Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Q&A: Who Killed the Witch King of Angmar?

Before we get started with this Q&A, I just want to point out one thing I found in my reading of The Unfinished Tales.  Did you know that both Narsil (Andúril) and the Dragon helm of Dor-lómin (used by Túrin Turambar) were both wrought by Telcar of the Nogrod?  Just something interesting.

Anywho, today we deal with the question of who actually killed the king of the Ringwraiths.  Was is Merry or Éowyn?  

It seems perfectly clear in the movie that Éowyn was the killer, but is that actually correct?

First off, I would like to illustrate the perfect ridiculousness of the whole "no man can kill him" prophecy.  I'm sorry, but has no one noticed that there are still a high number of elves in Middle-earth who are not men?  In fact, Glorfindel, the elf who actually said this, is an elf himself!  There are many likely candidates who are not men.

In the movie, the whole Old a Forest sequence was excluded, including the part when Merry acquired a knife from the barrow-downs.  Now this is was the barrow of the old kings of Arnor.  The old kings fought against the Witch King, and they were skilled in making blades that could actually challenge him.  This was one of the blades that Merry received.  So did Merry kill the Witch King when he stabbed him in fields of the Pelennor with the special blade?

Or was it Éowyn, who is also not a man?  I can't find any information on Éowyn's sword, but one can assume that it was not made to combat the Witch King.  This would make it seem unlikely that she actually did kill him!

Now this turns the whole story on it's head.  Merry is not a man either, being a hobbit, so it could be possible it was him.  So which was it?

Collectively the second children of Illúvatar are known as Men.  This would point to it not being Éowyn. But then again, can stabbing someone in the back of the knee--even with an enchanted blade--kill them?  This would point it it not being Merry.

I think the answer was that it was big.  Obviously Éowyn would never have had her opportunity to stab without Merry's help.  Merry's blade would not have hurt the Witch King if it were a normal one, but it wasn't.  Neither are men, and both contributed to his downfall.  

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Aragorn's Names

What is the deal with all of Aragorn's names? Here is a breakdown of his names, why he has them, and what they mean.

Aragorn- Aragorn is actually his real name. He is Aragorn II son of Arathorn. The Ar- prefix was taken by most of the chieftains of the Dúnedain, like Arvedui.

Estel- When Aragorn was taken to live in Rivendell for safety reasons, his true identity as the heir was hidden from him. He was called Estel, which means "hope".

Strider- Strider was Aragorn's name to the people of Bree and surrounding villages. This was the nickname he got as a ranger.

Thorongil- Aragorn worked in Gondor and Rohan under the name Thorongil. Obviously he would not want to make known yet that he was the king by revealing his true name, because the stewards of Gondor may not appreciate that.

Wingfoot- This was a nickname given to Aragorn by Éomer in The Two Towers. Éomer was surprised to learn how far and fast Aragorn had led Legolas and Gimli across the plains of the Mark in pursuit of Merry and Pippin, and gave him this title in token.

Elessar- Elessar is the name Aragorn assumed when he became the king of the Reunited Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. It is the Quenya translation of Elfstone.

Elfstone- Elessar is the Quenya translation of Elfstone. In marrying Arwen, Aragorn reunited the lines of the Númenorians with Elvish blood and their Maia ancestry.

Telcontar- Telcontar is the Quenya translation of Strider. It is the name of Aragorn's house of heirs in Gondor.

Aragorn is also known as the Heir of Isildur and the Heir of Anárion, but this is for obvious reasons.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Lord of the Rings is Racist?

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A Google search of "the Lord of the Rings is racist" brought up a
lot of results!
Okay, there have been several articles and videos surrounding the topic of racism in The Lord of the Rings.  Many people are claiming that the story and world of Middle-earth is obviously racist.  To which I respond: have you read it?

The Lord of the Rings is not racist in any way, in fact, I find that one of the most prominent themes in the entire story is the idea of acceptance.

Now first I would like to address why people feel that The Lord of the Rings is racist.  This view generally comes from people who have seen the movies but not the books.  They claim that the movies are racist because there are no black actors (specifically) or any other actors of a race other than Caucasian.  This is actually very simple to explain.  One of the primary reasons Tolkien wanted to write a long and detailed history of Middle-earth is because he wanted to give a "mythology" to England.  It is widely known that England does not have it's own myths as countries like Norway, Greece, and Rome did.  Even the Arthurian legends which are widely regarded as English, are actually largely French.  Any mythology that England may have had was destroyed in the Norman invasion.  Tolkien felt this gap acutely, and felt it his duty to fill it.  Therefore, it would make sense that the characters in this story are English, and we know that most Englishmen are Caucasian.  In summary: because Tolkien set out to write a mythology for England, he created most of his characters to be English.

So now that we've dealt with the problem most people have with racism in The Lord of the Rings, I would like to take it one step further and say that one of the themes in Middle-earth is acceptance.

Just because most characters are Caucasian does not mean that that is the only race.  Elves, men, dwarves, and hobbits are all separate races with their own differences that mimic the differences between races of nationality.

So I've already said that one of the themes of Middle-earth is acceptance, and the message is actually stated very clearly in The Fellowship of the Ring: "'In nothing is the power of the Dark Lord shown more clearly than the estrangement of those who still oppose him.'"

This seems to suggest that there are greater things in the world than what people's differences are.  It's important to get over others' differences for the sake of the real task.

So you see, The Lord of the Rings is not racist just because it centers around a certain demographic of people.   In fact, it is promotional of acceptance because of it's emphasis on getting along for the sake of good.

I hope that this little analysis helped you.  As always, if you have questions or comments, please post them.  But please remain respectful as always.  Seel no anor bowen lin!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

RP: Celebrían's Rescue

So I've told you before that I enjoy role playing in Council of Elrond.com. Recently I was role playing with my friend, flyingarrow, and we came up with what I think was a great story. With her permission, I have compiled the story.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with role playing, here is a bit of background. There are many different ways of role playing. Strictly canonical role playing is basically re-enacting scenes from the books. Other people may choose to take an excerpt of story an base their story off of that (which is the case for this particular RP) and still others might base theirs very loosely on Middle-earth and only borrow characters or settings, with no real storyline from the canon.

For this RP, I started off by proposing we elaborate on one of the passages from The Return of the King Appendices, which is as follows:

“In 2509 Celebrían wife of Elrond was journeying to Lórien when she was waylaid in the Redhorn Pass, and her escort being scattered by the sudden assault of the Orcs, she was seized and carried off. She was pursued and rescued by Elladan and Elrohir, but not before she had suffered torment and had received a poisoned wound. She was brought back to Imladris, and though healed in body be Elrond, lost all delight in Middle-earth, and the next year went to the Havens and passed over Sea.” (Appendix A in The Return of the King)

My contributions to the story are in bold and flyingarrow's are in regular type. I have also taken the liberty of editing some grammar/spelling errors just to make the story easier to read.  (Note: sorry about the different fonts, but I'm having some coding problems that are hard to deal with on my iPad. Hopefully I can fix them on my PC later, but we'll see.  Oh, and enjoy the story!)

Elrond, distraught, calls for his sons. “Elladan, Elrohir!” He says, barely noticing the strange glances directed at him as he yells in the halls of Rivendell. He has more pressing problems than the disdain of a few elves. “Elladan! Elrohir!” He calls again. 
Elladan pokes his head out of his door. “Yes? We are kind of busy...”
“Come here, now.” Elrond says sternly, directing them to his own personal chambers.
They come, and Elrohir is covered in a strange looking paint.
Elrond stares at Elrohir for a moment, jaw hanging. “I’m not even going to ask.” He says, finally. He gestures to the elf seated nearby. “This is Aphadon. He comes bearing dire news.”
“I was your mother’s escort to Lóthlorien,” Aphadon says, grimly, “But…we were waylaid, and separated. I returned here as quick as I could…to report that…she was captured.” 
Elrond swallows hard, obviously nervous.
The twins stare in shock.
Elrond is obviously fighting back tears as he says: “My sons, I need you to seek her. Bring her back here….at all costs. Please…” His voice cracks. 
Elladan nods. “Ada, where was the attack?” 
“Near the Redhorn Pass. I can only assume that the assailants were from the mountains…look through every cave, cranny, hole…do you understand?
"Yes," they reply in unison.
“Well alright then. May the Valar be with you. Good luck.” He says, somberly. He turns away, trying to conceal his anguish.
Elladan goes, and saddles his horse.
“Do you think…” Elrohir says slowly, “Do you think they are…torturing her?”
Elladan sighs. "They're orcs, brother. They do more than torture.”
Elrohir tenses, and continues saddling his own horse, Belegroch. “Oromë, greatest of all hunters, help us find what we seek.” He whispers under his breath.
“Well, brother: if that is the case, then let us ride with all speed.” He says, leaping on his horse and galloping out of the stables.
Elladan follows, not stopping until he reaches the battle scene.
“Goblin arrows, for sure,” Elrohir says, stooping and picking up the specimen. His heart leaps. “It’s Brannon, our kinsman. He must have fallen in the attack.” He picks up the elf’s body and pulls out the arrows piercing the back.
Elladan nods gravely.  "They went that way," he points to a trail.
Elrohir stumbled along the trail that leads down a steep hill and into the base of the mountains, where it is pitch black. “Should we risk light?” He asks.
“That or blindness.” Elladan lights a torch.
Elrohir nocks an arrow and proceeds forward, carefully. The air is foul and rank. Suddenly, he hears voices. Grabbing Elladan’s arm, he turns into a side passage to avoid a passing goblin.Elladan holds his breath, still.
After the goblin passes, Elrohir steps back into the passage and they continue downhill.Elladan is silent. Suddenly, he stops. "Hear that?”
Elrohir listens. He shakes his head.
"Faint screaming…”
Elrohir pales. He sprints down the passageway, bow drawn. The two burst into a large cavern, about the size of a gymnasium, and see hundreds of goblins milling about. There, on a table in the midst of the room, lies their mother.
Elladan gives a battle cry, and draws his sword, attacking wildly.
Elrohir hews his way in a semi circle and comes to the table in the center. His mother lays there, pale and limp, thin. She is unconscious, or unmoving, at any rate, and her eyes are staring into the distance, unseeing.
“Elladan!” He shouts above the din, “We can’t finish them all here. The important thing is getting mother home. Leave the goblins and help me!” He says, trying to carry his mother out of the melée. A goblin lands a blow across his cheek and Elrohir feels his blood slide down his neck. “Help!” He calls again, desperate.
Elladan gets over, hacking a path out.
They hurry to their horses. Elrohir pulls his mother onto his horse just in time to avoid a goblin arrow. Elrohir begins to gallop away.
Elladan rides after. He gives a sharp scream of pain, but stays on his horse. Once they are free of the goblins, he falls off, and arrow in his upper chest, and one clear through his side.
Elrohir circles back. He dismounts his horse and gently lays his mother on the grass.
“Elladan!” He calls, alarmed. He clutches his brother’s arm.
Elladan gasps. “Go on. Leave me!”
Elrohir moves Elladan near a rock for cover. “I will return. Let me bring Mother home…we’re not that far now. I’ll come back, I promise!” He calls as he rides away.
Elrohir crosses the Bruinen and bolts towards Rivendell, where he is received by the elves holding anxious vigil in the garden. “Send for my father!” He exclaims, entrusting his mother to them. He rides off into the night to find his brother.

Elladan is almost dead, having lost a huge amount of blood.
“Oh Elbereth!” Elrohir exclaims as he loads Elladan onto his horse. “I’ll try not to bump you around too much, but the road is hard. Do you think you can hold out?” He asks.
Elladan coughs weakly, blood trickling out of his mouth.
Noro lim, Belegroch, noro lim!” Elrohir cries, galloping towards Rivendell.
He runs in to his father’s chamber, bearing Elladan. “Help him, Father!” He pleads, laying him in the bed with his still unconscious mother. Distraught, Elrohir paces in the corner as Elrond works.
Elrond does best he can. The end result is a bandaged Elladan. He has failed to get the tip out his back, it being wedged between his ribs.
“Will he be okay?” Elrohir asks, nervously. “Maybe."
Elrohir sits back silently as Elrond tends to Celebrían.
Elladan is panting, weak and in pain.
Elrohir clutches his brother’s hand. “You’ll be alright, El,” he says, encouragingly.
“Hurts…” He whispers.
“I know, I know. It’s okay.”
Elladan closes his eyes. "Mother?"
“She’s….she’s….” Elrohir glances over at his still pale and unresponsive mother. “Ada, how is mother doing?” He asks finally.
“Dying.”
Elrohir’s eyes widen. “B-but you can heal her–right?”
Elrond sighs. “Perhaps. Not fully though.”
Elrohir gazes down on his mother’s frail face.
Gradually, she lifts her pale eyelids and looks at her sons with piercing grey eyes. “Elrohir.” She says slowly, smiling weakly. “Elladan.” She says, as if trying to remember the faces and names of her sons. “Yes, Mother, we’re here,” Elrohir reassures her, grabbing her hand.
Elladan starts to sit up, but gives a cry of pain, falling back.
“Elladan?” She says, suddenly concerned.
“It’s alright, Mother,” Elrohir says, “Elladan is fine. He’s just…resting…and you should be, too.” He helps his mother get comfortable and leaves them to rest.
A few days later Elladan is mostly healed and Celebrían is "healed in body".
Elladan sits calmly in his room, covered in paint again.
Celebrían comes in. She is back to her normal, graceful state, but her cheeks are hollow, and her once dark flowing hair is thin, and white. “Good morning, son,” she says, “How do you fare?”
He looks up from a large piece of paper. “Naneth,” he sighs. ” I’m fine.”
“Good. It gladdens my heart to hear that you are recovering. Yet still, there is a darkness. I feel…weary.” She says, falling into a chair, “I feel…stretched.”
Elladan nods. "I'm sorry."
"This was not of your doing. Though sometimes the innocent must pay."
Elladan nods. "I merely give my sympathy.”
“I cannot accept your sympathy. For you have no idea what I have gone through…you have no idea what they’ve done to me…” she says, dissolving into tears and grimaces of pain, “No idea…”
Elladan moves closer. "What did they do?”
“I have not the heart to tell you.” Celebrían admits between tears.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tolkien Week

Today marks the last day of Tolkien Week.  This has been a good chance to reflect on the life and inspiration of a beloved author.  I think one of the best ways of honoring an author is to respect and share his works.  And that is precisely what we at Lover of Lembas strive to do.  I think I speak for Tolkien fans from all around the works when I say: thank you, J.R.R. Tolkien.  Thank you for expanding our knowledge, broadening our horizons, and giving us a great story.

The Tolkien Professor

Have you ever wanted to hear a podcast about The Lord of the Rings?  I have, and the other day I found one!

The Tolkien Professor is a rather widely-known lecturer on Tolkien's works.  But just incase you have never heard of him or listened to his lectures, I figured I would let you know about him.

The podcast series is run by lecturer Cory Olsen.  He specializes in Arturian literature and taught for several years in the English department at Washington College, according to his website, thetolkienprofessor.com.

I started listening to his lectures a couple days ago.  So far I have heard talks on how to read Tolkien's works and also detailed analysis of The Hobbit.  I am mostly excited, however, for his lectures on The Silmarillion.

There are a couple reasons why I find these lectures so fascinating.  First of all, they are easy to listen to.  While they do require some thoughtfulness and conciousness from the listener--as any good lecture should--they are accessible and not too hard to understand.  Second of all, his talks are very methodical and that is something I really appreciate.  He goes chapter by chapter and that sort of organization is something that really helps me.  Lastly, he picks up on so many things that I would have otherwise overlooked.  For instance, did you realize that Gollum lives at the roots of the mountain, and in The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf remarks that Gollum has always been interested in roots and beginnings?  The Tolkien Professor is very good at pulling out these little fragments and connecting them.

Listen to a couple of his podcasts...you won't regret it!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tuor Fights with an Ax?!?

Whenever you start learning things, you're bound to learn something you didn't want to.

That was the case today as I read Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin in The Unfinished Tales.  I imagined Tuor having brown hair (which was illogical in retrospect considering his house...) and green eyes.  I imagined him fighting with a very long (possibly elvish) sword.  

Well, my thoughts were shattered when I read that he had long blond hair and fought with an ax.  An ax????  Fighting with a sword is at least noble and impressive, but fighting with an ax seems just like you want to hack someone to pieces which is not altogether humane.  Now my visual is completely off and I'm having a LOTR identity crisis.  

This has happened on several other occasions, and it's never pleasant. I'm sure this has happened to you before, so tell me about it in the comments.

Also, do we have any artists in the house?  I am trying to learn how to sketch, and I'm trying to draw Aragorn.  Let me know if you have any tips or tricks, and hopefully my drawing will turn out good enough to post.

Alright, Tolkien week is wrapping up tomorrow.  Today we celebrate all of the other Tolkiens.  Try to learn about Christopher, Simon, Baillie, Mabel, Arthur, or any other members of the Tolkien clan and share your findings in the comments.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What I Found at the Store

Okay I will try not to freak out too much in this post though I am currently shaking with extreme excitement and may be verging on hyperventilating.

For the past few months (like since June...) I have been going to a certain thrift store looking for a certain item.  A very specific item.

I have not had any luck finding said item, and so today when I went in to the store, I was not expecting anything.  But I wandered over to the game section nonetheless.  I casually scanned the various board games, none too hopeful, but not all together despairing.

Then my eyes locked on to a font I have seen many a time.  Golden, old, like some type of calligraphy.  There, right on the bottom shelf between "Trivial Pursuit: 80s Edition" and Mancala was a wide, brownish red box.  My heart leapt.  

"Unless my eyes are cheated by some spell...." I mumbled, quoting Legolas.

My hands reached eagerly for the box.  There, scrawled above The Lord of the Rings were the words Trivial Pursuit.

In awe of my good fortune, I gazed at the collector's edition of the trivia game.  I looked it up and you can buy it new on Amazon.com for $79.  I bought it for $4 at a thrift shop.  

And so The Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit joined my ever-growing LOTR collection as one of the highest praised items.  It came with tiny replica of the One Ring, four pewter sculptures of Frodo, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn, and even a bonus Ringwraith figure.   

I still cannot believe that I have found it.  It was really just a wish that I would find it there.  I never really expected to, but now that I found my precious, I am loathe to depart from it.  My sister is concerned I am becoming overly obsessed.  It's mine.  It came to me.  My preeeecious.

And to think this all happened during Tolkien Week.

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What I Found in the Library

I walked anxiously into the library. In my bag was The Silmarillion. I was planning on reading that until I got my request for The Book of Lost Tales in from the library. But suddenly, a thought struck me. Almost subconsciously I wandered over to the Tolkien section as is my routine, when a thought struck me. There, on the shelf, filled with pages of unknown information rested The Unfinished Tales. I took it and checked it out without a second glance.

My plan is to read this until The Book of Lost Tales comes in and then I can proceed with the twelve-volume-set of The History of Middle-earth and finally conclude with books like The Lays of Beleriand, The Peoples of Middle-earth and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

I scrolled through the table of contents. Suddenly I started cheering internally (okay, I also was cheering out loud, let's be honest...) because there as chapter one was Of the Coming of Tuor. Almost fifty more pages of my favorite characters and places.

Now at this point I have not had a chance to actually delve into the story, much to my displeasure; but I have read parts of the introduction. People I know complain about forewords and prefaces as boring, but I love them! Particularly when they are written by Christopher Tolkien. He outlines what the story is about, how it was compiled, and even points out major themes and his father's thoughts.

Now because of my excitement in finding this book, and because of Christopher's integral role in it's creation, he is our featured Tolkien today for Tolkien week!


A very brief biography on Christopher John Reul Tolkien:

He was born on November 1, 1926 to John Ronald Reul and Edith Tolkien as the youngest of the three boys in the family.  

He received a good education at a place called Dragon School.  As a young man, he enlisted in the British Air Force wand was stationed in South Africa.  After the Second World War, he studied English at Oxford University.

He often would listen to his father tell the story of The Hobbit, and as he grew older he would offer feedback on the early versions of The Lord of the Rings.   

After his father's death, Christopher made it his goal to compile and publish his father's unfinished works.  He published The Silmarillion in 1977 and later he twelve volume series The History of Middle-earth.

Christopher Tolkien is a Roman Catholic like his father and he lives in France with his wife, Baillie.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tolkien Week

So over the past few days, we've been busy with the book marathon.  But let's not forget that there are plenty of fun things to do to celebrate both J.R.R. Tolkien, the creator of this wonderful world we call Middle-earth, and also his son Christopher, who we owe deep thanks to for compiling the works of his father.  Yay!

How can we honor this author?  Today, your challenge is to go outside.  Go sit in your back yard, or climb a tree, or take a walk in the woods.  I think that J.R.R. Tolkien would appreciate people taking time to enjoy nature.  It is, of course, something he loved, and maybe you will love it too.  And, also, keep an eye out for any stray entwives.


LOTR in Action

First off, good news!  It looks like Lover of Lembas has been featured on a website!  Northern Lights Studios wrote a very nice article about us, and if you want to check it out along with all of the cool film and effects over there, here is the link:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NorthernLightsStudiosfilms/posts/HDzwbvMsjsb?gpinv=AMIXal8uuZ8WxjqFHQFiDHJDq35rKyW8ekPTLiAkWyTEWRUTiHHfKQA0e0OZHhadJ5RlxHd_EDFTs3o82_ECWS-lWFRq4kyDL9zo8EXNiDExa0u6wzHifwY&cfem=1

The Woes of Talking About Something You Love

So, when people mention The Lord of the Rings, how do you feel?  Excited?  Alert?  Nervous, even?  Well, for me, it's a combination of all three.  Of course it depends how it is mentioned.  And who is mentioning it.  If someone who doesn't know much about the topic is discussing it, I tend to "bump" into their conversations and help them along.  No one can say anything inaccurate about LOTR in my vicinity.

Today, The Lord of the Rings came up.  I was just discussing how there can be different conflicts in stories such as internal, external, and so forth.  And then, someone brought up The Lord of the Rings to demonstrate examples of some of these.  First, I tensed up.  My ears perked up (figuratively, of course), and I was suddenly very alert.  I listened to their each word very carefully.  This was a serious matter.  Then I got excited.  Because of course, I love talking about The Lord of the Rings.  Generally, though,  I don't get to talk about it enough which leaves me disappointed, or I talk too much and people drift away from the conversation.

The problem is, when I'm not in control.  I'll be honest.  In a conversation about The Lord of the Rings when people don't really get how into it I am or how much I have studied it, it is frustrating.  Especially if the other people are not very learned in the subject.  Here is an example of a conversation that I would find frustrating.

Person #1 (not speaking to me, but to a friend):  Hey, isn't that a picture of that 'precious' guy?  The one with the weird voice?
Person #2: Yeah, yeah, from those movies, right?  The ones with the Orlando Bloom?
Person #1: Oh my gosh, Orlando Bloom is so---
Me: Um, are you talking about The Lord of the Rings?
(Person #1 and Person #2 look at me, suddenly)
Person #1 (after an awkward pause): Yeah.  Have you seen those movies?
Me(After taking a deep breath): Yes, yes I have.  Over twenty times, probably.  And also I have read the books.  You know, there's three of them.  And The Hobbit.  And a whole other collection of backstory which I--
Person #1: Cool, cool.  (Turns back to Person #2) So what did you have for lunch today?

This is the most common type of conversation.  The one where people who obviously are not as acquainted with The Lord of the Rings as I am attempt to talk about it, and then I interrupt, not being able to allow others to talk about it without my involvement.  They subsequently stop talking about The Lord of the Rings forever for fear that a rogue nerd might butt into their conversation.

This is another example of a tolerable (and enjoyable) conversation.

(Person #3 is wearing a shirt with Tengwar on it)
Me: Oh my goodness, is that Tengwar??
Person #3: Yeah, do you know The Lord of the Rings?
Me: Yes!  I love The Lord of the Rings!  I actually have a blog about it!  That is so cool, where'd you get it?
Person #3: Oh I got it off the internet.
Me: Cool!  What does it say?  I've started learning some Sindarin, but I can't read any Tengwar.
Person #3: Oh, it's just an Elvish saying...a battle cry really.  This elf keeps yelling: Aure entuluva...
Me: HURIN!
Person #3: You know Hurin?!!?!?!?!?!
(Subsequent rejoicing at the finding of a nerd to converse with and a long conversation about favorite Silmarillion characters and the differences between the movies and the books of The Lord of the Rings.)

So you see, talking about Lord of the Rings can either bring me great joy, or anguish.  How do you feel when people talk about it?  Are you as picky as I am (I'm at sort of an unreasonable level, so let's hope not) or are you more casual (and possibly more social) than I?  Comments!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XXI

The End of All (Book Marathon) Things
Appendix A (Eorl's Folk)-The End

Displaying image1.JPGAs I finished the last page of the epic, I breathed a sigh.  Of relief, of satisfaction, of wistfulness, I'm not quite sure.  One thing is for sure, however.  Over the course of the past twenty days, I have read 1,844 pages of some of the best literature ever created.  I journeyed from the early days when their was naught but the Void to the end of the Fourth Age and all it's promise of a bright and joyful future.  I went on expeditions across a land so vast and immeasurable: through the forests of Beleriand and dark fortresses of Thangorodrim and Angband, to the fair woods of Lothlorien and the desolate plains of Dale.  I met characters of spirit and courage like Feanor and even the most humble, but undoubtedly important characters, such as Samwise.  One thing is for sure: there was a lot of ground to cover over the course of this marathon.

I wasn't alone on this journey, however.  All of you Lovers of Lembas have been so supportive and it's been great having you along for the ride.  For this reason, I would like any one who participated in the marathon to fill out this form.  It basically just asks questions like: did you like it?  was there enough time?  what would you do differently?  and the like.  It should only take a few minutes, but I can assure you: it will greatly improve the marathon for next year.

(Sorry, this poll has been closed!)

Now something else important is going on today...
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September 22nd is a very significant day in Middle-earth!  Today is Frodo and Bilbo's birthday!

Now this morning, I was surprised with A Breakfast Fit for a Baggins by my family.
Displaying image2.JPGDisplaying image4.JPGI was totally shocked when I found the table spread with a proper English tea.  Scones, quiches, tea (obviously) and all kinds of delicious delights fit for a hobbit were arrayed.  It was all extremely delicious and was a great kickoff for Hobbit Day.  The hobbit food fest didn't stop there, however.  I packed some leftover tea into a thermos and brought some lembas bread with me to lunch to share with my friends.  They gobbled it up and were even willing to tolerate my LOTR rants if it meant that I would bring them such goodies.



But Bilbo and Frodo's birthday isn't the only special happening in Middle-earth on the 22nd.   Also occurring:

  • Bilbo and the barrels of dwarves reach Laketown (The Hobbit)
  • The birthday party for Bilbo's eleventy-first and Frodo's thirty-first is held, at which Bilbo disappears (The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • The Black Riders (Nazgul) reach Sarn Ford*
  • Gandalf overtakes Shadowfax* 
  • Saruman comes to the Shire*
  • Samwise leaves Bag End and goes to the Grey Havens*
*Events that are included in the appendix to The Return of the King

So today is a pretty special day.  But it's also a special week because it's Tolkien Week!
And since we're speaking of birthdays, here is some information about Tolkien and one very special birthday of his.

J.R.R. Tolkien met Edith Bratt when he was young.  The two fell in love, but they were forbidden to court by J.R.R. Tolkien's caretaker, Fr. Francis Morgan because Edith was a Protestant and three years older than John.  Fr. Francis told John they could not see each other until John was 21 and no longer under the priest's jurisdiction.  J.R.R. Tolkien faithfully waited until his twenty-first birthday, and on the exact day, wrote a letter to Edith Bratt asking to see her again.  She consented and soon, John convinced her to convert to Catholicism and they were married.  


Today has been a huge day in Lover of Lembas history.  The end of the book marathon, Hobbit Day and all it's festivities (and food), and all of this in the midst of Tolkien week.  Whew!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XX

I Give Hope to the Dunedain
Appendix A-Of the House of Eorl (Appendix A)

I did not read much at all.  Also, it occurred to me that my counting skills are off and there are actually twenty-one days of the book marathon.  Maybe it would be better to have today be the last day and then tomorrow be the celebration/birthday/hobbit day.  Something to keep in mind for future marathons, though I won't spring this drastic change on you now.

I was hoping to get the majority of the remaining reading done and save only ten pages or so for tomorrow so I'm not stressed, but I was very distracted today.  Tomorrow will certainly be a sprint to the finish.

All of the reading today was centered around the Numenorians and their realms in Middle-earth.  To be honest, I get a bit lost among all the names of the kings and their sons and their brothers and their cities and their--well, you get the idea.

I hope that you are in good position to finish up tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a very special day...the second most important LOTR day (after March 25, the day Sauron was defeated [and Sam's first daughter's {Elanor's} birthday]).  It's hobbit day!  What an exciting time!  Happy birthday, to Frodo and Bilbo tomorrow, and to you: happy reading!


Don't forget: it's Tolkien week!  Here is a video of Christopher Tolkien reading.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XIX

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall
The Field of Cormallen-Appendix A

Sauron is defeated!

"Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down."
-The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tokien
Photo Property of Newline Cinema
Today's readings went much better than yesterday's.  First off, The Land of Shadow is one of my least favorite chapters, and that made it hard for me to get through.  However, The Steward and the King is my favorite chapter of the entire series (Silmarillion chapters excluded) and I got through it very quickly.  In that chapter, Faramir and Eowyn meet, Aragorn becomes the king and he and Arwen are wed.

This chapter is so full of joy and excitement.  Sauron is defeated, a king is restored to his throne and reunited with his love, two ailing characters are healed, and everything is as it should be.

One of my favorite quotes is spoken in Rohan after the announcement of Faramir and Eowyn's engagement and is actually in Many Partings:

"'No niggard [greedy person] are you, Eomer,' said Aragorn, 'to give thus to Gondor the fairest thing in your realm!'  Then Eowyn looked in the eyes of Aragorn, and she said: 'Wish me joy, my liege-lord and healer!'  And he answered: 'I have wished thee joy ever since first I saw thee.  It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.'" -The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

But all is not well.  The Shire has been scoured while Frodo and the gang have been abroad, and they return home to find their country in ruin and fear.

"'This is worse than Mordor!' said Sam.  'Much worse in a way.  It comes home to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.'"  -The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Wow.  For someone who has stumbled, crawled, and carried his master through Mordor and to the very heart of evil, this is a pretty big statement.

Saruman was head of the white council, and the wisest of all the Istari, and that power consumed him and caused his fall.  Likewise, Morgoth, the first dark lord, was the smartest and most gifted of all the Ainur.  And that led to his fall.  Both of these characters resemble Lucifer, the wisest angel who fell and became Satan.  Similarities abound!

Alright, hopefully your book marathon continues to go well.   Happy reading!




Also, happy Tolkien week!  This festive occasion always extends through the week that Hobbit Day is celebrated on, which is the 22nd of September (Bilbo and Frodo's birthday, and the last day of the book marathon).  It's the week for geeks here at Lover of Lembas (I'm such a poet) and today I have an offering of various Tolkien video biographies for you to check out.

A Study of the Maker of Middle-earth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkmNHP58OhU
Archival Footage of Tolkien: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR-4vMEiQ_U
From Book to Vision (from the Film DVDs): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iAbgAKZUnA

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XVIII

The Houses of Reading
The Houses of Healing-The Field of Cormallen

I realized that I did my calculations for the amount of reading per day a bit wrong, so now I am down to seventy-seven pages a day from here on out.  Man, that's a relief because I have been struggling to get all the reading done.

Throughout today's reading there was one scene that is particularly touching.  Sam is weeping, thinking that there is no way for him to ever see Frodo again in Cirith Ungol.  Then, suddenly, he begins singing, not caring who overhears him.

night, galaxy, milky way, stars

"In the western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing,
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white 
Amid their branching hair.

"Though here at journey's end I lie,
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the stars farewell."
-"Samwise" The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien



I'm working on memorizing that poem to add it to my store of Lord of the Rings lore.

The book marathon continues at full speed.  Now that the Ring is finally destroyed, we enter into what I call "the end".  Of course it's not the end because there is still half of the book to go, but really the quest is completed.  Let me know how your marathon is going.  Questions and comments welcome!  Happy reading!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XVII

The Muster
Minas Tirith-The Houses of Healing

Wow today was a tough read.  I did get through it, but it took a lot of mustering as I suppose it did for the Rohirrim as they rode to Minas Tirith.    This reading went all the way through Pippin and Gandalf's arrival in Minas Tirith through the passage of the Dimholt road, the Battle of Pelennor Fields, and Denethor's suicide.

There was not much to mark in the reading except I noticed one repeated concept.  There are many instances in which people's graves and their appearance are brought up.  Glorfindel in The Silmarillion is one example.  Because of his valiant fight with a balrog, and in memory of his bright hair, golden flowers grew on his grave until the world was changed (The Fall of Gondolin).  Also, all of the kings of Rohan have symbelmyne the white flower growing over their mounds.  Again the appearance of the graves is mentioned in this text.

"Green and long grew the grass on Snowmane's Howe, but ever black and bare was the ground where the beast [the fell beast ridden by the Nazgul] was burned." (The Battle of the Pelennor Fields).

I just find it odd that this is mentioned so many times in each book.

Now I have to read one hundred fifty pages each day.  That is a lot.  I am really tired right now after reading for so long, and for a part I just had to listen to the audiobook.  Hopefully your book marathon is going well and you are not feeling too overwhelmed.  Remember, questions and comments are welcomed and encouraged.  Happy reading!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XVI

The Passage of the Book Marathon
The Black Gate Closes-Minas Tirith

Okay, day sixteen of the book marathon and already there is only one book left to read!  I finished up The Two Towers today, and I'm excited to finish up the whole series in the upcoming days.  Today's readings followed Frodo, Sam, and Gollum all the way to Ithilien and through Cirith Ungol.  At this point in the story, Pippin and Gandalf are on their way to Minas Tirith and Frodo has been captured by orcs in Mordor and is being pursued by Samwise.



Today I found a few nice places to read.  The first is when I'm travelling.  I read on my way to and on my way back from any errands I have to run and I have gotten lots of reading done that way.  I also read anytime I have down time.  In the odd space of fifteen minutes between one scheduled activity and another you can get a few pages done and over time that will accumulate and catch you up.  Also I read if I'm eating alone.  There are many places and times to read.  What are some places you have found that are helpful?

I hope that your marathon is going well.  Tomorrow begins The Return of the King and the final chapter of this epic challenge. Keep me updated with questions and comments.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XV

Give me a Book to Read and All Weariness Shall Fall from me! 
Flotsam and Jetsam-The Black Gate Closes

Gimli once said, "Give me a row of orc heads to hew and all weariness shall fall from me!" and that is how I feel about this marathon.  It is hard to keep up, but once I start reading, I get invested and I can't stop!  Today I met my goal, and I'm pretty excited.

Now of all the readings, one thing stood out to me.  Gollum said that he "hates all Bagginses" even though Smeagol insisted that they liked Frodo, even though his uncle "stole" the Ring from him years ago.  But Gollum insists that they hate all of the family and eventually Smeagol agrees.  This stood out to me.  Gollum is just like the Sons of Feanor!  The Sons of Feanor seem like they actually like the Elves, but they can't get past his need for what was stolen from them.  Woah.

Alright well that's all for today.  The marathon is really heating up and I need all the time I can get to read.  Sorry about these short posts, but I have been a busy bee!  There are only six more days of the book marathon and only one more for The Two Towers.  How is it going?  Remember, I'm here for you and any questions or comments you have I will gladly answer.  Happy reading!

Photo Property of Newline Cinema  "Gimli" played by John Rhys-Davies in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King (2001, 2002, 2003)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XIV

To Isengard with Doom we Come
Treebeard-Flotsam and Jetsam

Only one week until the end of the book marathon.  

forest, leaves, autumn, fallOne fun way to celebrate the end of the marathon and Frodo and Bilbo's birthday is a tea party!  A fall tea is so relaxing.  Even if you're not a big fan of tea, try apple cider or juice, or maybe give tea another chance.  Here is a website with all the information you need to know in order to host your own tea party this fall.
http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/how-to/how-to-host-fall-tea

So the readings today covered all the way from Pippin and Merry's first encounter with the Ents to the capture of Isengard and the Battle of Helm's Deep.  It was a pretty straightforward read, but were there any questions or comments you had?

"'Two!' said Gimli, patting his axe...'Two?' said Legolas.  'I have done better...I make my tale twenty at the least...'Twenty-one!' said Gimli.  'Good!'  said Legolas.  'But my count is now two dozen.  It has been knife-work up here.'...'I desired to tell Master Gimli that my tale is now thirty-nine.' ...'Forty-two, Master Legolas!' he cried...'You have passed my score by one,' answered Legolas.  'But I do not grudge the game, so glad am I to see you on your legs!'" -The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien


Happy reading!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XIII

Driven Like Cattle
The Departure of Boromir-Treebeard

So since I couldn't find my copy of The Two Towers, I borrowed one from my library.  The first thing I did this morning was check in the back of my book to see how many pages it was and so to plan for the coming days.  To my surprise, it was 725!  The book did not look that large, and that was shocking!  I was freaking out...I would have to read 181 pages everyday to stay on track?!  Well, I decided, there's nothing for it.

But, when I opened the book my fear was relieved.  It started on page 403!  I suppose the edition picked up right where The Fellowship of the Ring left off.  You sneaky book makers!

Anyway, I didn't reach my goal today, but I realized that there are nine days left in the book marathon, not eight as I previously thought.   So I have an extra day and I think that the twenty-five pages I didn't get done today can be made up soon.

Remember, we're all in this book marathon together, so make sure to leave a comment describing your experience with any questions or thoughts you have.  Happy reading!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XII

Into the Land of Shadow
The Bridge of Khazad-dum-The Departure of Boromir

The Fellowship of the Ring is completed!  Both the actual fellowship and the book!  I read pretty steadily this morning and I'm already finished.  Here are some quotes I came across.

"'Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.'" -"Haldir" The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

"At the hill's foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes.  He was wrapped in some fair memory: and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld tings as they once had been in the same place.  For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tounge to one whom Frodo could not see.  Arwen vanimelda, namarië! he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.  'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth, he said, 'and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I.  Come with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man." -The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Our  hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp." -"Haldir" The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

"'The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.'" -"Haldir" The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Gimli took up one of the cakes and looked at it with a doubtful eye.  'Cram,' he said under his breath, as he broke off a crisp corner and nibbled at it.  His expression quickly changed, and he ate all the rest of the cake with relish.  'No more, no more!' cried the Elves laughing.  'You have eaten enough already for a long day's march.'  'I thought it was only a kind of cram, such as the Dale-men make for journeys in the wild,' said the Dwarf.  'So it is,' they answered.  'But we call it lembas, or waybread, and it is more pleasant than cram by all accounts."  -The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The first quote is very closely linked with the current state of Middle-earth at the time of the War of the Ring.  If all free peoples would join together--the Men of Gondor and of Rohan, of Dale, the Rangers of the North, the Dwarves of the Mountains, the Elves of Rivendell, of Lothlorien, of Mirkwood, and of The Grey Havens, then Sauron would no doubt tremble in his tower.  Indeed when Aragorn reveals himself as Elendil's heir with the promise to reunite Men under a single banner, Sauron does grow worried and flustered.  But because of many years of pent up hatred and prejudice, the people can not get over their differences for the common good and it causes much strife and unnecessary loss.

The second quote is one of the most heartfelt descriptions of Aragorn.  Of course he is recalling the moment he and Arwen plighted their troth on that very hill of Cerin Amroth.  He knows that there are many struggles before him if he is to become the King of Gondor and Arnor and thus win the hand of Arwen from Elrond.  But it is a path he is willing to take.

Haldir's simple quote of lamentation is a reminder of the sorrows of war.

His other quote recognizes that there is not only evil in the world.  And that in fact, grief can make things more beautiful and appreciated.  There is good in the world and even evil designs work towards the purposes of good.

The last quote is included because it is a record of Gimli's first encounter with Lembas Bread.  There is of course more explanation of lembas' virtues in the following paragraphs, so if you are interested, read the chapter Farewell to Lorien.

Tomorrow begins the reading of The Two Towers.  As it states at the end of my edition of The Fellowship of the Ring:

"The second part is called The Two Towers, since the events recounted in it are dominated by ORTHANC, the citadel of Saruman, and the fortress of MINAS MORGUL that guards the secret entrance to Mordor; it tells of the deeds and perils of all the members of the now sundered fellowship, until the coming of the Great Darkness."  

How is your marathon going?  Hopefully you are finishing up The Fellowship and are have your copy of The Two Towers primed and ready.  Let me know in the comments where you are in the story and if you have any questions.   Happy reading! 

Image from mytolkienbooks.com

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Book Marathon: Day XI

Many Readings
At the Sign of the Prancing Pony-The Bridge of Khazad-dum

Man, did I get a lot of reading done today!  I knew I had some catching up to do, but I was in the book-reading mood, so I got pretty far!  Now I won't have the read the extra twenty-five pages expected for tomorrow because I did them today.

There was a lot of stuff to cover.   First we meet Strider of course at The Prancing Pony.  Now the whole sequence of the meeting with Strider and then the hobbits journeying with him to Rivendell always confuses me.  I think one of the reasons for that is because it is a lot different from the movie, so the two visions are conflicting and I am mismatching the events.

Anyway we got through it alright and got to meet the ever fabulous Glorfindel!  This is sort of weird, but I was wondering how you pronounce that name.  I have always said it "glor-findle", but I suspect it is rightly pronounced "glor-findell".  However, the pronunciation guide does not have anything to say about the letter patterns in his name, so I'm sticking with my original thought.

The Council of Elrond is one of my favorite chapters, and it was even better (and longer) than I remembered.  Finally the expedition of the Ring sets out.

Can I just say that I am deeply grieved, just as Sam is, about the departure of Bill the Pony from the group?  He just runs away!  I hate that part so much, but I am glad that the book includes it and makes it apparent that Bill will be alright, although I just hate to see Sam so sad.

There is one quote in this book that I think sums up one of the biggest themes in the entire story of not only the Ring, but of Middle-earth.  And it is said by Gandalf in the Council of Elrond.

Keep an eye out for that theme, especially as it pertains to Denethor, the steward of Gondor in The Return of the King.

How is your book marathon?  I found that sometimes my house could be a really distracting place to read in, so I tried out the library for a change and found it very easy to read there.  Remember questions, comments, thoughts, quotes, etc. are always welcome in the comments.  Only one more day scheduled for The Fellowship of the Ring, do you think you'll finish?  Happy reading!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Marathon: Day X

Shortcuts Make Long Delays
Three is Company-At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

I've fallen behind another twenty five pages, but I'm still feeling okay.  I read a bunch and got through the three chapters I dub "The Tom Bombadil Chapters" which include The Old Forest, In the House of Tom Bombadil, and Fog on the Barrow Downs.  I must confess that Tom is not my favorite character, but it now that section is done, the rest should go smoother.

One thing I have noticed continuously is the language used around Sam.   He is treated more like a servant by the other hobbits than as a friend like he is in the movies.  Now I obviously already knew that, having read the books before, but I just wanted to give you this specific example of this as I have found it this time around.
Photo Property of Newline Cinema

"'Sam!  Get breakfast ready for half-past nine!  Have you got the bath-water hot?'..."

And the way Sam replies is indicative of inferiority.

"...'No, sir, I haven't, sir!'"

It is interesting how the movies chose to change the hobbits' relationships.  I suspect that Sam's servitude makes people feel uncomfortable, indeed it can even be off-putting for me to hear the hobbits treat him like this.  But of course there are redeeming moments such as this:

"'I could take a lot more yet, sir.  My pack is quite light,' said Sam stoutly and untruthfully...'I [Frodo] suspect that you have taken more than your share, Sam, and I shall look into it at our next packing.'"

So you see, Frodo and the other hobbits do care for Sam and want to treat him equally.  

Moving on, the other thing I noticed is the creepy create in the chapter Fog on the Barrow Downs.  His description is this:

"Round the corner a long arm was groping, walking on its fingers towards Sam, who was lying nearest, and towards the hilt of the sword that lay upon him."

I don't know if you are into The Legend of Zelda video games, but I am and right when I read this I thought of this pesky monster who appears in The Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, and many other games:
Floormaster (Ocarina of Time)
This image was taken from Zeldapedia
This is a particularly creepy creature and I know for sure that I would never want to come upon it!

These chapters I read today are not in the 2001 film, and Peter Jackson has this to say for himself: "And the plot of the movie, in it's most simple form, is Frodo carrying the Ring and eventually he has to go to Mordor and destroy the Ring.  So you know, what does Old Man Willow contribute to the story of Frodo carrying the Ring? What does Tom Bombadil ultimately, really have to do with the Ring?  I know there's Ring stuff in the Bombadil episode, but it's not really advancing our story, it's not really telling us things we need to know."

I say that is a fair point.   Even Ralph Bakshi's cartoon didn't include the Bombadil/Barrow Down scenes, and I think that both parties had a fair reason to exclude it.

I am pretty excited for tomorrow because we meet Strider at The Prancing Pony and Glorfindel later on (I don't know why but suddenly he has become one of my favorite characters...Gondolin!)  hopefully we even get through the Many Meetings and into The Council of Elrond, one of my most favorite chapters.

Now I hope that you are getting along alright.  Sorry my posts have been short recently, but it really has been a book marathon!  I've hardly had time for much else!  Good luck, and keep me updated in the comments.  Happy reading!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Marathon: Day IX

A Long Expected Reading
A Long Expected Party-Three is Company

Well I started off on The Fellowship of the Ring today.  It is really becoming a book marathon, now!  I find myself having a hard time completing the readings for each day, and I guess today was no exception. I know that there are four-hundred and twenty five (about) pages in my edition, which means I will have to read about one hundred pages a day.  Today I only completed seventy-five.  But I'm optimistic because two of the days allotted for this book are weekends when I can squeeze in an extra twenty-five pages on each day and it should balance out.

I read the prologue of course, Concerning Hobbits, a part that I have always enjoyed.  Then I tackled the first chapter involving the politics of hobbit families and the huge party thrown by Bilbo Baggins, and his subsequent departure.  Next I read The Shadow of the Past, which is an especially important chapter.  Gollum seems much more menacing depicted in this chapter than in the films, and in fact I was surprised to read some tidbits about him (I must have glanced over them the other times I have read this book....).  Take a look at this quote:

"'It [Gollum] climbed trees to find nests; it crept into holes to find the young; it slipped through windows to find cradles.'"  -The Shadow of the Past

So you mean he ate hobbits?  Wow.

So now I have less empathy for Gollum.  As the story progresses, I remember Gollum slowly turning back to goodness until the pivotal point in The Return of the King when he finally rejects Sam and Frodo and leads them to their deaths.  But we are not there yet!

All in all, today's book marathon went a bit better although the goal was not altogether met--at least on my part.  I am always eager to know how things are going on your side, so drop a comment or question any time you like.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Marathon: Day VIII

A "Cold" Welcome
Barrels out of Bond-On the Doorstep

That's right.  I didn't finish The Hobbit today.  I am way under the weather.  Stuffy nose, headache, aches and pains, sore throat...all that fun stuff.  So I decided it would be best just to try to rest up and get well and then hit the books hard.  I really was not expecting this to be the book that I didn't finish in time.  I thought maybe I could finish in two days!   But things have suddenly gotten very busy and I just haven't had the time to adjust my schedule.  Plus, now that I am not feeling well, reading is not really my top priority.

I hope that your marathon is going better.  Keep me updated on where you are and I will try to catch up as soon as I might.  Happy reading!




UPDATE:

On the Doorstep-A Long Expected Party
Last night I actually buckled down and read the remainder of The Hobbit.  Even though I had a mild headache, I was able to finish.  I found that listening to an audio-book when you aren't up to reading can really help.  However, I was so tired by the time that I finished I was unable to update this post yesterday, so I'm making up for it today.  I will let you know how the rest of my day goes as I start in on The Fellowship of the Ring.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Marathon: Day VII

Flies and Spiders (And A Cold)
Queer Lodgings-Barrels out of Bond

Again, I did not get as far as I wanted to.  I haven't been feeling very well and I think I have a cold of some sort, so this post won't be very long because I need to rest!  But I wanted to check in and hear about your thoughts on the marathon so far.  Tomorrow is the last scheduled day for The Hobbit, do you think you'll finish?

As I was reading, one thing stood out to me and that was the difference between how Beorn and his halls are described in the book and how they are portrayed in the movie.  In the book, there are "dogs [that] could stand on their hind-legs when they wished, and carry things with their fore-feet...".  There are many other animals acting like humans and serving the dwarves in the book, but in the movie I suppose they glanced over this whimsical detail.

At any rate, we all know that there are many differences between the movie and the book and it's really no use trying to rehash them all now.  On that note, I bid you all happy reading!


landscape, mountains, nature, forest
"Far over the misty mountains cold...." -The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Marathon: Day VI

Too Busy for Bilbo Baggins
Out of the Frying-Pan and Into the Fire-Queer Lodgings

Today is the first day of the marathon that I have been too busy to meet my goal!  I only got through a few pages and am now very behind.  Hopefully tomorrow I can catch up, but right now I am in a pitiful slump.

I hope that you have gotten farther than I have.  I think my problem was that I just didn't have the time.  And the few minutes I did have to read, I was walking to and from different places which is more than distracting.  I really am surprised that I am falling behind on The Hobbit since I deemed it to be the easiest read and fastest, but maybe my attention span for it (because it's not my favorite book) is not long enough to read 75 pages a day.

Do you have any tips for me on how to reach my goal even when I'm busy?  It would be much appreciated!

Well, happy reading!

sky, space, moon, outdoors

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Book Marathon: Day V

In a Hole in the Ground...
An Unexpected Journey-Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire

Today I started off reading The Hobbit!  I read a bit far and even read Riddles in the Dark.

I wanted to share something odd about that chapter.  It struck me odd how Gollum was worried about the loss of his Ring for practical purposes and not because he was possessed/corrupted by it. Take a look at this quote:

"'Yes, but if it's [Bilbo] got the present, our precious present, then goblinses will get it, gollum!  They'll find it, they'll find out what it does.  We shan't ever be safe again, never, gollum!  One of the goblinses will put it on and then no one will see him.  He'll be there but not seen.  Not even our clever eyeses will notice him; and he'll come creepsy and tricksy and catch us, gullum, gollum!'"

I have the updated Hobbit version that is in connection to The Lord of the Rings, so I find it odd that there is no mention of Gollum being possessed about it.  
From a Divianart account: Distraction-Number-4

It actually takes me awhile to read this book because since it is not my favorite story, I am not as motivated to read it.  However, I did finish my reading since tomorrow I will be a bit busier.

How is your marathon going?  Did you finish The Silmarillion okay?  Hopefully you will feel free to drop some comments if you have any questions or thoughts about the marathon.  Happy reading!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Book Marathon: Day IV

In Which These Tales Come to Their End
Of Turin Turambar-An Unexpected Party

The Silmarillion portion of the book marathon has now come to it's end.

Anglachel, the sword of Turin Turmabar
"'Wilt thou slay me swiftly?'"
It started of with the unfortunate story of Turin Turambar, "master of doom, by doom mastered."  He was also known as the Mormegil, or black sword, so I did this quick sketch of a black sword today for him.

As I was reading the story of Turin, it struck me how clearly the tale came into vision for a film.  Not that I want it to become a film, but it is just written in such a visual and descriptive way that I had no trouble imagining exactly what each shot and set, character and prop would look like.

Then we moved along to the last of the three great tales in The Silmarillion (these were the three relatively complete tales considered by Tolkien to be the primary stories included: The Tale of Beren and Luthien, The Children of Hurin, and The Fall of Gondolin).  You probably know by this point that The Fall of Gondolin is my favorite story in The Silmarillion (in fact of all the tales of Middle-earth) and I found that some of the phrases I had actually memorized!

Then we had Akallabeth, the Downfall of Numenor.  I find this one to be one of the stories with the most (not allegory!) "applicability".  The obsession with death found among the Dunedain was very odd, and especially the notion that death is not a curse, but a gift.  As I was reading I was struck with various reminders of Ancient Egypt.  For instance, it states:

"But the fear of death grew ever darker upon them, and they delayed it by all means they could; and they began to build great houses for their dead, while their wise men laboured unceasingly to discover if they might the secret of recalling life, or at the least of the prolonging of Men's days.  Yet they achieved only the art of preserving incorrupt the dead flesh of Men, and they filled all the land with silent tombs in which the thought of dead was enshrined in the darkness."

This is very similar to the practice of embalming (think mummies) practiced in Ancient Egypt.

Next I read Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.  The part I like especially of this is the details of Saruman's betrayal, especially this quote:

"Too long had he studied the ways of Sauron in hope to defeat him, and now he envied him as a rival rather than hated his works."

I already miss the noble elves of the First Age and the epic scope of the story.  I am excited, though, to continue reading in the marathon.  How is it going for you? Tomorrow we start in on The Hobbit.  Happy reading!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Marathon: Day III

"Yet Tears Unnumbered Ye Shall Shed..."
Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin-Of Turin Turambar

The third day of the book marathon included Fingolfin's death, Of Beren and Luthien, and of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.  

I have some struggles keeping all of the battles straight, so I took the time to put together this little poster thing to help me remember, and I thought it may help you, too.

Property of Lover of Lembas
We start off with the Dagor Bragollach, the battle of sudden flame.  The battle does not go well and so Fingolfin decides to challenge Morgoth.  It would seem that Fingolfin knows that this is not going to end well for him, and yet he still charges forth.  I can't tell if that was brave or just desperate.  But he does manage to injure Morgoth which is a feat that deserves recognition.  

Next we learn all about Beren and Luthien and their Quest.  Have you ever heard the song "Rude" by Magic?  I personally don't care for the song, but listen to it with the story of Beren and Thingol in mind.  Oh the laughs!  On another note, I memorized my third LOTR poem (the others being the poem about Aragorn written by Bilbo "All that is gold does not glitter...", and the Fall of Gil-Galad).  This is the one that begins "Farewell sweet earth and northern sky..." and it is recited by Beren as he leaves Luthien, certain that he is going to his death.

I was supposed to read all the way through Of Turin Turambar but (like I thought) reading so much day after day is finally catching up to me.  I'm going to have to read one hundred pages tomorrow instead of the scheduled 75, but it should be alright because even if I run out of time, The Hobbit should be a pretty quick read.

So, how is your marathon going?  Remember that if you have any questions about what you are reading to feel free to post them in the comments.  I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.  Happy reading!

Day shall come again!



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Marathon: Day II

The Noldor Smolder
Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor-Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
So today was the second day of the book marathon, and today everything was about the:

A fun doodle I did.  The Noldor are kind of rebellious artists; I figured they would appreciate graffiti.
We start of learning about the most famed Noldor of all, Feanor.  Second to the Fall of Gondolin, the story of Feanor and the Noldor's rebellion is my favorite tale in the Silmarillion.  (In case you're wondering, I think third is probably the tale of Fingon and Maedhros).  Just the dialogue involved is motivating, compelling, and clever.  Here are some examples of Feanor and his way with words.
                   
                      "Then turning upon Fingolfin he drew his sword, crying: 'Get thee gone, and
                        take thy due place!'...the point of his bright sword he set against Fingolfin's
                        breast.  'See, half-brother!' he said.  'This is sharper than thy tongue.  Try but
                        once more to usurp my place and the love of my father, and maybe it will rid
                        the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.'" -Of the Silmarils

                     "'But if the Valar will constrain me, then shall I know indeed that Melkor is of
                      their kindred.'" -Of the Flight of the Noldor

                    '"We have sworn, and not lightly.  This oath we will keep.  We are threatened with
                      many evils, and treason not the least; but one thing is not said: that we shall suffer
                      from cowardice, from cravens or the fear of cravens.  Therefore I say that we will
                      go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song
                      until the last days of Arda.'" -Of the Flight of the Noldor

So here is a brief break-down of what I read today.  I read about the Silmarils and Feanor, then of the Darkening of Valinor and the spoiling of the Two Trees of Valinor by Melkor and Ungoliant.  Then I continued on to hear about the Noldor's exile from Valinor and their coming into Beleriand which is already under the command of Thingol.  I even got to the chapter Of Maeglin and then to The Coming of Men into the West.  So there was a lot of ground to cover, but I think it overall went pretty well.

Things to note.  First off, I read an interesting concerning about Maeglin and Idril.  "Yet to none were his eyes more often drawn than to Idril the King's daughter, who sat beside him; for she was golden as the Vanyar, her mother's kindred, and she seemed to him as the sun from which all the King's hall drew its light."  This last bit, about being the sun, is odd.  I think this supports my earlier claim that Maeglin became enamored of Idril because she was sort of the embodiment of everything new and beautiful in Gondolin.

One of the chapters I had the toughest time with was Of Beleriand and it's Realms.  I am not good with all those names and locations.  But my thanks again to Christopher Tolkien for including this in the book:
A map of Beleriand.  Copyright J.R.R. Tolkien.
I studied this and things are making a bit more sense.  I'm sure I will have to rely on this as I go about my reading.

Tomorrow is the Fall of Fingolfin, one of the most renown battles.  You think throwing a Ring in Mt. Doom is tough?  Try battling a Vala one on one.  (Just kidding, Frodo you're awesome!)

Alright, how is your marathon going?  For me, I saved a lot for the afternoon because I figured I would have a lot of time to read, but I was wrong.  I sort of had to cram, but it was alright and still enjoyable.  I would suggest taking your time though on The Silmarillion, especially if this is just your first time.  If you fall behind you can always catch up with The Hobbit, which should be a relatively quick read.  Happy reading!