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Hall of Fire this weekend: Concerning Hobbits

Barliman's Chat This weekend in The Hall of Fire, we’ll be turning our attention back to the prologue of The Lord of the Rings, examining the information presented to us about Hobbits.

“I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us.”

The Lord of the Rings: Prologue: Concerning Hobbits

In his introduction, Tolkien makes clear to us that Hobbits are like human beings. Yet, in some ways, that raises even more questions. In what way are they related to “the big people”? Why don’t they understand anything more complicated than a forge-bellows or a water-mill? And if they came to Eriador (and The Shire) from The Wilderland, where did they come from before that? (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

Hall of Fire livechats The Fellowship of the Ring this weekend

Barliman's Chat This weekend Hall of Fire will once again be doing a chapter-by-chapter weekly livechat about The Lord of the Rings — starting with The Fellowship of The Ring.

“It will have to be paid for,” they said. “It isn’t natural and trouble will come it!”

FoTR Book 1, Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party

It’s a different Bilbo Baggins that we meet at the beginning of FoTR. Old yet remarkably well-preserved. Wealthy, yet extremely generous. And by the conservative standards of Hobbits, rather eccentric. (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

Hall of Fire this weekend: Akallabêth

Barliman's Chat This weekend in the Hall of Fire, we will be discussing one of the great (and tragic) stories of Tolkien’s Legendarium, Akallabêth: The Downfall of Numenor.

A land was made for the Edain to dwell in, neither part of Middle-earth nor of Valinor, for it was sundered from either by a wide sea; yet it was nearer to Valinor. It was raised by Ossë out of the depths of the Great Water, and it was established by Aulë and enriched by Yavanna; and the Eldar brought thither flowers and fountains out of Tol Eressëa. Akallbeth, The Silmarillion.

(more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

The death of Beleg. Is Túrin culpable?

children of hurin The usual Christmas and New Year shenanigans mean that in The Hall of Fire we’ve only just arrived at the ninth chapter of The Children of Húrin. It’s short, but crucial — climaxing with the death of Beleg.

That’s not really a spoiler; the chapter is literally named “The Death of Beleg”.

It’s a — possibly the — key turning point in Túrin’s life. Until his death, Beleg is a strong stabilising influence on Túrin’s action. The absence of that support, combined with the manner of Beleg’s death, profoundly affect Túrin’s subsequent behaviour. (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

Fighting Morgoth: The land of bow and helm

amon_rudh I’ve been recently re-reading Chapter VIII of The Children of Húrin in anticipation of our Hall of Fire chat tomorrow.

One thing that particularly struck me is the invidiousness of Túrin’s position on Amon Rudh: whether he and his growing band of outlaws fight or hide, their prospects are grim.

Beleg summarises the conundrum neatly:

“…a king or the lord of a great host has many needs. He must have a secure refuge; and he must have wealth, and many whose work is not in war. With numbers comes the need of food, more than the wild will furnish to hunters. And there comes the passing of secrecy.

Amon Rûdh is a good place for a few – it has eyes and ears.

But it stands alone, and is seen far off; and no great force is needed to surround it – unless a host defends it, greater far than ours is yet or than it is likely ever to be.”

(more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Green Books, Hall of Fire

Analysing The Children of Húrin: Túrin the outlaw

Alan_Lee_-_Túrin_Turambar This weekend (in just a few hours in fact), Hall of Fire will be chatting about the sixth chapter of The Children of Húrin, which documents Túrin’s time in the wilderness of west Beleriand as a member of a desperate group of outlaws, scofflaws and outcasts.

Túrin the outlaw

In his persona of “Neithan the wronged”, one wonders if Turin’s feels that he’s finally found his people after (often) feeling so out of place in Doriath.

But, for mine, the most interesting aspect of the chapter is the moral dimension: over and again, Túrin is forced to confront what he will do — and is willing to permit others around him to do — in order to survive. (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

Analysing The Children of Húrin: The Curse of Morgoth

Hurin and Morgoth - Ted Nasmith

Hurin and Morgoth – Ted Nasmith

This weekend Hall of Fire is delving into the third chapter of The Children of Húrin. (Our discussion starts at 6pm ET. Feel free to join us as we dive into Chapter 3.)

The Words of Húrin and Morgoth

It’s a key one, dominated by a long conversation between Húrin, and his captor, the Valar, Morgoth.

We’re likely to have many talking points but for me, the most pivotal is the Curse of Morgoth. Morgoth promises Húrin:

…upon all whom you love my thought shall weigh as a cloud of Doom, and it shall bring them down into darkness and despair. Wherever they go, evil shall arise. Whenever they speak, their words shall bring ill counsel. Whatsoever they do shall turn against them. They shall die without hope, cursing both life and death.

(more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Green Books, Hall of Fire

Squeezing the Middle-earth cash-cow

Middle-earth 6-film collector's edition No-one likes being taken for a sucker. And, frankly, the recent announcement of the Middle-earth blockbuster ka-pow edition (or whatever jargon-hype wording Warner Bros Home Entertainment is lobbing onto it) certainly has that feel.

It’s the same content repackaged into a bookcase that you or I might have thrown together in high-school woodworking. Yes the bookcase looks quite nice. And there’s a nice little booklet. Yes, all your discs come in nice faux-leather slipcases. Yes, it’s all in a big, glossy box created by professional designers (even if they’re using the same visual assets we’ve seen elventy-billion times).

But, ultimately, it’s still the same content.

And for eight hundred US dollars. Count them. (more…)

Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Studios, The Hobbit, Warner Bros.

The influence of Eärnil and Eärnur

minas-tirith_00317155 I’ve been thinking that the thirty-second and thirty-third of the kings of Gondor might just be two of the most influential. If that sounds a touch far-fetched, bear with me.

This pair of Gondorian kings are, of course, Eärnil II, and his son, Eärnur.

At this point in its history, Gondor was struggling through a trio of disasters spread across several hundred years.

The first, a period of civil war known as the kin-strife; the second, a great plague; the third, the encroachments of a people known as the Wainriders from the east.

It’s not easy to precisely gauge the effects, but certainly Osgiliath is left both damaged and depopulated. Perhaps more critically, there is a diminution of the Gondorian aristocracy. (more…)

Posted in Green Books, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King

Analysing The Children of Húrin: Túrin, Sador and Brandir

Alan_Lee_-_Túrin_Turambar I’ve been re-reading The Children of Húrin lately in preparation for TORn’s chapter-by-chapter discussion in our chatroom. (We’re starting our discussion later today in The Hall of Fire. Feel free to join us at 6pm ET as we dive into Chapter 1.)

It’s been some years since I’ve read The Children of Húrin in full; I probably haven’t completed a cover-to-cover reading since the novel was first published in 2006. But it’s always interesting how revisiting a novel after a long period sometimes gives you a totally different perspective on the action.

So as I’m reading along, I’m going to try and briefly write about one new thing that strikes me each chapter.

Túrin and Sador; Turin and Brandir: a study in contrasts?

(more…)

Posted in Green Books, Other Tolkien books

Hall of Fire this weekend: the Last Alliance

This Saturday (at 6pm ET (New York time)) Hall of Fire will be chatting about the legacy of Boromir the son of Denethor.

‘Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.’
‘No!’ said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. ‘You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!’

(more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

Hall of Fire this weekend: the Last Alliance

This weekend in the Hall of Fire (Saturday 6pm ET), we’ll be chatting about The War of the Last Alliance — an event at the end of the Second Age that was a geo-political shockwave through Middle-earth and caused ripples that continued all they way through to The Lord of the Rings.

Then Elendil the Tall and his mighty sons, Isildur and Anárion, became great lords; and the North-realm they made in Arnor, and the South-realm in Gondor above the mouths of Anduin. But Sauron of Mordor assailed them, and they made the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, and the hosts of Gil-galad and Elendil were mustered in Arnor.

The War of the Last Alliance (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire