Review: All the Birds in the Sky

Beautiful, effortless, and calm. Like two rivers merged into a lake, where rainbows came for naps; only showing its magical strength when the time was ripe.

 

The book started like a story for children. Simple, but entertaining enough to reel me further. It started with each protagonist’s struggle against their own family. As they grew older, the number of their oppositions increased; schoolmate bullies. Laurence and Patricia sought an ally and found it in each other. They tried their best to help and comfort for each other, but life’s a mess, and both of them were little children. It got worse when an assassin decided to be involved in the growing resentment between their messed up alliance. They separated for quite a long time and had the chance to cultivate their own gift; Laurence’s mind for science and engineering and Patricia’s heart for healing and trickster magic. Their path eventually crossed, only to be separated again.  The rest was constant struggle against everything, and against each other, and against their own selves. Magic and science entwined; talking birds and tree, wormhole and time machine; struck each other violently because of fear, but there were also kisses because of love.

The first half of the story most comprised of ordinary slice of life events, except the quirks put here and there like, the talking animals and the two-seconds time machine. The book didn’t need to throw big things at my face. It’s pretty calm yet rewarding. That’s why it felt effortless to me. I got to know the characters in slow and intimate pace. The second half was when the lightning began to dance. They were so close yet so far, near but pulled apart. Super storm happened. War waged across the land. Doomsday machine. The unravelling. Parents and friends died. Fear. Fear. Fear. An oath got broken in order to save the dearest one. The story ended a bit weird. Not as satisfying as I would prefer it to be, but not bad.

 

Review:The Silmarillion

I read the Hobbit,

And I fucking loved it.

In Children of Hurin,

My heart joyfully ruined.

And I,

Skipped The Lord of the Rings,

Jumped right into this Silmarillion thing.


Ugh. Mostly, the Silmarillion itself is about fancy elves making a fuss about their pretty jewelleries. And my main complaint about this is the fact that, even though the lore often mentioned how wise are the elves, yet most of their life wasted in the making and in the bloody-pursuit of gems. Feanor! Smartest, wisest, strongest blablabla, and yet his masterpiece was pretty stones, which then stolen by Melkor, which then made him swore an oath that would curse his descendants also. Come on Feanor, you could build many greater things than that shit; move on! But the tales of foolish bravery unveiled around them are awesome and worth reading indeed.

I enjoyed most of the tales. In the creation tales, Melkor’s act of rebellion, reminded me of myself; when I was a little, everytime I sang in choir, I often brought destruction upon the harmony just so I could hear myself more stand out than the rest. It was childish of course and I think, the creator, the god, Eru Illufarter understood this, so he let Melkor lives. Yeay for free will! Thus, he went on pursuing his malice, playing dark lord on middle earth until some half-elf in flying ship pounce his army down.

Out of many heroic battles in this book, the most daring was Fingolfin. He rode alone to Angband in anger after the battle of sudden flame broke the siege of Angband. Morgoth could not refuse his invitation to duel. So they fought one on one. Fingolfin was a mighty elf, but Morgoth was godly. It was foolish to me, but it was foolishness worthy to be envied for. There’s this song titled: Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill) which I think illustrates the spectacular feat of Fingolfin properly. I loved this song before, and now after reading Silmarillion, my exhilaration is kind of tripled.

Another great duel was between Luthien and Huan versus Sauron. Luthien’s magic was so great that later, even Morgoth himself was put to sleep by it. This was a part of Beren and Luthien love story. A story that can be summed up into: the suitor sought the dangerous dowry, but failed and ended up saved by the princess. Yeah, so powerful was Luthien, that when she wore the Silmaril, Feanor’s sons were afraid to adhere to their cursed oath.

Tolkien has great influence indeed, for before reading this, I already familiar with many of the terms from various metal band’s songs or names or stage names that adopted names from his works. So reading Silmarillion made me finally able to make sense some of those words. And yes, they’re fucking cool names. Amon Amarth! Gorgoroth!

I don’t know what to write anymore. There are things still in my head, but they’re mere tiny complaints compared to the whole awesomeness of the book. So, I guess, I shall end this here. If you seek mythical tales of foolish bravery written beautifully; if you seek to understand the source of all works that adopted concepts and names from Tolkien’s; eat this book!

Hmmm. Yum yum.

Hasil Survei Naga

Saya iseng menghabiskan weekend saya untuk melakukan sedikit survei tentang naga. Saya penasaran, kira-kira, dalam pikiran orang, naga apa yang dianggap paling kuat? Naga apa yang paling bijak? Naga apa yang paling berkesan? Maka dengan muka tembok, saya serbulah secara acak manusia-manusia di media sosial.

Masih banyak yang belum menjawab, namun saya rasa cukup segini, toh polanya sudah agak terlihat, lagipula ini bukan survei akademis. Iseng aja. Begini hasilnya.

strongest

Dari 78 data masuk. Pada bagian Naga Terkuat, posisi pertama diduduki oleh Smaug dengan suara 12%, sementara posisi kedua diduduki bersama dengan perolehan suara 8% oleh naga berikut: Acnologia, Ancalagon, Jormungandr, dan Shen Long.

The Wisest

Sementara pada bagian Naga Terbijak, dipimpin dengan telak oleh Paarthurnax yang mencapai suara 23%, dibelakangnya Bahamut dan Shen Long dengan masing-masing memperoleh 7%.

most memorable

Gelar naga yang paling berkesan, diraih dengan suara 15% oleh Smaug, dibuntuti oleh Shen Long dari Dragon Ball Z dengan 11%, lalu dibuntuti oleh Fafnir, Bahamut, dan Alduin dengan suara masing-masing 7%.

Dari semua nama naga yang disebut saat survei, ada dua yang sama-sama paling banyak disebut. Yang satu naga dari timur, yang satu dari barat. Yang satu dari serial televisi animasi, yang satu dari film yang diangkat dari buku. Shen Long dari Dragon Ball Z, dan Smaug dari The Hobbit. Kemudian disusul bersama-sama oleh Bahamut dan Paarthurnax, lalu ada Alduin mengejar di belakang.

most mentioned

Kesimpulan seadanya dari data seadanya:

Kepopuleran seekor naga, mampu membuatnya terlihat paling kuat. Ancalagon, naga terbesar dalam dunia ciptaan JRR Tolkien baru mampu dikalahkan dengan kapal Earendil yang dipersenjatai oleh Silmaril langsung, itupun dibantu pula dengan burung Manwe. Sementara Smaug yang hanya digugurkan oleh seorang manusia, mampu meraih posisi pertama naga terkuat.

Meskipun sama-sama paling banyak disebut dalam survei, Shen Long dari seri Dragon Ball Z tercinta gagal menjadi pemuncak kategori manapun. Seiring waktu ingatan-ingatan masa kecil akan tergerus dengan terus datangnya hiburan-hiburan baru dalam berbagai bentuk. Tapi, satu keunggulan Shen Long dibanding Smaug adalah Shen Long berhasil dominan masuk ke setiap nominasi yang ada, bahkan ke nominasi Naga Terbijak, meski masih kalah dengan Paarthurnax dari Skyrim.

Sementara itu, Paarthurnax bisa dibilang memiliki karakter yang paling kuat dan spesifik. Dibandingkan dengan naga-naga lain dalam kategori masing-masing, Paarthurnax memuncaki naga terbijak dengan telak. Ia duduk di puncak gunung, memimpin para Greybeards. Menghabiskan sisa hidupnya merenungi kejahatan masa lampau, bertanya, “What is better  –  to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”

Salah satu tujuan saya melakukan survei ini adalah mencari referensi naga-naga untuk dipelajari, dan dijadikan sebagai model dasar untuk pengembangan konsep naga saya pribadi. Dengan ini saya sekarang mulai memiliki sedikit bayangan tentang naga-naga seperti apa yang akan saya ciptakan untuk proyek ke depan. Ada baiknya jika saya mempertimbangkan kembali niat untuk menciptakan konsep naga terkuat lalu mengalihkan fokus penciptaan ke naga-naga yang berkesan.

Terima kasih.