October 19, 2017 (October 18, 3018)

The Hobbits see Bilbo’s trolls & Glorfindel finds them at dusk

Shire Reckoning: October 18, 3018 (Winterfilth 18, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Flight “The morning dawned bright and fair” (~p.8) – “good breakfast in the Shire had done” (~p.15)

Stone Troll (Troll Song), by The Hobbitons. A fun, rowdy rendition of Sam’s song about the troll from today. Highly recommend playing the song as you get to it in the book.

– In the morning, the sunlight makes everyone feel a little better, and Strider confirms that they are getting closer to the Ford (where they will cross to Rivendell).
– Realizing that they need to get back to the road to make good time, the team hastens down from the hills.
– Along the way, they see a Troll-hole full of old bones, empty jars and broken pots. Pippin’s a bit spooked, even more so when he finds three trolls in a clearing in the woods.
– When the rest of the team catches up and find that the trolls are stone, Frodo realizes it is the same trolls that Bilbo came across long ago.
– Sam agrees to provide some entertainment to lift everyone’s spirits, so he makes up a fun little song about a troll on the spot. (See above for link)
– After they’ve had their fun, Team Frodo makes it to the road and proceeds with caution.
– They hear hooves again, but this time they sound a bit less frightening. Indeed, a gorgeous white horse pulls up with a gorgeous elf named Glorfindel, who has been sent by Elrond to assist Frodo.
– Glorfindel briefly recounts his recent efforts to find Frodo and Strider updates him on Frodo’s wound. Glorfindel looks at the wound, confirms its seriousness, and puts Frodo on his horse. He leads the group toward Rivendell, and they walk literally all night.
– When the next morning finally comes, they get a bit of sleep on the side of the road.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Frodo is so impressed with Sam’s song that he comments Sam might turn into a wizard or a warrior by the time the journey is over. We shall see whether or not that comes true…

Links to Other Content:
A Song in the Trollshaws, by Ted Nasmith (featured). Nasmith illustration of the scene at the troll glade.
Trollshaws, by ralphdamiani. Another great painting of the stone trolls.
Troll sat alone on his seat of stone, by MatejCadil. Illustration of the troll in Sam’s song holding the “bone he boned from its owner.”


– Two other versions of the Troll Song: Broceliande, and Tolkien Ensemble

The Tale of Years:
Glorfindel finds Frodo at dusk. Gandalf reaches Rivendell.

Notes: Glorfindel to the rescue!! Honestly gotta admit that it was nice to give this part in the movie to a character would actually be important later, but Glorfindel’s cool too. Another thing of note is that despite unbearable pain in his shoulder, Frodo manages to joke around in the woods with friends. Thank you for not being a wimp, Frodo. ~Tom


October 9, 2017 (October 8, 3018)

Day 2 from Weathertop

Shire Reckoning: October 8, 3018 (Winterfilth 8, 1419)

Pages To Read:
– FR.Flight “Four days passed, without the ground or the scene changing much, except that behind them Weathertop slowly sank, and before them the distant mountains loomed a little nearer. Yet since that far cry they had seen and heard no sign that the enemy had marked their flight or followed them.” (~p.4)

Links to Other Content:
Of Beren and Luthien, by Caprice. A really lovely version of the song from the other day. This one’s a bit easier to listen to than the Tolkien Ensemble version, and a bit shorter due to skipping some verses.

Notes: Not much to say. The song for today is a bit melancholy, probably a reflection of the mood among our hobbits. ~Tom

October 7, 2017 (October 6, 3018)


Shire Reckoning: October 6, 3018 (Winterfilth 6, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Knife “In the morning they found” (~p.10) – FR.FlightToTheFord “The night passed slowly and wearily” (~p.2)

Lay of Gil-Galad by Anois. This song is short and really sad. Great cover by Anois.
Song of Beren and Luthien, by Tolkien Ensemble. This song is really long and but also pretty sad. We’ll see more covers of this in the future, for now, here’s the Tolkien Ensemble.

Events: (Major Spoilers, as always!!)
– Team Frodo makes their way along an old path toward Weathertop. Strider tells them of Amon Súl, the old watchtower that stood atop it.
– Sam sings a song about Gil-Galad that Bilbo had taught him as a child.
– At Weathertop, they find some markings from Gandalf that suggest he was there three days ago. Strider pieces together the evidence and decides the lights they had seen were Gandalf being attacked.
– Strider explains that it is almost a two-week journey left to Rivendell, and Frodo begins to think of the Shire and gets homesick.
– He is interrupted by the sight of black dots on the distant road. Doesn’t take too long to figure out they are bLaCk RiDeRs!
– Back down below the hilltop, the hobbits confer with Strider about the plan for the night. They decide to stay at Weathertop and cross the road tomorrow.
– Keeping a fire going as a back-up defense, they prepare for the worst. As they sit around being hungry and miserable, Sam begs for a story of Elves from the past. Strider obliges and sings the Tale of Tinúviel, an elven maiden who fell in love with (and gave up her immortality for) a Man.
– The moon rises over Amon Súl and Sam sees black figures at the edge of the dell.
– Soon five black shapes surround them, and Frodo is gripped with an irresistible urge to slip on the ring. He does so, and suddenly the Riders are made clear to him. He can see the crowns of silver they wear and the swords of steel they carry. He pulls his own sword, but is quickly overwhelmed. He cries out as a blade pierces his shoulder.
– As Frodo passes out, he pulls the Ring from his finger and sees Strider leaping at the Riders with a flaming branch.
– When Frodo comes to, he tells the rest what he saw. Sam grows suspicious (again) of Strider, but the Ranger eases their fears and tells them that the Riders, not expecting a fight, had left for the night.
– Knowing that they will return, Strider sets out to plan the next day’s journey, entrusting Frodo to Sam’s care. The night passes as the hobbits bathe Frodo’s wounds and try to keep him warm by the fire.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– The story of Gil-Galad goes back to the end of the Second Age. He was the captain of the Elves that helped Elendil and Isildur defeat the forces of Mordor, but he died along with Elendil in the final showdown with Sauron.
– The explanation of how the Riders see is pretty unsettling: they use their horses and other animals during the day as ‘eyes’ but then at night they can see ‘shadows’ cast by people and “smell the blood of living things.”

Three great depictions of the attack tonight:
Nazgul at Weathertop by David Findlay (featured). Spooky black and white drawing of the Black Riders.
Against the Shadow, by John Howe. I’m not always the biggest fan of John Howe’s famous Tolkien art, but this is a pretty good one.
Three Dark Kings, by lawksie. Really like the colors and mood in this one.

Links to Other Content:
Map through October 7. Fonstad map of the journey so far, with nightly campsite markers, mileages, and detailed geography. Great for reviewing.
Gil-Galad was an Elven king, by Adele McAllister. Can’t list her songs as the featured version every time, but here is her version of the first song today. Ps if you couldn’t tell I really like Adele McAllister.

The Tale of Years:
The camp under Weathertop attacked at night. Frodo wounded.

Notes: Would recommend reading this chapter at night for maximum spook effect. I’m also a big fan of the Lay of Gil-Galad, so definitely check out at least that song. Long journey ahead to Rivendell, so there will be plenty of time to catch up with reading if you have fallen behind! ~Tom

October 2, 2017 (October 1, 3018)

Hobbits journey east from Bree

Shire Reckoning: October 1, 3018 (Winterfilth 1, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.Knife “The next day they began to steer a steady course eastwards; and still all was quiet and peaceful.” (~p.7)

– Second day out from Bree; so far so good. Having gone north to get off the road, they turn east toward Weathertop.

Links to Other Content:
Chetwood, by MatejCadil. The forest that Team Frodo is trudging through.
Merry Old Inn, by Brocéliande. Another cover of Frodo’s song in the Prancing Pony that I didn’t have time to include before.

The Tale of Years:
Gandalf leaves Bree.

Note: For once, I have literally nothing to add. ~Tom

September 30, 2017 (September 29, 3018)

Hobbits reach Bree and meet Strider

Shire Reckoning: September 29, 3018 (Halimath 29, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.BarrowDowns “After a long moment” (~p.8) – FR.KnifeInTheDark “vanished from the Shire” (~p.2)

Tom Bombadil’s Song (IV), Tolkien Ensemble. All the bits that Tom sings in Chapter 8.
There is an Inn, a Merry Old Inn, Tolkien Ensemble. One of my favorites from the Tolkien Ensemble; great version of the song that Frodo sings in the Pony.
The Riddle of Strider (I), Tolkien Ensemble. Christopher Lee reading the famous poem.

Events (long but there’s a lot to cover today):
Chapter 8 (Fog On The Barrow Downs):
– Tom Bombadil comes just in time to rescue the hobbits from the Barrow Wight.
– Singing merrily, he drags helps Frodo drag Merry, Pippin, and Sam out and then kinda exorcises the spirit of the wight.
– The hobbits are revived, and Tom goes back to get their ponies and supplies.
– After eating lunch, Tom gives them swords from the treasure hoard that was in the barrow. Each hobbit gets a sword (knife) that was made long ago by the men of Westernesse (Númenor).
– The hobbits ride with Tom northward to the road, where he leaves them with some advice on Bree, and an inn there called the Prancing Pony.
– With their hearts set on a warm bed and a fire, they set off. Frodo reminds them that he is going by ‘Mr. Underhill’ to avoid drawing too much attention.
Chapter 9 (At The Sign of the Prancing Pony):
– Breeland is a group of villages (the largest being Bree) at the crossroads of the East-west road and the old North road (the Greenway) where Men and Hobbits live together. In the past, there was more cultural exchange between the Bree-folk and the Shire, but in recent times there has been more isolationism on the part Shire-folk.
– Team Frodo comes to the Prancing Pony (after having to argue with the gatekeeper of Bree) after dark.
– Sam is worried about spending the night in a three-story building, but any fears are quickly put to rest by the excellent dinner Butterbur (the owner) whips up for them.
– Frodo, Sam, and Pippin join the company in the lounge to mingle with the Men who had come up the Greenway, local hobbits, and Dwarves that happened to be passing through.
– While Sam and Pippin chat about the Shire with various folk, Frodo notices a “strange-looking weather-beaten man,” listening to the action, shrouded in shadow. Butterbur tells Frodo that he is a ranger named Strider.
– Strider motions Frodo over and asks about him. Frodo is a bit uneasy, and then notices that Pippin is telling a story about Bilbo. Strider urges him to stop Pippin before he says too much, so Frodo tries to distract everyone with a speech. He is quickly egged on into performing a song.
– After performing perhaps a bit too vigorously, Frodo falls and somehow the Ring slips onto his figure. Everyone freaks out a bit about his disappearance, and Strider scolds him for drawing attention.
– After a bit of damage control, Frodo retires to his room to talk with Strider
Chapter 10 (Strider):
– Strider confronts Frodo, Sam and Pippin, and asks them what they are doing. After a short conversation revealing that he knows a lot about their journey, he asks to join them, offering his knowledge of the wild.
– Sam is hesitant, and Frodo agrees, until Butterbur comes in a delivers a letter (previously forgotten) from Gandalf. (This is the letter that Gandalf had left for Frodo in the middle of summer.)
– Butterbur reveals that there have been Black Riders in Bree, too, looking for Baggins.
– Strider reminds everyone that the Black Riders are from mOrDoR!! and so Butterbur agrees to help Frodo however he can. They make plans to stay the night and then leave first thing in the morning.
– Alone again with Strider, they open the letter. Gandalf apparently had advised to leave the Shire by July (um), to trust Strider (yeah), and to not use the Ring again (about that). He also reminds them to make for Rivendell and shares a riddle about Strider, whose actual name is Aragorn.
– The hobbits decide to trust Strider and he reveals a bit more about himself, and shows them his broken sword.
– The decision is made to let Strider guide them to Rivendell just before Merry bursts in, saying that he has seen Black Riders in Bree! After becoming quite a bit more worried, the hobbits decide to spend the night in Strider’s room, fearing an attack from the Riders.
Chapter 11 (A Knife In the Dark):
– Back in Buckland, some of the Riders attack Crickhollow, thinking Frodo might still be there. Fatty flees just in time and raises an alarm, scaring off servants of Mordor.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– When Tom gives them the knives/swords from the barrow, Tolkien notes: “Fighting had not before occurred to any of the as one of the adventures in which their flight would land them.” Um, yeah, we’ll see how that goes…
– The letter from Gandalf contains not only a PS and a PPS but literally a PPPS. Oh Gandalf…
– Also in Gandalf’s letter is the first instance of perhaps Tolkien’s most famous poetry. “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.”
– Strider’s introduction is just great, and I love the moment when he notes that if he was an imposter, he could have killed the hobbits already and taken the Ring. He then quickly smiles and says: “‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.‘”
– Another classic phrase is just after when Frodo says that if Strider was a true Enemy, he would “seem fairer and feel fouler.

Journey, by LottaLiberta. Team Frodo walking the road to Bree as the sun sets.
Bree-land by MatejCadil. Drawing of the Bree-landers.
Prancing Frodo, by Deathlydollies. Cute drawing of Frodo dancing on the table and singing his song.
Prancing Pony, by breath-art. Review of today’s action, by the (as always) incredible breath-art.
Bree, by ralphdamiani (featured). View looking southwest from the hill of Bree.

Other Content:
Tom Bombadil’s House/Barrow-downs, Fonstad map. Should have sent this yesterday, but this is the Fonstad map for yesterday’s action.
Bree, Fonstad map. Helpful map showing the geography of Bree-land, and nice diagram of the layout of the Prancing Pony.
There is an Inn, a Merry Old Inn, by George Goddard. Another good cover of today’s main song, if you don’t care for the Tolkien Ensemble.

The Tale of Years:
Frodo reaches Bree at night. Gandalf visits the Gaffer.

Notes: Lots of classic action today! Sorry for the late update, but it took me a long time to read the section this morning… ~Tom

September 26, 2017 (September 25, 3018)

Frodo & Co. reach Crickhollow in Buckland

Shire Reckoning: September 25, 3018 (Halimath 25, 1419)

Pages To Read:
-FR.ShortCutToMushrooms (start) – FR.ConspiracyUnmasked (end)

A Drinking Song, by Tolkien Ensemble. Goes on a bit long for a song that is cut off short in the text, but still fun to sing along with.
Bathsong, by The Hobbitons. This song may seem silly, but trust me, this version is short and sweet, and just really great!!
Farewell We Call To Hearth and Hall, by Adele McAllister. One of my favorites from the queen of Tolkien covers herself.

Events: (Long but two full chapters’ worth so…)
– Frodo wakes up late, feeling rested after the night with the Elves. Pippin is eager to get going and inquisitive about the Black Riders, but Frodo brushes off his concern.
– Sam commits to coming with Frodo on his journey as planned, despite the situation having changed a bit.
– After walking a while in the rain, the trio are nearly seen by a black rider. To escape him, they follow the Stockbrook river for a while, towards Bucklebury (the goal for the day).
– After lunch, the sun comes out and the hobbits try to cheer each other up with a drinking song (link above).
– They are interrupted by the iconic screech of black riders in the distance. Spooked, the hobbits continue on in silence.
– When they finally leave the woods, they see they are a bit off course, and must make their way back over open fields towards Bucklebury. Soon they reach farmlands, and the home of Farmer Maggot.
– Frodo had stolen mushrooms from Maggot in the past, and is still afraid of the Farmer’s dogs (which admittedly sound terrifying). Luckily, Maggot is in a jovial mood, despite having also seen a black rider. He recounts his conversation with the Rider, and treats the hobbits to beer and dinner.
– After dinner, Maggot takes them to Bucklebury Ferry in his cart. There they meet Merry, who takes them back to Crickhollow.
– In Frodo’s new home at Crickhollow, the three travelers take a bath and have a second dinner prepared by Merry. (and Fatty, who is also… there.)
– Merry reveals a grand plan orchestrated by him, Pippin, and Sam. They knew all about the Ring, the plan to leave, and such and insist on coming with Frodo. This is a shock to Frodo who had been trying to keep everything a secret. As it turns out, he mutters a lot and Sam snitched.
– After trying to dissuade them, Frodo agrees and seems quite happy about having two more companions. Merry and Pippin celebrate with a classic song (link above).
– Before going to bed, the plan is finalized. The four hobbits will go into the Old Forest first thing in the morning, so as to avoid the attention that they would get along the main road out of the Shire. Meanwhile, Fatty will stay behind to update Gandalf when (if) he arrives and keep Frodo’s departure a secret for as long as possible.
– At night, Frodo has a crazy dream sequence, seeing a creepy forest, followed by the sea and a white tower.

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– Farmer Maggot, and other residents of the Stock area are called “house-dwellers,” showing that not all Hobbits lived in the famous hobbit-holes.
– These two chapters begin to show the contrast between Merry and Pippin. Although they are often together, you will notice that Pippin is more playful and joking, while Merry is more level-headed and serious. For example, Pippin complains throughout and splashes excessively in the bath, but Merry unveils the conspiracy and convinces Frodo to follow along with their plan.
– Can’t help but feel pleased that Sam gets a bath too. Kinda makes up for being excluded from the birthday party a few days ago…
– Fun hobbit detail #574: most hobbits can’t swim, although some Bucklanders do. In fact, the Brandybucks are quite a bit more daring than most Hobbits, taking trips into the Old Forest and using boats as well.
– Really, um, ‘scary’ quotes from the Black Rider’s conversation with Maggot. For example: “‘I come from yonder … Have you seen Baggins?'”

Featured Artist: MatejCadil
MatejCadil is an amazing Czech artist I found on DeviantArt who does lots of Tolkien-related illustrations, as well as other cool stuff (like architecture, scenery, and crafts). Check him out here. For today I have:
Budgeford. A town that the hobbits miss by not taking the main road.
Green Hill Country. Fall colors in the Shire; this was the area the Hobbits have been walking through since leaving Hobbiton.
Crickhollow. Really accurate and useful depiction of the house that the hobbits stay at tonight.
Brandy Hall. The huge hobbit-hole that the main Brandybuck family inhabits.

Links to Other Content:
– Two recipes from Feast of Starlight, a great fantasy-themed recipe blog: Farmer Maggot’s Mushroom Pie, and Farmer Maggot’s Mushroom Toast.
Mushrooms and Delinquency, by smokygouda. Really cute sketches of the mushroom saga. First we see young Frodo stealing the treats, then being chased by Maggot’s dogs; then current Frodo with the basket of mushrooms from Mrs. Maggot.
Hobbit Bath, by beoka. Really cute coloring of the bath in Crickhollow! To be fair Merry didn’t need a bath (as he hadn’t been walking all day), and they had three separate bathtubs… but it’s still adorable!!
Fonstad Map of Buckland. Useful for visualizing the area around Bucklebury Ferry.

Notes: Sorry if these are spiraling out of control. There’s just so many details! The history of Brandy Hall, the mushroom obsession of hobbits, the scenery during their walk, and the stay at Farmer Maggot’s are some highlights of today I couldn’t even touch on. ~Tom

September 25, 2017 (September 24, 3018)

Frodo, Sam, and Pippin meet Elves in the woods
Shire Reckoning: September 24, 3018 (Halimath 24, 1419)
Pages To Read:
-FR.Three “The morning came, pale and clammy” (~p.8) – (end)
(As a reminder I’ll include this section up front when there are songs in the text. I highly recommend taking a break from reading when you get to them to have a listen)
Frodo’s version of Bilbo’s old walking song, by The Tolkien Ensemble. Great melody although teeechhhnically in the text Frodo has no musical accompaniment. To be fair, that’s the case for almost all the music I’ll feature.
A Walking Song, by The Tolkien Ensemble, by The Tolkien Ensemble. The second song in today’s section. 
Snow White! Snow White! O Lady Clear!, by my all-time favorite, Adele McAllister. Beautiful rendition of the song that Frodo & Co. hear the Elves singing. 
Events (With Illustrations):
– Frodo, Sam, and Pippin wake up the next morning, have breakfast, and finally get started around 10. Sidenote: Frodo starts complaining as soon as he wakes up, lamenting that he had decided to walk from the get go.
– When they get to a scenic overlook, Frodo sings/says a variation on Bilbo’s old song (link above), and the three have a discussion about how the road can take you anywhere if you let it. Illustration: Three is Company, by peet. 
– During the late afternoon, Frodo gets a queer feeling when they hear a horse approaching from behind. They get off the road just in time to stay out of sight of… you guessed it… a bLACK RIDER. He stops momentarily, creepily sniffing the air, and Frodo is overcome with an urge to slip on the ring. Luckily, the rider goes off, and Frodo explains what he saw to Sam and Pippin.
– Seeing a greater need for stealth, Frodo continues on, but they stay a stone’s throw away from the road, walking through the grass. (Featured illustration: Three is Company by rysowania)
– After a while they forget their fear and sing another walking song (link above). 
– As they are about to settle down for the night, the Black Rider approaches again, but is scared off just in time by none other than Elves! 
– The hobbits hear a beautiful Elven hymn to Varda, Queen of the Stars (Illustration by LiigaKlavina). Then Gildor, their leader, allows the Hobbits to be taken back to their camp where they share a meal and rest in comfort. 
– Frodo discusses (mostly ominous) news of the outside world with Gildor, who offers sage advice. (See below for some great quotes). 
– Gildor refuses to tell Frodo about the exact nature of the Black Riders but confirms they are servants of The Enemy (Sauron). After some pressure, he advises Frodo to continue on his journey without waiting further for Gandalf. Frodo accepts that this would be best and finally goes to sleep.
– When talking about the road, Frodo remembers a classic quote from Bilbo: “‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'” (PJ actually had Bilbo say this to great effect in the first movie.)
– Gildor gives great advice here, especially for a minor character. Examples:
– “It is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
– “Advice is a dangerous git, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.”
– “Courage is found in unlikely places”
– Frodo shows a bit of sassy side when Gildor initially refuses to give him straight counsel. “‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.'”
Links to Other Content:
Rest in Gildor’s forest, by breath-art. Gorgeous mural of the day’s events.
Woodhall, by MatejCadil. Cute drawing of Woodhall, the town that Frodo sees down below while talking with Gildor. 
Elven Song to Elbereth Gilthoniel, by The Tolkien Ensemble. Obviously there is a TE version of the Elven song as well as the version I put above, but it’s kinda long and to be frank, a bit drab. Still worth a listen if you have a little extra time.
The Tale of Years:
Gandalf crosses the Isen.
Notes: Big update today! This is pretty much what the updates will be like when there is big stuff going on. Hope you enjoy the first day of the trip! Make sure to give the songs a listen, although admittedly there are better songs yet to come. If you don’t have much time, at least read the encounter with the Black Rider. It’s a great scene, and familiar ground for movie fans. ~Tom

August 28, 2017

Of The Pronunciation Of Words and Names
Pages To Read:
-RK.AppendixE Section I: ‘Pronunciation Of Words And Names’ (~p.1-5)
– Tolkien gives detailed linguistic information on the pronunciation of his languages (mostly the Elven tongues: Quenya & Sindarin)
– The most important rule (in my opinion at least) is also first: ALWAYS PRONOUNCE 'C' AS 'K.' When we get to a certain elf I don't want to hear anyone going around talking about "Selly-born."
– One of the other rules which isn't necessarily obvious is to pronounce 'dh' as English 'th,' as in 'then, this'. The second pronunciation of English 'th' ('thin') also exists, and is indeed written as 'th.'
Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– This appendix gives us our first glimpse into the linguistic work of JRR Tolkien, founding father of invented languages (at least languages invented for artistic purposes: artlangs. More info here). Trust me, there will be more. (Well-known fun fact: word on the street is Tolkien created the entirety of Middle Earth as a setting for his languages to live in)
– I personally like the section about which syllables to stress, as that is often a confusing aspect of languages and troublesome when you're trying to pronounce a fictional language that you've only read about. 
– Long story short: almost always stress the second-to-last syllable (the first syllable of two-syllable words) unless it seems like a short, unstressed vowel without consonants to back it up. (In that case, stress the third-last syllable)
Intro (Dushatar), by Za Frûmi. Now this is an interesting piece. In the early-to-mid 2000s, this awesome band named Za Frûmi released a series of albums, sung entirely in Orkish. Yes you heard right: a band wrote entire albums in the black speech of Tolkien's Orcs. To be fair, considering how little information about the Black Speech is actually given in LOTR, most of it is indeed "made up." However, I do not intend that as criticism: they truly managed to write lyrics which were true to the form of the despicable Orcs. Overall, the music is very unnerving and sometimes downright creepy. I highly recommend at least listening to this short song, the intro to one of their albums. 
– Two of the said albums are available for streaming or purchase here: Za shum ushatar Uglakh, and Shrak ishi za migul – chapter 3.
In other news…
– In the links section of my blog, I list some really cool language-related sites that you can check out if you want to learn more about Tolkien's amazing invented languages!
Notes: Stay tuned for more of Appendix E: we'll get into the beautiful and famous tengwar (the Elvish writing system) next time. Just a few more linguistic appendices left before the true journey begins! ~Tom

May 13, 2017

First Age Week: Heavy Metal

To finish out First Age week, got another special album – Nightfall in Middle Earth by Blind Guardian! Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly I’m not sure) there’s quite a bit of Tolkien-inspired heavy metal out there. To be fair, I haven’t listened to much of it, but from what I hear this album is one of the most well-known of the genre. This albums brings you on an intense hour-long journey through the Silmarillion… with lots more guitar solos than the book.

Enjoy ~Tom