Archive for the ‘5 – The White Rider’ Category

Now that Legolas is up to speed – he’s figured out that Hasufel and Arod found Shadowfax – the three hunters and Gandalf can saddle up and head out. They ride quickly across the grassy plains, with the fields like a sea before them.

Dothraki Sea?

In the setting sun, Gandalf points out west towards the Gap of Rohan. A smoke rises. Gandalf calls it the battle and war at Isengard.

And thus ends this chapter. We ride!

Shadowfax shows even further worth, leading their way through bogs hidden in the tall grasses. I’ve never actually seen much of the danger in swampy land as a whole, but I can understand that a misstep by a horse could end up poorly if it suffered a broken leg or something like that. Shadowfax knows his way around, and Gandalf doesn’t have to guide him at all. Shadowfax is a horse-sherpa. Sherpafax.

But I’ll really believe it when he leads them to climb a mountain.

Meanwhile, the smoke can be seen rising from Isengard. Is the battle joined with the ents? It could just be general smoke, you never know. Saruman’s army has been burning things for quite some time, and the smoke has been said to hang thick in the air. I mean, that’s where they’re putting all the trees that they keep cutting down. Either way, the smoke is the result of trees.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


What?! Riverlands? House Tully and myself are quite displeased. Learn some compound words, computer.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 30

“‘Battle and war!’ said Gandalf. ‘Ride on!'”

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Coming back to the edge of the forest, the horses remain nowhere to be found. It’s going to be a long, hard walk, isn’t it?

NOPE! Surprise horses!


Gandalf whistles three times, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli wait while the sounds of horses galloping come closer and closer. Legolas can see them. Three horses are coming, and the leader is smooth, strong, and beautiful. That, says Gandalf, is Shadowfax, the best horse ever. The other two are the ones that ran off: Hasufel and Arod. The horses approach, Shadowfax first, and await Gandalf’s orders. They will ride to Edoras with all speed. Off we go!

It helps when you’re friends with the king of horses. Need a horse? BOOM. Horse. Want some more? BOOM. More horses. Who knows where Shadowfax has been hanging out – Gandalf rode him to Rivendell back in the day, mind you – but he seems to have collected Hasufel and Arod. That’s why they were seemingly happy when they ran off. As for Shadowfax himself, he’s like a chauffeur. Except he’s a horse.

And smarter than most, at that.

Has Gandalf ridden Shadowfax around since being sent back? I mean, he had to get to Fangorn from Lothlórien somehow, right? Regardless, they’re friends. When a horse runs up out of nowhere when you whistle, I’d say that you have a good working relationship.

And Gimli gets the shaft. He has to ride along with someone. This time, it’s Gandalf. Maybe that’s not too bad… I guess it could be worse.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 31

“‘We will wait now only to drink a little.'”

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And so Gandalf is brought to Lothlórien. There he hangs out with Galadriel, and takes time to heal up. She gives him messages to bring to the other members of the Fellowship Company. Oh, have you forgotten? Still, no one has said “Fellowship of the Ring”.


Gandalf forwards the messages to Aragorn and Legolas, which are ominous. Gimli gripes about not getting a message himself until Gandalf remembers that he does, in fact, have one. His is simpler, and advises the dwarf not to cut down the wrong trees. I think we already covered that. Gimli suddenly becomes very happy, while Gandalf reiterates that it is past time to get going.

The messages for Aragorn and Legolas are pretty much classic riddles. Aragorn is told that his time to come forward is near – okay, we knew that – but that he must take a path to the sea watched by the dead. That doesn’t sound like fun at all.

Legolas, meanwhile, is told to beware of the sea. Should he heed the cry of a gull, he will never return to his home in the forest. Likewise, that sounds awful. No fun. No fun for anyone.

I’m pretty sure that Gimli’s message would have served him better if he had heard it earlier, but I guess we’ll have to make do. Whatever makes him this happy probably is a good thing.

All is well in his world.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:



Oh, have we not heard Legolas’ surname yet? I guess not.

The page ends with a three-star break, which makes me assume that they’re actually going to head out now. Looking ahead, we only have two more pages in this chapter. From here on out for a while, we’ll get to play the surprise game of wondering whether the next chapter will be about Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf, or Merry and Pippin. It’s like a scratch-off lottery card where you have to wait a few weeks to even interpret the results.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 32

“‘Now there is need of haste.'”

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In the most epic of battles, Gandalf defeats the balrog. They climb a stairway all the way to the highest peak of the Misty Mountains, engaging in battle at the tower on top. Fighting wildly, the balrog falls, destroying the tower and leaving Gandalf with no way to get back down. The wizard passes out, and his soul travels in wide and various spaces.


Ultimately, he gets “sent back”. He lies naked in the snow on the mountain, with nowhere to go. He does so for days, staring into the sky. Eventually, Gwaihir, lord of the eagles, comes for him, sent by Galadriel. He bears Gandalf away.

First Mentions:

-the Endless Stair: The biggest stair of all time. OF ALL TIME. Thought to be legend, it reaches from the lowest depths of Moria to the highest peak.

-Durin’s Tower: Upon that peak, a tower stands. Those dwarves built and built and built. That’s what they do!

There are some First Mentions! I knew they’d come back eventually. And they do come back to us now, at the turn of the tide.

Coolest part: Gandalf wonders if his battle will be told of for ages to come. Thinking again, he decides that it won’t, because if anyone saw it, high up in the mountains above the clouds, it would appear to be thunder and lightning striking the peak repeatedly. Between the fire of the balrog (which is re-lit in the sun outside) and Gandalf’s power, the light is everywhere.

You know, like that.

And Gwaihir, picking up Gandalf like the best cabbie ever, denies that the wizard is a burden. In fact, he’s lighter than ever! That partial death thing must have burned off some fat from the waistline. If only that worked for everyone else…

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 33

“‘ “That indeed is the command of the Lady Galadriel who sent me to look for you,” he answered.'”

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Aragorn basically anoints Gandalf the spiritual leader of the good guys, which is pretty true. He’s the White Rider against the nine Black Riders. Okay, cool.

Aw yeah.

But Legolas isn’t cool with just packing up and going to Edoras until he gets an explanation for what happened to Gandalf in Moria. Gandalf doesn’t want to tell the tale, saying it would take too long, but he caves. I mean, come on, you can’t set that awesome story up and then not deliver.

He fell for a long time. A long time. Then, splashing down in a far underground lake, the balrog’s fire was extinguished, and he ran into the deep tunnels of the earth. Gandalf chased him.

Yep, those deep tunnels, where nameless and ageless scary things have been burrowing since the beginning of time. If you’re from Middle-earth, those things can’t even haunt your nightmares, because no one actually knows what they are. I’m gonna go with badger-moles.

Teach me, ye god of the earth.

Chalk that up to another mystery of this world. This whole underground system of lakes and tunnels is like that, totally unknown. Gandalf, somehow without being killed on impact with the water, gets to walk in this place where few none have tread. And we get to hear about it now! Hooray!

It’s kind of a lame move to say that there isn’t enough time to tell the story, but then go about telling it anyway. Let’s be honest, we’re going to be alright with time. I think we can take a few extra minutes to hear about the coolest thing to happen to one of our favorite characters so far.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:


When’s the next time we’re going to have a First Mention, anyway? Most things have been brought up so far…

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 34

“‘Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report…'”

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So…the ents are going to destroy things. That’s cool. But let’s do other things!

Why can’t we go, too?

Gandalf tells Aragorn that his road must lead to Rohan. With the ring out of reach, he must keep his word and make for Edoras and King Théoden’s throne. Evil things are at work in Rohan, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli must help the horselords. We’ll have to forget about Merry and Pippin for the time being.

As you might recall, Aragorn gave his word to Éomer that he would travel to Edoras once his search for the two hobbits was over. See, it was important! Of course, Éomer thought that Aragorn had no chance of finding his friends, while instead he’s found knowledge that they survived the battle, along with a living and breathing Gandalf. That’s quite more surprising. Gandalf is heading to Edoras too, by the way.

Gandalf does have something strange going on about him, though. He’s more pensive than usual, and a light emanates from his body. He’s better, somehow. More improved. Now with super shall-not-pass action!

It’s a lie!

Of course, you don’t have to worry about Merry and Pippin. I’m sure (if I remember correctly) that we’ll still be getting perspective shifts over to them every few chapters. And their story is actually more interesting at the moment – they’re going to war!

As for Aragorn, his revealing as the heir to the throne of men is coming. And that’s a much bigger deal than you probably realize. Éomer basically laughed at him when he tried to bring that up before. It won’t always be received easily, but he has to do it.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 35

“‘I fear the battle will be over long ere I come there.'”

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The question remains: what has happened to Merry and Pippin? Gandalf keeps saying that they’re alright, but with no more explanation than that. Finally, Legolas wrings the answer out of him.


Merry and Pippin are with Treebeard and the ents. Simple as that. Yeah, ents! Gandalf has to explain that ents do, in fact, exist. Treebeard is the oldest, and their leader. Gandalf knows that the two hobbits met Treebeard at this very spot, and two days ago he brought them to his home. Gandalf is partially familiar with Treebeard, having passed him in the forest before, but without saying anything.

So…really, Fangorn isn’t that dangerous. It is “dangerous” in the way that anything can be dangerous, but the ents are generally peaceful and wise. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli need not fear.

Have Treebeard and Gandalf met? I would think so, at some point. They’re both crazy old. Gandalf calls Treebeard the oldest living thing walking in Middle-earth, which brings up the question of…Tom Bombadil. Let the debates rage. I at least think it’s easy to say, without any conflict, that Treebeard is the oldest thing outside of (possibly) Tom. Who knows what else, but the ents have been around for a long time.

Here’s Tom Bombadil, maniacally messing with everything ever.

Also, the end of this page is a meditation on “dangerous”. What is dangerous? What is danger? What is?


Suffice it to say, Fangorn is the kind of place where you’ll be fine if your intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let them be misunderstood. We’ve already seen that Treebeard is actually quite nice, but even Merry and Pippin could tell that, when provoked, he and the ents could cause some trouble. So could anyone, really. I could. You could. Even kittens are dangerous.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 36

“‘But now his long slow wrath is…'”

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Basically, everything is falling apart for Saruman. Did you know that he has no idea what’s going on with the ring? Heck, he didn’t even know his orcs had prisoners, much less Merry and Pippin. He doesn’t know that the orcs from Isengard and Mordor are at odds. He doesn’t know that the Ringwraiths have taken winged steeds. He doesn’t even think about the fact that Treebeard might be plotting revenge in Fangorn.

Gandalf knows all these things. Because Gandalf is awesome.

The rest of the lyrics are irrelevant.

Legolas hadn’t realized it at the time, but he shot the steed out from under a Ringwraith during the night skirmish on Anduin. I mean, I knew that, but he had no idea. Generally speaking, the feeling of terror kind of let the cat out of the bag.

And then the Ringwraith killed that cat.

One other question remains: was that Gandalf who showed up at night on the edge of Fangorn? Apparently not. He says it wasn’t him, at least. So it must have been Saruman. That’s weird. Why didn’t he kill everyone?

Well, Gandalf is saying that Saruman is really running on thin ice right now. I guess attacking three well-armed dudes would be a risky move.

Here’s another Risk-y move.

For some reason, that relieves Gimli. I don’t know why. He’s strange sometimes. Most of the time, when I really think about it. Still no explanation for why the horses seemed happy while they ran off, which would have made sense if it were Gandalf sneaking around in the night. Horses are also strange.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 37

“‘Yes, my good Dwarf,’ he said, ‘it is a…'”

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This is going to be short, because important things are happening in the world.

‘Murka, hard at work.

Gandalf explains that Sauron has no idea that the ultimate goal is to destroy the ring. That would be ridiculous, in his evil-riddled mind. Instead, he’s focused on Minas Tirith, believing that someone will come forth from there with the power of the ring to take him out. The armies of Sauron are massing to head to Minas Tirith. Meanwhile, Saruman is just screwing everything up. By capturing Merry and Pippin, he let Sauron know that two hobbits had been taken – but they were the wrong hobbits. Sauron thinks that Saruman has the ring in his grasp, but neither knows that the orcs were destroyed outside Fangorn. And, to add to it all, Sauron is quite unhappy that Saruman would try to take the ring for himself.

Basically, the evil people are confused, and that’s good for us. It’s like how every time CNN says that something was “disappointing for Republicans”, my election coverage watching group says: “But that means happy for us!” Sauron and Saruman are at odds? That’s a good thing!

Meanwhile, we’re just sitting here in the forest, listening to Gandalf tells us what’s going on. Because a formerly dead guy knows more about world events than we do.

Smart zombie can read!

Speaking of world (national?) events, they’re happening right now. We have one more important thing to get to, and then I’m going to sign off.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 38

“‘If no land divided Isengard and Mordor, then they could fight while we watched and waited.'”

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Tomorrow (or today, by the time you’re probably reading this), remember to get out and rock the vote. If you live in the US. And no, sadly, J.R.R. Tolkien is not a candidate. Would that be a good thing? I don’t even know.

Story time for Gandalf!

Seriously, you guys, you need to tell him what’s going on. That whole “being mostly dead” thing kind of put him behind the 8-ball on this one.

It is commonly known that zombies are terrible at billiards.

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli sit down and relay their journey, highlighted by the fact that Frodo is on his own now. Gandalf knows that, but he didn’t know that Sam had joined him. This is good news! Meanwhile, Gandalf learns about Boromir’s death, which he had missed. He mentions that Merry and Pippin really were good for something, and I assume he means that Boromir “saved” himself by protecting them for as long as he could. And now, those two rascally hobbits are off to destroy Saruman!

This confuses the three hunters, and Aragorn questions if Gandalf is speaking in riddles. No, he really means what he says. The dam will burst. It will.

Also, Sauron thinks that the ring is going to Minas Tirith. Silly Sauron!

He’s cool at parties…sometimes.

In other news, it’s already late, and I have to get up early tomorrow to do my civic duty. IT’S SO HARD THAT I HAVE TO GET UP AND LOOK PRESENTABLE WHILE I GO TO THE LOBBY OF MY BUILDING. WAAAAHHHHH.

Aragorn/Faramir 2016!

Don’t you judge. Faramir would make a great VP.

Days Until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 39

“‘Indeed he is in great fear, not knowing what mighty…'”

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