i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 13, Volume 1. October 17th, 2003.
Assitant Editor: Xara.
Reporters, contributors and the like for this issue: John Howe, Arien, Sam, Sauron (aka Padfoot), Ivy Brandybuck, Fool of a Took.In this issue:For the Love of Luthien by Xara.
The Kingslayer by Perian.
"I'm Sorry! I Thought You Were an Orc!" by Xara.
In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: An Extract from LotR4 by Xara.
Site Status and Updates - with special report by Ivy Brandybuck.
Letters to the Editor.
A Followup Interrogation with Tolkien Artist John Howe
by Leila Tyliri Wood (Perian).
John Howe, renowned Tolkien artist, was recently gracious enough to agree to a follow up interview. (To see the original John Howe interview, click here.) Pardon me while I shuffle my notes, papers, and self to the side and let the artist speak for himself.
LTW: For those who are just becoming acquainted with your work , where can people see your art? What books have you done illustrations or covers for recently?
JH: Ohh, I'm not so sure. I suppose the Robin Hobb "Fool's Fate" is the most recent. I've also done A Clash of Kings for George Martin. Otherwise, black and white pictures for Meditations on Middle-Earth.
LTW: Have you any Tolkien-related projects that you are working on, or planning to work on?
Arien: Any hint as to what they might be?
LTW: So, when did you first hear of the Lord of the Rings movie project? What were your feelings on it when you were asked to join?
JH: Like everyone else, I had of course heard the rumours that it was going to happen. When the phone call came, I thought
"Yusss! California here we come!" and then realised it was in New Zealand, which is pretty much like B.C. to California but upside down and halfway around the globe...
LTW: How did you like working with Alan Lee? With Peter Jackson?
JH: I didn't have a CLUE who Peter was, (isn't that just so embarrassing?) but of course wasn't going to ask on the phone. As for Mr Lee, I'd of course seen all his films... oh no, it's the other one, so I've of course got all his books...
But, I hesitated at LEAST a hundredth of a second before saying yes. Working with Peter was wonderful. He's incredibly demanding, but was very kind to his two concept slaves. (Actually, I'd happily follow Peter Jackson to the edge of he earth and jump off if he asked me to.)
Working with Lee was very good, I learned a lot of kung fu... Seriously, Alan is not only one of the most talented illustrators alive today, he's fun to be around, rather disconcerting at times, and knows his Welsh poetry backwards. It was an honour to spend time with him. Alan has incredible draftsmanship, which is masked to some extent in his colour work by his use of watercolours, but if you've ever seen his pencil sketches... We caught up with each other in Toronto late last year, in L.A. straight after and in Wellington earlier this year. It is going to seem VERY strange if we eventually get to meet up in either Switzerland or England... Actually, how two Leos managed to get along so well is rather surprising... Alan's birthday is the day preceding mine.
LTW: Well, speaking of websites and whatnot, John, your site (along with such sites as Elfwood and LotR Fan Art) has one of the largest gatherings of amateur Tolkien artists ever assembled. What are your feelings about the sudden emergence of these fan artists? (No pressure for a particular answer here, eh?) Do you believe there is room in the market for more Tolkien-inspired work, or will they remain hobbyists?
JH: I think this sudden emergence is actually quite enchanting. There are no "official" illustrators, and HarperCollins has used fan artwork before in calenders. I work on the principle that any picture should stand on its own merits, no matter who it is by.
This brings me to the proposed fan art section, which admittedly we've not put up yet, though the module is prepared. I am
still mulling over the rules that will have to go with it.
LTW: So, John, what for you is the most rewarding thing about being an artist?
JH: Oooooh, good question. Next, please!
No, seriously, I suppose it's doing at least a bit of what you want. As you are your work to a large extent, so it's hard to imagine just being without doing. Make any sense?
LTW: It makes perfect sense, thank you. So one last question for this follow-up: Is there anything you would say to those fledgling artists who are trying to follow in your footsteps, or to those who have not yet done so, but thought of it?
JH: Follow in my footsteps? I take a size 10...
Seriously, I honestly think that those students who really want to become independent artists will anyway. There are no insurmountable difficulties, only the hurdles you set in place yourself.
All best!For the Love of Luthien
Of all of Tolkien's tales of Middle-earth, the most well known and loved love-story is the epic romance of Beren and Luthien. Known in part even to those who have not read The Silmarillion where it is accounted in full, it is amongst the top of the lore and legends of Middle Earth. But not many know of the real life romance that is the basis of this First Age love story, and Tolkien's own love story. This article will explore the tale of Beren and Luthien and it's origins in the life of Tolkien.
For those of you who are not familiar with the story, Luthien was the daughter of one of the three elf fathers, Thingol of Doriath and the Teleri elves and Melian the Maiar. Beren, the only survivor of Morgoth's wrath and pursuit of the people of Dorthonion, and fleeing the armies of Sauron sent against him he wandered into Doriath, stumbled upon Luthien dancing in the moonlight in a glade and named her Tinuviel, daughter of twilight. But she fled from him and he wandered many months looking for her until at last they met again and fell in love. But when Thingol learnt of the romance he was angry, and brought Beren before him, commanding him that only when Beren had brought him a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth would he allow the two to marry, thinking that Beren would perish in the deed. And so Beren set out to capture and Silmaril for the love of Luthien. Many adventures followed as Beren and his lover Luthien Tinuviel played a key role in the struggle against the might of Morgoth, fighting and winning many battles together. This is told in full in The Silmarillion.
Tolkien's own love story begins in February 1908 when he was just 16, he and his brother, orphans, moved into a rented room owned by friends of Father Francis, whom their mother had appointed their guardian before she died. Also staying in the house in the room directly below Tolkien's was 19 year old Edith Bratt, fashionable and beautiful. The two had lots in common, their childhoods full of hardship with the early deaths of their parents, and they began to meet in tea-shops and talk secretly by leaning out of their room windows (which were directly above each other) late at night when everyone else had gone to sleep. However eventually Father Francis learned of their unchaperoned meetings and took Tolkien away from his rooms at the house at once and forbade him to see Edith ever again, unless when he came of age in three years time he still felt himself in love. Edith was to be sent to Cheltnam, and although Tolkien had promised not to see her again until he was 21, they met secretly the afternoon before she was meant to leave. But news of this too reached Father Francis and this time he was furious, forbidding Tolkien to communicate with Edith at all for the three-years before his coming of age.
On the morning of his twenty-first birthday Tolkien wrote to Edith after three years of being completely cut off, and received a reply a few days later with shock, Edith was engaged to someone else. But this, she said, was only because she feared he no longer had any interest in her, and soon they were back together again. Finally, in 1916, Edith Bratt became Edith Tolkien. In the spring of 1918 Edith danced for Tolkien in the woods near their home and soon afterwards he wrote 'The Lay of Beren and Luthien', which he always said to be his favorite. In 1971 when Edith Tolkien died, her tombstone carried the inscription:
EDITH MARY TOLKIEN
1889 - 1971
For a full account of Tolkien's story see 'Tolkien: A Biography' by Michael White.
Of all the heinous devices, villains, and calamities of The Lord of the Rings, no tool of evil in Middle-earth brought about more detriment to the human sovereignty therein than a lone man professing to be their friend. Whatever good he may have achieved, a guilty shadow is cast over Aragorn son of Arathorn. Each act against his own people’s royalty was committed with such subtlety, such innocence, as to be almost always overlooked. These acts exist, nonetheless.
The first event of Aragorn’s nearly-unpublished infamy is the death of Theoden, kindly king of Rohan. It was, granted, Theoden’s own horse who dealt the actual death-blow to Theoden, but the circumstances around this event take a rather disconcerting turn, all the more so the further back you go. Snowmane, horse of Theoden, crushed him after being nearly alighted upon by a winged steed ridden by a nazgul. Not just any nazgul, but the Witch King of Angmar, another member of the human monarchy. He was sent by Sauron, and only after the Dark Lord conversed with and was daunted by who in one of the remaining seeing stones? Why, none other than Aragorn, in, what is more, the armour of Theoden! It is quite reasonable to suggest that Sauron sent the Witch King specifically to rid Him of this new menace and gave a fairly accurate description of his costuming to His servant. Two kings down in one event, upon the fields of Pelennor. Though Aragorn slew neither by his own hand, both died as a result of his actions.
From here let us move on to one who was neither a king, nor suffered an early death, but is worth noting. Eowyn, niece to King Theoden, and chosen leader of her people should her uncle and brother die upon the field, was so moved by the coming of Aragorn that she saw fit to follow him into battle herself. This nearly cost her the life she had, but it did not end there. Aragorn healed the maiden only to reject the love and admiration she bestowed upon him in favour of a half-elven distant cousin. This sent the noble Eowyn into a state of depression and suicidal tendencies. Had it not been for Faramir’s valiant efforts on her part she would likely be amid our list of Aragorn-induced casualties. No, not casualties. This is far from casual. Seriousities.
The father of Faramir, Denethor, though not a king, was yet another leader to collapse beneath the presence of ill-fortune which ever accompanied Aragorn. Weakened already by the loss of his wife, his elder son, the probable death of the younger, as well as the constant threat from Mordor, Denethor was a broken man held together only by his dignity and the will to protect his people and lands. And lo! Who should return in whispered rumours to the kingdom (a palantir again bringing the bad news) but Aragorn! A king, not by the deeds which he had done in defence of Gondor, for he had not yet such fame, but for the claim of a tarnished bloodline! So he strips away Denethor’s last reasons for living, and the poor old man burns himself alive.
Last comes the only king to whom no one can deny Aragorn’s involvement in his death: himself. He chose to end his earthly stay long before time claimed him. (This, by the by, led also to the demise of the Queen of Gondor.)
Whether he was innocent, revolutionary, or cursed, Aragorn no doubt is the most accomplished regicide in literature!
"I'm Sorry! I Thought You Were an Orc!"
The Nine Companions of the Ring wandered near and far in Middle Earth, encountering many dangers along the way. Birds, beasts, orcs, balrogs, spiders, wizards and others waylaid them. But amongst the many great perils that they came across in their journeys, not least amongst these was near-sightedness. It seems that many times throughout their travels members of the Fellowship of the Ring were mistaken for orcs. How could this be? Did they look like orcs? Did they act like orcs? Did they hold up a big placard saying, "Look at me I'm an orc!" Well, did they? The answer is No.
Let me first refresh your memory with a few of these incidences in both the books and the movies. First off, in the book, when Aragorn son of Arathorn the noble heir of Elendil (who as far as we know had no orc connections) and co. hailed Eomer of the Riddermark, Eomer turned around and set a company of 100 armed horsemen on them, his excuse later on for this irrational behaviour was that he thought Aragorn and friends were orcs...?...The next instance of this uncanny orc-resemblance occurred when Merry and Pippin wandered in Fangorn Forest. Treebeard, after introducing himself in a most alarming fashion revealed that had it not been for the fact that he heard their voices before he saw them, he would have thought Merry and Pippin orcs and given them a very sticky end. That is even more alarming! And in the movie of The Two Towers Peter Jackson took this even further giving Merry, Pippin and Treebeard a whole scene in which he thinks them orcs even at close range. And now, let me use just one more example. When Faramir had his nice little chat with Frodo and Sam in the movie, he began his interrogation with, "My men tell me that you are orc spies." "Spies!" Replied Sam, rightly outraged, "Now wait just a minute!" And I will take his comments further: Frodo and Sam orc spies!?! I'm sorry Faramir but I think you and your men should make an appointment with the optometrist quickly!
Now, let's look at the facts for a minute. Orcs are bow-legged, swarthy, and a little shorter than men, that we know for sure. We also know that just by glancing at them you can tell how evil they are. They are wild and unruly, and wear very thick and heavy armour. Now let's look at hobbits. Much shorter than men, do not look in the least bit evil or in any way imposing at all, and have sometimes been laughed at for their non-threateningness. They wear breeches, vests and jackets and scarves and other such attire, wear no armour whatsoever (apart from the odd concealed mithril coat), have curly hair and have, shall we say, the appearance of those who enjoy their food, as of course they do. Now let's look at Aragorn. He looks slightly more wild and rugged lets admit, but he wears no armour and is tall and proud, not squat and bow-legged like orcs. In fact, the most likely member of the company to be mistaken for an orc is Gimli for all his heavy chain-mail and helmet which makes his face slightly more difficult to see and therefore slightly more easily mistaken for that of an orcs, and yet he was never directly accused (unless you count Eomer's comment towards Aragorn) of being an orc!
And so, how can it be that so many different people in Middle Earth have mistaken members of the Fellowship of the Ring for orcs?! They look nothing alike! Could it be that every single ent and warrior in Middle Earth should be allowed a free optometrist appointment and 50% off the price of spectacles? Perhaps Peter Jackson should donate some of the funds from his multi-million dollar movie to the helicoptering in of eye-specialists to Middle Earth. However you look at it, there's no denying that something is definitely up in Middle Earth when a hobbit or the heir of Elendil is mistaken for an orc. Let's only hope they've got their problems sorted out before us fans start journeying over there for a look around, or we might be getting an apology for being beheaded just a little too late.
This Fortnight: An(other) Extract from LotR4
For several issues now you have provided me with no end of good advice for my troublesome questions. This week I'd like to ask you something a little bit more personal...why do you bother? Is it because you're so sweet natured and like helping people?
I ... erm ... yes, that’s it. The fact that we have my former employer as our Editor’s alternate ego didn’t exactly prevent my current status, though.
Sam, I'm having a bit of a problem. This guy keeps attacking Mordor. Which is fine and good. But you see he’s now attacked the Shire, my future hubby's home. And I defended it. I captured him and he is in Barad-Dur. Well now I'm somewhat worried. Because I did it to protect Frodo but now the evil rap is coming back. And now Morgoth is getting happy because he thinks the "DO NOT MARRY HOBBITS AND YOU BETTER BE EVIL" class is helping me. And I don’t like to see him happy. What do you think I should do? Thanks!
In a sticky situation, Sauron.
... could you repeat that? Your situation sounds sticky enough to have clogged up the ears that heard it.
My advice for the moment, or at least until I have thought about your letter with some good time in the Bag End cellars, is to grease that sticky frying pan you're in and please don't jump into the fire. But, well, begging your pardon, you're Sauron so that probably wouldn't bother you, would it?
I happen to be in love with someone who's engaged. What do I do?! I cannae seem to get over him! Please help!!
Sincerely, One Confused Brandybuck Lass.
Dear One Confused Brandybuck Lass,
Another one after Mister Frodo? Orcs and spiders, this is worse than when he was caught between Legolass and Galadriel in Lothlorien... Oh, save me! Me and my big mouth. Every time I open it up, I put my foot in, as my old Gaffer used to say. Can't say more. Gardener/Master confidentiality, if you follow me.
Well, I would let him know your feelings if I were you. Otherwise you'll explode. Or go off disguised as a warrior of Rohan into something you may not be able to get out of. If that doesn't work, write back (assuming you're still in one piece) and we'll see what we can do from there.
FOR RENT. One Sackville-Baggins. He is short, foul-mouthed and irritable, but otherwise quite cute and cuddly, makes a nice pet really. Please take him away...
JOB OPP. We need a courier to take a small token from Imladris to Mordor. Must be mortal, with dubious noticeability, unlikely to be missed by immediate family. Life insurance available. Please contact Elrond Halfelven.
missing: my brain and the little nouce of sanity i had left...if you see my braein walking hand in hand down the street, could you kindly sent them home? in eed them...-a distrugt fool of a otok
WANTED: STRONG bodyguard who can watch a person who everyday gets hurt either by falling on a stump during a bike ride or fighting in war against Link the evil dude who is trying to take my position as dark lord!! You will be paid very well! Applicants: Send resume to 666 Sauron Ave. Mordor 66666. Thanks!
WANTED: More articles! I’ve looked and looked, and can’t find anything but Frodo Baggins! Who is this Frodo Baggins anyhow? Is that the short guy with the jewellery? This is, like, so wrong! It’s about time for variety! Send your articles about everyone else (Frodo articles also welcome) to the Editor. This Advertisement funded by The Federation for Adolescent Legolas Fans.
Site Status and Updates.
In case you failed to notice, Xara, our primary contributor and reporter to date, ingenious writer and Tolkien fanatic, has been promoted to Assistant Editor of the Newsletter. Now we can shift even further into complete Frodo dominance. (See Classifieds for a protest against this.)
I Nili yesterday was awarded four awards from The Land of Hobbiton. Thank you, everyone, for making the site worthy of it.
We did not have many replies to the survey, so the Editor has chosen to delay posting replies until next issue, so ye stragglers can get your answers in.
For those of you who missed the chat meeting, we bring to you a report by Ivy Brandybuck:
The night is October 3rd, 2003. It’s wedding chat time, and everyone is excited! Who couldnae be? It’s a night to spend with friends, to have fun, and maybe get up to a little mischief! Well, that’s exactly what happened at last week’s wedding meeting.
It all started out when I was playing a game on my dad’s new phone. I looked up to check the time, and noticed I was a half an hour late! In my rush to get onto the site, I dropped the phone, died on the game I was playing, and while muttering incoherent curses, finally managed to pull up the wedding chat screen.
The usual people are there. Prongsie, Tookie, Perian, Paddy, and of course, Xara. I’m suddenly crushed by an oncoming slough of virtual hugs, which is followed by echoes of "Ivy! You made it!" By the time I’ve caught my "breath" I apologize for being late, and ask what’’s been decided so far. Me, expecting a long list of decided details, (It was a half an hour!) was surprised to find that they had only decided one thing: the date. I was, of course, happy, as I’d been curious as to the date for some time now, as I’m sure had everyone else. Lucky for us that they had it decided, because it’d be the only thing we’d be sure of for the rest of the night.
The chat began well enough, with people talking about several things at once, while Perian tried to catch me up. She showed me a picture of the hobbit costumes, which I must say I love, when Prongsie happened to mutter summat about "evil" hobbits. Then, as expected, the hobbits in the chat (Being Perian and myself) made a go at Prongsie, attempting to possibly knock her unconscious. Xara managed to hold me back, and in the mean time find a "secret" hiding place for Prongsie. As she was sniggering away, thinking no one could find her; Perian had slipped into the cave and gave her a good fright. Too bad she had to go and fall off a cliff! Once she hit the bottom with a sickening "splat!" she murmured summat about "pretty elven ladies" Which Paddy seemed to let slip. (Either that, or she didnae notice…… you decide!) We finally decided to let the poor Prongsie go, though she managed to cough things that sounded much like "EVIL HOBBITS!" With, of course, Paddy egging her on, and Perian giving her "the look."
We moved on quickly, but not at all in the direction anyone planned. We soon got onto the subject of Frodo, and it seemed Prongsie and I were arguing over who wanted to marry him more. Perian then went on to say she wouldnae be involved in polygamy, which caused a whole load of "Whaaat?"s. While Tookie continued to not understand the meanings of bigamy and polygamy, Perian finally came to a great conclusion: Prongsie and I should get married, and the wedding can be a double wedding. Of course, for Prongsie and me, water was spit across keyboards, and fear was shining in our eyes. We both instantly protested, while Tookie, Xara, Paddy, and Perian all thought it was the greatest idea! While Prongsie and I argued our case, Paddy kept saying that it was the best way to go. Finally, after completely drying off my keyboard, and both of us stubbornly protesting, Prongsie and I agreed never to marry.
After this grueling escapade, things start to quiet down. Paddy and Xara sign off, Xara to return briefly later that night. Tookie, Perian, and I take the rest of the night to discuss odd phobias. As we found out, zemiphobia is apparently fear of the great mole rat…? At about one in the morning, Tookie headed off, Perian and me about two hours later. With all the fun to be had that night, who wouldnae have wanted to be there? Ah well, there’s always next time, I suppose!
Hobbitish, Part VIII.
-ram: (suffix) -er, denotes individual's origin being that of the preceeding word segment, as in Bucklander, etc.
ran: (noun) cluster of cottages, village.
reeves: (noun) hobbitish law enforcement. The "sherriffs" (as seen in The Scouring of the Shire).
Rethe: (noun) the month of March.
Letters to the Editors.
I love your newsletters sooo much!!! I read every single one of them at least 10 times each! I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication! Perian and Xara, keep writing the greatest articles in the world!!! You two have such great talent! Its wonderful!
Ten times? You've surpassed even my own devotion! I would like to thank you for your continued support and literary contribution. Greatest articles in the world... hmm, that would be Xara! Over to her...
Why thank you Paddy! Though I don't think I'm quite writing the best articles in the world yet...hehe...but it beats the hell out of doing homework right? Glad you're enjoying them!
Xara's Reply to last issue's comments:
Well, Perian said I should reply to comments about my articles so that's what I'm doing! First off I'd like to say how excited I was to see some actual feedback as I don't usually get any, apart from my editor's of course! That's an interesting suggestion Prongs and I'll have to look into moving over there, or at least getting them to change the school system here! Hula, you know that article actually started out as guessing the musical preferences of races of Middle Earth? But I changed my mind halfway through whilst watching Jamie Oliver on TV and re-wrote it! Like Perian said, perhaps you would like to contribute? Or if not Perian or I will be happy to try and use your suggestions, with your permission of course!