January 1, 2018 (Yule 2, 3019)

Happy New Year!

Shire Reckoning: Yule 2, 3019 (Yule 2, 1420)

Events:
– The company continues south, along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains.

Links to Other Content:
Happy New Year, by Ewebean. A cute New Years gif with Bilbo and Gandalf.
New Year’s Resolutions, by gdfalksen. A funny list of Tolkien-themed New Year’s Resolutions.
Happy Hobbit New Year 2018, by MaxeBaumannFilms2013. A fun New Years-themed video with clips from the PJ LOTR movies.

Notes: And you thought I would be lazy and forget to make a post for New Years! Joke’s on you, I only forgot until the day was almost over!! Anyway, I wish everyone a good year, and my resolution is to not forget any more posts… ~Tom

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December 11, 2017

War of the Dwarves and Orcs

Content:
War of the Dwarves and Orcs, by CivilizationEx. Amazing summary video which reviews the whole war that I covered in brief yesterday. I would highly recommend checking it out – it sums up the whole conflict in 7 minutes (and with good pronunciation!).
Tolkien Gateway Article. If you can’t listen to a video at the moment, you can also check out Tolkien Gateway’s article on the War. I’ve sent out many links to TG before: they are the best Tolkien wiki out there, at least for being book-accurate.
Art Series: War of the Dwarves and Orcs, by Tulikoura. These grim black and white drawings really capture the gruesome conflict.

Notes: Hopefully this helps clear up the history of the Dwarf-Orc war, which was the main event of yesterday’s appendix. ~Tom

November 13, 2017

The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Pages To Read:
– RK.AppendixA Section I:v ‘Here follows a part of the tale of Aragorn and Arwen’ (start) – “Gilraen died before the next spring” (about 5 pages)

Events: (History of Aragorn & Arwen, takes place from TA 2931 – TA 3007)
– Aragorn is born to Arathorn (Chieftain of the Dúnedain) and Gilraen in TA 2931.
– Following Arathorn’s death, Gilraen takes him to Rivendell, where is raised in secret. His heritage is kept from him, and he is called Estel (‘Hope’).
– Elrond tells Estel/Aragorn about his true name and heritage when he turns 21. He then entrusts Aragorn with the Ring of Barahir and the shards of Narsil. (TA 2952)
– Aragorn meets Arwen in the woods while singing the Tale of Tinúviel, in a way very reminiscent of Beren’s first meeting with Lúthien.
– Aragorn and Arwen reveal their identities. Arwen reveals that although she is Elrond’s daughter, she has lived for a while in Lothlórien, which is why they hadn’t met before.
– Aragorn falls quickly for Arwen, despite the disapproval of his mother and Elrond.
– Elrond reveals that if Arwen chooses to stay with Aragorn, she will be severed from her kin for eternity.
– Aragorn goes off and works with Gandalf in opposition to Sauron for thirty years.
– When Aragorn is 49, he visits Lothlórien where he meets Arwen once again. This time, Arwen declares his love for him and chooses a mortal life. They declare their love on Midsummer: a bittersweet moment for Arwen who muses that she is leaving behind the land of her people and her dearly loved father to be with him. (TA 2980)
– Elrond is saddened by Arwen’s choice, but makes his peace with Aragorn. He tells Aragorn that he must become King of Gondor and Arnor before he is worthy to wed Arwen.
– Over the remaining years until the War of the Ring, Aragorn continues his work as a Ranger. Arwen stays in Rivendell and watches over Aragorn in her thoughts. Gilraen eventually leaves Rivendell, but sees Aragorn one last time before she dies. (TA 3007)

Trivia, Quotes, and Details:
– This is a great time if there ever was one to rewatch the incredible fan movie Born of Hope!! As you may remember, this hour-long fanfilm follows Arathorn and Gilraen in the years leading up to and following Aragorn’s birth. One main plot point is finding the Ring of Barahir that features prominently in the reading today. If you missed Born of Hope the first time around, definitely give it a watch this time!

Links to Other Content:
Aragorn and Arwen, by faQy. Great quirky illustration of the pair.
Love and Promise, by norloth. Nice drawing of Aragorn/Arwen.
Estel’s True Heritage, by Saphari. Great drawing of Aragorn receiving the Ring of Barahir.
Rivendell, by JonHodgson. A wide shot of Rivendell with a young Aragorn/Arwen.

Notes: Part 1 of the Aragorn and Arwen’s tale! This covers everything before we get into spoiler territory, so make sure to not read past the end point. Mostly from Aragorn’s point of view, so even here we don’t get to see much of Arwen. Ah well, guess we have to wait until February to get a good female character… ~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

August 9, 2017 (August 7, 3018)

The Hunt For Gollum

Shire Reckoning: August 7, TA 3018 (Wedmath 7, 1419)

Content/notes:
Fan movie: The Hunt For Gollum!
– Remember the movie I sent out a few weeks ago about Aragorn’s dad that you all (hopefully) enjoyed so much? Turns not that’s not the only low-budget high-quality fan-made prequel out there!! The Hunt for Gollum is another amazing one, released earlier in the same year (2009) as Born of Hope. Chris Bouchard directs and Adrian Webster stars. Read the full story of wikipedia.
– I honestly enjoy this one even more, and it’s shorter so it’s easier to watch in one go. The story follows Aragorn as he hunts down Gollum in the summer of TA 3017 (“last year”, hence why Gandalf is still around). Have fun watching this exciting, spooky movie and be sure to compare with the entries in the Tale of Years from the last reading! ~Tom

August 4, 2017

Assorted content

Links to Other Content:
– CivEx focus: Witch-King of Angmar. Great summary video of the history of the Witch-King. Note: MAJOR spoilers after 3:15, so just be careful to stop when you get to Frodo if you haven't read LOTR yet.
Realms in Exile map, by (Tyler? not exactly sure how I found this.) Cute little maps showing the evolution of the realms of exiled Númenóreans. One of the few maps I've seen which show Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur.
Sauron, by NeilMcClements. Somewhat terrifying depiction of Sauron – just to remind us of what Frodo is up against.

Other:
– There’s an entry in the Tale of Years for around this time:
'All trace of Gollum is lost. It is thought that at about this time, being hunted both by the Elves and Sauron's servants, he took refuge in Moria; but when he had at last discovered the way to the West-gate he could not get out.'

Notes: There'll be some more content about the Third Age next week, then some more appendix content. About a month left until Frodo (finally) leaves the Shire. ~Tom

July 26, 2017

Born of Hope (fan movie)

Content:
– Got a super special treat today: the incredible full-length fan movie Born of Hope, by Actors At Work Productions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qINwCRM8acM

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

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

May 29, 2017

Second Age “Week” – Second Age Timeline

Pages To Read:
-RK.AppB “The First Age ended with the Great Battle” (p.1) – “The Second Age ends” (~p.3)

Events:
– This timeline in ‘The Tale of Years’ summarizes every major event in The Second Age in about the briefest form possible, so if you’re interested… just read it.

Trivia/Details:
– Thranduil gets a shoutout – apparently he set up his realm in Greenwood The Great in the beginning of the second age. (You may remember Thranduil as the Elvenking from The Hobbit)
– Elros (first king of Númenor, brother of Elrond) lives for 442 years. To be fair, the rest of the Númenóreans were not this long-lived but wow.
– The origins of the Rings of Power are told in brief (entries 1500, 1600, 1693). We’ll hear more about this later.

Content:
– Great summary vid of the background of Númenor (Part 1, Part 2), by CivilizationEx. CivEx has an amazing LOTR video series, which covers big topics like Númenor, but also specific things like the role Eagles have in Middle Earth. Their videos feature good pronunciation and accurate details as far as I can tell; I’ll link to several as LOTRRA continues. Although most of the time I recommend reading actual Tolkien text, I think it’s fair to substitute the Appendix material about the Second Age with watching these vids.
Sacrifice, by MirachRavaia. Really cool watercolor of Ar-Pharazôn worshipping Melkor after the arrival of Sauron. (Remember Ar-Pharazôn was the last king who stupidly listened to Sauron and then got Númenor destroyed)

Notes: Wasn’t my intention to drag the Second Age info on for more than a week, but I got distracted with, you know, life and stuff. Anyway, here’s the final update of Second Age “Week.” There’s not going to be much during the next few weeks, I’ll pick back up in the Shire on June 17th so look forward to that. ~Tom