April 25, 2017

Some instrumental music

Today I’ve just got a few instrumental pieces of music to share:

“Gandalf” from Johan de Meij’s Symphony No. 1. This 1988 symphony is thematically based on LOTR, and it is one of the most well-known pieces of music based on the book. Over the course of LOTRRA, I’ll link to all five movements of the symphony, today’s is the first movement which is a nice exciting piece entitled Gandalf (The Wizard). Definitely give it a listen, even if you don’t usually like classical music!

– If you like jazz better, I have another piece by John Sangster Orchestra, called “Longbottom Leaf.” Chose this one for today not only in honor of the recent 4/20, but also for the part of the prologue we read about pipeweed.


Notes: Have a great day! Relax, listen to a bit of music, and just chill like Frodo’s doing right now. ~Tom

April 22, 2017

Frodo hangs around the Shire – art day

Have two lovely pieces by BohemianWeasel today:
illustration of the famous quote from Shadow Of The Past. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Frodo and Sam sitting on a little bridge in the Shire

Also have another enchanting Joe Gilronan piece:
Evening Walk – Features our Hobbits hanging out around Bag End under the watchful eye of Gandalf.

Notes: The Joe Gilronan piece is very accurate to what’s going on in the Shire “right now.” After Shadow Of The Past, Gandalf sticks around for quite a while, as we shall see when we read some more (May 1st). ~Tom

April 16, 2017

Pauline Baynes map

Today’s featured piece is Pauline Bayne’s colored/illustrated full Middle Earth map! Pauline Baynes was a classic illustrator of Tolkien’s works, probably the one who he favored most during his life. She never did a full illustrated edition of LOTR, but she illustrated many of Tolkien’s shorter works such as Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wootton Major, and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. She is also known for doing the classic cover art for The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis). The map is beautiful, so definitely check it out!!

Enjoy! ~Tom

April 14, 2017 (April 13, 3018)

The Shadow of the Past

Shire Reckoning: Astron 13, 1419

Pages To Read:
-FR.Shadow “next morning after a late breakfast” (~p.5) – (end)

Christopher Lee reading the ring lore poem. Highly recommended to play as you read the section, makes it pretty dramatic.

– Gandalf and Frodo discuss the origin of the rings of power, of which the ring passed to Frodo by Bilbo is the greatest. (illustration by Donato Giancola)
– By throwing the Ring in the fire, Gandalf reveals the secret inscription which confirms it as the One Ring. (drawing of the Elvish lettering)
– Gandalf gives Frodo an extended account the history of the Ring, focusing on its time in Gollum’s care.
– After a long day of talk, Gandalf concludes by saying the Ring must be destroyed by throwing it back into the Cracks of Doom in Mordor (illustration by erzsebet-beast)
– Frodo bravely volunteers to leave the Shire with the Ring to keep it safe, surprising both Gandalf and himself.
– Finally, Gandalf catches Sam Gamgee eavesdropping and tells him that he will accompany Frodo, to which Sam responds ‘Hooray!’ … and bursts into tears. (Hilarious illustration by Robert Chronister)

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'”
“‘He deserves death.’ ‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.'”
– Finally, my favorite awesome quote from this quote-heavy chapter, especially because it’s the payoff for that incredible moment in the Hobbit:
“‘My heart tells me that [Gollum] has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least.'”

– We learn a lot of interesting details about rings of power today – why they make their users invisible (eventually permanently), what happened to all the rings described in the poem, why the One Ring cannot be hidden, etc. Very interesting is that Bilbo was able to survive the influence of the Ring for so long because he took it from Gollum in a nonviolent manner.
– There is quite a bit of detail given about Gollum here, it is no mystery to Frodo who Gollum is and why he is after the Ring. Also I kinda want to know more about Gollum’s cool grandmother.
– The fact that Sam bursts into tears when he learns he’s going to see elves is just adorable.

Notes: Lots of famous quotes and important information today. Won’t be a reading for a while, just some art and such. That leaves plenty of time to catch up if you are behind. Just be done with Chapter 2 by May 1st and you’ll be good 🙂 ~Tom

April 13, 2017 (April 12, 3018)

Gandalf reaches Hobbiton

Shire Reckoning: April 12, 3018 (Astron 12, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Shadow “Little of all this, of course” (~p.3) – “they stayed up far into the night” (~p.5)

– We start our adventure on the evening of April 12, or as the Hobbit would call it the 12th of Astron. Samwise Gamgee sits in the Green Dragon, arguing with Ted Sandyman about the validity of the recent abundance of rumours. They talk of walking trees on the north moors, elves setting sail at the Grey Havens, and the sanity or lack thereof of Frodo Baggins.
– Meanwhile, Gandalf arrives at Bag End after having been absent for nine straight years. (illustration by Anke Eißman) He stays up late into the night with Frodo talking of news from abroad.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– This conversation is of course very reminiscent of the Gaffer’s conversation with old Sandyman that took place ‘long ago’ before Bilbo’s party. If you remember, that was where Sam’s interest in elves was first introduced.

Notes: Gandalf’s back in typical arrive-after-dark fashion! We don’t get any explanation of what he and Frodo talk about tonight, but don’t worry: tomorrow we’ll get a nice big info dump from the wizard about pretty much everything in Middle Earth. ~Tom

Real Time starting tomorrow!

Real Time starts tomorrow

[Dates will be given here: Kings Reckoning (Shire Reckoning)]

Get excited everyone!! Our true adventure begins tomorrow with Gandalf’s arrival in Hobbiton!

Now those of you who are already experienced with LOTR lore may be wondering, doesn’t Gandalf arrive on April 12? The answer is yes, but that is according to the Shire Reckoning which, as I discussed yesterday, is a day or two offset throughout the year. In order to keep the timescales as clear as possible I will preserve the offsets, but clearly state at the beginning of each post the date in the various calendars. Hopefully that will keep it clear!

Update on the state of things:
We are about to enter the Shire in the year 3018 of the Third Age of Middle Earth. However, for the Hobbits it is year 1418 – meaning the Shire was founded 1418 years ago. Frodo Baggins has been living alone for 17 years now, ever since old Bilbo, his uncle, disappeared. Despite the bachelor being viewed as eccentric, he has made many friends, including Merry and Pippin, and his garden is tended by Samwise Gamgee (son of the Gaffer, Bilbo’s gardener). For the past few years Frodo has become restless, and dreams of mountains and adventures unwittingly enter his sleep. I like to imagine he sits for long hours in his study, examining Bilbo’s maps and wondering what lies beyond the edges of the page. (Here is a map Bilbo might have made of the lands around the Shire, by amegusa). In other news, rumours have been spreading about many evil things, most especially the dark tower in Mordor. Only a whisper of this reaches the Shire, through Dwarves that come and go from Bag End and Elves that travel through the woods at night on their way to the sea.

Notes: Hope you all are ready! Tomorrow is just a short section, but Friday will be a whole chapter of reading, so plan ahead for that. ~Tom, coordinator

April 11, 2017

The Shire Reckoning

Pages To Read:
-RK.AppendixD (start) – (end)
Warning: some mild spoilers about the general outcome of the story near the end.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– There are two main ways of lining up the Shire calendar with that of our own, according to Tolkien in App D. The first is to align Midyear’s Day with the summer solstice, which puts us about ten days off. The second, which I shall adhere to, is to line up their first day of the year (2 Yule) with our first day (January 1). This only puts the dates ‘out of sync’ by about one or two days throughout the year. I made an excel sheet which shows the alignment.

Notes: Very confusing and detail-heavy section today! It has a lot of fun little notes, and I would recommend at least skimming it. I personally love the fact that the Hobbits didn’t like the days of the week changing over time and solved the problem by just eliminating a full day (Midyear) from the normal schedule of weeks. Those of us who love Tolkien’s invented languages also get a nice glimpse into his linguistic processes today: you can read him inventing the evolution of his own languages with the names of the months, seasons, and weekdays. ~Tom

April 9, 2017

Hobbits – art day

Our four protagonists! by Ullakko (featured)
Another painting of the fabulous four, in the garden, by suwi

Notes: Just a few cute pics of the four main hobbits who have been introduced. Next update will be Tuesday with some pages, and stay tuned for Gandalf’s long-awaited return on Thursday!! ~Tom, coordinator

ps We’re starting the whole “real time” thing on Thursday, but if you have any feedback for the project so far, feel free to leave a comment on the blog! More art? Less art? More updates? Fewer? More rambling from me??