Monday, August 31, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes






Blog-ust: The End of All Things

This is the last Blog-ust post!  It would seem fitting that this post be about the end.  The end of all things.

But not the actual end.  A hypothetical end.  The way things might have gone if Sauron had gotten the Ring.

How Sauron got the Ring is a many-laned highway.  The Ringwraiths could have taken it from Frodo at any point along his journey, Gollum may have reclaimed it only to be captured and killed, any member of the Fellowship (including Frodo) may have been tempted and brought the Ring to Sauron.  Maybe even Gandalf  or Galadriel took the Ring and became another dark lord/lady.  But let's just assume for the moment that Sauron has the Ring, and that the Fellowship is dead.

First, Gondor would fall.  This seems plain enough.  Sauron would destroy the city personally, if he had to.  But more likely he would send out his armies.  Aragorn at this point would probably have been murdered by Sauron and so there would be no ghost army to come to the rescue and the country would fall pretty fast.  Minas Tirith would become a second stronghold just as Minas Ithil became Minas Morgul.  The cities and villages of Gondor would be ravaged and the people massacred or turned into thralls.

Next, Rohan would be taken down.  The villages would be burned and the mounds of the kings defiled.  The elves would probably flee Middle-earth or be killed.  The Shire would easily be taken over as the hobbits have no great armies.  Every land in Middle-earth would be under the dominion of Sauron.

It could be--at that point--that one of the stronger Maiar (such as Manwe) or perhaps even Illuvatar himself would come down to Middle-earth and destroy Sauron.

There is a glimmer of hope.  Sauron had the Ring at one point...and he was still destroyed.  Hope is never lost.  There is always hope.


BOOK MARATHON UPDATE: 
I have been having struggles counting.  I'm sorry but I keep messing up the countdown!  I have been helping my friend count down to his website release (September 1) and so I keep messing up and writing the wrong number.  There are two days until the start of the marathon.  Today and tomorrow.  Sorry about that (failure...again, haha).  Remember that bookmarks and pins are available in the post archives.  Sign up by commenting on any "Blog-ust" post.  The marathon extends from September 2nd to the 22nd and the challenge is to read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in just the twenty allotted days.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Blog-ust: Council of Elrond

Now you all know that I am a huge fan of councilofelrond.com and that I am a registered council member (as "The Lady Idril").  Recently I have been reading through all of the articles available in the Elrond's Library section, which I would recommend to anyone interested in expanding their LOTR knowledge.  However, I have taken the time to put together a list of links to some of the articles I found most intriguing.

The Small, Slimy Creature: A closer look at Gollum
This is an article written by "PV".  It is an interesting analysis of one of the most obscure characters not only in The Lord of the Rings, but also in literature.  Gollum is neither evil no benign...he's...well...Gollum.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/middle-earth/the-small-slimy-creature-a-closer-look-at-gollum-2/

The One Ring
The One Ring is an interesting character in itself.  This article written anonymously does a great job of outlining the Ring's powers and it's potential.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/middle-earth/the-one-ring/

A History of the Rohirrim
I did not know much about Rohan before I read this article.  It is very comprehensive and an intriguing read.  It was written by "Nienna-of-the-Valar".
http://www.councilofelrond.com/middle-earth/a-history-of-the-rohirrim/

The Numenorian Realms in Exile
This is a topic that is not really spelled out in The Lord of the Rings and is only briefly touched on in The Silmarillion.  If you're interested to know what happened to the Edain in between Aragorn's coronation and the Downfall of Numenor, this is the perfect article, written by "Nienna-of-the-Valar".
http://www.councilofelrond.com/middle-earth/the-numenorean-realms-in-exile/

Aragorn son of Arathorn
This is a very well researched article of everyone's favorite king: Aragorn.  I would also like to add that of all of the articles I have read so far, this one was the most enjoyable to read.  It was easy to understand and very organized and in-depth.  It was written anonymously. You can actually see my comment at the bottom of the article!
http://www.councilofelrond.com/middle-earth/aragorn-son-of-arathorn/

Saruman of Many Colours--yet another Ring-maker?
This article talks about Saruman and his transition from the highest of the Istari to being kicked out of the order.  It also gives some insight into what is referred to as Morgoth's Ring, which is very interesting in itself, and connects it with the deeds of Saruman. 
http://www.councilofelrond.com/middle-earth/saruman-of-many-colours-yet-another-ring-maker/

Lament for Boromir
Now we are into the poems section of the library.  This is the lament sung for Boromir by Legolas and Aragorn in The Two Towers.  It is beautiful and I read it twice.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/lament-for-boromir/

The Horns of Ylmir
This is the extended edition of what is known as Tuor's Song.  You all know I love everything Tuor-Idril-Gondolin, so it is no surprise I thoroughly enjoyed this.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/the-horns-of-ylmir/

Song of Parting of Beren and Luthien
This is sung when Beren is in the pit on the Isle of Werewolves and he believes he will die there.  Though all to ruin fell the world/ and were dissolved and backward hurled/ unmade into the old abyss/ yet were its making good, for this – /the dusk, the dawn, the earth, the sea – /that LĂșthien for a time should be. So beautiful.  Read the whole poem!
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/song-of-parting-of-beren-and-luthien/

The Song of Gil-galad
I love the song of the fall of Gil-galad.  I am working on memorizing it.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/the-fall-of-gil-galad/

The Contest of Sauron and Felagund
This details the song between Sauron and Finrod Felagund on the Isle of Werewolves.  The last two lines are my favorite.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/the-contest-of-sauron-and-felagund/

Lament of the Rohirrim (Eol's Hymn)
I love this hymn as recited by Aragorn.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/lament-of-the-rohirrim-eorls-hymn/

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
Another one I am trying to memorize though this has proven to be a challenge as it is written in Quenya.  It is a poem about Varda, the star-kindler and an English translation is also available.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/a-elbereth-gilthoniel/

The Catholic influence in JRR Tolkien’s mythology
The name says it all about this one, folks.
http://www.councilofelrond.com/litarticle/the-catholic-influence-in-jrr-tolkiens-mythology/

Of course there are many other fantastic articles such as ones featuring the Eagles, Legolas' Song of the Sea, an analysis of evil in Middle-earth and the Verse of the Rings in Black Speech.  I would advise you to check them all out!  Right now I am on the subtopic of weaponry in Middle-earth, so I will recommend some of those articles to you soon, I'm sure!  Happy reading!  



BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
Can you believer there are only 2 days left until the book marathon?  I cannot.  Bookmarks and buttons available in the posts archives.  Leave a comment on any "Blog-ust" post to sign up for the challenge of reading The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings between the dates of September 2nd and the 22nd.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Blog-ust: Hobbit, Elf, Dwarf, or Man?

Are you best described as a hobbit, an elf, a dwarf, or a mortal man?  Take this quiz to find out.  Keep track of your points as you go along.

1.  When trying to find a spot to read you prefer:
A. A cozy corner     -     4 points
B. A garden     -     3 points
C. A hall     -     2 points
D. A study      -     1 point

2. At a party you are:
A. Drinking     -     2 points
B. Trying to avoid your distant relatives     -     4 points
C. Singing songs of lore     -     3 points
D. Talking about your past ancestors     -     1 point

3. Your best friends would describe you as:
A. Fair (in the beautiful sense)      -     3 points
B. Stubborn     -     2 points
C. Cheerful     -     4 points
D. Honorable     -     1 point

4. A war breaks out.  You want to:
A. Fight and earn honor     -     1 point
B. Not know about it     -     4 points
C. Fight to save your friends even though the war doesn't affect you     -     3 points
D. Unless you're directly affected, stay home     -     2 points

5. Your favorite food is:
A. Carrots, cabbage, mushrooms--anything really     -     4 points
B. Ripe meat off the bone and beer     -     2 points
C. Chicken, grapes and cherry tomatoes     -     1 point
D. You don't have a preference     -      3 points

6. Your weapon of choice is:
A. A bow     -     3 points
B. An ax     -     2 points
C. A sword     -     1 point
D. What's a weapon?     -     4 points

7.  Your favorite genre of music is:
A. Classical, but upbeat     -     4 points
B. Trumpets, horns, drums     -     1 point
C. Beautiful singing     -     3 points
D. Chants     -     2 points

8. You would want to live most in:
A. A hole     -     4 points
B. A castle     -     1 point
C. A garden     -     3 points
D. Underground     -     2 points

9. Your name would most likely be:
A. Billy or Mabel     -     4 points
B. Dror or Drara     -     2 points
C. Faefael or Gildon     -     3 points
D. Turin or Theodar     -     1 point

10. You would live in Middle-earth for about:
A. 85 years     -     1 point
B. 3,500 years     -     3 points
C. 300-800 years     -     3 points
D. 80-120 years     -     4 points

If you got between 31-40 points:
You are a hobbit!  You enjoy eating a lot and being with your friends.  You may want to try to be more adventurous, but then again, maybe the Shire is the perfect place for you.

If you got between 21-30 points:
You are an elf!  You love all art forms: paintings, music, dancing, poetry, etc. and you are faithful to your friends.  You are wise and fair.

If you got between 11-20 points:
You are a dwarf!  Dwarves are funny but proud.  You are skilled in craft but can be stubborn and greedy at times.

If you got between 0-10 points:
You are a man!  It seems that you are right where you should be.  You enjoy being valiant and defending righteousness.


BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
Can you believe there are only 3 days until the marathon?  I know I said yesterday there were 5 days, but apparently I don't know how to count (fail).  Now is the time to refresh your memory of the books to make the reading process go faster.  Maybe look at some summaries of the books or watch the movies, like I did yesterday.  Remember that bookmarks and buttons are available in past posts and to sign up for the marathon just leave a comment on any "Blog-ust" post. Le cenithon ned lĂ» thent!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Blog-ust: Movie Marathon

Today was a long day.  Good thing I had some lembas bread handy...I needed the fuel.

In preparation for the upcoming book marathon (and for my own enjoyment and entertainment) I marathoned the entire Lord of the Rings movie trio.  That's right: nine hours straight.  
Photo Property of Newline Cinema
But at least I had some hearty fare to keep me going.

During The Fellowship of the Ring, I dined on carrots, mushrooms, and cabbage (in commemoration of Merry and Pippin's raid of Farmer Maggot's crop, of course) and tea frothed up to look like beer--it even "comes in pints"!  I had an apple that was not dissimilar to the one hurled at Pippin on his way to Rivendell.  Of course I had some "athelas" in the form of cilantro.

Lembas bread--made by me!
Throughout The Two Towers, I had my fair amount of lembas bread (recipe available in the posts archives).  I must say...it was delicious and filling.  Also, some of Samwise's "coney stew" made a yummy appearance. 

The Return of the King had some delicacies as well.  I had some "raw and wriggling" fish (not actually raw or wriggling) and some cherry tomatoes (which I chewed rather loudly while watching Faramir ride to Osgiliath).   Finally, I had some strawberries and cream which Sam talks about on Mt. Doom with Frodo. I made note to include salted pork in my next viewing, because I hear it is "particularly good".

This will hopefully help me with the upcoming book marathon, and--hey let's face it--it was a ton of fun!

BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
Only 4 days left.  Bookmark and button available in past posts.  Leave a comment on this post to sign up for the binge-reading challenge of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, that extends from September 2nd-22nd.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blog-ust: The Catholic Influence on Tolkien's Writings

It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic.  It was inevitable that his faith would work it's way into his creations.  As a Catholic myself, it is interesting to examine the different scenes or characters in the story that can be linked to the faith.

First of all, I want to make clear that Tolkien "disliked allegory in all it's manifestations" (FOTR Forward).  He did not write The Lord of the Rings to be an allegory of the Catholic faith.  However, The Lord of the Rings is unmistakably "a religious work.  Unconsciously so at first, but then consciously in the revision."  It was important to Tolkien that he include his faith, but in a subtle way.

So where can you find Catholicism in Tolkien's works?  Articles have been written on the topic and lectures spoken.  Here are some of the ways I have found in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

1. Lembas Bread
As previously discussed in my past post, lembas bread is similar to the Holy Eucharist.  It is bread for the journey.  It is given to people when they need strength, and only given by powerful figures: Melian the Maia, and Galadriel, the High Elf.  This bears a striking resemblance to the Eucharist, a gift from God.

2. Frodo's Mithril Vest
Again, this one is included in my previous post.  Frodo receives a mithril vest to protect him.  It saves him on numerous occasions.  It could be equated to the Armor of God, which protects us from harm and darkness.

3. The Light of Earendil
Galadriel gives Frodo the Light of Earendil in Lothlorien to use "when all other lights go out" (FOTR).  It seems strikingly similar to the Light of Christ, which is used to guide and protect us.

4. Aragorn and the Paths of the Dead
Aragorn treks down the Paths of the Dead to summon an army of ghost warriors to help him.  From death he makes life for the Gondorians fighting in the Battle of Pelennor Fields.  He goes where no man has gone before and returned, but he does return.  He comes and saves the people after they thought he would never return.  Remind you of Anyone?

5. Gandalf's Resurrection
Gandalf dies when he fights the balrog but is sent back to Middle-earth to finish his task.  And what is his task?  To teach the people of Middle-earth how to live their lives in order to banish the darkness.  Similar to Someone I know...

6. Subcreation
Tolkien seemed to be big on the idea of "subcreation", that is: we were created by God and in order to imitate him, we create as well.  Tolkien demonstrates this in The Silmarillion when Illuvatar creats the Valar, who, deriving their love for creation from Illuvatar, create in turn.

To read more on this interesting topic, visit the Council of Elrond article here: http://www.councilofelrond.com/litarticle/the-catholic-influence-in-jrr-tolkiens-mythology/
Also, check out this series of Youtube videos.  They were done at a Lutheran Seminary, but they still have the obviously Christian elements involved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOQNGrUcK4c



BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
Only 6 days away!  Remember to sign up by leaving a comment and make sure you have all of your books at the ready.  One tip would be to practice reading to prepare.  Now you probably know how to read (at least a bit, because if not, how are you reading this post?) but do you know where to read?  Take a small book and practice reading.  Maybe try in your bed, or in your favorite chair.  You may be surprised to learn that it is hard for you to read in your bed because you are tempted to fall asleep, or that it is too noisy in your living room for you to concentrate.  This is valuable information to know going into the marathon.  You may also find out that you always need a water bottle on hand when reading or maybe a cookie or something to nibble on to help you focus.  Just reading a short book can help you prepare for the marathon by learning your reading preferences.  Again, remember, buttons and bookmarks available in the post archives.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blog-ust: The Hobbit Extended Edition

BoTFA EE DVD Cover
Copyright Newline Cinema
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" extended edition is released as a digital copy on October 17 and on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17.

Now if you've read my reviews of "The Hobbit" movies, you probably know that I am not a fan of them.  I think they are convoluted, unnecessarily violent and downright boring.

I am not excited for this to come out.  Now I just want to make it clear that if you are a fan of "The Hobbit", I have nothing against you, our tastes just differ.

Okay, so here are the reasons that I'm not looking forward to this release.

Firstly, we are promised more blood, guts, gore, violence, and "suspense" (I put suspense in quotes because it seems forced to me and frankly most scenes that are trying to be suspenseful are boring).  Peter Jackson has a history of directing horror movies.  He is known to keep a record of how many gallons of blood he uses.  Now, I like Peter Jackson's film making (well I did, when he made LOTR, but now...) but honestly, that's kind of...wrong.  Talk about dehumanization.

Anywho, we are sure to get more Tauriel/Kili/"Legolas" (Legolas in quotes because this is not the real Legolas, it's an excuse to get a cameo of Orlando Bloom wedged into the film) which we already know I hate.  It takes away completely from Legolas (the real one) and Gimli's friendship in The Lord of the Rings and honestly is completely irrelevant to "The Hobbit" story.

Next we have Thorin.  We are sure to have more of the brooding king in the extra hour or so of footage available.  I think that he is portrayed well and good by Richard Armitage, but the problem is his role in the movie.  Every other scene it seems like we need to return to Thorin walking around the gold staring and talking slowly.  Really, we understand. The gold is corrupting him.

This brings me to the topic of the dwarves in general.  In The Hobbit, these dwarves all have colorful hoods and beards tucked into their belts.  Why aren't these dwarves any fun?

I don't know, maybe I'm over-analyzing, but I just am not excited for this release.  I may not even watch it.


BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
We are only one week (seven days) away from the start of the book marathon!  I can tell you that it has honestly been hard for me not to re-read The Silmarillion in my down time.  I've been reading Life of Pi a second time to try to keep me distracted but every time I walk into my room it's there.  On the bookshelf.  Begging me to read it.  But I've been abstaining until September 2nd when the book marathon ensues.  Here are a couple tips to give you more reading time throughout that period.

First, maybe pick a time of day when you know you will have time.  Perhaps you ride the bus to school or work and you know that you will have downtime for at least forty-five minutes every morning and evening.  That is a perfect time to read, so make sure to bring your book along (unless you're carsick....then maybe not).  Another good time is right before you go to bed.  Reading can calm you down and make it easier to sleep.  Maybe just half an hour before bed set aside for reading can help you stay on track throughout the marathon.

Second, let everyone know you are planning to read.  That's why the button and the bookmark can be helpful.  If people know you are reading, they will be less likely to bother you.

And finally, make sure that you are really reading.  Too often in book marathons do people skim, thinking that it will make them read faster so they can reach their goal.  What I have found is that the more you skim, the more you miss.  The whole point of the book marathon is to have motivation to read the books, and if you're not really reading them...well that's pointless.  Also, if you skim you may miss interesting things in the books.  Then you might lose interest in what you're reading and that may cause you to not want to read which will make it incredibly hard to finish the marathon.

Remember, if you're not signed up, just leave a comment on this post.  Also, make sure to get your buttons and bookmarks available in previous posts.  I am so excited!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Q&A: What is The Lord of the Rings?

The Lord of the Rings is a book published in three separate volumes between the years of 1954 and 1955.  It was written by British author J.R.R. Tolkien who also is the author of The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, which was published posthumously.

A Summary
Mild spoilers ahead.
A map of Middle-earth taken from The Fellowship of the Ring.
In The Lord of the Rings, we meet a hobbit named Frodo Baggins who has inherited a magic ring from his uncle.  His wizard friend, Gandalf, informs him that the ring is actually the One Ring, forged by an evil spirit named Sauron.  Anyone who wears the ring becomes corrupted into his service.  Also, nine servants of Sauron are searching for the One Ring to bring it back to their master.  Frodo is in peril, he must leave his home to get the Ring somewhere relatively safe before he is caught.

He sets out from The Shire, where he lives, and meets up with his friends Samwise, Merry, and Pippin who accompany him to the elven haven of Rivendell, though they face many trials on the way there.  In Rivendell, a discussion is held among all the free people of Middle-earth, elves, dwarves, men, and hobbits.  There it is decided that the best course of action is to destroy the Ring so no one can be corrupted by it and Sauron can never reclaim it and come to full strength.  The only place to destroy it is where it was created, Mt. Doom, located in Mordor, right next door to Sauron's tower.

Frodo volunteers to take on the task and is accompanied by two men, his three hobbit friends, an elf, a dwarf, and Gandalf, the wizard.  They set off across Middle-earth and brave many dangers: an abandoned mine filled with demons of the underworld, an attack of specialized killing machines called Uruk-hai, and the death of two of their members.  Finally, Frodo and Sam decide that they should go alone to Mordor.  They set off leaving the rest of the the fellowship of the ring to decide where to go.

Meanwhile, a creature named Gollum (a former owner of the One Ring) stalks Frodo and Sam, waiting for his opportunity to take the Ring back for himself.

The adventure is continued with Frodo and Sam making their slow way to Mordor with Gollum on their tail, and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli trying to find the lost hobbits Pippin and Merry.  The three volumes of The Lord of the Rings are: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo's uncle, and how he came to posses the One Ring.

Critical Acclaim
The Lord of the Rings was received with mixed reviews.  Some thought that it was absurd.  It was too mature for children and what kind of adult would want to read something so high fantasy?  Some thought it was a masterpiece with it's clearly mapped out and meticulously detailed locations and characters and viewed it as respectable, making fantasy something honorable.

It received the most hype among American college students.  An illegal copy was printed and sold for cheap making it widely acceptable among the crowd.  Many read it and loved delving into the world of fantasy.

Today it is viewed as one of the works of the millennium because of it's influence on fantasy and fiction.

Influences
Professor Tolkien drew on many different influences to create the world.  He said that it was important to incorporate part of reality into anything fantastical to make it believable and relate-able.   Tolkien was learned in Anglo-Saxon history and it's language and that heavily influenced cultures like that of Rohan (a country in Middle-earth).  He was very good with languages (he was an etymologist and even worked as a writer for the Oxford Dictionary) and constructed two of his own for the elves of his world to speak, Quenya (based primarily on Finnish) and Sindarin (influenced by the Welsh language).

The Light of Earendil used by Frodo.  Copyright Newline Cinema.
His faith worked it's way into his writing "unconsciously so at first but consciously in the revision".  Professor Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic and his writings show some of the same themes.  Lembas bread (an elvish waybread), for example, some have viewed as being similar to the Holy Eucharist, as it is bread for the journey that sustains the characters.  Mithril, the precious and highly effective armor of Middle-earth, has been associated with the armor of God that protects us from harm.  The same can be said for the Light of Earendil which is a light for "when all other lights go out" that protects Frodo during his journey and is similar to the Light of Christ.

Adaptations
Tolkien's works have been adapted in multiple ways starting with radiocasts of the stories premiering primarily on BBC.  There was a Russian adaptation for television as well.  Ralph Bakshi created an animated version of The Lord of the Rings in the 70s.  But the most popular and respected adaptation was done by director Peter Jackson from 2001-2003.  He created three films that encompassed the entire story and included an array of astonishing visual effects not seen until that time.  All three films were praised, and the last one, "The Return of the King", even won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.


The Lord of the Rings remains one of the most loved stories of our time all around the world.  Such dedication and hard work was poured into it that it is easy to see why it has forever changed the course of fiction.

Blog-ust: Boromir

Boromir is a very complex character.

His life starts off with a father who is already mentally unstable because of the way he was treated as a child (his father didn't really like him much) and a mother who hates where she lives and longs to be anywhere else. When Boromir is still very young (about six), his mother dies.  So Boromir did not necessarily have a happy childhood.

But he does find some things he enjoys.  He likes going to battle and war and that seems to please his father.  He has a younger brother he cares for and tries to be a good influence for him.

One day he has a freaky dream.  He is so freaked out, in fact, that he leaves his family and treks all the way to Rivendell to talk to Elrond.  He winds up at the Council of Elrond where he learns about the One Ring.

Now the One Ring is tied closely with Gondor (and Boromir is tied intimately with Gondor) so therefore Boromir is tied tightly to the One Ring.  He hears people talking about destroying it, and all of a sudden his dream makes sense.  He is supposed to take the One Ring and use it to save the world, gaining glory for himself and finally securing the position of favor he has with his father.

As a side note, I think that Boromir must have been insecure with his position with his father.  After all he saw the effects of not being the favorite through Faramir, and he was probably always wary to stay on his dad's good side.  One wrong move, he must have thought, would push him across the line and into his father's disgrace.

So that's what he proposes.  Even though he gets shot down by everyone at the council, the idea still stays in the back of his mind while the fellowship is formed.

Finally on Amon Hen, Boromir is fed up with all of these people trying to destroy his chance for glory and favor, so he tries to take it for himself.  Not because he wants to become a dark lord, not because he wants to harm the fellowship, but simply because he wants his father and city to like him, and he wants to save the world.

On his death bed (or treetrunk, I should say) Boromir confesses that he was blind.  Blind to the real power of the Ring, blind to other people's needs.  While he tried to take the Ring to do good, he realizes that the Ring does not have the capacity for that.

Boromir has a real character arc.  He starts off as a son trying to please his father and remains that way for a long time, growing increasingly desperate.  But after he has spent his life trying to do that, he realizes that it is better for him to do what he knows is right rather than try to please a never-satisfied father.


BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
Only 8 more days until the highly anticipated book marathon.  Make sure to print off the bookmark available in yesterday's post.  Also, if this is going to be your first time reading The Silmarillion, I would recommend starting to read The Silmarillion Group Read available in the post archive BEFORE the start of the marathon, as it is a challenging book to read and you may want some background before you try to marathon it.  If you are interested in signing up, remember to post a comment below.  The Book Marathon extends from September 2nd to the 22nd, and the challenge is to read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings within the given 20 days.  Good luck!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blog-ust: The Golden Hall of Meduseld

Recently I bought a 3D puzzle of Meduseld, the Golden Hall of Edoras in Rohan.  Now it is all assembled and it looks insane!


I found it at a thrift store but it said there were 700+ pieces, and I wasn't exactly confident they would all be there, so I didn't buy it.  Later on, however, I was back at the thrift store and my sister encouraged me to count them all.  So we sat on the floor and counted out all the pieces.  We must have looked ridiculous.

Anyway, we found that all of the pieces were indeed there and back at home we set to work assembling it, my sister stayed up until midnight.  Finally in the morning it was complete and set on the living room table for all to admire.  Every time I walk past it I begin humming "The King of the Golden Hall".


BOOK MARATHON UPDATE:
Only nine days left until the book marathon.  A bookmark template is available here.  Just print it out and lay them back to back.  Use packaging tape to "laminate" it and use it while you read so everyone knows about the marathon.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Marathon: Prepare!

T-minus only ten days until the launch of The Lord of the Rings Book Marathon on September 2.   The marathon extends from September 2nd to the 22nd and the challenge is to read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings within the given time.  Here are some preparations you might begin to take if you are interested in participating.

First, make sure that you are signed up.  To sign up, just leave a comment on this post and you will be officially entered.  It's pretty simple.

Next, make sure you have all of the books mentioned above.  If you can't buy them, reserve them at your library or ask a friend if you can borrow them ahead of time.

Make sure that you visit Lover of Lembas for all of the updates on the marathon and information going forward.  Hope you are as excited as I am for this!

hand, vintage, old, book

Blog-ust: Lord of the Rings Music and Read

You know I love the musical score of The Lord of the Rings, and recently I found two covers done by "The Piano Guys" of Youtube (I am a huge fan).  Anyway, I was reading and listening to their piano/cello covers and I was thinking that it would be cool to share the music with you and include sections of the book to read while you listen.  It is amazing!  Keep in mind that you need to read at a normal pace, not to slow or to fast, for the words to match up with the music.

The Piano Guys
The first reading is to be read while listening to their Lord of the Rings medley:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZNqs0YgWkM

"'I can't manage it, Sam...it is such a weight to carry, such a weight.'...'Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried.  'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well.  So up you get!  Come on, Mr. Frodo dear!  Sam will give you a ride.  Just tell him where to go and he'll go.'

"'You cannot pass!'...'He cannot stand alone!' cried Aragorn and ran back along the bridge.  'Elendil!' he shouted.  'I am with you, Gandalf!'  'Gondor!' cried Boromir and leaped after him.

"Under the trees of Caras Galadon laden with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed...and they plighted their troth and were glad.  And Arwen said: 'Dark is the Shadow, and yet my heart rejoices; for you, Estel, shall be among the great whose valour will destroy it.'

"When Elrond learned the choice of his daughter, he was silent, though his heart was grieved and found the doom long feared none the easier to endure...grievous among the sorrows of that Age was the parting of Elrond and Arwen, for they were sundered by the Sea and by a doom beyond the end of the world."

"'Though Isengard be strong and hard, as cold as stone and hard as bone, we go, we go, we go to war, to hew the stone and break the door!'"

"'Arise, Arise, Riders of Theoden!  Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!  Spear shall be shaken, shield shall be splintered, a sword-day, a red-day, ere the sun rises!  Ride!  Ride now to Gondor!'"

"'Come, come, my friend!'  said Boromir...'Why not get rid of it?  Why not be free of your doubt and fear?'...His fair and pleasant face was hideously changed; a raging fire was in his eyes.  'Miserable trickster!' he shouted.  Let me get my hands on you!  Now I see your mind.  You will take the Ring to Sauron and sell us all...Curse you and all the halflings to death and darkness!'"

"'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way.'  'But you won't send him off alone surely, Master?' cried Sam, unable to contain himself any longer, and jumping up from the corner where he had been quietly sitting on the floor.  'No indeed!...It is hardly possible to separate you from him, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not.'"

"'For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men.  Now the tale of Nine is filled.  In seven days the Company must depart.'"

"A strong citadel it [The Tower of Ecthelion] was indeed, and not to be taken by a host of enemies, if there were any within that could hold weapons..."

Just listen to the rest it is so good :)

The second story is to be read while listening to their own original tune called Arwen's Vigil.  For this one, read the part of Appendix A in The Lord of the Rings entitled "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen".  All quotes were taken from The Lord of the Rings.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blog-ust: Maeglin

Maeglin.  You either love him or hate him.  A bit of background, first up.

The high-king of the Noldorian elves in Middle-earth was named Turgon.  His sister, Aredhel, wanted to leave Gondolin where she lived.  At first Turgon didn't want her to go, but finally he consented.  Aredhel traveled with an escort but they were separated.  Aredhel was now on her own.  She decided to try and find the sons of Feanor.  When she got to their realm, they were not at home, but she was given leave to wander around their land.  So she did.  Now Eol, a dark elf, saw her wandering and put an enchantment on the wood that lured her towards him.  Finally he captured her and took her as his wife.  The Silmarillion says that she was "not wholly unwilling" though.  Anyway, they had a son whom they named Maeglin.

Maeglin was sort of a serious child and he learned how to craft and blacksmith like his father.  But he was always interested in the stories that his mother had to tell about her life back in Gondolin.  When his father was away on a trip, Maeglin and his mother snuck away with the intention of going back to Gondolin.  Eol followed them all the way to Gondolin, however.

They were all welcomed by Turgon as family, but Eol resented Gondolin and wanted his family to come home with him.  Since Gondolin is a hidden city, Turgon could not allow elves to find it's location and leave (they could tell other people where it is).  He said that Eol and his family were free to live in Gondolin, or they could die.  Eol decided he would rather die, and his family with him.  He took a poison dart and threw it at Maeglin, but Aredhel leaped in front of it and was killed.  Turgon was so angry that this dark elf had just killed his sister that he threw him over the walls of the city.

Another thing you should know about Maeglin is that he desired Turgon's daughter, Idril, who was his cousin.  Idril didn't love Maeglin and she did not approve of his pursuit since he was her cousin.  Maeglin was scorned by this.  All of this info and more can be found in The Silmarillion in the chapter Of Maeglin.

Anyway, so let's take a look at the character.

First of all, in the beginning of his life when he lived in the woods with his parents, he was serious and wanted to learn a lot.  He wasn't necessarily mean at this point.  But later, he decided to abandon his father.  His mother went along with this, too.

In Gondolin, he wanted Idril.  Now it could be that he actually liked her, but I think it may be that he was overwhelmed with the beauty of the city and his new found royal status.  Idril was the embodiment of all that was new and shiny to him.  Now when Maeglin was rejected (not that it was Idril's fault, it would be weird to be pursued by your cousin) he probably hurt first, but then he became angry.  This anger caused him to resent everything good and beautiful.

Now we can guess that Idril's rejection caused the majority of his emotional problems, but it could be that his parents had something to do with it.  Aredhel does not seem like a particularly wise elf.  She continued on her journey even after her escort had been lost and she agreed to abandon her husband.  Eol is no saint either.  As a dark elf, he would have been looked down upon by a lot of people which probably made him angry.  He also tried to murder his entire family rather than just live in the beautiful city of Gondolin which I find odd.

Maeglin is a complex character.  Some people feel bad for him and his unrequited love, and some people are disgusted by his creepy desires.  What do you think of Maeglin?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

"A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it." -The Silmarillion J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo Copyright Alan Lee

Blog-ust: Lord of the Rings Medley

You may know that I play the violin, and I love the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

Over the course of three years, I have heard the soundtrack so many times, that I ended up just "figuring out" how to play it on my violin without sheet music.  So, I decided that I would put together a medley and post it for you guys interested in playing the violin, or transcribing it into your own clef or to suit your own instrument.  Speaking of which, if you do end up transcribing this, please leave a comment with a link so we can all enjoy your arrangement.  I would transcribe it into bass clef for you all, but I am so slow at reading in that clef I fear it would take years.

I am not the best with counting (that's why I prefer learning the notes myself and not reading sheet music) and I never play the songs the same (I'm always adding different trills, changing the endings, etc.) so I decided that instead of trying to encompass all of that, I would just give you the basics and let you experiment and modify it to be your own.  With that said, don't play this music literally because it will sound robotic and nothing like the real music.  Try singing or humming the songs in your head as you play and let that guide your counting, not my monotonous quarter and eighth notes.

With out further ado, here is my Lord of the Rings medley.



Note: My Lord of the Rings medley is merely a starting point for beginners.  I highly, highly recommend purchasing Howard Shore's original score to learn all of the songs in full.  No attempt has been made to detract from Howard Shore or his contributions to The Lord of the Rings movies produced by Newline Cinema, this medley is merely used to introduce musicians to the patterns and sounds of the movie score and encourage them to learn the songs in full.  Likewise, no attempt has been made to detract from Newline Cinema or their films, whatever property of theirs being used briefly above is merely to introduce viewers to their work and encourage them to learn more.  This is a contributive arrangement because of the changes made to the original musical score and the instrumental arrangement differs.  

TO PURCHASE HOWARD SHORE'S SCORE:
http://www.onlinesheetmusic.com/howard-shore-a3502.aspx

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blog-ust: Balrog Wings

Among the most popular Lord of the Rings controversies is the question of whether or not the balrog had wings.

Now people who think they do get their ammo from The Fellowship of the Ring.  In The Fellowship it does mention balrog wings twice:
Photo Copyright Ted Nasmith
 "His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings."  -The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien

"It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall..."  -The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien

Now the first instance seems to be merely a simile.  It says the shadow reached out like two vast wings, not that there were actual wings.  The second one I believe must be a continuation of the first simile, that it "shadow wings" stretched from wall to wall.

I think that balrogs did not have wings.  Both the balrog who terrorized Gondolin in The Silmarillion and Durin's Bane who appears in The Fellowship, die from falling into an abyss.  If the balrogs had wings, then why would the fall kill them?

My sister thinks that the balrogs did have wings, but she thinks that they were like chickens: they could fly for a short distance and sort of flutter around the air, but couldn't really support their own body weight.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Love Lembas!


Lord of the Rings Quotes

"'Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?' she said.  'And would you have your proud folk say of you: 'There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North!  Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?'  'I would,' said Faramir...'Here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed.'" -The Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo Property of Newline Cinema

Blog-ust: Lord of the Rings Book Marathon

Well, we're exactly two weeks away from the kick-off of the Lord of the Rings Book Marathon!
It stretches from September 2nd (the date of Professor Tolkien's passing) to September 22nd (Bilbo and Frodo's birthday) and the challenge is to read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings within the twenty days.  Throughout the marathon I will be posting with my reading experiences and findings, and I want you to do the same!

Check back here daily throughout the challenge to see what others have been up to during the marathon.  I know you can do it!  This is the first annual Lover of Lembas Lord of the Rings Book Marathon!  More information to come, so keep checking in.


Photo property of tolkienbookshelf.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blog-ust: How to Make Parchment Paper

I recently got a request asking how to make the parchment paper map that I showed in my Lord of the Rings collection post.  Here is the video of how it is done.

video


  1. First, print out whatever map you want to use.  In the video, I printed a Lord of the Rings map, but the original map I showed was of the Lonely Mountain.
  2. Next, soak the paper in hot tea.  It is easiest to put the tea into a cookie sheet with ridges.  Keep it in the pan for a few minutes, the longer it's in, the older it will look.  Be careful not to keep it in too long, otherwise it will rip.
  3. Next, make a pot of coffee.  Paint it onto the paper.  It is okay to leave the grounds of the coffee in because those need to be rubbed in as well.  
  4. Use paper towels to dry out the paper, or a hairdryer works well, too.
  5. Fold the paper into thirds over and over again.  If you want, you can paint a bit of coffee on the creases of each fold.
  6. Crinkle the map into a ball.
  7. This next part involves fire, so use caution!  Light a candle and hold the edges of the paper up to it.   Let the edges catch fire and burn a bit.  I find it is easiest to do this in a sink so if a small fire did start, you could easily turn on the faucet and put it out.  In the video, the paper wasn't quite dry enough (oops) so it didn't catch on fire as well.  Learn from my mistake and let the paper dry more first.  Also, I would advise anyone that is not confident in their skill to leave a bit of white on the sides of the map when you print it so that you can have a bit of forgiveness when using the fire and you won't burn away your map.
  8. Once the paper is dried completely, you will have a great parchment map!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Q&A: What Powers Does the One Ring Actually Have?

The One Ring can be hard for a lot of people to grasp because for most readers and movie fans it is unlike anything they have ever seen before.  Pieces of jewelry with mysterious, destructive powers are not exactly cliche (unless you're talking LOTR, then you have the One Ring, the Silmarils, the Arkenstone, etc.).  This outlines the powers that the Ring actually has.

Sauron's will was poured into the One Ring.  The One Ring has the same will as Sauron and can manipulate itself to do what it wants such as rolling to where it wants to go, growing bigger or smaller, falling out of pockets, etc.
This is an example of the Ring exercising it's own will.  Photo property of Newline Cinema
The Ring had the power to change its wearer into what is called the "Raith-world" where the Ringwraiths and Caliquendi also exist.  If the wearer was powerful enough, once in the Raith-world, he could control wearers of the other Rings of Power and manipulate them as Sauron did.  It would also turn the wearer invisible to the eyes of most creatures, but it would be like holding a light in a pitch-black room for the Ringwraiths.  According to Tolkien Gateway, the Ring "dimmed the wearer's sight, and sharpened his hearing."

It is made obvious in the books and in the movies that the Ring corrupts the wearer.  Sooner or later, the Ring wears down everyone.  This may be intentional on Sauron's part, although I doubt that because he would never want anyone else wearing the Ring anyway.  It is more likely that Sauron's will is to corrupt, and so part of that will passed into the One Ring.

I hope that this helped you understand the One Ring better, it can be a tricky concept. Na-den pedim ad!

Blog-ust: Buttons

Check out these two buttons that I put together today!  I made one to advertise Lover of Lembas, and one to wear during my twenty-day Lord of the Rings marathon (more information to come).  If you're interested, I got the button templates from Jo-Ann Fabrics and it was easy to create the image on PowerPoint and print it out.




Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes


Originally posted on buzzfeed.com

Blog-ust: Tuor's Song

I was on Council of Elrond today and I was reading some poems and translations when I came upon Tuor's Song.  You may know that Tuor is my second favorite character (only behind Idril), and I didn't know he had a song!  I am working on memorizing it, but I just wanted to share it with you because it is so beautiful.

Then the magic drifted from me and that music loosed its bands–
Far, far-off, conches calling–lo! I stood in the sweet lands,
And the meadows were about me where the weeping willows grew,
Where the long grass stirred beside me, and my feet were drenched
with dew.
Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
‘Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th’unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling–and shall hear them till my death.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

Photo Property of Newline Cinema


Blog-ust: My LOTR Collection

Every Lord of the Rings fan has a collection!  Even if it's just the movies or one of the books, we all have something to pile up on the couch to watch a movie marathon with--right?  Or is that just me...

Here is my LOTR Collection!
 We start off with my brand new Evenstar I bought from amazon.com.  It came with this beautiful silver box lined with dark blue felt.  It is exactly what I wanted and I am really happy with it!











 Next we have my copies of The Silmarillion and The Hobbit. Though I have only had this copy of The Silmarillion since last Christmas, it has been well loved and now is a bit worn.  As for my edition of The Hobbit, who knows how long it has been in my family?  I found it in the basement and have been keeping it in my room ever since.
My copies The Lord of the Rings don't match, but I couldn't care less!  My edition of The Fellowship of the Ring is particularly fantastic because it is hardcover and has large font which makes reading it easier.  I don't know where my edition of The Two Towers has mysteriously gone missing, but I'm sure its around her somewhere...my copy of The Return of the King is is also well worn, however the cover art is not my favorite.
 I do own every DVD of the original Lord of the Rings and use them often.  It is the widescreen edition which is nice, and has a lot of special features.
This is my Legolas cup which my sister got from the movie theater when she got a Slushie.  She gave it to me since she hasn't the slightest idea who Legolas is. It is actually really nice for drinking, especially while watching The Lord of the Rings movies!


 My cousin gave me this recording of a rendition of The Hobbit book that comes in four parts.  It is fun to listen to and pretty relaxing.  I remember once my nephew came over when he was about three years old, and he was so excited to be here that he could not fall asleep for anything.  Finally I tucked him into his sleeping bag and turned on this recording and he went right to sleep.  It could be that he was just overtired, but I think it was this recording.
 My friend is well aware of my LOTR obsession and so for my birthday, he made this map of The Lonely Mountain.  He used coffee to dye the paper to look like parchment, and it looks pretty good.
 My brother gave me this movie poster from "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey".  I love it and it hangs prominently in my room.












I might not have the biggest LOTR collection or the rarest book editions, but I am pretty proud of my Lord of the Rings collection.  What do you have in your collection?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Blog-ust: Names Throughout the Ages

Many people have pointed out the repetition of names of characters, and in some cases, places throughout The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.  Now, some have speculated that Tolkien had already come up with the names before he wrote The Lord of the Rings for The Silmarillion, but when he realized that The Silmarillion might never be published, he transitioned the names into The Lord of the Rings so he could still use his favorite names.  While this could be true, I think it may be more than that.  Perhaps the names offer some significance.

Finduilas, for instance, was, in The Silmarillion, the name of the maiden who died young because of Turin and who was buried in Haudh-en-elleth.  Finduilas is also the name of Denethor II's wife who died young and undoubtedly caused him to have some emotional problems, just as the Finduilas in The Silmarillion and her death caused Turin a lot of grief.

We also have Glorfindel.  In The Silmarillion he is the elf that saves the refugees from Gondolin from the balrog.  When he was killed he was borne out of the abyss he fell in by the Great Eagles and buried.  Golden flowers grew on his grave until the world was changed.  In The Fellowship of the Ring, Glorfindel rescues an ailing Frodo from the pursuit of the Ringwraiths and spirits him to Rivendell.  I heard that some thought Tolkien was considering having Glorfindel being the same in both books, and that the original returned to Middle-earth but I have no evidence of that.  I will assume they are separate for the purposes of this article.  Both Glorfindels are skilled at rescuing people, similarly.

Turin was the name of the tragic character in The Silmarillion as well as the name of a captain of Gondor in The Return of the King.  Turin was known for being an incredible warrior and some say that he could never have been slain by any but himself.  If someone were to have a child they wanted to grow into a warrior, it would make sense to name them after one of the greatest of all time.

Ecthelion is the name of Denethor's father in The Lord of the Rings and is also the name of Ecthelion of the Fountain, a valiant warrior of Gondolin who defended the Tower of Turgon in The Silmarillion.  It would make sense, again, to name your child after someone famous for their valor.

Minas Tirith is the name of the Gondorian city in The Lord of the Rings and also of another tower ruled by Orodreth and later taken over by Sauron in The Silmarillion.  Minas Tirith means Tower of the Guard, and both of the towers are used to keep an eye on growing evil.

There are many other similar names but I can't think of them right now!  I will be sure to update you whenever I find them in my reading, and you keep an eye out too!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

"They looked back, Dark yawned the archway of the Gates under the mountain-shadow.  Faint and far beneath the earth rolled the slow drum beats: doom.  A thin black smoke trailed out.  Nothing else was to be seen; the dale all around was empty.  Doom.  Grief at last wholly overcame them, and they wept long: some standing and silent, some cast upon the ground.  Doom, doom.  The drum-beats faded." -The Fellowship of the Ring (after Gandalf falls in the Mines of Moria) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo: Property of Newline Cinema

Blog-ust: Council of Elrond RPing

You may have heard of my favorite LOTR website, www.councilofelrond.com.  This site offers extensive information about LOTR as well as interactive forums for fan discussion and many fun features and links.  I am on Council of Elrond as "The Lady Idril", so if you want to see my posts (I don't have many currently, mostly just comments), you can head over there!

But recently I did something on Council of Elrond, I have never done before!  RPing!  I didn't even know what RPing until that point, and apparently it stands for Role Playing.  You and another fan have a chat and take turns adding lines to a story to create a fanfiction of sorts.  "flyingarrow" and I created a story about Legolas' and Elladan having a shooting contest and it was so fun!  At first it was sort of hard to come up with what should happen next, but "flyingarrow" was really helpful to me, a newbie!

I recommend RPing with someone if you are into fanfiction or writing in general, it was a really awesome time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bilbo Baggins Global Cuisine, Beer & Wine

Recently I got a text from a friend about a place near Washington DC she had visited called "Bilbo Baggins Global Cuisine, Beer & Wine". She sent me a picture of the menu and the outside.  I can tell you I almost broke my phone screaming with excitement.

Not only was this a restaurant, but she informed me that there was a pub inside called The Green Dragon.  I promptly recited the Green Dragon song and texted her back every word.

You can search far and wide,
You can drink the whole town dry,
But you'll never find a beer so brown,
As the one we drink in our hometown...

-Lyrics by Billy Boyd



She said that one of the most charming things was that the floor was a bit crooked because it was an older building, and I just thought that was adorable!

She ordered the pizza called "Smaug's Delight" that comes with basil pesto, Italian sausage, Parmesan and Asiago cheese.   She said that there was a lot of variety in the food and that it was really good.

She said "they had LOTR and The Hobbit posters, and figurines of the characters on shelves so it was pretty awesome."  That just about sums it up.  It seems pretty awesome and I immediately thought, "I need to tell the lovers of lembas!"  Any other reviews of the restaurant?  Have you been there?  What was your experience?  Post it in the comments, please!

Blog-ust: Elven Realms

Throughout the ages there are have been six major elven realms: Doriath, Nargothrond, Gondolin, The Grey Havens, Imladris (aka Rivendell), and Lothlorien.  Here are my thoughts on the realms.

First we have Doriath.  Doriath is home to the Teleri who stayed behind to look for their leader, Elwe.  One can assume that these elves must be loyal and have a "no man left behind" kind of attitude.  Also, the fairest of elves is from Doriath, Luthien Tinuviel, so they have that going for them.  Doriath has a prime location in the forest, as well in addition to the Girdle of Melian which protects it from anyone the king or queen doesn't want to enter.  As for rulers, Elu Thingol, the king, is generally benevolent though he does has his moments, like his fit when he met Beren and the doom that he set upon him.  I have yet to find any error with Queen Melian! She is wise and farseeing, I suppose because she is a Maia.

Then we have Nargothrond.  Built by Finrod Felagund, hewer of caves.  It was the home of Gwindor and Finduilas.  It's location is alright, but I love Finrod!  He was not only a great builder, but he was a faithful and honest ruler, demonstrated when he followed through on his promise to help the House of Barahir.  It was defiled by Glaurung and visited by Turin Turambar and Hurin later on, so it had its fair share of celebrity action.

Next is Gondolin.  I can't even explain...Gondolin is undoubtedly number one.  I mean, really.  Protected by Ulmo, ruled by the awesome Turgon (I mean, until his pride got to him), home of the ever incredible Glorfindel of the Golden Flower, Ecthelion of the Fountain, Tuor son of Huor, and of course, the best character ever, Idril Celebrindal.  Of course it is also the home of Maeglin son of Eol, but I'm willing to overlook that.  Gondolin for the win!

The Grey Havens are home to Cirdan (I believe he is the eldest elf in Middle-earth but Galadriel may be older).  The grey ships are housed there, the only ships capable of getting to Valinor and that is not something to be overlooked.  Anyone who's anyone in the world of elves has been there (literally)!

Now we have Imladris, also known as Rivendell.  Prime location really, located in the middle of the relevant lands of Middle-earth with mountains surrounding it.  Fantastic ruler, Elrond Halfelven, and home to crazy awesome elves like Arwen, Elladan and Elrohir, Glorfindel (again!) and some pretty awesome Dunadain too, Aragorn in particular.  Also, the library of Rivendell is fantastic.

And finally, Lothlorien.  Home to Galadriel, Celeborn, and the Galadhrim, this place is pretty incredible.  We also have the Mirror of Galadriel and Caras Galadhon, beautiful mallorn trees and crazy good archers and warriors.  Lothlorien is so ethereal and I would love to live in a flet there!

Here is my ranking of the elven realms throughout the ages.
We start off at number six, Nargothrond.  It's not that I don't like Nargothrond or anything, I love all the elven realms, and I love Finrod Felagund, but I just don't know that much about Nargothrond except for it's destruction and I can't really judge it off of that. Coming in, solidly, at number five is The Grey Havens.  Again, it's more of a lack of knowledge, and I'm hoping to amend my ways of ignorance towards it soon!  Number four is Lothlorien.  Lothlorien is in my mind, the most ethereal and natural place.  I imagine it just glowing and dripping with grace and knowledge.  Galadriel would be a great character to meet, I feel like she has seen so much of Middle-earth history!  At a solid number three we have Doriath.  Doriath is governed by such a fantastic king and queen, I would be honored to dwell there!  And, at number two, is Imladris.  I could spend days poring over the lore housed in the incredible library of the Last Homely House, and talking with Arwen and Elrond.  At number one, it's probably no surprise, but Gondolin passes with flying colors.  I could make a post all about just this one city (I should actually do that...), that's how much I love this place!  Not only is it protected by the impressive enchantments of a Vala, but it's home to my favorite characters!  Gondolin is just...the best.

All elven realms are amazing, and I wish I could visit/live in any of them!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Q&A: Why do the Elves and Dwarves Hate Each Other?

Recently, I got a question about why the elves and dwarves are always at odds.  There is actually a history that relates to this question, so I will examine it now.

The elves and dwarves started off on okay terms.  They both liked to mine and craft, so sometimes they would work together.  The real problem started with the Silmarils. 

There once was a kingdom called Doriath, ruled by Elu Thingol.  He came into possession of a Silmaril (through the quest of his daughter and son-in-law, Luthien and Beren).  He thought that he would want to set the precious gem into a necklace.  He called on the dwarves to come and help him.  However, the Silmaril corrupts people as it did with the dwarves, and their greed overtook them.  After they completed the necklace, they claimed the Silmaril was their possession, and they rose up and killed Elu Thingol.  This caused his wife, Melian, to leave Middle-earth.  With Melian's protection over Doriath gone, the kingdom fell.  The elves of Doriath never forgave the dwarves for their deeds.  

The dwarves who killed Elu Thingol went back to their people and lied to them, saying that Elu Thingol had tried to kill them.  So those dwarves marched to Doriath and fought with the elves.

This is why the Moriquendi (Elu Thingol's kin), or elves such as the Mirkwood Elves or other elves that are not Noldorian have animosity against dwarves.  

The hatred was perpetuated, so that every little thing the dwarves did was ten times worse that it would be usually and vice versa.

You can learn more about the actual events in Of The Ruin of Doriath, a chapter in The Silmarillion.

If you have further questions, leave a comment.  Galu!

101 Post!

I just realized that I already did my hundredth post!   But 101 is still a cool number so anyway...
I can't believe that in only three short months I have shared so much!  Thank you to all my viewers and commenters!  It means a lot to have my work validated.  Keep coming here to Lover of Lembas because I love to share my Lord of the Rings Lore with you!  Thank you so much for all your support.

(Originally posted on rebloggy.com, Property of Newline Cinema)

Blog-ust: The Significance of Numbers

Many things in The Lord of the Rings, and specifically in The Silmarillion come in multiples.  The Fellowship of the Ring, for example, did not have just one, but multiple members--nine to be exact.  There was not just one precious Silmaril, but three, and there wasn't just Feanor and his son trying to reclaim it, but Feanor and his sons.  Now, why all these numbers?  Are they significant?

The Nine Walkers     -     The Fellowship of the Ring comprises of nine companions: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf.  Now, did it just happen that there are nine important characters?  Or does the number nine carry some significance?  Whenever I try to figure out numbers and their significance, I think of what other things come in nines.  Now, there are, indeed, nine Ringwraiths.  It would make sense that there is a member to match each of their enemies.  Also, they needed enough space to have each of the races of Middle-earth included.  I can assume that this would be the first and only fellowship of all races in Middle-earth since the elves would be leaving soon after, and I have never heard of another.

The Three Silmarils     -     Now in the beginning of The Silmarillion, it seems random that there are three of these precious gems, but as we progress throughout the story, the number becomes more and more important.  Firstly, there has to be more than one Silmaril so that Beren and Luthien can steal one from Morgoth's crown and give it to their descendants and eventually to Earendil, without finishing the task of taking all of the jewels from Morgoth.  Nextly, there are three main elven kingdoms in Middle-earth who are built up by the Silmarils (the reason they are built is because the Noldor are back in Middle-earth and the reason the Noldor are back in Middle-earth is because of the Silmarils) and destroyed by them: Gondolin, Doriath, and Nargothrond.  Obviously there are more elven kingdoms, but these three have falls immediately triggered by the Silmarils and the quest for Silmarils (I know that Doriath was not built because of the Silmarils, but it's fall was still caused by them).  Do the three Silmarils correspond with the three groups of elves: Teleri, Vanyar, and Noldor?  This last option seems unlikely because the Vanyar are basically up and out of the story immediately.  At the end of The Silmarillion, Earendil takes a Silmaril with him into the sky to become a star, Maedhros casts a Silmaril into the depths of the earth, and Maglor cast his into the sea, putting each of these gems in one of the elements, air, earth, and water.

The One Ring     -     It is significant that there is only One Ring.  This One Ring belongs to Sauron, himself, who wants everything to himself.  When Saruman tries to ally with him, Gandalf reminds him that there is only One Ring, and that there is only "One Lord of the Rings--and he does not share power!".   As opposed to the allied forces of The Fellowship, Sauron goes it alone, and fails.

Three Elven Rings     -     Just like the One Ring has a significance, so do the other numbers assigned to each given ring, the elven rings being no exception.  My theory is that this is a mirror reflection of the Silmarils.  In addition, the elven rings have specified powers: Narya, the ring of fire, Nenya, the ring of water, and Vilya, the ring of air.  This also parallels the Silmarils and their fate.

Seven Dwarven Rings     -     Now why do the dwarves get seven rings?  This seems to be fairly clear, though I could be missing something.  In the beginning, Aule created seven dwarf lords, and so the rings were given to them to reflect that.

Nine for Mortal Men     -     Why nine?  This is an answer I have struggled to find.  I looked at Numenor, but didn't find anything significant relating to the number nine.

Seven Swans     -     In Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin, Tuor sees seven swans flying and takes it as a sign that he should depart.  What is the significance of seven swans?  This number correlates with the seven Valar Kings and Queens, so perhaps that is why.

The Gondorian Flag     -     The Gondorian flag features one white tree--representing the tree descended from the white tree, Nimloth, from Valinor--and seven stars.  It would seem to me that the seven stars would represent the Valar, again.

Three Elves     -     When the elves awake at Cuivienen, there are only three (Silmarils!  Elves love the number three!).

So you see that there are many parallels and things to notice among the writings.  Did you notice any other interesting numbers that carry significance?  Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Blog-ust: Gollum's Journey

We know that Gollum was captured by Sauron's forces and tortured in Barad-dur, but how exactly did he end up back following the fellowship?  What was Gollum's journey from capture by Aragorn to his journey with Frodo and Sam?
In The Fellowship of the Ring it says: 

"'Long after, but still very long ago, there lived by the banks of the Great River on the edge of Wilderland a clever-handed and quiet footed people.  I guess they were of hobbit-kind; akin to the fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, for they loved the River, and often swam in it, or made little boats of reeds.  They was among them a family of high repute, for it was large and wealthier than most, and it was ruled by a grandmother of the folk, stern and wise in old lore, such as they had.  The most inquisitive and curious-minded of this family was called Smeagol.  He was interested in roots and beginnings, he dived into deep pools; he burrowed under trees and growing plants; he tunnelled into green mounts; and he ceased to look up at the hill-tops, or the leaves on trees, or the flowers opening in the air: his head and his eyes were downward....'"

To read more about Gollum's journey, read Shadows of the Past in The Fellowship of the Ring.

It says later: 

"'The Wood-elves tracked him first...through Mirkwood...they never caught him...my search would have been in vain, but for the help that I had from a friend: Aragorn...Gollum was found...there is no possible doubt: he had made his slow, sneaking way, step by step, mile by mile, south, down at last to the Land of Mordor.'"

Anyway, it is made fairly clear the Gollum came into possession of the Ring after stealing it from Smeagol and he went into the Misty Mountains, had it taken from him by Bilbo, left, and made his way to Mordor.

But after that point it becomes sort of unclear.  We know that Gollum was tortured in Barad-dur and that at some point he crossed the Dead Marshes as well as Cirith Ungol.

What was his journey to Mordor like?  I can only assume that he was being drawn to the land by Sauron, so perhaps Sauron showed him the way.  After his torture, he must have been set free.  How did Gollum find Cirith Ungol?   Why didn't Sauron just let him through the Black Gate?  Maybe he wanted Gollum to believe that he was not on his side so that Gollum didn't realize that Sauron was using him.  So Gollum chances upon Cirith Ungol, somehow evades Shelob (or perhaps she didn't want to eat him--there is barely any flesh on him, anyway) and goes down the Winding Stair and past Minas Morgul.  Then he crosses the Dead Marshes and works his way through the Brownlands (it is unlikely he went through Rohan without being noticed) or maybe through Fangorn, and finally caught up with Frodo and the crew as they left Rivendell.  

Now this is all speculation and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.  It seems that since Gollum was Frodo and Sam's guide, their journey was basically just the inverse of Gollum's previous one (I mean, minus the torture).

On a side note, I am looking for some Q&As to answer, so if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

Photo: Property of Newline Cinema

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

Blog-ust: Legolas' Hair

One of the most talked about controversies in the LOTR community is whether or not Legolas had blond hair.  Here is what I have found.

People have said that Thranduil had blond hair.  Now, I have not been able to find any confirmation of this fact, so if you know where this is stated, please let me know in the comments.  Because I cannot confirm this, I must discount it for the moment.

My theory is that Legolas had dark brown hair.  Now I am assuming that Legolas was descended from the Teleri that never went to Valinor, since the woodland elves are not High Elves, and are Moriquendi.  The Teleri were governed by Elu Thingol, or King Greymantle, known for his gray hair.  His daughter, Luthien, had raven colored hair.

There is no way that Legolas had black hair, first of all.  Tolkien stated that no elf had truly black hair although many had extremely dark brown.

It is unlikely that, if in fact Thranduil did not have blond hair, Legolas would have blond hair.  Blond hair is characteristic of the Vanyar, none of which remain in Middle-earth and it would be a rarity to find an elf with that colored hair (although of course there are exceptions, such as Idril).

It is also unlikely that Legolas had red hair because the only red hair I have been able to find good documentation on in Middle-earth belonged to some of Feanor's sons, of the Noldor, who Legolas is not descended from.

This has left me with the logical conclusion that Legolas had dark brown hair, a commonality among elves.

(However, if Thranduil did have blond hair, it could change my thoughts drastically, but again, I have not found solid documentation of this.)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Blog-ust

I realize I forgot to do a post *facepalm*
I forgot to explain the entire concept of Blog-ust!  You have probably been wondering why I have been writing "Blog-ust" before all of my post titles for the past few editions and now I will explain.  One day I woke up and I thought: blog-ust sounds like August!  That's pretty much it.  That's where the name comes from.  I will be doing "blog-ust" posts all August, but it's not just for the name.  The point of Blog-ust is to get people to comment.  I guess writing that fun word at the top is supposed to remind you to comment and share your thoughts.  I don't know if it will work but I figured it was worth a shot.  So basically, Blog-ust is a fun and original word I wanted to show off and hopefully coin once it becomes a huge trendy word like "meme", and also I wanted to remind people "subtly" to comment.  So...yup.  Happy Blog-ust!