Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 51, Volume 3, April 1st, 2005.
Editors: Perian, Xara.
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Columnists: Lady Morrigan Shadow, Padfoot, Cerridwen.
Contributor(s): Eowyn Evenstar, Frodo's Friend, Kitty.
Find past archives or
contribute at http://inili.iwarp.com/
Merry - Spymaster Imposter?
Everyone who's ever seen or read Lord of the
Rings will remember Meriadoc Brandybuck. That merry young hobbit with a
sharp mind and wit to match. Isn't it a funny coincidence his name
matches his personality? Bit of a strange coincidence too. Could it be,
that the fact that Merry is actually quite merry, is no coincidence?
Could Merry Brandybuck be an alias? "Impossible!" I hear you say, but
don't be too hasty. Let us consider this notion a moment before we
dismiss it. If Merry were an imposter, our first question would be,
why? What possible reason could he have? A spy for the enemy? Not
likely, considering Merry actually helps the Ringbearer on numerous
occasions and at the opportune moment to reveal his treachery, when he
is kidnapped by the uruk-hai, he does nothing but endures much pain and
hardship, not to mention almost certain death instead. Merry was no
double agent. So what then? Well, if he was not spying for the enemy,
could he be spying for the forces of good?
Now, here is what I am proposing. This notion too would be completely ludicrous, had Merry not himself confessed to running a secret spy-ring observing the Bagginses. I am referring of course, to the famous conspiracy to which Peregrin Took, Fredegar Bolger and Samwise Gamgee are recruited. So let us look at what we know of Merry Brandybuck from the beginning, with this new angle.
The first mention we see of Merry is aged nineteen after Bilbo Baggins's famous vanishing act, when he is helping Frodo at Bag End. It is soon mentioned that Merry is one of Frodo's closest friends and often visits Bag End, or goes tramping around the Shire with him, along with Pippin. Now for Pippin this does not seem so suspicious, he only lives a short distance from Bag End after all, but Merry? He supposedly lives at Brandy Hall, which, as demonstrated in later chapters, is a good two days walk to Bag End on foot! Is it really possible that Merry would go to visit Frodo quite so often when the distance was so great? Or could it be, that the reason Merry visits so often is that he is not the son of Saradoc and does not want Frodo to find out? Perhaps he does not even live in Buckland at all.
Let us consider this new scenario. If Merry wasn't the only son of the Master of Buckland, then who was he? Well, wouldn't you know, it was around the time that Merry first appears that Gandalf first began to have his suspicions about Bilbo's ring. Could he have recruited a bright young hobbit to keep an eye on things while he was away? It could not be a hobbit from The Shire, someone would surely recognise him. But there are hobbits aplenty in Bree. And Merry certainly does seem to have a good knowledge of the lands surrounding Bree, the Old Forest for instance, knowledge of which he accredits to his Buckland upbringing, but was it?
It seems to me quite likely that Merry, real name unknown, was in fact Gandalf's bright young prodigy, who infiltrated the Shire under a false alias and at once began to collect information. Let us remember just how much he and his fellow conspirators knew of the Ring by the time Frodo arrived at Crickhollow (For details see 'A Conspiracy Unmasked', Chapter 5, The Fellowship of the Ring). There had to be more to that than chance encounters and lucky guesses. The conspiracy has all the hallmarks of professionalism. It is quite likely that Merry's fellow conspirators had no idea of his real identity, and truly believed themselves to be acting merely in concern for their friend, indeed they were, for Merry the spy had no malicious intent, and there is no reason to believe that he didn't return Frodo's feelings of friendship. But perhaps it was more than chance that brought the two together. Perhaps it was more than chance that Merry was able to gather so much information on the Ring. Perhaps Meriadoc was no Brandybuck, but a clever hobbit spymaster, working for the forces of good.
Did Merry Have Bugs Up His Pants?
With thanks to Perian.
[What did I do? -ed.]
A stupid question you might think, but did he? "Of course
not!" you might say, but would you be right? What proof do you have
that he did not? "Well, what proof do you have that he did?" I hear you
say. A just question. There is no proof at this point in time either
that he did, or that he didn't. The only way to tell for sure would be
to make a first hand observation. However as soon as he got wind of
what I was attempting to find out and how, the young hobbit in question
scampered off and I was not quick enough to catch him. "Damnit, so I
guess we'll never know..." Not true! There are other ways of finding
out. It would certainly not provide conclusive evidence, only
observation could do that, but it'd be a start.
"Where is this evidence of which you speak?" Patience, patience! I was just getting to that! The evidence my friends, comes from Tolkien's account of the War of the Ring. I am of course referring to the Lord of the Rings. For, having been contemplating the very question you see in bold above this article (I had recently observed a photograph of young Meriadoc which looked suspiciously as though he did have bugs in his breeches) I came across a certain passage in Tolkien's second volume; The Two Towers. "Merry groaned. Seizing him roughly, Ugluk pulled him into a sitting position, and tore the bandage off his head. Then he smeared the wound with some dark stuff out of a small wooden box. Merry cried out and struggled wildly."
"What evidence is that?!" you might ask. "Surely he's squirming because of the stuff Ugluk put in his cut?" Do you really think so? Do you really think that Merry would struggle when the kindly orc was healing him? Surely not! I say surely, there must be some other explanation for his distress. And here is my hypothesis; Merry, having on some occasion picked up some nasty little bugs which decided to reside in his pants during his travels in the wild, found to his consternation and embarrassment that he was unable to persuade them to leave. Naturally this would cause him much uncomfortability, however not being able to admit his sorry predicament to his fellows, he instead became accustomed to hiding it from them. However, having been woken so suddenly by Ugluk he forgot and "...struggled wildly..." or rather, squirmed wildly, because of the bugs!
This one piece of evidence alone would not be enough to prove anything. However this is not the only time in which he is recorded to behave strangely, behave in fact as though he has bugs up his pants, after being woken suddenly. When he was under the influence of the Black Breath in Bree and Nob from the Prancing Pony discovered and woke him, Nob reported afterwards that "...as soon as I had roused him, he got up and ran back here like a hare." For what possible reason might he have done that? He was not scared of the Wraiths, they were already gone! Could it be that in fact Merry's masquerade was down from the combined shock of being woken and the incapacitating influence of the black breath, and that he was in fact springing up and running because of the bugs residing in his breeches?
It could very well be the case. And this is not all that I have to say on the subject. I have in fact pin-pointed the time in which I think the wretched bugs first crawled into poor Merry's pants. When Merry is trapped inside Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil observes; "...Merry's feet sticking out - the rest had already been drawn further inside...His legs began to kick." There are many bugs inside of trees, and probably especially nasty ones inside an especially nasty tree. Could it be that whilst trapped inside the tree, Merry began to experience the strange and horrid sensation of bugs crawling into his pants, and so, as Tom Bombadil observed, began to kick?
Until we have caught the little hobbit, we'll never know for certain, but the evidence is too startling to ignore. Did Merry have bugs up his pants? At this stage I can only answer; it's possible.
Reviewed by Ivy
What do you get when you mix a plane crash, a scary monster, and Dominic Monaghan? Lost, that's what. Lost is a new show on ABC, documenting the lives of survivors of a plane crash. There's only a few problems: The giant, unseen monster tearing down trees in the forest, the French lady who's been on the island for sixteen years, and of course, the 'others' who keep kidnapping people. If you want to find out what happens next? Well, you'll just have to watch it!
This Fortnight: If the Light Should Ever Fade
"Behind you!" Elrohir warned Meluiwen as they tried to keep Haradion's forces from entering. Spinning on her heel and dodging a swipe, Meluiwen brought her sword around and dispatched of the threat with quick reflexes. Elrohir lunged forward, stabbing a warrior that had darted behind her, and narrowly missing getting stabbed himself as another blade swung over his head. The two continued, darting in and out of the fray, pushing Haradion's forces back, trying to buy Aragorn enough time to get Arwen to safety.
Across the building, their fight was being mimicked as Elladan and Ciryawen held down their end of the stronghold. The two had a different strategy, with Ciryawen blocking attacks as Elladan rapidly shot arrows into the warrior's midst. Ciryawen darted forward, swinging her sword forward as she pushed back the warriors that had gotten too far forward for her likes. Elladan firing off several arrows into the area she'd just vacated. The pattern continued, with Ciryawen continually pressing the forces back and Elladan removing the threat as fast as he could. He knew the arrows wouldn't last forever and as sure, they ran out quickly. Arming himself with his sword, he joined Ciryawen, as she fought to keep her ground.
"You cannot defeat me!" Haradion hissed
at Eiliandel as he slowly circled her. Eiliandel responded by causing
the stone floor under his feet to erupt in a jumble of stones, throwing
him off balance just as a blast of wind knocked him over. He glowered
at her as he climbed to his feet, grabbing his staff. Eiliandel was an
enchantress, not a wizard, so she did not own a staff with which to
defend herself from the onslaught of magic he launched.
She was blown back, stopping only when she met the far wall with extreme force. Realizing what he'd done, Eiliandel regained her footing nimbly, knowing not to remain in one place. Sure enough, as soon as she'd moved a large stone impacted where she'd been. Grabbing a load of dust from the air, Eiliandel blew it in his face, hoping to earn herself time. Yelling in rage, Haradion, clawed at his eyes, leaving her unchecked. Moving herself farther away from him, Eiliandel reached safety just as Haradion's eyesight returned. Now seething in anger with her, their battle began in earnest, the entire stronghold being shook continually as they attempted to gain the upper hand.
"ESTEL!" Arwen gave a shout as
the entire room began shaking. They moved closer to the door that
they'd been trying to break down, Aragorn shielding Arwen from the
crumbling stones falling from the ceiling.
Pressing themselves against the door, they avoided the stones falling in the centre of the room, "Arwen! Move away from the door! Come this way!" Aragorn shouted as he saw a large crack developing in the ceiling. She moved, just as the stones above the door gave way, sending up a dust cloud as they hit the floor. As it settled, Aragorn was able to make out a large hole above the door, large enough for them to fit through. Grabbing Arwen, he pulled her towards the hole, picking her up so that she could reach the edge of the hole. Once she'd found a hold he watched as she hauled herself through the hole and then disappeared as she went down the other side. Landing with the legendary grace of her people, Arwen waited for Aragorn to appear as she struggled to keep her footing as the stronghold shook so hard that Arwen was sure it would collapse. Aragorn quickly arrived through the hole and, making sure he had a firm grasp on her arm, they ran down the stairs, trying to find the twins, Meluiwen, Ciryawen and Legolas, as it was not hard to find Eiliandel.
Elrohir finished off the last
warrior and turned to Meluiwen. Nodding to him wordlessly, the two
looked towards Elladan and Ciyrawen to find them ending their battle as
well. Legolas had assisted both twins by firing arrows from his
position near the middle of the back hall. He gave them a nod as they
looked towards him. He had been trying assist Eiliandel, but had been
unable to get close enough to her. Thurin came running down the hall
suddenly, gasping for breath.
"Where are Aragorn and Arwen?" Legolas demanded as he came to a stop near the elf.
"They've been detained." Thurin laughed maniacally as he pushed past, running towards the opening across from Legolas.
"Meluiwen! Ciryawen!" Legolas shouted. The two looked up and, understanding, gave chase, managing to get in front of him. Attacking from both sides, the two drove him back, having to dart back a few steps as he pulled a sword out of his robes, trying to catch them by surprise. He single mindedly began to move towards the space between the two, obviously trying to break up the defense they'd set up. He didn't watch behind him as Legolas lunged in, attacking from behind. Elrohir and Elladan had remained at their posts thankfully, as a few remaining guards tried again to get in. The sounds of four separate battles filled the air, punctuated by the groaning of the stones as the stronghold was rattled to it's roots.
Painfully standing, Eiliandel glared at Haradion, her face and body battered from holding off his attacks. Haradion, who for his lot, had earned himself a bloody nose by Eiliandel launching innumerable stones when he'd last managed to hit her, circled still, weaker than before, but more still more powerful that Gandalf himself. Eiliandel had felt her power slipping as she'd tried to fight him, defend herself and still hold the fog and wolves away from Minas Tirith. Knowing what she had to do to at least hold her own in the battle, Eiliandel sent a mental warning to both Novrion and Nenwen as she let the defences drop, "Wake up!".
Novrion sat up in bed, having
heard his wife's voice shout, "Wake up!" loud enough that she could
have been standing next to him. Rolling out of bed and grabbing a
sword, he wrenched open the door to his room, just in time to see
Nenwen come running around the corner, her braid swinging behind her
and her tiny bare feet making no sound as she ran towards her father.
Grabbing her, Novrion settled her on his hip as he began to run towards
Eomer's rooms, having every intention of waking him. He rounded to
corner to see Eowyn walking back towards her rooms, she turned as he
slowed to a jog, "What are you doing?" she gave him a quizzical look.
"Eiliandel sent a warning," Novrion answered, just as Eowyn made a face, "What, what is it? he asked quickly.
"Nothing. Just that the fog is back." Eowyn said.
"It is what?" Novrion spun to look out the window, "No......" he breathed, his face draining of colour.
Eowyn looked at him, "Why would........oh!" she realized what he'd thought. Eiliandel had promised to keep the city safe, and hold the fog and wolves back. The fog had returned, no doubt the wolves wouldn't be far behind, which left the question of what had happened to Eiliandel.
"Wake Faramir and rouse the guards!" Novrion ordered, forcing himself to concentrate on the present, "Gather Eladrion and Neva and get to the safer levels of the palace!" he tossed the last command over his shoulder as he continued on to Eomer's rooms, not wanting to think of what must have happened to his wife and not daring to even say anything while his daughter was present.
Thurin had not been lying when
he'd said he was the pride of Talath's men but now he was having a hard
time holding off even one of the elves.
Meluiwen and Ciryawen had taken to attacking continuously from all sides, never holding still, darting in and out as fast as the breeze, only moving in when Legolas needed them to. Legolas for his part remained in Thurin's reach, challenging him directly, letting Meluiwen and Ciryawen's mere presence unnerve Thurin.
"Where are they?" Legolas asked for the last time, losing his patience.
"You'll never find them!" Thurin said. Knowing that they were short on time, Legolas began to move back, intending to let the exhausted traitor remain in the custody of the two women, so that he could find Arwen and Aragorn. In exchange for Legolas's kindness, Thurin chose to attack, sealing his fate as Legolas had no choice but to defend himself. Aragorn and Arwen ran up just as Thurin was finished off by a deft movement of Legolas's sword.
"Legolas," Aragorn said as he approached, "Where is Eiliandel?" he asked just as fireball issued from another room. The twins jogged up, having defended the exits, and removed all threats. Elladan and Elrohir moved in towards their sister protectively as Aragorn put his cloak around her shoulders as they headed towards the flames. Arriving in time to hear Haradion's taunts.
"Novrion," Eomer said quietly as they stood near the guards, having alerted the city and the palace of the renewed threat, "I am sure that she is fine," he tried to reassure the elf. Novrion's large blue eyes registered nothing but sadness as he looked up, saying nothing. They returned to their duty, guarding the palace from wolves as guards patrolled the city's wall, determined to keep the threat of attack to a minimum.
Reeling from the last attack,
Eiliandel stumbled to her knees, determined not to give up. "My, my,"
Haradion taunted from the safety of behind his staff, "You're just like
your mother aren't you? She refused to accept defeat, and I believe you
witnessed her fate." he gave an evil grin as Eiliandel's face flickered
in pain from the memory. At the door, Arwen winced in sympathy as the
other elves looked on in pity for the enchantress.
"I hope you do not mind sharing your mother's fate," he taunted, "And to think, you too, will be leaving behind a daughter. I hope for her sake, you taught her magic."
The threat to her daughter was too much, turning to the door, she looked at the others gathered there, "Go. Don't look back." she ordered them, as she began to move towards Haradion.
He looked at her in contempt, "You couldn't save your mother, you will be unable to help your daughter and you cannot even defend yourself, what makes you think you can fight me?". Arwen and the others looked on in shock as Eiliandel gave a sad smile, and suddenly began to pull the stronghold down in on herself. The stones falling into the room with such force they cracked as they landed.
"Arwen!" Aragorn pulled her back, as they moved out of the crumbling doorway.
"Eiliandel!" Legolas shouted as he watched as she and Haradion continued to fight amid the falling stones. Eiliandel flung a fireball Haradion's direction as he shoved her into the plummeting rocks. She could not hear him over the clatter of rock on rock, nor the shuddering of the stronghold as Haradion tried to force the rocks to fall on her.
"Come." Elrohir said softly.
"She's ..." Legolas shook his head as he watched her.
Elrohir looked mournfully in her direction, "She knows. Leave." Elrohir and Legolas were forced to run as the wall was shattered by one of the two magic users and the stones were hurled towards the combatants. Legolas's last glimpse of the woman he had sworn to protect was of her dodging a rock bigger than her entire frame.
Aragorn kept a tight grip on
Arwen's hand as they ran towards the exit. The other elves followed,
dodging the stones. Even the far wall of the stronghold was being
pulled in as Eiliandel and Haradion doomed each other to their fates.
They made it out just as the entire complex collapsed, the sharp sounds
of stones landing filling the night air. They looked back, gasping for
breath as the tried to grasp the fate the Eiliandel had chosen. Such
sadness marred the elves features that even the toughest warrior would
have been swayed to pity.
Legolas simply stood there, his hands hanging limply at his sides, "I promised," he said softly.
"Promised?" Aragorn asked as tears began running down Arwen's face. He struggled not to cry as well, trying to remain strong for her, even though inside he was crying out.
"Novrion. He asked me to take care of her. I promised and now I have failed." Legolas turned his face away. Meluiwen, Ciryawen and the twins stood off to the side, mourning among themselves as Aragorn held Arwen. For how long they stood there, hoping for a sign of the enchantress, no one knew but by morning, Eiliandel had made no appearance.