31 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 184: Brytta

Brytta was the eleventh King of Rohan from TA 2798-2842. His people called him Léofa (Roh. ‘beloved’) as a result of his generosity and willingness to help those in need. During his reign, many of the Orcs from the Misty Mountains had been fleeing south, attempting to settle in the White Mountains. Brytta hunted them, and it was believed that by his death, the Mark had been cleared of Orcs. After a forty-four year reign, he was succeeded by his son, Walda.

30 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earh ~ Day 183: Orodreth

Orodreth was the second of the four sons of Finarfin* and the father of Finduilas; he was also the second and last King of Nargothrond. During the First Age, he came with his brothers and sister to Middle-earth in exile and fought in many of the early battles against Morgoth. Initially, Orodreth was a warden of Finrod in the tower of Tol Sirion, but when it was captured by Sauron in the Dagor Bragollach, Orodreth fled to Nargothrond with Finrod, whom he later succeeded as King. He was killed in the Battle of Tumhalad, and his daughter Finduilas was captured and slain soon after.

* In the published version of The Silmarillion, Orodreth appears as Finarfin’s son; in later writings, however, he is the son of Angrod and the grandson of Finarfin.

29 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 182: Sharp-ears

Sharp-ears was one of the ponies Merry had provided for the journey from Buckland to Imladris. When the Hobbits stayed in the house of Tom Bombadil, their horses befriended Bombadil’s pony, Fatty Lumpkin. After becoming frightened in the Barrow-downs, they ran off in search of their friend. Tom was able to recover them, calling them by the names he had given them. Sharp-ears was later driven off while the Hobbits sought rest at the Prancing Pony Inn in Bree, though he was later recovered by Tom Bombadil, who sent him to Barliman Butterbur.

28 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 181: Frerin

Frerin was the younger son of Thráin II and the brother of Thorin Oakenshield and Dís (mother of Fíli and Kíli). With his father and siblings, he escaped the attack on Erebor by the dragon Smaug in TA 2770, and thereafter went into exile with his family. He fell during the first assault of the Dwarves upon the Orcs in the Battle of Azanulbizar in 2799.

27 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 180: Osgiliath

Osgiliath (S. ‘Citadel of the stars’) was the first capital of Gondor, founded in 3320 SA. Built between Minas Anor and Minas Ithil, it was burned during the Kin-strife in TA 1432; the Dome of Stars, its greatest building, was ruined. Also lost was the chief Palantír, which had previously been kept in Osgiliath. During the Great Plague of TA 1636, many of the inhabitants died, and those who had survived refused to return after fleeing the city. By 1640, Osgiliath had been replaced by Minas Anor as Gondor’s chief city.

Osgiliath was taken by the Uruks of Mordor in TA 2475 and later reclaimed by Boromir, though by then the city was in ruin; during the War of the Ring, Osgiliath was again attacked, and the eastern half of the city taken by Sauron’s forces. The western half of the city was defended by the Rangers of Ithilien the following year (TA 3019), but was ultimately captured. There was no record of the city being rebuilt during the Fourth Age.

26 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 179: Poros

The Poros was a river which flowed from the southern Ephel Dúath into the Anduin, forming a barrier between South Ithilien and the Harad Lands. As a result, it was frequently a place of war; the Crossings of Poros was the only place at which the river could be safely forded, and it was here that the Dúnedain met most of the invading Haradrim in times of war. 

25 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 178: Lammoth

Lammoth (also called the Great Echo) is an area of wasteland located to the north of Drengist, between Ered Lómin and the Sea. It was here that Ungoliant and Morgoth fought over the Silmarils, and where Morgoth let out a great cry and summoned the Balrogs to aid him. So loud was his call that from then on, the echoes of his voice remained.

24 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 177: Yuletide

Yuletide was an ancient festival/holiday period originally celebrated by Northern Men, and later adopted by the Hobbits during the early years of the Third Age. They continued to observe this six-day festival – which, by the time of the War of the Ring, was fixed to occur between 29th Foreyule (December) and 2nd Afteryule (January), with the two Yuledays (the first and last days of the Hobbits’ year) falling in between – throughout the Third Age.

23 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 176: the Sceptre of Annúminas

The Sceptre of Annúminas once belonged to the Lords of Andúnië. It had been brought to Middle-earth by Elendil, where it became the chief mark of the royalty of Arnor. It was housed in Rivendell following the end of the North-kingdom, and was given to King Elssar (Aragorn) at his wedding.

22 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 175: Nogrod

Nogrod (S. ‘Dwarf dwelling’; Khuzdul: Tumunzahar) was a Dwarf city located in the Ered Luin south of Mount Dolmed. The Dwarves here traded frequently in Beleriand, where they were also employed by the Elves (it is likely that they delved the city of Nargothrond). Their craftsmen were renowned for their skill in the forging of weapons, but one of their greatest creations was the Nauglamír.

Thingol asked for the Silmaril to be set in the Nauglamír, but the Dwarves coveted the jewel, and killed Thingol and stole the necklace. These Dwarves were later caught and killed; in retaliation, an army from Nogrod sacked Menegroth. This army was ambushed on their return and slain by Beren, Dior, the Laiquendi, and the Ents.

21 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 174: the Iron Hills

The Iron Hills, located about forty leagues to the east of Erebor, were settled in TA 2590 by Grór and Dwarves of Durin’s Folk after their desertion of the Ered Mithrin. It was one of the two main settlements of Durin’s Folk in the latter part of the Third Age. While the Dwarves of the Iron Hills were prosperous, they were by no means wealthy. The hills were full of iron, as their name suggests, but no gold. The Dwarves of the Iron Hills were noted as helping to turn the tide at the Battle of Azanulbizar in 2799; and in 2941, 500 Dwarves, led by Dáin, marched to Erebor to support Thorin II in the Battle of the Five Armies. Dáin became King of Erebor, and after this, the Iron Hills passed out of record (though they may not have been deserted).

20 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 173: Thorin II Oakenshield

Thorin II (b. TA 2746) was a Dwarf, and from 2845-2941 the King of Durin’s Folk in exile and, briefly, the King Under the Mountain (2941). He fought in the Battle of Azanulbizar (he was called Oakenshield as a result of the oak-branch which he used as a shield and club during this battle), and after that went with his father, Thráin II to the Ered Luin.

When Thráin was captured by Sauron in 2845, Thorin became the King, and for a hundred years, slowly increased the number and wealth of his people; by 2941, he met Gandalf and at that point decided to reclaim Erebor from the dragon Smaug. Although their expedition was successful, Thorin was slain in the Battle of Five Armies (TA 2941). He was succeeded by Dáin Ironfoot.

19 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earh ~ Day 172: Guthláf

Guthláf (Roh. ‘Survivor of the battle’) was a Man of Rohan; he was the Herald and banner bearer for King Théoden, and rode with him to aid Minas Tirith in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He was slain defending the King during the battle, the banner in his hand. His name was later mentioned in the Song of the Mounds of Mundburg.

18 December 2011

Joe Letteri on the Evolution of Gollum

In a recent interview with MovieWeb.com, senior visual effects supervisor Joe Latteri  talked about his collaborations with actor Andy Serkis, who recently brought to life the ape Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and who is reprising his role as Gollum for The Hobbit: There and Back Again.  

“Without getting into what he is going to look like on screen, and everything, because we are saving that...Technically, what has been good about this, is that we did Gollum the first time around, and it was the first time that we were doing performance capture in a film,” Letteri said. “But we couldn't record on the stage. Andy was performing with all of the other actors. But then he would have to come out, and do his performance again on a motion capture stage. We would fit the two together. He would mimic his first performance, and we would put it in with the other actors.”

“When we did Avatar, we created this whole virtual world. It was completely immersive, and everything was in this virtual world. What we did with Rise of the Planet of the Apes was come full circle with it. We took all of the technology we created for Avatar, and we figured out a way to make that on set. How to make it work within exterior sets. That way, Andy could be in the scene with all of the other actors. So you're not getting a second performance from him, trying to duplicate the first. You are getting the performance that he did with James Franco and Freida Pinto, and everyone else.”

“It closed the gap for us, to have Andy be right there in the movie, and have that be his performance. That's the thing we finally got to do with Gollum. Just as a way of nicely closing the circle.”

The Hobbit: There and Back Again will be in theatres on December 13, 2013, and Serkis and Letteri will collaborate yet again to work on Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2, which is scheduled to hit theatres in 2015.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 171: Elanor Gamgee

Elanor Gamgee, played by Sean Astin's own daughter, Alexandra

Elanor Gamgee, born in the last year of the Third Age, was the eldest child of Samwise Gamgee and his wife Rosie. She was often called Elanor the Fair as a result of her beauty; she had golden-hair, which was previously uncommon in Hobbits. In her youth, she was the maid of honour to Queen Arwen of Gondor. When she was thirty-one, she married Fastred of Greenholm, and the couple moved to Undertowers (near the borders of the Westmarch) four years later. It was here that the family preserved the Red Book of Westmarch, which had been passed on to Elanor by her father in 61 FA as he left for the Grey Havens  and the Western Shores.

17 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 170: the Boar of Everholt

The Boar of the Firienwood (located on the borders of Rohan and Gondor) was considered both a worthy and daunting prey for any huntsman. When the King Walda of Rohan was slain by Orcs, his son Folca vowed not to pursue any wild beasts until all the Orcs had been exterminated. After this task was completed, Folca rode to hunt the Boar of Everholt; though he slew the beast, he later died as a result of a tusk wound given to him by the boar.

Hobbit Trailer to Stream December 20

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the release of the first trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, to be released on December 13, 2012. If you’ve been keeping track of all of this Hobbit news, you know, of course, that the trailer for the first installment will be shown in theatres before The Adventures of Tintin on Wednesday the 21st; however, the studio announced today that a fifteen-minute satellite feed of the trailer will stream at 10 P.M. ET/PT on Tuesday, December 20, and again at 9 A.M. ET/PT on Wednesday, December 21.

So for those of you who, like me, cannot wait to see it, here’s your chance to catch it a day early!

16 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 169: Aulë

Aulë is an Ainu, and the most powerful of the Valar after Manwë, Varda, and Ulmo. His spouse is Yavanna. He is the master of crafts and the knowledge of substance, having fashioned the very elements of which Arda was composed. Yet for his love of skill and craft he is concerned with neither mastery nor possession, and is both humble and compassionate. Among the greatest of his works were the Two Lamps of the Valar, the vessels of the Sun and Moon, and the Dwarves. 

He is also known as the Smith, the Maker, and the Friend of the Noldor. The Dwarves know him as Mahal. 

15 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 168: The Reckoning of Years

The Reckoning of Years, written by Meriadoc ‘the Magnificent’ Brandybuck, contained an invaluable account of the Hobbit calendars used throughout the Shire and Bree, and also included a comparative study of the reckoning systems used in Rivendell, Rohan, and Gondor. It is considered the primary source for the information appearing in Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings.

More Hobbit Trailer Details Emerge

The Internet is abuzz again as new details emerge on the trailer for The Hobbit, which was recently shown at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon (BNAT) Film Festival. For those of you hoping to keep the trailer a surprise, this story contains many spoilers – so stop reading now if you want to be surprised when the trailer hits theatres.

The trailer, according to one viewer, opens with Ian Holm’s Bilbo conversing with Frodo about his adventures. The scene then shifts to Gandalf introducing young Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to the thirteen Dwarves as he enlists the Hobbit’s help.

As we all know, Bilbo refuses at first, as Hobbits and adventure do not go hand-in-hand. 

The trailer then cuts to the Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, singing “a long slow song.” This is followed by a montage of traveling and fighting scenes. We are able to catch a glimpse of Rivendell, the shards of Narsil, and perhaps even Lord Elrond. The trailer does not, however, show any signs of the dragon Smaug or of Beorn the Shape-shifter.

While the plot itself is not revealed, Thorin does tell Gandalf that he cannot guarantee a safe return; “Nor will I be responsible for his fate,” he adds. And this is where the trailer ends: Gandalf warns Bilbo that if he does return, he may be changed (here we get a sneak peak of Gollum and the One Ring).  

If you’re like me and cannot contain your excitement, just remember that there are only a few more days – six more, in fact – until the release of The Adventures of Tintin and the preview for The Hobbit!  

Only 29 Days Left to Register for Mythgard's Spring 2012 Semester!

There are only 29 days left to register for Mythgard’s spring 2012 courses.

What is Mythgard, you ask?

Mythgard Institute was founded in 2011 by Corey Olsen (the Tolkien Professor) and designed for those students with a love of fantasy and literature. For the serious scholar and the serious fan alike, Mythgard offers “challenging, engaging classes, taught by world-class teachers and leading scholars,” which can be taken at either the MA level, or audited just for fun.  

How do courses at Mythgard work?

Students enrolled in Mythgard courses meet for three instructional hours each week and will participate in a 90-minute weekly Primary Lecture (given by the instructor and special guest lecturers). Additionally, students will take part in 60-minute Discussion Sessions and end the week with a 30-minute Closing Session, led by the instructor, who will address any questions submitted by students during the Discussion Session. As these are MA-level courses, students can also expect to write essays (a total of 30-35 pages, or about 8,000-10,000 words per semester).

Available Courses at Mythgard:

This fall, Mythgard got off to a great start with “Tolkien and the Epic,” a course featuring guest lecturers Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, and Michael Drout. Watch the video below to hear one Mythgard student, Carl Buonadonna, talk about his experience: 

This spring, Mythgard resumes with “The Making of Myth: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien,” taught by Professor Corey Olsen, and “Taking Harry Seriously: The Artistry and Meanings of the Harry Potter Saga,” taught by Professors Amy H. Sturgis and Travis Prinzi. These courses are a must for any fantasy lover!

Enroll Today!

Does Mythgard sound like something you’d be interested in? Do you have a friend or loved one who might enjoy a course on Lewis and Tolkien or Harry Potter? Why not give the gift of Mythgard this holiday season with a “Ticket to Learning”? These pre-paid gift certificates are available online as a printable PDF.

Applications for enrollment will be open through January 13th.

For more information on Mythgard, course schedules, and gift certificates, visit their website, follow them on Twitter, ‘Like’ their Facebook page, and check out more of their videos on YouTube!

14 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 167: Tar-Minastir

Tar-Minastir (Q. ‘Tower-watch’), son of Isilmo, was the eleventh King of Númenor (SA 1731-1869), and one of its greatest warriors. After his aunt, Queen Tar-Telperiën, passed away, he inherited the Sceptre of Númenor.

While he was King, war broke out between the Elves and Sauron; when he found out that Sauron’s armies were nearing Eriador and threatening the land of Lindon (ruled by Gil-galad), he sent a great navy to Elven-King’s aid (SA 1700). At this time, the Númenoreans still loved and welcomed the Elves, though Minastir did envy their freedom from death. As a result of Númenor’s aid, Sauron was forced to retreat and Gil-galad able to secure the peace in Eriador.

After ruling over Númenor for one hundred and thirty-eight years, Minastir passed the Sceptre on to his son, Tar-Ciryatan (SA 1869), and died four years later.

13 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 166: Yavanna

Yavanna (Q. ‘Fruit-gift,’ ‘giver of fruits’), the elder sister of Vána and the spouse of Aulë, is the second greatest of the Valier (the first being Varda). Her fana (­or veil) is tall and dressed in green, though she occasionally appears as a tree. Her surname is Kementári, or Queen of the Earth.

It was she who planted the first seeds of all the plants in Arda, the Olvar, as well as the animals, or Kelvar; her greatest creations were the Two Trees, which she sang into being after the destruction of the Two Lamps. Her gardens in Valinor were the source of miruvórë, a cordial or nectar of the Valar.

In the early days of Arda, she often visited Middle-earth.  To protect her trees in Middle-earth from the newly created Dwarves, she prayed to Ilúvatar, who created the Onodrim (Ents) in response.

12 December 2011

Fans' Reactions to Hobbit Trailer

Two days ago, audiences at the Butt-Numb-A-Thon geek film festival in Texas were shown the teaser trailer for The Hobbit, and Twitter has been buzzing with fan reactions ever since.

The trailer, originally set to hit U.S. theaters this Christmas with the release of The Adventures of Tintin, was presented by Elijah Wood and Eric Vespe (“Quint” from Ain’t It Cool News), who has been reporting from the set of The Hobbit for the past few months.

While Vespe could not physically attend the film festival, he did send along a video of messages from the set of The Hobbit. Jordan Hoffman of IFC News wrote that, “Sir Ian McKellan appeared in costume as Gandalf the Grey and, through the magic of cinema (and some pyrotechnics in the theater) Vespe appeared in the flesh,” and that, “As a gag, he handed the hard drive containing the trailer to frequent BNAT attendee Elijah Wood to bring to the projection room, adding, "keep it secret, keep it safe."”

Hoffman also added that, “Hearing the music and seeing The Shire I was surprised at the flood of emotions that hit me. It was like seeing old friends. (And something to look out for: a band of Dwarves sing. It's a thing of beauty.)”

TheOneRing.net described the trailer as, “pretty much the Holy Grail for HOBBIT fans who have waited a decade to see a first glimpse of Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth.”

Those who had seen the trailer were asked not to go into specific detail about what they had seen. One staff member from AICN, Nordling, commented on the nature of the trailer, stating that “it’s more character-based than epic, but it’s like slipping into a warm embrace from a very old friend that you haven’t seen in many years.”

Many fans are speculating that the teaser for The Hobbit may also be attached to the upcoming Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, another Warner Bros. production. Thankfully, with Christmas fast approaching, the wait for the unveiling of The Hobbit teaser is also drawing to a close.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 165: Variags

The Variags were a race of Men dwelling in Khand, south-east of Mordor. They first appeared in TA 1944, fighting alongside the Wainriders. Where Khand produced horses for Mordor, it seems probable that the Variags could have been horsemen. Little else is known about them, save that they allied themselves with Sauron during the War of the Ring and fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (TA 3019).

11 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 164: Morwen Steelsheen

Morwen (b. TA 2922 in Lossarnach) was a Dúnadan of southern Gondor who in TA 2943 married Thengel, son of King Fengel of Rohan, in the first recorded union between the Dúnedain and the Rohirrim. Thengel, feuding with his father, had lived in Gondor for most of his life. Here, Morwen bore Thengel three children; among them, his only son, Théoden. When Fengel died in TA 2980, Thengel returned to Rohan to take up the throne; Morwen, known to the Rohirrim as ‘Steelsheen,’ bore him two more children – the last of which being Théodwyn, the mother of Éowyn and Éomer.

10 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 163: Lorgan

Lorgan was an Easterling chieftain in alliance with Morgoth. After the Dark Lord’s victory in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the land of Dor-lómin was taken by Lorgan (now calling himself the Lord of Hithlum) and his people. When a small group of Elves who had been hiding in the caves of Androth tried to escape, Lorgan and an army of Orcs and Easterlings attacked them, capturing Tuor, son of Rían and Huor.

Tuor became Lorgan’s slave; he was treated even more cruelly than the other slaves, as Lorgan’s goal was to break him. After three years of servitude, Tuor managed to escape. He later returned to launch a sneak attack on the Easterlings. Lorgan then put a price on Tuor’s head, but for four years, Tuor eluded him until leaving Hithlum for Gondolin.

When Morgoth released Húrin after twenty eight years in captivity, pretending that it was done out of pity, the people of Hithlum believed Húrin to be in league with the Dark Lord. While he was allowed to roam freely about the land, his bitterness grew, and he acquired a small following. Húrin, deciding to leave Hitlum with his seven followers, marched to the halls of Lorgan to announce his departure. Lorgan, knowing sensing the purpose behind Morgoth’s release of Húrin, prevented his men from drawing their swords on him, and allowed him to go free.  

09 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 162: Fornost Erain

The Fields of Fornost as depicted in Turbine's LOTRO

Fornost Erain (S. ‘North fortress of the Kings’, called Norbury or Norbury of the Kings in the Common Speech) was a city within the North Downs, and the second capital of Arnor. It later became the capital of Arthedain (from TA 861), and after the rise of the Witch-King and the fall of both Rhudaur and Cardolan, Fornost became the principal fortress of the Dúnedain of the North.

When King Arvedui was defeated in TA 1974, Fornost was captured by Angmar. It was freed the following year in the Battle of Fornost, but the North Kingdom never rose again, and Fornost was left deserted. From this point on, it was known as Dead Man’s Dike.

08 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 161: Dragons in Middle-earth

Dragons were among the most ancient and terrible of all the creatures in Middle-earth. It is likely that they were first bred by Morgoth upon his return to Angband with the Silmarils.

There were three strains of dragons:

Urulóki – Also called fire-drakes, the Urulóki (Q. ‘hot serpents’) were the most common type of dragon during the First Age. Although they breathed fire, they could not fly. Glaurung was the first of this kind. These dragons could only be withstood by those specially armoured to face their fire; the Dwarves were best equipped for this, as theirs was the most durable armour in Middle-earth.

Winged dragonsFirst appearing during the Great Battle, the winged dragons not only flew, as their name suggests, but they also breathed fire. Following the Great Battle, they are not mentioned in the history of Middle-earth until TA 2570, when they reappeared in the Ered Mithrin. Ancalagon the Black was the first and greatest of the flying dragons, but Smaug was one of the last remaining winged dragons in Middle-earth.  

Cold-drakesThe lesser cold-drakes, found only in the Ered Mithrin, probably did not breathe fire. Instead they relied on their speed and size. It was one of these creatures, Scatha the Worm, who slew Dáin I and his son Frór, causing their folk to abandon their homes in the Ered Mithrin and return to Erebor.

Additionally, dragons are also sometimes referred to as drakes, worms, long-worms, or serpents.  

Most of the dragons in Middle-earth were not only strong, but they were also cunning, quick-witted, malicious, and greedy (they were known for possessing much wealth). They also had the ability to bewitch anyone who looked into their eyes.  

07 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 160: the War of Wrath

The War of Wrath by Perkan Pickman

The Great Battle (also called the War of Wrath) was the second Battle of the Powers, fought between the Host of Valinor and the forces of Morgoth (Orcs, Balrogs, winged dragons, and Easterlings), and the great conflict which ended the First Age.

The Battle

Following Eärendil’s plea for aid from the Valar, they, moved by his words, agreed to send a force into Middle-earth. With the Vanyar and Noldor in Valinor, they rode in the ships of the Teleri, arriving in Middle-earth in a mighty host. Marching across Beleriand, they met the forces of Morgoth on the plains of Anfauglith.

A great battle ensued, and the mighty Valar destroyed nearly all of Morgoth’s forces. Nearing defeat, Morgoth unleashed his deadliest weapon which had never been seen before: winged dragons. As they began to drive the Valar back, Eärendil came in on his sky-ship Vingilot, followed by the Eagles of Manwë (led by Thorondor). They fought and slew most of the dragons; Eärendil slew Ancalagon the Black, captain of the dragons, and when the dragon fell, he broke the towers of Thangorodrim.  


All of Morgoth’s forces were destroyed in the Great Battle, and Morgoth was himself captured and bound again with his old chain Angainor. The Silmarils in his possession were taken by the Maia Eönwë and closely guarded; Morgoth’s crown was beaten into a collar. He was thrust by the Valar into the Timeless Void, the doors of which are forever guarded by Ëarendil.

Though Morgoth had at last been defeated, Beleriand and the lands to the north were also destroyed and sunk beneath the waves of Belegaer.

Ëonwë bid the remaining Elves to return with him to Aman; most went into the West, while others refused and journeyed eastward, many of them eventually becoming those known as the Silvan Elves (among these Elves were Galadriel, Celeborn, and Elrond).

The Men of the Edain who had fought for the Host of the Valar were granted the land of Númenor.  

06 December 2011

Hobbit Cast ‘Like Family,’ says Abbington

Martin Freeman’s partner, actress Amanda Abbington, has taken the couple's two children, Joe and Grace, to New Zealand to watch their father portray Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit.

Before the cast and crew could begin filming, they had to be welcomed onto Maori soil.

 “It was sacred ground,” Abbington said, “so before they could start filming we had this thing called a ‘powhiri’ where the Maoris accept you into their family.”

Sir Ian McKellen gave a speech at the foot of the mountain “about how actors are a tribe of people as well, who don't recognise colour, creed or religion. They're just thrown together.

 “That's what it's like over here. You've got loads of people from all over the world coming in and it's like a lovely family. We came back a few weeks ago and it's just like coming home.”

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 159: Barliman Butterbur

Barliman Butterbur (called Barley for short) was the innkeeper of The Prancing Pony in Bree, which had been owned by his family for many generations. He was a short, fat man, bald and red-faced.

His memory was poor (“One thing drives out another”), and he seemed to be very absent-minded at times: on Mid-year’s day in TA 3018, Gandalf, who had learned that the Nazgûl rode in the guise of Black Riders, gave Butterbur an urgent letter to be delivered to Frodo, explaining this and warning him to leave the Shire immediately; Butterbur, unable to find anyone to deliver the letter, forgot about it until the four hobbits showed up at the Pony some three months later – to Gandalf’s anger. 

Yet for his failings in memory, Butterbur was very kind-hearted. Upon realising his mistake, he did everything he could to ensure that the four Hobbits had a pleasant stay at the Pony, providing them with bedding materials to be used as decoys for the Nazgûl, and giving them money for a replacement pony after theirs had been set loose from the stables.  

Distrustful of the Rangers, Strider in particular, Butterbur did not like the fact that the four Hobbits went off with him; he was surprised at the end of the War of the Ring to find that Strider had become King Elessar of Gondor.

05 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 158: Hobbits and Food

Hobbits are well-known for their love of food. Typically, they would eat up to six meals in a day.

Their meals include (*times are an approximation):

Breakfast (7 am) – Breakfast is the first meal of the day in most countries. In the UK and Ireland, breakfast usually consists of a hot meal, featuring eggs, bacon, and sausages, accompanied by toast and either tea or coffee.

Second breakfast (9 am) – A tradition in Bavaria and Poland, second breakfast is similar to the British tradition of elevensies. Typical foods to be enjoyed during second breakfast include pastries, sausages, sandwiches, or light dessert-type dishes, and coffee.

Elevenses (11 am) – In the UK and Ireland, elevenses generally consist of cake (or other pastries) or biscuits with a cup of coffee or tea. 

Luncheon (1 pm) – A mid-day meal, generally smaller than a typical dinnertime meal. Appropriate dishes may include soups or sandwiches. 

Afternoon tea (4 pm) – Afternoon is very similar to elevensies, but is taken later in the afternoon (hence the name). Foods accompanying the afternoon are much the same as with elevensies.  

Dinner (6 pm) – In most cultures, dinner is the main meal of the day. It is a more formal meal, often consisting of three courses: appetizers (such as soup or salad), followed by the main course, and ending with dessert. 

Supper (8 pm) – Supper is the light meal which follows after dinner later in the evening. It is less formal than dinner. In some places, supper is simply a light snack prior to bedtime; in parts of the UK, supper may consist of a warm, milky drink with biscuits, cereal, or sandwiches.

A typical Hobbit meal consists of simple foods, such as bread, meat, potatoes, and cheese – though they have an extreme fondness for mushrooms, surpassing their love of all other foods. Ale is their beverage of choice; being social creatures, they often prefer to enjoy their ales in various inns across the Shire.

04 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 157: Sindar Elves

The Sindar (Q. ‘Grey Elves’ or Elves of Twilight; singular Sinda) were of Telerin origin; these were the Elves who did not complete the Great Journey, but instead lived in Beleriand, awaiting the return of their friend, Elwë (Thingol). Some, such as the Falathrim (‘Coast-Elves’) had even been persuaded by Ossë to remain on the Hither Shores. Their two main countries of dwelling were Doriath (which was under the rule of Melian and Thingol) and the Falas (over which Círdan the Shipwright had power).
Despite being Moriquendi (those Elves who had not seen the light of the Two Trees), they were guided by Círdan, Melian, and Elwë, and thus achieved great wisdom in their time. They spoke Sindarin, which later replaced the Noldorin Quenya as the primary language of Beleriand, and they also invented the Cirth. 

The Sindar did not play an active role in the opposition against Morgoth during the Wars of Beleriand; but by the last age of the Years of the Trees, the evil that dwelt east of the Blue Mountains began to trouble the hearts of the Sindar, so that they began to consider the need for weapons and armour. They began to trade with the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegrost, from whom they also learned smithcraft. Once armed, they drove invading wolves and Orcs from their land and had peace once more. 

After the destruction of Beleriand at the end of the First Age, many of the Sindar Elves went over Sea. Those who remained in Middle-earth dwelt in Lindon or Elven-realms such as the Woodland Realm. They were happy in Middle-earth, but after a love of the Sea was aroused in them, they were no longer content.

03 December 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 156: Niënor

Niënor (S. ‘Mourning’, b. FA 474) was the third child of Húrin and his wife Morwen. Born after her father had been captured in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and her brother Túrin sent to Doriath for safety, Niënor spent her childhood in Dor-lómin with her mother; when she reached the age of twenty, the two secretly made their way to Doriath, hoping to reunite with Túrin. 

When Morwen went to Nargothrond seeking news of Túrin, Niënor left the safety of Doriath against her mother’s knowledge, and soon after stumbled upon the dragon Glaurung, who cast a spell of forgetfulness onto her. From that point on, the memory of her life prior to encountering him was taken from her, and she wandered aimlessly as Níniel (‘Tear-maiden’) until being rescued by some woodmen, who led her back to their sanctuary of Ephel Brandir. It was here that she was reunited with her brother Túrin – though neither one recognised the other.  

Níniel and Túrin were soon wed, and she became pregnant by him. When Glaurung finally lifted his hypnosis from Níniel, she was so horrified that she jumped to hear death from Cabed-en-Aras (FA 501). Túrin slew the dragon, avenging some of the ill deeds that had been committed, and then slew himself as well.