31 July 2011

Andy Serkis Talks Directorial Duties on 'Hobbit'

With his most recent film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in theatres this Friday, Andy Serkis recently spoke with ComingSoon.net about his next project, Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit.' Not only will Andy be reprising his role as Gollum, he will also serve as the film's 2nd Unit director.

When asked how directing 'The Hobbit' will be different from the short films he's directed in the past, Andy's response was:

"It's really incredible. At the end of the day you're finding the right shot to support the performance. That's something I've learned from working with Peter over the years. What I've loved and really connected with is observing his choices in how to tell a story with a camera. I've been very inspired by the way he works over the years, clearly, and I think that's why I feel like I'm kind of in touch with his sensibility. Although I'm there for him on 2nd Unit, his words to me when he offered me the job were, "I want you to make bold decisions, come back with your own take on it, you can cut your own material." He wants a fresh pair of eyes as well. I'm not gonna take it too far from his sensibility, but to have that creative freedom and yet at the same time know that you're aiming towards the same end is a great mix for working on that scale. Working in 3D for the first time, working with such a big crew, all the drama and battle sequences and all the other things."

Look for Rise of the Planet of the Apes in theatres this Friday; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in theatres in December 2012.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 31: The Three Prayers

The Three Prayers were the prayers of the Númenoreans to Eru. Three times a year, the Númenorean King would lead his people to the summit of Meneltarma, where they would engage in a ritual prayer. The Three Prayers took place at the beginning of spring, the height of mid-summer, and the end of autumn, and were known as the Erukyrmë, Erulaitalë, and Eruhantalë, respectively. It was tradition for the three Great Eagles, known as the Witnesses of Manwë, would hover over the King and his people during each of the Three Prayers.

While the Three Prayers were consistently observed by the early Kings of Númenor, the ritual soon fell into disuse as the party of the King’s Men established power. The first King who was said to have altogether abandoned the Prayers was Ar-Gimilzôr, the twenty-third ruler of Númenor.

Stephen Colbert Straightens out 'Lord of the Rings' Analogies

Following Congress' recent comparison between the debt crisis and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Stephen Colbert decided to set straight the analogies on a recent episode of The Colbert Report.

Watch the 4 minute video below to see Stephen's response to Congress' analogies (including John McCain's recent reading from a Wall Street Journal editorial which referred to Tea Party members as hobbits, and also stated that "...the Tea Party hobbits could return to Middle earth having defeated Mordor"):

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 30: Haldir of the Haladin

Haldir was the eldest son of Halmir and a Chieftain of the Folk of Haleth during the First Age. He married Glóredhel of the House of Hador; her younger brother, Gador the Tall, married Haldir's sister, Hareth. Haldir and Glóredhel had a son, Handir; their grandson was Brandir the Lame.

As Hador's son-in-law, Haldir fostered Húrin and Huor in Brethil. Together they took part in an ambush of Orcs who came from the Pass of Sirion soon after the Dagor Bragollach; the Orcs were destroyed by Halmir's forces.

When his father prepared the Folk of Brethil to join the Union of Maedhros, Haldir obeyed Fingon's summons. With his brother Hundar, he led many warriors to the Nirnaeth Arneodiad, where they joined forces with Hurin, now Lord of Dor-lómin. Haldir and most of his men were slain in battle, and only three men returned to Brethil. Glóredhel, learning of the news, died of her grief. The Folk of Haleth were thereafter ruled by their son Handir.


Who Are the Haladin?

The Haladin were the second of the three peoples of the Edain to cross the Blue Mountains and enter into Beleriand. For awhile they dwelt in Thargelion, but were later led into the west by Haleth, where they founded homes in the Forest of Brethil.

30 July 2011

Andy Serkis' 'Hobbit' Tidbits

At the LA premiere of Andy Serkis' next film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in which he again takes on a CGI role, Andy spoke a little about reprising his role as Gollum in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit.

"We've been shooting for 60 days, and we have about 200 more to go," he said. "I've actually finished all my scenes as Gollum and now I'm directing second unit. I'm having a ball."

You can view the entire video interview here.



Luke Evans Auditioned Online for 'The Hobbit'


"I auditioned for [The Hobbit] like a year ago," Luke Evans said. "It's amazing. Things happen like that sometimes on movies. Projects happen or they get stopped. As you know, 'The Hobbit's' had a lot of hurdles to jump before it started production. So yeah, I auditioned for it a year ago and never heard a single thing back."

Luke Evans did eventually hear back, but despite being cast as Bard the Bowman, he has not actually worked with - or even met - director Peter Jackson yet.

"I've heard just wonderful things about the whole process with Peter and Phillipa and I know a few of the actors in the movie and Orlando [Bloom] has always said wonderful things about him and the experience he had on 'Lord of the Rings' so I can't wait," he said. "It's just lovely to be a part of something that's just a little bit of cinematic history."

While he says he's physically prepared to take on the role - and is especially keen on honing his archery skills - Evans admits he knows about as much as fans do, due to the fact that he has not yet begun filming.

"As the weeks have gone by I've sort of been able to settle in the film I'm doing right now, I've been able to see the amazing video blogs that he's done which are fantastic and I think it's genius that he's doing them because they're really, really insightful and it gives the fans and anybody, everybody, a little taste of the enormity of this project. So that's about as much as I know."

29 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 29: Book of Mazarbul


The Book of Mazarbul was a record of Balin's failed expedition to recolonize Moria with the help of a group of Longbeard Dwarves, covering a time span of five years, beginning in TA 2989. It was written in many different hands, using runes of Moria and Dale as well as Elvish letters, and its last entry was recorded shortly before the final Orc attack which killed off the Dwarves:

"We cannot get out. We cannot get out. They have taken the bridge and Second Hall. Frár and Lóni and Náli fell there bravely while the rest retr [...] Mazarbul. We still ho[...]g ... but hope u[...]n[...]Óin’s party went five days ago but today only four returned. The pool is up to the wall at West-gate. The Watcher in the Water took Óin--we cannot get out. The end comes soon. We hear drums, drums in the deep. They are coming"

Gandalf discovered the Book of Mazarbul when the Fellowship entered the Mines of Moria; he gave the book to Gimli, who passed it on to Dáin.


Notes

Mazarbul means "record" in the Dwarf-language of Khuzdul.

28 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 28: Landroval


Landroval ('wide-winged') was the brother of Gwaihir and a descendant of Thorondor. He assisted his brother in his many run ins with Gandalf, including attacking the Nazgûl off of their fell beasts in the Battle of the Morannon, and flying with Gwaihir and Meneldor to aid Frodo and Sam in Mordor, for which Landroval had been specifically requested by Gandalf. He was known to have been capable of flying faster than any of the Nazgûl.

Rise of Isengard: First Screencaps of Orthanc and Gap of Rohan

Earlier today, Turbine released several photos of the upcoming LOTRO expansion, The Rise of Isengard, which will launch on September 27 and allow players to explore three new regions in Middle-earth - Dunland, the Gap of Rohan, and Isengard.

Click to enlarge photos:






'I Wanna Be In the Hobbit Movies' Podcast Now on iTunes

In case you're not following him on Twitter (which you should be!), I just wanted to relay a link to Patrick Spadaccino's new podcast series on iTunes. Check him out and help pass the word along.

Once again, you can follow Patrick via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and RSS feed.

27 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 27: Nauglamír

Also called the Necklace of the Dwarves, Nauglamír was forged by the Dwarves of Belegost and originally made for Finrod Felagund (according to the published Silmarillion). It contained the Silmaril recovered by Beren and Lúthien.

Húrin brought the Nauglamír to Doriath from the ruins of Nargothrond as payment to Thingol for the care Húrin's family had received while he was imprisoned by Morgoth. After the inclusion of the Silmaril, the Dwarves greedily demanded Nauglamír (their best work) as payment for their labours. Thingol saw that they desired the Silmaril, his most prized possession, and after insulting the Dwarves and insisting that they leave Doriath, they slew him in response.

When word reached Beren, he and an army of the Laiquendi slew the remaining Dwarves; Beren took Nauglamír with him to Lúthien. Following their deaths, Nauglamír passed to their son, Dior, thus leading to the Second Kinslaying, in which the Sons of Fëanor attacked Doriath in an attempt to gain the Silmaril. During the Third Kinslaying, the Sons of Fëanor attacked the Mouths of Sirion, again claiming the Nauglamír; however, Dior's daughter, Elwing, cast herself into the sea with it. Elwing and the Silmaril were saved by Ulmo; however, the fate of Nauglamír remains unknown, as Tolkien himself never finished the story.

Luke Evans excited about 'Hobbit'; Saoirse Ronan 'disappointed'

Welsh actor Luke Evans recently attended Comic-Con to promote Tarsem Singh's new film 'Immortals.' Now, he's off to New Zealand to begin filming 'The Hobbit,' in which he will be portraying Bard the Bowman.

"It's really big. It's not overwhelming to the point of being terrifying, but it is quite a big thing. I'm about to become part of a piece of cinematic history, whether I like it or not," he said.

Evans also admits to feeling a bit nervous about working on such an "epic" film, adding: "This is a big movie and I'm working with a director that is probably one of the best directors around today. He's the most respected director in the world. He's carrying these two movies and shooting them straight after each other. It's taking him two years to shoot. The whole thing is epic, and I'm going to be part of it. I'm really excited. I can't wait."



Meanwhile, Saoirse Ronan is still "really disappointed" over having to turn down a role in 'The Hobbit,' and missing an opportunity to work with director Peter Jackson again.

"I'm really disappointed that I couldn't do it," she said. "I really am. Any excuse for me to go back to New Zealand, and work with those people I'd take. But there are other projects as well that I've had to consider - and to do that for over a year, it wouldn't have left me time to do anything else."

26 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 26: Thuringwethil

Ted Nasmith's illustration of Lúthien and Beren disguised as Thuringwethil and Draugluin

Thuringwethil (Sindarin: the 'Woman of Secret Shadow') was a vampire messenger of Sauron, who possessed bat-like wings which were barbed with an iron claw at each joint, and who carried out his errands between Angband and Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Little is known about her, but it has been indicated that she may have been a lesser Maia, perhaps brought into service by Melkor. While she is associated with vampires, she merely takes on their form; she is not explicitly referred to as being a vampire.

She was caught in Tol-in-Gaurhoth and her winged form was taken from her by Lúthien, who used Thuringwethil's shape to enter Angband with Beren, where the stole one of the Three Jewels (Silmarils) from Morgoth's crown and achieved the Quest of the Silmaril.

25 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 25: Simbelmynë


Simbelmynë (sometimes spelled symbelmynë) was a white flower that grew in abundance on graves and tombs, most famously on the barrows of the Kings of Rohan, and most thickly on the grave of Helm Hammerhand. Simbelmynë can be translated as "Evermind," in reference to the memories of the dead, upon whose tombs the flower grew.

Simbelmynë is also called uilos ('snow white') and alfirin ('immortal') because it blooms all year long.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 24: the Valacirca

The Valacirca, or Sickle of the Stars, was a constellation consisting of seven stars set in the sky by Varda as a warning to Melkor and his servants, which also precipitated the awakening of the Elves. It may have stood as the symbol of Durin, and can be seen on the doors of Moria, though this is unclear.

Other names include Burning Briar (the Hobbits' name for it), Durin’s Crown, Edegil, Otselen, the Plough, Seven Butterflies, Silver Sickle, Timbridhil, and the Big Dipper/Ursa Major; the Men of the Northlands called them "the Wain."


Etymology

Quenya: "Sickle of the Valar"

In Sindarin, the name is translated as Cerch i-Mbelain.

23 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 23: Orcrist

Thorin with Orcrist
Orcrist (Sindarin "goblin-cleaver") was the sword of Thorin Oakenshield and the mate to King Thurgon's sword Glamdring. Thorin discovered it in a troll-hoard during his journey to Erebor; he claimed it, while Gandalf claimed Glamdring. The goblins in the Misty Mountains nicknamed it "Biter." It had been crafted by the Elves, so it was both a feared and valuable weapon. Like Glamdring and Sting, Orcrist could detect the presence of Orcs and warned its owner by emitting a bluish hue.

Orcrist was taken from Thorin by Thranduil the Elf-king during his captivity in the Woodland Realm; it was returned to him after his death at the Battle of Five Armies. Orcrist was then placed on Thorin's tomb alongside the Arkenstone.


Etymology

Sindarin: Orch + rist

22 July 2011

'Hobbit' Pushes Superman Back into 2013

Like Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Zack Snyder's Superman: Man of Steel was also slated for a December 2012 release; however, the latter film has pushed back that date until June 2013, to make way for the first Hobbit film.

This will put Man of Steel up against sequels from the Thor and Iron Man franchises in what has already been dubbed The Summer of Super Men, while The Hobbit will go against Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and Johnny Depp's Lone Ranger.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 22: the Arkenstone

"It was like a globe with a thousand faces; it shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the Moon!" -The Hobbit

The Arkenstone was a jewel discovered beneath the roots of Erebor by Thráin I, and prized by his descendants as the Heart of the Mountain. The Dwarves worked it into a shimmering multi-faceted jewel that shone by its own light, but when light shone upon it, it '...changed it into ten thousand sparks of white radiance shot with glints of the rainbow.' (The Hobbit)

In the centuries following its discovery, it became an heirloom to the Kings of Durin's Folk. It was carried away by Thráin's son into the Grey Mountains, and was eventually brought back to the Great Hall of Thráin under the Mountain by his descendant Thrór.

When the dragon Smaug took Erebor (T.A. 2770), the Arkenstone was lost, finding a new home among Smaug's booty in the halls of Erebor. Many years later, Thorin Oakenshield led a band of Dwarves to recover their ancient city and stolen treasures; Bilbo Baggins discovered the Arkenstone (T.A. 2941), and took it, knowing how valuable it was to Thorin. When the Lake-men and Wood-elves demanded their shares of Smaug's treasure, Bilbo offered the Arkenstone to bargain with. Following the Battle of Five Armies, Bard the Bowman of Dale placed the Heart of the Mountain on the breast of Thorin in his tomb beneath Erebor; once more, the Arkenstone was buried beneath the Lonely Mountain.

Thorin's Burial (Alan Lee)

Etymology

Tolkien took the name from the Old English earcanstān (also spelled eorcanstān, eorcnanstān) or the Old Norse jarknasteinn, meaning "precious stone".

Official War in the North Trailer

The new trailer for Lord of the Rings: War in the North has been released!


This game looks awesome! Look for it on shelves on August 24, or pre-order it here.

21 July 2011

Group Photo of the Dwarves

Now that we've seen all the individual photos, here's a group photo of all thirteen Dwarves from 'The Hobbit':

Click to Enlarge


From left to right: Jed Brophy as Nori, Dean O’Gorman as Fili, Mark Hadlow as Dori, James Nesbitt as Bofur, Peter Hamleton as Gloin, Graham McTavish as Dwalin, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield (center), Ken Stott as Balin, John Callen as Oin, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, William Kircher as Bifur, Adam Brown as Ori and Aidan Turner as Kili.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 21: Zirakzigil

Zirakzigil was the Dwarves' name for one of the great peaks of the Misty Mountains, Celebdil (Silvertine), which located above the Dwarf kingdom of Khazad-dûm. (The other two peaks were Caradhras and Fanuidhol.) At its peak stood Durin's Tower, upon which the final battle between Gandalf and Durin's Bane (the Balrog of Moria) took place.

John Howe

Etymology

The Sindarin word for Zirakzigil is Celebdil

Celebdil is derived from celeb ("silver") and til (modified to -dil) ("horn," "point")

Therefore, Zirakzigil can be literally translated to "Silver Spike"

'Hobbit' Production Video #3

Peter Jackson has released a third 'Hobbit' production video on his Facebook page, following the announcement that he had declined an invitation to participate in this year's Comic-Con.

"New Line and Warner Bros were very happy to support a presentation, but I declined, simply because I felt it was too early," Jackson writes. "There's so much more of the films still to shoot. I just wanted to get that out there, because I've seen various references to the possibility of something Hobbity at Comic Con. Hate to disappoint anyone. But something tells me we will be there in force next year."

He adds: "We've just finished a new video blog, covering a little more of the first block of shooting. So please enjoy this - at least you don't have to travel to San Deigo to see it! I've been on the go since wrapping the first shooting block, but I'm about to settle down and get into the much delayed 20 Questions. I've a few half-written and will get those done very, very soon! I promise!"

In this video, Jackson is seen looking for Andy Serkis, who is not on the 'Hobbit' set, but is instead stranded on the 'James Bond' lots; we see Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman working on a scene together; and the cast and crew reveal how they feel about the first three months of filming. 

Filming is scheduled to resume this September.

20 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 20: Ancalagon the Black


Ancalagon was the first of the winged fire drakes to be issued from Angband during the War of Wrath, when the Valar waged their final war on Morgoth. While Glaurung was considered the "Father of Dragons," Ancalagon was the greatest dragon that ever lived; he led the host of winged dragons at Morgoth's last defense, an attack so great that it drove back the Host of the Valar. 

Eärendil, accompanied by the Eagles of Manwë, came out of the west in his ship Vingilot; they fought Ancalagon and the other dragons, and eventually came out victorious. Eärendil cast Ancalagon upon the triple-peaked towers of Thangorodrim, destroying both the towers as well as the dragon. The fall of Ancalagon marked the end of Morgoth's final resistance. 


Description

Ancalagon was so large that his wings were able to block out the light of the sun from afar; his body was strong enough to destroy the towers of Thangorodrim, the highest peaks in Beleriand. And like other Urulóki, he breathed fire which was said to be hotter than any other known flame.


However, Gandalf notes that while his powers were great and the heat of his fire unmatched by any other dragon, Ancalagon's fire was not powerful enough to destroy the One Ring:

"It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself." (Fellowship of the Ring)


Etymology

Sindarin "rushing jaws" - from anc ('jaw') + alag ('impetuous')

'Hobbit' Actor James Nesbitt's DVT Fears

After noticing pain in his leg, which later forced him to seek medical attention during a charity golf game, 'Hobbit' actor James Nesbitt fears he may have deep vein thrombosis (DVT). He was checked by a doctor as well as a hematologist, both of whom suspect he has DVT, a condition in which blood clots in deep vein, most frequently the leg. The condition is often associated with long-distance travel; Nesbitt has been flying between New Zealand and the UK after being cast as Bofur in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

According to a source, on the day of the golf game, "It was clear he was in agony because he limped his way around the course."

19 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 19: Varda

Varda (Varda Elentári) was the Queen of the Stars and the spouse of Manwë, King of Arda. She put the stars in the sky before the Valar descended into the world, and with the dews of Telperion she made constellations (the most important one being Valacirca, ‘The Sickle of the Valar.’ The Eldar of Middle-earth held her in great reverence, and called her Elbereth (Sindarin: ‘Star-lady’). She is also said to be the creator of light.

Said to be too beautiful for words, she resided with Manwë in Valinor.

Of all the Valar, Varda is the one Melkor hated and feared the most, because he sought to possess the light which she created, though he failed in this task.


Etymology

Varda in Quenya means “sublime,” “lofty”, while Elentári means “Star-queen”

Her original title, Tintallë, means ‘the Kindler’ (or star-kindler)

Her Sindarin titles are Elbereth ("Star-queen"), Gilthoniel ("Starkindler") and Fanuilos ("Ever-white")

In Primitive Quenya, she was called Barathī

In Telerin she is called Baradis

In Adûnaic her name was Avradî.

She is also sometimes referred to as The Kindler, Lady of the Stars, Queen of the Stars, or Snow-white, all of which are translations of her Elvish names

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 18: Shelob

Shelob was a great she-spider and the greatest of the spawn of Ungoliant, who dwelled in the Ephel Dúath mountains on the borders of Mordor. While she is evil and resides in Mordor, she is free of Sauron and his influence.

She occupied Torech Ungol beneath Cirith Ungol ("Pass of the Spider"), and may also have lived in Beleriand. Her descendants include the Giant Spiders who captured Bilbo’s Dwarf allies in Mirkwood during The Quest for Erebor. 
Her spider-silk was spun in two forms: rope and cobweb, and it was strong and well-made, ensnaring anyone who walked into it. Gollum, who had previously encountered the spider, seemed to worship her thereafter, and the Orcs of Cirith Ungol knew of their relationship, referring to Gollum as “Her Sneak.” Shelob they referred to as “Shelob the Great” and “Her Ladyship.”  

Frodo and Sam, on their way to Mount Doom, traveled through Shelob’s Lair. Gollum led them that way in the hopes that Shelob would devour them, thus allowing him to retrieve the One Ring. She attacked and stung Frodo, inducing paralysis*, while Sam wrestled with Gollum before fighting Shelob herself. Sam hewed off one claw from her leg and put out an eye; ultimately, Shelob impaled herself on Sting while trying to crush Sam. Her final fate, however, would remain unknown to those in Middle-earth.

* Sam overhears several of the Cirith Ungol Orcs reveal that Shelob could inject a non-lethal dose of venom into her victims to simply render them unconscious, as she preferred fresh meat. 


Etymology

In a letter to his son, Tolkien admitted that Shelob is simply “she” + “lob”; lob being an archaic English word for ‘spider.’

17 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 17: Sméagol (Gollum)


Sméagol was a Hobbit of the Stoor-kind, who lived on the banks of the Anduin during the Third Age. One day, his friend and cousin, Déagol, came upon the One Ring, which Sméagol demanded, stating that it was his birthday and he wanted it. When Déagol refused, he was murdered by Sméagol.

Thereafter, Sméagol was forced into exile by his people, and creeping into the Misty Mountains, he began his transformation into the creature Gollum. The Ring quickly began corrupting him, and twisted his hobbit body and mind, and prolonged his life to an unnatural limit. He referred to the Ring as his "Precious," or his "Birthday Present."

He developed a dissociative identity disorder, going between his "good" personality, Sméagol, who vaguely remembered such things and friendship and love; and the "bad" one, Gollum, who sought to harm anyone who would try to take his Precious away from him. Samwise Gamgee would later nickname these personalities "Slinker" and "Stinker," respectively.

In July of TA 2941, during the Quest of Erebor, Bilbo stumbled upon the One Ring in Gollum's cave. The two took part in a game of Riddles, for which the Precious was the prize. Bilbo won, sending Gollum into a flying rage. Bilbo put on the Ring and learned of its power involving invisibility. He was able to get himself safely out of the caves and away from Gollum.


Eventually, Gollum began searching for Bilbo and the Ring. He made his way into Mordor, where he was tortured for information regarding the Ring. Soon after he was released, he was interrogated by Aragorn, and then Gandalf, before being placed in the care of the Silvan Elves in Mirkwood. He escaped into Moria, where he began to pursue the Fellowship of the Ring as they made their way through the Mines of Moria. He continued following them after Gandalf disappeared while fighting the Balrog, and pursued them into Lórien without their knowing. He followed their boats down the Anduin, and continued through Emyn Muil, where he was caught and subdued by Frodo and Sam. When they tied Elven rope around his ankle, the touch pained him; Frodo, taking pity on the creature, released him on the condition that he lead them into Mordor. Gollum, swearing on the Precious, agreed.

Frodo's kindness toward Gollum brought out the kind Sméagol personality; in Gollum, Frodo saw his own future if he did not destroy the Ring. He wanted to save Gollum so that he could also save himself.

When they reached the Black Gate, which was heavily guarded, Gollum convinced them to take another way into Mordor. Along the way, Frodo and Sam were captured by Faramir, and Gollum followed them. Gollum, feeling betrayed by his "Master," revealed his treacherous personality to Faramir when questioned about where he was leading the hobbits. When Faramir learned that Gollum was planning on leading them to Cirith Ungol, he warned Frodo and Sam.

Gollum's intention was to betray the two hobbits to the spider Shelob; however, a sleeping Frodo nearly caused him to change his mind and repent. But Sam woke up and began speaking harshly to Gollum, which then eliminated any hope of Gollum not going through with his plan. He led the hobbits to Shelob's lair, but Frodo and Sam escaped and made their way to Orodruin (Mount Doom). Again, Gollum followed them, hoping to surprise them. When he attacked, Sam fought back, but pitied the creature too much to go through with killing him.

Moments later, as Frodo stood at the Crack of Doom, he had a change of heart and put on the One Ring, unable to part with it. Gollum knocked Sam out and tracked down Frodo's footsteps. He jumped on the hobbit and wrestled with him before biting off his finger. Gollum, overjoyed at getting his "Precious" back, lost his balance and fell into the pit of the volcano, destroying both himself and the One Ring.


Other Notes

He was considered the fourth bearer of the Ring, following Sauron, Isildur, and then Déagol.

After Sauron, he was the second longest Ring-bearer.

His name in Westron was Trahald, which means "burrowing, worming in" or "apt to creep in a hole."

Thorin Oakenshield and Orcrist Revealed!

At long last, the highly anticipated 'first look' at Thorin Oakenshield has been released by TheOneRing.net, thus concluding our preview of the Company of Dwarves.



With their photo, TORN has also released this bio on Thorin:

As a young Dwarf prince, Thorin witnessed the destruction and terror wrought when a great fire-breathing Dragon attacked the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. After slaughtering many of Thorin’s kin, the great serpent, Smaug, entered The Lonely Mountain and took possession of its vast store of gold and jewels. No-one came to the aid of the surviving Dwarves, and thus, a once proud and noble race was forced into exile. Through long years of hardship, Thorin grew to be a strong and fearless fighter and revered leader. In his heart a fierce desire grew; a desire to reclaim his homeland and destroy the beast that had brought such misery upon his people. So when fate offers him an unusual ally, he seizes the chance for revenge.


Sauron Named Top Evil Sorcerer


This is a few days old, but where I've only just seen it, I'd still like to post something on it.

TIME Magazine has compiled a list of the Top 10 Evil Sorcerers, which includes other villains such as the Wicked Witch of the West, Voldemort (who ranks in at number 5), and the Emperor from Star Wars.

From TIME:

Those who know J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth purely through The Lord of the Rings movies could be fooled into thinking that its main evil sorcerer is Saruman the White, the once pre-eminent mage who hatches an unnatural, beastly army to crush the world of men. But Sauron, that all-seeing fiery Eye, the titular Lord of the Rings, is the one who first bends Saruman's will and who, purely by being what he is, frames Tolkien's whole moral universe. Sauron, as Tolkien notes, was not always evil: he was once of the same stock as the heroic wizard Gandalf. But he lapses, gripped with that tell-tale thirst for power. The rings of power he forges to rein the peoples of Middle Earth under his sway are parables of mankind's frailty, venality and mortality. Sauron's malice may have all sorts of awesome external effects — ghoulish ringwraiths, clouds of ash, skies of dark-winged ravens — but the true extent of his evil lies in the heart of every man.

You can view the complete list of evil sorcerers here.

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 16: The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

In Appendix A of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, one can find The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, which tells the story of the love between a mortal Man and an immortal Elf-maiden. It is similar, and therefore often compared, to the Tale of Beren and Lúthien, who were also a mortal and immortal, respectively. 

The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen was written by Faramir and Éowyn's grandson, Barahir, after the death of Aragorn.


The tale chronicles some of the life of Aragorn, son of Arathorn, who was slain by orcs. He and his mother, Gilraen, went to live with the Elves in Rivendell. When Aragorn was twenty years of age, he found himself singing a part of the Lay of Lúthien, when he first witnessed the beauty of Arwen Úndomiel, whom he mistook for Lúthien Tinúviel herself. From that moment on, he only loved Arwen.

Gilraen warned her son against falling in love with an Elf-maiden of such a high status as Arwen, daughter of Lord Elrond, was. For a time, Aragorn left Imladris to aid in the fight against Sauron, and at the age of 49, went to stay in Lórien, where Arwen, unbeknown to him at the time, was also staying.

"And thus it was that Arwen first beheld him again after their long parting; and as he came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed."


On Cerin Amroth they plighted their troth, and Arwen forsook her immortality; following the War of the Ring, they were married and spent six-score years together. Aragorn found himself growing weary of life, and being one of the Dúnedain, blessed with long life, decided to return the gift he had been given.

After Aragorn's passing, Arwen bid farewell to her daughters, and to her son Eldarion, and went to Lórien,  where she dwelled alone until winter arrived. She laid herself down upon Cerin Amroth sometime before Spring came, and there she remained until the end of her days.

'Hobbit' Filming in the UK Today?

Earlier this morning, artist/illusionist Derren Brown posted the following on his Twitter account:

@DerrenBrown Off to watch some Ian Holm and Christopher Lee being filmed for The Hobbit. HOW EXCITING!

While no official word has been released confirming or denying this report, there has been talk of Elijah Wood heading to the UK to shoot a few scenes, along with Sir Christopher Lee's desire to be in 'The Hobbit' without having to go all the way to New Zealand.

Hopefully we'll hear more on this update soon!

15 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 15: Baggins

The Baggins were an old family of the Shire, found mostly in Hobbiton. They had always been an important and well-respected family in the Shire, until Bilbo set out on the Quest for Erebor with Gandalf and the Dwarves; upon his return, he gained a reputation as being "queer" and "odd," but also very rich. Bilbo Baggins, the Ring-finder, and his nephew, Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer, were the two most important hobbits of the Third Age of Middle-earth.


Origin of the Name

Baggins is an English translation of the Westron name Labingi, which may have been related to the Westron word labin, meaning "bag."


Baggins family tree (Click to enlarge)

Heads of the Baggins Family

Balbo Baggins - First recorded head of the Baggins family. It has been established that he was the ancestor of all known members of the family. He was head of the family until TA 1258 by Shire-reckoning.

Berylla Baggins - The wife of Balbo Baggins; according to hobbit tradition, if the wife survived the head of the family, then she in turn would inherit the headship.

Mungo Baggins - Succeeded by his widow, Laura. By Shire-reckoning, he was head from TA 1258-1300.

Laura Baggins - Seven years younger than her husband Mungo, Laura survived him by sixteen eyars and held the headship until she was 102 (from TA 1300-1316 by Shire-reckoning); she was succeeded by her eldest son.

Bungo Baggins - A wealthy hobbit, due in part to his marrying into the Took family, Bungo was most famous for building the great smial of Bag End. He was head from TA 131-1326 by Shire-reckoning; his widow, Belladonna, succeeded him. 

Belladonna Baggins (Took) - She was head of the family from TA 1326-1334, until she was succeeded by her only son, Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo Baggins - Head of the family from TA 1334-1421, Bilbo inherited Bag End along with the headship. When Bilbo disappeared on an adventure with Gandalf and the thirteen Dwarves, he was presumed dead, and the headship almost went to his natural heir, Otho Sackville-Baggins. When he again disappeared after his 111th Birthday Party, the Shire-hobbits were not so quick to presume him dead; and so he held onto the headship for the remainder of his time in Middle-earth.

Ponto Baggins - He became head in TA 1421 following Bilbo's departure from Middle-earth. His departure, however, caused legal trouble, as technically Bilbo was still alive, and therefore remained head of the family. The hobbits passed a new law stating that passing into the West was grounds for inheritance, and the headship passed to Ponto Baggins.


Further List of Baggins

Angelica Baggins - The daughter of Ponto Baggins. Noted for her vanity, she received a mirror from Bilbo after his farewell party.

Balbo Baggins - Married Berylla Boffin; they had five children: Mungo, Pansy, Ponto, Largo, and Lily. 

Bilbo Baggins - The Ring-finder.

Bingo Baggins - Brother of Bungo Baggins. Married Chica Chubb; they had one son, Falco Chubb-Baggins.

Bungo Baggins - The father of Bilbo Baggins and the builder of Bag End.

Daisy Baggins - Frodo's cousin; daughter of Drogo's brother Dudo; married Griffo Boffin.

Drogo Baggins - Married Primula Baggins. They were rumoured to have drowned in a boating accident (an unusual activity for hobbits), leaving their son Frodo orphaned until taken in by Bilbo.

Frodo Baggins - The Ring-bearer.

Laura Baggins - Bilbo's grandmother. She married Mungo Baggins, and they had five children: Bungo, Belbo, Longo, Linda, and Bongo.

Linda Baggins - Married Bodo Proudfoot and had a son named Odo.

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins - Gained ownership of Bag End after Frodo sold it to her before leaving on his quest to Mount Doom; she returned it to him following the Scouring of the Shire, thus ending the feud between Bilbo and Frodo and the Sackville-Baggins.

Lotho Sackville-Baggins - Nicknamed "Pimple" due to his complexion; became an accomplice of Saruman during the War of the Ring. He was killed (and it was implied that he may have also been eaten) by Gríma Wormtongue.

Mungo Baggins - Married Laura Grubb and had five children.

Otho Sackville-Baggins - Attempted with his wife, Lobelia, to seize Bag End from Bilbo. His ambition was to be head of two families at once.

Primula Baggins - Daughter of Gorbadoc Brandybuck and Mirabella Took; wife of Drogo Baggins; mother of Frodo Baggins.

Rosa Baggins - Daughter of Ponto Baggins and Mimosa Bunce; older sister of Polo; married Hildigrim Took.


The Sackville-Baggins

The Sackville-Baggins family was founded after Longo Baggins married Camellia Sackville, and their son, Otho, adopted the double-name of Sackville-Baggins, which his wife, Lobelia, kept. They had a son, Lotho, who was murdered; upon Lobelia's death, the Sackville-Baggins line had become extinct.

More Dwarves: Balin and Dwalin

TIME Magazine has released the next 'Hobbit' photo, this time of the Dwarf brothers Balin (Ken Stott) and Dwalin (Graham McTavish).

More on Patrick Spadaccino's 'Hobbit' Campaign

If you missed my post on Patrick Spadaccino last week, I'd like to once again bring your attention to his campaign to be in Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' films.

For those of you who may not have heard of Patrick Spadaccino yet, he is an author and web designer from Connecticut whose dream is to make a cameo appearance in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's famous novel. On his website, I Wanna be in the Hobbit Movies, Patrick shares with us photos as well as his audition videos, which depict him in Orc make-up and reciting lines from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

This past Tuesday, Patrick's story was featured on Fox CT News. You can check out the video here. (And while you're at it, check out The Middletown Press's July 5th story on him and his campaign).

For even more information on Patrick Spadaccino, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and view his videos on Youtube.

14 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 14: Athelas

 When the black breath blows
and death's shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! come athelas!
Life to dying
In the king's hand lying!


History, Description, and Use

Also known as Athelas or Asëa aranion (in Valinorian Quenya). It is a healing plant with sweet-smelling leaves. It was first brought to Middle-earth by the Númenóreans, and was especially powerful in the hands of the King; however, by the end of the Third Age, knowledge of its use had been long forgotten by anyone, save the Rangers of the North.


The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn used Athelas three times during The Lord of the Rings. He first uses it when Frodo is stabbed by a Morgul blade at Weathertop; he uses it to heal Frodo and Sam’s wounds after the Fellowship escapes from Moria; and finally, he uses it on Éowyn, Faramir, and Merry to heal them from the effects of the Black Breath following the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

Bombur, Bofur and Bifur Revealed

Another photo from 'The Hobbit' was released earlier today.

The photo shows, from left to right, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, James Nesbitt as Bofur and William Kircher as Bifur.

Miramar Park Bans 'Hobbit' Photos

Photo Credit: Tennessee Mansford

Anyone caught using cameras on Wexford Hill, Wellington Airport-owned property overlooking the Stone St. studios where Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' films are being made, could risk deletion of their photos and face trespassing charges as well.


Six hard to miss notices - signed by Recon security, a company which works for the 'Hobbit' films' production company, 3Foot7 - have been put in place warning the public that while they may use the land for "usual recreation purposes," they are not permitted to take any photos of the property or people at the Stone St. studios.

Melissa Booth, the publicist for 'The Hobbit' films, said that everyone from the studio is currently on a two month break. A spokesman for the Recon company said that if its security officers find people taking pictures, they will be asked to delete the images and could potentially be issued a trespass notice.

Matt Clarke, chief commercial officer for the Wellington International Airport, acknowledges that the security company has a right to restrict people taking photos because "the land is privately owned and use is able to be restricted."

The airport has issued a license agreement protecting 3Foot7's copyrighted property from being infringed upon by people taking photographs or digital recordings of the site. The license is a practical arrangement, "not a commercial one," Clarke said. Ursula Cheer, associate professor of law at Canterbury University, stated that without actually seeing the license, it is difficult to determine its exact legal status.

"The production company through its agent, the security firm, is like the owner and can put up signs stating the conditions of coming on to the property," she said. "This means the notice looks quite effective."

"It does look as if the company is trying to avoid legal action, however, by confiscating and destroying the films, etc." 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated for release on December 14th, 2012. Part 2 of the film adaptation, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will debut the following year on December 13th, 2013.

13 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 13: Dol Amroth

Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth
Dol Amroth was a princedom which made up a part of the kingdom of Gondor. It was ruled by the descendants of Galador during the last millennium of the Third Age.
 
History of the Line of Dol Amroth

Galador, son of Imrazôr, was the first lord of Dol Amroth. Imrazôr, son of Adrahil I (already known as the Prince) lived in Belfalas. At some point he moved into the area which was once the Elven haven known as Edhellond; there he married Mithrellas, a Silvan Elf of Lórien, giving his descendants claim to Elven blood. 

Following Imrazôr’s death, Galador went on to found the princedom of Dol Amroth and become its first lord (the specific date is not recorded). The city was built south of Edhellond at the inlet of Cobas Haven in the Bay of Belfalas. The Sea-ward Tower of Tirith Aear was built in the north of the city. 

The lands of Dol Amroth are also known as Dor-en-Ernil ('Lands of the Prince').


Etymology

Sindarin dol "hill" + Amroth "Upclimber"


The line of Princes of Dol Amroth:
  • Adrahil I, Prince of Dor-en-Ernil (1864–1968): fought the Wainriders in 1944
  • Imrazôr, Prince of Dor-en-Ernil (1950–2076)
  • Galador, First Prince of Dol Amroth (2004–2129)
  • Second Prince of Dol Amroth (2060–2206)
  • Third Prince of Dol Amroth (2120–2254)
  • Fourth Prince of Dol Amroth (2172–2299)
  • Fifth Prince of Dol Amroth (2225–2348)
  • Sixth Prince of Dol Amroth (2274–2400)
  • Seventh Prince of Dol Amroth (2324–2458)
  • Eighth Prince of Dol Amroth (2373–2498)
  • Ninth Prince of Dol Amroth (2418–2540)
  • Tenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2463–2582)
  • Eleventh Prince of Dol Amroth (2505–2623)
  • Twelth Prince of Dol Amroth (2546–2660)
  • Thirteenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2588–2701)
  • Fourteenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2627–2733)
  • Fifteenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2671–2746: He was slain by Corsairs of Umbar.)
  • Sixteenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2709–2799: Slain in battle.)
  • Seventeenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2746–2859)
  • Eighteenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2785–2899)
  • Aglahad, Nineteenth Prince of Dol Amroth (2827–2932)
  • Angelimir, Twentieth Prince of Dol Amroth (2866–2977)
  • Adrahil II, Twenty-first Prince of Dol Amroth (2917–3010)
  • Imrahil, Twenty-second Prince of Dol Amroth (2955–3054=Fourth Age 33).
  • Elphir, Twenty-third Prince of Dol Amroth (2994–3087=Fourth Age 65).
  • Alphros, Twenty-fourth Prince of Dol Amroth (3017–3115=Fourth Age 93).

* All dates are from the Third Age; many Princes’ names are unknown

** Imrahil’s sister Finduilas went on to marry Denethor II, Steward of Gondor; she bore him two sons, Boromir and Faramir. Imrahil’s daughter Lothíriel married Éomer, King of Rohan.

Seven of the Thirteen Dwarves Revealed

Jed Brophy, who will play the Dwarf Nori in Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, released this photograph on his Facebook page of the seven revealed Dwarves from the film:


They are, from left to right: Nori (Jed Brophy), Ori (Adam Brown), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Oin (John Callen), Gloin (Peter Hambleton), Fili (Dean O'Gorman), and Kili (Aidan Turner).

While I was on the fence about Fili and Kili (more so Kili) earlier today, seeing all of the Dwarves lined up together puts it into a much better perspective. I cannot wait to see the remaining Dwarves!

12 July 2011

About My Tattoo

My boyfriend and I took a lovely day trip to experience some of nature's breathtakingly beautiful sights yesterday, and he, being fascinated by my tattoo every time it shows itself, decided to take several pictures of it, with the intention of me posting some of them to my blog for everyone to see ("It's very Lord of the Rings!" he said of capturing my tattoo with some Middle-earthy sights in the background).

So I agreed. But then, of course, I didn't know what I was going to say about my tattoo. I wasn't going to just post a photo and leave it at that.


As I was going through photos, trying to decide which one(s) to use, I thought that perhaps the best thing would be to tell the story behind my tattoo. You know, the stuff everyone cares about...Although, in my case, I am rarely asked why I got my tattoo, or what it's supposed to signify. People seem to think, "She's got a horse tattooed on her shoulder blade. Cool; she must like horses."

Wrong and wrong. (Well, not wrong about it being a horse - you understand what I'm trying to get at.) I'll start by saying that I've been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien (and all of his books) since I was about ten or eleven years old, and I've always been smitten with Rohan and its people. Upon seeing The Two Towers back in 2002, I was instantly drawn to the horse symbol which stood proudly on Rohan's flag. I have no great love of horses (which is not to say that I dislike them, either), but the horse represented a number of things.

First, it was something I would not mind permanently adding to my body. I'd thought about it, had this image in mind for over eight years before I actually went through with it. I knew there was zero chance of me ever getting sick of it, or of Tolkien and Middle-earth. It is a beautiful design, and at the time, fairly unique in the world of Tolkien-inspired tattoos. It looks sort of mythological, in a way: therefore, it also plays upon my love for mythological stores and ancient lore. Most importantly, it seemed to me to be one of those "you get it or you don't" kind of tattoos: hard core Tolkien fans would undoubtedly catch the reference, while people unfamiliar with either Tolkien or Peter Jackson's film adaptations would have absolutely no idea what it really was. To them, it's just a horse, and I'm just another silly girl with some sort of animal tattooed on her shoulder blade. 

My tattoo artist didn't even ask about it. He did his job, and that was that.


But now, when I'm among fellow geeks, all I have to do is whip out my tattoo, and people go crazy with excitement at the prospect of a chick being so geeky as to get the horse of Rohan tattooed on her shoulder blade. Some days I try to hide it, keep it all to myself. Some days I try to use it as a conversation starter. And some days, I feel like my boyfriend takes more pride in it than I do - like on days when he tugs and grabs at my clothing to get it out of the way of my tattoo, or like yesterday, when he decided he wanted to have a tattoo photoshoot. It's good to know at least one other person understands the importance of my tattoo.

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 12: Lembas

Also known as Waybread, lembas was a special food made by the Elves. Brownish on the outside and cream-coloured on the inside, they were cake-like, very nutritious, and when wrapped in leaves would remain fresh for months; as such, they were frequently carried on long journeys. Its secret was closely guarded, and very rarely was the recipe given to anyone non-Elven, as it was believed that mortals who ate it would become wary of their mortality and desire to live among the Elves. It was offensive to creatures of evil; even Gollum refused to eat it. 

History and Origin

The recipe was originally held by Melian, queen of Doriath, who passed it down to Galadriel, who later gave some to the Fellowship of the Ring upon their departure from Lothlórien. It was said that lembas was originally made by Yavanna, one of the Valar, from a special corn which grew in the fields of Aman; Oromë later gave some to the Elves of the Great Journey. 

This Elven custom was therefore typically seen as being exclusive to women; those that knew the secret of its recipe were called Yavannildi (or the Ivonwin by the Sindar the Ivonwin). The custom also requested that only an Elven Queen should keep and distribute the lembas, and for this reason she was called massánië or besain.

Next Up: Fili and Kili

Now that we've already seen the first photos of Dori, Ori, Nori, Oin, and Gloin, the next Dwarves on our list are Fili and Kili, played by Dean O'Gorman and Aidan Turner, respectively. The photo by James Fisher, which debuted on Msn.com, reveals two Dwarves who are much thinner than the average Dwarf, and who have also been deemed "sexy" dwarves.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is slated for release on December 14th, 2012. Part 2 of the film adaptation, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will debut the following year on December 13th, 2013.

11 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 11: Ents

History of the Ents

Ents were a race of creatures in Middle-earth resembling trees. They were ancient shepherds of the forest and allies of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth during the War of the Ring. Ents appeared in Middle-earth at around the same time as the Elves. They were created by Eru Ilúvatar at Yavanna’s request, after she foresaw the Dwarves’ felling of trees and sought the creation of Shepherds of the Trees to protect the forests from many kinds of harm. The Elves taught the Ents to speak, a great gift that could not be forgotten. During the Third Age, Fangorn Forest was the only place known which the Ents still inhabited. 

While Ents are long-living creatures, they are not immortal, like the Elves. They age very slowly with the passing of time, and while they do not die of old age, they may become “treeish,” settling down in one place and growing roots and leaves , until they cease consciousness and become trees permanently.

Entwives and Entmaidens

Entmaidens were young female Ents, who eventually grew into Entwives, the Ents’ mates. According to Treebeard, the Entwives began to move farther away from the Ents because they liked to plant and control things, whereas the Ents liked to let things take their natural course. The Entwives moved to the regions known as the Brown Lands, located across the Great River Anduin. Unlike the Ents, the Entwives interacted with Men and taught them much about the art of agriculture. The Entwives lived in peace until Sauron attacked and destroyed their region, the Entwives scattered into the wilds of Middle-earth, and became lost to the Ents (or so the Ents believed). The Elves sung that the Ents would one day be reunited with their Entwives.

Entings

Young Ents were called Entings; the loss of the Entwives prevented there from being any more Entings.

Description

In The Two Towers, Tolkien describes Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents, as a “large Man-like, almost Troll-like, figure, at least fourteen foot high, very sturdy, with a tall head, and hardly any neck. Whether it was clad in stuff like green and grey bark, or whether that was its hide, was difficult to say. At any rate the arms, at a short distance from the trunk, were not wrinkled, but covered with a brown smooth skin. The large feet had seven toes each. The lower part of the long face was covered with a sweeping grey beard, bushy, almost twiggy at the roots, thin and mossy at the ends. But at the moment the hobbits noted little but the eyes. These deep eyes were now surveying them, slow and solemn, but very penetrating.”

Ents were tall and strong creatures, capable of tearing apart rock and stone (though they only use their full strength when roused). They share some of the strengths and weaknesses of trees. Their skin is tough, very much like wood. They can erode stone extremely rapidly, in the manner of tree roots; however, they are vulnerable to fire and chopping blows from axes. Ents were much more powerful than trolls, which Morgoth had created in mockery of the Ents.

There is a wide variation in the personal traits exhibited by the Ents (height, heft, colouring, even the number of digits), as they came to resemble the specific types of trees that they shepherded. Quickbeam, who guarded Rowan trees, bore some resemblance to rowans: he was tall and slender, smooth-skinned, with ruddy lips and grey-green hair.

Etymology

“Enyd” is one of two plurals given in Elvish for the Ents; the other being “Onodrim” (“Ent-host”). Enyd typically refers to a smaller group of Ents. 

Their name is derived for the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word for “giant,” ent. Tolkien borrowed the word from the Anglo-Saxon phrases orþanc enta geweorc = "work of cunning giants" and eald enta geweorc = "old work of giants.”

Named Ents

Fangorn (Treebeard) -- Treebeard, along with Skinbark and Leaflock were the last remaining of the first Ents who appeared in Middle-earth. Fangorn Forest was named after Treebeard's Sindarin name.

Finglas (Leaflock) -- Covered in leafy hair, he had become sleepy and treeish during the War of the Ring.

Fladrif (Skinbark) -- He lived on the mountain slopes west of Isengard. When Sauron's orcs ravaged the area, Skinbark was wounded, and retreated far up the mountain slopes to live with the birches.

Beechbone -- He was burned by Saruman's devices, a deed which greatly angered the Ents.

Bregalad (Quickbeam) -- A relatively young ("middle-aged") Ent at the time of the War of the Ring who guarded rowan trees. He received his name upon saying "yes" before another Ent had finished asking a question, which showed that he was unusually "hasty" for his race. During the Entmoot, he was the first to make the decision to attack Isengard. He played an important role in the attack on Isengard, nearly capturing Saruman himself.

Fimbrethil (Wandlimb) -- Treebeard's long-lost wife. The two were beloved before Morgoth first rose to power. At the time of the War of the Ring, Treebeard had not seen his wife in over 3,000 years.  

10 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 10: Melkor (Morgoth)

Overview

Melkor was once a Vala, and the most powerful of the Ainur. He was full of pride, anger, malice, and a lusted for power and domination. He turned to darkness and brought great ruin upon the earth, marring its originally perfect symmetry. His jealousy and envy of his peers led to great strife amongst the Noldor of Eldamar, causing their revolt and The War of the Great Jewels. He became known as Morgoth (“the Black Foe”) and Bauglir (“the Constrainer”), and he corrupted the hearts of Men with lies and traitorous gifts. When he was finally defeated by the Host of Valinor at the end of the War of Wrath, Melkor was chained, bound, and thrust through the Door of Night and into the Void. 

Sauron, who had been one of the Maiar of Aulë, betrayed his kind and became Morgoth's principal lieutenant.

Melkor, like Sauron, also possessed a wide range of other titles, including: Lord of the Dark, the Dark Power of the North, and Great Enemy. The Edain called him the Dark King and the Dark Power; the Númenóreans corrupted by Sauron called him the Lord of All and the Giver of Freedom.

Ainulindalë

Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur prior to the creation of Arda (The World). He contended with Eru (God), of whom he was jealous, via the Music of the Ainur. Melkor desired to create and rule other wills himself, and he spent a long time looking for the Secret fire (the “Flame Imperishable”). 

While Aulë, his fellow Ainu, would admit that his creations were simple discoveries made possible by (and therefore “belonging” to) Eru, Melkor’s pride was too great; he aspired to Eru’s level, being the true Creator of all possibilities.
During the Great Music of the Ainur, Melkor attempted to alter the Music by introducing what he believed to be elements of his own design. Through these efforts, he drew many weaker-willed Ainur to him, and they created a counter to Eru’s main theme. However, these alterations did not threaten the Music, but instead elaborated upon Eru’s original intentions: the Music of Eru became deeper and more beautiful because of the strife and sadness created by Melkor’s disharmonies.

Because the Great Music of the Ainur stood as template for all of history and all of material creation in the Middle-earth, there was an aspect of everything in Middle-earth that came of Melkor’s malign influence; everything had now been "corrupted."


Quenta Silmarillion

After the Creation, many of the Ainur entered into Eä, the most powerful of them being the Valar (the Powers of the World), and the lesser, who acted as their followers and assistants, being the Maiar. They immediately began setting the order of the universe and Arda within it, according to the themes of Eru. Melkor and his followers entered Eä, ruining and undoing whatever the Valar and the Maiar did. 

Each of the Valar was attracted to a particular aspect of the world that became the focus of his or her powers. Melkor became drawn to terrible extremes and violence — the bitter cold, scorching heat, earthquakes, breakings, utter darkness, burning light, and so on. His power was so great that at first the Valar were unable to restrain him. Arda never seemed to achieve a stable form until the Vala Tulkas came into Eä and tipped the balance and drove Melkor out. 

Melkor brooded in the darkness at the outer reaches of Arda until one day, Tulkas became distracted for a moment, allowing Melkor the opportunity to re-enter Arda. Once in, he attacked and destroyed the Two Lamps (the only sources of light at the time), plunging Arda into darkness. The island of Almaren, the first home of the Valar on Earth, was destroyed in the violence of the lamps' fall. The Valar withdrew into Aman in the far West, settling in a new country which they fortified heavily and called Valinor. Melkor held dominion over Middle-earth from Utumno, his fortress in the North. 

The first reign of Melkor ended after the Elves (the eldest of the Children of Ilúvatar) awoke at the shores of Cuiviénen, and the Valar set out to rescue them from his malice. They waged devastating war on Melkor, destroyed Utumno, and bound Melkor with a specially forged chain, Angainor, and brought him to Valinor, where he was imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for three ages.

Following his release, Melkor was paroled to Valinor, though many of the Valar were distrustful of him. He pretended to act out of virtue and humility, but in secret plotted harm against the Elves, whose awakening he blamed for his defeat. The Elves most vulnerable to his plots were the Noldor, the most skilled of the three kindreds of Elves that had come to Valinor. When they became aware of his plans, the Valar sent Tulkas to arrest him, only to find that Melkor had already fled. Melkor, with the aid of Ungoliant (a dark spirit in the form of a monstrous spider), destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor, slew Finwë, the King of the Noldor, and stole the three Silmarils (filled with the light of the trees), made by Finwë’s son, Fëanor. 

Thereafter, Melkor was known by Morgoth, “Black Foe of the World” (as Fëanor named him), and it was by this name alone that the Eldar knew him. 

Morgoth continued his rule in the North of Middle-earth, this time in Angband, a lesser fortress than Utumno, but not as destroyed. He rebuilt it, and raised above it the volcanic triple peak of Thangorodrim. He set the Silmarils into a crown of iron, which he wore at all times. 

Fëanor and most of the Noldor pursued him, slaying their kin, the Teleri, along the way, and incurring the Doom of Mandos. When they arrived in Beleriand, the region of Middle-earth nearest Angband, the Noldor established kingdoms and waged war on Morgoth. Soon afterwards, the Sun and the Moon arose for the first time, and Men, if they had not done so already, awoke. 

The major battles of the ensuing war included the Dagor-nuin-Giliath (Battle Under the Stars, fought before the first rising of the Moon), Dagor Aglareb (Glorious Battle), Dagor Bragollach (Battle of Sudden Flame) at which the long-standing Siege of Angband was broken, and the battle of Nírnaeth Arnoediad (Unnumbered Tears) when the armies of the Noldor and the Men who had allied with them were routed and the men of the East joined Morgoth. Prior to the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, the Man Beren and the Elf Lúthien (daughter of Thingol) had entered Angband and recovered a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. 

Over the next several decades, Morgoth destroyed the remaining Elven kingdoms, reducing their domain to an island in the Bay of Balar to which many refugees fled, and a small settlement at the Mouths of Sirion under the protection of Ulmo.

During the ensuing War of Wrath, Beleriand and much of the north of Middle-earth was destroyed and reshaped. Morgoth was utterly defeated in the end, his armies almost entirely slaughtered. Almost all of the dragons were destroyed, and Thangorodrim was shattered when Eärendil slew Ancalagon the Black, the greatest of dragons, who crashed upon it as he fell. The few remaining dragons were dispersed, and the handful of surviving Balrogs hid themselves deep within the earth. Morgoth fled into the deepest pit and begged for pardon, but his feet were cut from under him, his crown made into a collar, and he was chained once again with Angainor. 

The Valar exiled him permanently from the world, thrusting him through the Door of Night into the void, excluded from Arda until the prophesied Dagor Dagorath, when he would meet his final destruction. His evil remained, however, as "Arda Marred," and his will influenced all living creatures.


Etymology

Melkor in Quenya means “mightily arising” or “Mighty-rising”

Melkor is a compound of mbelek- (melek, "great, mighty, powerful"; root BEL, MBEL) + óre.

The older form of Melkor is said to be Melkórë.

The name Morgoth is Sindarin and means “Black Foe of the World.”

The Sindarin equivalent of Melkor was Belegûr, but it was never used; instead a deliberately resembling name Belegurth, meaning "Great Death,” was used.

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