an appreciation of Éomer.

This blog post is a contribution to the 10th Annual Tolkien Blog Party hosted by The Edge of the Precipice.

While Frodo will forever be my favorite Lord of the Rings character (with Boromir not far behind), Éomer has had a special place in my heart for a while now. Éomer doesn’t get a lot of attention within the fandom, from what I’ve seen, but like many of Tolkien’s characters, he’s wonderful. So today, I’ll be taking a closer look at what makes him one of my favorites.

Éomer is loyal to his family…

The chief obstacles to an easy conquest of Rohan by Saruman were Théodred and Éomer: they were vigorous men, devoted to the King, and high in his affections, as his only son and his sister-son; and they did all that they could to thwart the influ­ence over him that Gríma gained when the King’s health began to fail…It was [Gríma’s] policy to bring his chief opponents into discredit with Théoden, and if possible to get rid of them.

It proved impossi­ble to set them at odds with one another: Théoden before his “sickness” had been much loved by all his kind and people, and the loyalty of Théodred and Éomer remained steadfast, even in his apparent dotage, Éomer also was not an ambitious man, and his love and respect for Théodred (thirteen years older than he) was only second to his love of his foster-father.

‘The Battle of the Fords of Isen,’ Unfinished Tales

Right from the start, we see that Éomer is a loyal, honest, and true-hearted man. The fact that all of Gríma’s manipulation and machinations couldn’t make Éomer waver from his love/respect for his uncle and cousin…it’s truly admirable.

In the movie, of course, it’s very easy to see that Gríma is a creep. But I think that, at the start at least, his deceptions and lies would have been very difficult to spot. If Éomer had already been harboring resentment, dislike, or disloyalty in his heart toward the more royal members of his family, he could have been easy prey for Gríma’s lying flatteries. That he withstood them all says a lot about his character.

…and to his friends, no matter what.

i know it’s a behind-the-scenes pic. but my point still stands, y’know?

At length Aragorn spoke. ‘As I have begun, so I will go on. We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall. Let none now reject the counsels of Gandalf, whose long labours against Sauron come at last to their test. But for him all would long ago have been lost. Nonetheless I do not yet claim to command any man. Let others choose as they will.’

‘As for myself,’ said Éomer, ‘I have little knowledge of these deep matters; but I need it not. This I know, and it is enough, that as my friend Aragorn succoured me and my people, so I will aid him when he calls. I will go.’

‘The Last Debate,’ The Return of the King

Éomer’s friendship with Aragorn had a shaky start, but by the time we reach ‘The Last Debate,’ they are firm friends. I mean, Éomer literally walks into Mordor for Aragorn! It makes my heart happy to think of Aragorn ruling Gondor and Éomer ruling Rohan, with such a great friendship between their two countries.

Éomer is a good brother—if a little unobservant at times

Then [Aragorn] laid [Éowyn’s] hand in Éomer’s and stepped away. ‘Call her!’ he said, and he passed silently from the chamber.

‘Éowyn, Éowyn!’ cried Éomer amid his tears. But she opened her eyes and said: ‘Éomer! What joy is this? For they said that you were slain. Nay, but that was only the dark voices in my dream. How long have I been dreaming?’

‘Not long, my sister,’ said Éomer. ‘But think no more on it!’

‘The Houses of Healing,’ The Return of the King

‘I knew not that Éowyn, my sister, was touched by any frost, until she first looked on [Aragorn]. Care and dread she had, and shared with me, in the days of Wormtongue and the king’s bewitchment; and she tended the king in growing fear. But that did not bring her to this pass!’

‘My friend,’ said Gandalf, ‘you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on…Who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?’

Then Éomer was silent, and looked on his sister, as if pondering anew all the days of their past life together.

IBID

Éomer is a wonderfully protective brother to his younger sister. Yes, he should have probably realized just how difficult things were for Éowyn in the days of Théoden’s ‘illness.’ But there was a lot going on, and just because Éomer didn’t see everything that was going on doesn’t mean he didn’t care about Éowyn. Consider this quote that comes right after he discovers she’s still alive after the battle of the Pelennor:

Then hope unlooked-for came so suddenly to Éomer’s heart, and with it the bite of care and fear renewed, that he said no more, but turned and went swiftly from the hall.

Éomer truly cares about Éowyn, worries about her. And he’s very, very happy to see that she and Faramir have fallen in love. In fact, Éomer’s happiness for Éowyn leads to happiness for himself as well—he ends up marrying Faramir’s cousin Lothíriel. ❤

Éomer is capable of great humility.

Théoden rose and put his hand to his side; but no sword hung at his belt. ‘Where has Gríma stowed it?’ he muttered under his breath.

‘Take this, dear lord!’ said a clear voice. ‘It was ever at your service.’ Éomer was there. No helm was on his head, no mail was on his breast, but in his hand he held a drawn sword; and as he knelt he offered the hilt to his master.

‘How comes this?’ said Théoden sternly.

‘It is my doing, lord,’ said Háma, trembling. ‘I understood that Éomer was to be set free. Such joy was in my heart that maybe I have erred. Yet, since he was free again, and he a Marshal of the Mark, I brought him his sword as he bade me.’

‘To lay at your feet, my lord,’ said Éomer.

‘The King of the Golden Hall,’ The Two Towers

‘…we could find a use for Gimli’s axe and the bow of Legolas, if they will pardon my rash words concerning the Lady of the Wood. I spoke only as do all men in my land, and I would gladly learn better.’

‘The Riders of Rohan,’ The Two Towers

Literally, just…read that second quote. I rest my case. I LOVE HIM.

Éomer is brave in the face of terrible danger and overwhelming odds.

The Rohirrim indeed had no need of news or alarm. All too well they could see for themselves the black sails. For Éomer was now scarcely a mile from the Harlond, and a great press of his first foes was between him and the haven there, while new foes came swirling behind, cutting him off from the Prince. Now he looked to the River, and hope died in his heart…

Stern now was Éomer’s mood, and his mind clear again. He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark. So he rode to a green hillock and there set his banner, and the White Horse ran rippling in the wind.

‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields,’ The Return of the King

When all hope was lost, Éomer continued to fight—both on the Pelennor Fields and in Mordor itself. His courage shines through so clearly on both battlefields. And that’s yet another reason why I love him: like all of Tolkien’s best characters, Éomer doesn’t accept defeat even when everything seems hopeless. The result? The Shadow is destroyed, and Éomer got to be a part of its defeat. He gets a happy ending, and it’s a well-deserved one. ❤


Although I’ve focused on Book Éomer in this post, I have to say that Karl Urban’s portrayal of Éomer is pretty close to perfection. That heartwrenching cry when he finds Éowyn on the battlefield? I rest my case! Or the whole “Théoden king stands alone” “Not alone” exchange. *happy shivers* OR when he takes out two oliphants with one spear throw. o.O And also…he’s just one very, very handsome guy. Which doesn’t hurt matters. At all. 😉

What are your thoughts on Éomer (book and/or movies)? Did this post help you see him in a new light, or have you always known just how awesome he is? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Eva-Joy

shiny new book release: A Flash of Magic by Allison Tebo.

Today’s the day! After much waiting and anticipation, Allison Tebo’s newest book, A Flash of Magic, is now out in the world. I’ve followed Allison and her writing for years, and I’m excited to dive into my own copy of A Flash of Magic.

Allison writes delightful fairytale retellings set in the fictional land of Ambia. A Flash of Magic is the fourth book in her Tales of Ambia series, the previous titles being The Reluctant Godfather (Cinderella retelling), A Royal Masquerade (The Goose Girl retelling), and Poppy’s Peril (companion to A Royal Masquerade). I’ve enjoyed each of Allison’s novellas, and I’m sure that A Flash of Magic will be no exception.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ambia’s most reluctant godfather is back. A Flash Of Magic is a magical and rambunctious compilation featuring eight stories with eight irresistible characters navigating their way through the oddities and the wonders of fairy tales.

The Tales of Ambia series continues with this charming collection of short stories and novelettes offering a deeper look into a magical land like no other.

Whether it’s an intimate look at Ella’s wedding day, a hilarious glimpse of Burndee’s holiday baking, or an explosive first meeting between a prince and his fairy, there is adventure for everyone in A Flash Of Magic.

Add it on Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison Tebo is a writer committed to creating magical stories full of larger-than-life characters, a dash of grit, and plenty of laughs. She is the author of the Tales of Ambia, a series of romantic comedy retellings of popular fairy tales, and her flash fiction and short stories have been published in SplicketySparkInklings PressRogue Blades EntertainmentPole to Pole PublishingSaddlebag Dispatches, and Editing Mee. Allison graduated with merit from London Art College after studying cartooning and children’s illustration and, when not creating new worlds with words or paint, she enjoys reading, baking, and making lists.

Newsletter / Facebook Instagram / Patreon / Website


Have you read any of Allison’s books? What’s your favorite fairytale retelling? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

my top five favorite Robin Williams roles.

About a month ago, we passed the eighth anniversary of Robin Williams’ death (August 11). Back in 2014, I hadn’t seen any of Williams’ films besides (and I’m unsure of this) Aladdin—and so I didn’t really ‘get’ the great outpouring of grief and love that dominated the internet during that time.

Now, eight years later, I do.

I’ve watched and enjoyed several of Williams’ films since 2014, but my liking for him runs deeper than the fact that he starred in many enjoyable (and even great) films. There was truly something special about Robin Williams and his performances. So today, I thought I’d share a list of my favorite roles of his.


5. Teddy Roosevelt / Night at the Museum trilogy

This is more of a nostalgic choice than anything, since Teddy doesn’t feature much in any of the Night at the Museum films. But no matter how small a role he was given, Robin Williams always found a way to make that role memorable. Teddy’s sweet romance with Sacagawea is a highlight for me! And I always get choked up watching his farewell to Larry in the third film.

4. Bob Munro / RV

RV is a silly movie, one that was panned by critics. But it’s a favorite of mine. Bob may be something of a clichéd character—a work-obsessed dad who learns to appreciate his family by the end of the film—but because he’s portrayed by Robin Williams, I can forgive all the clichés. And it is pretty sweet to see Bob finally learn to value his wife and kids.

3. John Keating / Dead Poets Society

I want to sit in on one of Keating’s classes. He has a passion for classic literature and poetry that is second only to his passion for making a positive difference in the lives of his students. Dead Poets Society is tragic, but it ends with a spark of life and joy because of Keating and his influence on Todd and the others. And Robin Williams’ performance is just excellent.

2. Genie / Aladdin (1992)

I can’t think of a more iconic character/actor pairing in an animated Disney film than this one. While I enjoy the entirety of Aladdin—all the songs and all the characters—the Genie really is something special. Robin Williams brought his own magic to Aladdin, no doubt about it.

1. Sean Maguire / Good Will Hunting

It doesn’t surprise me that one of Williams’ most weighty and dramatic roles is my favorite of his. Even though I do love his more comedic roles, I’ve always gravitated toward stories with a bit more seriousness. Good Will Hunting is Matt Damon’s movie, but without Robin Williams there wouldn’t have been a movie. (Or, at least, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good.) I can’t think of anyone else better suited to the role of Will’s persistent, compassionate therapist than Robin.


Have you watched any of these movies? What is your favorite Robin Williams’ performance? Let me know in the comments! ❤

Eva-Joy

turning 24.

God has been so good to me in this past birthday year. I’ve seen Him provide in many, many different ways, answer prayers both big and small, and comfort myself and those close to me during times of extreme grief and pain. This morning, as I reflect on all of that, I’m overwhelmed by His care for me!

This is also the year where I’ve finally begun to feel like an actual adult. Which might sound a bit odd, as I’ve been a legal adult for six years now. But this was the year I finally stopped being so passive about my life, and I think that really made a difference. I’ve been actively seeking God, learning how to drive, having difficult conversations, and even though it’s been hard…it’s also been good. Really good.

In this past year, I:

  • Learned how to use a French press.
  • Learned how to sing alto. (Still a work in progress, but I’m much farther along than when I started.)
  • Learned how to drive. (Ditto.)
  • Had five stories accepted by Havok Publishing. (Three published so far.)
  • Celebrated the two year anniversary of working at my current job.
  • Celebrated my first ever Tolkien Day.
  • Watched Leverage and The Mentalist and finished Lost.
  • Got to read In the Glorious Fields by Emily Hayse. (Finally!)
  • Learned to stop worrying and love James Garner.
  • Went to juror selection. (Wasn’t picked though.)
  • Saw a high school production of The Sound of Music.
  • Cheered for and cried over the Freedom Convoy to Ottawa.
  • Learned to tolerate my family’s new puppy.
  • Witnessed Roe v. Wade being overturned IN MY LIFETIME!
  • Helped out with my church’s Vacation Bible School.
  • Wrote 300K+ words.

I have no idea what my twenty-fourth year will hold. But I’m excited to see what God will do. ❤

Eva-Joy

the liebster award (august 2022 edition).

After a quick search through my blog’s archives, it seems the last time I participated in this award was August of 2019. So almost exactly two years ago, which is a nice coincidence. This time, the award was passed on to me by Katja of Little Blossoms for Jesus. (Thanks, Katja!)

RULES

  1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award.
  2. List eleven random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the eleven questions given to you.
  4. Tag eleven other bloggers.
  5. Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I usually drink about a gallon of water a day.
  2. I’m nearing 100,000 words in my current Western WIP.
  3. This was the year I started to like Richard Burton. (Before, he was one of my least favorite actors.)
  4. I have seven siblings, all younger than me.
  5. Currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo and it’s already one of my new favorite books.
  6. I prefer writing with gel pens (as opposed to ballpoint pens).
  7. I’ve been showing my eleven-year-old brother different adaptions of Little Women, ever since he fell in love with the 2018 modern retelling. It’s been so much fun!
  8. On that note, I enjoyed the 2019 adaption of LW much more the second time around.
  9. I believe that YouTube Music Premium is superior to Spotify Premium.
  10. I sing alto in my church’s choir.
  11. I’m currently listening to Hans Zimmer’s score for The Lone Ranger. Love it!

KATJA’S QUESTIONS

What’s your favourite cold summer treat?

Cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream from a little shack at the end of a certain beach after swimming all morning. McDonald’s soft serve ice cream and Starbucks’ Iced Brown Sugar Oat Beverage Shaken Espresso are also superior.

What’s one classic you really want to read and haven’t yet?

Dracula, Anna Karenina, and The Phantom of the Opera are all up there on my to-read list.

What are your top ten favourite names?

Luke, Ben, Eric, Atticus, Jonas, Dan, Sean, Wyatt, Edith, Adaline.

What’s one stereotypical summery thing to do that you don’t like doing?

Camping. Just not for me! I’m also not partial to picnicking.

This is your opportunity to rant about your fav book, movie, or TV show—or all three.

Current favorite book: as I mentioned above, it’s The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve been familiar with the 2002 adaption for several years, but I only started to read the book a few months ago. (Yes, months.) As much as the Count himself fascinates me (he’s practically Batman), I still feel so bad when I think back to Edmond’s innocence at the beginning of the book and how that has all disappeared (and under what circumstances). The poor guy!

Current favorite movie: Luca was really, really good. I know I’ve already mentioned it, but it deserves another shout-out.

Current favorite TV show: along with The Mentalist, I’ve started rewatching Lost and it just blows my mind, how good it is. I’m picking up cool little details in the very first episodes that give me such respect for the writers. (They deserve more respect than they get, in my opinion.) And seeing the beginning of Jack’s arc from someone trying to push away responsibility with both hands to someone willing to sacrifice himself for everyone? Gold. Pure gold.

What word(s) do you misspell the most?

Hmmm. I know there are words I regularly misspell, but I can’t think of any at the moment. If any come to to me as I continue writing this post, I’ll add them here.

Where do you take walks to this summer?

I mainly walk around my neighborhood with the family dog, when I walk at all. My little brothers and I did walk to a Little Free Library nearby one day, which was fun (although we didn’t find any good books there).

What music are you listening to on repeat right now?

Nothing on repeat, per se, but I have enjoyed writing to The Lone Ranger soundtrack recently. (And James Horner’s score for Fievel Goes West.)

Is there a book you really wanted to read this year? Have you and if not, WHEN WILL YOU?

See this post for my most anticipated reads of Autumn/Winter 2022!

Tell me about a new outfit you’ve created and loved.

Hmmm. Most days, I either wear scrubs or a denim skirt/t-shirt combo. Unfortunately, I’m not really into creating outfits.

How do you like your hamburgers?

Medium (not charred), w/ cheese, mayo, ketchup, red onions, and a toasted sesame seed bun.

MY QUESTIONS

  1. Describe your favorite notebook.
  2. Last five star read?
  3. Last one star read?
  4. Instrumental or vocal movie soundtracks?
  5. Movie musicals or Broadway musicals?
  6. Favorite animated movie?
  7. Top three favorite fictional characters of all time?
  8. What’s your go-to snack?
  9. What’s your favorite thing about where you live? (House, state, country…)
  10. Top three favorite scents?
  11. Do you own any LEGOs?

I TAG…

Go ahead and play along if you want!

Eva-Joy

new HAVOK story: “say the magic word”

It’s that time again—I’ve got a new piece of flash fiction out on Havok Publishing’s website today! Say the Magic Word is the story of a snarky janitor on a villain’s spaceship, a janitor who mops floors while longing for a life beyond service to said villain. And you can read it for free right here! (After today though, you’ll have to purchase a Havok membership to access the story.)

Oh, and my inspiration for Say the Magic Word came from shots like this:

And this:

And this:

Because I work as a janitor, I’m always like “How???” when I see the ridiculously clean surfaces in sci-fi movies. Who cleans the floors in Starkiller Base? Or on the Death Star? And those questions sparked the idea for Say the Magic Word. Now you know. 😉

Eva-Joy

currently… (august 2022 edition)

Hey, guys!

I’ve been super busy lately and blogging took a back seat because of that. However, I hate to leave this blog for long periods of time, so I thought I’d jump on and share what I’m currently reading, watching, learning, etc. Fun for me to share and (hopefully) fun for you to read. ❤

Let’s jump right in with what I’m…

CURRENTLY READING

Along with blogging, reading has also taken a back seat lately. Part of that is because I’m busy, but a big reason is that my attention span and focus just isn’t what it used to be. (I blame my phone…and myself.) But! I’m still working my way through The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s fascinating. I’m right at the cusp of the Count taking his revenge on everyone who ruined his life, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

I’m also reading Andrew Peterson’s Adorning the Dark. It’s been on my to-read list for at least a couple years, and I just recently got it from the library. I hadn’t even finished it before I ordered my own copy from Amazon—I needed to highlight passages. So, so good. It mainly deals with songwriting, but (obviously) it’s great for fiction writers as well.

CURRENTLY WATCHING

Last night, I watched Pixar’s Luca for the very first time. I had zero interest in watching it (despite how much my younger siblings love it—sorry, guys!) until I read this review and actually discovered what it was about? (I think Disney dropped the ball when it came to advertising.)

Anyway, I loved it! I’ll have to watch it again to solidify what I think of it, but it’s a solid Pixar film for sure. Luca and Alberto are absolute friendship goals. *sniffles* (The soundtrack is so good too.)

I’m also mildly obsessed with The Mentalist right now. If any of you are fans of the show as well, please let me know in the comments!

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO

Some classical music for writing.

CURRENTLY LEARNING

How to drive! Terrifying, but necessary. 😉

CURRENTLY DRINKING

My sister is a barista at Starbucks right now and she gets a free pound of coffee every week. I’ve been having fun trying all the different varieties she brings home.

CURRENTLY EATING

Healthier! I’ve become more conscious about what I eat, and I’m focusing on eating less junk and more whole/unprocessed foods. It’s been a great change for me.

CURRENTLY LOOKING FORWARD TO

Even though I’m not a kid anymore, I’m reeeeally looking forward to my birthday in a couple weeks. I’ll be 24, and I dunno…birthdays always excite me for some reason. I’m having a couple friends over to eat delicious food and watch a movie. Good times all around. 🙂

I’m also eagerly anticipating my next Havok story getting published on the 24th!

CURRENTLY WRITING

I’ve worked on a couple Havok stories and finished a scene in one of my Westerns. But I haven’t written much besides this blog post lately—I hope that changes! I want to get into a good writing routine and stick to it. Otherwise, how will my books ever get written??


That’s all I have to say about myself for now! What have you been up to lately? I’d love to hear from you!

Eva-Joy

five upcoming book releases I’m excited about (+ cool character art!)

Today’s post will be a bit on the shorter side, as this week finds me in the middle of my church’s VBS (Vacation Bible School). Therefore, I’m super duper busy. As the title says, I’ll be talking about some soon-to-be released books I can’t wait to see on my shelves—and I’ll also be sharing some awesome character art for Rachel Kovaciny’s newest Once Upon a Western novel. But more on that in a bit!

Now, here are my top five favorite upcoming releases.

Wishtress by Nadine Brandes

I had the wonderful opportunity to read an e-ARC of Wishtress a couple months ago, and it’s easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. Nadine Brandes spins an allegory as few others can! And I love the fact that Wishtress is a stand-alone—no need to take a chance on a long series (though I’d also read one of those, if Nadine wrote it).

Goodreads

Amazon

Pre-order goodies (+ form)

All the Lost Places by Amanda Dykes

It’s by Amanda Dykes. Of course I’m going to read it. *sniffles*

Goodreads

Amazon

Pre-order goodies

Titan by Brian McBride

Mammoth, the first book in Brian McBride’s new series, was a near-perfect, atmospheric read. (Read my review here.) I’ve got a beta copy of Titan (the second book) sitting on my Kindle app right now, and I’m pretty excited to dive in!

Goodreads

Dìlseachd – A Stolen Crown by Cheyenne van Langevelde

You know, I’m not one hundred percent sure what to expect from this book. I’ve never read anything by Cheyenne before, after all. But it’s set in ancient Scotland (win!) and Cheyenne writes absolutely beautiful posts on Instagram (another win!). So I’m more than willing to take a chance.

Goodreads

Amazon

Pre-order goodies (+ form)

My Rock and My Refuge by Rachel Kovaciny

Did I save the best for last? Why, yes, I believe I did. Heehee.

I’ve been a firm (and enthusiastic) fan of My Rock and My Refuge ever since I read an early draft about a year ago. (That was before it even had a title.) MRaMR is a clean, non-magical Beauty and the Beast retelling set in the Old West (1870’s Colorado, to be exact). I happen to think it’s half a Jane Eyre retelling as well, so if you like Jane Eyre you’ll probably want to read MRaMR. Just saying. 😉

My Rock and My Refuge doesn’t have a firm release date yet (just sometime in Autumn 2022, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise), but what it DOES have is brand new character art. Feast your eyes!

I LOVE THEM BOTH SO MUCH.

Seriously, I’m so excited for this release. Cannot wait to get my hands on a final copy of the book!


What are some book releases you’re looking forward to? Do let me know in the comments—I always love discovering new, interesting titles to check out. ❤

Eva-Joy

Wyatt Earp & Doc Holliday in ‘Hour of the Gun’: a legendary friendship.

This blog post is a contribution to Legends of Western Cinema Week.

The dust has settled following the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The Earps and Doc Holliday stand trial for the shooting. The courtroom is crowded, jumpy, hostile. Doc Holliday takes the witness stand.

“I don’t need a badge to kill,” he says, in response to the prosecutor’s barbed questions.

“Only the word of Wyatt Earp,” the prosecutor sneers.

“I’d go to hell and back on the word of Wyatt Earp,” Doc snaps. Little does he know that that is exactly what he will do: follow Wyatt into the hell of one man’s relentless, bloodthirsty hunt for vengeance.

But let’s go back to the beginning…


Hour of the Gun is a tense Western, unique in that it deals with the aftermath of an event that most films would instead build to as the finale: the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. That narrative choice makes for a fascinating look at the character of both Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and their friendship. And that’s because we see Wyatt and Doc essentially switch roles as they each deal with the consequences of the gunfight.

At the beginning of the film, Wyatt is shown to be a law-abiding, law-upholding man. He is one of the most respected men in Tombstone. He follows the letter of the law and the dictates of his own conscience, the two working together in unison. Doc admires Wyatt’s honesty and sense of honor, even though he might sometimes scoff at Wyatt’s (relative) uprightness.

Wyatt begins to change, however, when Ike Clanton’s men cripple Virgil Earp and kill Morgan Earp, Wyatt’s brothers. The case against Clanton’s men is thrown out of court, so Wyatt and Doc form a posse to bring in Clanton’s gang. (It’s legal for them to do so, though I’m fuzzy on the details.) They are supposed to bring in the men alive, if they want the bounty money, but the first three members of the gang end up being killed—by Wyatt.

Each time, it’s a case of self-defense. Each time, Wyatt had no choice but to shoot. Each time, there were ‘extenuating circumstances.’

And by the third time, Doc begins to suspect something is wrong.

When Wyatt’s posse finds the last member of the gang, Wyatt forces the outlaw into a draw and then loses all self-control, shooting the man multiple times. And Doc sees the truth about his friend.

“Those aren’t warrants you’ve got there. Those are hunting licenses.”

Wyatt has become vicious. Vindictive. Vengeful.

It’s a difficult scene that follows, one where Doc tears into Wyatt for stooping to what is basically (if not technically) murder, for turning his back on law and order.

It’s a scene in which Wyatt says nothing, the truth of Doc’s words clearly shown by his silence.

“Five minutes after we left the OK Corral, I wanted to say, ‘Get Clanton, Wyatt. Get him before he gets you.’ But I didn’t. You don’t speak that way to Wyatt Earp. You’ve got too much respect for him.”

I think on some level, Doc’s bitter rant against Wyatt’s actions is due to the fact that Doc has always looked up to Wyatt a little. Respected him, definitely. And now to see that Wyatt has been engaged in a vengeful killing spree the whole time, that he’s been eaten up by cold, calculated hate…it rattles Doc. Doc has always been ‘the wild one,’ if you will. The one who drinks too much and gambles too much—and kills too much. But now the roles have been reversed. Now Doc is the level-headed one, the man standing on a higher moral plane than Wyatt.

Wyatt was a hero, in Doc’s eyes. But not anymore. And Doc’s anger and regret and even sadness boils over into a tirade that is almost as painful for us to hear as it is for Wyatt. Why? Because Wyatt and Doc are friends. We know this. They know this. So as much as Wyatt needs to hear what Doc has to say, it still hurts.

It hurts so much, in fact, that Wyatt ends up hitting Doc. (I hate that. So much.)

“That’s all right,” says Doc as he fights off a coughing fit. “This stops.” But Wyatt’s mission of vengeance won’t.

Wyatt is offered the job of Chief U.S. Marshal by men who have no idea that he’s turned vengeful. Instead of giving an answer right away, Wyatt heads down to Mexico to seek vengeance one last time—against Ike Clanton, the man who orchestrated Virgil’s injury and Morgan’s death. Wyatt intends to go alone, but Doc figures out what he’s doing and gets on the same train. Wyatt doesn’t want him along (for obvious reasons), but Doc doesn’t care.

“Buy a return ticket and go take care of yourself.”
“No thank you.”

You have to understand that this isn’t just a friend refusing to leave another friend (though it is that). It’s a dying man refusing to go home and get the treatment that could, if not save his life, then at least prolong it. Doc is dying of tuberculosis, but he won’t leave Wyatt alone. Even if he can’t stop Wyatt from taking his revenge one last time, he’s not going to desert his friend. He’s not going to stop trying to bring Wyatt back to the right side of the law and common morality.

Doc points out that when Wyatt killed Clanton’s gang, it was at least under cover of the law. But tracking Clanton to Mexico and killing him will be a completely lawless act.

“You’re throwing away all the years you’ve lived by the rules.”
“I don’t care about the rules.”
“They’re the only rules there are. And they’re more important to you than you think. You can’t live like me.”

But Wyatt doesn’t listen. “Go back to the hotel. Take care of yourself,” he tells Doc, as he fingers the badge that doesn’t seem to mean much to him anymore.

“No thanks,” Doc says again. In his own way, he’s as relentless as Wyatt.

They find Clanton. And as Wyatt prepares for a shoot-out with the man who killed his brother, he pulls his badge from his pocket and throws it aside. He won’t dishonor the badge, won’t hide behind it any longer.

Whether Wyatt intentionally threw the badge to Doc or not, Doc does catch it. It’s a small moment, but one loaded with meaning. Consider this exchange between Wyatt and Doc from the beginning of the film:

“Doc? Did Virg deputize you?”
“I swore to something he was muttering about.”
“Then
wear the badge.”

Throughout the course of the film, Wyatt has stepped further and further outside the law—maybe not always judicial law, but certainly moral law. And Doc has, from the moment he decided to go to the O.K. Corral, been driven toward the law and justice and doing what’s right…all for the sake of his friend. As Wyatt’s moral compass corrodes, Doc’s begins to work again.

And now Doc catches Wyatt’s badge. He has gone from having to be ordered to wear the badge, to safeguarding that symbol of law and order—just as he has tried to safeguard Wyatt’s sense of law and order throughout the film.

Wyatt does kill Clanton (it’s a fair draw…but still vengeance). A few days (weeks?) later, Doc gives Wyatt back his badge and, in effect, gives Wyatt his blessing in regards to continuing to work as a marshal. Wyatt takes the badge, but he won’t work for the law again.

I like to think that Wyatt makes that choice because he has seen how wrong he’s been, that Doc was right all along, and that it wouldn’t be honorable for him to take up his old job (or a new one, as Chief U.S. Marshal), with the trail of vengeance killings stretching behind him. I like to think all that because it means that Doc did get through to Wyatt and helped re-align his skewed moral compass.

Doc may not have been able to save the lawman, in the end, but he did save the man. He stuck by Wyatt and remained his friend even when they disagreed so sharply, even when it would have been easier and safer to return home and let Wyatt continue to spiral downward.

Hour of the Gun may be bleak at times. But in the middle of the killings, the thirst for vengeance, and the fracturing of a legendary hero, you’ll find a loyal man trying in his own feeble, sarcastic way to rescue his best friend. And that is something worth seeing—worth emulating, even.


Have you ever watched Hour of the Gun? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Eva-Joy

the Legends of Western Cinema Week tag.

It’s that time of year again, folks, and I am so excited! Rachel, Heidi, and Olivia are once again hosting the Legends of Western Cinema Week, complete with all sorts of fun festivities as we celebrate our favorite Western films and characters. I’ve got a blog post about Hour of the Gun (1967) planned for later this week, but right now I’ll be answering the tag questions created by our hosts.

1) Favorite western focused on a lone hero?

I love Shane (1953). A quiet stranger defends the lives, freedoms, and peace of a small group of farmers, then leaves as suddenly as he arrived. Shane is the quintessential Western loner—he represents everything I like and admire about the character type.

2) Favorite western focused on a group of compadres?

The Magnificent Seven (1960) is the obvious answer, and it’s certainly my favorite. But Rio Bravo (1959) is worth a mention as well. Four very different guys band together to ensure a murderer is brought to justice. My favorite of those guys is Dude (Dean Martin), but they all have their good points.

3) Favorite western with a female main character?

True Grit (2010)! Mattie is brave, resourceful, and stubborn—one of my favorite female characters in general. The fact that she’s only fourteen makes her daring deeds all the more impressive. A close second on my favorites list would be Cat Ballou (1965). Jane Fonda’s plays Cat, another young woman who hires a grubby gunfighter to avenge her father’s death. Almost a comedy version of True Grit, if you think about it!

4) Favorite western with a POC main character?

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever watched one. Sigh. I’ve started one: The Magnificent Seven (2016), which I should really give another chance. (It bored me, so I gave up. I think I’d like it better now though.) Any other recs for POC-led Westerns?

5) Favorite western with kids in it?

Does Old Yeller (1957) count as a Western? I think so! Anyway, that’s my pick. If I can manage to type through my tears, that is… 😉

6) Favorite western set somewhere other than the United States?

You know, I thought that The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) might have been set in Mexico—but nope. It takes place in New Mexico. So I’m going with Hidalgo (2004), because sometimes The Vibes are more important than The Decade In Which the Film Is Set.

7) Favorite “western” that doesn’t fit the genre’s dictionary definition?

THE MANDALORIAN. Impeccable Old West energy. Din sounds like a young Clint Eastwood and it’s delightful. He also protects the weak, has a fast draw, and tames a blurrg. What more do you want in a cowboy???

(If you’d like a more in-depth look at TheMandalorian-as-a-Western, check out ‘The Mandalorian: Cowboys in Outer Space‘, an article written by our very own host Rachel!)

8) Favorite funny western?

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) because I LOVE JAMES GARNER.

(I just rewatched Hour of the Gun last night, so I’m a bit hyper when it comes to JG. Apologies extended. XD)

Seriously though, Support Your Local Sheriff is an absolutely hilarious Western. Jason McCullough (James Garner) arrives in the town of Calendar, CO and is almost immediately elected sheriff of the brawling town. Jason cleans up the town, falls in love with the mayor’s daughter, and faces off against the dastardly Danby family. Such a fun film—I can’t recommend it highly enough for fans of Westerns!

9) Favorite tragic/sad western?

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) is steeped in sadness from its very first scene.

Like…the cactus rose. CAN YOU NOT, JOHN FORD?

10) Favorite western TV show?

Wanted: Dead or Alive, starring Steve McQueen, has been my favorite for several years now. Each episode is short (less than a half hour), but many of them pack a narrative punch unmatched by some longer and more well-known shows. I also love F Troop and I think I’d love Maverick if I watched more of it. Oh, and there’s Bonanza and Rawhide of course! But Wanted remains my favorite. ❤

this is one of the funniest production stills
I’ve ever seen.

What are some of your favorite Westerns? Let me know in the comments!

Eva-Joy

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