January 16, 2018 (January 15, 3019)

The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

Shire Reckoning: January 15, 3019 (Afteryule 15, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.JourneyInTheDark “He woke and found that” (~p.24) – FR.Lothlorien “take the road south as soon as it is fully light” (~p.14)

Note from the coordinator: Yes the reading is long but please please please read at least The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm. It’s super good and amazing and suspenseful and exciting and yeah just read it. It’s like 12 pages. Plus it has the most iconic scene. Seriously it’s like Tolkien used up all his exciting writing on this one chapter. (I mean there’s more good stuff later but I digress)

Lay of Nimrodel, by Colin John Rudd. Interesting take on the song; Colin John Rudd has a bit more of a spoken-word style. I will also give this song a bit more of a spotlight in the future, just want to focus on Khazad-Dûm today!

Journey In The Dark:
– Morning comes and light filters into the hall, proving that they have come to the eastern edge of Moria. Even Gimli is ready to leave, satisfied at having seen Moria.
– Trying to find the best way out, the Company comes across a brightly lit room. Inside lies a tomb. (Art by peet)
– The tomb is revealed to contain Balin. Yes, Balin from the Hobbit. Rest in peace, my good man.

The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm:
– Gimli and the rest of the Company are saddened by this discovery. In another side room, they ominously find dead bodies and bones.
– Gandalf picks up a stained book lying around and carefully tries to read it.
– Working with Gimli, Gandalf manages to decipher some passages from the book which appears to be a record of Balin’s attempted recolonization of Moria. It all went well for a couple of years until orcs and such inevitably showed up. They flip the final page.
– There is only a short, grim passage, saying a bunch of intense things and just go read it this is like the best part!!!
– Just as the Company reads the words ‘drums in the deep’ and decide to make a hasty exit, they hear a huge boom coming from the depths below. Yes, a literal drum in the deep.
– The drums get louder and horns answer as the Company hears the sound of feet approaching. The room they are stuck in has two exits. One has a huge horde of Orcs, Uruks, and trolls outside, which obviously Boromir and Aragorn try to barricade. A troll bashes its way in, and the company bravely fights off a first wave of orcs.
– They retreat momentarily and the Company tries to escape through the other door. A huge orc-chieftain catches them just before they get out and seemingly impales Frodo with a spear toss. Aragron dispatches of him quickly, then grabs Frodo and gets the heck out of there. The rest follow suit, although Gimli has to be dragged away from the tomb by Legolas.
– Frodo, of course, is alive (wow such a worthwhile dramatic reveal of your secret armor), and Gandalf hurries them down the stairs. He tells them to go on while he holds the door. Aragorn wants to help, but Gandalf proclaims “‘Swords are no more use here.’
– As they stumble down, they see a huge flash of light above and Gandalf comes crashing down.
– They continue down (remember the hall had been above the level of the gate) as the temperature rises and the sounds of pursuit fade.
– Gandalf explains that he had felt an evil presence in the chamber and the orcs had been chanting something to do with ‘fire.’ The passages start to glow red as they near the exit.
– Suddenly they come out into a great hall. Across the hall, a bridge leads to the stairs which will take them up to the gate and into the sun. There’s a huge chasm in the hall floor, filled with flames, but it seems to not stand in their way. As they dash across the huge room, the orcs catch up but are stuck on the other side of the chasm.
– As the Company reaches the bridge, a menacing creature appears in the flames behind them. Even the orcs cower away from it in fear. Yes you guessed it, it’s the Balrog of Moria, Durin’s Bane. It is primarily described as being wreathed in shadows, although it does wield a blazing sword and a whip.
– At this point just go read the scene pls.
– Gandalf is dismayed, saying the equivalent of “I’m too old for this ****”.
– The Company dashes across the bridge at Gandalf’s insistence, although Aragorn and Boromir wait at the far side of the bridge, unwilling to leave Gandalf behind. The Balrog reaches the bridge where Gandalf stands alone, bearing his staff in his left hand and Glamdring in his right. (art by aegeri)
– Super famous quote happens, Gandalf destroys the bridge, Balrog drags down Gandalf with it, and JUST GO READ IT
– Aragorn leads everyone away and indeed they quickly reach the gate and come out into the bright light of day. They make it some distance from the gates, and grief overcomes the Company as the drum beats fade.

– Some stuff happens. I’ll probably cover this in more detail tomorrow as I want to let everyone enjoy the best chapter on its own despite more stuff technically happening today.
– In brief: The Company travels down into the Dimrill Dale towards Lothlórien, an Elvish realm. They stop for a bit by the Falls of Nimrodel and Legolas sings a song. Frodo reveals his mithril coat and everyone has some nice bonding moments. In the evening, they are approached by the Lothlórien border patrol and Legolas manages make a deal with them.

Quotes & Trivia:
– So of course Gandalf, being the quote master, has to pack in several more famous quotes before he can fall to his doom. The best and most iconic, is of course his showdown with the Balrog:
“‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.'”
– Also great is his pre-battle command: “‘Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!’” And of course his death quote: “‘Fly, you fools!’
– An underrated element of this chapter is Boromir and especially Aragorn’s devotedness to Gandalf and the fact that they actually try to assist him (or at least offer their help throughout). Although Gandalf does do most of the heavy lifting, it’s not exactly like he’s just soloing this dungeon with no assistance, which is a common problem for many overpowered fantasy characters.

Movie Scenes:
– The whole Balrog fight is a little less intense in the 1977 Bakshi animated move, but it’s still interesting to see.
– Then we have the PJ version of this scene which, like the book, is one of the best parts of the whole series. I really like how the whole sequence is done pretty faithfully, especially the final confrontation with Durin’s Bane, which of course is, like, the most epic movie scene of all time. Link here. How can you resist watching it again after today’s chapter, really?

Other content:
Fonstad Map of Moria. Cool map showing the layout of Moria. Obviously with all her maps, there are some story spoilers, so, yeah.
Tolkien Ensemble Song of Nimrodel. Actually pretty nice.

From The Tale of years:
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, and fall of Gandalf. The Fellowship reaches Nimrodel late at night.

Notes: Sorry if I got a bit excited while writing this, but I really love this chapter. Also I just couldn’t bring myself to type out a huge thing for the Chapter 6 content today, I felt the focus should just stay on the epic Chapter 5. Tomorrow I’ll go back and fill in those details. ~Tom


January 15, 2018 (January 14, 3019)

Company journeys through Moria

Shire Reckoning: January 14, 3019 (Afteryule 14, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Journey “It was Gandalf who roused them” (~p.20) – “saw the two pale points of light approaching, slowly” (~p.24)

Durin’s Awakening Song, by the Lonely Mountain Band. I usually feature a certain other someone’s music, but seriously this is the best version of this song, hands down. Absolutely give it a play when you get to it in the reading. I know most people usually skip the songs, especially on their first read-through of LOTR, but maybe Lonely Mountain Band can change your mind.

– After six hours (!) of thought, Gandalf finally decides a passage to take. (Art: Gandalf in Moria, by DonatoArts)
– The Company marches all day, some fifteen or twenty miles. When night has fallen outside, they reach a large hall (windows let them know that it is night). All that’s left is to go down to the gates at the east side of the mountain and out into the Dimrill Dale.
– As they spend the night in the hall, Gimli sings a song about the glorious past of the Dwarves and their mines. (See above)
– Gimli becomes silent after his song, and Gandalf tells Sam a bit about the Dwarves’ finest export: Mithril.
– Gandalf reveals that the Mithril coat that Thorin gave Bilbo was worth more the than the whole Shire. Frodo, who is still secretly wearing the coat, marvels at this.
– Frodo takes the first watch as everyone else goes to bed, and sees two pale points of light across the hall. He figures it must be his imagination and when he does go to sleep, he continues to see them in his dreams.

Trivia, quotes, and details:
– Not sure why Frodo keeps his possession of the mithril coat a secret. I guess he just wants to do a dramatic reveal later.

Other versions of the song:
The world was young, the mountains green, by Adele McAllister. If you thought featuring someone else’s version of a song would mean I would exclude AM you would be wrong! Good as always, although not as good as her best songs.
Song of Durin, by the Tolkien Ensemble. If you’ve been listening to the Tolkien Ensemble, you, uh, know what to expect. Included just for completion.
Song of Durin, by Clamavi De Profundis. If you really liked their version of Over the Misty Mountains Cold (which you should because it’s amazing), check this one out too. Not quite as good, but still pretty epic.

Other content:
Dwarvish Armor, by TurnerMohan. Cool design for first age Dwarvish armor. Fits with the theme of the song today.

Tale of years:
Night in Hall Twenty-one.

Notes: Pretty short update today, relatively, and several hours earlier in the day too! If I continue this trend, might actually get updates out in the morning again… Anyway, definitely listen to the Lonely Mountain Band version of the song today, it’s one of my favorite Tolkien songs ever. ~Tom

PS TOMORROW IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST DAY OF THIS ENTIRE PROJECT JUST PREPARE YOURSELF. Seriously we cover the entire next chapter which is unquestionably my favorite chapter of the entire book. Be ready for me fanboying in the update (like usual, to be honest).

January 14, 2018 (January 13, 3019)

Company reaches Moria by nightfall

Shire Reckoning: January 13, 3019 (Afteryule 13, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Journey “When the full light” (~p.5) – “showed his sharp nose, and the puff of smoke.” (~p.20)

– In the morning, the dead bodies of the wolves have vanished. Gandalf describes the course, which is to head south-eastwards to the West Gate of Moria. Gimli is eager, Boromir and the others less so.
– After some searching, they find the path to the gate. Nearing the gate, they see a small trickle of water that used to be a waterfall.
– Climbing up the stairs, they that the stream issuing from the gate has been dammed up and now a lake fills the valley before the gate. (Tolkien original illustration: the West Gate of Moria)
– Realizing that Bill the Pony won’t be able to enter the mines, it is decided to set him loose.
– Going around the lake, the company hears a noise in water and see ripples out in the middle. Daylight fades.
– Now between the lake and the cliffs, the company continues until they reach two great Holly trees. Gandalf announces that they have found the gate, but that it is hidden.
– The company sits around for a while, waiting for Gandalf to figure out how to reveal the doors. Gimli and Legolas bicker over who is to blame for the falling out between dwarves and elves, and Sam mourns over having to set Bill free. Eventually moonlight reveals a shimmering design on the wall. (Illustration: moria, by aegeri).
– (Here in most editions of the book is Tolkien’s illustration of the Doors of Durin.)
– The message on the doors says “The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter.”
– Gimli thinks they need a password of sorts to get the doors to open, because apparently dwarves excel at complicated magic doors. The Company becomes frustrated when Gandalf is unable to come up with the right word.
– Boromir is bored and throws a stone in the lake, which spooks Frodo.
– After a while, Gandalf finally solves the riddle and speaks the Elvish word for ‘friend,’ which indeed opens the door. Just as the Company is about to enter, a writhing mass of tentacles burst out of the water and grab Frodo!
– Bill the Pony runs away in fear and Sam saves Frodo by slashing his knife at the tentacle around Frodo’s ankle.
– Gandalf hurries everyone inside as the creature bring the gate crashing down. (Art: Watcher in the Water, by ullakko.)
– Trapped inside, the Company realizes the only way out is through.
– After some food, they prepares for some long marches. The Mines of Moria are freaking gigantic and it is at least forty miles to the other side.
– The Company walks in silence through Moria. Gandalf leads with a dim light from his staff. Frodo carries Sting, but as it isn’t glowing, there is no immediate threat of orcs.
– The way through the mines is twisted and presents many obstacles, such as huge cracks in the floor that the hobbits have to jump over.
– Frodo starts feeling the effects of the Ring, as well as thinking that he hears some light footsteps following the group.
– Reaching a three-pronged fork in the path, Gandalf announces he is a bit lost and decides the Company should rest. In a little side room, they find an old well, which Pippin throws a stone down. Gandalf is angry (see quote below), especially when they hear a faint hammering sound in the depths.
– The Company settles down for a rest and Gandalf keeps watch, smoking and trying to remember details his previous venture into Moria.

Trivia, quotes, and details:
– Honestly, the magic door is kind of contrived, but it makes for a good scene in the end. It’s not as bad as the moon runes in The Hobbit which wins the prize for the most ridiculous dwarven security mechanism. Plus Tolkien’s illustration for the doors is pretty iconic so that’s cool.
– Also there’s this incredible quote from Gandalf when Pippin nags him about opening the doors: “‘Knock on the doors with your head, Peregrin Took, but if that does not shatter them, and I am allowed a little peace from foolish questions, I will seek for the opening words.’
– Gandalf then doubles down on Pippin with an even more famous quote as they reach the fork in the path and Pippin drops a stone down the well: “‘Fool of a Took! This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance.’

From the Tale of Years:
Attack by Wolves in the early hours. The Fellowship reaches the West-gate of Moria at nightfall. Gollum begins to trail the Ring-bearer.

Notes: Sorry again for the late update. If I can catch up I’ll be trying to write the posts the night before and post early morning (US time) so that everyone can see them the day of, but obviously I’m still a bit behind on that. As for the reading: I usually make the distinction between days based on sunrise, but obviously it’s unclear when the sun rises with respect to their underground journey. Thus I just put the break in where there’s a break in the text, while the Company sleeps. Finally, tomorrow’s reading isn’t as long as today’s so maybe the update will be shorter too! ~Tom

January 13, 2018 (January 12, 3019)

Snowstorm breaks and the Company retreats

Shire Reckoning: January 12, 3019 (Afteryule 12, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.RingGoesSouth “The fire burned low” (~p.20) – FR.JourneyInTheDark “nearly singed the hair off my head” (~p.5)

The Ring Goes South:
– The snow finally stops as the fire burns low and the sun rises.
– Finally able to see the mountainside, the company sees that it has been covered in several feet of snow and retreating will be difficult.
– Legolas isn’t even bothered because you know, Elves or something, and just requests Gandalf to melt a path through with his fire magic.
– Sassy Gandalf makes a comeback, quipping “‘If Elves could fly over mountains, they might fetch the Sun to save us.’
– Boromir joins the witty remark train, saying “‘when heads are at a loss bodies must serve.’
– Boromir remembers the path somewhat and he goes with Aragorn, the largest of the Company, to clear a path.
– Legolas lets them try for a bit, smiling, because you know, elf. Then he volunteers to go, saying “‘Let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf, or over snow – an Elf.’” Then he runs off, wearing nothing but some light shoes, dashing straight past the two hard-working men. No joke, he literally waves at them as he goes by. Oh yeah, and he shouts back to Gandalf “‘Farewell! I go to find the Sun!‘”
– After a bit, all three return, Legolas continues to be a bit obnoxious, Boromir reports that he has indeed cut a path through, and finally the rest of the Company makes their way out of their shelter.
– Boromir and Aragorn carry the Hobbits through one particularly deep patch of snow.
– When they finally make it out of the snowy area, they realize that it was as if the mountain had been targeting them specifically: there isn’t much snow except for where they had been trapped.
– Finally, the exhausted Company stumble down towards the birds still circling in the lands below. “‘Caradhras had defeated them.’

Journey In the Dark:
– That evening, there is a short council to decide the best course of action. Pippin, Merry, and Sam hope for a return to Rivendell, but Frodo reaffirms his commitment to the quest.
– Gandalf suggests the road through the Mines of Moria, which Aragorn had been reluctant to try. Gimli looks up with a ‘smouldering fire’ in his eyes.
– When other ways are suggested, such as going south through the gap of Rohan, Gandalf reminds everyone that Saruman has gone rogue. Any other way would take too long.
– Boromir thinks that going into the Mines would be akin to falling into a trap.
– Gimli quickly volunteers his support for Gandalf’s plan, desiring to look on the halls of Durin and to see if Balin is still there.
– Aragorn begrudgingly admits support as well, realizing there is no other way. Legolas, obviously, and Boromir stand against the plan. Frodo, however, requests to delay the vote until tomorrow morning, after everyone has rested.
– After a throwaway comment of ‘how the winds howls,’ Aragorn realizes that the wind is literally howling with wolf-voices.
– Not wanting to retreat directly into a land prowled by wolves, the Company agrees to make way for Moria first thing in the morning. The door is fifteen or twenty miles south-west of Caradhras.
– Pippin and Sam are dreadfully frightened by the wolves, but Sam puts trust in Gandalf’s abilities to keep them safe.
– As the Company sleeps for the night, the wolves continue to howl. One approaches the campsite but Legolas easily kills it with his bow.
– Close to dawn, the wolves return with a vengeance, surrounding the camp. Legolas, Gimli, Boromir and Aragorn put up a good fight. Eventually Gandalf puts on an impressive show of force and sets the trees ablaze. The wolves are finally scared away for good.

Trivia, quotes, and details:
– Forgot to mention this yesterday but to be sure everyone’s clear, ‘faggot’=’bundle of sticks.’ Gotta love archaic words that turned into modern curse words!
– As far as quotes, there were lots of good pithy sayings, but I mostly already included them above.
– Legolas really makes his debut as a character today. Hilarious, but kind of a jerk.
– Boromir also gets to show off his character, particularly a pretty unswerving sense of duty. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by Legolas’s teasing, and does quite a bit of work to make sure the Hobbits can get down through the snow safely.
– I always like to highlight when Frodo gets to be heroic, so have a nice quote, from when the return to Rivendell is suggested: “‘I wish I was back there, but how can I return without shame – unless there is indeed no other way, and we are already defeated?’
– Boromir/Aragorn take the prize though for best quote: Boromir: “‘The wolf that one hears is worse than the orc that one fears’“, Aragorn:”‘But where the warg howls, there also the orc prowls.’


Links to Other Content:
I go the find the Sun!, by peet. Art of Legolas being Legolas.
Descent from Caradhras by DonatoArts. Incredible painting of the rough descent.

Tale of years:
Snow on Caradhras.

Notes: Definitely read the end of ‘The Ring Goes South’ chapter. There’s lots of really fun character moments and clever quotes. The beginning of Journey in the Dark is pretty good too, especially the surprise ambush by wolves and Boromir and Aragorns’s awesome rhyming quotes. Sorry for the long and late post… there was just a lot of plot to type out. Really great read though, as I said. ~Tom

January 12, 2018 (January 11, 3019)

Company is halted by snow on Caradhras

Shire Reckoning: January 11, 3019 (Afteryule 11, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.South “On the third morning” (~p.15) – “burning fast, and the snow still fell” (~p.20)

– On the third morning, the snowy peak and blood red cliffs of Caradhras loom high above the Company.
– Gandalf and Aragorn have a short argument about the best way to get through the mountains. Gandalf appears to be advocating a secret passage, fearing the weather on Caradhras. Aragorn insists on the Redhorn Pass, and Gandalf acquiesces.
– Boromir has enough experience to remind everyone to carry some firewood up in case of emergency.
– Night falls and the Company marches straight up the mountain. Snow starts falling after midnight and picks up quickly.
– Boromir blames the snow on some trickery of the Enemy, by Gimli is skeptical.
– The storm worsens after a short break and soon there are boulders crashing down on the path and shrill cries in the wind. Boromir calls for a halt for the night.
– Pippin is a sad Hobbit standing in the cold.
– The company huddle together under a small ledge, unable to either go on or retreat.
– As the Hobbits seem to be getting frostbite (whatever its called in Middle Earth), Gandalf passes around a little bit of miruvor, some Elvish liquor from Elrond, to try to warm everyone.
– Boromir insists on a fire, but no one is able to start it (not surprisingly). Gandalf finally gives in and uses a short incantation to spring fire from his staff.
– The storm rages on, but the fire lifts everyone’s spirits a great deal.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– The way Gandalf grumbles about in this chapter is honestly a bit endearing, especially his complaints about the fire.
– Superstitous Boromir is great, especially this quote which probably inspired the addition of Saruman’s voice to the movie scene:
“‘We cannot go further tonight,’ said Boromir. ‘Let those call it the wind who will; there are fell voices on the air; and these stones are aimed at us.'”

Links to Other Content:
Caradhras, by Grivetart. Huge art, showcasing the epic scale of Caradhras.
Caradhras, by faQy. Perhaps a bit more optimistic than the grim tone of the text, but still nice.

Tale of years:
Snow on Caradhras.

Notes: Well the freezing weather in Chicago sure is appropriate for today’s section. Today is one of the many instances in the book where I think I would literally just die if I were there. We’ll see tomorrow morning how/if they can get off the mountain! ~Tom

January 10, 2018 (January 9, 3019)

The Company continue through Hollin

Shire Reckoning: January 9, 3019 (Afteryule 9, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.South “The next morning dawned even brighter than before. But the air was chill again; already the wind was turning back towards the east.” (~p.15)

– Nothing immediately bad comes from yesterday’s crow incident. Just slow progress towards Caradhras.

Misty Mountains Sunrise, by Miruna-Lavinia. Great art by one of my faves that seems fitting for today’s small section.

Notes: whoops, this was set to post on the wrong day. Well, have two updates today! ~Tom

January 9, 2018 (January 8, 3019)

Company spotted by crows in Hollin

Shire Reckoning: January 8, 3019 (Afteryule 8, 1420)

Pages To Read:
-FR.RingGoesSouth “They had been a fortnight on the way” (~p.11) – “nothing further happened that night” (~p.15)

– The company comes into Hollin one sunny morning after having been traveling for two weeks. Hollin used to be a dwelling place of Elves in the second age and remains a mild land, both in weather and landscape.
– Off to the left (East), Frodo sees a huge snowy mountain, glowing red in the sun.
– Pippin is confused by the new geography, but Gimli recognizes the mountains: underneath lies Khazad-Dûm, a.k.a. Moria. He names several peaks, most importantly the cruel Caradhras, around which Gandalf plans to cross the mountains. He describes the Silverlode river and its source, the Mirrormere, which lie on the other side.
– Legolas comments on the old Elvish inhabitants of Hollin, saying that the land mourns their departure.
– The sun cheers everyone up and they decide to spend a night on extra rest. (Remember they are traveling only during the dark hours of night.)
– As such, the company stays up a bit and relaxes. Only Aragorn remains anxious, saying the lack of animals and birds worries him.
– Sam and Aragorn, on the first watch, see a huge cloud of black birds approaching from the south. As they fly overhead, Aragorn realizes they are Crebain (basically evil crows), spying on the land.
– Having hopefully not been spotted, the company has to leave at nightfall, much to Pippin’s dismay.
– As the moon rises, they find a old road that seems to lead toward Caradhras.
– Just before dawn, Frodo sees a shadow pass over the stars. Gandalf suggests it may have been a cloud, but Aragorn disagrees ominously, saying “‘It was moving fast then, and not with the wind.’

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Gimli’s main contribution to the Council of Elrond was an update on the status of Moria. Balin (from the Hobbit) had led a group to recolonize it after the retaking of Erebor, but had not been heard from in many years.
– I don’t want to spoil what the shadow was that Frodo saw, but you can probably guess Aragorn was right: that was no cloud.

Links to Other Content:
The Fellowship in Hollin, by Donato Giancola. Gorgeous painting (as always with Donato), perhaps of the evening departure today.

From The Tale of Years:
The Fellowship reach Hollin.

Notes: Kind of an eerie mood set by the crows today, not to mention that spooky shadow… A fair bit of geography was mentioned, so here’s a review of the short term plan. The company is in Hollin (formerly Eregion), and plans to take the Redhorn Gate around Caradhras; then go down the Dimrill Stair and travel to the Great River by way of the Silverlode. Also, Khazad-Dûm/Moria lies beneath the mountains in this area, its status unknown. ~Tom

January 4, 2018 (January 3, 3019)

Boromir stuff

Shire Reckoning: January 3, 3019 (Afteryule 3, 1420)

boromir, by s-u-w-i. Evocative drawing of Boromir with the banner of Gondor.
The Horn of Gondor, by Donato Arts. Gorgeous and detailed painting of the Horn of Gondor. Boromir’s possession of this heirloom was highlighted during the departure from Rivendell.

For Gondor!, an article by Master Of Lore. This blog is actually quite interesting: it’s an exploration through Middle Earth through the lens of the Lord of the Rings card game. They write a ton of really interesting, in-depth articles, often about less well-known topics. For today, the link is to a summary of the kingdom of Gondor, specifically the White Tree and its heritage. There are a lot of spoilers, but it’s good background on an important kingdom that will play a big part in the story yet to come.

Notes: I have actually played the card game mentioned above a few times recently with my brother: I would recommend checking it out, but it is quite difficult. Also, there probably won’t be another update until next Tuesday, when the story picks back up. ~Tom