Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 36, Volume 2, September 3rd, 2004.
Editors: Perian, Xara.
Primary Reporter: Ivy.
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Contributor(s): Sam, Cerridwen.
Ask any person you know who has tried and failed to read Lord
of the Rings why they gave up on it and you will receive the same
answer. "The descriptions were just too damn long!" Tolkien has often
been criticised for his lengthy, but very poetic descriptions of the
landscapes of Middle Earth. However I ask you, why is that such a bad
thing? Certainly the first time you read it when you're dying to know
what happens they do seem to hold the story back a bit, but once you
come to know the story, the descriptions are some of the best bits!
Furthermore, I have reason to greatly revere Tolkien for his masterful
descriptions (his masterful everything actually but let's focus on this
one point today), they're so hard to write! And yet he seems to do them
with such ease! Genius!
The descriptions in the Lord of the Rings are not just pretty, they bring Middle Earth to life. They give the landscape a character of it's own. The Dead Marshes, Weathertop, Lothlorien, each has it's own unique, individual feel, because of the amazing descriptions! And so, without further ado, a tribute to the descriptions of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings! Amazing.
"Presently it grew altogether dark: the air itself seemed black and heavy to breathe. When the lights appeared Sam rubbed his eyes: he thought his head was going queer. He first saw one with the corner of his left eye, a wisp of pale sheen that faded away; but others appeared soon after: some like dimly shining smoke, some like misty flames flickering slowly above unseen candles; here and there they twisted like ghostly sheets unfurled by hidden hands." (The Dead Marshes, Book 4, The Two Towers).
"Upon great pedestals founded in the deep waters stood two great kings of stone: still with blurred eyes and crannied brows they frowned upon the North. The left hand of each was raised palm outwards in a gesture of warning; in each right hand there was an axe; upon each head there was a crumbling helm and crown. Great power and majesty they still wore, the silent wardens of a long-vanished kingdom." (The Great River, Book 2, The Fellowship of the Ring)
"And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey-rain curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise." (The Grey Havens, Book 6, The Return of the King)
"The standing stone was cold, and it cast a long pale shadow that stretched eastward over them. The sun, a pale watery yellow, was gleaming through the mist just above the west wall of the hollow in which they lay; north, south, and east beyond the wall the fog was thick, cold and white. The air was silent, heavy and chill. Their ponies were standing crowded with their heads down." (Fog on the Barrow Downs, Book 1, The Fellowship of the Ring)
Elves and Dwarves: A Brief History
Anyone who has read (or seen) The Lord of the Rings will
remember that Legolas and Gimli were very cold toward each other until
they were drawn together in war and became great friends. While that
may be all fine and well and "Awwww", does anyone really remember why
the Elves and the Dwarves disliked each other so? I had no idea, so I
decided to do a bit of research.
Dwarves were a very sturdy race. They were short and stout, most of them living deep in mountains or caves. They were great craftsmen, often mining gold, jewels, and other such things for weapons and adornment. They spoke a very complicated and guttural language. The Elves, on the other hand, were tall and graceful. They did everything with ease and most other races looked upon them in awe. They lived in the forests and spoke in a language that was both beautiful and pleasing to the ear.
Jealousy is, therefore, a cause of many of the feuds between the two races. Their biggest, though, was that the Dwarves were not Eru's favourite race. That would have been the Elves. One of the Valar created the Dwarves out of impatience for Eru to do his work. While Eru was angry, he allowed the Dwarves to live but sentenced them to life in the mountains until the Elves awoke, and even after there would be many problems between them. Apparently, though, the Dwarves decided to stay in the mountains, even though they could not hide from the Elves.
When the Ring was rediscovered, though, the two races were forced to put aside their small fights and jealousies and come together to help destroy the greatest evil of the world. When this happens, Legolas and Gimli eventually do become friends, and it is even said that Gimli joins Legolas when he makes his trip to the Undying Lands. And even then, it is said that the whole thing was part of Eru's plan. Kinda romantic, innit?
So Ends the Battle of Pelennor
Eowyn, sister-daughter of King Theoden, was a shieldmaiden of
Rohan and the caretaker of her ageing leader. A "daughter of kings" as
Aragorn said. With these qualifications, and her calm observation of
the decaying of the life she had known, a certain level of patience and
rationality were a prominent part of her character.
Were, that is, until the 15th of March, 3019. Then, in an unsurpassed act which is recounted often as one of the greatest in Middle-earth history, she cast aside not only her patience and rationale, but every semblance of sanity she possessed, and challenged the Lord of the Nazgul, the infamous Witch King of Angmar, to a battle over the body of her king. Such bravery, such devotion, such damned foolish, suicidal rage. A bit out of character for the White Lady of Rohan, that not-so-delicate but certainly not decisive flower in the frost.
How did she do it? Was it out of protectiveness for her uncle? Certainly not! If that were the case, she would have struck down Grima Wormtongue long before. Battle fury? Impossible. When any creature came within leagues of any one of the nazgul, his or her first reaction would be to fall to the ground, grovel a bit, and run if possible. In fact, there is but one factor which might set her apart from her fellow humans upon the field: PMS.
Yes, you read right. The monthly curse may well have saved the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Think of it: There are generally two things which will drive a female to kill an adversary. One is in defence of offspring, but we all know that Eowyn had no offspring. The other... now you're catching on.
It's not a situation unheard of even in our time. In coming up with this theory the writer was reminded of an experience of her own in the ultimate battlefield; a restaurant. If you have ever worked in one, you know the sentiment. Once each month every female staff member suddenly "goes off the deep end". The meek assistant can be observed to let a heavy door swing closed on the cranky waitress bearing a tray of glasses, the hostess may snap at a request for water, the manager might fly into rage at the kitchen staff's choice of music. On this day it becomes clear that there is a crazed shieldmaiden lurking in every woman.
Then, after the rage has worn down, there comes a time of moping, complaining, listlessness, and general self-pity. Eowyn went through this as well, taking to be (well? Even Merry was able to drag himself as far as Minas Tirith before being found and losing consciousness,) and not coming back even to Aragorn's summons. After all, why should she? She'd had a rotten day, and then there was that man in black robes (men suddenly become the source of all the world's woes as I'm sure you lads among our readers have noticed) who tried to make it worse, and now here's the guy who recently revealed he was engaged trying to wake her up? Dream on, Ranger. Sleeping Beauty likes it where she is.
As much as we would all like to believe that it was in her nature to be recklessly daring, 'twas a feat which could not be accomplished by personality and skill alone. Had that been the case it might have been done by a man or an elf. It was no man who slew the second greatest nemesis living (or unliving) in the Third Age of Middle-earth, but a woman. A woman with a nasty cramp and an unsurpassable quantity of attitude.
Morgoth - Search For the Dark Lord
When Feanor of the Noldor heard of his father's murder and
the theft of his beloved Silmarils, he cursed the evil Melkor and named
him Morgoth, meaning Dark Lord. But was Melkor, or Morgoth as he is now
known, really deserving of such a title? Certainly he was evil, the
most evil being to walk to the face of Middle Earth in fact. But did he
really qualify as a Dark Lord? In order to answer this question we must
first clarify, what constitutes a Dark Lord? Well, a Dark Lord is
obviously a lord of a dark land. But then, was Morgoth a Dark Lord? He
was lord of the great fortress Angband and, whilst I'm sure it was
pretty dark inside, so was any building in Middle Earth at night, due
to their lack of electricity, and outside there was no unusual darkness
in the area. So then, perhaps Morgoth really wasn't a Dark Lord!
But then, if Morgoth wasn't the Dark Lord of Middle Earth, then who was? Now, Sauron would be the obvious choice. He was often known as the Dark Lord amongst other things, but we've already discovered one supposed Dark Lord who was in fact no such thing at all, so do not let names deceive you! We must examine the facts. Sauron was certainly a lord, the lord of Mordor in fact. But was Mordor dark? Yes, I hear you say, but how can you be so sure, have you been there yourself? There are few who have entered Mordor and lived to tell the tale, and those who have are no longer available for comment. So we must use the limited knowledge at hand to find the truth. And that is this, what else was Mordor known as? Why! The Land of Shadow!! Shadow, a word signifying a state of semi-darkness. So Mordor was not fully dark? But then, Sauron cannot be a Dark Lord!
There are other candidates though, for the position of Dark Lord of Middle Earth. You need only to look at a map of Middle Earth to spot some rather dark looking places where some lords could be hiding. There's Mirkwood for instance. Now, according to the first-hand account of the traveller Bilbo Baggins that place is particularly dark and murky. Could there be any lords there though? Well, there's Thranduil, but no, he's a King. Hang on a minute! What about Legolas?! Wait, no, false alarm, he's a prince, not a lord. Ah well. Shall we move on? How about under mountains? It's got to be pretty dark down there. And yes! Lots of people live under there! Dwarves in fact! Perhaps Dain is the Dark Lord? And yet no, he too is a King, not a lord.
Perhaps we're looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we should be looking for lords rather than dark? How many people in Middle Earth are lords? There can't be many, it's a pretty prestigious title. How about, Lord Celeborn? He is definitely a lord, and, yes! He lives in a dark place! Now, I know you might think Lothlorien's not very dark, but think about it. Mordor doesn't qualify as dark, it's got all those wide open spaces. But Lothlorien, that's a wood where grow the tallest trees in the world! It's got to be pretty dark under those trees.
Now, you might think it unlikely that Celeborn is the Dark Lord. He is married to the Lady of Light after all. But then, hasn't it always been said that opposites attract? And that is certainly true of polar water molecules, so why not elves as well? Ladies and gentlemen, I think we may have a winner! Celeborn, our very own Dark Lord! And not a bit as evil as his name suggests! Who says darkness is always a bad thing? Not I!
Goodbye - A Word, But What A Hard Word To Say.
I must say that it has been one heck of a busy summer! So much to do, so little spare time … and in exactly one week, university begins again. As I sat at my desk, trying to think of an article to write, I list the possible reasons why the juices are not flowing. Part of it is anxiety, part of it fatigue … and part of it is because my baby brother is going off to university tomorrow and I am going to miss him. Yes, you heard correctly: I am going to miss my brother. The Tormentor, the person who makes fun of me day after day; he’s leaving home now.
Growing up, I was always the one that he came to when he needed help with his chemistry or math or physics problems … he was always the one I went to when the computer malfunctioned. In spite of the silly (but enjoyable) fights that we have, we do have a good relationship - one that I parallel to the friendship between Frodo and Sam. He is a loyal friend and confidante and it really does stink that he’s leaving home. Wow, do I know what Sam felt like when Frodo was leaving for the Grey Havens! Yeesh, this is so not a warm, fuzzy feeling … it’s more like throat-constricting-almost-going-to-cry-but-not-quite type of a feeling. I don’t like it.
Frodo and Sam had been through so much together - from the time they departed the Shire, through Bree and Rivendell - where Sam could have left Frodo and returned to the Shire. Think about it, Sam was not summoned to the Council of Elrond … had he not snuck in, he would not have been aware that Frodo volunteered to destroy the Ring and he wouldn’t have gone with Frodo to Mordor.
as we all know, he chose to go with Frodo … and away they went …
through the Misty Mountains and Lothlorien and Emyn Muil … where once
again, Frodo was prepared to leave without Sam but no way was Sam going
to allow that! On and on they went, through the Marshes, past the Black
Gate and through Shelob's Lair … Sam was a beacon of hope to Frodo,
always encouraging him to keep going. Moving from Canada to the Middle
East then back to Canada was hard on my family - the constant changing
of schools, changing of houses, making new friends … we have both had
our ups and downs in life, but through it all, I’m glad to say, we were
there for each other. I remember this one particular time - I was in
high school in the Middle East and I was talking to my “guidance”
counsellor about applying to Canada for university … she told me that I
had zero chance of getting into a good Canadian school - which is
exactly what an aspiring doctor/ scientist wants to hear, you know?
(Please, note the sarcasm.) I was so ashamed to tell my friends, but I
did tell my brother, and he said that … well, he used quite a lot of
colourful language which cannot be repeated here so let’s just say that
he cheered me up that day … and it’s something that I will forever
Sure we fought … even close friends fight … “Go home, Sam” … but he has always been around when I needed someone to talk to, to whine to, to go to a movie with, to be rescued from the evil, yapping dog … “Leave him alone.” - Sam to Shelob in Cirith Ungol, Return of the King. and now it’s time for him to leave home and, I’ve gotta tell you, it really does suck to have him go … a lot like it sucked for Sam to see Frodo go. Anyway, they say writing is therapy … and I feel a lot better after writing this … so thanks, you guys, for putting up with my rambling … thanks for reading and thanks for caring. Peace out. God Bless.
The Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
This Fortnight: Midnight Flower
Part One - Continued.
Eiliandel looked at Novrion. Novrion looked at Eiliandel. They both looked at their bed. Then they looked back at each other. "I'll just go over here," Novrion broke the silence, and headed over to one side of the bed. Eiliandel paused a moment and then went over to the other side. Novrion watched her for a moment as she sat down on the bed. He couldn't believe that after all the time he'd known her that they were being shy now. It took them quite a while to finally get into their bed, and even longer for sleep to take them.
"And at what time may we expect you, Aragorn?" Palin had
joined Elrond, Celeborn, Galadriel and Aragorn in discussing a few
things and they were now making plans for tomorrow's goings on. The
older elf lord seemed to be hiding something, but he obviously wasn't
about to discuss it on his daughter's wedding day - in fact, he'd
studiously avoided mentioning anything that had to do or was concerning
"A little later, my lord." Aragorn replied, still using the polite way of addressing Palin, "I have something planned mid-morning tomorrow." he smiled to himself.
"Very well then, we shall meet after noon." Elrond said, eyeing Aragorn. The man seemed entirely too pleased with himself.
"Tomorrow, after noon, it is then." Celeborn stood, Galadriel rising to her feet alongside him, "If you will excuse us?" he looked at his son-in-law. Elrond stood catching Celeborn's glance.
"I must leave as well." he said. There were a few more pleasantries exchanged before all present left.
Arwen glanced at Eowyn, as they sat with the ladies of the
court, who were working on various decorations for Aragorn and Arwen's
upcoming wedding. The ladies were eyeing Arwen and whispering amongst
themselves, unnerving the elf to no end. Eowyn had tried to include
Arwen in the conversations, but Arwen had stopped speaking as the
other ladies had spoken over her. Now they were not even bothering to
ask the elf what she thought. Not that it really bothered Arwen - they
were not discussing anything that interested her anyway.
"So, my lady," one of the maids caught Arwen's attention, "Who of us are you planning to have as your ladies in waiting?" she asked boldly.
"My what?" Arwen looked at her startled. She'd never heard of this and she could have sworn that she'd exhausted her father's knowledge on the mannerisms of the race of men.
"Your ladies in waiting. Come, you must have heard of this!" another maid chimed in.
Arwen looked over at Eowyn, but the blonde woman was not looking up, "I cannot say that I have," Arwen chose her words carefully, "Perhaps you would be as so kind as to tell me what they do."
A different maid appeared to roll her eyes before she spoke up, "We would help you, particularly when there is a large function, such as, oh, say, your upcoming wedding. We would help you get dressed and prepared for it. Things such as that."
Arwen stopped herself from making a face. She hardly needed help doing any of that. She'd been in charge of functions in her father's household for centuries - and dressing herself for millennia more than that, "I hardly think that I would need assistance in doing any of those things." Arwen replied truthfully. The maids appeared shocked and there was a raising of voices just as Aragorn entered the room.
"Arwen?" Aragorn's voice broke into the conversation. The ladies immediately fell silent as the king walked all the way into the room, "Arwen, I have a surprise for you." he came to stand near her. Arwen looked up at him and took his outstretched hand. She offered a quick polite nod before happily going with Aragorn - he could have told her he needed her to help with Gimli, who had been their guest for sometime and Arwen had learned firsthand that dwarves drank entirely too much - and she would have been delighted to go with him. Anything to get away from the ladies of the court. He lead her down several walkways before leading her to a doorway where he stopped and turned to look at her. "Close your eyes, Arwen." he said, smiling.
Arwen looked at him, "Why?" she waited for his answer.
"You'll see, you'll see." Aragorn smiled at her and turned her to face the door, holding a hand over her eyes.
"Estel!" Arwen protested as he began to push her forwards, steadying her as she stumbled forward, unused to having her eyes closed. "Estel, where are we going?"
"Somewhere I think you'll like," his cryptic answer came, "Just a little farther." Arwen hung onto the arm he'd wrapped around her waist and gamely tried to keep her balance over the uneven stones of a floor that she couldn't remember having walked across before - not at least, by the feel of it. "All right, open your eyes." He moved his hand from her face. Arwen blinked a few times as bright sun flooded her eyes, but she soon could see. She saw a huge garden, much of it already full of blooming flowers, creeping vines, thick green bushes of various shades and all of it done in a elvish style way.
"Estel!" she gasped, unable to believe what she was seeing.
"This is for you." Aragorn smiled at the look of disbelief on her face. She whirled to face him, completely astounded. Aragorn smiled even more, "I thought you might be uncomfortable in a city such as this." he admitted, watching her as she slowly walked forward to see all of the garden. "Over here is something I thought you'd particularly like." he reached out and took her hand and lead her in a different direction. He stopped a while later, Arwen having said nothing, too engrossed in looking at all the had been planted to be able to pay much attention to where he was leading her. A stone bench, carved simply, with ivy already growing all around it - up and down the legs of it and weaving and wrapping it's way along the contours of it, sat in the midst of three empty beds of dirt, with various plants, still in wooden buckets, lining the walkway. "I thought that perhaps you'd like to plant them the way you want them." Aragorn said indicating to the flower beds and the plants waiting to be planted.
"Oh, Estel," Arwen turned around, and wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace, "This is so wonderful." She was smiling so happily that Aragorn couldn't imagine ever seeing her do anything less.
"Go ahead," he said simply, letting her go and facing her in the direction of the plants. Arwen gave him another smile before going forward and beginning to arrange the flowers. Aragorn watched her for a while, and then headed inside to take care of all that he knew was waiting for him. He rounded the corner to go back the way he'd came and nearly ran into Elrond. The elf said nothing, merely clapped him on the shoulder and then watched him go.
"Quel amrun." Novrion said quietly, as he saw Eiliandel's
eyes open. He'd been watching her sleep, and since they had been up for
most of the night, he had been watching her sleep since the sun had
risen, though it now had to be close to afternoon.
"Quel amrun," she smiled sleepily, and reached out to touch his face. Novrion smiled at her and reached out to move a thick strand of her thick dark hair aside, letting him see her brilliant eyes.
"I cannot believe it," Novrion said suddenly, looking at her.
"Cannot believe what?" Eiliandel asked, looking at her husband's face.
"Believe that I'm here with you." Novrion smiled at her, pulling her closer. Eiliandel sighed and curled up closer against him. Novrion had been thinking of suggesting that they get up, but he changed his mind, looking at her peaceful face. He was more than content to lie here with her all day than get up.
Arwen dusted the dirt off her hands and headed back inside.
She had just spent several hours planting all the plants that Aragorn
had given her to fill the empty flower beds with. She was so happy and
she wanted to show him what she'd done with what he had given her. She
checked his study, as she knew how to get there, but couldn't find him.
Shrugging to herself, she headed towards the main hall where she had
been with Eowyn and the other ladies of the court. She heard their
voices and headed in, knowing she could ask one of them where the
meeting hall was, since she did not know the way. She saw Eowyn, who's
back was turned as she lit candles to give the room more light. She was
about to say something, when she heard the ladies speak up, evidently
not having seen her in the doorway.
"I don't know what he sees in her," one woman was saying.
"I know," another agreed, "She is so simple seeming - she didn't speak much to us and she didn't know what ladies in waiting are. Honest, I wonder if she is no more than a pretty face."
"Speaking of which, I saw the guest list," a third spoke up, "Guess who isn't attending this wedding."
"Oh, who?" another voice chimed in.
"Her own mother! Can you believe it? Her father's in attendance, but nowhere does it say her mother will be coming," the third woman spoke again.
"Wonder why," the first spoke up.
"She probably doesn't approve of her daughter marrying a man! Honestly, why ever would an elf want to marry a mortal anyway?" another woman said scornfully, "She probably can't get any of her own kind to marry her." Arwen stood frozen in the doorway, unable to believe what she was hearing. She knew she had not been talkative to them, but she did not think it warranted this. Memories of her mother began to flood her mind and tears slowly started running down her face as her memories came back in full force.
At that moment, Eowyn turned around and caught a glimpse of Arwen standing in the doorway, completely unnoticed by the ladies in the room, "Arwen?" she breathed, suddenly wondering how long the elf had been standing there. The ladies of the court froze and all of them turned to look to the gentle figure in the doorway. Arwen looked at them for a split second before whirling on her heel and rushing off, the sound of a muffled sob as she vanished. "Arwen!" Eowyn shouted. But it was too late, the elf was gone. Eowyn turned her angry gaze on the ladies, "How could you!?! It is bad enough to speak behind someone's back, but she was right there!" she glared. Without another word she hurried off to try to find Arwen.
Last week's answers: An Elven prince was smitten by her beauty, Issue 29; A hobbit. Issue 26.