"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Friday, September 22, 2023

2023 Tolkien Blog Party This or That Tag // I Test My Sanity Through Seeing Fire

Greetings friends I don't know half of you half as well as I should like!

Just kidding, I like all of you as much as Gollum likes his precious!

Happy birthday to both Bilbo and Frodo, as in the world of Tolkien, today is Hobbit Day! Hamlette is hosting her eleventh(ty-first?) blog party in honor of all things Middle Earth. 

Since my (academic) test for the day is done, I'm here to quickly fill out her tag while "I See Fire" - by Ed Sheeran is on repeat (I've never seen The Desolation of Smaug, but I discovered this song a few weeks ago and it's making me want to watch it.) I was going to link it for you guys, but my computer is being rude and not letting me. Sorry. But that means you should go look it up!

I am far from a Tolkien expert and am in the lower ranks of fans, among the people who are merely pleased by the professor's stories. So make sure you check out every one else's posts HERE!

This is a blanket statement of SPOILERS for The Hobbit (book and third movie) as well as Lord of the Rings (books and unextended versions of the movies.)

Which of each pair do you prefer, and why?

1. Rohan or Gondor?

Honestly, I can never remember the difference between these two! I know Rohan has Riders...but that's my only difference. Okay, Theoden King is in Rohan, right? Then Rohan because I love Theoden King. And I also have a soft spot for my boi Eomer.

2. Rivendell or Lothlorien?

Lothlorien all the way. Trees are all I need in life.

This is how I picture it.

3. Erebor or Moria?

*blinks* That is a huge assumption that I know what Erebor is. *quick internet search* Oh, the Lonely Mountain! I feel like I should say Moria because I knew what it was...but Imma say Erebor because it has dragon hoards inside it instead of orc hoards.


4. Bilbo or Frodo?

Cruel. I feel like I talk about this all the time, but here it is for newcomers: I am Frodo. He's one of the fictional characters I relate to the most. The struggle between asking for help and doing something on my own is very real.

But after all that, I'm picking Bilbo. Because I love the adventure in his heart.


5. Merry or Pippin?

Easiest question ever: Merry. Pippin is the kind of person who in real life I would want to strangle all the time and yell "FOOL OF A TOOK" every few minutes. Merry is overlooked because he just chills. Give him some credit for doing what he's told, okay? He's vibing.

6. Galadriel or Elrond?

So, before I watched Rings of Power (which I'm still working on. I was originally going to do a post on it for this party but I still haven't finished. It's taken me over a year, but one of the reasons is I love it too much and don't want it to be over) I would've chosen anyone over Elrond. Elrond could be paired with about anyone in all of Middle Earth and I would've picked the other person. I mean, I don't actively dislike him. In the trilogy, his actions make sense and are reasonable, I just don't have any reason to like him. I'm very neutral.



I love Elrond with all my heart in this show. His humor, his SMILE, his care, his diplomacy, his concern...I could go on. But I haven't finished the show, so I'm trying to remain calm until I see what made him turn into the character we know.

This isn't to say I didn't like Galadriel in Rings of Power; quite the opposite! I thought she was amazing. I just have always liked her, so I didn't do a 180 the way I did with Elrond.

7. Eomer or Faramir?




Don't make me choose! I already mentioned how much I love one of them this post. I feel like Eomer doesn't get enough credit for being a good brother. I mean, neither does Faramir, but Faramir is also dealing with parent problems, so my heart breaks for him more. But I relate to Eomer more. But I don't want to choose the person I relate to. But I don't want to NOT choose the person I relate to because I already did that this post.

I haven't read anyone else's answers yet, but I feel like everyone is going to choose Faramir. And he deserves it because he's probably in my top 5 favorite characters. Maybe top 3. But I want to let Eomer know he's loved, too.

8. Fili or Kili?

Do you guys know how long ago I had any experience with these characters? 8 years. I just know that they are darling together and I will not separate them. I just remember that it was THEIR FAULT that poor little me was crying over The Hobbit at midnight.

I feel like I'd get more of the context of this if I'd seen the movies, but I still find it hilarious. And no, this doesn't mean I'm picking Kili. I'm picking both.

9. Bard or Beorn?

*pretends I know the difference*

I mean, I have stickers of Bard that I won from Hamlette a few years ago which usually generate the question "Is that Orlando Bloom?". So we'll go with Bard because I see him on a regular basis.

If anyone knows what he's saying, tell me. I just like the gif for his expression.

10. Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White?

This is not fair! You can't choose to like one character before and after an event because they are the same person! But we change every second of every day, so you would have to pinpoint a specific second. Anyway, I'm not deciding. Though the Grey has many more quotable lines. But that's all I'm saying.


And you guys thought that I was joking, but in the hour it took for me to type this up, I listened to "I See Fire" without stopping. One reason was I was trying to block out my roommates playing Super Mario. The majority of the reason, though, is that it is INCREDIBLE and such a jam.

Thank you to Hamlette for hosting this year after year! Make sure to check out the other posts. Thank you to all of you for reading!

Which side would you pick for each of these characters or places? How do you feel about characters changing over time? And most importantly, have you listened to the song??

Chloe the MovieCritic

Monday, August 14, 2023

All My Sons // 10 (+1) More Fictional Boys I Have Adopted

Hello, friends!

Today's post is brought to you by a title: All My Sons by Arthur Miller. It is one of the few plays I have actually read (as opposed to watched), and I love it. That has more to do with it's connection to my favorite musical artist, but it's still literary. 

A while ago, while I was gushing over my babies, my sister said "You and all your sons". So it feels applicable to one of my favorite subjects.

Let's do this again.


Do you remember the post where I explained the concept of my "babies"? HERE it is. Go read that if you haven't because this is just a continuation of that.

But, if you don't want to: Tl;dr: I designate myself as the mother to my favorite characters who are a) helpless, b) clueless, c) sometimes hopelessly in love, and d) in desperate need of a hug.

One second my sons make me say:

And the next moment they make me do this:

It's exhausting taking care of these dudes.

("MC, uh, you realize these characters are fictional, right?" I absolutely do. All the more reason for me to worry about them because no one else is.)

This time around I am not ranking them, just putting them in alphabetical order by first name. I do have fictional daughters that need to be talked about, but this just seemed like too good of a title to pass up. Next we'll just talk about children in general.

(I've also started "adopting" people in real life which my sister says is unhealthy. I am the ultimate mom friend. Ooops....)

These aren't spoilers because I'm giving things out of context and not focusing on the plot. I'm talking about why I love the characters. I totally get that if you want that as a surprise, too, so feel free to skip over the ones you don't know! But my secondary goal of this post is to convince you to watch/read the things you haven't, so if you're looking for recommendations check these out...

Andreas Marowski from Ladies in Lavender (2004)

We are not going to talk about what this movie did to me. How it BROKE ME. But we're not going to talk about that. (This is me more telling myself that me telling you guys. Like writing "I will not tell lies".)

This poor guy starts the film off almost drowning. Looking like a wet, miserable kitten will definitely make me want to cuddle you. On top of that, the place where he ends up is not his native land. So everyone speaks a different language. These two old ladies seem to be nice but what in the world are they saying? Then he finds the universal communication: music. The strings of the violin reawaken his soul. The fact that the ladies get him all dressed up to go play music?? ADORABLE.

He gets into making decisions later that are a struggle with the future. Different people are trying to convince him of different things by their means and nobody is giving him a hug. Give him a hug, okay? He's brilliant.

If a sweet youngling brings anyone of any age flowers, I will adopt that person on the spot. He got some for both Ursula and Janet (though she didn't really approve).

Asher Lev from My Name is Asher Lev - by Chaim Potok

The guy just wants to paint, okay?


A common element of my babies is how they have terrible parents, ergo I want to be their new parent. Asher's parent's aren't the worst ever, but there are struggles. When I read this book for a class we were focusing on the theological growth, but my professor said he thought it would be really interesting to read it focusing on the mother. Because she is a vital crux of the story.

One of the hardest parts early on in the book is when Asher's mother is sick and for the first time Asher and his dad have to get along by themselves. There's so much despair wrapped up and no one is wrapping Asher up in a hug.

Asher's dad is dealing with a lot of pressures in other ways and just doesn't understand his son. This is a whole problem with the book where people are trying to make Asher choose to be one thing over another. Just let him be both! I feel torn apart a lot because I relate to many different arguments and people want me to choose. And life isn't black and white; its colors show through both the paintbrush and the pen.

Bryce Loski from Flipped (2010)

Because hello, my heart. He's an absolute himbo. And I mean that in the best possible way. He's just clueless, okay?

Maybe I should start a checklist for these boys and whether or not they have decent parents. His mother is doing the best she can, but his dad...ooof. Bryce has his grandpa, but Pops seems more interested in forming a relationship with the girl across the street than his own grandson. And speaking of that girl, what is with Julie Baker?? Why won't she leave him alone?? (I for one ADORE Julie and would be the kind of mother who would encourage him to make friends with her and he would think it was torture.)

To reference Okay for Now, that's "the terrified eye" if I ever saw one.

Bryce just wants to enjoy Bonanza. He does not want to be teased about Julie Baker when he has never wanted anything from her except to be left alone. The plans this dork comes up with though. THE PLANS. Like asking a girl out only to have your bestie fess up to her that it was just to have people forget about Julie Baker.

His pretending-to-listen-face, though.
I can't forget to mention THE EGGS. My. poor. baby. I mean, what he did was absolutely wrong. But I also don't have the courage to talk to people and I am constantly searching to avoid conflict, so I get it. I would likely do the same. He inherited it from me. I know he's more than the sum of his parts and he just has to find that for himself.

I would still be stoked that he got to do this, though it was TORTURE for him.

He doesn't realize that Garrett's a jerk, and that trees are beautiful (though that was quite a comeback: "If by beautiful you mean unbelievably ugly, then yes, I would agree."), and he's fighting against this weird feeling inside him. And what's the big idea with perpetual motion?

It is a treat to watch this movie and just focus on his expressions. Because they are hilarious.

I'm not trying to be biased towards anyone on this list because I love them all, but I've just seen this movie A LOT. And it's in my top ten of all time. So. I love the book, too, but the movie hits me in the feels like nothing else.

Charlie Delgado from Lemonade Mouth (2011)

The drummer is my son genetically. Because not many of you probably know this, but one of my goals in life is to play the drums. I just think they're so cool.

Anyway, we were going to start the parent problem meter: check, he's got it. He's suffering from having a perfect brother. And his parents want him to be exactly like the perfect brother. But he doesn't like soccer. Drumming, on the other hand...

Which is why joining a band is the perfect thing for him. Even if it happened in detention. He's so used to hiding in the back of a class, he's the most in awe of the attention the band gets. It's quite adorable. Especially because he's not used to girls talking to him. I never went to high school so I'm not one to say what movies set there are accurate, but most feel like they aren't. This one does.

Even though the perfect brother is ruining his life by being so perfect, the two of them have a great relationship. Which makes me, as Charlie's mother, proud.

Claudio from Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

I talked about my husband from this movie a while ago so we're going through the family tree and talking about my son. Who I guess is our joint child.

Ah, Claudio. And this is the first son on today's list who is really suffering from the helplessly in love problem and not the parent problem. Which is why he is called "Monsieur Love". On which point my sister and I always DIE of laughter.

Presenting this year's "baby-face".

Speaking of names, another favorite that he gets called is "lack-beard". MWAHAHA. Benedick has the best roasts (Not that not having a beard is a bad thing. Stay that way, hun.) Ahem. Anyway. This is where my protective nature comes in because people say "Kill Claudio." And I'm like, hhhhhheeeeeey, that's a little extreme! Yes, he needs to be scolded. And yes, the person to scold him was the best one to do it. 

Because he made mistakes. Huge mistakes. And even though he was set-up, he should have faith and patience and understanding. Still, he felt sorry.

Yes, he has a tendency to be jealous. So we're going to work on that. But he's the sweetest guy ever and I'm ever so happy that he's turning away from the army now. I want him to live his sweet life happily.

This gif is bad quality but THE PAIN!! THE PAIN ON THE POOR BOY'S FACE! This also shows why I am betrothed to the Prince because he is very stoic.

On a side note, because I've talked about most of the Much Ado men, you're probably wondering how I feel about Benedick. So we'll take half a second to discuss Ben. I adore him, but that's because we. are. the. same. person. I echo his sentiments about love all the time. I auditioned for a different Shakespeare play with his monologue about his disbelief about Claudio's sentiments. With good results, I'll tell you. Anyway, though I don't understand Claudio's heartache, I think it is very cute. He and Hero probably win most adorable couple with their puppy eyes.

Benedick's not taking any of this nonsense.

I had SO MANY gifs and it was so painful to sort through them all. But if Bryce gets 4, so does Claudio. ....but he gets an extra because I put 2 of him in pain (one physical and one emotional) and I need to apologize for that.

Klaus Hargreeves from Umbrella Academy (Seasons 1 and 2)

(I should probably get the guts to watch the third season. But I haven't yet. I'm scared because I already thought it was massively gory but then the 3rd season got bumped up a rating.)

Remember how I had Klaus Baudelaire on the other list? If your name is Klaus I will probably adopt you.

Seriously, he needs SO much help. Starting a cult is one of the signs that it's time for therapy. Not that things are his fault! Because parent problems? Check. His father was so awful that he didn't give Klaus a name. He was Number Four. It was only his robotic mother who gave names to him and his siblings. (If that doesn't summarize this show I don't know what does. It's insane. One day I'll write a full post just on it.) And speaking of his siblings, I love them all...but I think they make bad decisions and I wish I could be their mother.

The whole show starts (so this is not a spoiler, it's the premise) with the father dying so what do we all do? Years ago they were a superhero team and now? Their lives are falling apart collectively and separately. No one takes Klaus seriously so he doesn't see a reason to take himself seriously.

But you know what, if I saw the dead, I would probably fall apart and do anything to make it stop. Which for him means not staying sober. He just needs a support system! The only one he has is one of the ghosts...

What Reginald Hargreeves did to Klaus to try to get him to unlock his power?? HORRIFYING. NEVER. EVER. EVER DO THAT. There is giving challenges for growth and then there is torture.

Because he and his siblings were so broken, my favorite parts of this show is when they get to heal together. His relationship with his sisters is ADORABLE. And he and David are cute.

(Aww, shucks. This is making me want to rewatch the show which is something I never thought I'd say.)

Ricky Bowen from High School Musical The Musical The Series

(Mainly seasons 1 and 2 because while I loved some things about season 3, the development with Ricky was not one of them. I hated it so much that I may not watch season 4. But we'll see.)

I wasn't a fan of the original HSM. So I started watching the series mainly to make fun of it. Yet, I loved it from the first second. That's all due to Ricky. At first I was intrigued to see how they would deal with his faux pas. As that first episode went on I realized how precious and scared he is.

Now, do I approve of what Ricky did? No. "Taking a break" and then expecting everything to be fine? That's just pushing a problem to the side. But I feel for him because we are all at different stages and in a family where he's trying to hold it together, those "three little words" might seem like "not a big deal". But it is, because people abandon him.

Why? Parent problems: check. They're getting a divorce and in the midst of his despair and confusion he finds solace in a musical. What started out as a romantic gesture turns into something to hold onto.

Ah, the great origin stories of actors.

Any time he breaks the fourth wall it makes my day.

He's trying to do the right thing and be the person others want him to be but he's always scared of falling short. Because he feels he fell short for his parents. Though he didn't, it wasn't him, it was what they had tried working through together and failed. I just want to demand custody for Ricky, okay?

High school is probably the most emotional time of life because everything seems like such a big deal. That's where this show guts me, because it was all a big deal to me, the steps these characters were taking. But I have to remind myself that they. are. in. high. school. There are going to be changes for the rest of their lives. 

Even looking at this image from ep. 4 brings me pain.

Episode 4 of season 1 (...I think it's ep. 4, could be 5...) physically hurts me. I cry every time I watch it. There is a deep loneliness and resignation that cuts me up inside. And I know we've moved on into new drama, but that doesn't erase what has happened in the past. It shows why stories are so important to us because they are an escape from reality.

Scorpius Malfoy from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


He's the one who made me realize I needed to do this post again.

It's been awhile since I read this, and that was only the once. But Scorpius is the dictionary definition of a cinnamon roll. Yes, basically all these characters are cinnamon rolls because babies are very similar to cinnamon rolls, BUT Scorpius takes it to another level.

I also have adopted Albus. At the same time I relate SO MUCH to Albus, it's more like we're twins. Middle kids, ya know. So I don't think I'm emotionally stable enough to be Albus's mother. (Am I emotionally stable enough to be any of these characters's mother? Probably not, but it's my blog so I make the rules.) Scorpius, on the other hand, is a darling and would be no trouble at all. Besides the events of this book. But that wasn't really his fault!

Scorpius suffers from the same pressure his dad felt. Which is that you have to be a certain way. The difference between Scorpius and his dad is that Scorpius couldn't be arrogant if he wanted to. He's sweet to the core. Both Albus's and Scorpius's parents are HORRIFIED that they are friends but it's what I always wanted. Albus is more of the punk and Scorpius is trying to keep him out of trouble. They just want to be friends. Is that too much to ask?? Is it too much to ask that they don't feel obliged to carry on their fathers's legacy as enemies??

At first I didn't really like the story (I came around about halfway through, though) so all that was keeping me going was darling Scorpius. He deserves all the hugs.

Kang Seo-woo from Cinderella and the Four Knights (2016)

Rewatching made me realize that I did not give this guy enough love. That's why sisters are good for watching things with because my little sister has done nothing but talk about how much she loves Seo-woo.

His grandpa has hired a gal to get the Kang cousins into shape. Hyun-min is a playboy, Ji-woon is a punk, and Seo-woo? A good-for-nothing because he's a musician. WHAT?? He is not a good-for-nothing! His music is fabulous.

He is the sweetest guy on the face of the planet. He's been shoved into this rivalry with his cousins and because they never want to do what they are told he's been witness to their bad influence. I relate to his feeling of he only gets so many days off in a year, so he wants to spend those ALONE. Mwahaha.

But can we normalize guys being sweet? That would be great. That means that I would adopt everyone.

Seo-woo is very subtle as opposed to his cousins. He cares about people and shows that in small ways. Like calling over 40 times. Some of my favorite scenes are the birthday obsession. And the flowers. And the helping pull stuff out of the water. And the Rock Paper Scissors on the stairs.

His songs have deep meanings and are a beautiful way of expressing himself. I just want to give him a hug because no one ever does. One of the songs is about his relationship with his dad and I can't. It's so sad and heartfelt and AACCKK.

His fashion is fly and I love the nicknames he gives others. Like, "Miss Celebrity". As a celebrity himself he's always hiding from the crowds which usually turns into quite the situational comedy.

Wendell Gifford from Lemonade Mouth (2011)

I didn't realize his full name is Wendell because he always goes by Wen. But I love that so much.

I know we already discussed a character from Lemonade Mouth (2011) today. Face it, I have adopted the whole band because as teenagers, every single one of them has problems with their parents.

Yep, absolutely all of them are my darlings.

Wen's problem is his dad's girlfriend. He feels understandably weird about the whole situation. He feels like he's being pushed to the side because all of a sudden everything is being done to accommodate her. What about Wen and his sister? The picture frame scene hurts me. Yes, Wen was hurt more, but it hits me so hard. Then the sunglasses are totally something I would do...

I love that he and Olivia write the songs for the band. They are dorks to their core but that means they are adorkable. 

What does Wen contribute to the writing? Rap! 

"It's Wen and I'm heaven-sent, music like a veteran

Renegade lemonade, use it in my medicine"

My sister and I once challenged each other to memorize all of Wen's rap in "Determinate" and we now are experts. 

When they're trying to come up with a band name, he suggests "Wen". And that becomes a running joke. While I usually would hate that kind of ego from others, Wen gets a pass because he's so sweet.

How many keyboardists are in bands? It's kind of rare. I just got back from a festival I've gone to almost every year and I saw a keyboard there for the first time.

And mwahaha there's one more. Because of the 10 I did last time, plus the 10 more this time I need 1 more to be 21. Because it's All My Sons. (Those of you who understand, understand. If not, read All My Sons. Or watch it.) (Why am I using such a depressing number? "I swear, MC," you're saying, "if this is your excuse to get an honorable mention...")

Adrien Agreste/Chat Noir from Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Chat Noir (TV Series)

(Yes, I call it Chat Noir instead of Cat Noir. Because if we're translating it it's going to be Black Cat. So let's just say it one way or the other.)

Like Umbrella Academy, this probably doesn't count because I'm not done seeing it. Did I go back and rewatch parts of the first episode because I couldn't remember how it all started? Yes, I did. It's been since 2021 since I watch that, okay? I'm only in season 3. And I haven't seen the movie yet. But things are getting WILD and I'm not going to love Adrien any less, so let's chat. (Did you see what I did there? That was totally unintended.)

Like Much Ado, Miraculous has a character I am in love with and a character I have adopted. We are going through this the opposite way and I'm talking about the character I have adopted: my darling Adrien.

Parent problems? Check, check, check. His father is deep in grief over losing his mother, but they would be so much better if the two of them worked through it all together. How does Adrien react? Does he become a sullen punk? No, he has the purest heart on the face of the planet. 

It is frequently SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT *cough* that people get akumatized (it's a thing in the show. It's so bizarre you have to watch to understand). It is never Adrien's fault.......*crickets*.......OKAY, maybe it has been a few times but that has been for reasons completely out of his control. And all those times have in fact been that OTHER PERSON'S fault. He can't help it that he's one of the most adored models of Paris.

He just wants to go to school and have friends and have his dad talk to him. He is kind to the most hated person at the school and does things to cheer everyone up. He's a quiet one, but even his presence radiates calm. I feel like I didn't appreciate him enough until we saw the origin story. 

Someone else noticed this!!! It wasn't just me!!!

I love his personality change to be a superhero. He's breaking out of his shell and saying all the things he never says because he's the quiet one. I find his puns and jokes amazing and everything he says makes me want to be his mother more.

Now you know 21 of my sons. With each new story I experience I adopt more, so these posts may become an annual thing. You never know.

Thanks for reading! Does anyone else adopt characters? How many of these do you know? What is your relationship with these sweets? Who are some of your favorite cinnamon roll characters?

Chloe the MovieCritic

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles