Highlights from 2015 – 1st Quarter

Top Stats

The question with the highest votes was Is there a Vulcan funeral blessing? asked by Iszi.

The two questions with the most views (by a narrow margin of 200 some odd views between them) were Why is ‘Belgium’ the rudest word in Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? and Why do people risk death by joining Starfleet if not for money or preservation of their homes? asked by Dries and Emissarry respectably.

The top voted answer was user42365‘s answer to Is there a Vulcan funeral blessing?. Second place was phantom42‘s answer to Why did Peter Quill wait 26 years to open his mother’s gift?

Top User Picks

SSumner is like, totally, obsessed with Star Wars.

They liked the questions:

They liked the answers:

Richard liked the following questions:

And my answers to them weren’t half bad, either, if I can toot my own trumpet.

Darth Melkor liked the top voted question, Richard’s answer to the Neo question, additionally:

On the Neo question he said:

Richard got an awesome answer to this one precisely one minute before I did, and did a much better job of it than I did too, so it’s worth a shout-out

Author Picks

If I had to choose my favorite questions (which I don’t, but I will) they would be:

All asked by Tango and answered by Jack B Nimble.

After researching the Adventures of Superman series questions for several hours everyday for five days I finally stumbled upon a book called Flights of Fantasy: The Unauthorized but True Story of Radio & TV’s Adventures of Superman, which I decided to buy on the hope of finding the answers to the two questions. Fortunately, I did.

Highlights from 2014 – 2nd Quarter

Meta Suggested:

alexwlchan suggested the two questions which happened to be the two highest voted questions in the quarter:

Avner Shahar-Kashtan mentioned DVK’s question How exactly is the Secret Fire similar to the Holy Spirit? He also liked The Valar and their power to create and the answer to Did the force-like magic exist within LOTR books?.

It was a very Harry Potter centric quarter for DVK’s favorites:

I mostly remember these [answers] because they were for the questions I asked, so there’s a certain bias [here.]

How do wizards prevent Accio-fueled robberies?

The answer by alexwlchan is wonderfully canon including sourcing a canon source I wasn’t even aware of before!

Would Severus Snape be classified with ASPD? by Slytherincess – AND a competing answer by alexwlchan. Amazing analysis.

Overpowering The Elder wand by Slytherincess.

Why didn’t Quirrell keep the flying key? by alexwlchan. Especially since it was posted right after I made a fool of myself by commenting that there’s no canon answer.

DVK also liked the research aspect of what initially seemed like a “D’uh” answer to Which are the Two Towers in Lord of the Rings?

Interesting Stats:

The question with the most votes AND the most views goes to Does Batman use Linux? asked by user3058846. The second runner up for most votes was How did Dumbledore, or anyone, know Lily had sacrificed herself for Harry? and the second runner up for most views was What are the rules of Trial by Combat in Game of Thrones?

The top two answers were to Why was Hermione not in Ravenclaw? answered by alexwlchan and Who is / was the “Lord of the Rings”? answered by SQB

Highlights from 2013 – 4th Quarter

Meta Suggested:

DVK had some interesting things to share.

He liked both the question and answer to Was the Cantina music deliberately off-tune or just an artifact of cheap production? asked by user17807.

The question How did Jabba become such a powerful crime lord? asked by Beofett.

He also liked the question and answer of Why do the lightsaber moves of Luke Skywalker look so uncoordinated and crude compared to the prequels? asked by vadr

For under appreciated answers he lists Who or what was Tom Bombadil? and Why are there humans in the Star Wars Universe?. These answers came years after the original questions were asked, but merit reading.

Donald McLean suggested Borg Naming Conventions asked by thea-kronborg, in an exploration of how borg pets get their names.

Interesting Stats:

The most up-voted question with the highest voted answer goes to Was the Cantina music deliberately off-tune or just an artifact of cheap production?

The second highest voted question was Why did the Dwarves build Erebor with wide hallways big enough for dragons to fit in? asked by Truffant.

The most viewed question (with a whopping 41367 views at the time of this writing) was Questions on ending of Thor: The Dark World, which is actually two questions rolled into one question asked by Anon.

 

Featured Question: In The Lord of the Rings, what important background information is contained in the poems?

Sometimes, a fairly simple question inspires an amazing answer. DVK noticed someone say that there was important background information contained in the poems found in [tag]lord-of-the-rings[/tag], but couldn’t recall any himself.

Personally, I admit that I often skip or lightly skim-read poetry in novels.  Like many fantasy readers, I’ve read Lord of the Rings many times, and I’ve probably properly read the poetry only once or twice (I do remember using one of them in a school exercise, so it must be at least once!).  Partly this is because I don’t enjoy the poetry form as much, and partly I guess I’m assuming that nothing important is happening there and I’d rather move forward to the action.

This question has only one main answer (there’s another, but the question was later revised – I do love the description of The Silmarillion as a “wonderful and tedious read”), but it’s over 2,000 words long!  In it, Gilles explains that although you can get by without reading the poems – as I and I expect many others do – you’re reducing your enjoyment of the book by doing so.  I highly recommend that you go and read the full answer, which analyses each poem in turn.  Here I’ll simply touch on a few of the main points from each of the six books in the story.

In the first book of The Fellowship of the Ring, the poems introduce us to Hobbit and Elvish lore, behaviour, and attitude – there’s also the crucial rings rhyme (“Three Rings for the Elven-kings…”), which is probably the one poem that everyone has read.

The second book of Fellowship continues this, telling us more about the Elves, Bombadil, Dwarves and other peoples of Middle Earth, but also foreshadows events that will take place later in the story, and provides hints at the greater history of Arda that is more fully detailed in The Silmarillion and later books.  The poetry in this book tells us a lot about who Aragorn is, and the background of his and Arwen’s relationship; we also get a hint as to Frodo’s eventual fate.

Just as the travellers move on in The Two Towers, so does the poetry.  In book three, we learn more about the human lands and the Ents.  Galadriel’s poems to the company are particularly prophetic in telling Aragorn what he must do, and Legolas what his fate shall be.  The fourth book is the low point in the characters’ morale, and this is reflected by a lack of uplifting poetry – we mostly get rhymes from Gollum, which help us understand his character.

As we move to book five and The Return of the King, we get many poems and songs about the battles that are fought during this part of the tale.  We get another poem leading Aragorn to the Paths of the Dead, and more background about the current and past state of Gonder and the Rohirrim.

In the final book, the poetry is about the historic events that the reader has either just read through or is about to, and marking the parting of ways that ends the story.

What we learn from Gilles, overall, is that the poems serve to illustrate the various cultures and the mental journey of the characters.  It sounds like it’s time to pull the books of the shelf, and read them properly this time!

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