Here’s a question. If you’re LOTR on Prime, and if your main series material is centered on the Second Age, why tease/lead with an image that show something from a vastly earlier period in the history of Tolkien’s world?

I’ve been pondering this a lot.

Unless LOTR on Prime has gone collectively mad, then there has to be a purpose — some link between that panorama, and the Second Age story that we know is coming.

So, let’s analyse that.

The location itself may offer a link.

Why? Because Númenor — much, much later — tries to invade Valinor. Problem is, that period of Númenor’s history has little to do with the dwarf-elf interactions we seem to be promised if spy reports are correct. So, it’s probably not Valinor itself that’s important, nor the Two Trees in themselves (sorry TREES! fans, I empathise).

That leaves the events that happen in Valinor, and the key protagonists in those events.

Events are — by and large — resolved by The War of Wrath. However, some of those protagonists remain and become involved in the new dramas of the Second Age in Middle-earth (and Númenor).

And I feel this could offer a clue to what’s going on.

Of the chief actors through the events of the Second Age, I can think of four (five, technically) who are also players in during the final Years of the Trees.

Sauron

The first is Sauron. But the link between Sauron and Valinor/The Two Trees is tenuous to non-existent. According to The Silmarillion, he rebelled much earlier and then spent much of Melkor’s imprisonment lurking in and around Angband. He doesn’t really feature strongly in First Age events until Beren and Lúthien’s quest.

Neither the trees — nor any of the events that occur around them — are useful to solidify the background of Sauron for the audience. If you wanted to use Sauron as a link, you’d need to begin somewhere else. For this reason I eliminate Sauron.

Galadriel and Celeborn

The next two come as a pair: Galadriel and Celeborn.

Here, it’s a twofold opportunity.

One, it’s a way to establish Galadriel’s prominence among the Noldor, and the strength of her ambition. Recall Galadriel’s role in the rebellion of the Noldor and their exile. Fëanor is instigator, but in the Silmarillion version she is also involved:

Galadriel, the only woman of the Noldor to stand that day tall and valiant among the contending princes, was eager to be gone. No oaths she swore, but the words of Fëanor concerning Middle-earth had kindled in her heart, for she yearned to see the wide unguarded lands and to rule there a realm at her own will.

Of the Flight of the Noldor, The Silmarillion.

My thinking is that portraying some of Galadriel’s early life in Valinor could be used as a way to support her desire and capacity to (at least to according one tradition outlined in Unfinished Tales) establish Eregion much later in the Second Age with the assistance of Celeborn.

It would also serve to underpin — whether through continued pride, or Ban (or both) — why she did not return to Valinor for so long. There’s vast amounts of drama to be wrung here should LOTR on Prime do it right. A sort of “How I became a massive troublemaker and learnt to love the Ban” sort of thing.

Galadriel is also LOTR on Prime’s most natural and relatable link to Peter Jackson’s movies: well-liked and well-remembered even among those who aren’t Lord of the Rings aficionados.

Celebrimbor

Next is Celebrimbor. To my surprise (for I wasn’t aware of it until very recently), Tolkien outlined that Celebrimbor was born in Valinor during the Years of the Trees, not in Beleriand during the First Age. That he subsequently followed his father, Curufin, into exile, while his mother remained behind, suggests to me that he was well into adulthood by the time of the Noldor’s rebellion against the Valar.

His identity as the grandson of Fëanor makes him a close witness to events in Valinor while his (presumably) growing talents as a smith and craftsmen can be contrasted against the immense skill of Fëanor (and Galadriel). In particular, Fëanor’s achievements with the Silmarils could be used as a dramatic spur for his own creations.

For Celebrimbor, Eregion is not so much a place to rule but a place where he can be free to create with the ultimate aim of someday surpassing the works of his grandfather. Celebrimbor is also a more natural tie for recent spy reports of dwarves and elves meeting. Unless it’s a very frosty meeting, that’s not very likely to be one involving Galadriel and Celeborn (even if Galadriel is not entirely unreceptive to dwarves).

Glorfindel

Glorfindel is the final option. Also an exile, also born in the Years of the Trees. Coincidentally, also blonde. As The Fellowship of the Ring describes it, “his hair was of shining gold”.

Moreover, Glorfindel returns to Middle-earth sometime during the Second Age to play a role in helping keep Sauron at bay after he forges the One Ring. Tolkien writes that this was probably sometime between SA1200 and SA1600 though, and I wonder whether even the first full season would get that far.

Any other elf is a poor fit.

Cirdan did not make the journey to Valinor. Gil-galad is too young — born near the end of the First Age in Beleriand. Elrond is in the same boat. And the rest of the chief Noldorin exiles either died in the long wars against Melkor, or returned to Valinor at the conclusion of the War of Wrath.

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.

If you’re ready for another race, welcome to “Racing to Rivendell” where we are following Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Arwen/Glorfindel, and Asfaloth (the horse who carried Frodo) as they race to outrun the Black Riders from Weathertop to Rivendell.

(If you weren’t able to join us last week, you can still earn your Shire Sprint bib and certificate. Just check out the post from May 1 for instructions.)

This virtual 5k race (3.1 miles) can be run or walked at home or any location you choose (please follow your town’s current rules). You can run, jog, walk, use a treadmill, climb your stairs, or us an elliptical – whatever is most convenient and safe for you. 30 minutes of exercise can also count as 1 mile. Run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself – our 5k’s are on the honor system.

Before you start each race, download a RACE BIB here or from TORn’s “The World and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien” Facebook page. Write your name, nickname, or race time in the white box, then you can stop by our Facebook page and post a photo wearing your bib, or post in the comments below.

Once you have completed each race, let us know! Download your finisher certificate and share another photo.

HERE ARE THE FINISHER CERTIFICATES:

Click on this link if you want to download a .pdf. Or the .jpg is below. They are also available for download on our “World and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien” Facebook group.

https://www.theonering.net/torwp/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TORn_Rivendell_Race_Certificate-.pdf

If you complete all four races, an additional special certificate can be yours! If you’re so inclined, reading the section in “The Fellowship of the Ring” that corresponds to this race might add a bit of color to your journey. Above all else, have fun. On your mark, get set, go!

There will be a total of four 5k races in all. Check back on Friday for a new race.

Bibs and certificates designed by TORN staff member Mithril, aka Nancy Steinman.

The key players in The Lord of the Rings are probably some of the most-written about characters in literature. Everyone loves the leading lights such as Frodo, Aragorn, Sam and Gandalf.

Yet there are a number of minor (some even without a name!) characters who either serve an important purpose, give us a great deal of food for thought, or even go against established yet hard-to-overcome stereotypes about the content of Tolkien’s writing.

In no particular order, here are my leading six. Continue reading “Six overlooked yet important characters from The Lord of the Rings”

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.

Glorfindel

Back in September 1999, these were the questions on the minds of fans…

Q:What role did Glorfindel play after the incident at the Fords of Bruinen? I don’t remember any further mention of him and it seems strange that such a noble Elven Lord would not be involved at all in the War of the Ring.

– Quinton Carr

A: He wasn’t. But if you think about it, many “noble Elven lords” did not do anything *active* in the War after the Fellowship left Rivendell or Lorien. Elrond, Celeborn, noble Elven ladies like Galadriel, Arwen . . . their roles were peripheral. Not to mention the fact that I’m sure both Elrond and Celeborn had a goodly number of strong, well-armed Elves at their disposal, who didn’t go with the Fellowship *or* down to the battles in Gondor. But the answer is actually pretty simple, and Elrond gives it to us in “Fellowship:” “The number must be few, since your hope is in speed and secrecy. Had I a host of Elves in armour of the Elder Days, it would avail little, save to arouse the power of Mordor.” So that explains why none of them went with the Fellowship. Why did none of these mighty Elves save Elrohir and Elladan ride down to Gondor once it was clear that there would be battle? My answer has a couple of parts. Firstly, Elrohir and Elladan, according to the Tale of Years, were born after the wars at the end of the Second Age when Sauron was thrown down, and were not a party to them as their father was. They’d never gotten their “chance,” so to speak. As for the rest of them, they had all gone to war against Sauron at the end of the Second Age. They felt their time had passed, and moreover that the hour of the Secondborn was striking. They knew that the power of their Rings would fade if Frodo was successful, and that Men would rise and Elves would dwindle. They must have felt it was right for the men, i.e. the armies of Gondor and Rohan, to earn for themselves the privilege of ushering in the Fourth Age.

Continue reading “Questions and Answers – Glorfindel, Saruman Survives, Pointy Ears, Stone Giants and more…”