31 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 335: Golfimbul

Golfimbul was Orc, the leader of the Goblins of Mount Gram, who led a raid into western Eriador (TA 2747) and was defeated in the Battle of the Greenfields by Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took, who knocked off his head with a club and sent it soaring into the air, where it eventually landed in a rabbit hole. Hobbit folklore states that it was this incident which inspired the name and game of golf.

30 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 334: the Enchanted Isles

The Enchanted Isles consisted of a chain of islands set by the Valar in the Shadowy Seas as both a defence and cloak for Aman following the poisoning of the Two Trees and the rebellion of the Noldor. Neither the exact number of islands in the chain nor their positions were known. Few ever passed into their net, and any traveler who set foot upon the Enchanted Isles slept until the Change of the World. (The only exception to this being Eärendil and Elwing, who, by the light of the Silmaril and the permission of the Valar, escaped enchantment.) It is presumed that the Enchanted Isles went with Aman and Tol Eressëa after they were removed from the Circles of the World at the end of the Second Age.

29 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 333: Gondor

Gondor (S. ‘Stone-land;’ called Stonelending and Stoningland by the Rohirrim, and often referred to as the South-kingdom) was one of the two Realms in Exile founded by Elendil the Tall following Númenor’s Downfall. For many centuries it remained the most powerful Kingdom anywhere in western Middle-earth.

Founding and History

Founded in 3320 SA, Gondor consisted of most of the lands around the feet of the White Mountains (excluding the far western dales beyond the river Lenfui). She extended north to Celebrant, east to the Sea of Rhûn, south to the River Harnen (inland) and Umbar (coast), and west to Gwathlo. Her greatest cities were Minas Anor (Tower of the Sun), Minas Ithil (Tower of the Moon), and Osgiliath (Citadel of the Stars).

Believing Sauron the Great to have perished in the Downfall, the survivors had built Gondor upon the borders of his ancient realm, which brought many attacks upon Gondor from Sauron (who had survived) and his allies in Rhûn, Harad, and Umbar. In secret, Sauron had returned to Mordor, where he openly declared himself and waged war on the Dúnedain. However, he struck too late and with too little strength (he had underestimated his foes), and when the Last Alliance banded against him, he was defeated in battle and driven back to Barad-dûr.

Gondor’s Height of Power

The South-kingdom grew more powerful at this time; in its Golden Age, it was ruled by the Ship-kings. Under Hyarmendacil’s reign, Gondor’s borders and influence had reached as far as the Greyflood and the Sea of Rhûn. For many centuries, Gondor had peace as a result of her military might. But the people of Gondor grew too content with this peace, and fell into a time of luxury and pretention.

The Decline of Gondor

Her decline was slow, however; by the middle of the Age, assaults began upon her frontiers – mainly from the East and South. Though the Dúnedain were victorious, driving back the assaults cost many lives. The Line of Anárion (who had ruled Gondor since Elendil’s death in SA 3441) slowly began to wither, and eventually one of the Kings took a wife of lesser race, an act which later precipitated the Kin-strife (TA 1432-48), Gondor’s civil war, which destroyed much of the fairness of the South Kingdom and the numbers of the Dúnedain dwindled further. In the devastation of Osgiliath, the palantír was lost.

In 1636 Gondor was struck by the Great Plague, which left her so crippled that had there been an attack by the Haradrim or Easterlings, the realm would have fallen. Between 1851 and 1954, Gondor was in conflict with invading Wainriders, who destroyed the Northern Army of Gondor. The survivors banded with the Southern Army of Gondor to destroy the Wainriders as they celebrated their victory in the Battle of the Camp.

After the Line of Anárion failed altogether in TA 2050, the Dúnedain of the South were ruled by Stewards, who remained true to their trust and never once claimed the Crown for themselves. Under the rule of the Stewards, the Dúnedain slowly regained some of their power. Though they were never again able to prevent war from happening on their borders, they did succeed in building a protective system of alliances and defensible frontiers which were strong enough to withstand Sauron’s return to power.

Gondor During the War of the Ring

During the War of the Ring, Gondor was the strongest of those free nations in opposition to Sauron. Thus it was his primary strategic goal. Though Gondor was nearly defeated, they were assisted by the Rohirrim and came out victorious. From there, the Army of the West took the battle directly to Sauron at the Battle of the Morannon; this distraction allowed Frodo the opportunity to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom, causing the destruction of Sauron and his armies.

Following the War of the Ring, Gondor was delivered from peril and reunited with her sister-realm of Arnor. Aragorn II became King of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor. Faramir, the last heir of the Ruling Stewards, retained his office as steward and was made Prince of Ithilien. During absence or illness, he would serve as the King’s representative, and also became the chief counsellor of the Council of Gondor.

28 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 332: Brown Lands

The Brown Lands (also called the Noman-lands), situated between Mirkwood and the Emyn Muil, were a desolate and treeless area. According to Ent tradition, these once fruitful lands had been the homes and gardens of the Entwives early in the Second Age. But by the end of the age, the war between Sauron and the Last Alliance had driven off the Entwives and ruined the land.

27 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 331: King's Men

The King’s Men made up the majority of Númenoreans, being those who opposed the Ban of the Valar and had, as a result, become estranged from the Eldar. Arising during the reign of Tar-Ancalimon, they established dominions in the south; their greatest stronghold being Umbar. They were easily corrupted by Sauron, and as a result turned to tyranny and Darkness. Their descendants were the Black Númenoreans (among them nine princes who, after each receiving a Ring of Power from Sauron, were enslaved forever as Ringwraiths).

26 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 330: Fangorn

Fangorn (S. ‘Beard-of-Tree’) was the name given to both the great Forest which stood on the eastern side of the Misty Mountains and the bearded Ent who guarded over the strange land (in Westron he was called Treebeard, while Celeborn referred to him as Eldest).

Both were of extremely great age; Treebeard himself claimed that the Forest had seen over three Ages, while he was the oldest surviving Ent (and therefore deemed the oldest living being in Middle-earth).

With the Old Forest in the Shire, Fangorn was one of the remnants of the great woods of the Elder Days. But both forests contained deep vales from which the Great Darkness had never been purged (these regions Treebeard called Taurelilómëa-tumbalemorna Tumbaletaurëa Lómëanor, or ‘Forestmanyshadowed-deepvalleyblack Deepvalleyforested Gloomyland,’ which more literally translates as ‘there is a black shadow in the deep dales of the forest’).  

During the last century of the Third Age, the Orcs of Isengard did great damage to the forest, but were quickly stopped when the Ents destroyed Isengard at Treebeard’s command.

Other Names

The Rohirrim referred to the forest as the Entwood; Fangorn the Ent applied the epithets Ambarona, Tauremorna, Aldalómë, and Tauremornalómë to the forest.

25 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 329: Meriadoc Brandybuck

Meriadoc, son of Saradoc, was a Hobbit of the Shire, and from FO 12-64 the Master of Buckland.

A close friend of Frodo Baggins, he accompanied the Hobbit to Rivendell in TA 3018, where he became one of the Companions of the Ring. He ventured with the Company as far as Parth Galen before becoming separated with Peregrin Took and captured by Orcs. As the Orc-band proceeded to take the Hobbits to Isengard, they were ambushed by the Rohirrim, allowing Merry and Pippin the chance to escape into Fangorn Forest. Here they befriended the Ent Fangorn (Treebeard) and helped persuade the Ents to attack Isengard. (Because Merry and Pippin both drank Ent-draughts while in Fangorn, they became the largest Hobbits in history, standing at least four and a half feet tall.)

Later, Merry joined the service of King Théoden of Rohan as his esquire. Ordered to remain in Rohan while the Rohirrim rode to Gondor, Merry rode with Éowyn to Gondor, where together they slew the Lord of the Nazgûl in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. (Merry nearly died of the Black Breath, but was healed by Aragorn.)

Following the War of the Ring, Merry was rewarded for his valour by being made a knight of Rohan. Upon his return to the Shire, he became one of the leaders of the Hobbit forces in the Battle of Bywater. When his father died, he became Master of Buckland, and in FO 14 was made a Counsellor of the North-kingdom. He married Estella Bolger, sister of his friend Fredegar, and continued to maintain contact with the friends he had made during the war. He wrote a number of scholarly works, among them Herblore of the Shire, The Reckoning of Years, and Old Words and Names in the Shire.

In FO 64, he and Pippin resigned their offices and rode to Rohan and Gondor, dying in the latter realm. They were buried in the House of the Kings.

Other Names

In Rohan he was known as Master Holbytla and Holdwine of the Shire.

To Men of Gondor, he was called Master Perian.

As Master of Buckland, he was also known as Meriadoc the Magnificent.

In genuine Hobbitish, Merry’s true name was Kalimac – generally abbreviated to Kali – which in genuine Westron meant ‘jolly’ or ‘gay.’  

24 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 328: Seven Stars

Used by the Dwarves of Durin’s House and the Dúnedain of Gondor, the Seven Stars were a heraldic emblem: for the Dwarves, they represented the constellation known as the Sickle (the Plough or Big Dipper), while for the Númenoreans, the Seven originally represented the stars on the ships which bore the seven palantíri back from the drowned Númenor to Middle-earth. The Seven Stars later became part of the heraldry of Gondor; in combination with the White Tree and the Silver Crown, they represented the Line of Elendil.

23 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 327: Glamdring

The sword of Gandalf, Glamdring (‘Hammer-of-Foes’) had originally been made by the Elves of Gondolin for the Wars of Beleriand and given to Turgon. After the fall of Gondolin, the sword remained hidden for nearly two Ages before making its way into a troll-hoard, where it was later found by Gandalf (TA 2941), who continued to wield it until the end of the War of the Ring. The sword shone with blue light in the presence of Orcs (who referred to it as Beater), and its mate was Orcrist (the sword of ThorinOakenshield).

A Deeper Look into the J.R.R. Tolkien Biographical Comic Book

Photo: tflaw.com
Last week, the J.R.R. Tolkien biographical comic, J.R.R. Tolkien: the True Lord of the Rings, became available on e-book via Amazon.com – and though this was my first time using a Kindle (I’ll keep reading physical books until the day I die), it was well worth the purchase.

But if you’re like me and still hoping for a physical copy, you’ll have to wait until the May 30th release. Fortunately, that’s only a week away; but if you haven’t purchased the e-book version, or if you’ve already read it and want to know more about the making of the book, look no further. I had the pleasure of interviewing its authors, Brian McCarthy and Michael Lent.   

Tell me a little about yourselves.

BRIAN: Michael and I are both writers living in LA. We grew up in radically different places, New Hampshire then Massachusetts for Michael and Alaska for me.

Michael: In Mass. we thought we knew about cold until I talked things over with Brian. 5 below is child’s play when you’ve seen minus-60. 

BRIAN: Yeah, 5 below is called “springtime” where I’m from.

MICHAEL: I curse Brian’s trump card on that subject.

BRIAN: Yes, it has served me well. But we did share a passion for reading that later became a talent for writing. I think that both of us were pretty geeked out on Tolkien as kids -- as many preteen and teen boys are. I don't know how old I was when I saw the Hobbit, but I definitely saw the film before I read the book. The images of Smaug and John Houston's voice are tattooed on my brain. I started reading Lord of the Rings when I was about twelve or so and was entranced with the depth of detail.

What sparked your interest in reading – and eventually writing – graphic novels?

BRIAN: Growing up, the X-Men and Wolverine were the most popular titles around. I collected comic books and graphic novels for a time but then let them go. It wasn't until I became a full-time writer that I rediscovered the medium. As a screenwriter, you know that writing a film is only the beginning of a very long road that may never see fruition. Graphic novels give us a more direct line to the audience and a product that we can truly call our own.

MICHAEL: Oh, I came to reading in the usual way. When I was eight, I asked for drums for Christmas and instead, was given an acoustic guitar and six months of group lessons that I hated probably because it’s hard to rock out on Old MacDonald and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Every day from 5 to 6 pm was mandatory practice time in an empty room my house. I used to smuggle into my pants first The Hobbit, and then the Trilogy. Unfortunately, The Silmarillion was a bridge too far. That hard cover destroyed the waist band on my Underoos. I’d lay the odious guitar down on the floor and absently strum “frets” while disappearing into Middle Earth. At the end of six months I still couldn’t play a barnyard ditty and probably drove my music teacher to drink, but I knew every page of the Tolkien books backwards and forwards. “But he practices every day!” my parents lamented. To this day, I think there’s a court order still in effect in the state of New Hampshire forbidding me from being within 100 yards of any string instrument. If they had just given me a snare drum and high hat, none of this would have happened. 

BRIAN: This story explains a lot.

MICHAEL: Sadly, yes. As a kid, I knew I might be destined to be a writer when an upper grader gave me a broom stick wedgie and I came up with the perfect retort six years after the event took place. In between, I think I told myself I was “doing research.” Actually, I was one of those kids who gave a different answer every time an adult asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, although, oddly enough, none of those answers ever involved being chained to a desk with a laptop, pot of coffee and bag of Skittles, which is essentially the life I lead now. In college, I was on track to go to law school but that age old question of career continued to put me in existential crisis. Technically, I still haven’t grown up (ask my wife) so I think writing fits the bill in that it allows me to slip into the shoes of many other professions at least for a while.

Do you have any formal training [in writing]?

BRIAN: As far as writing goes, I started writing early (but not well) in junior high. Later on I got involved in drama and eventually earned two degrees in theater. Spending hundreds and hundreds of hours studying, analyzing and crafting plays whetted my appetite for writing again. I didn't want to be just an interpreter of someone else's work, I wanted to create my own. I don't think there is better training as a writer than studying and analyzing the works of the dramatic masters. Even if the plays are two hundred years old, the mechanics of storytelling are still the same. 

MICHAEL: Much to the astonishment of colleagues and editors, yes, I do have formal training as a writer. I have an MFA in screenwriting from the University of Miami and majored in English and History at Hamilton College. After migrating to Los Angeles, I got into transmedia which is just a fancy way of saying that I work on everything from movies to games to books to comics.

What made you decide to write about Tolkien, and why in the form of a graphic novel?

BRIAN: Academia runs in my family. My father was head of Alaskan libraries and worked for the University of Alaska in Fairbanks for 40 years. So Tolkien’s life as a scholar and fiction writer resonated with me.

MICHAEL: It seemed to us that although The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are ubiquitous in pop culture that younger readers might not know much about the man who created them. We wanted Tolkien to come alive.

BRIAN: I felt that Tolkien’s life was just as interesting as his body of work and that knowing about him would deepen the reader’s appreciation of what he created. Graphic bios are such an interesting medium. They’re finding their way into library collections, home school curriculum and with military people in the armed services stationed around the world. These books even end up in the hands of people who maybe aren’t naturally readers but who are drawn in by the art.

MICHAEL: I had written a graphic novel for Marvel called Prey and Brian and I had worked on a supernatural western series for Zenescope called Brimstone so we were already comfortable with the medium. I had written On Thin Ice for Hyperion which came out in 2010. That book chronicles the life of Hugh “The Polar Bear” Roland, one of the legendary Arctic ice road drivers made famous on the History Channel. I went to the North Pole for a month to research that project and literally froze my pens off. When the publisher at Bluewater asked us to pitch some potential biographies, we made a list of dream subjects.

BRIAN: We had been contracted to write four graphic biographies so we sat down and started brainstorming who we could write about. Tolkien was at the top of the list. As a writer, my favorite part of the process is creating the world and the intricate back stories. Tolkien was a master at that -- just look at The Simarillion -- so I really gravitated toward him.

How did you go about researching his life?

MICHAEL: Brian and I already knew a lot about the subject and came from a place of reverence so we didn’t have to start from zero. Fans of Middle Earth are a vibrant, knowledgeable community. It was important to us that we would be thorough. Last thing we wanted was to be at Comic-Con and have guys dressed as orcs giving us the stink eye.

BRIAN: I hate to say it, but first stop was Wikipedia. Not because the article is gold-standard but because it's so well sourced. It gave us a great jumping off point to do more research, far more research than we could possibly include in this volume.

What was the writing process like? How does it compare to some of the other projects you’ve worked on?

BRIAN: Remarkably quick, actually.

MICHAEL: But intense. Coming from a new media background, we’ve learned how to work intensely and quickly. With the Stephen King book we got to submit questions for Mr. King. I wish we had that opportunity for Tolkien.

BRIAN: Right. Graphic novel writing needs to be pretty lean so you have to decide early what the five to seven seminal points are in someone's life and construct a branching narrative from them. Some subjects, like Keith Richards, have done so many things that it's hard to pick and choose, but Tolkien's life was easier to dissect. You can see how deeply his writing was affected by being orphaned, being ostracized for his faith and World War I so it came together very quickly.

MICHAEL: The actual process was: first we researched the subject during a “reading period,” then sat down and discussed the most important aspects of Tolkien’s life to cover and how the pages and art might flow from there. Once we were satisfied with the direction of things, Brian took the lead on writing the book while I supported his efforts though he was off and running immediately.

BRIAN: This is a system that has served us well on other books where we research the subject together and “break” the story, then choose a lead and supporting writer.  When the draft is done, we sit down and edit here, expand there. It was three drafts before we turned in the book to the publisher who had very little in the way of comments because everything was there.

MICHAEL: The art was crucial, too, and getting the right artist isn’t a given. Sometimes we know who the artist will be going in and sometimes we don’t, but we always talk directly to him or her through the script. At the very least the publisher will see that a certain sensibility and skill set are in order.

BRIAN: Luis Chichon was the artist in this case. He did the penciling, coloring and lettering that gave the book a certain weight and pace in keeping with the subject. I think he was spot on.

MICHAEL:  The look of the book is very cohesive because Luis did everything. That’s not usually the case.

BRIAN: We’ve been very fortunate with our artists. Hyunsang Michael Cho drew and painted the cover. We worked with him on Brimstone so that was very comfortable, too.

Prior to this book, the two of you collaborated on the biographies of Stephen King and Keith Richards.

BRIAN: More legends who we admired and wanted to show the roots of their processes.  We also wrote the 7 book supernatural western series together  Brimstone that I just mentioned.

Right. Any future biographies coming up?

BRIAN: Just one more right now, the life and wisdom of Stephen Hawking. Michael took the lead on that book and did a truly remarkable job encapsulating some arcane and complicated concepts. If you ever wanted to know something about quantum mechanics, black holes or string theory but were too afraid to ask, buy the Hawking biography.

MICHAEL: That was a tough one but we’re pretty happy with the result.

BRIAN: It was very interesting to set sail with Stephen King, crash on the rocks of Keith Richards, find safe harbor with Tolkien and then blast off with Hawking. All of them started with dreams, persevered through adversity, managing to build epic lives and works.

Is there anything else either of you would like to add?

MICHAEL: I will always be grateful to Mr. JRR Tolkien for saving me from a life of playing Old MacDonald in coffee houses.

BRIAN: Amen to that. This subject meant a lot to us so we hope you enjoy the book!

22 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 326: Imrahil

Imrahil, son of Adrahil and brother of Finduilas (the wife of Denethor II) was a Dúnadan of Gondor and the twenty-second Prince of Dol Amroth. Known as Imrahil the Fair, he showed signs of his Dúnedan and Elvish ancestry. A great warrior and a Captain of the West, he fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the battle outside the Black Gate of Mordor. After the death of Denethor II, he ruled Minas Tirith while Faramir was ill. His daughter, Lothíriel, later wedded King Éomer of Rohan.

21 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 325: Tar-Atanamir

Tar-Atanamir (Q. ‘Man-jewel’ or ‘Jewel-of-Men’) was the thirteenth king of Númenor. He was called Atanamir the Great for his wealth and power. Under his rule, Númenor had reached the zenith of its bliss, and his reign is generally considered to have been the beginning of its moral decline.

Cruel to the Men of Middle-earth, Tar-Atanamir was also one of the first to openly oppose the Ban of the Valar, and when an aggrieved Manwë sent messengers to Númenor to soothe the King and explain the Ban, Tar-Atanamir rejected their counsels.

He was the first King to cling to life as he began to age, and refused to give up the Sceptre to his heir until death took him.  After his son, Tar-Ancalimon, succeeded him, Númenor split into factions – the King’s Men (those in opposition to the Ban) and the Faithful (those who still revered the Valar) – which ultimately brought about civil war and the eventual Downfall of Númenor.

20 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 324: the Nazgûl

The Nazgûl (Black Speech, ‘Ring-wraith’) were the Nine who, easily corrupted and desirous of power, were enslaved by the Nine Rings of Men and became creatures of the undead, never to pass on or find rest. They were the chief servants of Sauron and dependent on his power through the One Ring.

Wielding great power and terror, they were used by Sauron as messengers, scouts, army leaders, and to intimidate enemies. At night, their combined power was nearly as great as Gandalf’s, and they were immune to normal weapons, which would melt upon contact (they could only be wounded by weapons enchanted with special spells). 

When Sauron fell at the end of the Second Age, the Nazgûl were either overthrown or went into hiding; they reappeared early in the Third Age when their chief, the Lord of the Nazgûl, became the Witch-King of Angmar. Eight of them remained in the East for three hundred years more, and in TA 1600 they secretly entered Mordor, preparing the realm for Sauron, who at this time was in DolGuldur.

In TA 2000, the Nazgûl, joined by their Lord, captured the city of Minas Ithil (which was from then on known as Minas Morgul) and in 2002 the palantír that was located inside. In 2941, Sauron had deserted the fortress, and ten years later three of the Nazgûl went to Dol Guldur.

The Nazgûl were sent to the Shire in 3018 to search for Frodo and recover the One Ring. At this time they became known as Black Riders for the swift black horses they rode. While the Lord of the Nazgûl was successful in wounding Frodo atop Weathertop, the Hobbit still managed to elude them, and their horses were destroyed in the Ford of Bruinen. When the Nazgûl reappeared a few months later, they were mounted on flying beasts. 

The Nazgûl participated in the Siege of Gondor and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Their Lord was slain in the latter battle, but the remaining Nazgûl were not destroyed until the One Ring was unmade in the fires of Orodruin.

Other Names

Called in Elvish the Úlairi.

Other names include the Fell Riders, the Nine Riders, the Black Wings, the Shadows, the Nine, the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings, and the Shriekers (by the Orcs of the Tower of Cirith Ungol).

19 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 323: Khamûl

Khamûl, also known as the Black Easterling or the Shadow of the East, was once a King of the Easterlings. After being given one of the Nine Rings, he became the second-in-command of the Nine Ringwraiths and the only one whose name was ever mentioned in records. During the latter part of the Third Age, he occupied Dol Guldûr in Sauron’s name; at the beginning of the War of the Ring, he was sent to hunt for the One Ring in the Shire. It was he who pursued the Hobbits from Hobbiton and spoke with Hamfast Gamgee. After the Lord of the Nazgûl, Khamûl was said to be the most perceptive of the presence of the One Ring and was also “the one whose power was most confused and diminished by daylight” (Unfinished Tales, p. 368).  

Ian McKellen Helps Forge His Own Ring

The Jens Hansen workshop, the “original designers and makers of the movie ring” for the Lord of the Rings films, has taken to Tumblr to showcase some of their amazing work.

The store, located in Nelson, New Zealand and now run by Jens Hansen’s son Halfdan, was in for a real treat when Sir Ian McKellen stopped by; he wound up getting his own ring made (even helping a bit at one point).

Check out their Tumblr to view photos or submit a question about their meeting with Gandalf! And while you’re there, scroll through and check out some of their other creations – they have a beautiful interpretation of the Ring of Barahir.

18 May 2012

My Tolkien Collection: Argonath Paperweight

It's been awhile since I've posted any photos from my Tolkien collection, so here you go! I stumbled upon this gem in a comic book shop last summer; unfortunately, Lord of the Rings memorabilia has long become scarce, so most stores have jacked the prices up to insane figures. I believe I paid about $30 for this Argonath paperweight by ToyRocket (they were about $14.95 when they first came out), but in all honesty, it was worth it. I think I spent about $100 on memorabilia during this particular "shopping" trip.

Pardon the stray piece of hair :D

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 322: the Nine Rings

Nine Rings of Power, each set with a gem, were given to Men – kings, sorcerers, and at least three Númenoreans. Those who bore the Nine were easily corrupted by Sauron, and by SA 2250 they had showed their new forms as Nazgûl. Preserved by their Rings, they became invisible (only when they wore dark cloaks did they have form) and wholly dependent on Sauron and the One Ring. When Sauron was defeated and the One Ring destroyed in Orodruin, the Nine Rings were destroyed as well, although the greatest of the Nine Rings (worn by the Lord of the Nazgûl), though powerless, may have survived.

17 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 321: Ithildin

Ithildin (S. ‘Star-moon’) was a metal developed by the Elven-smiths of Eregion during the Second Age, made from mithril obtained from the Dwarves of Moria. The metal found perfect use as fine embellishments and hidden markings, as it was only visible when illuminated by the moon or stars (and only then after certain words of lore had been spoken to unlock it). The Doors of Durin were inlaid with Ithildin-traced designs.  

16 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 320: Huor

Huor was the younger son of Galdor and Hareth and the brother of Húrin Thalion. They were fostered in Brethil by their uncle Haldir for a time. At age thirteen, Huor and Húrin went to war against the Orcs; they were separated from their comrades and rescued by Ulmo. They stayed in Gondolin for a time before returning to Dor-lómin, where Huor wedded Rían of the First House of the Edain, and she bore him a son, Tuor. With his brother, Huor commanded the right wing of the army of Hithlum in the Union of Maedhros and held the Pass of Sirion during the Nirnaeth Arnoediad; though he fought valiantly, he was struck in the eye by a poisoned arrow.   

15 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 319: Fredegar Bolger

Fredegar “Fatty” Bolger, son of Odovacar Bolger, was a distant relative and good friend of Frodo Baggins. Though, like most Hobbits, he was content living in the Shire and had no desire to leave, he did assist Frodo, concealing his departure from Crickhollow for as long as he could. When Lotho and Saruman took control of the Shire, he organised a rebel party in the Brockenborings, but was imprisoned in the Michel Delving Lockholes. Eventually he was released, but had been treated so harshly that he lost a great deal of weight – and his nickname of “Fatty.”

14 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 318: the Seven Rings

Sauron gave to the Kings of the seven houses of Dwarves rings of power – metal bands set with a single gem; but despite his plans, these rings were unable to dominate the Dwarves, neither by lengthening the span of their lives nor making them evil. The bearers did, however, lust after gold and other precious materials. His failure caused Sauron to dislike the Dwarves even more, and he set out to recover the Seven. He was successful in the recovery of three; the other four had been consumed by dragons. The last of the Rings he was able to recover was the one which had originally been given to Durin III of Moria by the Elven-smiths (which was probably the most powerful of the Seven); long kept hidden, it was taken from Thráin II, Durin’s Heir, during his imprisonment in Dol Guldur.

13 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 317: Turgon

Turgon (S. ‘Commander of Power’; ‘Stone Master’, from Q. Turukáno) was the second son of Fingolfin. During his time in Middle-earth, he was King of Gondolin (104-511) and High King of the Noldor (473-511). Friendly with the sons of Finarfin, he initially rejected Fëanor’s plan to pursue Morgoth following the theft of the Silmarils, but ultimately joined the rest of his kin in becoming one of the Exiles. As Fëanor and his sons had taken the only ships, Turgon led his people across the Helcaraxë; before setting a foot in Middle-earth, his wife Elenwë was lost, but Turgon and their daughter Idril made it to Nevrast, where he built Vinyamar.

Ulmo, who was friendly with Turgon, instructed him to build a secret kingdom, and revealed to him the hidden valley of Tumladen. After labouring in secret for 52 years, Turgon led his people into this new kingdom of Gondolin, where he ruled for over 500 years. With few exceptions, no one was allowed to enter or leave the city.

But Turgon was wise, and believed that the hope of the Noldor lay in the West; and so after the Dagor Bragollach, he sent messengers west in search of Valinor, but only one ever returned.

At this time, Turgon found he could no longer remain aloof from the conflicts taking place across the northlands. With his army, he joined the Union of Maedhros and fought in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad alongside Fingon. He and his host were defeated, but as a result of the valour of the Men of Dor-lómin (led by Húrin), he was able to retreat without the city of Gondolin being discovered.

When Tuor came to Gondolin in 496, he was welcomed by Turgon; but in his pride, the King of Gondolin refused the advice of Ulmo, which would have him flee to the Havens of Sirion. This ultimately led to the fall of Gondolin, as evil had now awoken in the great city, and at this time the full extent of Morgoth’s malice was directed at Turgon. Aided by a despairing Húrin and the treachery of Maeglin, Gondolin was at last discovered, and Turgon slain defending his Tower.

12 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 316: Celeborn

Martin Csokas as Celeborn
Celeborn (S. ‘Silver-tree’; born Teleporno) was a Sindarin Elf who lived in Doriath as kinsman of King Thingol. He wedded the Noldorin princess Galadriel, and they dwelt together in Doriath for a time. Following the War of Wrath, Celeborn and Galadriel were given a chance to return to Aman; too filled with pride, Galadriel refused, and Celeborn also chose to remain in Middle-earth.

For a time they dwelt in Lindon, and then moved on to Eregion; when that realm fell, they journeyed east over the Misty Mountains with Celeborn’s kinsman Thranduil and established realms among the Silvan Elves – Thranduil claimed the northern part of Greenwood the Great , while Celeborn and Galadriel went on further south and founded the realm of Lórien. Their combined power and wisdom kept foes at bay, and together they ruled as Lord and Lady. Soon after, Galadriel bore their daughter, Celebrían. 

Celeborn’s most significant recorded contribution occurred during the Third Age, when he repelled three Orc-attacks on Lórien and led a force across the Anduin which took Dol Guldur. After the War of the Ring, Celeborn and Galadriel travelled to MinasTirith to attend the wedding of their granddaughter Arwen and King Elessar, then to Rohan for the funeral of King Théoden. When Galadriel passed over Sea at the end of the Third Age, Celeborn grew weary and abandoned Lothlórien; he dwelt with his grandsons, Elladan and Elrohir, in Rivendell for a while. It is not recorded when he decided to sail west.

Celeborn was also the name of the White Tree, a seedling of Galathilion, which grew in Tol Eressëa; from it sprang Nimloth.

11 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 315: Gwaihir

Gwaihir rescuing Frodo and Sam

Gwaihir the Windlord was the Lord of the Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, descended from Thorondor. He befriended Gandalf after the wizard healed a poisoned wound (likely caused by an Orc-arrow), and the Eagle-lord repaid this debt on several occasions throughout the Third Age: he and his eagles rescued Gandalf and Thorin and Company from Orcs; Gwaihir and his Eagles played a crucial role in the Battle of the Five Armies ; and on three occasions, he aided Gandalf during the time of the War of the Ring: freeing him from Isengard, rescuing him from the peak of Zirakzigil following his battle with the Balrog, and finally rescuing Sam and Frodo from the slopes of Orodruin. In addition to these deeds, Gwaihir and his eagles also served as messengers and spies to both Gandalf and Radagast.

10 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 314: Uinen

Uinen (S. ‘Ever-water’; also called Lady of the Seas) was an Ainu, and one of the Maiar of Ulmo. With her spouse Ossë, she ruled the Inner Seas, bringing calm waters and protecting aquatic plants and creatures. Gentle and compassionate, she befriended the Teleri and the Númenoreans; after the Kinslaying, her weeping for the Teleri was so great that it caused the storm which foundered many Noldorin ships.  She also convinced her husband to seek forgiveness from the Valar after temporarily siding with Morgoth.

09 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 313: the Mouth of Sauron

The Mouth of Sauron, played by Bruce Spence

The Mouth of Sauron (also called the Messenger of Mordor) was a Black Númenorean who served Sauron during the Third Age. Cunning and evil, he quickly rose to power and became a great sorcerer; as a result, he managed to preserve his life for thousands of years. He had become Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr and had forgotten his real name by the time of the War of the Ring, so devoted was he to Sauron’s cause.

The Mouth of Sauron made a brief appearance when he is sent to treat with the Host of the West prior to the Battle of the Morannon. After insulting the Host and dismissing Aragorn’s claims as King, he tried to convince them that Frodo was dead and all was lost. But Gandalf did not believe him, and the Men of the West refused to give up. With that, the Mouth fled back to the Gate and unleashed the forces of Mordor upon the Host. He is not mentioned again after that, and his fate after the downfall of Sauron is unknown.

Russian ‘Rings’ Reworking Popular Among Fans, But Infringes on Copyrights

A Russian reworking of The Lord of the Rings – a sort of alternate history story told from the perspective of Mordor – has been translated into English and made available as a free download, much to the dismay of the Tolkien Estate.

The Last Ring-Bearer, written by paleontologist Kirill Yeskov and translated by a fellow Tolkien fan, was published in Russia in 1999 and is well-known among Russian fantasy fans. According to translator Yrisoel Markov, publishing houses have not been prepared to publish an English translation due to legal concerns; but he was “impressed enough by this work to spend a few dozen lunch hours translating it to English,” and now the novel has been widely downloaded from a number of file hosting sites.

Mark Le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors, warned that even titles distributed non-commercially must be licensed by the copyright owner (the Tolkien Estate, in this case). Fan fiction, he adds, is not exempt from copyright.

“If the book's available in English without a licence from the copyright owner, that's copyright infringement,” he warned.

“To my knowledge, none of us have ever been approached to publish this book,” said David Brawn, estates publisher at HarperCollins, who added that Russia has been operating outside copyright “for years.”

“Online there are lots of infringements which it is extremely difficult to do anything about. When you get something as popular as Tolkien, fans want to create new stories. Most are pretty amateurish. Tolkien himself isn't around so it's the estate's view that it's best to say no to everything. If you let one in, you'd open the floodgates.”

Filming on 'Hobbit' Close to Wrap

Filming for The Hobbit’s second unit – directed by CGI legend Andy Serkis – will finish shooting “on schedule” at the end of this month, said unit publicist Ceris Price. 

"This is approximately four weeks prior to the completion of principal photography on The Hobbit films."

 She also confirmed the Battle of the Five Armies will be in the film.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released in theatres December 14 of this year, followed by The Hobbit: There and Back Again on December 13, 2013.

The Hobbit Gets Latin Translation

There’s no doubt that the growing anticipation for Peter Jackson’s upcoming Hobbit films, based on the classic by J.R.R. Tolkien, has led to further interest in the book and encouraged new translations to become available within the last year. 

Last July, The Hobbit was translated in Marati, and in March we (Middle-earth News) reported that a Gaelic translation (An Hobad) had become available as well. This September, HarperCollins will publish a Latin translation of The Hobbit, titled Hobbitus Ille, to mark the story’s 75th birthday.  Translated by classicist Mark Walker (author of Latin for Everyday Life and other Latin books), Hobbitus Ille will see Tolkien’s songs and verses translated into classical Latin metre.

Hobbitus Ille is “great for students learning Latin, but also for fans who want to dip in and find favourite passages,” said the publisher, who also shared the first line of the translation: “In foramine terrae habitabat hobbitus.”

And for those interested in learning Latin, Mythgard Institute is offering a course on Elementary Latin this summer – just in time for the release of Hobbitus Ille!

08 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 312: Saeros

Saeros was an Elf of Doriath and one of King Thingol’s closest advisers. Though he was purportedly very wise, he was jealous of Túrin, and foolishly insulted him. In turn, Túrin threw a goblet at the Elf. Seeking revenge, Saeros ambushed Túrin the following day as he passed through Neldoreth; but Túrin managed to escape the attack and pursued Saeros through the forest. But the Elf missed his footing and fell to his death into a deep ravine; and Túrin, fearing condemnation, fled from Doriath, never to return.  

07 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 311: Galadriel

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring

Galadriel (S. ‘Radiantly-garlanded [crowned]-maiden’; from Q. Altariel) was the daughter of Finarfin son of Finwë (King of the Noldor) and sister of Finrod, Orodreth, Angrod, and Aegnor. She possessed the greatest beauty of the house of Finwë, being very tall and having the golden hair of her mother’s kindred.

She was a leader of those Noldor who rebelled and forsook the Blessed Realm, for reasons of her own (she may have had a desire to one day rule over a small part of Middle-earth; her motives for rebelling were not connected to the theft of the Silmarils), and so became exiled. After she was separated from Fëanor and his kin, she and her people did not take part in the Kinslaying, and as a result, she was offered safe return to Valinor. But too filled with pride, she refused.  

Galadriel spent much of her early exile with Melian in Doriath, from whom she learned much wisdom.  Before the Age had ended, she wedded her cousin Celeborn, and they had one child (Celebrían). Early in the Second Age, the two journeyed to Harlindon, where they dwelt for many years. They later went eastwards to Eregion, dwelling there for a time, but eventually they crossed the Misty Mountains and into Wilderland, where Celeborn made a realm for the Wood-elves of Laurelindórenan (Lothlórien). The Golden Wood became a secret realm, hidden from the knowledge of other Elves, and throughout the Second and Third Ages, Galadriel’s power was so great that Lórien remained safe from Sauron.  

When the Annatar (‘Giver of Gifts’) appeared, guiding Celebrimor and the other Noldor of Eregion in the creation of the Rings of Power, Galadriel was immediately distrustful; as it turned out, she had been right: when it was revealed that the Annatar was Sauron, Galadriel counseled Celebrimor in the hiding of the rings, one of which – Nenya – she was entrusted with when Eregion was attacked.

Throughout the remaining years of her exile, she continued to aid the Free Peoples against Evil; at the time of the War of the Ring, she was the mightiest of the Eldar remaining in Middle-earth, and also the oldest and bitterest foe of the Dark Lord. (Lothlórien was assaulted three times by the armies of Sauron, but it was said that the Elves’ courage and power of Galadriel’s Ring were so great that it could not be overcome unless Sauron himself came to do battle.)

Little is mentioned of Galadriel or Celeborn early in the Third Age – until the formation of the White Council in TA 2463, which she hoped Gandalf would become the head of. She took in the Fellowship of the Ring after their escape from the Mines of Moria. It was here that Frodo offered her the One Ring, and in rejecting it, she also rejected her original desire for power which had led her into exile in the first place.

After the Fellowship departed from Lothlórien, she continued to assist them in their quest: it was she who summoned the Eagle Gwaihir to rescue Gandalf from the peak of Celebdil (and she who nursed the wizard back to health); and it was she who sent word to Aragorn about the Paths of the Dead.

At the end of the Third Age, after many years of sorrow and exile had passed, Galadriel was rewarded for her work against Sauron and her rejection of the Ring by being permitted to finally leave Middle-earth and return over Sea.

Other Names

Galadriel was also called the Lady of Lórien, Galadhriel, the Lady of the Wood, the Lady of the Galadrim, the Sorceress of the Golden Wood (by Gríma), the Mistress of Magic (by Faramir), the White Lady, and Queen Galadriel.

06 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 310: Grishnákh

Grishnákh is played by Stephen Ure in The Two Towers

Grishnákh was an Orc of Barad-dûr, and the captain of the band of Mordor-orcs which slew Boromir and captured Merry and Pippin. While Uglúk had orders to deliver the Hobbits to Saruman unharmed, Grishnákh planned to take them to the east bank of the Great River, where a Nazgûl (atop a Fell Beast) would take them to Lugbúrz in Barad-dûr. When Uglúk rejected this plan, Grishnákh slipped away as the Orcs and Uruk-hai argued; he returned with a group of Orcs like him, each with drooping arms and shields painted with the red eye.

Grishnákh knew of the One Ring, having been present during the torture of Gollum; suspecting that one of the captive Hobbits possessed it, he stole them away from their guards, using the attack by the Rohirrim as a distraction to search them for the Ring. Pippin, trying to negotiate, offered information about the One Ring in return for his and Merry’s release, which only infuriated Grishnákh more. Drawing his sword to kill them, he was slain by a patrolling Rohirrim who had heard them.   

05 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 309: Gelmir

Gelmir was a Grey-elven personal name, mentioned on two occasions during the First Age (both times regarding Elves of the House of Finarfin).

In the first instance, Gelmir was the son of Guilin of Nargothrond. He was captured during the Dagor Bragollach by Morgoth, mutilated, blinded, and at Morgoth’s command, put to death outside the walls of Eithel Sirion (as a challenge to those defending it; among them, Gelmir’s brother Gwindor). It was this act that began the great battle of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

In the second case, Gelmir was an Elf of the people of Angrod and the companion of Arminas, who came to Nargothrond to deliver a message of warning from Círdan of the Havens shortly before the sack of Nargothrond.

04 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 308: Elrond

Elrond (S. ‘Star-dome’), son of Eärendil and Elwing and brother of Elros, was one of the Peredhil (he had the choice of being counted among either the Elves or among Men). Born in Arvernien, he was captured by the sons of Fëanor when they attacked in the hopes of recovering the Silmaril.

At the end of the First Age, the Valar presented Elrond and his brother with the choice of joining either the race of Men or Elves; Elros chose the former, and was selected as Númenor’s first King, while Elrond, joining the Elves, was made an Eldarin lord of great wisdom and power. He dwelt with Gil-galad in Lindon until SA 1695, when he was sent to Eregion to aid in the defense against Sauron. When that realm was overrun two years later, Elrond fled with the surviving Noldor and founded Imladris (Rivendell).

During the War of the Last Alliance, Elrond marched with the Host as Gil-galad’s Herald.  He bore Vilya, the greatest of the Three Elven Rings, which Gil-galad had passed on to him; this ultimately saved the Ring from destruction, as Gil-galad perished in battle at the hand of Sauron.

Elrond married Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn, in TA 100; Elladan, Elrohir, and Arwen were their children. Throughout the Age, he provided the Dúnedain of the North with aid (military and shelter) and counsel. He took in the Heirs of Isildur after the North Kingdom fell, and in his House also kept the treasures of Isildur’s Line – the Ring of Barahir, the Shards of Narsil, and the Sceptre of Annúminas.

At the end of the Age, he departed over Sea with the Last Riding of the Keepers of the Ring, where he was at last reunited with his wife; but he was for ever sundered from his three children, each of whom had chosen Mortal life.

03 May 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 307: Glóin

Glóin, son of Gróin and father of Gimli, was a Dwarf of Durin’s line.

After the Battle of Azanulbizar, he was a companion of the wandering Thráin and Thorin, and he later accompanied Thorin Oakenshield on the Quest for Erebor, after which he became a rich and important figure in Erebor.

He attended the Council of Elrond in TA 3018 with his son, having been sent as an emissary representing the King under the Mountain.  He died in FO 15 at the age of 253.

In the upcoming Hobbit films, he will be portrayed by Peter Hambleton. 

02 May 2012

Elijah Wood to Star in 'Grand Piano'

Elijah Wood will be starring in a new film, which has been described as "'Speed' at a piano."

The film, titled "Grand Piano," tells the story of  a once-great concert pianist who has succumbed to crippling stage fright. After a five-year hiatus, he  returns to play at a gala, when he notices a threatening note on his music sheet. Now he must play his best show ever or risk losing not only his own life, but his wife's as well.

Written by Damien Chazelle ("The Last Exorcism 2") and directed by Eugenio Mira ("Buried"), the film will be shot in Spain and Chicago later this summer.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 306: Utumno

Utumno (Q. ‘the Pit’; S. Udûn ‘Hell’), was the name given to the first abode of Melkor in Middle-earth, which he made back in the Elder Days. Delved deep into the flesh of the Earth, Utumno consisted of many hundreds of caves, tunnels, corners, and rooms, allowing things to remain hidden for a very long time.

It was from here that he assaulted the Two Lamps and began his corruption of Arda, and also where the first captured Elves were taken for the breeding of Orcs. He gathered many other evil beings in his fortress – werewolves, vampires, giant spiders, fell beasts, Trolls (which he bred in mockery of the Ents), cruel spirits, wraiths, and evil demons.

Utumno became deserted in the Years of the Trees, after Melkor was defeated by the Valar in the Battle of the Powers and held captive in Valinor; while parts of his fortress had escaped destruction, he never returned to it.

Post-"365 Days" Blogging

With just 59 days left in my "365 Days of Middle-earth" posts, the time has come to start thinking about what's going to fill the gap that their absence will create. Of course, I will still continue covering Hobbit movie news as best I can (which, admittedly, is sometimes hard to do, as being just one person, I can only become aware of and cover so much at a time).

I do plan on continuing those posts I started awhile back, showcasing the various items in my Tolkien/Lord of the Rings collection; but while I initially wanted to focus on just the unique and valuable items (Sideshow Collectibles products and jewellery, for example), I've decided to slowly but surely write about every item in my collection - including books, DVDs, soundtracks and inspired-by CDs, action figures, dolls, board and video games, costumes and props, and so on and so forth. I've been trying to find my own niche in the Tolkien Community, and while I am still determined to slowly make a name for myself as a respected Tolkien Scholar, I think first and foremost I have always been a collector, even before I discovered Tolkien. (Not to mention this will allow for more personalised posts, and many of them.)

I would also like to incorporate some of my Lord of the Rings Online gameplay into my blog, though there are already so many wonderful LOTRO sites out there. My LOTRO updates may be few and far between, but seeing as I Tweet about it all the time, perhaps it might be nice to include some of that in here as well.

As always, I welcome any suggestions you may have regarding the content I post (or don't post). I started blogging because I wanted to connect with other Tolkien fans, and I'd like to know what else interests you and what else you'd like to read about so I can keep providing you with an engaging and entertaining blog.

And most importantly, thank you to everyone who has visited this blog - whether you're a regular reader or you've just stumbled upon my site for the first time, I'm glad you've taken the time to read, comment, and share with your friends.


01 May 2012

‘Hobbit’ in 128 Channel Surround?

To create the sounds of Middle-earth for his Hobbit films, director Peter Jackson is considering the new Dolby Atmos audio format, which has been developed to create “lifelike” sound via speakers placed all around an auditorium and across its ceiling. This new system is able to transmit up to 128 simultaneous audio channels.

Jackson, who is already experimenting with advanced technologies – shooting The Hobbit films in 3D and at 48 frames per second – recently told Hollywood Reporter that, “Dolby are coming down to New Zealand to give us a demonstration. Our particular postproduction schedule is reasonably tight (but) three dimensional sound would be fantastic. If we can do it I would be pretty keen.”

Disney/Pixar’s Brave will be the first film tested in the Atmos format, with Dolby installing the new sound system in 10-15 theatres worldwide. After a cinema launch, the company’s long-term goal is to introduce the Atmos sound experience into the home – via tablets, PCs, and mobile devices.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 305: Gil-galad

Mark Ferguson as Gil-galad in The Fellowship of the Ring

Gil-galad (S. ‘Spark-of-Bright-Light’; born Ereinion, ‘Scion-of-Kings’), son of Fingon, was the last of the High-elven kings in Middle-earth. Born in Mithrim before the Dagor Bragollach, his father soon perceived that the land had become a frontier for war, and so sent his son to dwell with Círdan the Shipwright at the Havens of the Falas. Fingon was slain in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, at which point Erenion became Heir to the new High King (his brother Turgon of Gondolin). In the aftermath of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Havens of Falas were sacked, and Erenion was among the few who escaped; with Círdan and several others, he came to the Isle of Balar. When Turgon was slain and Gondolin fell, Erenion became the new High King of the Noldor, now going by the name Gil-galad (referencing his stellar appearance when battle-readied, with his spear Aiglos and his silver, star-studded shield at his side).   

At the beginning of the Second Age, Gil-galad ruled over the Noldor from Forlindon (‘North Lindon’), while Celeborn ruled Harlindon to the south. But when Celeborn departed for distant lands, the Grey-elves under his rule joined with Gil-galad. At first, his rule was a peaceful one, as the Dark Lord had been overthrown; but before long, Sauron was awake once more. Not yet evil to look upon, Sauron put on a mask of friendship, which only Gil-galad’s people were undeceived by. Nevertheless, Sauron was able to gain the confidence of the Elven-smiths of Eregion, ultimately betraying them as Gil-galad had feared.

Sauron waged war soon after, invading Eriador with a great host of Orcs. In 1697 SA, Eregion fell; two years later, all of Eriador had fallen to the Enemy. At the last moment, Tar-Minastir, the eleventh King of Númenor, sent a great naval force to Lindon, defeating Sauron and driving him out of the Westlands. (Though this renewed the ancient alliance with the Eldar of Middle-earth, it also gained the hatred of Sauron, who sought revenge, and ultimately Númenor sank beneath the Sea.)

Sauron attacked once more, and in the War of the Last Alliance, his first realm was destroyed. But Gil-galad fell in single combat with the Dark Lord himself. His realm, however, managed to withstand his own passing, and by the Third Age had become the longest of all Eldarin realms to endure in Middle-earth. But it was finally deserted sometime during the Fourth Age.  

* Note: Gil-galad was the original Keeper of Vilya, the most powerful of the Three Elven Rings. Before his passing, he gave the Ring to Elrond of Rivendell, thus making him chief of the Eldar in Middle-earth.