Oathbringer Review


Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oathbringer is huge. It took me months to get through. And part of the reason is that the middle dragged on and probably could have been cut down, which is why this book only gets 4 out of 5 stars. Other than that, it was great. I’m still trying to process everything, although my lingering question is how Brandon Sanderson plans to have seven more books in the series. Like the first two, this book culminates in a big battle, so I assume that the rest will have something like that as well at each climax, but can he keep making each book feel fresh? If each book is the equivalent of a trilogy, then the rest of the series is about 21 books long. That’s a lot.
But as to this book, it was good. I liked how the world building grew and we found out what led to the Recreance, although it wasn’t quite as earth shattering as promised, although I’m not sure it ever could have lived up to it. It was also interesting to see Dalinar’s past and how much he has changed, as well as how it came back to haunt him. Odium’s presence was different than I expected, but made more interesting than a pure evil being.
Brandon Sanderson has so many interesting ideas for world building, it’s hard not to feel jealous of him, but it is easy to enjoy his books. I remain a fan.

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Smash Bros Switch Predictions

Smash Bros

Smash Bros for the Switch

I’ve mentioned how much I love Smash Bros before, and now they’ve finally announced that the Nintendo Switch will be getting a new entry. Or an enhanced port, as they weren’t clear with the initial announcement, which is all I’m going with at the time of this article.

Whether a port or a brand new game, we know we’re getting new content. Others have chimed in, but here are my predictions on what will be in the new Smash Bros game. 

New Confirmed Characters

Inklings: This is obvious, as it was in the trailer. It will be interesting to see how they play. I assume they’ll be able to cover the stage with ink and maybe move around in it. How long will the ink stick? Will they be able to paint the other characters? Will there be several different character skins? I’m interested in finding out.

BOTW Link: I’m going to go in depth on this, because I have a lot of thoughts. The trailer clearly showed BOTW Link, but we don’t know what that means. Ever since the original Smash Bros, Link has been my main. But BOTW Link plays much differently than Links in other Zelda games, and I think it will be the same here. So there are several options:

  1. BOTW Link replaces classic Link with same basic moves, just aesthetic differences like the tunic, bombs, and other aspects. Not likely.
  2. BOTW Link replaces classic Link with a whole new move set. 
  3. BOTW Link is a new separate character, classic Link remains the same. My preferred option, as I love classic Link, even if he is only mid-tier.

So what new moves could Link have? I’ve seen possibilities of his specials using the Champions’ abilities. I could see some, but I don’t think they will all be used. For one thing, how would he be revived by Mipha’s Grace. He could also use Sheikah Slate abilities. 

Here are my predictions:

  • Up Special: Rivali’s Gale, followed by the paraglider. Simple. I think it could also have a tornado effect of blowing nearby characters upward, so there’s some attack element to it.
  • Neutral Special: Bow. He has the bow in the trailer, so I think he’ll use it. But maybe he has some way of switching arrows, so he could use fire arrows for extra damage, ice arrows to freeze an opponent, shock arrows to stun them, bomb arrows for an explosion, and ancient arrows to break shields. He could even fall slower if switching between them in mid-air.
  • Side Special: This one’s hard. Maybe a Sheikah Slate ability, like stasis on an enemy in front of you, or a quasi grab with magnesis. Or maybe just the boomerang.
  • Down Special: Link could stick with the bombs, but this time they would be remote controlled explosions. Or he could have a counter using Daruk’s revenge. 
  • Final Smash: Divine beasts shooting their lasers. 

I don’t think he’ll have a hook shot, because that wasn’t in the game, so his grabs could use either stasis or magnesis for the animation. His smash attacks might use different weapons, from great swords to spears. I do think he’ll be an interesting character. 

Mario: He might just have some new moves with Cappy.  If he can possess people, where they have to wiggle to kick him out, kind of like Yoshi’s eggs, then I see him becoming the ultimate troll.

Possible New Characters

Nintendo will most likely use some of their new IPs from the biggest Switch games.

Arms character: Spring man, Ribbon Girl, or Twintelle. Who knows? Maybe it will be like Bowser Jr with a different skin for each color. There will probably be long range punches, grabs, and other maneuvers. But I don’t see them handling the close range well.

Xenoblade 2 characters: Probably Rex, with Pyra following along. Maybe it would be like the Ice Climbers, where both attack and are hurt, or maybe Pyra sticks to the background and helps with specials or the final smash. Although I think it would be nice to have just her, as Rex is kind of boring.

BOTW Zelda: I would like to see either a new, separate Zelda or a revamped one, as she’s always been one of the worst characters. This new one could use the Sheikah Slate Abilities that Link doesn’t use.

Other Nintendo Characters

I’m not so sure about any of these, but there is a chance.

Ice Climbers: With Smash Bros on the Switch, there shouldn’t be an issue getting these veterans back, as the 3DS held back the last installment.

Star Wolf: He was in Brawl, but taken out last time. I liked him, and maybe he’ll return.

King K. Rool: Donkey Kong’s nemesis, many people have clamored to have him. 

Dixie Kong: She’s like Diddy, but she can fly with her hair. 

Waluigi: I don’t think he’ll make it in, but if he does, he’ll be Wario’s skinny counterpart.

Captain Toad: With a Switch port, Toad can become a real boy…I mean, playable character.

Ganondorf: Maybe he’ll get his own move set for once.

3rd Party Characters

Less likely, but the following have some merit. As I understand the rules for Smash Bros, characters have to originate in a video game and be a classic. So no Goku or Shrek.

Shovel Knight/Shantae: Both indie hits on the Switch, many people have clamored for them.

Crash Bandicoot: His trilogy is coming to the Switch and he is a classic of gaming. 

Dragonborn: Skyrim on the Switch did well, so maybe this character could come to Smash Bros.

Solaire: From the upcoming Dark Souls on the Switch, he has an Amiibo.

Rayman/Rabbids: Both on the Switch, either Ubisoft character could make an appearance.

Solid Snake: He was in Brawl. Maybe he can make a comeback.

Sora: From Kingdom Hearts, if Cloud could make it, then maybe he could, too. But that brings me to the next point.

Characters That We Might Lose

Not all characters last throughout all the games, and with the roster continually growing, some might get pushed aside.

Cloud/Bayonetta/Ryu: Any of the DLC characters could go, although Bayonetta is the most closely aligned with Nintendo. I would be most sad if Cloud leaves, as I ended up taking him on as my second main in Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS.

Lucina, Dark Pit, Doctor Mario, Toon Link: The first two or three of these clone characters should have been skins, not full characters, and may go back to that. Toon Link might step aside to make room for the other Links (or he stays and classic Link goes away)

Pacman, Megaman, Sonic: Sonic will probably stay, but other 3rd party characters might leave.


A lot of the big games on the Switch have reinvented the franchise’s formula, from Mario to Zelda, so we’ll see if Smash Bros does the same or is more like a port. Either way, I’m excited. I’ve been waiting for this game for a long time. 

Ready Player One Review

Ready Player One

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is written well enough to be keep me wanting to get to the end, but it does have some issues. The biggest is the sheer amount of exposition. The whole beginning sets up the global and environmental situation and timeline, the nature of the Oasis, Cline’s views on religion, the Halliday quest, and an overview of the 80’s in general, before getting into the actual story. It’s interesting enough, but is a bit much. Then Wade spends plenty of time throughout the book gushing over some aspect of the 80’s and launches into even more exposition. I get that he likes it (although the whole quest seems to have halted all cultural progression within his world), but come on, he could be a little more discerning. Not everything about the 80’s was perfect.

The setting of Ready Player One is interesting, but the book is a little predictable. The characters are black and white: his friends are good, the corporation is evil. The premise is fun unless you think about it. How does knowing 80’s trivia and getting good at arcade games prove you’re worthy to take control of the biggest corporation (which happens not to be evil) in the world? Then at the end (view spoiler) I was born in the late 80’s, so I grew up in the 90’s and don’t get all the references, but it’s fun enough to learn about them. Just not enough for me to actually check them out. The upcoming movie doesn’t seem quite so 80’s-centric (someone uses Tracer from Overwatch). I’m interested in seeing how Spielberg handles it. We’ll see. This book is overall good, but far from great.

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Heir of Novron Review

Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations, #5-6)Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heir of Novron Review

I’m writing for the whole series (which I listened to on audio book, so it took a long time to get here).

Let me get the negative out of the way. This is definitely a series that was less sophisticated than I’m used to reading, with fairly predictable and generic plots and simple language. There’s some more tell than show, especially when it comes to telling us how able Royce and Hadrian are instead of showing us. And it was hard to feel really close to the characters, even when something happened and someone died. Other things didn’t make much sense, even when wrapped up at the end. The death of one major character and even the prison holding Ezra Hardin were examples of that. Another was the search for a single heir after 1000 years. Come on, there would be multiple descendants. And then there was the withholding of information for no real reason that just got frustrating.

So it took some getting used to, but once I let go of preconceived notions and just sat back, I enjoyed it more. The best part of the book is the bromance. I thought the two characters deserved a little more development, but maybe that happens in the Chronicles series. A late romance doesn’t do nearly as much for me as the relationship Hadrian and Royce have. The plot is pretty basic, using the evil empire/church, but at least there were some fun, if predictable parts. At least the author didn’t completely blast religion like most books do nowadays. I also liked how I didn’t have to worry about much swearing, sex, or gritty violence. Sometimes I just want to feel uplifted when I read. I don’t always want to develop a hatred for humanity like I do when reading GRRM.

I read Age of Myth before this and so had a few minor spoilers for the end, but it was interesting to see the connection.

This is definitely more young adult than adult fiction, but if you have the right expectations, it can be fun. I also recommend the audiobooks, the voice actor does a good job.

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My Wish for Smash Bros Switch

Smash Bros switch

Smash Bros: When???

As I’ve mentioned in another post, Smash Bros is one of my favorite games. It is also one of the most popular games for any Nintendo system. There’s been a lot of speculation as to how it will be handled on its newest one, the Switch. There are a lot of options and here’s my take on some of them. 

Port Old Games

Many people assume that Nintendo will port the Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS. Mario Kart 8 was successful. The logic behind this is that the game is well regarded, featuring a large cast of characters that are pretty well balanced. The downside of having it on the Wii U is that it didn’t reach as many people as it could have, so moving it to the Switch would get it to more people. Add a few new characters, like characters from Arms and Splatoon, and some new stages, include all the DLC, and it’s an easy way to have Smash on the Switch. Which is why many people wonder why it hasn’t happened yet. 

Personally, I like this option, as it would mean having Smash Bros available faster, in theory. I also like the balance better than other games, like Brawl, and would hate to lose characters like Cloud if they make a brand new version.

Another rumor is that Smash Bros Melee, one of the beloved versions, will be available on a virtual console in HD graphics. Problem is, there is no virtual console yet. I would welcome this, as long as it is not the only Smash Bros game on the console. Melee was fun, but its time has come and gone, in my mind.

Create a New Game

Since there’s been no announcement yet for porting the old Smash Bros games, I’m assuming this is what Nintendo is planning. There are some interesting possibilities on how to handle this, which I will go over. 

One possibility, probably the most extreme and least likely, is to completely get rid of the formula and create a 3D Smash Bros. I’m not even sure how that would work, but it could be really interesting.  It would probably play out more like an adventure game or shooter than a fighting game, but with Nintendo characters. Have Link or Samus snipe you from afar while Donkey Kong gets in close. The Switch can’t handle Overwatch? Well, let’s make NintendoSwitchWatch instead. Take that, Blizzard. 

Or they could do some other 3D style. People have modded it.

Another possibility I’d like to see is revamping the characters. Link’s moves haven’t changed since Melee, yet how many Zelda games have come out since then? This would apply more to long standing characters like Mario and Link, but I think they could have different versions. Ocarina of Time-Era Link could use the familiar moveset, but Breath of the Wild-Era Link could use his glider for recovery. Mario Sunshine-Era Mario could use the FLUDD for recovery and attacks, but Mario Odyssey-Era Mario could use Cappy to possess other characters for a short time. A version of Luigi could use the Haunted Mansion vacuum. We could finally get a version of Ganondorf that isn’t a clone of Captain Falcon (one of Melee’s laziest choices). 

What do you think Nintendo will do with one of their most popular properties? Does anything in this post hold any potential? Or will they switch it up completely? (Pun intended)

Spiderman versus Wonder Woman

Spiderman Wonder Woman

Spiderman and Wonder Woman

Recently, two critically acclaimed superhero movies came out from competing studios.  I’m talking about Spiderman Homecoming and Wonder Woman. Both have iconic comic book heroes coming to life on the big screen, breathe new life into their cinematic universes, and have received great reviews. But is one better than the other?

Such a review is obviously subjective and they’re hard to compare. But let’s look at the categories where each shines. Spoilers ahead. And before you think I hate the whole DC universe and am a Marvel fan, take a look at this.


Both movies have something a lot of movies are lacking: heart. They’re earnest and want to share their message. In fact, I’d say this is what has been missing from the DC universe films until now (which admittedly only consists of Man of Steel, Batman Vs Superman, and Suicide Squad). Wonder Woman defies the anti-hero doom and gloom and makes you want to believe in her goodness and purity. She inspires instead of brooding, acts instead of whining. It’s completely different than Superman as portrayed in this universe but similar to how he is portrayed in the comics. 

Spiderman also has plenty of heart, more than most Marvel films. Peter Parker is enthusiastic, wants to help people out and make a difference. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out so well for him, but he doesn’t give up.

Which film has more heart? I’d say it’s a tie.


Wonder Woman also has something the other films in her universe don’t. Humor. I’m not sure there was a single joke in Batman vs Superman, unless you count the unintentional ‘Martha!’ But Wonder Woman uses Diana’s naivet√© and Steve Trevor’s wit to inject plenty of humorous moments so the tone doesn’t get overly depressing. 

Spiderman, however, is probably one of the funniest Marvel movies, and that’s saying something. At times the humor can take away from the seriousness of the situation, but for the most part it is spot on.

While both are funny, Spiderman wins this category.


Wonder Woman touches on a lot of themes, from inspiring others, going out and selflessly doing what’s right, and the nature of war. That last one is particularly interesting, as Diana is convinced Ares, the God of War, is behind World War 1, while Steve Trevor thinks it’s just because men are screwed up. Personally, the way it played out, though, wasn’t very satisfactory. It turns out that Ares did cause the war, basically, and then Wonder Woman defeats him, which begs the question: who caused World War 2? The Korean War? The Vietnam War? The War on Terror? History tells us Steve was right, while the movie takes the simpler approach. It felt like the studio forced the director to abandon her themes from before in order to have a big final battle. But I was literally trying to stay awake during that fight, whereas before, in the trenches, I was literally trying to hold back the tears. This video pretty much sums up my thoughts: 

Spiderman’s themes are about proving oneself and taking responsibility for your actions. Though it is never said in the movie, the phrase ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ weighs down on Peter Parker. While showing the consequences better than other Spiderman movies, it isn’t anything new.

Even though I feel Wonder Woman wasn’t quite true to the ideas brought to the table, it still brought up a lot of deep and interesting questions, so I’ll give this one to her movie. 


Wonder Woman’s relationship with Steve Trevor is based on mutual respect, not passion or hormones. He’s no dude in distress, but has his own strengths that complements Wonder Woman’s superpowers. I feel this is a more mature approach to relationships than seen in superhero movies. 

Peter’s relationship with Liz is more tell than show. In fact, every chance he has to spend time with her he turns down to play Spiderman. So the reveal at the end, when he finds out that *SPOILER!* the vulture is her father could have been more powerful if we actually believed he loved her. And when she announces she’s moving away, he offers pity but doesn’t seem too affected. And she does play the obligatory damsel in distress once in the movie. I think Peter’s relationship with Karen, his suit, was more interesting. This is possibly one of the weakest aspects of the movie, especially compared to the earlier ones. Tobey Macguire and Kirsten Dunst were good, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were even better (the only saving grace of Amazing Spiderman 2). That being said, Peter has a nice bromance with his buddy Ned.

This one goes to Wonder Woman


Neither DC nor Marvel has done good villains up to this point, especially when compared to The Dark Knight’s (not in the DC universe) Joker. I’ve already mentioned my complaints about Ares. He would have made a better idea than a physical being, a phantasm that tempts men that Diana has to counteract with persuasion instead of brute force. And he looked silly with his mustache. The reveal was pretty good, though, with him in the glass. If only he’d stayed there.

Spiderman’s villain fares a bit better. The Vulture is more down to earth, running an underground criminal organization to support his family. And when we find out that he is Liz’s dad, that ramps up the tension. Now we wonder if Spiderman will kill his girlfriend’s dad. And there’s no magic moment he turns to evil, unlike the first two Spiderman films. I just feel they could have done more with Michael Keaton.

This one goes to Spiderman.


Wonder Woman defies the DC universe formula, mostly because it has heart and isn’t afraid to have a superhero who stands for something. It injects hope into the universe that was beginning to feel hopeless. Let’s see if any of that can continue and if Warner Brothers learned something from it. Speaking of formula, Wonder Woman breaks many of the bad Strong Female Character tropes that I’ve mentioned before.

Spiderman, on the other hand, had the Marvel formula applied to it. Marvel makes good films, but not great ones. They are fun and enjoyable escapism, where we know the heroes won’t die, but they don’t go deep enough to truly stand out. The closest ones were the Captain America ones, but Spiderman plays it pretty safe. It is made by Disney now, which has sanitized the Marvel and Star Wars universes, for better or for worse.

Wonder Woman wins because it breaks the formula.


Both are good movies, a step above the movies that came before. But I think Wonder Woman’s impact will stay longer than Spiderman’s. The first Spiderman was important because it showed that superhero movies could be good. Wonder Woman is important because it shows audiences will see female superheroes and because it basically negates the gritty, depressing feel the DC universe has followed up until now (trying to copy the superior Christopher Nolan Batman films but not getting it right).

Spiderman: Homecoming is a good, fun movie, but it won’t impact culture like Wonder Woman did. 


Both are good movies. Both have good things going, as well as a few flaws. Neither topples my current favorite superhero movie: The Dark Knight, but both were enjoyable. I think Wonder Woman, although it stumbles, reaches closest to greatness, while Spiderman was a very fun popcorn flick. 


Age of Myth Book Review

Age of Myth

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

Age of Myth

by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my first time reading any of Michael J. Sullivan’s books. I tried this book, Age of Myth, and while it is passable, it fits generic fantasy. I actually have very little to say about it. The premise was slightly intriguing, although nothing too original. Humans rebel against the faster, smarter, deadlier, long lived elves. They consider the elves gods, until someone proves they aren’t.

But even with this premise there were issues. The magic, at least in this book, seems way too powerful. I don’t know what the limits are, as they command the weather, reroute a river, and other things like light fires, all without seeming to have limitations. And the elves do very little to maintain their stature as gods, especially when one is killed and they go around trumpeting that fact. Sure, they take revenge, but by doing that, they confirm to the humans they are mortal. At no time in the book am I in awe of the elves, except maybe in the first few paragraphs.

The characters are fine, but not too memorable. Persephone was probably the most interesting, and possible Suri, but seemed to follow primitive human/noble savage tropes. The plot went predictably. Even the red herring was obvious as such. The races had no depth with the standard humans, elves, and dwarves. But worse, the author threw in giants and goblins, each with one minor character representing them, serving almost no purpose. I don’t know if they’ll come up again later, but the goblin was there to try and fail to counter magic, and the giant was there to…I don’t know why. 

I’ve started reading Theft of Swords and it at least seems a little more interesting, if still in the same generic world. I don’t know if I’ll read any sequels to Age of Myth.

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Beauty and the Beast Review

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast – The New One

So I finally went to see Beauty and the Beast, despite some reluctance. I was having a hard time with Hermione, a know-it-all girl I saw growing up into a know-it-all woman, as Belle. Although the effect wasn’t as bad as I feared, I never quite got over that.  I was also having a hard time getting over the fact that Disney was telling the exact same story as the animated feature, instead of taking a deeper look at the source material like they did with The Jungle Book. Aside from a few forgettable song additions and a more robust backstory, this is almost scene for scene the same movie, just brought to “life” (even though half the movie is still animated, just with computer graphics). 

Still, I liked the original enough to give this one a try. For the most part, I liked this. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but it does a good job. But remaking a classic animation invites comparisons and I’m going to do just that.

Criticisms of the Original

If you’ve seen any film theory videos on the original Beauty and the Beast, you’ll find two main criticisms, both of which are nitpicky, in my opinion.

The first criticism is that Belle is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. That is where a kidnapped person identifies and sides with their captor. This new film doesn’t really address that issue, although Hermione did in interviews. But Belle voluntarily became a prisoner to free her father. The Beast didn’t kidnap her. And he eventually makes an effort to court her and treat her as a guest. So I don’t think this one holds.

This film directly addresses the second criticism, the muddled timeline. In the original, the Beast will remain cursed if he doesn’t find true love before his 21st birthday. Lumiere, in the song “Be Our Guest,” tells Belle that they have been rusting for 10 years now. So that implies the Beast received his curse when he was 11 years old. This would make his refusal of the enchantress more understandable, as he was just a bratty boy. But the original also had a painting of him as an adult human, so the curse couldn’t have taken place in his boyhood. In the end, it doesn’t make much sense either way.

This new one makes clear the enchantress cursed him as an adult. It also avoids any mention of a time span. Another thing this version does is mention how the nearby villagers forgot about the castle and its inhabitants. 

New Problems

While this new version of Beauty and the Beast addresses those issues, it introduces a few new ones. The biggest one, in my opinion, is a book that lets the two of them travel outside the castle. If the magic mirror wasn’t enough, the Beast has this new magic power. But its use is confusing.

Belle travels to her home in Paris. Spoiler alert: her mom is dead. She died from the plague. Belle goes to a home that appears recently abandoned, as there are still drawings of her as a baby there. So did she travel in time? The film also makes clear it is real, not just in their minds, as Belle takes a rose pen thing from the home and later shows it to her father. But in the flashback, Belle’s mother, sick with the plague, kisses it. So does Belle contract the plague as well? And if she can travel in time, could she save her mother? This device just adds new complications.

Technical issues

It is pretty clear they live in France (there is a song about people saying Bonjour). But Hermione has an English accent, while Obi Wan Kenobi hams up his French accent. It doesn’t make sense.

Speaking of Obi Wan Kenobi, who plays Lumiere, he steals the show, but I still think I prefer the original one. The singing worked better and I liked his animation better in the original Beauty and the Beast. Gandalf, playing Cogsworth, just sounds like an old man, not as fun as the original. The Hobbit’s Bard did a great job as manly man Gaston. And Olaf added depth to LeFou, while keeping the gay character controversy low key.

There were a few issues with the Beast. Although usually good, there were a few times the animation wasn’t smooth. And he looked more like a satyr than the buffalo hulk monster in the original Beauty and the Beast. His bad manners make no sense, since he was a prince before. And he tells Gaston in the end that he is no beast, while Belle calls him Beast just a moment later. 

One technical issue I saw was the scene transitions. Some scenes feel rushed. It is as if the director is saying, “You already saw this in the original and know what they’re thinking, so let’s just cut to the chase.” It was a bit jarring. The scenes didn’t flow into each other as well. Their falling in love scenes especially suffered from that, although I did enjoy seeing Hermione clocked in the face with a giant snowball. 


Overall, I enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast, but I don’t think it tops the original animated version, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. This one won’t get that. The original flowed better, the servants fit in an animated world better, and Belle didn’t annoy me like Hermione occasionally did. But it was nice to see things imagined realistically. 


Gone Girl Book Review

Gone Girl

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was frustrating to read. There are some interesting things about the unreliable narration, especially in the first half, but the book convinces you to hate both characters so much that the ending was not very satisfying. It is good in that it constantly makes you reevaluate what you’ve thought before. The problems I had were more toward the end of the book, although the whole time Nick is making stupid choices that make things worse for him, which annoyed me. 
(view spoiler)
Listening to the book on disc, I didn’t really enjoy the language, probably worse than if I had read it. But the actors did do a good job with their voices. I’m just glad I’m done with this. And that my wife isn’t that crazy.

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The Classification of Dragons


Dragons are the most interesting animal that never existed. No other mythological creature has had such far reach across cultures and centuries nor so much lore behind it. They’re even mentioned in the Bible, albeit as a symbolic representation. 

But despite being so universal, they are also diverse. Although many cultures have dragons in their mythology, their designs vary widely, and some of that might have to do with translation issues. They are often lizard- or snake-like, can often fly, sport spines and horns, and have magical attacks like breathing fire. Many don’t follow these patterns, though. Even so, most dragons of legend fit into one of several categories. 


Gold Dragon
The most common classification. People also know them as western dragons, because they mirror the designs in medieval Europe. They have four legs (some can stand up on the hind ones, others walk on all fours), a pair of bat wings for flying, and can breathe fire. Scales cover their bodies, like lizards. 

Summary: 4 legs, 2 wings


Smaug dragonThis is where things get controversial. Almost every recent film featuring dragons has what would more technically be called the wyvern design, or at least the updated version of wyverns. Originally, wyverns were smaller, didn’t breathe fire, and had a poisonous spine on their tails, like scorpions. Design-wise, their biggest difference was that they had no forearms, only two hind legs and two wings, which they used to walk on when grounded. Now, think back to every major dragon depicted in film in the last decade or two. Harry Potter dragons, Reign of Fire dragons, and Smaug in The Hobbit (despite Tolkien himself drawing him with four legs), plus the dragons in Game of Thrones and Skyrim, they all followed this design, even though people called them dragons. The only exception I can think of is How to Train Your Dragon, an animated film.

There are a few reasons for this. One is a sense of realism: excepting insects, there are no hexapods (animals with six limbs) that we know of. Bats, birds, and even pterodactyls all follow this design of the forearms being wings. Here is another reason. 

Personally, I dislike this trend. They seem less intelligent and more animalistic this way, in my opinion, and less true to their source material. Plus, it creates confusion, especially in the cinematic Lord of the Rings universe: if Smaug the dragon has only two legs, then what were the creatures the Naz’gul rode in the original trilogy? Smaller dragons? The wyverns might be more realistic, but come on, they’re dragons. The number of legs isn’t going to change the fact that they’re too big to fly, or even exist, and they wouldn’t be able to breathe fire. It seems silly to worry about them being hexapods without addressing that issue. 

Summary: 2 legs, 2 wings


Kirin DragonI’m going to lump several types of dragons in this category. This includes eastern dragons, associated with China and nearby areas. They are either serpentine with no legs or long with two to four legs. They don’t have wings, but can often fly using magic. These dragons are such a part of their cultures that they’re the only mythological beings in the Chinese zodiac. They are often more benevolent than the fire breathing dragons of the west.

Summary: 0-4 legs, no wings


Drake DragonsNot so common, these are flightless dragons with four legs. They can stand upright or on all fours

Summary: 4 legs, 0 wings


There are some other versions and classifications, but there’s no need to go more specific. Some differences between dragons include what type of breath they have, whether they have scales or feathers, what colors they are, and many other things. 

Famous Dragons

Just for fun, here are some famous dragons to grace myth, book, and screen.



Smaug is the most famous dragon in LotR, although not the biggest. He is the enemy in The Hobbit who treasures his hoard of gold and dies from a well placed arrow by a character who comes out of nowhere. In the movies, Bard has a little more characterization and pulls a reverse William Tell, shooting a dragon using the head of his son. He is a dragon in the book, wyvern in the movies.


This dragon became famous for growing so big it wrapped around the world and bit its tail. When it lets go, Ragnarok will begin. Sounds like a wyrm.


He has spikes, breathes fire, and kidnaps princesses, so he’s a dragon. Or a turtle. No, dragon sounds cooler. I’d classify him as a drake.


The most famous Disney dragon, he’s also one of the smallest. But he’s got enough attitude to make up for it. He is a wyrm.

Slifer the Sky Dragon

Yu-Gi-Oh’s first Egyptian God, this dragon is of indeterminate length. Probably a wyrm.


Of the original Pokemon, this one is the only one classified as a dragon, even though Charizard looks quite similar. Western Dragon.


And if you want to see more on the science of dragons, look at this video.