So Amazon just released an interactive map in what appears to be the beginning of a long and tantalising marketing campaign leading to the release of the secretively-termed “Lord of the Rings series”.
The interactivity of this map lies in the user’s ability to zoom in or out of the familiar layout of Middle-earth and scroll across the landscape features. Suffice to say, the map is quite bare – lacking any sort of geographical names or other details.
So what clues can we gather from this rather uncommunicative map. I decided to undertake a quick exercise to analyse the map, and avoid the hundreds of other fan theories most likely spawning out there on the internet.
What follows is my own, unbiased (most probably totally erroneous, but fun-making) analysis of what this map could mean … Continue reading “A “very” sketchy analysis of the Lord of the Rings Amazon series interactive map”
The official Facebook page for J.R.R. Tolkien recently unveiled an exclusive Alan Lee artwork from The Fall of Gondolin and, suffice to say, it looks gorgeous. Not only that, it features quite possibly the coolest Vala in Arda. Continue reading “The Fall of Gondolin – next week!”
In a post title that feels somewhat appropriate given my recent absence from this blog, allow me to delve into yet another one of those Middle-earth topics we know very little about … Continue reading “Tolkien’s Caves of the Forgotten”
[Highly complex illustration follows below]
The Silmarillion contains two obscure references to places or “structures” that seem to be the opposite of each other. Both are fascinating concepts but difficult to grasp given how little information we have access to. Continue reading “The Gates of Morning and the Door of Night, Eä and the Void”
Hunting the elusive creature
You pick up a copy of The Hobbit and start reading the first chapter.
Halfway through you encounter the following statement made by Bilbo Baggins:
“Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert.”
Continue reading “On Were-worms”
The Downfall of Númenor
As already stated at the beginning of the TTRT series, although the Akallabêth is a separate account from the History of the Silmarils, it is nonetheless part of The Silmarillion as a book: presenting us with the continuation of events at the end of the First Age, with a perspective on the island of Númenor.
It is a fact that from all the works related to Middle-earth, the Second Age is perhaps the least accessible due to the lack of any substantial information.
Our primary sources as to what happens during this 3000-year period consist of a timeline in Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings, a brief account and story in Unfinished Tales, and the ‘Akallabêth’.
My view is that the ‘Akallabêth’ is our most comprehensive account we have available of the Second Age, and is the key to filling up the gap between the events at the end of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ and the earliest histories of the Third Age as recounted in The Lord of the Rings. Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Akallabêth”
“We come to it at last … the Great War of our time”
Believe it or not, we’ve come to the end of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ account that brings with it the end of the First Age.
Cataclysmic events are about to unfold and one of the greatest characters in Middle-earth will make his introduction. Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty-Four”
O Beren, Beren, wherefore art thou Beren?
It’s a love story that transcends the physical world; a powerful narrative on the hopes and destinies of the two principal races in The Silmarillion.
The first of the three Great Tales from the First Age, ‘Of Beren and Lúthien’ highlights Tolkien’s mastery in balancing the vast and the epic, with the intricate and romantic.
Forget Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, or Dante’s Paolo e Francesca. The story of Beren and Lúthien may have been inspired by these older tales, but they are merely sketches that made way for the final masterpiece.
It’s impossible to summarise a chapter that runs over 20 pages and still do it justice. Therefore, I urge you to read through the book first (if you haven’t done so already) and then come back to these few meager lines that follow in this post … Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Nineteen”
Ainulindalë and Valaquenta
So begins the first post from the TTRT series (Tolkien Trio Reading Tradition).
As stated last week, we’ll be going through Tolkien’s works, chapter-by-chapter, starting with The Silmarillion.
(Naturally, stick-figure drawings will help me illustrate the point)
Today we’ll be looking at both Ainulindalë and Valaquenta. Note, these are not chapters but rather two shorter works that make up the collection known as ‘The Silmarillion’.
Newcomers to this book, and veteran readers who haven’t yet done so, are strongly urged to read through the Foreword, Preface and (most importantly) Tolkien’s letter to Milton Waldman – available in any second edition copy of The Silmarillion.
Said letter is a fantastic piece of writing that offers its readers a fragment of the author’s thoughts and aspirations behind his entire fantasy world.
It’s an honest account that provides a clear framework to the narratives from The Silmarillion, right through The Lord of the Rings.
Suffice to say there are some minor story spoilers but skip this letter at your own risk.
Now, onto the complex stuff … Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion”
*Warning! It gets as confusing as reading The Silmarillion in Khuzdul for the very first time … you have been warned!*
A question often arises within the first few chapters of reading The Silmarillion.
After the initial pages, readers get acquainted with Ilúvatar and the Ainur: the divisions between Valar and Maiar, and their entry into the physical world.
Then this being comes along by the name of Ungoliant – assuming the shape of a giant spider who aides the Vala Melkor, and drains the light from the Two Trees of Valinor.
Continue reading “Ungoliant: A Fragment of Melkor’s Discord?”