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Jul 2 2023, 12:29pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 2, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. Gandalf after Radagast departs and before leaving for Isengard.
(not from the appendices)

..."'I stayed the night in Bree, and decided that I had no time to return to the Shire. Never did I make a greater mistake! 'However, I wrote a message to Frodo, and trusted to my friend the innkeeper to send it to him.
...'I rode away at dawn...'"



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Jul 3 2023, 1:55pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 3, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Gandalf and Company climb from the Valley up the Mountain.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."There were many paths that led up into those mountains... ...most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends... ...passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers. The dwarves and the hobbit... ...by the wise advice of Elrond and the knowledge and memory of Gandalf, took the right pass."



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Jul 4 2023, 1:08pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 4, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. Boromir sets out from Minas Tirith.
(from the appendices)

[Boromir speaking to the Council of Elrond] "'...a dream came to my brother in a troubled sleep; and afterwards a like dream came oft to him again, and once to me.
..."'In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsel taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.

...'Of these words we could understand little, and we spoke to our father, Denethor... ...wise in the lore of Gondor. This only would he say, that Imladris was of old the name among the Elves of a far northern dale, where Elrond the Halfelven dwelt, greatest of lore-masters. Therefore... ...I took the journey upon myself. Loth was my father to give me leave, and long have I wandered by roads forgotten, seeking the house of Elrond, of which many had heard, but few knew where it lay.'"


Gandalf lights the sky!




..."The fireworks were by Gandalf: they were not only brought by him, but designed and made by him; and the special effects, set pieces, and flights of rockets were let off by him. But there was also a generous distribution of squibs, crackers, backarappers, sparklers, torches, dwarf-candles, elf-fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps. They were all superb....
......There were rockets like a flight of scintillating birds singing with sweet voices. There were green trees with trunks of dark smoke: their leaves opened like a whole spring unfolding in a moment, and their shining branches dropped glowing flowers down upon the astonished hobbits, disappearing with a sweet scent just before they touched their upturned faces. There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees; there were pillars of coloured fires that rose and turned into eagles, or sailing ships, or a phalanx of flying swans; there was a red thunderstorm and a shower of yellow rain; there was a forest of silver spears that sprang suddenly into the air with a yell like an embattled army, and came down again into the Water with a hiss like a hundred hot snakes. And... ...in honour of Bilbo... ...A great smoke went up. It shaped itself like a fountain seen in the distance, and began to flow at the summit. It sprouted green and scarlet flames. Out flew a red-golden dragon—not life-size, but terribly life-like: fire came from his jaws, his eyes glared down; there was a roar, and he whizzed three times over the heads of the crowd. They all ducked, and many fell flat on their faces. The dragon passed like an express train, turned a somersault, and burst over Bywater with a deafening explosion."



Happy 4th of July!!!



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Jul 5 2023, 3:00pm

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Here is the 1st of 5 Book Spoilers over the next several days that look at the Eagles as they turn the tide... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From Of Beren and Lúthien: The Silmarillion

..."Beren lay in a swoon within the perilous Gate, and death drew nigh him for there was venom on the fangs of the wolf. Lúthien with her lips drew out the venom... ...she put forth her failing power to staunch the hideous wound. But behind her in the depths of Angband the rumour grew of great wrath aroused. The host of Morgoth were awakened.
... Thus the quest of the Silmaril was like to have ended in ruin and despair; but in that hour above the wall of the valley three mighty birds appeared, flying northward with wings swifter than the wind. Among all birds and beasts the wandering and need of Beren had been noised, and Huan himself had bidden all things watch, that they might bring him aid. High above the realm of Morgoth Thorondor and his vassals soared, and seeing now the madness of the Wolf and Beren's fall they came swiftly down....
......Then they lifted up Lúthien and Beren from the earth, and bore them aloft into the clouds. Below them suddenly thunder rolled, lightnings leaped upward, and the mountains quaked. Fire and smoke belched forth from Thangorodrim, and flaming bolts were hurled far abroad, falling ruinous upon the lands; and the Noldor in Hithlum trembled. But Thorondor took his way far above the earth, seeking the high roads of heaven, where the sun daylong shines unveiled and the moon walks amid the cloudless stars."



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Jul 6 2023, 12:49pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 6, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. Gandalf continues his ride to Isengard.
(not from the appendices)

...[Gandalf still rides to] "the dwelling of Saruman... ...far south in Isengard, in the end of the Misty Mountains, not far from the Gap of Rohan... ...a great open vale that lies between the Misty Mountains and the northmost foothills of Ered Nimrais, the White Mountains... ...Isengard is a circle of sheer rocks that enclose a valley as with a wall, and in the midst of that valley is a tower of stone called Orthanc... ...not made by Saruman, but by the Men of Númenor long ago; and it is very tall and has many secrets; yet it looks not to be a work of craft. It cannot be reached save by passing the circle of Isengard; and in that circle there is only one gate.'"



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Jul 7 2023, 9:26am

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Today in Middle-earth

July 7, 1999
(Official press release)
1. ELIJAH WOOD IS FIRST TO JOIN CAST OF J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S "THE LORD OF THE RINGS" FOR NEW LINE CINEMA AND DIRECTOR PETER JACKSON

..."(Los Angeles, July 7, 1999) - Elijah Wood has been cast in the lead role of New Line Cinema's live action, special effects-packed trilogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's internationally renowned fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, it was jointly announced today by director Peter Jackson, Michael De Luca, President and Chief Operating Officer of New Line Productions, and Mark Ordesky, President of Fine Line Features.
...In joining the cast, Wood has committed to a project of unparalleled size and scope. Production on the highly anticipated serial is expected to begin by early October and principal photography will last more than a year, according to Jackson, who also serves as co-writer and co-producer of the fabled franchise.
...The three Lord of the Rings films, beginning with The Fellowship of the Rings, will be produced consecutively and shot on location in New Zealand. Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Stephen Sinclair have completed their script for Part One: The Fellowship of the Rings and additional casting is currently underway.
..."In casting this critical role, we knew we had to find an actor of great depth of range to take an audience on a journey through three movies," Jackson said. "While we looked at many good actors, it was clear from the moment that we met Elijah that we had found Frodo Baggins. He has an enormous natural ability to draw an audience into a story and the dramatic depth to hold them there."
...Set in a mythic pre-history, The Lord of the Rings tells the saga of a desperate battle against encroaching evil - a perilous quest to save humanity which falls upon the shoulders of young Frodo Baggins (Woods), who has inherited a seemingly innocent magic ring from his elderly cousin Bilbo.
...Frodo soon learns that the ring's original maker, the Dark Lord Sauron, is desperately seeking it - for it is a ring of great evil which will enable Sauron to enslave the people of this land known as Middle-earth. A hurriedly assembled fellowship of wizard, elf, dwarf and men accompany Frodo and his friends on a harrowing mission across Middle-earth in an attempt to destroy the ring by casting it into the volcanic fires in the Crack of Doom. Against them rages the monstrous power of Sauron, whose sinister emissaries ruthlessly pursue Frodo and his companions, while the omnipotent power of the ring attempts to corrupt the Fellowship from within.
...New Line picked-up the rights to Lord of the Rings from Miramax Films last August. Miramax co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein serve as executive producers of the films along with Saul Zaentz."

Contact:
Siân Clement
3 Foot 6



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Jul 8 2023, 12:59pm

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The Eagles are coming! Here is part 2 of a 5-part Book Spoiler of the Eagles' rescue turning the tide… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The White Rider: The Two Towers

..."'Those of you who know me will agree that I have seldom been in such need, and do not bear such misfortune well. Gandalf the Grey caught like a fly in a spider's treacherous web! Yet even the most subtle spiders may leave a weak thread.
...'At first I feared, as Saruman no doubt intended, that Radagast had also fallen. Yet I had caught no hint of anything wrong in his voice or in his eye at our meeting... ...He sought me in good faith, and so persuaded me.
...'That was the undoing of Saruman's plot. For Radagast knew no reason why he should not do as I asked… …And the Eagles of the Mountains went far and wide, and they saw many things… …And they sent a messenger to bring these tidings to me.
...'So it was that when summer waned, there came a night of moon, and Gwaihir the Windlord... ...came unlooked-for to Orthanc; and he found me standing on the pinnacle. Then I spoke to him and he bore me away, before Saruman was aware. I was far from Isengard, ere the wolves and orcs issued from the gate to pursue me.
...'"How far can you bear me?" I said to Gwaihir.
...'"Many leagues," said he, "but not to the ends of the earth. I was sent to bear tidings not burdens."
...'"Then I must have a steed on land," I said, 'and a steed surpassingly swift, for I have never had such need of haste before."
...'"Then I will bear you to Edoras, where the Lord of Rohan sits in his halls..."'"



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Jul 9 2023, 2:00pm

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Today in Middle-earth

The Eagles are coming! Here is part 3 of a 5-part Book Spoiler of the Eagles' rescue turning the tide… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Field of Cormallen: The Return of the King

...""...under the wings of the Nazgûl the shadows of death fell dark upon the earth. Aragorn stood beneath his banner, silent and stern... ...Upon the hill-top stood Gandalf, and he was white and cold and no shadow fell upon him....
......As if to his eyes some sudden vision had been given, Gandalf stirred; and he turned, looking back north where the skies were pale and clear. Then he lifted up his hands and cried in a loud voice ringing above the din: 'The Eagles are coming!'
...There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North... ...behind them in long swift lines came all their vassals from the northern mountains, speeding on a gathering wind. Straight down upon the Nazgûl they bore, stooping suddenly out of the high airs, and the rush of their wide wings as they passed over was like a gale.
...But the Nazgûl turned and fled, and vanished into Mordor's shadows....

......Gandalf lifted up his arms and called once more in a clear voice. 'Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.'
...And even as he spoke the earth rocked beneath their feet… …The Towers of the Teeth swayed... ...the Black Gate was hurled in ruin...
...'...The realm of Sauron is ended!' said Gandalf. 'The Ring-bearer has fulfilled his Quest…

......Then Gandalf… …stood upon the hill-top and called; and down to him came the great eagle, Gwaihir the Windlord, and stood before him.
...'Twice you have borne me, Gwaihir my friend... ...Thrice shall pay for all, if you are willing. You will not find me a burden much greater than when you bore me from Zirak-zigil, where my old life burned away.'
...'I would bear you,' answered Gwaihir, 'whither you will, even were you made of stone.'
...'Then come, and let your brother go with us, and some other of your folk who is most swift! For we have need of speed greater than any wind, outmatching the wings of the Nazgûl.'
...'The North Wind blows, but we shall outfly it,' said Gwaihir. And he lifted up Gandalf and sped away south and with him went Landroval, and Meneldor... ...And they passed over Udûn and Gorgoroth and saw all the land in ruin and tumult beneath them, and before them Mount Doom blazing, pouring out its fire….'"

... "'…Frodo and Sam could go no further. Their last strength of mind and body was swiftly ebbing. They had reached a low ashen hill piled at the Mountain's foot; but from it there was no more escape....

......And so it was that Gwaihir saw them with his keen far-seeing eyes, as down the wild wind he came... ...two small dark figures, forlorn, hand in hand upon a little hill, while the world shook under them... ...And even as he espied them and came swooping down, he saw them fall, worn out, or choked with fumes and heat, or stricken down by despair at last, hiding their eyes from death.
...Side by side they lay; and down swept Gwaihir, and down came Landroval and Meneldor the swift; and in a dream, not knowing what fate had befallen them, the wanderers were lifted up and borne far away...""



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Jul 10 2023, 12:57pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 10, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. Gandalf imprisoned in Orthanc
(from the appendices)

..."'Late one evening I came to the gate, like a great arch in the wall of rock; and it was strongly guarded. But the keepers of the gate were on the watch for me and told me that Saruman awaited me. I rode under the arch, and the gate closed silently behind me, and suddenly I was afraid, though I knew no reason for it. But I rode to the foot of Orthanc, and came to the stair of Saruman; and there he met me and led me up to his high chamber. He wore a ring on his finger.' '"So you have come, Gandalf,' he said to me gravely..."
...'"...Yes, I have come," I said. "I have come for your aid, Saruman the White." And that title seemed to anger him.
...'"Have you indeed, Gandalf the Grey!" he scoffed. "For aid? It has seldom been heard of that Gandalf the Grey sought for aid, one so cunning and so wise, wandering about the lands, and concerning himself in every business, whether it belongs to him or not..."

...'"...here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys. For I am Saruman, the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!" 'I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.
...'"I liked white better,' I said.
...'"White!" he sneered. "It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken."
...'"In which case it is no longer white," said I... '

...'...He came and laid his long hand on my arm... he whispered. "... I have many eyes in my service, and I believe that you know where this precious thing now lies. Is it not so? Or why do the Nine ask for the Shire, and what is your business there?" As he said this a lust which he could not conceal shone suddenly in his eyes.
...'"Saruman," I said, standing away from him, "only one hand at a time can wield the One, and you know that well, so do not trouble to say we! But I would not give it, nay, I would not give even news of it to you, now that I learn your mind. You were head of the Council, but you have unmasked yourself at last. Well, the choices are... ...to submit to Sauron, or to yourself. I will take neither. Have you others to offer?"
...'He was cold now and perilous. "Yes," he said. "I did not expect you to show wisdom, even in your own behalf; but I gave you the chance of aiding me willingly, and so saving yourself much trouble and pain. The third choice is to stay here, until the end."
...'"Until what end?"
...'"Until you reveal to me where the One may be found..."
...'They took me and they set me alone on the pinnacle of Orthanc, in the place where Saruman was accustomed to watch the stars. There is no descent save by a narrow stair of many thousand steps, and the valley below seems far away. I looked on it and saw that, whereas it had once been green and fair, it was now filled with pits and forges. Wolves and orcs were housed in Isengard, for Saruman was mustering a great force on his own account, in rivalry of Sauron and not in his service yet... ...I stood alone on an island in the clouds; and I had not chance of escape, and my days were bitter. I was pierced with cold, and I had but little room in which to pace to and fro, brooding on the coming of the Riders to the North.... ...I was in an evil plight. And those of you who know me will agree that I have seldom been in such need, and do not bear such misfortune well. Gandalf the Grey caught like a fly in a spider's treacherous web! Yet even the most subtle spiders may leave a weak thread.'"



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Jul 11 2023, 12:54pm

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The Eagles are coming! Here is part 4 of a 5-part Book Spoiler of the Eagles' rescue turning the tide… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From Out of the Frying-Pan Into the Fire: The Hobbit

..."'All of a sudden they heard a howl away down hill, a long shuddering howl. It was answered by another away to the right... ...It was wolves howling at the moon, wolves gathering together…!

..."...What shall we do, what shall we do!" [Bilbo] cried. "Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!" he said, and it became a proverb....
..."…Up the trees quick!" cried Gandalf...

...…Just at that moment the wolves trotted howling into the clearing. All of a sudden there were hundreds of eyes looking at them… …In a minute there was a whole pack of them yelping all round the tree and leaping up at the trunk, with eyes blazing and tongues hanging out....

......Gandalf… … gathered the huge pinecones from the branches of his tree. Then he set one alight with bright blue fire, and threw it whizzing down among the circle of the wolves… …They burst on the ground in the middle of the circle and went off in coloured sparks and smoke.… …Very soon all about the glade wolves were rolling over and over to put out the sparks on their backs, while those that were burning were running about howling and setting others alight….

..."What's all this uproar in the forest tonight?" said the Lord of the Eagles. He was sitting, black in the moonlight, on the top of a lonely pinnacle of rock.... "I hear wolves' voices! Are the goblins at mischief in the woods?"
...He swept up into the air and immediately two of his guards from the rocks at either hand leaped up to follow him. They circled up in the sky and looked down upon the ring of the Wargs, a tiny spot far far below. But eagles have keen eyes and can see small things at a great distance. The lord of the eagles of the Misty Mountains had eyes that could look at the sun unblinking, and could see … …the tiny flashes of fire, and hear the howling and yelping come up faint from far beneath him....

......Gandalf climbed to the top of his tree… …as he got ready to spring down from on high right among the spears of the goblins… …But he never leaped.
...Just at that moment the Lord of the Eagles swept down from above, seized him in his talons, and was gone....

......Other birds flew to the tree-tops and seized the dwarves, who were scrambling up now as far as ever they dared to go.
...Poor little Bilbo was very nearly left behind again! He just managed to catch hold of Dori's legs, as Dori was borne off last of all; and they went together above the tumult and the burning, Bilbo swinging in the air with his arms nearly breaking...."



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Jul 12 2023, 1:38pm

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The Eagles are coming! Here is part 5 of a 5-part Book Spoiler of the Eagles' rescue turning the tide… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From Queer Lodgings: The Hobbit

..."[Bilbo]was allowed to climb on to an eagle's back and cling between his wings. The air rushed over him and he shut his eyes... ...as off rose fifteen great birds from the mountain’s side. The sun was still close to the eastern edge of things. The morning was cool, and mists were in the valleys and hollows... ...Bilbo opened an eye to peep and saw that the birds were already high up and the world was far away, and the mountains were falling back behind them into the distance. He shut his eyes again and held on tighter.
..."Don’t pinch!" said the eagle. "You need not be frightened like a rabbit, even if you look rather like one. It is a fair morning with little wind. What is finer than flying?"
...Bilbo would have liked to say: "A warm bath and late breakfast on the lawn afterwards;" but he thought it better to say nothing at all...
......After a good while the eagles must have seen the point they were making for, even from their great height, for they began to go down circling round in great spirals. They did this for a long while, and at last the hobbit opened his eyes again. The earth was much nearer, and below them were trees... ...and wide grass lands, and a river running through it all. But cropping out of the ground, right in the path of the stream which looped itself about it, was a great rock, almost a hill of stone, like a last outpost of the distant mountains, or a huge piece cast miles into the plain by some giant of giants.
...Quickly now to the top of this rock the eagles swooped one by one and set down their passengers.
..."Farewell!" they cried, "wherever you fare, till your eyries receive you at the journey’s end!" That is the polite thing to say among eagles.
..."May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks," answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply...."



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Jul 13 2023, 12:51pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 13, 2941 (S.R. 1341) [Mid-July]
1. The Company endures the Mountains.
(determined from text - referencing Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."Long days after they had climbed out of the valley and left the Last Homely House miles behind, they were still going up and up... ...It was a hard path and a dangerous path, a crooked way and a lonely and a long. Now they could look back over the lands they had left, laid out behind them far below. Far, far away in the West, where things were blue and faint, Bilbo knew there lay his own country of safe and comfortable things, and his little hobbit-hole. He shivered. It was getting bitter cold up here... ...Boulders... ...at times came galloping down the mountain-sides, let loose by mid-day sun upon the snow, and passed among them (which was lucky), or over their heads (which was alarming). The nights were comfortless and chill, and they did not dare to sing or talk too loud, for the echoes were uncanny, and the silence seemed to dislike being broken—except by the noise of water and the wail of wind and the crack of stone."



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Jul 14 2023, 1:00pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 14, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. The mood of the Company goes south.
(determined from text - referencing Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

...""The summer is getting on down below," thought Bilbo, "and haymaking is going on and picnics. They will be harvesting and blackberrying, before we even begin to go down the other side at this rate." And the others were thinking equally gloomy thoughts, although when they had said good-bye to Elrond in the high hope of a midsummer morning, they had spoken gaily of the passage of the mountains... ...They had thought of coming to the secret door in the Lonely Mountain, perhaps that very next first moon of Autumn—"and perhaps it will be Durin's Day" they had said. Only Gandalf had shaken his head and said nothing. Dwarves had not passed that way for many years, but Gandalf had... ...knew how evil and danger had grown and thriven in the Wild, since the dragons had driven men from the lands, and the goblins had spread in secret after the battle of the Mines of Moria."



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Jul 15 2023, 9:51pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 15, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. Gandalf is held prisoner atop Orthanc.
(not from the appendices)

..."...a dark smoke hung and wrapped itself about the sides of Orthanc. I stood alone on an island in the clouds; and I had no chance of escape, and my days were bitter. I was pierced with cold, and I had but little room in which to pace to and fro, brooding on the coming of the Riders to the North.'"

2. Frodo makes his plan to leave the Hobbiton while enjoying a splendid summer in the Shire.
(not from the appendices- no text)

...Frodo walked the paths and visited the valleys and hills he had travelled so often with Bilbo, and some of his own. He'd always found solace on his wanderings, but now he felt apprehensive as he rested in a grove of trees and enjoyed the soft breeze from the West.


July 15, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
1. Frodo speaks with Aragorn and Arwen.
(not from the appendices)

..."...Frodo went to the King as he was sitting with the Queen Arwen by the fountain, and she sang a song of Valinor, while the Tree grew and blossomed. They welcomed Frodo and rose to greet him; and Aragorn said:
...'I know what you have come to say... ...you wish to return to your own home. Well, dearest friend, the tree grows best in the land of its sires; but for you in all the lands of the West there will ever be a welcome. And though your people have had little fame in the legends of the great, they will now have more renown than many wide realms that are no more.'
...'It is true that I wish to go back to the Shire,' said Frodo, 'but first I must go to Rivendell. For if there could be anything wanting in a time so blessed, I missed Bilbo; and I was grieved when among all the household of Elrond I saw that he was not come.'
...'Do you wonder at that, Ring-bearer?' said Arwen. 'For you know the power of that thing which is now destroyed; and all that was done by that power is now passing away. But your kinsman possessed this thing longer than you. He is ancient in years now... ...and he awaits you, for he will not again make any long journey save one.'
...'Then I beg leave to depart soon,' said Frodo.
...'In seven days we will go,' said Aragorn. 'For we shall ride with you far on the road, even as far as the country of Rohan. In three days now Éomer will return hither to bear Théoden back to rest in the Mark, and we shall ride with him to honour the fallen. But now before you go I will confirm the words that Faramir spoke to you… …you are made free forever of the realm of Gondor; and all your companions likewise. And if there were any gifts that I could give to match with your deeds you should have them; but whatever you desire you shall take with you, and you shall ride in honour and arrayed as princes of the land.'
......Queen Arwen said: 'A gift I will give you. For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him now when he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Lúthien... ...I have chosen, both the sweet and the bitter. But in my stead you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you desire it. If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. But wear this now in memory of Elfstone and Evenstar with whom your life has been woven!'
...And she took a white gem like a star that lay upon her breast hanging upon a silver chain, and she set the chain about Frodo's neck. 'When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you, this will bring you aid.'"



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Jul 16 2023, 1:45pm

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July 16, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Tremendous Thunder-battle in afternoon. Shelter in a cave. Goblins capture them.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."...they were sheltering under a hanging rock for the night, and Bilbo lay beneath a blanket and shook from head to toe. When he peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out and were hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them, and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang... ...and the wind whipped the rain and the hail about in every direction, so that an overhanging rock was no protection at all. Soon they were getting drenched and their ponies were standing with their heads down and their tails between their legs... ...They could hear the giants guffawing and shouting all over the mountain-sides.
..."This won't do at all!" said Thorin. "If we don't get blown off or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football."
..."Well, if you know of anywhere better, take us there!" said Gandalf....
......they sent Fili and Kili to look for a better shelter... ...Soon Fili and Kili came crawling back, holding on to the rocks in the wind. "We have found a dry cave," they said, "not far round the next corner; and ponies and all could get inside."
..."Have you thoroughly explored it?" said the wizard, who knew that caves up in the mountains were seldom un-occupied.
..."Yes, yes!" they said, though everybody knew they could not have been long about it; they had come back too quick. "It isn't all that big, and it does not go far back..."
......As they passed under the arch, it was good to hear the wind and the rain outside instead of all about them, and to feel safe from the giants and their rocks. But the wizard was taking no risks. He lit up his wand—as he did that day in Bilbo's dining-room that seemed so long ago... ...and by its light they explored the cave from end to end.
...It seemed quite a fair size, but not too large and mysterious... ...They got out their pipes and blew smoke rings, which Gandalf turned into different colours and set dancing up by the roof to amuse them."

2. They are captured by the Goblins during the night.
(determined from text)

..."It turned out a good thing that night that they had brought little Bilbo with them... ...he could not go to sleep for a long while; and when he did sleep, he had very nasty dreams. He dreamed that a crack in the wall at the back of the cave got bigger and bigger, and opened wider and wider... ...Then he dreamed that the floor of the cave was giving way, and he was slipping—beginning to fall down, down....
......At that he woke up with a horrible start, and found that part of his dream was true. A crack had opened at the back of the cave, and was already a wide passage. He was just in time to see the last of the ponies' tails disappearing into it. Of course he gave a very loud yell, as loud a yell as a hobbit can give, which is surprising for their size.
...Out jumped the goblins, big goblins, great ugly-looking goblins, lots of goblins... ...and they were all grabbed and carried through the crack, before you could say tinder and flint. But not Gandalf. Bilbo's yell had done that much good. It had wakened him up wide in a splintered second, and when goblins came to grab him, there was a terrible flash like lightning in the cave, and smell like gunpowder, and several of them fell dead.
...The crack closed with a snap, and Bilbo and the dwarves were on the wrong side of it! Where was Gandalf? Of that neither they nor the goblins had any idea, and the goblins did not wait to find out...
......said one of the drivers... "...Several of our people were struck by lightning in the cave, when we invited these creatures to come below; and they are as dead as stones... ...[and they had] this!" He held out the sword which Thorin had worn, the sword which came from the Trolls' lair.
...The Great Goblin gave a truly awful howl of rage when he looked at it, and all his soldiers gnashed their teeth, clashed their shields, and stamped. They knew the sword at once. It had killed hundreds of goblins in its time... ...They had called it Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, but the goblins called it simply Biter. They hated it and hated worse any one that carried it.
..."Murderers and elf-friends!" the Great Goblin shouted. "Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!..."
......Just at that moment all the lights in the cavern went out, and the great fire went off poof! into a tower of blue glowing smoke, right up the roof, that scattered piercing white sparks all among the goblins... ...Suddenly a sword flashed in its own light. Bilbo saw it go right through the Great Goblin as he stood dumbfounded in the middle of his rage. He fell dead, and the goblin soldiers fled before the sword shrieking into the darkness.
...The sword went back into its sheath. "Follow me quick!" said a voice fierce and quiet; and before Bilbo understood what had happened he was trotting along again, as fast as he could trot, at the end of the line, down more dark passages with the yells of the goblin-hall growing fainter behind him. A pale light was leading them on.... ...they began to hear goblin noises and horrible cries far behind in the passages they had come through. That sent them on faster than ever, and as poor Bilbo could not possibly go half as fast—for dwarves can roll along at a tremendous pace... ...they took it in turn to carry him on their backs... ...Quite suddenly Dori, now at the back again carrying Bilbo, was grabbed from behind in the dark. He shouted and fell; and the hobbit rolled off his shoulders into the blackness, bumped his head on hard rock, and remembered nothing more."



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Jul 17 2023, 12:33pm

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July 17, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Bilbo's lost in the caves
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."When Bilbo opened his eyes, he wondered if he had; for it was just as dark as with them shut. No one was anywhere near him. Just imagine his fright! He could hear nothing, see nothing, and he could feel nothing except the stone of the floor.
...Very slowly he got up and groped about on all fours... ...but neither up nor down it could he find anything: nothing at all, no sign of goblins, no sign of dwarves. His head was swimming, and he was far from certain even of the direction they had been going in when he had his fall. He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel.... ...He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking... ...He did not go much further, but sat down on the cold floor and gave himself up to complete miserableness... ...He could not think what to do; nor could he think what had happened; or why he had been left behind; or why, if he had been left behind, the goblins had not caught him; or even why his head was so sore. The truth was he had been lying quiet, out of sight and out of mind, in a very dark corner for a long while....
......in slapping all his pockets and feeling all round himself for matches his hand came on the hilt of his little sword---the little dagger that he got from the trolls, and that he had quite forgotten; nor do the goblins seem to have noticed it, as he wore it inside his breeches.
...Now he drew it out. It shone pale and dim before his eyes. "So it is an elvish blade, too... ...and goblins are not very near, and yet not far enough."
...But somehow he was comforted. It was rather splendid to be wearing a blade made in Gondolin for the goblin-wars of which so many songs had sung; and... ...that such weapons made a great impression on goblins that came upon them suddenly.
..."Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter."



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Jul 18 2023, 1:50pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 18, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Bilbo still lost in the caves
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."Now certainly Bilbo was in what is called a tight place. But... ...Hobbits are not quite like ordinary people; and after all if their holes are nice cheery places and properly aired, quite different from the tunnels of the goblins, still they are more used to tunnelling than we are, and they do not easily lose their sense of direction underground... ...The tunnel seemed to have no end. All he knew was that it was still going down pretty steadily and keeping in the same direction in spite of a twist and a turn or two. There were passages leading off to the side every now and then, as he knew by the glimmer of his sword, or could feel with his hand on the wall. Of these he took no notice, except to hurry past for fear of goblins or half-imagined dark things coming out of them. On and on he went, and down and down; and still he heard no sound of anything except the occasional whirr of a bat by his ears... ...he kept on like this, hating to go on, not daring to stop, on, on, until he was tireder than tired."


July 18, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. Gandalf is still held prisoner in Isengard.
(not from the appendices-no text)

...Gandalf bent his mind and reached out, hoping to find others who could aid in freeing him from his high prison, but it was in vain as Saruman's web prevented even his thoughts from escaping. Unbeknownst to both, there was one who saw him a vision or a dream, but he was new to such things and so did not understand its meaning.

2. Frodo continues to prepare to leave the Shire for Rivendell.
(not from the appendices-no text)

...Frodo began to sort through piles of paper and shelves of knick knacks. "What should I take and what should I leave behind?" Each consideration brought back memories and stories of his life with Bilbo. He had to make careful choices to support his ruse; but in his heart he felt a mounting sadness as he bid farewell to all he knew and loved represented by each trinket, every book, and the piles of precious papers written in Bilbo's hand.


July 18, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
1. Éomer returns to Minas Tirith.
(from the appendices)

..."Éomer of Rohan came riding to the City, and with him came an éored of the fairest knights of the Mark. He was welcomed; and when they sat all at table in... ...the Great Hall of Feasts, he beheld the beauty of the ladies that he saw and was filled with great wonder. And before he went to his rest he sent for Gimli the Dwarf, and he said to him: 'Gimli Glóin's son, have you your axe ready?'
...'Nay, lord... ...but I can speedily fetch it, if there be need.'
...'You shall judge,' said Éomer. 'For there are certain rash words concerning the Lady of the Golden Wood that lie still between us. And now I have seen her with my eyes.'
...'Well, lord... ...and what say you now?'
...'Alas! ...I will not say that she is the fairest lady that lives.'
...'Then I must go for my axe,' said Gimli.
...'But first I will plead this excuse... ...Had I seen her in other company, I would have said all that you could wish. But now I will put Queen Arwen Evenstar first, and I am ready to do battle on my own part with any who deny me. Shall I call for my sword?'
...Then Gimli bowed low. 'Nay, you are excused for my part, lord... ...You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning. And my heart forebodes that soon it will pass away forever.'"


July 18, 3020 (S.R. 1420)
1. The Great Year of Plenty.
(not from the appendices-no text)

... The Shire and all the realm of King Elessar enjoy the peace and healing of the Great Year of Plenty.


July 18, 3021 (S.R. 1421)
1. Frodo prepares his mathoms.
(not from the appendices - no text - a drabble)

... Frodo was quietly making plans to leave the Shire. He recalls making these same preparations three years earlier as he contemplated the choices and the fate of his possessions when he believed there was little hope of coming home. Now, he was finding them new homes with his friends. Most of the items would stay with Sam and Rosie here at Bag End, and that gave him comfort. This time he smiled as he considered each item. He imagined that this is what Bilbo must have felt as he tagged an umbrella, a mirror and a case of silver spoons.

July 18, 2003
*lights beacon for Reverend*

Sadly, Reverend passed away on July 18, 2003… 20 years to the day.

Elizabeth's note of the day

Elizabeth's wonderful 2013 (10 yr) Memorial of Reverend
(While the links in this don't work right now (pre-2007), they will one day :)



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Jul 19 2023, 12:57pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 19, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Bilbo's still lost in the caves. Meets Gollum
(determined from text - referencing Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."Suddenly without any warning he trotted splash into water! Ugh! it was icy cold. That pulled him up sharp and short…. "…So it is a pool or a lake, and not an underground river," he thought… …Some of these caves, too, go back in their beginnings to ages before the goblins, who only widened them and joined them up with passages and the original owners are still there in odd corners, slinking and nosing about…"
..."Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum... ...on a slimy island of rock in the middle of the lake. He was watching Bilbo now from the distance with his pale eyes like telescopes... ...he was wondering a lot about Bilbo, for he could see that he was no goblin at all.
...Gollum got into his boat and shot off from the island… …Suddenly up came Gollum and whispered and hissed:
...'Bless us and splash us, my precioussss! I guess it's a choice feast; at least a tasty morsel it'd make us, gollum..!'
...The hobbit jumped nearly out of his skin when the hiss came in his ears, and he suddenly saw the pale eyes sticking out at him.
...'Who are you?' he said, thrusting his dagger in front of him.
...'What iss he, my preciouss?' whispered Gollum....
...'...I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins. I have lost the dwarves and I have lost the wizard, and I don't know where I am...'

2. Riddles in the Dark
(determined from text)

..."Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature… …as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face.... ...Gollum lived on a slimy island of rock in the middle of the lake. He was watching Bilbo now from the distance with his pale eyes like telescopes... ...he was wondering a lot about Bilbo, for he could see that he was no goblin at all.
...Gollum got into his boat and shot off from the island… …Suddenly up came Gollum and whispered and hissed:
...'Bless us and splash us, my precioussss! I guess it's a choice feast; at least a tasty morsel it'd make us, gollum!' And when he said gollum he made a horrible swallowing noise in his throat. That is how he got his name, though he always called himself 'my precious.'
...The hobbit jumped nearly out of his skin when the hiss came in his ears, and he suddenly saw the pale eyes sticking out at him.
...'Who are you?' he said, thrusting his dagger in front of him.
...'What iss he, my preciouss?' whispered Gollum (who always spoke to himself through never having anyone else to speak to). This is what he had come to find out, for he was not really very hungry… …only curious; otherwise he would have grabbed first and whispered afterwards.
...'I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins. I have lost the dwarves and I have lost the wizard, and I don't know where I am...'
...'What's he got in his handses?' said Gollum, looking at the sword, which he did not quite like.
...'A sword, a blade which came out of Gondolin!'
...'Sssss,' said Gollum, and became quite polite. 'Praps ye sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my preciousss. It like riddles, praps it does, does it?' He was anxious to appear friendly… …until he found out more about the sword and the hobbit, whether he was quite alone really, whether he was good to eat, and whether Gollum was really hungry. Riddles were all he could think of. Asking them, and sometimes guessing them, had been the only game he had ever played with other funny creatures....
..."...Very well," said Bilbo, who was anxious to agree, until he found out more about the creature... "...You ask first," he said, because he had not had time to think of a riddle..."

[Well into the Riddle Game…]

..."...Poor Bilbo... ...He began to get frightened, and that is bad for thinking, Gollum began to get out of his boat. He flapped into the water and paddled to the bank; Bilbo could see his eyes coming towards him... ...he wanted to shout out: "Give me more time! Give me time!" But all that came out with a sudden squeal was:

"Time! Time!"


...Bilbo was saved by pure luck. For that of course was the answer.
...Gollum was… …getting angry, and also tired of the game. It had made him very hungry indeed. This time he did not go back to the boat. He sat down in the dark by Bilbo. That made the hobbit most dreadfully uncomfortable and scattered his wits.
..."It's got to ask uss a quesstion, my preciouss, yes, yess, yesss. Jusst one more quesstion to guess, yes, yess," said Gollum.
...But Bilbo simply could not think of any question with that nasty wet cold thing sitting next to him, and pawing and poking him... ...he could not think of anything.
..."Ask us! ask us!" said Gollum.
...Bilbo … …gripped on his little sword; he even felt in his pocket with his other hand. There he found the ring he had picked up in the passage and forgotten about.
..."What have I got in my pocket?" he said aloud. He was talking to himself, but Gollum thought it was a riddle, and he was frightfully upset."
..."Not fair! not fair!' he hissed. 'It isn't fair, my precious, is it, to ask us what it's got in its nassty little pocketses?"
...Bilbo... ...stuck to his question. "What have I got in my pocket?" he said louder.
..."S-s-s-s-s," hissed Gollum. "It must give us three guesseses, my precious, three guesseses."
..."Very well! Guess away!" said Bilbo.
..."Handses!" said Gollum.
..."Wrong," said Bilbo, who had luckily just taken his hand out again. "Guess again!"
..."S-s-s-s-s," said Gollum more upset than ever. He thought of all the things he kept in his own pockets... ...He tried to think what other people kept in their pockets.
..."Knife!" he said at last.
..."Wrong!" said Bilbo… "…Last guess!"
...Now Gollum was in a much worse state than when Bilbo had asked him the egg-question. He hissed and spluttered and rocked himself backwards and forward...
..."...Come on!" said Bilbo. "I am waiting!" He tried to sound bold and cheerful, but he did not feel at all sure how the game was going to end, whether Gollum guessed right or not.
..."Time's up!" he said.
..."String, or nothing!" shrieked Gollum, which was not quite fair—working in two guesses at once.
..."Both wrong," cried Bilbo very much relieved; and he jumped at once to his feet, put his back to the nearest wall, and held out his little sword... ...the riddle-game was sacred and of immense antiquity, and even wicked creatures were afraid to cheat when they played at it. But he felt he could not trust this slimy thing to keep any promise at a pinch. Any excuse would do for him to slide out of it. And after all that last question had not been a genuine riddle according to the ancient laws.
...But at any rate Gollum did not at once attack him. He could see the sword in Bilbo's hand. He sat still, shivering and whispering. At last Bilbo could wait no longer.
..."Well?" he said. "What about your promise? …You must show me the way."
..."Did we say so, precious? Show the nassty little Baggins the way out, yes, yes. But what has it got in its pocketses, eh? Not string, precious, but not nothing. Oh no! gollum!"
..."Never you mind," said Bilbo. "A promise is a promise."
..."Cross it is, impatient, precious," hissed Gollum. "But it must wait, yet it must. We can't go up the tunnels so hasty. We must go and get some things first..."

......as he slipped suddenly from Bilbo's side, and flapped back to his boat, and went off into the dark. Bilbo thought he had heard the last of him. Still he waited for a while... ...Suddenly he heard a screech. It sent a shiver down his back. Gollum was cursing and wailing away in the gloom... "...Losst it is, my precious, lost, lost! Curse us and crush us, my precious is lost…!"

..."...What has it got in its pocketses?" The sound came hissing louder and sharper, and as he looked towards it, to his alarm Bilbo now saw two small points of light peering at him. As suspicion grew in Gollum's mind, the light of his eyes burned with a pale flame.
..."What have you lost?" Bilbo persisted.
...But now the light in Gollum's eyes had become a green fire, and it was coming swiftly nearer. Gollum was in his boat again, paddling wildly back to the dark shore; and such a rage of loss and suspicion was in his heart that no sword had any more terror for him.
...Bilbo could not guess what had maddened the wretched creature, but he saw that all was up, and that Gollum meant to murder him at any rate. Just in time he turned and ran blindly back up the dark passage down which he had come...."
..."...What has it got in its pocketses?" he heard the hiss loud behind him, and the splash as Gollum leapt from his boat.
..."What have I, I wonder?" he said to himself, as he panted and stumbled along. He put his left hand in his pocket. The ring felt very cold as it quietly slipped on to his groping forefinger.
...The hiss was close behind him. He turned now and saw Gollum's eyes like small green lamps coming up the slope. Terrified he tried to run faster, but suddenly he struck his toes on a snag in the floor, and fell flat with his little sword under him.
...In a moment Gollum was on him. But before Bilbo could do anything, recover his breath, pick himself up, or wave his sword, Gollum passed by, taking no notice of him, cursing and whispering as he ran...""

3. Bilbo finds the dwarves and the wizard.
(determined from text)

... "And here's the burglar!" said Bilbo stepping down into the middle of them, and slipping off the ring.
... Bless me, how they jumped! Then they shouted with surprise and delight. Gandalf was as astonished as any of them, but probably more pleased than all the others... ...Bilbo's reputation went up a very great deal with the dwarves after this. If they had still doubted that he was really a first-class burglar, in spite of Gandalf's words, they doubted no longer....
... ...they wanted to know all about his adventures after they had lost him, and he sat down and told them everything—except about the finding of the ring ("not just now" he thought). They were particularly interested in the riddle-competition, and shuddered most appreciatively at his description of Gollum....
... ...The dwarves looked at him with quite a new respect, when he talked about dodging guards, jumping over Gollum, and squeezing through, as if it was not very difficult or very alarming.
... "What did I tell you?" said Gandalf laughing. "Mr. Baggins has more about him than you guess." He gave Bilbo a queer look from under his bushy eyebrows... ...and the hobbit wondered if he guessed at the part of his tale that he had left out...."

4. The Company is trapped in the trees.
(determined from text)

...""Must we go any further?" asked Bilbo... "...A bit further," said Gandalf.
...After what seemed ages further they came suddenly to an opening where no trees grew. The moon was up and was shining into the clearing. Somehow it struck all of them as not at all a nice place, although there was nothing wrong to see.
...All of a sudden they heard a howl away down hill, a long shuddering howl. It was answered by another away to the right... ...It was wolves howling at the moon, wolves gathering together!

..."...What shall we do, what shall we do!" [Bilbo] cried. "Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!" he said, and it became a proverb....
..."Up the trees quick!" cried Gandalf...

...…Just at that moment the wolves trotted howling into the clearing. All of a sudden there were hundreds of eyes looking at them… …In a minute there was a whole pack of them yelping all round the tree and leaping up at the trunk, with eyes blazing and tongues hanging out....

......Gandalf, listening to their growling and yelping, began to be dreadfully afraid... ...All the same he was not going to let them have it all their own way, though he could not do very much stuck up in a tall tree with wolves all round on the ground below. He gathered the huge pinecones from the branches of his tree. Then he set one alight with bright blue fire, and threw it whizzing down among the circle of the wolves. It struck one on the back, and immediately his shaggy coat caught fire... ...Then another came and another, one in blue flames, one in red, another in green. They burst on the ground in the middle of the circle and went off in coloured sparks and smoke.… …Very soon all about the glade wolves were rolling over and over to put out the sparks on their backs, while those that were burning were running about howling and setting others alight….

..."What's all this uproar in the forest tonight?" said the Lord of the Eagles. He was sitting, black in the moonlight, on the top of a lonely pinnacle of rock.... "I hear wolves' voices! Are the goblins at mischief in the woods?"
...He swept up into the air and immediately two of his guards from the rocks at either hand leaped up to follow him. They circled up in the sky and looked down upon the ring of the Wargs, a tiny spot far far below. But eagles have keen eyes and can see small things at a great distance. The lord of the eagles of the Misty Mountains had eyes that could look at the sun unblinking, and could see … …the tiny flashes of fire, and hear the howling and yelping come up faint from far beneath him....

......the flames were under Gandalf's tree. In a moment it spread to the others. The bark caught fire, the lower branches cracked.
...Then Gandalf climbed to the top of his tree. The sudden splendour flashed from his wand like lightning, as he got ready to spring down from on high right among the spears of the goblins. That would have been the end of him, though he would probably have killed many of them as he came hurtling down like a thunderbolt. But he never leaped.
...Just at that moment the Lord of the Eagles swept down from above, seized him in his talons, and was gone....

......Other birds flew to the tree-tops and seized the dwarves, who were scrambling up now as far as ever they dared to go.
...Poor little Bilbo was very nearly left behind again! He just managed to catch hold of Dori's legs, as Dori was borne off last of all; and they went together above the tumult and the burning, Bilbo swinging in the air with his arms nearly breaking....""


July 19, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
1. The funeral escort of King Théoden sets out.
(from the appendices)

..."At last the day of departure came, and a great and fair company made ready to ride north from the City. Then the kings of Gondor and Rohan went to the Hallows and they came to the tombs in Rath Dinen, and they bore away King Théoden upon a golden bier... ...and Merry being Théoden's esquire rode upon the wain and kept the arms of the king.
...For the other Companions steeds were furnished… …and Frodo and Samwise rode at Aragorn's side, and Gandalf rode upon Shadowfax, and Pippin rode with the knights of Gondor; and Legolas and Gimli as ever rode together upon Arod.
...In that riding went also Queen Arwen, and Celeborn and Galadriel with their folk, and Elrond and his sons; and the princes of Dol Amroth and of Ithilien, and many captains and knights. Never had any king of the Mark such company upon the road as went with Théoden… ...to the land of his home."



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July 20, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. They fly to the Carrock and reach Beorn's in early afternoon.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

...[Gandalf]"...there is somebody that I know of, who lives not far away. That somebody made the steps on the Great rock—the Carrock I believe he calls it... ...it is no good waiting for him. In fact it would be very dangerous. We must go and find him; and if all goes well at our meeting, I think I shall be off and wish you like the eagles 'farewell wherever you fare!'"

..."...Why is it called the Carrock?" asked Bilbo as he went along at the wizard's side.
..."He called it the Carrock, because carrock is his word for it. He calls things like that carrocks, and this one is the Carrock because it is the only one near his home and he knows it well."
..."Who calls it? Who knows it?"
..."The Somebody I spoke of--a very great person. You must all be very polite when I introduce you. I shall introduce you slowly, two by two, I think; and you must be careful not to annoy him... ...He can be appalling when he is angry, though he is kind enough if humoured. Still I warn you he gets angry easily... ...his name is Beorn. He is very strong, and he is a skin-changer."
..."What! A furrier, a man that calls rabbits conies, when he doesn't turn their skins into squirrels?" asked Bilbo.
..."Good gracious heavens, no, no, no, NO!" said Gandalf. "Don't be a fool Mr. Baggins if you can help it... ...He is a skin-changer. He changes his skin; sometimes he is a huge black bear, sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard... ...Some say that he is a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived there before the giants came. Others say that he is a man descended from the first men who lived before Smaug or the other dragons came into this part of the world, and before the goblins came into the hills out of the North. I cannot say, though I fancy the last is the true tale. He is not the sort of person to ask questions of.
..."At any rate he is under no enchantment but his own.... ...We're getting near," said Gandalf. "We are on the edge of his bee-pastures."

...After a while they came to a belt of tall and very ancient oaks, and beyond these to a high thorn-hedge through which you could neither see nor scramble.
..."You had better wait here," said the wizard to the dwarves; "and when I call or whistle begin to come after me--you will see the way I go--but only in pairs... ...about five minutes between each pair of you. Bombur is the fattest and will do for two, he had better come alone and last. Come on Mr. Baggins! There is a gate somewhere round this way." And with that he went off along the hedge taking the frightened hobbit with him."



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grammaboodawg
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Jul 21 2023, 1:05pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 21, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Gandalf and company remain at Beorn's.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."'Get up lazybones or there will be no breakfast left for you.'
...'Up jumped Bilbo. 'Breakfast!' he cried. 'Where is breakfast?'
...'Mostly inside us,' answered the other dwarves who were moving around the hall; 'but what is left is out on the veranda. We have been about looking for Beorn ever since the sun got up; but there is no sign of him anywhere...'
...'Where is Gandalf?' asked Bilbo, moving off to find something to eat as quick as he could.
...'O! out and about somewhere...' ...he saw no sign of the wizard all that day until the evening. Just before sunset he walked into the hall, where the hobbit and the dwarves were having supper, waited on by Beorn's wonderful animals, as they had been all day. Of Beorn they had seen and heard nothing since the night before, and they were getting puzzled.
...'Where is our host, and where have you been all day yourself?' they all cried.
...'One question at a time—and none till after supper! I haven't had a bite since breakfast.'
...At last Gandalf pushed away his plate and jug... ...and he took out his pipe. 'I will answer the second question first,' he said, '—but bless me! this is a splendid place for smoke rings...!'

..."...I have been picking out bear-tracks," he said at last. "There must have been a regular bears' meeting outside here last night. I soon saw that Beorn could not have made them all: there were far too many of them, and they were of various sizes too... ...all dancing outside from dark to nearly dawn. They came from almost every direction, except from the west over the river, from the Mountains. In that direction only one set of footprints led—none coming, only ones going away from here. I followed these as far as the Carrock... ...They went straight off in the direction of the pine-woods on the east side of the Misty Mountains, where we had our pleasant little party with the Wargs the night before last. And now I think I have answered your first question, too," ended Gandalf, and he sat a long while silent.
...Bilbo thought he knew what the wizard meant. "What shall we do... ...if he leads all the Wargs and the goblins down here? We shall all be caught and killed! I thought you said he was not a friend of theirs."
..."So I did. And don't be silly! You had better go to bed, your wits are sleepy."
...The hobbit felt quite crushed... ...he did go to bed; and while the dwarves were still singing songs he dropped asleep, still puzzling his little head about Beorn, till he dreamed a dream of hundreds of black bears dancing slow heavy dances round and round in the moonlight in the courtyard. Then he woke up when everyone else was asleep, and he heard the same scraping, scuffling, snuffling, and growling as before."



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grammaboodawg
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Jul 22 2023, 1:42pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 22, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. They ride out from Beorn's in early afternoon.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."Next morning they were all wakened by Beorn himself. "So here you all are still!" he said. He picked up the hobbit and laughed: "Not eaten up by Wargs or goblins or wicked bears yet I see"; and he poked Mr. Baggins' waistcoat most disrespectfully. "Little bunny is getting nice and fat again on bread and honey... ...Come and have some more!"
...So they all went to breakfast with him. Beorn was most jolly for a change... ...and set them all laughing with his funny stories; nor did they have to wonder long where he had been or why he was so nice to them, for he told them himself. He had been over the river and right back up into the mountains---from which you can guess that he could travel quickly, in bear's
shape at any rate. From the burnt wolf-glade he had soon found out that part of their story was true...
..."...It was a good story, that of yours," said Beorn, "but I like it still better now I am sure it is true. You must forgive my not taking your word. If you lived near the edge of Mirkwood, you would take the word of no one that you did not know... ...I can only say that I have hurried home as fast as I could to see that you were safe, and to offer you any help that I can. I shall think more kindly of dwarves after this. Killed the Great Goblin, killed the Great Goblin!" he chuckled fiercely to himself...
......All that morning they were busy with preparations. Soon after midday they ate with Beorn for the last time, and after the meal they mounted the steeds he was lending them, and bidding them many farewells they rode off through his gate at a good pace."



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Jul 23 2023, 1:41pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 23, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. The Company rides through grasslands west of Mirkwood.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."... morning dawned bright and fair again. There was an autumn-like mist white upon the ground and the air was chill, but soon the sun rose red in the East and the mists vanished, and while the shadows were still long they were off again... ...all the while they saw nothing save grass and flowers and birds and scattered trees, and occasionally small herds of red deer browsing or sitting at noon in the shade."




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Jul 24 2023, 1:31pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 24, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Bright, fair, chill fall-like mist. Bilbo sees Beorn.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."...they were so eager to press on, for Beorn had said that they should reach the forest-gate early on the fourth day, that they rode still forward after dusk and into the night beneath the moon. As the light faded Bilbo thought he saw away to the right, or to the left, the shadowy form of a great bear prowling along in the same direction. But if he dared to mention it to Gandalf, the wizard only said: "Hush! Take no notice!""



July 24th 1999: AICN announces that Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Ian Holm (Bilbo) have joined the cast.

July 24th 2000: The cast and crew reconvene for the final stretch of shooting.

July 24th 2000: Soundtrack.net breaks the news that Howard Shore will be scoring all three Rings movies.




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(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Jul 24 2023, 1:34pm)


grammaboodawg
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Jul 25 2023, 1:46pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 25, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Gandalf and Company approach the west edge of Mirkwood.
(determined from text - referencing Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

...Next day they started before dawn, though their night had been short. As soon as it was light they could see the forest coming as it were to meet them, or waiting for them like a black and frowning wall before them....
..."...Well, here is Mirkwood!" said Gandalf. "The greatest of the forests of the Northern world. I hope you like the look of it. Now you must send back these excellent ponies you have borrowed."
...The dwarves were inclined to grumble at this... ..."Beorn is not as far off as you seem to think, and you have better keep your promises anyway, for he is a bad enemy. Mr. Baggins' eyes are sharper than yours, if you have not seen each night after dark a great bear going along with us or... ...watching our camps. Not only to guard you and guide you, but to keep an eye on the ponies too. Beorn may be your friend, but he loves his animals as his children. You do not guess what kindness he has shown you in letting dwarves ride them so far and so fast, nor what would happen to you, if you tried to take them into the forest."
..."What about the horse, then?" said Thorin. "You don't mention sending that back."
..."I don't, because I am not sending it."
..."What about your promise then?"
..."I will look after that. I am not sending the horse back, I am riding it!"
...Then they knew that Gandalf was going to leave them... ...and they were in despair. But nothing they could say would change his mind.
..."Now we had this all out before, when we landed on the Carrock" he said. "It is no use arguing. I have, as I told you, some pressing business away south; and I am already late through bothering with you people. We may meet again before all is over, and then again of course we may not. That depends on your luck and on your courage and sense; and I am sending Mr. Baggins with you. I have told you before that he has more about him than you guess... ...So cheer up Bilbo and don't look so glum. Cheer up Thorin and Company! This is your expedition after all. Think of the treasure at the end, and forget the forest and the dragon, at any rate until tomorrow morning!""

Note: Karen Wynn Fonstad has July 25th as the day Gandalf leaves the Company at Mirkwood; but following each day's progress in the book, I determine Gandalf departs on the 26th. So my date is one day different than Ms Fonstad's. This will move this part of the Quest off by one day.




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(This post was edited by dernwyn on Jul 25 2023, 4:11pm)


grammaboodawg
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Jul 26 2023, 12:30pm

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Today in Middle-earth

July 26, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Gandalf departs at the west edge of Mirkwood.
(determined from text - referencing Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

..."When tomorrow morning came... ...there was nothing left to do but to fill their water-skins at a clear spring they found close to the forest-gate, and unpack the ponies. They distributed the packages as fairly as they could, though Bilbo thought his lot was wearisomely heavy, and did not at all like the idea of trudging for miles and miles with all that on his back.
..."Don't you worry!" said Thorin. "It will get lighter all too soon. Before long I expect we shall all wish our packs heavier, when the food begins to run short."
...Then at last they said good-bye to their ponies and turned their heads for home... ...As they went away Bilbo could have sworn that a thing like a bear left the shadow of the trees and shambled off quickly after them.
...Now Gandalf too said farewell. Bilbo sat on the ground feeling very unhappy and wishing he was beside the wizard on his tall horse. He had gone just inside the forest... ...and it had seemed as dark in there in the morning as at night, and very secret; "a sort of watching and waiting feeling," he said to himself.

..."Good-bye!" said Gandalf to Thorin. "And good-bye to you all, good-bye! Straight through the forest is your way now. Don't stray off the track!---if you do, it is a thousand to one you will never find it again and never get out of Mirkwood...."
..."...Do we really have to go through?" groaned the hobbit.
..."Yes, you do!" said the wizard, "if you want to get to the other side. You must either go through or give up your quest. And I am not going to allow you to back out now, Mr. Baggins. I am ashamed of you for thinking of it. You have got to look after all these dwarves for me," he laughed....
......growled Thorin. "Good-bye! If you won't come with us, you had better get off without any more talk!"
..."Good-bye then, and really good-bye!" said Gandalf, and he turned his horse and rode down into the West. But he could not resist the temptation to have the last word. Before he had passed quite out of hearing he turned and put his hands to his mouth and called to them. They heard his voice come faintly: "Good-bye! Be good, take care of yourself—and DON'T LEAVE THE PATH!"
...Then he galloped away and was soon lost to sight. "O good-bye and go away!" grunted the dwarves... ...they were really filled with dismay at losing him. Now began the most dangerous part of all the journey. They each shouldered the heavy pack and the water-skin which was their share, and turned from the light that lay on the lands outside and plunged into the forest."




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