An essential part of filmmaking is acknowledging the audience’s familiarity with the subject matter and the themes common to the genre. Unfortunately for screenwriters, dialogue that may have once been clever and poignant becomes cliche and induces eye-rolling laughter when we hear the same lines repeated ad nauseam from one movie to the next.
Well, yeah, no sh*t. We’re fighting a war. Plus, the word “company” evokes the same feelings as the arrival of a house guest. Try something like, “We’ve got opposing forces! Ahhhh!” I’m just spit-balling here.
(Warner Brothers’ Dunkirk)
2. “You just don’t get it, do you?”
This line typically precedes some terribly narrated flashback or montage.
It’s an excuse for one character to plainly explain to movie-goers what they already know because the studio doesn’t respect the intelligence of its audience. When you hear this line, brace yourself while some secondary character inanely spews out backstory.
3. Some variation of, “We can do this the easy way — or the hard way.”
This one happens a lot… but I’ll admit it is a little fun watching various directors reimagine this trope.
4. “You look like sh*t.”
What? Yeah, well, maybe you look like sh*t, too!
(Sony Pictures’ Black Hawk Down)
5. “Is that all you’ve got?”
The character who drops this line almost always immediately dies or watches the opposing force bust out their biggest gun. It’s like a curse.
6. “I got a bad feeling about this.”
Do you really? Was there something unsettling about the fact that you’re about to go to shoot at guys who are shooting at you?
We all have our favorite military movies. Whether or not they depict combat isn’t as important as the aspects of military life they bring to the screen. Military films remind us of our own experiences and those with whom we deployed. The characters in these movies have been with us so long, it’s like we know them personally. Like the real-life people you deployed with, the characters are mixed bag: you like some more than others. Some you can’t stand, some you absolutely love. These are the military movie characters closest to the hearts of America’s veterans.
These are the military movie characters closest to the hearts of America’s veterans.
1. Everyone in “Full Metal Jacket”
“Full Metal Jacket” is supposed to be an anti-war movie, a treatise on the effects of overly macho masculinity, brainwashing in military training, and the combination of those forces in war.
Inside of the military, however, it’s the single most quoted movie ever. Everyone knows these characters and R. Lee Ermey’s performance as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman cemented everyone’s view of the Marine Drill Instructor in his own image, forever. Everyone from Animal Mother to Joker to Private Pyle makes this the perfect storm of characters.
2. Sgt. 1st Class Norm “Hoot” Gibson, “Black Hawk Down”
Hoot is actually based on three real people, based on Sgt. 1st Class John Macejunas, Sgt. 1st Class Norm Hooten and Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Rierson. In a movie full of memorable lines and moments, Hoot’s stand out and stay with you, especially his speech at the end.
Brad Pitt is really getting into World War II movies. On top of 2014’s “Fury,” he has another coming out in 2016 called “Allied.” Before all that, he was Aldo Raine, the gung-ho leader of a band of Jewish troops dropped into Fortress Europe to strike fear in the hearts of Nazis. It worked and we loved watching him do it.
4. Staff Sgt. Sykes, “Jarhead”
Swoff’s scout sniper training instructor is funny, good at his job, cares about his Marines, and is one of the most memorable Marines in film and television history. Which is saying a lot.
5. Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, “Apocalypse Now”
Apocalypse Now is an older film, the second oldest on this list (1979), so it may move a little slower than audiences today are used to. Still, in a movie full of legendary characters and performances by the actors portraying them, Kilgore stands out among them because he’s not paranoid or crazy, but he genuinely enjoys war.
6. Lt. (j.g.) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, “Top Gun”
Goose was the ultimate wingman, the guy who always has your back.
Trip was angry, brooding, and resentful of the country he had to fight for. He’s the first to voice his displeasure with the idea that nothing will change for blacks in post-Civil War America. He’s the first to protest unequal pay. It makes you wonder why he bothers to fight at all until you realize he’s fighting for everyone around him and for what lives they could have.
8. Gen. George S. Patton, “Patton”
This is the oldest movie on the list here, but is so chock full of moments that, in movie buff circles, more people remember George C. Scott’s depiction of the man than the man himself.
9. Lt. Dan Taylor, Forrest Gump
Even Gary Sinise once said that Lieutenant Dan became a part of the actor himself and make Sinise dedicate his time and energy toward wounded veterans. When the actor walks through veterans hospitals, the attitudes of the patients literally change because Lt. Dan just walked in. That’s powerful.
10. Pvt. Dewey “Ox” Oxberger, Stripes
It’s not easy to choose which character in “Stripes” stands out the most. There are strong cases for Bill Murray’s John Winger and Harold Ramis’ Russell Ziskey, but John Candy’s Ox will steal your heart.
11. Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam
The relatively recent death of Robin Williams may have made this performance a little more poignant, but the real-life Adrian Cronauer himself admitted that Williams’ portrayal of him was more epic than he ever was in real life.
The harrowing tale of how a U.S. Army Air Force B-24 top turret gunner evaded Nazis for six months after his plane was shot down in 1943 is now heading to the silver screen.
According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, actor Jake Gyllenhaal’s production company Nine Stories has acquired the rights to make a film adaptation of “The Lost Airman,” a book about the odyssey that Staff Sgt. Arthur Meyerowitz faced in evading Nazis after the B-24 he was in was shot down.
The film is being produced for Amazon Studios.
According to a March 2016 review of the book, Meyerowitz suffered a serious back injury when he bailed out from the Liberator, which kept him from getting across the Pyrenees Mountains right away. This meant that Meyerowitz was in serious trouble — not only was he an Allied airman, he was also Jewish.
So, the French Resistance hid Meyerowitz in plain sight as an Algerian named Georges Lambert, a deaf-mute who had been injured in an accident who had been hired to work in a store in the city of Toulouse. Meyerowitz was joined by a Royal Air Force pilot named Richard Cleaver.
At great cost, the French Resistance eventually got Meyerowitz over the Pyrenees, but even then, there was still risk from Spanish officials who were perfectly willing to return “escaped criminals” to the Nazis (usually after the payment of a bribe).
Thus, the two pilots were not truly safe until they arrived in Gibraltar via a fishing boat.
Meyerowitz would receive the Purple Heart for the injury he suffered while escaping from the stricken B-24. He also would spend over a year in hospitals recovering from the untreated injury.
French Resistance fighters. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Gyllenhaal is best known for starring in the movies “Nightcrawler,” ‘The Day After Tomorrow,” and “Jarhead.” The film is being produced by Academy Award-winning producer John Lesher, best known for “Birdman.” No release date has been set.
There’s a new mobile streaming app in town that’s hoping to corner the market on the white space in your day — specifically, those seven to 10 minute gaps where you’d love to be entertained. Introducing Quibi, whose name and premise are based upon giving you quick bites of big stories.
After watching some of their trailers, we can assure you: you won’t be disappointed. Spoiler alert: The release we’re looking forward to the most? We Are The Mighty’s very own show, TEN WEEKS — the first look inside U.S. Army basic combat training in two decades. Make sure you download Quibi now to know when TEN WEEKS is available.
Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg Goes Over The New Streaming Service
The daily essentials are a great way to get your news or recaps in just a few minutes. The movies in chapters and shows are equally captivating with excellent storytelling and star-studded casts.
From Reese Witherspoon narrating an animal documentary to the story behind the I Promise School with LeBron James, the cast of these shows is nothing shy of impressive. With celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Bell, Ben Stiller, Will Arnett, Ozzy Osbourne, Jay Leno, Ariana Grande, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Matthew McConaughey, Tina Fey, Jack Black and the list goes on — it’s easy to see how co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman put id=”listicle-2645654109″.75B into content.
“If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”
This chilling line, spoken with gleeful malice by Ramsay Bolton in season 3 of Game of Thrones, always felt like the closest thing the HBO show had to a thesis statement. From the very beginning, Game of Thrones has made it abundantly clear that it was not in the business of pleasing its fans. Heroes like Ned and Robb Stark suffered brutal, shocking deaths that highlighted the cruel and chaotic nature of the world of Westeros. Oberyn, a man seeking vengeance for the death and rape of his sister, was instead killed by the very man who murdered his sister. A young girl was burnt alive by her own father seeking to further his claim to the throne.
Even George R.R. Martin made no efforts to hide the story’s unabashed acknowledgment of darkness, as he famously alluded to Game of Thrones ending as “bittersweet.” So naturally, heading into the final season, we all braced for the worst. Would the White Walkers end up on the throne? Would Arya’s bloodlust overcome her, sending her on a John Wick-esque killing spree of all the leaders of Westeros, including her siblings? The possibilities seemed endless, which is why it was such a surprise to see that season 8, episode 6, ‘The Iron Throne’ ended on such an uplifting and optimistic note.
If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention…
Of course, this is Game of Thrones, so obviously, its version of a happy ending is quite different than what you might expect from a rom-com or buddy comedy. Over the course of the final season, several beloved characters died, including Jaime, Cersei, Jorah, Lyanna, and, of course, Dany, who was stabbed by her lover-turned-nephew Jon Snow just as she finally reached the Iron Throne. And beyond characters that we knew, countless soldiers and innocent civilians were slaughtered during Dany’s takeover of King’s Landing. Death was always an essential part of the show’s DNA, so it should come as no surprise that it remained a core component in the final season.
However, once Drogon symbolically roasted the throne and headed off with Dany’s corpse, the show suddenly took a tonal shift that could almost be described as cheerful? Bran is chosen as the King of Six Kingdoms and absolves Tyrion’s treason charges by casually making him his Hand. As a result, Bronn, Brienne, Sam, and Davos are all appointed to the high council, despite some of their questionable qualifications. Whether or not these moments were earned is up for debate but what’s not up for debate is the fact that this is about the happiest ending Westeros could have hoped for.
Moving forward, the Six Kingdoms won’t be ruled by a drunken marauder like Robert Baratheon or a cruel psychopath like Joffrey Lannister; instead, they will get Bran, an emotionless, altruistic being who barely identifies as human but makes up for it by having the ability to see the present and the future. He’s basically a superhero who has no personal desires, making him the ideal ruler to an almost absurd degree. And on his high council sit a ragtag crew of the most beloved characters in the show, who joyfully trade barbs and witticisms as their King heads off to figure out if he can warg into a dragon.
And beyond the kingdom as a whole, the show protected the Starks with a sense of mercy that even Ned would have found excessive. In the early seasons, no family suffered more than the Starks, as each member of the family gets about as close to a happy ending as you could expect for them. Obviously, Bran is King but Sansa gets to remain Queen in the North, as Bran agrees to grant Winterfell independence. Jon might not be sitting on the throne but that’s never what he wanted. And thanks to Greyworm’s laughably bad negotiating skills, Jon’s “punishment” is abdicating his responsibility to join the free folk up north. Meanwhile, Arya ditches Westeros to explore the great unknown, for some reason.
For longtime Game of Thrones fans, the last half of “The Iron Throne” may have felt like a jarring shift of pace because we suddenly went from gritty realism to a conclusion that felt very much in line with Tolkien’s Return of the King, right down to the heartfelt goodbye at the docks. None of this is to say that a happy ending was impossible for Game of Thrones; it’s just the show needed to earn the pivot of hopefulness that feels out of step with so much of what we came to fundamentally understand about the Westeros. Was the answer really just let the Three-Eyed-Raven be king? If so, why hadn’t anyone thought of that before? Seems almost too obvious.
Perhaps in Martin’s books, the story will be told in a way that makes the bitter aspect of this bittersweet ending more clear but for now, it’s a finale that almost feels like it was pulled from a less nuanced fantasy series, where kings are impossibly noble and good men and women get to live the long and happy lives they deserve. We can’t help but wonder with such a happy ending, were creators David Benioff and Daniel Weiss the ones not paying attention?
This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.
Throughout history, Native American warriors have given a wide mix of motives for joining the U.S. military. Those include patriotism, pride, rage, courage, practicality, and spirituality, all mingling with an abiding respect for tribal, familial, and national traditions.
This Veterans Day, explore the complicated ways the Native American culture and traditions have affected their participation in the United States military when The Warrior Tradition airs at 9 pm ET on PBS. The one-hour documentary, co-produced by WNED-TV and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc., tells the stories of Native American warriors from their own points of view – stories of service and pain, of courage and fear.
We on Team WATM agree that no matter how you feel about the countries depicted or the wars they’re fighting in these movies, without a doubt, all these films are better than The Hurt Locker.
Here are the 15 best foreign war movies:
1. Days of Glory (France)
Days of Glory is the story of Algerian troops enlisting to fight to save a fatherland (France) they’ve never seen. Though they feel it’s their patriotic duty, they still encounter discrimination and injustice as they attempt to fight the same conflict as their French countrymen. Rumor has it the President of France at the time of the film’s release was so moved by it, he raised the pensions of former colonial troops to be the same as their French counterparts. Essentially, this movie so good and realistic it made the president give them a raise. Not bad.
2. Das Boot (Germany)
Das Boot (The Boat) is not just one of the greatest foreign war films, it’s one of the best films of all time, from anywhere. It follows a U-boat crew as they attempt to wreak havoc on allied shipping during WWII without getting killed themselves. The film beautifully (and sometimes chillingly) depicts life aboard the U-boats: boredom, frustration, and all the trials of life in a diesel-fueled tin can in the middle of the ocean. You will forget what side these guys are on and by the end, and will feel like a member of the crew, struggling in silence, hoping for survival. Das Boot is remarkable for its detail and suspense. (And do yourself a favor — watch it in German with subtitles.)
3. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (South Korea)
Two brothers are forced to fight for the South Korean Army when North Korea invades the South. One brother makes a deal with his commander to kill an impressive number of enemy troops in order to get his brother released from his enlistment. He becomes a war hero, but soon develops a taste for fighting, killing, and cruelty, leading the brother he fights to save to question his older brother’s humanity. The film may not be completely accurate in weapons or their effects, but it’s a great view of the war from the Korean perspective.
4. Waltz With Bashir (Israel)
The only documentary film on the list, Waltz With Bashir follows the director’s experience as an Israeli soldier during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. This is also the only animated film on this list. Banned in Lebanon, this provocative film depicts the director remembering his role in the Sabra and Shatila Massacres in Lebanon, (though the Israeli Defence Forces didn’t actually carry out the massacres, but they didn’t stop it either) and his views of the aftermath. The director is quoted as saying the happiest day of his life will be when he can screen the film in Beirut. The trailer alone is better than The Hurt Locker.
5. Waar (Pakistan)
See how India and Pakistan feel about each other in the highest-grossing Pakistani film of all time – a cloak-and-dagger counterterrorism film set on the background of Pakistan’s War on Terrorism. It includes a depiction of the 2009 attack on a Lahore police station. A former Pakistani Army officer must foil attacks from the Taliban and from Indian Research and Analysis Wing spies on Pakistanis and his own family. Awesome action sequences accompany a really great and beautifully shot story.
6. The Battle of Algiers (Italy/Algeria)
The actual Battle of Algiers is as legendary as this film. This is a film about freedom fighters (or terrorists, depending on where you sit) in the Algerian struggle for freedom from France. Often used by governments and insurgent groups as a demonstration of urban-style guerilla warfare, The Battle of Algiers was so controversial, it couldn’t be screened in France until five years after it was finished.
7. Lebanon (Israel)
Set in the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the entire film is the war from the point of view of Israeli tankers. The crew can only see the outside world through a gunsight. Only four soldiers are in the tank and are ordered to clear an area of enemies using illegal munitions and must deal with POWs, equipment problems, unclear orders, and the general discomforts of living in close quarters – Like a Das Boot for Israeli tankers.
8. Mongol (Kazakhstan)
The story of the legendary Genghis Khan Temujin as he was raised on the Mongolian steppe, lost his parents, was sold into slavery, won his freedom, defeated his best-friend-turned-enemy, and became the Khan of All Mongols. Originally intended to be the first in a trilogy, the end of the film definitely leaves the viewer wanting to see the rest.
9. Paradise Now (Palestine)
Every country wages war the best way it can, with the weapons and tactics they have. How you see these characters again depends on where you sit. During the Second Intifada, Palestinians used suicide bomber attacks. Paradise Now follows two such suicide bombers on their last days before their mission in Tel Aviv. Rather than being the emotionless death robots they could so easily be portrayed as, this film takes the time to humanize them as they realize what they’re doing and why suicide bombing is an awful tactic. The film is so provocative and controversial, one Israeli author called it “a quality Nazi film.”
10. Assembly (China)
Set during the Chinese Civil War in 1948 between Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists and Mao Zedong’s Communists, a Communist infantry captain defends the south bank of the Wen River until the retreat assembly call is heard. Politics disappear as his troops defend the bank for hours and the captain is injured. He wakes up in a hospital to find out the Communists think his troops are missing or deserted and goes to the site of the battle to make sure they get the recognition they deserve.
11. Gallipoli (Australia)
This is a depiction of the ANZAC invasion of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) during World War I. Through the relationship between two young soldiers (Mel Gibson and Mark Lee), joining to fight after being influence by homeland propaganda campaigns, the two enlist, train in Egypt, and soon experience the realities of trench warfare, eventually ending up in the Dardanelles fighting the Turkish army in what became one of the worst killing fields of any war.
12. Silmido (South Korea)
This film is a dramatization of the true story of Unit 684, a special operations unit of the South Korean Air Force. They were formed from convicts on death row and some with life sentences, and assigned to assassinate North Korean Leader Kim Il-Sung in response to North Korea’s attempt to assassinate South Korean Prime Minister Park Chung-hee. The 31 men of Unit 684 were trained on the island of Silmido but when relations warmed, their mission was cancelled. The men rebelled in 1971, killed their guards and fled to the mainland. The real reason for the mutiny is unknown, but the film depicts a version of the catalyst events on the island.
13. Talvisota (Finland)
Talvisota is a Finnish depiction of the fight against the Soviet invasion of Finland during 1939-1940. Though Stalin’s troop advanced quickly into Finland, the “Winter War” is generally seen as much of a Finnish victory, due to the heavy resistance of Finnish troops. Talvisota uses real Soviet T-26 light tanks and is a realistic reenactment of the war.
14. The Star (Russia)
Set in WWII Poland, The Star is about Soviet forward reconnaissance scouts behind enemy lines. The film plays with war movie clichés, only from a Russian perspective, featuring a mix of people from various origins in the Soviet Union. Keeping in mind the staggering Russian losses, the toll of civilian casualties, and the brutality of the Wehrmacht toward the Red Army and its prisoners, The Star is an interesting take on the enemy: near shadows, only seen when killed or captured.
15. Border (India)
The Battle of Longewala in India’s Rajasthan region pitted one Indian company (120 foot soldiers) against a Pakistani tank regiment (2,000 soldiers and 45 tanks) during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Border is the 1997 Bollywood depiction of those events. Like many Bollywood films, there is a great deal of singing, but the acting is reminiscent of older, over-the-top American action films while action sequences are completely unrealistic (see: fighter jet flies ten feet off the ground while one guy sits next to exploding tank). This film is really entertaining.
Marine Corps drill instructor and Hollywood actor R. Lee Ermey was robbed of an Oscar for his legendary portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 classic “Full Metal Jacket” and snubbed by the Academy’s Oscar “memoriam” montage.
But while the Academy may not have thought his contribution worth recognition, we know the Gunny knew a thing or two we should all remember about military service.
Ermey had a long career. As well as his iconic role in “Full Metal Jacket,” where he improvised most of his dialog, and that long run on “Mail Call,” he played iconic roles as the police captain in “Se7en,” the voice of Sarge in the “Toy Story” movies, the mayor in “Mississippi Burning” and a chilling serial rapist in a 2010 episode of “Law & Order: SVU.”
Ermey also had a wicked sense of humor, one that allowed him to play the over-the-top movie director Titus Scroad in the cult TV series “Action” and the lead kidnapper in the “Run Ronnie Run,” the bizarre comedy from “Mr. Show With Bob and David” guys Bob Odenkirk and David Cross.
He left us on April 15, 2018, and he’s now at rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
So what did his TV and movie appearances teach us about service? Here are nine great examples.
1. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
In his “Full Metal Jacket” rants, Gunny Hartman tells his recruits that their Marine Corps training had permanently changed them. They’re no longer mere men: They’ve become Marines.
“Today, you people are no longer maggots. Today, you are Marines. You’re part of a brotherhood. From now on, until the day you die, wherever you are, every Marine is your brother. Most of you will go to Vietnam. Some of you will not come back. But always remember this: Marines die. That’s what we’re here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever and that means you live forever.”
2. You gotta break someone before you build them up.
Few civilians understand the bonds of trust required for a military unit to function and even fewer can grasp the process that goes into tearing down the idea of the individual so a person can be truly absorbed into the group. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman can help you with that.
“If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that that day, you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human fucking beings! You are nothing but unorganized grab-ass-tic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me! But the more you hate me, the more you will learn! I am hard, but I am fair! There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops, or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not packed the gear to serve in my beloved corps. Do you maggots understand that?”
Gunny Hartman may have been talking about Pablo Picasso’s 1939 portrait of Dora Maar.
3. Modern art is not good art.
Hidden in Gunny Hartman’s psychological tear down are some important observations about other parts of our world. He’s also an art critic.
“You’re so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece!”
Truthfully, Gunny Hartman’s material is closer to Don Rickles than Steve Martin but Steve’s the one who said, “Comedy is not pretty.”
4. Comedy is not pretty.
He’s a talented insult comic.
“Well I’ve got a joke for you, I’m going to tear you a new a–hole.”
Ask yourself: “Is my toilet clean enough that I could invite the mother of Our Savior to use my bathroom?”
5. A clean toilet is a holy toilet.
He’s concerned that our religious icons have a good bathroom experience.
“I want that head so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump.”
What’s YOUR major malfunction?
6. A great catchphrase works in any situation.
Ask anyone who grew-up in a household where dad always asked “What’s your major malfunction?” Every Single Time they did something he didn’t like.
7. The Heart is the Deadliest Weapon.
He even operates on multiple levels. He may SAY a Marine is the deadliest weapon but listen closely: The threat really comes from a Marine’s cold, cold heart.
“The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle. It is your killer instinct which must be harnessed if you expect to survive in combat. Your rifle is only a tool. It is a hard heart that kills. If your killer instincts are not clean and strong, you will hesitate at the moment of truth. You will not kill. You will become dead Marines. And then you will be in a world of s***. Because Marines are not allowed to die without permission. Do you maggots understand?”
8. Everyone Needs Mail.
Ermey did his part on his long-running History Channel series to educate a generation of Americans who knew nothing about the military. He also reminded everyone that communication is critical for men and women who are serving their country. If you want to remember Ermey, write a letter, send an email or make a phone call in honor of his service.
This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.
“An author cannot, of course, remain wholly unaffected by his experience.”
These are the words of arguably the most influential writer of the 20th century and WWI veteran, John Ronald Reuel “J.R.R.” Tolkien.
In June 1916, the newly commissioned lieutenant kissed his newly married wife goodbye as he boarded the transport to Calais, France. Come July 1st, one of the bloodiest battles in human history took place near the Somme River. That day, his closest friend was killed and Tolkien forever changed.
Shouldering the burden of leadership and the ever looming threat of death, by disease or the enemy, Tolkien carried on. Ultimately, it was Trench Fever that sent him home ten days before the dust settled.
Deemed no longer medically fit for service, Tolkien returned to his passion: writing. The rest is history.
When the second edition of TheLord of the Rings was released, the foreword stated: “The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion.” Tolkien continued with, “But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers.”
He hated direct comparisons of his works to real world events. No real world leader is Sauron. No real world army are the orcs. And the One Ring is not a reference to the nuclear bomb.
Much of the psychology and emotions of his works, however, did pull from his time on the battlefield, most notably with the Dead Marshes. In the second volume (and film) The Two Towers, the ghoulish Gollum lead the protagonist, Frodo Baggins, through a swamp full of bloated bodies under the mud and water.
Tolkien’s biography, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, explained that what Frodo experienced in the Marsh was specifically based on the Battle of the Somme where Tolkien saw countless bodies across the muddy battlefield.
Themes were also pulled from his leadership and the bravery of his men. Tolkien studied at Oxford and lead men from mining, milling, and weaving towns of Lancashire. In another biography, Tolkien and the Great War, Tolkien said he “felt an affinity for these working class men, but military protocol forbade him from developing friendships with ‘other ranks’.” This man-apart thematically affected many of the characters in his novels.
One of the largest changes from the novel to any film adaptation is the “Scouring of the Shire” and the mindset of Frodo after the war. In the final chapters of the last book, Saruman attacked the Shire and all of the townspeople had to defend their home.
Afterward, Frodo was left alone.
War changed him. Frodo couldn’t just return to being a happy, singing Hobbit like everyone else after the war. He’d been stabbed, poisoned, and lost a finger. Frodo, like Tolkien himself, had become “shell-shocked” after combat.
The forward of the 1991 release of The Lord of the Rings added another Tolkien quote: “The country in which I lived in childhood was being shabbily destroyed before I was ten. Recently I saw in a paper a picture of the last decrepitude of the once thriving corn-mill beside its pool that long ago seemed to me so important.”
It’s been four months since the kinda disappointing Game of Thrones finale, but HBO is trying to make it up to us with new shows set in the same universe. Filming on a pilot starring Naomi Watts has already wrapped, and now the network appears close to ordering another.
The as-yet-untitled series would take place 300 years before Thrones and focus on the origins of House Targaryen, that of the Mad King, the Mother of Dragons, and — outdated spoiler alert — Jon Snow himself.
The concept for the show was created by writer and producer Ryan Condal and George RR Martin. It’s based on Fire Blood, a series Martin created as a spin-off to the A Song of Ice and Fire and reportedly represents a new take on one of the five prequel scripts HBO commissioned in 2017.
The tagline of Fire Blood is “when dragons ruled Westeros,” which means instead of Daenerys’s three miracle dragons the spin-off should feature way more winged beasts and, we can only presume, a healthy dose of aerial combat.
To date, only the first volume of Martin’s series has been published, which makes us wonder if Martin could be in another situation where a TV series of his lurches ahead of the books it’s ostensibly based on.
Three hundred years is a long time in anyone’s family history, so don’t be surprised if there’s some complicated family tree math to be done connecting the characters in this show to those we meet in Game of Thrones, drawings not unlike those you’d find in the front of one of Martin’s books or on your mail-in DNA test results page.
This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.
Being clean shaven every day in the military is an absolute must — unless you’re a special forces operator and are allowed to grow out a manly beard. Every morning, men (and some women) wake up during with a 5 o’clock shadow that is required to disappear before morning muster.
But the day you signed your DD-214 and no longer fall under the rules and regulations of shaving, it’s time to grow out that impressive separation beard — just because you can.
Not every beard is right for the individual. With several types of styles to choose from, it’s necessary to grow one that fits your specific personality. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you pick one out that fits your unique look.
Not to be mistaken for the “Homeless Man,” this style says “I work my ass for a living, but it’s usually somewhere outside in the cold.” It’s popular for keeping your face warm and catching food crumbs.
2. The Chuck Norris
One of our favorites, this traditional style relays to the world that not only can you be rugged, but you take enough time to trim up. This typically looks good enough to step into the boardroom for a presentation, then head right out to the gun range.
Chuck Norris doesn’t shave — he orders his beard to stop growing.
3. The “I’m not too worried about it”
This unique look informs the world you’re just chilling, you’re in no hurry, and whatever happens, happens.
Named after the talent actor-comedian Zack Galifianakis, this ensures your fellow man that you’re a hard worker, but you know how to crack a good joke and don’t take life too seriously.
5. The Fuzz
Not everyone can grow a full separation beard — some of us grow them in thin-to-thick patches.
This doesn’t inform the world you have low testosterone (the male’s dominant hormone) because it isn’t a facial hair growth factor — dihydrotestosterone is the chemical that promotes thick beard growth and unfortunately is linked to hair loss. Bummer!
We still respect your commitment.
6. The Shaggy
A fashionable look for those who received their separation paperwork and ran straight to the bar, leaving their razor or clipper behind in the barracks.
EDITOR’S NOTE:An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the operating system and capacity of the M1. It is a gas operated rifle that has an eight-round capacity.
This is his rifle. There are many like it, but “Ginger Dinger” is his.
That was the name ‘Gunny’ R. Lee Ermey gave his beloved M1 Garand rifle. It’s been heralded by General George S. Patton as “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”
In an era of lever-action or bolt-action rifles, nothing can compare the speed and accuracy of a semi-automatic that uses the high-pressured gas from the cartridge being fired to do all the work for you. All troops had to do was just pull the trigger, the spent shell is ejected, the next round is chambered, and you’re ready to fire again. At the time of it’s creation in 1936, this was an absolute game changer.
Once you pop in a eight round en-bloc clip of .30-06, the M1 Garand becomes one of the most reliable weapons any service member has been issued. It was issued to the U.S. Army in 1938 and has seen service in World War II, Korean War, and selectively used in a sniper variation for the Vietnam War.
Currently, it is still available for civilian ownership and is widely praised by collectors and marksmanship competitors.
The U.S. Military still uses the M1 Garand for ceremonial purposes by drill teams. It’s said that they are also very well balanced, spin easily, and present well.
Also, both pronunciations are widely accepted. As in it’s either “Gahr-rund,” as if it rhymed with ‘errand,’ or “gur-rand,” as if Tony the Tiger was trying to say ‘grand.’
Check out the video down below if you want to watch R. Lee Ermey sh*t talk during a shooting competition with British Rifle Expert Gary Archer in his show “Lock ‘N Load with R. Lee Ermey.”
*Writer’s Note: At first I mistakenly attributed the M1 Garand as a recoil operated rifle with a five round clip. This is not the case and I own up to my mistakes. Thank you to everyone in the comment section.
Journalist Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors and writer for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time, (among others) now brings us Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home.
The book’s quick description says it’s “the true story of two decorated combat veterans linked by tragedy, who come home from the Middle East and find a new way to save their comrades and heal their country.” But this book is more than that.
Charlie Mike tells the story of Jake Wood of Team Rubicon and Eric Greitens of The Mission Continues along with those who assisted them and helped build these monumental veterans’ service organizations.
“Service” is the key word in this book, and in the cases of Wood and Greitens, the service is from the veterans. Charlie Mike, as the name implies (Charlie Mike is military speak for “Continue the Mission”) is as much about the needs of communities around veterans as it is about veterans. Like a The Mission Continues fellows says, these are challenges, not charities.
Eric Greitens is a Truman Scholar, Rhodes Scholar, and Navy SEAL whose SEAL service was (unofficially) cut short after exposing fellow SEALs drug use on an exercise in Thailand. He was inspired after visiting injured Marines at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland to found an organization which would help veterans heal themselves by continuing to serve, even if they could no longer serve in the military. He founded The Mission Continues with the help of Kaj Larsen, a fellow SEAL whose story is also covered in the book. The Mission Continues gives fellowships to veteran to help “redeploy” them into their communities.
Jake Wood and William McNulty are two former U.S. Marines who were frustrated with the way disaster relief organizations handled enlisting volunteers in the aftermath of the 201o Haiti Earthquake. They decided to just go and do whatever they could, and with a little help and guidance from Jesuits on the ground in Haiti, doctors they met along the way, and their good friend Clay Hunt, they did just that. Their efforts there became the model for Team Rubicon, an non-profit organization that uses the skills and work ethic of American veterans and teams them with experienced first responders to deploy emergency teams to disaster areas. Wood was one of The Mission Continues first fellows.
These organizations, their founders, and the veterans who staff them are prime examples of the attitude of the post-9/11 community of American veterans. The tales of their lives and how these organizations came to be are ones of integrity, personal sacrifice, tragedy, and brotherhood. Their stories are inspiring, and their legacy is already legendary. They represent the newest greatest generation.
Joe Klein does justice to these amazing stories, and that makes Charlie Mike one of the best military books of the year.