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Today in Middle-earth [29 Dec 2006|06:29pm]
Today is Friday, December 29.

It is Highday, 7 Afteryule in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Valanya (Orbelain), 39 Hrivë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Dwarvish was both complicated and cacophonous. Even early elvish philologists avoided it, and the dwarves were obliged to use other languages, except for entirely private conversations.

~The Letters of JRR Tolkien: Letter #25, dated February 20, 1938
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Today in Middle-earth [19 Dec 2006|07:17pm]
Today is Tuesday, December 19.

It is Trewsday, 29 Foreyule in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Alduya (Orgaladhad), 29 Hrivë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Then out of the blackness in his mind he thought that he heard Dernhelm speaking; yet now the voice seemed strange, recalling some other voice that he had known.

'Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!'

A cold voice answered: 'Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.'

A sword rang as it was drawn. 'Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.'

'Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!'

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.'

~The Return of the King: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
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Today in Middle-earth [14 Dec 2006|05:08pm]
*cough* err. Sorry about the whole... not posting for eleven days thing.

Today is Thursday, December 14.

It is Mersday, 24 Foreyule in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Earenya (Oraearon), 24 Hrivë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

"There lies the fastness of Southern Mirkwood," said Haldir. "It is clad in a forest of dark fir, where the trees strive one against another and their branches rot and wither. In the midst upon a stony height stands Dol Guldur, where long the hidden Enemy had his dwelling. We fear that now it is inhabited again, and with power sevenfold. A black cloud lies often over it of late. In this high place you may see the two powers that are opposed one to another; and ever they strive now in thought, but whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered. Not yet." He turned and climbed swiftly down, and they followed him.

At the hill's foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes. He was wrapped in some fair memory; and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld things as they once had been in this same place. For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. Arwen vanimelda, namarie! he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.

"Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth," he said, "and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come with me!" And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man.

Suddenly they came out into the open again and found themselves under a pale evening sky pricked by a few early stars. There was a wide treeless space before them, running in a great circle and bending away on either hand. Beyond it was a deep fosse lost in soft shadow, but the grass upon its brink was green, as if it glowed still in memory of the sun that had gone. Upon the further side there rose to a great height a green wall encircling a green hill thronged with mallorn-trees taller than any they had yet seen in all the land. Their height could not be guessed, but they stood up in the twilight like living towers. In their many-tiered branches and amid their ever-moving leaves countless lights were gleaming, green and gold and silver. Haldir turned towards the Company.

"Welcome to Caras Galadhon!" he said. "Here is the city of the Galadhrim where dwell the Lord Celeborn and Galadriel the Lady of Lorien. But we cannot enter here, for the gates do not look northward. We must go round to the southern side, and the way is not short, for the city is great."

~Fellowship of the Ring: Lothlorien
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Today in Middle-earth [03 Dec 2006|12:45pm]
Today is Sunday, December 3.

It is Sunday, 13 Foreyule in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Anarya (Oranor), 13 Hrivë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Gimli Gloin's son is renowned, for he was one of the Nine Walkers that set out with the Ring; and he remained in the company of King Elessar throughout the War. He was named Elf-friend because of the great love that grew between him and Legolas, son of King Thranduil, and because of his reverence for the Lady Galadriel.

After the fall of Sauron, Gimli brought south a part of the Dwarf-folk of Erebor, and he became Lord of the Glittering Caves. He and his people did great works in Gondor and Rohan. For Minas Tirith they forged gates of mithril and steel to replace those broken by the Witch-king. Legolas his friend also brought south Elves out of Greenwood, and they dwelt in Ithilien, and it became once again the fairest country in all the westlands.

But when King Elessar gave up his life Legolas followed at last the desire of his heart and sailed over Sea.

We have heard tell that Legolas took Gimli Gloin's son with him because of their great friendship, greater than any that has been between Elf and Dwarf. If this is true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for any love, or that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lords of the West should permit it. But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among the Eldar, obtained this grace for him. More cannot be said of this matter.

~The Return of the King: Appendix A: Durin's Folk
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Today in Middle-earth [24 Nov 2006|08:58am]
Today is Friday, November 24.

It is Highday, 4 Foreyule in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Valanya (Orbelain), 4 Hrivë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Aragorn picked up Frodo where he lay by the wall and made for the stair, pushing Merry and Pippin in front of him. The others followed; but Gimli had to be dragged away by Legolas: in spite of the peril he lingered by Balin's tomb with his head bowed. Boromir hauled the eastern door to, grinding upon its hinges: it had great iron rings on either side, but could not be fastened.

'I am all right,' gasped Frodo. 'I can walk. Put me down!'

Aragorn nearly dropped him in his amazement. 'I thought you were dead!' he cried.

'Not yet!' said Gandalf. 'But there is no time for wonder. Off you go, all of you, down the stairs! Wait a few minutes for me at the bottom, but if I do not come soon, go on! Go quickly and choose paths leading right and downwards.'

'We cannot leave you to hold the door alone!' said Aragorn.

'Do as I say!' said Gandalf fiercely. 'Swords are no more use here. Go!'

~The Fellowship of the Ring: The Bridge of Khazad-dum
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Today in Middle-earth [21 Nov 2006|03:44pm]
Today is Tuesday, November 21.

It is Trewsday, 1 Foreyule in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Alduya (Orgaladhad), 1 Hrivë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

This business began so far back that it might be said to have begun at birth. Somewhere about six years old I tried to write some verses on a dragon about which I now remember nothing except that it contained the expression a green great dragon and that I remained puzzled for a very long time at being told that this should be great green. But the mythology (and associated languages) first began to take shape during the 1914-18 war. The Fall of Gondolin (and the birth of Earendil) was written in hospital and on leave after surviving the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The kernel of the mythology, the matter of Luthien Tinuviel and Beren, arose from a small woodland glade filled with ‘hemlocks’ (or other white umbellifers) near Roos on the Holderness peninsula – to which I occasionally went when free from regimental duties while in the Humber Garrison in 1918.

~The Letters of JRR Tolkien: Letter #165, dated June 30, 1955
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Today in Middle-earth [17 Nov 2006|07:41am]
Today is Friday, November 17.

It is Highday, 27 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Valanya (Orbelain), 51 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

'Well!' he cried. 'We've done it! We've escaped from the Emyn Muil! And now what next, I wonder? Maybe we shall soon be sighing for good hard rock under foot again.'

But Sam did not answer: he was staring back up the cliff. 'Ninnyhammers!' he said. 'Noodles! My beautiful rope! There it is tied to a stump, and we're at the bottom. Just as nice a little stair for that slinking Gollum as we could leave. Better put up a signpost to say which way we've gone! I thought it seemed a bit too easy.'

'If you can think of any way we could have both used the rope and yet brought it down with us, then you can pass on to me ninnyhammer, or any other name your Gaffer gave you,' said Frodo. 'Climb up and untie it and let yourself down, if you want to!'

Sam scratched his head. 'No, I can't think how, begging your pardon,' he said. 'But I don't like leaving it, and that's a fact.' He stroked the rope's end and shook it gently. 'It goes hard parting with anything I brought out of the elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself, too, maybe. Galadriel,' he murmured, nodding his head mournfully. He looked up and gave one last pull to the rope as if in farewell.

To the complete surprise of both the hobbits it came loose. Sam fell over, and the long grey coils slithered silently down on top of him. Frodo laughed. 'Who tied the rope?' he said. 'A good thing it held as long as it did! To think that I trusted all my weight to your knot!'

Sam did not laugh. 'I may not be much good at climbing, Mr Frodo,' he said in injured tones, 'but I do know something about rope and about knots. It's in the family, as you might say. Why, my grand-dad, and my uncle Andy after him, him that was the Gaffer's eldest brother, he had a rope-walk over by Tighfield many a year. And I put as fast a hitch over the stump as any one could have done, in the Shire or out of it.'

'Then the rope must have broken - frayed on the rock-edge, I expect,' said Frodo.

'I bet it didn't!' said Sam in an even more injured voice. He stooped and examined the ends. 'Nor it hasn't neither. Not a strand!'

'Then I'm afraid it must have been the knot,' said Frodo.

Sam shook his head and did not answer. He was passing the rope through his fingers thoughtfully. 'Have it your own way, Mr Frodo,' he said at last, 'but I think the rope came off itself - when I called.' He coiled it up and stowed it lovingly in his pack.

~The Two Towers: The Taming of Smeagol
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Today in Middle-earth [15 Nov 2006|09:02am]
Today is Wednesday, November 15.

It is Hevensday, 25 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Menelya (Ormenel), 49 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Men do go, and have in history gone on journeys and quests, without any intention of acting out allegories of life. It is not true of the past or the present to say that ‘only the rich or those on vacation can take journeys’. Most men make some journeys. Whether long or short, with an errand or simply to go ‘there and back again’, is not of primary importance. As I tried to express it in Bilbo’s Walking Song, even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects. When Sam had got no further than the Woody End he had already had an ‘eye-opener’. For if there is anything in a journey of any length, for me it is this: a deliverance from the plantlike state of helpless passive sufferer, an exercise however small of will, and mobility – and of curiosity, without which a rational mind becomes stultified.

~The Letters of JRR Tolkien: Letter #183, dated 1956
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Today in Middle-earth [08 Nov 2006|05:26pm]
Today is Wednesday, November 8.

It is Hevensday, 18 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Menelya (Ormenel), 42 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Then Fingon looked towards Thangorodrim, and there was a dark cloud about it, and a black smoke went up; and he knew that the wrath of Morgoth was aroused, and that their challenge was accepted. A shadow of doubt fell upon Fingon's heart; and he looked eastwards, seeking if he might see with elven-sight the dust of Anfauglith rising beneath the hosts of Maedhros. He knew not that Maedhros was hindered in his setting-forth by the guile of Uldor the accursed, who deceived him with false warnings of assault from Angband.

But now a cry went up, passing up the wind from the south from vale to vale, and Elves and Men lifted their voices in wonder and joy. For unsummoned and unlooked for Turgon had opened the leaguer of Gondolin, and was come with an army ten thousand strong, with bright mail and long swords and spears like a forest. Then when Fingon heard afar the great trumpet of Turgon his brother, the shadow passed and his heart was uplifted, and he shouted aloud: 'Utulie'n aurë! Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatari, utulie'n aurë! The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!' And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered crying: 'Auta i lomë! The night is passing!'

~The Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle
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Today in Middle-earth [06 Nov 2006|04:19pm]
Today is Monday, November 6.

It is Monday, 16 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Isilya (Orithil), 40 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

'Yes, we wait for the stroke of doom,' said Faramir. And they said no more; and it seemed to them as they stood upon the wall that the wind died, and the light failed, and the Sun was bleared, and all sounds in the City or the land about were hushed: neither wind, nor voice, nor bird-call, nor rustle of leaf, nor their own breath could be heard; the very beating of their hearts was stilled. Time halted.

And as they stood so, their hands met and clasped, though they did not know it. And still they waited for they knew not what. Then presently it seemed to them that above the ridges of the distant mountains another vast mountain of darkness rose, towering up like a wave that should engulf the world, and about it lightnings flickered; and then a tremor ran through the earth, and they felt the walls of the City quiver. A sound like a sigh went up from all the lands about them; and their hearts beat suddenly again.

'It reminds me of Numenor,' said Faramir, and wondered to hear himself speak.

'Of Numenor?' said Eowyn.

'Yes,' said Faramir, 'of the land of Westernesse that foundered, and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.'

'Then you think that the Darkness is coming?' said Eowyn. 'Darkness Unescapable?' And suddenly she drew close to him.

'No,' said Faramir, looking into her face. 'It was but a picture in the mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness can endure!' And he stooped and kissed her brow.

~The Return of the King: The Steward and the King
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Today in Middle-earth [05 Nov 2006|08:05pm]
Today is Sunday, November 5.

It is Sunday, 15 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Anarya (Oranor), 39 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Earendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.

'Yes,' she said, divining his thought, 'it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lorien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.

'He suspects, but he does not know - not yet. Do you not see now wherefore your coming is to us as the footstep of Doom? For if you fail, then we are laid bare to the Enemy. Yet if you succeed, then our power is diminished, and Lothlorien will fade, and the tides of Time will sweep it away. We must depart into the West, or dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and to be forgotten.'

Frodo bent his head. 'And what do you wish?' he said at last.

'That what should be shall be,' she answered. 'The love of the Elves for their land and their works is deeper than the deeps of the Sea, and their regret is undying and cannot ever wholly be assuaged. Yet they will cast all away rather than submit to Sauron: for they know him now. For the fate of Lothlorien you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task. Yet I could wish, were it of any avail, that the One Ring had never been wrought, or had remained for ever lost.'

~The Fellowship of the Ring: The Mirror of Galadriel
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Today in Middle-earth [03 Nov 2006|07:13am]
Today is Friday, November 3.

It is Highday, 13 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Valanya (Orbelain), 37 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

'It is said that the Hornburg has never fallen to assault,' said Theoden, 'but now my heart is doubtful. The world changes, and all that once was strong now proves unsure. How shall any tower withstand such numbers and such reckless hate? Had I known that the strength of Isengard was grown so great, maybe I should not so rashly have ridden forth to meet it, for all the arts of Gandalf. His counsel seems not now so good as it did under the morning sun.'

'Do not judge the counsel of Gandalf, until all is over, lord,' said Aragorn.

'The end will not be long,' said the king. 'But I will not end here, taken like an old badger in a trap. Snowmane and Hasufel and the horses of my guard are in the inner court. When dawn comes, I will bid men sound Helm's horn, and I will ride forth. Will you ride with me then, son of Arathorn? Maybe we shall cleave a road, or make such an end as will be worth a song - if any be left to sing of us hereafter.'

'I will ride with you,' said Aragorn.

Taking his leave, he returned to the walls, and passed round all their circuit, enheartening the men, and lending aid wherever the assault was hot. Legolas went with him. Blasts of fire leaped up from below shaking the stones. Grappling-hooks were hurled, and ladders raised. Again and again the Orcs gained the summit of the outer wall, and again the defenders cast them down.

~The Two Towers: Helm's Deep
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Today in Middle-earth [01 Nov 2006|05:02pm]
Today is Wednesday, November 1.

It is Hevensday, 11 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Menelya (Ormenel), 35 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

He could not sleep and he held a debate with himself. 'Well, come now, we've done better than you hoped,' he said sturdily. 'Began well anyway. I reckon we crossed half the distance before we stopped. One more day will do it.' And then he paused.

'Don't be a fool, Sam Gamgee,' came an answer in his own voice. 'He won't go another day like that, if he moves at all. And you can't go on much longer giving him all the water and most of the food.'

'I can go on a good way though, and I will.'

'Where to?'

'To the Mountain, of course.'

'But what then, Sam Gamgee, what then? When you get there, what are you going to do? He won't be able to do anything for himself.'

To his dismay Sam realized that he had not got an answer to this. He had no clear idea at all. Frodo had not spoken much to him of his errand, and Sam only knew vaguely that the Ring had somehow to be put in the fire. 'The Cracks of Doom,' he muttered, the old name rising to his mind. 'Well, if Master knows how to find them, I don't.'

'There you are!' came the answer. 'It's all quite useless. He said so himself. You are the fool, going on hoping and toiling. You could have lain down and gone to sleep together days ago, if you hadn't been so dogged. But you'll die just the same, or worse. You might just as well lie down now and give it up. You'll never get to the top anyway.'

'I'll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind,' said Sam. 'And I'll carry Mr Frodo up myself, if it breaks my back and heart. So stop arguing!'

~The Return of the King: Mount Doom
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Today in Middle-earth [29 Oct 2006|03:02pm]
Today is Sunday, October 29.

It is Sunday, 8 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Anarya (Oranor), 32 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

'No,' said Aragorn. 'Only one of us is an Elf, Legolas from the Woodland Realm in distant Mirkwood. But we have passed through Lothlorien, and the gifts and favour of the Lady go with us.'

The Rider looked at them with renewed wonder, but his eyes hardened. 'Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as old tales tell!' he said. 'Few escape her nets, they say. These are strange days! But if you have her favour, then you also are net-weavers and sorcerers, maybe.' He turned a cold glance suddenly upon Legolas and Gimli. 'Why do you not speak, silent ones?' he demanded.

Gimli rose and planted his feet firmly apart: his hand gripped the handle of his axe, and his dark eyes flashed. 'Give me your name, horse-master, and I will give you mine, and more besides,' he said.

'As for that,' said the Rider, staring down at the Dwarf, 'the stranger should declare himself first. Yet I am named Eomer son of Eomund, and am called the Third Marshall of Riddermark.'

'Then Eomer son of Eomund, Third Marshall of Riddermark, let Gimli the Dwarf Gloin's son warn you against foolish words. You speak evil of that which is fair beyond the reach of your thought, and only little wit can excuse you.'

Eomer's eyes blazed, and the Men of Rohan murmured angrily, and closed in, advancing their spears. 'I would cut off your head, beard and all, Master Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground,' said Eomer.

'He stands not alone,' said Legolas, bending his bow and fitting an arrow with his hands that moved quicker than sight. 'You would die before your stroke fell.'

~The Two Towers: The Riders of Rohan
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Today in Middle-earth [27 Oct 2006|04:08pm]
Today is Friday, October 27.

It is Highday, 6 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Valanya (Orbelain), 30 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Sam turned and bolted back down the path. He fell and cut his knees. Up he got and ran on. He came to the edge of the lawn of Parth Galen by the shore, where the boats were drawn up out of the water. No one was there. There seemed to be cries in the woods behind, but he did not heed them. He stood gazing for a moment, stock-still, gaping. A boat was sliding down the bank all by itself. With a shout Sam raced across the grass. The boat slipped into the water.

'Coming, Mr Frodo! Coming!' called Sam, and flung himself from the bank, clutching at the departing boat. He missed it by a yard. With a cry and a splash he fell face downward into deep swift water. Gurgling he went under, and the River closed over his curly head.

An exclamation of dismay came from the empty boat. A paddle swirled and the boat put about. Frodo was just in time to grasp Sam by the hair as he came up, bubbling and struggling. Fear was staring in his round brown eyes.

'Up you come, Sam my lad!' said Frodo. 'Now take my hand!'

'Save me, Mr Frodo!' gasped Sam. 'I'm drownded. I can't see your hand.'

'Here it is. Don't pinch, lad! I won't let you go. Tread water and don't flounder, or you'll upset the boat. There now, get hold of the side, and let me use the paddle!'

With a few strokes Frodo brought the boat back to the bank, and Sam was able to scramble out, wet as a water-rat. Frodo took off the Ring and stepped ashore again.

'Of all the confounded nuisances you are the worst, Sam!' he said.

'Oh, Mr Frodo, that's hard!' said Sam shivering. 'That's hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn't a guessed right, where would you be now?'

'Safely on my way.'

'Safely!' said Sam. 'All alone and without me to help you? I couldn't have a borne it, it'd have been the death of me.'

'It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,' said Frodo, 'and I could not have borne that.'

'Not as certain as being left behind,' said Sam.

'But I am going to Mordor.'

'I know that well enough, Mr Frodo. Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.'

~The Fellowship of the Ring: The Breaking of the Fellowship
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Today in Middle-earth [26 Oct 2006|04:09pm]
Today is Thursday, October 26.

It is Mersday, 5 Blotmath in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Earenya (Oraearon), 29 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. Eomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first eored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Theoden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Orome the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.

~The Return of the King: The Ride of the Rohirrim
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Today in Middle-earth [21 Oct 2006|07:48pm]
Today is Saturday, October 21.

It is Sterday, 30 Winterfilth in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Elenya (Orgilion), 24 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

But at this point the ‘salvation’ of the world and Frodo’s own ‘salvation’ is achieved by his previous pity and forgiveness of injury. At any point any prudent person would have told Frodo that Gollum would certainly betray him, and could rob him in the end. To ‘pity’ him, to forbear to kill him, was a piece of folly, or a mystical belief in the ultimate value-in-itself of pity and generosity even if disastrous in the world of time. He did rob him and injure him in the end – but by a ‘grace’, that last betrayal was at a precise juncture when the final evil deed was the most beneficial thing any one could have done for Frodo! By a situation created by his ‘forgiveness’, he was saved himself, and relieved of his burden. He was very justly accorded the highest honours – since it is clear that he and Sam never concealed the precise course of events.

~The Letters of JRR Tolkien: Letter #181, dated February 1956
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Today in Middle-earth [20 Oct 2006|09:36am]
Today is Friday, October 20.

It is Highday, 29 Winterfilth in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Valanya (Orbelain), 23 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Now news came to Hithlum that Dorthonion was lost and the sons of Finarfin overthrown, and that the sons of Feanor were driven from their lands. Then Fingolfin beheld (as it seemed to him) the utter ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses; and filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Orome himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar. Thus he came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.

That was the last time in those wars that he passed the doors of his stronghold, and it is said that he took not the challenge willingly; for though his might was greatest of all things in this world, alone of the Valar he knew fear. But he could not now deny the challenge before the face of his captains; for the rocks rang with the shrill music of Fingolfin's horn, and his voice came keen and clear down into the depths of Angband; and Fingolfin named Morgoth craven, and lord of slaves. Therefore Morgoth came, climbing slowly from his subterranean throne, and the rumour of his feet was like thunder underground. And he issued forth clad in black armour; and he stood before the King like a tower, iron-crowned, and his vast shield, sable unblazoned, cast a shadow over him like a stormcloud. But Fingolfin gleamed beneath it as a star; for his mail was overlaid with silver, and his blue shield was set with crystals; and he drew his sword Ringil, that glittered like ice.

Then Morgoth hurled aloft Grond, the Hammer of the Underworld, and swung it down like a bolt of thunder. But Fingolfin sprang aside, and Grond rent a mighty pit in the earth, whence smoke and fire darted. Many times Morgoth essayed to smite him, and each time Fingolfin leaped away, as a lightning shoots from under a dark cloud; and he wounded Morgoth with seven wounds, and seven times Morgoth gave a cry of anguish, whereat the hosts of Angband fell upon their faces in dismay, and the cries echoed in the Northlands.

But at the last the King grew weary, and Morgoth bore down his shield upon him. Thrice he was crushed to his knees, and thrice arose again and bore up his broken shield and stricken helm. But the earth was all rent and pitted about him, and he stumbled and fell backward before the feet of Morgoth; and Morgoth set his left foot upon his neck, and the weight of it was like a fallen hill. Yet with his last and desperate stroke Fingolfin hewed the foot with Ringil, and the blood gushed forth black and smoking and filled the pits of Grond.

~The Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand
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Today in Middle-earth [17 Oct 2006|03:41pm]
Today is Tuesday, October 17.

It is Trewsday, 26 Winterfilth in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Alduya (Orgaladhad), 20 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

When is Vol. III likely now to appear? I shall be murdered if something does not happen soon.

~The Letters of JRR Tolkien: Letter #170, dated September 30, 1955
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Today in Middle-earth [15 Oct 2006|04:26pm]
Today is Sunday, October 15.

It is Sunday, 24 Winterfilth in the Shire-reckoning.
It is Anarya (Oranor), 18 Quellë in the reckoning of Rivendell.

Today in 3018, Frodo recovers and wakes. Boromir arrives in Rivendell at night.

Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, 'a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all'. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.

As the evening drew on, Frodo woke up again, and he found that he no longer felt in need of rest or sleep, but had a mind for food and drink, and probably for singing and story-telling afterwards. He got out of bed and discovered that his arm was already nearly as useful again as it had ever been. He found laid ready clean garments of green cloth that fitted him excellently. Looking in a mirror he was startled to see a much thinner reflection of himself than he remembered: it looked remarkably like the young nephew of Bilbo who used to go tramping with his uncle in the Shire; but the eyes looked out at him thoughtfully.

'Yes, you have seen a thing or two since you last peeped out of a looking-glass,' he said to his reflection. 'But now for a merry meeting!' He stretched out his arms and whistled a tune.

At that moment there was a knock on the door, and Sam came in. He ran to Frodo and took his left hand, awkwardly and shyly. He stroked it gently and then he blushed and turned hastily away.

'Hullo, Sam!' said Frodo.

'It's warm!' said Sam. 'Meaning your hand, Mr Frodo. It has felt so cold through the long nights. But glory and trumpets!' he cried, turning round again with shining eyes and dancing on the floor. 'It's fine to see you up and yourself again, sir! Gandalf asked me to come and see if you were ready to come down, and I thought he was joking.'

~The Fellowship of the Ring: Many Meetings
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