July 26, 2017

Born of Hope (fan movie)

– Got a super special treat today: the incredible full-length fan movie Born of Hope, by Actors At Work Productions:

Born of Hope is set toward the end of third age, following the story of Arathorn (father of Aragorn), the last chieftain of the Dúnedain. I suppose don’t pay too much attention to the importance of Aragorn right now (technically a spoiler), but suffice to say he’s going to be a crucial character in LOTR. We read the other day about the Dúnedain and how they “passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people” and this movie is the perfect depiction. This takes place after they have been defending Eriador for about 850 years, and are finally starting to be overpowered by the increasing numbers of orcs and other monsters. Another key plot element is the Ring of Barahir (different from the One Ring that Frodo has), which was mentioned in the last appendix section. Long story short, it’s an heirloom from the first age that is a sign of Númenórean royalty. There’s so much I could say, but seriously just watch the movie. For a low-budget fan production, it is stunning and just really enjoyable.

More to follow regarding the Third Age (and Gondor) Friday. ~Tom

July 24, 2017 (July 21, 3018)

Of Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur

Shire Reckoning: July 21, 3018 (Overlithe 21, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-RK.AppA section I.iii ‘Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur’ (start) (~p.7) – “driven off by Bandobras Took” (~p.11)

– Elendil and Isildur, who were the heroes of the second age, founded the kingdom of Arnor in the north at the beginning of the Third Age.
– Arnor lasts over 800 years until the rule of Eärendur, after which it was split into three kingdoms: Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur.
– Rhudaur quickly allies itself with the evil forces of Angmar; Cardolan also eventually falls to Angmar.
– In Arthedain, the line of kings is preserved until Arvedui gets driven out by the Witch-King (the leader of Angmar)
– Arvedui, the last king of Arnor, perishes at sea after he doesn’t follow the advice of the mysterious Snowmen of Forochel.
– The last remnants of Númenor survive as the Rangers, led by the line of Chieftans
– Orcs and other evil forces multiply and spread over Eriador, having especially many strongholds in the Misty Mountains
– Elrond’s wife Celebrían travels through the Redhorn Pass in 2509 and is captured and tortured. The sons of Elrond eventually rescue her, but she is so scarred she leaves Middle Earth.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Remember what is mentioned today about the Barrow-Downs (Tyrn Gorthad) – that will be a later location of interest. (According to the section, they had origins going back to Men of the first age)
– We get our first glimpse of the Witch-King of Angmar today. Here, his is a spooky leader who is said (by the Snowmen) to be able to make frost or thaw at his will. The biggest takeaway is that he rises to power in Angmar and captures Fornost after demolishing the three northern kingdoms – we’ll hear next week about what happens subsequently at Fornost.

Links to Other Content:
Rangers of the North, by woutart (featured). Three-image series depicting the broken remnants of the line of kings.
Annuminas,by woutart. Ruins of the original capital of Arnor
Rhudaur, by MatejCadil
Minhiriath, by MatejCadil. A deforested area (part of Cardolan) in southern Eriador.

Notes: Lots of detail about the kingdoms of the north today, highly recommended to have a map handy for checking the geography. I wouldn’t focus on all the details, but definitely pay attention to stuff about the Barrow-Downs, Weathertop, and the Witch-King. ~Tom

July 22, 2017 (July 19, 3018)

Of the Lineage of Gondor

Shire Reckoning: July 19, 3018 (Overlithe 19, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-RK.AppA section I.ii ‘The Realms In Exile’ (~p.6-7)

-Literally a huge list of names, detailing the kings of the northern and southern lines of descent of Númenórean royalty

Links to Other Content:
Kings of Gondor, by enanoakd. A huge flowchart, showing the line of descent of the House of Anárion.
– Three illustrations by MatejCadil. We’ll hear more about these periods of history in the upcoming appendices, but here’s a preview of their kings:

Early Kings of Gondor (featured)
– Ship Kings of Gondor
– Kings of the Golden Age of Gondor

Notes: Don’t worry about all the details today: there’s about 90 to 100 names in the section, probably 10 of which are actually important. Starting Monday, we’ll do a Third Age Focus week, similar to the one for Second Age at the beginning of summer, and hear lots more info. Luckily, the appendices detailing the Third Age are much longer and even include some full-fledged stories. I would say just go back and review what happened to Númenor at the end of the Second Age, because that sets up the whole story of the Third Age. ~Tom

July 14, 2017 (July 11, 3018)

Tolkien illustrations: Orthanc

Shire Reckoning: July 11, 3018 (Overlithe 11, 1419)

We have two different Tolkien originals today, both of Orthanc. They are markedly different, and show a bit of how Tolkien evolved his conception of Middle Earth over the course of writing LOTR.
Orthanc (I), an earlier conception
Orthanc (II), best follows the book description of the tower

Notes: The section describing Isengard/Orthanc in the book is fairly short, and it’s an important location, so I thought it would be helpful to see what Tolkien’s vision was for Saruman’s stronghold. (If you want to see more Tolkien originals and the story behind all the different sketches, check out The Art Of The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkien, Christina Scull, and Wayne G. Hammond – amazing book.) ~Tom

July 13, 2017 (July 10, 3018)

Gandalf meets with Saruman

Shire Reckoning: July 10, 3018 (Overlithe 10, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.CouncilOfElrond “Late one evening I came to the gate” (~p.20) – “pace to and fro, brooding on the coming of the Riders to the North” (~p.22)

~Spoilers below, go read the section if you haven’t yet 🙂

– Gandalf meets with Saruman in Orthanc
– Saruman reveals his designs and offers Gandalf the chance to join forces
– Gandalf refuses all offers, and Saruman has his guards imprison Gandalf on the roof of Orthanc.
– Gandalf sees below through the smoke and haze many pits and forges, preparing an army.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Amazing sassy Gandalf quote when Saruman reveals that he has claimed the title ‘Saruman of Many Colors’. Direct book quote: “‘I liked white better.'”
– Saruman’s army is directly stated to be for the purpose of eventually overthrowing Sauron. In other words, Saruman is not completely a tool of Sauron, as often comes across in adaptions of LOTR.

Links to Other Content:
– (Featured) Saruman, by Daniel Govar. The glowing orb in this wonderfully creepy portrait is something we’ll learn about much much later, don’t worry about it for now.
Orthanc in the haze, by WisesnailArt

Notes: As we could have predicted from the buildup, Saruman was not as helpful as Gandalf was hoping! Turns out he has rejected his title, sneering at all mention of simple one-color titles like white, grey, and brown (aka Radagast the ‘Fool’). He is Saurman of MANY COLORS and don’t forget it Gandalf the greeeeyyyy!! Hope Gandalf makes it out of this one okay. Ps definitely read this section it’s got some great recognizable movie quotes buried in there, and good Gandalf-with-an-attitude lines. ~Tom

July 12, 2017 (July 9, 3018)

Gandalf rides to Isengard

Shire Reckoning: July 9, 3018 (Overlithe 9, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.CouncilOfElrond “I rode away at dawn; and I came at long last” (~p.20) – “and in that circle there is only one gate” (~p.20)

– Gandalf rides to Isengard

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Turns out Saruman didn’t even build his own fortress. Isengard is a relic from the men of Númenor (remember them from Second Age week?)

Links to Other Content:
Saruman, come forth! by Sieskja. Great illustration of Gandalf riding towards Orthanc. (Although seeing as Isengard is only approachable from the South, not sure how the sun is rising/setting in the North…)

Notes: Sorry for the late update. I guess it means Gandalf is only a few hours away from Isengard… ~Tom

July 3, 2017 (Lithe, 3018)

Saruman pic

Shire Reckoning: Lithe (2), 3018 (Lithe (2), 1419)

Young Saruman, by Norloth. Really cool concept art of Curunir (Saruman) as he would have been in Valinor, i.e. before he came to Middle Earth and got old.

Notes: We’ll see how Saruman is looking these days when Gandalf gets there in a week or so… ~Tom