the front window's curtain and curtain rail landed on me. I'd inadvertently trapped the curtain behind the beanbag, which couldn't stand the pull so popped out of it's holder, the weight of which pulled the rest of it down.

My chair does not normally look like this.
Suffice to say, when I returned from my haircut, I quickly figured out how to get the whole shebang back together. It's as good as new, slightly less dusty even. My beanbag-slash-footrest is now banned from being left right in front of the window and all is right in the Click household again.

Until next time.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Film Review: The Return of the King, Part 5

Saturday means time for another instalment in our current film, The Return of the King. We're only a little way past the halfway point as well. I know I keep saying it, but this is a REALLY long film! I've decided to drag this film out to seven parts so we've got another two parts after this one, then it'll be time for the Hobbit films.

Last week Pippin sang a sad song for Denethor, Faramir took several arrows, Eowyn and Merry decided to go to war and things were generally miserable for everyone involved.

183. I'm no good at describing battles. There's lots of bad stuff happening. Things are being flung from both sides. Nazgul are flying overhead and grabbing soldiers while Pippin freaks out at the sound of the monsters.

184. One thing that's going against Gondor is that they've just got Men. Mordor has Orcs, Trolls and evil flying beasts. It's not really a fair fight!

185. Pippin's just sort of stumbled into Gandalf. Gandalf has to keep whacking Orcs to let Pippin get out of there safely. Gandalf is seriously badass.

186. Though it's lucky Pippin was there because the one Orc Gandalf didn't take out quick enough would've had his head if Pippin hadn't stabbed it.

187. All the same, Gandalf orders Pippin back to the Citadel, which is just as well because he's going to be needed there shortly.

188. Back at the gate to Minas Tirith, the Orcs are cracking out the heavy machinery. It's a giant battering ram shaped like a wolf which they're calling Grond.

189. But we have to wait to see what happens next because that's the end of this disc.

190. There's Peter Jackson on his boat again.

191. I love that there's just three of them standing up to a fleet of boats.

192. Oh, Orlando, shooting the director is not good for your career.

193. "This army!" Yeah, no one's going to mess with an army of the dead.

194. And back to Frodo. He really shouldn't have sent Sam away.

195. Gollum's all 'go on, go in, there's nothing bad in this dark, smelly, sticky tunnel, it's cool'.

196. This tunnel isn't really how I imagine it when I read the book, but I think it's probably closer to what a giant spider tunnel would look like.

197. If I was Frodo I'd be running in the opposite direction right now.

198. Aww, Frodo's all lost and alone now.

199. And he's just spotted all the dead things hanging from the ceiling. Probably not the sort of place you want to hang around in.

200. Meanwhile, Sam's taking a tumble down the staircase. It's a Shortcut to Lembas!

201. I get that he's angry, but why crush the food? You can eat that!

202. Where Frodo gets all tangled up in the spider web, that's what I look like when I walk through a cobweb.

203. After blundering around in the dark for ages, Frodo's just remembered Galadriel gave him a torch.

204. Now excuse me while I don't actually look at the screen for the next five minutes or so because there's a frigging GIANT SPIDER on the screen!

205. It's actually easier to watch this in the cinema than at home because you just look at a teeny tiny corner of the screen and ignore everything else going on. On a regular TV you can't help but see the whole screen at once.

206. Ugh! Frodo, she's behind you!

207. How is Gollum able to get through the tunnel without getting covered in cobwebs, but Frodo is covered?

208. Gollum's quick to put all the blame on the Ring for him trying to kill Frodo. That's like a child blaming a broken vase on their imaginary friend.

209. Oh, I forgot Frodo threw Gollum off the cliff there. I guess people who hadn't read the books would've been really surprised when he comes back at the end.

210. That's cool. Frodo falls over in Mordor and lands in Lothlórien.

211. What Galadriel is basically saying here is 'Frodo! Frodo! He's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!'

212. Horses on the screen, that means we're back to the Riders of Rohan.

213. Éowyn's pretty much prepared to go to her death. Poor Éowyn.

214. And now it's night time and Minas Tirith is still under attack.

215. Don't think those gates will hold much longer.

216. Denethor's completely flipped out now and is getting ready to bury Faramir.

217. But look, there's a flower on the White Tree! That means there's still some hope, right?

218. While Denethor's getting ready to end it all, Gandalf's taken over his job and is commanding the soldiers of Gondor.

219. I love that Gandalf tells the soldiers that 'whatever comes through that gate, you will stand your ground', then the gate opens and it looks like he's just had a wet trouser moment. I love Gandalf.

220. Ugh. Shelob's back again. *shudder*

221. Not watching the screen again.

222. Still not watching.

223. Still not watching.

224. And she got him.

225. At least after this next bit I don't have to worry about spiders again until the second Hobbit film.

226. Yay! It's Sam to the rescue. I love that he gets the heroic music as well.

227. Sorry, trying not to watch the screen again and there's not much I can say about growling spider and grunting hobbit noises.

228. I need to get me one of those lights to scare away spiders! That'd be really handy, especially this time of year when they keep appearing in my bathroom!

229. 'Don't leave me here alone. Don't go where I can't follow.' Heart broken.

230. Watch out, Sam. There's orcs about!

231. When the orc says 'What's this?' I can't help but imagine Arwen finishing up with 'a Ranger, caught off his guard?' Wrong film.

232. Back to Gondor where Pippin has realised what Denethor has planned for Faramir.

233. Denethor's well and truly lost it. And the Gondorian soldiers are so loyal to their Steward that they're not even arguing with him. You'd think they'd at least question the sanity of burning people alive.

234. Looks like the sun's just coming up now. That just means that the orcs can kill people in the city in daylight rather than the dark.

235. Now it's Gandalf to the rescue. If he can get past the Witch King of Angmar first.

236. Wow! His sword turns to fire. That's handy.

237. Gandalf really gets through staffs, doesn't he?

238. The Riders of Rohan really could not have timed that better.

239. I think Merry and Éowyn might be having second thoughts about their wisdom in joining the battle.

240. Théoden's gotten really into this now, hasn't he?

241. Random fact: lots of those riders are actually women dressed up as men. Well, in the aerial shot lots of them are neither, they're computer generated.

242. I love how the orcs suddenly realise that their arrows aren't stopping the charge. There's actual panic on their faces.

243. Denethor's giving himself and Faramir an oil shower. Sensible thing to do with all those lighted torches hanging around.

244. Aww, Pippin is so NOT a Fool of a Took in this scene. He's awesome.

245. And now Denethor realises that Faramir's not dead.

246. How does Denethor manage to get that far whilst on fire?

247. I'm no good at talking about battle scenes. The Rohirrim are fighting orcs and stuff. It's about what you'd expect.

248. Okay, I really like the Oliphaunts. I feel sorry for them because I don't think they're bad animals, they're just being used by bad people. It makes me sad to see them being hurt, even if they are computer generated.

249. I do feel sorry for the computer generated horses and people they're standing on too.

250. Oliphaunt dominoes. It's kind of like that scene in Dumbo.

251. Éowyn is pretty awesome here, she's pretty much single-handed takes out an Oliphaunt.

252. And then it nearly single-headedly takes her out too.

We'll leave things there for now.

Next week both Theoden and the Witch King meet their matches, Sam has to find Frodo and the remainder of the Fellowship prepare for their final battle.