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Archive for March, 2015

A Speculative History Of Aragorn II In Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth

aragorn3Forum member Otaku-sempai has submitted an informative, in-depth analysis of how the time-line of Aragorn’s life was changed and condensed as presented in The Lord of the Rings movies, and alluded to in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Enjoy this well-researched article!

A Speculative History Of Aragorn II In Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth – by Otaku-sempai

The words of the Elvenking Thranduil to his son Legolas at the end of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concerning the young Dúnadan Ranger called Strider confirms the long-held assertion that Peter Jackson substantially altered the timeline of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in his film adaptation by all but eliminating the seventeen-year gap between Bilbo Baggins’ one hundred eleventh birthday and Frodo’s departure from the Shire.  Rather than a young boy being fostered secretly in Rivendell by Lord Elrond, Aragorn son of Arathorn is a young adult abroad in the world.  How old is he at this time?  How far along is he on his journey of exploration and self-discovery?  Where does Aragorn go from here?  We can answer these questions, but we have to make some assumptions in the process.

Preliminaries

Can we determine Aragorn’s age?  First we must determine the years of the War of the Ring within Jackson’s film trilogy.  In the extended edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” we are given the exact date of Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday: The twenty-second of September in the year three thousand of the Third Age. According to Professor Tolkien, Bilbo chose this date to leave the Shire because it was also the thirty-third birthday and coming-of-age of his nephew (really cousin) and heir Frodo Baggins.

In the commentary track with Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the director and writers discuss the shortened time-frame of the film, suggesting that as little as a few months pass before Frodo and Sam leave Bag End for Rivendell rather than the seventeen years indicated by Tolkien.  We see in the film that Gandalf the Wizard leaves Bag End to investigate Bilbo’s Ring, traveling to Minas Tirith in Gondor and (presumably) tracking down and questioning the creature Gollum in his investigation before returning to Hobbiton and advising Frodo to go to Rivendell.  All this must have taken a significant amount of time, at least one year as Frodo is able to leave home and awaken in the house of Elrond on the date of 24 October (as told to him by Gandalf).

We know that not very much more than a year or so passes before Frodo leaves the Shire because of the ages of his companions Sam, Merry and Pippin.  In Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien provides the birth-years of Frodo (9268), his cousins Meriadoc Brandybuck (2982) and Peregrin Took (2990), and Samwise Gamgee (2980), showing that the latter three were all either children or adolescents by Hobbit standards at the time of Bilbo’s birthday party (the year 3001 in Tolkien’s legendarium). Peter Jackson ages them up so that all three are now Frodo’s contemporaries in age.  This gives us a likely year of 3001 for Frodo’s arrival in Rivendell and the Council of Elrond. If the films roughly follow the same chronology as the books in terms of months and days then the Company of the Ring should leave Rivendell on or near 25 December, 3001.

So, when was Aragorn born?

Eowyn-and-Aragorn-eowyn-2106861-600-400In the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Aragorn reveals to Éowyn, niece of King Théoden of Rohan, that he is eighty-seven years old; she realizes that he appears much younger because he must be one of the Dúnedain descended from the Men of Númenor. This should be (again if the dates in the books and films are congruent) a day or so after Aragorn’s birthday (1 March) which, according to Tolkien, is when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli met Gandalf the White.

If Aragorn turned eighty-seven years old in 3002, his day of birth would have been 1 March, 2915 (or no earlier than 2914 if the scene between Aragorn and Éowyn took place prior to 1 March).  His true name and heritage would have been revealed to him by Elrond in 2935 (or 2934), just before his first encounter with Elrond’s daughter Arwen.  At the time of the Quest of Erebor (the year 2940 in the film-continuity) Aragorn’s age would have been twenty-five (or possibly twenty-six). To simplify things, let us assume that the months and days during the War of the Ring (although not the years) match up between the books and the films, and that Aragorn turned twenty-five in the year of Bilbo’s great adventure.

What happens, and when?

So, how does this affect the rest of Aragorn’s story?  It changes the timelines of other characters: Arathorn II and Gilraen, Aragorn’s parents; King Thengel of Rohan and his descendants; Éowyn and her brother; Ecthelion II the twenty-fifth Ruling Steward of Gondor; Ecthelion’s son Denethor; and Denethor’s sons Boromir and Faramir; among others.

Aragorn acquires his nickname of Strider sometime soon after he goes into the wild, possibly in Bree.  At some point before the Battle of Five Armies, he comes to the notice of Thranduil of the Woodland Realm who also learns of his true identity. Either Aragorn does not meet Gandalf until after the Quest of Erebor and the Battle of Five Armies or the Wizard does not wish to risk the heir of Isildur against the dragon Smaug nor against the Necromancer.

The great journeys and errantries of Aragorn probably begin in the year 2941, his twenty-sixth year, and likely culminate in 2964, this becoming the year of his victorious raid as Thorongil upon the Corsairs of Umbar and his reunion with Arwen in Lothlórien where the couple plighted their troth upon Cerin Amroth.  This would be the period in which Aragorn as Thorongil distinguishes himself in service to both King Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II in Gondor.  He likely had several other adventures, both alone and with Gandalf the Grey.

Aragorn at Gilraen's graveThe years after this, leading up to the Great Years of the War of the Ring, might be when Aragorn journeyed to the distant regions of the East and South, “exploring the hearts of Men, both good and evil,” as Tolkien wrote, “and uncovering the plots and devices of the servants of Sauron.”  Gilraen, Aragorn’s mother, would return to her own people during this time and pass away sometime around the year 2990. The Hunt for Gollum must have been much shorter, having quickly come to a successful conclusion, or did not take place at all as it written by Tolkien; there is nothing in the films to indicate that a captured Gollum was ever taken to the Woodland Realm, much less that he escaped from there–only that Gandalf somehow located and interviewed him with or without the help of Aragorn.

Great journeys and errantries

The period of what Tolkien called Aragorn’s “great journeys and errantries” might be greatly affected by the Peter Jackson film series. In the legendarium it lasted from 2957 to 2980 and Aragorn as Thorongil might have spent most or all of that period in Rohan and Gondor. Saruman the White did not turn against Rohan until after he was given permanent possession of Isengard in 2953. This probably does not change in the film-continuity since Saruman is still considered to be good at the time of the Quest of Erebor when the White Council drives the Necromancer and his servants from Dol Guldur.

It is possible that Aragorn began his explorations of the East and or South before the beginning of his service to Rohan. Alternately, he might have remained in the regions of Eriador and Rhovanion both as a companion of Gandalf and on his own during that time. In film-terms, the journeys and errantries of Aragorn could have begun at any time between 2941 and 2957 and might have ended as early as 2964 or as late as 2980. However, I am inclined towards the earlier dates.

Aragorn most likely came to Rohan after 2953 when Orcs and Dunlendings began harassing the Rohirrim and making trouble along the borders of Fangorn. Saruman was then pretending to still be a friend to Rohan even while secretly supporting its enemies. Tolkien wrote little of this period except to say that, as Thorongil, Aragorn rode with the host of the Rohirrim in defense of their lands.

Aragorn with swordAfter taking his leave of King Thengel, Aragorn (still as Thorongil) traveled to Gondor and gave his services to Ectheilion II, the twenty-fifth Ruling Steward. He accrued great renown in Gondor and became seen as a great leader of men. He also became Ecthelion’s most loved and trusted advisor, supporting the counsels of Gandalf and warning the Steward against accepting the aid of Saruman. In this a foresight might have been upon him as the treachery of Saruman was as yet unknown. Denethor II, the son of Ecthelion, considered Thorongil to be a rival for his father’s attention and might have guessed at his true identity, fearing that Gandalf was plotting with the Dúnadan to supplant him.

In Aragorn’s last year of service to Ecthelion he led a successful raid on the Corsairs of Umbar, destroying a large part of their fleet. Then, setting his eyes on the Mountains of Shadow, he took leave of the Steward of Gondor and traveled east. After spending some weeks or months within the borders of Mordor, Arargorn was allowed to enter Lothlórien and was reunited with Arwen.

After the War of the Ring

Aragorn-and-ArwenThe events of the War of the Ring are known and accounted for in the films, with the new elements of Aragorn’s self-doubt, and initial reluctance to seek after the Kingship of Gondor. After the Fall of Sauron, events presumably proceeded much as they did in Tolkien’s legendarium with Aragorn having been crowned as King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom, wedding Arwen who has given up her immortality for her love, siring with her several children including their son Eldarion and at least two daughters, and ruling over Gondor and Arnor until his passing in the one hundred twentieth year of the Fourth Age.

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Note: if you have an article you’d like to submit, please send it to spymaster@theonering.net.

Posted in Creations, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Two Towers

DVD woes with The Battle of the Five Armies

DVD WoesAre you one of those who FINALLY got your copy of TBotFA on DVD only to have a colourless-faded-blotchy or muddied mess?  There are some who have had that problem and are discussing  it on The Hobbit Discussion Board right here.

(more…)

Posted in DVD/Blu-Ray, DVDs, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Community

Middle-earth March Madness – The Sweet Sixteen! Vote in Round 3 Right Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd3We are down to the Sweet Sixteen as the chase to crown the 2015 Middle-earth March Madness champion continues!

Look for special analysis of the match-ups in this round coming soon!

But what about you? Have any strong opinions about this round? Send us a report and it just may make it to the homepage of TheOneRing.net! Email spymaster@theonering.net with your display name and a small bio, and article.

Voting in this round will remain open until March 31st at 10pm ET. As always, tell your friends and vote for your favorites to make it to our final four! [Round 3 Download] [Round 2 Results] [Round 2 Download] [Round 1 Results] [Round 1 Download]

(more…)

Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Tolkien Reading Day (Never too late!)

TORn Staffer Mithril, Reading Day 2014Yesterday, March 25, was officially Tolkien Reading Day. Celebrated annually by the Tolkien Society since 2003, Reading Day is exactly what it sounds like: a day “to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages.” March 25th was chosen to commemorate the day in Middle-earth history of the destruction of the One Ring and the downfall of Sauron, but events are often held throughout the week surrounding the official date.

Fans worldwide celebrate Reading Day with a variety of events. Wheaton College’s Tolkien Society in Illinois and the University of New Mexico Hobbit Society in Albuquerque hosted gatherings this year to share their favorite Tolkien pieces. And tomorrow (3/27), the Israeli Tolkien Society will host a picnic in Tel-Aviv. In Los Angeles, the local smial of the Tolkien Society, Tolkien Forever, will host a Reading Day event this Saturday, 3/28, at the famous Last Bookstore.

Tolkien Books Box SetThe theme for this year’s Reading Day is Friendship, chosen not only to commemorate how Frodo and Sam’s friendship triumphed in Mordor, but also to “celebrate the deep friendships that Tolkien developed in his own life and in his work.” By extension, a shared love of Tolkien’s work has inspired countless friendships, traversing continents and oceans. So share your love of Tolkien by joining a Reading Day event, or simply sharing your favorite passage with a friend!

Posted in Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, TORn Book Club, Uncategorized

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies home video released TODAY!

To celebrate the release today (in some countries) of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – or perhaps to give some consolation to those who have to wait to bring home their DVD! – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have made some cute infographics. In addition to the EXCLUSIVE one we shared yesterday, here’s a little clarity for anyone still wondering just exactly which creatures are in those five armies: (more…)

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD/Blu-Ray, DVDs, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Tolkien community loses Melissa Petrey Kern

Mel is gone.

Chris Mel KernIt has been weeks now and this isn’t news. I have felt the loss personally and thought about the loss for so many.

Melissa Theresa Petrey Kern, 42, is gone. In her real traditional obituary, it says she was of Lawrenceville, Georgia. Respectfully, I disagree, or I want to state on the record, that while that may be true, it isn’t the whole truth.

More of the truth would say that Melissa Theresa Petrey Kern, 42, a notable figure in the Tolkien Community, died March 8, 2015, after a long battle with ALS. She lived among us, the fan community, and was our neighbor and shared her life with us and is missed by us, as she is missed in Lawrenceville. You could write about more places she lived and is missed too.

I remember, fortunately a few conversations we shared that didn’t seem especially significant at the time, but feel pretty lucky now. We talked about an artist that visited Georgia. We talked about the Tolkien Community in Atlanta. We even talked about specific people she wanted good things for. We talked about fandom, that included her own early love for the books of J.R.R. Tolkien. We shared some moments and I value them, as part of the beautiful experience of our community and they are just a tiny sample of many such moments she shared with many people.

More memorable than the things she said were the people she influenced. The Georgia costuming community, I think it is fair to say, wouldn’t have been so organized or so unified if not for Mel. The Arms of Middle-earth might not have existed at all without Mel, but I don’t pretend to know the reality of that claim. We can safely and accurately say, she was at the heart of the community.

There is a photo, I am sure dozens of people have it, where a significant number of Tolkien costumers were all gathered together in an impressive array of characters from “The Lord of the Rings.” It was during Dragon Con in Atlanta, before the convention had matured to quite the level it has now. Groups of costumers were less frequent and large numbers of themed costumes were rare. There, in that spot, was organized and gathered an outstanding display of fans, living their passions and forming a genuine fellowship. It was a very fine cosplay effort but it was a transcendent community effort. (more…)

Posted in Billy Boyd, DragonCon, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Rhys-Davies, Martin Freeman, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Collecting The Precious – Bofur the Dwarf Barrel Rider

hobbit-barrelrider-bofur-a2One of my favourite Dwarves has finally gotten his barrel rider statue.

Bofur the Dwarf, who was such a great character during the films, joins Bilbo, Oin, and Bombur as the fourth barrel rider.

This fantastic little piece is sculpted by Gary Hunt who you will get to know better through several reviews that are coming up.

Bofur comes in with a price tag of only $65 and is in-stock shipping from the New Zealand warehouse.

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, James Nesbitt, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Middle-earth March Madness Round 2 – The “Other” Characters

Round two of Middle-earth March Madness is upon us! Having summarized who the Silmarillion characters were in Round 1, we wanted to follow up with a few details on the characters in the “Other” category. As with the Silmarillion article, this one contains spoilers for those of you who haven’t picked up some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings outside of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Although there are some spoilers, there’s much more to most of the stories below. So, hopefully, learning a little more about them will inspire you to go to the library or bookstore and look into the characters more!

The Blue Wizards vs. Eorl

The Blue Wizards - Ted Nasmith

The Blue Wizards – Ted Nasmith

The Blue Wizards (The Istari, Unfinished Tales) – The chapter “The Istari” in Unfinished Tales tells of how the Valar, not wanting to interfere directly with efforts to defeat Sauron in Middle-earth, decided to send emissaries instead. The Blue Wizards, Alatar and Pallando, were two of the five Maiar sent to Middle-earth by the Valar to help defeat Sauron, who was also one of the Maiar. Manwe first asked for volunteers and only Curumo (Saruman) and Alatar stepped forward. Olorin (Gandalf) declined to go, saying he was too weak to take on Sauron directly. However, Manwe, saying that his humility was exactly why he was perfect for the job, ordered him to go. Curumo then took Aiwendil (Radagast) at the insistence of Yavanna, and Alatar took Pallando as a friend.

After arriving in Middle-earth, the two Blue Wizards eventually hooked up with Saruman and went with him ‘into the East,’ never to be heard of again. According to Christopher Tolkien, his father only mentioned them one more time in one of his letters:

“I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South… missionaries to enemy-occupied lands, as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders… of secret cults and “Magic” traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.” – Letter 211, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

So, as with many of Tolkien’s ‘unfinished tales,’ we’re left to speculate on what eventually happened to Allatar and Pallando. As Maiar, essentially the same ‘order’ of being as Sauron, all of the Istari, including the Blue Wizards, were powerful beings in their own right, ‘having many powers of mind and hand.’ Being immortal, perhaps one of them eventually took the name Merlin and helped a young king, or perhaps one or both of them became founders of houses of wizards that later came to fame at a certain university for young wizards and witches. 😉

The oath of  Eorl and Cirion - Firiel

The oath of Eorl and Cirion – Firiel

Eorl the Young (Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan, Unfinished Tales) – Eorl, also known as Eorl the Young, was the leader of the Eothed, a people who lived near the sources of the Anduin. He was so named because he succeeded his father when he was only 21. When an errand rider from Gondor brought a request from Cirion, the Steward of Gondor, for aid in fighting the men of Rhun, Eorl agreed to go, knowing that if Gondor fell, his own people would soon be in danger. The combined forces of Eorl and Cirion defeated Gondor’s enemies in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant in the year 2510 of the Third Age. As a token of gratitude, Cirion presented Eorl with the lands later called Rohan. Eorl accepted the gift and became the first king of Rohan, swearing an oath that the people of Rohan would ever come to the aid of Gondor in times of great need; an oath a later king of Rohan, Theoden, would honor over 500 years later in The Lord of the Rings.

Hurin vs. Chrsophylax

Hurin and Morgoth - Ted Nasmith

Hurin and Morgoth – Ted Nasmith

Hurin (Unfinished Tales/The Silmarillion) – Known as the mightiest of warriors of mortal men, Hurin, Lord of Dor-Lomin, was the husband of Morwen and father to daughter Nienor and son Turin. In the First Age battle of Nirnnaeth Arnoediad, all the warriors of Dor-lomin were slain except Hurin who was buried under a pile of dead orcs. Gothmog, lord of the Balrogs found him there and took him to Morgoth. When Hurin refused to tell Morgoth where to find the lost city of Gondolin, Morgoth chained him to a seat on top of the peaks of his fortress of Thangorodrim. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Morgoth cursed Hurin so he could see, through Morgoth’s own eyes, all the tragedies that befell his children (many of which were brought on by Morgoth himself).

Hurin endured the seat and the visions for twenty eight years before Morgoth finally let him go.  Old, but still hale, Hurin eventually found Morwen, but only moments before she died. Then, heartbroken and angry at being turned away after trying to return to Gondolin, his loud rantings outside the gate accidentally revealed the location of Gondolin to Morgoth. Eventually, Hurin realized that all his deeds had aided Morgoth, and he cast himself into the sea. No happy endings for Hurin and his kin.

 

Chrysophylax - Pauline Baynes

Chrysophylax – Pauline Baynes

Chrysophylax the dragon (Farmer Giles of Ham) – After Farmer Giles shot a deaf, near-sighted giant who had stumbled onto his land, the giant (whos hides are a thick as Trolls’) thought he’d been stung by an insect. Back at home, he reported that there were no knights guarding the farmlands any more, just stinging insects. In time, word of this came to Chrysophylax the dragon, who decided it was about time to plunder the farmlands (now that the danger of coming to bodily harm was little to none). You see, Chysophylax was “cunning, inquisitive, greedy, well-armoured but not overly bold, ” and he was mortally hungry.

After burning down several neighboring villages and dining on the inhabitants, everyone turned to Farmer Giles to stop the destruction. Farmer Giles had become quite the local hero after driving off the giant, and had been awarded what conveniently turned out to be the magic, dragon-fighting sword Caudimorax by the King. Chrysophylax was soon cowering before them, but being very cunning (as dragons are), he cried great dragon tears and promised the villagers he would bring them all of his wealth if they spared his life. Already counting their non-existent riches, the villagers agreed. Chrysophlax promptly left and did not return on the promised day.

The King, also counting his non-existent wealth, sent all his knights, led by Farmer Giles, to make the dragon honor his promise. Being pretty cunning himself, Farmer Giles made the dragon return and, to add insult to injury, made Chrysophylax carry all the treasure on his back! Knowing the King would be powerless to wrest the treasure away with a dragon at bay, Farmer Giles kept the treasure and used the threat of Caudimorax to keep  Chrysophylax on hand to help guard it. Once the now fabulously wealthy Farmer Giles became a king in his own right, he released Chrysophylax (who was expensive to feed and kept growing and growing as dragons will), who returned to his home to begin rebuilding his hoard and have a few words with a certain giant!

Trotter the Hobbit vs. Roverandom

Hobbit - LordMishkin

Hobbit – LordMishkin

Trotter the Hobbit (Trotter and the Journey to Weathertop, The History of Middle-earth – The Return of the Shadow) – Believe it or not, in earlier drafts of the stories that eventually became The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s name was Bingo, Sam’s name was Frodo and Strider wasn’t a man at all, but a sturdy Hobbit named Trotter! Trotter and the Journey to Weathertop is the ninth chapter in The Return of the Shadow, one of a series of excerpts of Tolkien’s writings edited by Christopher Tolkien.  Other than the names, the chapter bears a striking resemblance to the chapter, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony in The Lord of the Rings. So, if you’re considering voting for Trotter, think ‘Aragron, but shorter!’

 

Roverandom - Alan Lee

Roverandom – Alan Lee

Roverandom (Roverandom) – J.R.R. Tolkien wrote Roverandom in 1925 to console his son Michael who had lost his toy dog at the beach. Rover starts out as a young puppy, white with black ears. One day, he was playing in the garden with his yellow ball when the wizard, Artaxerxes, came along and picked it up. When the wizard refused to give the ball back Rover bit his trousers and, in retaliation, the wizard turned Rover into a small toy dog. Rover was soon turned into a real dog again by the sand-sorcerer, Psamathos, but a dog of very small size. The remainder of the story follows Rover’s adventures in his effort to find the wizards to turn him back into a normal dog. Rover’s adventures include being flown to the Moon by a seagull and meeting the Man in the Moon. The Man in the Moon renames Rover “Roverandom” and gives him wings so he can play with his pet Moon-dog (also named Rover). Eventually, Roverandom goes to the bottom of the sea in search of Artaxerxes and (after many more adventures, of course), he gets his wish and is turned back into a normal dog.

Aldarion vs. Legolas of Gondolin

Tar-Aldarion - esdla.wikia.com

Tar-Aldarion – esdla.wikia.com

Aldarion (Aldarion and Erendis; The Mariner’s Wife, Unfinished Tales) – Aldarion was the sixth King of Númenor whose major accomplishments were his expansion of Númenor’s maritime traditions and his Middle-earth explorations. He was married to Erendis, but his first love was the sea. He left for many months at time which eventually caused a rift between the two. A great mariner in his own right, Aldarion was interested in exploring Middle-earth and discovering the riches that could be found there. During his first journeys to Middle-earth he made the friendship of Gil-galad and Círdan, from whom he learned much about both the making and management of ships. As king, Aldarion gave aid to Gil-galad, established new havens and bases on the coasts of Middle-earth, and laid the groundwork in Númenor for the creation of a great naval power.

 

 

 

Flight of the Doomed - Ted Nasmith

Flight of the Doomed – Ted Nasmith

Legolas of Gondolin (The History of Middle-earth – The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2) – No, this is not the Legloas you’re probably thinking of. The first time the name of Legolas appeared in Tolkien’s writings was long before he wrote The Lord of the Rings. In The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2: The Fall of Gondolin, Tolkien tells of Galdor, the Lord of the House of Trees, for whom Legolas of Gondolin was a scout.  Just as with the more famous Legolas in The Lord of the Rings, the name Legolas in The Book of Lost Tales meant ‘greenleaf’ and ’keen sight’. Many of Tolkien’s most famous characters of the First Age were in the city of Gondolin when Morgoth’s armies of orcs, dragons and balrogs attacked, including Ectheleon, Glorfindel, Tuor, his wife Idril, and her young son, Earendil, who would later become Elrond’s father. Many of them fought bravely, but when it became apparent that all was lost, they chose Legolas to lead them to safety:

“[Legolas] led the exiles over Tumladin  [the plain of Gondolin] in the dark, being night-sighted …whose eyes were like cats’ for the dark, yet could they see further.”

Legolas led them over Tumladin (the plain of Gondolin) and over the treacherous Cristhorn (think Caradras). But for his keen sight, bravery and intimate knowledge of the area, they might all have been lost. After the fall of Gondolin, Legolas dwelt in Tol Eressea where he took the name Laiqulasse.

For those of you interested, descriptions of the “Other” characters that were eliminated in Round 1 are below:

Eriol (The History of Middle Earth – The Book of Lost Tales) – If it wasn’t for Eriol, we might not have The Silmarillion today.  In The Book of Lost Tales, Eriol, a man, arrives as a cast away in Eressea where he meets and befriends the Elves who inhabit it. The Elves recount the history of their world to Eriol including the creation of the world, the origins of Elves, Dwarves and Men and their wars against the Enemy. These stories, of course, became the basis for many of the stories in The Book of Lost Tales and, later, The Silmarillion.

In later writings, Tolkien changed Eriol’s name to the more familiar Aelfwine (Elf-friend); the first man to find the straight road and visit Tol Eressea.  Aelfwine was an Anglo-Saxon whos father sailed with Earendil and never returned. After Aelfwine’s journeys and return from Tol Eressea, he translates the stories of the Elves into what is known as The Silmarillion. Thus, Eriol (later Aelfwine) was Tolkien’s link between the tales of the Elves and the history of Great Britain.

The Petty Dwarves - Alan Lee

The Petty Dwarves – Alan Lee

Mim the Petty Dwarf (Narn I Hin Hurin: The Tale of the Children of Hurin, Unfinished Tales)
In the saga of Turin Turambar, there came a time when he took up with a band of outlaws. Turin and the outlaws came across Mim, the Dwarf, and his two sons trying to evade the outlaws. In exchange for his life, Mim was forced to take them to his secret dwelling on the hill of Amon Rudh, which became the outlaws’ hide-out. However, one of Mim’s sons was killed, having been shot by an arrow as they tried to evade the outlaws. That, plus the fact that the outlaws bound Mim (which Dwarves never forget), plus Mim’s hatred of Turin’s Elf-friend Beleg, eventually caused Mim to betray Turin’s location to Morgoth, despite the fact that he had grown to hold a grudging respect for Turin. All of the outlaws except Turin and his friend Beleg were slain by orcs and Turin’s tragic tale continued elsewhere. Mim escaped and made his way to Nargothrond where he laid claim to the treasure there, but Turin’s father Hurin eventually found him there and killed him.

Smith of Wooten Major (Smith of Wooten Major) – In the town of Wooten Major, the Feast of the Good Children is celebrated every twenty-four years. At one such feast, the Master Cook hid trinkets in a grand cake and as one of the trinkets, his apprentice, Alf, included a little star. The star was swallowed by the blacksmith’s son who didn’t notice it at the time. However, on his tenth birthday the star fixed itself on his forehead. The boy grew up to be a blacksmith, but the star allowed him to enter the Land of Faery and protected him while he was there. In his free time he had many adventures in the Land of Faery and the folk there called him “Starbrow”. When the next Feast of the Good Children came along Smith, realizing the star was a gift from the King of Faery meant to be passed on, gave the star back to Alf who had become the Master Cook, and Smith went back to a normal life.

Niggle (Leaf by Niggle) – Niggle is a plain, unremarkable man who lives in a society that does not much value art. Nevertheless, Niggle is an artist and spends every spare moment painting a canvas of a great tree with a forest in the distance. He pays loving attention to each and every leaf, making each one uniquely beautiful. In the meantime, Niggle is distracted by real life, including a mysterious trip he must pack for and by taking time out to help his neighbor, Parish.

Niggle becomes ill after he catches a chill doing errands for Parish in the rain. He ends up in a type of institution where he is given the most mundane tasks.  One night, Niggle hears the institution’s Voices discussing his case. Even though he neglected many of his duties in his former life in the pursuit of painting leaves, they give him credit for helping Parish and admit that “a Leaf by Niggle has a charm of its own.’ Niggle moves on from the institution and finds himself in a new country. He’s shocked and pleased to find his Tree there, with all its beautiful leaves, including some he hadn’t fully thought out.

Niggle is reunited with his old neighbour, Parish, who now proves his worth as a gardener, and together they make the Tree and Forest even more beautiful. Finally, Niggle journeys farther and deeper into the Forest, and beyond into the great mountains that he only faintly glimpsed in his painting.

Long after both Niggle and Parish have taken their journeys, the lovely field that they built together becomes a place for many travelers to visit before their final voyage into the Mountains, and it earns the name “Niggle’s Parish.” One perfect leaf from his original painting is framed and preserved in a museum.

Father Christmas and North Polar Bear - J.R.R. Tolkien

Father Christmas and North Polar Bear – J.R.R. Tolkien

Father Christmas & North Polar Bear (The Letters of Father Christmas) – The Father Christmas Letters are a collection of letters written and illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children. The stories are told in a series of letters, written in the shaky handwriting of Father Christmas and ‘sent’ from the North Pole to Tolkien’s children each Christmas. It turns out that Father Christmas had many adventures throughout the year between his duties every December 24th. His sidekick, North Polar Bear, had many misadventures which kept Father Christmas especially busy. One year, the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole to rescue Father Christmas’ hood which blew off and was stuck there. Unfortunately, North Polar Bear fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room breaking his leg. North Polar Bear redeemed himself, however, in another adventure where he took on 100 goblins at once when he found out they were living in the caves beneath Father Christmas’ house.

 

Farmer Giles of Ham (Farmer Giles of Ham) – see Chrysophylax the dragon, above.

Tevildo, Prince of Cats (The Tale of Tinuviel, The History of Middle Earth – Book of Lost Tales Part Two) – Tevildo was the “Lord of Cats” in The Tale of Tinúviel. He appeared in the form of a great black cat with a collar of gold. During the Quest for the Silmaril, Beren was captured by Melko and sent as a servant to Tevildo. However the cat was defeated by Huan and Lúthien when they forced him to reveal the spell which held the stones of his castle together and which held cats under his evil sway. Later Tevildo’s place in the narrative was replaced by that of the Necromancer, Thû (later renamed Sauron).

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies DVD/Blu-ray review – RELEASE DATE MARCH 24

botfa dvd artIn the USA, from March 24th, the last in Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies will be available for you to take home. (It’s been available in digital version in many countries since March 3rd; but from Tuesday you can get your hands on a ‘hard’ copy.)

Many fans, of course, like to wait for the Extended Edition release before purchasing a copy; but speaking personally, my collection isn’t complete unless I have the theatrical cut as well. I was thrilled to get my hands on a review copy of the Blu-ray Combo pack, which includes copies of the movie on Blu-ray, on DVD and a Digital HD copy – as well as various extras. (more…)

Posted in Billy Boyd, Blu-Ray, DVD/Blu-Ray, DVDs, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Martin Freeman, Merchandise, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Production, Shop, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Warner Bros.

Middle-earth March Madness – Round 2! Vote Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd2Round 1 is in the history books, as Middle-earth March Madness continues to capture the attention of Tolkien fans worldwide! In our first round, we had over 190,000 total votes cast, with the most contentious match-ups recieving nearly 10,000 votes! Voting for Round 2 starts now! (Vote below).

Round 1 didn’t have many close match-ups, but there were definitely a few surprises.

The most contraversial seems to be (11) Thranduil taking down (6) Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit division. As the 2014 Middle-earth March Madness champion, Thranduil seems to have a dedicated and loyal following that should help him through his next match-up with (3) Beorn. (Or will fan backlash against those Thranduites push Beorn through?!)

In The Lord of the RIngs division, (8) Arwen was able to take down The Dark Lord himself, (9) Sauron. Will she make it past (1) Galadriel to possible match-up against (4) Aragorn?!

In The Others division, (2) Father Christmas was knocked off by (15) Legolas of Gondolin, obviously taking advantage of the name recognition of another famous Elf.

There are a lot of intriguing match-ups in round 2, which I’m sure some TORn staffer will highlight in an article this week. Maybe you want to highlight your favorite match-ups in this round? Submit an article to spymaster@theonering.net with your display name and a small bio, and we’ll see if we can post it!

Voting in this round will remain open until March 26th at 10pm ET. Vote Now and tell your friends! [Round 2 Download] [Round 1 Results] [Round 1 Download]

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Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Listen to Armies, Dragons and Rings, a piece created for The Battle of the Five Armies marketing campaign

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Blake Robinson is an Australian composer of music for film, TV and games. He writes:

Armies, Dragons and Rings was created by request, specifically for the final theatrical trailer music for The Hobbit 3. It heavily features [Howard Shore’s] “The Ring” theme in a new context. (more…)

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Trailer

Hall of Fire chat tomorrow: the importance of Rohan in the survival of Gondor

Barliman's Chat Early in the Third Age, the Kings of Gondor began to forge an friendship with the Northmen of Rhovanion. Umtil Rhovanion’s demise, the Northmen kingdom provided a crucial bulwark for Gondor against reavers from the east.

[The Northmen] had increased greatly in the peace brought by the power of Gondor. The kings showed them favour, since they were the nearest in kin of lesser Men to the Dúnedain (being for the most part descendants of those peoples from whom the Edain of old had come); and they gave them wide lands beyond Anduin south of Greenwood the Great, to be a defence against men of the East.

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Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire