i Nili o i Ardanolë Newsletter:

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

Issue 58, Volume 3, 23 July 2005.

Editors: Perian, Xara. 
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Columnists: Lady Morrigan Shadow, Padfoot, Cerridwen, Samwise Gamgee.
Archivist: Ivy.
Contributor(s): Angel, Some Random Gondorian.

In this issue:
Well Worth the Wait by Prongs.
King Lear - Steward of Gondor? by Xara.
Haunted by Perian.
Middle-earthian Etiquette - Part IV by Some Random Gondorian.

In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Recollections, Chapter Three by Perian.
Ask Samwise.

Find past archives or contribute at http://inili.iwarp.com/

Well Worth the Wait
By Prongs.

[After all of the attention in the fantasy-fan world, this non-Tolkien book definitely deserves a bit of attention. No, we have not forgotten our theme. -Ed.)
  I don't know what it is about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (OOTP) but it doesn't appeal to me very much -- in fact, OOTP is second from the bottom on my list of favourite Harry Potter books! I can't really point to one particular aspect of the book that causes me to dislike it -- I think that it is a culmination of things -- the portrayal of Harry as a self-absorbed brat, the death scene of Sirius Black (hello! If you don't know who died in the fifth book then you really HAVE been living under a rock!), the unpleasantness of Dolores Umbridge -- the only things I enjoy about OOTP is the blossoming of Ginny Weasley into a confident, talented, young witch and Loony ... er, that it, Luna Lovegood.
  It was with a mixture of excitement and apprehension that I went to Chapters for the Half-Blood Prince (HBP) midnight release party. Apprehension because I had the following questions on my mind: will Harry still be a git? Will the new Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor be as evil as Umbridge? Will the death scene in this book be as brief and unemotional as that in the last? Rest assured Potter fans, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, in my opinion, J. K. Rowling's best literary effort since the Prisoner of Azkaban. I love everything about this book, from the characters and the main plot to the quiddich and the sub-plots.
  As usual (and as Dumbledore explained to us at the end of OOTP), we first come across Harry while he is spending a few weeks of his summer with the Dursleys. And a few weeks if right -- before his sixteenth birthday arrives, Harry is whisked off to the Burrow, where he reunites with best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. I enjoyed this scene tremendously for the sole reason that Harry is no longer the selfish prat that he was in the fifth book. He is overjoyed to be with his two best friends and is content to hang around in his bedroom talking with them or playing quiddich with them in the back garden. He has the contents of the prophecy, as well as the memories of Sirius' death, at the back of his mind but he is not dwelling on those thoughts to much, instead opting to concentrate on the present, relishing in the company of his friends for he knows that the good times cannot last.
  Once Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts, they find that life there is about the same as it always is -- save for the heightened security around the castle, of course. There is a new professor by the name of Slughorn (three guesses what he teaches) but the rest of the staff are the same as those that we were left off with at the end of OOTP. The OWL students have moved one year up and are now NEWT students, and HArry, Ron and Hermione are all doing a NEWT in potions. How on earth did that happen, you ask?! Ah well, I'm not going to spoil it for you now, am I? Draco Malfoy, whom we first encounter in Diagon Alley, has reached new heights of vindictiveness and bigotry and is up to something mysterious within the castle walls. There are the usual quiddich and a new announcer, as Lee Jordan has now graduated from Hogwarts. Romance is in the air for many of our favourite characters, and along with romance comes some entertaining bouts of jealousy and bickering.
  But I've just been talking about the light side of the book - I haven't even started to talk about the dark side (cue the Darth Vader theme). As Voldermort grows stronger and stronger, both the muggle world and the magic world become bleaker and bleaker. Almost none of the characters that we come across in the HBP are as cheerful or care free as they were in the previous books. HBP is definitely the darkest book of the series so far. The worst moment of all is, of course, the death scene and the events that follow it. I have never ever cried while reading about a death before but, at 9 o' clock in the morning when I finished that specific passage, I put my head on my pillow and shed quite a few tears. I made various excuses to myself -- I was crying out of exhaustion (having stayed up all night reading), I was crying because I missed my boyfriend, I was crying because my life was getting a tad frustrating .... but no, the truth is that I cried because of those passages. The last 50 or so pages contained some of J. K. Rowling's best writing -- the passages were powerful, beautifully haunting and emotionally draining - this is the way a death scene should be written!
  I have read the book twice now and am about to begin it for the third time and I still cannot find one bad thing to say about it. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may have gained in darkness (especially compared to the other books) but, to me, it has not lost one bit of its magic. J. K. Rowling once again leaves us with tantalizing questions (R.A.B. anyone?) and characters that are much more complex than we originally thought them to be (including the character of a certain Half-Blood Prince). Here's hoping that 2007 comes soon and brings with it the spectacular conclusion to this series.

King Lear - Steward of Gondor?
By Xara
With thanks to Elfish Emma

  I know what you're thinking. Contradiction of terms, right? But let's just ignore that, it's a cool title, you have to admit it. Now, I have recently begun studying Shakespeare's play "King Lear" at school and, like many Lord of the Rings fans have done before me, noticed a distinct similarity between the mad old king of Ancient Britain and the mad old steward of Gondor. John Noble, who played Denethor, has himself remarked upon the similarities between the two characters, and Ian Holm (Bilbo) actually played Lear himself. So I thought perhaps, in this article, I might examine the similarities between Shakespeare's play and Tolkien's steward.
  Let us first look at Denethor. He has two sons. Boromir, his favorite, who we know was in the end corrupted, whereas his brother was not, has recently been killed on a mission Faramir had originally volunteered for. He's grieving, he's no doubt blaming himself, and he's remembering that it might have been Faramir in Boromir's place. So he takes it out on his son, the one who was left behind. By this stage Denethor's a little out his tree, because he's been looking into the palantir, and Sauron has been manipulating what he sees, concentrating on the vastness of Mordor's armies, rather than on the muster taking place at Rohan. So Denethor sends his remaining son, Faramir, on a mission of suicidal madness, and low and behold, Faramir is wounded, seemingly mortally. Denethor breaks down and loses any remaining sanity he had, a condition inflamed when he looks into the palantir again. Despairing, he attempts to burn himself and Faramir alive. Faramir is saved, but Denethor is not.
  Now we have King Lear. He has three daughters instead of two sons, two of which are cold and cruel, and one of which is honest and loving. Lear decides to play a little game, and makes his daughters tell him how much they love him. Now of course, the first two flatter Lear, but the third, Cordelia, refuses to join in with the false flattery of her sisters, so Lear chucks a tantrum and disowns her. With Cordelia gone, her two elder sisters run havoc in the kingdom (and many, many things happen, which I shall skip because it would take too long to explain) and eventually Lear is driven stark raving mad by their cruelty to him, and dies.
  In both the king and the steward we see a rejection of a younger and more worthy child (Faramir and Cordelia) in favour of the elder sibling, who is less deserving. Of course Shakespeare goes a lot further than Tolkien, making the two elder siblings positively evil, whereas Boromir too is good at heart, but fails against the temptation of the ring. We also see a slow disintegration into madness, in Lear's case, as a result of his ungrateful daughters, in Denethor's, a result of Sauron's manipulation of the palantir, though no doubt Boromir's death and Faramir's near-death contributed greatly to it.
  It must here be said that Tolkien thought Shakespeare was greatly over-rated, and I'm not at all suggesting that he plagiarised the famous playwright, however it is natural that authors borrow from other authors, not even all of Shakespeare was original. Denethor, as John Noble and many others tell us, is a very Shakespearean character and if he could identify with anyone, perhaps he wouldn't get on so badly with King Lear. After all, they do have a lot in common.

By Perian.
  Have you ever imitated Gollum's voice? Most Lord of the Rings fans have. It's something of an obsession, or maybe a trademark of Tolkienists and Ringers (is there a distinction between the two? Hmm. A point worth looking into). In fact, it was one of the highlights of my birthday this year. One of the people at the table began, without much success, to speak in a Sméagol voice. I commented in passing that another there, known only to other Tolkien fans as the Balrog Pimp, did a passable (read "much better, chappie old chap") Gollum voice herself. A flurry of Stoor rhetoric followed, and her examples drew applause from everyone there; even, grudgingly, the first wannabe Sméagol.
  This is anything but uncommon. I myself would use a Gollum voice to entertain wee ones (and frankly to amuse and intimidate them if need be) as often as I have used Treebeard's to put them to sleep. It's not limited to fans, either! Non-fans try it just as random Star Wars viewers try out a green pistach- er, Yoda voice. Even Pippin imitated him - Gollum, that is, - to save his life during the Uruk-Hai chapter. Now that must have been one of the most interesting performances ever given. It is as though the voice is a natural defence mechanism, used in awkward social situations or in the presence of small, daunting, unpredictable creatures.
  The gollum! itself is, of course, always the pivotal element, and it is that which I wish to discuss.
  How did Sméagol come by the sound which later became his name? Unlike the man who portrayed him, there is nothing to show that Sméagol owned an inspirational feline. It is not extremely likely that the gollum is a result of furballs, either, though one can never be too sure.
  I have a theory. Perhaps it is no more provable or even as likely as that of furballs. Even so it presents an interesting and somewhat neglected side of the former halfling.
  Beyond sounding like a hoarse frog (try making yourself understood while saying that one aloud), the glorious gollum has a darker association. It is a noise in the throat, as Tolkien wrote. If you follow that line of thought very long, back beyond Sam's attempts against that same throat's happiness and livelihood, beyond elven bonds and possible torture in the dungeons of Mordor, back to a time before the name had come to him, there was a certain incident. A spat with a beloved friend and cousin over a birthday present. Let that be a warning to you all: the moral of the story is never fish alone in the company whose birthday it is. You never know when a fish might drag you under to discover the most powerful trinket in the world and then you could be strangled by a cousin whose lack of gratitude makes Dudley Dursley look like an angel.
  To return to the point, is Gollum reenacting the sounds given in the death of Déagol? A form of guilt, perhaps; some memory which he cannot escape from? It would certainly fit in with his mentally unstable character. Of course, seeing a fish like that could throw anyone off centre.
  Gollum, gollum, yes preciouss.

Middle-Earthian Etiquette - Part IV
By Some Random Gondorian.
  Mumakil: Known to the western rustics as oliphaunts, these are arguably the most majestic and potentially and accidentally destructive creatures in Middle-earth. I would, after much experience in the woods of Ithilien, recommend that you merely frighten the beasts, as it is their own armies who tend to reside underfoot, and the mumakil have no reason to be loyal to them. Charge 'em and they'll scatter! Not literally, but you follow the logic.
  What to or not to say is irrelevant as the mumakil, if indeed they ever learned the common tongue, avoid all attempts by Men at communication.
  If all else fails: So long as you are not in its path, you should be all right. If you are ... have you ever heard of trunk-boarding? It is fast becoming a favourite among 'young' elves.
  Nazgúl: Though it is quite easy to forget the fact when they are sniffing in your ear, these were once men, and should be treated as such.
  What to say: Something in Elvish. It shows the extreme ignorance they will not admit to having, and rather than reveal this they will hesitate as if wording their reply. So some historians have interpreted their reported actions, that is. No one from Gondor has actually tried this, but by all accounts it works.
  What not to say: 'How do you like my ring?' Like magpies, nazgúl are gluttons for both glittering objects and carnage. Whether they have nests in which they hoard their prizes we have yet to learn.
  If all else fails: Send in a woman to do the negotiating and/or dirty work. As mentioned, they should be treated as men.
  Orcs: Elves my arse! [I'm beginning to suspect that SRG is, in fact, of elvish lineage. Aragorn? Or maybe Arwen? - Ed.] Of all the revolting, creeping, treacherous, vile and foul-mouthed - Hey. Perhaps they are of the line of Fëanor. [Er, I take that back, maybe? - Ed.]
  On first meeting: If you are more than three and a half feet tall, you may be invited to dinner (anything shorter is considered to be an insufficient meal and as such more valuable as a source of information as to where the larger prey might be found). I recommend declining the request.
  What to say: Be circumspect. Riddles and hints overload their intellect and give you valuable time.
  What not to say: 'Ow'. They find thins incredibly funny and will search for other ways to make you say it.
  If all else fails: You did bring a sword, I hope?


[See our featured article. That's what happens when columnists become enthusiastic. Lovely. -Ed.]

This Fortnight: Recollections - Chapter Three
By Perian.

The Shadow of the Past.
  The hall was quiet and deserted. The din of the party had fallen to a whisper in this paling hour. Having seen the guests to their rooms and wheelbarrowed Merry, who had passed out, and Matti, who was still awake but refused to leave the wheelbarrow and the cushion of her father's stomach, back to the doorstep of Number Two Bagshot Row, Frodo now stumbled through the quiet darkness of his home. A yellow glow split the shadows of the floor and fell across the wall to his right. Frodo's brows furrowed. The light came from Perian's den (they had ceased to call it a room quite some time ago. It was the domain of a wild animal, and often looked it). She had slipped out of the gathering early. In fact, he couldn't remember having seen her at all after dinner. Now, judging by the shallow quality of the darkness, it was somewhere between four and five in the morning. Through a slightly drunken and very tired mental haze he tried to guess what she was doing. Whatever it was, he was certain it needed looking into. He wove over to the doorway on his left and peeked in.
  Perian sat, still very much awake, in her "nest". This was made up of a pile of pillows and blankets massed around a hollow in which she curled upon her high palette. A small stack of books and oddments hid under a periwinkle blue cloth which cascaded tipsily from a nightstand, on top of which stood a dimly shining glass lantern. Perian glanced up as the door hinges announced his arrival. "Oh, good!" she said, "I have a question. Several, in fact, but one which is urgent. How do you inscribe the symbol for epsilon?" She held up her notebook which looked like a text in code with empty spaces in the places of about half the vowels.
  "Here," he said, taking her pen and notebook, writing in the margins. "There are several ways to make an e. I will draw them all, at least all those I know, and you may choose which you like." Perian nodded, looking contented but saying nothing. She took back her notebook and begin filling in her blank spaces with e's. "What are you doing up at this hour?" Frodo asked.
  "I had a few ideas which I wanted to put to ink before they were jumbled and lost, and... I didn't feel comfortable in the crowd," she muttered into the parchment.
  "Why? It's not as if it were orcs or strangers we were entertaining." Perian shrugged, but again said nothing. In the reckless way that those who have taken too much ale do Frodo went on, "I know you've had a difficult time readjusting, but don't you find it odd that you have been so willfully avoiding all those you knew and cared about before... well, before the Battle of Buckland? You rarely even speak, except to Matthia and Ishlad."
  Perian looked up sharply, meeting his eyes. "They don't apologize for my state every time they speak to me. They don't judge me merely on how much of who I was then I now lack, but for who I am now." She blushed and turned back to her notebook. "Apologies," she mumbled.
  Frodo sat on the bare far corner of the bed, his feet dangling above the ground. "Perhaps," he said slowly, "it is a matter of time."
Perian nodded slowly. "May I make another inquiry?"
  "Of course."
  "I tried to ask Xara today, but could not access the words," Perian explained. "And so I stayed tonight even longer than I wished. When, after dinner, Prongsie said 'thank you', what was she expressing?"
  "Gratitude," Frodo explained without a blink, used to such unusual questions.
  Perian silently mouthed the word until she had it memorized. Frodo yawned and dropped to his feet. Perian wrote the word (misspelled) into a larger gap in her manuscript, then glanced up at him. "You had best sleep. Tomorrow will be miserable for you with the headache to come, but it will be useless if you do not rest tonight at all. Drink a few glasses of water before you retire, to ease the former."
  Frodo laughed and rolled his eyes. "Yes, mother."
  "What bizarre familial relations exist in this residence," Perian replied, sticking out her tongue. "'Tis the only place in Little-earth in which someone can be her own grandmother. Numarie, ata."
  Frodo smiled. "Dream well."
  "Frodo," Perian called as he walked from the room.
  He paused and turned. "Yes?"
  "Thank you," she said, stumbling a bit over the words, "and say the same to Xara for me when next you speak to her."
  He smiled again and nodded, glad as rarely he was that they had taken on this burden. Perhaps she was worth the time and aggravation after all. The door closed behind him with a sharp snick, but the light beneath it, though he was long asleep and did not see, faded seamlessly into that of the morning before it at last went out.
  How could a cloud possibly pass the golden light of the Shire? Yet it does, and casts a shadow, sometimes unnoticed, across the gleaming emerald fields. Still that shadow lurks, as unrelenting as the endless night of a cave with no entrance, darkening the greenway of Buckland. Fainter, but as often seen, or rather recognized by those who had once seen it though it remains no longer in truth, be the one which trails me. I, to clarify, am haunted; trailed and dogged by a ghost who, though she should be all too familiar to myself of all people, is a stranger to me. I am haunted by myself.
  This which I speak of is not a poltergeist, nor any similar paranormal phenomena. It is not even a memory which haunts me, but rather the lack thereof on my part. A fault this is of my own - do not blame nature or fluke in recreation or even the relentless passage of time. Let me explain, if I can.
  Immortality is a simple concept, a matter of regenerating cells damaged by age. That is the physical basis, at least; one aspect of the Fountain of Youth Quest which we conquered many long years ago. It is not as simple as that. In order to be immortal one must remain the same person throughout millennia of living. This does not only mean your fingerprints and the snorting chortle which makes you stand out in a crowd are unchanged, but also that your experiences (or at least a certain percentage of them) are intact. "Who are you alone and nameless?" Tom Bombadil once asked. No one but you would be able to define yourself. But who are you when you can no longer recall the experiences which have shaped you? You know they must be there, but you don't grasp them; a song whose lyrics you don't know, but whose tune constantly repeats in the back of your mind.
  Matthia Brandybuck and Ishlad do not know the words are missing. They hear me humming the tune and that is for them enough.
  What was I writing of? Ah, yes! Immortality. So, if the key to immortality is in remembrance of experiences, the first step in achieving it is in storing those memories indestructibly. This, also, is a matter long since mastered. Memories are written chemically in the brain. A common substance was found, if properly bonded to and then extracted from memory strands, to be able to mobilize and chemically stored thoughts. Once removed, these can be stored on a crystalline carrier, duplicated, and magnetically restored to the brain. We experimented with this for years before creating artificial memories for the hobbits, and the test subject was me. Other than having the memories of a few dozen there was no trouble to be found in the procedure. So why, they all wonder, should the glitch happen when it is most critical for everything to work perfectly? That, I must admit, was my doing.
  As reader, at whatever point this is read, you have surely a host of bad memories; experiences you would rather forget. Of course. Everyone does.
  Except me.
  Come to that, I rather miss them.
  I have, at points in my life, been terrified by the concept of mortality, and so, shortly before I made my last great journey into the West (what this was is vague to me) I made one of these memory chips. I was in a mood of not wanting to remember certain things, and recorded upon it only good experiences. Never do this. I left a great portion of myself behind.
  There are places (and people and things) I remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better, some have gone and some - er, and clearly the most vivid memories are of song lyrics. But there are others. For example...
  There was a day in 2007 (not many could boast a two-thousand year recollection at the time, so I suppose I am not fairing so badly) when I was going about my business as usual - by which I mean I was chasing Morrigan around with a whapping-fish for refusing to wear a sign which proclaimed her Grand Master Goon - when Paddy ran into our headquarters, which were no more than an abandoned shack in the middle of a forest, and switched on the radio. 1980s retro began blaring through the speakers, and Paddy's brows arched in our direction. "It was her," I cried, pointing the fish in Morrigan's direction.
  "Listening to the Go-Gos?" Paddy asked doubtfully. I hid the rubber fish behind my back and stuck out my lower lip, widening and crossing my eyes ever so slightly. Paddy laughed, asking, "What are you doing?"
  "Practicing my innocent look on you. Is it working?"
  "No," she replied, and I snapped my fingers at the failure. Paddy sat down and began to turn the dial. Her tongue stuck out of her mouth as she tried to remember the station number. Finally she turned to us in defeat. "What's the best station for news? And go get the others if they're around. There's something you've gotta hear."
  I gave her the call-letters and frequency, then exited, handing Brodie my fish. It was break time for nearly everyone, and so, with the usual lack of good judgement which characterized us, everyone had flocked to what was at that moment one of the coldest locations on Earth. It was the second time we had come together as a group. Not everyone was there, mind you. Prongs, Matt, and Ivy had come for two weeks, and were preparing to fly back to Heathrow the next day so the ladies could return to their studies; Prongsie was studying for her master's in medicine in Dublin, and Ivy was entering her first year of acting school in Edinburgh. I found the three of them, along with my niece best known as Eowyn Evenstar or Eo'star, hurling snowballs at each other in the clearing in front of the shack. Names were flying as quickly as the snow, and I ducked behind a tree to avoid them. The snowballs, I mean.
  "Roland!" Ivy cried, tossing one and running into the trees.
  "Harry!" Prongsie replied, sending one whistling through the air, then dropping behind a barricade of snow.
  "Hobbits!" I shrieked, caught up in the excitement.
  "Where?" cried Eo'star, Prongsie and Ivy in unison, leaving their hiding places. I shrugged and pointed toward the shack.
  "Perhaps not hobbits, but there is news and hot chocolate," I admitted. Looking somewhat put out, they started for the door, a flurry of packed snow following them. I dropped to the ground so as not to be hit and called out "Eowyn's in there, too!"
  "You can't fool me so easily, Perian!" Matthias replied.
  "Oh, so I suppose you don't want the poster of her that Prongsie hid in the broom closet yesterday after raiding your luggage? I'll keep it, then," I said... and he had disappeared into the shack before the others had even neared the threshold.
  Inside there was a flurry of noise and activity, as if a flock of pigeons had flown in by mistake. There was a rhythmic clink, clink, clink of metal on ceramic as cocoa was stirred into the hot water put on for tea a few minutes earlier. Voices and music whined together as Paddy tried to work the radio's stubborn dial. Voices more near at hand vied to steal attention from the radio or from each other. In the midst of it all Huan called down from the loft for quiet - we had interrupted an epic mid-stanza. No one listened.
  I wandered to the counter and saved my junk mail from certain death beside the dishwater. Catalogues offering clothing I would never wear, knickknacks I could not afford, and of course credit card pre-approvals coming in alongside. It was a conspiracy that they always came in together; it had to be. Probably associated with 33rd degree Masons, the Knights of Malta, and cheese-flavoured crackers. Oh, and birds named Polly. Parrots. People parroting products. There was a connection after all! I snatched the extra fine point Pilot P-500 pen off my collar and scribbled a few key phrases onto the back of an envelope. Like most of my notes it was an amusing phrase which I would not be able to decipher later (in this way I prevented anyone, including myself, from stealing my ideas): The Maltese Parrot.
  I opened the envelope to find a letter from my mother. She still wrote out of habit, even though she now lived in the suburbs of the same city as I. About halfway through the second line, the "How are you? I'm fine," which comes in every letter as consistently as paper and ink, my attention was caught by the sudden near silence in the room. I looked up to see everyone gathered around the radio, silenced by Paddy's Evil Eye. This was a red, cat-slit eye which she had mounted atop a glass pyramid and glued upon a top hat. A sure conversation stopper in any case. She was thanking everyone for their silence, and had turned up the volume.
  A nearly artificial woman's voice crackled like fire in a hearth as she went through the local news: a troupe of rebellious kindergartners taking over Parliament for a day; rates of homicide going down as suicide went up (presumably murderers were finding less people to kill, as everyone was becoming less lazy and more stupid, and doing it without their help); and another goat was cloned. The latter story wasn't local, but the commentator seemed to take it as a personal achievement that this goat had six legs instead of ten.
  "Tell us," said Ivy, after christening the goat 'Shelob'. "They may not even repeat what you heard, and I'm starting to thaw out."
  "Me, too," said Eo'star from the kitchen area where she had her head stuck in the freezer. Brodie asked what she was doing, and she replied that she was trying to stop the blood from rushing too quickly back into her nose, which stung like things she daren't say in front of his mother. He asked whether sticking her head in the freezer really helped, and she replied that she had no idea, but liked to do it anyway. Around this time Paddy shushed them again and turned the radio to full volume.
  "And now back to Sue Mei and world events. Sue?"
  "No, thanks, Linda. I'm too excited to do that. As you must have heard by now, an unprecedented treaty has been passed and signed by seventy-two countries, calling for a ban on all media and newscasting monopolies, particularly those with monetary ties to corporate or political lobbyists..."
  "Holy Eru," I murmured.
  "...Five major broadcasting conglomerates are to be disbanded over the next year, leaving the world of news and entertainment free to independent media, no restrictions involved."
  "Does this mean you'll be out of a job come next winter?"
  The second anchorwoman laughed. "Not at all! On the contrary. This means I can fire my bosses and have a show of my own."
  Though very few of those gathered in the shack seemed to grasp the magnitude and personal significance of this bit of news, Ivy's expression suddenly grew dreamy at these words. She nuzzled into her high collar, her eyes half lidded, and murmured, "So will I."
  "The laptop!" I cried. "Somebody find the laptop!"
  Paddy ran off to look for it while Ivy and I did a jig around the room. Eo'star was also caught up in the excitement, though I could see from the expression she wore that she wasn't certain as to its cause. Matt soon voiced the puzzlement that many eyes were showing. "I don't see what you're so hyped about," he said, though he seemed to be enjoying it.
  "Oh, Bo," said Prongsie, "don't spoil it."
  "You mean you know what's going on?" he asked.
  "No," she replied, "but I like it. What is going on, Ive?"
  "We're going global!"
  "Who are?"
  "The i Nili Newsletter."
  "But we already are global," commented Morrigan, gesturing with a wave of her hand around at the room's occupants with their plethora of cultures and accents.
  "Ah, yes," I replied in a contented and sinister rumble, "but not like we will be tomorrow."
  It was not tomorrow, nor the following week, nor even that season that we made our debut. Though we contacted Xara, Angel, Arwen, Leggy, Sméagol, Fan, Tan, Anduwen, Took, and a half-dozen prominent alter-egos within the hour, it was a week before we could even find out who to contact for information on procuring a broadcasting spot. Six months and almost as many marriages later we were once again gathered. This time it was on the beach with the wind blowing our multicoloured notes into the water. It had become such a mosaic that tourists were thinking it was part of the culture and throwing their own grocery lists in to join them. Rehearsals went on, and Xara and I experimented endlessly with a borrowed movie camera.
  Our debut was a very enjoyable flop. The sudden flooding of the airwaves meant that our production received less attention than the usher at a circus. The newsletter circulation went up by six, and we made our first nemesis. A young woman (just turned sixteen) from L.A. named Rebecca Willis immediately began sending hate mail, claiming that we had stolen her idea. I remember very little of this, save that she later went on to found a programme which has remained our rival to this day: The News From Bree. The name was a direct attack on the news segment of our show (yes, we did make it, seven years later), a twenty minute spot called Sure as Shiretalk. I suppose she had only read the books in a skimming, movie-fan manner, or she would have caught on that News from Bree was tall tales and gossip.
  There were nine of us in the beginning, running the newsletter (which soon made its way into print), the daily teleshow, and a radio programme on the weekends, not to mention the top secret online community. I did the general editing, and hosting the weekend programme. Xara took over most of the work of the newsletter, as well as writing our adverts and bumper songs, and keeping everyone supplied with paper for to-do lists. Ivy was our celebrity. She was the face all the viewers knew and loved; a great scriptwriter and spectacular for publicity. Morrigan handled everything we were clueless about - html, lighting, graphics, sets, how to use the coffee maker, and so on. Paddy and Eo'star headed our research team, at times becoming a bit too enthusiastic about their jobs, trying to find political meaning in the face they found doodled on the telephone notepad. When not in the E.R., Prongsie managed the P.R. She did her best to lower blood pressure and mend broken bones when the rest of us went too far. The last two were our mascots, the alternate personalities known as The Dark Lordess Sauron and the Knight of Rohan Merry Brandybuck. From sock puppets to cartoons to Paddy and Ivy in costume and at last their own CG personas they progressed.
  It was a slow start, but the timing could not have been better. With the sudden revelations of corruption in religious orders, the realization that politicians were going to continue to lie, the barrage of not-as-good-as-Lord of the Rings movies and the endless not-trustworthiness of junk food, people needed a stabilizing point. Someone they could trust. Strangely enough, we were who they turned to. People enjoy those who have the same idiosyncrasies they do. It makes them feel less alone.
  And so the era of our popularity and later leadership began. How it all occurred, I cannot recall. I know it took hundreds of years and great upheaval, followed by relative peace.
  Now time tapers to a jagged point once more as people grow discontent, this time with i Nili. No one likes to be told what to do for too long, though they seem just as discontent if left to their own devices. For my part I am happy with my life here. Friendship and family and hobbits - how could I want for anything more? I am extremely grateful, though there is one thing I have not been able to understand about my hosts: their memories are nearly as bad as mine. They apparently believe themselves to be my parents. I am not going to tamper with the status quo, however I see their minds to be.
  Sweet dreams.

Ask Samwise.

  Dear Sam,
  Will you marry me?
  Lonely Elf Princess.
  Dear Lonely Elf Princess,
  Now sure enough elves are a wonderful folk, lady, wonderful. But I'm already in trouble with my Rosie over letters like this. Write private-like to talk about things like this - asksamwise@gmail.com [Oh, no. Samwise has a private address now? This is not a good sign... The bigamist hobbit is no longer under my control! -Ed.]

WANTED: In need of a personal servant. Must be male, with chiseled looks, gorgeous body, wonderful personality, dreamy eyes *daydreams*...ahem, okay you get the picture. Must love to polish halo's, iron long gowns, have skills with fashioning hair, know how to use a brush on wings & treat me like a princess.

[As you will not have known this, I think I will share it that the classified and the question for Samwise this week were, interestingly enough, not sent in by the same person. If you can, or simply wish to try to, explain this sudden trend toward personifying mate-seeking elf-princesses, please do write in. Perian@HotPOP.com  -Ed.]

WANTED: I'm realising how very outdated our slogan AND footer still are. Suggestions? Any requests for things we must, in your opinion, include in one or the other? Perian@HotPOP.com


Of Names, Part VIII. (Key: q.= Quenya, s. = Sindarin, where known.)
ran-: (verb) wander, stray. Rana (the moon), Mithrandir, Aerandir, Gilraen.
rauko (q.), raug, rog (s.): (noun) demon. Valaraukar, balrog.
ril: (adjective) brilliance. Idril, Silmaril, Anduril, mithril.
ruth: (noun) anger. Aranruth.


  Hey Perian!
  Oh I loved this issue. Especially the decorating tips. [Grin.]
  ~ Angel ~

  Dear Angel,
  Many thanks! I hold no claim to the decorating tips, I'm afraid. My complements as well as yours go to our surrogate Gimli - whether or not the writer will wish to claim the honours shall all be seen in good time, I'm guessing! 
  Oh, and I do believe you dropped your halo while grinning, mellon. *Passes it back.*




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