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

Initially, Sauron’s forces sacked Minas Ithil, and destroyed the White Tree that Isildur had borne out of the ruin of Numenor. But Anarion held Mordor at bay in the south until Elendil, Isildur and Gil-galad brought help from the north — help that brought elves, men and even dwarves under the one banner — and then ground down Mordor over a series of battles and seiges that lasted around a decade.

What drove Sauron to assault Gondor? Did he have a strategic plan? What of the forces of the Last Aliance? Was it really a Last Alliance considering the elves later combined with the Dunedain to defeat the realm of Angmar, and was Elrond correct in describing the ultimate victory as “not wholly fruitless”?

Come share your thoughts with us on Saturday in what’s sure to be another great Hall of Fire discussion!

Upcoming chat topics:

Saturday May 7: The Last Alliance
Saturday May 14: Families in Middle-earth
Saturday May 21: Tolkien and myth
Saturday May 28: Aragorn as king of Gondor and Arnor

Children of Hurin read-through

In other news, we’ll be starting a chapter-by-chapter readthrough of The Children of Hurin in the first week of August, examining one chapter every second week. The Children of Hurin, assembled by Chris Tolkien from a number of original manuscripts and published in 2007:

…takes the reader back to a time long before The Lord of the Rings, in an area of Middle-earth that was to be drowned before Hobbits appeared, and when the great enemy was still the fallen Vala, Morgoth, and Sauron was only Morgoth’s lieutenant. This heroic romance is the tale of the Man, Húrin, who dared to defy Morgoth, and his family’s tragic destiny, as it follows his son Túrin Turambar’s travels through the lost world of Beleriand…

800px-abe_papakhian_-_i_behold_colourThe Last Alliance by Abe Papakhian.

Time zone conversions

Not sure what time the chat will be where you are? Check this little conversion table out for some help. Alternatively, check our handy Event Announcer over on Time and Date for the correct time in your area.

6.00pm EDT (New York)
5.00pm CDT (Chicago)
4.00pm MDT (Denver)
3.00pm PDT (Los Angeles)

10.00pm GMT (London)
11.00pm CST (Paris)
Midnight EET (Helsinki)

8.00am AEST (Sunday) Brisbane
9.00am AEDT (Sunday) Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne
11.00am NZST (Sunday) Wellington

How long do your topic chats go for?

Our chats usually last about an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation! However, our main room, is open 24 hours a day. We don’t always talk Tolkien there, but if you have a burning question, you’ll usually find one or two of “the regulars” up for a chat!

Where — connection details

Chat happens on #thehalloffire on — the TORn IRC server. It is based on internet relay chat technology (that means it’s hella old skool). It’s a text-only, moderated chat room full of eccentric Tolkien fans. We’re open 24/7 (although some times are busier and more active than others).

There are many ways to connect to the chat server. However, the easiest is generally to use a browser-based client. We usually direct folks to Mibbit:

* TORn Mibbit Widget
* Mibbit direct (as opposed to the widget above, this allows you to see others joining and leaving)

If you’re more oldschool or technically adept, you can install one of the scores of standalone chat clients that available for desktop and mobile devices. Just plug in our server details (see bottom) into the client and connect.

* Xchat: (Windoze PC and Linux. Free)
* mIRC: (Windoze PC. 30-day trial)
* AndChat: (Android app for mobile. Free)
* Colloquy: (Mac OS and Apple mobile devices. Free)

Our server details:
IRC server name:
Channel/room name:
Port: 6667 (6697 for SSL connections)