Tuesday, June 30, 2015

100 Views!

I am happy to announce that Lover of Lembas has reached over 100 pageviews! Thank you so much for your support in this endeavor! After only 38 posts I am floored to have so many viewers! I love sharing my love of The Lord of the Rings and I am grateful that you love it too! (That’s a lot of love!) Thank you so much!

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XV

Our next group read installment: Of the Return of the Noldor.

A quick recap: In the first two books, Ainulindale and The Valaquenta, we learned about the “god” of the universe, Eru Illuvatar and his “angels”, the Ainur: Valar and lesser Maiar. Next we learned about the fallen angel Melkor (also named Morgoth) who tried corrupting the creations of Eru and the Valar. He built up his fortresses in Middle-Earth as well while the rest of the Ainur live in a heavenly land called Valinor. We also learned of the wakening of elves and men, and one elf, Feanor, who created jewels stolen by Morgoth, which drove him to madness and to swear a blood oath against him. Remember that it’s never too late to join in on the group read! It’s really exciting so far! And now, back to our regularly scheduled program: a chapter summary and discussion.

The Noldor returned to Middle-Earth and came to Lammoth, the place where Morgoth and Ungoliant originally faced off, and burned the Teleri's ships. The fire drew the attention of both Fingolfin still stranded in Aman and of Morgoth and his orcs. Fëanor's people settled in Mithrim and were soon after attacked by orcs. Though they were unprepared, the Noldor were victorious. Fëanor in keeping with his oath pursued Morgoth himself. As he was searching he was attacked by Balrogs and was injured. His sons came and slew the Balrog. Before he died, Fëanor told his sons to avenge his death and uphold their oath. He then swore on Morgoth's name three times and he was so enraged he burned away. Shortly after, Morgoth sent a message to the Noldor feigning a surrender. Maedhros, Fëanor's eldest son went forth to parley with him. Morgoth though came forth with a force greater than Maedhros' and assailed him. Maedhros was captured and was held as a hostage only to be released if the Noldor would leave Beleriand and forsake the war. The Noldor knew that Morgoth was treacherous and would not keep his word; once the Noldor surrendered he would not release Maedhros. Morgoth hung Maedhros from a precipice of Thangorodrim his fortress by his right hand in a band of steel. Meanwhile Fingolfin had arrived in Middle-Earth. They knocked on the doors of Angband to assail Morgoth but he did not answer. This was during the day and so the foul creatures of Morgoth were hiding. They left and went to Mithrim. There was animosity between Fëanor's house and Fingolfin's because of the burning ships and forsaking of Fingolfin’s people through Fëanor. The people of Fëanor were amazed that Fingolfin had returned and many of them repented for their wrongdoing. Even though some apologized, others remained proud. Fingon eldest son of Fingolfin who had always been a good friend of Maedhros, vowed that he would end the division between Fëanor's and Fingolfin's host. He went to Thrangorodrim under cloak of darkness. He sang a song of Valinor to spite Morgoth and to alert Maedhros that he was near. Maedhros sang back and Fingon found him hanging on the precipice. He could not reach him though and Maedhros begged him to shoot him with his bow and arrow. As Fingon prepared to do so, Thorondor the Great Eagle of Manwë flew down and took Fingon to Maedhros. The steal that bound Maedhros' hand to the precipice would not break, so Fingon cut off his arm at the wrist. Maedhros healed in time and Fingon was praised for his deed. Maedhros begged Fingolfin's pardon for abandoning him and his people and for burning the ships along with the rest of Fëanor's host. He renounced the kingship of the Noldor that was rightfully his and gave it to Fingolfin which effectively healed all of the strifes between the hosts of Fëanor and Fingolfin. Now that the Noldor were united, they set watch over Angband and began exploring Beleriand. King Thingol did not trust all of the foreign princes arriving in Beleriand and would not allow them in Doriath. Of the Noldor only the children of Finarfin were allowed in his realm because their mother Eärwen was his brother Olwë's daughter. Angrod was the first of the Noldor to visit Doriath and beg for entrance. He told Thingol not of the oath, kinslaying or the exile of his people. Thingol allowed the Noldor to dwell in the north and east of Beleriand but not to enter into the Girdle of Melian which encased Doriath. Though to angered the sons of Fëanor when Angrod returned saying they could not enter Doriath, Maedhros counseled them and finally the Noldor moved in. Maedhros chose the northeastern area where later the attack of Angband would ensue. Caranthir of the Noldor met the dwarves, and though they did not like each other much, they formed an alliance because they both hated Morgoth. The dwarves learned from the mighty Noldor and Caranthir became rich. After twenty years Fingolfin held a festival of joy to which all of the elves of Beleriand attended to celebrate their prosperity and the fact that Morgoth still hid deep in his caverns in Angband. Thirty years after the festival, Finrod and Turgon were walking down the River Sirion where Ulmo appeared to each in a dream telling the to build in secret, strongholds. Finrod then spied to chain of caves on the River Narog. There he built his secret stronghold Nargothrond with the help of the dwarves of the blue mountains. The dwarves also gave him a necklace called Nauglamir. Finrod was then called Felagund, hewer of caves. Then Finrod went into Nargothrond, but his sister Galadriel would not accompany him because she had fallen in love with Celeborn of Thingol's kin. She remained with him and learned of the knowledge of Melian. Turgon was also tasked with building a realm. Ulmo appeared to him once again and showed him a place in the Vale of Sirion. Turgon had always admired Tirion and longed for it now, and so he fashioned the place with mountains surrounding it as Tirion. Soon after Morgoth decided to stretch his legs, as it were, and see how strong his forces were. They were soon fought off by the forces of Maedhros and of Fingolfin in what is known as the Glorious Battle or Dagor Aglareb. The Noldor then closed in on Angband and what became known as the Siege of Angband took place and for hundreds of years no servant of Morgoth could pass in or out of the depths. However to the north there was too much snow and ice and Morgoth was able to send orcs through there since the Noldor could not maintain that area. These orcs captured the elves and took them to Morgoth where he spread rumors to them and scared them into spreading them among their people once they were released. The first of the dragons also known as the Great Worms came forth at this time, Glaurung, but he was quickly fended off by Fingon and his archers. For hundreds of years, peace and prosperity flourished among the Sindar and Noldor.

This is a longer chapter with a lot of information. First off, we have the death of Feanor. What do you think of his character as a whole? Cool or cruel? I’ve heard mixed reviews, but what a crazy way to die! He was so mad, he just...burned up?!?! Weird... Then we have the whole Maedhros/Fingon rescue which was really cool. That was my favorite part of this chapter. Nargothrond and Gondolin are started which is fun for me because as many of you know, Gondolin is my favorite city and is the setting for my favorite chapter. Our first battle takes place and ends well for the elves. We end up with the two elven groups living in peace. This chapter started with turmoil and separation, but ended with union and happiness...I love a good happy ending! This obviously resolves all the issues...right?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Copyright Disclaimer

This is a copyright disclaimer for “www.loveroflembas.blogspot.com”. All reproductions from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and/or Christopher Tolkien are purely intended for educational purposes. No reproduction is being created to detract from The Tolkien Estate or the works of the above mentioned authors.

Blog Ideas

Hello! Today I was thinking about ways to spice up my blog and get more people involved in conversations and posts, and I thought, “why not just ask the people what they want?” and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

There are so many options for blog posts, and I want to know what you think would be best. Please leave a comment and follow this blog so you can be updated when your cool new ideas become a reality on this blog!

Thank you for your contributions, and have a great day!

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XIV

In this edition of the group read, we take a close look at the chapter entitled Of Men. This chapter introduces the second of the Children of Illuvatar.

Once the sun and moon began rotating regularly, all of the Valar went to Aman save Ulmo who stayed among the waters. Everything was peaceful and life flourished in Middle-Earth. During this time, the men awoke in Hildórien. The men first saw the sun and strayed toward it following it west. Unlike the elves, the Valar did not come to help them, since they were bunkered in Aman, and because of this, the men have always had a hard time trusting and understanding the Valar's purposes. Ulmo attempted to send them messages of guidance through the water but the men did not have the skills to understand them. Men were drawn to the water though but did not understand why. Instead, men learned a lot from the Moriquendi, the elves that refused the great journey to Aman. Morgoth was still hiding from the sun and so men were able to spread about freely, though it was perceived that war grew steadily nearer. Unlike the elves, men are easily susceptible to injury and illness. What happens after men die was not told in the music of the Ainur. Only Manwë and Mandos (called Námo by men) know and it is thought by some that the Valar do not control what happens to them. In the early years, men and elves worked together and it was peaceful for a time.


Thank you for reading this post! Comment and follow this blog if you are interested in The Lord of the Rings, thank you!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XIII

After a brief break from blogging due to circumstances beyond my control, I am happy to return with The Silmarillion Group Read! This chapter: Of the Sun and the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.

During this time, the Valar held counsel silent in grief over Fëanor's corruption and the loss of the Two Trees of Valinor. Manwë received word that Fëanor had not heeded Mandos' foretelling, he wept, and Mandos had a new prophecy: that Fëanor would soon die. Yavanna and Nienna attempted to heal the trees, but all they could salvage was one silver flower from Telperion and one golden fruit from Laurelin. They gave them to Aulë and his people made holders for them: the sun (Anar) and the moon (Isil). Varda gave them the power to go across the skies to shine light for the elves--and for men who Manwë perceived were coming soon. Arien was chosen from the Maiar to guide the sun because in the days of the trees she had tended to Laurelin and was not afraid of its intense heat. Tillion the Maiar was chosen to guide Isil. He was a hunter of Orome and loved silver. He begged. Arien was the better of the two and shone so bright that not even the elves could look her in the eye. Isil was the first to be ready because Telperion was the eldest of the trees, and was set into the sky. Many of Yavanna's creations awoke then and the elves were delighted. It was then that Fingolfin's followers first set foot in Middle-Earth. When Isil and Tillion had gone across the skies seven times, Anar was launched. Morgoth was frightened by her radiant glow and hid deep within Angband and put forth smoke to hide from the sun. Varda's original plan was to have the vessels start at opposite ends of the earth and go forth, meeting in the middle and mingling their light as the lamps and trees had done before them. However, Tillion struggled to keep Isil on course because he longed to be near Arien (though she burned him) and the moon was darkened. Estë and Lórien also protested because with the brightness there was no sleep, and the stars could not be admired. Now Anar would move round the earth and go under it to give a brief respite from the light, and Isil was instructed to do so as well. Tirion though, still off course would stray, and so at times both can be seen or one blocked by another. The light was brilliant; not as brilliant as the light of the Two Trees of Valinor however, because they had been spoiled by Ungoliant. The light still only existed in the Silmarils. Melkor hated both Anar and Isil, and tried once unsuccessfully to assail Isil, though because he had accepted as a Valar to come into the void and shape it, he no longer could use his powers outside of Middle-Earth. Melkor put clouds over his domain so the light of Anar could not penetrate it. The Valar grew fearful after the attack on Tillion and made the Pélori mountains higher. They also created a series of complicated islands in front of Tol Eressëa called the Enchanted Isles, and if you went upon them you would fall asleep indefinitely. And so Mandos' prophecy came true: the Noldor would never again be able to return to Aman.

I had one part of this in all caps in my original document to bring my attention to it. Tillion, the Maiar chosen to guide the moon was a hunter of Orome, and loved silver. This is similar to Artemis, the Greek huntress goddess of the moon, and of silver. What are you thinking about The Silmarillion Group Read so far? Leave suggestions in the comments. Galu!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XII

Just so you know, because of circumstances beyond my control, I will not have access to a computer for five, possible six, days. Continue reading the next chapters, as will I, and I will resume the daily posts soon. Thank you for your continued support!

Today’s chapter, Of the Sindar. Here we go!

Meanwhile, in Middle-Earth, the Teleri who had remained behind searching for Elwë (who had been under the trance of Melian) found him. They became the Sindar and in their language, they called Elwë, Elu Thingol. The Sindar thrived and became the most skilled and knowledgeable of all of the elves in Middle-Earth. Thingol and Melian had a daughter named Lúthien. It was now the second of three ages of Melkor's captivity, and at this time the dwarves awoke beneath a mountain. They came into Beleriand and built great underground halls in the Blue Mountains, also known as Ered Luin. The most famous of the halls were Nogrod and Belegost. They elves were civil with the dwarves, pleased with their ability to work with their hands and craft. Not many elves however learned to speak dwarvish though the opposite was true, and not many elves went into their halls either. The dwarves built a road through Beleriand, and the elves and dwarves lived peaceably for a time. Melian foresaw however that peace in the world would not last, and so Elu Thingol paid the dwarves to create an underground fortress know as Menegroth, in the likeness of Valinor, and it is the fairest dwelling besides its inspiration. Prior to this chapter, Lenwë's people were discussed. They forsook the Great Journey at the river Anduin and when they heard of Elu Thingol's prosperity--especially in using metal (whereas they used mostly wood)--they came to him and he welcomed them into Beleriand and allowed them to live in a land know as Ossiriand. Meanwhile, Daeron of the Sindar created the elvish runes called Cirith and the dwarves loved it and learned it, though the Sindar did not appreciate it as much. The power of Melian protected the Sindar's land (called Beleriand) and Ungoliant herself tried to penetrate it--to no avail. Ungoliant then fled to the mountains of Ered Gorgorath where she dwelt until she consumed herself out of hunger. Her offspring lived however. Melkor sent out his Orc armies to enter Beleriand. They separated Thingol and his people in the eastern side of Beleriand from Círdan, another elf, in the west. Thingol asked for aid from Denethor in Ossiriand. Denethor and his people came but Denethor himself was slain. This caused the people of Ossiriand never again to take a king, and to never go into open war again. In the west, Círdan and his people were pushed to the edge of the sea. Melian put forth an enchantment to cover all of Beleriand to the edge of the sea where Círdan was in distress. This was known as the Girdle of Melian. Thingol took in many before Melian closed it off, and no orcs nor evil servants could enter, though they roamed freely outside its borders.

Thank you for reading and I will post again Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XI

The next edition of The Silmarillion group read this time on the chapter Of the Flight of the Noldor.

The Valar held council to try to asses the damage. Yavanna revealed that she could not heal the trees without the Silmarils, and Fëanor was commanded to give them the jewels. Fëanor, full of jealousy and greediness refused. Word came then that his father Finwë had been killed and the Silmarils stolen. Fëanor was enraged and cursed Melkor and gave him the name Morgoth, and abandoned the council. Meanwhile, Melkor tried to evade Ungoliant, though she pursued him, anxious for her reward. He fed her all of the treasures he had stolen from Finwë in Formenos, save the three Silmarils. The Silmarils began to burn him but he was so full of greed that he kept them with him. Ungoliant tried to strangle him, and Morgoth let out a cry that summoned all of his Balrogs and evil servants from Angband and Utumno. This land is forever known as Lammoth, because of his scream. The Balrogs frightened her with their whips and she fled to Nan Dungortheb, the land of dreadful death. Morgoth set the Silmarils in an iron crown and sat on his throne. He raised the peaks of Thangorodrim, volcanic mountains above Angband, to a terrible height. Meanwhile in Valinor, Fëanor summoned the Noldor, and because his father was dead, he was the rightful king. He bade them listen to him and told them this: that they should leave Aman and seek the freedom of Middle-Earth. He swore an oath then, along with his sons that he would seek revenge on Morgoth or face the everlasting darkness. The house of Finwë was divided then, with some siding with him, and others turning away. Finarfin tried to reason with them, but Fëanor, fearing that their passion would fade and some would back out, rushed them. He also feared intervention from the Valar, but they were silent. Fingolfin, who was previously king during Fëanor's banishment, had the most followers and they refused to renounce him as king. However these followers still wanted to follow Fëanor. Fingolfin did not want to leave, but his son Fingon begged, and Fingolfin would not leave his people with Fëanor. Then Fingolfin made a promise to follow Fëanor. Finarfin followed as well, though he wished that he could have stayed. About ten percent of the Noldor were now in Valinor, while the rest left for Middle-Earth. Fëanor needed ships for the journey, and so he tried to get the Teleri to loan him their beautiful swan ships. Olwë the leader of the Teleri would not let him use them. The Noldor then tried attacking the Teleri, and the first kinslaying occurred. The Noldor did manage to take a few of the ships. They made it to a barren wasteland known as Araman, in the north of Aman, the continent Valinor is on. Mandos spoke of the Doom of the Noldor, and Finarfin turned back, and the Valar forgave him, and Finarfin became the king of the Noldor that remained in Valinor upon Tirion. Some of the Noldor continued on and arrived at an icy area called Helcaraxë, which means the grinding ice. They could either go by ship or walk across the ice. There were not enough ships left over for all of the Noldor to sail in, and none wanted to be left behind. In the night, Fëanor stole all of the ships for him and his kin, abandoning Fingolfin in Aman, were the Valar had exiled them from. Fëanor arrived in Middle-Earth. He gave his orders to burn all of the ships which could never be recreated, and were as precious to the Teleri as the Silmarils were to Fëanor. Maedhros Fëanor's son was the only elf who did not take part in the burning of the ships because of his friendship with Fingon, son of Fingolfin, whom they had left behind. Meanwhile, Fingolfin's people, learning of the abandonment, were too proud to return to Tirion and so many attempted to cross the ice, which proved to be deadly. They wanted once again to be reunited with Fëanor's people.

This is a big chapter that involves a lot of journeying and separation, but the main event is the Oath of Feanor.
The story is that because of this Oath that Feanor and his sons swore, they are now eternal enemies of Morgoth and of anyone who tries to keep a silmaril from them. This leads to a lot of strife as we see here during the first kinslaying.

What do you think of Feanor now, cool or cruel?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Shelob

For those of you following The Silmarillion group read, you will recognize similarities between Shelob and Ungoliant, another giant spider involved in the legendarium.

But even if you haven’t read The Silmarillion (do it just saying...), you might be familiar with Shelob, the giant spider that attacks Frodo and Sam on their way to Mt. Doom.

Shelob is the last daughter of Ungoliant, because after her defeat, the race of giant spiders dies out (thank goodness!). The way giant spiders work is that they mate, lay eggs, and then the females eat their mate. The vice of the giant spiders is that they are always being gluttonous, eating more than they should.

A common misconception is that J.R.R. Tolkien had an intense fear of spiders. In fact, J.R.R. Tolkien was bitten by a tarantula when he was young and a nurse had to suck the poison out of him, but he stated he did not fully remember this memory. He also pointed out that he does not have a desire to kill spiders or harm them, and that he releases them when he finds them in the bath. His son had a fear of spiders though, and Professor Tolkien stated he included the spiders in The Hobbit because the story was for children, such as his son. He says he “did it to thoroughly frighten him, and it did!”

The Silmarillion Group Read Part X

Of the Darkening of Valinor, the next chapter in this group read starts a major conflict. We’ll start off with a summary.

Oromë and Tulkas followed Melkor into Middle-Earth, but unbeknownst to them, he had gone south, and so they could not find him. He went to Ungoliant, the Giant Spider who dwelled in endless hunger, eating everything. Melkor enlisted her service by promising her anything she wished, which was a lie. Meanwhile, in Valinor, Manwë was planning a festival to celebrate the gathering of the fruits--and to try to heal the divide between the Eldar. Fëanor was forced to come but his sons and his father remained in banishment. In front of Manwë, Fëanor apologized for threatening his half-brother Fingolfin, and Fingolfin forgave him. At the same time, Melkor and Ungoliant came forth to where the trees stood. Melkor stabbed them with his spear and their sap flowed forth. Ungoliant drank the sap and became so huge that she frightened even Melkor. Then Valinor became dark. Manwë, suspecting that this was Ungoliant and Melkor's fault, sent for Oromë and Tulkas, though amid the blind darkness neither could capture the culprits.


This chapter involves the toppling of the Two Trees of Valinor. If you’ll remember, the silmarils encapsulate the light of the trees. Now that the trees have fallen, the silmarils are even more important.

Ungoliant, the giant spider, is important to The Lord of the Rings, as well. See my post on Shelob for more.

By the way, it is never too late to join a group read! Reading The Silmarillion will give you a much deeper and interesting experience with The Lord of the Rings, and you can wow your friends with all your knowledge! This is the tenth edition of the read, and just as a reminder, we read one chapter of The Silmarillion each day, and then come back to read the post and discuss in the comments. Please feel free to join at any time!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Music

The Lord of the Rings movies include some of the best musical score--in my opinion--of any movie in recent history. The music was all composed by Howard Shore, a Canadian born composer who has worked on eighty plus films. He scored approximately 3 hours of music, in addition to the extra half hour (per movie) of extended scenes. This is my list of favorite themes and melodies from the soundtrack (all available for just ninety cents on iTunes, mind you):

Concerning Hobbits: A popular favorite among many fans, this song encompasses the feel good, carefree attitude of the hobbits.

The Bridge of Khazad-dum: If you’re looking for the commonly dubbed “Fellowship Theme” this is the place to find it. Full blown trumpets and epicness, this song is one that will surely get you pumped up.

The Great River: This song is played as the Fellowship passes between the Argonath. Just the melody reminds you of the sheer awe of the two tall statues.

The Breaking of the Fellowship: A slightly enhanced version of “In Dreams” (another favorite), this theme is played at the pivotal moment when Frodo and Sam are parted from the rest of the Fellowship.

May it Be: Sung by the incredible vocalist, Enya, this song has a touching melody and amazing elvish lyrics.

King of the Golden Hall: This is the song for all lovers of the “Rohan theme”. Featuring beautiful instruments and a moving melody, this tune will be stuck in your head for days!

The White Rider: The return of your favorite wizard is highlighted in this exceptional melody.

Isengard Unleashed: The powerful theme of triumph.

Gollum’s Song: I am a big fan of the “credits songs” and this stunning piece is no exception.

The Ride of the Rohirrim: Another star of the Rohan theme sequence.

The End of All Things: A touching reminder of the end of the Ring.

Into the West: Any fan of The Return of the King will definitely want to have this song on repeat.

The Silmarillion Group Read Part IX

The Silmarillion Group Read is back with the next chapter, Of The Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor. In our last chapter we met the first really important character, Feanor. In this chapter we will learn more about his pride creation, the silmarils.

Fëanor reached the height of his creativity and created the three Silmarils from the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. The Silmarils were made holy by Varda, and the people of Aman loved them and often visited them at festivals to behold them. When Melkor saw them, his desire to drive a wedge between the elves grew. He tried to spread rumors among them, and for awhile the lies did not work, but eventually the elves did believe to have some skeptical feelings towards the other. One of the most popular lies was that the Valar had brought the elves to Valinor afraid the elves would be too productive in Middle-Earth, so much so that they would surpass the Valar. Melkor also told the elves about men, which the Valar had not yet revealed to them, Melkor told them that the Valar preferred that men would inherit Middle-Earth. The Noldor believed him and especially in Fëanor, the desire to have his own kingdom grew. Even though Fëanor hated Melkor, he still believed him and became jealously protective of the Silmarils. He spread lies among Fëanor, Fingolfin, and Finarfin which sundered them further. The Noldor began crafting weapons and talk of rebellion grew. When Fingolfin sought counsel from his father, Finwë, Fëanor threatened him with a sword, and was banished from the Noldor for twelve years, ordered by the Valar. The Valar also learned that Melkor had been spreading the lies, but Melkor hid and could not be discovered. Fëanor went into banishment with his father Finwë and his seven sons into Formenos. Fingolfin ruled as the king as Finwë was in banishment. Melkor found Fëanor in banishment, and tried to tell him that he could help Fëanor start his own kingdom because the Silmarils were in danger in with the others not in banishment. Fëanor did not believe him however and slammed the door in Melkor's face. Melkor fled to Middle-Earth.

This story bears a striking resemblance to the Biblical Garden of Eden story. The serpent convinced Adam and Eve that God was withholding information from them just because he feared they could be more powerful than Him. Similarly, Melkor’s lies about the Valar fearing the power of the elves in Middle-Earth causes disharmony and as we will see later in the story, three atrocities committed by influenced elves.





I have noticed a flux of page views in recent history! This is extremely exciting to me and I would love to hear from all my readers! Please leave a comment whenever you would like. Have a great day!




Note: In several instances I have noticed (such as the appendices in The Return of the King) the silmarils being referred to as “silmarilli”. I find this odd since in the actual The Silmarillion book, they are consistently referred to as silmarils. I have not yet been able to find concrete evidence as to why they are referred to in this manner, so if you have any information about this discrepancy, please let me know. For the present I will assume there are just two plurals of the word.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part VIII

Welcome back to The Silmarillion Group Read! In this chapter we really get into the plot aspect of the epic. Let’s start out with a summary of Of Feanor and the Unchaining of Melkor.

Finally all three races of the Eldar were in Valinor, and were very productive. Writing was invented by the Noldor, and Finwë's son, Fëanor was born. Unfortunately, Miriel, Fëanor's mother and Finwë's wife died during childbirth. Her spirit went to Mandos, and Finwë was extremely grieved, and turned to Fëanor with his love. Fëanor grew quickly and learned much. He devised an alphabet for the elven writing, and began to learn how to shape gemstones. Fëanor married Nerdanel and had seven sons. Nerdanel's father, Mahtan, taught Fëanor how to use metal and stone. Nerdanel and Fëanor had seven sons. Fëanor's father Finwë remarried to Indis at this time and had two more sons, Fingolfin and Finarfin. Fëanor did not like his father's remarriage, and stayed away from them. Around this time, Melkor was released and tried before the Valar where he apologized and they deemed him penitent. Melkor was allowed to wander around Aman freely, though some of the Valar kept a watchful eye on him. The Noldor, ever wanting to grow in skills of craft spent much time around Melkor learning from him. Melkor spread many lies though to them. Fëanor particularly hated Melkor.

We get our first real glimpse of Feanor, an essential character, in this chapter. Feanor seems to be a very protective and jealous elf, though he is loving as well, having a deep affection for his mother. Tragedy early in people’s lives can affect them, and I think this is demonstrated in Miriel’s death and Feanor’s subsequent over-protectiveness of his father. What do you think about the character of Feanor? Cool or cruel so far?

Trilogy

It has come to my attention that in several of my articles I have referred to The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy. Obviously it is not a trilogy, but for the sake of word-flow I have used that word a few times. Though, since some people have strong feelings about The Lord of the Rings being referred to as such, I will refrain from using it. My apologies.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part VII

Welcome back to my blog! Thank you for your continued support as we head into the next episode of The Silmarillion Group Read! Remember, it’s never too late to join in on this incredible team experience. Let’s get started with the chapter of the day, Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldale.

The Noldor and the Vanyar finally arrived on the shores of Middle-Earth. They met Ulmo and fall in love with the sea. Ulmo put them on islands which he uprooted and pushed towards Aman. The Teleri, however, have stayed too long looking for their former ruler, Elwë. Some remained there searching, while others, learning of Finwë and Ingwë's departure, went towards the sea where they met Ossë a Maiar of Ulmo, and Uinen, his spouse. They, too fall in love with the sea and remain there with them. Ulmo came to them however, and took some of them away to Aman. Ossë managed to persuade some of them to remain with him, and they became known as the Falathrim, with Círdan as their king. The Teleri who remained searching for Elwë begged to come with to Aman, but Ossë and Ulmo would not wait for them to reach the shores and departed without them. These elves that stayed behind became known as the Eglath, or forsaken people. When Elwë and Melian emerged from the woods, they followed him. They became known as the Sindar, or grey-elves, and are also Moriquendi, or dark-elves, because they never saw the light of the Trees save Elwë and of course Melian. Meanwhile, Ulmo had begun to bring the Teleri across the sea on an island. Ossë begged him to stop, and Ulmo considered the elves love of the sea, and from the beginning he believed elves should remain in Middle-Earth, so he anchored the island off the coast of Valinor, though the Valar and the friend of the Teleri, Finwë, were dismayed at this. The island became known as Tol Eressëa, The Lonely Isle. In Valinor, the high mountains, the Pelóri, were separated to form a small gap for the light of the Two Trees of Valinor to seep through to Tol Eressëa. This pass is known as Calacirya, or the pass of light. A hill was raised named Túna, and upon that was built the city of Tirion where the two houses dwelt happily. Now the Vanyar and the Noldor were finally in Aman. Manwë and Varda most loved the Vanyar, but to Aulë, the Noldor were praised for their love of speech and craft. It would be the Noldor who would first find gemstones and learn how to craft them. Finwë's house is then explained. With his first wife, he had Fëanor, known for his skill and craft with words. With his second and less liked wife, Finwë had Fingolfin, the strongest and most valiant, and Finarfin, the smartest and wisest, known for bringing the elven houses together by marrying Olwë of the Teleri's daughter, Eärwen. After awhile, the Teleri became conflicted between their love of the sea, and the love of the light that came through the pass. Finally they decided to rejoin their kinsmen upon Aman, and left Tol Eressëa, much to Ossë's grief, but he finally consented. He taught them ship building and gave them swans to bring them over the sea. In Aman, they dwelt on the shores where they could walk in the waves and discover pearl, but could also visit their friends. Now the Vanyar felt the need to change, and went to dwell with Manwë in the forests. The Kings were now Finwë in Tirion on Túna, Olwë in Alqualondë where the Teleri settled, and Ingwë of the Vanyar was ruler of them all. Fëanor and his seven sons spent much time traveling around Aman visiting Aulë and Oromë.

Comments and questions are always welcome! Have a great day!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Lord of the Rings Quotes

Today’s quote comes from The Return of the King, Eomer says it after finding his sister Eowyn and his Uncle Theoden--SPOILER--dead* on the fields of the Pelennor.

“He stood a moment as a man who is pierced in the midst of a cry by an arrow through the heart; and then his face went deathly white; and a cold fury rose in him, so that all speech failed him for a while. A fey mood took him.

‘Eowyn, Eowyn!’ he cried at last: ‘Eowyn, how come you here? What madness or devilry is this? Death, death, death! Death take us all!’

Then without taking counsel or waiting for the approach of the men of the City, he spurred headlong back to the front of the great host, and blew a horn, and cried aloud for the onset. Over the field rang his clear voice calling: ‘Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!’...

“...‘Out of doubt, out of dark to the day’s rising,


I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing,


To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking,


Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a red nightfall!’”

The Silmarillion Group Read Part VI

Sorry my blog posts have been a bit short recently, I’ve been very busy! But nevertheless it’s time for The Silmarillion Group Read! Today’s chapter is Of Thingol and Melian. We’ll start with a summary.

Melian was a Maia with wonderful singing. She went to Middle-Earth to fill it with sound. The traveling groups of the Noldor and the Teleri were separated by a forest. Elwë, leader of the Teleri, would often cut through the forests to visit his friend, Finwë. As he was cutting through the woods, he came across Melian singing. He forgot why he was in the woods and was drawn to her. He came to find her in a clearing at Nan Elmoth. There they stood together for many years and Elwë abandoned his people, the Teleri. The Teleri took Olwë, Elwë's brother as their new leader, and he led them to Aman, or Valinor. Elwë did not go to Valinor with his people because he stayed with Melian and they became the king and queen of Doriath, the wooded area they had met in. His people were the Sindar, or grey-elves. He was held in high regard among them because he was the only elf among them who had seen the Two Trees of Valinor when he went there as an ambassador. He became known as Elu Thingol.

This chapter is interesting to me because--spoiler!--Thingol’s and Melian’s daughter is Luthien Tinuviel (you’ll learn more about her later) who is Arwen Undomiel’s foremother...making Arwen part Maiar! It also makes tons of other notable characters part Maiar: Dior, Elwing, Earendil, etc. Crazy right?

I hope you have been enjoying this group read, it sure is fun for me to go back and read my old summaries! If you enjoy book marathons and group reads, you will love my upcoming book marathon! I am trying to start an annual Lord of the Rings marathon between either the dates of September 22 (Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday) and January 3 (J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday) or September 2 (the date of Tolkien’s passing) and September 22. It all really depends how much time it will take me to read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and the trilogy. Anyone who has done a book marathon reasonably fast: please let me know which of the dates would be better. Thanks much, and if you’re interested in joining me, please leave a comment below. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Mystery of Tom Bombadil Solved!

Recently I have been reading The Making of Middle Earth: A New Look Inside the World of J.R.R. Tolkien and I stumbled across an interesting quote:

“In a 1937 letter to Stanley Unwin, Tolkien described Bombadil as ‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside...Goldberry represents the actual seasonal changes in [the river-] lands.’”

Those of you that have read my speculative post on Tom Bombadil will be interested to know that Tom has a real and true identity, and now you know what it is.

Lembas Bread

How can I have a blog called “Lover of Lembas” without even explaining it’s namesake?

Lembas is an elvish waybread that fills the stomachs of a full grown man with just one bite. It was gifted by Melian to Beleg Strongbow during his search for Turin, and to the Nine Walkers by Galadriel in Lothlorien.

Lembas is important because it signifies a heroic journey. You can learn more by reading the books...something I always suggest! Have a great day!

The Silmarillion Group Read Part V

Welcome back to The Silmarillion Group Read! Here is the next installment which focuses on the chapter Of the Coming of Elves and the Captivity of Melkor.

While the Valar were in Valinor, Melkor had great influence over Middle-Earth. He created Angband, a fortress in the north where Sauron was made commander. Yavanna and Oromë urged the Valar to make war. They would not, however, and the time for the Eldar to awaken was nigh. It was foretold by Mandos that the Eldar would awaken under the light of the star, so Varda set to work creating the stars to shine unto Middle-Earth and to serve as a warning to Melkor. The new stars were made of the light of Telperion. The Eldar awoke near the region of Cuiviénen and first saw the stars. Shortly after, Oromë went into Middle-Earth and hearing the Eldar singing, approached. Some fled in fear, but others, seeing that he was holy, approached. Many who had fled had heard the lies Melkor had told about him, for it is believed that Melkor found out about the Eldar's arrival first. He corrupted some into the first orcs, but some he spread rumors to concerning Oromë. When Oromë told the other Valar about the weakening of the Eldar, they decided to make war on Melkor, and began with the siege of Utumno. It ruined the nearby land. Finally Tulkas wrestled Melkor to the ground and enchained him. The Valar decided to keep Melkor in the hall of Mandos for three ages. The Valar did not find all of Angband or Utumno, and so the fell creatures including Sauron remained there. The Valar tried to decide what to do about the elves. Some of them wanted to summon them to Valinor, others wanted them to remain in Middle-Earth. Finally it was decided that they should be brought to Valinor. The elves, however, did not want to go because as far as they knew, the Valar were just attacking places. Oromë summoned three elves, Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë to come with him to Valinor so they could experience its wonder and convince the other elves. It succeeded, and many of the elves were decided. Some remained behind. These elves are called the Moriquendi, which means elves of darkness, because they had never seen the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. Those that did travel, journeyed in three groups towards Valinor. They were called the Vanyar guided by Ingwë, the king of all Eldar, the Noldor under the guidance of Finwë, and the Teleri, the most reluctant to leave, led by Elwë. The road was long and hard, and many were still unsure about leaving. They followed Oromë, and when he had to leave for a short time, they would stop traveling. They had a hard time at the Misty Mountains which were raised by Melkor to make Oromë's frequent travel throughout Middle-Earth harder. The Teleri dawdled for a long time on the shores of Anduin and while eventually Elwë got most of them moving, some remained there and became known as the Nandor.

This is an important chapter. It establishes the elves' flight from Middle-Earth and Melkor as an opponent. What do you think? Would you leave Middle-Earth if a mysterious Vala asked you to? It’s an interesting thought. How do you like this group read so far? See you tomorrow for Of Thingol and Melian!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall waken,
A light from the shadows shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”


-“Bilbo Baggins” (Of Aragorn) J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring

This poem was written by Bilbo Baggins and it tells of Aragorn; his background as a ruffian ranger and his royal heritage. This was the first LOTR poem I memorized and is one of my favorites.

The Silmarillion Group Read Part IV

Hey guys, before we start I would just like to thank you for your on-going support of my blog! It means a lot to me. As we start our fourth group read edition, remember it’s never too late to join in and start reading! Well, let’s get on with it and look at the chapter Of Aule and Yavanna.

Aulë greatly desired to craft creatures of his own and to teach them his skills. He created the seven dwarf fathers in secret fearing the other Valar would disapprove. He made them steadfast and stubborn so they would not so easily be persuaded by Melkor. Ilúvatar however, discovered Aulë's creations and was angry at Aulë for trying to make things of his own which was Ilúvatar's prerogative. When Aulë tried to kill them, the dwarves begged for mercy and Ilúvatar consented. It was agreed the dwarves would not wake before Ilúvatar's Children. Yavanna, Aulë's spouse learned of his creation and was grieved. She believed that the dwarf-craft would cause destruction to her plants, kevlar, and her animals, ovlar. It was agreed upon then, that when the Children awoke, Manwë would send his Giant Eagles and Yavanna would send her Ents to be protectors of the forest. The children and nature would be at odds many times throughout the story.

What do you think about this chapter? Let me know in the comments! Have a great day!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Arkenstone...A Silmaril?

A silmaril is a gem that was crafted by the elf, Feanor. In them he encapsulated the light of the Two Trees of Valinor, holy trees that gave off beautiful light. Long story short, in the end, one silmaril was brought to the heavens where it shines as a star, one was cast into the ocean, and the other into a deep chasm in the earth.

After all these events, the earth was greatly changed into the Middle-Earth most Lord of the Rings fans know and love.

Now for the arkenstone. The arkenstone was a precious gem found in the Lonely Mountain by the dwarves of Erebor. The stone caused greedy corruption both of Thorin Oakenshield and of his father, Thror.

Why do some people think the arkenstone may be a silmaril? The first is the matter of location. While it’s true that the silmaril cast into the earth was in a different place. the earth was completely changed, and the gem may have shifted further south where it was discovered by the dwarves.

The second reason is it’s qualities. It is beautiful and shines with a radiant white light, like the silmarils.

The third is what reactions it elicits. The silmarils have been a proven source of corruptive greed just like the arkenstone.

So this sounds like a pretty much open and shut case, right? Wrong.

At the end of The Silmarillion where the events of the silmarils take place, it is stated the silmarils will be forever lost until the end of days. Hmm...

While this last piece of evidence does put a damper on the conspiracy, there still is a lot of interesting evidence that points towards its more meaningful identity. What do you think?

The Silmarillion Group Read Part III

In the third edition of this epic read, we encounter Of the Beginning of Days which recounts the start of Arda, or the earth. Here is a summary:

The Valar in Arda are busy preparing the world for the arrival of The Children of Ilúvatar. Melkor is still about though, and before the Valar have a chance to finish perfecting everything, Melkor attacks again. At this time, Tulkas comes into Arda and scares Melkor away. Finally everything is peaceful for a time, and things begin to grow. Yavanna asks Aulë to build two lamps to shed light on her nature, and he obliges. He builds two lamps, first Illuin which casts a silvery glow, and secondly Ormal which shines brilliantly gold. Varda filled them with light and Manwë blesses them and all is good. The Valar move to an island called Almaren. They rest then from their labors. While they are off guard, Melkor once again rises and begins building his fortress of Utumno under ground in north Arda. He corrupts some Maiar as well. He brought sickness and violence, but the Valar could not find him. Melkor was satisfied that Utumno was strong enough, and he came forth and broke the lamps. The knocking of the lamps caused mass chaos all over Arda, and the Valar were so occupied with coping with that they did not have time to attack Melkor. Almaren was destroyed in all the chaos as well. The Valar moved to the west and raised the mountain range Pelóri high so Melkor could not come there. This realm is known as Valinor. It is across a great sea, is also known as Aman or the Undying Lands. Yavanna sang into creation two trees then to light Valinor. The first was Telperion who cast a soft silver light, and the second, Laurelin, shone brilliantly gold. These are known as the Two Trees of Valinor. Yavanna then left Valinor to return to Middle-Earth and helped her nature grow once more. Oromë also returned frequently. Yavanna begged the other Valar to make war in Melkor but none would consent. The world was prepared for the arrival of The Children at this time. The Eldar, or elves life spans are explained, as well as men's destiny, etc.

How is the reading going? Questions are always welcome. See you tomorrow for Of Aule and Yavanna.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Heroes

Every epic has it’s heroes, and The Lord of the Rings is no exception. Recently, I have been reading Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism and it has got me thinking more deeply about the significance of each character.

As the old saying goes, some heroes are born with greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. That is proven true in the characters of Aragorn and Frodo.

Aragorn, the sole heir to the throne of a huge kingdom was born into the responsibility of being a king. He is an admirable hero, one we can look up to.

Frodo, on the other hand, is a simple man, who accepts a huge burden because, well, there was no one else for the job. The greatness he achieved was thrust upon him. Frodo questions “why me?” and he is the hero we can relate to and seek to be.

Heroes come in different ways, and if you’re interested in learning more about them, I suggest you check out Verlyn Flieger’s Review, “Frodo and Aragorn: The Concept of the Hero”, available in Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism. Enjoy!

The Silmarillion Group Read Part II

And now, the next installment of The Silmarillion Group Read! How did the last chapter go? Was one day enough time to read each chapter? Let me know in the comments! This next chapter is entitled The Valaquenta, and I’m writing this with a marathon of The Lord of the Rings movies running in the background, haha. Let’s jump right in with a summary.


The Valaquenta explains the who the chief Valar are.
There are seven Valar Lords and seven Valar Queens. Melkor is not one of them.
Melkor and Manwë are two brothers. When Melkor rebels, Manwë becomes the captain of the Valar. He has domain over the wind and is best at seeing Eru's purposes. His wife is Varda, who knows the most about the universe and loves the stars. Manwë's closest friend is Ulmo, governor of the water. He is in the water which is everywhere and so in some ways he is more omnipresent than even Manwë. Ulmo also loves men and elves. Aulë is director of the substances of the earth and is similar to Melkor, though is not diabolical. His spouse is Yavanna who created all the flora and fauna of the world. Mandos and Lórien are brothers in charge of keeping the spirits. Mandos is most known for his hall where elven spirits go prior to their re-embodiment. He also has the gift of foresight. His wife is Vairë who weaves tapestries with the events of history to hang in the hall. Lórien and his wife Estë have a garden for the spirits to rest in and become energetic again. Nienna is Mandos and Lórien's sister. She knows a lot about sadness and helps the sad elven spirits turn their grief into wisdom. Tulkas is the last Valar to come to the Void--now called Arda--and he is very strong. He comes to assist in driving Melkor out. His wife is Nessa who enjoys running and dancing. Oromë is another Valar lord who loves Arda and all of nature. He frequently visits there. Vána is his wife and she too loves nature and nature loves her. The chapter goes on to explain some of the most influential Maiar, which are servants to the Valar.

There are a lot of names and specialties to memorize in this selection, but you can do it, I promise! Make sure to read the next chapter, Of the Beginning of Days by tomorrow. As always, questions and comments are always welcome! Happy reading!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“There are other forces at work in this world, besides the will of evil.” -“Gandalf” J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring

This quote corresponds with The Silmarillion reading of the day, Ainulindale. Check out that post if you are interested.

The Silmarillion Group Read Part I

Welcome to the first edition of The Silmarillion group read! I will start off each post by offering a summary of the daily chapter.

Conveniently, I have a previous post on the first part of The Silmarillion entitled Ainulindale, however, here is another in depth look.

Ainulindalë is the story of the creation of the Ainur, the discordancy of the music, and the descent of the Ainur into the Void.
Eru Ilúvatar is the supreme God of the Middle-Earth world, though he is rarely worshiped by his creations or even mentioned in the Lord of the Rings. He creates the Ainur: the Valar, and the Maiar. The Maiar are the servants to the Valar. Both divisions sing the song that Eru shows them, harmonizing together with each of their special talents. One of the Valar, Melkor, who is the smartest of the Ainur, goes down to the Void. Melkor spends much time there seeking the means to make his own creations. While he does not find this, he does begin having independent thoughts, and eventually returns to the other Ainur, excited to add his new knowledge into the theme. This creates the second theme. This theme is discordant from the rest, which shakes the Ainur. Some cease singing and others join Melkor in song. This is the second theme. Eru calls for Melkor to stop but he refuses. Instead he begins singing a new song, which becomes the third theme. Eru begins to change Melkor's singing so it is doing what he wants; he begins to manipulate it. This upsets Melkor and eventually he returns to the Void to brood. In an effort to show the Ainur that Ilúvatar has a purpose they know not of and to convince them that they must remain faithful, Ilúvatar shows them the void and tells them that their music has been crafting it. If they wished, they could go down into it to craft it more intimately. The most powerful did and the rest stayed with Eru.

Now, a bit of analysis. I think it is significant that Melkor, who causes the disruption of the music, is the smartest. It is obviously similar to the Biblical story in which Lucifer, the smartest angel in heaven, gets corrupted by his power and desires to be better than God. Essentially, he becomes cocky. Because he does not have the power to be better than God, he begins corrupting God’s creatures, like Melkor does later on in the book. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


The next thing I think is interesting is the fact that Professor Tolkien chose music as the creation method. It makes sense, though. To create a symphony of music you must have many different parts, different beings. These all need to be special and unique, as the Ainur have unique talents. All of the instruments or beings must work harmoniously together to make something beautiful, which is a great way of showing how one “out of tune” being or instrument can cause the whole symphony to be discordant.


When Eru starts turning Melkor’s chords into his one theme, he demonstrates that all Melkor is doing fits into Eru’s divine plan.


What do you think about this section? It definitely has a deep meaning and significance. Make sure to comment about what you found while you were reading, and read the Valaquenta tomorrow and check back in here!

The Silmarillion Group Read

I think every Lord of the Rings fan can benefit from reading The Silmarillion. But not many people have! That’s why I decided it would be perfect to instigate a “Silmarillion Group Read”! As many of you know, I wrote in depth summaries of each chapter as I read, and I still have them. Every day I will release a new chapter summary! The challenge is this: read one chapter of The Silmarillion every day, then check back here to read the summary and comment along with fellow group members. It should be a lot of fun, and should shed some light on the challenging read that is The Silmarillion. As always, if you have questions about what you’re reading, make sure to post a question. Happy reading!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ainulindale

Many people get confused when they hear Lord of the Rings fans discuss “The Valar” or “Istari”, so here is a run-down about what those terms mean.

Ainulindale is a book in The Silmarillion that describes the higher powers of the Middle-Earth world.

The primary “god” in Middle-Earth is Eru Iluvatar. His name means “The One” and he existed before space and time when there was just “The Void”. Eru created the Ainur.

The Ainur are split into two groups, The Valar and the The Maiar. The Maiar are the servants to The Valar. There are seven kings and seven queens of the Valar, angels who tend to the earth. Manwe was the leader, and commander of the winds, who also created the Great Eagles. His wife was Varda, called Elbereth by the elves, who created the stars. Aule delighted in rock and stone, and his wife was Yavanna who created all of nature including the Ents to watch over her creation. Ulmo was the master of the waters, and took no wife. Tulkas was the strongest of the Valar and delighted in tests of will and strength. His wife was Nessa who loved running. Orome was the hunter Vala, who visited Middle-Earth the most. His wife was Vana who was called the “Ever-Young”. Nienna knew grief, and was charged with helping the spirits through their struggles, and took no husband. Mandos kept the Hall of Mandos where the spirits of elves would rest and be restored. His wife was Vaire who wove the tapestries for his halls. Lorien and Este also took care of the spirits. There is one of Vala named Melkor, but he’s a story for a different time.

Okay so that’s a lot of names to remember, but you’ll get the hang of it!

Onto the Maiar. The Maiar are the servants to the Valar. There are many of them, and actually Balrogs were once Maiar, but were corrupted by Melkor. The most famous Maiar are the Istari.

After Sauron forged the One Ring, the Valar recognized they needed to aid the peoples of Middle-Earth in their struggle, so they sent out special Maiar named Istari. There were five of these: Olorin, Curumo, Aiwendil, Alatar and Pollando. More names, I know. But luckily these beings have easier names. Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and the Two Blue Wizards, are their names, respectively.

Another interesting tidbit: Sauron is actually a Maiar too, the same level as Gandalf. Remember Melkor the Vala? Well he had Maiar servants too, one of which was Sauron. After Melkor was defeated, Sauron took his place. There is a lot more to it than that, but I’ll save that for another post.

So you see the hierarchy of The Lord of the Rings is not too complicated, you’ll get the hang of it, I promise! Now you will finally understand those Stephen Colbert rants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuMpDMDJ564 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20XkDtNuMhE

Entwives

If you’re into the mysterious side of The Lord of the Rings, and the unexplained events and characters, you should check out my article about Tom Bombadil, one of the most mysterious characters around. But Tom is not the only strange character in the series.

Another of the biggest mysteries is the Entwives. For those of you who haven’t read the trilogy, here is a bit of background. First of all, if you remember Treebeard’s remark before the Ents took Isengard in The Two Towers movie, “It is likely we go to our doom. The Last March of the Ents.”, this may seem odd. Surely not every Ent is going to die? But they are. Eventually.

In the book The Two Towers, Treebeard explains to the hobbits Merry and Pippin a lot more about the Ent’s situation, and even in the extended edition of the movie, but many people who aren’t well acquainted with either of these sources don’t know what the big deal is. Well, here it is.

All of the female Ents have wandered away. The Ents can no longer reproduce, and their race is about to die out. Now one of the biggest mysteries is...where did they all go?

Some have speculated they crossed the Anduin River and entered into the “Brown Lands” near Rohan and Mirkwood, to start a new forest. However, it is known that the Brown Lands were burned by Saruman’s forces, so it is possible the Entwives were burned and are gone.

Still others persist that the Entwives are still alive. Personally, I feel this story is a lot more interesting. As previously mentioned in the Tom Bombadil post, Professor Tolkien stated he liked to add mystery and unknowns to his stories in order to create interest. If the Entwives are all dead, that is not really serving his purpose. Whatever may have happened to the Entwives, it is still a very controversial and debated topic among the Lord of the Rings fans. What do you think happened to the race?

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” -J.R.R. Tolkien The Return of the King

“Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day’s rising I came singing into the sun, sword unsheathing. To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking. Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!” -“Theoden King” J.R.R. Tolkien The Return of the King

“Certainty of death, small chance of success...what are we waiting for?” -“Gimli” Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens The Return of the King

“But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to a new strength. Sam’s plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue.” -“Samwise” J.R.R. Tolkien The Return of the King


These quotes demonstrate hope and strength even through difficult times, which is one of the major themes.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lord of the Links

Here is a list of my top 5 recommended Lord of the Rings sites.

#5: Grey Company - http://www.grey-company.org/
I haven’t used Grey Company very often, mostly just for Elvish phrases as discussed in my previous post, but it is pretty comprehensive and easy to use.


#4: Arwen Undomiel - http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/
Arwen Undomiel has some great quizzes and Elvish phrases as well. It’s a great community of really knowledgeable Tolkien fans.


#3: Tolkien Gateway - http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Main_Page
Tolkein Gateway is similar to a Wikia in that it has many articles centering around characters, events, and places. There is also lots of conversation pages, and resources that make it a great place to learn about the world of Middle-Earth.


#2: Lord of the Rings Wikia - http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
Lord of the Rings Wikia is written by knowledgeable writers for the most part, and so is pretty reliable. It is the first LOTR site I really got into, and so it is special to me personally.


#1: Council of Elrond - http://www.councilofelrond.com/
Council of Elrond has to be my favorite site. The writers are so professional and dedicated. All of their information is on point, and I have yet to find one inaccurate fact. I really recommend this site.


I hope you can find what you’re looking for on these websites. If you have any interesting Tolkien or Lord of the Rings sites I didn’t mention or have input on any of the sites I did, please feel free to comment.

Elvish

I have been dabbling in Elvish for about six months now, and while I don’t exactly have the hang of it yet, I’m getting better.

Many people don’t know that there are actually two types of Elvish: Quenya and Sindarin. An analogy would be Quenya:Latin as Sindarin:Spanish. Quenya was used in the Elder days more commonly, but Sindarin is the more casually and widely used tongue for the common elf in the Second and Third Age.

I found a couple of websites that have great translations of English and Elvish phrases. Memorizing a few of those can really wow your friends, but if you really want to SPEAK speak Elvish, you’re going to have to really study. I will leave some links to great sources of Elvish. Good luck with your endeavors, and seel no anor bowen lin!

Guidebooks to speak FLUENTLY both Quenya and Sindarin at Council of Elrond: http://www.councilofelrond.com/content/languages-of-middle-earth/#studyelvish

Elven phrases in Quenya at Grey Company: http://www.grey-company.org/Circle/language/phrase.htm

Elven phrases in Sindarin at Arwen Undomiel: http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/elvish/phrases.html

The Lord of the Rings Quotes

Lay down/Your sweet and weary head/Night is falling/You’ve come to journey’s end/Sleep now/And dream of the ones who came before/They are calling/From across a distant shore.
Why do you weep?/What are these tears upon your face/Soon you will see/All of your fears will pass away/Safe in my arms/You’re only sleeping.
What can you see?/On the horizon?/Why do the white gulls call?/Across the sea/A pale moon rises/The ships have come to carry you home.
And all will turn/To silver glass/A light on the water/All souls pass.
Hope fades/Into the world of night/Through shadows falling/Out of memory and time/Don’t say/We have come now to the end/White shores are calling/You and I will meet again.
And you’ll be here in my arms/Just sleeping.
What can you see?/On the horizon?/Why do the white gulls call?/Across the sea/A pale moon rises/The ships have come to carry you home.
And all will turn/To silver glass/A light on the water/Grey ships pass/Into the west. -Annie Lennox and Howard Shore Into the West

This is hopefully my first in a series of quotes and songs related to The Lord of the Rings. Let me know what you think of the idea.

This song is very powerful and inspirational to me, and to many I know. It has a beautiful reassuring quality, and Annie Lennox sings the challenging melody spectacularly. More than that, the song lyrics themselves offer comfort that there is something past death, and you are just heading on another adventure. The ships have come to carry you home. Beautiful :).

My Favorite Character

People have been asking who my favorite character in The Lord of the Rings is for awhile. While there are many heroic and valiant characters in the story such as Sam or Aragorn, I would have to say my favorite character in the whole Middle-Earth society, is Idril Celebrindal, daughter of Turgon, princess of Gondolin in the First Age.

Idril is a lesser known character, so here is a little background. Idril is the daughter of Elenwe and Turgon who came back to Middle-Earth after crossing into Valinor, the Undying Lands. Unfortunately, Elenwe died as the family was travelling during the crossing of the Helcaraxe, the Grinding Ice, which is a particularly cold and treacherous stretch of land between the two continents. Once Idril and her father reached Middle-Earth, Turgon was contacted by the water “angel”, or Vala, called Ulmo. Ulmo told Turgon he should construct a city of elves, and that if he did, Ulmo would protect it by hiding it from all Turgon’s enemies. Ulmo did this by enchanting the surrounding streams and rivers. Turgon successfully built the hidden elven city of Gondolin where he raised his daughter, and ruled for years.

Idril grew up as a princess, but her life was not easy. Her aunt Aredhel left the kingdom when Idril was a child, but was captured by the elf Eol who took her as his wife. She gave birth to a child named Maeglin. Maeglin wanted to return to his mother’s city and so Aredhel and Maeglin snuck back to Gondolin against Eol’s wishes. He followed them there. Because Gondolin’s secrecy is important, no one who finds it’s location is allowed to leave. Eol refused to stay and so he tried to kill everyone in his family including himself rather than stay in the city. While trying to kill his son he mortally wounded his wife Aredhel, who was King Turgon’s sister. Because of this act he was thrown over the walls of the city. After this traumatic incident, Idril’s life got worse. Her cousin Maeglin who she met as an adult, tried to court her, though Idril was not okay with this because of their close relation. Idril’s rejection caused darkness to grow in Maeglin’s heart.

After a few hundred years--immortal elves, remember--Idril’s life took a turn for the better. A messenger of Ulmo came to Gondolin to warn the king of impending attack by the Enemy. Yay! This did actually happen, but the messenger was the mortal man Tuor, son of Huor who Idril fell in love with. Even though Tuor was just a mortal, he won Turgon’s favor and he and Idril were permitted to marry after a short time. There was joy in Gondolin and Idril soon gave birth to the mighty half-elven, Earendil.

But darkness still lurked in the hidden city of Gondolin. Darkness had festered in Maeglin’s heart, especially after Idril’s marriage and her new child. Maeglin left the city and was captured by the Enemy who tortured the location of the city out of him. It was promised that once the city was destroyed Idril would be given to him. Maeglin was released back to Gondolin, but foreboding grew in Idril’s heart. She began preparing a route out of the city known only to her and Tuor. When the time came and the attack ensued, Tuor went to battle and Maeglin captured Idril and Earendil. He held them hostage on the top of the city. Tuor fought his way to them and cast Maeglin over the side of the city. Maeglin died the same death as his father, Eol, which was as the prophecy had foretold. Idril, Tuor, and Earendil escaped through the secret path and helped other citizens to safety.

Earendil became a famous character in the story, but we’ll save that for another time. Tuor grew old as is the custom for mortal men, and he and Idril both passed to the Undying Lands of Valinor, a special honor typically only accounted for elves.

This is my first time trying to write out an explanation for a The Silmarillion story, so let me know how I did.

Now that you know all about Idril Celebrindal life, I’ll tell you why she is my favorite character.

The first reason is that she is an elf. I’ve always dreamed of being an elf, because...elf. The second reason is she is a strong woman who has been through a lot; from her mother’s premature passing to her cousin’s unwanted attention, Idril has faced it all. The third reason is Tuor. Maybe it’s just the part of me that loves fairy tales, but Tuor and Idril are so romantic. Fourthly, Idril is the mother of Earendil, one of the most important characters in the entire story. And lastly, Idril was a terrific mother and wife, something I’ve always dreamed of being.

Idril was a fantastic character, but I recognize there are MANY other inspirational characters. Who is your favorite?

Tom Bombadil

The origin of Tom Bombadil is one of the most talked about controversies in Lord of the Rings history. Why? Because it’s really a huge gap in the story.

Now if you’ve never read the books, you may be confused as to who this mysterious character is, so I will offer a brief summary. As Frodo and Sam, accompanied by Merry and Pippin make their way to Rivendell with the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring, they take a shortcut through what is known as The Old Forest, on the borders of Buckland. If you recall Treebeard’s speech in The Two Towers about how some of the trees “will hurt you if they can”, know that these violent trees live also in The Old Forest. While the hobbits are travelling through the area, Merry and Pippin are attacked by these trees and saved by a mysterious man who sings to the trees and causes them to release their prisoners. This man identifies himself as Tom Bombadil and takes the hobbits back to his home for rest and recovery. There the hobbits meet his wife, Goldberry who is also mysterious and well...strange. Once the hobbits leave Tom’s house, they again run into trouble and Tom saves them.

Now what’s so strange about Tom? He sounds like a helpful character with some special powers just like many other characters in the story. But there are a few differences. Firstly, Tom comes singing through the woods and the trees obey him. Secondly, he refers to himself as older than time and constantly talks about what it was like before time. Thirdly--and most importantly--he is completely over the influence of the One Ring. Frodo offers it to him, seeing that he has powers and a good heart, and Tom isn’t affected by it at all. Later at the Council of Elrond it is discussed whether the Ring should be given to Tom because of his strong will, but Gandalf remarks that he would forget about it because he cares so little about the Ring.

J.R.R. Tolkien has actually stated that he prefers to leave some aspects of any story untold to create interest. He did this with the mystery of the Entwives as well. That hasn’t stopped fans from creating various theories and conspiracies. These are my top five theories of who--or what---Tom Bombadil is.

#5: The Reader
One of the more obscure theories of who Tom Bombadil is or represents is that Tom and his wife, Goldberry, are the readers themselves. As the readers, the fate of the ring does not directly affect us or pertain to our life, and we would not care for the power as much as someone in Middle-Earth would. Some think that depending on the gender of the reader you would either be Tom, or Goldberry.

I personally do not think this theory is very plausible on account of there is only one fact that supports this; the fact that Tom does not feel an attraction to the Ring or care about the fate. However, none of Tom’s other oddities follow this track, and personally I feel it is a little too abstract and frankly, random.


#4: J.R.R. Tolkien
Some people have speculated this strange character may be a “cameo” of Professor Tolkien himself. The belief is that because Tolkien knows exactly what is going to happen--he wrote the story--he knows that the Ring is not truly important, and therefore he doesn’t care about it, just like Tom. Other than that, there is little to support this theory, and I don’t tend to believe this.


#3: Valar - Orome
For those of you who have read The Silmarillion, you may be familiar with the Valar and Maiar. Basically, the Valar and Maiar are “angels”, the Maiar being the servants to the primary beings, the Valar. Many believe Tom is a Vala because he is above the influence of the Ring, and seems to be a being with special powers. Often the Valar come to Middle-Earth to spend time in nature and interact with the people. One of the Valar who is said to have visited Middle-Earth throughout all it’s ages is named Orome. If Tom is a Vala, I think he must be an incarnation of Orome.


#2: Father Nature
Many have proposed Tom Bombadil may be a “father nature” character. Why? In Rivendell when it is being discussed by the Council of Elrond whether or not the Ring should be entrusted to the old man, it is brought up that he would not have the strength, unless the earth itself had it. Personally I feel there are a lot of interesting references to Tom made by other characters that highlight his connection with nature, in addition to his ability to control the trees in the Old Forest.


#1: Eru Illuvatar
My favorite theory about the identity of this quizzical character is that he is Eru Illuvatar. Eru is the “god” of the Lord of the Rings universe. I favor this theory because as “god”, Eru would have no cares relating to the Ring. The Ring is Sauron’s weapon, and Sauron is actually a Maiar, and is essentially two levels below Eru, therefore if Eru had the mind to do it he could easily annihilate the Enemy, but he waits because he knows Frodo can do it. Because the Ring is a weapon so beneath his level, he wouldn’t care for it at all. Secondly, it makes sense that Eru, like Tom, would not fall under the influence of the Ring, again because it is such a trivial weapon to him. Thirdly, it is stated that if Sauron got the ring back, Tom Bombadil would be the last to fall. Why? Because he is “god” and would never be harmed by Sauron’s power because it is beneath his own. Overall, my top theory for who Tom Bombadil is, is that he is the incarnation of the “god”, Eru Illuvatar.

There are so many theories as to who this strange and mysterious character could be. Now that you know some of the major theories about Tom Bombadil, what do you think?

Christopher Lee

As many of you may know, on Sunday June 6th, 2015, Christopher Lee passed away at the age of 93 from heart and respiratory problems. Although I have never met Christopher Lee, I appreciate his work, namely in The Lord of the Rings as Saruman, and would like to extend my sincere sympathies to his family. Christopher Lee was an accomplished actor and musician and will be greatly missed by his community of fans.

My Lord of the Rings Journey

My first post on this blog is about My Lord of the Rings journey. Now I am the youngest of six kids, so I was always around the “big kids” and their “big kid books” “big kid movies” “big kid music” “big kid homework” etc. Because of being around so many older kids and their interests, I developed a taste for more mature things. My oldest sibling, my brother, was first involved with The Lord of the Rings. He showed my sister, who showed my other brother, who showed my other sister, who showed my other sister, who showed me. Now my sister was so excited about the series she showed me as soon as she was able. This involved late night screenings of the movies during which I drifted in and out of sleep in the recliner. By the time I was ten I may have seen the movie ten different times, but still had no idea what was going on because I was sleeping.

In fourth grade I made a friend who loved fantasy. He mentioned reading The Hobbit. I am fiercely protective over things that I am a fan of, almost to the point of unreasonableness. To this day when someone mentions The Lord of the Rings, I am immediately alert and hanging on their every word making sure they don’t make an error and disrespect my favorite work ever. So naturally when my friend mentioned The Hobbit, even though I wasn’t a big fan at the time, I still pretended I was because I felt that it was something special to my family. So I pretended I had read the book. I lied. I feigned that I was the biggest Lord of the Rings fan ever. In truth, I didn’t know squat.

So in fifth grade my lies were finally being put to the test, so in a last ditch effort I tried reading The Hobbit. I was a pretty advanced reader, but Professor Tolkien’s style was so different from anything I had ever tried, I just couldn’t get through it. Luckily, neither could my friends--my lies were still in tact.

Finally, in sixth grade I got mostly through The Hobbit, just in time to see the second "Hobbit" movie in theaters. Finally in seventh grade I saw the last "Hobbit" movie, and I was hooked. I started watching The Lord of the Rings movies often--at least one every other week--and eventually memorized many lines, and got the story under control.

January of seventh grade I embarked on a long expected journey--a Lord of the Rings marathon. I started with The Silmarillion. I knew it would be a challenge, and I started off slow. I started taking notes but eventually it wasn’t working and my notes were too extensive to help at all. I read through the entire book once through. I had a feeling of accomplishment, though my comprehension level was on the floor. I found an online summary of the book that went in depth into every chapter. I read it once all the way through, then I read it again, this time paraphrasing it in my own notes, then I read it again. Finally I reread The Silmarillion book, and my first step in the marathon was complete. That only took three months.

By April I was onto The Hobbit which I finished easily, and embarked into the main trilogy. I finished the books by June, and started in on the next books, namely The History of Middle-Earth eight volume set.

I finished watching all six movies, and reading all the books. It only took me seven years...