i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 11, Volume 1. September 20th, 2003.
Primary Contributor and Reporter: Xara.
In this issue:
Featured Article: Couldn't You Have Waited? by Xara.
Character Careers by Xara.
Were the Bagginses Lucky, Or...? by Perian.
Lord of the Stress Continued: Stress Relief by Xara.
Nursery Rhymes: Their Unexpected Beginnings by Perian.
In every issue:
Fantasy Fan Fiction. This fortnight: An extract from LotR4 by Xara.
Letters to the Editor.
Couldn't You Have Waited?
A Birthday Climate Comment by Xara.
Spring (Or Autumn for most of you) is in the September air here in Australia, and once again it is Bilbo and Frodo's birthday! Who knows how old they are by now? But that doesn't matter. It is a birthday all the same, and the date (Give or take a few days) on which Tolkien's epic tale of bravery and endurance begins. What a fitting day to start my annual reading of Lord of the Rings, don't you think?
Well think again. Outside the air may be sweet, but inside the storm clouds are gathering as November and the evil exams are fast approaching. Teachers, parents, friends and relatives all around are crying, "Study! Study! Study!". "But...it's Bilbo and Frodo's birthday! I must do my annual reading of Lord of the Rings! Study? It is an evil word! Send me not from Frodo's side!" But still the exams are coming, and so too is Frodo's quest! How can this be happening? They're both starting at the same time!
And so Bilbo, Frodo, I have a question to put to you. Couldn't you have waited? Couldn't you have had your birthdays just a few months earlier or later? Would it have been so very difficult, to give a poor devoted fan but also student a month or two's time for exam preparation? On Monday the 22nd of September, the blessed day when myself, and no doubt thousands of other fans across the world will enter the world of Middle Earth once more, is also the due date of an assessment task and a Trial Examination! The starting date of the week in which every teacher in the school will be handing out a mountain of revision homework for the holidays to every unlucky school boy and school girl in Year 10 & 12. In a time like this, some might say, "There is no rest for the devoted", I say only, "Couldn't you have waited?!"
With the end of school appearing on the distant horizon, people have been frequently asking me what I intend to do with my life once my education is through. It occurred to me that if, somehow, the characters from Lord of the Rings suddenly found themselves in today's world, they would probably be asking themselves the same questions. What am I going to do with myself? Today we have no call for Rangers or wizards, Ring-bearers or Archers. What careers would the characters of Middle Earth choose?
Gimli would undoubtedly become an accountant. Being a dwarf, he'd be right at home amongst figures of wealth, meticulously checking that all the money that came in went back out in the right places, keeping score of finances, facts and figures. Whilst he wouldn't be able to sit around all day weighing gold in his expert hands, perhaps, given the circumstances, they might sometimes even let him into their vaults to roll around in the coins and giggle.
Samwise on the other hand, would find his perfect career on TV, as a celebrity chef or gardener to rival Jamie Oliver and Peter Cundall. He would soon rise through the ranks of the television industry to run his own TV show and cooking home-grown food. He'd start out in the garden, demonstrating the correct way to compost tomatoes and choose the best taters to plant and the right place to plant them. Then talk a bit about harvesting your vegetables at the right time, before finishing up in the kitchen making a nice coney stew. Then the credits would roll, showing the Gamgee camera crew sampling and loving Samwise's food whilst the hobbit sits back watching them all with satisfaction, and asking them if they liked his meal. Samwise would soon become a millionaire and appear on all the most prestigious talk-shows around the world.
Aragorn though, possessing no talents useful in this technological age would probably end up running a small fencing school in the heart of suburbia, luring kids away from their karate lessons to becomes experts with the sword. However Aragorn being so specialised as he is, this business would produce only enough money to make ends meet, and so for extra cash he would soon set himself up to train movie stars whenever there was a new action flick being made involving swords.
Legolas on the other hand, he would actually be a movie star, and he wouldn't need any training. With his hotness and his cool elf fighting skills he would quickly rise through the ranks of the latest and greatest celebrities to become the most sought after actor in the business, winning no less than twenty-right Oscars including three for Best Director when, as it does with most of the elite in Hollywood, he tries his hand behind the camera as well as in front, becoming the first person in history (I think) to win an Oscar for Best Actor and Best Director for the same movie. Legolas would receive one hundred kilograms of fan-mail a day which he would generously donate to furniture companies to process back into wood rather than cut down the rainforests.
Frodo would most probably become a travel writer, travelling from place to place on economy-class, journal in hand recounting his experiences and adventures to send back to his publisher. The shelves of our bookstores would soon be lined with titles such as "Frodo's Guide to Rome by Frodo Baggins", "Frodo's Guide to New York by Frodo Baggins", "Frodo's Guide to the Lord of the Rings Locations in New Zealand by Frodo Baggins" complete with comments on how they shape up compared to the real locations back in Middle Earth and, no doubt a best seller, "Frodo's Holiday with Legolas by Frodo Baggins."
Merry and Pippin would set up a small mushroom and truffle (A highly expensive sweet fungi) farm in Italy and export their "Mushrooms fit for a Hobbit" around the world by day and hitting the clubs of Italy by night, spending the majority of their earnings on spirits until they are eventually extradited from the country when their drunken activities lead to the falling of the Leaning Tower of Piza.
And finally Gandalf. Gandalf would become a political advisor, making his way between every government in the world trying to bring about world peace and justice for all. Falling in and out of favour with Presidents, Prime Ministers and Dictators, and receiving generous donations from people supporting his cause, enabling him to continue to earn a living whilst all this is going on. Within twenty years there would be a statue in tribute of Gandalf's efforts in most of the major cities of the world and pointy grey hats would never go out of fashion.
So now, should by some strange and supernatural occurrence the characters of Lord of the Rings show up in our modern world, you could make a pretty decent career out of predicting each of their fates. But remember, I require 50% of all the proceeds.
Were the Bagginses Lucky, Or...?
I began this article around the time of our second issue, but had not the motivation to finish it until I pulled out and listened to a divinatory reading which I was given on my last birthday. It mentioned, among other things, a possibility of unusual romance stemming from friends, groups, or technological endeavours, and perhaps leading to marriage. After picking myself, piece by piece, off the floor (To which I had collapsed in disbelieving but greatly amused hysterics) I finally took pen and paper in hand to complete this long-neglected article. Just in time to celebrate their birthdays, too. What unexpectedly good timing!
All through the Hobbit we hear of Bilbo's incredibly good luck, from finding the Ring as simply as he did, to knowing how best to slip out of situations with foes ranging from fair Wood Elves to the dreaded Smaug. Frodo's luck is a somewhat more ambiguous matter, though undeniably he had good timing. While the events which occurred to him seemed less than fortunate at the time of their occurrence, he also had an undeniable knack of getting out of them. Some call this luck, some call it fate, to Gandalf it was a fulfillment of prophecy and Peter Jackson lay it all on Frodo's ability to fall gracefully and often out of harm's way. However, I have another theory. Could it be that Frodo and Bilbo were not lucky in the coincidental sense, but rather gifted with ESP? Far fetched, some say, but examine the evidence:
In the dead night, Frodo lay in a dream without light. Then he saw the young moon rising; under its thin light loomed before him a black wall of rock, pierced by a dark arch like a great gate. It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up, and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a vast tower but not made by hands. On its top stood the figure of a man. The moon as it rose seemed to hang for a moment above his head and glistened in his white hair as the wind stirred it. Up from the dark plain below came the crying of fell voices, and the howling of many wolves. Suddenly a shadow, like the shape of great wings, passed across the shadow of the moon. The figure lifted his arms and a light flashed from the staff he wielded. A mighty eagle swept down and bore him away...
Hmm. Quite telling, eh? (Writer then whapped forehead several times against the keyboard as "eh" penance. The keyboard's anguish has been subsequently edited out.) There are two possible phenomena at work here. One is prophetic dreams, the other telepathy. Yet this dream occurred after the actual event, so prophecy is thereby eliminated. This leaves telepathy, which would have allowed Frodo to understand the goings on in the mind of Gandalf. Frodo's inner ability to sense the will of Sauron might confirm this. He might even have been able to transmit a call for help as he was losing consciousness upon Mt. Doom, thus enabling Gandalf and Gwaihir to make another of their heroic entrances.
Back to the dream. The Council of Elrond chapter also seems to point to telepathy:
... "But in the circle of Isengard, trapped and alone, it was not easy to think that the hunters before whom all have fled or fallen would falter in the Shire far away."
"I saw you!" cried Frodo. "You were walking backward and forward. The moon shone in your hair."
Gandalf paused astonished and looked at him. "It was only a dream," said Frodo, "but it suddenly came back to me. I had quite forgotten it. It came some time ago, after I left the Shire, I think."
"Then it was late in coming," said Gandalf...
As you can see, the timing involved, if we are to believe Gandalf and what is recorded in the Red Book, makes foresight impossible. Perhaps Gandalf was musing upon his former plight (Quite likely, considering his shock at the treachery of Saruman.) and transmitted these thoughts to the hyper-sensitive young Baggins? What is the truth of the matter? Baggins only knows.
Lord of the Stress Continued:
It was several months ago I think that I wrote an article for this excellent (If not widely recognised.) newsletter about stress in Lord of the Rings. If I remember correctly however, I only outlined the symptoms of stress and identified them in the actions of characters in the story. This is starting to sound like a science essay...) This was because I was not confident enough in the ways of stress relief to comment on them. However, as my homework pile grows ever higher, as the exams draw ever nearer, I have found myself increasingly becoming a victim of stress, and just recently, I found a most effective cure for it.
Walking, I've found enormously reduces my stress levels. While it does nothing to lessen the height of the homework pile, or lengthen the time between me and my exams, after going for a good walk I've found I can think about these things without the merest trace of anxiety or panic. I'm no scientist, but I've been told this has something to do with oxygen travelling to the brain and other mechanical workings of the body.
But enough about science. I want you to think about the many names given to the fabulous Fellowship. There was the plain old Fellowship of the Ring, there was the Nine Companions, there was the Company... and there was the Nine Walkers. The Fellowship had a lot of responsibility on their heads, the fate of Middle Earth on their shoulders. That should've been enough to reduce any person mortal or otherwise into a state of nervous collapse. But oddly enough, considering their burden, the Fellowship remained extremely calm throughout their journey, excepting of course the times when they were about to have their heads chopped off by an army of nasty orcs. Could this be because of all the walking they were doing?
It was after all, the wise Lord Elrond himself who had decided they would be walkers. Could he have been thinking of their general mental well-being throughout the journey? Could he have known of the miraculous properties of walking? Could this have been some kind of ancient elvish remedy? The elves after all are renowned for their powers of healing. It's no wonder Frodo never lost his head, chucked the Ring in the river and bolted, he walked all the way from The Shire to Mordor. That's an awful long way to walk.
Now if only the Nine Riders had thought to walk some of the way at least, they would have stayed as calm as their horses did. Riding may have been faster, but they got so worked up about what their master would say if they didn't catch the hobbits, all that screeching and wailing and carrying on, it's a wonder they managed to pursue them at all! The Uruk-hai may have grumbled about all the running across Rohan that they had to do, but maybe Ugluk really did have the right idea after all. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli all kept their heads pursuing them on foot after all.
With that all said and done, I have an awful lot of homework to be getting on with...I think I'll go for a walk!
Nursery Rhymes: Their Unexpected Beginnings
Tolkien pointed out in his "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony" chapter that at least one of our common nursery rhymes has its origins in or before the War of the Ring, the example he used being "Hey Diddle Diddle", or in its earliest form "There Is An Inn". If you were to take this a step further a common thread in our traditional children's fare can be sighted. For example:
Merry Merry, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.
Examine the first line. I have simplified the spelling to Merry, bringing it back to its original form, as Mary Mary would be redundant and the repetition of the name completely meaningless. So, we already have a member of the Fellowship mentioned, the merry Merry. He was oftentimes rebellious (Quite contrary) and from an agricultural society (Garden grow). Silver bells could indicate embellishments and formality of dress befitting his station, while cockle shells represents his love of exotic (To the Shire) foods. Pretty maids all in a row could reference the most celebrated beauties of his time, Galadriel, Goldberry, Arwen, and Eowyn to name the most noteworthy, all of whom were acquainted with him, and who gave him personal assistance.
Now take a look at another:
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.
This verse well recounts the incident which occurred in Bree in which Frodo fell upon the tableware (Mugs, plates, candlesticks all no doubt present) and slipped on the Ring. Had he been nimble and quick and leaped rather than fell as the poem urges him (Under the alias of Jack as his name at the time was open to speculation and as the poem has been subjected to modernisation) to do, he would have avoided a very touchy situation.
For my last example I have used a traditional song which is often used as a nursery rhyme:
Lavenders blue, dilly-dally, Lavenders green,
When I am King, dilly-dally, you shall be Queen.
Who told you so, dilly-dally? Who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly-dally, that told me so!
This was probably written for Aragorn and Arwen by one of the Rohaneese lyricists. The refrain "dilly-dally", though seemingly nonsensical to us today, could be indicative of the long portion of his life which Aragorn spent dilly-dallying around before becoming a King, as promised. In the poem the persona of the immortal Arwen expresses her doubt at Aragorn's persona's proclamation, perhaps after a lecture from the eternally and grumpily paternal Elrond.
Every rhyme I have come across as furthered my thought that our poetic and lyrical roots are deeper than we have been led to believe. Keep your eyes open and you will see what I mean.
This Fortnight: An Extract From LotR4
I started a website over a year ago now, and I've made some truly fantastic friends and everything, but because of the time differences and the fact that I often prefer solitude, I miss out on everything that goes on in the chat room, and I often feel that I'm being left out and not really part of the group like the others are. I can't change the time zones, and I can't change that I often don't feel like chatting. So I'm in a bit of a fix. What are your words of wisdom oh seven times mayor of the Shire?
Well, it's never good to be out of it, or alone, so talk to them as you can trust. Do what Mister Merry and young Peregrin and Fatty and I did, and form a conspiracy. Seeing as you're not fond of really being there, what you're missing is what everyone else does and says while you aren't there. Now the best way to get around this is to find someone you know won't let your secret out, or if they will, you tell them as would be right mad first on the message boards, and have the transcripts copied and sent to you. Then you won't have to be there at all. Pretend you don't see them, and it will be even better, as you'll have warning if someone starts turning Stinker on you.
WANTED: Private Detective with experience in hobbit tracking. I need PHOTOGRAPHS!! And information, as much as you can get on one Frodo Baggins. Preferably looking young and handsome hobbitish or frightened, sad (with tears please) and vulnerable. I will pay money. For details please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
WANTED: One kingdom. My immortal elven-princess fiancee says she won't set a date for our marriage until I'm of a rank worthy of her. I am fully willing to pretend any bloodline you like. Great chance to drop the burden of an enemy-plagued land. Contact Strider, The Prancing Pony, Bree, Breeland, Middle Earth, Earth, etc., etc.
Hobbitish, Part VI.
math: (noun) month.
mathom: (noun) object of value but of no known use. Synonym to kast.
Matta: (proper noun) a proper name.
Mede: (noun) a Breeland hobbitish word for July, known in the Shire as Afterlithe.
Meresdei: (noun) Thursday.
michel: (adjective) great, as in Michel Delving.
morrowdim: (noun) twilight.
Letters to the Editor.
Hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha Hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha ha Hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha ha...I think I'm done...no wait...
Hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha...there!
That was FUNNY!! I greatly enjoyed reading about myself 2000 years in the future...STILL writing for the newsletter and STILL together with all my friends, and a few more! ;) I hope I get to meet Frodo soon! I think I have a suggestion for an interesting twist to your story...Frodo and Xara could have an affair, what do you think? I heard about those rubber ducks on the radio and I am very ill at ease for the safety of Valinor, they sound like a tough army to beat, escaped from that container ship and left none alive I heard, a brutal massacre, and now they're coming to destroy the Valar! I would pledge my hobbit army to the cause but unfortunately they are too busy with the Spammers, Hackers and Oopma Loompas. I'd also like to thank Samwise for his wonderful advice! If I should give my cat compliments, perhaps I should stop calling her You Stupid Fluffy Lump (no it's ok, I only call her that when she attacks me). And congratulate you on putting me into this crazy mood which you might observe from the excessive laughter above.
Allow me to gape in wonder for a moment at the giggle fit...
... Ah, laughter. So refreshing. Particularly laughter of novel form (and length). Only too glad the Fanfiction could provide. I will definitely take your suggestion into consideration should there be a sequel, which is a distinct possibility.
Thank you from the depths of my heart for the letter to the editor... the editor was feeling rather glum at the prospect of another letterless issue, perhaps with the consequence of having to write to and reply to herself.
Glumaceous greenness to you and yours, The Editor.