AGL begin pursuit of MP
Shire Reckoning: February 27, 3019 (Solmath 27, 1420)
Pages to read:
– TT.RidersOfRohan “Turning back they saw across the River” (~p.2) – “Let us go, said Legolas” (~p.7)
– TT.UrukHai “Neither Pippin nor Merry remembered” (~p.7) – “soon the iron grip of merciless hands was on him again” (~p.7)
Riders of Rohan:
– Standing at the edge of Rohan, Team AGL see the sun rise dramatically behind them. They find themselves standing above the East Wall of Rohan, which is a sheer cliff marking the border of the green plains of the Rohirrim. (Art by MatejCadil)
– Far to the south, they see the mountains of Gondor, and Aragorn sings a short song describing the country.
– Focusing on the the task at hand, Legolas scopes out the land beneath them with his (apparently) super-eyes. In the distance, he sees the Orcs, confirming that they are not too far ahead. AGL follow the path down the East Wall and onto the plains. While following the trail of the Orcs, they find random things like food and torn garments littering the path. (Art by Laura Tolton)
– When they get to the bottom, Legolas is invigorated by the fresh scent of the grassy plains of Rohan. Noting that the orcs have the disadvantage of being weighed down by gear and prisoners, Aragorn hopes they can catch up a bit.
– After a while, Aragorn halts the run and goes off the trail, following some small footprints. He confirms that they are Pippin’s and finds the brooch that Pippin cast aside last night. He notes that “‘Not idly do the leaves of Lórien fall,’” realizing that Pippin left it behind as a sign that MP are alive.
– This gives the team even more urgency and they run all day with only two pauses.
– As the sun sets, Legolas wants to continue all night. Gimli and Aragorn outvote him and they rest during the night. Aragorn is worried about missing the trail and Gimli is adamant that he needs his beauty sleep. (He realizes that nobody can run straight to Isengard without a break)
– Just before dawn, Aragorn rouses Gimli. Legolas is already up of course, and fears that the orcs ran all night, getting much farther ahead. Aragorn listens to the ground for any sign of the orcs, but he hears only horses, galloping far off to the West. Not too excited about their prospects now, AGL set off again at dawn.
– Pippin and Merry spend the whole day in a haze, drifting between “evil dreams and evil waking.”
– When the orc-draught wears off, Pippin collapses and has to be carried once again.
– After darkness falls, Pippin is faintly aware of another argument. He hears many of the orcs demanding a halt. He gets to lie on the ground for a bit, but before long he is the hands of orcs again as they march on.
– Today is where the idea of Elves having super-powerful eyesight comes from. Legolas first spots an eagle overhead that Aragorn can’t see, and then sees the orcs twelve leagues away across the plain. (To be fair, they are standing on a high ridge and Aragorn can see the orcs too, so it isn’t really that impressive.)
– Trio, by faQy. Great art of AGL looking hopeful.
– Song of Gondor, by Norloth. Beautiful illustration of today’s poem/song.
– Song of Gondor, by The Tolkien Ensemble. Pretty nice rendition of the song.
– Just Idling, by 7hot-feanorians. Funny picture based on Aragorn’s line “‘Not idly do the leaves of Lórien fall.'”
From The Tale of Years:
Aragorn reaches the west-cliff at sunrise. Éomer against Théoden’s orders sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the Orcs.
Notes: Not too much story today after the absurd amount yesterday! Nothing on Team FS, due to their first chapter skipping a few days ahead. As a sidenote, I’m going to start using abbreviations for our new groups of heroes. Thankfully it works out nicely with no main characters sharing a first initial. For now we have Team AGL (Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas), Team MP (Merry, Pippin), and Team FS (Frodo, Sam). ~Tom
Breaking of the Fellowship
Shire Reckoning: February 26, 3019 (Solmath 26, 1420)
– Lament for Bomomir, by Karliene. Legitimately the best Tolkien cover. Please listen instead of just skipping over it!! I beg you.
Pages to read:
– FR.Breaking “The day came like fire and smoke” (~p.1) – (end)
– TT.DepartureOfBoromir (start) – TT.RidersOfRohan “stirred their cloaks, the chill wind of dawn” (~p.2)
– TT.UrukHai (start) – “payment is only put off. leg it!” (~p.7)
Breaking of the Fellowship:
– The sun rises as Frodo gazes out at Tol Brandir. Aragorn calls the company together and declares that everyone must decide their course of action today.
– The Ring bearer’s decision is the most pressing, and Frodo says he needs some time to decide. Sam notices Boromir staring at him strangely.
– Frodo makes his way alone up the side of Amon Hen. Along the way, he reflects on his journey so far, trying to decide what to do.
– He suddenly feels an unpleasant presence, but it is just Boromir, who appears friendly. Boromir wants to talk with Frodo and give him advice. However, Frodo admits that he knows what he must do – he is just afraid of doing it. Boromir starts getting pushy, asking why Frodo refuses his advice. Frodo voices doubt in the strength and truth of Men.
– Frodo says that there is no hope for Gondor while the Ring exisists. Boromir is irritated, and asks to see the Ring again. Frodo refuses, seeing a strange gleam in Boromir’s eyes.
– Boromir reveals plans to use the Ring for good, and berates Frodo for wanting to throw it away. He goes on and on about how Men are stronger than wizards and Elves and how they could harness the Ring against the Enemy.
– Frodo sadly states that his decision is even clearer now: to head straight for Mordor. Boromir directly demands that Frodo lend him the Ring. Frodo refuses, and with a “raging fire” in his eyes, Boromir leaps at Frodo. Frodo panics and slips the Ring on his finger.
– With Frodo invisible, Boromir runs about wildly, cursing Frodo and accusing him of working for Sauron. Then he trips over a rock and falls flat on his face. After a moment, he begins to weep. He cries out “‘Frodo! Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!'”
– However, Frodo is already lone gone, having run away in terror. He soon reaches the summit of Amon Hen, where a great stone throne overlooks the land below. Still wearing the Ring, Frodo gets up onto the Seat of Seeing and sees visions of faraway lands. (Art by John Howe)
– All across Middle Earth, Frodo sees signs of war. As the vision heads toward Mordor, Frodo begins to feel the presence of Sauron. Hope leaves him as he realizes there was an Eye in the Dark Tower which was looking for him. Just as he is about to reveal himself to it, he comes to his senses, jumps off the seat, and removes the Ring. As the sunlight returns and Frodo calms down, he realizes that the evil of the Ring is at work in the company. He decides to go straight to Mordor, alone, not willing to risk the lives of any more companions.
– Back at camp, Aragorn confers with the others. They all voice support for whatever Frodo would decide, but Aragorn proposes that they split up anyway, saying that everyone going to Mordor would be overkill. Sam correctly guesses that Frodo will want to go alone nevertheless.
– Boromir returns to the camp and briefly tells how he confronted Frodo. He doesn’t explain that he tried to take the Ring, and still appears to be stricken with grief. When he says that Frodo put on the Ring and vanished, everyone goes into full panic and runs off to try to find him. Aragorn tries to organize the search, sending Boromir after Merry and Pippin before heading to the summit himself.
– Sam quickly realizes however, that Frodo will need the boats to get anyway and returns to the camp. When he gets to the shore, he sees a boat heading out and tries to jump in. He misses and flails about in the water. Frodo saves him, and tries to discourage him from coming. Sam bravely declares that he is coming whether Frodo likes it or not. Frodo eventually shows that he is glad to have Sam along with him. They row across the river and come safely to the eastern shore.
– Fellowship ends with the following words: “Then shouldering their burden, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the grey hills of the Emyn Muil, and down into the Land of Shadow.”
The Departure of Boromir
– Aragorn tries to follow Frodo’s footsteps on Amon Hen. He runs around for a while, seeing no sign of Frodo, but eventually hears the sound of Orcs below. He then hears the horn of Boromir, and rushes to his aid.
– Aragorn finds Boromir after the sounds of battle fade. Boromir is propped up against a tree, pierced with many black arrows. His horn lies broken by his side, alongside a huge pile of slain orcs. (art by chmiel)
– Boromir admits his earlier mistake to Aragorn, exhibiting remorse for having both failed his task to save Gondor, and betrayed the trust of the Company. He explains that Merry and Pippin were took alive by the orcs. With his dying breath, Boromir requests that Aragorn go to Minas Tirith in his place and save his people.
– Aragorn is greatly moved by the death of his comrade (Art by black3). Gimli and Legolas find him weeping over his body.
– They decide to send Boromir’s body over the Falls of Rauros in place of proper burial. There is a somber scene on the shore of the Anduin, as they load Boromir’s body into a boat and send it over the falls (Art by Ted Nasmith). Afterward, the three sing a mournful tune. (See top of post)
– Back at the shore, Aragorn finds Sam and Frodo’s packs and boat missing, deducing that they took off together eastward. He declares that the Company is no more and it is no longer his destiny to follow Frodo.
– With gusto, Gimli and Legolas join Aragorn as they set out in pursuit of the Orcs at sunset.
The Riders of Rohan
– A/G/L run all night in pursuit of Merry and Pippin. After some time, they see signs of a struggle and some dead orcs. As morning approaches, they reach the border of a great valley.
The Uruk Hai
– Pippin wakes in the evening, recalling the frantic search from Frodo from the afternoon. He finds himself bound tightly lying next to Merry amidst a great company of Orcs.
– After a moment, Pippin’s memories return. He recalls how after running away from camp, he had run into a band of Orcs, seemingly waiting for them. Merry fought bravely, and Boromir came leaping through the woods to their rescue. However, they were soon ambushed again and Boromir blew his great horn valiantly. The orcs continued to rain arrows into Boromir as the trio was overrun (Art by Deligaris). Pippin’s last memory was Boromir slumped against a tree, pulling out an arrow.
– Pippin grieves over his situation and struggles a bit. The orcs threaten him, but eventually he just gets ignored while they argue. Speaking in the Common Speech, they reveal that their orders were to capture halflings, aka Hobbits. There are mainly two parties of Orcs – Uruk-Hai from Isengard (led by Uglúk) and Orcs of Sauron (led by Grishnákh). (Art by TurnerMohan).
– There is a commotion as the orcs fight, and Pippin manages to cut his bonds with a knife from a dead body. Once order is restored, the Orcs grab Merry and Pippin and set off. Pippin loses consciousness again.
– The Orcs eventually decide they want Merry and Pippin to walk, so they revive the pair with some Orc medicine.
– They run all night. Pippin gets the idea to toss aside the brooch from his cloak near morning, although he is doubtful that anyone from the Company is coming to save him.
– One of Boromir’s well-known lines during his argument with Frodo: “‘The Ring! Is it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt for so small a thing?’“
– Frodo to Sam after Sam demands he come along to Mordor: “‘But I’m glad, Sam. I cannot tell you how glad. Come along! It is plain that we were meant to go together.’“
– The argument between Uglúk and Grishnák is pretty classic, and one of the best instances we get of Orcs interacting amongst themselves.
– Gates of Argonath, by breath-art. Mural-style art reviewing today’s events.
From The Tale of Years:
Breaking of the Fellowship. Death of Boromir; his horn is heard in Minas Tirith. Meriadoc and Peregrin captured. Frodo and Samwise enter the eastern Emyn Muil. Aragorn sets out in pursuit of the Orcs at evening. Éomer hears of the descent of the Orc-band from the Emyn Muil.
Notes: Today starts the trend of having pages split across several chapters. Sorry for the late update, especially with all the pages, but it took a while to type and I got sidetracked. Anyway, one of my all-time favorite Tolkien songs today, and the big climax of Fellowship. We also get the first segments of all the isolated quests after the Company is split into Aragorn/Gimli/Legolas, Merry/Pippin, and Frodo/Sam. ~Tom
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.
– 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
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.
– 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
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.
– 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
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.
Notes: Hope you enjoy all this random stuff, and I’ll be back tomorrow with some exciting plot to read! ~Tom
Frodo writes a song for Gandalf
Shire Reckoning: January 25, 3019 (Afteryule 25, 1420)
Pages To Read:
-FR.Mirror “It was Frodo who first put something” (~p.7) – “I can’t bear to think of bringing the news to him” (~p.8)
– Frodo’s Lament for Gandalf, by Adele McAllister. Stunning version of today’s song, which is one of Tolkien’s best, in my opinion.
– Frodo, who is not the musical type normally, is struck by inspiration with a song for Gandalf. When he tries to sing it for Sam, he can’t quite pull it off, but Sam is nonetheless moved.
– Sam contributes the final verse of the song. Frodo laments that he will have to tell Bilbo of Gandalf’s passing someday.
– Frodo’s Lament for Gandalf, by The Tolkien Ensemble
Notes: This is the last of the ‘mourning Gandalf’ sequence, but I did want to build it up a bit so we could end on this amazing song. It’s one of the best sentimental moments in the book, and I also quite like the way Sam’s verse is incorporated into the PJ movie scene. ~Tom
The Company mourns Gandalf
Shire Reckoning: January 23, 3019 (Afteryule 23, 1420)
Pages To Read:
-FR.Mirror “Now as the companions sat or walked together they spoke of Gandalf, and all that each had known and seen of him came clear before their minds. As they were healed of hurt and weariness of body the grief of their loss grew more keen. Often they heard nearby Elvish voices singing, and knew that they were making songs of lamentation for his fall, for they caught his name among the sweet sad words that they could not understand.” (~p.7)
– The Company starts to recover from the shock of losing Gandalf and mourn his loss.
– You cannot pass, by breath-art. Beautiful painting to commemorate Gandalf’s heroic stand.
– IV Journey In the Dark, from Symphony No. 1 by Johan de Meij. The section of de Meij’s famous ‘Lord of the Rings Symphony’ themed after the Moria adventure. Due to already long posts during that period, I just included it here. It’s pretty long (9min) so if you’re bored today it’s a good listen, maybe while reviewing Gandalf’s slew of amazing highlights from Moria.
From The Tale Of Years:
(There’s an entry for today but it’s super spoiler-y so if you want to see it, just check out Appendix B)
Notes: RIP Gandalf. ~Tom