When I last posted I was nearing the end of The Two Towers. I’ve finished The Return of the King now, and I’m working on the appendices. And yes, I’m going to write about The Lord of the Rings again. (Don’t be surprised if this ends up becoming a series.)
Something I’ve noticed this time through the books and the movies, more than before, is the theme of despair. I saw looks of despair and horror on characters’ faces time and time again, as things go from bad to worse. I saw characters lose all hope in the face of overwhelming odds—Denethor is the prime example of this. Even Sam, arguably the most courageous and hopeful character of them all, begins to doubt that, even if he and Frodo make it to Mount Doom, there will be a return journey.
I’m listening to the soundtrack of The Two Towers right now. I was just reading some more of the book. Suddenly, in the past few weeks, I’m crazy about Tolkien again. I blame The Hobbit. Since I saw a trailer for the first installment a year ago, I couldn’t wait. To return to Middle-earth, and explore it further; to be reunited with familiar characters, and introduced to new ones. So when it finally hit theaters, right before Christmas break, I was at the midnight opening—I couldn’t wait a minute longer. (Now I can’t wait for the next one.) It had been several years since I last read The Lord of the Rings, and even longer since I’d read The Hobbit, and watching the new movie whet my appetite. So at the beginning of the break I started The Hobbit, and I’m almost done with The Two Towers now. I also watched The Lord of the Rings (the Extended Editions, of course) and the accompanying documentaries in the newly-added iTunes Extras. And I listened to all four soundtracks a bunch.
I need to write a short essay for a scholarship application. They gave a few typical prompts, and the option to write about a topic of my choice, or to reuse an essay I wrote for class or for a college application. Being a junior in an engineering major, I haven’t exactly written many essays in the last few years. Several for psychology my freshman year, and one about the environment in geology. After staring at my cursor blinking for a good while, I decided to go back and dig through my old college applications for some inspiration. Not to straight-up recycle one. A lot has changed in the three years since I was writing those. But I thought I might find one that would be a good starting point. I came across a document named “Personal statement”—I apparently hadn’t bothered to specify what I was writing it for. But between the essay itself and the prompt, which I also had (but which didn’t say specifically what it was for, either) it seems that I was writing this after having been accepted to Tech, for something related to financial aid. Anyways, it really struck me. But I’ll let you read it, and then add some comments at the end (where I pick back up in italics.)