i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 17, Volume 1. December 12th, 2003.
Assistant Editor: Xara.
Contributors: Evenstar, Ivy Brandybuck, Lady Galadriel, Padfoot, Prongsie.In this issue:
The Burdens We Bear by Perian.
Run Frodo! The Axe-man Cometh! by Xara.
Blood of Baggins by Xara.
The Arthurian Connection by Perian.
In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: More from Perian.
NEW: Random Fandom.
Site Status and Updates + The Ring's Final Fate: A Report by Ivy Brandybuck.
Letters to the Editor.
The Burdens We Bear
Welcome to our first Frodo-exclusive issue. Good grief, I can hear all Legolas-lovers and Aragorn-addictees cry. Haven't we heard enough about Frodo from you two already?
Absolutely. That minor fact certainly won't stop us, though. I'm sure we will continue to write about and discuss our honourable hobbit for the rest of our so-far immortal lives.
What is it about Frodo? The eyes, right? No! Well, yes, they are a factor in the cinematic version. But we admire, first and foremost, his character.
Frodo is the embodiment of the struggle between the purity of the self and the temptation of outside influence. No, don't worry, I have no intention of letting this become a doctrinal rant. He is symbolic of the minds of each and every one of us. We are reminded through his character that we are important, we can change the future, if we will take the steps and make the sacrifices to do so.
He had no ambitions, no craving for dominion or wealth. The one wish which drove Frodo on was a desire for peace. We, too, desire peace in our own lives. To see Frodo accomplish what he set out to do despite a world of adversity gives hope to our individual struggles. We all have burdens to bear, separately and as a whole. At the core of everyone is that innocent individual onto whom the worries of life have been heaped. That is the part of us which best identifies with the young hobbit. The part which gains strength by reading of his own.
However, even as we take Frodo as a guiding force and an inspiration, we must also view him as a warning of what can happen when we submit to pressure from outside of ourselves. Technically, Frodo is a failed hero. In the end he gave in. He knew what he had to do, and yet he did not. Who under such duress would have done better? Not many, certainly. Perhaps no one. There are some things no one can hope to overcome (save at times by accident, as was the case in The Return of the King.) That did not stop Frodo from trying. Even after losing all hope he persisted. Even when his memories of the Shire were lost in the torment of his mind still he attempted to keep it safe. "It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them." There can be no victory over opposition without inner determination, without first attempting the task at hand. And so he did.
Frodo is not a strictly fictional character. He lives in the hearts of each and every one of us. He will continue to be remembered and honoured for centuries to come, long after the protagonists of the stories popular today have faded from all memory. Our hobbit will continue to reinforce our conviction that even the smallest person can change the course of the future.
Run Frodo! The Axe-man Cometh!
Author's Note: I would like it to be known that I have complete and utter respect and admiration for Peter Jackson and his work, but that does not mean he is beyond a bit of criticism or some stick-poking humour.
Frodo Baggins was and is without a doubt the most prestigious, glorious, famous, esteemed and all-round praised hobbit in the history of hobbits and fantasy fiction alike. This under-sized in stature but not in heart Ringbearer faced many perils on his quest dark and dangerous, subtle and obvious. Monsters and wraiths, hunger and thirst, the ever urgent need for speed and secrecy and of course the evil lure of the Ring. But of all the great dangers to his life, health, immortal soul and sanity, there is one most recent and ongoing peril which has as yet failed to be set down on any annal or record of the Lord of the Rings. This is of course, the threat to his own reputation.
That's right my friends, the reputation of Frodo has been in more danger these past two years than at any other point in history since Tolkien contemplated naming him after a game in which numbers are called and ticked off on cards (that's right, he was going to be called Bingo). And this threat comes in the form of a man. The Axe-man some call him or Director in Chief in the common tongue, a genius he undoubtedly is and yet not beyond guilt where Frodo is concerned. This mysterious reputation smircher's reasons are unclear and yet his crime is undisputed. You may have heard of him, he's more commonly known as Peter Jackson. This acclaimed director has done so much good and won so much renown and yet has a darker side to his achievement.
The time has come for me to explain myself and hint and riddle no more. Peter Jackson is the most serious threat to Frodo's hero reputation because, wielding his mighty editing-room-script-writing-Khazad-style axe, he has cut from Tolkien's trilogy no less than four of Frodo's glory moments. First to go was the moment in the Barrow the entire section of which was cut out for plot reasons. This cut perhaps is justifiable, the next however, when Frodo cries aloud in wrath and stabs his foe the Witch-King on Weathertop Hill, was not. The Axe-man replaced this heroic Frodo with a cowering, stumbling, tripping and sword-dropping Frodo, hardly a just replacement. This seamlessly converted Frodo from brave but injured hobbit who was confronted with enemies beyond his strength and skill to a wimpy little hobbit who got stabbed because he couldn't even hold his sword properly. Such damage to Frodo's reputation is almost irrevocable. The next axed glory moment is of course Frodo's brave stand at the Ford of Bruinen, given to Arwen instead. We all know that there was need to give Arwen glory in this movie. The love of Aragorn's life needs more on screen than what Tolkien afforded her in the books, but couldn't she at least be allowed to share this glory with Frodo? She's a very reasonable and decent elf and I'm sure she wouldn't have minded sharing. And the last axed glory moment is of course when Frodo attacks the cave troll in Balin's Tomb, stabbing it's toe with his short but strong elven sword and forcing it to withdraw. This moment Peter Jackson completely abandoned.
To add insult to injury, the Axe-man not only hues at Frodo's existing glory moments, but at more potential screen glory for Frodo. In the entire Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers movies, we do not see Frodo lay sword into a foe once. He certainly draws his sword in Balin's Tomb, the one battle at which he was present, but unlike his hobbit companions we don't see him fighting at all, and the next time the camera espies him is when he is retreating behind a stone pillar with Merry and Pippin. At best he threatens Gollum with it and then later on attacks his best and most loyal friend whilst under the evil influence of the Ring. This is hardly reputation restoring stuff. Everyone knows that Frodo is a hero simply for taking on the task of destroying the Ring and enduring the burden and saving Middle Earth, but this doesn't mean he is unworthy of acknowledgment for his other brave stands in danger and battle. We know Frodo doesn't like violence and sword-fighting and being brave, but the point is that he can be brave when he needs to be. Yet so far this point has been completely ignored by Peter Jackson, depicting him as weak and wimpy when it comes to defending himself and his friends.
Frodo's reputation has been damaged, perhaps for good, but the danger is not over yet. There is one last moment of glory that remains to Frodo and that is the moment when he courageously walks down into the darkness to meet Shelob in her Lair. The time is drawing near. Some may live in hope that to Frodo's last scrap of dignity the Axe-man will be merciful. But I, I say only this: Run Frodo! Run while you still can! The Axe-man cometh!
Blood of Baggins
As we all know, the Bagginses are supposed to be a very respectable hobbit family, never doing anything adventurous or unexpected. You are supposed to be able to predict everything a Baggins would say before he says it. A Baggins is meant to be very boring indeed. So why then, has the Baggins family produced two highly adventurous and highly unpredictable hobbits? It is a puzzling question. Producing one, now, that may be a fluke, a coincidence, strange perhaps but nothing to get very worried about. But two, there has to be something more at work here than just chance for two world renowned adventurers to come from the name of Baggins.
To try and discover the reason for this extraordinary phenomenon, I took a good long look at the family trees of these Bagginses...and discovered something very interesting. Out of every single Baggins ever listed, only three Bagginses have ever married into the unrespectable and dangerously adventurous families of Took and Brandybuck. One was Bungo Baggins, who married Belladonna Took and already we have one clue as this unlikely pair were the parents of the famous Mad Baggins (or Bilbo Baggins to be more correct) and the first Baggins to bring shame on the name. The second Baggins to marry into the adventurous sort was Drogo Baggins, who married Primula Brandybuck, and they too had just one son: Frodo Baggins. Well, we all know what happened to him! And the third Baggins was a Baggins more than usually forgotten by the name of Rosa who married Hildigrim, a Took. Here the strange anomaly seems to have laid dormant for three generations until from the line of Baggins-Took came a Meriadoc and a Peregrin, Merry and Pippin for short.
You may scoff at this and say that Tooks and Brandybucks are adventurous by nature, and that these four merely inherited their characteristics from that side and that side alone, but consider this. There were many, many Tooks and Brandybucks that came from a long line of Tooks and Brandybucks living in the Shire at the time of Bilbo's and Frodo's great adventures, but not one of these had an adventure of any near as grand a scale as the adventures of the half-Bagginses, who surpassed every single famous hobbit in history with their deeds. It seems very clear that there is something in the well-respected blood of Baggins which lies dormant and unremarkable until it is mixed with the adventurous blood of a Took or Brandybuck, and then, like a time bomb it is set off to produce some sort of super-hobbit more adventurous even than a long line of Took and Brandybuck predecessors who, if given the chance, would go on to deeds and adventures renowned even amongst elves, men and dwarves. That is the dangerous secret hidden in the blood of the Bagginses.
The Arthurian Connection
Reading of Frodo and his quest is in some ways like reading retold legend. Of all myths and histories to which The Lord of the Rings draws parallel the resounding echo of Frodo in relation to King Arthur is high upon the list.
Frodo and Arthur were separated young from their parents, brought up by foster-fathers in relative comfort and with little fame. In both cases their early lives were covertly overseen by enigmatic wizards (Gandalf and Merlin by name) who slipped in and out of view with droplets of wisdom and high expectations for their unaware pupils.
On the day of his coming of age, as we well know, Frodo was given from Bilbo something which changed the course of his life there on: the Ring. Arthur also inherited a fate-altering item from an elder relative, his father Uther, and as with Frodo it was not given in person to him by the one who possessed it: his sword. Both objects were considered to be magical, presented by or taken from seemingly immortal beings.
With these items came title and responsibility. At the Council of Elrond Frodo was given his task - to destroy the Ring, and the label there onward of Ringbearer, though he had had this thing for seventeen years before. Arthur became a king and commander (having already been victorious against the Saxons in several battles) and was given all the duties which come with. The burden of protecting their respective peoples were thrust upon them.
The tales of both characters came to congruent conclusions. Arthur, wounded in battle, sailed away to the hidden Isle of Avalon to find healing or death. Likewise Frodo, wounded by long torment and numerous injuries and conflicts, sought peace over the Sundering Sea upon the Valinorian shores. What became of either of them no tale tells.
Am I suggesting that the character of Frodo was stolen from the hero or narrator of such ancient tales as those in the Mabinogion and modern classics like The Once and Future King? Not at all. As strong as their similarities were, their differences were greater. I do not believe that intentional theft was the case here at all. Neither do I believe that Tolkien's writings were devoid of the influence of the lore of his homeland. Perhaps the folktales of his own culture, imbedded in his mind as they no doubt were during his work with antiquated languages and such manuscripts as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, left so strong an impression upon him that they crept unnoticed into his texts. It is a pity that he is no longer here to clarify this and other points of quandary, or at least lend his thoughts. What is left for us is his writings, and who knows what light some unpublished document may yet shed upon the matter. We can only wait, and wonder.
This Fortnight: More (of ALS)
Hello readers of I Nili o i Ardanole and welcome to my very own new column, see above for the name. I'd like to take the time to explain this to you seeing as it's the first one. Basically what happens is I pick a subscriber at random and ask them three random questions, the answers to which go here in the newsletter. The purpose of these questions is to give you the chance to think of something creative in reply, so don't be afraid to write what you like if you get picked! And remember, we here at I Nili love reader participation and there are other sections you can write for apart from this one! And now, without further ado our new column, I hope you like it!
Xara: If you got the chance to interrogate one member of the fellowship under hypnosis who would it be and what would you ask them?Padfoot: Well... Hmm... would have to be Gandalf and I would ask him how could he be so stupid and not realise Saurman was evil when he went to go visit him.Xara: Which member of I Nili o i Ardanole do you think is really a Tolkien character in disguise and why? (Note to Paddy: This doesnt count you and Perian as you guys arent in disguise.)Padfoot: I think Tookie is actually one of the Valar cause she likes having all that power and stuff and likes to use her hammer a lot.Xara: Frodo Baggins comes to you and asks you to restyle his hair, what do you do?Padfoot: Okie dokie. I would give him the best new hair style in Mordor-The Fire. You dye the person's hair red with orange highlights and then make it wavy and make it look like fire. It looks very cool I just got mine done yesterday.
Samwise,With all the holidays springing up I've been visiting an awful lot of friends lately...most of which are hobbits. I've been trying to watch my elf-figure, but it's so hard with every furry-footed family in the shire shoving cakes and tea down my throat. I'm stuffed! With Christmas just around the bend, I'm nearly dreading it and thinking of becoming a sugar-tarian (is that possible?) How can I keep the winter pounds off and not offend my generous friends by refusing their hospitality?Thank you, Evenstar.
As a hobbit myself who has been victim of quandary over which chin of mine to threaten with a shortsword, maybe I'm not the best one to ask. From watching Frodo get an even more wraithish look the more waybread and Rivendell feasts he ate, I have seen a bit, though. Eat slow, and something will come up that you can't finish. Usually while the food is left alone someone will snatch it... a cousin or, ah, gardener, you see. Walking it off helps, too. Legolas ran fair leagues without stopping, and you've seen how narrow his gauntlets are. If all else fails, nibble a bit and slip it into the grasses while no one is watching.
Dear Samwise,Please help me! I have 3 exams to study for but I am being lured away from my books by thoughts of Return of the King, Aragorn and most importantly, by you! How do I turn this dreamy part of my brain off and focus on my work?All my love, Prongs.
There's nothing wrong there, as I see it. Put the dreamy part in back, if you know what I mean. Keeping it will give you a reason to work harder. If you, well, bribe yourself with it, it may help. Like this: "If I finish this studying, I can go to the cinema", "When I'm done cutting the grass and not dropping eaves I can go for a pint at The Green Dragon", "When this Ring is full and well gone, I'll ... well, I don't know what will happen then..."
Dear Samwise,I'd like to know what you do to your competition? You know, people who give advice with the same flare, folksy cuteness and wisdom as you? Just out of interest...~Xara.
FOR SALE: massive, lime green trolley suitcase. Features include X-ray shielding, mini bar, cappuccino machine and vast array of very comfortable pillows. Suitcase MUST be picked up from Toronto, Canada. Ideal for smuggling people to different countries.
WANTED: An Automatic Book Restoration Kit. My copy of Unfinished Tales was left out in the rain and...well let's just say those wrinkles are not a sign of age. Contact: email@example.com
WANTED: an extra brain! Present one filled to max. capacity and still much to memorise! Do NOT tell me to hunt the Department of Mysteries as that has already been done. Compensation provided to the individual who gives up his/her brain.
Site Status and Updates.
Reminder: The marriage of Frodo and Sauron, and event oft' mentioned in this newsletter, is taking place December 19th, 2003, at 7 p.m. EST, at the i Nili Message Board and Chatroom.
Now for those who missed this even on the MB, we bring to you The Ring's Final Fate: A Report by Ivy Brandybuck.
On November 30th, in a last desperate and daring attempt to rid the world of evil, Frodo Baggins and his cousin, Meriadoc Brandybuck, entered Mount Doom and vanquished the Ring forever.
It started out with Frodo wanting to show his cousin Mordor, as he had never seen it before. The innocent trip up to Mount Doom was nothing suspicious, until Frodo dropped the Ring into the abyss within. The last thing Merry heard him say before the mountain began to shake? "Sauron is going to kill me..."
What did Merry have to say about all of this? "Well, the Ring's gone... that's good! And Sauron didnae kill Frodo... or me... that's good, too! Oh, look! Lembas!"
In the case of Sauron, apparently the Ring was never the root of her evil. She has been heard saying, "Do you realise how much ENERGY that sucks out of you?! Un-be-lievable!" On the plus side, she's not out to destroy the world with it...
How is Frodo coping with the loss of his beloved Ring? "Other than a few fits of the kind Merry has had to put up with, I am loving it!" he says, smiling for the camera as if he had not a care in the world.
Will the destruction of the Ring hurt the relationship between Frodo and Sauron? Could it put off the wedding? "Never!" says Sauron, "Frodo and I are getting married no matter what! No silly Ring can stop that! Especially now that it's gone!" Frodo's take? "It may... That is to say, I'm not sure which of my Ring-created or born personalities said 'yes', if you follow me... so if it was destroyed... I think we may be in some trouble..." Seems the hobbit is a bit unsure, though I'm sure Sauron'll give him a "nudge" in the right direction...
As I end my brief interview with Frodo, I just had to ask the question, "Why Merry for best man? Is there some plot there that has yet to be revealed? Why did you take him with you to destroy the Ring?" His answer was plain and subtle, not answering any of the extreme wedding related questions, Well, Merry and I are quite close. Best friends before the War of the Ring and all that. And Sam's cooking, so he'll be too busy, so... Aye. Merry."
So the Ring is safely gone, Frodo is happy, Sauron is happy, and Merry is eating lembas. Let's just hope there weren't any Gollums at the bottom of the mountain...Tolkienish.
At request of Xara, and the inquiry of several others, I will attempt to interpret our name (if Anduwen as its selector, or Lady Galadriel or Tookie as our resident elvish experts at any time wish to correct me, please feel free to.)
i (an article, lower-case and in ideal cases dotless) is the elvish equivalent of "the".
nili: (noun) fellowship.
Arda: (proper noun) Middle-earth; Europe.
nole: (noun) lore, learning.
So the translation is (as our subtitle at the site suggests) The Fellowship of the Lore of Middle-earth. Pronounced, as best as I can guess with what little knowledge of elvish I have, as ee nee'lee ooh ee aar"dah'-no-lay.
Letters to the Editors.Mae govannen mellon. Sut naa lle? Amin quel.
I just had to tell you how much I truly enjoy this every month Perian! Your writing is fantastic... I laugh every time...thanks. Keep up the great work...
Yours from The Grey Havens,
Diola lle, Lady G!
Thank you kindly for the comments... Care to take over Tolkienish awhile with a few elvish lessons? Or at least once to translate sut naa lle and amin quel? (Lle is "you" and quel "good", am I correct? Close? Miles away?) Thank you again for the comments!
Dear Editor,Another triumph! Your instructions on making a premiere costume were most helpful...if only I were going to one. The cinema where I will first see Return of the King had it's premiere on December 1st and I won't make it there until New Years Day at the earliest. Ah well, I shall file it away for the next fancy dress party! As you already know, loved the fan fiction, though the part where I was left the sole editor of the newsletter I found rather frighteningly horrifying, that part will be a match for Shelob I'm sure! Can't wait to see what you come up with next week Oh Editor in Chief!~Xara.
Dear Other Editor,
Well, as I said in the article, at least go to the cinema at some time bedecked in LotR regalia. Come along, I do not wish to be the only one...
The best is yet to come, I assure you!
Xara's article entitled "Middle Earth & Now -- The Language Barrier" did two things:- it made me laugh so hard that I choked on my banana bread and it inspired me to come up with a few lines of my own. Please note that this has been written after obtaining permission from the original author. The brief conversation takes place on a New York sidewalk.
FAN: Frodo! Yo mah homie!
FRODO: (looks at Fan quizically) Mah ... hom-ie? I'm sorry ... ?
FAN: Mah brother!
FRODO: Brother?! Oh no my good fellow, we cannot be brothers. Aside from the fact that you're a man, you are over 7 feet tall ... no amount of Entwash could cause you to shoot up like that!
(Frodo rambles on in this fashion for a while longer as Fan shakes his head in wonder and leaves).
Thanks for another fine newsletter lasses!
Prongs.Hehehehehehehe!!! My article inspired someone?! Brilliant! Loved it Prongseroo mah homie!~Xara.