“The Shadows Where the Mewlips [really] dwell” – Mapping the road to Mordor?

The Mewlips.png

I’m chuffed by the eager response asking me to post the paper I presented at this year’s Oxonmoot. Well, here it is in full (with a few additional notes) for your enjoyment, if such be its fate. Continue reading

Army numbers in Middle-earth

Last Alliance 2(C) New Line Cinema

 

When reading accounts of battles and warfare, numbers are important. They help provide context and scale to the conflict, allowing readers to assess the situation in terms of balance in favour or against an ally or enemy. Which is why I have often found it somewhat baffling that Tolkien gives us so little information on army numbers in his Middle-earth stories. Continue reading

From Gondolin to Trollshaws: Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting

sting

© Warner Bros. & MGM Studios

Three Elven swords were forged in Gondolin during the First Age, and presumably lost after the fall of this city as recounted in The Silmarillion. Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting make their proper appearance in The Hobbit in the lair of the three trolls, some 6,462 years later and just under 1,900 miles away from their original place of forging.

How and when could these swords have been carried such a long distance through three ages of wars, plunder and cataclysmic events? Continue reading

The Tale of the Last Alliance

Last Alliance

In Tolkien’s own words 

I have long wished to see a full account of the War of the Last Alliance as written by Tolkien for the history of Middle-earth. Unfortunately, much of what we know is scattered into fragments over numerous books.

Following the success of The Tale of the Dagor Dagorth post, I have attempted to do the same thing. Looking for every passage, sentence, footnote and scrap of information referencing the Last Alliance, I have tried to construct a full account using Tolkien’s own writings. Continue reading

Frodo’s Elven Cloak at the Dead Marshes

Frodo and Sam (Dead Marshes) 2

Did Sam fail to see Frodo?

The following is not a discussion or analysis post. It is a question.

I’d like to put forward something that’s been on my mind ever since I watched The Two Towers.

Remember the scene where Frodo, Sam and Gollum are hiding from a Black Rider during the Dead Marshes sequence?

Continue reading

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition – Review (Part II)

FOTR review header

The reviewing continues …

Well, here it is. Almost two years later, here follows the continuation of the massive The Lord of the Rings review.

I’m ashamed to state it took me so long. But finally, here it is.

Mind you, this is only Part 2 of 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring, which I’m hoping won’t take as long to write. In the meantime, you’ve got much reading to do in this second part.

I hope you enjoy 🙂 … Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Elendil goes against Sauron (header)

In which these tales and this series come to an end

The fourth and final of the short works that make up The Silmarillion, deals primarily with the events taking place in the Third Age, most of which are recounted in The Lord of the Rings.

It’s fascinating to know that Tolkien wanted to include this work along with the others, thereby producing a book that stretched all the way from the beginning of Arda (in the Ainulindalë) right through the end of the Third Age.

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Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Akallabêth

Numenor Map (header)

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

What were the Silent Watchers?

The Silent Watchers

Spirits Only a Gamgee could Master

If you have seen the films, you probably didn’t notice them. But if you’ve read The Lord of the Rings, you most probably remember them clearly. You’ve asked questions, but never got to any revealing answers.

It is ironic how, with all the appendices, letters and thousands of pages on Middle-earth’s history and detail, there are so many mysteries left unraveled by Tolkien.

Case in point are the Silent Watchers guarding the entrance to the tower of Cirith Ungol. Continue reading

The Gaffer’s Elite: Realms and Settlements

Gaffer Gamgee

Ranking all things Middle-earth

Hullo friends!

It’s Friday today and that means another post from the Gaffer’s Elite! Now I had announced a “favourite characters” ranking last week, but in the meantime I thought there’s just one more post I need to do before getting to that.

Undoubtedly, one of the most appealing things about Middle-earth, and the reason why we keeping going back to these films and reading the books, is due to the vast variety of locations the stories take place in.

In 6 films, Peter Jackson and his creative team have visualised much of Tolkien’s fertile creativity and sublime imagination. Suffice to say, the combination of visual effects, set design and New Zealand’s natural breathtaking countryside, have given us a wealth of fantasy locales unlike any other.

So without further ado, here are some of my most cherished environments from the films… Continue reading