Showing posts from 2011

Rings of Power

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.-- The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien.
(via The Lord of the Rings Wiki)

I would hate to run into a Charr Knight

I can't even begin to imagine how you could defeat such a thing. Its neck seems to be unarmored, which is odd. On the other hand, actually getting close enough to its neck without being killed would be a feat onto itself.

Enjoy Blind Guardian's epic ballad "Lord of the Rings"


So who wants to read a chapter from the next A Song of Ice and Fire book, The Winds of Winter?

Because George R.R. Martin has it up on his website. As pointed out by Topless Robot, the excerpt contains spoilers for the end of the previous ASoIF novel, A Dance of Dragons, so fair warning. I'm surprised that he's started on The Winds of Winter, seeing as how it took him years just to finish the last ones. Maybe Game of Thrones reinvigorated him, or perhaps he just decided to finish the series before winter comes.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook


Getting back in the saddle

So after an entirely unintended absence from Swords, Dragons, and Nerds, I am back! The reason for the absence was due to my worst fear when it comes to reading: burn out. You see, I got into a bit of a binge this summer, reading something like ten books from June until about October. Of those ten, all but three were fantasy. Well, it looks like I hit a point where my brain just said "Okay, too much swords and magic! I need starships!" so I decided to take a break and read some science fiction to clear the Orcs and Grue from my head. Now, I'm back and I've decided to tackle one of the biggest hurdles in my nerd life: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I've made numerous attempts in the past to read the series, but could never quite get the ball rolling. I can't tell you why I could never get into what is largely considered the greatest of fantasy fiction, I just never could. I'm equally baffled as to why I'm reading it now, but I'm 43 pages into The …

Memory of Light, the final book in Wheel of Time series, is finished

So sayeth Brandon Sanderson himself. Unfortunately, three people were killed when the crane hoisting the massive manuscript snapped its cables.


One does not take public transit into Mordor either, apparently

Nice little easter egg in Google Maps. Well played, Google.

(via Nerd Approved)

First trailer released for The Hobbit


"I said diamonds, f*cker"


RIP Anne McCaffrey

Sadly, Anne McCaffrey, the writer of the Dragonriders of Pern series has passed on at age 85. Rest in peace, lady.

Gravity is going to make that guy regret jumping

An R. Kelly song was the first thing to come to mind when I saw this picture over at A Fantasy Reader. It's the cover (credit: Todd Lockwood) of The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley P. Beaulieu. I like the wood and sail airship in the background. Can't say much for that guy's decision to disregard gravity though.

Hit my first wall

Unfortunately, last week I hit a wall in my fantasy reading: Canticle. I started reading it almost immediately after finishing Mort, but a hundred pages in, I gave up. The book just didn't hook me like all the prior books I've read have. The book looks interesting, it has clerics (both good and evil), druids, wizards, martial artists, and more, but still, I just could not get into it

This sent me into a bit of a reading funk, thinking that maybe I was starting to get burned out on fantasy, since I've read nothing else since about July. I checked out some "regular" fiction, but somehow found myself back at fantasy, reading Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon. Liking it so far, but after I finish it (which at almost 700 pages is going to take awhile), I might shift back to science fiction for a bit.

Cool covers: Prince of Thorns


This quote by George R. R. Martin sums up why I am a fantasy nerd

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real... for a moment at least... that long magic moment before we wake. Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smoke-stacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the song the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speak…

AD&D boners for everybody!

I have never played Dungeons & Dragons, let alone the Advanced version, and I know those tomes are all very outdated, but goddamn, I would love to have them.

This Penny Arcade comic is awesome

Love it.

Currently reading: Mort

Both as part of my continued quest to read all of the Discworld novels and because it's relatively short, I've decided on Mort, the third book in the Discworld series. According to the back, the book concerns Mort, a human who becomes Death's apprentice. This ought to be good.

The People of the Black Circle

I just finished reading the first story in the Bloody Crown of Conan and it was good. The reason why it took me so long was because I would stop, go back and reread parts of it in order to absorb the story and really enjoy it. The plot of The People of the Black Circle involves the death of the King of Vendhya and at the hands of the Black Seers, powerful magic users that no one wanted to tussle with, and the swearing of revenge by his sister and subsequent Queen of Vendhya, Yasmina. Conan gets involved because seven chiefs of the Afghuli tribes he leads are captured and held prisoner by a regional governor. Yasmina arrives in secret with the intent to use the hostages to force Conan to hunt down and kill the Black Seers. Conan, on the other hand, just shows up the same night and kidnaps Yasmina, intending to use her as a bargaining chip to get his people released and what follows is one big ole adventure that takes both through treacherous mountains, against wild hill tribes and evil…

Another book down and finally the Cimmerian will be read!

I finished Equal Rites, the third book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, last night. I give it an "eh". It was a bit too short for my tastes (213 pages) and sort of meandered off from the plot. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that good either, the weakest of the three Discworld books I've read so far.

Now though, I can move on to a book I've been wanting to read for a while - The Bloody Crown of Conan by Robert E. Howard. It's part of a three volume series that was released a number of years ago, collecting all of the Conan stories Howard wrote for magazines. Unfortunately, The Bloody Crown is the second volume and my local library doesn't have the first and third, which is a shame because the first volume contains notable Conan tales like The Frost Giant's Daughter and Tower of the Elephant. Oh well, still enjoying it. The book contains three stories: The People of the Black Circle, Hour of the Dragon, and A Witch Shall Be Born, along …

Review: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (spoilers)

Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the first book in the Dragonlance Chronicles and written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, follows a group of heroes as they reunite after spending five years apart, looking for signs of the gods of old and of impending war. Their reunion and the chance encounter with a barbarian and her lover leads them on an adventure that turns into a quest to save the world of Krynn.

Just finished Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Review coming tomorrow, since it's too late now. Good book though, was worth the read. Now I have to decide what to read next: Equal Rites (Discworld), a Conan story collection, or take a break from reading fantasy and read a history book. I'm leaning towards the first two.

Topless Robot's Ten badass women from fantasy lit is worth checking out

Admittedly, I've never heard of some most of the women on the list, being somewhat new to the fantasy scene, but I recognize a few, like Eowyn and Arya "HBIC" Stark. I don't much like Polgara; I read Pawn of Prophecy and she came off as a bit of a...well, she came off as a bitch, to be frank. In my opinion, she dragged the story a little.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Just posting this because I like the cover. Horsemen for the win!

Getting that writing Jones.

I've been thinking about writing lately. I used to do it a lot, about ten years, until I stopped about a year or so ago. Nothing ever came of it, just random fantasy and scifi stories that never got anywhere. However, since getting into fantasy fiction and starting this blog, I've been tempted to write again - not full length stories and probably not even short stories, just bits and pieces of whatever comes to mind. How does this relate to the above picture? I'm toying with the idea of writing a brief tale about a group of halberdiers during a battle. Obviously, it won't be LOTR quality, but that's not the point. The point is just to write something that's fun to both write and read. Anyway, if I do go through with it, I'll be sure to post it here first and only.

Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul

Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul by Donato Giancola. Above picture via Muddy Colors.

Amorphous Drake by Lucas Graciano

It's no wonder Lucas Graciano recently won the Chesley Awards for achievement in art, specifically for drawing this utterly badass picture of a dragon for Sony's Legends of Norrath game. I really dig everything about this picture, from the dragon to the spears jutting from offscreen. The mental imagery is invokes is interesting: A dragon appears in the great hall of a castle, the guards surround him, wondering how exactly they're going to take down a dragon. Love it.

Watch this axe-wielding warrior bird lay waste to its enemies

Verily, he is a mighty warrior worthy of song!

Swords, Dragons, and Nerds just got plugged by I'd Rather Be Killing Dragons!

Knights of the Silver Hand

The Knights of the Silver Hand is one of the coolest aspects of Warcraft. A paladin order, they debuted in Warcraft II, was destroyed in Warcraft III, and recently had a resurgence in World of Warcraft. What's interesting about the Knights though is how they came to be in-universe. In the first Warcraft, you had Clerics of Northshire, priests with powers to heal, become invisible, see far away, and one offensive spell called holy lance.

In Warcraft II, clerics were replaced with paladins, an upgrade for knights that gave them the ability to cast spells similar to what the clerics had. Now, in the manual for the second game, it was explained that the clerics had suffered heavy losses during the First War (the first game), due to their lack of martial training and that two figures - Uther Lightbringer and Archbishop Alonsus Faol - came up with the idea to create an order that would meld the dual roles of warrior and cleric into one, thus the Knights of the Silver Hand was born. I l…

Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor

Just found this blog on Tumblr and I'm digging it! Unfortunately, many women in fantasy art are cursed to wear the much derided chainmail bikini, an outfit that can't really provide any protection at all in a fight. Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor instead posts pictures of ladies in armor that's a bit more realistic than the kind you would normally see in a Frank Frazetta painting*. There's too many awesome pictures to post, but here's two ofmy favorites so far.

*Nothing wrong with a Frank Frazetta painting, mind you.

MC Frontalot - Charima Potion

Fair warning, there's an F-bomb at the beginning.

The book and the two games that set me off on the fantasy path

Out of all the things I've experienced, read, watched, and played during my nerd life, there are three things that got me interested in fantasy.

Book: Saint George and The Dragon. I remember reading this when I was a little kid and then, rereading it several times before it eventually got packed away. I uncovered it every few years while cleaning or moving boxes and always took the time to read through it. It's a retelling of Saint George and The Dragon, part of a larger poem called The Faerie Queene. The artwork is beautiful and has that fantasy feel. Sadly, both Margaret Hodges and Trina Stuart Hyman are dead, but their work lives on.

Games: Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Warcraft II: Edition. They were not the first computer games I had ever played, I had traveled the Oregon Trail and got dysentery. My parents had picked up an older than hell computer at a yardsale, one of those rigs that predated GUI and could only do text based adventures and so I had dabbled in King…

Oh look, I created another blog

And with that, welcome to Swords, Dragons, and Nerds, three things, as the subtitle alludes, should never be in mixed company. I created this blog as an overflow for my newly increased interest and love (platonic, of course, but it's burgeoning into something more) for fantasy. As you may or may not now, I also run Nerd Lyfe, which primarily focuses on nerdery and well, I'd rather keep it at that and not have it turn into a fantasy only blog. I have some posts in mind that would have done that very thing, so I created Swords, Dragons, and Nerds as a way to preserve Nerd Lyfe, yet post all my fantasy related things. Soo...yeah. Let's start, shall we?