The Sorting Companion to the Lord of the Rings – Part 1

There’s nothing I love more than a really good story. I have been reading the Lord of the Rings since high school. In college I ventured into the extended books (Silmarillion & Unfinished Tales) and also made a solid attempt at learning Quenya (truly fascinating). I happened to get Andy into the stories too, and he’s now more into the stories that I think I am (hello Cirdan the Shipwright, I never really knew you before!)

I have loved the Harry Potter books since reading the first one right after the third book came out in 1999. My high school friends can attest to my love of them (they often made fun of me). I did finally convince one of my friends to read them, and she also jumped onto the band wagon and we organised one of the best Hallowe’en parties I’ve ever been a part of (even still! but I also don’t get out much…) The theme, of course, was Harry Potter.

I religiously followed all the newest theories and discussions on Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron and loved the antics of their Pottercast (podcast) with Melissa Anelli and John Noe (who had a character in the books named after him!) when it started. I was totally all the alls for this series of books. (By the by, the heads of both those sites had an exclusive interview with JK Rowling in 2005. You can read it here!)

So recently I’ve been thinking about both of these, and have been wondering which House a character from Lord of the Rings would fall into and then I got wondering which house best represents each race. There were a couple surprises as I worked these out, but enter into the theory-dom of my imagination and let’s see how it works out and you can tell me whether you agree or disagree at the end. This is a two-part post, the first delving into sorting the races in Lord of the Rings, the second part will be sorting the characters.

The House of Each Race

Before I can get into individual characters, we need to acknowledge that each of the races in The Lord of the Rings have a House flair about them. It is not that all of a certain race are necessarily of that House; however, the culture they grow up and live in decidedly has this general attitude. I would say these observations are true of the races as we know them in the Lord of the Rings series, not (necessarily) in earlier or previous Ages.

Hobbits: Hufflepuff

These hobbits love their parties, they love their families, they are intensely loyal to one another. There is little doubt that hobbits have a Hufflepuff culture. While they did not deal with other races so much in this late second Age, their relationships with each other were of utmost importance. As JRR Tolkien noted at the end of his chapter, Concerning Hobbits:

All Hobbits were, in any case, clannish and reckoned up their relationships with great care. They drew long and elaborate family-trees with innumerable branches. In dealing with Hobbits it is important to remember who is related to whom, and in what degree.

Dwarves: Slytherin

Fiercely set on getting their way; the battle of 5 armies is the descriptive chapter that comes to mind for me. They so desperately wanted the riches they were willing to hole themselves up and starve in the Lonely Mountain before choosing friendship over riches. In fact, their culture reminds me very similarly of the Ferengi of Star Trek reknown. They have a rule of life that they live by, and two of their rules also seem to apply to dwarves:

18 A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
21 Never place friendship above profit.

Just substitute ‘dwarves’ in for Ferengi and you’ve got it all right here.

The Maiar: Ravenclaw

The maiar are kind and gentle Ravenclaws, they have supranatural knowledge and remain aloof in their meddlings. They have knowledge, they prize knowledge, and they use their knowledge for power (good and ill, as we see). It is knowledge that drives their actions and for which they make their alliances.

Elves: Slytherin

Snobby and secretive, they look down upon those not of their own kind. And they shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!

*coughcough* Er.

A little carried away, maybe. But it aptly describes the elves. They do not involve themselves in the war because it does not further their interest. They are reluctant to give aid apart from small tokens to help others risk their necks, and offer one representative for the task (similar to the dwarves.)

HOWEVER, I admit there is an extremely strong Ravenclaw flair within their society as well. They are extremely dedicated to the Arts and value knowledge greatly. If it wasn’t for their consistent value of saving their own skin and trying to manipulate to get what they want, they might have been sorted into the Ravenclaw house instead.

Humans (and Númenóreans): Gryffindor

Bravery runs deep in Gondor, and while the Rohirrim were for awhile overtaken by a darkness, their valour triumphed. Both these human cultures hold honour and gallantry in high esteem. Were it not for their dedication to these values, all might have been lost.

Nearly all the main characters of the Rohirrim exemplify the daring needed for the house of Gryffindor. One man defies his father to maintain the Gryffindor spirit; he dies for this cause. Another man takes up the challenge and daring defense of another people, knowing the cost for his people in doing so but weighing the alternatives, knows it is the right thing to do. And one woman who knows her gifts and talents well, will not be placed on the sidelines that these would wither away. Nay, she rightly takes her place as a warrior renown – against unfathomable odds she bravely takes up her sword and fights for the honour and for the dignity of her people – the ones she loves. I’ll admit, it was a layered choice, but she exemplifies Gryffindor throughout her story.

Two outstanding captains of Gondor exhibit qualities of bravery and daring, not to mention their leige, the king, who over and over again dedicates himself to the task of doing the right thing, often struggling to decide what the right course of action to take. They do so not out of any loyalty except to that which is right and just.

Well, what is your opinion? Do you differ in which races belong to which house? I’m curious to know!

Stay tuned for the next post – delving into characters and their houses!

7 Quick Takes Friday #7QT

Seven-Quick-Takes-510x510

1.

I’ve given in and have hired a company to help clean my house.

And truly, I am so thrilled beyond belief that I will have a clean house. But not a whole house – our budget can just barely afford getting the kitchen and bathrooms clean. BUT if you’ve visited our house, you’ll know just how much work it will be to thoroughly clean these areas. As in at this point in my life it really is completely beyond me.

I’ve ordered a complete clean, so they will be taking out all the dishes and cleaning all the cupboards, moving the freezer, stove, fridge, and also cleaning the fridge (inside!) as well. I am so blown away at how casual she was as she was asking me about what I’d need. Oh, and if they have time, they’ll organise and clean the landing when you walk into the house (even though we have summer and winter everythings out because of the crazy early snow). She said with absolute certainty, “My girls are really good at their job. It won’t be a problem.” Talk about melting my heart with words.

2.

Cassia is officially four.

And she is sure to tell everyone who asks exactly how old she is and that it was just her birthday; she is still quite excited. 2016-10-04-07-51-43-edit-websiteCassia received a few My Little Ponies (MLP) which she absolutely adores. While visitng grandparents, she also received little Care Bears toys (with accompanying book) and a MLP soft throw and bag. This newly minted four-year-old love love loves everything and when I asked her what type of cake she would like for her birthday, she excitedly announced, “PINK!” which totally makes my life easy. She clarified later that it was a chocolate cake with pink icing that she would really like so I just said, ‘You bet’ like a pro cause I’ve totally lucked out.

3.

Felicity was not pleased.

funkysad

Watching her older sister receive her birthday dues.

While Cassia was having a super day her younger troublemaker-in-arms was definitely not pleased that it was her birthday. She was most upset when Cassia received gifts and she did not. She was quite grumpy when Cassia got to do things she did not. And while she did sing Happy Birthday, when Cassia later exclaimed how happy she was that it was her birthday, Felicity, while menacingly gripping her high chair and leaning dangerously towards Cassia, yelled in her most angry tone and voice, “IT’S NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!”

She had had enough.

4.

The Birthday Interview

Will get its own post, maybe even later today. It definitely shines her sunny personality 🙂

5.

Ze Turkeyyy Dinnnnnnrrrr

We then trucked ourselves down to Regina for Thanksgiving, which was super duper tasty.

thanksgiving-collage

Cassia in a too-tired grump.

Everyone had a great day, which included spending a great amount of time at the park close by. The older two and myself spent some good time running around trying to catch falling leaves in the gusty wind. We definitely gave ourselves a great workout.

spencerleaves

And we managed to snap this photo, which might be an all-time best for smiles and looking at the camera. Though ze boyyyzz have some horrible shag hair going…which soon after was rectified.

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Week-Ending

Andy is switching le fin-de-semaine as of tomorrow, which means he is home Friday-Saturday until this batch of sacramental preparation classes are done. I have a love-hate relationship with this: the Friday off means we can do many, many things together with less people around (total win), but it means we don’t get Sunday together, which is a big loss too. We’ve switched to doing Mass permanently on Saturday evenings (unless other opportunities arise) which helps with the stability, but let me tell you – no evening Mass is at a good time for young kids :(. They are either hungry or tired. There truly is no in-between, just variations on intensity.

6.

Day Off

Due to regularly scheduled days off that Andy and I give each other once a month, I get mine today! I am planning on visiting with a friend, hanging out with my laptop at a pub, and going to a Naturopathy doctor to help me look into this pork intolerance things I seem to have.

7.

Pork Intolerance

Within the last year, I have developed an intolerance to pork. My body just doesn’t like it and my intestines make sure to tell me just how much they despise it shortly after eating it. It is quite unpleasant (though the occasional bacon or sausage is worth the unpleasantness. At least at this point) and I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about it. It’s probable that it’s genetic (my dad has this too), but I figured that a Naturopathy doctor would be the the choice to pursue if I want to explore alternate options than possible medication (which I don’t even know if it is an option). At any rate, my consult is tomorrow. Hoping that it helps at least shed some more light on this undesirable quandary.

Pray tell, what has your week been like?

Linking up with Kelly.

New Year, New Opportunities

Happy New Year!

We celebrated it pretty normal. After supper we played Netflix’s ‘King Julien’s New Years Countdown’ (or something like that), which is basically a 3 minute mini dance party and a 10 second count down at the end, which you can play anytime. So, we played it with the kids, I danced with them (while Andy looked on) and joyfully rang out ‘Happy New Year!’ afterward and celebrated with a chocolate kiss. Then bedtime. It was wonderful.

We had our friend Fr. Darryl over for supper, games and booze, and we happily played Star Craft the evening through while watching Star Wars in the background. Speaking of which, Fr. Darryl has graciously accepted our challenge to him: to go watch the new Star Wars again with each of us separately. You see, we haven’t a babysitter, and not a lot of extra money for it, and this way one of us stays with the kids. Fr. Darryl reluctantly accepted the task *snort*. Let’s just say he’s a fan of the movie.

So, from us to you, Happy New Year!

New Year

2 Littles, Will Travel

IMG_1684 Whenever I mention that I took my two little kids (7 months & 3 years) on a 3 week driving journey by myself, the most common response I hear is “Wow, you’re so brave!” And while I love to entertain the thought that yes, I am the brave one here, and everyone else fails to compare! … that is certainly not how my perception of what happened looks like. And the long driving part was really the only time I was “alone” with them – once I arrived at my destination I also had my mom around to help.

Was it going to be painful torture driving across 3 provinces? No. No it wasn’t. I did not set myself up to make a prophecy like that come true, starting with my mentality.

So I’ve compiled a list of 8 tips that worked for me for multiple-day travel. If you’re contemplating traveling by yourself with kids, perhaps they’ll work for you.

1.Know Your Kids

Perhaps this seems a little unenlightening, but it’s true. If your kids hate the car, I’m truly no expert in helping you make that better. You know what works and doesn’t work for your kids.

2. Don’t set high expectations

I traveled quite a bit when I was younger, all via driving. I don’t remember when I was, say, younger than 8, but I think the principle is the same: when on long journeys, boredom will ensue. Kids will be kids, and I will still be their mom. We did not sing happy-go-lucky songs the whole way, and yes, there were screaming matches. Several times. In a day. It really wouldn’t be much different than a normal day in those regards.

3. Map, map, map

I had 2-3 plans per day of travel depending on how the kids and I were doing at each particular hour come end of day. While I anticipated making it to certain places, I knew it would also depend on whether there was a ton of screaming and crying in the car (the kids too). It may have cost a bit more (not getting internet rates for hotels), but it was worth it to not be tied to a strict schedule.

IMG_1712(Fraser River, some provincial park)

4. Break it up

If you know someone in a city en route (or close to route), consider making a stopover of a couple nights. We did this on the way back to SK and I would definitely do it again. It meant one less day at our destination, but the kids welcomed the break and the next travel day began like Day 1 rather than Day 2 (of 3).

5. Constructive Distractions

I would say that there is a mentality out there that says something like, ‘kids can’t stay sitting for 5 minutes, let alone 8 hours in a car.’ Reality is this: we train our kids how to travel. If they’ve never done it before, it does not mean that they can’t, but your attitude towards it will shape their anticipation of it. You do need to know your kids and what they respond to. My son loves reading, so I made a book pouch for the back of the seat that he could reach that was filled with books. Along the way, I bought him a new book from the author Richard Scarry (one of his favourites). This helped once he had made serious rounds through all his books. He also loves cars (Hot Wheels style), so we packed about 10-15 of his favourites to play with. Interacting with him wasn’t great (needing to focus on the road and all), but we had silly faces contests through the rear view mirror and occasionally I attempted to tickle him. We also had a portable DVD player. I used this as a last resort, when even staring out of the window in complete boredom had taken its toll. I would recommend that it is worth purchasing one, even if you don’t intend on using it. When you just want to pull out your hair and throw the kids on the side of the road with a “Take me!” sign, this thing might just save you (and possibly your kids from your wrath). While I inherited ours from my grandfather, kijiji and craigslist would be two other places to look for cheap ones.

My daughter was a little harder to please. After our first 7 hours of driving, I detected a rhythm: sleep, happy, unhappy, hungry. This would repeat over and over. Occasionally a poopy diaper would mess up the routine, but this pretty much summed her up. Because she was relatively easy to predict, I just adjusted our driving to reflect that. She was (and is) still breastfeeding, so we would have to stop, I would get her out (Spencer would complain that he couldn’t leave his seat incessantly), feed her, burp her, change her diaper, jump her a couple times, then plop her back in her seat. This worked for her, but every baby is different. A couple things usually stay the same though: they will need to sleep, they will need to eat, and they will need diaper changes.  Account for the feeding and diaper changing time when considering your driving.

6. Meals in the car (make me) go round and round

IMG_2008 We generally made 2 meal stops per day. For the life of me, I could not make it shorter than 1 hour. They usually tied in with Cassia’s feeding and diaper changing too. So after my first day, I sucked up my pride and admitted that I just couldn’t make it shorter and stopped feeling angry about it. It wasn’t worth the stress (truly, there usually is enough).

We went to fast food places (yes, judge me all you want, but I did come back alive. I think the kids are too). While at first I was all “Yeah, we’ll go to ones that have a playground” this turned out to not be smart. If I wanted the stops to be as short as possible, 1 hour did not include playing. My son was extremely unimpressed with me (read: tantrum) that I was not allowing him to play at our first meal on the road. I avoided them like the plague after that.

Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘if you wanted it short, why didn’t you just eat in the car?‘. Great question. It comes back to my second point: don’t set high expectations. Kids will be kids, and the change of scenery kept my kids happy. It gave them a chance to stretch their legs (mine too), I could retrieve thrown items from unfathomable car places, and also not feel like I was completely neglecting my kids. It just worked better for us and where my kids are at.

7. Bring snacks or die

This is literally how it felt in the car. I’ll admit: I used snacks as a distraction for my son to keep him happy longer. Were they uber healthy and good for him? Nope. Too much work (and too perishable, usually). The one time I bought him a little snack pack of things like hummus, veggies, and healthy crackers, he just ate the crackers and tried to throw the rest on the floor. Yup, not impressed, so it didn’t happen again.

8. Exhaustion is expected

IMG_1969 I expected that I would get tired while driving. I don’t drive a terrible amount for long periods. I knew there would come times when I would realise I would be a hazard on the road if I continued without a nap. My advice: suck it up, pull over, and have a nap. Even an interrupted nap should help, and don’t set a time limit on when you think you ‘should be up by’. Your life, your children’s, and other drivers’ are on the line if you drive while sleepy. Not. Worth. It. And if you are truly, truly having a hard time continuing even after your nap, find the nearest town and pull in for the night. Often we take driving for granted when the majority of what we do is city driving and short-distance driving. I find long-distance driving is like a marathon but we have no training or practice for it, so be prepared to take naps when you feel you need it. Better to make it to the end slow and steady than pretend you’re fine and not make it. IMG_1777

(Greater Vancouver Zoo with a new friend [for Spencer] and catching up with an old friend [for me])

I know my experiences will not be for everyone. However, I would encourage you to not be daunted by the idea. I mean, really, if Cassia had it her way she would never put food in her mouth with the purpose of eating it, but I smile at her and encourage her to do so, and even though right now she spits everything out, eventually she’ll learn to enjoy the experience. This is how we learn things. We train our kids how to travel. Arm yourself with knowledge of your kids and you’ll have the best chance of having a great time. We certainly did.

There are also resources for the research-inclined parent:
http://havechildrenwilltravel.com/
http://havebabywilltravel.com/

IMG_1932(Butchart Gardens, Victoria)

Have you traveled with small kids? What things have worked for you?