i Nili o i Ardanolë Newsletter:

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


Issue 59, Volume 3, 21 August 2005.

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

In this issue:
Letter from the Editor.
Was the Fellowship Good? by Padfoot.
Corruption by Technology by Nienna.
Escapades of the Crazy Harry Potter Fans by Prongs.
A Tolkien Fan's Manifesto by Xara.

In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Recollections - Chapter Four by Perian.
Ask Samwise.

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

 Letter from the Editor.
  That was embarrassing. Yes, I suppose you've all noticed by now, the seventh day of August was somewhat lacking in a newsletter. This is my fault completely. Contributions were, as you can see with this issue, extraordinarily high. The enthusiasm was infectious. But the distribution process fell to pieces when someone (namely me) completely forgot it was time for the newsletter to go out 'til about one a.m. two days after the deadline while in the middle of neglecting another piece of writing. Instead of doing one of those post-last-minute cut-and-paste jobs which leaves an issue looking like the props left over from an early Peter Jackson movie, I decided to give the articles the respect they deserve and wait.
  There is, however, a marvellous cloud in this silver lining! (Forgive the malapropism - as one who lived a decade in a desert to rival the Brown Lands, I find clouds quite endearing.) This issue boasts a near double size, a massive amount of unpressured and therefore better researched and amazingly written articles, and quite a plethora of new or returned faces. I used faces in the most figurative sense, of course. And I have no idea why I felt the need to explain that. Back to what I was saying... There have even been plans made for a serial of a popular article, as you will find in Letters, and someone is considering, with much enthusiasm, making the Staffingship of the Writing a group of nine (by their leave). I have not been so pleased with an issue for many months, and thank everyone who both worked so exceedingly well on it, and who waited as patiently as Gollum in his cave (though hopefully to a better end result).
  Grammercy, and I look forward to continuing this new-set standard!
Was the Fellowship Good?
By Padfoot.
   We all know the story of The Fellowship of the Ring and their quest to destroy Sauron’s ring. When asked the question, “Who was the good guys in this book?” The immediate answer would be, of course, the fellowship. Also when asked the question of who was the bad guys your answer would be Sauron and his orcs. But let’s analyse the word ‘good’ from the Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Desk Dictionary Volume 1 A-M shall we? You may remember from a previous article I wrote about the other side, evil, and came up with the conclusion that there is no such thing as evil. Let’s see if we can come to the same conclusion about the word ‘good’. This is the entry verbatim: Good: adj. 1. Morally excellent; virtuous. 2. Honourable; worthy; a good reputation. 3. Generous; loving; kind. 4. Well-behaved; tractable. 5. Proper; desirable: good manners. We’ll stop there.
  Let’s analyse this now. Ok the first definition: “Morally excellent; virtuous.” Well this would depend on your definition of morality. In many different cultures and religions the morals change making this definition obsolete. The second classification of the wood good was ‘Honourable; worthy; a good reputation.’ This one is about the same as the first definition. It depends on your culture to define a ‘good reputation’. For instance, up here in redneck world a good reputation would be making it through high school and still being ‘pure’ if you get my meaning. This is probably a completely different definition of good reputation in your hometown. Moving on we see the next one is ‘Generous; loving; kind.’ Well I’ll be damned sure the fellowship wasn’t loving or kind as they kicked major orc buttocks. Well neither was the ‘bad guys’ so that cancels that definition out. The fourth definition was ‘well behaved; tractable’. I don’t think either side was well behaved but maybe that’s just me. The last definition read: ‘Proper, desirable; good manners.’ Neither side had good manners in my opinion and plus this also stems upon your belief of what good manners are. I’ll use my town as another example. Good manners up here are hitting a deer at fifty-five miles per hour, taking it home for dinner, and not using your hands to eat it. This is most defiantly a different definition of ‘good manners’ from each and every one of you.
  So as we watch and read that excellent series by J.R.R Tolkien keep in mind that there is no such thing as good and evil; it’s just a matter of perspective.

[Corruption by Technology]
By Nienna.

  When one thinks of Lord of the Rings alongside technology, one may laugh and proclaim “preposterous”, but nowadays the world is teeming with technology and many think (and agree) that technology is out to get you, and that its a conspiracy against you. So while I was chatting idly to our esteemed chief editor I found that I got disconnected from the internet, and upon reconnecting and exclaiming to Xara that technology was out to get me, a sudden thought occurred to me, what if it was technology that corrupted some of our favourite Lord of the Rings characters?
  Now before you scoff and decide to scroll down past this article think about it, almost every person who turned evil had been in contact with one (or both) of two things: The Ring and the palantir. Those palantir could easily be classed as technology, as they are similar to telephones or can more commonly be compared to web cams. So maybe Saruman was being corrupted by the palantir, after all he was staring into it 24/7. If that is so it also explains why Denethor began to lose his mind, all those hours he spent staring into the palantir messed with his head a bit and he decided to set himself on fire and fall to his death (no disrespect intended towards Denethor lovers).
  Although there also is a semi-downside to this theory. Yes Aragorn, he did have a glimpse of the palantir’s power yet he wasn’t corrupted…or was he? After all he did then ride out towards his death with a lot of his people in tow. Could that be classed as corruption? After all, it was Sauron’s plan to kill off all the men in Middle-earth, so could Aragorn’s scheme have been a device of Sauron’s to lure the remaining men out to battle? That we cannot be sure of, as Sauron was defeated so we will never know if the plan would have succeeded or not.
  The other piece of technology was the Ring, this is the piece of technology that corrupts people almost immediately, Gollum/Smeagol is the best example, having only laid eyes on the Ring for a couple of seconds and he is willing to murder for it. Boromir then steps into the picture and almost immediately becomes addicted to the small trinket. Both Sauron and Saruman want possession of this item, which brings the point of the Ring being some piece of important technology into a sharp contrast with the palantir, for Saruman, Sauron, Denethor and even Aragorn were the people who looked into the palantir were some of the ones tempted (or even corrupted) by the Ring.
  Then the much loved Samwise Gamgee has a stint in the tower where he is reluctant to hand the ring over to his dear master Frodo, yet another display of how the ring could be a piece of technology trying to corrupt everyone, making them forget about the things most important to themselves.
  So next time you yell at your computer storm out of the room then return twenty seconds later, think about whether your computer has managed to corrupt you yet?

Escapades of the Crazy Harry Potter Fans

 By Prongs.


  A few weeks ago, I was waiting for my next group of youngsters to come to the courts for their tennis lesson. While I waited, I read a few chapters of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The aspiring tennis greats arrived and began their individual warm-ups, and I put my book away. The lesson went like clockwork but when I was packing up the equipment, one of my students. a 6 year old by the name of Nelli came up to me and asked whether I was a Potter fan. We started to talk Harry Potter and were gradually joined by several other students/ Harry Potter fans. All of this talk culminated in me agreeing to take the kids to the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Midnight Release Party at Chapters bookstore on the 15th of July. So without further ado, let me recap that surreal evening for you ....


Place:               Chapters bookstore, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Time:                8 p.m.

Cast list:           My brother (driver), the tennis kids (way too many to name), Kaya (my mate,

fellow Potter fan and co-supervisor), Marco (Kaya's brother, fellow Potter fan

                        and co-supervisor) and me (co-supervisor).


  My brother dropped Kaya, Marco and I in front of Chapters where we met twelve of my tennis students and their parents. After reassuring the adults that nothing terrible would happen to their kids, we divided the students up among us and entered the bookstore. Inside ... it was nothing short of unbelievable! Hundreds of children in various costumes, bookstore employees also in various costumes, parents trying to snap pictures of their children in costume, games, quizzes and prizes galore!

  Our kids decided to try their luck at the quiz competition and they did really well. All twelve of them came away with some sort of a prize. Danec even got the answer to one of the 'big questions' -- how many house points did Ravenclaw have at the end of Sorcerer’s Stone (for future reference, the answer is 426) -- and won a set of Gryffindor quiddich robes. The boy was delirious with excitement!

  The kids next moved onto another game. In this one, they had to choose a Christmas bauble that was hanging from the ceiling. The bauble contained a clue that led the kids to a certain area of the bookstore, where they had to choose another bauble. The clue within that bauble directed them to yet another area of the bookstore -- the trick was to try to decipher which area the clue was referring to. The bookstore was divided into various areas -- 4 Privet Drive, the Burrow, the Gryffindor common room, the Slytherin common room, the quiddich pitch, Azkaban ... This game took a lot of organisation on our behalf -- we let one group play the game at a time and it took nearly an hour for all the kids to have a chance to play it. We then went to Starbucks, where we were given tiny cups of mint-mousse, then settled down to hear Professors Dumbledore and Snape read from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

  By 11 p.m., Kaya, Marco and I decided that it was high time we lined up for our books -- the queue was getting ridiculously long and we wanted to leave as soon as possible so that we could settle down in the living room to read the new book. We thought that the kids would get bored of the wait, but we underestimated them -- every one of them had brought something to do, whether it was a portable game console, a book, sewing, knitting (the girls who did that are both in the Brownies) .. Kaya, Marco and I were free to sit and talk amongst ourselves .... until 11:55 p.m. when a voice over the PA system called out:

  "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls -- there are now five minutes left before the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!"

  The fans (and fanatics) in the bookstore erupted into cheers and cat-calls ... at 11:59 p.m., the same voice was heard over the PA system:

  "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls -- there are now sixty seconds left before the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!"

  Once again, the fans erupted into cheers and cat-calls, but this time, we took up a countdown chant ... 60, 59, 58, 57 ... and then, at the stroke of midnight ....

  "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now on sale!"

  Oh the excitement! We waited for what seemed like decades before we finally got our hands on a copy of the book (actually, we were only waiting for 35 minutes) but when we got it, it took us all a lot of willpower not to start reading then and there. The kids were picked up; my brother drove us all home and Kaya, Marco and I were in the den reading by 1 a.m. ... and we read ... and read ... and read ... until, one by one, we could read no more and we dropped off to sleep ....

  Wonderful time, once in a lifetime experience (although I hope to be able to experience this one more time when the seventh book is released). If you have never gone to a release party, please go. You wont regret it.


A Tolkien Fan's Manifesto
By Xara.

  I once went to a party (amazing, I know, but there's even more to this story than that!) and found myself talking to a girl, who was explaining to me...something which I forget. In truth, I wasn't listening too closely, until... "Take Lord of the Rings," she said, and my ears pricked, "When you strip it down, it's nothing but a midget with a ring! Entertaining in it's way but..." Alas, this was a sentence that was doomed never to be completed, for I interrupted, horror struck with a, "My God! You've missed the entire point!" She looked at me in confusion. "Lord of the Rings," I explained in shocked tones, "Cannot be stripped down! The reason why it is simply the best book ever written is the layers!"
  Yes, the layers. Because Lord of the Rings isn't a simple struggle between good and evil. It has innumerable underlying concepts and mythologies from Tolkien's own life and writings, as well as the cultures, myths, stories and his own religion from which he drew it. It covers friendship, love, heroism, hope and despair, courage, the nature of good and evil, and deeper, the psychology involved in all of these concepts. Every detail of the story, every paragraph opens up an entire world of it's own. There are people who have read Lord of the Rings once a year for fifty years, I intend to be one of them, because there is so much in it that it can be an old friend to return to and yet a new story every time.
  I believe that the complexity of The Lord of the Rings is such that if every person in the world read it, each person would have a slightly different interpretation, which is what makes it so personal to us all. And beyond this, each time we read Lord of the Rings, we are at a different stage in our lives. Our interpretations change and we discover new meanings as they become more relevant.
  Let me give you an example, not from Lord of the Rings but from The Hobbit. I have read this book several times, but it was only more recently that this particular analogy sprang out at me. When Bilbo is with the dwarves in Mirkwood, they get him to climb a tree and see how far they have to go. Bilbo climbs and sees that the trees seem to stretch away endlessly in all directions and so believes that there is no end to the forest and that he will never escape. However, the forest only seems endless because Bilbo is in fact at the bottom of a valley and cannot see out, and is actually quite close to the end. Is this not true of some of the darker periods in our own lives, when we can foresee no ending?
  "Better than Lord of the Rings" is the phrase so often scrawled across the covers of books such as the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and yet it is inconceivable that Lord of the Rings could ever be surpassed. It truly is a work of genius and, I believe, can be of value to each individual throughout their lives. I don't know about you, but that's why I'm a fan, and will remain so until the end of all things.

The Ten Thousand by Michael Curtis Ford
Reviewed by Perian.

  No, it isn't fantasy, nor humour, nor anything which Tolkien used as a source. Even so, I think this historical novel would appeal to many who read The Lord of the Rings for its epic scope and breathless narrative. Set in ancient Greece and Persia, from the point of view of a freedman, The Ten Thousand follows the march of an army, see the title for numbers, against the King Artaxerxes. This is one of those rare books which leaves the reader flying through the long passages of description in fascination. The dialogue does leave much to be desired, but it's rare, and it is most certainly not for the squeamish, but I would still recommend this novel highly if you happen to come across it.

This Fortnight: Recollections - Chapter Four
By Perian.

Chapter Four: Three Is Company
  The next evening Xara and Ivy were gathered in the sitting room. This room was quite inappropriately named. It matched the location and the dimensions of what a Bag End sitting room should be. The one problem was that it was the least often sat in room of the smial. One reason for this is that the only two chairs which graced the room were wooden and extremely uncomfortable. Another reason could be the abundance of things which one could obtain full dramatic effect with by leaning up against these objects while he or she spoke. Xara was doing this now, leaning against the stones of the hearth as the fire within cast eye-catching shadows across the opposite side of her face. Ivy lay on her stomach in the centre of the room, her chin resting on her folded wrists as she gazed into the flames.
  Xara tapped her temple in thought and in silence for several minutes before asking, "Is it Merry?"
  "No!" replied Ivy, startled out of her thoughts. "How could you possibly think that?"
  "You asked whether I could help you find out what's wrong. I'm using the process of elimination."
  "It isn't Mer-" she stopped suddenly.
  The door creaked open and Perian entered. Ivy and Xara exchanged puzzled and wary glances, Ivy peering around Perian to see whether Matti and Ishlad were hiding behind the door frame. "Do you need something, Peri-o?" Xara asked once Perian had crossed to the far corner of the room.
  "No," replied Perian, crouching, spider-like, in the corner.
  "What... I mean... what are you doing?" asked Ivy.
  "Sitting," replied Perian. "Is this not a sitting room? Resume with your conversation. I come near to promising not to interrupt."
  Another look was exchanged, and Ivy shrugged her eyebrows. "I don't mind," she said, then winced. She sad back on her heels and rubbed her numbed jaw. "Talking in that position hurts," she explained. "Now, what was I saying?"
  "About Merry," Xara prompted.
  Ivy smiled. "Oh, yes. He does drink too much, but Prongsie's assistant said she would correct that soon. It seems that it happened with all the hobbits but Frodo and Sam. Merry... Mmm, otherwise, he's perfect."
  "L-o-l, I see."
  Ivy did a double take. "L-o-l?"
  "Sorry, habit," said Xara.
  "Hobbit," said Ivy.
  "Aww," sighed both.
  In the corner Perian stifled a giggle. There was a gentle tap at the door. Frodo had been waiting with one pointed ear against it for a time when the trio inside were in a mood to forget that hobbits were living, breathing, mistake-making, sentient beings. Even that they were, as Peian had pointed out when Merry had tripped over his own feet while watching Ivy (for the seventh full time and three toes, which by Perian's system equalled one-hundred-and-fifty-three), "Almost men." When two or more female humans sighed after hearing the word "hobbits" they were sure to superimpose on his face a kind of glow of heroism, perfection, eloquence, charm, clean hair, elvish praises, and gold jewelry. In fact, his ever-so-slightly flawed self disappeared as fast as if he had possessed a Ring of Power. Alas, he didn't. He lost it. They had for years refused to tell him how it happened. That is to say that Xara had presented him with so many versions of the story, many which involved his own death, that he did not know which to believe. The one he most enjoyed involved a scene with Galadriel, a suddenly female cousin Merry, a torch, a river, and a Lorién cosmetics salesman. She never elaborated on that one, leaving it to his own imagination. It wasn't until he had found the books that he knew the truth of the matter.
  "Looking for something, Frodo?" asked Xara in a kindly tone.
  Tapping his lips in a forgetful manner bought Frodo the time he needed to finish his thought: In this state they were likely to ignore house rules, particularly the one which had set him in such an unfavourable position the previous night. He had three minutes, three and a half if he was lucky, before they realized what he was talking about, and that it was forbidden.
  Perian unfolded, drifting to her feet, and sliding across the polished wood floor in her socks with all the grace of an oliphaunt on rollerskates. "Where are you going?" the others asked simultaneously.
  "I'll wait outside the door until you are finished discussing," she replied. "This is the Three Is Company chapter, and I'm the only character who can be sacrificed at the moment."
  Ivy rubbed the bridge of her nose as the door closed - or almost closed, leaving a small crack for the sound to escape from - after Perian. "What was that about?" she asked.
  "Later," said Frodo, a hint of urgency in his voice. "I only have two minutes of useful consciousness left. As you remember, I was reading... something... last night. Before it was hurled into the fire I came across an article I know to be more than fabrication, and I know you're not following me, but The News From Bree has access to our research files and, worse, to the censored articles. They also know where the former headquarters were." He stopped, breathing in short, ragged gasps. His eyes flitted from one to the other of the two women. They would be coming out of hobbitnosis soon. "Last Thursday's issue," he added, running out of the room. He tripped over Perian on the way out, falling against the curved wall opposite. "Pardon," he begged of it, then scurried away. After about a minute Merry's bright laugh echoed down the hall. Perian rolled lazily into the sitting room and closed the door behind her, bolting it to prevent further interruption in the chapter's title. Xara and Ivy exchanged glances once more, blinking away the hobbit aftereffect.
  "Did you follow that?" Xara asked.
  "It didn't sound good," Ivy replied. "Maybe we should...?" There was nothing more dangerous than suggesting reading The News From Bree to the Lady of Bag End. This fact was supported by a murderous glance from Xara.
  "I know what you're thinking," she said.
  "I'm sure you think you know what I'm thinking," said Ivy in return.
  "No, I know what I think I know what you're thinking," Xara retorted.
  "Isn't that the same thing?" Ivy enquired with a hint of a smile.
  "Probably. What exactly did I say? No, never mind. Frodo isn't likely to be in Hobbiton right now, and if someone caught me buy ing a copy of that... that..." Xara's words trailed off into violent sputtering. They echoed almost imperceptibly against the barer walls of the room. A stranger entering the fire-lit dimness, listening to the hissing and fuming might (if that person were very tired) think he had entered the Cracks of Doom. Even for those not strange to the eerie but also not strange environment it was, even so, a bit unsettling. Just a bit. A very wee bit. An infinitesimal bit, in fact. One would need a high-powered microscope to see it properly. This bit - and if you have forgotten what this is a bit of you are not alone - was just large enough to slip into Ivy's mind and prompt her to say, "I'll take care of it."
  "Thank you," said Xara, exhaling for the first time in over a minute. Contrary to popular belief, the act of sputtering does not necessarily require that air leave the lungs.
  "Merry!" Ivy called out. An answer came immediately.
  "Waiting on your word, luv," he replied from the other side of the door.
  Xara's eyes widened. "Did Prongsie programme him to do that?"
  A hue of outrage fluttered across Ivy's cheeks. "Of course not! What do you think Merry is, an automaton? There are" and at this she winked, her eyes glittering mischievously, "better ways to train a hobbit. You and Frodo might benefit from-"
  "No, thank you," said Xara hastily. "The paper...?"
  "I heard every word, my ladies, and have the issue. If you would unbolt the door, I would be more than happy to deliver it," the muffled voice proclaimed cheerfully. Ivy made a move to unlatch the door, but was held back by Perian's upheld palm. Perian shook both her finger and her head, making tiny "tch, tch," noises. Without saying a word she spun upon her heel and fell to her belly before the door. From the inside of the back of her tunic she drew a thin beam of polished wood.
  "What's-" Ivy began, but Perian shushed her.
  The wood slipped under the door, guided by Perian's fingers, and proceeded to poke Merry's foot. He yelped and looked down, but the perpetrator had slipped back into the room, replaced by an outstretched hand, open and waiting. Thinking it to be Ivy's, he knelt down and took the tips of the fingers in his hand. They jerked away and slapped him, forming once again into the wagging index finger. Blushing, Merry handed the hand the paper. It ducked and waved in a sort of bow before disappearing. Merry stared at the spot where it had been until Matti chanced upon him. She leaned over his crouching form and clasped her arms around his neck, staring along with him, her head tilted to one side.
  "What are you looking at?" she whispered.
  "I think," said Merry slowly, "that Bag End is secretly housing a sentient hand."
  Matti giggled. "Nice!"
* * *
  Meanwhile, a minor scuffle was occurring on the other side of the door. "Perian, please! Let us read it," Xara begged, sighing exasperatedly.
  "When I'm finished," Perian mumbled, leaning nonchalantly against the wall, her legs stretched out before her, crossed at the ankles. In one hand was the paper, in the other was a half-eaten plum. "Would ye like me to read it to yeh?" she asked around the other half.
  "Fine," Xara began to say, but was interrupted by a vehement "No!" from Ivy. She glanced questioningly at her friend. "Perian's reading is so distracting you will have no idea what she's saying. Trust me, I listened to it for years when she would come over to practice it on Matti, when she was learning to read," said Ivy.
  "When Matti was learning-"
  "No, Perian."
  "Oh. I didn't know she couldn't," said Xara. "But..." Xara glanced again at the paper, involuntarily recoiling. "I don't deny that I'm hesitant to touch it."
  "Don't say I didn't warn you," Ivy replied, settling back in one of the wooden chairs and shifting about, trying in vain to make herself comfortable in it. She waved an arm, then settled her chin upon the fist of it. "Go on, Perian."
  Perian leapt to her feet and cast the pit of the plum into the fireplace. Chewing frantically, she swallowed and cleared her throat. There was a bow and a flourish and a sharp, papery slapping sound as she opened the issue. "Good evening, ladies and eavesdropping gentlehobbits. For your lack of enjoyment this evening I bring to you a three point entertainment featuring myself in the multiple roles of Rebecca Willis, editor of The News From Bree, and general imitator of pond sludge; Perian, that's me; and a member of the i Nili Newsletter staff, a small but necessary role involving fine use of method acting and gasping fish noises. In-between acts I will perform with no musical ability whatsoever at no charge. And now, my dear attentive audien- Stop snoring, if you please. Yes, you! The Brandybuck in the first row," Perian strode purposefully up to Ivy, who was able to cover her nose before it was flicked. "Grammercy." Perian resumed her place, pacing the space before the door, drifting in and out of deep shadow. "May I present to you an editorial from The N.F.B.?"
  "Yes, please!" Xara burst out.
  "An interactive audience!" cried Perian, bouncing to the tips of her toes and clapping. "How delightful!"
  "Yes, we know," said Ivy impatiently. "Now get on with it."
  Perian came to rest in the shadows, eyeing her audience slowly and silently. When she spoke it was with a voice not her own. The inflection became decidedly American with an echo of adolescence, as of someone who never developed after leaving school. Her eyelids drooped and the corners of her mouth turned down. "'Editorial by R. Willis. Los Edoras. Dear Readers, So glad you've chosen us once again! Hasn't the quality of news and entertainment been great since the starry-eyed book-worshippers with their reality-blinders faded into the background? You know what I mean. Since the terrible incident at The Grey Havens, West Eire, nearly a decade ago, they've been afraid to show their faces. With good reason, Readers! You all remember how their madness went beyond acceptability as they created orcs, trolls, and even a replica of Saruman the White. The army was released upon us, the unsuspecting so-called "Free People" of Little-earth. I can't say I felt sorry when they got a taste of it themselves. About time.'"
  Xara, outraged, shouted, "The bitch!" while Ivy leapt to her feet, crying, "We never!"
  "Shh," said Perian, "that isn't the worst of it. By far. Listen:
  "'We've had a breather now. Hey, they're not so bad when they're not around. Or... are they? What exactly are the founders doing now we don't hear from them? It would seem they've disappeared, but they didn't need a Ring to do it. Only secrecy. Hey, it looks like Frodo's getting better at secrecy, at least! Yes, Frodo. Baggins. They made a midget and want us to worship him. He is now co-editor of their rag, the i Nili Newsletter. Rest in peace, former Editor Perian; or is it in pieces? The circumstances of her death were confusing to say the least, until a recent discovery. An undisclosed source in Far Harador, Oz, found the elusive but abandoned HQ of the i Nili Newsletter, and along with it a series of files. One was a heartfelt, deeply troubled page of typed text. It would seem that one of the staff witnessed her final, though hardly untimely, doom. Before passing the Founder spent the better part of an hour bleeding to death from orc-made wounds. This could have been your fate, and almost was.
  "'Back to the present. Frodo is keeping busy writing, filling in to help the infamous Xara (and we have more juicy tidbits coming up on her, Readers,) who has taken on the name of Baggins herself. I'm not implying anything there. Remember, proof first! Only accuracy enters this paper, as you well know. The new name is probably a marketing ploy. So typical.
  "'But the Founders aren't all completely innocent. We have definitive proof that these hapless creatures they have committed menticide upon, these so-called "hobbits", are being mistreated. This might be an isolated incident, but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a founder whom I will not name until she is in the custody of proper authorities, has exploited the one they have named Merry Brandybuck. You know what I me-' Ivy! Ivy, for Eru's sake!" Perian collapsed under the weight of Ivy, who had again launched herself from the chair and was now clawing toward the paper. Perian held it out of reach, her eyes white-ringed and her face quite as pale. Xara darted forward and grabbed Ivy around the waist, pulling her off. Even as she did so, Xara was cursing ominously, "That scum. That slander-spouting piece of rubbish. I'll personally feed her to the paper-shredder. Or to Paddy."
  Perian scrambled backward to the wall and pressed up against it, panting. "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry. I didn't write it... You know that, don't you, Ayve? I'm sorry," she whimpered, terrified.
  "I know, Perian," said Ivy, pressing her palms to her temples. "I shouldn't have lashed out at you. I was so furious. And," she forced a laugh, "You have to admit, you imitate her very convincingly."
  With a hesitant smile, Perian crept forward and patted Ivy's hand.
  "I can't believe that anyone would print such vicious lies about anyone," said Xara, glaring at the crumpled and torn paper lying dead on the other side of the small room, "let alone talking about taking such slander to the authorities." 
  Ivy glanced up at her, a haunted look in her green eyes. "Was it slander? Lies?" she asked quietly.
  "What?" Xara exclaimed. "You can't possibly think..."
  "I don't know," said Ivy, rubbing her temples again. "I've never thought about it before, but he is a hobbit, with artificial feelings, and what you said earlier about programming him..."
  "Ivy, are you trying to tell me that you really did programme him? I don't want to sound rude, but that's absurd! You know as well as I do that you didn't." Ivy blushed and looked at the ground, nodding. "And as for the other matter," Xara continued, settling herself beside Ivy, "there's nothing artificial about it. In case you haven't noticed what everyone else who knows the two of you could see from the first instant, Merry loves you."
  Ivy looked up into Xara's eyes and sniffed. "Do you think so?" she asked with as much hope and desperation as a child asking about her first crush.
  "Did I say I think so? No. I said I know so. Eesh."
  With a laugh, Ivy smiled and said, "I'm pretty dense, sometimes, huh?" She cast an arm around Xara's shoulders and wiped her eyes with the back of her other hand.
  "You are not," Xara replied, then added, "except perhaps where Merry is concerned, but don't we all have a blind spot where our hobbits- excuse me, victims, are concerned?"
  "Yeah. I wonder whether they've published something on you yet."
  "If they value their skins, they had better not have," said Xara, "and if they haven't yet, I'll have to do something to stop them before they start."
  "We," Ivy corrected. "I liked your idea about the paper shredder."
  Perian recoiled. "You wouldn't, would you?"
  "No, of course not! I still want to know how she found all of that out, though. Xara, do you keep all of the information she had in the old headquarters?"
  "No... maybe," Xara gnashed her teeth in unsettled concentration. "Most of it might have been in the boxes of papers I had there. Damn. I should have moved them. I never thought anyone would find it."
  "What else was in those boxes? Anything else she can use for slander?"
  "I'm not worried about those. For the most part it was archives of the newsletter. Nothing we haven't already published. Nothing about the hobbits, except maybe a draft of that article I wrote when they were being created. Nothing about the journey to Valinor, or what happened after."
  "So how did they find out... Xara, you didn't leave your files' password lying around the H.Q. anywhere, did you? Please say you didn't."
  "I didn't," said Xara. Ivy breathed a sigh of relief - halted midway through by the sound of Xara's throat clearing. "Only because you asked me to say so. I really don't know. I could have. I don't remember."
  "Oh shite. Something tells me The News From Bree isn't finished with us, or with any of the Founders. If I ever get my hands on that so-called editor, I'll..." Ivy wrung her skirt in her hands until threads began to snap.
  "Well, I must admit, they have done us an unexpected favour."
  "She has?" Ivy's brows ran upward. "You could have fooled me. What?"
  "We have no lack of purpose any longer. Come on."
  Long after they had left, the third of their company sat, forgotten, in the room. She stared into the fire until it died into embers, and at last went dark completely.

Ask Samwise.

  To Sam,
  We both know that you've done really stupid things before that have prompted me to call you the Stupid Fat Hobbit... I don't want to go into any of them right now, because you know of them all too well. Just promise me you're not going to do anything stupid in the next few months.
  Now listen here, S[méagol - honestly, Sam, when are you going to bury the hatchet? -ed.], I'm not the one who got kicked out of home for killing my betters, nor who led anyone into Shelob's lair, neither! [SAM, calm down! -ed.] What are you on about? The stupidest thing I've ever done is to let master Frodo be led [...!!!...].
  [Sorry about that, Sméagol. I am sure he will realise your intentions were good sooner or later. People tend to be defensive when they're about to do something incredibly idiotic. -ed.]
  [Er... -ed.]

Of Names, Part IX. (Key: q.= Quenya, s. = Sindarin, where known.)
tari: (noun) high queen. Elentari, Kementari.
tel-: (verb) finish, end, be last. Teleri.
thalion: (adjective) strong, dauntless. Cuthalion, Thalion.
thaur, saur: (adjective) abominal, abhorrent. Sauron, Gorthaur.


  Loved your article on my voice. I'm sure you expected this resulting letter to come from me and here it be! To clarify where Gollum came from, I got a fish bone stuck down my throat and couldn't get it out. I tried to cough in every way possible but it only came out when I had choked on the word Gollum for a while. By that time it was permanently stuck in my system. I only talk normally now because at the invention of audio tapes I purchased a brilliant speech therapy tape that over time got rid of this croakyness and therefore let me speak like a normal Stoor. Thanks for taking an interest in my voice!
  Hallo, Smi!
  I was honoured to write about your most unique inflection, and pleased that you saw fit to correct my theories. It is always an honour when someone as famous as yourself writes in. Have you tried a bit of oil and lemon juice to loosen the fish bone? Or at least flavour it?
  Thank you for your letter,
  I loved the decorating tips! Great ideas, Gimli! Why doesn't someone do decorating tips for each of the Middle-earth kingdoms? Rivendell and Lothlorien would be especially good. ...
  Dear Eowyn,
  Thank you so much for your feedback. I have been speaking to a few of Gimli's Middle-earthian counterparts, and they have agreed to make the most of your suggestion at the earliest opportunity. I'm guessing that soon the newsletter will be replete with decorating tips, and our subscribers' rooms metamorphosed accordingly. 



Previous IssueNext Issue