February 20, 2018 (February 20, 3019)

Day 5 of journey down Anduin

Shire Reckoning: February 20, 3019 (Solmath 20, 1420)

Pages to read:
“FR.GreatRiver “After that the Company kept a sharp look-out, but they saw no more of Gollum while the voyage lasted. If he was still following, he was very wary and cunning.” (~p.5)

– Gollum doesn’t show himself anymore.

Other Content:
Fonstad map. This shows where the company/Frodo have been every night since the very beginning up until today. Good for reviewing how far we’ve come.

Notes: After the Gollum sighting, there’s a few days where things are pretty uneventful on the River. ~Tom


February 19, 2018 (February 19, 3019)

Day 4 of journey down Anduin

Shire Reckoning: February 19, 3019 (Solmath 19, 1420)

Pages to read:
FR.GreatRiver “In the next day or two, as they went on” (~p.2) – “without Gollum showing so much as a shadow again” (~p.5)

– As the next day drags on, there is silence both on the shores and between the members of the company.
– Most of the company is daydreaming about where they’d rather be. Merry and Pippin notice Boromir muttering to himself and glancing sketchily at Frodo. Sam is absorbed in his hatred for boats when he notices something in the river. When he clears his eyes, it’s gone.
– He tells Frodo about it later, describing it as a floating log with eyes. Frodo and Sam recall all the other times they’ve seen a small creature following them, and postulate that it must be Gollum.
– Deciding not to tell anyone quite yet, Frodo and Sam share the night watch to keep an eye out for Gollum.
– Near the dawn, Frodo spots a pale figure reaching out for the boats. Frodo draws Sting and scares it off. This wakes Aragorn who reveals that he, too, knew that Gollum was following them.
– Aragorn explains that he has been trying to catch Gollum or at least shake him off their tail, to no avail. Gollum does not show himself for the rest of the night.

Other Content:
Gollum, by faqy. Portrait of our little buddy.
Nightwatch, by Anke Eissmann. Cool painting of the moment that Frodo sees Gollum in the night.

Notes: The ever-spooky Gollum finally shows himself! Other than that, it’s just another day on the River. ~Tom

February 18, 2018 (February 18, 3019)

Day 3 of journey down Anduin

Shire Reckoning: February 18, 3019 (Solmath 18, 1420)

Pages to read:
FR.GreatRiver “The dull grey hours passed without event.” (~p.1) – “river that was the frontier of a war” (~p.2)

– The third day of floating down the Great River passes.
– The trees on the shore thin and then stop. To the west there are grassy plains and reeds, but to the east there are just brown, empty hills. The only animals to be seen are birds, often swans, flying overhead.
– Frodo exclaims that he thought winter wouldn’t be so grim to the south, but Aragorn explains that there are actually not that far south compared to the Shire. He also points out that they will be approaching the Limlight river soon, which is the northern border of Rohan.
– Sam is worried by the loss of trees, feeling exposed and vulnerable on the frontier of a war.

Other Content:
Galadriel’s Song, by Karliene. Yes this is yet another cover of “I Sang of Leaves.” BUT this is the best one, I promise. Seriously.

Notes: Another boring day for the Company. It’s kind of funny/sad that even after all this journeying, Aragorn says “But we have not journeyed far south yet.” I guess Middle Earth is just huge. ~Tom

February 17, 2018 (February 17, 3019)

Day 2 of journey down Anduin

Shire Reckoning: February 17, 3019 (Solmath 17, 1420)

Pages to read:
FR.GreatRiver (start) – “they saw no sign of any enemy that day, nor the next” (~p.1)

– Frodo wakes in the morning, to find the company had come to shore while he was sleeping.
– They get started again early, although no is too excited to come further south towards the Enemy.
– Aragorn insists that the Company rides in the boats all day so that they advance at a reasonable pace.
– No sign of the Enemy is seen as of yet.

Other Content:
Farewell Frodo, by breath-art. Gorgeous mural reviewing the departure from yesterday.
Namarie, by Adele McAllister. As I said yesterday, Galadriel’s songs are popular ones to cover, so of course I had to include Adele’s versions.
Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar, by Adele McAllister. Adele’s cover of the other Galadriel song. Figured these were appropriate to include because they would still be ringing in the company’s heads, as a final memory of Lórien.

Notes: Pretty uneventful day traveling down the river. ~Tom

February 16, 2018 (February 16, 3019)

Farewell to Lórien

Shire Reckoning: February 16, 3019 (Solmath 16, 1420)

Pages to read:
– FR.FarewellToLorien “In the morning, as they were beginning to pack” (~p.3) – (end)

Music (all by The Tolkien Ensemble):
Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar (I) (‘I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold…’)
Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar (II) (‘Namárië…’)
Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar (II), translated. (‘Farewell…’)

– In the morning, some elves help the Company pack up and give them some supplies for the road. The food is mostly lembas bread, a special elven bread that travels well. Gimli at first thinks it is the gross cram that Men make, but he is pleasantly surprised by the sweet taste. It is reported that “‘One [lembas cake] will keep a traveller on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith.’
– After the food delivery, the elves also give a hood and cloak (made in the style of the Galadhrim) to each of the members. They appeared grey but shimmered with a green hue, and were fastened with a green leaf-shaped brooch. The elves suggest that while they have no inherent magic, the cloaks will be good for camouflage, especially from unfriendly eyes.
– After short morning march (just ten miles…), the Company comes out into a beautiful field where the Silverload river flows into the Anduin.
– At the edge of the river, they find three small grey boats loaded with supplies that they will ride on. Sam discovers some rope, calling back to weeks ago where he was distraught that he had forgotten to bring rope in his backpack.
– Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam took the first book, while Boromir, Merry, and Pippin took the second. Gimli and Legolas took the third boat, having become good friends by this point.
– The company takes the boats out for a test ride. Galadriel and Celeborn then arrive, riding in a majestic swan-shaped boat. Galadriel is singing a song (see first song above).
– Galadriel and Celeborn invite the Company to a farewell feast. Celeborn describes the path ahead. The Company is to take the River south to falls of Rauros, then either go west to Gondor (through Rohan), or east to Mordor (through the Emyn Muil).
– After the feast, Galadriel offers a toast to the Company and brings forth gifts for each of the members.
– For Aragorn: a fancy sheath for his sword, as well as a green gemstone. This was a gem that Galadriel passed to her daughter Celebrían, the mother of Arwen. (Yes, Galadriel is Elrond’s mother-in-law).
– For Boromir: a belt of gold. (The lamest of the gifts if you ask me)
– For Merry & Pippin: small silver belts. (Ditto)
– For Legolas: a long bow and a quiver of arrows. (Fitting, I suppose.)
– For Sam: a small box containing soil from Lórien. (The idea being he can make a garden flourish even if he finds the Shire laid to waste like in his vision.)
– For Gimli: three strands of her hair. (She asks him what he wants, as she is unsure what a dwarf could want from an elf-queen. He praises her highly and humbly asks for a strand of hair to treasure and remember her by. The elves are astonished and she cuts off three for him. Obviously the most memorable of the gifts.)
– For Frodo: a phial containing water from her fountain and the light of Ëardendil’s star. (Spoiler but… the most plot-impactful of the gifts.)
– After the gift-giving, the Company takes their places in the boats and ready for departure. As they slip into the river and start floating away from Lórien, Galadriel sings a final song in farewell. (See songs above.)
– Suddenly the Company rounds a bend and Lórien vanishes. Tolkien notes that Frodo would never return.
– Gimli is greatly saddened by the departure from the beautiful Lórien and Galadriel in particular. Legolas tries to comfort him.
– The Company continues down the river for the rest of the day and into the night. Bare, silent woods line the banks, and the weather is cold and dreary (it is, in fact, winter). Frodo eventually falls into an uneasy sleep.

– Of all the implausible things in LOTR to call out, lembas is a fan favorite. It really is quite impressive that a small cake could have enough calories to sustain a full day’s march and still taste quite delicious.
– The cloaks gifted to the Company here of course made excellent costume designs in the PJ movies, with the leaf-brooch being one of the more memorable props if you ask me.
– The Anduin (the Great River) is one of the biggest and most important parts of the geography of Middle Earth. It’s on pretty much every map, so make sure you have a rough idea of its course.
– The division of the company members between boats makes a lot of sense in context for Aragorn/Frodo/Sam and Gimli/Legolas. As for Boromir/Merry/Pippin they’re sort of just the leftovers here, and I think this is partially the inspiration for trying to play up their friendship in the PJ movie (which was done very well in my opinion).
– Galadriel’s first song is actually super important for her character, even though it’s not really touched on in the story. It pretty much spells out her motivations and regrets.
– Hidden in this chapter is a really interesting line about the eventual fate of Elves. Tolkien compares the way Frodo sees Galadriel to how men of later days see Elves from time to time: “present and yet remote, a living vision of that which has already been left far behind by the flowing streams of Time.” This shows that Elves didn’t completely leave Middle Earth for a long time, but became shadows of themselves in some sense.
– It’s pretty well-known trivia by this point, but just in case: Gimli’s request for hair from Galadriel reminds the elves of the First Age where a less kind character (Fëanor) lustfully asked Galadriel for her hair and she refused.
– Famous quote from Galadriel about the phial containging starlight: “‘May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.’
– Galadriel’s farewell song, commonly known as ‘Namárië,’ is pretty important considering it’s the longest example of fully-translated Quenya in the original LOTR text, so it was super-important to anyone trying to learn more about the Elvish languages.

I Sang of Leaves, by MirachRavaia. Pretty drawing of Celeborn and Galadriel in their swan-boat.
I sang of leaves…, by MirachRavaia. Same artist, but this time they literally cut their art of Galadriel out of leaves. Really cool.
Namarie, by ShaylynnAnn. Beautiful illustration of Galadriel’s Namárië, with both English orthography and Tengwar script.
Farewell to Lorien, by peet. Nice drawing of the boats leaving Lórien.

Other content:
Tolkien reading Namárië. Can’t go wrong with Tolkien himself reading the most famous piece of Elvish poetry.
Fonstad Map through Feb. 25. Obviously lots of spoilers here, but it is the best way to follow along geographically in the upcoming days.
Lembas – Elvish Waybread: a real world recipe. Lembas has obviously inspired lots of fan recipes, but few are as extensively researched as this one by Jason Vey.

From Tale of Years:
Farewell to Lórien. Gollum in hiding on the west bank observes the departure.

Notes: The sad departure from the glorious Lórien! At least we get two famous songs (don’t worry, I have lots of covers of those to send out in the days to come) and some classic scenes. The scene between Gimli and Galadriel was done particularly well in the PJ movie, and was one of the better character moments for both. Next up is a multi-day trip down the River, but it’s quite eventful so stay tuned. ~Tom

February 15, 2018 (February 15, 3019)

The Mirror of Galadriel

Shire Reckoning: February 15, 3019 (Solmath 15, 1420)

Pages to read:
– FR.Mirror “One evening Frodo and Sam” (~p.8) – FR.FarewellToLorien “the night was growing old” (~p.3)

The Mirror of Galadriel:
– Frodo and Sam are sitting around one night, talking about the magical feeling of Lothlórien. Sam comments how the Elves of Lórien are a bit like the hobbits of the Shire, comparing the quiet lands and how the Elves feel like they belong there.
– Frodo realizes that they will probably have to leave Lothlórien soon, and Sam says that this is probably for the best, as they need to get continue on their quest.
– Suddenly, they see the Lady Galadriel approaching. Wordless, she beckons them to follow.
– Sam and Frodo follow Galadriel down into an enclosed garden, where a wide basin of water stands on a pedestal.
– She explains that looking into the mirror reveal the past, present, or even the future.
– Galadriel gets Sam to look by reminding him that he wanted to see Elf-magic. Frodo is tempted as well, by the desire to hear news of home.
– Sam goes first. At first, he only sees stars in the water, but suddenly the Mirror changes and Sam see trees waving in the wind.
– Sam then gets a glimpse of Frodo climbing up a grim stairway, and then it cuts back to the Shire, where there are trees being cut down by Ted Sandyman.
– Sam is enraged and wanted to return to the Shire at once, but Galadriel reminds him that the Mirror only shows possible futures, and Sam decides to stay with Frodo.
– Frodo takes a turn at the Mirror. The first thing he sees is a figure dressed in white walking along a long grey road. He then sees Bilbo for a moment before the scene changes to the Sea. He sees glimpses of a huge battle, a white fortress, and black ships.
– Finally, a huge eye appears, and Frodo feels the Ring being pulled toward it. The eye is huge and terrible, but cannot see Frodo.
– Frodo pulls back and Galadriel acknowledges that the eye was representative of Sauron. She holds her hand up to the stars, and Frodo perceives that she wears Nenya, one of the Three rings of power of the Elves. She explains that the power of Lothlórien is tied to this ring, and therefore the One Ring. If Frodo succeeds in his quest, Galadriel’s power will diminish and she will have to take her people across the sea.
– Frodo freely offers Galadriel the One Ring, saying that it is too great a burden for him. Galadriel laughs and admits she has fantasized about this moment. She proclaims that she would become a great and powerful Queen.
– However, she manages to resist the temptation, and declines the Ring, saying “‘I pass the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.’
– After this dramatic scene, Galadriel reminds Frodo that he must prepare to leave in the morning. As they are walking back, she also reminds Frodo to never put the Ring on again, for the temptation to use its power would be too great.
Farewell to Lórien:
– Later that night, the Company gathers in Celeborn and Galadriel’s abode. Celeborn states that they must get on with their journey and gives them boats to aid with the next leg: traveling down the Great River. This will also delay the decision to take the eastern route to Mordor or the western route to Gondor.
– The Company stays up all night debating what to do next. The original plan, and the one that Boromir endorses, is to go to Gondor, a relatively safe nation which could aid in opposing Sauron’s forces. Aragorn seems to think that it would be better to just head straight to Mordor. Frodo is unsure of the path he will take, but is suspicious of Boromir’s reasoning.
– Finally, the Company goes to bed, having made no clear decision.

– Famous Sam quote that’s kinda hidden in this chapter: “‘”It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish,” as my old gaffer used to say.’
– Good quote from Galadriel about the function of the mirror: “‘What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell.’
– For reference, Galadriel was part of the exodus from Valinor at the beginning of the First Age, and she refused to return to Valinor at the beginning of the Second Age even though she was offered the choice. So the choice to decline the Ring and let her power fade is kind of a big deal for her.
– Most famous quote from Galadriel is of course her proclamation during that scene: “‘And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!’

Evening at Caras Galadhon, by ralphdamiani. Beautiful painting of evening in the city.
The Mirror of Galadriel, by peet. Simple art of the mirror scene.
The Mirror of Galadriel, by aegeri. Another pretty painting of Frodo and Bilbo at the mirror.
The Mirror of Galdriel, by dashiellsilva. Amazing, huge, and detailed art of Frodo’s vision.

Notes: Finally people acknowledge that they need to get the show on the road! Pretty dramatic scene with the Mirror, and Galadriel’s big claim to fame. Unfortunately won’t get to see too much more of her in Lord of the Rings, even though she’s one of the more interesting Elven characters in Tolkien’s overall verse, if you ask me. Also sorry for posting so late in the day… it kinda works at least in my time zone due to it being an evenig scene and all. ~Tom

February 14, 2018 (Part 2)

Content Dump

Note: While I was writing the early update today, I realized that regular content actually resumes tomorrow with the Mirror of Galadriel. Because I was so far behind, I have a ton of cool content that was supposed to be spread out through the stay in Lothlórien, but instead will just be lumped together into this big post.

The End of Summer (Galadriel’s Theme), by Bob Catley. Amazing cheesy rock song about Galadriel.
II. Lothlorien, by Johan de Meij. Part II of de Meij’s famous LOTR symphony.
Lothlorien, London cast of LOTR Musical. Song from the stage musical based on LOTR.
Song of the Quendi, by Sally Oldfield. Beautiful atmospheric song with lyrics based on the history of Tolkien’s Elves.

Rohan, by Norloth. Colorful abstract representation of Rohan.
Flowing into Lorien, by Norloth. Nice scenery shot of a river in Lórien.
Caras Gladhon, by ralphdamiani. Very impressive painting of the treehouse city of Caras Galadhon.

LOTR: Rohan focus, by CivilizationEx. Good summary video of the history of Rohan.
LOTR: Rohan (Part 2). Continuation of above, major spoilers after 5:15 or so.

Notes: Hope you enjoy all this random stuff, and I’ll be back tomorrow with some exciting plot to read! ~Tom

February 14, 2018

Of the Kings of the Mark

Pages to read:
– RK.AppA.II “THE KINGS OF THE MARK First Line” – “Morwen of Lossarnach, whom the Rohirrim had called Steelsheen” (about 2.5 pages) (for spoiler avoidence, skip Théoden’s entry)

– This timeline just gives a short overview of each King of the Mark, from Eorl the Young to Théoden, the current King of the Mark.
– After this is a short introduction to the state of Rohan at the time of our quest. Orcs have been raiding the eastern borders of Rohan, and Théoden’s brother-in-law Éomund died fighting them. As a result, Théodwyn has died, and Théoden has adopted her children Éomer and Éowyn.

Theodred, by MellorianJ. Théoden’s only son.
Theodwyn, by Aylatha. Théodwyn grieving after her husband’s death.

Notes: Wow, sorry for continuing to miss update days. Let’s hope I can get my stuff together for when we actually start back up with the real-time stuff! As for today, just wrapping up the introduction to Rohan, a troubled nation that lies south of Lothlórien. There may or may not be a future plotline involving Rohan, we’ll see… ~Tom

February 12, 2018

Of the Long Winter and Helm Hammerhand

Pages to read:
– RK.AppA.II “Of the Kings of the Mark between Eorl and Theoden” – “Rohan, whether Men or other creatures more evil” (about 2.5 pages)

– Today we hear about Helm Hammerhand, the most well known King of the Mark. While he is King (~TA 2750), a man named Freca gains power in western Rohan and pays little heed to king Helm.
– Freca comes occasionally to Helm’s councils, and at one of these, he proposes that his son Wulf marry Helm’s daughter. Helm is enraged by this. After the council, Helm pulls Freca outside, insults him, and then punches him so hard that he literally dies.
– Four years later, Wulf (Freca’s son) leads a force of Dunlending Men into Rohan and overruns the Rohirrim. Helm and his men are pushed back into the ravine holding the great fortress of the Hornburg. Helm’s son Haleth dies defending Edoras, the capital of Rohan, which Wulf seizes, claiming the throne.
– While holed up in that ravine (known after as Helm’s Deep), Rohan experiences the Long Winter, during which the land was covered in snow for five months.
– Helm’s people begin to starve, and Helm grows gaunt and bitter. At times, he goes forth from the Hornburg alone and kills Dunlendings with his bare hands. Before going out in this manner, he would often blow a great horn to preemptively scare the men keeping the Hornburg under siege.
– Eventually, Helm dies out in the snow, and the Long Winter breaks soon thereafter.
– Fréaláf, Helm’s nephew, then takes a secret force to Edoras, slays Wulf, and recaptures the throne.
– Aid from Gondor finally arrives, and the Rohirrim finally drive the Dunlendings out of Rohan for good.
– At this point, Saruman appears and makes friends with Rohan, taking up residence in Isengard.

Helm Hammerhand, by TSRodriguez. Intense painting of Helm fighting in the snow.
Helm Hammerhand, by TurnerMohan. Grim drawing of Helm, maybe as he is freezing to death.

Notes: The story of Helm Hammerhand is so violent and terrible that it serves as a reminder that even “good” nations like Rohan can have a questionable past. In fact, the whole conflict with the Dunlendings would make for an interesting future post, and it serves as a good introduction to how LOTR interacts with racism. But that’s a story for another day. ~Tom