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It's Tolkien Reading Day! Post your ABCs of Tolkien here.
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Mar 25 2010, 7:49pm

Post #51 of 149 (1524 views)
How subversive, satirical and sharp of you [In reply to] Can't Post

"to turn up" to the party and notice it is on a Thursday this year as well. If my head explodes, I blame you...Laugh


Mar 25 2010, 7:51pm

Post #52 of 149 (1526 views)
Because you asked... [In reply to] Can't Post

And because I really don't resist such lovely questions well...

From what I read and imagine, it would be just about the size of a child's fist (or in this case Bilbo's), which is enormous for a diamond.

I've seen rain on the moon (or more accurately the moon through rain) and depending upon where the moon is in the sky (and hence, what colour of light is reflecting towards you at that moment) when I saw it the moon was fairly high up and the light was bluish-silver with a hint of rainbow from the wisp of cloud that partially obscured the moon. The colour isn't quite as spectacular as the soft diffusion it creates.

"Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Mar 25 2010, 8:05pm

Post #53 of 149 (1462 views)
Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Your post helps capture the essence of this great and terrible Elf.

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Mar 25 2010, 8:29pm

Post #54 of 149 (1525 views)
Z is for Zirakzigil [In reply to] Can't Post

Zirakzigil is mentioned only once in LOTR -- by Gandalf, who says it is the name of the mountaintop where he defeats the Balrog.

Here is the description that Tolkien has Gandalf give of this spot, and of how the wizard reaches it:

'...Far, far below the deepest delving of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day. In that despair my enemy was my only hope, and I pursued him, clutching at his heel. Thus he brought me back at last to the secret ways of Khazad-dum: too well he knew them all. Ever up now we went, until we came to the Endless Stair.'

'Long has that been lost,' said Gimli. 'Many have said that it was never made save in legend, but others say that it was destroyed.'

'It was made, and it had not been destroyed,' said Gandalf. 'From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak it climbed, ascending in unbroken spiral in many thousand steps, until it issued at last in Durin's Tower carved in the living rock of Zirakzigil, the pinnacle of the Silvertine.

'There upon Celebdil was a lonely window in the snow, and before it lay a narrow space, a dizzy eyrie above the mists of the world. The sun shone fiercely there, but all below was wrapped in cloud. Out he sprang, and even as I came behind, he burst into new flame. There was none to see, or perhaps in after ages songs would still be sung of the Battle of the Peak.' Suddenly Gandalf laughed. 'But what would they say in song? Those that looked up from afar thought that the mountain was crowned with storm. Thunder they heard, and lightning, they said, smote upon Celebdil, and leaped back broken into tongues of fire. Is not that enough? A great smoke rose about us, vapour and steam. Ice fell like rain. I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin. Then darkness took me; and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell.

'Naked I was sent back – for a brief time, until my task is done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top. The tower behind was crumbled into dust, the window gone; the ruined stair was choked with burned and broken stone. I was alone, forgotten, without escape upon the hard horn of the world. There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over, and each day was as long as a life-age of the earth. Faint to my ears came the gathered rumour of all lands: the springing and the dying, the song and the weeping, and the slow everlasting groan of overburdened stone. And so at the last Gwaihir the Windlord found me again, and he took me up and bore me away.

I’ve always loved Tolkien’s choice to let Gandalf tell his story here…what a grand account he gives of his experiences! There’s just enough detail to ground the reader, lots of tantalizing descriptions, and enough left out to give your imagination room to roam. The incredible stairs…the mysterious dwarven tower…the battlefield at the top of a mountain…the stars overhead and the sounds of the world below. Tolkien gives us quite a setting for the site of the wizard’s victory, death and rebirth. It deserves a mighty, memorable name -- like Zirakzigil!


Tol Eressea

Mar 25 2010, 8:57pm

Post #55 of 149 (1453 views)
It just so happens [In reply to] Can't Post

that I'm listening to the CD "Celtic Romance" by David Arkenstone right now as I'm reading your post Angelic

I love this description, wonderful post


Mar 25 2010, 9:13pm

Post #56 of 149 (1482 views)
Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the excerpt... and the Elf-like image of Anna Paquin!


Mar 25 2010, 9:18pm

Post #57 of 149 (1568 views)
I'm glad we agree! [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I may not often betray the fact, I don't always trust my observations about Tolkien -- especially when positing them among those who are vastly more well read than me.Smile

N.E. Brigand

Mar 25 2010, 9:20pm

Post #58 of 149 (1496 views)
"I need no map," said Gimli... [In reply to] Can't Post


...who had come up with Legolas, and was gazing out before him with a strange light in his deep eyes. "There is the land where our fathers worked of old, and we have wrought the image of those mountains into many works of metal and of stone, and into many songs and tales. They stand tall in our dreams: Baraz, Zirak, Shathűr.

Only once before have I seen them from afar in waking life, but I know them and their names, for under them lies Khazad-dűm, the Dwarrowdelf, that is now called the Black Pit, Moria in the Elvish tongue. Yonder stands Barazinbar, the Redhorn, cruel Caradhras; and beyond him are Silvertine and Cloudyhead: Celebdil the White, and Fanuidhol the Grey, that we call Zirakzigil and Bundushathűr.

There the Misty Mountains divide, and between their arms lies the deep-shadowed valley which we cannot forget: Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale, which the Elves call Nanduhirion.

"Wicked, wicked Z!" -- a critic once complained of Tolkien that certain letters, like Z, were used exclusively for evil names.

Then Gandalf, leaving all such matters of battle and command to Aragorn and the other lords, 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,' said Gandalf. 'Thrice shall pay for all, if you are willing. You will not find me a burden much greater than when you bore me from Zirakzigil, where my old life burned away.'

I wonder why the rock of Zirakzigil is described as "living"?

Discuss Tolkien’s life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Mar 25 2010, 9:32pm

Post #59 of 149 (1478 views)
It seems, [In reply to] Can't Post

by the quote you provided, that Tolkien was leery of the creeping global hegemony (or at the least homogenization) of his day. If he was sensitive to this back then, imagine what he would say now? The irony of course is that we are using the Internet to access his thoughts about this. Now I wonder too how he felt about England colonial days? Hmm...

Tol Eressea

Mar 25 2010, 9:36pm

Post #60 of 149 (1521 views)
I'd never thought about it that way [In reply to] Can't Post

about the border on Alan Lee's painting being the window, but its an intriguing idea.

I personally like Tolkien's and Alan Lee's paintings of Lothlórien because they focus on more of the landscape and the forest as a whole, as opposed to the others which focus on only the central tree.


Mar 25 2010, 9:46pm

Post #61 of 149 (1647 views)
Aha! More Z's! [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I should have gotten more Z's myself before typing "only once"! Well it was the only mention of the word I noticed anyway, but I guess that doesn't count.

Your most excellent proofreading services are much appreciated as always..and thanks for taking the time to post the other references..

I will give myself points, though for spelling Zirakzigil right (with a little bit of help from my friends on that one, too!)

Cheers, NEB and thanks for organizing such a perfectly wonderful way to celebrate the day.



Mar 25 2010, 10:33pm

Post #62 of 149 (1462 views)
Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

for the quote:


“I cordially dislike allegory, and have always done so, since I grew old, and wary enough to detect its presence.

I have so much reading to catch up on... I may have based the accusation leveled against Carpenter (in fact I am almost certain I did) on things he said in one of the documentaries bundled with the FOTR EE. However, "cordially dislike" is a far softer stance than Carpenter claimed Tolkien struck on the issue. I'll have to watch the documentaries again, or perhaps finally read Carpenter in its entirety.

Thanks again for your comments.Smile

Dân o’Nandor-on-Anduin

Mar 25 2010, 10:43pm

Post #63 of 149 (1569 views)
U is for Uolë Kúvion, the Man in the Moon [In reply to] Can't Post

The Man in the Moon, well known from Bilbo’s song “The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late” sung by Frodo at the Prancing Pony, as many know, has deeper roots than a mere hobbit legend. The companion poem “The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon” derives ultimately from Gondor, possibly of ancient Elvish origin, so says the Preface to The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. First published in 1923, earlier versions of this poem go back to Tolkien’s Lost Tales during WWI, where Uolë Kúvion, a Noldo Elf, appears in the Tale of the Sun and Moon:

This then was the manner of the shaping of the Moon, for Aulë would not dismember the loveliness of the Rose of Silver, and he called rather to him certain of those Eldar of his household who were of the Noldoli of old [the Aulenossë] and had consorted with the jewel-makers... but an aged Elf with hoary locks stepped upon the Moon unseen and hid him in the Rose, and there dwells he ever since and tends that flower, and a little white turret has he builded on the Moon where often he climbs and watches the heavens, or the world beneath, and that is Uolë Kúvion who sleepeth never. Some indeed have named him the Man in the Moon...

The full story in the Lost Tales is wonderful, read and absorb it as you will; and if wondering whether Uolë Kúvion could possibly exist within the larger legendarium, keep in mind that Glorfindel the Elf is said to have been elevated to Maia status by the Powers that be, as was Tuor the Man elevated to Elda status, not to mention the astronomical transformations of both Eärendil & Elwing, and Turin too!

And, using this as a fashionable lead-in, Uolë Kúvion will in fact be character #319 on an upcoming list, The Arda 1200, that will be appearing simultaneously on multi-webforums soon. Wink

(This post was edited by Dân o’Nandor-on-Anduin on Mar 25 2010, 10:45pm)


Mar 25 2010, 10:46pm

Post #64 of 149 (1483 views)
Nasmith, for me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien and Lee are too insubstantial -- those trees are really big. Hildebrandt is absurd, as usual. Many of the others are too dark. Nasmith captures the immensity of the tree(s) as well as the color and shimmering quality of the light.

I confess I had a lot of trouble visualizing the flets when I read the book. The film caught them superbly, though I wish they hadn't set the scenes in the dark.

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 25 2010, 10:47pm)


Mar 25 2010, 11:01pm

Post #65 of 149 (1512 views)
He does seem to dislike "globalisation" doesn't he?... [In reply to] Can't Post

.... and the paragraph hangs together with even Uncle Joe at the start suggesting that we should all club together. JRR seems to reckon that this is a con trick. With hindsight I think a lot of us would agree with that.

I think that JRR is suggesting to Christopher that we should celebrate diversity. This seems to be somewhat contentious. Here in the UK, in the public sector at least, we have been admonished for three decades to seek "best practise" (sp?) and then impose it on everyone. I must confess to being "a reactionary back number" myself. I too prefer diversity to conformity. But I cannot prove my point. In the end it is all just opinion. That is why I retreat to my equations where at least some certainty may be found.

By the way, does anyone know of an attack on "globalisation" earlier than Dec. 1943?



Mar 25 2010, 11:34pm

Post #66 of 149 (1571 views)
On living rock. [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a suggestion not an assertion.

Do you think that "living rock" might be solid rock that isn't going to collapse any time soon? Rock becomes sand in due course. Is sand rock? Maybe not and if not the process of becoming sand could be thought of as dying don't you think?

I think "living rock" may be a figure of speech. Just like balrog's wings. Aaaaargh!!! Runs up white flag, Dons hard hat, Adjusts belt and Tightens braces.



Mar 26 2010, 12:20am

Post #67 of 149 (1444 views)
always something new [In reply to] Can't Post

How many times have I read LotR and never really paid a lot of attention to the Woses! And I haven't sought them out in Unfinished Tales either. Their eyes glowed red in anger?! Being able to transfer their powers into artefacts is also a very interesting trait. Thanks for pointing out these and other features. I'll certainly pay more attention to the Woses on next reading.

And I have to say that being able to justify one's dislike of mushrooms by citing an essay from HoMe has to be the mark of a true fan! You must have some interesting conversations with your son.


Mar 26 2010, 12:39am

Post #68 of 149 (1493 views)
E is for Erendis [In reply to] Can't Post

Bit late, but at least you had E for Eärendil to tide you over. :)

One morning soon after Erendis came to Emerië she awoke to the song of birds, and there on the sill of her window were the Elven-birds that long had dwelt in her garden in Armenelos, but which she had left behind forgotten. "Sweet fools, fly away!" she said. "This is no place for such joy as yours."

Then their song ceased, and they flew up over the trees; thrice they wheeled above the roofs, and then they went away westwards. That evening they settled upon the sill of the chamber in the house of her father, where she had lain with Aldarion on their way from the feast in Andúnië; and there Núneth and Beregar found them on the morning of the next day. But when Núneth held out her hands to them they flew steeply up and fled away, and she watched them until they were specks in the sunlight, speeding to the sea, back to the land whence they came.

"He had gone again, then, and left her," said Núneth.

So it seems to me that a lot of relationships in Tolkien are tragic to some extent. At its worst we have Turin and Nienor; but even the tale of Aragorn and Arwen ends in Arwen's bitterness. With Aldarion and Erendis, however, we have a relationship that goes tragically in perhaps the most realistic way. There's no Oedipus-like curse, as in Turin's case, and the differences between them arise from their own personalities, not from an inherent difference in being, as with Arwen. (Aldarion might disagree -- there's a note that says "[Erendis] was not of the Line of Elros, and had a lesser life-span, and [Aldarion] believed that therein lay the root of all their troubles", but I don't believe him.)

In this case we have two people that probably just should not have married in the first place. Aldarion does not want to give up his "first love", of the Sea, and Erendis does not want to accept Aldarion as he is and believes she can change him. Both are too stubborn to "give in", and the end result is predictable. You may know a couple like that in real life; it's sadly not uncommon.

On another note, but not really, this is the only real glimpse we have of Númenor outside of the Akallabęth, and it is just as tragic as the rest of it. Was no one in Númenor ever happy? Wink

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

Aunt Dora Baggins

Mar 26 2010, 1:00am

Post #69 of 149 (1528 views)
Thanks for those links! [In reply to] Can't Post

I hadn't seen some of those before. I grew up with the Hildebrandts' version, so that still looks the most like Lothlorien to me, though it doesn't quite match the written description. I do like Ted Nasmith's a lot, and the Professor's too. Those glowing golden leaves seem indispensable to me. The ones that depict nighttime are nice, but they don't match my inner image at all. The movie version felt all wrong to me the first time I saw it, and it still does.

Now that I've seen it, I think Nasmith's is my favorite.

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com

Tol Eressea

Mar 26 2010, 1:11am

Post #70 of 149 (1500 views)
well... [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I have read the Foreword and I like it! I can't think of many authors whose "words"--fore or after--I consider a *must* read. (Er-Stephen King is one I can think of...)
As I was reading the passages in your post my mind wandered off to...dang! that's somebody I would like to have sat with and had a conversation!
As for those bolded words...wow! I can see two fingers being held up followed by another finger being held up within this sentence. Wink Tolkien simply has the wit to express the sentiments in a much classier manner.
Something about the 2nd passage reminds me of Bilbo's "I dont' know half of you..." birthday speech.


Mar 26 2010, 1:14am

Post #71 of 149 (1519 views)
re: coffee [In reply to] Can't Post

yes... I have thought the same thing. Well, it's more that I wish I had a good kindred spirit who was extroverted there and I could listen in on the conversation. :-)

I enjoy reading Letters for the same reason. It just feels like this is a man I'd like to know. Or sit in on class with. Or something.

LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Mar 26 2010, 1:16am

Post #72 of 149 (1475 views)
British wit [In reply to] Can't Post

I am in awe of that dry British wit. I laugh and laugh throughout all the Jane Austen movies, loving it.

It occurred to me that even if someone like Tolkien and I would both speak our minds, our styles would be very different. Wit vs Frankness. Alas, I am stuck with frankness. I desire the wit. I would do better in this world, I think.

LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Mar 26 2010, 1:32am

Post #73 of 149 (1495 views)
"Frank-ness" [In reply to] Can't Post

Would be "the quality of being a Frank", which is an old term for French. Wink Wit is the ability to detach one's self from the conversation and take a view outside of one's own. The British teach (or used to for a very long time) in that way in their schools. That's also why one of their speech idioms is to ask rhetorical questions such as "isn't it?" at the end of observations. Some of this can be self-taught no matter your age, but it does require practise. In any case I enjoy your "frankness" AND your brand of "wit", mellon hiril Magpie.

"Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Mar 26 2010, 1:53am

Post #74 of 149 (1559 views)
Zis monument, carved into ze hillside - it is zuspicious, no? [In reply to] Can't Post

‘From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak it climbed, ascending in unbroken spiral in many thousand steps, until it issued at last in Durin’s Tower carved in the living rock of Zirak-zigil, the pinnacle of the Silvertine.' (Gandalf speaking, in The Two Towers, III.5; bold highlight by squire)
You didn't give us the quote for your question about the "living rock of Zirak-zigil", so here it is.

"Living rock" is a standard usage for rock that is carved "on location", if I may use a movie term. That is, it is rock that is still in place as part of the bedrock of the earth, but which is carved by man in the sense of being sculpted. The term highlights the difference between such work, and the far more common practice of carving pieces of stone that have been quarried and taken away from their place of origin.

Mt. Rushmore, for instance, is carved from the living rock. The "David" of Michaelangelo is not. The sculpted facade of the temple of Abu Simel in Egypt was originally from the living rock; now of course it isn't (having been cut up and moved uphill several hundred feet and reassembled to avoid the flooding of Lake Nasser).

Thus "Durin's Tower", whatever it is, is not built of laid stone masonry, but is carved directly from the rocky summit of the mountain. I don't doubt Tolkien appreciated the overtones of the term "living rock" when talking about the spiritual peaks that overlay the Dwarves' ancestral mansion.

What critic decided that Tolkien reserved the letter "Z" for "evil" names? It seems to me that "z" is vanishingly rare in Elvish, but appears in Dwarvish a lot, starting with Khazad (dwarves), and also in Adunaic, the language of the Men of Numenor, as witness

Tolkien did admit to using a leading K, and various diacritical marks, to give an "exotic" or alien flavor to some of his words, when compared to the standards of Latinate English. But in his rich assemblage of languages and orthography, I don't think "Z" is guilty even in this sense of conveying any program of evil.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


Mar 26 2010, 2:12am

Post #75 of 149 (1495 views)
V is for Voronwë [In reply to] Can't Post

I apologize for the lateness of this, and its brevity. This has been a crazy day, and it's not over yet. But I think I can say what I want to say pretty quickly, though I won't be able to look up quotes or otherwise research.

Obviously, Voronwë is an important character to me, since I have long adopted his name as my own on this and many other messageboards. I am very attracted to his faithful quality; the way that he submerges his own priorities to serve the destiny of Tuor, son of Huor. I see his qualities reflected in what I hope is my own best qualities; at least that is what I strive for in my life.

Voronwë's history in Tolkien's work goes back to the very beginning. He not only played a very prominent role in the earliest version of the story of the fall of Gondolin, he also his mentioned in the original Music of the Ainur by his son Ilverin - "Littleheart the Gongwarden." Sadly, Voronwë is almost entirely expunged from the published Silmarillion, but we learn much about him in the portion of the story of Gondolin that Tolkien wrote in the early 1950s that ended at the two traveler's arrival at Gondolin.

Voronwë was one of the mariners that Turgon sent to try to cross the sea to seek the help of the Valar. However, he tarried on the way in the Willow-meads of Nan-tathren (which Treebeard also sings about in LOTR under the name Tasarinan). Voronwë's description of these Willow-meads consists of some of Tolkien's most beautiful description writing, yet it does not constitute the pinnacle of Voronwë's literary role. He eventually does reach the Bay of Balar and captains the seventh and greatest ship sent out from there. Voronwë was the only one of the mariners of these seven ships who was spared. He was saved by Ulmo and cast ashore at Vinyamar, the land of his birth, in order to serve as Tuor's guide to Gondolin. He movingly speaks of the loneliness and terror of the Sea. However, his greatest passage is the one that I believe contradicts any contention that it is not appropriate that this year's Tolkien Reading Day has a Sea-faring theme:

Voronwë sighed, and spoke then softly as if to himself. 'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside. Yet whether we saw only clouds still more remote,or glimpsed indeed, as some held, the Mountains of the Pelori about the lost strands of our long home, I know not. Far, far away they stand, and none from mortal lands shall come there ever again, I deem' Then Voronwë fell silent; for night had come, and the stars shone white and cold.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'


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