A Discussion of Very Old Friends

Good Morning all, Lo here, and I’m guesting for a bit while RG does his thing. As per usual, I’m a little late, but I make up for it with an almost conniption-fit-inducing zest.

I like to think I’m straightening the shelves (unnecessarily) and caring for the gardens (ineffectually) of Bag-End, until the high-flying, tawdry adventures of its master come to close.

This thought brings me to what I wanted to discuss today. I was going to post an entry on Monday about my game, but I was having trouble knowing exactly what to say. If you, darling readers, have read my posts on this blog before, you know that I’m relatively new to gaming, and thus have very little to say that you all have not already hashed and re-hashed until you were bored to tears…

But I’m not new to fantasy. Oh no. There was a time in my life when I spent the grand majority of it in the nebulous and all-encompassing elsewhere. In school I would pretend that outside the windows I could see where my epic tier hero companions were hiding, frustrated and slightly confused, on the play ground, trying to figure out how to bust me out of school so we could battle evil. After school the kids on my street and I would all get together, divvy up the only powers worth having (control of nature, control of elements, super strength, super speed, shape change) and be entertained for hours.

And, whenever I got the chance… I would read.
Laughing is one of those necessities in life that comes free, so laugh all you want. Some of my best friends are books. You gamers out there… how many of you had a ranger based on Strider? Or a wizard with the omniscience of Merlin, the mischief of Gandalf, the dry, light-hearted goodness of Albus Dumbledore?

Nowadays, I do relish being the hero… Listening to my own voice speak words of disdain or gleaming, singing hope in darkest night. But the awe that gripped my young heart, the humbling wonder of being a spectator in these tales of true greatness, heartbreaking goodness, and blackest evil…

Just the memory of those books catches my heart. I touch the spine of an old book and it’s like laughing and chatting with an old friend, sharing secret jokes and reminiscing of times long since past.

I picked up The Hobbit the other day. I must have read that book no less than eight times during my middle school years. The ghost of an autumn breeze caught my nose as I remembered sitting under a lamp post in the early evening gloom, listening to the dwarves singing to a quite befuddled Bilbo. I remember being lost in the elf kingdom with our squat adventurer at a New Year’s party whilst the guests flitted around me and the fire was glowing. I remember weeping quite unadulterated, sitting at the top of a twisted slide as Thorin finally passed, brave, noble, and redeemed.

Similar stories could be told about a fourth of July gathering and the Fourth Harry Potter book, or a softball tournament where the entire team sat on the bench reading the fifth one that had just come out the night before. I know that I would not have remembered any details about these places, except that I cherished the time I was lucky to be a part of these grand tales of might and magic.

I know I have talked about these stories with friends until I’m blue in the face and the sun is rising and all of the Mountain Dew and Doritos are gone. Little more needs to really be said, as it has all been said before (very much like with old friends, actually.)

I think it is important, however, to remember how easily you were swept up in those stories. I think that is why most of us game in the first place. We get so bogged down in mechanics talk, and so tied up in making the mostest specialest powerfulest munchkin monstrosity that was ever sewn together, we lose that awe, that wonder and very, very real love that we all possess in our secret hearts for a fantastical world of great feats and greater men.

If I had known that there was nothing that could have killed Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Frodo, would I have invested so much hope in their safety as they threw themselves into the path of Dark Riders for the Greater Good? Hell no. I would have said “pfft. Whatever. They Rexxor.”

(Laughs) I’m trying to say so many things at once here. Gaming is gaming, fun comes from a lot of directions, including being with friends and having cool, beaty powers you don’t have in real life. I had just forgotten how dear these stories were to me. How they captured my mind and warmed my heart and changed me forever. I wield maple sticks and joy sticks and D10’s and 20’s today just to pretend to be that awesome.
Maybe remembering that joy and reacquainting with old friends can help keep the soul thriving in our games.

Alright, that’s it, and it was a little too long for how little I said. Ah well, until next time:

– Lo Out

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5 responses

  1. You said plenty and I enjoyed all of it.

  2. Thanks for the post Lo… I’m glad I have friends to cover for me while I get stuff back together.

    If I may make one small suggestion. Don’t forget to use categories and tags on your posts. I would be happy to explain that more if you want, and you can add whatever categories/tags you feel you need…

    Thanks again.

  3. … magic? (yes please)

  4. I’m am jealous of those who started reading fantasy and sci-fi at a young age – especially the classics. I didn’t read Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or even Harry Potter until I was in college (although, with Harry Potter, it didn’t come out until late middle school/high school for me). I’m not sure why I missed them – I’m ashamed that I had never even heard of Tolkien until the movies came out. (And yes, there are a lot of classics that I have missed – I can’t remember them off the top of my head)

    However, I devoured the Star Wars and Star Trek novels that came out in the 90’s. In high school, I would go into the fantasy section of Walden Books and pick up whatever fantasy novel had the best cover (not a good way to pick books). I also was very into the RPG video game genre, which satisfied my need for epic, fantastical stories. And to my immense shame, I got hooked on fanfiction – I wanted to read about continuing adventures about my favorite characters (even if they weren’t very good) – Obi-Wan (the younger years), Sailor Moon, Ryudo from Grandia II, Zelos from Tales of Symphonia, and many more.

    So, that long rambling comment was only to say, I totally get where you’re coming from, even if I see it from the cartoon/video game perspective and less from the literature side.

  5. I was really REALLY hoping for a response like this ❤ thank you Jennifer.

    I read lots of fanfiction too. The Marauders from harry potter were some of my absolute favorite characters (hence the pawprint on my foot) and… that way… I got to see what they may have been like in their years at Hogwarts. Some of the stories weren't written extremely well, but I was satiated.

    I wish I had read MORE. I was so damn picky, I didn't want to waste my time on crappy books, I only wanted to read the best because I had so little time in high school… now I feel like I really missed out because there are so many books out there I'd like to read and not really a lot of time to read them.

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