Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 33, Volume 2, July 23rd, 2004.
Editors: Perian, Xara.
Primary Reporter: Ivy.
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Local Commentator: Rob Stames.
Contributor(s): Lady Morrigan Shadow, Nienna.
Find past archives at http://inili.iwarp.com/
See your name in print! Contribute! Use the form on the site, or send your submissions to Perian@frontiernet.net
Disturbances in the Story
If you watch people long enough, especially if you are not in
the most forgiving of moods, a number of tiny annoyances begin to pop
up. Little things which shouldn’t make a difference, but do. For
example, a few moments ago I caught sight of someone licking her
fingers before each time she turned a page in a magazine. Often though
I have seen this done, it still made me want to cry out, "Stop! Please!
You’re making reading magazines in public places dangerous and
repulsive!" Somehow that only made its way out as "Eeurgh, don’t lick
the pages." It was met with a very befuddled "Huh?"
These annoyances grow stronger the longer you are around a person. To quote musician John Lennon, "It’s because of you! You got the tambourine wrong, [and now] my whole life’s a misery!" Can you imagine how it must have been for the fellowship?
Aragorn, being above caring about physical and hygienic appearance no doubt felt a serge of annoyance every time Legolas struck a pose with his Lorien longbow, tossing his cascade of clean hair out of his face with a flick of his head. This may be the reason Aragorn, despite his human limitations, strove to remain in front of the fleet-footed megalomaniac.
The doting Samwise was able to bring even the patient Frodo to exasperation with his attentions. His "mothering" of the older hobbit combined with other factors to lead Frodo not to tell him when he decided to leave the fellowship. This must have been a peak time of Samwise-annoyance for Frodo, as when Samwise joined him, the meekamild Baggins burst out, "Of all the confounded nuisances, you are the worst!"
The nuisance for Sam, on the other hand, was Smeagol. That simple, steadfast hobbit mind simply could not grasp or tolerate spying, sneaking, or sudden disappearances. He even named Smeagol’s personalities after the two traits which most bothered him - Slinker and Stinker. Of all the characters with annoyances, Sam was the most vociferous about them by far. There can be no doubt Gollum knew of Sam’s hatred of him, and this is what lead the creature to betray them.
Boromir, though his sense of duty forced him to show only respect for his leader-in-exile, must have felt put-out by the fact that Aragorn neither acted like a king, nor seemed as comfortable around his fellow humans as around elves and hobbits. It isn’t hard to picture Boromir inwardly cringing as Aragorn greeted the Lothlorien elves in their own language. Remember, in Gondor and Rohan Lothlorien was looked upon as wood of sorcery and peril, overseen by a witch. Would someone who associated with such disreputable characters be Boromir’s first pick to usurp him as future leader of Gondor?
Merry and Pippin spent so much time together that their grievances and friendly irks must have numbered in the hundreds. "You smoke too much." "Merry, you silly ass! Your pack was right here." "Why did you have to go and look into the palantir?" "You’re eating my food!" "Aah! Don’t put your feet in my faces when I’m trying to climb!" "I’m taller than you are." "I’m the eldest, and taller, so there." "Lead on, old one..." "Oh, go eat a pippin."
Whether height or lack of beards was the more challenging of his companions’ qualities for Gimli to tolerate, they would both be rather repulsive. That is, until he met Galadriel. At that point all prejudices were thrown out of the Window to the West, as they say in Middle-earth.
In fact, almost all the petty irritations were forgotten in the presence of rather larger ones. So, the next time someone begins to talk to you with his mouth full of food, or accidentally lets go the swinging door as you are walking through, remember that, well, at least it didn’t happen in Gorgoroth.
Tolkien and the Great War: Threshold of Middle Earth by John Garth
"Tolkien and the Great War" is an indepth study of the life
of JRR Tolkien between 1914 and 1918, with a good dollop of 1911 - 13
thrown in for good measure, and a tiny sprinkling of 1919 to garnish.
It is a book that goes bravely where no biographer has but skated over
before, World War One. At first glance, one would think that much of
such an in-depth book into the life of a man who has been dead for many
years, would be mere speculation and without real value, but the
majority of this book is constructed on the correspondence between
Tolkien and his close friends of the time, the TCBS. The book is dotted
with large segments from letters, never before available to the public
and huge chunks of Tolkien's early poetry.
"Tolkien and the Great War" follows Tolkien and his close friends through their life-changing ordeals of World War One. Through the letters they write to one another, the reader gets to feel that they have known these men personally. This book focuses mainly on the TCBS, a band of four forged in the days when they were school boys at King Edward's school. These four boys truly believed that they could change the world, not with war or revolution, but in a cultural revolution, using their artistic talents, in Tolkien's case, his writing. This book follows them from their school days, to university, in and, unfortunately for some only, out of the war.
Though perhaps not a page-turner, this is an absolute treasure trove for anyone with an interest in LotR and, more especially The Silmarillion and the Book of Lost Tales. Informatively written, highly fascinating, this book is an asset to the bookshelf of any Ringer wishing to further their knowledge and understanding of the man behind the Lord of the Rings, and influences on the telling of the greatest story of the 20th century, if not of all time.
This Fortnight: Frodo's Correspondence from the Modern World
The following account was originally written by Frodo Baggins for the Shire Times with the view of making a successful debut into journalism. The article however was rejected by all hobbit papers on the ground that it was too adventurous and preposterous for their paper and that every gaffer, farmer, squire and self-respecting hobbit in the Shire would have their heads if they ran it. It was therefore transferred to this newsletter and adapted for general viewing by Xara.
My dear hobbits, I have been fortunate enough to secure a one-week position in the life of a 16-year-old school-goer in the year 2004. Xara, as she calls herself, has kindly allowed me to follow her around in exchange for my 'doing her homework' (whatever that could mean) and so I am provided with a unique oppurtunity among hobbits to experience life as a youth of the future. So excited!!
Day One: I arrived shortly before lunchtime on
Sunday with a ready pen and an empty stomach. My host showed me around
the room in which I was to be staying (which is also her own room, she
explained that this was a custom of teenagers in this age) and I was
shocked and frightened to discover it was covered from head to foot
with my face and the faces of my friends! I thought at first that I had
fallen into a Sauron-spy-ring, until she explained to me that this was
normal practice among her generation. I was much relieved but still a
little alarmed, this is obviously a much stranger place than I had
first imagined. Xara spent the rest of the afternoon alternating
between reading a large heavy book and tapping on something she called
a com-poo-ter and failed to have lunch for four hours and, worse,
failed to offer me any! Eventually my stomach forced me beyond
politeness and I had to enquire after it, to which she looked rather
surprised and announced that she had forgotten to have it! How anyone
could forget to have lunch is beyond me!
After the late lunch she set me to the task of following their house cat named Fidget around to make sure that she did not 'escape' as Xara put it and 'terrorise the local environment.' I followed Fidget up the stairs and under beds and into the bathroom where we drank from a bucket full of soapy water (Fidget started it and I thought perhaps I should too as I was following her...it didn't taste very nice), and into a cupboard and then out again and down the stairs and underneath the dining room table and onto a lounge chair and into the kitchen until she finally turned around and I discovered she did not appreciate being followed, and I have the scars to prove it. After a modest and highly unsatisfying dinner we sat and watched a terribly exciting box with people inside it! It was all very fun until the people in the box started getting murdered by a person who must have been standing behind the box because you couldn't see him and I had to stand in front of the box with my sword to protect Xara and her parents from the man behind the box, but they seemed to be annoyed and kept trying to look past me. In the end the murderer behind the box was caught and me and Xara were sent to bed early as we had school tomorrow.
I am to sleep on the floor next to Xara's bed. A mattress has been made for me out of many blankets piled on top of each other, which is not polite but I've slept on a ledge halway up an almost vertical rocky staircase so I'm not complaining, at least there's no chance of sudden death, unless that cat comes back during the night for another go at me. Then Xara tried to make me wear an old pink nightie as I had no pyjamas, but I said no thankyou I was fine, she seemed quite disappointed after that. This certainly is a strange place.
Day Two: We were awoken at a most ungodly hour
this morning by another box (I am beginning to becoming highly
suspicious of all these boxes) that went 'beep' and that Xara said
meant it was time we got ready to go. It was still dark outside so I
explained to her that the beeping box must be mistaken and tried to go
back to sleep but this seemed to greatly annoy her so in the end I
yielded and got dressed and ready. We caught a bus, which is a huge box
full of people with wheels to the school which was loud and
uncomfortable. In the school, bells go off to announce when we must be
going to class or break and everyone has their own timetable telling
them where they must go when the bells ring. It is all too highly
organised for my liking.
I have learnt many things at my first day of school, and you would be surprised to find that they were not at all things you would expect to learn at a school like cooking and gardening or even reading and writing, everyone could already do that they said. They have lessons called Biology and Maths and English. I didn't understand how any of this would be useful once you left school but Xara told me it was all part of 'getting an education' and that the owning of this education was what people worried about rather than what knowledge the education actually involved. Strange concept. In Biology I learnt about how photos are synthesised (I know what photos are because Xara told me this morning, you get another one of these boxes and click a button on it and it flashes and makes an instant painting of you called a photo! Amazing!) though I didn't understand what flashing boxes had to do with leaves and sugar. And then in English the teacher talked to us for a very long time about the language features of poetry until even I, of all people, began to form the opinion that poetry was incredibly dull! I am horrified.
Maths was by far the worst class today. The teacher gave us a sheet full of brackets and numbers and letters called algebra and told us to solve them. I didn't understand what it was that needed solving, so I took Xara's advice and put up my hand and asked the teacher and she began to explain the algebra to me, and it turned out that all the strange groups of numbers and letters had different names like binomials and trinomials and polynomials (which I had heard mentioned before and took to be a large bag of brightly coloured sweets, oh how wrong I was) and she wanted me to factorise some and simplify others and sqaure root the ones with the even smaller numbers and the more she explained it the more confusing it became until I pretended I'd heard a noise outside and ran out and hid behind a bin and didn't come out until the class was over.
Then we caught the bus box back home and I offered to do Xara's homework as we had agreed. She seemed to think it wasn't such a good idea after all but I did insist so she gave me...ANOTHER full sheet of algebra!!! After that I fainted and didn't wake up until dinner time, and by then she had done it herself to my everlasting relief. I think if she doesn't mention the homework again I won't either. People who talk about the carefreeness of youth in this day and age have obviously never been to school! But Xara said it gets ten times more complicated and scary once you leave school! I am very tired and confused and must rest now. But before I sleep I think I shall negotiate a more reasonable waking hour with Xara, I'm sure she'll understand the importance of not rising until you only have just enough time for two breakfasts before elevenses once I explain things to her properly. The only thing that can and should be done in the mornings is eat breakfast, so there's really no need to get up earlier than that as it just wastes time.
Day Three: Xara said she'd been getting up at
that hour for eleven years and that I only had to do it for one week so
to stop moaning. It wasn't quite the reply I had expected. I don't
think people here are very rational. And so the beeping box woke us up
again at the same time and we went through exactly the same routine and
got on the same bus box with the same people and came to the same
school and the bell went. Xara says it is a routine, I don't like it.
This routine isn't much of the adventure I was expecting! Today my name
was added to the 'B Roll' so they said at the office and so after the
first morning bell rang I had to leave Xara who was on the 'D roll' and
go to the 'B Roll Call'. In roll call we all sat in a classroom while a
teacher read our names out and we had to answer. When the teacher read
my name out some silly boys at the back laughed and pointed at me,
though I can't think what right they had to make fun of my name with
such strange names as Scott and David for themselves!
After roll call I forgot which room Xara told me I was supposed to meet her in and got lost and ended up in a place they call the canteen! It was wonderful! I had obviously stummbled upon the school's food supplies! I promptly began to sample the produce, it was all very sweet, and after a while my teeth started to hurt in a strange way. Then a lady saw me in there and started shouting at me, it turns out the food wasn't for free after all, but how was I supposed to know that? Really! If they don't want people to eat the food they should put a sign there saying something like, 'Please don't eat the food!'. After that Xara came looking for me and took me to the music room.
The music room was so loud I could not hear myself or anyone else speak. There were all these young men playing gee-tars (which is like a eucalele only much, much louder) plugged into more boxes which Xara explained to me on a notepad as I couldn't hear her were called amps. But they were all playing different songs so it didn't sound very good. I can't believe all the different boxes they have here! Their entire society seems to be founded on these boxes! Mostly black too. It's rather unsettling! I think I had rather underestimated the potential of the box before this time. I thought they were only good for storing things in, but obviously I have been much mistaken all these years!
Luckily for me we did not have Maths class today but in Biology we each had to get up and make a speech about how photos are synthesised and I was the only one in the class whose speech did not earn a lolly-pop, but did earn a lot of laughter I am proud to say, though I wasn't trying to be funny. I felt persecuted and am convinced that teacher is an evil heightist and told her so, and then my suspicions were confirmed when she sent me out of the classroom for the rest of the lesson. After that we took Ancient History class where we learnt about how they dig cities out of the ground which I found fascinating! To think every modern building I have been in so far was found by the ar-key-olo-jists under the ground and dug out with special brushes!! Xara says I haven't quite grasped the concept yet but I think she was a little confused, she seemed to think the buildings in the ground were remnants of ancient societies, but what would those be doing in the ground I ask you? A very nice girl but sometimes I fear she is a little slow.
We caught the bus box home but instead of doing homework spent most of the afternoon and the night typing on the com-poo-ter box and watching the tee-vee box. Xara said it was because she was entertaining me as her guest but I think it is because she didn't want to do the homework.
Day Four: Me and Xara got into a lot of trouble
today for not doing our homework. The heightist Biology teacher didn't
believe Xara when she told her that we hadn't done it because an
escaped criminal had been found roaming in our area and the whole
street was evacuated, but I can't understand why as she had me
convinced until I realised that nothing like that had happened to me
last night. This time we were both sent out of the room and made to
stay back during our lunch hour to complete it. The scandal!! Being
made to miss lunch! At least when it was forgotten we made up for it
later but to have to miss it altogether! I am appaled.
After lunch we had to go to sport. Because I wasn't in any team I watched Xara's team play netball. Playing netball involved actually leaving the school and crossing the incredibly scary road outside the school which had all these miniature bus boxes zooming across it. Xara made me hold her hand and then we pressed a little box on a pole and a big box on a pole across the other side of the road flashed green and we walked, actually walked calmly (well, Xara did) across the road and, lived to tell the tale!! Then we walked down to a great flat grey thing called a court with some hoops on poles where there was another bus box full of girls from another school and then everyone started throwing a ball around on the court and shouting and trying to get it in the hoop, this seemed to be a very important part of netball because when it did go in the hoop half of them would cheer and the other half would sulk and start picking fights and then when the ball went in the hoop at the other end they would all switch rolls. They all wore these pleated skirts that flew up when they went for the ball. Netball seems like a strange game, but I liked it.
After sport school was over but we did not go home on the bus box. Instead, Xara walked to the shops with her friends and called her mum and told her we had missed the bus box, even though it had stood there outside the school for five minutes waiting to pick us up. And then, while we were waiting to be picked up, we got to have slurpees, which are these wonderful huge cups of icy drink and doughnuts, which are these rings of tasty dough with pink icing, and looked in book shops with so many books I could have stayed there for days!! And 'seedy' shops with no seeds hundreds upon hundreds of small thin square boxes with peoples faces on them which Xara said we could listen to, but I don't understand how. And clothes shops, and Xara tried to make me try on a pink frilly skirt in the changing box at the back but I escaped and hid in one of the round clothes racks. But then a woman who was looking at clothes in the rack seemed to get a fright when I came out of it, and got angry and the shop owner made us leave. But how was I supposed to know she was there and would pull the shirts apart like that just as I was running out?
After that we waited in a carpark full of the mini bus boxes that for once weren't moving until Xara's mum pulled up in a mini bus box of her own! We went home in it and it was much more comfortable and private than the bus box, which, Xara told me afterwards, was the reason we hadn't gone home in the bus box, but that if anyone asked, it was because the game of netball had gone on past the bell because the other team was late. All these different stories to remember are making things rather complicated, I may have to write them down soon to remember them all!
Day Five: Today the two silly boys from the 'B' Roll Call were waiting for me when I came out to go to class, and wouldn't let me get past them. They kept stepping in my way which I thought was very rude and told them so, and then they apologised and let me pass, which I thought was good of them, but then when I was walking to the Music room they appeared out of nowhere on the walkway above me and poured a bucket of water over my head and then ran off laughing! I was completely soaked when I got to the Music Room and Xara took me to the office and made me describe them in detail to the deputy-principal, and then I had to find new clothes because I was shivering, but they didn't have any hobbit breeches so I had to wear a school uniform that was too big for me and was old and ugly and everyone laughed at me when I came back to the next class.
Then in Ancient History I asked the teacher which ar-key-olo-jist had dug this school out of the ground and everyone laughed at me again and the teacher said I was being cheeky and sent me out of the room. After that the people in Xara's grade started to laugh at me when I walked past them and point and call out and so she took me to the library during breaks to seek peace and solitude. The amazing book shops I saw yesterday are nothing compared to the school library. Three levels split on either side with a large space rising three levels through the middle so that you can see every level full of shelves and tables and chairs and desks and squishy chairs and thousands and thousands of books! They even have a box in there that squirts out cold air! It cheered me up instantly and Xara took me around to choose some books that she said I could take home for free which was different to the book shop where you had to pay! But then she said I was only allowed to take three at a time which seemed unfair until she showed me how heavy my bag would be with the fifteen I wanted shoved into it.
In the afternoon I nearly got run over by the bus box when I was trying to get one of my books which had fallen down the hole next to the road because someone had tripped me up when I was reading it as I was walking to the bus box stop. There are too many boxes in this place and big-people who laugh at things that are not at all funny, like when I wrote a poem about bath-time in English class and read it out to the class. After four days in school the chairs are still too big for me and I still do not understand algebra. And I still have to go again tomorrow. I think perhaps I will tell Xara I am sick, that ought to do it!
Day Six: Xara did not believe me when I told her I had Anduinian River Fever and could not go to school, so I had to go back again, and the boys from the 'B' Roll Call were waiting outside for me again. They said they were going to throw me off the roof of the school so I threw a book at them, and it was a hardcover and hit one of them with the sharp corner on the head and he started bleeding and they ran away! I am a hero! Who needs swords when you have hard-covers?! But when I gave the book back to the library I got into trouble because of the blood-stains. But that could not darken my mood!
When I finally reached class I was late again, so I had to go and stand outside. I don't see the logic of that, as doesn't that make me miss even more? But anyway, I didn't mind because it was Maths again. When I finally got to come back inside Xara told me solemnly that we'd been invited to a party. "A party?!" I said, "Great!" She didn't look like she agreed with me though. She seemed to be confused about why we in particular were invited, though I can't understand why, I am a hobbit which makes me interesting and she is my friend which gives her prestige, obviously we are both very popular amongst our classmates. In fact, by the way that they never speak to us, me in particular, I think we are quite reverred.
In Biology I resolved to seek my justice and get the lollypop of which I was deprived on Tuesday. So as everyone was walking out of the classroom I ducked down pretending I had dropped a pen and hid under the desk. Success!! The teacher went out and I was alone in the room. With my hobbit stealth I crept low and soundlessly, much as uncle Bilbo approached the troll campfire, towards the desk and did a little burglaring of my own. I found the jar of lollypops, a large stack of blank merit certificates which I took the liberty of filling out for myself, and a copy of the test she had told us we would be sitting on Monday, or at least, everyone else would be sitting on Monday, because I won't be here! Hurrah! But I kept it anyway.
The jar of lollypops was so big I still hadn't finished them, even though I had tirelessly devoted myself to their consumption all day, when we were getting ready for the party in the afternoon. I was very excited, I love parties! I asked Xara if there would be any fireworks. "Not unless someone spikes your drink." She said, and then she looked worried, "Actually Frodo, remember not to take any drinks from strangers won't you? And smokes for that matter." I was indignant! How can she tell me not to smoke at a party?! But she seemed to think that this was a different kind of smoking. In the end she stole my jar of lollypops and wouldn't give it back until I had promised. I'm just waiting now for us to get going, oh, she's calling! It's time to go! Hurrah!!!
Day Seven: So.....tired....We didn't get up
until after lunch today and I have been eating all afternoon to
compensate. Apart from the fact that there was plenty of ale, that was
not at all what I would call a party. There was a complete lack of
dancing, instead people just stood around swaying in an odd sort of way
waving their arms around. Most peculiar. The music was so loud I think
my ears were nearly blown apart, although once I had had a few ales, or
beers as they call them, I didn't notice so much. Finally around
midnight I needed a break so I went into what I thought was a side room
and turned out to be a brrom cupboard and saw two people doing
unspeakable things, I'm surprised I wasn't blinded!! I have been
scarred for life! I have been right to the heart of these modern
teenager's culture and did not like it at all!
After the broom cupboard episode Xara took me home saying she should never have brought me. I have grown suspicious again of all these modern boxes that go bing, it seems to me that underneath all their convenience they bring no good at all. I am writing this from back home in my cosy hobbit-hole, at Bag End, and although I was sorry to say goodbye to Xara, I was quite glad to leave the world of the Big People behind. Underneath all the bright lights and the weird and wonderful boxes it does not seem to be a very happy place. My trip has been absolutely the opposite to what I expected, but it certainly has been a learning experience. Now I think I must write a letter to King Elessar (my old friend you know!) warning him about boxes, especially ones that go bing. Goodbye!
Still unavailable... With hope, you'll be able to test your mental skills next issue!