i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
One Year Anniversary
Double Issue
Issue 29, Volume 2, May 28th, 2004.

Editors: Perian, Xara.
Primary Reporter: Ivy Brandybuck.
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Local Commentator: Rob Stames.
Contributor(s): Padfoot, Quickbeam, Fan.

In this issue:
A Brief History of the Universe by Xara.
Staff Interviews:
Editorial Interview: Perian (conducted by Xara.)
Editorial Interview: Xara (conducted by Perian.)
Ladies and Gentlemen and Hobbits Alike: An Interview by Ivy (featuring Prongsie).
Ivy and Prongs' Interview by Prongsie.
An Afternoon With an i Nili Member by Prongsie (featuring Robert Stames).
In Retrospect. Introduction by Perian, plus:
Who Has the Ring? Interview With a Dark Lord and a Hobbit by Xara,
The First John Howe Interview by Perian,
and A Tribute to Our Contributors by Xara.

In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Chapter Ten by Ivy.
Random Fandom.
Ask Samwise.

A Brief History of the Universe
By Xara
Selectively, some time periods may not appear.

  In the beginning there was All Things Lord of the Rings. From that sprang i Nili o i Ardanole. And then there was Newsletter. Perian the great, stretched forth her hand to the keyboard and began to write. But, she had a problem. She could not write enough material in time for the deadline. So she wrote instead to Xara, who was happy to help, and submitted two articles to ease the panicked editor. Little did she know that these would not be the last articles she would write for the newsletter. The first issue appeared on May 25th 2003 to an entire twenty-one and these were the first subscribers. From the first issue they learnt about wild uruks, RotK spoilers, singing tips and not to make lembas with a waffling iron.
  Then came darkness and light, and with it an understanding of artistic shading. The stress mounted, but fortunately was relieved by a good long sleep and dreams. Meanwhile the battles with uruks continued, amidst garage sales and a duel between a young wizard and a middle-aged hobbit. Then the elves and their lumberjacks were exposed, as the Ringer students were falling into great peril. Fortunately not long after Dobby became our friend as we all discovered our inner hobbits and went on the quest for humour, Legolas in tights at the head of the party.
  The quest came to an abrupt halt as Sauron asked Frodo to marry her, and simultaneously Spammers attacked the world. But all was saved by an eagle, and Perian was able to continue creating colour and star gazing in peace...Until Valinor was invaded by 10, 000 rubber ducks, and there was much rejoicing. At the same time Xara embarked on a quest to find a quill, but got her hands covered in ink and wrote the first article about writing articles finger-painting style. Then the Bagginses celebrated their birthdays yet again, using their ESP skills to find the cure to stress. At that moment Frodo fans began to sing, and to recite Shakespeare, until they were distracted by Elvish hairstyles and Prongsie with her university lectures.
  Then the mighty John Howe stepped forth in his splendor, and was interrogated by Perian, and at this time there was much mistaking people for orcs, though that did not bother Luthien or Aragorn for that matter, and they continued as normal. Then all discovered the reality of the myth, and Frodo became rather red in the face. Then wooden spoons were awarded, and Doctor Seuss tried his hand at fantasy writing, and for a time there was great confusion. But the confusion was gotten when a scandal emerged and at the same time Frodo and co. were arrested in customs for carrying illegal substances. Then Frodo was axed, and there was much blood of Baggins, which King Arthur volunteered to clean up, though the task was a heavy burden.
  Then dawned the end of an era, and bicycles were no longer used to traverse the Misty Mountains, not even by cousins and evil giant flesh eating spiders. Exams were in full swing and there was much unrest. This was allayed by the marriage between Frodo and Sauron, which lasted an amazing three days, after which Sauron took off her helmet and revealed a goat's head. The fellowship gathered, the story continued, and inevitably Edoras became tied up in knots. In the uproar from this occurrence Perian forgot about her deadlines and everyone forgot about Boromir. The fellowship survived to see the preparation for Oscar night and LotR: The Musical. All was fear and apprehension.
  Then Samwise arrived and everyone calmed down, slept peacefully and fell into a coma from Gamgee overdose, but the last of the Ring-bearers harmed no one and all was well. They awoke in time to watch the Oscars, eating hot elves on swords and learning about Australian geography, and there was much rejoicing. Then Galadriel put an end to Bag End's bachelor-paddom and the secret desire of Peregrin Took took him all the way to Helm's Deep, with his friend the lidless eye. Then all were branded around a story-telling campfire and cliches were banished in favour of romanticism. Then Perian used a cliche for her next article title, and received many a finger-shaking.
  Then coincidences were revealed as no coincidence, and Gollum was indeed feline. Then the search of the ents was ended but Quickbeam still found no inspiration, though an incredible expanding hobbit was nearby. Then the racism theorists were beaten down by words, Arwen and Eowyn found they were different people after all, and all went to live in a fantasy world. A Middle earth news crew was founded, irresponsible spoilers were exposed, Frodo nearly became a Ringwraith, TM continued his assault and those who lived out of their suitcases were saluted. It was business as usual at the newsletter, for another year.

Editorial Interview: Perian
By Xara

  During a secret newsletter staff meeting of the secret, secret kind, the idea of interviewing a major 'figure' in the newsletter's past for the big Anniversary Issue was discussed. After much umming and erring and scratching of heads, it was suddenly realised that the biggest 'figure' in the newsletters past was none other than our very own Editor-in-Chief, Perian. Fortunately for us, Perian was currently in attendance of the meeting and so there was no awkward tacking-downs and chasing-ups and interview requests that you usually have with these things. However, I am proud to say, I did not merely ask her random questions on the spot, some thought did go into this, at least, I hope it did. And so, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, our Editor-in-Chief, the one and only, Perian!

Xara: Perian, what first possessed you to start the newsletter?

Perian: At the time of starting, i Nili was in a lull. The members were growing more distant, less interested in one another and in the work of Tolkien. I so enjoyed the atmosphere we had created before that, it drove me to try to reestablish what we had once been, and further it. I live in daydreams and think in quotes, as you probably know, so my imagination set to work. The first thought which came to mind was "Without a journal, a paper of some kind, you cannot unite a community," by Gandhi, followed by a realisation that nothing caused so much excitement at All Things Lord of the Rings than a new "Dark Lord and a Hobbit" interview. Instantly I was picturing an old-fashioned press and me in a white, ink-stained blouse and black waistcoat with a pocket watch, examining a fresh newsletter on parchment... Er, but for now an e-zine will do.

Xara: Do you think there is the possibility of the newsletter going professional somewhere in the distant future?

Perian: That has always been my dream. Well, along with marrying a hobbit, and stumbling upon Rivendell in a ravine while hiking, that is. Glossy anniversary issues in art quality pigment, bi-monthlies on creme-coloured, grainy parchment with scrollwork and braided borders. Yes, I have thought about it.

Xara: What has been your most treasured/memorable/nightmarish moment working on the newsletter?

Perian: Good question, and I'm not really sure of how to answer. All of those happen so often when working on something like this. I would say treasured would have to be when you were made co-Editor. The exuberance was infections. Memorable? Well, I think I will always remember the day I read Issue 13 start to finish... I was so pleased to be a part of the newsletter on that day, it made all the work feel as if it had payed off. Nightmarish; that is the day I thought I wouldn't be able to get on the computer due to a power outage on the day the newsletter was due.

Xara: Tell me, how on earth do you handle the stress of being the main person responsible for the running and upkeep of the newsletter?

She doesn't.
Hush, Frodo!
Well? It's the truth. A fey mood comes on you whenever the deadline approaches, and you neither sleep nor eat.
ENOUGH! *Smiles sweetly at Xara.* Oh, it's not that hard, you know.

Xara: Every fortnight an assortment of articles, advers and letters arrive jumbled in your inbox (I assume), is it exciting? How do you take these bits and pieces and turn them into a newsletter?

Perian: Hehehehe. Yes, it is exciting. And very interesting. I feel lucky to be the editor, being able to see not only the articles and contributions first, but the little personal commentaries which come with them, and what people think of their own work. I would imagine it is the same feeling Peter must have, being in possession of all the raw footage from which he selects and reorganises to make a coherent movie.
  Usually I have a template ready beforehand, sometimes more than one (I have worked on as many as five issues at once) and I try to select where articles and so on will be most appropriate or needed as they come in. Then I add them, throw in a few things like answers to Ask Sam, and voila, there 'tis.

Xara: The newsletter is entirely amateur run which means no staff or contributor actually gets paid a cent for their work. Do you think this has a positive or negative effect on the newsletter, and the work submitted?

Perian: Hmm, both. I think the fact that people will write for it without being paid means they have true passion for what they are writing about. This keeps the content sincere, informal, and rich with personal sentiment. Even so, it would be lovely to have some kind of reward for those who put so much energy into it. Not necessarily money, but anything... A few more Letters from the readers wouldn't hurt.

Xara: When you're not being editor extraordinare, what do you do with yourself?

Perian: Well, the average day in the life of Perian runs something like this: I wake, look at the clock, and decide I have a few minutes to either finish my dream or start a daydream (usually LotR related), and when I look at the clock again it is three sleepless, unproductive hours later (but oh, is it fun). Then I read a chapter in a book if I have time, or off and do things about the house. I spend a few hours at my table, drawing, if I have a chance. Or writing if the light isn't good that day. Then I log on, work on the site(s), answer e-mails, banter, and have my "social" time. Then it repeats. Sometimes eating is in there somewhere.

Xara: What are your opinions on the post-Tolkien fantasy genre?

Perian: This question sounds familiar! Hehehehe. Well, I'm still of the opinion that fantasy is one of the most rich genres there is, BUT... I think it is too repetitious. Please, give up the princess being rescued from a dragon by a knight. We don't need any more Brothers Grimm. It requires a true master to handle, and a few (like Robin Hobb) have come around since Tolkien, but none to match his genius.

Xara: In your first reading of the Lord of the Rings, you managed to completely miss the chapter The Bridge of Khazad-dum, am I right? How did that happen?

Perian: Hehehe. True, true. Well, I was ten years old at the time, and my reading skills were far from perfect. Tolkien befuddled me to no end, though I loved the story, and the hobbits. After the bewildering chapters of The Council of Elrond and The Ring Goes South, I somehow lost my place. I started at the chapter number I had thought I was at, and lo and behold, Gandalf was dead. What happened? Did the winds of Hollin blow him over the edge of the world? Did the Watcher in the Water use him as a chew-toy? I went through the books from then until he returned with a sense of deep befuddlement.

Xara: If the newsletter were to go pro, what do you think the newsletter office would be like?

Perian: (Note: Reply was written prior to the addition of our fifth staffmember.) Hehehehe. I can picture a room plastered from end to end with images, primarily of Frodo (save in Prongsie's corner, which would have a framed image of Aragorn, a Sam plushie, and her periodic table of elements poster) and maybe the occasional other hobbit. They would be mixed printoffs and originals and official posters. There would be five computer terminals (one extra in case there is a crash) and we would probably use a chat room to communicate as much as we spoke. Howard Shore's music would be interrupted from time to time by a chorus of drinking songs from the staff. Clutter would no doubt spill over the desks, and there would be a small cage in the corner to keep the alter-egos at bay when "work" must be done.

Xara: What would your life now be like if Frodo had been in that boat when his parents went overboard and drowned in the Brandywine?

Perian: AAAAAAAAAARGH! I wouldn't HAVE a life... I would be a thrall, chained in the line of those in servitude to Mordor. That is, if the planet could even live that long under such dominion.

Xara: Are you really a fish in disguise?

Perian: *Eyes Xara suspiciously.*

Xara: As editor, are you imposed to the employment of giant spider bees? Because there is not one single giant spider bee currently under your employment and some would suggest that this is the fault of prejudice.

Perian: This could be the result of my playful dousing with water of any bees which approach my premises. 'Tisn't my fault if they take it wrong. I've repeatedly stated that I am not to be taken seriously. Even so, they seem to.

Xara: As editor of a Tolkien newsletter with a name written in a fictional language, you must know a lot about Tolkien and his works. You don't mind if I test that knowledge do you?

Perian: Not at all.

Xara: Who was the father of Galadriel?

Perian: One of the "F" fellows. Hmm, which one was it? Finarfin, I'm guessing.

Xara: What were the tail thingemajig of the arrows that were used to shoot and kill Boromir son of Denethor really made of, according to Weta?

Perian: ...Feathers?

Xara: Where does Perian the editor of the i Nili newsletter currently reside?

Perian: Ered Luin.

Xara: Who was the first dwarf to arrive at Bilbo's unexpected party?

P: Balin? No, Dwalin... no, Balin... One of them.

X: Why were Frodo and Sam going to Mount Doom?

P: To toast marshmallows, why else?

Editorial Interview: Xara
Conducted by Perian

Perian: We all know the story of how I wrote to you at the launching of the newsletter and asked if you would be willing to write for it. What prompted you to agree?

Xara: Well, I'd never actually been asked by anyone to write anything before, and a Tolkien Newsletter! It sounded fantastic!! Plus I was highly flattered, and I have discovered a new willingness to try new things in me these past couple of years which has resulted in probably the only interesting things that have ever happened to me, this newsletter not the least! Anyway, once I'd written one, I couldn't stop! 'Tis my addiction, like the Ring!

P: What do you generally draw upon for article ideas?

X: Well usually the ideas just come to me, pretty randomly, too, sometimes it will be while I'm reading or watching Tolkien but more often than not there'll be no prompting I can identify. However the one time I had some forced inspiration, I just sat in my room and looked at objects like pens and packs of empty tic tacs and tried to think how I could relate them to Lord of the Rings, and I think I got quite a few articles out of that.

P: From idea to publication, what does your writing process involve?

X: Well, it starts, like I said before, with an idea, which gets written down in my special newsletter notebook and forgotten for around about a month. Then, when I'm inspired, or feeling that (a) it's been too long since I wrote one (too long is usually over one week) or (b) I need another excuse to write to Perian, I sit down at the computer and (I do this every time, 'tis a well rehearsed ritual) open Wordpad, set it to size 12, font Garamond (I can't write anything these days unless it's in that font through sheer force of habit) and write the title, in bold. Then I write the article, which takes anywhere between fifteen minutes if I'm inspired or know what I want to say, to an hour if I am making it up as I go or have to do research. It once took me two and a half hours but when you limit yourself to only using words that start with the letter F that will happen. Unfortunately I am yet to introduce proof-reading to that routine, but we live in hope!

P: Which article to date have you most enjoyed writing?

X: That would have to be Lotr4: Attack of the Spammers. I enjoyed writing it so much I wrote another 28 and turned it into a fan fiction. In fact, the night I wrote it we had to go to a dinner party and I kept bursting into uncontrollable fits of laughter for no apparent reason. I now have a solid reputation for schizophrenia, though I think some other people might have more cause for concern *cough, cough*. Actually you know what? Laughing at my own writing is a pretty disturbing behaviour. Maybe I am schizo...

P: So far the newsletter has been a moderate success. What do you imagine its readership levels to be like in the future?

X: Oh yeah I think so. You see, in my experience these things take time, but with patience, amazing as it still seems, they will actually happen. I know, it's a foreign concept for me too. It was the same with ATLOTR. We started with minuscule membership, and then gradually, gradually they started joining, and then they came faster, and faster, and even faster! It's like, multiplication (do you know, I'm 16 and I still don't properly know my times tables?) These things times themselves by two, and they just keep doing that so they start incredibly slowly and suddenly start to accelerate at a frightening rate if you get my meaning. So, to make a short answer out of a long one, yes I think readership will slowly, but surely increase. And once they increase, they'll continue to do so, at a faster rate. Until we all have heart attacks and die.

P: Where do you see it [the newsletter] going from now on? Is there room, do you think, for expansion and evolution?

X: Absolutely. Things always change, it's a sad but unavoidable fact of life. There are already differences in the newsletter to what it was originally. Everyone's writings styles have changed and improved out of habit, our topics are beginning to change, we're becoming more confident and expanding, especially the columns section. Permanent staff members have gone from two to four. The thing about Lord of the Rings is that, you'd think it's a limiting subject to write about, but the possibilities are endless. We'll dwell in one area for a while, and then move to another, and so on, always building on what we have. And there'll be phases. Like for instance, I am trying, yes, trying, not to always write about Frodo. *Sniff* I'm sorry Frodo, you know I still love you, it doesn't mean I don't care about you! But some readers, strange as it sounds, want to hear about other things! We'll still worship you same as always, we'll just try to spread it around to some of your friends, that's all...

P: Many of your articles have Frodo and Hobbits as their focus. Why?

X: Simply because I love hobbits, and Frodo. In the beginning, pre-PJ days, it was Bilbo who first really caught my attention in the literary world, even more so than Spot the Dog and that Dutch frog Kikker! Then Frodo was always my favorite character in LotR the books. All the hobbits were so brave and loyal and tragically heroically swoonsomely wonderful! And I always have a soft spot for people who get kidnapped or sacrifice themselves for a greater cause. Then the movies came out, and although for a brief time my eyes were distracted by Legolas, that soon wore off and once it did I was free to see the beautiful, beautiful hobbits...oh so swoonsome...ahem yes...I want hobbits to live in my backyard basically. And I would come out and chat to them and try to explain my homework to them because I think it would be funny, and leave little parcels of food on their doorsteps at night anonymously, and read them bedtime stories and...oh, do I hear the Oscar "you're boring" music playing?

P: If you could reach every Tolkienist for one issue, what would you write in it?

P: ARGH!!! *runs away screaming* Ok, hold on, just give me a second to calm down. *Takes several deep, calming breaths.* Really, Perian! There was no need to frighten me like that! And I thought that scenario of yours in ALS about me being sole editor was frightening enough! Anyway, yes, I would start with an article which is beyond my capabilities but this is a scenario so we'll pretend, basically summing up the everythingness of Tolkien. Yes, you see how I am unable to articulate this? I won't try, it would take ten pages. Then I would continue with something funny as people seem to like it when I try to be funny, and I would round off with a nice factual article (perhaps not strictly fact as, although I call the history of Galadriel factual, it didn't strictly, actually, really, well...ok it never actually happened I'll admit it) about something interesting, and, if I'm lucky, little known, so it would be a revelation! Hehe...

P: As co-editor, if you could change one thing about the newsletter, what would it be?

X: Erm...erm...hmm...well I would like to make it a nice glossy actual physical newsletter that arrives in your mail box in plastic wrapping and has headlines on the cover next to a large picture of Frodo? But that's not possible at the present so I'll say, the reader participation. If readers would write in and tell us what they thought that would absolutely be a dream come true!

P: On to Tolkien. What do you believe is the reason his work is both inspirational and debatable enough to keep a bi-monthly publication filled?

X: Perian, that is such a tough question! It is the theory I was talking about earlier that I am yet to properly articulate! Well, I'll give it a go, but this will be long and sloppy. Firstly, Tolkien has so many layers. The plot, the characters, the themes, the places, the mythology from which it was drawn, Tolkien the man himself and his life, the list goes on! Secondly, I have this theory that Tolkien and his works can be related to anything you can think of in some way obvious or archaic. So if you read Lord of the Rings once a year, each time you would get something different out of it because you have a whole years extra experiences and personality and stuff than what you had last time, and so these will slightly alter your perception, and gradually you'll build up a wider picture and appreciation of his works and the themes and messages behind them. That didn't come out right, but I did my best!

P: How did you first encounter The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings?

X: The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were always in our bookshelf, Dad being a fan himself, so the rumour of them was always there, Dad tells me he always used to try and read Lord of the Rings to me when I was something like four years old, which was ridiculous as I never understood a word of it and got bored after the first page. Then finally, after encountering The Hobbit at last he tried again, and it took on! This was when I was eleven, I think. Then, I moved on because I was not as yet the reading sort (I confess, I listened to the Hobbit as a tape from the library, seventeen million times), until when I was thirteen I heard the movie was coming out, and decided to refresh my memory. It captivated me ten times more than it did before and after that, I was a fan for life.

P: What are your opinions about the post-Tolkien fantasy genre?

X: Er...heh heh...to be honest I don't have much experience of it. I do read, all the time, but somehow, whenever anyone asks me if I've read a book, I've never heard of it. And the silly covers put me off somewhat. They say not to judge a book by it's cover but I do. However I have read some excellent books of the fantasy genre, Harry Potter of course. But if you asked me to list my favourite books, apart from Tolkien and J.K., they're mostly sci-fi. Galax-arena, the Hex Trilogy, Dirk Gently's Hollistic Detective Agency. So I don't think I can give an answer to that. I know of authors like Terry Pratchett, Isobelle Carmody, David Eddings and Tamora Pierce, but I haven't dipped my toe in yet.

P: Scenario: J.R.R. is alive and visiting Sydney. Being nearest, you are asked to interview him. What is your first question?

X: ARGHHHHH!!! Tolkien!?! He is the most critical man of journalists and other writers I have ever read about! I would run away and hide! Especially after my, heh, interpretation of Lord of the Rings, involving Spammer armies and oompa loompas. I have absolutely no doubt the man would lecture my ear off, and I don't think I would survive the sort of criticism he'd give me. Do you know he once sent a six page long letter to a journalist who wrote a small, mild article about him, of corrections? I would be too terrified! I would be shaking in my boots! I would melt into a puddle on the floor, be evaporated by the sun and eventually end up floating amongst the waves of the Pacific.

P: Scenario: As editor of one of the most unconventional Tolkien newsletters to date, you have been invited to the 2008 secret press screening of The Hobbit. What is your opinion on the fact they cast Sean Astin as young Bilbo?

X: Interesting choice. I would have thought that as he played Sam in Lord of the Rings they would have cast someone different to avoid confusion, but, considering his portrayal of Samwise, an excellent choice. Early Bilbo is quite like Samwise, he's not really the adventuring type, or at least he thinks so anyway. And of course, Sean is the perfect hobbit, and a brilliant actor. Oh, and thank you for inviting me, most flattered I'm sure, though I think you should have invited my Editor in Chief as well, but maybe she was busy with her new husband of the same last name, eh?

P: I hope you donít mind if I do not respond to that last comment. Scenario: An old man in grey robes waggles his abundant brows and bids you a good morning. Your reaction?

X: Wait right there while I call the police and get you taken back to the nursing home. How did you escape I wonder? What? Sorry I don't know any dwarves. You do, though, do you? Riiight, calling the asylum instead now. No sorry I don't want to meet your friends, no really I'm not sure I'd be able to see them if you introduced them to me. Really it's fine...hey!!! Stop scratching my door!!! Be off with you! Yes that's right, or I'll hit you with my broomstick! And don't come back!!!

Ivy and Prongs' Interview
By Prongsie

  In my opinion, this interview was jinxed! It was so hard for Ivy and myself to find a time to do it, and then when we did finally set up a definite time, I got called into work. Life throws you curve balls but you've gotta deal with it! And deal with it we did ... in the end, Ivy and I e-mailed our questions back and forth ... not your conventional interview but ... I guess we aren't conventional people. Here, for your reading pleasure, is Ivy ... the things you wanted to know about her ... and all the things you didn't!

Prongsie: How did you come about i Nili?

Ivy: I was browsing ninecompanions.net one day, and I saw that they had won an award from another site. So, I thought, why not check it out? So I stumbled on over, and discovered... Gasp! Poetry! My favourite! And it all went from there.

Prongsie: Any apprehensions prior to joining? Any regrets now that you've been a member for so long?

Ivy: Certainly not! I've made so many new friends, been able to receive constructive criticism in all my work, and have been able to show my writings to so many people. I jumped right in, and I don't plan on jumping out!

Prongsie: What is it about Merry that makes him an appealing character to you?

Ivy: He was always my favourite in the books. He was intelligent, witty, and oh-so-cute. What's not to love? Plus he became a warrior of Rohan (One of my favourite places) and helped kill the Witch King! How can you not love him? Oh, and the fact that he's completely taken over my mind... He couldn't settle for being the little voice in my head, oh no... So, not only did I choose him, he chose me!

Prongsie: It is well known that I have a filthy mind but so do you. Am I to blame for corrupting you?

Ivy: Well... Not completely... I was so innocent back then... I don't know how I survived. Thanks, Prongs!

Prongsie: What were your feeling when you wrote your first fan-fic and first article? Have your feelings changed since then? What's it like seeing your name in print?

Ivy: Wow, that was a long time ago! It seems like it, anyway. My first article was so much fun, and they still are! I love to write, obviously, and I love that other people are interested enough to read it. I'm having a great time with my fanfiction, especially now that I know in what direction it's headed (It was wandering, lost and alone there for a bit). My name in print? Love it! Nothing more to say on it!

Ladies and Gentlemen and Hobbits Alike: An Interview
By Ivy

After must trial and error, bad luck, and bad timing, I finally managed to get a hold of our illusive Chief Correspondent, Prongsie, for an interview.

Ivy: What prompted you to become part of the newsletter staff?

Prongsie: I wrote my first article "Perils of a Ringer-Student" out of sheer frustration ... I couldn't study ... I had Lord of the Rings on my mind. It was a lot of fun. Thing is, I was (and still am) not very confident about my writing abilities ... I think it's a pile of rubbish ... but, heck ... I kept at it. Maybe I've become better at writing, maybe not ... it's still fun to do and I'll keep on doing it as long as it is fun. Since I was putting in an article a week, Perian asked me if I would like to become part of the staff ... so I said yes. This is how you guys are stuck with me now!

Ivy: Why have you chosen not to adopt an alter-ego?

Prongsie: Oh but I do have an alter-ego ... well, Paddy would know anyway ... James Potter ... that's me ... I don't have a Lord of the Rings alter ... which begs the question as to why I'm at a Lord of the Rings fansite ... I don't know ... I have one alter-ego and that's enough for me, thank you. Even still, that alter doesn't turn up all the time ... only at special occasions, you see ... like when Prongs and Padfoot get into a fight.

Ivy: Do you think the newsletter will ever go into print?

Prongsie: I don't know if it will ever go into print but I hope it does! What a thrill that would be, eh?! And having people around the world read it? Very cool! I'd be more nervous than excited ... I think Peri-o and Xara would be too excited for words ... I'd just be freaked out!

Ivy: What are your expectations for the newsletter in the coming year?

Prongsie: Hopefully, we will get more subscribers and additional contributors ... keep up the newsletter website ... erm, celebrate our second anniversary ... add some pictures maybe ... make it the best it can be ... kinda difficult when you realise that it's already so great ...

Ivy: What do you do in your free time?

Prongsie: Depends on when I have the free time. During school, I study and play sports and most free time I have is "hanging out" time ... just laze around with friends, watching T.V., playing board games and talking ... sometimes I go out at night depending on how tired I am. I also enjoy going to the hospital to work. It's a lot of fun. Since it's vacation right now (and all I have IS free time), I'm at the hospital pretty much every single day ... I read (any good books that have come out during the school year that I didn't have time to read before), watch more T.V. (it's the hockey and basketball playoffs right now ... SO exciting) and go out a lot. I also work out ... running, bike riding, tennis ... I just won a ping-pong trophy.

Ivy: Who is your favourite (OTHER than Sam and Aragorn...) LotR character and why?

Prongsie: Eowyn. The White Lady of Rohan ... I love her! She's a real kick-butt type character. She's smart and beautiful and SO brave! I remember reading the Return of the King for the first time (wow, that was ages ago) and was stunned when she turned out to be Durnhelm! That was amazing! She's a great character and Miranda Otto really portrayed her well.

  I am pleased to inform you that a new addition has been made to our staff. Welcome, Rob, to the madhouse...

An Afternoon With an i Nili Member
By Prongsie with thanks to Robert C. Stames
  Your reporter considers herself lucky to live in the same vicinity as fellow i Nili member "Greek_Canadian Rob" Stames, since this allowed for a face-to-face meeting between the two. Interviewer and interviewee switched on a tape recorder and chatted away on the lawn of the dreaded campus physics building.
  Although Rob joined the site a few months ago, he had been reading the newsletter ever since this brave reporter published her first article last summer. "Of course," he said with a cheeky grin, "I never actually had the newsletter delivered to my inbox, I preferred to read it over your shoulder." More on Rob's thoughts about the newsletter in a while ...
  ... First, your reporter should let it be known that Rob is, admittedly, not a Tolkien fanatic. "I was made to read 'The Hobbit' in Grade 9 and I got bored. After watching the Fellowship, I tried to read the book, but got bored again!" Your irate reporter can feel the displeasure building up in some of her fellow ringers, "... but you've gotta understand," explains Rob, "I hate all books! I'm not a big reader unless you count text books. I even prefer watching the news to reading the newspaper. No offense to Tolkien, Pierce, Rice, Rowling ... reading for pleasure just doesn't do it for me." A-ha! Yet more evidence that men are nuts!
  And yet ... Rob reads the i Nili newsletter. What's going on, dude? "Well initially, I read it because my girl had an article in it and I wanted to be supportive. Actually, I thought that the idea of a Tolkien newsletter was kinda stupid." Your reporter can feel more heat rising from the readers. And then ... ? "Then I started to read it ... I mean read it ... you know? And I enjoyed it!" Enjoyed it, how? "Well, the quality of writing was excellent, the articles were polished and insightful and really, really funny! It's seriously good stuff this paper that you guys put out! Honest." Wow ... nice to know that a good job is being done, eh? "Yeah, kudos to your editors ... brilliant stuff!"
  What about changes then? "Er, what about changes?" he asks with a frown. Would you make any? "Changes, no. Additions, yes!" Well, okay then ... what kind of additions? "I think that you should include sports and financial articles!" he replies with an emphatic nod. Oh, really? And how would you related these articles to Tolkien? He suddenly looks crestfallen. "Er ... well ... one could ... er ... um ..." He goes on in this way for a few more minutes, then silence as the tape rolls on. Finally -- "I don't know. I come up with suggestions! You guys can do the writing!" Thanks a lot dude! Any other additions? "Well, yeah I had this one idea." Care to shed some light? For some reason, he looks nervous. "Well, it would be a community article -- about what's going on at i Nili ... say a few words about a member or two or three. What do you think?" Me? Personally, I love it! "Yes, but you're biased aren't you? I'd rather ask Xara or Perian or Ivy." Biased?! Me?! Moi? I am not! "Course you are," he says with a grin. Am not!
  Sadly, there is not much more to add to this interview as your stubborn reporter and her friend keep on arguing until the tape runs out and then some. Whoever won the argument is irrelevant *coughProngsiecough* ... the point is ... a non-Tolkien fanatic was won over by this newsletter. A non-reader became a reader! Guess miracles do happen after all!
In Retrospect.
Indroduction by Perian

  How did i Nili come about? It is a question which has been asked of us numerous times. Though the first issue of the newsletter was published on May 25th, 2003, the process of creating it (though we did not know what it would become) began some months earlier.
  Paddy, back in the early days of All Things Lord of the Rings, had a very amusing, if sometimes disconcerting, way of speaking as Sauron. When Xara, aspiring journalist, asked if Paddy would like to "set the record straight", the latter soon obliged. Out of fear of Sauron gaining dominion once again, as I remember it, I, as Frodo, stuck my hobbit-sized foot in... Thus began a mini-series of Middle-earth News, pre-newsletter style.
  Around the same time, an interview of a different sort was occurring. John Howe had been tracked, spotted, taken and interrogated (well, at least virtually) by yours truly. Though it was our first celebrity appearance on i Nili, it, like the aforementioned articles, did not make it into the official newsletter.
  And so, for the first time in our one-year history, I bring you a very extensive sampling of the Newsletter, as it was before it was:

Who has the Ring?
Interview with a Dark Lord and a Hobbit
By Xara,
with the assistance of Perian & Padfoot

  Everyone knows the story of how Frodo Baggins, the hobbit, conquered the Dark Lord Sauron. While there have always been many debates as to this tale's significance, what really happened or if it ever happened at all, one thing has always been taken as fact; that the Ring was destroyed. But now, four thousand years later famous hobbit Frodo and the Dark Lord have emerged again, and they both claim to have in their possession the Ring of Power. So how is it that the Ring wasn't destroyed? And what's going to happen now that it's been rediscovered? But most importantly of all, who has the Ring? Because of course, how can two people both have the One Ring? In these uncertain times I have been lucky enough to get an interview with both Frodo and Sauron, and will be able to answer some of these questions for you.
  At the beginning of my interview with him Frodo revealed to me some astounding information which he has kept secret all these long years. It seems he knew all along that the Ring had not been destroyed. "As Gollum was dancing, waving my Ring he fell onto a ledge. Seeing that there was no possible way down, Sam and I agreed then and there to tell the world the Ring was destroyed...Being hungry, weary, cheeky and suffering from loss of blood, we ran out like mad things and feigned to pass out on the cliff, awaiting a great hero; someone to rescue us. Little did we worry about it, until, flying away in the talons of eagles, we saw Gollum, Ring in hand, blown out of the crater of Orodruin on a vast current of hot air." Frodo's excuse for never telling the real story until now was merely "I didn't want to stain my reputation."
  But now that the Ring has been found again, both Frodo and Sauron claim to have it, and they are both busy making plans as to what to do with it. Sauron has announced that she is planning to take over Middle Earth again. "I've got plenty of fool proof plans," says Sauron, "and I ain't the dumb idiot I was the first two times." If Sauron succeeds in taking over Middle Earth, she says she plans to modernise it. "More computers, telephones, electricity, and also orcs will be able to live everywhere...I have plans for all those hobbits [too]...lets just say the Shire ain't gonna be the Shire anymore...I will have armed guards and I don't think that after this war anyone will be strong enough to rebel." Sources also tell me that Sauron is considering relocating to the Shire for reasons unknown, could this be part of her plans for the hobbits?
  But at the same time Frodo is planning to try and destroy the Ring again, "I am very optimistic this time. No Smeagol to hinder me, orcs are all but extinct...If Sauron tries to interfere I have a few nice points of blackmail. This old portrait I have of her without her flame style cat-slit contacts should be quite an embarrassment for her public image. In truth, her eyes are as white as a symbelmyrne." If Frodo succeeds, he is planning to put this portrait up for auction, "The elves have many grievances with her. I'm sure they would pay at least one of the elven Rings to get their hands on it."
  But before any of this can happen, one of them needs first to have a victory. But experiences from the past have taught them that's not an easy thing to achieve. "I feel really excited and happy," sais Sauron when asked how she felt now her goal is so close,"But I can't lose myself in happiness, I've been in this position before." Although attempting to take over Middle Earth has been Sauron's sole objective for countless millennia, she says she has no fear of an anti-climax, "There will always be something to do."
  Frodo also regrets last time's failure, "It wasn't great for humanity...hobbitity, dwarvinity, elvishity, all the rest." But it seems victory over Sauron is not the only thing on Frodo's mind this time around. I can now exclusively reveal to you that Frodo has been stalking Lady Galadriel. Frodo admits he constantly leaves messages in her mirror and sends highly unwelcome Valentines Day greetings. This obsession with the immortal elf queen could provide a serious distraction for Frodo in the arduous task ahead and even play into his enemy's hands.
  Both potential Ring-bearers have scars from past defeats. "I do still miss my finger," says Frodo," Do you know, it took me over three thousand years to develop a prosthetic?" Sauron admits she suffered at the hands of her servants during her time as a disembodied eyeball. "Those darn orcs liked to cut onions all the time and the Ringwraiths liked to give me Visine which was horrible...it was very depressing and I had times when I thought I couldn't go on but here I am today."
  So now only one question remains. Could this be the beginning of Frodo's next perilous venture and the sale of a very valuable portrait? Or is it the beginning of the end of Middle Earth as we know it? It all depends on who has the Ring!

The First John Howe Interview
By Perian (LTW)

LTW: Hello John. I would like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. After two days, it's still a thrill to "talk" to you.
Now, before we get too deep in, I would like to tell everyone that their comments are fully welcome. If any of the questions I ask here have been asked before, please feel free to virtually whack me ... after telling me where the answer is posted of course. Now, before I test the water to the point of dread, I hope no one minds if I jump right in.
First question: Which inspired you first, John, Tolkien or Art?

John Howe: Okay, let me try to give a decent answer...
I've always wanted to draw, my first memory is of not being able to draw a cow to my satisfaction (hey, I grew up on a farm, okay?) and asking my Mom to help. She wasn't able to do it ot my satisfaction either, and I was in tears.
I think I was probably about 4 at the time.
Didn't read Tolkien for another 8 years, but was still trying to draw things I couldn't by then. (Still am, but that's another story...)
I had a very superficial first reading of the Lord of the Rings, and only grew to appreciate it as a universe much much later. In my late teens, the illustrations were still more influenced by heroic fantasy than by Tolkien.
I guess I really started to illustrate it more in depth when I did the book covers and calendars. Slow learner, eh?

LTW: Thank you for the in-deapth answer! This is certain to prove an interesting interview. So, you said you were four; Am I permitted to ask how old you are now? You don't have to answer if you don't wish to.

John Howe: Lets just say it was really a long time ago ... Forty-five.

LTW: Speaking of some time ago, do you remember what your first painting (beyond finger painting mind you,) was of, or when you created it?

John Howe: Not a clue...

LTW: So, do you remember about when and how you began your Tolkien art? Was it an editor/etc. who first came to you and asked you to do it, or did you begin dabbling there yourself?

John Howe: Definitely do I remember.
  In high school, I bought one of the first Tolkien calendars and began re-doing the same scenes in my own (awful) versions.
  I also have a vivid memory of doing all the warrior-vs.-monster episodes... a particularly un-Tolkien-like Theoden in form of a green pterodactyl-like Nazgul with Frazetta's Death Dealer perched atop it... yuck.

LTW: You wouldn't happen to still have those, would you? Lol. Kidding.

John Howe: The calendars or the artwork? [Grin]
  Seriously, I went through my entire stack of old Tolkien calendars and threw them all out, most of them really weren't worth keeping except as something to flog on e-bay. I did the same with the pictures - every year until the end of art school I would put all the work in a trash bin at the start of summer holidays.

LTW: The next time you feel inclined to go through your artwork with a trash bin at your side, let me know, all right?
So when did the public first begin to take notice of your art?

John Howe: Public? Notice? When I began to have work published, I guess, in the early '80's, but believe me, not much notice for a long time!

LTW: Speaking of public notice, do you enjoy the fame you now have?

John Howe: [No answer]

LTW: I'll take that as an unsure. So, moving on: The fantasy architecture you paint is breathtaking. Do you pull the ideas solely from your imagination, or are there elements from existing architectural forms?
  (I hope you don't mind all the questions. I was telling myself to limit it to just a few, but more keep coming to mind.)

John Howe: I have an absolutely MASSIVE library on architecture and I spend all my time wandering around with my eyes VERY wide open... Everything from paving stone patterns to doorknobs to cathedrals to megaliths and all points between interests me.

LTW: Speaking of architecture, I hear the Lothlorien concept art for the movie was yours. Was it? And if so, what ideas did you pull upon to create it?

John Howe: Nope, that was Alan.

LTW: Okey. [Makes mental note to tell source to check the name on the bottom of her poster again...] On to the next one I had questions about.
  Barad-dur. (If I'm wrong on this one being yours, please kick me. [Grin]) Any insights on how you came up with the incredible design for that?

John Howe: Guilty as charged.
  It was basically a case of revisiting my Dark Tower illustration - and finally drawing the very top of Sauron's high-rise.

LTW: As to your characters, I was wondering if you use models?

John Howe: Yes, I do, which often means wandering up to complete strangers and asking if I can borrow their faces... a lot of my friends and neighbours appear in paintings too..

LTW: So, which neighbor do you use for Shelob? [Grin]

John Howe: Alas, I live in a fairly tame neighbourhood. There is one guy I use as inspiration for Gollum, though (unbeknownst to him, of course)

LTW: Lol! Poor demi-Gollum...
  No, really, speaking of Shelob, did they take the movie design for her from your paintings of Shelob's Lair?

John Howe:  Shelob will be the big surprise in the ROTK, don't expect me to spoil if for you!

LTW: All right. I won't spoil that. But while on the Return of the King subject; when asked about a cameo, you said "maybe in the Return of the King". I won't ask for spoilers here, but may I ask if your possible cameo has been filmed?

John Howe: Not yet (keep your fingers crossed).

LTW: *Crosses fingers, and considers starting another petition...* [Wink] Apologies for not replying for a bit... the web was acting out.
  So... next question. I was reading about the sources for your Mordor rocks. Very interesting combination there. What other places have you used to create the Howe-Middle-earth Universe?

John Howe: If only I could remember... the references come from all over. Loads of England, Scotland and Wales for the Shire, the Alps for the Misty Mountains, not much North American landscape, with a few exceptions.
  Places from around here. Old Man Willow is not far from here on the edge of the lake of Neuchâtel...

Dragon Lady: Ha! I need to show my mum this! Everytime we pass those trees she says: look there are John Howe's trees! Well, at least we always imagined they would be, I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same place (just before getting to the motorway to Lausanne).
  It's been years that we've meant to go there and make some sketches!

Ilmarinien: Wouldn't mind to tag along. [Wink] Must be an inspirational forest.

John Howe: It's not really a forest, just a row of ancient willows a short stone's throw from the road. And, for those in the area, there's another spot just south of the Point du Grin... maybe I should publish my Middle-Earth Guidebook. [Smile]

LTW: The Middle-earth Guidebook sounds great. While we're on the lighter of subjects; Rumours have been drifting around in here about pointy ears and elven lineage. Any validity? [Wink]
  So, just a few more questions on my list (though I have asked many more than I planned... apologies. )
  What scene or passage elements in a book encourage you to paint or draw that particular scene?

John Howe: That's a hard one... sometimes a few pages, sometimes just a sentence is enough.

LTW: Changing subject slightly, are your maps drawn solely from the Shapiro and Baynes maps, or do you add other Tolkien elements or existing geological features?

John Howe: Got me again...
  I used JRR Tolkien's Map for the Hobbit, Christopher Tolkien's for Middle-Earth and I can't remember for Beleriand.
Shapiro and Baynes?

LTW: Sorry. Those are the illustrators for the maps I have in my copies of LotR, and as Christopher Tolkien mentions Baynes in his notes, I thought perhaps JRRT and they collaborated. Must stop assuming.
  Speaking of maps and such, where in Middle-earth, etc., would you most like to visit?

John Howe: Anywhere would do, I'm not fussy...

LTW: Agreed. I'm not sure how long I would stay in, say, the Crack of Doom, though.
  So, for those who read this who likely are to be less into creating art and more knowledgeable about enjoying it: What steps do you generally take to create one of your full-colour pieces, and how long does that usually take you?

John Howe: What steps?
  So much depends on the picture. Usually it takes about 10 daysto complete one.

Cuchullainn: So, John, how many hours daily (on average) would you mull over a picture (obviously the nearer the deadline, the more pressure put on)?

Ilmarinen: I guess you can equal that with professionalism when you are able to work on a single piece with steady workflow. I also have a bit a habit to leave a pic around and them continue on some other day, you know. Then I haven't got enough confidence to build up the picture in a relaxed way (afraid that oh, I shadowed that spot full-black in the wrong place and such). Maybe there is this silly little thought also like now I succeeded well so let's cool for a while so I don't spoil it next. I think that changes when I get more experience. So I guess I share you problem (?).
  I think what Leila meant that what kind of phases the picture is completed (maybe like, idea->sketch-> paint it?). I guess it is the usual way, but everybody has their knick-knacks.

John Howe: Generally I am working to a deadline that has already come and gone, often in the middle of another piece, sometimes to a sketch I did six months previously. I WISH WISH WISH I could do one picture after another, but it's not possible to line work up like that.
Here's what I'm working on right now:
Two private commissions
A children's book
Concept art
Sketches for a Tolkien-related book
Sketches for a fantasy novel
Map of Numenor
a LotR film-related exhibition
The other exhibition (choosing posters, layouts, approving proofs etc)
Getting ready to do interviews for the Two Towers DVD
Having a documentary done on my work
And chatting with you lot... Oh, and repainting the house...

Ilmarinen: That sounds something like me hoarding all kinds of projects...doing all them at once . Sorry for this intruding Leila, if you intended to keep this as an interview only thread. I'll try to be a gentleman.

Cuchullainn: ...Oops, didn't realise that this was an on-going interview? Sorry... I'll butt out now

Niniel: Are you doing a documentary on you work? Like... a tv documentary? well if, That sounds great... Make sure it will be shown in Sweden... or am I being a blondie now?

(Personal note from me: Oh, don't I wish it were going to be a t.v. documentary...)

John Howe: Have to wait 'til it's done first

LTW: No problems about adding questions, peoples. I was actually finished with mine, so you brought up a few more points that I didn't think of. Thanks. Would it be all right to include your questions in the transcript of the interview when I get it together?
  And thank you, John, for your time. It's fabulous to be able to talk with you. I wish you well on all your projects... talking to us sounds like the most daunting! I'm sorry for taking up so much of your precious time, but this has been fascinating. Like I said, my original list of questions was much shorter... about a dozen questions... but your answers just make me more curious!
  Keep up your incredible work!

A Tribute to Our Contributers
By Xara

  That's right, here at the i Nili Newsletter we value contributions like gold. Unfortunately of that precious metal we have none, save perhaps in our imaginations. But we do have gratitude, and that in it's own way, is worth just as much as a bar of gold. On this, our one year anniversary therefore, it gives me the greatest pleasure to dish out i Nili's very own bars of golden gratitude to each and every person who has contributed to our humble publication over the past year. Be it an article or a one line classified, if your name appeared at the top of a newsletter under 'contributors', your contribution was recieved with gratitude, which we shall now show you with these limericks. Yes, I know what you're thinking, "All I'm getting is a limerick for my trouble." Yes, all you're getting is a limerick, but this is a very great gift to give, if given for the right reasons. Think of it not so much as five rhyming lines, but a token of our appreciation. And so without further ado, in alphabetical order, a tribute to our contributors!

The lass with i Nili-wide fame
Forged this community of web-wide acclaim
They call her Anduwen
And she will have fun when
She sees I found a rhyme for her name

An Angel came down from above
To purchase a new silken glove
When high in a tree
A pretty elf she did see
And she'd not go back up without a shove

There's a contributor named Arien, I see
But I cannot find out who she be
If you've seen her at all
Please give me a call
And I'll give you a limerick for free

There was once a young maiden named Cart
Who liked to eat elven-bread tart
But the tart she'd not bought
And one day she was caught
And shot off at the speed of a dart

Eowyn Evenstar
A celestial bright Eo'Star
For Pippin came down from afar
When in sunlight he basked
With no questions asked
She kidnaped him in the boot of her car

There once was a ringer named Fan
Who belonged to a ringer fan clan
They sang hobbit songs all day
Made ears out of clay
And attacked model orcs with a pan

Fool of a Took
Tookie has a mithril tipped arrow
It's flight is as fast as a sparrow
With it people she poked
'Til with pain they near choked
And were carted away in wheel-barrow

A hobbit named Frodo there was
He went to Mount Doom just because
His waffling iron
Had roared like a lion
And he was being chased by a fan down from Aus

A hopeful young journo' named Gollum
Got an offer to write for a column
He wrote plainly that fish
Served raw on a dish
Tasted best when from hobbits you'd stole 'em

A poet named Huan I know
Riddles at me he did like throw
Stumped I was not
A million I got
But of that money I've not seen a toe

Ivy Brandybuck
A young lass of the Brandybuck
Had an Irish girl's share of luck
She tripped on a boulder
Dislocated her shoulder
But landed on pillow feathers of duck

Jedi Elf
There once was a super Jedi Elf
Whose enemies she kept on a shelf
And when they would frown
She'd take them all down
And put them in jars by themself

There once was a girl named Jen,
Who disastrously broke her pen,
It would be solved then and there,
But she hadn't a spare,
So now everywhere she brings ten.

John Howe
An artist by the name of John Howe
At age four tried to draw a cow
And when he could not
He grew rather hot
But luckily he can by now

Lady Galadriel
A great linguist by the name of Lady G
Could speak every language including Bumble Bee
She spoke with bees all the day
Until she happened to say
Something rude, so she then had to flee

Lady Morrigan Shadow
Most helpful of people LMS
Gives advice if you're ever in a mess
When the mother board's iffy
She's there in a jiffy
And, if nothing else, is guaranteed to impress

A pretty young maid, Nimrodel
Had a nasty dispute with a bell
It's deafening jinging
Would drown out her singing
So she threw the damn thing down a well

A dark lordess by the name of Paddy
Had a golfer whom we will call Caddy
But alas now he's dead
His ball hit her head
And I can tell you, it sure made her maddy

There once was a Perian from Bree
And thrice renowned was she
Her writings were quotable
Her paintings were notable
And a finer friend I never did see

Phoenix the rum loving sailor
Had a rough tavern brawl with a tailor
He insulted her boat
She called him a goat
And the next day her head it did ail her

Our chief-correspondent named Prongs
Burnt her hand on a some old fire tongs
She jumped up and down
With a mighty big frown
And screamed with the force of ten gongs

There was an ent known as Quicky
And a pretty young sapling was she
In the morning dew
She joined a crew
And sailed as a mast out to sea

I know a subscriber named Rob
He's the leader of a teddy-bear mob
There's none who can beat
Those teds on the street
And if they tried they'd be smashed to a blob

There once was a girl named Samantha
Who walking one day met a panther
She shot down a hollow
He started to follow
But got stuck in a pile of anther

A hobbit known to most as Samwise
Is as wise as his name implies
He can give you advice
Without blinking twice
Let us hope this bright spark never dies

Cunning young Sauron the Deceiver
Concocted a stew made of beaver
But she strangely observed
When the beaver was served
Her friends at the table did leave her

A pretty young ringer named Shelly
One day found her room rather smelly
With a squelch and a squish
She discovered a fish
Had been cunningly concealed in the tele

It was early one morning when Space-case
Disappeared from her home without trace
They assumed she was dead
Then she scared them in bed
Just to see the shocked look on their face

There once was a girl; name of Tweet
Who captained her own grandiose fleet
They sailed all the ocean
But with sickness of motion
She was constantly bent down to her feet

Xara (though she did, I must say, not write it of herself)
An Editor, screenname of Xara,
Who hails from the shores of South-terra,
We send on quests for shrubbery,
Set to verbal scrubbery...
The Newsletter's keystone? Yes, verra!

This Fortnight: Chapter Ten
By Ivy

  "I'm not going in there!" Pippin protested. He was standing on the bank of the Great River, and he didn't look too happy.
  "You have to! It's not that bad!" retorted Merry.
  "I'm not going in there!" Pippin repeated, sounding more frantic. Merry sighed and looked defeated. Pippin smiled triumphantly, thinking he had gotten out of it. Before he had a chance to say or do anything, Merry leapt forward and pushed him into the river. Pippin let out a high pitched shriek, and Merry let out a yell as he jumped in after. Pippin scrambled to the edge of the bank and held onto it for dear life. "Meriadoc!" he screamed, sputtering and grasping the ledge. Merry laughed and lazily made his way to the bank.
  "And you said you couldn't swim," he taunted. Pippin opened his mouth to protest, but promptly shut it again. His look of terror was replace with one of wonder.
  "Did I really just..." he trailed off. Merry grinned at him.
  "I think you just did. Now let's see if you can do it again," he said. Pippin carefully let go of the bank and let out another shriek as he started to sink. Merry hoisted him back up. "Kick," he urged, and let him go again. Pippin, afraid for his life, started to kick furiously. He began to sink again.
  "Meeeerry!" he wailed. His companion just floated there and watching him go under. He'll pull himself through, he thought, he always does. Not a minute later, Pippin's head reappeared on the surface. He made for the edge of the bank sloppily, but Merry reached out a hand and pushed him back. Pippin glared over at him, water dripping from his hair. He began to say something, but his cousin cut him off by shoving his head under the water. Merry observed, with limited interest, the air bubbles coming to the surface of the otherwise calm river.
  "Good thing he's not up here," he said aloud, "because I think that's him shouting at me." Pippin's head appeared in a splash again, and this time he held onto the edge of the bank like he would never let go.
  "You... are pure evil," he muttered, coughing up water. Merry grinned again.
  "That, my dear cousin, is what I aim for."

Newsletter Trivia.

 In honour of the one year anniversary:
Q: How many people were on staff when the newsletter first started?
Q: Xara explains the art of what in the first issue?

Compiled by Ivy.

Random Fandom.

Xara: The hole you purchased from your local Hobbit Real Estate Agent collapsed shortly after you moved in. You want your money back but the nasty little hobbit refuses to give you a refund (obviously a Sackville-Baggins). What do you do?
Quickbeam: Well, seeing as they're a distant relation, I couldn't do anything too drastic. So everyday I would cart over a boulder in the wee hours and dump it on their smial until it collapsed. That way, nobody's hurt and they get a little of their own medicine. But now I have two lovely collapsed hobbit holes and a few very angry S.-Bs. So to smooth things over, I would fix up mine so to the naked eye it appears repaired. Then I would very graciously allow them to use my home until they could find something else. I'd even send them a fruit basket. In the meantime, I'd switch realtors and get myself a good lawyer.

Xara: You have woken up from a deep and peaceful slumber to find yourself on an elven flet in a tree so high you cannot see the ground! How did you get there?! And how will you get down?

Quickbeam: How did I get up here? I guess some Elven prince was so smitten by my beauty he kidnaped me and brought me here. And that's about as likely to be true as the statement "I'm the tooth fairy!" And since I'm the tooth fairy, I have wings, right? So hopefully they work, in which case I can fly nonchalantly down and then home.

Xara: Your calculator has been stolen by a dwarf with a money-counting complex. You wouldn't mind so much except you have a maths test tomorrow! How will you get it back?!

Quickbeam: Well, I never did like maths much anyway. But since I don't think my teacher would like it very much if I told him I can't participate because my calculator was stolen by a greedy midget (no offense to dwarfkind, of course), so I suppose I would have to track him down and get it back. First I would need a guide to dwarf hot spots and possibly a flashlight should I have to go underground. I'd pack up some lembas and put on my hiking boots, than track that little bugger down until he gives it back. If I can't find him, I'll put up posters with "Missing Calculator" and "Wanted: Klepto Dwarf" on them. Hopefully I'll have it back by 6th period!

Ask Samwise.
  Dear Samwise,
  I have a friend who is part of this newsletter which is having it's first anniversary. He's the one who does the advice column, and I thought of giving him a present to celebrate. What do you think my friend would like?
  Dear Xara,
  A host position on an international cooking-and-good-solid-advice teleshow?


Comings and Goings at i Nili o i Ardanole
By Robert C. Stames
  The month of May saw a slew of departures, a few new arrivals, a birthday or two and lots of congratulatory messages!
  I must first mention that Fool of a Took went for knee surgery and came out of the O.R. in one piece! We are glad to have our Assistant Manager back and wish her a speedy recovery!
  Welcome FriendOfAPippinLuver and Huan the Hound to i Nili o i Ardanole. We hope you have a pleasant, long stay.
  Angel, Cerridwen, Lady Morrigan Shadow, Quickbeam, Sam, Shelly and Viggo's Girl are among those i Nili members that are away and we hope that they will come back soon. Incidentally, we would like to take this time to wish Quickbeam a happy house moving.
  Onto the congratulatory messages ... and there are a lot:
  Congratulations go to Padfoot for placing second in her singing competition! And you were worried?! Well done!
  Perian was awarded the "Artist of the Month" for her work, entitled "We". Congratulations.
  On the same note, Xara won 3 awards for "Member of the Month", "Verse of the Month" (Hope) and "Site of the Month" (The Adventures of Samwise and the Killer Milkshake). Nice job!
  More congratulations to Xara on placing second in the Under 16 Competition! Lovely trophy Xara!
  And finally, a very happy birthday to two very special members, Perian and Evenstar! Hope you both had good ones and many, many more to come!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If any members are upset about being included in this article or are hurt that they were missed out, I am to blame. Please address nasty notes to Robert Stames at the following email address: robert_stames@hotmail.com. Feedback at the same email address would also be appreciated. This was my idea entirely and is not the fault of Perian, Xara, Prongs or Ivy. Thank you.



WANTED: Large ceremonial cake, with white icing and the words "Frodo wishes the i Nili staff a happy anniversary, and hopes they will give him his number after the show" to be delivered anonymously. Call us sad, but we like to pretend.


Of Places and Geological Features, Part IX:
kir-: (verb) cut, cleave. Calacirya, Cirith Niniach, Cirith Thoronath, Cirith Ungol.
lad: (noun) plain, valley. Dagorlad, Himlad, Imlad Morgul, Imladris.
lin: (noun) pool, mere. Linaewen, Teiglin.
lith: (noun) ash. Anfauglith, Dor-nu-Fauglith, Ered Lithui, Lithlad.


  Let me start off by saying that this issue was awesome! As always, of course. Prongs, I would like to say that you article about the spoilers is so true. They totally ruined it for so many people. Xara, awesome as usual for your articles. I really enjoy reading all of them. And to everyone who has contributed, especially with articles, thanks for a wonderful newsletter to read! I have them all saved on my computer.
  Dear Fan,
  Thank you as well for your numerous contributions! It is always gratifying to know that someone enjoys the newsletter. It is those who respond, such as yourself, which have kept this newsletter's momentum up for one year, three days, two hours, thirty-seven minutes and twelve seconds.*
  On behalf of our splendid writers (and hear, hear! Let us rid the world of spoilers!) thanks once again.
  *Guesstimates have an error margin of + or - 100%.

Dear Editor,
  WOW!!! Were those some of the best articles I've ever read or were those some of the best articles I've ever read?! Hehe, Ivy!!! If that were the case, I would watch the news, which would be a big achievement for Frodo and his friends at the studio! Prongsie and Rob, you guys must make a perfect team! That was excellent! Funny, but true! Journalists should take a leaf out of TORn's book! And as for Perian, I didn't even know what TM meant until I read your article! You have enlightened me, and alerted me to a potential enemy of the newsletter. I shall keep a look out and know mine enemy from now on. Very informative. Loved it! Loved it!

Dear Xara,
  They just keep improving, don't they? I hope we don't reach the "nothing could ever be quite as good" peak any time soon. But then, it doesn't hurt to try for it.
  Hehehehehe... I can think of a set of journalists who would be happy to work as the press corps for Middle-earth News. Ditto to all your comments about the article.
  They do indeed make a perfect team ('tis probably why they are a couple, eh?) Can't wait to see what they come up with now that they are both members of the regular staff.
  TM... a virulent, aggressive literary plague if ever I knew one. Ah well, if you don't know about it, it doesn't exist, right? Well, no, that's not exactly true, but we can find the holes which loop around it.
  Ditto to your sentiments!