Editors: Perian, Xara.
Primary Reporter: Ivy Brandybuck.
Chief Corespondant: Prongs.
Contributor(s): Lady Morrigan Shadow, Jen, Eowyn Evenstar, Sam.
In this issue:
Too Much To Be Coincidence by Ivy.
Samwise Gamgee: A Fourth Time Mayor by Prongs.
Gollum the Cat by Xara.
Waiting for Inspiration by Quickbeam.
Peter and the Incredible Expanding Hobbit by Perian.
The Search of the Ents is Over by Xara.
True Love by Jen.
In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight:
Ruling man, family man, gardening man, Mayor Gamgee is a prominent figure among the Shire folk. But how much is really known about him? In this exclusive article, your fearless reporter settles herself in the family room of Bag-End, the residence of the newly re-elected mayor for some face time with the Gamgees. Along with Mayor Samwise Gamgee is his lovely wife Rosie, who bakes the most exquisite biscuits, and their youngest sons Robin (8) and Tolman (6).
PRONGS: My congratulations on your third re-election, Sir. This is indeed an unprecedented feat.
SAMWISE: Ah, well thank you kindly. And please, call me Sam. Iím not on with all this Sir business. To tell you the truth, I found it rather strange that no-one was running against me this time so it wasnít a victory really.
ROSIE: (interrupting Prongs) Darling, no one ran because no one can beat you! Donít you remember what happened the last time you ran? Old Sancho Proudfoot sulked in his hole for a month after he lost.
SAMWISE: (blushing) Youíre just endlessly supportive, arenít you love?
Samwise and Rosie kiss.
PRONGS: (coughs discreetly) Ahem ahem.
SAMWISE: Oh sorry, this is why I never have her in the room while I work. Sheís a distraction, see?
PRONGS: Aye, I do see. So, I was wondering why you didnít sell Bag-End and move into the mayoral residence?
SAMWISE: (aghast) Leave Bag-End? Oh, I couldnít do that! Mr. Frodo entrusted the premises to me and me missus! We would never dream of leaving it! Besides, donít you know what happened the last time Frodo sold it?
PRONGS: Aye, but the Sackville-Baggiinses are no more what with Lotho and Lobelia being Ö well Ö
SAMWISE: Aye, but thatís not to say that there arenít any crazies left in Hobbiton. (in a sombre voice) And if one of them lays claim to Bag-End it would be the downfall of all hobbit kind!
PRONGS: (grins) Now donít you think youíre being slightly dramatic, Sam?
SAMWISE: (in a huff) Indeed Iím not! Iíd rather not risk it thank you very much! And besides, the gardens at the Mayoral Mansion arenít as lovely as the ones here!
PRONGS: Ah, I forgot about the gardens. Yours are lovely, Sam.
SAMWISE: Well, gardening is one of the familyís passions so Ö
ROSIE: (cuts in) Oh yes! Our eldest Elanor and her husband Fastred have a beautiful garden at Undertowers, their home on the Tower Hills
TOM: (interrupts) We help toooooooo Ö
ROBIN: (scornfully) I help! You donít! You donít even know the difference between a weed and a sap! You just ruin all my hard work!
TOM: (begins to pout) I do help! I do!
ROSIE: (cuts in before the debate can go any further) How about some sandwiches, boys? (the three walk off).
SAMWISE: (grins ruefully) What can I say? Boys will be boys.
PRONGS: That they will be. Speaking of which, may I inquire as to what became of the other boys?
SAMWISE: You mean my other children? Ruby and Bilbo and PrimroseĖĖ
PRONGS: No, I meant Masters Meriadoc and Peregrin.
SAMWISE: (chortles) Well, why didnít you say so? Iím joining then for an ale after this interview. Care to come with?
PRONGS: Indeed I shall. Thank you.
The rest of my day passes in a semi-drunken stupor. However,
I am glad to find that when I come to, I am sleeping under a lovely oak
tree with my notes still intact. Such is the interview as it happened.
Some people might say Gollum resembles a snivelling wretch, others
might say a misunderstood drug addict, some a schizophrenic. There are
many interpretations of Gollum/Smeagol to be found out there. But more
and more, since first I read the books to today when I watched Return of
the King, for me, Gollum/Smeagol is most reminiscent of a cat. That's right,
you heard me, a cat. I know it seems unlikely at first but the more and
more you think about it, it fits!
My first example of Gollum/Smeagol's cat-like qualities is of course fish. We all know what Gollum's favorite good is. We also know what every cat's favorite food is. I know my cat goes crazy when she scents that fishy smell in the kitchen, and Gollum nearly got himself shot my the Ithilien Rangers for fishing in their pool. Cats and Gollum, they just can't help themselves when it comes to those strange creatures who are "ever thirsty, never drinking. Clad in mail, never clinking," as Gollum so accurately put it. But the similarities go much, much deeper than favorite food. As most people know, and even those who don't have probably drawn this conclusion anyway, Andy Serkis based some of his performance on his own cats. The "Gollum" cough. The moment I saw that "Gollum" cough on screen I was instantly reminded of my own cat, coughing up furballs. And this, I later discovered, is exactly what it was based on.
Gollum/Smeagol's schizophrenic-like personality is also very reminiscent of my own cat's at least unpredictability. Most people who own a cat will know how strange they can be, especially when you're patting them. One minute they're purring away and then next they're trying to rip your arm off. I know, I have the scars to prove it. And that's another thing that is similar between Gollum and cats. Their fighting styles. They like to sneak up on you from behind and get all their limbs around you and bite. It is an incredibly painful method for the victim. They latch their front claws into your skin whilst kicking at you with their back claws. Cats take a very hands on approach to pain inducement, they don't look strong but they can be incredibly ferocious and completely mad when roused, exactly like Gollum.
And finally, their movement. Gollum is agile, a good climber, and faller I might add, he can creep and he can leap. The way a cat moves as it plays in the garden is incredibly similar to the way Smeagol can move when he's in one of those delightful good moods. The way a cat moves when it's angry is a splitting image of the way Gollum moves when he's in one of those murderous rages. Gollum/Smeagol is a cat in all but physicality. To me, it's like he was born a hobbit by mistake, he missed his call in life. Next time you watch Lord of the Rings, watch Gollum/Smeagol, and I'm sure you'll agree, he's so much like a cat it's not funny.
There once was beautiful maiden who- wait, wait a minute. No,
there wasnít. I mean, honestly, how many times has that been done? Why
is it so hard to find a plot? Iíve built an alter to the muses: Thalia,
Erato, Melpomene. So whereís my reward? Iíve been sitting at this damned
machine all night and every night before, and nothings coming. Maybe I
was better off with fan fiction. I mean, pre-made characters, settings,
languages, whole worlds, for Godís sake. Could it possibly be any easier?
But no, I just had to try my hand at originality. I mean, fan fics are great place to start. For, like, the first week. And then you get bored and then eventually realize at least twenty people have the same plot. So much for ingenuity. Of course, I could go totally random. Woo, Iím so spiffy. Then preteens with superiority complexes can log on and coo at the screen. "Oh my gawd, She is just like me! She understands! She is totally random and cool, like me!" and theyíll squeal and coddle their monitors. Trust me, I am one of those children. And a word to the wise- the monitors donít like it.
So itís way past my bedtime and Iím staring blankly at my screen. Still. No words have appeared magically. Iíve channeled the spirits- they havenít quite gotten back to me yet. So I decided I needed inspiration. Mountain Dew: check. Uber-cool pajama pants: check. An elastic so this bloody mass of hair doesnít get in my way: hold the phone; done and done. Iíve got the chocolate chips, the hyper music is playing, Iíve adjusted the chair, and I wait. Wish Iíd thought to bring my watch back from that Speech meet.
Oh, look, a well-written story. I bow to you, oh master. May I please have an idea? Iíve waited so long for one. Snap, that sounds like a poem. Iím through with poetry... well, at least for now. I did get a good score on that poetry collection, though. Then again, I think my teacher may just be desperate for talent. I will be very sorry to tell her sheíll find none in me.
I think I had something- no, false alarm. I suppose I could use a little more caffeine. Iím on a downward spiral leading right back to mediocre fan fiction. Who knew it was an escalator?
Ack, it came and went? Already? As was the case with the extraordinary
Xara, the Samwise issue was unexpectedly difficult for me to write for.
I love Sam, of course (is it possible to be a follower of Tolkien and not
admire this stoic character?) but what could I write about him which has
not been written, said, thought, about him by each of as a thousand times
I am sure that with the books and a moderate amount of time something would have come. Alas, that moderate amount of time was not available, as upon beginning this article it was once more the Wednesday before publication (someone shackle me to my newsletter notebook, please.) So in casting desperately about for an idea - Iím sorry, my dear Sam, for not better honouring you! - this movie based quandary resurfaced.
Yes, you have all noticed by now one of Peterís grandest mistakes in character development ever made in his production of the Rings trilogy: the continual sideways growth of Sam Gamgee. While Tolkienís scenes were calling for a tightened belt, Sean was having to loosen his. As Sam starved in the wild and/or barren lands, his performer was more than feasting. As our hero was enjoying his dried fruit near the Crossroads, theirs was having an embarrassing moment in Osgiliath: "Put your sword under his chin." "Which one?"
By all accounts, this was Peterís doing. Fran, even, would stand by the plump-but-not-yet-spherical shape as they shared their meals with the suddenly insecure actor. But... why did he do it?
Let us for the moment give Peter Jackson the benefit of the doubt, and try to think of what may have been going on in his mind. Could there be a reason?
Theory 1: A Method to the Madness. Could it be that by adding three meals and several sizes to Seanís daily habits that he would have more hobbitish feelings to draw upon as he performed? But do self-consciousness and doubt help to create the Sam we know? Not at all. What else could it be?
Theory 2: Leeembas. Possibly the most commonly flaunted theory is that of the power of Lembas. One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a full grown man, isnít it? All well and good, but all the Fellowship ate more than he. All of Samís, or at least the greater amount, was going to the wraith-thin Frodo. Unless Smeagol was right and Sam had been thieving the food this, too, is out.
In a last, desperate attempt to explain away the incredible expanding hobbit, theory three is occasionally introduced; that with his noted custom of offering all remaining water to Frodo (at least until they found a new source) he was inclined toward retention and swelling. I would consult our resident dirty nursie on the matter, but even with my limited knowledge I can assume that this would not happen over the course of .7 seconds. "...Weíre trying to get to..." to "Letís face it, Mr. Frodo, weíre lost!" ĎTis amazing.
So what is the real answer? Did Peter perhaps worry about being the only true hobbit on set? Was there a reason at all? All theories are welcome. Send them along to Letters: Perian@frontiernet.net. Whatever the answer, Ďtis a bit of Ringer trivia which will last for Ages.
All those familiar with Tolkien's writings will be familiar with
the story of the Entwives, how Ents and Entwives became estranged and how
the Ents lost them (that is to say, they couldn't find them any more) during
the wars around the time of the Last Alliance. Songs were sung in many
parts of Middle Earth of the search of the Ents for the Entwives but all
their recorded searches were fruitless and the Entwives they never found.
However new evidence has come to light as to where the Entwives may have
gone and it is found in no more an obscure place than the Lord of the Rings
itself, passing reference though it may be. And where in the tale, do you
think, this evidence is found? "The Grey Havens"? No! "Treebeard"? Well
off the mark! Not even "The Old Forest"!
This evidence comes almost before the story begins. In the second chapter, "The Shadow of the Past". I ask you now to picture The Green Dragon Inn on an evening seventeen years after Bilbo's memorable departure where one Samwise Gamgee sits in conversation with Ted Sandyman the Miller. Here is a snippet of their conversation:
"...There's only one dragon in Bywater and that's the Green," he said, to a general laugh.
"Alright," said Sam, laughing with the rest. "But what about these Tree-men, these giants as you might call them? They do say that one bigger than a tree was seen up on the North Moors not long back."
"My cousin Hal for one. He works for Mr Boffin at Overhill and goes up to the Northfarthing for hunting. He saw one."
"Says he did, perhaps. Your Hal's always saying he's seen things; and maybe he sees things that ain't there."
"But this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking - walking seven yards to a stride, if it was an inch."
"Then I bet it wasn't an inch. What he saw was an elm tree, as like as not."
"But this one was walking, I tell you; and there ain't no elm tree on the North Moors."
What Sam's cousin Hal saw was obviously some kind of Ent or Ent
relation, but there aren't meant to be any Ents in the Shire! What then,
could this strange creature be? Well, there is a group of displaced Ents,
more correctly known as Entwives, could it be that Hal saw an Entwife?
It is very possible. After all, Treebeard did say that the Entwives would
very much like the hobbit's little country. And what Sam was describing
is a very accurate picture of an Ent, surely it couldn't simply be that
his cousin Hal hallucinated something which fits so perfectly into the
category of Entwife? It has to be more than chance that Tolkien put that
snippet of conversation in there. Whilst the fact still remains unproven,
perhaps Treebeard should summon the Ents for one last search, in the North
Moors of the Shire.
"Well, what do you think of that?" Pippin asked, throwing himself
onto his hobbit-sized bed.
"I... I'm not sure," Merry replied.
"I wonder what they need us for, though..." the other continued, "I mean, it's not like the fate of Gondor rests in out hands... It's not really our concern."
"That's what I thought..." said Merry, turning to Pippin, "Why are we needed?"
Pippin pondered this for a moment. "Maybe we're to be used as messengers... I mean, in the midst of war, a small person isn't likely to be noticed. We know our way around, as well... That's always useful."
"Pippin, any child in all of Gondor is small enough, and knows their way around."
"But those children haven't fought wars," Pippin replied calmly. Merry nodded his reluctant agreement and turned to look out the window at the setting sun. He had come so far from home again and walked straight into war. He wondered if he would see Estella or Halamore again, even if he would see home again. He voiced his thoughts to Pippin.
"Of course you'll see them all again. It's not like we'll be in the middle of the fighting. Or at least I hope not. We're not even sure what we're supposed to be doing yet!" he walked to his cousin and looked him in the eye. "You're paranoid."
Merry laughed. "I am not!"
"You are," Pippin said, looking mock-helpless. "You're a hopeless case... Just one big mess of worries and frets. Loosen up!" He laughed, Merry joining.
"You're right... But I just can't help it. I'm so far from home..."
"You've been far from home before, Merry. You'll be all right. Just remember cousin Frodo... And Sam... They went all the way to Mordor. We're in Gondor. There's nothing to worry about."
"Is there any chance that these pirates from the south will make it here?" Merry asked.
"Not a chance." replied Pippin, praying in his heart he was right.
Q: Whom did Paddy say was a Tolkien character in disguise in Xara's
Random Fandom column?
Q: In the article 'Elves - Best Served Hot' by Perian, what food does she suggest Elves actually are?
Answers to be posted next week, as I have given up on you otherwise.
Xara: After accepting your invitation to come to your house for a strawberry milkshake, Pippin is now in hospital in a coma....Why is that?
Eo'Star: Prior to the visit I slipped in some sleeping drought and some extra sugar (ok A LOT of extra sugar but what can I say? I am fond of the stuff) to the soy-milkshake (I don't drink milk) to balance out the drink. Then when that adorable, handsome, dreamy, valiant...What? I'm daydreaming? Sorry but I get distracted when thinking of Pip....Anyway as soon as he arrived he took a sip of the soy-milkshake and immediately passed out! I then took him into a hidden hobbit proofed room with a trap door to conceal him. The only problem was the door worked on a password that was none other than his name! So when Diamond came looking for him and called out "Pippin get out her right now" She triggered the trap door and found him unconscious in my hidden hobbit-proofed room. Needless to say some very intense fighting then took place in which there was much hair pulling and kicking. I won of course! But then she knew the password so she snuck in at night (ok so maybe it was at 10:00 AM when I am the deepest asleep but what can I say? A she-hobbits got to have a bit of fun) and stole him from me! She then took him to the hospital and I later learned that it was not the sleeping drought that put him into a coma that turned out to be just a bit of dandelion fluff what did it was the soymilk! Turns out Pip is allergic to soymilk! Or anything else particularly healthy for that matter. So now you know why I hate Diamond. Wait....What was the question again?
Xara: On your Tolkien research trip to the UK, rustling through a chest of old notes and letters of Tolkien's, you discover an ancient scroll, written by Frodo himself, telling the story of the Lord of the Rings!! This scroll PROVES it was a real event in the distant past!! What do you do?!!
Eo'Star: WOW! Ok firstly I would read it. I mean I have absolutely no patience so I would have to. Next I would build a shrine in my house just for it with all sorts of death traps around it like pits filled with people who hate LOTR (shudders) and all sorts of LOTR questions that only a complete LOTR fanatic could answer and such. Then after it was safe I would call a news press and prove to the world that is a real event! Then I would copy the sacred scrolls into a book so that all fans could read it first hand!
Xara: You are chatting on the Internet when suddenly Elijah Wood appears in the chat room!!! But you're in the middle of talking to him when your internet connection suddenly goes dead!!! What to do?! What to do?!!
Eo'Star: I would try to log on again to see if he was still on of course
and all the while I would scream and curse in 3 languages and scream and
run in circles and scream and eat and scream and pray to Manwe and scream.
Don't you hate it when someone steals your name? How is it that you can get them to stop? Is there any way to FORCE THEM TO CHANGE THEIR NAME?
As imitation and flattery are all but the same, no, I don't really mind that my name is often stolen. More than anyone else in the Fellowship's, if I may say so. It's a thing to be proud of. And if I didn't take to it, and knew of a way to force them to change there name, like as not you wouldn't be writing as Sam.
The Other Sam.
I'm having something of a writer's problem at the moment, and I was wondering if you could help me. You see, I'm writing a fan fiction at the moment, and although I am enjoying it there is always that lurking nasty feeling that no-one is reading it, or that they are reading it and they don't like it. Not that I'm saying anything against that, people have a write to not read or not like what I write, but it doesn't really help me keep writing it, so, how do I get rid of it?
What you need is a bit of endorsement. So, begging your pardon... now where did I put that frying pan ... ah, here it is! Ahem... Read Hobbits, Hats, and Silver Spoons and send your comments to email@example.com, or you'll feel this, you fi- Maybe that's going too far.
OFFICIAL APOLOGY to new subscribers. A few of the buttons on the Newsletter site weren't debugged, so if anything is amiss with your subscription, write to Perian@frontiernet.net
HELP WANTED: Hobbits seeking Elf in experimental matters. Must be willing to walk long distances through marshes. Need to find out if dirt really does fall off of elves.
ADOPTION: Excitable, caring, loyal, female retriever (human). A lot
of people skills. Will not bite and is good with kids. Has black fur and
brown eyes. Wearing black collar and answers to Jewel Booger. Wonderful
at tricks can walk on hind legs and say oy! Any interested please contact
Eowyn Evenstar at StarSun16@aol.com
WANTED: A caring creature to replace a nasty hobbit who left heart open
and bleeding without care... *indiscernible due to wet paper and smeared
ink from tears* No basis for apply, just send picture and hair sample to
222 Dank Cave. (Hair sample needed for cuddling issues.)
Of Places and Geological Features, Part VI: (Key: q. = Quenya, s. = Sindarin.)
gond: (s., noun) stone. Gondolin, Gondor, Gonnhirrim, Argonath, seregon.
gor, goroth: (noun, adjective) horror, dread. Gorgoroth, Ered Gorgoroth.
groth, grod: (noun) delving, underground dwelling. Menegroth, Nogrod.
gwath, wath, weth: (s., noun) shadow. Delduwath, Ephel Duath, Gwathlo, Ered Wethrin, Thuringwethil.
Wazoooo!!! We have an archive site at last! But oh the shame! My self-written "about the staff" page is the longest of the four! How embarrassing!!! Ivy, I don't have that mark on my finger, does that mean I'm not a writer? But then, I type everything, maybe I have callouses on my finger tips instead hehe...Thank you very much for the tips Perian! I shall try to avoid cliches from now on, I have a sneaking feeling that there have been many in my work so far, hmph...
I know!!! Isn't it so thrilling? Our newsletter is moving up in the world. *Polishes a phantom newsletter of the year award to await the day in can be engraved with the i Nili logo*. And don't worry yourself about the length of your bio. I was saving my babbling up for the other site. So, truth be known, I think I passed you.
Yes, the pen is essential if you are to bear the mark, I can say from experience. And I hope those tips help. Good luck in your writing (as if you needed it!)