Arguments – they’re part of life. We’re all competitive beasts, never wanting to admit fault or defeat, and will go to great lengths when defending our honor when challenged or threatened. Arguments have started wars, shattered relationships, broken families, declared victors, but have also awarded respect. A win will always be a win, but longstanding respect and admitted defeat are far greater trophies than another tally mark on a record sheet somewhere. That’s where our story begins for this group of alcohol swigging, loud mouthed master-debaters (had to make that joke once, c’mon!), connected by our love of whiskey, which is only overpowered by our love for all things pop culture – cinema, music, television, gaming, you name it. Inebriation and verbal assaulting, how could this go wrong?!
Needless to say, all we do now is argue about pop culture and hot topics of the day. Despite sounding like the grunts and groans of a pack of psychopaths, we decided to translate our debates into a readable affair. This means that every few weeks or so, we will be posting our thoughts on upcoming releases and pop culture in general. Since agreeing is for peace-loving hippies, our arguments will be broken up into two sides, and the winner is decided by the readers. Yes, our fates are in your hands!
Before we begin though, allow us to introduce ourselves.
Christian: A nearly retired cop with nothing left to lose, Christian turned to bath salts and cat urine to deal with losing three wives and up to seven stepchildren (they were gingers though, does that even count?). Although it is true that he is extremely opinionated, Christian only pushes his opinions on those he loves most (especially you, dear reader). Famous for his last stand at the Alamo and ability to produce children with a single look, this is a man who should by no means be considered harmless. Aside from devilish good looks and cologne that doesn’t come in an aluminum can, his knowledge of everything pop-culture will leave wives crying for divorce and daughters breaking the locks their fathers rightfully installed on their chastity belts. Debating isn’t exactly his strong suit, but he did once defeat a whole debate team using only the power of a flamethrower, so maybe that counts.
Gem: Gem has lived the secluded life of an academic, dedicated to a better understanding of critical analysis. Emerging from five years struggling to insert page numbers into Word, Gem indulged in the world of film to satiate her creative side – from which burst the need to obliterate those who do not agree with her inane, profane ranting. Her most critically acclaimed debate was executed at this year’s Comic Con when she swayed a crowd of riotous nerds into agreeing that yes, a coat rack could defeat Wolverine. The opposition doesn’t stand a chance.
Nato: Traveling back in time from a dystopian universe where pop culture debates are a game of life and death, Nato (formerly Natobombious Kick-Assious) continues to extend his unbeaten streak against the competition he now sees in three (barely) functioning alcoholics who devour useless entertainment factoids like the bottles of Jack taped to their hands. Matt can make a case for anything, but enjoys the new challenge of debate through writing, disabling his hypnotically enchanting “hair-flip” closing visual, typically bringing competition to their knees with one swiftly punctuated “swoosh.” Who needs a closing argument when you have great hair? You’re about to witness the great lengths he’s willing to go and mighty stretches he’s willing to make, abandoning all notions of self-respect just to deliver the most convincing arguments conceivable. A pop-culture chameleon, Nato can do it all. We promise we’ll do our best to contain him, but it might be too late already…
Alex: Formed from the recovered DNA of Stephen A. Douglas, Ben Franklin, and Socrates, Alex is an unstoppable force in an argument. Basically every epic speech in every courtroom movie/TV show ever was copied verbatim from arguments Alex has made. If the world listened to his points on abortion, gay marriage, or America’s healthcare system, all people would finally be in agreement. But why waste his talents on such minutia? It’s the world of the media that sparks the fiercest debates, and thus his fiercest opinions. But just because he’s such an eloquent debater in person doesn’t mean that doesn’t translate into his writing. Some argue the pen is mightier than the sword. Well Alex doesn’t write with a pen, he uses a sword to slice paper into the words that crush those who disagree. Whoever opposes him ought to fear for not only their dignity, but their safety as well.
Today’s Argument: Who is the best warrior in The Lord Of The Rings, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, or Gandalf?
This week saw the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and while The Hobbit is an epic tale, no battle in it, especially of the battles shown in the first film, can compare with the scale of the battle for Middle-earth. So in order to stick with this week’s Tolkien theme, we’re remembering back to Peter Jackson’s trilogy involving the younger of the Baggins clan, and drawing our weekly debate from The Lord Of The Rings.
The Lord Of The Rings is a tale as epic as has ever been told. The war for Middle-earth has few rivals when it comes to scale and to the stakes, not only in Tolkien’s writing but in all of fantasy lore. Basically the whole world is doomed if the good guys fail, but luckily the good guys have some of the fiercest warriors on their side.
But the question is: Which of the fighters was the fiercest? The most effective way to decide would be an all-out cage match to the death, but considering no one other than maybe Saruman would want to see all the characters dead, a debate will have to do.
This week our writers have selected their favorites, and since the opinion is so split, they’ve deviated from the typical 2 vs. 2 format, so they can each pick one.
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The film: Return Of The King. The battle: Pelennor Fields.
In case you’ve somehow forgotten that scene, which would only be possible if you smoked a whole shed of the finest pipe weed in the Shire since the last time you’ve watched it, let me walk you through what happens.
There’s a fierce battle going on, with fighters dying all around, and an army of the dead wreaking havok. Suddenly, a bunch of gigantic Oliphants bearing crews of masked men come charging into the field. Legolas sees an especially large one heading toward him, yet instead of running away like the average warrior would do, he sees an opportunity for an epic kill.
He sprints towards the Oliphant, grabbing hold of one of its six spiked tusks. He then somehow swings from the trunk to the leg, then from that leg to another, finally climbing his way up on the arrows that have pierced the tree trunk of a leg. Keep in mind, this whole time the Oliphant is running at full speed and swinging his head, causing his spiked tusks to spray warriors all over. He unleashes a barrage of arrows, killing almost all the men before he loses his balance and is forced to grab hold of a swinging rope attached the saddle. While hanging, he shoots a bunch more arrows in order to force the saddle off the Oliphant and thus pull himself onto its back. Then he moves to the simple task of taking three arrows and firing them into the Oliphant’s skull, causing it to collapse forward, the momentum of which Legolas uses to slide down the trunk and dismount in the most graceful fashion.
Sorry, Gimli, that definitely counts as more than one.
I’d include the video here, but that’s most definitely cheating, considering as soon as anyone sees it there’s no way they’d say anyone is a better warrior than Legolas.
I hardly need to point out anything more than that scene, but I love talking about this Elf, so I’ll continue.
His bowmanship is absolutely unrivaled. Some of the shots he hits are just breathtaking. The quickness with which he draws his arrows and readies his bow can be compared to no man or beast on Earth, since nothing else moves anywhere near that fast. And he’s not only able to shoot his arrows, but he can use them as swords, meaning there’s no way to beat him, even if by some stroke of luck you’re able to get within 50 feet of him.
His wisdom is not to be discounted, as it helps the Fellowship countless times. Granted, he’s much older than Gimli and Aragorn, who are a mere 139 and 87 respectively, which are the ages of children to an elf, meaning he’s had a lot of time to gather that wisdom, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Time and time again he can sense that a turn for the worse is coming, and that isn’t just because he’s a bit of an emo. He always is able to warn the Fellowship whether their current path is right, or if they should deviate from it, just by his feeling, and he’s never wrong. I would certainly take Legolas’ advice regardless of how faint his feeling is.
Not only is he the best warrior, but he’s the best drinker as well, which is saying something with how the residents of Middle-earth love their ale. Recall the drinking game between him and Gimli? After countless mugs he not only wins, but gives the ultimate taunting line before Gimli passes out: “I feel something. A slight tingle in my fingers. I think it’s affecting me.”
A fierce fighter, the wisest of all, and a subtle comedian who holds his liquor, there is no one I would rather have defending me from hordes of orcs than Legolas.
My elf eyes see Legolas as the clear choice.
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“….AND MY AXE!”
Hells yeah Gimli, gimmie dat axe!
But no, seriously, how is Gimli not MVP of The Lord Of The Rings Orc Slaying League?! There’s Aragorn, the brooding swordsman too busy protecting those helpless hobbits, Legolas, the femininely elvish bowman who depends on long range tactics, Gandalf, Grandpa Magic, and then Gimli: Mr. “I’m going to run into battle like a pint-sized axe-wielding wrecking ball,” bowling over orcs like bowling pins.
Sure, you can argue his stout nature poses some type of weakness, but also a cunning advantage. While facing larger enemies, Gimli can scamper around in-between legs and out of immediate sight, making the chubby dwarf more an unexpected ninja when facing the right foe. He’s also perfectly built for cave fighting, easily maneuvering around tighter spaces and more cramped quarters, as long as the opening is wide enough to fit the hungry little warrior’s wider build. Oh yeah, did I mention he could be thrown across larger gaps, giving him access to areas other might not be able to jump? Sure, midget tossing might be against moral laws in today’s society (trust me on that one), but when traversing Mordor, or the Misty Mountains, or The Glittering Caves, having a smaller party member you can toss about is a pretty damn good advantage.
But enough about situational advantages, what about the unabashed kick-assery Gimli partakes in when using one of his numerous axes? He’s got his cousin Balin’s epic double sided battle-axe, retrieved from the mines of Moria, that offers him unparalleled close-combat
Let’s not forget Gimli made Legolas his bitch in their little orc killing competition despite starting with a numbers disadvantage, making our bearded friend the hands down ultimate monster slayer. He easily cut down countless hordes of orcs while trapped in cave systems after being driven underground with Eomer and Isengard’s forces at the battle of Helm’s Deep. Nope, Gimli said “I’m gonna put the team on my back,” and started hacking and slashing his way back to daylight, meeting up with Legolas and the others, hoisting the all time kills trophy like a champ.
Oh yeah, Gimli is also the life of the party, being the only bro in the Fellowship I’d fancy a mug of mead with. Here’s to you Gimli, you dwarven legend amongst mere mortals.
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The merits of a warrior, of an honourable fighter should not be measured solely on the body count he racks up but on his ability to lead his fellow men into any given situation with courage in their hearts, pride in their mission and beards dripping with the slain guts of Orcs. Aragorn, known to his Hobbit companions at Strider, stakes his claim as a warrior to be reckoned with through humility, leadership, his banner as heir of Isildur and some kick-ass weapons.
The first sword wielded by Aragorn remains unnamed, yet carries with it his Elven heritage combined with his skills as a Ranger of the North. His lengthy Ranger’s sword gifts him with power and opportunity to block incoming attack and rage war on his meagre opponents. And that’s before he receives the reforged Narsil sword; Anduril, Flame of the West. They don’t dish out repurposed swords to any old Merry, Pippin or Frodo – Aragorn is deemed a worthy owner of the instrument which Isildur once used to defeat Sauron. Because it’s his sodding legacy! His prowess and skill with the instrument is embedded deep in his lineage and he makes superb use of it. In comparison his companions, Legolas and Gimli with their catty one-upmanship on the battlefield, have the focus and strategy of a couple of jumped-up toddlers playing Hungry Hippos.
When a warrior enters into battle, his comrades and their wellbeing are of utmost importance. The resultant conquest should never be “every man for himself” and Aragorn undoubtedly recognises this fact. Upon first meeting the Hobbits in the Shire’s only gay bar, The Prancing Pony – with his shroud covering his visage, his voice thick and gruff, he calms the Hobbits doubts and fears and convinces them of his reverence.
Through his roaring speech at the Black Gate; a heartfelt and uplifting soliloquy in the face of certain doom, he lifts spirits. It takes more than mere willingness to fight to convince a giant platoon of riders likely to reach their expiration dates sooner than a bag of apples from Walmart – it takes a true warrior. Sure, the army of the west were probably terrified. Aragorn’s speech which takes no light hearted approach as he admits he’s as scared as they, ties every man together in battle.
And what better a warrior to have sparring by your side, than a man whose compassion extends even to life’s last moments? As he crouches over a dying Boromir, telling him he fought bravely and with honour, forgiving him his desires for the ring, he grants his friend a noble exit. It is Boromir’s dying promise, never to be fulfilled, which epitomises Aragorn: “I would have followed you my captain, my brother, my king.”
Who else could warrant such a fitting sentiment if not the finest warrior of the Third Age?
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Is there seriously any doubt over who is the greatest member of the Fellowship of the Ring? Every member has their own strength, and without one the whole group would fail. But let’s be honest with ourselves: would that ragtag group of wanderers have gotten anywhere without the leadership of the wizard Gandalf? This has nothing to do with body counts in battle, of which Gandalf racked up a number similar to the number of men the Kardashian’s have drug to their seedy lair. It doesn’t even have to do with might, will, or determination, which Gandalf again dominates. It’s just that Gandalf is better than everybody else, in the history of ever, and he’s only modest because he’s tired of sleeping with every female creature in Middle Earth.
Let’s do a little side by side comparison here. We can easily exclude Legolas and Gimli from this experiment, because their homoerotic body count comparison is one dead orc away from a make out session atop Minas Tirith (my fan-fiction details every glorious second of that). Aragorn, the King of Gondor and Arnor, can only fling his limp sword this way and that and sniff the grass for hobbits for so long. To be fair, he is the closest competition our wizard champion has, but that’s like trying to say that Michael Bay is second only to Martin Scorsese.
And let’s not even discuss Frodo and Samwise, because their list of screw ups is longer than the hair that grows on their feet. Without Gandalf offering constant counsel and his skills on the battlefield, the One Ring would have been snatched from a very small corpse about fifty pages into the story.
So let’s glance over a very abbreviated list of Gandalf’s achievements: he leads the battle in the Mines of Moria, defeats the Balrog after about two weeks of pursuit and battle, dies momentarily (just for a breather), and then returns as an even more powerful being. And what does he do with this new form? Leads an avalanche of soldiers down a mountain to smash an army of orcs, and all before he could light up his pipe and smoke some Took Kush!
Without Gandalf, we’re left with a bunch of good looking guys (and a dwarf whose face got stamped by an Uruk-hai or two) that couldn’t traverse Middle Earth without a nose to the ground or enough weed in their pipes to carry them through their miserable trek. Show me one of those failures riding a giant eagle into battle while also battling arthritis and a nasty rash and then we’ll talk.
Here’s to you Gandalf, you wily man of mystery! You might not be the most fun to share some mead with, but based on your smoke rings, fireworks and impressive ability to craft one-liners, I’m pretty sure you’re the best leader a man could ask for.
Now it’s your turn! Head to the comments section and say if you favor bow, ax, sword, or staff.
And if you liked these arguments so much that you’re just craving more, check out some of our past throwdowns:Previous