i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:

Your source for Lord of the Rings News, Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.


Issue 53, Volume 3, May 14th, 2005.

Editors: Perian, Xara. 
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Columnists: Lady Morrigan Shadow, Padfoot, Cerridwen.
Archivist: Ivy.
Contributor(s): Éowyn Evenstar, Fan, Kitty.

In this issue: School Daze.
Mordor House of Pain by Xara.
English 227 by Perian.
Denethor's Demise - Madness or Exam Nerves? by Xara.
Vampires in the Corridors by Perian.

In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Ring-Binder: Of Frodo and His Watermelon by Xara.
Xara's Random Fandom.
Ask Samwise.
Tolkienish, provided by Perian.


Mordor House of Pain
By Xara.

  When I first heard we were doing a school theme for the newsletter I was delighted! Surely I would have no problem getting inspiration, I've been going to school for the best part of my life after all. But then came the thought; how? How on earth do you relate Middle Earth to school? School is a horrible place, and Middle Earth is marvellous! School is gruelling and Middle Earth is amazing. Well, if you think of all of Middle Earth then yes, it is, but what happens if you think smaller? Middle Earth isn't all good, some parts are all bad. But where? Where in Middle Earth could I find a place like school? And then I realised; of course! Mordor!...
  The Fellowship of the Ring shivered in the dark, dank dungeon of Barad-dûr, filled with horror at their capture, revulsion at their surroundings and dread of what was to come. They knew they could not escape torture; long, slow and painful. Even Aragorn, arguably the bravest of all the company, looked nervous, wishing his place and Gandalf's had been exchanged; better to be dead. In the corner, Pippin began to cry pitifully.
  Suddenly with a groan the dungeon door opened and a grinning, stooping orc, cackling evilly to himself, appeared in the doorway. With a harsh laugh he yanked on the chain to which all their feet were attached with manacles, and the eight of them fell over onto the floor. The orc laughed again as their struggled to their feet, then led them down a dingy corridor into a room. The room was of course filthy, with naught but one tiny window in the corner through which grey light streamed, eight singular desk with chairs. The fellowship looked at one another, somewhat confused.
  "Si'down!" growled the orc at them menacingly, brandishing a whip. They sat. He left the room, his cackling gradually disappearing into nothingness as he made his way back to the dungeons.
  "Well," said Pippin, drying his eyes slightly and looking hopeful, "This isn't so bad."
  "WHAT did you say?" came a sharp bark from the back of the room, they all turned in surprise to see a bony, tall and very stern looking old woman marching purposefully to the front, where there sat another larger desk. "I said," she repeated as she reached the front, halted and spun around abruptly to face them, eyes glinting menacingly, "What did you say?"
  "J-Just that, this doesn't seem too bad..." Pippin stammered, shrinking down in his seat, if that was possible.
  "Ah," she said crisply. "You think you've got off quite leniently for trying to destroy the Dark Lord, do you? You think your time here in Barad-dûr will be a picnic, a holiday, DO YOU?!!" She roared at him.
  "N-N-No..." said Pippin, nose disappearing below the desk level.
  "Good. We promised you the slowest and most spectacular torture our arts can contrive, and that's exactly what you're going to get! Welcome, hobbits, men, dwarf and elf, to Barad-dûr Institute of Education, the finest torture facility we have currently running." She smiled at them all. "Each and every one of you will undergo the very worst physical, mental and emotional torture. Over the next year, you will all contemplate suicide, and if you do not, YOU'RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH!" She roared suddenly, striding towards Boromir and whapping him over the head with a heavy metal rod. He winced and raised a hand to rub it but she slapped his hand, then returned to the front.
  "For six hours every day," she continued, "You will be expected to learn at a faster rate than any being has yet achieved, for reasons you cannot understand, in ways which are in their very nature illogical. You will suffer as I constantly remind you of your imminent exams and the ways in which I will punish you if you fail. You will receive utterly unreasonable amounts of homework and be given no time to do it in. You will be crippled under the weight of the textbooks which I am about to issue you, and at the end of it all, you will sit the worst exam my sick and twisted mind can contrive, utterly irrelevant to the work you have been doing all year. But don't get too comfortable. Because at the end of this year, when you think it's all over, you'll be wrong! Because you'll have to do it all again next year, only it'll be even HARDER! My name is Mrs Cane, welcome to my class. Let us begin!"


English 227
By Perian.
  You've watched the movies. Good start on the pathway to Tolkienian enlightenment. You've read the books. Congratulations! That's was a step that many refuse to take. Wasn't it a wonderful experience? You've been a subscriber to this newsletter, perhaps even for the full two years (almost) of its existence. Good one. There are few such free sources of Tolkien discussion and information, sayeth Perian the Boastful. But it's true. Where else on this planet are you going to read about the histories of obscure swords or the questionable habits of wizards in a single publication? (If you have an answer to that please submit to the 'Reviews' column.)
  You've reached a plateau. Other than actually contributing to this newsletter (which we highly recommend) how more Tolkien obsessed can you get? Where in Middle-earth can you go for new information?
  Why, Middle-earth, of course. New Middle-earth, that is. Right here in Wellington, New Zealand.
  I'm sure that many of you have gone through the process of picking a tertiary school, and know full well the difficulties involved. Recently this duty fell upon a friend of mine. For the duration of this anecdote let's call he- er, him Perry. Perry was never too terribly fond of school, but his life was going in the tightening circles often characteristic of being flushed down a toilet. It was a matter of "jump into the paper (a prospectus leaflet, probably) being offered by a rare, bug-loving entity, or sink". So he jumped. The trouble is that he was then tipped unceremoneously onto a small mountain of leaflets and virtual fliers which all had the same basic message: "I'm ready and willing to accept your (variable) tuition fees; Pick me!"
  So he began to wriggle through the pile, trying to eliminate all but one. The first elimination was easy - it had to be in an English speaking country. Or an elvish speaking one, but Perry wasn't so lucky at finding those. The second was easy, too - it had to be, with some stretching of the imagination, affordable. There go the European options. It had to encourage independent thought. Bloody hell, that eliminated University entirely. But wait! No, here's one... looks pretty good to our Perry. Hey, it's in Wellington! The tuition isn't bad (damn it, why aren't people paid for their time learning their trade as they used to be?), and they have a class in WHAT?
  Perry did a doubletake.
  They're kidding. They have to be. 22 points toward an English Major for a class on Tolkien and his medieval sources? Study and homework of what our focal fantasy-fiend studies every day anyway?
  What Perry did not realize is that in order to get into this class sh- er, he, would have to spend a great deal of time away from both Tolkien and his indomitable fans. But that is another story.
  And so, good Tolkienists, there is hope yet that a greater (or lesser, depending on the content of the course, but our Perry has great hope, as it has been whispered that one of the key lecturers was educated at Oxford by the master himself) level of appreciation of the works of Tolkien can be achieved. If you are suffering from lack of Tolkien-related things to do with your life (hey, maybe it could develop into an entire professional field; Tolkien-trained scholars invading every school!) you can always fly (I recommend Gwaihir, as the airfare is otherwise rather outrageous) down to Wellywood for a bit of accredited intellectual perusal. Beowulf, the Saga of the Volsungs and Rings, who could ask for more?


Denethor's Demise - Madness or Exam Nerves?
By Xara.

  We all know the sad tale of the end of the life of Denethor, Steward of Gondor. During the seige of Minas Tirith he took himself, and his ailing son down into the crypts of the old Kings of Gondor and attempted to burn both himself and his son Faramir alive, however succeeded only in burning himself. But what could prompt this man to such a violent act? Some say it was madness, and not without reason. But could there be more behind it than just that the old steward had finally lost all his marbles? To examine this, we must first examine what happened in the days leading up to the suicide of Denethor.
  We first meet him when Gandalf and Pippin arrive in Minas Tirith as war with Mordor brews fast. There is serious doubt that Minas Tirith can withstand the force of Mordor, and in an attempt to lessen the force that will come to siege Minas Tirith, Denethor sends out a company, led by Faramir, to defend Osgiliath. The company is sorely defeated, and Faramir wounded, perhaps mortally. Denethor withdraws to his tower, and it is later discovered that in that time he consulted the palantir, and saw the full extent of Sauron's forces. The next day, he burns himself to death on a pyre, Faramir only narrowly escaping the same fate.
  Sound like madness? Yes, but caused by what? I believe it is quite plain that Denethor's madness was caused by a thing that plagues us all: exam nerves. But where was the exam? Well, it wasn't an exam as such, more of a war, so to speak. You see, everyone gets exam nerves, it's only natural. But what causes exam nerves to spiral out of control and cause people to attempt to burn themselves on pyres is being unprepared for an exam. The same principle which applies to exams can also be applied to warfare, and so you see, what Denethor really had here was a bad case of exam nerves.
  Think about it, with the coming of Gandalf Denethor realised Mordor's forces mustn't be far behind, he decided, rather like a student will decide in the days preceding his/her exam, to maybe do something about it. So he tries a little light studying; sends out his son to defend Osgiliath, and fails miserably. He begins to realise that this might turn out to be harder than he thought, and that maybe he should have started studying/defending, a little earlier. Now frantic, Denethor withdraws to survey the situation with his palantir, much like a student will skim through the contents of their textbook the night before an exam, making a rough estimate of just how much they have to learn. Realising there is more here than he can possibly cope with in one night, Denethor decides, as many stressed-out students and leaders of nations alike had done before him, that death would be the better option and promptly takes action to bring it about.
  This, my friends, is a classic case of exam nerves, prompted by ill-preparedness. You might think, "Well, exams are bad, but surely they're not that bad...?" As a senior student I can attest to the hysteria and complete loss of rational thought exam nerves can bring about, and Denethor was facing something a million times worse than a three hour maths paper! Imagine what kind of horrors that could bring on? If you think about what could be the consequences of someone not properly preparing for being besieged by the armies of Mordor you will probably find yourself imagining something that is not dissimilar to what actually happened. Denethor was indeed driven mad my friends, but by exam nerves.

Vampires in the Corridors
By Perian.
  School and creativity, as most of our readers will know from experience, do not go hand in hand. As a matter of fact, the former can have an extremely detrimental effect on the latter. Need proof? Ah, well, there you go. Needing proof in and of itself is a form of restricting creativity, ensuring that it stays within the boundaries of actuality. I'll humour you this once, though. Think back on the history of this newsletter, if you know it. Are the most empty months not usually when exams begin to loom (the drop off of contributions begins right around now and lasts for a month or two) and when school starts up again, whereas it becomes almost too large to send when school holidays alternately hit the hemispheres? Yes, that is exactly how it happens.
  More than simply limiting writers' time, which jobs, friends and family often do with equal force, school dampens the spark of genius, quenches creativity, sucks the ink directly out of the narrative pen.
  Please pardon me while I go bang my head off a writer's block.
  Oww... For the record, that took a good two weeks of whacking before my mind was adequately muddled to write creatively once more. Now, what was my intention for this article? Ah, yes! Now I remember. Ahem.
  So, how is it that two such diverse and incongruous subjects, namely school and creative writing, could combine so flawlessly in Tolkien? The greatest writer of the last century ... No, that's not simply a random sweeping statement; one of my lecturers, who by the way does not like fantasy, harped on about how the best selling book of the 20th century was The Lord of the Rings, apparently not knowing it is three books in most cases ... was not only taught in a school, he bloody well worked in one! That's right. Professor Tolkien. How did that fluke of nature happen?
  So I did a bit of local research. It turns out that is not such a random occurrence after all. At least three of my professors, though not so famous, are published authors. One is even a respected poet, which is a rather difficult thing to be these days. Trust me, I've tried it. That would seem to indicate that professors are creative but students are not. What's going on here? We're the ones who are closest to imagination-filled childhoods! What good are days of squatting in the sidewalk while contemplating the lives of bugs or making up fictitious worlds in which our paper dolls can live when such spontaneous genius disappears with the coming of 'higher education'? It's enough to make one want to stamp her feet and pout. What do the professors have that we do not?
  Our creativity.
  Ooh! I have it, I have it! Maybe, just maybe, Professors are evil, blood-sucking vampires, but they do it to the ideas of people rather than their plasma. Maybe they gather so many young minds into those bright, dingy halls for the sole purpose of emptying the unsuspecting heads to fill their own. Maybe those secret staff rooms and gravelly basement corridors (*cough* of course I haven't been trying to sneak into such places... often) hide even more secret passageways to labyrinths full of proto-scientific equipment. Maybe the drugs which are so highly promoted are in fact to leave students more susceptible to thought-snatching. Maybe Universities were invented by some poor excuse for a wannabe writer who never had a single idea of his own. And perhaps Tolkien, Professor at one of the most well-known universities in the world, with access to so many bright, fresh minds, had sources of which we will never know. And maybe the Three is Company to The House of Tom Bombadil scenes were thought up during a mass discovery of, shall we say, pure hobbit fare.
  So, now, armed with garlic and the holy water of the bucket fountain, I shall depart once more.
  Happy exams everyone.

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
Reviewed by Éowyn Evenstar.

   Yet another hilarious book by Terry Pratchett!  In this book Agnes Nitt renames herself and travels to Ankh-Morpork to escape from the meddling witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg and finds herself performing at the Opera House.  The opportunity is not all it makes out to be though for the ghost that resides there has started killing people!  She's not exactly center stage either for she sings the lead role while a much more....*cough* petite girl mouths the notes.  Granny and Nanny are not to be dissuades that easily for after all what's hundreds of miles to a witch?  While the witches make there way to Ankh-Morpork and Agnes tries to solve the mystery you will find yourself laughing every step of the way.

This Fortnight: Ring-Binder: Of Frodo and His Watermelon
By Xara.

One folder to rule them all
One folder to bind them
One folder to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them
In the deep vaults of Minas Tirith, a thousand years after the War of the Ring a series of scrolls were discovered. They contained tales set around about the time of the War of the Ring, and carbon dating has revealed they were in fact written shortly afterwards. However the most mysterious thing of all about these stories was that they were all found together, bound, in a ring-binder folder.
What here follows is a fragment of one story found in the ring-binder collection, entitled;
Of Frodo and His Watermelon
  The hobbits struggled up the hill with the watermelon in toe. Not that the watermelon had any toes of course. He didn't even have feet. Or legs for that matter. Or arms. Limbs of any description basically the watermelon was bereft of. Nevertheless, the watermelon followed, being pulled in a large sack.
  The hobbits paused in their journey and tried to remember why they were pulling the watermelon up the hill. This was more difficult than they had expected, and required large amounts of ale and bread and cheese to be swallowed before the youngest of the party, a Boffin, remembered that they were in fact professional watermelon deliverers, and that this particular watermelon they had been instructed to deliver to one Master Baggins who lived in a hole at the top of the hill.
  This revelation was followed by much rejoicing amongst the company of hobbits and more ale was called for, and presented with many a cheer and a "well done!" to the young Boffin. In fact, all the party had soon consumed so much ale that they forgot once again why it was that they were taking the watermelon up the hill, as well as the fact that they actually had a watermelon in their possession at all, not to mention why they had brought so much ale with them on what was supposed to be a relatively simple journey from the bottom of the hill to the top, complicated only by the fact that they had to bring the watermelon with them.
  However, seeing as they had forgotten all three of these things (and where the ale was concerned, nobody had really known to begin with) they were untroubled by them, and continued to drink ale for the rest of the afternoon, until they eventually began to forget all kinds of things, like the fact that they were in fact hobbits and not sailors, that they were on a hillside and not on a ship in the middle of the ocean, and that some of them were wearing kilts.
  So it was that Frodo Baggins was awoken from his mid-afternoon nap to a great cry of "ABANDON SHIP!" from outside his window. He jumped out of bed in alarm and ran to the window to look out, where he discovered six drunken hobbits drowning madly on his front lawn. The fact that there was no water did nothing to dampen their spirits, nor indeed their waistcoats.
  "What on Middle Earth are you doing?" said Frodo, genuinely alarmed. The hobbits looked up from the grass and cried out in relief.
  "A ship! A ship! We're saved!"
  "This is no ship! It's my home, and you're on my front lawn! What are you doing?!"
  "No ship!?! Nooo we're all going to die!" Frodo frowned as a fair haired young hobbit swam over to him with difficulty and clutched at his sleeve. "Tell...tell my Daisy I...love her..." he said, before collapsing in a drunken stupor in the bushes. Frodo watched as the other hobbits began to pass out on his lawn, sighed, and climbed out the window, trudging around the side of the hole to fetch the wheelbarrow.
  "Mr Frodo!" Suddenly a voice came from behind. Frodo turned around to see Sam huffing and puffing up the garden path. "I heard loud voices," said Sam, arriving, "I came as quick as I could! Were ye being attacked?"
  "It's all right Sam," said Frodo, "It was just a band of drunken hobbits. They've gone to sleep now." Frodo indicated the collapsed forms of the hobbits strewn across his lawn.
  "Oh," said Sam, looking rather sheepish. He recovered quickly. "Here, I'll wheel them away for you," he said, taking the wheelbarrow from Frodo's hands. "That's right queer," he said as they walked back towards the hobbits. "I've never heard of anyone in Hobbiton invading people's gardens. I see they've spoiled the rose bushes and all!"
  "You know, now that I think about it," said Frodo, "This does remind me of a story I heard recently, down at the Green Dragon. People have been saying there's watermelon deliverers about."
  "Oh yes," said Sam, "Down in the South Farthing they've had them. They get paid in ale so they never get to deliver more than one. Go careering all over the countryside like drunken goblins. But I've never heard of them in these parts."
  "The times are changing, Sam," said Frodo thoughtfully, "It could be that watermelon deliverers have come to Hobbiton."
  "Well I'm not sure as I like that," said Sam, frowning, "And what exactly is a watermelon? Is it some kind of barrel?"
  "It's a fruit," said Frodo, "And...aha! They were watermelon deliverers! Because here's the watermelon!" Frodo ran quickly out the gate and down the road a little way to where a large round watermelon lay forgotten and picked it up. It was bound with red ribbon and had a card on it. Sam frowned at it and read, "Dear Frodo, I love your purple pants. Please meet me at..." Frodo snatched it out of his hands quickly.
  "I didn't know you wore purple pants!" said Sam, looking both surprised and amused. Frodo cleared his throat hastily.
  "You must have misread it," he said quickly, turning red, "Anyway it's not important, let's get this inside."
  Sniggering, Sam bent down and, between the two of them they lifted the watermelon and carried it up the path and into Bag End.
  All that follows is illegible due to severe smudging. Scientists have confirmed this was caused by salivation, and suspect that the rest of the story was illustrated, which could explain it. It is hoped by all that, whatever happened after Frodo and Sam took the watermelon into the hole, it did not involve purple pants. The truth shall never be known.

Ask Samwise.

  Dear Sam,
  Will you marry me?
  Lonely Elf Princess.
  D-dear Lonely Elf Princess,
  *Open mouthed stare.* 'S an elf! Mr. Frodo, Mr. Frodo, it's an elf, she's an elf! *Bows near to the ground.* M'lady! I ... I... marry?
  [Careful, Sam lad; remember what happened when Sauron proposed to your master as a result of journalistic correspondence. I plan on covering this story if you say yes, little one. -Ed.]

  Sammy boy!
  Do you think you could do me an 'ittle teeny favor?  Box up Pip and send him to Florida? I'll pay full expenses including the pet carrier, food, and shipping!  Pweeeese?
  [Anonymous, but we all know who it was, don't we? - Ed.]
  Dear Éowyn Evenstar,
  At my master's host's request, I'll be sending him to you just as soon as you send over the pet carrier. But mind you, we think he's a bit heavier that he was when last you saw him. As the cupboard is always empty he must be here, if you follow me. By this we both assume that Pippin's hiding somewhere in the dorm. If you hadn't a-offered, we'd be calling whoever takes care of dangerous and, er, exotic animals here. Probably Weta.
  Sam [and co. -Ed.]
  Dear Samwise,
  What is one to do when one's significant other's parents do not the person in question.  This...person...has no knowledge of doing anything to the parents and therefore is really confused about the whole ordeal.  So your advice would be well welcomed.
  Confused Maiden
  Dear Confused Maiden,
  Can't say but I'm a little confused myself. That significant'other's parents sound right befuddling, if you follow me. They do not him (her?) without even telling her (him?) what it is they're not doing, which gets one in a right fix, if you follow me. My advice would be to sit down and talk to them, friendly-like. See if you can find out what's wrong, then maybe you will know better how to go about fixing it.

WANTED: Bugs of all sorts to slip down somebody's pants...no wait, forget that I said the last part.
FOR SALE: Brand new carrot. Low asking price.

NEED: a brand new fully stocked bathroom for ma sissy and an assassin.  DON'T ASK.

Of Names, Part III. (Key: q.= Quenya, s. = Sindarin, where known.)
fin-: (noun) hair. Finduilas, Fingon, Finrod, Glorfindel.
gil: (noun) star. Gil-Galad.
glin: (adjective) gleam. Maeglin.
gwaith: (noun) people. Gwaith-i-Mirdan, Enedwaith.


  Dear Editor,
  Rivendell sounds fantastic!!! I wish I could have gone! If the guide was such a fangirl why didn't she focus on Pip hmmm HMMM!?!
  Mayhap because she was a he, and pretty as kilts are for the wee lasses, lads have an easier time imagining those wee wiggéd chappies are lassies with tights rather than skirties. And Billy doesn't don the pretty eyeliner the others do. Er, and perhaps also because Pip wasn't often in the Rivendell sc- Oh, I should not have said that.
  Announcement: The following issue of this newsletter has a strong chance of including an extensive scene-by-scene analysis of Pippin's shots in Rivendell, including swoonability ratings for each.
  Dear Editor,
  Another wonderful issue...I only wish that there would be more...oh well,maybe next month.
  Dear Fan,
  Aha! Someone who agrees with me on every point! What a delightful coincidence. Ahem, ahem, I mean... I won't debate with you, O Wise Fan, and will try to encourage the moreness you desire (cough, callingallwritershinthint, cough). Thank you very much for your letter and request.



Previous IssueNext Issue