Friday, July 31, 2015

Lord of the Rings Trivia Night Part III

For die-hard fans of The Silmarillion, this is the most challenging level of LOTR trivia.

#3: Hard

What was Turin's sister's, commonly known as Lalaith, or laughter's, real name?
A. Nienor
B. Urmor
C. Unwen
D. Niniel
E. Urwen

What was the name of Tuor's sword?
A. Dramborleg
B. Atrandil
C. Atalianor
D. Landomir
E. Angon

What does the name "Beren" mean in Noldorin?
A. Strong
B. Courageous
C. Bold
D. Empty-handed
E. Destined

Which of these is not a name of a Vala?
A. Sulimo
B. Kementari
C. Aldaron
D. Kritsori
E. Elentari

What is the name of the second king of Numenor?
A. Vardamir Nolimon
B. Tar-Contarion
C. Elendil Ar-Amon
D. Tar-Minyatur
E. Erendil-Aralon

E, A, C, D, A

These questions are impossible!  Who got any right?  Post in the comments.

Lord of the Rings Meme


Lord of the Rings Trivia Night Part II

More LOTR Trivia, this time perfect for people with a good understanding of both The Lord of the Rings in its movie and book form as well as acquainted generally with The Silmarillion.

#2: Medium

Which one of these are an ent?
A. Quickbeam
B. Silverfoot
C. Happyheart
D. Laughing Branch
E. Swift Limb

What is the name Grima gives Gandalf, and what does it mean?
A. Angrost, defiler
B. Poldir, trickster; conjurer
C. Cantir, harmful
D. Lathspell, bringer of bad news
E. Orthir, destructive

Who crafted the silmarils?
A. Celebrimbor
B. Celegorm
C. Feanor
D. Finwe
E. Finarfin

How many silmarils are there?
A. Two
B. Three
C. Four
D. Seven
E. Nine

Who founded Gondolin?
A. Maedhros
B. Finrod Felagund
C. Fingon
D. Turgon
E. Morgoth

What does Minas Tirith mean?
A. White City
B. City of the Tree
C. Tower of the Guard
D. City of Numenor
E. City of Hope

What is another name for Mt. Doom?
A. Mordir
B. Orodruin
C. Orondir
D. Grishnask
E. Minas Morgul

What is the name of Samwise's father?
A. Gambee
B. Drogo
C. Hamfast
D. Bungo
E. Hanny

What is the name of King Theoden's father?
A. Theodir
B. Denethor
C. Thearen
D. Eol
E. Thengel

What does Anduin mean?
A. Great River
B. Wide River
C. River of the Argonath
D. River of Kings
E. Grand River

A, D, C, B, D, C, B, C, E, A

Hope you enjoyed this quiz!  Make sure to comment your score!

Lord of the Rings Quotes

"'In that hour I looked on Aragorn and thought how great and terrible a lord he might have become in the strength of his will, had he taken the Ring to himself.  Not for naught does Mordor fear him.  But nobler is his spirit than the understanding of Sauron.'" -Legolas speaking of Aragorn in The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Lord of the Rings Trivia Night Part I

Tonight is Friday night, and it's the perfect time to quiz your friends (or yourself) with some LOTR Trivia!

#1. Easy

Who helped the hobbits Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Sam, get to Bucklebury Ferry in the book?
A. Glorfindel
B. Barliman
C. Arwen
D. Strider
E. Farmer Maggot

Which name listed below is Gandalf known by?
A. The White Pilgrim
B. Staff-Wielder
C. Grey-Beard
D. Mithrandir
E. Marandir

Who is Arwen's father?
A. Elrond
B. Elros
C. Glorfindel
D. Legolas
E. Celegorm

What is Merry's last name?
A. Took
B. Baggins
C. Proudfoot
D. Brandybuck
E. Bucklebury

Which one of these characters is not a member of the Fellowship of the Ring?
A. Gimli
B. Gloin
C. Boromir
D. Peregrin
E. Meriadoc

Which one of these names is Aragorn not known by?
A. Elessar
B. Walker
C. Estel
D. Strider
E. Telcontar

What is the name of the mountain The Fellowship attempt to pass over?
A. Calandil
B. Orthanc
C. Caradhas
D. Elendil
E. Mount Doom

Who said: "Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall..." in The Two Towers movie?
A. Gandalf
B. Merry
C. Aragorn
D. Legolas
E. Gimli

What city does Denethor live in?
A. Minas Arnor
B. Minas Morgul
C. Minas Tirith
D. Minas Tirin
E. Minas Anon

How does Faramir learn of his brother's death?
A. He finds the horn of Gondor in the River Anduin
B. Aragorn tells him when he arrives in Minas Tirith
C. Frodo tells him in Ithilien
D. A royal messenger told him
E. He doesn't find out

What was Gollum's original name?
A. Deagol
B. Smeagol
C. Sleagol
D. Meagol
E. Feagol

E, D, A, D, B, B, C, C, C, A, B

Hopefully I will be able to update this quiz with more levels soon!  Good luck on this quiz and share your score in the comments.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Best Archer in Middle-earth

Middle-earth is home to some of the most advanced archers ever to set foot in Arda.  But, who exactly, is the best?

Legolas  Legolas is probably the best known archer because of his role in The War of the Ring.  Not much is actually said about his skill with a bow, other than it is excellent.  It is also known that he fought with a long white knife quite skillfully.  The bow he used was from Lothlorien, and it was at least six feet tall (ah!) and entwined with a single strand of Galadriel's hair.  It could shoot up to four hundred yards, and had a draw weight of one-hundred fifty pounds.  According to Lord of the Rings Wiki, Legolas' skill is "revered, even as good as that of Beleg Cuthalion in the First Age" though I can't find a source for that.

Beleg  Legolas is not the only elf with a bow in Middle-earth.  Beleg Cuthalion has won renown since the First Age for his skill with a bow.  In fact, his name, Cuthalion, means Strongbow.  He was one of the Captains of the Sindar, and he assisted in hunting Carcharoth the Great Wolf, as well as locating and saving Turin Turambar from orcs.  He carried a bow named Belthronding and a sword, Anglachel.

Bard  While elves are generally recognized for their skillful bowmanship, Bard of Esgaroth showed his skill by taking down the dragon Smaug with the last black arrow.  There was only one scale missing on the beast, but Bard had the precision to make the target.

Overall, I think that Bard may be out of the running first because elves are known for having better reaction times and generally being superior to humans in physical feats.  While Legolas is more well-known for his shooting, Beleg Strongbow is legendary...who do you think is the best bowman in Middle-earth?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Fellowship

So we get that Frodo and Gandalf ended up going "into the west" (wherever that is), but what happened to the rest of The Fellowship?
(Image Credit: The Fellowship of the Ring Property of Newline Cinema)

Okay, just to clarify, Frodo was granted special permission to take a ship to the elven kingdoms in the west.  If you are interested in the specific location, see my article Q&A: Did Frodo go to Valinor? Why?

Gandalf too also went into the west, where he is from.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Boromir...died.  It is not known where the mortal men go when they die.

Peregrin Took went on to get married and have one son named Faramir.  

Meridoc Brandybuck got married and became the Master of Buckland.  He also had at least one son, and died in Gondor and was buried with Pippin and Aragorn.

Samwise Gamgee became the Mayor of the Shire for forty-nine years.  He also got married and had thirteen children: Elanor the Fair, Frodo, Rose, Merry, Pippin, Goldilocks, Hamfast, Daisy, Primrose, Bilbo, Ruby, Robin, and Tolman.  Sam's family surname was changed from Gamgee to Gardner.  Goldilocks, his daughter, married Pippin's son, Faramir.  When his wife died, Sam went into the west, a special honor because he was a ring bearer for a short time after Frodo was attacked by Shelob.  

Legolas Greenleaf
Legolas helped restore the ravaged lands of Middle-earth until he felt the sea-longing and passed into the west.

Gimli worked with Legolas restoring the land and went into the west with him.

Aragorn ascended to the throne of the Reunited Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor and married Arwen.  He had a son named Eldarion and an unknown amount of daughters.  After he died, Arwen fled to Lothlorien and finding that all of the elves had left, laid herself upon a hill and died.  As for Aragorn, it is not known where mortal men go.

Hope these brief summaries shed some light upon what happened to the members of the Fellowship.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

"To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed up, pushing his keys into Gandalf's hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more." -The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Q&A: Why didn't the Eagles Fly the Fellowship to Mt. Doom?

Ah, the infamous question of the Great Eagles. This question has never ceased to bother me because whenever people ask it, it is not in the form of a question. People always ask this to me in a know-it-all manner, thinking for sure they have found a plot-hole I cannot fill. But whenever you're reading the work of Tolkien, think twice when you find a “plot-hole” because there are likely pages and pages of documentation relating to it that you just have not read. This is the case of the Great Eagles, only it’s even more obstreperous because you don’t even have to dig through The History of Middle-earth, all you have to do is: read The Lord of the Rings. Anyway, just make sure you have your facts straight before you question Tolkien. Now that I’ve got that rant of my back, here is the actual reason the Great Eagles did not fly the Fellowship to Mt. Doom.

There are three main reasons the Great Eagles didn’t fly the Fellowship to Mt. Doom.

#1: The Great Eagles are servants of a supreme being who knows that Frodo and the gang can do it and wants to leave them to their task without aid. I figured we might as well jump in with the biggest--and most complicated--reason. As outlined in The Silmarillion, there are basically four levels of beings. The High God, his angels, the angels’ servants, and the rest of Middle-earth. Now I know that there are several other levels (the Children of Illuvatar, Laquendi vs. Moriquendi, etc.) but I that’s not important in this. Anyway, the Great Eagles are on the “angels’ servants” level. That means that Manwe (the angel) commands his servants. Now Manwe does not want to help Frodo and the gang because he knows that Frodo can do it, and he doesn’t like getting involved with what’s happening in Middle-earth. It’s pretty simple once you get past the whole metaphysical aspect. Now I know that’s a lot to cover already, so if you have a question, feel free to put it in the comments.

#2: The Great Eagles have problems dealing with evil unless it directly affects them. You may have noticed this trend among the peoples of Middle-earth and it is no different with the Great Eagles. Remember when Gondor didn’t want to help Rohan, and Rohan didn’t want to help Gondor later? Or when Elrond didn’t want to send troops to Helm’s Deep because he didn’t think it was his problem? The people in Middle-earth hate evil, but they don’t want to fight it unless it is directly harming them. If it’s not their problem, they don’t want to get involved. Which seems...reasonable...but when you consider this is happening on a level that causes the death of many people, it’s sort of strange to refuse to help others and then beg them to help you later. Anyway, the Great Eagles haven’t been affected by the spread of evil at the time of The War of the Ring, so they don’t see any reason why they should help The Fellowship. Remember, the Great Eagle are sentient, speaking beings (although it doesn’t appear like that in the movies) and they are capable of making their own decisions, wrong or right.

#3: They would be caught instantly and the quest would fail. The Fellowship's greatest advantages are stealth and secrecy. Sauron does not know that the Ring is making it’s way towards Mordor, so he doesn’t know where to look for it. Also, The Fellowship stays off of the main roads throughout the story because those roads are being watched by servants of Sauron. If Great Eagles were flying around in the sky, they would pretty much be shot down instantly, or killed by the Nazgul. Now I know in The Return of the King, the Great Eagles could hurt the Nazgul, but if these eagles had been carrying hobbits, it would not have worked out like that.

I know what you’re thinking. If the Great Eagles aren’t supposed to help the Fellowship under Manwe’s wishes, and they don’t care about helping out anyway, why do they help at all? It’s undisputed that the Great Eagles help out on several occasions: rescuing Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves from the goblins in The Hobbit, rescuing Gandalf from the top of Orthanc in The Fellowship of the Ring, bearing Gandalf to Lothlorien in The Fellowship of the Ring (not shown in the movie but explained to Frodo in Rivendell in the book), and helping out at the battle of the Black Gate in The Return of the King. But notice how all of these instances involve Gandalf? That’s because Gandalf saved the Lord of the Eagles from death once, and that is sort of their way of repaying him.

There is a lot to cover in this, and if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know in the comments, as always. If you are looking for more information, check out these two “Youtube” videos by Dylan Dubeau and Jesse Coder, who both do a great job of outlining this reasons.

I do not own any of the rights to these videos, nor do I claim to. These videos are property of their respective creators and are being shared only for education purposes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Silmarillion as a Movie

Now that Peter Jackson has gone back on his promise he would only make three Middle-earth movies, who’s to say he can’t do it again? Many fans have been pushing for a movie version of The Silmarillion.

I don’t include myself in the fanbase that wants this to pass, and in short--if The Silmarillion were ever transformed into a movie, I would not go see it. Here are my reasons why.

#1: It would ruin the book for me. There is no way that a movie could ever live up to my expectations for this book. This is my alltime favorite book, and it’s already ranked as high as it can go, which is astronomical. I am not being close minded--I have many reasons why it could not be on the same level, outlined below.

#2: The audience would inhibit its potential. This is a big one. The reason that The Silmarillion could never be practically transferred into movie form is because of the people watching the movie. This may sound odd, but the audience of any given film dictates exactly how the film will be made, what will happen in it, who the characters are, how long it is, etc. That’s because the filmmaker’s goal is to make money. I highly doubt that most fans would want The Silmarillion transferred as is into movie form for the same reason that most people have never even read the work--even fans of LOTR. The end result is The Silmarillion being changed drastically to please “fans” who are looking for a love story, or an action movie, or whatever else today’s audiences want.

#3: The timing would never allow the story to be fleshed out. The Silmarillion takes at least a week for me to read. And that’s going pretty fast. Most people can’t read The Silmarillion very fast but the thing is: everything you’re reading is crucial to the story. There is no filler, no space for needless details, everything is important. This means then, that the filmmakers (assuming they want to be true to the work) would have to make a movie that takes at least a week to watch. This would never happen because that’s not what audiences want (see above). Things would be cut out. Essential things. And that would destroy the story, and ruin the book for me--that’s why I would never watch it.

Now those are the “big three” reasons that I would never watch The Silmarillion. There are many more issues with it, but I feel assured that it will never happen anyway. The Tolkien Estate still holds the rights to The Silmarillion, and considering their response to the other films, I don’t think they are eager to sell them anytime soon. Also, I don’t think any filmmaker (okay, maybe Peter Jackson) would ever think of touching that source material. Even though LOTR has a huge fanbase, The Silmarillion is not what they are a fan of, it is strictly, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Silmarillion is a whole different ball game. So now the filmmaker has no audience (or the audience they do have is shocked when they watch The Silmarillion and it is nothing like they were expecting/wanting) and they also have the impossible task of encompassing an age in maybe nine hours. Not happening. Between all the complicated names, extensive special effects and the unfilmable storyline (that is, it isn’t very linear), I think that it is safe to say that The Silmarillion will not (and should not) ever become a movie.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Return of the King Movie Review

The time has come to review my second favorite movie of all time.

“The Return of the King” is the epic third installment of The Lord of the Rings movie trio, and let me just say it is marvelous!

The movie starts off with Pippin’s encounter with the palantir, one I thought was acted out brilliantly by Billy Boyd. Then we transition to Gondor where Pippin and Gandalf prepare for Sauron’s assault on the capital city, Minas Tirith. I feel that Gondor as a presence was brought on screen wonderfully. It looks like a proud, old city and the music is noble and broad.

Aside from the general grandeur of the movie which is obvious to any watcher, here are my favorite moments.

Pippin’s (Billy Boyd) chilling “The Edge of Night” during Faramir’s sacrifice to save Osgiliath demonstrates perfectly the cost of war. Many viewers have complained (including me, see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” movie review) that some of the movies glorify war too much. However, in this scene we really get to see that war comes with a price.

Now, this movie is about Aragorn, he is the king returning after all, but for a majority of it he is missing. The filmmakers do a wonderful job, in my opinion, of sort of “forgetting” about him. They don’t make his departure too obvious, and when he is gone we are distracted. That makes his coming to Minas Tirith with a huge army of undead warriors even more fulfilling.

Later on of course we have the touching moments between Samwise and Frodo as Sam struggles to carry a broken Frodo to Mt. Doom.

“The Return of the King” might be so many people’s favorite movie of the trio because it gets all of the feelings from the last two movies to back it up. When Annie Lennox sings “Into the West” at the end, we are feeling everything, from the four hobbits journeying to Rivendell in “The Fellowship of the Ring”, to Aragorn’s speech at the black gate.

These movies are truly inspirational to me and I am really happy to have them to lift my spirits.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Two Towers Movie Review

“The Two Towers” picks up after the breaking of the fellowship: Boromir and Gandalf’s deaths, Pippin and Merry’s capture and Legolas’ Aragorn’s and Gimli’s subsequent pursuit, and Sam and Frodo’s continuation of the quest.

“The Two Towers” is definitively one of the more laid back films. Not until the end do we see war and “action”. However, the film still is great because of the storyline: on the one hand we have the intense inner-struggle between Smeagol and Gollum, and on the other hand the Aragorn-Eowyn-Arwen love triangle with the addition of Rohan politics.

This is something I wish the filmmakers would have remembered when they made “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. You can’t just rely on action, story is what gets you through the movie. Shot after shot of brutal death is not going to keep most audiences pleased.

Overall, “The Two Towers” is my third favorite movie of all time, and it has the perfect balance of action and substance.

Note: I have never written a movie review before (before “The Hobbit” reviews, I mean), so if anyone is experienced in that and has some tips or comments on my writing and what I can do to improve, please let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Fellowship of the Ring Movie Review

This is my movie review of the original three LOTR movies, directed by Peter Jackson.

This is actually my most favorite movie of all time. I am really into editing and special effects, and my oh my does this movie have them! I especially admire the use of miniatures for sets such as Isengard and Rivendell. The acting is superb, from Hugo Weaving as Elrond, to Sean Astin as Samwise. I think Peter Jackson and is co-script writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens do a terrific job of giving us the basic concept of Middle-earth (there is a lot to explain) without making us feel like we are listening to too much exposition. The story is paced very well, and a marvel to look at.

There is one element, one thing that makes this movie go from a solid ten to a rating of ten-million. The music. I love music, and my favorite type: LOTR music. While not necessarily a genre, everyone knows what I mean when I say this. The LOTR music is epic. From Concerning Hobbits, a cheerful opening to The Shire, to The Bridge of Khazad-dum, the daring theme of the Fellowship, the music (composed by Howard Shore) is second to none.

All in all, “The Fellowship of the Ring” is a fantastic movie.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Movie Review

One of the things the first three LOTR movies were criticized harshest on was the abundance of fighting and glorifying war. Unfortunately, rather than trying to change the pattern, Peter Jackson chose to create an entire three hour film essentially based only on war. The Hobbit is successfully ridden of it’s charming, uplifting character with this movie. There is not much to say about this movie. It literally was drawn from a single chapter of the book and dragged and stretched into a convoluted mess of insensitivity and over-dramatization.

Please respect everyone’s opinions, as always! Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

My personal movie review of the second installment in The Hobbit movie set.

Now this post is not going to be so much a step-by-step review of every aspect of the movie. I just want to focus on one characteristic--a character to be precise. Honestly, this topic has been talked to death on many forums, but I just want to add my two cents.

Tauriel. Peter Jackson states in an interview with The Daily Beast: “Also you do have a lot of young girls seeing this film, and they should have somebody in there who they can empathize with...It was a very cold blooded decision.” I understand trying to relate with all audiences. There is a lack of females present in the story, but for some mysterious reason (sarcasm) people still like The Hobbit. Call me crazy, but The Hobbit is one of the most popular books of all it really necessary to change what is already working? The real factor is: filmmakers always want more audiences so they can get more money. Personally, I understand this point of view, but it feels to me that they used the popular story many are already familiar with, and changed it to make money! It is not truly The Hobbit, they just call it that to get the fanbase.

Now even though I have my qualms about this additional character, let’s move on from there to examine her role. She is first shown as the captain of the guard for the elves, first met doing crazy ninja moves with Legolas. Apparently, the filmmakers said, “Well fans were upset with us for creating an action movie and over-dramatizing the characters, plus glorifying war and killing in the first movies, so...lets bring it back for this movie!” Seriously. Then, we get the “love triangle”. Tauriel-Kili (shudder) is a disaster in so many ways. Remember the magic of the first films when Legolas and Gimli finally set aside their differences?

(Image Credit: l_o_t_r pictures Instagram, photos from The Return of the King property of New Line Cinema)

Out the window with Tauriel. There is nothing special about this moment anymore. Nothing.

Basically, I feel Tauriel was a poor attempt to broaden the audience of The Hobbit, really to not only the detriment of The Hobbit movies, but somehow it even found a way to affect the first three movies.

Again, this is just my opinion, I mean no offense. I love filmmaking and have made my own films, I understand where Peter Jackson was coming from, but I disagree.

As always, please be respectful in the comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Movie Review

You may have noticed that I do not post much on The Hobbit, which is due to two reasons. The first is that I do not care for The Hobbit as much as I do for The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. There isn’t really a particular reason for this, I just find that I enjoy the other two works more. The second reason is because there isn’t much to say, or not much that I can think of, anyway. However, many people have been asking me to review the movies from a book-lover point of view, so I will start from the beginning with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”.

When this movie came out, I excited, of course. I wasn’t too excited though, because--as I mentioned above--I don’t care too much for The Hobbit. Anyway, when the time came, I watched the movie in theaters, in 3D, late at night--something I never ever do--so it was pretty exciting. But aside from all of the excitement, I will try to assess the movie as objectively as possible.

The movie starts out with a shot of Hobbiton, just as we remembered it. It looked different from the original. While some people are frustrated with others comparing The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, I can’t help it! The same actors, same director, art department, was made to be compared. Anyway, back to Hobbiton. The green was brighter, the yards more full of flowers, more hobbit extras...just different.

We meet Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). I have to say, despite my other qualms about The Hobbit movies, Martin Freeman was excellent...per usual. Next, Gandalf makes a reappearance, one I have to confess was subpar.

The dwarves come next. I was happily surprised to see the dwarves singing their dishes song, something I thought any filmmaker would leave out--though with a nine hour run time, they better have put it in!

This movie was overall, dull. The only thing that really bothered me, was the dwarves, particularly Fili and Kili. They seem like cheap ploys to get young girls’ interests, especially with the Tauriel aspect which I will address tomorrow.

Overall, I give this movie a pitiful 4 out of 10, the 4 only being earned by Martin Freeman and the general story. Unfortunately, this movie did not live up to my expectations.

Note: My thoughts about this movie are slightly jumbled because I am not good at reviews, but so many people have been asking me I finally caved. Comment if you have a question, I will try to answer it better than I probably did in this article :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Making Middle-earth

Check out these videos that explain how Middle-earth came to be. This is also available on certain editions of the DVD.

f you are an editing fan like me, you will love these videos a lot. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How to Make Lembas Bread

How to Make Lembas Bread

1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup “Crisco”
2 eggs
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soday
3/4 tsp. baking powder

Mix sugar and “Crisco”. Add eggs, syrup, and vanilla. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in sections. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out into squares and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-9 minutes (depending on size).

Lembas bread is described in The Silmarillion as:

“...a store of lembas, the waybread of the Elves, wrapped in leaves of silver, and the threads that bound it were sealed at the knots with the seal of the Queen [Melian], a wafer of white wax shaped as a single flower of Telperion...”

In the movies they are portrayed slightly differently, with leaves of green.

Once you have removed the bread from the oven, let it cool before wrapping. Then take leaves of a good size (rhubarb leaves work well*) and either leave them green to imitate the movie, or spray paint them with metallic paint to stay true to the book. Finally, wrap them up using twine and if you have wax lettering equipment, seal the knot.

*BE CAREFUL: rhubarb leaves are poisonous to ingest. I recommend if you decide to use these leaves to wrap the bread in plastic wrap, and then the leaves.

Lembas bread works great for a gift to any LOTR fan you know and is also really delicious.I hope you enjoy your lembas bread, let me know how it works for you!

(Image credit: The Fellowship of the Ring, property of New Line Cinema)

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“But Morgoth himself the Valar thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void; and guard is set for ever on those walls, and Earendil keeps watch upon the ramparts of the sky. Yet the lies that Melkor, the mighty and accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days.” -The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Which Vala are You?

The second edition of the quiz to determine which of the ruling Valar of Middle-earth you are similar to, this time for the guys. Answer the following questions and keep track of your letter answers (a, b, c, etc.).


Which of these activities would you want to do most?
A: Fly a kite on a windy day
B: Go boating
C: Try your hand at blacksmithing
D: Go hunting
E: Judge others
F: Daydream
G: Practice wrestling/lift weights

Would you rather...
A: ...Become a king
B: ...Go swimming
C: ...Craft things yourself
D: ...Take down a huge deer hunting
E: ...Decide someone’s destiny
F: ...Create your own dream
G: ...Go to the gym

If you were at a party you might be found...
A: ...On the roof enjoying the night air
B: ...In the pool
C: ...Fixing broken decorations
D: ...At home restringing your bow
E: ...Bouncing people at the door
F: ...Making sure everyone was having their party dreams come true
G: ...Getting into a fight

Which of these would be your dream house?
A: ...Somewhere high in the mountains
B: ...Near the coast
C: ...Underground
D: ...In the woods
E: ...In a great hall
F: ...Somewhere with a cozy bed
G: ...Somewhere with lots of room to move around in

If you got mostly A’s
You are Manwe! Manwe is the king of all of the Valar, Lord of the Winds, and closest in the counsels of Eru Illuvatar.

If you got mostly B’s
You are Ulmo! You are the Lord of the Waters and dedicated to Middle-earth.

If you got mostly C’s
You are Aule! You are crafty and strong and are the lord of all underground substances and a master craftsman.

If you got mostly D’s
You are Orome! Orome is the hunter-Vala and lord of the forests.

If you got mostly E’s
You are Namo (Mandos)! You keep The Hall of Mandos where spirits can find rest.

If you got mostly F’s
You are Irmo! Irmo is the lord of dreaming.

If you got mostly G’s
You are Tulkas! Tulkas was the last Vala to enter Middle-earth and wrestled Melkor to the ground and put him in chains. He delights in wrestling and contests of strength.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Which Vala are You?

This is a quiz to see which of the ruling Valar you are similar to. First a quiz to see which of the Queens of the Valar, and then the Kings tomorrow. Answer each question and keep track of which letter answer you gave (a, b, c, etc.)


Which of these activities would you want to do most?
A: Gaze at the stars
B: Garden
C: Watch a sad movie
D: Take a nap
E: Sew, knit, crochet, etc.
F: Walk through the woods
G: Dance

What are your friends most likely to describe you as?
A: Royal
B: Down-to-earth
C: Sorrowful
D: Gentle
E: Crafty
F: Youthful
G: Athletic

If you were at a party you might be found...
A: ...Looking at the night sky
B: ...Admiring the gardens outside
C: ...Crying by yourself
D: ...Comforting the crying ones
E: ...Fixing broken decorations
F: ...At the kids’ table
G: ...On the dance floor

Your dream house would be...
A: ...A castle
B: ...Outside, or a place with lots of windows to admire nature from
C: ...A warm place to cry
D: ...A fragile glass house
E: ...Full of crafts you’ve made
F: ...Fun!
G: ...Big, with lots of room to move around in

If you got mostly A’s
You are Varda, the Star-Queen! Varda is the high queen of the Valar and wrought the stars before the earth was complete.

If you got mostly B’s
You are Yavanna, the fruit giver, creator of all the flora and fauna of Middle-earth, not to mention the Ents!

If you got mostly C’s
You are Nienna. She alone of the Valar knows grief and waters the earth with her tears.

If you got mostly D’s
You are Este. She is known as “the gentle” and helps souls with healing and rest.

If you got mostly E’s
You are Vaire. She is crafty and weaves all of the tapestries for the famous Hall of Mandos.

If you got mostly F’s
You are Vana, known as the ever-young. You have a youthful spirit to be sure!

If you got mostly G’s
You are Nessa. She delights in running and dancing.

Share your results in the comments and come back tomorrow to see which of the Valar Kings you are!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Find Your Elvish Name

Every Lord of the Rings fan at least considers finding out what their Elvish Name is. It’s actually extremely simple.

Let’s take a random name, say Peter, and find what the name would be in Elvish, both Quenya and Sindarin. First, you need to know what your name means. Peter, for instance, means “rock”. Now just find the word for rock in Quenya, or Sindarin, depending on which language you would like, and ta-da, you have your Elvish name! The Elvish name for Peter in Quenya is “Ondo”, and for Sindarin, there are many options including, “Sarnion”, and “Gonnon”.

You see it is easy to find your Elvish name! If you need help, the website Council of Elrond is a fabulous resource for you. Navaer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Q&A: What do you think is the saddest death in Middle-earth?

This is actually a common question I am asked. The death is from The Silmarillion. The saddest death in my opinion, in Middle-earth is of Beleg Strongbow.

For those of you who don’t know about this death, read The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXIII which explains the story of Turin Turambar. Basically Turin fled his city and his friend Beleg followed him to take him back. Turin was captured by orcs. Beleg Strongbow rescued him but in the dark Turin mistook him as an enemy and killed him with Beleg’s own sword, Anglachel.

Beleg was a great friend and it lead to his death.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“Few can foresee whither their road will lead them, ‘till they come to it’s end.” -“Legolas Greenleaf” The Fellowship of the Ring (book)

Q&A: What happened to Gandalf when he fell in The Mines of Moria?

This is a very common question among fans who have not read the books, particularly The Silmarillion. While the movies do a fairly good job with their explanation, they don’t really go into all of the details.

When Gandalf fell he died. He went back to “the west” where he is from, also known as Valinor. However, because there were no other wizards uncorrupted to help the people of Middle-earth he was reincarnated and sent back.

Let me know if you have further questions about this topic as well as if you have any other questions related to Middle-earth as I would be happy to answer them!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXVIII

This is the last group read installment for The Silmarillion! The last book is entitled: Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.

When Morgoth was overthrown, Sauron repented to Eonwë, Manwë's herald. But since a Maiar could not pardon another Maiar, Eonwë sent Sauron to the Valar to face judgement. Fearing that they would take away his power after finding him guilty, Sauron returned to Middle-Earth and reverted to ways of evil. During the War of Wrath, Beleriand was mostly drowned and some of the Noldor led by the high King Gil-Galad went to the region of Lindon which is also called the Grey Havens. Many of the Teleri elves that lived in Doriath and Ossiriand moved to the forests of the Silvan elves. Others of the Noldor moved to Eregion which was next to the mountains that housed the dwarf mines of Moria. There the elves and dwarves became friends and it benefited them both. The elves that learned from the dwarves were known as Gwaith-I-Mírdain (people of the jewel-smiths). These elves were led by Celebrimbor and they exceeded the skill of jewel crafters of all elves save Fëanor. Sauron hated the elves and sought to persuade them to him. In Lindon he was driven away by Elrond and Gil-Galad. Elsewhere he went and claimed he could help the people make their realms as beautiful as Valinor. When the people questioned him (why would Elrond and Gil-Galad refuse your services if what you say is true?) Sauron said it was because Elrond and Gil-Galad feared others would create realms more powerful than their own. He was best accepted in Eregion where always the people had a desire to get better and stronger. The elves there began making rings of power but Sauron knew what they were doing and instructed them in certain ways, desiring to control them. Sauron made in secret the One Ring which controlled all other rings. Their power was bound to the One Ring and their fate was tied to it. Sauron could see the thoughts of those wearing the rings, and could influence them. The elves perceived immediately what had occurred and took off their rings. Sauron came at them then in open war demanding they return the rings he had assisted them in making. The elves fled from him and took three of all of their rings. These three rings were the only ones made solely by Celebrimbor without Sauron's influence, and he desired them most. They are Narya, Nenya, and Vilya, governors of fire, water, and air respectively. Though Sauron had not influenced their making, he still had power over them. War still brewed between the elves and Sauron, and Eregion was destroyed and the doors of Moria shut. Imladris (Rivendell) was established by Elrond at this time. Sauron took the remaining rings and gave them to individuals, and the rings tugged at what they desired most: power, ease, wealth, etc. He gave seven to the dwarves although they were too stubborn to corrupt and used them mostly for the gain of wealth. Their greed led them to bitter ends and some of the rings were lost to dragons. Men proved easier to persuade and he gave nine rings to them. He used their want for immortality to his advantage. He gave them unending life in agony and they were slaves to his will. They are the Nazgûl. Sauron became a dark lord then. He was feared and powerful. The only person he would no longer challenge was Gil-Galad who was assisted by the Dúnedain. At this time the Númenorians openly challenged him and he came to them. After the sinking of Númenor he lost his fair form and returned to Middle-Earth in the form of an eye wrought in flame. He discovered Gil-Galad's influence had grown and spread across the land. Elendil, Anárion and Isildur arrived in Middle-Earth then. They landed in Lindon and Elendil befriended Gil-Galad and they lived in an area known as Arnor. Anárion and Isildur went south along the River Anduin and established the realm of Gondor whose chief city was Osgiliath. They built two towers known as Minas Ithil and Minas Arnor and the two brothers ruled side by side in Osgiliath. The Númenorians had brought powerful items with them to Middle-Earth. Among them was the fruit of the tree that had descended from White Tree Nimloth. It was planted in Minas Ithil, Isildur's favored tower since he had been the one to rescue the fruit. They also brought seven seeing-stones called Palantírs. Three went to Elendil and two to Anárion and Isildur each. The stones generally revealed what was around the other stones but those with strong wills could see anything they chose, and with this tool the Dúnedain kept tabs on evil. Sauron attacked the Elf-Friends of Númenor in Minas Ithil, destroying the White Tree. Isildur escaped however with his family and a sapling from the tree. He sailed along the Anduin seeking Elendil. Anárion held Osgilith but his armies suffered sorely. Elendil and Gil-Galad perceived that Sauron would seek to overtake the free places of Middle-Earth one by one, and so they formed the Last Alliance. They marched into war against Sauron in Dagorlad and every creature was divided one way or another. Gil-Galad and Elendil won and held Mordor for seven years though there were many casualties--Anárion included. From that point the kings came from Anarion's line. Finally Sauron marched forth and Elendil and Gil-Galad were slain, and Elendil's sword Narsil was broken. Isildur took up his father Elendil's sword shard and cut the one ring from Sauron's finger and took it. Sauron was forced to leave his physical body. It was the beginning of the Third Age. Isildur planted the White Tree in Minas Arnor in honor of his brother. Fear still lived of Sauron however. Isildur refused the counsel from Elrond and Círdan that the One Ring should be destroyed in the Mordorian fires. He took it as a heirloom to be passed down through his family. Isildur then traveled north to Arnor where his father used to live but on the way he was assailed by orcs. All were slain including his three eldest sons. Isildur used the ring to turn invisible but the ring betrayed him and slipped from his finger, causing the orcs to shoot him in the back three times. Only three of his people returned, one of them caretaker of the Shards of Narsil. Isildur's youngest son Valandil went to Rivendell with the Shards of Narsil and Elrond foretold that the sword would not be reforged until Sauron regrouped and the One Ring was discovered. Valandil returned to the northern realm Arnor, but it slowly lost its power over time. Gondor did well but the blood of the Númenorians was diluted with many couplings of both Dúnedain and men, and the watch on Mordor lessened. The twenty-third Dunedain King of Gondor was killed by a plague as were many of the other citizens and the guard loosened even more. Unseen by all, Sauron stirred and the Nazgûl awoke to serve their lord. When Eärnil became king, Mordor attacked and took Minas Ithil and renamed it Minas Morgul where the Nazgûl dwelt. Osgiliath was deserted and Minas Arnor--now called Minas Tirith--was ever at war with Minas Morgul. When Eärnur son of Eärnil became king he rode to Minas Morgul to engage in single combat with the lord there. He was never heard from again. The line of kings ended there (though Isildur's heirs still existed) and the first steward of Gondor was Mardil the faithful. The Rohirrim came from the north and aided Gondor in its wars and the Nazgûl did not dare come forth until Sauron returned. In the meantime, Rivendell was a safe haven for those darkened by evil, and for Isildur's heirs. Elrond kept the shards of Narsil there also. The other elven dwelling was the Grey Havens of which Círdan was lord. The three rings were still hidden and where they were existed were the fairest dwellings. People speculated Elrond and Galadriel had a ring each since their realms were the fairest, but where the other ring was they did not know. As soon as the One Ring would be destroyed the power of their rings would fail as would the beauty of the realms. Already the time of the elves was ending. Around this time Sauron arose in the woods of Mirkwood, previously known as the great Greenwood. The source of the treachery was a hill, known as Dol Guldur where Sauron had made his stronghold. Only the north area which was Thranduil's realm was free of evil and pure. When the shadow was first perceived the Istari came to Middle-Earth, servants of the Valar to drive the people of Middle-Earth to do valiant deeds. They came in the guise of old men, chief among them was Saruman and Gandalf. Although Saruman was the wisest, Gandalf was the most vigilant and he first discovered evil in Mirkwood and it fled from him. A council of Elrond, Galadriel, Círdan, Gandalf and Saruman was called and Saruman was named chief of the Istari and he began to research the Rings of Power. Gandalf returned to Dol Guldur and learned that Sauron was indeed growing and he was searching for the One Ring and Isildur's heir. The council met again and Gandalf urged them to make war against Sauron while he was still weak, but Saruman spoke against it claiming he thought that the One Ring had been lost at sea. Elrond foresaw that the One Ring would be recovered and the age would end in war. Saruman had turned to dark thoughts though. Through his studies of Sauron and his rings, be began to want to become more powerful than Sauron himself. He wanted the One Ring for himself and believed that Sauron's presence would cause it to reappear, but if Sauron was driven out the ring would never show itself. He kept demanding they hold off on waging war on Sauron. Servants of Sauron searched the river Isildur had died in hoping to find the ring, and Saruman returned to Isengard to continue researching. Gandalf continued begging for people to begin waging war, and finally Saruman consented, fearing that Sauron would find the Ring before him. They drove Sauron out of Dol Guldur then. They were too late though for Sauron already had Mordor prepared for him and there he retreated and raised Barad-Dûr again, his tower. Saruman retreated to Isengard and would no longer speak to the White Council. None knew that the One Ring had actually been found and passed to the Hobbits or Halflings in the North part of the world called the Shire. Fortunately, Gandalf learned of it first, but word of it came to Sauron, and the Nazgûl were released to search for it. The Third Age ended in war as Elrond had for foreseen. Aragorn, the thirty-ninth in Isildur's line ascended to the throne of Gondor and led the people against Sauron. Saruman was thrown down. The hobbit Frodo with the help of his friend Sam had taken on the task of destroying the Ring in the fires of Mordor, and were successful. Sauron passed away then and Gondor flourished. It was then revealed that the keeper of the third elven ring was Gandalf. It was given to him by Círdan and it was the ring of fire, chosen so it might kindle the hearts of others to take action. Círdan remained in the Grey-Havens, and when the time of men came, he took the ships to Valinor. And so ends the Silmarillion.

Thank you so much for following along in this group read! I’ve had so much fun reviewing The Silmarillion and discussing it with you. If you like the idea of a group read, leave a comment and maybe I can write more in the future. Thank you!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XVII

The third book in The Silmarillion is entitled Akallabeth: The Downfall of Numenor.

Although some of the men of the world did fall prey to Morgoth's corruption, some of them did not and they are well known for their deeds of valor. They are the Edain. One of their kin is Eärendil who helped with the apprehension of Morgoth. After the War of Wrath, some of the men refused both the Valar's summons and Morgoth's temptation. They took a leader of their own often times former Morgoth servants which did not end well. Knowing that though Morgoth was done away with, his deeds were not wholly, the Valar created an island for the men to live on away from the influences of the dark lord, and this island is known as Númenor (gift of land). The men followed the star of Eärendil and came across the calm waters to this isle. These men afterwards were known as the Dúnedain and their King was Elros, Eärendil's son and the brother to Elrond who had chosen his second born ancestry. The Númenorians were granted long life, though not as long as the Eldar, but Elros lived for five hundred years. While the light of Middle-Earth faded, the Númenorians flourished. Then men of the islands were friends with elves and spoke their language, and their lords and cities were given elvish names. They were a peaceful people and skilled in craft especially ship making and sailing. The Valar worried that the Númenorians would discover that the elves and Valar in Valinor are immortal and that the men would covet that. To prevent that, the Númenorians were not allowed to sail into the west past the sight of the island. Elsewhere they traveled freely. On clear days the Númenorians could see parts of Tol Eressëa, part of Valinor. Many times the Eldar sailed to Númenor and brought gifts, including the White Tree Nimloth which was descended from the white tree Yavanna had given the elves in Tirion. Likewise, the Dúnedain sailed to Middle-Earth to teach those men, and the Middle-earth men thought the Numenoreans to be gods, and in their presence feared no darkness. Though they lived long lives, the Dúnedain still died, and they began to complain. They wanted the ban against sailing into the west to be lifted, and they wanted the gift of men taken away so they could be immortal. Word of these complaints reached the Valar and they sent a messenger to the Dúnedain King Tar-Atanamir telling him that being in Valinor does not give them immortality, but the fact that immortal beings are in Valinor makes it so. He also told them that death was not a punishment, but a gift from Ilúvatar. The belief that death was a punishment came from a lie told by Morgoth. The king was not content with this answer and he kept the kingship long after he aged and wasted his son's time to be king by hogging it all in his old age. His son also was of the same mind as his father. So the Dúnedain were split: those that agreed with their King, and those that were loyal to the king but trusted the wisdom of the Valar. Fear darkened the followers of Tar-Atanamir's hearts and they clung to their lives, hoarding wealth, and building extensive tombs and stopped worshiping Ilúvatar. Many of the king's men, or people who did not trust that Valar turned towards Middle-Earth, where they were supreme and could seek wealth. No longer did they aid and help the men of Middle-Earth but they sought to have dominion over them. The Elf-Friends, or the Dúnedain who trusted the Valar also went to Middle-Earth on occasion to help the men in the struggle against the lingering power, Sauron. Sauron had come into Middle-Earth as lieutenant to Morgoth, but after his demise he lingered and sought power. He hated the Dúnedain and hid from them. Some of the men he manipulated with the rings of power were Dúnedain and when they turned to the shadow world and became wraiths, he sent them to attack their own kin. In Númenor the hatred between the king's men and the Valar and elves grew. The speaking of elvish was forbidden as were the visits the elves used to make. The White Tree of Nimloth was left unattended and the people were torn between the king's of the house of Elros and the Valar. The Elf-Friends were moved to the east where they could be watched. Some departed to Middle-Earth where they fraternized with Gil-Galad, and so were forbidden by the rest to return to Númenor. All correspondence between the King's men and the Valar and elves of the west stopped. A noble people were the lords of the Andúnië among them the lady Inzilbêth, known for her beauty. She was taken for a wife by Ar-Gimilzôr though there was no love between them. Inzilbêth was an Elf-Friend, and her eldest son Inziladûn was of like mind. Her younger son was more like his father: proud, willful, vain, etc. His father wished that he would assume the kingship but the laws stated it must be the eldest son. When Inziladûn took the kingship, he tended again to the white tree of Nimloth and sought to renew the friendship between elves and men though the people would not have it. They were turned away by the bad actions of their former rulers. He was known as Tar-Palantír for his ability and great foresight. He predicted the downfall of the Númenor and that their line of king's would end. His younger brother who was a king's man, and he spoke openly against his brother. The younger brother died young but left a son more greedy than him named Pharazôn. Pharazôn was well known in Middle-Earth and was renowned for his wealth. He won the support of the people by giving his wealth freely for a time. Tar-Palantír finally died from grief and only his daughter Míriel remained to assume the throne. Pharazôn broke the law (by taking someone as a wife so close in relation) by taking Míriel as his wife by force so he could become the king. He renamed himself Ar-Pharazôn and Míriel, Ar-Zimphrael, and he was the mightiest king of the Dúnedain. Word came to them that Sauron disliked the Dúnedain and intended to destroy Númenor. Sauron had taken the title of King of Men and this irked Ar-Pharazôn, he wanted to take the title for himself and keep Sauron as a slave. Without consulting anyone, he prepared his armies for war and set sail towards Middle-Earth. When he arrived he demanded Sauron to come forth and swear allegiance and servitude. Sauron obliged thinking that he could not outright start a war with the powerful Dúnedain but rather to overstate them subtly. Although Sauron used words that seemed wise, Ar-Pharazôn was not fooled. He took Sauron to Númenor and it was even more beautiful than the dark servant had anticipated, which annoyed him even more. Through cunning and flattery and the promise of land (that he said the Valar were trying to withhold from the Dúnedain) Sauron won the hearts of all the Dúnedain lords except for one named Amandil, lord of Andúnië. He asked them to worship the darkness and said that Eru was false created by the Valar, and that Melkor was the true lord. Ar-Pharazôn began to worship Melkor, first in secret but eventually in the open. Amandil had a son, Elendil and Elendil's sons were Isildur and Anárion. Amandil remained on the kin's council until Melkor dismissed him. Still Amandil and his family were well-respected and powerful and Sauron feared them. Ar-Pharazôn banned the worship of Ilúvatar by punishment of death, and so Amandil led a group of people to Rómenna, an eastern sea-port away from the strict rule of Ar-Pharazôn influenced by Sauron. Sauron implemented new rules at the validation of Ar-Parazôn including the removal of the White Tree Nimloth. Ar-Pharazôn was reluctant because of Tar-Palantír's warning that the tree would be cut down and the line of kings ended. Amandil knew that eventually Ar-Pharazôn would give in though. So in a great deed of bravery, Isildur crept past the guards and stole a fruit from the tree. He braved many dangers to get it back to his grandfather, Amandil. Amandil blessed the fruit and when it's leaf opened the wounds Isildur had felt were healed. Sauron did have his way and Nimloth was hewn and a temple was built in its stead where the tree was burned. For seven days smoke hung in the air over Númenor until it faded into the west. In the temple sacrifices were offered to Melkor. Men in those days began to dread death and sickness overtook them more. They became greedier and more possessive and jealous. Still the Númenorians thrived in wealth. They enslaved the men of Middle-Earth and offered them as sacrifice upon the altar in their temple. And to the men of Middle-Earth the kind Númenorians were forgotten and they began to think of them as all treacherous enemies. Ar-Pharazôn grew in power but was old and close to death. Sauron spread lies to him then saying that the Valar only withheld immortality from him because they feared he would become too powerful. Fearing his imminent death, Ar-Pharazôn paid heed to these words and began to consider waging war on the Valar. Word came of this to Amandil and he sailed into the west to warn the Valar. He was never heard from again and it is not known if the warning reached the Valar. Elendil and the faithful people he had led built ships and prepared to sail away from Númenor per Amandil's instructions. Storms darkened Númenor in those days and great clouds in the shape of Eagles covered the light. These clouds threw down lighting which would strike men at random. Some of the followers of Al-Pharazôn feared this and repented, but others took it as an act of war from the Valar. Sauron's temple was struck and caught fire though it was not destroyed. Sauron stood before it and the lightening did not strike him. Because he was not harmed he became known as a god for it and his power strengthened. A final warning of repentance came then when the mountain of Meneltarma erupted, but it was not heeded. Ar-Pharazôn called for his ships to be readied then and they sailed out of the sight of Númenor. More human sacrifices were made as they prepared to go to war. He went past Tol Eressëa and came even to Aman challenging the Valar to come fight him, though briefly he felt nervous, his pride won out. The elves had fled Túna and the Númenorians camped there. Manwë called on Ilúvatar for help and the world was changed. The earth opened and swallowed the Númenorians’ ships and the people as well. Númenor was swallowed into the chasm. Elendil had docked off of Rómenna and when Númenor was swallowed he was blown by a strong wind to Middle-Earth. The ships were broken in the storm but the people reached the shore. The earth had been reshaped with islands raised, rivers' courses changed, mountains sunken, etc. The survivors built cities and though they were only a fragment of what had once been in Númenor, the people of Middle-Earth still appreciated them and learned much from them. Sauron had been delighted at the death of so many though he did not anticipate the level of attack the Valar had unleashed. He fell with the Númenorians into the chasm. He could not die, but could not longer use his fair form. He fled to Mordor where he assumed the new form of an eye wrought in flame. It is said that the mountain that had erupted, Meneltarma had a temple to Ilúvatar upon it and it a lone did not sink. The Mariners that searched for it could not find it or the west which had been moved out of their grasp. If they sailed far enough they would return to their origin, and it was known the works was round and "all roads bent". The Eldar could still reach Aman via the Straight Road. Legend was also spoken that some men lost at sea would find the Straight Road and they would be permitted to see Aman before they died.

Come back tomorrow for Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, the last edition of this group read.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“We have sworn, and not lightly, this oath we will keep.” -“Feanor” The Silmarillion
Feanor’s oath binds his house to acts of treason, kinslaying, treachery, hostility between elves, and hate not the least. This is told in The Quenta Silmarillion.

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXVI

Today’s chapter recalls one of the most famous events in the First Age, the War of Wrath and the Downfall of the First Dark Lord. Today’s chapter is entitled The Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath.

Eärendil, the son of Idril and Tuor married Elwing, daughter of Dior, son of Beren and Lúthien. He became the lord of the elves in Sirion, the refugees from Doriath and Gondolin's ruins. They had two sons, Elrond and Elros. With the help of Círdan, Eärendil built a ship called Vingilot which he used frequently to sail mainly to find his mother and father or to find Valinor and plead with the Valar for help. Elwing did not go with him and stayed in sorrow on the shores of Valinor while Eärendil became frustrated with the enchantments on Valinor. Elwing still possessed the Silmaril, that had caused the death of both her father and her great grandfather, Dior and Thingol. Maedhros repented of his oath for a time letting her live in peace, but soon the four remaining brothers began to feel the pull of The Oath of Fëanor. They sent letters of friendship to the Sirions in return for the Silmaril. The Sirions believed the Silmaril was the source of their fortune, and their lord was at sea--they could not risk bad luck--so they refused. The Fëanorians marched on Sirion and executed the third kinslaying. Sirion was destroyed and two brothers were killed leaving only Maedhros and Maglor. The few survivors went with Círdan the shipwright and Gil-Galad to live on Balar. Elrond and Elros had been taken captive and Elwing with the Silmaril on a necklace around her neck cast herself into the sea. Elwing was borne out of the sea by Ulmo and turned into a bird with the Silmaril on her breast. She flew to Eärendil. The people of Sirion grieved their loss and feared they would be slain. Maglor pitied them though and fostered them, love grew. Eärendil bound the Silmaril to his head and he, Elwing, and his three shipmates sailed into Valinor where the first mortal man stepped onto the western shores. He bid his company stay so that he alone may bear the wrath of Valar. Elwing could not bear to let him go and so she lept out of the boat and ran after him. He allowed her to accompany him, but when they came to the pass of Calcyria he would not permit her to go further. It was a festival day on Valinor and many of the elves were not in Tirion, but the guards there saw him and the Silmaril and rushed to the Valar. Eärendil saw Tirion deserted and feared that evil had come even to the Blessed Realm. Eonwë, herald of Manwë came to him then and bade him come before the Valar. He plead for forgiveness for the Noldor, and for pity and aid. Manwë consented but stipulated that since Eärendil and Elwing were both mixed kindred, Elwing and Eärendil would never again be able to walk in Middle-Earth again and had to chose which of the kindreds they would like. The same applied to their sons. Elwing chose the Eldar because of Lúthien and though Eärendil desired to be with men, he chose the same so as to be with Elwing. The three Mariners that had accompanied Eärendil and Elwing were given another ship to bear back to Beleriand and Vingilot was hallowed and passed into the heavens. Eärendil rode upon Vingilot with the Silmaril on his brow shone as a star. Elwing was given a tower and learned the language of the sea birds. When Eärendil came to visit the Valar she would fly to him. In the east the Eldar saw the star and it gave them hope. They named it Gil-Estel (the star of high hope). Morgoth was filled with doubt when he saw this, but he believed he had sundered the elves and Valar enough that they could never defeat him. But then the Valar came forth with the Vanyar elves and the Noldor who had stayed in Valinor--though the Teleri would not go, but listened to Elwing's pleadings and sent Mariners to assist though they refused to step on the land. The armies of the north (Morgoth) and of the west battled on Anfauglith, and the whole north was aflame with war. None of the elves from Middle-Earth marched in battle but the three houses of the Edain did and gained vengeance for the treachery done upon their ancestors. Some of the men from the east fought on the side of Morgoth and the Elves would never forget it and would always have a slight distrust of men for this. Most of the balrogs were destroyed the others fled to the dark places of the earth, and the orcs were done away with mostly. As a last effort, Morgoth unleashed the dragons and for a moment the forces of light were drawn back. Eärendil came down upon Vingilot with the Great Eagles and slew Ancalagon the Black, the leader of the dragons. As Ancalagon fell he crushed the last remaining towers of Thangorodrim. Soon there was little left of Morgoth's realm and Morgoth himself was cowering in Angband. He was captured and Eonwë took the Silmarils. His crown was beaten into a collar which was placed around his neck, and the great chain Angainor was bound to it. The captives of Angband were released. So great had been the force of battle that the entire landscape had changed, mountains shifted, oceans erupted and changed the outline, valleys were created or erased, and hills were raised. Eonwë summoned the elves of Beleriand to leave Middle-Earth but Maglor and Maedhros would not answer for Eonwë held the Silmarils and their oath still haunted them. Maglor wished to just go into the west but Maedhros persuaded him to hold true to the oath. They snuck into the camp and slew the guards. Each took a Silmaril and Eonwë let them get away with it. Maedhros' Silmaril caused him unbearable pain and burning and he cast it and himself into a fiery chasm. Maglor suffered pain as well and cast his into the sea. He forever wandered the coasts singing in lament. And so it was: a Silmaril in the sky, one in the depths of fire, and one in the waters. The elves stood judgement and were pardoned before the Valar and the Teleri who they had wronged. The curse of Mandos was laid to rest and they dwelt on Tol Eressea. Some of the elves remained in Middle-Earth: Círdan, Galadriel and Celeborn, Gil-Galad, and Elrond (who chose to be elven, his brother Elros chose to become a man). Morgoth was tossed into the timeless void and a guard had been set around him, including the watchful eye of Eärendil. While Morgoth had been destroyed, the doubt and distrust he had set about the kindreds would never fade.

I would like to draw your attention to the sentence that states “The curse of Mandos was laid to rest and they [Noldor] dwelt on Tol Eressea.” This makes it clear that the Noldor were not permitted into Valinor, but only to Tol Eressea. To give you reference, Galadriel was not allowed into Valinor but only to Tol Eressea. I find this interesting. Now the Silmarils have met their fate. After just three kinslayings, three elven kingdom’s downfalls, and multiple deaths and corruptions, the jewels are finally done away with. Morgoth the First Dark Lord is in chains never to rise to power again, but at the end of the story it makes clear that evil is not abolished for good. This is another theme prevalent in The Lord of the Rings, that destroying the evil of your time does not grant you a “happy ever after” or eternal freedom from evil. The last note of this tale is distrust between the kindreds. As this gap grows Morgoth’s servants have fled into the earth still threatening the “safe” Middle-earth. Evil still abides. This is the last chapter in the Quenta Silmarillion. The last two books in The Silmarillion are entitled Akallabeth: The Downfall of the Numenor, and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. Come back tomorrow for more of this group read!

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXV

I am so excited! Today is my most favorite part of the group read! My favorite chapter in all of Middle-earth history...Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin. I basically summarized this entire chapter in my article “My Favorite Character” but here it is again!

Tuor was the son of Rían and Huor. His father had been slain in the Battle of the Unnumbered Tears. He was fostered by a grey-elf named Annael. When Tuor was sixteen years old, the elves set out for Sirion from Androth, but were ambushed by orcs and Easterlings, and Tuor was taken captive and became a slave. He escaped and returned to Androth and inflicted enough harm upon the Easterlings that a price was set for his head. Ulmo had chosen Tuor for a purpose, and he felt a desire to leave his home and go to Nevrast, the land inhabited by Turgon's people before they moved to Gondolin. No one cared where he went, for he had no one. He stayed there until he saw swans appear in the sky which he took as a sign. He went to Vinyamar and found the suit of armor that Turgon had left there upon the instruction of Ulmo (for the messenger to wear so Turgon recognized him). He took the items and went to the sea where Ulmo instructed him to go to Gondolin, and gave him a cloak to hide him from his enemies. Tuor met Voronwë there--the mariner Ulmo had spared after he tried to go to Valinor and ask for help at Turgon's request--and he agreed to lead Turgon to Gondolin. On their journey there, they saw Túrin Turambar but didn’t recognize him and moved on. Voronwë and Tuor reached Gondolin and at first were rejected, but when Tuor showed them the armor and sword, they understood that he was sent by Ulmo, and allowed him an audience with Turgon. Tuor then spoke the words of Ulmo and warned Turgon to leave Gondolin and save his people. Turgon rejected the idea because he was proud of his city and of its secrecy. Maeglin backed this idea up, and it was what Turgon wanted to hear, and that is what he did. Fear darkened his heart though, and Turgon forbade anyone from leaving or entering Gondolin for war or peace. The only news of the outside world came from Thorondor the Great Eagle. When he reported the downfall of Doriath and of Nargothrond, Turgon closed his ears not wishing to hear it. Tuor remained in Gondolin and fell in love with Turgon's daughter, Idril. After seven years Turgon gave them permission to marry. This caused Maeglin to hate Tuor even more, for he desired Idril though she did not return his affections, especially because they were cousins, and he wanted her because her husband would be Turgon's heir. Tuor and Idril had a son named Eärendil who the sea spoke to. Times were joyful in Gondolin, but for the fact that--unbeknownst to those in Gondolin--Húrin had revealed the location of Gondolin when he cried out. The servants of Morgoth struggled to get near to the location because of the vigilant protection of the Great Eagles. Idril had great foresight and felt a shadow on her heart as she prepared a secret way out of Gondolin. At this time Maeglin in defiance of Turgon went out of Gondolin and was captured by orcs. Threatened with torment and promised reign over Gondolin and Idril, Maeglin revealed the location of Gondolin to Morgoth. Maeglin was then returned to Gondolin and Idril's foreboding worsened. When Eärendil was seven years old, Morgoth's attack finally came on a day of festival. All of the citizens were near the walls looking at the rising of the sun. With balrogs, orcs, dragons, etc. the city was devastated and Turgon perished. Maeglin had taken Idril and Eärendil and Tuor fought him and Maeglin fell off the wall (as his father Eol predicted) and into the fires. Gathering as many survivors as they could find, Idril, Eärendil, and Turgon went through the passageway Idril had made by day Morgoth knew nothing about, aided by the smoke. They had to go through some treacherous passes and were assaulted by orcs and a Balrog. Glorfindel fought the Balrog and both fell into an abyss and were killed. Thorondor the Great Eagle drove away the orcs and bore up Glorfindel's body and he was buried beneath a hill where golden flowers always grew. Tuor led the survivors to Sirion where refugees from the ruin of Doriath, including Elwing, daughter of Dior, Beren and Lúthien's son and the last king of Doriath. The son of Fingon, Ereinion Gil-Galad was named high king of the Noldor and Turgon's successor. Morgoth then thought himself successful; the remaining elves were not a threat to him. Ulmo begged the Valar to aid the peoples in their war against Morgoth. It is said that there is only one who could have persuaded Manwë to assist them, and it was not Ulmo. The time had not yet come. Feeling old age and sea longing, Tuor set sail with Idril into the west. Tuor's fate was different from a normal mortal because of his ties with the Noldor, and no other stories come from them.

I hope you love this chapter as much as I do! The next chapter concludes The Quenta Silmarillion and is entitled Of Earendil and the War of Wrath.

Note: You may have noticed sometimes there are tildes or tremas occasionally throughout my posts on certain names (as they appear in the book) and sometimes there are not. This is due to the fact that I wrote the original summaries using an iPad which is easier to create the symbols and now I am using a PC. I apologize if this causes any confusion.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXIV

Today’s chapter is entitled Of the Ruin of Doriath.

Morgoth released Húrin from captivity after he had witnessed the fates of his children, so that he could further the hate between elves and men. He had been in Angband for around twenty-eight years, and his appearance was horrible. He was allowed to roam about however, though people shunned him. He was embittered by people's attitudes towards him, and he sought to go back to Gondolin, but they way was shut. The area around Gondolin was prowled by Morgoth's servants but also by the great Eagles. Thorondor, the king of the Eagles brought word to Turgon ruler of Gondolin that Húrin sought to renter the kingdom. Moved to pity, Turgon requested it be done, but Húrin could not longer be found. Húrin's freedom led to one evil just as Morgoth intended. He cried aloud to Turgon begging him for entrance (for he knew not of Thorondor and Turgon's agreement to let him in) and in this matter the servants of Morgoth discovered where Gondolin was. In despair, Húrin fell asleep and dreamed of his wife, Morwen. He went to Brethil and sought her. He found her at the grave of Túrin and Níenor. She died that night and Húrin buried her there also, cursing Morgoth for the ruin of his family. Húrin went south to Nargothrond where no one dare venture because of memory of Glaurung, but Mîm the dwarf who sought the dragon's treasures there. Húrin came upon Mîm and knowing that he had betrayed Túrin, killed him (though Mîm offered him any amount of treasure not to do so). He dwelt in Nargothrond awhile, amid the treasures, though when he left he took only one thing: Nauglamír, the necklace of he dwarves, that Finrod Felagund had prized over any other treasure. Húrin went to Doriath and gave the necklace to Thingol in payment for housing his wife and children--though he cast it at his feet irreverently (for he believed Thingol had helped cause the downfall of his family). But Melian revealed to Húrin that this was lie, and Húrin re-presented it properly to Thingol. Then he departed from Doriath, went to the western sea, and cast himself in. Thingol gazed upon Nauglamír and desired to have it remade to fit the Silmaril of Fëanor, since he had become obsessed with it like its previous owners. Dwarves from Nogrod still strayed on occasion into Doriath to assist with metal and stone work, and Thingol showed them his meaning with the necklace. When the dwarves saw the Silmaril, they coveted it, but resisted and performed their task. When they finished and Thingol tried to claim it, they withheld it, saying that it was made by their fathers, and belonged to Finrod Felagund who was dead. Thingol saw through their claims, and perceived that they desired he Silmaril, and ordered them to leave his halls. The dwarves rose up and killed Thingol. They took Nauglamír and the Silmaril, but they were pursued by the elves of Doriath. Nauglamír was returned to a grief-stricken Melian. Two dwarves returned to Nogrod and claimed their people that Thingol had ordered the slaying of their kin, and that is why they rose. The other dwarves then marched on Doriath in vengeance for the order (despite their kin in Belegost counseling them not to). Melian sat in grief next to Thingol, hurting in their parting, but understanding a greater parting was in order, for she was an Ainu, and needed to depart. Her magic slowly slipped away, and the Girdle of Melian was released from Doriath, leaving it vulnerable. Melian then departed for Valinor and warned Mablung about the Silmaril, and sent word to Beren and Lúthien. When the dwarves came, Doriath was in disarray, and Mablung was slain before the doors of the treasury and Nauglamír and the Silmaril were taken. The halls of Menegroth were destroyed and many elves and dwarves alike were slain. Word came to Beren and Lúthien of what had transpired. They had a son, Dior, who was we'd to Celeborn's kinsman, Nimloth, and they had three children: two sons Eluréd and Elurîn, and a daughter, Elwing. Beren and Dior and many of the green-elves of Ossiriand assailed the dwarves and Beren himself killed the lord of Nogrod. Beren then presented Lúthien with the Silmaril though it did little to ease her grief. As Thingol's heir, Dior went forth to raise Doriath to its former glory. One night in autumn, a messager came to the green elves of Ossiriand bearing Nauglamír and they knew that Beren and Lúthien were dead, lost to the world. Word of the Silmaril reached the sons of Fëanor, but Dior would not respond their correspondence asking that it be returned to them. Thus their oath reawakened inside of them and they attacked Doriath in what was the second kinslaying. Dior and Nimloth both were slain, as were the Fëanorian brothers, Celegorm, Caranthir, and Curufin. The Silmaril escaped with Dior's daughter, Elwing and went to Sirion.

The elven kingdoms are crumbling under the destructive jealousy over the Silmarils as illustrated in one of the strongest kingdoms, Doriath. The next chapter entitled Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin is not only another example of this but my all time favorite chapter in not only The Silmarillion but in the entire Middle-earth legendarium! You have to make sure to read this next chapter! See you tomorrow--I’m so excited!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Q&A: Why do the elves have to leave Middle-earth?

Many people who have only seen the movie are confused as to why the elves are leaving Middle-earth. Here is your question and answer of the day!

It all starts way back in The Silmarillion. The “angels” of the universe of Middle-earth want all the elves to come with them to live in “angel-land” also known as Valinor. However, many of the elves refuse to leave. The elves were meant from the start to be in Valinor, but some never made it there.

The elves in Middle-earth are slowly fading out because they don’t have power in Middle-earth since they’re not supposed to be there. However, when Sauron orders the forging of the Rings of Power the elves get enough power to last in Middle-earth a bit longer. When the One Ring is destroyed the elven Rings of Power also lose their power and any power the elves did have is gone, therefore they are forced to return to Valinor.

For instance, Elrond and Galadriel both had elven Rings of Power which sustained their respective kingdoms Rivendell and Lothlorien. Thranduil (Legolas’ father) who ruled in Mirkwood did not have a ring which caused his kingdom to be inferior to the others and caused it to fade faster. When the Rings of Power were destroyed all of the elven kingdoms became like Mirkwood and faded very quickly.

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXIII

We are getting pretty far in The Silmarillion Group Read, I hope it is going well! Today’s chapter is one of the (if not the) lengthiest chapters in the book. Of Turin Turambar is also expanded upon in The Children of Hurin.

Rían was the wife of Huor who was good friends with the Grey-Elves of Mithrim. They fostered her son Tuor when he was born. Rían left for the hill of the slain or Anfauglith, shortly after labor and died there. Húrin's--Huor's older brother--wife was Morwen. She had a child named Túrin. She was with another child when Húrin was captured during the battle of the Unnumbered Tears. Easterlings enslaved her village. In secret she sent Túrin to live in Doriath because her father was related to Beren, kinsman to the king of Doriath, Thingol. Morwen then gave birth again. Her child was Nienor. Thingol then bid Morwen to join him in Doriath, but she refused because she loved the home she had once shared with Húrin. She sent them the heirloom of their house: the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin. For nine years Morwen sent letters to Doriath frequently, but then she stopped. Túrin had gone off to war alongside Beleg Strongbow in the marches of Doriath. When Túrin returned from battle he was unkempt and a councilman of Thingol named Saeros mocked him saying the women of his people ran around naked with only their hair to cover them. Túrin then injured him. The next day they fought further and Túrin won, and forced the council Saeros to run around naked in the woods. Saeros ran off a cliff and Túrin was bid to come before Thingol and face his judgement. Knowing his fate would be that he would be outlawed, Túrin fled and joined a band of ruthless men. When Thingol heard of this, he was grieved for he wouldn't have outlawed him, and he loved Túrin as a son. Beleg Strongbow went to search for his companion. Beleg was captured by Túrin's party and they treated him cruelly thinking him a spy. Túrin bade them to let him go and he was released. Túrin left the band and vowed never again to harm anyone but servants of Morgoth. Beleg told Túrin he had been pardoned but Túrin would not humble himself to accept it, and Beleg returned to Doriath. Thingol appreciated Beleg's help and allowed him to help Túrin as a guide. He gifted him the sword Anglachel even though Melian foresaw the sword would not aid Beleg for long. Meanwhile, Túrin and his band of outlaws was tired of wandering around. They encountered three dwarves and captured one, named Mim, who agreed to lead them to the hidden halls on the hill Amon Rûdh in exchange for sparing his life. They followed Mim to the halls where they discovered one of Mim's sons had died from an arrow loosed by one of Túrin's company. Túrin offered him gold in compensation, and Mim allowed him to live there. Mim was one of the Petty-Dwarves banished from the eastern dwarf cities and had diminished in size and stature. They had once been hunted by elves and they hated them. They had been responsible for beginning to delve in Nargothrond. They'd mostly died out except Mim and his two sons, one of whom had just been killed. When winter came, Beleg found Túrin in his new home. Though Túrin would not return to Doriath, Beleg stayed and lent his skill and strength. Mim hated Beleg however, though didn't mind Túrin and Túrin didn't mind Mim either. The servants of Morgoth invaded the area but were fended off by Túrin and Beleg Strongbow. Morgoth learned of Túrin's presence, and that he was the son of Húrin his prisoner who before he had vowed to make suffer. He sent spies to Amon Rûdh. While foraging in the wild, Mim was captured again, this time by Morgoth's forces, and again Mim led his captors to Amon Rûdh. Many of Túrin's men were slain then and Túrin was taken prisoner. Beleg was badly injured but not killed. When he noticed Túrin was not present, he went in pursuit of his friend. On his way, he saw an old elf lying beneath a tree. The elf identified himself as Gwindor and relayed that he had been captured during the Battle of the Unnumbered Tears after he witnessed the murder of his brother Gelmir. Gwindor said that he had seen a band of orcs with a line of chained men moving through the forest. Beleg persuaded Gwindor to help him. They snuck into the orc encampment, slayed the guards, and took an unconscious Túrin out of the camp. Once they were well away from the camp, Beleg set him down to cut away his bonds, but Túrin awoke and thinking Beleg was a foe, killed him with his own sword, Anglachel. The orcs gave up the search for Túrin quickly. Túrin and Gwindor buried Beleg. Then Túrin took Beleg's sword for his own use. Túrin was overwhelmed with grief though he was silent about it. Gwindor led him to drink of the springs of Eithel Irvin, which helped relieve some of his grief, and pulled him out of his grief-induced madness. As they journeyed southward along the river Narog, Gwindor and Túrin were captured by the guards of Nargothrond and taken there. The people of Nargothrond did not recognize Gwindor because he had aged and looked different from the torture he had endured in Angband, but he had been in love with Orodreth's--the king of Nargothrond and brother to the late Finrod Felagund--daughter, Finduilas. Finduilas recognized him though and so Túrin and Gwindor were allowed to stay. Túrin flourished in Nargothrond, being fierce in battle, though he did not speak his real name hoping the curse would evade him if he did so. Finduilas fell in love with Túrin though, but he did not love her. Gwindor loved her still, and warned her against falling in love with a mortal, one whose family was cursed also. He revealed Túrin's real name to her hoping to sway her, and for this Túrin was angry, though Orodreth just grew in appreciation of Túrin. Túrin advised Nargothrond to go openly into battle instead of using stealth and sorcery as they had in the past. He also advise that they should build a bridge over the Narog to help the armies get to battle. Gwindor spoke out on this though, and was no longer favored. With Túrin's counsel, the fell creatures were cleared from Nargothrond's lands. Morgoth did not have power over any area except where Morwen and Nienor dwelt. He attacked and they fled to Doriath though they were saddened to learn that Túrin no longer lived there. Two elves from the areas where Círdan's people dwelt came to Nargothrond after hearing that Ulmo had warned Círdan Nargothrond was in trouble, and asked for them to dispose of the bridge and return to secrecy so they would not be harmed, but Túrin in his pride refused to do so. Morgoth then launched an attack as foretold and released the dragon called Glaurung. Only Túrin could withstand the attack, for Orodreth was slain and Gwindor mortally injured. As Gwindor died, he begged for Túrin to confirm Finduilas' safety. He was too late though; the bridge had made it easy for the orcs to invade Nargothrond, and the women had all been slain or chained to become slaves in Angband. Túrin fought his way towards them but was frozen by the stare of Glaurung. While he was under the spell they herded the women past him. Finduilas called out to him as she passed but he could not respond--and for this he hated himself. Then Túrin was released from his spell and Glaurung told him a lie: that his mother and sister had also been captured and were being out to torment in Dor-lómin, for Túrin did not know that they had fled for Doriath. He believed Glaurung, and abandoned his pursuit of Finduilas and went to find them instead. When he came to Dor-lómin they were not there, and he feared the worst. He found his mother's relative, Aerin who told them of his mother and sister's flee to Doriath, hoping to find their son. Then he realized that he had been deceived by Glaurung. He killed the Easterlings who held Aerin in bondage and and left Dor-lómin while being hunted, as he searched for Finduilas. He came across a group of men who knew of her fate. All of the captives from Nargothrond had been slain. Finduilas' last words after she had been pinned to a tree by a spear, were to tell Túrin of her burial spot, Huadh-en-Elleth, Mound of the Elf-Maid. Túrin's identity was revealed as he mourned beside her grave. He was taken to the settlement of the people of Haleth, ruled now by a man named Brandir. Brandir took him in and healed him. Túrin adopted a new name, Turambar, in hopes that he could escape his curse. Meanwhile the few survivors of Nargothrond came to Thingol and told him of the release of Glaurung, and all that had transpired. It was believed Túrin was either dead or still under the dragon's spell. Morwen was distraught at this and left Doriath despite Melian's counsel. Knowing that Morwen could not be dissuaded, he sent Mablung after her. Nienor followed as well, in secret. Upon reaching Amon Ethir (the hill of spies), they did not perceive any enemies close at hand, though Glaurung saw then. He spewed forth a vapor that maddened their horses and blinded them. Nienor fell unhurt from her horse and went to the top of Amon Ethir to find Mablung, but he was not there, instead stood Glaurung. When she looked into his eyes, a spell came upon her and she as frozen for many days. Glaurung discovered that though she could not speak or hear, she could walk if led. He took her just outside of Doriath, where an orc band was roaming. She recovered her senses and ran into the forest. The elves pursued her but they could not find her. Mablung searched tirelessly for Morwen and Nienor, though the search was futile. Nienor ran to Brethil and laid upon Huadh-en-Elleth where Túrin found her naked after her clothes had been torn to shreds in the tree branches. She could not remember her name, but refused to be parted from Túrin, who was known by all as Turambar. He renamed her Níniel and took her back to Brandir's people. Brandir loved her but she loved Túrin. Remembering nothing of her prior life, she did not know that Túrin was her brother. Brandir felt that all was not right, and so he told Níenor Túrin's real name. Though she could not remember anything, she sensed that something was wrong. Túrin insisted they be married or else he would return to war and Níenor agreed. Túrin returned to war and Glaurung sensed his presence at the same time Níenor was with child. It became clear that Brethil was not threatened by Glaurung but that he intended to destroy the surrounding homes, Túrin set out with a small band of Warriors. Níenor followed in secret and Brandir who still loved her followed suit. Túrin and his fellow combatant Hunthor tried to sneak up on Glaurung but he awoke and Hunthor was hit by a falling rock, and Túrin was all alone. Túrin thrusted his sword into Glaurung's belly and in this way the dragon was felled. As Túrin wrenched his sword from Glaurung's belly, his blood burned him and the dying light in Glaurung's eyes knocked Túrin unconscious. When Glaurung screamed, the surrounding people including Brandir and Níenor believed that he was screaming in triumph. Thinking that Túrin was dead, Brandir led Níenor into the forest, believing at at last she could he his. But Níenor resisted wanting instead to seek her husband. She found him alongside the dragon, and bandaged his wounds. She tried to wake him, but he would not be aroused. Instead, Glaurung used his dying words to congratulate Níenor in finally finding her brother. Níenor's memory came back and when she realized what had occurred, she cast herself off a cliff. Brandir returned to his people and explained Níenor's death, and Túrin's, calling it good tidings that he was now dead in light of his heinous relationship. Túrin however was not dead, and he came to the people and learned of Níenor's death, his true relationship with her, and Brandir calling his "death" good tidings. In his rage he assumed Brandir had orchestrated the deception jealous of their love. Then he fled to Huadh-en-Elleth and called to Finduilas for help. Mablung found him then and Túrin asked him for tidings of his family in Doriath. After the entire story was told, Túrin realized he had slain Brandir unjustly and asked his sword to kill him. The sword agreed to wash Beleg and Brandir's blood off of it with Túrin's own. And so passed the children of Húrin. The body of Glaurung was burned, and Túrin was buried beneath an mound with a place marker for both him and Níenor, though her body was never found.

There is a lot to cover in this chapter, and if you’re confused, I recommend reading The Children of Hurin which includes illustrations done by Alan Lee.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“It’s like the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. Sometimes you didn’t want to know the end--because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when there was so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing. Even darkness must pass.” -“Samwise Gamgee” (Sean Astin) The Two Towers (movie)

The Silmarillion Group Read Part XXII

This chapter is entitled Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

Beren and Lúthien then returned to Middle-Earth as mortals. Queen Melian was grieved perceiving her daughter's mortal fate. Lúthein and Beren then left for Ossiriand, and on an island their son Dior was born, though they were never heard from again. The tale of Beren and Lúthien reached the ears of Maedhros, and he perceived that Morgoth was weak. He formed the Union of Maedhros with men, dwarves, and elves of all houses. The Oath Of Fëanor and Celegorm and Curufin's actions proved to lesson their force. Orodreth the successor of Finrod Felagund refused to march under the banner of any son of Fëanor or under Thingol. Those that refused formed another army, that of Fingon. The Union of Maedhros cleared the northern lands of orcs. Morgoth had warning before this point that a Union was forming, and he sent spies among the men who feigned allegiance with Maedhros. Maedhros planned to draw Morgoth's armies out into Anfauglith. Then they would light a beacon in Dorthonion and Fingon's army would respond from the west, effectively surrounding the army. Fingon saw the fires of Angband raging, signifying they had gone into war lit and knew that Maedhros had succeeded in drawing his armies out. Fingon was not sure though because he could not see Maedhros' forces. He did not know that Maedhros had been delayed by the treachery if Uldo, who distracted them by claiming Morgoth intended to attack them in Himring. He was relieved then when Turgon came from Gondolin with his army to aid him. At this time a disguised force came from Angband and headed to Hithlum. Noldorians leaders wanted to attack the orcs on the open plain but Húrin commanded them to wait because he did not trust Morgoth. The beacon was not lit. Morgoth's captain intended to distract Fingon's army so they would only have to face Maedhros, but Fingon did not come forth. The orcs brought forth to Fingon's army, Gelmir, one who had been taken captive during the battle of Bragollach. The orcs cut off his hands, then his feet, and his head last, claiming to do the same to every captive. Then Gwindor who was Gemlir's brother rode forth in rage and finally Fingon's army attacked. They were successful at first and made it all the way to the gates of Angband before their luck turned. All of the host of Nargothrond was slain except Gwindor who was taken captive. The rest of Fingon's force retreated and now the army of Turgon of Gondolin was free to join in--for they had been preoccupied--and Maedhros also came. The full force of Morgoth and elves alike was unleashed then. Men betrayed the battle though and caused victory for Morgoth. For Uldo, one of Morgoth's spies turned on them with his armies and they were surrounded on three sides by the treachery of men. The armies of Maedhros then fled with only some of their combatants still remaining. One of the last forces remaining was that of the dwarves. They could withstand the dragon fire much better than elves. Their lord Azaghâl injured Glaurung the dragon who was forced to retreat. Azaghâl himself was killed, however. The force that assaulted Fingon and Turgon was the greatest seen to that time. Morgoth's army was at least three times the size of the other two combined and Fingon was slain by Gothmog, the lord of all Balrogs. Húrin convinced Turgon to return to Gondolin, for as long as Gondolin survived hidden, Morgoth would live in uncertainty and fear. Tuor foresaw that of Turgon's line a new star would arise. Maeglin overheard this. Then the armies of Gondolin--the last of the elf armies remaining--retreated. The men however would not leave and lose their homeland. They fought all the way to the river Rivil but did not go further. Huor and most of his army was slain and Húrin was captured as he cut off the arms of his captors. Morgoth was victorious then because not only had he won, but he had created fear and doubt between men and elves through the corruption of Uldo and his forces. The realm of Fingon was destroyed and none who marched under Hador's banner had returned, Fëanor's sons were scattered and left with no luxury. The men that had aided Morgoth did not receive their promised prizes but instead were left to torture Hador's remaining people. The remaining elves were enslaved by Morgoth or fled to the wild. Orcs, wolves, and other fell beasts roamed freely throughout Beleriand, killing at will. Fingon's son, Gil-Galad went to the Grey Havens at his father's request. Turgon sought Círdan's help and they sent messengers over the sea to beg the Valar for help. Of the seven ships sent out only one returned, named Voronwë who was saved from the Valar Ossë's wrath by Ulmo and brought safely to the shores of Nevrast. Morgoth's wrath now was upon Turgon for he had always felt threatened by him and felt that Turgon would be the ruin of him. Húrin was brought before Morgoth but he would not reveal Gondolin's location and mocked Morgoth. Morgoth then put a curse upon him and his wife Morwen and all of their offspring. He trapped Húrin in a chair high on Thangorodrim where he would be forced to watch the curse unfold. By order of Morgoth all of the bodies were placed on a hill known as Anfuaglith and no servant of Morgoth ever again set foot on that hill.

This story sets up the next chapter, Of Turin Turambar (the second of the three great stories in The Silmarillion). I recommend reading also The Children of Hurin which is the same story but expanded. Enjoy!