December 12, 2017

Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold

Just giving a special highlight to one of my favorite Tolkien songs, which is featured in The Hobbit, chapter 1. It summarizes the attack of Smaug on Erebor and the subsequent motivations for the Dwarves to return to the Lonely Mountain. Text can be found here.

Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, by Clamavi De Profundis. Extremely epic cover of the song. I linked this way back when I covered the Hobbit, but it’s definitely worth checking out again!
Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, by Norloth. Nice colorful art, featuring the chorus in Dwarvish runes.
Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, by Norloth. Same title & artist, different piece. Really cool composition.

Notes: As the classic Dwarven song, I figured I’d give it it’s own day during Dwarf Week. If you find yourself bored today, I’d check out Clamavi De Profundis’s YouTube channel. They have a ton of epic covers of Tolkien songs and more. ~Tom


December 11, 2017

War of the Dwarves and Orcs

War of the Dwarves and Orcs, by CivilizationEx. Amazing summary video which reviews the whole war that I covered in brief yesterday. I would highly recommend checking it out – it sums up the whole conflict in 7 minutes (and with good pronunciation!).
Tolkien Gateway Article. If you can’t listen to a video at the moment, you can also check out Tolkien Gateway’s article on the War. I’ve sent out many links to TG before: they are the best Tolkien wiki out there, at least for being book-accurate.
Art Series: War of the Dwarves and Orcs, by Tulikoura. These grim black and white drawings really capture the gruesome conflict.

Notes: Hopefully this helps clear up the history of the Dwarf-Orc war, which was the main event of yesterday’s appendix. ~Tom

December 10, 2017

Durin’s Folk (History of Dwarves)

Pages To Read:
-RK.AppendixA Section III ‘Durin’s Folk’ (start) – “do not desire marriage, being engrossed in their crafts” (about 10 pages)

– Many strange tales are often told of the origin of Dwarves, but Tolkien decides to leave them out of this appendix. (Spoiler: They were crafted by one of the Valar, Aulë.)
– In the Elder Days, the primary father of Dwarves, Durin, slept alone until he awoke and made his dwelling in the Misty Mountains.
– Throughout the history of the Dwarves, there were five times that an heir was born in his likeness, almost like a reincarnation.
– Durin’s lineage held power in Khazad-Dûm (a.k.a. Moria) throughout the First and Second ages.
– In the mid-Third Age, Durin VI was King, and the Dwarves awoke the Balrog in Moria. Durin VI and his son were killed, and the Dwarves were forced out. (TA 1980-1981)
– Thráin I founded a new Dwarf kingdom under Erebor (The Lonely Mountain) and discovered the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain. (TA 1999)
– After a few generations, during which Dwarves also established footholds in the Iron Hills and made allies with nearby groups of Men, Smaug arrives and ransacks Erebor during the rule of Thrór. The royal family, including Thráin II, and Thorin II (Thorin Oakenshield) escape. (TA 2770)
– After years of wandering homeless, the elderly Thrór goes back to Moria with a single companion, Nár. Thrór enters alone, and when Nár finally goes in to look for him, the orcs throw out Thrór’s dead body. As the current occupants of Moria, the Orcs, led by Azog, threaten to kill any Dwarves that return to the halls of Khazad-Dûm. (TA 2790)
– Nár delivers this message to Thráin who musters the forces of the Dwarves and goes to war with the Orcs. (TA 2793-2799)
– Due to their fierce anger and proficiency in battle, the Dwarves demolish many Orc strongholds with ease. The war culminates in the Battle of Nanduhirion (Azanulbizar), in which Azog releases some final hordes. Both Thráin and Thorin are wounded in the battle. The Dwarves of the Iron Hills, led by Náin, save the day, although Náin is killed by Azog himself. Azog tries to retreat when he realizes the Orcs are losing, but Náin’s young son Dáin Ironfoot slays him. (TA 2799)
– After the victory, the Dwarves do not dare enter Khazad-Dûm, where the Balrog (Durin’s Bane) still dwells. Instead, having their vengeance on the Orcs, they disperse again. Dáin returns to the Iron Hills and Thráin & Thorin wander into the West.
– Before Thrór died, he had given one of the Seven Rings to Thráin. A brief history of the Seven Rings is given: Sauron’s evil power certainly flowed within them, but the Dwarves were not really able to fall under Sauron’s control. Much to Sauron’s displeasure, the Rings merely increased their greed for gold and wealth.
– Fueled by discontent coming from his Ring, Thráin eventually becomes restless and wanders back into the East. He is captured and taken to Dol Guldur. Eventually he is tortured to death and his Ring is repossessed by the Necromancer (Sauron). (TA 2845)
– Thus Thorin Oakenshield becomes the Heir of Durin, and meets with Gandalf in 2941 to discuss the retaking of Erebor. The tale of this adventure is of course detailed in The Hobbit.
– Long story short, Thorin’s company succeeds in retaking Erebor, but Thorin dies in the battle. Dáin of the Iron Hills saves the day again and becomes King Dáin II.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– The Arkenstone is often theorized to be one of the Silmarils – the jewels that drove most of the conflict in the First Age. At the end of the First Age, one is said to have been thrown ‘into the Earth’ so it would make sense that the Dwarves find such a powerful gem beneath the Lonely Mountain.
– A short description of Dwarf-women is also given at the end of this section, and a single name (Dís, sister of Thorin) is given. Essentially there is a skewed gender balance meaning less than half of dwarves actually marry and have children, leading to a slow population growth. Many dwarves, male and female alike, simple do not desire marriage and are instead engrossed in their crafts.
– There’s also a great family tree which shows the main Dwarves in the Line of Erebor. Thorin Oakenshield can be found in the bottom left, and Gimli (who we met during the Council of Elrond) is in the bottom right.

Links to Other Content:
Sleeping Durin, by MirachRavaia (featured). Incredible artwork of Durin, crafted from crumpled paper.
Durin at Mirrormere, by MatejCadil.
Aule Crafting the Dwarves, by peet. Nice drawing of the creation of the first Dwarves.

Notes: Sorry for the wall of text! I tried my best to condense, but there’s a ton of historical details that are pretty relevant to understanding the situation of the Dwarves at the end of the Third Age. Don’t worry about getting everything, I’ll have some really great art this week to help visualize. ~Tom

December 9, 2017

Upcoming: Dwarf Focus Week

Just a quick update today to introduce a new Focus Week: Dwarves! Tomorrow we will read the appendix section covering Dwarves (A.III) and then throughout the week I’ll have some more updates with art & videos relating to the history of Dwarves, The Hobbit, and more. Not only that, but by Friday we will FINALLY hear about the situation in Rivendell and gear up to get started again on our journey.

Other Content:
J.R.R. Tolkien recites The Hoard. Not sure where else to include this great piece, so I figured it would be a good kick-off to Dwarf week. The Hoard is one of my favorite poems that Tolkien wrote: it’s a really melancholy piece about a treasure hoard and all of the different people who try in vain to lay claim to it. Very reminiscent of, but not exactly referring to, the treasure in the Lonely Mountain (in The Hobbit). Anyway this is a nice recording of Tolkien himself reciting the poem.

Notes: Hope everyone’s December is going well. Stay tuned for some fun content this week; only two weeks now until Christmas/Rivendell departure!! ~Tom

December 3, 2017

Some random Rivendell music

Links to Other Content:
Rivendell, by Pär Lindh & Björn Johansson. This is the fifth track of a cool progressive rock album inspired by The Hobbit. This particular song is pretty light and fun, and heavily inspired by the Elvish ditty in The Hobbit chapter 3.
Rivendell, by Rush. If you know any Rush, you will immediately notice this is very atypical for them. In any case, it’s a nice relaxing song describing a rest in Rivendell.

Notes: Our heroes are indeed still just sitting around Rivendell. Honestly it’s a bit unclear why everyone needs to rest for so long when the urgency was well established at the Council of Elrond. In any case, we’ll cover the appendix on Dwarves next week, then finally pick back up with our main story on December 15. ~Tom

November 25, 2017 (November 25, 3018)

Autumn fades in Rivendell

Shire Reckoning: November 25, 3018 (Blotmath 25, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.RingGoesSouth “So the days slipped away, as each morning dawned bright and fair, and each evening followed cool and clear. But autumn was waning fast; slowly the golden light faded to pale silver, and the lingering leaves fell from the naked trees. A wind began to blow chill from the Misty Mountains to the east. The Hunter’s Moon waxed round in the night sky, and put to flight all the lesser stars. But low in the South one star shone red. Every night, as the Moon waned again, it shone brighter and brighter. Frodo could see it from his window, deep in the heavens burning like a watchful eye that glared above the trees on the brink of the valley.” (~p.3)

– Autumn fades in the beautiful Rivendell. Despite the bright moon at night, Frodo can still see an ominous red star in the south.

Links to Other Content:
Rivendell, by Norloth.
Nocni Obloha, by s-u-w-i. Beautiful, evocative painting of a starry night at Rivendell. Features Elrond & Glorfindel, and Varda’s spirit in the sky.

Notes: I did some googling, and it seems the red star is probably just supposed to be symbolic of Sauron and the threat of war. It could also be the Middle Earth version of Mars, also red and associated with war. ~Tom

November 24, 2017

Art Dump

Aragorn & Arwen:
Arwen Evenstar by ullakko. Beautiful portrait of Arwen.
Evenstar by ilxwing. Gorgeous drawing of Arwen picking flowers outside Rivendell.
Upon Cerin Amroth, by annoulaki. Awesome drawing of the engagement scene outside on Cerin Amroth.
An Old Story… by Hemhet (featured). Really cute drawing of Elrond telling Estel (young Aragorn) a story. Really cool details referencing lore throughout.

Tolkien Original Rivendell Art:
A few sketches of the Last Homely House by Tolkien himself.
Rivendell Looking East
Rivendell Looking West

Lego Rivendell by Alice Finch. Incredible and monstrous lego model of Rivendell, based on the movie set. Tons of pictures of all the really intricate details. Seriously check this out !!!


Notes: Been a bit busy with school, so I apologize for the lack of updates! Isn’t really much to keep up with, considering everyone’s just sitting around in Rivendell, but I will try to keep up with periodic art and other stuff to tide us over until Christmas. I’ll just end with this ridiculous LOTR book cover which really just raises more questions than it should. ~Tom

November 13, 2017

The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Pages To Read:
– RK.AppendixA Section I:v ‘Here follows a part of the tale of Aragorn and Arwen’ (start) – “Gilraen died before the next spring” (about 5 pages)

Events: (History of Aragorn & Arwen, takes place from TA 2931 – TA 3007)
– Aragorn is born to Arathorn (Chieftain of the Dúnedain) and Gilraen in TA 2931.
– Following Arathorn’s death, Gilraen takes him to Rivendell, where is raised in secret. His heritage is kept from him, and he is called Estel (‘Hope’).
– Elrond tells Estel/Aragorn about his true name and heritage when he turns 21. He then entrusts Aragorn with the Ring of Barahir and the shards of Narsil. (TA 2952)
– Aragorn meets Arwen in the woods while singing the Tale of Tinúviel, in a way very reminiscent of Beren’s first meeting with Lúthien.
– Aragorn and Arwen reveal their identities. Arwen reveals that although she is Elrond’s daughter, she has lived for a while in Lothlórien, which is why they hadn’t met before.
– Aragorn falls quickly for Arwen, despite the disapproval of his mother and Elrond.
– Elrond reveals that if Arwen chooses to stay with Aragorn, she will be severed from her kin for eternity.
– Aragorn goes off and works with Gandalf in opposition to Sauron for thirty years.
– When Aragorn is 49, he visits Lothlórien where he meets Arwen once again. This time, Arwen declares his love for him and chooses a mortal life. They declare their love on Midsummer: a bittersweet moment for Arwen who muses that she is leaving behind the land of her people and her dearly loved father to be with him. (TA 2980)
– Elrond is saddened by Arwen’s choice, but makes his peace with Aragorn. He tells Aragorn that he must become King of Gondor and Arnor before he is worthy to wed Arwen.
– Over the remaining years until the War of the Ring, Aragorn continues his work as a Ranger. Arwen stays in Rivendell and watches over Aragorn in her thoughts. Gilraen eventually leaves Rivendell, but sees Aragorn one last time before she dies. (TA 3007)

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– This is a great time if there ever was one to rewatch the incredible fan movie Born of Hope!! As you may remember, this hour-long fanfilm follows Arathorn and Gilraen in the years leading up to and following Aragorn’s birth. One main plot point is finding the Ring of Barahir that features prominently in the reading today. If you missed Born of Hope the first time around, definitely give it a watch this time!

Links to Other Content:
Aragorn and Arwen, by faQy. Great quirky illustration of the pair.
Love and Promise, by norloth. Nice drawing of Aragorn/Arwen.
Estel’s True Heritage, by Saphari. Great drawing of Aragorn receiving the Ring of Barahir.
Rivendell, by JonHodgson. A wide shot of Rivendell with a young Aragorn/Arwen.

Notes: Part 1 of the Aragorn and Arwen’s tale! This covers everything before we get into spoiler territory, so make sure to not read past the end point. Mostly from Aragorn’s point of view, so even here we don’t get to see much of Arwen. Ah well, guess we have to wait until February to get a good female character… ~Tom

November 3, 2017 (November 3, 3018)

Hobbits rest in Rivendell

Shire Reckoning: November 3, 3018 (Blotmath 3, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.RingGoesSouth “For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.” (~p.3)

– The Hobbits relax in Rivendell and the general mood of the place lifts their spirits.

Links to Other Content:
Rivendell, by Miruna-Lavinia. Beautiful painting of (movie-inspired) Rivendell.

The Prophecy, by Yolanda Mott. (All that is gold does not glitter…)
Beren and Tinuviel, by Colin Rudd.
Both of these are great renditions of songs we’ve already heard. Included them today because presumably the Hobbits are listening to plenty of great music in Rivendell as well! Perhaps these very songs…

Notes: Everything seems a lot better when you’re in a magical house where Elves live. Next update won’t be for a while, but we will finally cover why Strider/Aragorn seemed to know so much about Rivendell. ~Tom