Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Night Magical Movie: Dragonheart

"A knight is sworn to valor.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked."

Here's a classic fantasy that I always loved.  It's a story about honor, magic and dragons.  It's also lots of fun, and had cutting edge CGI for it's time back in 1996, and it won an Academy Award for special effects to prove it.

Bowen (Dennis Quaid) is a knight of the old code, and has taken on the training of Einon, prince and heir to the throne in 10th century England.  He teaches him not only to fight, but the virtues of honor and chivalry, in an attempt to nurture the values of a knight of the round table in the boy.  The king is a cruel man, and during a bloody raid on one of the villages the king is killed.  Einon rips the crown from his dying father showing his true secret nature.  His pride in taking the crown passes quickly however when he is stabbed in the heart by one of the girls of the village. 

Bowen and Einons mother Queen Aislinn bring the dying Einon to his mothers honored friend, a Dragon voiced by noneother than Sean Connery.  We learn that she also follows the old ways and is recognised by the dragon as a "Daughter of the Celts."  When they make Einon swear to the dragon to be a fair and just ruler and follow the knights code, he does, and the dragon saves his life by sharing half of his heart with the boy.

Now that Einon is king and his life has been saved, his true nature comes out for everyone to see, he decides to slave the people to build him a new castle and continues his fathers reign of terror over the people of his land.  Bowan, not wanting to believe that the boy had lied to him all along, blames the dragon for cursing his heart and sets out on a new path as a dragonslayer as he travels the land killing every dragon he can find as Einon grows into a callus and cruel king.

12 years later, Bowen having turned his back on the code meets up with Brother Gilbert (Pete Postlethwaite), a traveling monk, scribe and poet who decides to follow him and record ballads of his exploits.  Bowan ends up facing down what he soon learns to be the last dragon alive and after extensive battle and arguing throughout a dicey stalemate they decide it's best to team up, Bowen pretending to slay him and the dragon pretending to die, both benefiting by survival.  Bowen names the dragon Draco after the dragon constellation since his name is unpronounceable to humans.  They end up in several sticky predicaments, and eventually meet up with Kara (Diana Meyer) who once stabbed Einon as a girl and has tried to kill Einon herself again in revenge for her fathers death.  The realize the only way to make justice for the people is to train them for battle against King Einon.  What no one but Draco knows is that his life and Einons are tied together by the heart, as long as Dracos heart beats, so will Einons.

It's a clever story, with beautiful scenery and excellent costuming, music, it really pulls it all together, and was honored by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy adn Horror Films for their excellent contributions.  Sean Connery brings wonderful personality to Draco, the wise and lovable dragon. 

David Thewlis channels his inner bad guy brilliantly as King Einon, he really makes a great villain.  Queen Aislinn is one of my favorite characters, she is kind and wise and attempts to live her life with grace and dignity no matter what.  She is played by the beautiful and talented Julie Christie who was Lara in the 1965 film  Doctor Zhivago.  I also like the scene when Draco takes Bowen to Avalon where he heard Arthurs voice (uncredited John Geilgud) who reminds him of the old code once again. 

This film received mixed reviews, but I was happy to take it for what it was, a fun fantasy film with food for the imagination.  Jami Bernard of the The New York Daily News described Dragonheart as "a movie for people young enough to keep dragons in the menageries of their imaginations." As an "over 40" woman with a whole slew of fantastical creatures dancing around in my imagination, I'll take that as a compliment!

Monday Movie Featured Item:
Garnet Dragon 15 oz coffee mug, available in our Etsy shop!

Who wouldn't love to have a dragon fighting right at their side?  Our Garnet Dragon coffee mug will kindle the dragon in your heart every morning and keep the magic alive all day long.

The design wraps all the way around the mug, repeating the art twice with a close up detail view in the center of the mug. A parchment paper design graces the border. This design is printed right in my studio and hand pressed permanently into the surface of the ceramic mug. This mug is both microwave and dishwasher safe.

We've had many proud owners of these mugs praise how beautiful they are and well they heat up drinks in the microwave without the handle getting hot. We hate when that happens, so we love these mugs!  Dan and I use one every morning.

Bright Blessings,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birthdays, Cats and an Interview on Tarot Notes

Hi All!

It's been a very busy week around the old wooden art table.  Last week was my birthday, so I spent lots of time hanging out with family.  We went out for dinners one night at B.C.'s Kitchen one of the St. Louis areas top restaurants that specialises in seasonal cuisine.  We had an amazing meal.  I joined my dad for breakfast on morning and relaxed with Dan and Tristan at home that evening, and last night my daughters, their husbands and my little grand kids came over for a celebration.  We had a great time.
Here I am with Brittany and little Olivia.

Brittany made delicious homemade Chicken Picata, she's a great cook!

Chelsea with Olivia, Livvy calls her Aunt Chel.

After dinner Brittany worked on her sweater, little Rhys was just hanging out with her but was happy to smile for the camera.

I always think of my sister on my birthday, you see her birthday is today!  We always shared our parties since our birthdays were so close, and we often had red hearts on our cakes and as decorations since we have February birthdays.  She's living in Denver now and I'm in Missouri, but we're still close, the distance is only incidental. 

I'm working away on my new Tarot deck,  Mystical Cats Tarot that I'm working on with author Lunaea Weatherstone (upcoming from Llewellyn, 2014)  In fact after a little writing this morning, I'm working on another card for that today.  Having loads of fun working on it, and exploring the mystical magical world of these very unique cats. 

I also had an interview with Zanna Starr over at Tarot Notes blog, she asked some great questions, if you would like to read it, here's the link! 

Well, back to work for me,

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Night Magical Movie: Willow

My friend Willow recommended that I do this one quite some time ago, and I was feeling kind of "Willow" this weekend, so here it is!

This 1988 movie written by George Lucas and Bob Dolman and directed by Ron Howard is a classic magical movie with all the elements of an action-adventure fairy tale.  He has created a very real feeling world, wonderful characters, and one of my favorite things about this movie is that there's lots of magic, the good, the bad and yes, even of the ugly variety.  My kids used to love to settle down with a big bowl of popcorn and watch this expertly woven tale.  This film has become such a favorite that it's hard to believe it didn't do well at the box office, but has lived on as a cult classic film for lovers of fantasy and magic.

Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) comes from a small village of small people called the Nelwyns, they live a simple life farming and raising their families.  Willow is more than just a farmer though, he has also been studying magic, and longs to become the apprentice to the village magician High Aldwin played delightfully by Billy Barty.  Aldwin respects Willows potential but questions his lack of belief in himself.  When Willows children find a Daikini (large people) baby in a basket in the river they bring the infant home.  When the village is attacked by large dog like creatures who are apparently looking for the Daikini child, it's decided that Willow and a company of fellow Nelwyns must get the baby out of town, to the Daikini crossroads and give her to her own kind to care for.

Unknown to them, she is a very special baby, destined to overthrow the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) who rules the land with an iron fist.  The band of travelers ends up abandoning Willow on their journey leaving only Willow and his friend Meegosh to get the baby to the crossroads.  They find only passing warriors there who don't want the baby.  The only one who agrees to help is Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) who is locked up in a crow cage and seems like a questionable character at best. 

He manages to charm Willow into releasing him so he can care for the baby, only to learn shortly after the baby has been stolen by brownies.  The two  Nelwyns follow the stolen baby and are brought to a magical grove where they learn from the fairy queen of the forest Cherlindrea that the baby's name is Elora Danan (Ruth and Kate Greenfield) and they are told of her destiny to destroy Bavmorda and become the future Empress of Tir Asleen.

They are also told that Willow has been chosen by Elora as her protector, so their destinies are intertwined.  Meegosh returns home and willow teams up with Madmartigan to give Cherlindrea wand to the exiled sorceress Fin Raziel (Patricia Hayes) so that she can use her powers to overcome Queen Bavmorda.  Turns out they are old enemies.

The two brownies become part of their alliance and they all make their way to the castle at Tir Asleen. 

Raziel continues Willows magic training, and Madmartigan develops a love-hate relationship with Bavmordas daughter the red headed and brutal Sorsha, played by Joanne Whalley, later Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, they met on this set.  They weren't the only ones to fall in love on the set of this film, young Warwick Davis met his future wife while making Willow too, she was one of the extras!

The hero's face trolls, trolls gone horribly wrong, transfiguration, captivity, love spells, winter sports on a shield, flaming arrows and gigantic armoured bad guys.  This story takes its inspiration from classical heroic literary concepts, the reluctant hero, the sage and apprentice, the magical gift, the messianic figure, the rogue hero and the battle between good and evil.

I've always loved Cherlindreas wand, apparently just a twisty branch or root, but full of great power.  This is a fun movie, and also has beautiful and inspiring scenery, costumes and special effects.  It's also a movie that makes you feel great and reminds us yet again, that its not your size (literally or figuratively) that matters, but your belief in yourself and your ability to find bravery in your won hear that really counts.

There is apparently are books that continue this story although none were ever made into movies called Chronicals of the Shadow War by George Lucas and Chris Claremont.  I found this while looking at the forums on IMDB, one of the girls who played Elora, Kate Greenfield actually popped onto a forum and mentioned it.

Magical Movie Featured Item:

Ogham Shield wall sconce, fiery readhead warrior chick!  Available in the Voice of the Trees Etsy shop

Sorsha is one of the coolest characters in Willow, who doesn't love a fiery redheaded warrior woman?
This is the cover art from Voice of the Trees, did I find some inspiration from the fiery Sorsha when I did this piece?  As many times as I've watched Willow, who knows, perhaps I did!