31 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 123: Grimbeorn

Grimbeorn the Old was the son of Beorn. Like his father, he was able to take the shape of a bear. After his father’s death, he became the chieftain of the Beornings. He kept the High Pass and Ford of Carrock free of wolves and Orcs during his reign as chieftain, making it safe for travelers, though his tolls were high.

One Fan's Unexpected Journey

Photo: Ain't It Cool News

Quint from Ain’t It Cool News is living every Tolkien fan’s dream. Not too long ago, he was invited to pay a visit to the set of The Hobbit, and has been given the opportunity to document the filmmaking crew’s adventures over a two-month span. He has plans to turn this adventure into a “new, temporary, regular column” that he has appropriately named “An Unexpected Journey.”

“Calling The Hobbit a prequel doesn’t exactly feel right, though,” he writes. “This isn’t a film cooked up to cash in on an absurdly successful franchise. As most Tolkien readers and human beings over the age of 7 know, The Hobbit burst forth from the pen of JRR Tolkien first. There are many Middle Earth stories, but The Hobbit is the natural choice. It’s high adventure and lets us revisit some of our favorite locations and characters within its own, unique story.”

Quint’s first story took him to Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand, where he visited the Hobbiton set. You can check out his first report – “Concerning Hobbiton” – here

30 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 122: Lossoth

A Lossoth, as depicted in LOTRO
The Lossoth (known in Westron as the Snowmen) were a primitive group of Men, descendants of the Forodwaith. They were noted in the Red Book as being a strange and unfriendly group of men. During the Third Age, they dwelt in Forochel on the shores of the Ice Bay, constructing houses out of snow and traveling via sleds and bones which they attached to their feet.

When King Arvedui fled to Forochel after the fall of Arthedain in TA 1974, the Lossoth aided him and his men; Arvedui rewarded their kindness with the Ring of Barahir. When an elf-ship came to rescue Arvedui, the Lossoth, sensing an impending danger, warned him not to get on; he did not heed their advice, and his ship was overtaken by a great storm, and he perished in the icy waters.

29 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 121: Huorns

Old Man Willow; the Brothers Hildebrandt
Huorns were creatures of Fangorn Forest, either trees or Ents which had become wild and dangerous (especially to Orcs, whom they hated), though they were not evil. They moved little, but when they did, they were quick and able to hide themselves in shadow. Huorns could speak, though only intelligibly with Ents, who had control over them.

28 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 120: Elros

Elros (‘Star-glitter’, ‘Star-foam’) was the son of Elwing and Eärendil the Mariner, and the twin brother of Elrond. Known to the Edain as Tar-Minyatur (‘High First-ruler’), he chose the Gift of Men, but was granted a 500 year lifespan by the Valar. 

He led a remnant of the Edain to Númenor, where the Valar appointed him the first King of the Dúnedain (SA 32-442). He was succeeded by his son, Vardamir Nólimon, and his heirs were the Kings of Númenor, Arnor, and Gondor.

Wellington to Hold World ‘Hobbit’ Premiere

Photo: Rhys Palmer/Herald on Sunday/Rex Features

Sir Peter Jackson has announced that Wellington will be holding the world premiere of The Hobbit. The premiere is scheduled to take place in late November of next year, with the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey being released in theatres the following month.

Jackson and his film crew began filming on location five days ago. They have already shot 110 days of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Jackson’s Weta studios.

The director also invited Prime Minister John Key, with whom he struck up a friendship last year during employment disputes surrounding the Hobbit films. Jackson is not endorsing the Prime Minister, but is simply expressing his gratitude for the help he received by the government.

The Hobbiton set, located on the outskirts of Matamata, and including such attractions as 44 Hobbit holes, a stone bridge, and The Green Dragon Inn, will remain a permanent visitor attraction once filming has completed. Tours will be run by Shire Tours.

27 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 119: Dunlendings

A Dunlending, as portrayed in the films

The Dunlendings, the Hill-folk of Dunland, were a dispirited and uncultured race of Men during the time of the War of the Ring. It was said that they were remotely descended from the Haladin (the People of Haleth) of the First Age. 

They had initially inhabited the valleys of the Ered Nimrais before being driven out. Some assimilated with Gondor, forming the group known as the Dead Men of Dunharrow. By the Second Age, a remnant of their race dwelled in the woods of Minhiriath, and gradually there arose hatred towards the Dúnedain. Many left and migrated to Eriador; others remained in the White Mountains, slowly dwindling away, until Gondor, then Rohan, drove them out completely. By the late Third Age, the largest surviving group of Dunlendings settled in the hills of Dunland. The Men of Bree were the northernmost surviving group during this time. 

The Dunlendings were tall and dark-haired. They were wild and primitive, but fierce fighters when roused. Their chief enemies were the Men of Rohan (Forgoil , or ‘Strawheads,’ as they called them). They led two great attacks on Rohan: first in 2758, when Dunlendings led by Wulf overran the Mark. Though at first they seemed victorious, Wulf was ultimately slain, and the Dunlendings driven out again.  The second occurred during the War of the Ring, when the Dunlendings were aroused by Saruman.

Hobbits Celebrate the Ten-Year Anniversary of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Photo: Sarah Dunn, EMPIRE Magazine

A decade after they first came together to be a part of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film adaptations, the four hobbits – Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd – came together for a photo shoot and interview to celebrate their decade of friendship.  

Elijah Wood, who was just eighteen years old when he first flew out to New Zealand to play the story’s protagonist Frodo Baggins, told EMPIRE magazine that, “It feels like... It’s 12 years ago in August that we all flew out there, so it feels crazy to conceive of that span of time, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed.”

“We fit into our dynamics easily enough, which makes you feel as if no time has passed,” noted Dominic Monaghan, famous for his role as Merry Brandybuck. “There’s shorthand we have which is always there. I’ll be in my office or something and I’ll go to a bookshelf and pull out something and there’ll be a picture of all of us.”

“Whenever you experience something that’s as intense and life-defining as we did together, it never goes away,” added Sean Astin, who played Frodo’s gardener and loyal companion, Samwise Gamgee. “You see it with people who were at war. Nobody has to say more than a syllable on the telephone and you know who it is. Just the tiniest sound of someone’s voice.”

Wood, who has returned to New Zealand to reprise his role as Frodo for Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, says of his return: 'I expected the feeling to be really surreal, to be back in wardrobe and make-up again, and it was. But it also felt normal, as if it’s built into my bone structure. It’s beyond the movies. Beyond what they became.'

You can find the full interview in this month’s copy of EMPIRE Magazine, on sale now.

26 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 118: Hírilorn

Lúthien escaping Hírilorn; Ted Nasmith

The greatest tree in Neldoreth, Hírilorn (S. ‘Lady-tree’ or ‘Tree of the Lady’) was a three-trunked beech which grew in the forest of Neldoreth near the city of Menegroth, and in which Lúthien Tinúviel was imprisoned by her father, King Thingol, to prevent her from following Beren. However, Lúthien managed to escape, following Beren and helping him recover one of the Silmarils from Morgoth’s crown. During the Hunting of the Wolf, Beren was mortally wounded  by Carcharoth, and died under Hírilorn in Lúthien’s arms.

Its original name might have been Neldor, meaning ‘triple-tree’

25 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 117: Erendis

Erendis was the wife of Tar-Aldarion of Númenor and a descendant of the First House of the Edain. Aldarion was devoted to the sea and his ships; Erendis did not share this love, and so their marriage was an unhappy one. They had one child, a daughter (who later became Queen Ancalimë, the first ruling Queen of Númenor). After that, she withdrew from her husband’s life, but in old age desired to reconcile with him. In SA 985, she journeyed to Rómenna to greet him, but was said to have perished at sea.

24 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 116: Ar-Gimilzôr

King Ar-Gimilzôr by John Howe
Ar-Gimilzôr (b. 2960 SA), son of Ar-Sakalthor, was the twenty-third king of Númenor (from SA 3102-77). His true name in Quenya was Tar-Telemnar. With his wife, Inzilbêth of Andúnië, to whom he was unhappily married, he had two sons, Inziladûn (who, upon becoming King, reverted to the High Elvish name Tar-Palantir, ‘the Farsighted’) and Gimilkhâd (who was just like his father). 

During his reign, Ar-Gimilzôr persecuted the Faithful and prohibited those who still adhered to the Eldar from entering Númenor, believing the Valar to be spying on him. He severed all ties with the Elves, forbade the use of the Elvish language, neglected the White Tree (a gift from the Elves), and abandoned worship upon the Hallow of Eru. As a result, the Valar ceased to protect the people of Númenor.

23 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 115: Fíli and Kíli

Fíli (b. TA 2859) and Kíli (b. TA 2864) were the Dwarf-sons of Dís. They accompanied their uncle, Thorin Oakenshield, on the Quest for Erebor, and later fought alongside him in the Battle of Five Armies (TA 2941), in which they were both slain defending their uncle from Orcs. 

Fíli and Kíli were the youngest of the Dwarves in Thorin’s Company, and as such, were frequently used as scouts. Fíli was also known to have had the longest nose of any of the Dwarves on the quest. 

In Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, Fíli and Kíli will be played by Dean O'Gorman and Aidan Turner, respectively.  

22 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 114: Daeron

Daeron was a Grey-elf and minstrel of King Thingol of Doriath during the First Age of Middle-earth. He loved Thingol’s daughter, Lúthien, and twice betrayed her and Beren (a mortal) to her father. When Lúthien disappeared after escaping from Hírilorn, Daeron went off in search of her, ending up in the Eastern part of Middle-earth, where he lamented his loss and eventually passed out of the memory of the Elves. 

He is credited with the systemising and re-ordering of the Grey-elven runic alphabet (the certhas); his runes may have been the oldest known form of common writing originating in Middle-earth. He was also the greatest minstrel to live East of the Sea, as his compositions had been inspired by the beauty of Lúthien.

Names and Etymology

In his native dialect (a dialect of Sindarin called Doriathrin), Daeron was called Dairon, which is derived from dair/daer, meaning "shadow of trees"

21 October 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 113: Goldberry

Goldberry as portrayed in the trading card game

Goldberry, daughter of the River-woman of the Withywindle, was the companion of Tom Bombadil. Fair and golden-haired, she possessed Elf-like beauty, though it is uncertain of what race she is. Her origins, too, are unknown, though Tom Bombadil claimed to have found her in the river. This suggests that she may not be mortal, but rather some sort of spirit or possibly even a lower Maia, though none of these speculations have been confirmed.