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TIME - November 29
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grammaboodawg
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Nov 29 2021, 6:35pm

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TIME - November 29 Can't Post

Today in Middle-earth

November 29, 1971
1. The passing of Edith Tolkien.

...Born on January 21, 1889, Edith Mary Bratt Tolkien passed away on November 29, 1971 at the age of 82. Edith and J.R.R. Tolkien were wedded on March 22, 1916 and had been married 55 years at the time of her loss. They have 4 children; the most notable is Christopher Tolkien who contributed to and continued his father's work at his passing on September 2, 1973 at the age of 81.

Edith was cherished by J.R.R and was known to be his muse and inspiration for his Middle-earth elves, Lúthien Tinúviel and Arwen Undómiel. He wrote of his admiration for his wife and her "willingness to marry a man with no job, little money, and no prospects except the likelihood of being killed in the Great War."





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grammaboodawg
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Nov 30 2021, 1:26pm

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Today in Middle-earth

November 30, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Bilbo, Gandalf and Beorn depart from the Elves.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)

... "Gandalf and Bilbo rode behind the Elvenking, and beside them strode Beorn... ...and he laughed and sang in a loud voice upon the road. So they went on until they drew near to the borders of Mirkwood, to the north of the place where the Forest River ran out. Then they halted, for the wizard and Bilbo would not enter the wood, even though the king bade them stay a while in his halls. They intended to go along the edge of the forest, and round its northern end in the waste that lay between it and the beginning of the Grey Mountains... ...Moreover Beorn was going that way too.
..."Farewell! O Elvenking!" said Gandalf. "Merry be the greenwood, while the world is yet young! And merry be all your folk!"
..."Farewell! O Gandalf... ...May you ever appear where you are most needed and least expected! The oftener you appear in my halls the better shall I be pleased!"
..."I beg of you," said Bilbo stammering and standing on one foot, "to accept this gift!" and he brought out a necklace of silver and pearls that Dain had given him at their parting.
... "In what way have I earned such a gift, O hobbit...?"
... "...Well, er, I thought, don't you know," said Bilbo rather confused, "that, er, some little return should be made for your, er, hospitality. I mean even a burglar has his feelings. I have drunk much of your wine and eaten much of your bread."
... "I will take your gift, O Bilbo the Magnificent!" said the king gravely. "And I name you elf-friend and blessed. May your shadow never grow less (or stealing would be too easy)! Farewell!"
... Then the elves turned towards the Forest, and Bilbo started on his long road home."



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grammaboodawg
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Dec 1 2021, 1:49pm

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It's time for some BS! [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are a couple of Book Spoilers that sum up the Bagginsesessss' Quests... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Silmarillion: Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

..."...For, as many songs have since sung, it was the Periannath, the Little People, dwellers in hillsides and meadows, that brought them deliverance.
...For Frodo the Halfling, it is said, at the bidding of Mithrandir took on himself the burden, and alone with his servant he passed through peril and darkness and came at last in Sauron's despite even to Mount Doom; and there into the Fire where it was wrought he cast the Great Ring of Power, and so at last it was unmade and its evil consumed."

AND

From Of the Finding of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring: Prologue

..."As is told in The Hobbit, there came one day to Bilbo's door and the great Wizard, Gandalf the Grey, and thirteen dwarves with him... ...Thorin Oakenshield, descendant of kings, and his twelve companions in exile. With them he set out, to his own lasting astonishment, on a morning of April... ...on a quest of great treasure, the dwarf-hoards of the Kings under the Mountain, beneath Erebor in Dale, far off in the East. The quest was successful, and the Dragon that guarded the hoard was destroyed. Yet, though before all was won the Battle of Five Armies was fought, and Thorin was slain, and many deeds of renown were done, the matter would scarcely have concerned later history... ...but for an 'accident' by the way. The party was assailed by Orcs in a high pass of the Misty Mountains as they went towards Wilderland; and so it happened that Bilbo was lost for a while in the black orc-mines deep under the mountains, and there, as he groped in vain in the dark, he put his hand on a ring, lying on the floor of a tunnel. He put it in his pocket. It seemed then like mere luck.
...Trying to find his way out, Bilbo went on down to the roots of the mountains, until he could go no further. At the bottom of the tunnel lay a cold lake far from the light, and on an island of rock in the water lived Gollum.... ...He possessed a secret treasure that had come to him long ages ago, when he lived still in the light: a ring of gold that made its wearer invisible. It was the one thing he loved, his 'precious', and he talked to it, even when it was not with him... ....For he kept it hidden safe in a hole on his island, except when he was hunting or spying on the orcs of the mines....
......[After escaping and reuniting with his companions, Bilbo's] account was that Gollum had promised to give him a present, if he won the game; but when Gollum went to fetch it from his island he found the treasure was gone: a magic ring, which had been given to him long ago on his birthday. Bilbo guessed that this was the very ring that he had found, and as he had won the game, it was already his by right. But being in a tight place, he said nothing about it, and made Gollum show him the way out, as a reward instead of a present. This account Bilbo set down in his memoirs...."



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Otaku-sempai
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Dec 1 2021, 3:46pm

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TIME - December 1 [In reply to] Can't Post

Today in the Present Age:

December 1, 1976 (Common Era)
1. Dean Lance O'Gorman is born in Auckland, New Zealand.


Happy forty-fifth birthday to Dean "Fili" O'Gorman!

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grammaboodawg
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Dec 2 2021, 2:28pm

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Here's part 1 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at one of Frodo's dreadful choices... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Black Gate is Closed: The Two Towers

..."Its name was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour. Aragorn could perhaps have told them that name and its significance; Gandalf would have warned them. But they were alone, and Aragorn was far away, and Gandalf stood amid the ruin of Isengard and strove with Saruman... ...Yet even as he spoke his last words to Saruman, and the Palantír crashed in fire upon the steps of Orthanc, his thought was ever upon Frodo and Samwise, over the long leagues his mind sought for them in hope and pity.
...Maybe Frodo felt it, not knowing it, as he had upon Amon Hen, even though he believed that Gandalf was... ...gone forever into the shadow in Moria far away. He sat upon the ground for a long while, silent, his head bowed, striving to recall all that Gandalf had said to him. But for this choice he could recall no counsel... ...Gandalf's guidance had been taken from them too soon... ...How they should enter it at the last Gandalf had not said. Perhaps he could not say. Into the stronghold of the Enemy in the North, into Dol Guldur, he had once ventured. But into Mordor, to the Mountain of Fire and to Barad-dûr, since the Dark Lord rose in power again, had he ever journeyed there? Frodo did not think so... ...here he was a little halfling from the Shire, a simple hobbit of the quiet countryside, expected to find a way where the great ones could not go, or dared not go. It was an evil fate. But he had taken it on himself in his own sitting-room in the far-off spring of another year, so remote now that it was like a chapter in a story of the world's youth, when the Trees of Silver and Gold were still in bloom... ...Which way should he choose? And if both led to terror and death, what good lay in choice?"



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grammaboodawg
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Dec 3 2021, 2:30pm

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It's part 2 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at one of Frodo's dreadful choices... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Black Gate is Closed: The Two Towers

..."Not even an eagle poised against the sun would have marked the hobbits sitting there... ...silent, not moving, shrouded in their thin grey cloaks. For a moment he might have paused to consider Gollum, a tiny figure sprawling on the ground: there perhaps lay the famished skeleton of some child of Men, its ragged garment still clinging to it, its long arms and legs almost bone-white and bone-thin: no flesh worth a peck.
...Frodo's head was bowed over his knees, but Sam leaned back, with hands behind his head, staring out of his hood at the empty sky... ...Then presently Sam thought he saw a dark bird-like figure wheel into the circle of his sight, and hover, and then wheel away again. Two more followed, and then a fourth. They were very small to look at, yet he knew... ...that they were huge, with a vast stretch of pinion, flying at a great height. He covered his eyes and bent forward, cowering. The same warning fear was on him as he had felt in the presence of the Black Riders, the helpless horror that had come with the cry in the wind and the shadow on the moon, though now it was not so crushing or compelling: the menace was more remote... ...Frodo felt it too. His thought was broken. He stirred and shivered, but he did not look up. Gollum huddled himself together like a cornered spider. The winged shapes wheeled... ...speeding back to Mordor.
...Sam took a deep breath. 'The Riders are about again, up in the air,' he said in a hoarse whisper. 'I saw them. Do you think they could see us? They were very high up. And if they are Black Riders... ...then they can't see much by daylight, can they?'
...'No, perhaps not,' said Frodo. 'But their steeds could see. And these winged creatures that they ride on now, they can probably see more than any other creature. They are like great carrion birds. They are looking for something: the Enemy is on the watch, I fear.'"



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grammaboodawg
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Dec 4 2021, 1:45pm

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It's part 3 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at one of Frodo's dreadful choices... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Black Gate is Closed: The Two Towers

..."'The feeling of dread passed, but the enfolding silence was broken. For some time he had been cut off from the world, as if in an invisible island; now they were laid bare again, peril had returned... ...still Frodo did not speak to Gollum or make his choice. His eyes were closed, as if he were dreaming, or looking inward into his heart and memory. At last he stirred and stood up, and it seemed that he was about to speak and to decide. But 'hark!' he said. 'What is that?'
...A new fear was upon them. They heard singing and hoarse shouting. At first it seemed a long way off, but it drew nearer... ...It leaped into all their minds that the Black Wings had spied them and had sent armed soldiers to seize them: no speed seemed too great for these terrible servants of Sauron. They crouched, listening. The voices and the clink of weapons... ...was very close. Frodo and Sam loosened their small swords in the sheaths. Flight was impossible.
Gollum rose slowly and crawled insect-like to the lip of the hollow. Very cautiously he raised himself inch by inch, until he could peer over it between two broken points of stone. He remained there without moving for some time, making no sound. Presently the voices... ...slowly faded away. Far off a horn blew on the ramparts of the Morannon. Then quietly Gollum drew back and slipped down into the hollow.
...'More Men going to Mordor,' Gollum said in a low voice. 'Dark faces. We have not seen Men like these before, no, Sméagol has not. They are fierce. They have black eyes, and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears; yes, lots of beautiful gold… …Not nice; very cruel wicked Men they look. Almost as bad as Orcs, and much bigger. Sméagol thinks they have come out of the South beyond the Great River's end... ...They have passed on to the Black Gate; but more may follow. Always more people coming to Mordor. One day all the peoples will be inside.'
...'Were there any oliphaunts?' asked Sam... ""


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grammaboodawg
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Dec 5 2021, 1:41pm

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It's part 4 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at one of Frodo's dreadful choices... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Black Gate is Closed: The Two Towers

..."'Were there any oliphaunts?' asked Sam, forgetting his fear in his eagerness for news of strange places.
...'No, no oliphaunts. What are oliphaunts?' said Gollum.
...Sam stood up, putting his hands behind his back (as he always did when 'speaking poetry'), and began: 'Grey as a mouse, Big as a house, Nose like a snake, I make the earth shake...'"

...'...That,' said Sam, when he had finished reciting, 'that's a rhyme we have in the Shire. Nonsense maybe, and maybe not. But we have our tales too, and news out of the South... ...In the old days hobbits used to go on their travels now and again. Not that many ever came back, and not that all they said was believed: news from Bree, and not sure as Shiretalk, as the sayings go. But I've heard tales of the big folk down away in the Sunlands. Swertings we call 'em in our tales... ...they ride on oliphaunts, 'tis said, when they fight. They put houses and towers on the oliphauntses backs... ...and the oliphaunts throw rocks and trees at one another. So when you said "Men out of the South, all in red and gold," I said "were there any oliphaunts?" For if there was, I was going to take a look, risk or no. But now I don't suppose I'll ever see an oliphaunt. Maybe there ain't no such a beast.' He sighed.
... 'No, no oliphaunts,' said Gollum again. 'Sméagol has not heard of them. He does not want to see them... ...Sméagol wants to go away from here and hide somewhere safer. Sméagol wants master to go. Nice master, won't he come with Sméagol?'
...Frodo stood up. He had laughed in the midst of all his cares when Sam trotted out the old fireside rhyme of Oliphaunt... ...the laugh had released him from hesitation. 'I wish we had a thousand oliphaunts with Gandalf on a white one at their head,' he said. 'Then we'd break a way into this evil land, perhaps ... '...But we've not; just our own tired legs, that's all. Well, Sméagol, the third turn may turn the best. I will come with you.'
...'Good master, wise master, nice master!' cried Gollum in delight, patting Frodo's knees...."


OK... I just have to say, here... I love how Frodo pictures Gandalf leading the charge on a white oliphaunt before he ever knew Gandalf was reborn as Gandalf the White! :)


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dernwyn
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Dec 6 2021, 2:47am

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What! [In reply to] Can't Post

That never hit me before - white oliphaunt, white Gandalf! Shocked

What an eye-opener, and no surprise!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


grammaboodawg
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Dec 6 2021, 1:57pm

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TIME - December 6 [In reply to] Can't Post

Today in Middle-earth

December 6, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Gandalf and Bilbo travel with Beorn along the border of Mirkwood.
(determined from text)

..."[Bilbo] had many hardships and adventures before he got back. The Wild was still the Wild, and there were many other things in it in those days besides goblins; but he was well guided and well guarded—the wizard was with him, and Beorn... ...and he was never in great danger again."


December 6, 3022 (S.R. 1422)
1. Raindrops in Valinor.
(not from the appendices - no text - a drabble)

...One rainy evening, Frodo stood looking out the window, his breath appearing on his reflection, then vanishing. His eyes followed one glimmering drop as it travelled from high on the pane. Its erratic trail occasionally brushed against some drops while coming into full contact with others, but rarely joining. Many drops would hang suspended, unchanged as the one passed by. Sometimes it caught on the glass's texture, then plummeted in freefall without choice but to travel in one direction. Finally, it reached the end and vanished. Frodo's thoughts turned to Sam. "There, but for the grace of you, go I."


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grammaboodawg
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Dec 6 2021, 2:02pm

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Except... [In reply to] Can't Post

The Wizard's riding Shadowfax instead of a white oliphaunt ;) Frodo wouldn't have known those two had become such a formidable team that broke through many battles (Pelennor, Helm's Deep, etc.)


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(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Dec 6 2021, 2:10pm)


One Ringer
Tol Eressea

Dec 7 2021, 12:36am

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Positively appropriate! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just popped back in for my occasional lurk on the old boards, and I can't help but chime in on this one.

I often think about this portion of The Hobbit, and I remember when I was reading it for the first time and explaining this particular scene to my mom while she was making my lunch for school. I recall saying something like "It's so cool how they're going back to all the old places." It was a very adolescent and uncharacteristically optimistic form of my usual blues when the adventure ends. A true testament to the nature of the story; that the adventure is never really over. Retreading the old grounds on the return journey often feels like a firm promise to journey there again someday.

Thanks for the BS, gramma! Smile

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


grammaboodawg
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Dec 7 2021, 2:04pm

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TIME - December 7 [In reply to] Can't Post

Today in Middle-earth

December 7, 3018 (S.R. 1418)
1. The Hobbits rest in Rivendell.
(not from the appendices - no text - a drabble)

...Frodo and Sam often enjoyed quiet walks in the Rivendell gardens. Their travel was slow on the days they stopped to investigate flowers of unique colour or scent. Sam would study their manner of growth while Frodo sketched their likeness in his journal. More than once they came upon Bilbo and Gandalf resting on low couches quietly talking. All around them rings of coloured smoke made it appear as if they were at ease in a magical cloud. The hobbits would leave silently not wanting to disturb the old friends, never guessing the elders had done the same for them.


December 7, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
1. The Shire is reborn.
(not from the appendices)

..."The task of hunting out the last remnant of the ruffians was left to Merry and Pippin, and it was soon done. The southern gangs, after hearing the news of the Battle of Bywater, fled out of the land and offered little resistance to the Thain. Before the Year's End the few survivors were rounded up in the woods, and those that surrendered were shown to the borders."


December 7, 3020 (S.R. 1420)
1. The Shire recovers.

(not from the appendices-no text)
...Hobbiton was getting back to normal as it slowly began to look as it once did through the tireless work of the Hobbits. Sam and Rosie lived with Frodo at Bag End in the New Row, and no hobbit was ever looked after better.



80 years ago today. Never forget. History grows every day.


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(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Dec 7 2021, 2:05pm)


grammaboodawg
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Dec 7 2021, 2:18pm

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*flying tackle hug* HI!!!! :D [In reply to] Can't Post

It's SO great to see you :D I hope all is well with you and yours!

I absolutely agree with you on enjoying tracing back (there and back again) along the path of their first journey. It really is a great way to mark those iconic episodes and remind us of what they'd been through. How each experience built on the outcome's success and loss. I love how you intuitively saw that at such a young age. What a gift... especially since you still feel that wonder today :)

I'm nearly 70yo now, and I find myself desiring to retread old grounds in my life with TORn and NZ. It will have to be through memories and reading old reports, notes, and visiting physical objects I can hold and put myself back at each milestone.


Thank you for your kindness... and have a GREAT Holiday Season... and beyond!


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Otaku-sempai
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Dec 7 2021, 3:59pm

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Re: TIME - December 7 [In reply to] Can't Post

December 7, 1989 (Common Era)
1. Nicholas Caradoc Hoult is born in Wokingham, Berkshire, England.


Nicholas Hoult, who portrayed J.R.R. Tolkien in the 2019 biopic, Tolkien turns thirty-two. Happy birthday!

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grammaboodawg
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Dec 8 2021, 1:49pm

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Here's a Book Spoiler of one of Tolkien's great descriptions... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From A Short Rest: The Hobbit

..."There were bogs, some of them green pleasant places to look at, with flowers growing bright and tall; but a pony that walked there with a pack on his back would never have come out again.
...It was indeed a much wider land from the ford to the mountains than ever you would have guessed. Bilbo was astonished. The only path was marked with white stones... ...Altogether it was a very slow business following the track even guided by Gandalf, who seemed to know his way about pretty well.
...His head and beard wagged this way and that as he looked for the stones, and they followed his head, but they seemed no nearer to the end of the search when the day began to fail. Tea-time had long gone by, and it seemed supper-time would soon do the same... ...the light became very dim, for the moon had not risen. Bilbo's pony began to stumble over roots and stones. They came to the edge of a steep fall in the ground so suddenly that Gandalf's horse nearly slipped down the slope.
..."Here it is at last!" he called, and the others gathered round him and looked over the edge. They saw a valley far below. They could hear the voice of hurrying water in a rocky bed at the bottom; the scent of trees was in the air; and there was a light on the valley-side across the water.
...Bilbo never forgot the way they slithered and slipped in the dusk down the steep zig-zag path into the secret valley of Rivendell. The air grew warmer as they got lower, and the smell of the pine-trees made him drowsy, so that every now and again he nodded and nearly fell off, or bumped his nose on the pony's neck. Their spirits rose as they went down and down... ...there was a comfortable feeling in the twilight. The last green had almost faded out of the grass, when they came at length to an open glade not far above the banks of the stream.
..."Hmmm! it smells like elves!" thought Bilbo, and he looked up at the stars."


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Otaku-sempai
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Dec 8 2021, 2:49pm

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Today in Middle-earth (Present Age)

December 8, 1976 (Common Era)
1. Dominic Bernard Patrick Luke Monaghan born in Berlin, West Germany


Happy forty-fifth birthday to Dominic "Meriadoc Brandybuck" Monaghan!

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grammaboodawg
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Dec 9 2021, 12:57pm

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Let's do some Book Spoilers of events used from Book to Film. Here is 1 of 3 DOS comparisons with the capture of the dwarves... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From Barrels out of Bond: The Hobbit

..."The day after the battle with the spiders Bilbo and the dwarves made one last despairing effort to find a way out before they died of hunger and thirst. They got up and staggered on in the direction which eight out of the thirteen of them guessed to be the one in which the path lay; but they never found out if they were right... ...suddenly out sprang the light of many torches all round them, like hundreds of red stars. Out leaped Wood-elves with their bows and spears and called the dwarves to halt.
... There was no thought of a fight. Even if the dwarves had not been in such a state... ...So they simply stopped dead and sat down and waited—all except Bilbo, who popped on his ring and slipped quickly to one side… …[so] when the elves bound the dwarves in a long line, one behind the other, and counted them, they never found or counted the hobbit.
... Nor did they hear or feel him trotting along well behind their torch-light as they led off their prisoners into the forest... ...Bilbo had all he could do to keep up with the torches, for the elves were making the dwarves go as fast as ever they could, sick and weary as they were. The king had ordered them to make haste. Suddenly the torches stopped, and the hobbit had just time to catch them up before they began to cross the bridge… …that led across the river to the king's doors. The water flowed dark and swift and strong beneath; and at the far end were gates before the mouth of a huge cave that ran into the side of a steep slope covered with trees. There the great beeches came right down to the bank….
... …Across this bridge the elves thrust their prisoners, but Bilbo hesitated in the rear. He did not at all like the look of the cavern-mouth and he only made up his mind not to desert his friends just in time to scuttle over at the heels of the last elves, before the great gates of the king closed behind them with a clang."


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One Ringer
Tol Eressea

Dec 9 2021, 8:02pm

Post #19 of 44 (696 views)
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Thanks, gramma! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hope you're doing well also. Smile Feels good to dip my toes here a little again.

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


grammaboodawg
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Dec 10 2021, 3:21pm

Post #20 of 44 (642 views)
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Here's part 2 of a Book Spoiler of events used from Book to Film. We're still visiting a DOS comparison with the capture of the dwarves... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From Barrels out of Bond: The Hobbit

... "Inside the passages were lit with red torch-light, and the elf-guards... ...marched along the twisting, crossing and echoing paths. These were not like those of the goblin-cities: they were smaller, less deep underground… …filled with a cleaner air. In a great hall with pillars hewn out of the living stone sat the Elvenking on a chair of carven wood. On his head was a crown of berries and red leaves, for the autumn was come again. In the spring he wore a crown of woodland flowers. In his hand he held a carven staff of oak.
... The prisoners were brought before him… …though he looked grimly at them, he told his men to unbind them, for they were ragged and weary. "Besides they need no ropes in here... ...There is no escape from my magic doors for those who are once brought inside."
... Long and searchingly he questioned the dwarves about their doings… …where they were going to, and where they were coming from; but he got little more news out of them than out of Thorin. They were surly and angry and did not even pretend to be polite.
... "What have we done, O king?" said Balin… "…Is it a crime to be lost in the forest, to be hungry and thirsty, to be trapped by spiders? Are the spiders your tame beasts or your pets, if killing them makes you angry?"
... Such a question of course made the king angrier than ever, and he answered: "It is a crime to wander in my realm without leave. Do you forget that you were in my kingdom, using the road that my people made... ...I have a right to know what brings you here, and if you will not tell me now, I will keep you all in prison until you have learned sense and manners!"
... Then he ordered the dwarves each to be put in a separate cell and to be given food and drink, but not to be allowed to pass the doors of their little prisons, until one at least of them was willing to tell him all he wanted to know..."


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Dec 11 2021, 12:46pm

Post #21 of 44 (603 views)
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Here's part 3 of a Book Spoiler of events used from Book to Film. We're still visiting a DOS comparison with the capture of the dwarves... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From Barrels out of Bond: The Hobbit

..."One day, nosing and wandering about, Bilbo discovered a very interesting thing: the great gates were not the only entrance to the caves. A stream flowed under part of the lowest regions of the palace, and joined the Forest River... ...further to the east, beyond the steep slope out of which the main mouth opened. Where this underground watercourse came forth from the hillside there was a water-gate. There the rocky roof came down close to the surface of the stream, and... ...a portcullis could be dropped right to the bed of the river to prevent anyone coming in or out that way. But the portcullis was often open, for a good deal of traffic went out and in by the water-gate. If anyone had come in that way, he would have found himself in a dark rough tunnel leading deep into the heart of the hill... ...at one point where it passed under the caves the roof had been cut away and covered with great oaken trapdoors. These opened upwards into the king's cellars. There stood barrels, and barrels, and barrels...
... ...Hiding behind one of the largest barrels Bilbo discovered the trapdoors and their use, and lurking there, listening to the talk of the king's servants, he learned how the wine and other goods came up the rivers, or over land, to the Long Lake. It seemed a town of Men still throve there, built out on bridges far into the water as a protection against enemies of all sorts, and especially against the dragon of the Mountain. From Lake-town the barrels were brought up the Forest River. Often... ...tied together like big rafts and poled or rowed up the stream; sometimes they were loaded on to flat boats.
... When the barrels were empty the elves cast them through the trapdoors, opened the water-gate, and out the barrels floated on the stream, bobbing along, until they were carried by the current to a place far down the river where the bank jutted out... ...There they were collected and tied together and floated back to Lake-town, which stood close to the point where the Forest River flowed into the Long Lake.
... For some time Bilbo sat and thought about this water-gate, and wondered if it could be used for the escape of his friends, and at last he had the desperate beginnings of a plan..."


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Dec 12 2021, 2:30pm

Post #22 of 44 (523 views)
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Here's part-1 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at Smaug's attack on Lake-town… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Hobbit: Fire and Ice

..."The men of the lake-town Esgaroth were mostly indoors, for the breeze was from the black East and chill, but a few were walking on the quays, and watching, as they were fond of doing, the stars shine out... ...From their town the Lonely Mountain was mostly screened by the low hills at the far end of the lake, through a gap in which the Running River came down from the North. Only its high peak could they see in clear weather, and they looked seldom at it, for it was ominous and drear even... ...now it was lost and gone, blotted in the dark.
... Suddenly it flickered back to view; a brief glow touched it and faded.
... "Look!" said one. "The lights again! Last night the watchmen saw them start and fade from midnight until dawn. Something is happening up there."
... "Perhaps the King under the Mountain is forging gold... ...It is long since we went north. It is time the songs began to prove themselves again."
... "Which king?" said another with a grim voice. "As like as not it is the marauding fire of the Dragon, the only king under the Mountain we have ever known."
... "You are always foreboding gloomy things!" said the others...
... Then suddenly a great light appeared in the low place in the hills and the northern end of the lake turned golden. "The King beneath the Mountain!" they shouted. "His wealth is like the Sun, his silver like a fountain, his rivers golden run! The river is running gold from the Mountain!" they cried, and everywhere windows were opening and feet were hurrying.
... There was once more a tremendous excitement... ...But the grim-voiced fellow ran hotfoot to the Master. "The dragon is coming or I am a fool!" he cried. "Cut the bridges! To arms! To arms!"
... Then warning trumpets were suddenly sounded, and echoed along the rocky shores. The cheering stopped and the joy was turned to dread. So it was that the dragon did not find them quite unprepared."


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Dec 13 2021, 1:47pm

Post #23 of 44 (494 views)
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Here's part-2 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at Smaug's attack on Lake-town… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Hobbit: Fire and Ice

... Before long, so great was his speed, they could see him as a spark of fire rushing towards them and growing ever huger and more bright... ...not the most foolish doubted that the prophecies had gone rather wrong. Still they had a little time. Every vessel in the town was filled with water, every warrior was armed, every arrow and dart was ready, and the bridge to the land was thrown down... ...before the roar of Smaug's terrible approach grew loud, and the lake rippled red as fire beneath the awful beating of his wings.
... Amid shrieks and wailing and the shouts of men he came over them, swept towards the bridges and was foiled. The bridge was gone, and his enemies were on an island in deep water... ...too deep and dark and cool for his liking. If he plunged into it, a vapour and a steam would arise enough to cover all the land with a mist for days; but the lake was mightier than he, it would quench him before he could pass through.
... Roaring he swept back over the town. A hail of dark arrows leaped up and snapped and rattled on his scales and jewels, and their shafts fell back kindled by his breath burning and hissing into the lake. No fireworks... ...equalled the sights that night. At the twanging of the bows and the shrilling of the trumpets the dragon's wrath blazed to its height, till he was blind and mad with it. No one had dared to give battle to him for many an age; nor would they have dared now, if it had not been for the grim-voiced man... ...Bard... ...who ran to and fro cheering on the archers and urging the Master to order them to fight to the last arrow.
... Fire leaped from the dragon's jaws. He circled for a while high in the air above them lighting all the lake; the trees by the shores shone like copper and... ...blood with leaping shadows of dense black at their feet. Then down he swooped straight through the arrow-storm, reckless in his rage, taking no heed to turn his scaly sides towards his foes, seeking only to set their town ablaze.
... Fire leaped from thatched roofs and wooden beam-ends as he hurtled down and past and round again, though all had been drenched with water before he came. Once more water was flung by a hundred hands wherever a spark appeared. Back swirled the dragon. A sweep of his tail and the roof of the Great House crumbled... ...Flames unquenchable sprang high into the night. Another swoop and another, and another house and then another sprang afire and fell; and still no arrow hindered Smaug or hurt him more than a fly from the marshes."


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Dec 14 2021, 1:18pm

Post #24 of 44 (480 views)
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Here's part-3 of a 4-part Book Spoiler that looks at Smaug's attack on Lake-town… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Hobbit: Fire and Ice

... "Already men were jumping into the water on every side. Women and children were being huddled into laden boats in the market-pool. Weapons were flung down. There was... ...weeping, where but a little time ago the old songs of mirth to come had been sung about the dwarves. Now men cursed their names. The Master himself was turning to his great gilded boat, hoping to row away in the confusion and save himself. Soon all the town would be deserted and burned down to the surface of the lake.
... That was the dragon's hope. They could all get into boats for all he cared... ...he could have fine sport hunting them, or they could stop till they starved. Let them try to get to land and he would be ready... ...he would set all the shoreland woods ablaze and wither every field and pasture. Just now he was enjoying the sport of town-baiting more than he had enjoyed anything for years.
... But there was still a company of archers that held their ground among the burning houses. Their captain was Bard, grim-voiced and grim-faced, whose friends had accused... ...of prophesying floods and poisoned fish, though they knew his worth and courage. He was a descendant in long line of Girion, Lord of Dale, whose wife and child had escaped down the Running River from the ruin long ago. Now he shot with a great yew bow, till all his arrows but one were spent. The flames were near him. His companions were leaving him. He bent his bow for the last time.
... Suddenly out of the dark something fluttered to his shoulder. He started—but it was only an old thrush. Unafraid it perched by his ear and it brought him news. Marvelling he found he could understand it... ...for he was of the race of Dale.
... "Wait! Wait!" it said to him. "The moon is rising. Look for the hollow of the left breast as he flies and turns above you..!"
... ...Then Bard drew his bow-string to his ear. The dragon was circling back, flying low, and as he came the moon rose above the eastern shore and silvered his great wings.
... "Arrow!" said the bowman. "Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!"
... The dragon swooped once more lower than ever, and as he turned and dived down his belly glittered white with sparkling fires of gems... ...but not in one place. The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string, straight for the hollow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was its flight. With a shriek that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air, turned over and crashed down from on high in ruin.
... Full on the town he fell. His last throes splintered it to sparks and gledes. The lake roared in. A vast steam leaped up... ...There was a hiss, a gushing whirl, and then silence. And that was the end of Smaug and Esgaroth, but not of Bard."


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Dec 15 2021, 12:32pm

Post #25 of 44 (464 views)
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Here's the last of a 4-part Book Spoiler of Smaug's attack on Lake-town... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Hobbit: Fire and Ice

..."...down the wind came the voices of the people of Esgaroth lamenting their lost town and goods and ruined houses. But they had really much to be thankful for... ...though it could hardly be expected that they should just then: three quarters of the people of the town had at least escaped alive; their woods and fields and pastures and cattle and most of their boats remained undamaged; and the dragon was dead. What that meant they had not yet realized.
...They gathered in mournful crowds upon the western shores, shivering in the cold wind... ...they praised the courage of Bard and his last mighty shot. "If only he had not been killed," they all said, "we would make him a king. Bard the Dragon-shooter of the line of Girion! Alas that he is lost!"
...And in the very midst of their talk, a tall figure stepped from the shadows. He was drenched with water, his black hair hung wet over his face and shoulders, and a fierce light was in his eyes.
..."Bard is not lost!" he cried. "He dived from Esgaroth when the enemy was slain. I am Bard, of the line of Girion; I am the slayer of the dragon!"
... "King Bard! King Bard!" they shouted...."
... "[Bard] strode off to help in the ordering of the camps and in the care of the sick and the wounded. But the Master scowled at his back as he went, and remained sitting on the ground...

... ...the night was bitter and miserable. Shelters could be contrived for few... ...and there was little food... ...Many took ill of wet and cold and sorrow that night, and afterwards died, who had escaped uninjured from the ruin of the town; and in the days that followed there was much sickness and great hunger.
... Meanwhile Bard took the lead, and ordered things as he wished... ...and he had a hard task to govern the people and direct the preparations for their protection and housing. Probably most of them would have perished in the winter that now hurried after autumn, if help had not been to hand. But help came swiftly; for Bard at once had speedy messengers sent up the river to the Forest to ask the aid of the King of the Elves of the Wood, and these messengers had found a host already on the move...."

... ...The Elvenking had received news from his own messengers and from the birds that loved his folk, and already knew much of what had happened.... ...So it was that Bard's messengers found him now marching with many spearmen and bowmen... ...he hastened now down the river to the Long Lake. He had not boats or rafts enough for this host, and they were forced to go the slower way by foot; but great store of goods he sent ahead by water... ...they came upon the shores and looked on the ruins of the town. Their welcome was good, as may be expected, and the men and their Master were ready to make any bargain for the future in return for the Elvenking's aid.
... Their plans were soon made. With the women and the children, the old and the unfit... ...some men of crafts and many skilled elves... ...busied themselves felling trees, and collecting the timber sent down from the Forest. Then they set about raising many huts by the shore against the oncoming winter... ...They removed northward higher up the shore; for ever after they had a dread of the water where the dragon lay. He would never again return to his golden bed, but was stretched cold as stone, twisted upon the floor of the shallows… …for ages his huge bones could be seen in calm weather amid the ruined piles of the old town… …few dared to cross the cursed spot, and none dared to dive into the shivering water or recover the precious stones that fell from his rotting carcase."


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