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GreenBooks Redux: Justice, Mercy and Redemption

GreenBooks LogoIf you’ve been around TheOneRing.net for a while… correction: if you’ve been around TheOneRing.net for a really, really long time, you might remember the section of our site called GreenBooks. GreenBooks’ tag-line was: Exploring the Words and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, and that’s exactly what our staff and guest contributors did there for many years. Sections included Quickbeam’s Out on a Limb, Turgon’s Bookshelf, Anwyn’s Counterpoint, and others, and explored topics on everything Tolkien with some movie and Peter Jackson articles thrown in for good measure.

Unfortunately, the old TORn site crashed early in 2007, which turned out to be a good thing as it forced us into the 21st century, adopting a new format that allows our readers to comment directly to articles (what a concept). However, GreenBooks became relegated to our old archived site, and the cobwebs grew thick there. Some of us oldies who know the right paths to take, still delight in poking around the old place every now and then, and while doing so recently it occurred to me that there’s no reason to leave such literary gems languishing in the cobwebs. So, once a week or so, I thought I’d dust one off and re-post it.

The one I selected for this week is titled: “Justice, Mercy and Redemption” by staff member, and co-author of TheOneRing.net’s books: “The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien,” and “More People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien,” Anwyn. Also, if you’d like to take a peek, the old GreenBooks section is here. If you find something of interest that you’d like to discuss in this weekly feature, shoot me an email at altaira@theonering.net and I’ll put it towards the top of the queue.

Enjoy!

(more…)

Posted in Books Publications, Collectibles, Creations, Fans, Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Original TORn, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

First edition of The Hobbit sells at auction for £137,000

hobbit1rstIf you happened to have some spare pocket change at a recent Sotheby’s auction, you could have picked up a first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit for a mere £ 137,000, or the equivalent of about $214, 370 U.S. dollars at today’s exchange rate. This first edition, which more than doubled the record for sales of The Hobbit book, was a very special one indeed: it included an inscription by the author in Old English to a former student, Katherine Kilbride.

“Tolkien inscribed only a “handful” of presentation copies of The Hobbit on its publication, said Sotheby’s, with CS Lewis also a recipient. Kilbride’s includes an inscription by the author in Old English, identified by John D Rateliff, author of The History of The Hobbit, as an extract from Tolkien’s The Lost Road. This time-travel story, in which the world of Númenor and Middle-earth were linked with the legends of many other times and peoples, was abandoned by the author incomplete.”

Read the full story, and see if you can decipher the inscription, at theguardian.com.

Posted in Collectibles, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Sir Christopher Lee passes at age 93

3-hobbit_sarumanAs many of you already know, there is sad news in our community of fans today: Sir Christopher Lee passed away Sunday morning at the age of 93 due to respiratory problems and heart failure. Of course, we all came to know and love him for his role as the evil wizard, Saruman, in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, a role that came at the end of a long, and very distinguished career as an actor in horror movies and other dramas. For many of us, it’s difficult to picture a better Count Dracula than Christopher Lee. But, for many more of us, it’s impossible to think of anyone else playing the role of Saruman. All of the professionalism, passion and dedication of his long career shone out in that role, making it perfection.

From the U.K. telegraph website, here is a nice obituary, and a short video of his career highlights. Námarië, Sir Christopher. You are dearly loved and will be dearly missed!

Posted in Christopher Lee, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit, Uncategorized

Why is The Lord of the Rings a Classic?

LordoftheRings001Discussion Forum member Ethel Duath recently posted a link to an article on slate.com regarding a simple answer to a simple question: why is The Lord of the Rings considered such a classic? Did I say a simple? Ernest W. Adams, who answered the question on Quora, considered it to be J.R.R. Tolkien’s development of languages and back-story for Middle-earth and each of its races. A great answer! But, is it that simple? No doubt we each have our opinions on the best answer, or answers, to that question. Why do you think The Lord of the Rings is such a classic?  Let us know in the article comments and/or weigh in on our poll. While you’re thinking about it, check out Mr. Adams’ reasoning in the slate.com article here.

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Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Return of the King, The Two Towers, Tolkien

Tolkien letter worth $8,000 to $12,000 says Antiques Roadshow expert

tolkien_letter_close4Are you among the lucky few who possibly wrote to J.R.R. Tolkien when he was alive and received an answer, or somehow otherwise obtained an original letter by him? According to a U.S. Antiques Roadshow appraiser, it could be worth thousands of dollars today. At the Charleston, West Virginia, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW event in 2014, books and manuscripts expert Francis Wahlgren appraised a letter from Tolkien to William B. Ready, Director of libraries at Marquette University in Milwaukee. The owner of the letter inherited it some years ago and had it appraised in 1995 for $700. Wahlgren described Tolkien’s recent growth in popularity and determined that an appropriate auction value for the letter would be from $8,000 to $12,000, with an insurance estimate of $15,000. Visit pbs.org to read more.

Posted in Collectibles, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate

UK Ringers: win ‘The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy’ Box Set On Blu-ray 3D™

The Hollywood News.com is running a contest from now until May 2 to win a box set of The Hobbit trilogy on Blu-ray 3D. It’s open to UK participants only, but three lucky UK Hobbit Trilogy Box Setwinners who can answer a simple movie-related question will be treated to the box set of all three films, which also includes a 2D Blu-ray and Digital Download. If you live UK, follow the link for more details! The Hollywood News.com contest

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVDs, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again

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

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).

Posted in Uncategorized

OneLastParty Food and Drink Menus

one-last-party-logo-squareThe OneLastParty is almost upon us, and today we’re very excited and pleased to unveil the delectable items that will be featured at the buffet dinner and bar areas. First, some answers to some of the questions we’ve been getting:

 

Food fun facts:

– The doors open at 5:30 and the buffet line opens shortly afterwards at 5:45 p.m.

– Dinner service will run until 8:00 p.m. with the show starting around 8:30 p.m.

– Special Dietary needs: the party planners went to great lengths to ensure we could accommodate a number of dietary preferences which are indicated in the notes to the menu. However, if you have a very severe food allergy, you might want to bring something to supplement the buffet offerings. As we’re serving over 500 people, we can’t guarantee that there is absolutely none of a particular ingredient in the food

 

Bar fun facts:

– Bar areas will feature both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (see pricing below)

– Everyone with tickets that include meals will get two drink tickets at check-in that can be used for two free drinks

– Our friends at Middle-earth Wine are supporting the event, so we will have special Middle-earth wine available at the party! (NB there was a mistake in our post earlier; this wine is available for your drink tickets or to purchase. Unfortunately it will not be free all evening!)

– After your drink tickets have been used, the bars will take cash or credit cards. Credit card purchases have a $20 minimum (if desired, this can be met by opening a tab)

 

ONE LAST PARTY FOOD MENU

Salad

Mixed greens with blackberry balsamic vinaigrette (notes 1, 3)

Butter Lettuce with citrus segments and creamy herb dressing (notes 1, 3)

Sides

Roasted potatoes & pearl onions (notes 1, 3)

Buttered peas (notes 1, 3)

Entrees

Chicken breast with wild mushroom sauce

Pork tenderloin with apple chutney (note 3)

Vegetarian option: Portobello mushroom stacks with eggplant, squash and sun-dried tomato sauce (notes 1, 2, 3)

Desserts

Baked apples with Cinnamon caramel (notes 1, 3)

Blackberry tart with whipped cream (note 1)

____________________________

Food notes: (1) Vegetarian, (2) Vegan, (3) Free of large amounts of gluten

 

ONE LAST PARTY BAR MENU & PRICING:

$2   Water

$3   Juices & sodas

$5   Red Bull

$6   Assorted Beers

$6   Assorted Wines

$11 Cocktails (includes a wonderful selection of Middle-earth themed drinks)

Posted in Events, Fans, Meet Ups, Merchandise, Oscar Parties, Other Merchandise, The One Last Party

An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery – a review

Cookbook coverChris Rachael Oseland ’s new cookbook, An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery, is a compilation of delicious, down-to-earth recipes any Hobbit would love.

The book is organized in order of how a typical Hobbit would go through their culinary day. Among many other recipes, Breakfast includes mushroom, and bacon hash and apple and cherry griddle cakes. Second Breakfast includes recipes for pork and apple hand pies for Hobbits on the go. By Elevenses it’s time for honey cakes, seed cakes, and other sweet treats. On to Luncheon with delectable baked scotch eggs, steak and ale pie, and strawberries and cream bread. Of course, no self-respecting Hobbit would miss their scones and country ginger snaps for Afternoon Tea. Supper recipes feature venison cobbler and rosemary skillet peas, and there’s not a Hobbit to be found that wouldn’t be proud to ‘fill up the corners’ with dinner recipes such as savory bread pudding with mushrooms, and boxty on the griddle!

Luncheon Selections

Luncheon Selections

Is your mouth watering yet? Ours certainly were, so we decided to try a few of the recipes in TheOneRing.net’s test kitchen. Greendragon was taken with the baked scotch eggs, rosemary skillet peas and lavender and lemon bread. “I love peas and rosemary – cook with them both a lot – but would never have thought to put them together, nor to cook the peas in a frying pan. (Sam would be proud)!” Kelvahrin and I both tried the steak and ale pie to raves from our respective families. I also made the strawberries and cream bread which was just as tasty and fragrant when we finished the last slice as when we cut the first one.

Chris really did her homework, researching the kinds of foods that would have been available around the late Victorian era when Tolkien was a young man; many of the same ingredients that made their way through his writings to The Shire.

From Chris: “[the research].. was the most fun – falling deep down a research rabbit hole. I have a MA in History, so honestly this was like candy for me. Once I compiled way too many historically suitable recipes I made myself (mostly) stop the research and focus on testing. A lot of people think of Middle Earth as a faux medieval realm, but The Professor was very clear that the Shire was his homage to the disappearing way of life he loved from his late Victorian childhood.”

The result is that the recipes stick to basic ingredients such as butter, fresh fruits and vegetables, and meat. One of the best things about the cookbook, is that most of the recipes that contain butter and meat as ingredients also include clear instructions for how to make them vegetarian, and even some vegan. There are also gluten-free recipes and paleo/primal-friendly recipes. Many of the recipes also include suggestions on using leftovers for later meals, though all of us at TheOneRing.net’s test kitchen can’t imagine leftovers ever being a problem!

Lavender and Lemon Bread

Lavender and Lemon Bread

Again from Chris: “As for the dietary restrictions – that’s a real passion of mine. Food brings us together. I see it as part of my job to ensure there’s a place for everyone around the nerdy table. The vegetarian recipes were pretty easy. Most baked goods are accidentally vegetarian, and once you have a little practice, it’s not hard to veganize most vegetarian recipes. Getting the gluten free options in there was the most work since these recipes come from an era when bread really was the staple of life, so I bought in some northern English (mostly Scottish influenced) recipes with oats and made sure that there were some roasts as well as the popular hearty meat pies of the era.”

Steak and Ale Pie

Steak and Ale Pie

As you can see, Chris has a way with words which also makes the cookbook fun to read. Top it off with fabulous pictures of the food, and metric conversions for all measured ingredients, and Chris’ book offers Tolkien fans everywhere a Middle-earth adventure, right in your own kitchen!

An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery would make a lovely Christmas present, and is available now from Amazon for $24.95. Also look for other books by Chris including Dining with the Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook, Wood for Sheep: The Unauthorized Settler’s Cookbook and Steamdrunks: 101 Steampunk Cocktails and Mixed Drinks.

Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!

Visit our campaign page and find out how you can help!

Posted in Books Publications, Creations, Fans, Merchandise

New edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil coming this Fall

Adventures of Tom BombadilAdding to an already lengthy list of scholarly works related to J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings and artwork, Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull are putting the finishing touches on a new edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book, scheduled for release on October 4, 2014. Tolkien fans and scholars know the book, originally published in 1962, as a collection of entertaining poems wonderfully illustrated by artist Pauline Baynes. The original book contained 16 poems, some about Tom Bombadil, others related to Middle-earth, and still others unrelated to his invented fantasy world.

From Wayne and Christina’s webblog: “This new edition will contain the sixteen poems as published in 1962, together with the original drawings by Pauline Baynes. But it will also include earlier versions of the poems, where earlier versions exist – some of these were published in magazines and journals which are now hard to find – and it will reprint a later ‘Bombadil’ poem, Once upon a Time. In addition, we are very pleased to be allowed to publish for the first time, from Tolkien’s manuscript, the predecessor of Perry-the-Winkle, called The Bumpus, and the complete, tantalizingly brief fragment of a prose story featuring Tom Bombadil, in the days of ‘King Bonhedig’. To these, we have added an introduction, comments on the poems and on Tolkien’s preface, and glosses for unusual words, as we did previously for Roverandom and Farmer Giles of Ham.”

Those of us with well-worn copies of the book on our bookshelves will definitely want to add the new edition to our collections this October! Thanks to ringer malickfan for alerting us to this great news!

Posted in Books Publications, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Tolkien, Uncategorized

Smaug breathing fire: not as implausible as you might think

headFrom scientific american.com: What does a narcissistic flying reptile that loves the taste of crispy dwarves have in common with a beetle that shoots hot, caustic liquid from its butt? More than you think.

A few weeks ago, audiences were finally treated to the Cumberbatch-infused reptilian villain from J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Hobbit. Smaug (pronounced and interpreted as if you smashed together “smug” and “smog”) is a terrible dragon that long ago forced a population of dwarves from under a mountain. He laid claim to all their treasures. He burned all their homes. The titular character of the book is then tasked with helping a company of these displaced dwarves take back the mountain from the beast. It wouldn’t be easy—the most common descriptor of a dragon is “fire-breathing,” after all. But unlike other aspects of the book and now the film that are wholly magic, Smaug’s burning breath is actually one of the least magical, and can be wrangled into plausibility. Doing so involves looking inside a beetle’s butt, a Boy Scout’s satchel, and a bird’s throat. [Read More]

Posted in Characters, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug