Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Post About Balrogs and About Ghosts

Happy Halloween!  Hope that you have been having a fun and safe night.

So in the spirit of Halloween, I have dome some looking at some demons and some ghosts in The Lord of the Rings: the Valarukar (Balrogs), and Wraiths (or ghosts).  

Balrogs are Maiar.  For more information on Maiar, see my latest Q&A chart.  This means that they are basically on the same level of the ladder as Gandalf, Saruman, etc. They were fire beings, servants of the smith Vala, Aulë who were corrupted into the service of the First Dark Lord, Melkor in the First Age.  There are records of Balrogs being present in the War of Wrath at the close of the First Age, in Khazad-dûm in the Third Age (the latest reported sighting) and again in the First Age during the Fall of Gondolin. It is not told how the Balrogs in the War if Wrath were killed, but both the Gondolin and Khazad-dûm Balrogs were killed by falling into abysses.  One was killed by Gandalf, a Maia, and one by Glorfindel, an elf.  Both combatants died in the process.  There has been much speculation about the physical appearance of Balrogs.  It is known that they carry "whips of many thongs" and they are somehow linked to fire.  For more information on whether or not they have wings, see my post on the topic.

Wraiths are ghosts.  The most famous wraiths are he Ringwraiths.  The nine rings corrupted them and stretched the life span way over natural time.  A wraith of Gorlim, a mortal who betrayed his group of friends to Morgoth in order to save his wife.  He appeared back to his friends to warn them of Morgoth's pursuit.  As for the etymology of the word "wraith", here is what Tolkien expert Tom Shippey has to say:

"It seems to me the Ringwraiths are Tolkien's most original and distinctive image of evil.  And since he's a philologist, I think we should take a look at the word 'wraith'.  Alright, what's a wraith?  Well it's relate to words we know such as 'wrath' which is anger, it's related to 'wreath' which is a twisted thing,   It's related to the word 'writhe' which is to twist and turn.  And all these things suggest that a wraith is defined by shape, not by substance."

You can hear more of Shippey's comments on wraiths and other topics here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PL-8L1ncr3-O8YFL_N_6KpNXIqyamGFeAN&v=GyVcHPu_UuE

I hope you have enjoyed this background on these two groups, and I hope you had a spooky Halloween!

                                   

Friday, October 30, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

"And again she looked at Faramir. 'No longer do I desire to be a queen,' she said.
Then Faramir laughed merrily. 'That is well,' he said; 'for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.”
― J. R. R. Tolkien

Q&A: How Did Gandalf Come Back From the Dead?

Gandalf is a wizard, or Istar.  The Istari include Saruman, Radagast, and the Two Blue Wizards (not included in the movies).

All of the  groups listed below are immortal.  When Gandalf dies, he returns to his homeland.  From there he is sent back to Middle-earth to complete his task, since Saruman is now corrupted.  See, it's really not so complicated once you look at it.  If you have any questions, I would be happy to help.

<The basic hierarchy of Middle-earth

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Memes...

I'm sorry, but I have been doing a bunch of looking at memes and I just had to share more things you!  These were taken from various sources long ago which I have now lost and so I can't credit them,vault just know that I didn't make these, I'm just sharing them.

                               

                           

                       

                       

   C.                      


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Meme


Mythopoeia Part III

The final part of the analysis of Mythopoeia by J.R.R. Tolkien.

"Such isles they saw afar, and ones more fair,/ and those that hear them yet may yet beware./ They have seen Death and ultimate defeat,/ and yet they would not in despair retreat,/ but oft to victory have tuned the lyre/ and kindled hearts with legendary fire,"
Even though they have seen pain and Evil, they focus on the positive things and sing inspirational songs of victory.

"Illuminating Now and dark Hath-been/ with light of suns as yet by no man seen."
As for "illuminating Now", Tolkien had this idea that we take for granted the things in everyday life.  For instance, maybe you move to a new country and at first are amazed by the new scenery.  But after a few weeks it becomes routine and you cease to appreciate it.  Putting stories in the venue of fantasy makes everything strange and new; you can't really take anything for granted.   Through legends, we rediscover what we have lost.

"I would that I might with the minstrels sing/ and stir the unseen with a throbbing string."
Tolkien wants to be one of those legend writers who helps people rediscover the old things they take for granted.

"I would be with the mariners of the deep/ that cut their slender planks on mountains steep/ and voyage upon a vague and wandering quest,/ for some have passed beyond the fabled West."
He wants to be like the people of legends.

"I would with the beleaguered fools be told,/ that keep an inner fastness where their gold,/ impure and scanty, yet they loyally bring/ to mint in image blurred of distant king,/ or in fantastic banners weave the sheen/ heraldic emblems of a lord unseen."
That king must be God.  Tolkien wants to be a man who still remembers and honors Him.

"I will not walk with your progressive apes/erect and sapient.  Before them gapes/ the dark abyss to which their progress tends/ if by God's mercy progress ever ends,/ and does not ceaselessly revolve the same/ unfruitful course with changing of a name."
I love this part of the poem!  The beginning is Tolkien refusing to believe that mankind is just a coincidence.  He knows that we are different from the rest of creation, and that we were created.  Tolkien was famous for disliking "progress", the idea that people are getting better than everyone in the past and that we are always going up and one day we will end up the masters of everything.  This is a very arrogant view, and Tolkien is saying that we are actually getting worse--from this view--and eventually this idea will lead people into a dark abyss where there is no God but themselves.  They serve themselves as the masters of everything.

"I will not treat your dusty path and flat,/ denoting this by that and this and that,/ your world immutable wherein no part/ the little maker has with maker's art./  I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,/ nor cast my own small golden scepter down."
This last line is particularly interesting.  In it, Tolkien is referring directly to his story.  Melkor, the devil of The Silmarillion wears an Iron Crown.  I will not bow before the devil, is basically what Tolkien is saying there.  As for his golden scepter, it is a tiny replica of God's great scepter.  It shows that Man is made in his image and inherits certain rights and responsibilities with it.

"In Paradise perchance the eye may stray/ from gazing upon everlasting Day/ to see the day illumined, and renew/ form mirrored truth the likeness of the True.  Then looking on the Blessed Land 'twill see/ that all is as it is, and yet made free:/ Salvation changes not, nor yet destroys,/ garden nor gardener, children nor their toys."
The things we do today are what we would do in Heaven but within the confines of the world.  In Heaven, we will still use our gardening tools to do what we have always done, but fully, and truly.

"Evil it will not see, for evil lies/ not in God's picture but in crooked eyes/ not in the source but in malicious choice,/ not in sound but in the tuneless voice."
The last bit is intriguing.  You may remember from The Silmarillion that the way Melkor brought discord and evil into the world was by singing a voice that was not God's design.  He is the tuneless voice.

"In Paradise they look no more awry;/ and though they make anew, they make no lie./ Be sure they still will make, not being dead,"
It is in human nature to make, and so if we're not dead, we're going to continue doing it.

"and poets shall have flames upon their head,"
This is again a Biblical reference.  After Jesus ascended into Heaven, he gave the grace of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles so they could spread the Good News easier.  Then tongues of flame appeared above their heads and suddenly they could speak in many languages and were able to share the news.  Poets and writers and legend makers are able to share the Good News in a language that people will understand.

"and harps whereon their faultless fingers fall:/ there each shall choose for ever from the All."


This is a great poem.  I've really had a great time analyzing it.  Now I just have to memorize it...
If you have any thoughts on this poem I would love the hear them!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mythopoeia Part II

Part two of the reading and analysis of Tolkien's poem about fantasy and faery, entitled Mythopoeia.

"Yet trees are not 'trees', until so named and seen/ and never were so named, till those had been/ who speech's involuted breath unfurled,/ faint echo and dim picture of the world,"
The name 'tree' is only a devising of Men, and therefore doesn't tell the whole story.

"But neither record nor a photograph,/ being divination, judgement, and a laugh/ in response of those that felt astir within/ by deep monition movements that were kin/ to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars:/ free captives undermining shadowy bars,/ digging the foreknown from experience/ and panning the vein of spirit out of sense."
The last bit of this is particularly interesting.  "Panning a vein" is what you do when you pan for gold.  This analogy has spirit akin to gold, and sense just as useful as river water.

"Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves/ and looking backward they beheld the elves"
This part struck me.  "Looking backward" they saw the elves.  I've heard from various people that in Tolkien's time it was considered most important when writing a story to be original and write something new.  However, Tolkien chooses to look back upon the old stories and draw upon their wisdom and their themes, and the beings, or elves.  Tolkien may be emphasizing the importance of looking back, and humbling yourself to take ideas from history.

"That wrought on cunning forges in the mind,"
First we panned for gold, or knowledge, and now the elves are taking that knowledge and crafting and shaping it in their forge like you might to gold.

"And light and dark on secret looms entwined./  He sees no stars who does not see them first/ of living silver made that sudden burst/ to flame like flowers beneath ancient song,"
You may look at the stars, but if you don't appreciate them, you really don't see what they truly are.

"Whose very echo after-music long/ has since pursued.  There is no firmament,/ only a void, unless a jeweled tent/ myth-woven and elf patterned; and no earth,/ unless the mother's womb whence all have birth."
I noticed that Tolkien sometimes referred to the place of Eru, the God in The Silmarillion as a firmament.  This must be equivalent to heaven.  Saying that there is no heaven, no firmament, is just saying that there is nothing but a Void.  So it would seem Tolkien is saying that you can  either believe that there is a Heaven, or embrace that there is nothing.  Which would you rather do?

"The heart of Man is not compound of lies,/ but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,/ and still recalls him.  Though now long estranged,/ Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.  Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned,/ and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned,"
The Only Wise is clearly God, and some of his wisdom is bestowed upon Man and taught to him.  Men do remember God.  Though we are "long estranged" through Original Sin and our imperfection, we are not "wholly lost...or wholly changed".  We still are made in His image, and still retain some dignity and a piece of us belongs to Him.

"His world-dominion by creative act:/ not to worship the great Artefact,"
Perhaps the "great Artefact" is the earth itself?  This part is a bit unclear to me.

"Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light/ through whom is splintered from a single White/ to many hues, and endlessly combined/ in living shapes that move from mind to mind."
The single White light comes from God, and Man is like a prism.  God is the only source of light, the only source of knowledge.  But through us, His wisdom passes through us (like a prism) refracts it and changes it, creating something new, something that would not be there without the prism, or us.

"Though all the crannies of the world we filled/ with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build/ Gods and their houses out of dark and light/ and sowed the seed of dragons, 'twas our right/ (used or misused).  The right has not decayed./ We make still by the law in which we're made."
It is our right to be creative and to shine our light.  With all of the lights together, we might be able to get a glimpse of what the single White light might look like.  What God's wisdom might look like.  So in fact, it is a very good thing to create and so contribute to the overall picture of wisdom.

"Yes!  'wish-fulfillment dreams' we spin to cheat/ our timid hearts and ugly Fact defeat!"
Tolkien was criticized very heavily for not facing facts, so to speak.  Fantasy as a genre was (and still is) viewed as avoiding real life problems, and escaping.  Tolkien had some very strong feelings about that, of course, and here he addresses one.  What is wrong with wanting to fulfill your dreams?  We want to escape from the ugliness of the world and live in a place that is better...is there something wrong with that, Tolkien asks.

"Whence came the wish, and whence the power to dream,/or some things fair and others ugly deem?"
From God!

"All wishes are not idle, nor in vain,/ fulfillment we devise--for pain is pain,/ not for itself to be desired, but ill;/ or else to strive or to subdue the will/ alike were graceless; and of Evil this alone is deadly certain: Evil is."
Evil is in the world, and we will have to face it.  But this fulfillment of dreams is goodness.  And we get to have it.

"Blessed are the timid hearts that evil hate/ that quail in its shadow, and yet shut the gate;/ that seek no parley, and in guarded room,/ though small and bate, upon a clumsy loom/ weave tissues gilded by the far off day/ hoped and believed in under Shadow's sway."
The last part of the second stanza resembles the Beatitudes, which you can read here (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a2.htm).  This particular blessing is for those who are afraid of Evil (rightly so...Evil is bad!) but are not willing to bend to it's will out of fear, but rather shut it out, and reject it.  And in their little room as Evil pounds on the door, they think of Heaven, and maintain hope that there is a place where Evil is gone.

"Blessed are the men of Noah's race that build/ their little arks, though frail and poorly filled,/ and steer through winds contrary towards a wraith,/ a rumor of a harbor guessed by faith."
They are willing to sail across that wild sea just out of the faith they have that there is something better, something waiting for them there.

"Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme/ of things not found within recorded time./ It is not they that have forgot the Night,"
The legend-makers are not fleeing the things they don't like about the world, or "escaping", but people who disregard legends are evading something.

"Or bid us flee to organized delight,/ in lotus-isles of economic bliss/ forswearing souls to gain a Circe-kiss/ (and counterfeit at that, machine produced,/ bogus seduction of the twice-seduced)."


Okay, so the first part of the poem talked about how Man is special: a namer, an organizer, which no one has done before.  But these names are not the end-all.  In fact, they are only a dim description of what is really there.  We lack the wisdom to see it.

This part is about God, and how he sends us his wisdom in White light, and it is our job to let it shine through us so that we can get closer to learning the wisdom he has to teach us.

Tomorrow we will look at the final stanza of the poem.  I hope that you have been enjoying it!  If you have any input or thoughts on the poem, please leave a comment.  Have a nice day!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mythopoeia Part I

Mythopoeia is a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien to convince his friend C.S. Lewis that writing myths is a good usage of time and ultimately glorifies God in your own way.  Read the poem here (http://www.councilofelrond.com/poem/mythopoeia/).  Here is my break down of the poem.

"To one who said that myths were lies and therefore worthless, even though 'breathed through silver'."
This is undoubtedly Tolkien addressing the poem to C.S. Lewis his good friend who had before questioned the merit of writing myths.

"Philomythus to Misomythus/ You look at trees and label them just so,/ (for trees are 'trees', and growing is 'to grow');"
A 'philomythus' is someone who loves myths.  A 'misomythus' is someone who hates myths.  Again, another address to Lewis.  Then we have the labeling.  Men as a race seem to be very into labeling.  Animals, plants, etc.  One of the first things Adam did in the Garden of Eden was to give names to all of the flora and fauna.  Then we have the trees.  We name the trees, and that's it.  Job done.  Right?  No!  This calls to mind Old Entish.  Treebeard continually comments on how rushed the common language is.  He remarks how odd it is that Merry and Pippin call a hill a 'hill'.  Treebeard's name for it is longer and more complex, because the hill itself has a history and a story.

"You walk the earth and tread with solemn pace/ one of the many minor globes of Space: a star's a star, some matter in a ball/ compelled to courses mathematical, amid the regimented, cold, Inane/ where destined atoms are each moment slain."
This is a very modern point of view, one which Tolkien is contesting.  This says that all the universe is are balls of matter rotating and spinning without reason or rhyme, which simply cannot be. There must be a reason for it all.

"At bidding of a Will, to which we bend (and must), but only dimly apprehend/ great processes march on, as Time unrolls/ from dark beginnings to uncertain goals;/ and as on page o'er-written without clue/ with script and limning packed of various hue/there endless multitude of forms appear/ some grim, some frail, some beautiful, some queer/ each alien, except as kin from One/ remote Origo, gnat, man, stone, and sun."
Later in the poem, Tolkien describes each story as "splintered light" from the one true light which comes from God.  He brings that up here, as well.  There are many versions of the light, many colors fragmented, and many combinations, but they all come from that single light which is God.

"God made the petreous rocks, the aboreal trees/ tellurian earth, and stellar stars, and these/ homuncular men, who walk upon the ground/ with nerves that tingle touched by light and sound."
More names we have given: "petreous", "aboreal", "tellurian", "stellar", "homuncular", etc.

"The movements of the sea, the wind in boughs/ green grass, the large slow oddity of cows/ thunder and lightning, birds that wheel and cry/ slime crawling up from mud to live and die/ these each are duly registered and print/ the brains contortions with a separate dint."


This first part of the poem describes how Men like to describe things, and categorize things.  Everything falls into it's place, because it comes from one place--God.  Tomorrow we will look at my favorite part of the poem and we will conclude the next day.  This is a fantastic poem!  I would recommend doing your own research and sharing.  Have a great day!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tales from Valinor: A Meeting and A Parting

Elrond was nervous.

No one in the room would ever have guessed that.  He had much practice concealing his feelings.  He had never really shown how he truly felt.  At least not in a long while.

But now, as he stood in the empty library that was to be his own, he wrung his hands.  Drafts of pale sunlight slanted through the tall windows and shed light on the many unpacked boxes of books and parchments he had brought with him to Valinor.  Elrond absentmindedly tugged on the hem of his green robe, thinking.  Today was the day.  He had been waiting for this day for half an age.

"Ada***?" An elf said, peeking his dark-haired head into the library, "We're ready," he said, voice trembling with excitement.  "Alright, Elladan.  I'll be along," Elrond replied, trying to maintain his composure.  He took a deep breath, and struggled to suppress a nervous smile.  The reality of what was about to happen sunk in and he felt something he had never felt before.  A nervous giggle was brewing inside him.

Elrond stepped slowly out into the hallway, reminding himself to breathe.  He took an interest in the pale walls of the building, trying to distract himself.  

Sitting upon two plush couches in a warm room was the Lady Galadriel and the Lord Celeborn.  Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir were standing behind them.  "Mother, Father," Elrond said, bowing to Galadriel and Celeborn.  He knew that today was a special day for them, as well.

"You go first, Elrond," Galadriel said to him, eyes sparkling.  

Elrond nodded, and closed his eyes for a moment before stepping towards the oaken doors.  With a sigh, he pulled them open, flooding the chamber with a radiant light.  There, standing on the porch was a figure clothed in grey with dark hair and fair skin.  A light emanated from her fair figure and she brought her hands to her heart.

Elrond's heart leapt.  This was more than even he imagined.  Tears sprung into his eyes as he reached for his wife.  "Celebrian," he said to himself, hugging her.  Celebrian laughed joyously, returning Elrond's hug.  They stood there for a long time, Elrond repeating her name over and over again until it felt real.

Celebrian took Elrond's hands and gazed at him for awhile.  "You haven't changed at all, meleth nin^^," she said at last.  Elrond smiled, blissfuly.  He looked back up.  "You look younger, meleth.  You look better!  Like you have been healed. Gellon ned i gelir i chent lîn ned i lelil^,"  Celebrian nodded, graciously and looked behind Elrond.  "Where are my children?"  She called.

Elrond stepped aside and Elladan and Elrohir ran to her.  They bowed, but Celebrian saw no need for such formality as she pulled them close.  "How I have missed you, my sons!"  She exclaimed.  

Celebrian was overjoyed to find her parents, Galadriel and Celeborn.  "You have come!"  She said, "I will admit my heart doubted you would ever come hither.  I am so glad to see everyone!"  She said, tears suddenly falling.  After a moment of pure bliss, Celebrian's face suddenly fell.  She grew a bit paler.

She turned to Elrond, "Meleth nin, mas i'ielleg?*"

Elrond's smile faded.  He took his wife's hands and led her back out onto the porch, alone.

"Celebrian..." he said, softly, looking intently at her hands.  "Uh..." he said, knitting his eyebrows, "I don't know how to say this."  Tears threatened to fill his eyes as he thought back to his parting with Arwen.  "She...she..."  

Suddenly, Celebrian understood.  She pursed her lips.  

"She has remained there, then."  She said, resolutely, "With the king."  She took a deep breath and then smiled faintly.  "I am happy for her, then," she finally expelled, "She will have happy years with him."  Elrond looked at her and smiled weakly.  But Celebrian smiled goodnaturedly, if not wistfully, and nodded reassurance to him.

The two rejoined the rest of the elves inside.

"Tolo na naur, naneth," Elrohir said to Celebrian, gesturing to the couch.  Celebrian obliged and Elrond sat near her, still clutching her hand.

-
^English translation: "I love to see your eyes shine when you laugh."
*English tanslation: "My love, where is my daughter?"
**English translation: "Come near the fire, Mother."
***English translation: "Father?"
^^English translation: "My love."


~


Thanks for reading!  Elrond and Celebrian's sundering from Arwen (for all time, remember) is so heart wrenching to me, and I've always thought about what it would be like for them without her.  If you have suggestions for next week, leave a comment below.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Things Casual Observers of LOTR may not Have Noticed...

For any book-lover the following facts will be standard, but if you're just a casual fan of LOTR you may not be aware of these interesting connections.  Enjoy!

  • Aragorn is over 80 years old at the time of the War of the Ring.  That's right.  Aragorn is of the line of Numenor, a special sub-race of Men who were granted exceptionally long life.  The longest life allotted to any of that race was 500 years.
  • Galadriel is Arwen's grandmother.  Galadriel's daughter, Celebrian married Elrond and they had three kids: Arwen and her two brothers, Elrohir and Elladan.  Celebrian was killed by orcs on her way to visit Galadriel in Lothlorien.
  • Denethor met Aragorn before the War of the Ring. In the movies it seems like Denethor is just hearing rumors about "this Aragorn, son of Arathorn", but actually he had already met him!  Aragorn is old--like I said--and one of the many places he visited was Gondor.  He helped win some important victories in Gondor under an Alias: Thorongil.  Denethor's father held Thorongil in high favor which may be why Denethor was so jealous of him.
  • Sam and Rosie have 13 kids. children: Elanor the Fair, Frodo, Rose, Merry, Pippin, Goldilocks, Hamfast, Daisy, Primrose, Bilbo, Ruby, Robin, and Tolman.  Sam was also the mayor of the Shire for 49 years.  Also, because he had been a ring-bearer for a short time, Sam went to be reunited with Frodo in the Undying Lands.
  • Merry and Pippin were the tallest hobbits in history.  During their time with the Ents, Merry and Pippin drank some Ent-draught which caused them to grow to be a few inches taller than all other hobbits.
  • Photo property of Newline Cinema
  • Aragorn and Arwen are technically cousins.  Elrond's (Arwen's father) brother was Elros, Aragorn's distant forefather which makes Aragorn and Arwen distant cousins.
  • Galadriel is temporarily banned from the Undying Lands.  In the First Age, Galadriel was part of a huge rebellion which caused them to be banned from going back to the Undying Lands.  When Galadriel refuses the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring, she regains entrance.

These are just a few of the weird facts and connections in The Lord of the Rings.  You should consider reading the books to learn more!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Musical Skills

There are so many LOTR fans who have musical talent!  I am dedicating this post to them.

I'm challenging you to find one piece of music--whether it's a video, actual sheet music, a soundtrack, etc.--that you think is outstanding.  If you're up to it, you could even create your own.

I'm anxious to see what you guys can come up with.

Here is my submission: Concerning Hobbits in Acustic Guitar by Jonas Lefvert.
Jonas Lefvert plays this incredibly.  I have seen many covers of this on violin--and in deed have written my own--but I've never seen it on guitar.  It is simply stellar.  Here is the video.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6u04TyaUWE

(All rights belong to Jonas Sefvert). Also check out his covers if The Misty Mountains and The Theme for Rohan.

I am excited to see your favorites!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Professor Tolkien Reacts to The Return of the King Film

Disclaimer:  This is just a parody.  Professor Tolkien did not state any of the following, but it is what I imagine he might think.  I love the movies and this is just meant to be funny.

What Would Tolkien Have Thought of The Lord of the Rings Films?

Gollum finds the One Ring
-No, no, no!  Why is Smeagol already crazy?  The Ring was what made him weird!  And why does he already talk with that accent?  Shouldn't he acquire at after spending time with the Ring?

Sam gives Frodo Lembas
-I wonder why Sam is complaining so much about the lembas.  Lembas is good!  I personally love lembas.

Merry and Pippin at Isengard
-So Saruman is just going to sit in his tower?  I don't think so!  There's no scouring of the Shire in this movie?  But that part is important!

Denethor's Halls
-I don't think it is very fair to portray Denethor so poorly this early on.  Only throughout the story does he dissolve into dispair.  Hmm.

The Mustering of the Rohirrim
-This is nice.

The Paths of the Dead
-I wish they didn't show this.  It is supposed to be mysterious.

Faramir's Ride
-This is nice, but why is there so much cavalry in Gondor?  In the book it says that there are minimal horses and riders in Gondor.

Battle of the Black Gate
-This whole action deal with Aragorn and the troll detracts from the amazingly and truly heroic acts of Frodo and Sam!  This movie is loosing the point of the books! 

The Grey Havens
-I have to be honest...I like this scene.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Professor Tolkien Reacts to The Two Towers Film

Disclaimer: This is a parody of The Two Towers film from the perspective of the author, J.R.R. Tolkien.  These are not actually his comments, but are just things I thought he might notice.

What Would Tolkien Have Thought of The Lord of the Rings Movies?

Flashback to the Death of Gandalf
-I wish that they didn't show the actual battle between Gandalf and the balrog.  You need to leave some things to the imagination.

Frodo and Sam encounter Gollum
-That is not really how I pictured Gollum, but alright.  Hmm...the days should be much darker as they near Mordor.  Oh, and they left out the scene with the elvish rope!  I loved that scene.  Frodo and Sam don't seem to be taking to many safety precautions, walking outside in the wide open in broad daylight. That seems impractical.

The Golden Hall of Edoras
-What is this?  When Gandalf releases Theoden it wasn't a big show!  No action and drama--he simply said "be free" or something like that.  Why is there all of this hullabaloo?  Hmph.

Treebeard
-That is not what I thought Treebeard would look like at all.  I've sort of given up the whole "how I imagined it" theme at this point.

Meanwhile, back at Orthanc
-These flashbacks to Orthanc are odd.  I didn't want that.  Also, I don't like how they intertwined the storylines.  It goes first Aragorn and crew and then Frodo and Sam, not twisted together like this.  Hmm.

Captured by Faramir
-Okay, that does it.  Faramir does not want the Ring.  I stated that clearly in the book.  This is an important point!  Why did they change this, why?

Helm's Deep
-War and action.

Sam's Speech
-That was nice.  But is the movie done?  Frodo hasn't been attacked by Shelob or been captured by orcs!  How can this be The Two Towers if one of the towers--Minas Morgul--is not even in it?

Haha, remember that this is not intended to be serious.  What things to you think Professor Tolkien might notice in the film adaptations?

 
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New Name

You may have noticed I have a new username!  I am now known as "LoverofLembas".  Also my profile picture changed.  Although on comments my picture is still of those flowers and my username is "BloggerHogger" just know that I am the same person, I promise!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

60th Anniversary of The Return of the King

Today marks 60 years since the publication of The Return of the King in 1955!




You may also remember that it was 60 years between the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  What a special day!

But I almost missed this important occasion.  There are so many dates and things to keep up with, that I made this little poster for anyone like me who has a hard time keeping up.  I hope that this helps you!

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We have the anniversary of The Two Towers publication coming up, so that's exciting.  Have a great day, and keep on Loving Lembas!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Professor Tolkien Reacts to The Fellowship of the Ring Film

What would happen if Professor Tolkien saw Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring?

Just in case you don't know the story of the film rights, here's a brief run-down.  Professor Tolkien sold the rights to the films to a middle-man company.  The company made it's money by buying rights like this and selling them to studios.  So it wasn't for sure that the film would even be made.  In fact, Tolkien didn't really think that it would ever be made.  Remember, this is in the 60s and at that time no studio was really prepared to make a movie of that scope and caliber.  Tolkien said that "he would like some money to retire on".  So the rights were sold.  Eventually, Peter Jackson got them and the rest is history.

Now here is what Christopher Tolkien thinks of the movies:

"Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? 'They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,' Christopher says regretfully. 'And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.'
This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. 'Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,' Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. 'The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.'"  (From Le Monde)

Woah!

Actually, I sort of see his point.  Don't get me wrong: I love the movies.  But what he's saying is (you have to admit) somewhat true.  As for eviscerated, that may be an overstatement.  I think that the movie could have been a whole lot worse.  Take my mom for instance.  She has never read the books, but she loves the movies, and we have detailed discussions about themes and stuff all the time.  She got the themes of The Lord of the Rings just from the movies and not from the books.  If you can grasp the overall themes, I think that is a big plus.  TO BE CLEAR: I AM TALKING ABOUT THE ORIGINAL 2001-2003 FILMS, NOT THE HOBBIT.  The Hobbit is, well, way different.

However, the action movie part does bear some weight.  It's true that there is a lot of action in the movies, but isn't there in the books as well?  The movies do speed it up a bit, but that's mostly because of time limits.  The action in itself isn't bad, however it does seem to put more emphasis on war and battle than sitting down and having tea in your hobbit hole.  Take this quote from Faramir (who Tolkien said he related with):
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” (From The Two Towers)

As for the age range, that's true, but that's the ages that the books appeal to for the most part anyway.

I cannot help but cringe when the first thing people think of when they think Lord of the Rings is Orlando Bloom or Elijah Wood.  "Oh my gosh, they are soooo cute!"  Oh, never mind the themes and deeper meanings.  That's not important anyway.

When Christopher Tolkien says he has to turn his head away, he's not kidding.  I'm not sure about the reliability of the source I got this from (Wikipedia), but apparently Christopher Tolkien and his son Simon got into a huge feud when Simon suggested getting involved in the films.  They stopped speaking to each other for a while.  Fortunately, they made up and it's all good now.  But still, that just goes to show you: this stuff is really important to Christopher Tolkien.  It's been around him all his life, and he himself has worked hard to add to the Middle-earth library.

So knowing what Christopher Tolkien thinks, how might the professor have viewed his life's work on the screen?

What Would Tolkien Have Thought of The Lord of the Rings Movies?

Galadriel's monologue in Elvish and English
-Well, that's not how my book began.  Not with a dramatic battle scene, but with a lighthearted hobbit party.

Gandalf Arrives in The Shire and Chats with Frodo
-Wow, that hobbit looks young!  Not quite thirty-three, but alright.  He's skinny, too.  Oh, Gandalf is singing "The Road Goes Ever On and On".  How nice that they included that poem.  Wait, did he just say "you don't think I would miss your UNCLE's birthday party"?  Is he forgetting that it is also Frodo's birthday?  Hmm...  Oh fireworks.  How is Gandalf setting them off with his mind?  You don't really think an Istar would use his powers that lightly, do you?  Hmm...  That's not how I pictured The Shire.  Or the hobbits.  Well I guess it would be impossible for them to make it look exactly how I envisioned it; I can't really fault them there.

The Birthday Party
-Why are Frodo and Sam at the pub together?  It almost looks like their more like friends than master/servant--oooooh.  I suppose they altered that to make it more palatable.  Hmm.  I don't like that.

In Farmer Maggot's Field
-What are Merry and Pippin doing?  Why is Merry even here?  He should be in Bucklebury!  Oh this is bizarre.  Why on earth is Farmer Maggot chasing them with a scythe?  He should be giving them cart rides and free mushrooms!  Why is he an inhumane monster?  And where in the world is Tom Bombadil?  Oh, okay they didn't have enough time to include him.  I am glad that they omitted the whole part instead of trying to cram him in.  That was smart.

In Bree
-So the Hobbits are trusting Strider whole-heartedly?  Hmm.  That doesn't seem smart.  

Weathertop
-How can Frodo see Aragorn in the wraith-world?  What? 

Flight to the Ford
-What is Arwen doing?  Her mother was just killed, and her father is okay with her running about in the wild by herself for days on end?  Is that a sword?  She's not a warrior!  Ugh!  Not every character has to be a warrior!  You can be inspirational and strong without a sword in your hand.

Rivendell
-Why is Rivendell half way outside?  How is it supposed to survive a siege if it's not fortified?  In this time of darkness, does it really make sense to keep this realm completely open?  Hmm.  Is that Elrond?  Why is his hair so long and straight?  And why does he look so old?  Elves stop aging around twenty or so...this is weird.  Oh are they putting Aragorn and Arwen's tale back in the story.  That's nice.  I was upset when the publishers just put it in the appendices of the book.  Is that Legolas?  Again with the weird hair...Why does Boromir has blond hair, exactly?  What kind of Numenorian has blond hair?  Also, Boromir seems strangely rude.  He's not that bad...hmm.  

Moria
-I guess we're not going to look at the Mirrormere or explain the history of this oldest dwelling of dwarves.  Don't worry.  It's not important.  In fact, I probably shouldn't have included it in the books.  These orcs do not look like how I pictured them.  This whole sequence with the stairs is impractical and just...odd.  More action, I suppose.  That balrog is huge.  Is Aragorn dodging arrows?  They're arrows!  Run!

Lothlorien
-Aw, no scene with Nimrodel?  Celeborn's name is not even mentioned? Oh great, there is no gift giving or anything.  At least they included the Light of Earendil.  But I think they should have spent more time on this.  They're always rushing off to more action.  This is the good part!

Amon Hen
-Oh, I guess more action is necessary.  Boromir is going to die in this movie and not in the next one?  Okay.

Breaking of the Fellowship
-Sam and Frodo are very friendly.  I wish they mainlined more of Sam's servitude role.  Service is an important theme!  "Let's hunt some orc"?  When was the last time you ate?  I seriously don't recall anyone eating.

~

Obviously Tolkien would be a bit more eloquent than perhaps I have been, but I think these might be some of the things he would find in the movies that are...um...not to his liking.  I think Tolkien may have had similar opinions of the movies as his son, so it is probably best that he never had to watch them.  

Just so you know, this is supposed to be funny.  I love the movies and this is just a list of things that are a bit odd.  How do you think Tolkien would have responded to the movies?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tales from Valinor: Queen of the West

Frodo smiled to himself as he walked down the path to where he had been staying.  He had just come from standing before the Powers.  He sighed as he recalled their majesty as they sat on their fourteen thrones in a circle.  Thousands of elves sat at their feet listening to their every word.  Vanyar elves; he knew from their golden hair.  Also surrounding the lords and ladies of the west were their servants, the Maiar.

Frodo remembered when he first entered the chamber they had called forth "Olorin", the Istar who had led Middle-earth to victory of Sauron.  A radiant being stood forth humbly.   Frodo almost called out in protest.  Gandalf led them to victory, not some glowing imposter!    But then a voice came into his mind.  It was clear and melodious...like birds singing.  It reassured him that it was Gandalf, only in a different form.

Gandalf was having his moment of glory.  He was held in high honor in all the land for all of his valiant and wise deeds.  Frodo was happy to see him finally get the recognition he deserved.

As Frodo recalled all of the words of thanks and gratitude spoken to him, he sensed someone behind him.  His heart was moved and he turned around.  A ways back on the path stood a tall woman with fair skin and hair as dark as the midnight.  She wore draping deep purple robes and each time she moved they swayed with such grace as Frodo had not seen even on Galadriel or Arwen.  This woman was in a different class.

She spoke softly Frodo's name.  Her voice sounded just like the one he had heard in the council chamber.  It was deep and thoughtful, but kind and wise.  As she approached him, Frodo felt a sudden impulse to bow.

"Your ladyship," he said.

"I remember you," the woman said simply, gazing into Frodo's eyes.  Her eyes sparkled like a million stars and seemed to pierce Frodo's eyes.  After a moment of awe and dumbstruckedness, Frodo again spoke.

"How can you know me?  I remember you from the council but I don't believe we have ever spoken..."

"Yes of course we have, great one!"  She said, smiling widely.  "You called on me for aid."  She looked at him expectantly.

Frodo was shaken.  No one had ever called him "great one" before.  Usually it was "little one" or "small one".
When it was clear that Frodo had no notion of what she was speaking about, the woman laughed softly and goodnaturedly.  "My name is Varda--though some call me Elbereth."

Frodo's eyes widened with recognition and he fell to his knees.  "O Elbereth Gilthoniel!" He cried instinctively.  He remembered clearly now his call on her in the spider's lair.

Elbereth smiled and nodded.  She helped him up as Frodo gazed at her in awe.

"Frodo," said another voice.  From behind Elbereth came the form of Gandalf that they called Olorin.  "I see you have met my mistress.  Lady Elbereth commands me and I am her servant.  She it was who sent me to Middle-earth," Gandalf explained.

"Then I owe you much," Frodo said to Elbereth, gratefully, "For without your wisdom, the world of Middle-earth would be in grave peril.  My thanks," Frodo said, taking a sweeping bow.

Elbereth smiled at him, eyes sparkling, and then turned to Gandalf.  "Olorin," she said, "I am glad that you are back here in Valinor.  I know that we have missed you.  The day that I sent you to Middle-earth was a great one: for it brought hope to those people.  But it was also a bitter one, for we here missed you greatly.  I missed you in the gardens of dreams as you so often walked in, and I missed your good company and wisdom.  Tell me, Olorin, do you remember the day that you left?"

---

"Manwe please!  Please!"  A young voice called, "Please take Ainwendil!  Someone must go to help the trees!"  It was Yavanna, the Vala of growth and nature.

"For you, I will allow it."  Manwe said finally, tiredly.  Yavanna breathed deeply and thanked him.

It had been a long council full of many opinions and proposals.  Only one Maiar was left to be chosen.  Four had already been chosen to go to the great lands as Istari: Curumo and Ainwendil who men would one day call Saruman and Radagast, and Atanatar and Pallando, who do not come into these tales.

Suddenly, Varda moved.  "My lord," she said in her soft and wise way, "Take Olorin.  He is wise and humble."

Weary of all the talk and trusting in his wife, Manwe moved that it be done.  And so the five were chosen.

"Fare-thee-well, Olorin.  My heart tells me that your vigilance and wisdom will aid you fiercely in the trials that are to come.  Remember all that you have learned, Dream-master!"  Varda called to Olorin as he stood near the ships, preparing to depart for the great lands.

"The Light of Valinor is in your eyes, the courage of Orome, the kindness of Yavanna, the wisdom of Mandos, and the service of the secret fire burns bright within you."  She said.

Olorin boarded the white ships and sailed from Valinor.


~


Hello.  Sorry this is being posted so late; I have been sort of busy lately.   I'm having a bit of writer's block and I'm having a little trouble actually writing these chapters, more than I expected.  I actually wrote a lot of this story on my iPad and then suddenly it randomly deleted.  Note to self: don't use the iPad app for to blog.  I'm always running into trouble with that!  So I had to rewrite it all on my PC!  Ahh!  Anyway, if you have any writing tips, I'd be happy to hear from you!  Of course character ideas and other suggestions are always welcome.  Next week some characters I'm hoping to include are Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, Galadriel, Celeborn, and Celebrian, so look forward to that!  Well, that's about it.  I hope that you've been enjoying these stories so far and as they go on I think I will have an easier time actually developing conflict.  So far it's been a lot of exposition, and I know that can be kind of rough on a story.  Have a nice day!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Self-Sacrifice

Self-Sacrifice is a major theme in The Lord of the Rings.  You can see it clearly demonstrated by Gandalf when he fights the balrog in the mines of Moria.  He gives up his life in order to save his friends and to ultimately, all the free people of Middle-earth.

It's a very Christian idea, "there is no greater love, says the LORD, than to lay down your life for a friend." (John 15:9-17).

But you don't necessarily have to die in order for it to be self-sacrifice.  Frodo volunteering to take the Ring is a sort of self-sacrifice.  He knows he will have to carry a heavy burden for a long time away from the comforts of home, but he understands that he needs to do this to save the free peoples.

Sam does sacrifice himself to help Frodo.  He doesn't have to go into Mordor, but he chooses to because he puts Frodo and Middle-earth's needs over his own.

You may notice that all of these examples involve love.  Gandalf does what he does because he loves his friends and Middle-earth and he wants them to live.  Frodo does what he does because loves the Shire and the free parts of Middle-earth.  Sam does what he does because he loves Feodo and wants to help him.

If you have any other examples of self-sacrifice, post them in the comments, please!


                                                     

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Cottage of Lost Play

When I finished The Silmarillion, I was hungry for more Lord of the Rings as I'm sure many of you are. However, I had considerable trouble navigating the complex waters of Middle-earth. Words like Unfinished Tales, Lost Tales, History of Middle-earth, Lays of Beleriand, Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil left me at a complete loss. Where to start?

I have been able to finally get a grip on the situation. Here is a break down of what is what.

The Hobbit- The Hobbit was the first book published by Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. It was written as a children's book and received great acclaim.

The Lord of the Rings- After Tolkien's publisher requested that Tolkien write a sequel to The Hobbit, Tolkien submitted an unfinished volume of The Silmarillion. After a few attempts to get the book published, it was ultimately turned down and not published. So Tolkien wrote another sequel to The Hobbit. This book was published from 1954-1955 in three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Yes, it is all one story and was only published in three volumes because of printing costs and paper rationing following World War II. But for all purposes, The Lord of the Rings is a single book.

The Silmarillion- When Tolkien passed away he had a lot of unfinished work, including that manuscript of The Silmarillion that was never published. Tolkien's son, Christopher compiled the work together into The Silmarillion we know today. However, because this was all out together by Christopher and not by J.R.R. himself, it is not considered canon, though Christopher Tolkien assures us that it is very close it his father's original conception.

The Children of Húrin- Narn i hin Húrin is an Elvish lay (or poem/song) that recalls the take of Turin and his sister, Nienor which was published in The Silmarillion in the chapter called Of Túrin Turambar. This is an expanded version of the story published separately by Christopher Tolkien.

The Unfinished Tales- The Unfinished Tales is a collection of short tidbits expanding upon elements in The Lord of the Rings (such as the wizards and how they came to Middle-earth) and The Silmarillion (like Of the Coming of Tuor, which comes right before Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin). It was another one published by Christopher Tolkien.

The History of Middle-earth- This is a twelve volume series of early drafts and manuscripts concerning Tolkien's Middle-earth. One thing that really confused me was the fact that the first two books in the series are called The Book of Lost Tales Part I and II. These are part of the series. Also, these books are often published in a three volume set with four books per volume.


It can be confusing to try and figure out which books are which stand what to read. There are of course other books like The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, but I will save those for another post. I hope that this list helped you understand what the history of these books is.

Today I actually wanted to tell you about the first chapter of The Book of Lost Tales Part I entitled The Cottage of Lost Play. You may remember that when I first read The Silmarillion I was really confused. One of the things that really helped me was summarizing what was going on as I read. So that's what I've done with this other story.

The story opens up with meeting a man who is described as "a man of great curiosity" is brought by boat to Tol Eressëa, a fairy land. These fairies must be elves--it was actually a long time before Tolkien began using the term "elves" to describe the Eldar, and even in modern copies of The Hobbit, "fairy" is still used. So this man has stumbled into fairy lands, and he wanders for awhile before coming upon a city in the middle of the island. At this point, it was nearing bed time and even though he was known for being curious, he still wanted this adventure it be over so he could eat and go to sleep. So Eriol--the man's name--decides that even though he doesn't know this town, he really wants to settled down, so he heads down into the town.

When the story says he is a man of great curiosity, he is called "a son of Eärendel". One of Tolkien's earliest stories was the story of Eärendel the mariner, who is actually a character in a poem that Tolkien was inspired by. Now Eärendil we know from The Silmarillion certainly was curious. He was constantly sailing uncharted waters, and so it makes perfect sense for this curious man--Eriol--to be referred to as "his son". Though it must be noted that Christopher Tolkien points out he is not really a son of Eärendel, but that is just a term to describe a curious person. But curious as he is, everyone needs supper and sleep, so he heads into town.

He goes down into the town and sees an odd little house. It looks so comfortable and he longs to enter it. He knocks on the door and find out that the house belongs to a couple and their children. The person at the door explains to Eriol that the people who live in the house are very small and that if Eriol wishes to enter the house he too must become small. Eriol says he would like to come into the house and be their guest, and as he steps over the threshold, he finds that the house is very spacious (he shrunk). He is the happiest he has ever been since landing on Tol Eressëa.

One has to wonder about the significance of the fairies being small, especially since Tolkien criticized that mindset about both elves and fairies. Perhaps this detail is only meant to make the house all the more magical.

So he speaks to the owners of the house, Vairë and Lindo. He says his name is Stranger and that he comes form Middle-earth (at this time at he phrase "Middle-earth" was not used, however). He is given supper. A great gong rings out and suddenly Children start pouring into the room, laughing and being merry. Vairë explains that the gong signals to the Children to come in from their play and eat. Throughout the meal, Eriol, Vairë, and Lindo exchange information about themselves. Lindo explains the geography of Tol Eressëa. He tells Eriol that to the south is the Land of Elms (whence Eriol came) and now he is in the main city which has the tower of Kortirion, the "citadel of the world". He then talks all about the history of the island.

Vairë is the name of a Valier (a queen of the Valar) in the published Silmarillion, though here she appears to be a regular elf, or fairy, as they are called. The name change does not seem important.

I won't spoil you any further, but I recommend that you read this book. I am enjoying it so far!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Update

I haven't given an update about what I've been reading for awhile, so here goes.

I finished the Unfinished Tales about a week go.  AMAZING.  If you liked The Silmarillion, prepare for even more in depth looks at the stories you love.  But the best part is, it's great for people who haven't read The Silmarillion.  There is tons of stuff in there if you like Numenor such as the tale of Aldarion and Erendis, and also things for fans of just The Lord of the Rings such as a detailed account of the Palantiri, how they work, where they are, etc.  For instance, did you know that some Palantiri (like the one on Amon Sul, or Weathertop) are huge?  It was ginormous! There are all kinds of little tidbits of information you may have overlooked that are just waiting to be read.

So now that I have finished the Unfinished Tales (is that even possible?) I am onto the Book of Lost Tales Part I.  I just finished the chapter The Cottage of Lost Play.  I feel like I'm back on level one, not knowing anything about the stories in the book.  Like when I started The Silmarillion and I was just totally overwhelmed.  These earlier versions of The Silmarillion are completely different.  By the way, if you didn't know, The Book of Lost Tales is the first volume of The History of Middle-earth which is twelve volumes long.  It is basically a compilation of early drafts and manuscripts that were not published during Tolkien's lifetime.

It's hard to read this new book without having much background, but I think I can manage it.

I've been thinking about whats on my list of books to read, and I've decided that I am going to follow through with the twelve volume set of The History of Middle-earth and then launch into other Tolkien stories like Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Then I will read The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, reread a fantastic book called Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism, and other Tolkien biographies and essays.  I'm hoping to meet the mid-way mark of finishing the twelve volume set by January 3, Tolkien's birthday.  Please feel free to join me!   I will update you periodically with how it is going.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fanfiction

In the past I have been hesitent to approach LOTR fanfiction.  You are probably aware that Tolkien was very sensitive in the way his work was treated and very picky about it.  Tolkien doesn't seem like the type of author who wants his fans toying around with his life work and changing things up without his permission.  However, I have grown to appreciate fanfiction, and here's why.

Tolkien has stated over and over again that he feels creating things of your own is a very good thing.  You might know that Tolkien was a Catholic (like me!) and he believed that everyone's goal should be to be like Christ.  So what things does Christ do?  Well, for one, he creates.  He created all of the earth.  Similarily, we can imitate him by "subcreating" our own world, like Tolkien did in Middle-earth.  

So obviously Tolkien thought it was important for people to be able to create.  

Now what if you're not the great literary mind that Tolkien was?  It can be hard to start.  That's why fanfiction can be so helpful.  With the world and basic storyline already set out, you can begin to learn how to write and see how you like it.  I think that the fact that fanfiction is the gateway to learning how to create would make it seem more favorable to Tolkien.

A couple of things, though.  There is something to be said for harming someone's work.  Remember that Tolkien spent his entire life on The Lord of the Rings and this is not something to be taken lightly.  Respect is due.  What does that mean?  Try to mantain the character and themes of the stories as much as possible.  As long as you keep that in mind, you should be golden.

Here are some of my favorite fanfictions.

Building Ithilien     -     If you are a romantic, this fanfiction by Raider-K is great for you.  Raider-K does a great job building characters and establishing motives.  Check it out! https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1268390/1/Building-Ithilien

My Adventures in The Hobbit     -     The author of this fantastic fanfiction is actually a fellow Lover of Lembas, LittleFlower2001.  LittleFlower2001 recommended this to me and I love it!  If you like stories with original characters and The Hobbit, this is the story for you.
http://myadventuresinthehobbit.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-thrush-knocked.html?showComment=1444876418893#c777692708634998935

Confessions of a Sharp Glance.    -     If you are a fan of Maeglin, this is the fanfiction for you.  It shows Maeglin's treachery, but also makes him relatable...you understand how tormented he was.
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1333124/1/Confessions-of-a-Sharp-Glance

I don't read that much fanfiction, but I will continue updating you with any more that I find.  Have a great day and keep on Loving Lembas!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Halloween Costumes

If you're like me, you like dressing up as LOTR characters for Halloween.  But it's not always easy to assemble convincing costumes.  So here are some tips and tricks to make your costume one of a kind.

Hobbits
Most of my Halloween costumes are nerdy fictional characters that are homemade.  It's really frustrating to me to have to explain to everyone who I am.  "I'm obviously Aragorn son of Arathorn of the line of Isildur (and technically Anarion) the heir to the throne of Gondor, also called the Elessar and Elfstone of the house of Telcontar...duh!  How could you not know that?"  To avoid this problem, I have considered dressing up as a hobbit.  Hobbits are a little more distinguishable because of their unique fashion and because of the movies.   Here are some tips about how to make your costume.

Newline Cinema

  • You will need an undershirt.  Try to get a white fluffy shirt made out of a canvas type fabric such as gunny.
  • Then, you will need a waistcoat.  A vest will work fine as long as it has buttons and is a bright color.  Oranges, reds, and yellows work best although brown is also acceptable.  If you have a pocket watch, tuck it into one of your pockets with the chain hanging out to make you look classy.
  • Next is the cloak.  The Lothlorien cloaks depicted in the movies are made out of a woolen material that is dyed a mossy green color.  It should have a long, draping hood.  Click here (http://www.councilofelrond.com/craft/accessories-crafting-your-own-realistic-fellowship-brooch/) to learn how to make the pin that clasps it at the neck.
  • You will need trousers called knickers.  They are cut off in between the ankle and knee at a somewhat awkward point and are depicted as being a rough brown color.
  • For the ears you can probably find elvish ears at a Halloween or craft store which work fine, otherwise you can use goblin or pixie ears and spray paint them to match your skin color.
  • As for your hair, if you are have long hair you can curl it into ringlets and perhaps tie it with a brightly colored ribbon, or of course you can purchase a wig.
  • Feet are a bit tricky especially if you are planning on trick-or-treating.  I would recommend wearing fairly inconspicuous shoes (don't draw attention to them!).
Elves
Being an elf for Halloween would be my first choice, but it can be tricky to make a costume that is recognizable.  For this I am going to turn you over to my friends at Council of Elrond who have a bit more knowledge of this area than I do.  Here is the link to the Last Homely House where you can find all kinds of LOTR crafts.

http://www.councilofelrond.com/craft/

I hope that these tips helped you out.  Remember to post any other ideas you have in the comments.  Happy Halloween!

1000 Views!

Wow, we just tipped the scales to over 1000 views!  I'm really glad that there are so many great LOTR fans out there.  Really I think it is one of the best fan communities.  I am honored that you have chosen Lover of Lembas for your LOTR fix.  Please continue contributing and coming back.  I've been working really hard on my posts, and I am always ready to hear your suggestions and ideas, so leave a comment whenever you can.  With that said, Lover of Lembas would not be the same without the dedicated commenters (is that a word??).  You make this site what it is today: a fun place for fans to come together and talk about LOTR.  I want to thank each and every one for being so supportive.  Thank you!


Monday, October 12, 2015

You Know You're a Nerd When...

You sing along to the soundtrack...even though most songs don't have words.
You think it could be fun to raft down a river in barrels.
You know who Gildor Inglorion is.
You shout at people in elvish when you are frustrated.
"The Vegence of the house of Hador" will find your enemies yet.
You call your friends "companions".
You have memorized all of "The Road Goes Ever On".
You find yourself unconsciously doodling Silmarillion characters.
You carry a walking stick.
You have a favorite house of elves.
You look for entwives when you go on walks.
You wonder what dragon eggs might look like.
You know the music queues just as well as the movie quotes and hum along.
You are considering writing (or have written) "speak friend and enter" on your bedroom door.
If someone reads a quote from a book you can tell them exactly what chapter they're in and who said it.
At one point in your life you have been engaged in a heated debate about a certain elf's hair color.
You visualize the movie as you listen to the soundtrack and know exactly what is happening at any given point.
You have considered (or have had) a second breakfast.
You wish you could visit The Golden Perch.
You have begun using words like "ere" in your daily speech. 
You know what Orodruin is.
You have an imaginary weapon which you have named and given detailed lineage to.
You re-inact scenes if you are feeling particularly bored.  Or even if you're not.
One of your favorite days of the year is March 25th.
You want to learn to play the pan-flute.
Your computer automatically corrects the word "merry" to Merry.

What other nerdy things do you do?  Don't be shy!  Comment below and have a great day!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tales from Valinor: White Shores

Well I've decided that each Sunday I am going to post one chapter of a new fanfiction called Tales from Valinor.  Don't worry, my fanfiction is always very close to the real canon and there is no slash or complete diversions from the suggestions in the canon.  The premise is that Frodo hears and shares all kinds of tales in Valinor from the various elves and also Sam, Bilbo, and Gimli.  Most tales will be flashbacks to other events that actually took place in Middle-earth, but there might be extra stories that take place in the Undying Lands.  Because the series takes place in Valinor, there are many characters that might make appearances: Fëanor, Fingolfin, Finarfin, Idril, Tuor, Gimli, Legolas, Glorfindel, Elrond, Galadriel, Sam, Frodo, Bilbo, Turgon, Finduilas, Nellas, Thingol, and just about any elf you can imagine, and possibly a Vala or Maia once in a while.  Of course this places limits in other characters: Túrin, Aragorn, Beren, Lúthien, Faramir, Boromir, Denethor, Arwen, Merry, Pippin, and Rosie cannot be involved, though--as I said--they may be in stories that are flashbacks.  Without further ado, here is the first chapter.

White Shores
     Frodo stood on his tip toes to see over the bow of the ship.  The smooth white wood blocked his view, but he could hear excited calls from among the crew.  
     "We're almost there!" They cried.  
     "Let me help you, my lad," a familiar voice said.  Frodo felt the rough old hand of the wizard Gandalf on his shoulder.  He led him to the very front of the ship and helped him onto a barrel.  Frodo gasped with amazement.
     The streamlined boat glided through the water with white foam spraying out at him.  Far in the distance he could descry a shadowy land.
     "Is that it, Gandalf?  Is that the West?" Frodo asked in awe.
     "No, Frodo, my lad.  That is Tol Eressëa, the Lonely Isle.  There dwell the Telerin elves."
     "Telerin?  Like the elves of the stories Bilbo used to tell me," Frodo replied, craning his neck to see the isle clearer.
     "Yes," Gandalf answered wistfully.  "We are almost there."
     Gandalf sat down on a barrel.  He sighed deeply.  "Ah," he said, "I have not been able to sit, to truly sit down in a very long time.  There is something special about sitting, you know," he went on, "Something most folk quite overlook, I deem.  Having a nice seat--even if it is just a barrel--and getting off your feet is a very precious thing.  For years I have only been able to sit and think and fret and calculate, but as we near my home...I can sit and rest.  Breathe the free air again.  Free from bonds of worry and responsibility.  Do you feel it, Frodo?"
     "No," the hobbit said thoughtfully, "At least not yet.  I am too excited to rejoice over sitting.  I would rather be walking...taking a long hike around the Elvish lands and seeing all that there is to see.  But then, I think I may never be free of my hurts.  I suppose that is the point of my going.  We will see if it helps."
     Gandalf looked fondly at the hobbit.  "You have carried much responsibility. But I think that you will begin to unload it once we land."
     The ship neared the island.  Frodo glimpsed elves walking around the island.  Their hair was dark and their faces pale.  Most wore light blue robes, but Frodo could not see much more than that.  The ship pulled into the harbor.  To Frodo's surprise, there were only other swan-ships from Middle-earth and no others.  
     "Gandalf," Frodo said in a reverent whisper, "Why don't the elves on this island have any ships of their own?  All of these were built in Middle-earth, I see.  How did these elves even get here if they have not ships?"
     "Frodo, you forget the tales, I see!" Gandalf exclaimed, "For surely you must remember the tale of Ossë.  The Maia took these elves on an island and pulled them out to sea so he could be with them; so great was their love for each other.  They have dwelt here ever since."
     "Of course!"  Frodo said, "I remember now.  The sea elves."

     Three days of seafaring later, and suddenly the sea stilled.  Frodo saw his own glossy reflection in the water.  The ship was silent and kept on a steady course.  A white shore glimmered in the distance.  A high mountain range towered like the citadels of a palace.  The white melted into a spring green.  The stars glimmered overhead.  Frodo gazed dreamily at the night sky.  Little by little a pale yellow and pink sparked on the horizon.  Soon it bloomed into a fire of colors.  Long fingers of light and color stretched over the infinite sky and reached towards Frodo on the ship.  Finally an orange bomb burst on the horizon and filled the sky.  The swift sunrise revealed a that the green country spread far and wide in all directions.  Frodo stared at the sky and thought of the stars hidden above the blankets of light that shown down upon him.

Frodo fell asleep.  Suddenly all of his weariness doubled and he fell towards the deck of the ship.  But he wasn't met with the hard clash of wood and bone, but with a feather pillow and a comforting blanket.  And when he awoke, he was not on the ship at all, but nestled in an oaken carved bed and white covering surrounding him.  
     "Welcome to Valinor, Frodo Baggins," said a voice.  It was Elrond.  A star shimmered on his brow, though it was not his crown.  Seeing that Frodo was confused about his change, Elrond replied, "Lord of Rivendell I was, yes, but here I am the subject of a greater lord who rules beneath The One.  Now we are in the land of Valinor."  With those words, Frodo felt his heart swell and his hands tremor.  He was finally in Valinor.
     "You will be summoned before The Lord of the West today and there he will speak with you.  Rest, and be at ease.  Here you will be cleansed."
    
~


In the next chapter, Frod will stand before the Valar.  Leave a comment with any ideas you have or suggestions for characters you want to be incorporated.  Nothing is set in stone so the story is really a sort of collaboration between all of us.  I hope that you enjoyed this sort of "teaser" chapter, and next time we will get into the real meat of things.  Until then, galu!


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lord of the Rings Quotes

“I don’t like anything here at all.” said Frodo, “step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.”

“Yes, that’s so,” said Sam, “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo, adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and
looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on, and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same; like old Mr Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

“I wonder,” said Frodo, “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.” 

Friday, October 9, 2015

LOTR Art

One of the great things about The Lord of the Rings is that it inspires people.  There are so many different elements of interest for all kinds of people: people interested in botany can try and decipher what simbelmynë looks like; those who like armor obviously have loads to imagine; warfare strategists can read all about the Battle of the Pelennor, the Battle at the Fords of Isen, The Battle of the Five Armies...well you get it.  What I'm saying is that The Lord of the Rings is so rich in detail that it becomes like a second world.  This is very inspiring and it leads to some fantastic fan creations.

There is music, sculptures, poetry, stories, and of course drawings and paintings.  In this article I want to just highlight some of my favorite Tolkien fan creations and creators.

The first creator is an artist named Alan Lee.  You've probably heard of him.  He's known for his spectacular use of water colors and has done numerous designs for book covers and calendars.  He did the cover for The Children of Hurin, shown below, and did all of the illustrations for the illustrated version of that book.  He worked with fellow Tolkien artist John Howe to create some of the conceptional art for the LOTR movies.  He is my favorite Tolkien artist, and here is my favorite painting and one of my favorite drawings of his.
This may be my all time favorite LOTR piece. I love the
color scheme...a sense of foreboding that is entirely
appropriate for the tragic story of Turin Turambar.
The dragon helm of Dor-lomin is excellently
depicted as well. I also love the army slowly 
climbing up the precipice as 
Turin surveys the land.

Alan Lee is known for being great at depicting
armor and this sketch shows his skill.














The second artist is a musician, David Arkenstone.  He created his own soundtrack inspired by The Lord of the Rings, which you can listen to here:



Of course everyone involved in the creating of the movies: Richard Taylor, Peter Jackson, Howard Shore, Philippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Tania Rogers and all of the people that put that together were all doing it in inspiration of the books.  All of their work is a tribute to Tolkien and the depth of the world that he put together.

Weta Workshop, the team that did the "design, the fabrication, and the onset operation of the special makeup effects and prosthetics, the armor, the weapons, the creatures, and the miniatures."


What do you like to create?  How does Tolkien inspire you?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Aragorn and Gandalf

You probably know that I watched The Lord of the Rings movies before I read the books.  So my thoughts about the characters are kind of skewed.  For instance, I picture Saruman as having very blond hair as he did in the movies as opposed to his "raven" colored hair from the book.

Two other characters affected by this are Aragorn and Gandalf.

Photo Property of Newline Cinema

Aragorn is undisputedly a favorite from the movies for obvious reasons.  However, when I read the books I was completely off-put.  I have to say that I like the movie Aragorn better than the book!  (Sorry, it's like LOTR blasphemy, but it's true!)  Aragorn in the movie seems to me much more humble and kind.  For instance, when asked to hand over his weapons in "The Two Towers" movie, to Hama, he does so.  He obviously thinks it's an insulting request, but he does it because he is the guest of the Rohirrim, and he follows their command.  However, in the book, he responds very egotistically saying: "It is not clear to me that the will of Théoden son of Thengel even though he be lord of the Mark, should prevail over the will of Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elendil's heir of Gondor."  Quite bold, especially since Aragorn has not even claimed the kingship yet!

The opposite is true for Gandalf.  In the movies, Gandalf seems relatively...well...rude.  He yells at Pippin--though yes, of course, Pippin did something wrong albeit unintentionally.  In the book, he also yells at Pippin.  But, the difference is that after he sees that Pippin is alright (this is after the Palantir incident) he smiles at him and comments on how he was strong not to submit to Sauron's will.  He later takes the time to explain to Pippin why the Palantir is so important and it's history so that Pippin understands.  Book Gandalf is much kinder and careful around people's feelings.  Movie Gandalf seems completely numb to Pippin's feelings.

What do you think about the difference between book and movie?  Which did you know first, and was it a jolt to meet a completely different version of them later?  Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Aldarion and Erendis

So you may know that I am reading The Unfinished Tales.  One of the stories in this volume is about Aldarion, the heir in Numenor and Erendis.  Here is a brief summary of what goes down.

Aldarion was always fascinated by ships and becoming a mariner.  He was taught by his mother's father.  He sailed back and forth to Middle-earth and it was his greatest joy to build ships and sail.  He even founded a club called the Guild of Venturers.  His father was Meneldur, the king of Numenor.  His father disapproved of his sailing habits, but let it slide for a while.

Erendis was one of Aldarion's mother's maids.  She fell in love with Aldarion, though he didn't notice for a long time.  Eventually, his father made it known to him.  His father wanted Aldarion to stop sailing, settle down, and produce an heir to the crown.  He was worried also because Erendis did not have the long life of the heirs of Elendil, and her life was already beginning to fade.

After a while Aldarion finally agreed and he and Erendis got married and had a daughter, Ancalimë.  But only four years later, Aldarion grew restless and sailed away to Middle-earth.  He did not come back when he was supposed to, but tarried in Middle-earth.  Erendis grew angry with him, for choosing the sea over her.  And she basically disowned him as her husband and they never lived together again.

Yeah, it's not really the happiest story.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, however.  It did have some sweet moments and I'll be honest, when it ended, I was shocked.  I totally expected a turn around and a make up, but they really never get over it.

Let's look at the characters.  First we have Meneldur.  I've got to say that I really love his character.  Every time I watch a Disney movie or another movie where the children are trying to rebel against their parents and do what is modern or progressive, everyone seems to root for that kid.  But I am a bit old fashioned and I am always on the parent's side, it seems.  So when Meneldur was trying to counsel his kid to be practical, I was completely on his side.  Here is the description of Meneldur we get initially in the story:

"Meneldur was a man of gentle mood, without pride, whose exercise was rather in thought than in deeds of the body.  He loved dearly the land of Numenor...he was enamored of the stars and the heavens."

The first part of this quote reminded me distinctly of Faramir and his love of knowledge rather than of war and fighting.  The second part just seems appreciative and all around kind.

So Meneldur is a great character, in my opinion.  Then we meet Aldarion, who seems slightly rogue and indecisive.  Not my favorite character.  I have to admit for a few minutes he seemed genuine, but I was very angry with him when he sailed away from his family and his duty.  I feel the same way with Erendis.  She was so kind in the beginning, but I feel like she may have overreacted(?) when Aldarion went away.

One theme I found in the story was family.  Once Aldarion got married and had a child, he was responsible for them and it was his duty to be with them and to care for them, but instead he sailed away and abandoned them.

All in all, this story was a wild ride.  From a happy love story to anger and contempt, it was never dull and so far has been one of my favorite stories in The Unfinished Tales.  I think it is worth your time to read it especially if you like tales of Numenor.

I will not say the day is done, nor bid the stars farewell. -Samwise Gamgee