Editors: Perian, Xara.
Primary Reporter: Ivy Brandybuck.
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Contributor(s): Robert Stames.
In this issue:
A Middle-earth News Crew by Ivy Brandybuck.
Spoiler Rants by Prongsie with the help of Robert Stames.
Frodo the Ringwraith by Xara.
The Relentless TM by Perian.
A Salute to Those Who Lived Out of Their Suitcases by Xara.
In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Chapter One of Sincerely, Rorimac by Xara.
Skimming through a newspaper one morning, you come across an
interesting article about an upcoming movie called "the Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King". This being a movie that you are looking forward
to seeing (because the story is brilliant and because Miranda Otto is ever-so-dreamy),
you eagerly read the article in hopes of finding yet another interesting
tit-bit about the actress ... what kind of toothbrush she uses, for example.
Suddenly, one sentence just ruins the entire day for you - "Gollum dies
trying to save the Ring". Oh my gosh, Gollum dies?! The Ring is destroyed?
No! Stupid, evil, nasty, fat newspaper editor - whatever possessed you
to include this spoiler?! Thanks for ruining the anticipation!
While your reporter has been a Tolkien fan for years now and knows the book inside-out, fellow I Nili member Robert Stames had no clue what was going to happen in the final installment of the trilogy. Indeed, this (evil) reporter had lots of fun feeding her friend movie information - she had actually convinced him that Gollum would live in Hobbiton with Frodo at the end. Well, that joke was dashed when the irresponsible editors of the Toronto Star decided to include the "Gollum dies" spoiler in their article.
It is fair to say that most readers have un-intentionally come across a spoiler or two at some point. This would not necessarily be a Lord of the Rings spoiler, but a spoiler for a T.V. show or a book. Yeah, it's a barrel of laughs eh? Please note the sarcasm. I don't understand why people would write spoilers. Do they get some sort of a perverse pleasure in ruining movies or books for others? This reporter realises that everyone has the right to freedom of speech, but can't these guilty individuals make sure that they put the spoilers under a specially marked heading to warn audiences? Is that too much to ask for? The writers and editors of the Star ought to pay a visit to TORn and get a lesson on how to post spoilers responsibly!
To conclude this article, your reporter would like to add an apology to any reader whose reading/viewing pleasure she ruined by revealing a spoiler. However, her saying that Gimli stole Arwen away from Aragorn (leaving the path clean for Eowyn) does not count as a spoiler ... coughRobcough!
"This is Galadriel for METV. Back to you, Frodo."
"Thank you, Galadriel. And what a sight that was! Now let's head over to Saurman for the weather..."
Can you just imagine it? Galadriel, a beautiful, daring reporter. Our own lovely Mr. Frodo Baggins as anchorman number one, and of course the wizard Saruman for the weather. It creates the perfect (though quite odd) television news crew. But what about our other favourite and beloved characters? What would their jobs be?
Merry would, with his natural charisma and charm, be the second anchorman to Frodo. The two get along well (Not that way, for you slash fans out there) and have a natural friendship that wouldn't create any tension on the hectic set.
Sam would be the environmental activist reporter, seeing as his love of all things that grow from the ground (well, where else would it grow from?) makes him a shoo-in for the spot. Plus, his adorableness (not to mention Frodo's and Merry's) would keep all the female viewers hooked.
Our wonderful Peregrin Took would, of course, end up as the chef that comes on mid-show. His love for food (and eating it) would make him an excellent host.
For all of the male viewers, well, they already have Galadriel, but the lovely Eowyn would make a brilliant political reporter. Having grown up with two kings (Theoden and Eomer) and marrying the Prince of Ithilien, I'd say she has a good grasp of how things are run.
The lovely Arwen would of course be METV's fashion reporter, dishing out the latest in Elven fashions and styles. Seems appropriate, no?
And last, but definitely not least, the international reporters would be none other than Legolas and Gimli. Together, the two would travel to the very ends of Middle-earth to the heart of the Undying Lands in search of their stories.
This very strange but very fitting groups of people would be the perfect candidates for the news television crew of METV.
One of the most important moments for Frodo in the Lord of the
Rings is undisputably the scene where he gets stabbed on Weathertop by
the Witch-King of Angmar. Everyone knows how important it was. This was
the moment, the first step towards the change from the hobbit who left
the Shire, and the one who returned a year later. But even more than that.
Carrying the splinter of a morgul knife healed into your shoulder for seventeen
days isn't healthy, and by the end of his ordeal Frodo was a mere fraction
of an inch away from becoming one of them, a ringwraith.
You're probably thinking, "Why on Middle Earth is Xara telling me this? Everyone knows that!" But do they? "Yes!! Of course they do." You're right, but just take a moment to think about that. Had Frodo arrived at the Ford of Bruinen just one, maybe two hours later and been enslaved to the Witch-King, and to Sauron, at the battle of Pelennor Fields we might have seen the evil tall black ringwraith terrorising Eowyn and Merry, and behind him a stumbling Igor, minion-type hobbit-sized black cloaked figure carrying his excess baggage behind him. Had Frodo been enslaved, he would have had no free will at all. He would have killed Merry, Pippin, even Sam if the Witch-King had told him to. Frodo would have gone over to the other side, which is of course exactly what happened to the other nine ringwraiths.
This scenario in turn sheds even more light on the connection between Frodo and the Witch-King of Angmar. Whenever he and the Witch-King come in contact, he feels the pain of his old wound, but more than that, he feels an echo of what would have been his enslavement, the command of the Witch-King which even after the splinter was removed and the wound healed, he found difficult to resist. I'm sure everyone reading this knew all this already, but it's something that I at least, never really thought about before, and it is a concept I find fascinating and horrifying to contemplate. The saviour of Middle Earth nearly became the slave of Sauron.
There once was and elf, ArwenTM,
Who had quite a crush on auld 'im.
Though he was not sincere
Of this she did not hear,
So the wizard soon married 'em.
Quite limited, you see, but back to the culprit TMself...
TM is clearly very influential in the entertainment industry. He identifies himself as an integral part of a number of companies, organisations, amalgamations, and trusts. What is more, he sucks our characters and locals and titles into dwelling under the same steel-and-concrete umbrella. They are now chained, with TM as the guard, to one corporation or another for the fear they will run off and do something naughty, like make a name for themselves in the fan communities and forget to send godfather TM the gratuity. Trademark indeed. We would be better off if we traded that mark for the tidy void which belongs in its place.
TM had his uses in the beginning. All ideas, or most of those thought outside the average goblin mind, have either innocent or well-intended origins. TM was once a theft-deterrent, and used sparingly (as far as I can recall, though I could be wrong and merely remembering the Good Auld Days as better than they were). Now, however, TM is an international menace. He insists that we cannot write about The Lord of the Rings without requesting his permission, no even to discuss or promote it. And how exactly do you go about getting his permission? You don't. Not without taking weeks or months and sizable fee in pursuit of something which you will not need by the next day. When inspiration or occasion strike, you do not want to wait to state it on TM's whim.
As if TM's persistent presence were not enough, TM has relatives who also make frequent appearances. ® (otherwise known as Registered) and the somewhat more dignified © (whose full name is Copyright.) Adversaries to amateur author and aspiring artist alike, the family of Initial Regulations is forced upon some facets of society, while being generally ignored in entrepreneurial circles like E-bay.
As one of our cherished contributors recently discovered, the old adage of "know thine enemy" rings true when faced with TM, for if you do not you shall find yourself quoting the unrespected-by-Tolkien playwright Shakespeare - "Kill all the lawyers."
Luck be with us all.
Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas,
Boromir, I salute you. Having been on a journey of my own, having lived
out of my suitcase for sixteen days, every night sleeping in a different
place, every morning packing up and moving on, I salute you. It is tough.
By the end of sixteen days, I was absolutely ready to go home to a place
that I would be sleeping in for more than one night. To a place where my
clothes weren't all wrinkled from being shoved into a bag and lugged from
place to place. To a place where I had some space to spread out. Sixteen
days and I was desperate to call it quits, the members of the fellowship
did it for a whole year, and some of them did it most of their lives!!
The hobbits, they had it tough. A whole year, every night a new camp, wearing the same clothes every single day unwashed. Carrying everything they needed to survive on their shoulders, which means only the bare essentials. Sleeping under the stars on the cold, hard ground with no escape from whoever was snoring, and having to get up in the middle of the night to do the watch. For folk of the Shire who were used to beds in comfy hobbit-holes and feather pillows and all the homely comforts they could wish for, it would have been hell! And yet they never complained! This alone would have been enough for me to have second thoughts about the quest!
Aragorn, he did it for quite a hefty part of his life! From when he was twenty years old to when he was eighty-seven! That was no small feat. Going from place to place fighting evil and being self-sufficient. I don't know about you but I'm tired just thinking about it! That's not one but sixty-seven years living out of a suitcase! Imagine how relieved he must have been when he became King of Gondor and finally had somewhere to settle down and spread out, and have some possessions other than those he carried around with him everywhere!
Gandalf, he was even more impressive than Aragorn. He lived out of his suitcase for "Three hundred lives of men." So think about what Aragorn did, and multiply that by three hundred. It's completely inconceivable! And the only thing he ever seemed to carry was his staff! That must have been a pretty all-purpose staff if you ask me. Having now experienced first-hand a little of what it's like to be constantly moving from place to place, my respect for those who lived out of their suitcases has increased dramatically. For this, if for nothing else, they all deserve medals and kingships!
A clear sunny day, except for a mushroom shaped cloud which floated past and made me hungry.
A terrible thing has happened. I woke up this morning and had breakfast, and then a smoke, and then another breakfast, and then another smoke, and then half a pint, and was just thinking about having a nice mushroom morsel before elevenses when I went outside to get the mushrooms and...they were gone. Every single one of them! They'd been stolen! I ran inside to tell mother and father, and then they ran outside and were horrified, and then they ran inside to tell my brother, and then he ran outside and was horrified, and then he ran inside to tell my other brother, who told my two sisters before he ran outside fortunately, and then they all ran outside and were horrified.
I was horrified too. The mushrooms were our only source of income! We were broke! Skint! Penniless! Something had to be done. I was the eldest in the family, and so Dad told me I must leave the hole and find some work. So I said goodbye to my mother, my father, my brother, my other brother, my two sisters, my bedroom, the kitchen table, and the family barrel of pipeweed Gizelda, and left to find my fortune.
I was halfway down the lane when I tripped over Peregrin Took. He was asleep, and his belly was so large three buttons of his breeches had come undone, and his breath smelled of mushrooms. When I tripped over him he woke up, and scrambled to his feet, and asked me where I was going so early in the morning. I told him the terrible news. I think he must have been frightened that the mushroom thief was still around because he began to run away. I chased after him, down the lane and out onto the road. He ran into a pub and hid under some tables.
And then I saw it... my future! My fortune! The way to bring money to my family, who must already be starving from the loss of the mushrooms. The Hobbit Army was enlisting! I forgot Pippin, and marched boldly up to the desk, and told them I wanted to enlist. Commander Merry said he was looking for two hundred strong hobbits to swell the Brandybuck division. He told me to give him my name and I would be considered.
I gave him my name. And then he looked rather surprised, and started calling me grandfather, and asking me what I was doing alive and trying to enlist in the army. I tried to explain to him that I was the other Rorimac Brandybuck, but he didn't seem to understand me. He said he was a bit worried I was too old to fight in the army, but seeing as we were family he could fit me in as a favour, and incidentally his birthday was next month and he was rather hoping for one of those new impressive burglar alarms from Gondor for his mushroom patch, only his cousin kept stealing them along with just about everything else in the neighbourhood and yes it was very annoying but he's a prodigy so what can you do?
I told him I would do my best with the burglar alarm but I wasn't making any promises, and so he signed me up, gave me a shiny new pitch fork, and a brand new torch. He even threw in a can of pitch-fork polish for free! So now I'm in the army. Commander Merry says we're to march to Harad next week to take care of some rebel oliphaunts as a favour to Gandalf, so to keep my pitch-fork extra shiny. I think everything is going to be alright! Soon I will have made lots of money working for the army, and once I've made fame and glory on the battlefield, I'll be able to come home to my mother, father, brother, other, brother, two sisters, bedroom, kitchen table and of course, darling Gizelda, in no time!
Next time I write, I'm sure I will have many exciting tales to tell you diary! Until then, take care of yourself, I know my backpack is a bit damp but I think I might be able to get Pippin to fix it, if he stops running away from me in terror, strange lad. He's in the army, too, did I tell you? Father's the Thain or something, so he was a shoe in from the start. Some people have all the luck. But then again, maybe I'm one of them!
Filling in for Ivy, your servant,
Q: What is another name for Suza? (Hint: Peruse the Tolkienish.)
Q: Who was the first i Nili staff member to write an article about writing articles?
Xara: Your husband Viggo has been called away to a two year film shoot
of The Silmarillion (he's playing Beren) and you want to come with him
but he seems not to have realised he can take you. How do you plant the
idea in his mind?
VG: I casually pack my bags for the trip and set them next to his. On the day he's ready to leave he sees my packed bags and asks me about them. (Here's when I reveal the BIG secret...) I tell him, "Peter offered me a part in the film." Vig asks, "Which part?" I say, "Luthien of course!"
Xara: Whilst all were sleeping in the middle of the night, Pippin snuck
into your house and stole every last drop of alcohol you have! You woke
up only soon enough to see him jumping back over the garden fence with
the stolen cargo. You must get it back, but how?
VG:I would send my warg riders after him. They’re trained to retrieve anything that is mine! Silly Pippin! I would have them bring Pippin back as well, and string him up by his toes, and let my husband Viggo paint him all over. Muahahahahaha!!!
I have recently dropped the subject that I most hate at school, and I want to burn the book in my backyard. Do you think it's a good idea?
A right good idea, that is. Wait until you plan a cookout or need a fire for warmth, though. There were quite a few times between Rivendell and Mt. Doom when I wished I hadn't burned Pippin's plagiarised copy of my cookbook as soon as I found it.
My darling Samwise,
Please help me! My boyfriend took in a stray cat three months ago but the cat still hates me! It hisses at me and claws at my jeans! How do I win him over?
Oh, that's hard. Right hard not having your affection returned. Have you tried at keeping a piece of tuna in your pocket when the cat's about?
And if that doesn't work, there could be a lot of reasons for the cat's attitude. Maybe it had an injury in the spot you try to pet, or is afraid of hands because of being struck. Watch it and see what it is you do that sets the cat off, if you follow me.
Taken, may I remind you,
POSITION VACANT: Milkshake chef. I'm looking for someone to invent new
types of milkshakes with strange and mysterious powers, the milkshakes
that is, not the chef. Applicants please send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.