Bookish

T5W Rewind – Favourite Villains

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This month’s topics for the Top 5 Wednesday series are Rewind topics – which means we can choose any previously used topic throughout the series. For today’s topic, I have chosen Favourite Villains.


In any book I read or a movie I watch, I crave complex characters.

I enjoy discovering characters that are not entirely likeable.

The protagonists must have flaws and the purpose of their stories is to overcome them. Equally, for their antagonists, there must be still some humanity left in them in order for me to sympathise with them. I will not condone their actions, but I may at least understand, where that behaviour is coming from.

There are many evil psychopathic villains out there and they have their place. My list below probably consists mostly of sympathetic or rather tragic villains.

Side note: The Orangutan Librarian wrote a brilliant post on Why Villains are the Greatest. I really recommend checking it out!


  • Sméagol / Gollum – The Lord of the Ring Series

Gollum

Let’s pause and appreciate Gollum’s portrait by Frédéric Bennett 

Gollum is probably my favourite.

I like his character because there is still some humanity left in him, despite being consumed by his extremely powerful desire for the Ring.

He always gives me hope; that humanity can persevere.

  • Loki – Norse Mythology (and Marvel comics)

loki

Picture by incredible artist Sceith

Loki is a broken man damaged by his past.

The legends tell us the harder he tries, the harder he usually falls.

I guess that could make his actions seem somehow relatable. And I think that’s what makes him an interesting character as well.

  • Magneto – Marvel Comics, X-Men

Magneto

Image credit

Another character haunted by his dark past.

His intentions are to make the world a better place for the mutants.

Unfortunately his approach, to kill all humans, is what makes him an anti-hero material. That doesn’t mean we approve of his choices, but can at least understand what made him into that villain.

  • Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader

star wars origin

Photo credit

Because every hero has a villain potential.

And because we don’t know what we are capable of doing until everything we love is threatened to be taken away from us.

And because of that redemption and hope that goes with it.

  • Jamie Lannister from “A Song of Ice and Fire” series

George R.R Martin has this cunning ability to create complex characters that I just want to know more of.

got__jaime_lannister_by_antylopa-dazvdlv

Amazing drawing by Antylopa

Jamie is one of them.

In the first few books, he is a ‘classic’ villain. His actions are fuelled by his selfish and ego-centric behaviour and of course there is that sibling love.

Then he is forced to face his disability and he raises up to that challenge.

It has something to do with certain Brienne of Tarth. Their unlikely friendship and those first glimpses of Jamie’s humanity, that were there all along but buried deep within, are probably one of my favourite parts of the Game of Thrones series.


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your favourite villains? Fancy sharing some of them with me? 🙂

Bookish

T5W – Favourite Fandom Items

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

In this week’s topic, let’s talk about Favourite Fandom Items.  “Whether it’s something you own or something you are lusting after, what are some of your favourite fandom items / merchandise / memorabilia? Your picks don’t all have to be from the same fandom.”


I’ll start with a long caveat. Please bear with me. 😊

I don’t own many things. I feel more things I own, more they start owning me. I ruthlessly go through my possessions on a regular basis constantly questioning if they add value to my life and if the answer is no, finding a new home for them.

I call myself a minimalist; that word may evoke in others imagines of empty walls and rooms with no furniture – that’s not me at all.

I could describe my approach as a mindful consumerism. I ask myself if I need things before I buy them. And if the answer is no, I ask myself if by owning them, I would gain any value out of them. I don’t just buy things I need though; I also buy things that my artistic self loves and that bring me joy.

I am not judging anyone who has a different approach or preferences to mine.

We are all different; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way here. Whatever brings you joy is perfectly fine. No comparing or judging at all. Please don’t take any of this as a lecturing post. I have many anxieties and this approach seems to keep them at bay.

With this full disclosure over, let’s dive in to my favourite items:

1)    Dr. Brené Brown’s books

brene browns books

I have mentioned Dr. Brené Brown name quite a few times already on my blog.

I don’t own many physical copies of books, with most printed books James and I own being either climbing guides, hiking guides or non-fiction books.

I own physical copies of all Brown’s books. I love re-reading them and use them whenever I need a little pick me up. I love Brown’s work, admire her story telling ability and genuinely want to support her message as much as I can.

2)    The Daring Way™ certification

manifesto

This one goes hand in hand with my previous point.

I am ‘lusting’ after The Daring Way™ certification.

It is an empirically based training and certification program based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. I am currently going through Life Coach certification and working toward the day when I’ll be able to certify via The Daring Way™ programme as well. As you can clearly see: I deeply believe in Dr. Brené Brown’s work!. 🙂

3)    Lynn Hill and my signed copy of her autobiography Climbing Free

If you haven’t see Valley Uprising on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It’s about history of Yosemite Valley’s climbing scene and how it has evolved through years. You don’t have to be a climber to appreciate the story and all those stunning visuals, at least I hope. 🙂

One of my favourite female climbers featured in that movie is Lynn Hill aka Lynnie. She is an extraordinary climber that defined what was possible by being the first climber ever to free climb in 1993 The Nose, a famous route on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

And this is what she said about it:

“Trying to free climb The Nose just happened to be the perfect goal for me and I liked the fact this climb was in Yosemite because I remember going there and just seeing the valley and it was just mind blowing how beautiful it was. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place anywhere in the world. For me The Nose was much bigger than me, it wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about my ego, my gratification it was actually something that I wanted to do.

I felt like I had a chance and that if I could do that it would be a really big statement to people to think about.

You don’t have to be a man to do something that’s ‘out there’ as a first ascent.

Obviously people tried to do that route and they failed on it and so if a lot of good climbers have come and tried to do it and failed and a woman comes and does it first it’s really meaningful. That was my underlying motivation.”

~Andy McCue “Interview: Lynn Hill”. www.climber.co.uk. 19 April 2013

I went to the Women in Climbing Symposium last November where Lynn Hill was the main speaker. I cherish the memory of hearing her talk about her adventures, meeting her in person and having her sign my copy of her book.

4)    Adam Ondra and his signed poster

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This poster currently hangs in our garage opposite our little training climbing wall. Adam Ondra is a fellow Czech climber and he is considered by some possibly the best climber in the world at the moment.

I have watched his climbing movies and enjoyed witnessing his, not only physically challenging, but also mentally gruelling climbing projects. He challenges what is possible and how far our bodies can go.

Hearing him talk in London in 2014 for Urbanrock, at the Westway Climbing Centre was such a brilliant experience. He came across as extremely modest given his levels of achievement. Having him sign his poster for us was the cherry on the cake.


In order to grow, we have to be ready to continuously fail. If we are not failing, our goals are not big enough.

Brown in her Rising Strong writes about how to pick ourselves up after each of those failures.

You can say Brown gives me tools so I can be brave to continuously fail whilst Hill and Ondra inspire me via showing me what’s possible if you are courageous enough to Dare Greatly (yup, another reference to Brown! 😉 ).


5)    The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs directed by Peter Jackson

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I love these DVDs. They are not just a movie adaptation. There is something epic about them. I almost felt like a received a permission to openly obsess about LOTR once they got aired as all of sudden everyone knew what those books were all about.

I still re-watch them from time to time and enjoy getting lost in the magical world J.R.R. Tolkien created for us and Peter Jackson visually brought to our homes.


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your favourite items you either own or are lusting after? Fancy sharing some of them with me?

And if you have done yours in the post, please let me know. I can’t wait to see others’ treasures and their lists. Mostly because I am nosy curious! 🙂 

Bookish

T5W – Ideal Mash-Ups

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

In this week’s topic, let’s talk about Ideal Mash-Ups.


I had a lot of fun thinking about this week’s topic. My boyfriend and I discussed our creative mash-ups over the weekend whilst visiting his parents. A few of creations below are his ideas I totally bought into.

So without further ado, here are some of my favourites:

  • Sherlock vs Homeland

Imagine: London, a terrorist investigation featuring Sherlock, who is helping the domestic counter-intelligence and Carrie, who is sent over by the CIA to assist. Both characters prefer their own ways and initially start running two separate investigations.

They are complex characters known to suffer from mental health issues, both extremely skilled investigators, both using their own methods.

Who do you bet your money on? Would one of them crack a case quicker than another?…

Or..

Can you see them working together? Even starting to respect one another perhaps? I can see the latter. 🙂 I would expect some initial rivalry but I reckon Carrie could reach out and Sherlock could reluctantly start respecting her or vice versa… 🙂

This one was brought to you by… my boyfriend James. 😀

  • Black Mirror vs. American Gods

Another of James’ creations.

We had a lengthy discussion on which episode of Black Mirror to use and how to incorporate American Gods into it. Despite loving Black Mirror, I haven’t seen some of the initial episodes and my memory is… not that great.. so I’ll go with the fairly recent social media episode called ‘Nosedive‘.

It is set in a not so distant future where we can rate each other (one to five stars) for every interaction we have. The rating has an impact on our social as well as economic status. Think sites such as Trustpilot but rather than rating services, you are rating people. Nosedive gave me creeps as I could see this happening one day.

Let’s say the Technology God from the American Gods gets involved. He would love that eh? The entire Black Mirror series would be right up his alley.

As people believe more and more in technology, aka him, he starts gaining more and more power. What will he do with it? Something less than ideal I imagine… 😉 It would be fun intertwining those two series together.

  • Stranger Things vs. The Shining

You know those kids on bikes from Stranger Things? How about them stumbling upon mysteriously appeared Overlook Hotel from The Shining?

Jack Torrance, being an aspiring writer, may even offer to help them write a story of the Upside Down for them. And then of course, things start going a bit pear-shaped.

The Shining

Here’s Johnny!

  • The Lord of the Rings vs. Throne of Glass

I’m thinking: Celaena from Throne of Glass series somehow stumbling upon the Fellowship of the Ring and reluctantly agreeing to help them with their quest.

Wouldn’t she add a bit of diversity and humour to this group? And would’t she find Gandalf to be both a wise but also potentially annoying mentor? I am seeing some great banter opportunities there!

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland vs. The Game of Thrones

This one came to me unexpectedly on a whim.

I adore Lewis Carroll’s nonsensical world of Wonderland. I would be thrilled to get the Game of Thrones‘ characters, mainly Tyrion Lannister thrown into it… to see what would happen. 😉 Imagine a massive hole appears and quite a few GoT characters fall through it to Wonderland.

Would cunning and strategic Tyrion be able to deal with a world that just makes no sense?

Side note: he is extremely skilled at that but Wonderland would be pushing it to another level. 😉

Imagine John Snow having to deal with the Queen of Hearts. Fun, right? GoT is sometimes extremely sombre and serious. Let’s get Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat involved and again, let’s just see what happens. I reckon we would be in for a treat. 😀


This is the part where I stop talking and will pass it over to you.

  • What would your fun mash up be? If you have done yours via post, let me know so I can check it out please. 😊🙏
  • And what do you think of some of mine / James’ mash ups? 
Bookish

T5W – Favourite Teachers / Mentors

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This week’s topic is: Favourite Teachers / Mentors

I thought long and hard about this one.

Off the top of my head, my quick answers were Gandalf the Grey in LOTR, Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter, Yoda in Star Wars, Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men… More I thought about that though, more I felt that all of those mentors fitted a certain archetype.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those characters. I think they are wonderful – full of wisdom, strength and kindness and I see them as having a prominent and well-deserved place in their stories.

However being a female, I wanted to show some female representation. After some thinking, I came up with following list:

Side note: I may have cheated as used fictional characters from both literature as well as movies. 🙂 Oh well.. 😉

  • Aibileen Clark, The Help 

the help

Aibileen’s wonderfully complex character is one of my favourite mentoring characters.

The Help is set in 1962 with Aibileen being one of the main characters. She is a black woman who has been taking care of white babies since she was a teenager. She has raised many children.

In the book, Aibileen taught Mae Mobley to value kindness, intelligence and fairness. Mae Mobley is an abused child that would have not have any self-worth had it not been for Aibileen.  She also made her aware of racial equality and civil rights – something very dangerous but extremely important during that time.

One of my favourite quotes of this book is:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” 

  • Sarah Connor, The Terminator

Sarah-Connor-Terminator-Linda-Hamilton-f

Another flawed and interesting character is Sarah Connor, originally a meek college student with no confidence who is barely surviving.

Then, she stumbles upon some cyborg assassins sent from the future to kill her son, John Connor, destined to be the future resistance leader fighting against domineering machines.

And she is raises to this challenge.

She mentors her son, John, to prepare him for what is to come in the hopes of changing his destiny. Her tapes and lessons gave John the knowledge to stand up to the machines and help humanity survive the trials ahead.

She balances that line between masculine and feminine traits. A tough soldier but also a protective and loving mother.

  • Katherine Watson, Mona Lisa Smile

2003_Mona_Lisa_Smile

We are at Wellesley College in the 1950s. Katherine Watson’s female students’ predominant aspirations are to marry well and to become excellent housewives. I enjoyed how Katherine teaches her students to think for themselves.

“I don’t even want you to like it. What I want you to do is consider it.” 

The lesson I personally loved the most was:  marriage and career are not mutually exclusive. Side note: this was 50’s! 🙂

  • Mary Poppins

marry poppins

I adore her “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” metaphor. I interpret the “spoonful of sugar” as a love metaphor.

I also enjoyed her lessons on how to have fun and enjoy life:

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and—snap—the job’s a game!”

Mary used humour as well as kind firmness to instil a sense of wonder and values of love and zest for life to young Michael and Jane Banks lives.

  • Gandalf the Grey, The Lord of the Rings

gandalf

He is an extremely powerful mentor as he is… well quite frankly extremely wise. 🙂

He drops his nuggets of wisdom to anyone in his proximity and helps them evolve.

Equally, he disappears now and again to allow characters to grow based on what they learned.

It’s that mixture of presence and sometimes absence that makes him a great mentor as sometimes the greatest lessons are unfortunately learned ‘the hard way’.

My favourite quotes of his:

“I have found that it is the small everyday deed of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”


Now over to you my friends.

Do you have a favourite fictional Mentor / Teacher? Fancy sharing them with me? 🙂

Bookish

T5W – Favourite Science Fiction / Fantasy in Other Media

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This week’s topic is: Favourite Science Fiction / Fantasy in Other Media

All five of the movies / TV series below have something in common:

  • Complex, flawed characters that grow
  • A quest
  • Intriguing antagonists that almost complete our protagonists
  • Atmosphere
  • I can not stop thinking about what I just saw for a long time

Side note: I am currently reading Into the Woods by John Yorke. Hence the story decomposing attempt. 🙂 There is an excellent review of this book @ Baking Thad’s blog which made me interested in it in the first place.

Anyhow, back to the movies. Without further ado, let me tell you about my favourite Science Fiction / Fantasy films:

The Lord of the Rings

lotr.jpg

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” 
― Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings, ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Because of the quest Frodo undertakes, that journey he is on that changes him. He grows but he also starts becoming darker.

Because of that relationship between Frodo and Gollum as they can relate to another due to the Ring’s corruption.

Because of all those wonderful friendships, especially the one between Frodo and Sam.

Game of Thrones

GOT

“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” 
― Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones,  ~ George R.R. Martin

Because of all of those complex female protagonists.

Because of the lack of goodbad characters’ labels. Seemingly ‘good’ characters make terrible mistakes / ‘bad’ characters do something selfless and we have to pause and notice them from a new perspective and rethink how we feel about them.

Because it is complicated, unpredictable, tactical and I just love guessing what will happen next. Can we have the next season NOW please!!!

Stranger Things

stranger things

“You shouldn’t like things because people tell you you are supposed to.” 
― Jonathan Byers

Because I am the 80’s kid.

Because a group of 12-year-old kids on bikes fighting a monster = nostalgia.

Because of its darkness, its friendships, its underdogs going on a quest story.

Because of extremely well-built tension resulting in me biting my nails and screaming. Side note: hiding behind a pillow is a favourite back up option of mine.

Star Wars 

star wars

“Do, or Do Not; there is no Try.” 
― Yoda

Because every hero has a strong villain potential.

Because there is a lot of wisdom in it.

Because of a cute R2D2 and all that humour it brings.

Because of the unexpected Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker revelation.

Because of courage, hope and memorable characters.

Black Mirror

black mirror

“How did he die then?

Oh, they cut him open to see if he was okay.”

Because it’s completely fucked up.

Because it makes me think. It provokes me to ask questions I may not ask otherwise.

Because of not so distant future and possibilities technology may bring us.

Because each episode has a unique and remarkable story line.

Because it’s relatable and dark with glimpses of hope now and again.


Now over to you my friends:

  • Which Science Fiction / Fantasy  movies / TV series do you enjoy?
  • And do they have a common theme?