MiddleEarthBlog: May 2012


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

International release dates for the Hobbit

As a gesture of friendship to my readers from around the Globe, here is a list of release dates in various countries. Fresh from IMDB.
Belgium 12 December 2012
Denmark 12 December 2012
France 12 December 2012
Norway 12 December 2012
Sweden 12 December 2012
Germany 13 December 2012
Greece 13 December 2012
Hong Kong 13 December 2012
Hungary 13 December 2012
Israel 13 December 2012
Netherlands 13 December 2012
Russia 13 December 2012
Singapore 13 December 2012
Canada 14 December 2012
Italy 14 December 2012
Japan 14 December 2012
New Zealand 14 December 2012
Paraguay 14 December 2012
Romania 14 December 2012
South Africa 14 December 2012
Spain 14 December 2012
UK 14 December 2012
USA 14 December 2012
Armenia 19 December 2012
Ukraine 20 December 2012
Brazil 21 December 2012
Colombia 25 December 2012
Australia 26 December 2012
Poland 28 December 2012
Argentina 1 January 2013

Also Known As (AKA)
Хобит: Неочаквано пътешествие Bulgaria (imdb display title) (Bulgarian title)
èϦÔ: îÅÓÐÏĦ×ÁÎÁ ÐÏÄÏÒÏÖ Ukraine (imdb display title)
A hobbit: Váratlan utazás Hungary (imdb display title)
Bilbo le Hobbit: un voyage inattendu France (imdb display title)
Der Hobbit - Eine unerwartete Reise Germany (imdb display title)
El Hobbit: Un viaje inesperado Spain (imdb display title)
El hobbit Argentina (imdb display title)
Hobbit: En oväntad resa Sweden (imdb display title)
Hobbit: Niezwykla podróz Poland (imdb display title)
Hobbiten: En uventet reise Norway (imdb display title)
Hobbitten: En uventet rejse Denmark (imdb display title)
Hobit: Neocekivano putovanje Serbia (imdb display title)
Lo Hobbit - Un viaggio inaspettato Italy (imdb display title)
O Hobbit Portugal (imdb display title)
O Hobbit: Uma Jornada Inesperada Brazil (imdb display title)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey USA (complete title)
The Hobbit: Part 1 International (working title) (English title)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Link back to the Tolkien Library Website

Link back to the Tolkien Library Website

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Hobbit - Happy 75th Birthday

In honor of the 75th birthday of  THE HOBBIT I have decided to journey with you through the book chapter by chapter. I will be doing it  a chapter at a time. Let see we have around  seven months to the first installment Of Sir Peter Jacksons latest gift to us the fans on December the 14th and there are 19 chapters so around two chapters a month sometimes three. Let me place this caveat up front.This is not meant to be some scholarly tome  but my own personal views on things and as I have pointed out before they may not always be  right on the money  but just a fans interpretation of  a novel that I have cared for deeply for a whole lot of years,never mind how many  but more than a few. Some of the views and material you will have seen in some prior posts but for the sake of those who mostly just look at the videos I will repeat myself occasionally so I will make my apologies up front. So lets get started with chapter one.

CHAPTER ONE: An Unexpected Party.

  From the very first chapter it is quite easy for all the LORD OF THE RINGS  fans to realize that this is a much different kind of novel all together. We have familiar names and familiar characters but things just don't quite seem the same to us.What you have to realize up front is that this novel is basically a tale for children and therfore the tone of the novel is much different, firstly there isn't such a sense of urgency as in LOTR. The dragon who guards the treasure has been there for more than a century and doesn't appear to be in much of a hurry to leave.In LOTR there is a journey to destroy something in THE HOBBIT there is a journey to reclaim something the killing of the Dragon being quite  a byproduct . In the LOTR the hobbit was a ring bearer in THE HOBBIT a hobbit is a burglar.In the LOTR there is a pervasive sense of duty and honor in THE HOBBIT there is a pervasive sense of greed.The very first line " In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbitis quite a strange statement. What in the deuce is a Hobbit and why would he live in a hole in the ground? What is a Hobbit some form of burrowing mammal or some Dwarven like creature  living in some underground cavern? Immediately you are interested even if it's only to find out the answer to these questions. Of course Professor Tolkien answers them quite nicely. A hobbit is of a man like people who are half the size of normal men and for the most part seem quite harmless and actually a little comical. They certainly like their comforts, food, comfortable homes, relaxing on the porch with a pipe between their teeth comfortably puffing away. You could definitely equate Bilbo Baggins with a country squire in merry olde England. Not much of a tale so far but every great tale has it's arc that is the point that things are changed and we begin to get down to the meat of the matter. This arc is named Gandalf and Gandalf is a Wizard who shows up one fine Spring morning and proposes to Bilbo that he leave all his comforts behind and accompany a band of Dwarves to Erobor in the Lonely mountains and help them regain their homeland and treasure from a very large and fierce dragon named Smaug who had attacked their great cave and slain and eaten many Dwarfs and took their possessions away from them and scattered the remaining Dwarves to far and distant lands. Gandalf calls this little jaunt an adventure and immediately Bilbo is repulsed stating that adventures are untidy things and make one late to dinner. This is the Baggins side of Bilbo speaking but as we find there is another side to Bilbo and that is from his Mothers side. She was Belladonna Took and the Tooks were a little odd. It seems that every once in awhile a Took would for no good reason set off on adventures and while the Baggins side was definitely set on " no adventures please, thank you very much and good day" the Took side was excited at the thought of Gold and Wizards and Dragons oh my.While the Baggins side wanted nothing to do with it. All through the novel these two sides of Bilbo fight it out sometimes one would win sometimes the other. The decision to go on the adventure is finally made by the Took side to the everlasting dismay of the Baggins side. Eventually the Dwarfs shoe up at Bilbos tidy little Hobbit hole and proceed to make themselves comfortable as if they had been expected. We find later that Gandalf left a secret mark on the door for the Dwarves to read basically stating that here was the home of an experienced treasre hunter looking for employment which of course is not the case at all but Gandalf will play his little tricks. The Dwarfs are quite the comical troupe dresses in clothes of many different colors. There names are quite melodic and seem to roll off the tongue. Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Bifor, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin and of course just to set him apart is Thorin Oakenshield the only Dwarf with a last name it seems. The last name is due to an incident in battle when his regular shield is broken he picks up an Oak limb to defend himself. He is a very important Dwarf. If the dragon had not chased the Dwarfs from there ancestral home then he would be King Under the Mountain and it is his burning desire to reclaim his lost land, treasure and crown that has initiated this little adventure. It seems that Thorin had approached Gandalf for advice on how to do just this and Gandalfs advice was not a full frontal attack on the Dragon but a plan of stealth for you see Gandalf possessed a special map of the Dragons lair and a special key that would allow them entrance into a hidden chamber that gave them access to that lair. For this Gandalf explained that they would need the assistance of a professional burglar ( for you see Hobbits possessed the ability to be very stealthy which the Dwarfs certainly did not ) and this led them to Bilbo who had been unbeknownst to him a favorite of Gandalf who remembered him as a young Hobbit always asking him of tales of far away adventure and now Bilbo was to pay for that very curiosity.To say that Bilbo did not make a good first impression on the Dwarves would be an understatement.At one point he swoons and has to take to his bed, One of the dwarves states that he has more of a grocer about him than a burglar. Bilbo is offended by these remarks and that causes the Took side to come to the forefront again. He accepts the Dwarves offer and upon rising the next morning nd fiding the Dwarves gone he thinks they left without him and he is a little happy at the prospect and a little sad but Gandalf shows up and announces that the Dwarves are awaiting his arrival at the Green Dragon Inn in less and has only a few minutes to get there, Bilbo rushes out of the house and makes a mad dash to meet them and so the story truly begins. I will pick it up at the next chapter, until then good reading.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Didja ever notice

 As a public service every once in a while I will run an article titled didja ever notice. These will be just short little pieces where I will make a small observation. Todays didja concerns Professor Tolkiens propensity to give a great many of the bad guys names starting with the letter S. Lets see there is chief baddy Sauron and there is the traitorous Saruman. The evil spider queen Shelob. The orc leader Shagrat. There is the Dragon Smaug, and of course Smeagol ( Gollum ). it seems the good Professor had some problem with the letter S. Just an observation.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

THe Hobbit update

  Filming is about to wind up this month in New Zealand and then begins the long laborious process of giving shape  to the two films. The first installment entitled " An Unexpected Journey" is due to open here in the states in December of this year, with the second due out in December of 2013 unless of course the Mayans had it right so you had better get to your local cinema quickly when part one opens up and watch the movie before armageddon sets in.It will have it's world premier in New Zealand which of course is only fitting since that country has become by default, Middle Earth. I don't know about you folks but I would love to visit there someday. So beginning next month the people at Weta will begin doing that voodoo that they do so well in transforming the labors of Sir Peter and crew into the classics that I know they are going to be. As for the dis tractors of the films I have several words of advice that first being is that Sir Ian Mckellen ( Gandalf ) has given the films high praise and that alone is enough for me I mean come on It's Sir Ian Mckellen and everyone knows Gandalf doesn't lie and as for all this disparaging of the  48 frames per second hysteria, don't sweat it. The film will show also in the good ole 24 frames per second and to tell you the truth you could possibly find yourself hard pressed to find a local theater equipped to view it at 48 FPS. Me, I'm going to be searching out one of those theaters that can give me the new fangled 48 fps version and then I will do a flip flop and review it at 24 fps so I can determine for myself. Could this be a clever marketing ploy to get you to view the movie twice? Who know who cares. Anywho I will be there in my olde aisle seat with my tub of coke and 10 gallon box of popcorn ( extra butter please and plenty of salt ) happier than a cold hog in warm mud come this December 14th, see ya there.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


 Mordor. The name itself seems quite ominous. Doesn't really sound like a place where you would put up a nice two story home with a white picket fence does it. In Professor Tolkiens novels it is the place that Sauron takes up residence where he keeps his servants and slaves and lays plans for his total domination of Middle Earth. All bad guys need a lair to dwell in and if a bad guy lives there it's probably not going to be a light cheerful place. I am sure there are no Rose bushes and fine trimmed lawns in Mordor. The very name even sounds evil, ever notice how Mordor sounds a lot like murder but maybe that was unintentional on Professor Tolkiens part and then again maybe it was but you gotta admit it surely ups the creepy factor. For Sauron it was his base of operations and it was pretty much a grand fortress, a fortress of solitude if you will if you could find much solitude with all those Orcs around.Middle-earth, Mordor is the dwelling place of Sauron, in the southeast of Middle-earth to the East of Anduin, the great river. Frodo and Sam went there to destroy the One Ring. Mordor was unique because of the three enormous mountain ridges surrounding it, from the North, from the West and from the South, that protected this land from an unexpected invasion and of course it had the extra added protection of Shelob the giant spider who protected the pass of Cirith Ungol. The name Mordor has several meanings The Quenya ( Elfish ) word for shadow is mordo. In Sindarin ( Elfish also ) it means "The Black Land". It is a name also mentioned in Norse Mythology referring to a land where people practice evil. Mordor is without a doubta a real estate agents nightmare, how would yu like to try and sale a piece of land with an active volcano on it and called Mount Doom at that. Let us contrast and compare Mordor with say the Shire. Mount doom seems to be perpetualy dark while the Shire is always represented in the daylight.Mordor orcs, the Shire furry feeted little Hobbitses. The Shire the party tree, Mordor Mount Doom. The Shire has the old Gaffer, Mordor has Shelob. Mordor sends the Ring Wraiths to the Shire, the Shire sends the Ring Bearer to Mordor. I could go on and on but by now you can understand the need  for Mordor to represent a place of fear and terror. It is the Wicked Witches castle in this particular land of Oz. For better or worse it was necessary to have such a place in this tale of good versus evil. In the great morality tales and this is certainly one there must always be an easily identifiable place of great evil. If the Shire is meant to be Heaven then correspondingly Mordor was meant to be Hell full of demons and fire with a dark lord sitting on the Throne.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Frodo as the Christ figure

  Please allow me to explain myself on this. Once again I am using allegory here but sometimes it's fun to try to find deeper meaning in these tales, meanings that Professor Tolkien probably did not intend to make.Never the less I keep seeing Frodo as a Christ like figure in quite a few ways. Firstly this is not an attempt to blaspheme or to be controversial and my apologies to any I offend as it is not my intent to do so. Okay, got that out of the way. Can we agree that Frodo is in may ways a tragic figure in this tale who suffers greatly for his attempt to end evil in middle earth.Also that he volunteers to do so even though he was in effect picked for this task by a higher authority ( Gandalf) and as Gandalf stated he was meant to find the ring thus we have predetermination in his selection in other words every thing was fixed and he couldn't change it. Even though his journey was was full of pain and suffering he bore the great weight of the ring ( cross ). Sam could be said to play the part of Joseph of Aramithea and takes up the burden for Frodo for a time as Joseph did for Christ. The terrible ordeal of crossing the desolation of Mordor to Mount Doom could represent Christs journey to Golgotha and the place of his crucifixion Sam again taking the place of Joseph when he picks Frodo up and carries him to the fires of Mount Doom. I picture Gollum as Judas Iscariot who betrayed Frodo not for 30 pieces of Silver but for Gold ( the ring ) and just as Judas paid for his sins by death by his oen hands so does Gollum pay for his sins by death as he fell from the ledge into the fires of Mount Doom. Did Frodo ascend into Heaven as Christ did? Not like he did but close to it.He suffered for his great act of self sacrifice and for the terrible wounds he had received and in the end he was allowed to enter paradise and live with the Gods in the blessed realm. Even though he did not save us from our sins unless you count the Elves greed for knowledge in the forging of the rings and Isildurs refusal to destroy the ring when he had the chance as sins he did indeed suffer for middle earth. So there you have my somewhat convoluted reasoning behind the title. As usual comments are courteously encouraged.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On the meaning of names

 Professor Tolkien had a great knowledge of the languages of the world especially archaic ones and from this knowledge he brought about the names we are so familiar with in his books. Here are a few of their names and their etymology.

  SMAUG; The name of the Dragon in the hobbit.Professor Tolkien explained the meaning in a letter to the editor of The Observer (1938)  In this letter Tolkien says that the name Smaug is a “pseudonym—the past tense of the primitive Germanic verb Smugan, to squeeze through a hole: a low philological jest” , referring to the passage in The Hobbit in which the company is looking at the map of the Mountain, and Gandalf explains that Smaug could not possibly have used the hidden passage to the lower halls, “because it is too small.”

 ORC: The bogeyman of Tolkiens tales,they were captured Elves who through long and slow processes of the darkest magic by Melkor were transformed into the race of Orcs. An abomination meant to pervert Erus original design of the Elfs as beings of beauty and wisdom. .the word is as far as I am concerned actually derived from Old English orc 'demon', but only because of its phonetic suitability...'
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien No 144, dated 1953
 SMEAGOL: The original name of Gollum the evil and traitorous creature of both THE HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS .His people are related to the hobbits and lived by rivers and especially by the river Anduin where the one ring was discovered by Deagol friend of Smeagol.Tolkien gave the Old English word smygel, meaning "burrow", as a basis for the name, with its spelling altered to resemble "Déagol"; the word is also related to the Hobbit-language word smial, which also means "burrow" related to the fact Smeagol was always looking into holes and burrows.
  ARAGORN; The origins of this name was originally thought to be Tree King but that really didn't make sense and it remained a mystery for a long time until Sir Christopher Tolkien found a passage in a book that was sent to him. Here is an excerpt: and his father gave him the name Aragorn a name used in the House of Chieftans but Iorwen stood by and said 'Kingly Valor' so that name is interpreted. So it is interpreted as meaning Kingly Valor.He was also known by the Elves as Estel (hope) and also as Elessar ( Elf Stone).
  GANDALF:  Gandalf the Grey and eventually Gandaf the White was one of the Wizards of the tale and the Good one as opposed to Sarunam the evil one. His duty was to encourage others to act when the time and necessity callled for it. The Old Norse name Gandalfr incorporates the words gandr meaning "wand", "staff" or (especially in compounds) "magic" and álfr "elf". The name Gandalf is found in at least one more place in Norse myth, in the semihistorical Heimskringla, which briefly describes Gandalf Alfgeirsson, a legendary Norse king from Eastern Norway and rival of Halfdan the Black.

Odin, the Wanderer (1886) by Georg von Rosen (1843-1923)

"Odin disguised as a Traveller" from 1914.
The name "Gandolf" occurs as a character in William Morris' 1896 fantasy novel The Well at the World's End. Morris' book is a multi-part 'magical journey' involving elves, dwarves and kings in a pseudo-medieval landscape which is known to have deeply influenced Tolkien.
The wizard that was to become Gandalf was originally named Bladorthin. Tolkien later assigned this name to an ancient king who had ordered some spears from the dwarves.

Lastly, after the proofs of this book had been revised I received a letter from Mr Christopher Gilson in which he referred to a brief but remarkable text associated with Appendix A that he had seen at Marquette. This was a curious chance, for he had no knowledge of the book beyond the fact that it contained some account of the Appendices; while although I had received a copy of the text from Marquette I had passed it over without observing its significance. Preserved with other difficult and disjointed notes, it is very roughly written on a slip of paper torn from a rejected manuscript. That manuscript can be identified as the close predecessor of the Appendix A text concerning the choice of the Half-elven which I have given on pp. 256-7. The writing on the verso reads: and his father gave him the name Aragorn, a name used in the House of the Chieftains. But Ivorwen at his naming stood by, and said ‘Kingly Valour’ (for so that name is interpreted): ‘that he shall have, but I see on his breast a green stone, and from that his true name shall come and his chief renown: for he shall be a healer and a renewer.’ Above this is written: ‘and they did not know what she meant, for there was no green stone to be seen by other eyes’ (followed by illegible words); and beneath it: ‘for the green Elfstone was given to him by Galadriel’. A large X is also written, but it is not clear whether this relates to the whole page or only to a part of it. Mr Gilson observes that this text, clearly to be associated with work on the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (see p. 263), seems to be the only place where the name Aragorn is translated; and he mentions my father’s letter of 17 December 1972 to Mr Richard Jeffery (Letters no. 347), who had asked whether Aragorn could mean ‘tree-king’….
and his father gave him the name Aragorn, a name used in the House of the Chieftains. But Ivorwen at his naming stood by, and said ‘Kingly Valour’ (for so that name is interpreted): ‘that he shall have, but I see on his breast a green stone, and from that his true name shall come and his chief renown: for he shall be a healer and a renewer.’ Above this is written: ‘and they did not know what she meant, for there was no green stone to be seen by other eyes’ (followed by illegible words); and beneath it: ‘for the green Elfstone was given to him by Galadriel’.
and his father gave him the name Aragorn, a name used in the House of the Chieftains. But Ivorwen at his naming stood by, and said ‘Kingly Valour’ (for so that name is interpreted): ‘that he shall have, but I see on his breast a green stone, and from that his true name shall come and his chief renown: for he shall be a healer and a renewer.’ Above this is written: ‘and they did not know what she meant, for there was no green stone to be seen by other eyes’ (followed by illegible words); and beneath it: ‘for the green Elfstone was given to him by Galadriel’.

  SAURON: This is a hard one and seems to have many answers and I can't find a direct quote from Professor Tolkien concerning how he came up with the name.Aragorn mentions that Sauron means abominable.Others theorize it means abhorrent.The name Sauron means 'The Abhorred' or 'The Abominable'. The Appendix to The Silmarillion states the source of the name as: thaur - 'abominable, abhorrent' in Sauron (from Thauron), [Sindarin] Gorthaur. The Etymologies broadens this reference; the entry THUS- yields the Quenya saura foul, evil-smelling, putrid; it appears to relate to THU- puff, blow, breath. THU-, however, is mostly associated with Manwë, also known as Súlimo, God of the 'winds'; it also appears to relate to THUR- fence, hedge in, secrete.So take your pick either way it's a really cool name for a bad guy.

  SAURAMAN: Saruman is one of several characters in the book illustrating the corruption of power; his desire for knowledge and order leads to his fall, and he rejects the chance of redemption when it is offered. The name Saruman means "man of skill";[1] he serves as an example of technology and modernity being overthrown by forces more in tune with nature.
 SHELOB: From what I have read Professor Tolkien was bitten by a large spider as a child ( Tarantula?) and therefore was an acknowledged arachnaphobe and from this fear came Ungoliant the great spider who was so ravenous that in the end she devoured herself.The last of her children was Shelob the terrible spider Gollum leads Frodo to in hopes she will devour his body but leave the precious ( ring ) alone so that he may recover it. As Tolkien admitted in a letter to his son, Shelob "is of course only 'she + lob'," - lob being an archaic English word for spider, influenced by Old English loppe or "spider". The word is not related to "cob" nor "cobweb". Old English attercoppe (meaning "spider") is derived from atter meaning "poison" and coppe meaning "head"; Tolkien used "attercop" as well as "cob" and "lob" in The Hobbit, where Bilbo Baggins sings songs taunting the giant spiders in Mirkwood: "Attercop, Attercop, Old Tomnoddy" and "Lazy Lob and Crazy Cob"
  I would like to give credit to Wikipedia and  Encyclopedia Of Arda and others in gathering this information. I hope it is helpful.If you find yourself with a lazy, rainy day like I find myself with today crank up Google and go searching for character names and see what you discover. It is both entertaining and fun well to me it is.

The Hobbit or Reclaiming Jerusalem

  Rather a strange title but one I feel is relevant to the novel THE HOBBIT. I know Professor Tolkien despised allegory in any form but I am using some of his own statements to back up my reason for the strange title of the piece.Let me also state up front that this article is not meant to be anti-Semitic and if it offends anyone i apologize as that is not my intent that being said let us continue. Are you familiar with the term Diaspora, it's meaning is roughly a scattering of the people.There are many examples of this in the history of the world, for example the tribes of Africa scattered by the advent of slavery and their being carried off to different lands also the Native American tribes forced to leave their homelands in the American south and east and moved to reservations in Oklahoma, the trail of tears. For the Jewish people the First Daspora began with the Babylonian exile in 586BC and several more Diaspora thereafter which resulted in a great scattering of the Jewish people to the four corners of the world. Though they were scattered they managed to hang on to their traditions and beliefs and for many there was always a great longing to return to their homeland and reclaim what they felt was their birthright.Jerusalem was of course the capital of that land they desired to return to someday. So what does this have to do with THE HOBBIT. Professor Tolkien in his own words stated that he looked upon the Dwarfs of his story as being Jewish like in many ways. The Dwarfs had been seperated from their homelands ( Moria, The Lonely Mountains etc... ) by circumstances ( Dragons, Balrogs) and forced to live in new lands, In these new lands they held to ancient traditions and lived in colonies together ( Ghettoes) where they became great craftsman and prospered. Even though they lived amongst other peoples they held close to their own communities and only mingled with others for trading purposes.Tolkien stated in a letter "I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue.Did he mean this as an affront to Jewry I really don't believe so. Though Tolkien was a devout Catholic I don't believe that he was stained with anti-semitism which had been so prevalent in European society for centuries. One could argue that the Dwarfs greed and desire for gold might be looked on as an example of Euro-Christian perception of Jewish people and that was truly the prevailing feeling of the time but I feel that the gold is more a symbol of not lost monetary treasure but as a symbol of the truly great lost treasure the Dwarven ( Jewish ) homeland and isn't it interesting that the great lost treasure of the Lonely Mountains is called the Arkenstone ( Ark of the covenant )? THE HOBBIT is a wonderful story and I certainly don't mean to say that it is anything but that. I'm just offering a different twist on the story. Even though Professor Tolkien felt as i stated earlier that he despised allegory. I as a mere mortal seem to find it everywhere in his stories.Maybe that is part of the fun of reading Tolkien. I would ask for his forgiveness.Therefore the Dwarfs trip to return and reclaim their ancient homelands in the Lonely mountains not a little unlike the Jewish people returning to Israel post World War II and reclaiming what they felt to be their homeland and couldn't the lonely mountains or Moria for that matter be seen as Jerusalem . I will let you the reader decide that for yourself. These are but my perceptions, faulty maybe, filled with errors usually but my perceptions none the less. But no harm intended.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Women Of The Lord Of The Rings

  Professor Tolkiens books are for the most part written concerning men or should i say the male gender for we have Elven,Dwarven and Hobbit males as well as mortal males. .You have to remember that Tolkien was a product of the Victorian and Edwardian age. It was quite a different world than ours. Women were treated with a great degree of respect and adoration and placed on a shelf as it were, thought of as  mothers and wives not as Warriors and great leaders. Yet Tolkien included several powerful female characters in his novel The Lord Of The Rings who played quite pivotal roles in the book. I am speaking of Galadriel, Arwen and Eowyn, two Elves and a human woman. In these three characters Tolkien chose to show the truly great virtues of each and the roles they would play in the ring quest. For the most part he would give them roles of support and advice and an idyllic form of love that led men to great deeds.For one he chose to give the opportunity to prove she was as much the warrior as any man and she proved herself at the battle of Pellenor fields when she did what no man could. Let us examine each female character and the role they played in the trilogy.

    Let us begin with Galdriel she being the most senior of the group. She was extremely ancient of age having taken part in so much of the history in all three ages of middle earth. She was the daughter of  Finarfin and Earwen and had been born in the blessed realm when the Noldor ( her Elven race ) still lived among the Valar, the lords of the West, she was the tallest of Elven women and stood about six foot four inches tall ( or about 1.9 meters ) . Her original name was Artanis, noble woman, but she was called by many Alateriel meaning crowned with a radiant garland a reference to her long golden hair the name was later transformed into the now familiar Sindarin form of Galadriel. She was the greatest of the Elven race second only to Feanor the maker of the Silmarils and felt by many to surpass him in wisdom. When Feanor rebelled against the Valar and led many of the Elves back to middle earth she joined him and the others. Wether this showed great wisdom or not is for each one to decide but by doing so she fell under the ban of the Valar and was never to be allowed to return again to the blessed realm.It was in middle earth that she met and married Celeborn and gave birth to their two children a son and a daughter, the daughter would later marry Elrond and give him three chidren two sons and a daughter,Arwen so Galadriel was Elronds mother-in-law and Arwens Grandmother. Her part in The Lord Of The Rings was for the most part and advisory one and really comes into the tale when the company reaches Lothlorien her home.It is while the company is there that Galdriel shows Frodo and Sam the mirror of Galdriel which shows each what may be if the quest fails and it is here that Galdriel is offered the one ring and has to fight great temptation to take it for it was of her nature to be great and mighty and the ring would have made her the mightiest of all but she refuses it and says " I pass the test and will go into the West and diminish and remain Galdriel" In the end it would seem she understood that absolute power would most definitely corrupt absolutely and turned away from it even though she felt that this action was the true end of ambition for her and now all that was left was to diminish so here we have an act of great self sacrifice on her part. Later we learn that while the great battles in Gondor and at the Gates of Mordor the Elves of Lothlorien are attacked by an army sent by Sauron not once but three times with the Elves managing to be victorious in the end then the Elves attacked Saurons old fortress of Barad Dur and with Galadriels help they were able to destroy it completely and end Saurons shadow in Mirkwood forever, It is revealed that Galadriel herself is a ring bearer  having been intrusted with the care of one of the three rings of the Elves made by Celebrimbor. She was given Nenya the white ring and with it's power She was able to cure much of the damage done to her kingdom by the hurts of Sauron. She accompanies Frodo and Bilbo back into the blessed realm, the ban of the Valar being lifted for her mainly for her many actions and advice given in the defeat of Sauron and in my own personal opinion because of her refusal to accept the one ring. She i believe in the story plays a mother like role one of advice coming from wisdom and love. Her gift of the phial of Gadriel is shown as a great and pure light that evil cannot tolerate and is a guide when the darkness surrounds you, what could be a greater example of a mothers love.

    Now let us speak of Arwen daughter of Elrond. In the tale she meets Aragorn the heir of Isildur and thusly the heir to the throne of Gondor. She met him in the year 2951 of the third age when she was 2710 years old.They parted company and she did not see him again for another 29 years. It was then that on the mound of Cerin Amroth they made their vow to marry but that would have to wait until Aragorn regained the throne of Gondor and that would be a difficult and uncertain task indeed. It was Arwen who sent Argorn a great banner that she had woven that none could see what what she had sewn into the banner but when Aragorn revealed it the the Oathbreakers they could evidently read it well for it served to convince them that Aragorn was indeed the true heir of Isildur and could release them from Isildurs curse. After Saurons defeat and Aragorns reclaiming the throne of Gondor  Aragorn and Arwen were wed. Arwen was the first Elf since Luthien ( wife of Beren ) to cast aside her immortality to wed a mortal this being a decision that was allowed her being half-elven. At the time of the wedding Arwen was around 2777 years of age and Aragorn being Numanorean aroud 87 which would make Arwen the greatest cougar of all time. They remained married throughout Aragorns  reign and when he at last died she returned to Lorien and it is said she passed away upon the mound of Cerin Amroth where she and Aragorn had pledged their troth so many years before. Her love was one of great sacrifice, she had given up the gift of immortality to be with the one she loved and would rather have lived what for Elves what was only a brief moment in time with Aragorn as man and wife than to face all eternity without him.Her role in The Lord Of The Rings is one of selfless love a love that was once beautiful and yet in away tragic, possibly the greatest sacrifice in the whole novel. Galadriel could resist the temptation of power but Arwen could give up her life for the one she loved.I'll let you the reader decide which was the greater sacrifice.In an interesting side note Professot Tolkien had inscribed on his and his wifes tombstone the words Beren and Luthien  representing each the other what he felt was the great love of his life.

    Lastly we will speak of Eowyn the shield maiden of Rohan.She was the niece of King Theoden being his Sisters daughter. At the time of the novel she was around 23 ears of age. It was her misfortune to develop affections for Aragorn a man who loved another and so her love was unrequited. She felt herself capable as any man and longed to go into battle at her Uncle the Kings side but Theoden felt her place was caring for the elderly and the children while he and the men rode off into battle so her role was that of a dutiful daughter to tend hearth and home and to leave the mens work to the men. This she bitterly resented and greatly desired to fulfill the ambitions and desires of her heart.When it came time for the horse warriors to depart for the great battle of Gondor she disguised herself as a warrior keeping her face concealed with a helmet and disobeying the command of her Uncle the King rode off into battle with the Rohirrim with the Hobbit Merry who had also been denied permission to accompany the men into battle at her side.It was at the battle of Pellenor fields that Eowyn distinguished herself but the price she would pay for it was great and tragically so. There her uncle the King was unhorsed by the unholy steed of the Witch King on which he sat. There was a prophecy that no man would be able to slay the Witch King the greatest of Saurons lieutenants.It was when Eowyn stood between the Witch King and her Uncle that she had her shield and arm broken by the great mace of the Witch King but at that moment Merry the Hobbit stood behind him and stabbed him with an ancient elven blade and wounding him ,it was then that Eowyn cast aside her helmet and said " I am no man but a woman" and stabbed him with her sword and thus proved the old prophecy true as he was slain not by a man but by a Hobbit and a Woman.Unfortunately she was too late to save the King but he had time enough to recognize her and bid her farewell  before he departed this life. She was later healed by the hands of Aragorn and it was there that she met the true love of her life , Faramir. What was Eowyns part in the story, what purpose did she serve. If i may venture a guess i would say that Professor Tolkien was ahead of his time and very much recognized the equality of women, It is not well known but his wife had actually accepted a proposal of marriage from another but he was able to dissuade her and he won her hand. Maybe that was another reason for Eowyn and he somehow felt guilty for taking her from the original suitor and so gave Eowyn a happy reprieve from unrequited love and into the arms of Faramir. Maybe this is what he hoped for his old rival, this of course is pure speculation on my part and i could be oh so wrong but i guess the romantic in me would like to see it that way.You of course can make your own decision on this.

   So there we have the Women of  The Lord Of The Rings each playing their own particular part in the story.Galadriel the Mother role role ,Arwen the role of pure love and Eowyn as woman equal and partner to man.Each played their part and they played it well and in the end they each gained and sufferred for their involvement in the tale. Galadriel doomed to diminish and leave her beloved middle earth, Arwen to gain the man she loved but in the end to lose him to age and death and eventually that of her own, alone and grieving.
Eowyn alone seems to come out of the tale to the good.She had no immortality to lose and instead gained love and was able to prove her worth to all with her bravery on the fields of Pellenor but she lost her Uncle the King and thus made the victory and fame bittersweet. It seems that with Professor Tolkien that there can be no love that is not in some way punished. That is a part of his story always a conflict between happiness and tragedy that helps to give his great trilogy such majesty and poignancy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Puzzlement?

In the Silmarilion  we are told that only Eru ( the creator ) could make living beings and this power was not granted to the Valar ( lesser gods ). Okay I got that, only the Supreme being could do such a thing. It is told that Melkor ( the evil Valar ) created Orcs from Elves that he had captured and slowly through the darkest of magic corrupted their being and produced the Orc race and for this the Orcs hated him but feared him more and served him and eventually his lieutenant Sauron. It seems that the Valar could corrupt what was good and pure and therefore bring about new beings that were abominations of their old self. It is said the Melkor made Trolls from Ents, again perverting what is good and turning it to evil. He is credited with breeding the first Dragons. What he produced them from I am not sure. THe Valar did make many animals but again not mortal beings. Now we come to a part of the Silmarillion that confuses me. As i said the Valar were not supposed to be able to create mortal beings such as Elf or Man but we are told that one of the Valar named Aule was desirous of having some beings that could admire all the wonderful things he had made for he was the master craftsman of the Gods. So he went into one of the deep caverns of the world and there brought forth living beings. The Dwarfs. That is the part that confuses me as we have already been told that that power was not in them, but he seemed to have no problem doing so. Now as soon as he had created them Eru the creator spoke to him and asked him why he had done this thing and Aule admitted his having fallen into folly. He took a great hammer to kill them but Eru stayed his hand saying that these beings had life and for Aule not to take it from them,but since the Elfs had not yet awaken into the world he put the Dwarves to sleep to be awoken at a later time after the Elfs had awoken unto the world. A nice story but one that seems to me to be at variance with what was written about what the Valar could and couldn't do. If anyone has a good explanation I would love to hear it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Why Bilbo Baggins?

  Why did Gandalf choose Bilbo Baggins to accompany the 13 Dwarves on the mission to slau Smaug the dragon? I mean after all he was no great warrior or in anyway had renown as a Dragon slayer. What could a small Hobiit do that was so vital to the mission? Firstly let us start the story with Gandalfs involvement in the whole affair. He met Thorin Oakenshield on the road to Bree and Thorin asked him to help in his quest to slay the Dragon and reclaim the wealth it had taken from the Dwarfs. Thorins original plan was to gather as many Dwarfs as possible and assault the Dragon. Gandalf realized this was foolhardy in the extreme nd that no amount of Dwarfs however brave and fierce could stand up to an attack on Smaug, he would kill and devour them all.Gandalfs advice was one of stealth and for that they needed someone who could sneak in under the Dragons very nose. Now it was well known by Gandalf that of all the peoples of middle earth there were none better at avoiding being seen or heard if they so desired as Hobbits and also there was the problem with the Dragons sense of smell which was extremely acute but maybe just maybe it had never smelled the scent of a Hobbit which could give whatever Hobbit accompanying the party an outside advantage when trying to steal from the old Dragon. Now many years before when Bilbo was a small Hobbit he had been noticed by Gandalf due to his unhobbit like desire for tales of the world outside of the Shire, Gandalf could sense in him a great desire to other parts of middle earth and maybe have an adventure. You see Bilbo had Tookish blood on his Mothers side she having been a Took ( Belladonna Took ) before marrying Bilbos father and the Tooks had had several members of the family just up and leave off to have adventures which as I say was very unhobbit like. So we have Gandalfs knowledge of Bilbo from years past and his desire to secure a Hobbit to aid Thorin and the other Dwarfs on their adventure. Thorin was aghast at the idea ( he had little respect for Hobbits ) and thought Gandalf had gone mad and the other Dwarfs also had little desire to have a Hobbit on the journey. Thorins disdain for Hobbits in general made Gandalf angry ( he dearly loved Hobbits ) and so Gandalf told them if they chose to not follow his advice than he would be off and that they could figure their own way to slay the Dragon. Thorinn needing his help and with no desire to anger a Wizard agreed to Bilbos inclusion but if they were to take him than Gandalf would have to agree to accomapny them. This Gandalf agreed to with the reservation that he would have to part from the company in August at the latest as he had pressing business elsewhere ( the White Council ). So Bilbo mush to his eternal amazement left his comfortable little Hobbit hole and sat off on his grand adventure and the finding of the One Ring. But that is a tale for another day

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Video and a Little Tease

 Here is a little video where critics make statements about THE HOBBIT at 48 fps plus a hint that cinema goers may get a chance to taste the controversial 10 minute clip for themselves. we can only hope it's so gang.

3-D Sound For " The Hobbit "?

  Sir Peter Jackson is quite the innovator not only is he bringing  THE HOBBIT out at 48 FPS but is considering bringing it to your local cinema ( where available ) with the newest Dolby sound format.It appears that Sir Peter and Dolby have been in talks to test run the company's newest sound format, Dolby Atmos, with possible inclusion in the two-part “The Hobbit” film. The Atmos format consists of many speakers surrounding the auditorium and on the ceiling, giving an immersive experience with each focused directional effect. Technically, the system will also transport up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio channels, and render from 5.1 up to 54 discrete speaker feeds. This new sound system will be tested on the new Pixar release BRAVE which will open on June 22nd at a cinema near you. Let us hope that reviewers of the system will not find it too realistic and pray for the return of the good old days when all you needed was a good old hand cranked Victrola with all the scratches and pops one could hope for.Anyways you got to hand it to Sir Peter he is leading us kicking and screaming ( at least some of us) into bold new directions in your cinema experience.Please fasten your seat belts it appears the next few years are going to be quite bumpy movie wise.