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It is confirmed- Balrogs do have wings!
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Feb 19, 10:27pm

Post #51 of 71 (3975 views)
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I also would be willing to contribute funds to TORN to preserve the old posts. [In reply to] Can't Post

I know the admins have indicated a desire to make such a restoration happen, and a number of participants here *really* want to help. I've been wondering if maybe there's been work behind the scenes on this (perhaps looking to TORN's upcoming 20th anniversary), but it would be great to know what we can do.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Feb 20, 1:46am

Post #52 of 71 (3954 views)
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:D Now... they thought Gandalf was lost forever, too ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

And we know how that turned out... he came back all bright and shiny.

*massive hug* Thank you SO MUCH for going on the hunt. Altaira has been working on trying to get a retrieval project going. I know it's something very important to her as a big piece of our heart... so I think it'll happen! What a day THAT will be! :D

Thanks again, m'dear!




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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Feb 20, 4:46am

Post #53 of 71 (3949 views)
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I found it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope this is it. :} I'm posting it separately so it's a clean. I started looking through some old backup CDs from work and found it there! Every time the office would change out our PCs, I do a big dump onto CDs with little prep... so there's no knowing what's on them. I'll be doing them as a project after I finish a couple of other projects I've got going.

I'd really love it if one of you would post it in the Reading Room where it belongs and under one of your names :) I wish I had all of the responses, but the subject lines are there... so we'll have them for the retrieval project.




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(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Feb 20, 4:58am)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Feb 20, 4:58am

Post #54 of 71 (3961 views)
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Reverend's post on Balrog Wings 1-16-2003 [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.theonering.net/rumour_mill/rpg/viewer/readingroom/3E2641110000EA03.html


Nick: Reverend (Registered User)

Date/Time: Thursday, 1/16/2003 at 1:20 EDT
Browser/OS: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows 95
Subject: The Bridge of Khazad-Dum #19: The last Word on Balrog Wings


Message:
“The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in the other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him. and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils, but Gandalf stood firm.

‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and dead silence fell. ‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’

The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spred from wall to wall.”

It is possible that some readers, even fans, are unaware of the virulent controversy swirling around this passage. Insults have been exchanged. Friendships have been ruptured. Polite discussion boards have been rendered unreadable. Michael Martinez says “Marriages have probably been arranged on the basis of who believes in Balrog wings,” and I believe him. The question is; if the first reference to the Balrog’s ‘wings’ is a similie, is the second reference a metaphor? That is, does the Balrog actually have physical wings?

You will note that the movies cravenly fudge the issue by giving the Balrog wing BONES, but making the fabric of the wings an insubstantial shadow. This is not the course of champions. I will now settle the matter once and for all, so that the quarreling hordes may rest.

First, I should introduce you to the arguments. If you a Google search on ‘Balrog Wings’ you will get 3,300 hits. To save you the trouble I have reviewed a representative sample (one percent) of these (results are in the ‘Annotated Bibliography on Balrog Wings’ below) and can say that the arguements break down into five categories.

1. The second reference says ‘wings’ without modifier, so Balrogs have unmodified wings. This may be called the ‘Miniature’ school, because ALL makers of lead miniatures insist that Balrogs got wings.
2. The first reference IS similie, so the second HAS TO be metaphor. This may be called the ‘Enraged Elitist’ school, because most expositions of this theory start off with a high-toned discussion of literary forms, and then proceed to screams of incoherent rage.
3. That Balrogs have wings, but cannot fly with them. This may be called the ‘Curious’ school, since it is a very curious way of thinking.
4. That Balrogs do not have wings, but can fly with them anyway. This may be referred to as the ‘Inverted’ school, as it is a result of the upside-down thinking of the antipodes.
5. That Balrogs not only have wings, but fuzzy bedroom slippers. This may be called the ‘Bakshi’ school, because his animation is explicit on these points.
6. That anyone who wastes five seconds of his or her life on such issues is insane.
This may be called the ‘Madman’ theory, because anyone who holds it clearly is.
7. The truth, which I’ll get to in a moment.

First, there is some additional evidence that needs to be taken into account. ‘Balrogs’ appear in Tolkien’s writing throughout his life, but changed radicaly over time. The very first Balrogs appear in version of ‘The Fall of Gondolin’ that appears in ‘The Book of Lost Tales.’ These Balrogs are a CAVALRY force of 1,000. A thousand or more Balogs appear in a number of early texts. Clearly they are nowhere near so formidable as the later Balrog.

Then we have the early drafts of the ‘Bridge of Khazad-Dun’ itself. These are found in the History of Middle Earth, Vol 7, ‘The Treason of Isengard.’ They are remarkable for the visual evolution of the Balrog. At first it is a lithe figure only slightly larger than a man, with no flame of shadow, and absolutely no wings. It rapidly gets larger and more traditionally demonic, with the shadow and mention of wings only in the final product.

Then we have the late Balrog, represented by the last draft of the Quenta Silmarillion Tolkien attempted. This is found in ‘Morgoth’s Ring’ (HoME X). Here we have a very key passage, when Ungoliant has turned on Morgoth and he cries for help:

“Far beneath the halls of Angband... the Balrogs lurked still.... Swiftly they arose, and they passed with winged speed over Hithlum, and they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire.”

While it is possible to ‘arise’ without flying, to ‘pass over’ without flying, to move with ‘winged speed’ without leaving the ground, and arrive like a tempest without actually being a stormcloud, it is difficult for an earthbound creature to plausably do all of these things in one sentence. It is asking too much of metaphor. Or, as Michael Martinez says: “Yes, Balrogs had wings...from about 1940 onward. Yes, Balrogs flew...from at least 1940 onward, maybe from 1948 onward, or possibly from 1952 or thereabouts onward.”

That is, in this matter, as on almost every matter of dispute in Tolkien, the author changed his mind, changed it more than once, and made no effort to impose consistancy on his past writting. Early Balrogs definitely did not have wings and did not fly. Late Balrogs did have wings and definitely flew. This should not surprise us. Tolkien was willing to even change things already in print when it suited him, as when he altered the text of the Hobbit (as first published Gollum GAVE Bilbo the Ring for winning the Riddle Game, as he told the Dwarves), or when he revised Celeborn’s clan affiliation without notifying Galadriel.

So, back to the question. Did the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum have wings?

Here I refer back to my epochal post of several months ago, in which I point out that the Balrog, and Balrogs in general, had been getting bigger, and more traditionally demonic, in each revision. I say that this process continued into print. The second reference to wings is not a metaphor, because somewhere in the process getting about a hundred words on paper, Tolkien changed his mind. The transition between the early Balrog and the late Balrog is preserved for us in ink; the Balrog came into the room without wings and left with them. Don’t say Tolkien was too careful a writer to do this. Nazgul also recieved a radical upgrade over the course of the story; they just managed it off-stage.

So now you know. Go out, and spred this evangel.
1. Comments?
2. Other evidence?
3. Accolandes?
4. Donations?
5. Job offers?

CHALLENGE
Post the best poem or song about Balrog Wings.
Password to delete message:


Message Thread:
• The Bridge of Khazad-Dum #19: The last Word on Balrog Wings <Reverend> [1/16/2003 @ 1:20] (14/30)
• Where's Smokering? <Kiskadee> [1/17/2003 @ 12:11] (0/0)
• My balrog theory <Tauriel> [1/17/2003 @ 9:24] (2/3)
...• Gandalf also got larger <Curious> [1/17/2003 @ 11:17] (0/0)
...• Marvelous. Call it the 'Smoke Flies' School. (No Text) <Reverend> [1/17/2003 @ 10:49] (1/1)
......• Thanks. Cool name! :-) (No Text) <Tauriel> [1/17/2003 @ 11:39] (0/0)
• I'm with you, Reverend <Entmaiden> [1/16/2003 @ 23:48] (0/0)
• all accolades are yours, <Froda> [1/16/2003 @ 15:51] (0/0)
• Not hiring Tolkien geeks! <RurouniKJS> [1/16/2003 @ 15:30] (0/0)
• I still say . . . <Annael> [1/16/2003 @ 15:23] (1/1)
...• Seriously, Tolkien did <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 15:34] (0/0)
• All this evidence makes no difference to me. <Morwen> [1/16/2003 @ 15:08] (2/4)
...• Excellent answer. (No Text) <Reverend> [1/16/2003 @ 15:45] (0/0)
...• But can he fly? (No Text) <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 15:26] (1/2)
......• Well, airplanes have wings. <Morwen> [1/16/2003 @ 15:47] (1/1)
.........• Yes, but when you read it, <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 16:01] (0/0)
• Running and flying. <Hama of Rohan> [1/16/2003 @ 14:39] (1/1)
...• Agreed. (No Text) <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 14:46] (0/0)
• Flippin' eck! Thought this one was 'verboten'... <Ceorl> [1/16/2003 @ 14:12] (1/1)
...• And flying isn't ridiculous? <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 14:44] (0/0)
• Our marriage is off. <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 12:01] (1/2)
...• Say it isn't so! <Reverend> [1/16/2003 @ 15:01] (1/1)
......• Fair enough. Although <Curious> [1/16/2003 @ 15:40] (0/0)
• *Offers Rev a job* <notlost> [1/16/2003 @ 11:25] (1/1)
...• Do I? <Reverend> [1/16/2003 @ 15:48] (0/0)
• But are the wings 'hot, spicy or mild'? <gullygilly> [1/16/2003 @ 5:40] (0/0)
• Note also that it leaped across the fire. (No Text) <Golfimbul> [1/16/2003 @ 3:01] (1/3)
...• Balrog wing song. <Golfimbul> [1/16/2003 @ 3:08] (2/2)
......• :-D (No Text) <Aunt Dora Baggins> [1/17/2003 @ 12:13] (0/0)
......• LOL! Sounds like a great footer! (No Text) <Seillib> [1/16/2003 @ 10:47] (0/0)
• I'm sticking to my story on this one... <NZ Strider> [1/16/2003 @ 2:24] (0/0)




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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Feb 20, 6:01am

Post #55 of 71 (3932 views)
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Excellent! [In reply to] Can't Post

Very curious to know what else you have saved.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Feb 20, 11:39am

Post #56 of 71 (3910 views)
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me too! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a messy massive mathom-keeper. I've found 6 discs so far. So much stuff filling every corner coupled with a bad memory... it's a flood of discovery! This file was called "Reverend balrog". Stuff from work was slamming in 15-min breaks and 1/2-hr lunch over 16 years, so it's not pretty. I'll get it tamed :)




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noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 20, 1:11pm

Post #57 of 71 (3910 views)
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Thank you so much for finding this! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is the post of which I was trying to do an impression, but the original is far better!

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 20, 1:11pm

Post #58 of 71 (3910 views)
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"Messy massive mathom-keeper"? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gramma, you are a miracle-maker! YOU RULE, GAL!!! Cool


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"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 20, 1:13pm

Post #59 of 71 (3908 views)
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You are the very model of a massive mathom-keeper, [In reply to] Can't Post

...Uh-oh, that's started the balrog up again.... Evil

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Feb 20, 2:33pm

Post #60 of 71 (3899 views)
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It's certainly stood the test of time... [In reply to] Can't Post

...rather better than Internet Explorer V5.5 or Windows 95!

'Michael Martinez' is the Tolkien Scholar and not the figure skater (as you might think by googling the name now). The quotation about marriages being arranged is a reference to a fine Martinez essay from 2001, a taste of which might be:


Quote
"The problem with defining a canon for Tolkien is that no one wants to share your canon. A few people have tried to be open-minded, but they inevitably get sidetracked when discussing someone else’s canon. “Well, you see, in my canon….We have so many choices to make that no one really knows which way to go. Every now and then someone starts off down a road and screams, “Here it is! Follow me!” And mostly the crowd just ignores them, continuing to mill about in wild confusion. Occasionally someone dumps a bucket of water on the canonists’ parade, too. And we all end up sopping wet. As soon as you take up the topic of canonicity, you have put the literary equivalent of a “soak me” sign on your forehead.”"
https://middle-earth.xenite.org/...he-way-to-the-canon/



And otherwise, the only change I see over all these years is that maybe there should be one addition to Reverned's classification of Balrog wings posts:


Quote
1. The second reference says ‘wings’ without modifier, so Balrogs have unmodified wings. This may be called the ‘Miniature’ school, because ALL makers of lead miniatures insist that Balrogs got wings.
2. The first reference IS similie, so the second HAS TO be metaphor. This may be called the ‘Enraged Elitist’ school, because most expositions of this theory start off with a high-toned discussion of literary forms, and then proceed to screams of incoherent rage.
3. That Balrogs have wings, but cannot fly with them. This may be called the ‘Curious’ school, since it is a very curious way of thinking.
4. That Balrogs do not have wings, but can fly with them anyway. This may be referred to as the ‘Inverted’ school, as it is a result of the upside-down thinking of the antipodes.
5. That Balrogs not only have wings, but fuzzy bedroom slippers. This may be called the ‘Bakshi’ school, because his animation is explicit on these points.
6. That anyone who wastes five seconds of his or her life on such issues is insane.
This may be called the ‘Madman’ theory, because anyone who holds it clearly is.
7. The truth, which I’ll get to in a moment.


Perhaps we should now add 6a - an argument one might call 'Bowl of Petunias' because it goes 'oh no, not again!' ?

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Feb 20, 2:36pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 20, 3:22pm

Post #61 of 71 (3895 views)
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Then, miraculously, Amelia Earhart emerged from a pile of gramma's CDs, asking where and when she was. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 20, 3:25pm

Post #62 of 71 (3900 views)
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As I recall from Douglas Adams [In reply to] Can't Post

That bowl of petunias was mighty vindictive when it was finally given form again and was quite enraged about the multiple resurrections (which always led to nasty deaths). Which brings us to "let sleeping balrogs lie."


squire
Half-elven


Feb 20, 6:42pm

Post #63 of 71 (3899 views)
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Fabulous! [In reply to] Can't Post

I do remember reading this in later reposts and marveling, as I always did with the Reverend's unique posting style, at his combination of grace, wisdom, humor, and snark.

The "Curious" school, indeed!

"Antipodes" school, though? I wonder which TORn member he was poking there - could it have been NZ Strider?

Older timers than I will remember, as I learned in the re-telling, that Reverend, Curious, and NZS in those years had turned the Reading Room into a kind of Tolkien seminar from heaven... or hell, depending on your appreciation for highly erudite and highly competitive fan-scholarship on Tolkien's every word. It is said that they were intimidating, can you imagine?

Gramma, you are a hero today. Like most days, actually, but thank you again for this.



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'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
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grammaboodawg
Immortal


Feb 20, 7:47pm

Post #64 of 71 (3887 views)
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*heart swells* [In reply to] Can't Post

Such an incredible time... our Wizards. For me, it wasn't intimidation as much as awe. Hearing your reflection of that incredible era makes my heart swell and my eyes teary. We're so lucky... :)




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Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 20, 8:15pm

Post #65 of 71 (3888 views)
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I learned a heck of a lot from those guys. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even though they brought their own challenges from time to time, I miss those erudite debates.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Feb 20, 9:18pm

Post #66 of 71 (3877 views)
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Hurrah, Gramma! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much - it's great to see this again. What a treasure you are!


The Passing of Mistress Rose
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Elizabeth
Half-elven


Feb 20, 10:56pm

Post #67 of 71 (3861 views)
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Magnificent! Thank you so much! [In reply to] Can't Post

I look forward to seeing what other gems you uncover!


Annael
Immortal


Feb 21, 4:17pm

Post #68 of 71 (3783 views)
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Unreliable witnesses [In reply to] Can't Post

What I've always said each time this has come up:

It was dark. They were scared out of their gourds. Some later remembered the Balrog having wings. Others said it was wrapped in shadow. Either way they were scrambling to get away as fast as they could, except Gandalf who was concentrating on how to break the bridge. He couldn't remember much about anything after that, what with falling and fighting and running up the ultimate Stairmaster for thousands of feet and fighting and then, you know, dying. All we can say for sure is that if it did have wings, they didn't work.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

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Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Feb 21, 6:12pm

Post #69 of 71 (3781 views)
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That's a heck of a stairmaster! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wonder what his calorie count was after that workout! LOL Laugh

That is very true (that they didn't work).

If we go by Tolkien's conceit that the LOTR portion of the Red Book of Westmarch was written by Frodo, then that gives a lot of weight to the shadow aspect, because presumably the Ring Bearer may have had a bit more awareness than the others (except Gandalf, no doubt) about the evil spirit within the Balrog itself. Legolas may have too, which is why he freaked out (well, ya know...that, and the fact that greater elves than he got their butts completely kicked by these things in the FA).

But unreliable witness testimony in this case is certainly plausible, since as you said, they were terrified in that moment and, aside from Gandalf, their main thought was, "Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap running running running!"

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Happy reading everyone!


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Feb 21, 10:55pm

Post #70 of 71 (3755 views)
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Wheee! You're a Treasure, and the Treasurer [In reply to] Can't Post

of our Treasures.

Beware of the Smaug on your garage roof, if he gets wind of that trove of CD's!



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Feb 22, 6:45am

Post #71 of 71 (3752 views)
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Ursula K. LeGuin on balrog wings? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've just been skimming The Wizard of Earthsea, which I haven't read in many years, and I noticed in the climactic scene, when the wizard hero, bearing a staff, finally directly confronts the shadow figure, never before clearly glimpsed, who has dogged him for years, this sentence:

"Then the thing that faced him changed utterly, spreading out to either side as if it opened enormous thin wings, and it writhed, and swelled, and shrank again."

LeGuin knew Tolkien's work well. I wonder if she had it in mind when she wrote that.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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