February 25, 2018 (February 25, 3019)

The Company pass Argonath and camp at Parth Galen

Shire Reckoning: February 25, 3019 (Solmath 25, 1420)

Pages to read:
– FR.GreatRiver “Nothing happened that night worse” (~p.13) – FR.BreakingOfTheFellowship “we must go warily tomorrow” (~p.1)

Events/Art:
– It rains in the morning, but clears up quickly as the river enters a narrow ravine.
– The river takes the Company quickly through the iconic Gates of Argonath (art: The Pillars of the Kings, by Ted Nasmith). These ancient Númenórean statues still stand proudly, despite being thousands of years old.
– Even Boromir is moved by their presence (art: Boromir and the Statues of the Argonath, by DonatoArts). Aragorn reveals that they are modeled after Isildur and Anárion, his ancestors.
– The statues seem to revitalize Aragorn, and Frodo marvels at how he no longer looks like a Ranger, but like a king returning from exile.
– Finally the boats come out of the ravine and into a lake (Nen Hithoel). On the eastern and western shores respectively are the peaks Amon Lhaw and Amon Hen, where there used to stand great watchtowers. In the middle of the lake sits the island Tol Brandir. (Art: Tol Brandir, by Ted Nasmith). The Falls of Rauros lie just past Tol Brandir.
– The Company camps for the night on Parth Galen, a field on the riverbank below Amon Hen.
– During the night, Aragorn is uneasy. Frodo gets worried, and they check Frodo’s sword Sting, finding it faintly glowing. However, Aragorn reasons that this is just due to faraway orcs on the eastern (opposite) shore and decides there is no immediate threat. Aragorn warns Frodo to keep a watchful eye out tomorrow for unexpected threats.

From The Tale of Years:
The Fellowship pass the Argonath and camp at Parth Galen. First Battle of the Fords of Isen; Théodred son of Théoden slain. 

Sidenote (the Fords of Isen):
You may notice that in the appendix plot summary for today, it notes the First Battle of the Fords of Isen. This is a disastrous battle over in Rohan (the horse-lord nation to the northwest of Gondor) wherein the Prince of Rohan, Théodred, is slain by orcs from Saruman. Théodred obviously never appears directly in the story, but his death will have consequences for Rohan which we will see soon…
– Art: Theodred, by WermoongRey. Awesome art of Théodred’s last stand!
– Art: Ethraid Engrin, by MatejCadil. Melancholy drawing of the Fords covered in dead bodies after the battle.

Other content:
Fonstad map, reviewing the journey from Jan. 15 up to today.
– Fonstad maps 1, 2, 3. These map show the routes that members of the Company will take in the upcoming weeks. Obviously lots of spoilers, but good for keeping up with the geography.

Notes: Okay so this one didn’t turn out too terribly long, but that’s because I was stupid and thought today was tomorrow. As spoiled by the chapter title, tomorrow is the Breaking of the Fellowship, so the update will (actually) be long. ~Tom

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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)

Events:
– 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 8, 2018 (February 8, 3019)

Art dump

Shire Reckoning: February 8, 3019 (Solmath 8, 1420)

Events:
– The company continues their stay at Lothlórien, enjoying the serenity of Caras Galadhon.

Art:
The Lady of the Golden Wood, by hwilki65. Pretty portrait of Galadriel, holding a pitcher that will be important to the plot soon…
Galadriel, by Gitian. Portrait of Galadriel that focus on her (awesome) past as an important figure in the First Age. More on that here. By the way, this artist has a whole series of art featuring the best female characters in Tolkien’s work, so you should definitely check them out.
Celeborn in Lothlórien, by AnotherStranger-Me. Really beautiful art of Celeborn walking through his forest.
Into the woods, by Miruna-Lavinia. Cute art of Frodo and Sam doing the same.

Other:
Fonstad map of Lórien. Mainly the top part, which is a layout of Caras Gladhon. The bottom bits suggest the overall layout of Lórien, and also there’s a small story spoiler.

 

Notes: I’m back everyone! I apologize for the lack of content in the past two weeks. I wish I could say I was trying to simulate the Company’s weird sense of time while resting in Lothlórien… but I was just doing a bad job of getting out my content. In any case, I’ll just combine all the art/music I had saved up into big posts like this, and we’ll read a couple of appendices before regular stuff resumes February 15 with the Mirror of Galadriel. ~Tom

January 18, 2018

Company guided through Lothlórien

Shire Reckoning: January 16, 3019 (Afteryule 16, 1420)

Note: So yeah, this was totally supposed to be yesterday’s update. However, instead of trying to cram two days into one, I’ll just put us a day behind schedule and make it up during the next break in action, which is coming soon.

Pages To Read: (previous update contained FR.Lothlórien p. 1-14)
-FR.Lothlorien “Day came pale from the East” (~p.14) – “their guides would not permit them to unbind their eyes and they could not climb” (~p.17)

Events:
January 15, 3019:
– After the fall of Gandalf and the escape from Moria, the Company takes a minute to regroup outside. Aragorn quickly gets them moving again.
– Gimli, Frodo, and Sam visit Durin’s Stone at the edge of Mirrormere. (Art: Durin’s Stone by MatejCadil)
– Before long, the Company comes across the source of the Silverlode, which will lead them down to Lothlórien, a fair Elven realm.
– Aragorn and Boromir carry Frodo and Sam when they become tired. The Company takes a rest near a relaxing waterfall and Aragorn tends to Sam’s wounds. (He was injured during the fight by Balin’s tomb.)
– Frodo claims that he is not injured, and Aragorn finally discovers his Mithril coat, which had protected him from getting skewered by the orc.
– The Company goes on as dusk falls. Despite confidence in having escaped the orcs, Frodo gets the sense of being followed.
– Legolas is excited when they reach the edge of Lothlórien. Boromir The Skeptical is suspicious of the Golden Wood, having heard stories of it in Gondor.
– Soon after entering, the Company comes to the stream of Nimrodel. They decide to rest after crossing the stream and Legolas tells them stories that the elves of Mirkwood keep about the elves of Lothlórien. They notice that the stream sounds like it is singing, and Legolas sings them a song about the elf maiden Nimrodel, for whom the stream is named. (Music: Broceliande’s cover)
– The song ends in the tragedy of Nimrodel and how sorrow came to Lothlórien, and Legolas refuses to sing any more.
– It is the custom of the Elves of Lórien to dwell in tree-houses. The Company decides to follow suit and spend the night in the trees for safety.
– Just as Legolas is about to scout for a place to sleep, the Company is surrounded by Elves of Lothlórien. The Elves aren’t aggressive, having recognized Legolas as one of their Northern kindred, and request to see Frodo. Haldir, the leader of these Elves, offers help to Frodo, having heard of the quest.
– Legolas convinces Haldir to offer refuge to the whole Company, after he initially refuses to allow Gimli, a dwarf. However, he does require that Gimli go blindfolded if he is to come.
– The elves bring Pippin and Merry up, who sleep with Frodo and Sam on a platform high in the trees despite their fear of heights.
– In the night, a company of orcs passes below. Another small figure (not an orc) climbs the tree and approaches Frodo, but Haldir scares it off.

January 16, 3019:
– In the morning, the Company is lead on by Haldir and his companions. At some point, they use an obnoxious tightrope bridge to cross a river.
– As the group approaches the heart of Lórien, Haldir insists that Gimli be blindfolded. Obviously this rubs Gimli the wrong way, and he has a heated argument. Aragorn tries to keep the peace, offering that the whole Company be blindfolded. Gimli laughs, saying he will be satisfied as long as Legolas shares his blindness. Legolas is indignant but acquiesces.
– As they go on, Haldir describes how the shadow of Mordor has spread even to Lórien and why their people are so cautious.
– After a long day’s march, the Company rests for the night. This time they spend the night on the ground, not allowed to unbind their eyes.

Quotes:
– Legolas getting frustrated with Dwarves: “‘A plague on Dwarves and their stiff necks!’“. But then when he gets upset, Aragorn turns the tables: “‘Now let us cry: “a plague on the stiff necks of Elves!”‘“.
– Really nice passage describing the journey after Frodo is blindfolded: “Being deprived of sight, Frodo found his hearing and other senses sharpened. He could smell the trees and the trodden grass. He could hear many different notes in the rustle of the leaves overhead, the river murmuring away on his right, and the thin clear voices of birds high in the sky. He felt the sun upon his face and hands when they passed through an open glade.

Other content:
Deep into Moria, by breath-art. Amazing mural-style art, reviewing the adventure in Moria.
Fonstad Map through January 15. Reviews the geography of the trip from Rivendell.
Lay of Nimrodel, by Adele McAllister. Yes, another cover of the song, but they’re all so good I couldn’t exclude them!

Notes: Sorry for missing the update yesterday. I figured this way I could include all the events from Jan. 15 after the morning escape from Moria, as well as the Jan. 16 stuff before moving on to Jan. 17 which has a long dialogue section. ~Tom

December 26, 2017 (December 26, 3018)

Company heads south from Rivendell

Shire Reckoning: December 26, 3018 (Foreyule 26, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.South “At the Ford of Bruinen they left the Road and turning southwards went on by narrow paths among the folded lands. Their purpose was to hold this course west of the Mountains for many miles and days.” (~p.10)

Events:
– The Company heads south from the Ford of Bruinen.

Links to Other Content:
Fellowship, by faQy. Fun, quirky illustration of the Company taking a break.
Fonstad Map through January 15. Spoilers of course! However, if you want to follow along on the map, this is the easiest way as it marks campsites for every night.

Notes: Pretty simple update. As described in the text, we’ll be heading south along the side of the Misty Mountains for a while. ~Tom

October 30, 2017

Assorted Content

Pages To Read: (finish off Council of Elrond)

Random stuff that relates to our stay in Rivendell:

Art
Gray Sketches – Rivendell, by Miruna-Lavinia. Really cute sketch of Sam and Frodo inspired by a quote from Many Meetings.
Tom Bombadil, by ullakko; Tom Bombadil by kimberly80. Two great paintings of Tom Bombadil, who was an important topic of conversation during the Council.

Map
Fonstad map of Rivendell. Great little map showing the area around Rivendell as well as a rough floor plan of the House of Elrond.

Other
Intoxicating Influence of Tom Bombadil. This video explores a, uh, different take on what would happen if Tom and Sauron were to meet on the battle field.

Notes: Just have some nice art, a cool map, and a silly video for today for you to enjoy at your leisure. ~Tom

October 8, 2017 (October 7, 3018)

Team Frodo leave Weathertop

Shire Reckoning: October 7, 3018 (Winterfilth 7, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Flight “Dawn was growing in the sky” (~p.2) – “he did not speak of it for a long time” (~p.4)

Events:
– The next day, Strider finds the blade that pierced Frodo’s shoulder, but it vanishes in the morning sun.
– He tries to treat Frodo’s wound with a special healing plant Athelas, but the pain only partially eases. Frodo realizes the foolishness of putting the Ring on, and wonders if he will be crippled for life by the wound.
– The Team hurry south, and cross the Road nervously. They hear the screech of the Riders in the distance, but make it to the woods safely. As they continue to march, Frodo’s wound hurts more and more, but he doesn’t draw attention to it.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Athelas will serve a surprisingly important role later, so remember it.
– Fans of Bill Ferny’s pony will be happy to know it is doing well, and getting stronger and fatter by the day.

Links to Other Content:
Fonstad Map: Journey through October 20. Here is a regional map showing details of the next leg of the journey. Kind of interesting in that there are two options shown, because Tolkien left a bit of ambiguity in the various rewrites of this chapter as to the geography of the Trollshaws. Use it to follow along, major spoilers contained though.
Plodding, by Smokygouda. Sketch of the four hobbits walking today.
Wound in Weathertop, by breath-art. Awesome mural summarizing the attack.

Notes: And so begins the slog to get to Rivendell. ~Tom

September 23, 2017 (September 22, 3018)

Frodo’s birthday, the last night in Bag End

Shire Reckoning: September 22, 3018 (Halimath 22, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Three “Thursday, his birthday morning” (~p.3) – “Gandalf had not come” (~p.4)

Events:
– Frodo celebrates his birthday, drinking some good wine and lamenting that he had to sell Bag End to the *shudder* Sackville-Bagginses.
– Frodo also is secretly sad that he will have to leave behind Merry and Pippin (and I guess Folco and Fredegar); he hasn’t told them of his true plans yet.
– Gandalf still hasn’t arrived. As we see in the Appendices, he’s just now getting his horse, Shadowfax. Also the Black Riders are approaching, crossing Sarn Ford.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– According to Appendix D, Thursday in the Shire is really more like our Saturday, so the days of the week actually match up by some miracle!
– Tears for Sam, who doesn’t actually get to go to the party, because… gardener?? Don’t worry people, Sam & Frodo will eventually get a lot closer.

Links to Other Content:
Happy Birthday Frodo, by middleearthgirl. Cute (admittedly movie-based) drawing of Frodo’s party.
Fonstad map – the journey through October 7. MAJOR SPOILERS. So in Fonstad’s incredible Atlas of Middle Earth, she has a series of maps detailing the journey day by day. This covers up to October 7, so you can use it to follow along if you don’t mind spoilers. PS I’ll send it out again on Oct. 7 to review.

The Tale of Years:
The Black Riders reach Sarn Ford at evening; they drive off the guard of Rangers. Gandalf overtakes Shadowfax.

Notes: The final night in the Shire! Get hyped people!! ~Tom

September 10, 2017

Of the Languages and Peoples of Middle Earth in the Third Age

Pages To Read:
-RK.AppendixF (start) – (end)

Contents:
– Lots of details about the languages of Middle Earth, their histories, and how Tolkien ‘translated’ them for LOTR.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– There’s a special note to explain that Elves are tall, noble, and beautiful, which goes to show how our current idea of an “elf” was basically established by Tolkien. Before him, the word “elf” would have referred probably to more of a garden gnome-type creature.
– There’s lots of details about how the various languages of Middle Earth relate, and this appendix is actually a pretty good introduction to Tolkien’s linguistic philosophy if you haven’t read LOTR before.
– As with all the appendices, feel free to skim if you want to avoid spoilers and primarily want to focus on the main story.

Links to Other Content:
Langauge Map. Map by Karen Wynn Fonstad, showing the distribution of languages throughout Middle Earth.
Population Map. Another Fonstad map, showing the inhabited areas of different races.

Interesting partially-related art
They were once elves, by Mother of Bees. Appendix F gives a bit of the history of the language of Orcs, but I’m not sure LOTR ever explains actual origin of their race. In some versions of the Silmarillion, they are Elves captured and corrupted by Morgoth. This great piece of art depicts a few stages of that chilling transformation. Wasn’t sure where else to include this, but if it ever is relevant to the text again, I may resend it.

Notes: Fun little appendix, and the last of the extra summer material! Starting Thursday, I will resume more frequent updates following Frodo & Co. ~Tom