Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Hobbit as Life Coach, and a Return to Dracula

I was six years old when I discovered the world of fantasy fiction, and it came in two flavors: horror, in the form of a televised version of Dracula (based on certain costumes and sets, I think it was this one), and adventure, in the form of the animated television movie The Hobbit.

Someone gave me a record, which came with a read-along version of the story illustrated with stills from the film, so I would sit by the record player -- sometimes for hours, playing it over and over again -- and relive the adventures of Bilbo and friends until the music was stuck in my head, particularly the ballad / theme song:

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.

The chances, the changes are all yours to make.

The mold of your life is in your hands to break.


The greatest adventure is there if you're bold.

Let go of the moment that life makes you hold.

To measure the meaning can make you delay;

It's time you stop thinkin' and wasting the day.


The man who's a dreamer and never takes leave

Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe

Will never know passion, will never know pain.

Who sits by the window will one day see rain.


The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.

The chances, the changes are all yours to make.

The mold of your life is in your hands to break.


The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

lyrics by Jules Bass



Spending time with my brother's family this week, I thought about how much time has passed, and how the eldest niece's creativity and interests in reading, storytelling, and art has grown. She, too, was six when she encountered The Hobbit. (Good thing I had the book, because she read it after watching the film. She's eleven now, almost twelve, and I don't think I've given her a book she hasn't devoured.)

After another incident of poor behavior this afternoon, she and I and my sister-in-law had a lengthy discussion about how her choices have consequences. She chooses how to respond, how to speak to people, how many friends she will have. She chooses. The mold of her life is in her hands to break.

The Hobbit as life coach. Who knew?

But, no, I will not be introducing any horror into her literary or viewing diet. She can choose to do that when she's, oh, thirty-five, and no longer afraid of the dark. She had nightmares after watching The Mummy ("I didn't sleep for a week!"), but The Lord of the Rings (FOTR, TT, ROTK) seems to be okay. After all, what're a few nasty orcs and some Ringwraiths?

Speaking of horror, due to the proliferation of teenybopper vampire tales in print and on film -- anybody else nauseated by the current cute-and-lovable-vampire cult? -- I purchased an annotated copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and a slim volume of the short story / novella by Polidori, The Vampyre. If there must be blood-drinking in fiction, I need not be in pain when I read it.

1 comment:

jadesmith09 said...

Well, you know how I feel about cutesy vampires--ugh! Let's get back to the old school. Please. Quit embarrasing Vlad, you teenybopper shows!

I remember that song. Thanks for sharing it.

Jade