i Nili o i Ardanolë Newsletter:

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


Issue 64, Volume 3, 27 November 2005.

Editors: Perian, Xara. 
Chief Correspondent: Prongs.
Columnists: Lady Morrigan Shadow, Padfoot, Cerridwen.
Staff Writers: Angel, Evenstar, Fan, Smi Gol.
Archivist: Ivy.

In this issue: Mistaken Identity.
Conflicting Ideals by Xara.
Angel's Secret Identity ... Liv?! by Angel.
Who Am I, Gamling? Personal Identity Issues of the Late Third Age by Perian.
Gnoldor by Perian.
Bi, Bi, Samwise by Xara.

In every issue:
Fanfiction: This Fortnight: Recollections, Chapter Eight: In the House of Tom Bombadil by Perian.
Ask Samwise.

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

Conflicting Ideals?
By Xara.

  Anyone who has ever researched a little into the man behind the mythology, JRR Tolkien, will know that he was a fervent Catholic. And anyone who has ever taken more than a first glance at his great epic work The Lord of the Rings or maybe even The Silmarillion, Middle Earth's great mythology, will have noticed the underlying Christian themes. For example, the very nature of the Ring's corrupting evil, appealing to the darker side of its bearer, every character carrying both the capacity for good or for evil. Or the fact that it is a temptation that must be resisted. The story of the creation of Middle Earth, beginning with Illuvitar the supreme being who made the Valar, and Melkor, the greatest of the Valar, who turned bad, starts to look, much as Tolkien reputedly hated the word, like an allegory for God and Satan. 
  We all know how strongly Tolkien felt about his Catholicism, and yet despite this, despite the grand Illuvitar of The Silmarillion, Middle Earth's religion bears closer resemblance to Paganism than Christianity. Paganism, or polytheism, the worship of more than one God. The ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and other religions, Zeus, Apollo, Jupiter, Isis, Aphrodite, you know the drill. There's usually a king and queen god and goddess, and a whole lot of their sisters and children and cousins who take care of various aspects of life, nature, day and night, war, love, etc., etc. If you read Lord of the Rings or the Silmarillion, does this not seem closer to Middle Earth's arrangement of the divine? 
  Middle Earth does have a supreme being, its true, but how often do we hear about him? When Frodo is at the Ford, taking his stand against the Nine Black Riders, does he offer up a prayer for Illuvitar to help him? No, he calls to Elbereth, the Queen of the Valar, and Luthien, a semi-divine, legendary figure, like Hercules or Achilles, though without the braun of course. When he confronts Shelob on the borders of Mordor, he cites an incantation to Earendil, another semi-divine legend of Middle Earth. Is it Melkor, or Morgoth as he became known, Tolkien's Satanic embodiment of the ultimate evil who threatens Middle Earth with the One Ring? No, it is Sauron, one of the Maiar, more demi-gods.
  Why? Why would Tolkien, a devoted Catholic, give his life's work a pagan religion? How come, in all the thousand pages of the Lord of the Rings, and the hundreds of pages of The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, the word God is used only once? Middle Earth, and indeed Tolkien himself, seem to be experiencing something of an identity crisis. A conflict between two different beliefs. It could simply be that Tolkien, having based Middle Earth on his studies of ancient mythology and saga, wished to lend more authenticity to it by creating for Middle Earth a similar religion to those of the societies which created the inspiration behind the Lord of the Rings. Yet not content with this it seems Tolkien had weaved much of his own Christianity into the text, creating something of a hybrid. Could it be merely this? Or could it be some deeper conflict within the author? It is a question I leave to you.

Angel's Secret Identity...Liv?!
By Angel.

  The pleasures of owning a little something online, able to call it your own, able to boss everyone around (hehehe, hey not saying i do!), get it well known enough to make a name for yourself in the online world.... fantastic. The downside? Well.... i reckon the language barrier and maybe one too many drinks...
  It gets to a stage where people actually THINK you're the actress or even character herself. Then you start getting creeped out when they ask you which dress you liked wearing most in the LotR films. Worse yet, will you marry me?
Or, in one case a year or so ago, having a very obsessed fan ask me why on earth i chose to marry Aragorn. Of course, there are really nice and sweet messages like "I love you Liv! You're the best, i loved you in.... " (and on and on, too bad Liv herself will never get to read these really heart-warming messages).
  That my fellow people, is the bad thing about displaying an email on the site, telling visitors to 'feel free to email me with any questions or queries'. Funny though, after even adding a note at the bottom that I am indeed NOT Liv herself, or the fictional character Arwen, i still get the odd email from Liv Tyler fans, usually in grammatically incorrect english (i guess the language barrier stopped them from noticing the webmiss was called 'Angel' and not 'Liv Tyler'). 
  Mistaken identity, definately; LotR character's mistaken identity, no. This time I'm the one caught up in it.

Who Am I, Gamling?
Personal Identity Issues of the Late Third Age
By Perian.

  The first time I read The Lord of the Rings, I could not help but feel that there was something very fishy about the dark figure sitting in the corner in Bree. This came to mind once more several years and about a dozen readings later when the cinematic version of The Fellowship of the Ring came out. My mother, sitting in the back of the theatre while EE and I occupied four seats toward the front (our two, and the two in front of us across which we, to their occupants certain dismay, were leaning), thought that the mysterious Viggo Mortensen character was one of the pursuing Ringwraiths. It would have been sad, really, for the Ring to be recaptured so early as that. But I could see her point when she mentioned it afterward. There was little to differentiate wraiths and rangers for one who knows neither beforehand.
  There were many cases in which a character could not be said to belong to one and only one species. Gollum was a slimy little creature, but Sméagol was a hobbit. Strider was a ranger, but Aragorn was a king of Men, and Elessar was an adoptive elf. Frodo, though a hobbit, had something elvish about him, and Faramir, though a man, was likened to wizards. Gandalf, Mithrandir, Olorin, pick your name, though a wizard always, would be hard for the agnostics of Middle-earth to pin down. After all, if you cannot say definitively that he is a Maia, what does that leave? A man? Too ancient. An elf? Bearded. A dwarf? If that's the case he had a gravitational impediment. And ents? Hoom, now, the whole lot of them are not exactly trees, though they once were trees, but they walk and talk and speak and have eyes and a basically humanoid shape.
  This plethora of hybridizations seems to have made for quite a few personal identity issues. Let's face it, there are a lot of insecure individuals in Middle-earth during the late Third Age. Whether they're denying who they are (Strider, Dernhelm, Mister Underhill, Sam the Elf of Cirith Ungol), in complete denial of who they formerly were (the Wraiths, to begin with), or not exactly sure they are (Sméagol or Gollum, the huorns), there are some strong identity issues floating around. But do they need to be resolved? Not at all. It's half of what makes the characters so believable.

By Perian.

  One moment. I must pause to savour the collective responses of the readers at the shift away from my usual topics and onto the idyllic species of Middle-earth.
   ...were not, originally, elves.
  What? No! Don't be absurd! They were the firstborn! They are the . the... the prettiest! They're the high-kicking, arrow-shooting, hair-flinging, verse-singing light of everyone's lives, especially their own! What do you mean elves aren't elves?
  They are ... stop throwing hair pins ... are elves. But before they were elves, Tolkien had a different name for them: Gnomes.
  Picture it. Would you have imagined the bare-faced, fair-haired, slanting-eyed merry men and maids you did if they had been called Gnomes? 'Where are we to go, Gandalf?' 'Rivendell, the Gnomeshome, home of Lord Gnorond Half-Gnomish.' 'Glory and trumpets, we're going to see the Gnomes!'
  Somehow ceramic fishermen come to mind. Little red liberty-caps, and, Eru forbid, long, curling, white beards are all a part of the image. It's even worse than Agent Elrond aka Eyebrows of Doom.
  So Dwarrows stayed Dwarves... but thank Eru that Gnomes became Elves, even if the name element still seems to linger. Else the would fit better with fish, yes, precious.

Bi, Bi, Samwise
By Xara.

(An article written only in fun.)

  I'm sure you're all aware of the speculation about Frodo and Sam, and indeed most of the Fellowship if the Secret Diaries are to be believed, and their unusually friendly relations. Naughtier minded fans proclaim their whole-hearted belief that Frodo and Sam at least are gay. Purists insist that they were "just good friends", but how much validity do these claims hold? Which one is right? Is it possible neither?
  Let's look at the facts. First, yes, Frodo and Sam do seem to be very, very close. Just how close? Well, I'll give an example. Picture in your minds Frodo, insvisible (Yes, I know you can't actually picture that, just bear with me), leaving the camp of the fellowship on a boat. Sam appears and, despite the fact that he can't swim, jumps into the water and cries, "I'm coming too, or neither of us isn't going. I'll knock holes in all the boats first." Once again, the younger, naughtier fans cite this as evidence of a more than friendly relationship, the Purists remind us that despite this Frodo and Sam never actually say anything like "I love you, Mister Frodo," or, "How sexy you look in those breeches, Sam", to which the others reply that Tolkien simply couldn't have put this in back in 1954 as it would have been far too scandalous. 
  However, there is one argument of the Purists to which other fans have never been able to reply. When Sam returns from his journey, he settles down and marries Rosie. Lives with Frodo certainly, but marries Rosie. "A sham marriage!" they cry, "He's just trying to maintain the lie!" Really? You think so? Think about it, Sam and Rosie had thirteen children together. Thirteen!!! That takes a lot of commitment to the lie if there was no attraction on Sam's part. That or Rosie got up to some mischief Tolkien never told us about. It's true that Frodo never married, but seriously, if Frodo had been interested in more than friendship, and Sam hadn't been, you don't need to be an expert in psychology to tell that relations would have been strained, which, despite Peter Jackson's alterations, they clearly were not. And that, it seems, is that. Or is it?
  Because of course, there is one, rather overlooked, third option. I refer of course to that most slippery, debated-over concept; bisexuality, an interest in both genders. It is small wonder that this possibility has been largely ignored in the debate amongst Lord of the Rings fans as to the sexual preference of the two heroes of the story, it is practically a debate in itself. What is it? Does it even exist at all? Is it just a transitional state? Is everyone, deep down, really bisexual?
  As I said before, that is a very hotly debated topic all in itself, and not the focus of this article. But whatever it is, does it describe Samwise? It would certainly explain his interest in Frodo, yet his eventual happy marriage to Rosie. However this new concept does raise one rather worrying problem. If Sam and Frodo were "together", they certainly don't seem to have stopped being together after Sam's marriage. In fact, all three of this rather unlikely love triangle seem to have lived quite happily under the same roof together for at least a year. Perhaps not then. But still, it's a thought.

This Fortnight: Recollections.
Chapter Eight: In the House of Tom Bombadil
By Perian.

   "Peregrin Thadius Took, after our resolution I find you here? I'm appalled! I'm shocked! I'm -"
   "I don't have a middle name," Pippin calmly protested.
   "Well, you do now," Éostar slammed her fists onto her hips in a moment of gestural confusion. The combination of fist-against-palm and fists-firmly-planted-on-hips made her wince, and her counterpart giggle. The giggle quickly turned to a look of dismay.
   "But, Thadius?" he whined, pouting and bringing his brows together in what he hoped and she perceived was an irresistible gaze of cuteness. An observer, perched on the steps above Pippin, laughed. The laugh had a life of its own, cascading through the air in a matter not unlike a series of bubbles, except in the fact that the laughter was made of air and sound, whereas bubbles are made of air and wet. "Why that?"
   "Because it's hobbitish."
   "It's not-"
   "It sounds hobbitish, all right?"
   Pippin nodded, though whether this was because he understood and agreed, or was trying to placate her, or was merely keeping time to some internal music, was not immediately clear. "It doesn't," he replied with an 'of course it does' smile.
   "It sounds, if I may, my fair lady, say, about as unhobbitish as a name might, or even might not. And it sounds like as good or bad a name as any."
  Éostar did not turn away from her guarding stance over Pippin, but managed to scrutinize his companion out of the corner of her eye. She had seen him before, somewhere. In some other alleyway, she suspected. He was short and bearded, and wore a tear-provoking array of colours. A long wooden pipe was in one hand and an expression of eternal amusement crinkled around his eyes. "Who are you, again?" she asked.
   "Ian," the man replied, as Pippin said "Ben."
   "You're not Ben," said Éostar. "I've seen pictures of Ben, and unless you've had some serious wax-and-leather surgery, you're not him."
   "I'm the other one. I'm..." He and Pippin exchanged a glance, and the man decided "Wayne," as Pippin blew a smoke ring up between the looming walls, toward a blue and extremely crumpled ribbon of daylight.
   "Adair," Pip threw in for good measure.
   "Bernadette," his companion countered.
   "I wouldn't go that far," Pippin cautioned. "People might believe you. You never can tell, though." Pippin leaned back thoughtfully. "Maybe if you curled your beard and stuck a few flowers behind your ears."
   "As I said," Ian Wayne Ben Adair (and possibly Bernadette) turned to address Éostar, "one name is as good as another. Take your pick. I'll answer, or I won't, and which letters you put together won't make much of a difference with that. Come! It is such a ..." Ian stopped speaking and ran from the alley. Before either of the others had time to wonder where he was going, he ran back to complete his sentence, "... fine day, there is no point to residing beside the dumpsters. At least if you're not hungry. Come away!"
   "Where did you find this..." Éostar's whisper halted as she searched her vocabulary for an appropriate noun. After the maximum reply delay had passed, her mental vaults had proven bankrupt in regards to Ian et al Adair. "...guy?" she completed, defeated.
   Pippin tapped his nose. "That would be telling."
   "Right. That's my point."
   "Oh, great. One of your strays-"
   "I beg your pardon," Pippin's hand flew with aristocratic limp-wristedness to his chest. "Do I, fair maiden, detect a hint of disdain in your tone when speaking of my strays?"
   "The word itself implies disdain, Peregrin."
   Pippin's hand and upheld nose dropped so that his eyes could meet their target. "It does?" he asked with genuine astonishment. "And ... waif?"
   "Wastrel? Urchin? Cad?" Pippin's face, or rather the features upon it but not the face as a whole, fell further with each nod. "Oh, bugger."
   "That one could be taken either way. Why? You haven't been calling people these to their faces, have you?"
   "Not... exactly."
   They followed Ian et al Adair past a street musician, tossing a few coins they could not afford into his violin case. Their generosity was not out of appreciation for his music, but in the hopes that the cat would be given a proper burial someday. "You know, I have a great sympathy for the less fortunate," Éostar remarked in passing. "Someone should find a home and whatever else might be needed for that musician, because he's making this entire street qualify as the less fortunate." She used Pippin's moment of confusion to ask, "Which somewhere?"
   "Oh, he delivers my fanmail," said Pippin, affecting an air of casualness, of I-was-just-getting-around-to-telling-youness in the same way a tortoise might treat a finish line as his manager began to glower from the stands.
   Éostar tripped over her own feet. "Your fanmail?" she sputtered as he hefted her back onto them. "You mean, people know you're here?"
   "Of course not. He's my agent. That's what agents are for; delivering fan mail."
   "I see," said Éostar, her eyes narrowing. "And how did you discover this?"
   "I see. Who, exactly, have you been sending fanmail to?"
   Pippin blushed and muttered something under his breath. A local fire-eater took this opportune moment to singe Pippin's eyebrows, having seen that the passer-by seemed to be facing a near-deadly stare from his apparent girlfriend. There is nothing like a brush with death to make women forget they despise any particular man, the helpful fire-eater reasoned. To his great astonishment, not even the softly smouldering collar of her companion succeeded in melting her frosty gaze. The performer gathered up his torches, coins, and rags, and glanced around for the lighter which had been stolen some years before (surprisingly finding it), and ran.
   "I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that," she growled.
   The mumble repeated, a butterfly's whisper louder.
   "Which Count would that be?" she asked. Her mind cried out 'That explains a few things!' and 'Impossible!' at the same time. She pressed the tips of her fingers to her temples, wondering whether this was how alter-egos formed.
   "The Count," said Pippin. "You know, the one who ... who . With the black hair and the cloak who ... Pointy teeth, heavy-lidded eyes. That Count." From his trouser pocket he produced an autographed photograph. A purple face grinned up at Éostar as Pippin went on to explain, "I wrote to thank him for helping me learn my numbers. What's wrong?"
   Éostar's cheeks, nose, and lips were all trying to find their way to the centre of her face in an effort not to laugh. "Nudting," she said through her puckered mouth. "De Count. Dat Count. God it." They walked in silence for a time as Éostar attempted to press her giggles back into her mouth, perhaps with the hope that the extra pressure would escape out her ears. When at last they were all gone - swallowed, to escape in a just-as-impolite way later - she tried what seemed a less volatile line of conversation. "So, do you have any idea where he's leading us?"
   "To the registry office."
   "You're so sweet," Éostar exclaimed, all former miffedness forgotten. "As out-of-order as a vending machine, as you should have asked first, but I can wait for that."
   "Uh, all righ'," Pippin said, confused. "I should ask?"
   "Yes. On bended knee, please. I'd ask you to take off your hat, but then people might recognise you. You!" She grabbed the back of Ian et al Adair's jacket. "Wait there for just a second. Go on, Pippin."
   Looking thoroughly lost, but accepting Éostar's superior experience of worldly and human customs, Pippin dropped to one knee. "Éowyn Evenstar," he began.
   She did a double take, as if she had not already known he was kneeling before her. "Yes?" she asked her voice dripping encouragement. None of the drops landed on him, judging by his increasingly dubious expression. "And no poetry," she warned out of the side of her mouth.
   "I have to ask you, because you told me to..."
   "Yeees?" This wasn't going quite right, but she was willing to overlook his awkwardness for now. She could look forward to making him practice until he got it right later. She turned off her sound receptors and based her judgement on his expression.
    "May I -"
   "I thought you would never ask!" she cried, pulling him to his feet and throwing her arms around his neck.
   "Really? You want me to run for regional governor? Thanks, Éostar. Come on, then. You can sign on as my running mate."
   A few blocks away and about an hour later, as a microphone was being thrust in her direction by a political commentator, Éostar realised that Pippin had not asked what she thought he had.
   In many waiting rooms in various locations a day later, regular listeners of World Events Live made comments along the lines of "And what do you think of that running mate of his, eh? She certainly has the energy to lead Rhovannion out of the gutter, wouldn't you say?" while those who had not yet been able to clear the ringing from their ears replied "Huh?"

Ask Samwise.

  Dear Samwise,
  I've finally finished all my exams and have time again to write. The only problem is, I just don't seem to be able to get any inspiration. Do you have any writers block cures?
  Author in Distress.

  Dear AiD,
  You're in a right fix, there's no denying it. It's not that there's no inspiration round about, but it's a way of seeing things. The trick is to find inspiration in everying. The best and the worst of it all. If I can compose metrically and grammatically perfect songs about stars and finches in the middle of a smelly, orc-infested tower, you can do just as much, and no mistake.


Lost:  A collection of pots and pans that have some sentimental value.  If you are willing to go get them for me I will give you whatever, or whoever, you want in return...


  Dear Editor,
  Another wonderful issue.  This newsletter has been doing so well (in general) and continues to bring the readers something interesting to read every month.  I just want to say that I've enjoyed reading the i Nili o i Ardanolë Newsletter and I hope to read many more issues in the near and far future.

  Fan, dear, you have made this Editor's day. It's thanks to readers and writers like you that you will continue to read many more issues. Here's to many long years of working together, and our unbroken fellowship.




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