Posts Tagged ‘Arnor’

More to come of the conversation with Butterbur, which is really just catching us up on the goings on of the northern lands.

It would seem that Bree is safe from marauders for the time being. They must be afraid of the five companions who rode into town in armor and heraldry, and, more importantly, the rangers who have been returning north. I had forgotten about this, but I finally realized why it made sense for Aragorn to continue riding north for a while: the rangers were leaving Gondor. They traveled north with the four hobbits and numerous elves, and have now returned to the lands that they were long protecting.

And yes, the people of Bree have finally noticed that the rangers were actually doing something good for them.

Pretty much.

Pretty much.

Gandalf makes sure to tell Butterbur that times will improve. Aragorn will be sending more men north to the old kingdom of Arnor to rebuild it. He will come himself, sometime, and there will be many folk passing by Bree. Good for business!

Strangely enough, I can actually reconcile some of the changes made in the film adaptation. Bear with me here…

So, in the films, no rangers ride to meet Aragorn in Rohan. Halbarad and his Dúnedain do not feature in the events of the story. Let’s think logically from that point. If no rangers ride south, then they must all still be in the North. If they remain in the North, they continue to protect the lands around Bree and the Shire. With the rangers still about, wayward bandits cannot come unchecked into the area and terrorize its inhabitants. Thus, the events of the Scouring of the Shire cannot happen. The rangers would not allow it. That’s why it doesn’t happen.


Of course, some would argue that the films kill off Saruman, thus further negating any possibility of his occupation of the Shire. However, Saruman’s death only appears in a deleted scene added to the Extended Edition of Return of the King. So, it’s not necessarily a part of the films!

Okay, okay, I’m stretching here. But why not try and make sense of the cuts? I have little else left to do.

But I can't make sense of these cuts.

But I can’t make sense of these cuts.

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Both added/different names for Fornost, old capital of Arnor. Because more is better!

No one dies today.

“‘And the King will come there again one day; and then you’ll have some fair folk riding through.'”

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With Legolas and Gimli pretty much in tow, Aragorn lays down some history of the men of the mountains. They once swore allegiance to Isildur, back in the founding of Gondor. However, when called upon to fight against Sauron, they balked, having once worshiped him in the past. Isildur then cursed them, and their spirits haunt the Paths of the Dead.

Aragorn calls out for all to join him, and he, Legolas, and Gimli walk out to lead the rangers. They ride quickly to Edoras, then Dunharrow, where Éowyn welcomes them. Oh yeah, her!

The one who likes swords.

The one who likes swords.

Today, strangely enough, is about timelines. On the most basic level, the reason for why this chapter (and last, mind you) is laid out in this manner becomes apparent. Gandalf and Pippin left first from the pack, and arrived at Edoras before continuing to Minas Tirith. Théoden rode next, but is taking slower hill roads to make his way across country. Aragorn is leading his rangers quickly across the plains, and so comes to Edoras after Gandalf and Pippin, though before Théoden. Théoden himself is also headed to Dunharrow, but will take much longer. Aragorn’s hope is in speed.

For all that, we’re following groups as they move from place to place chronologically. It wouldn’t have made sense for the narrative to stay with Merry, because he’ll arrive at these places after Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. And even though the plotline of this chapter hasn’t caught up to as long as we spent with Gandalf and Pippin, it would be too hard to keeping jumping back and forth from Minas Tirith to Rohan. It’s simpler with this division. Get their action out of the way first, then spend time with those left behind. We’ll probably move to Merry and his ride with Théoden next.

Next…more of a timeline question.

I still can't wrap my mind around Zelda's timeline.

I still can’t wrap my mind around Zelda’s timeline.

The men of the mountains swore an oath to Isildur before the first war with Sauron and the Last Alliance. But…Isildur wasn’t the king of Gondor then. He was the prince, yes, but Elendil was king. Why were they swearing to Isildur? Was there another battle with Sauron, after the one where Elendil was slain and Isildur took the ring, where the mountain men could have faltered?

Ah, ah! Wait. The internet has answered this for me. Though Elendil was king of both Arnor and Gondor, he ruled in the north, and left Gondor to the rule of Isildur and Anarion, his sons. So, at the time before the first war, Isildur would have had substantial ruling powers in Gondor to take oaths from the men of the mountains. There it is.

You know, I could delete that first paragraph there, and make it look like I knew what I was talking about all along, but it’s about the journey, you guys, not the destination.

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The English. So much blame.

No one dies today.

“And when they sat at supper with her, they talked together, and she heard of all that had passed since Théoden rode away, concerning which only hasty tidings had yet reached her; and when she heard of the battle…”

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I’m now coming live from my new place in Austin! However, once again, it was quite the day. That, and then I stayed up too late because I finally had a place to myself for the first time in like a week. I have issues with that.

But, forward unto dawn, friends!

Does that phrase exist normally?

Does that phrase exist normally?

This page is all about Aragorn asking Legolas and Gimli to come willingly with him into a horrible place. As if the name “Paths of the Dead” wasn’t creepy enough, Aragorn recites an old prophecy that calls to him to risk everything. Elrond’s sons brought these words back to his mind, and it seems right that he should be the one to fulfill them. Naturally, Legolas and Gimli are eager to follow.

First Mentions:

-Malbeth the Seer: Soothsayer of old Arnor. Foretold the line of kings ending in the north, and also Aragorn’s journey to the Paths of the Dead.

-Arvedui: Last king of Arnor. This also makes him a very distant relative of Aragorn’s.

-the Stone of Erech: Great stone upon a hill where the men who haunt the Paths of the Dead swore an oath to fight for Isildur. That…didn’t work out.

All in all, the prophesy is pretty straightforward. It clearly tells of the dead men who failed Isildur rising to regain their honor. However, it doesn’t say much about who it will be (other than Isildur’s heir) to call them forth. The tale mentions the man coming from the north in great need, as Aragorn is. The lines seem to come together, so it isn’t a huge stretch for Aragorn to see his part in fate. Thanks for keeping it simple, Malbeth.

Wait...Macbeth? There's some prophesying going on there.

Wait…Macbeth? There’s some prophesying going on there.

Middle-earth doesn’t typically deal in a lot of prophecies, at least not as much as other fantasy worlds do. However, those that do appear are very important, and most often involve Aragorn. They don’t always prophetize about characters, but when they do, they prefer Aragorn.

Speaking of involving Aragorn, did you expect this chapter to turn around from Merry and be about him? That was a sudden change.

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Italics! Always a good decision for riddles and prophecies.

No one dies today.

“‘I hope that the forgotten people will not have forgotten how to…'”

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Programming alert! I did finally get that song uploaded late last night (early this morning?), no thanks to SoundCloud. Again, whatever they did to their site was a horrible, horrible idea. But now I got it working, so there’s that.

Meanwhile, Gandalf is giving Pippin all sorts of history lessons, which the hobbit is gobbling up eagerly. It all concerns the palantíri, which were once scattered across the two kingdoms of men. In Gondor, stones were set at Minas Ithil (now Morgul), Minas Anor (Tirith), and the chief stone at Osgiliath. Orthanc had its own stone, too, and three more were in the north. One of those was at Weathertop.

Weathertop didn't used to be so bad a place.

Weathertop didn’t used to be so bad a place.

When Sauron took Minas Ithil, Gandalf presumes that he took the seeing-stone there with him. It can be easy to see from there how Saruman would have been curious about his own stone, and slowly opened up his view to see deep into Sauron’s land. Sauron lured him in, and made him his puppet easily. In fact, Gandalf is amazed how the palantír draws people in. Not only did Pippin succumb, but Gandalf himself feels the need to look into its depths.

First Mentions:

-the Dome of Stars: A large dome dominating the skyline of Osigilath. Well, it once did. It’s been destroyed in the long wars over the city, and its palantír lost.

-the Gulf of Lune: A gulf on the western coast, where the Grey Havens can be found.

Basically, these stones were everywhere important. However, with the chief stone at Osgiliath, it could always be viewed from the other stones in the south. Apparently, it takes a great deal of thought to decide what you want to see. For example, Saruman could probably only see things of the past in his stone until he started using his power to look further. This is what Sauron eventually took advantage of.



And don’t forget…even Gandalf is drawn to look in the palantír. That power that Sauron imbued it with is immeasurably strong. Don’t give in!

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Wait…is that a new thing? First Mention? No. It’s just the Grey Havens. Boring.

“‘I did not tell you all this before, because it is only by musing on all that has happened that I have at last understood, even as we…'”

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The amount of stuff that we’re learning on these pages is staggering. It’s like a blast of Unrelenting Force to the face.

My fantasy worlds are colliding!

Ohtar, the esquire, brought Narsil to Rivendell, and gave it to Valandil, Isildur’s only heir. Over time, Valandil and his heirs lived in Arnor, until the kingdom fell into ruin. In the south, Gondor prospered, building towers while Mordor, their cheery next-door neighbor, lay dormant. However, the line of kings there, descended from Anárion, eventually failed. The blood of Númenor, passing down from Elendil and his sons, was slowly being corrupted with the blood of lesser men.

First Mentions:

-Valandil: Isildur’s son. Ruled in Arnor for many years.

-Annúminas: Great city, and capital of Arnor. Fell into ruin by a simple drop in population. Oops.

-Lake Evendim: Lake on which Annúminas once stood. Pretty sure it’s still there, if nothing else is.

-Fornost: Second capital of Arnor. Also in ruin. Now called Deadmen’s Dike. That doesn’t sound too good.

UPDATE: -the North Downs: Oh. Forgot about them. They’re downs. In the north. How exciting.

-Osgiliath: City of Gondor, on the river Anduin. Osgiliath means “Citadel of the Stars”. It’s still there!

-Minas Ithil: Tower of Gondor built to the east, in the mountains. It’s…um, not a good place anymore.

-the Mountains of Shadow: Barrier mountains between Gondor and Mordor where Minas Ithil was built. Now you see why the tower isn’t a good place anymore.

-the White Mountains: Mountain range to the west in Gondor. Sounds like a cheerier place.

-Minas Anor: Tower built in the White Mountains. It’s also changed since then, and will be very important later.

-the White Tree: Symbol of the line of kings of Gondor. Since the line failed, it’s been dead.

-Eressëa: Small island on the eastern coast of Aman. Where the seed for the White Tree came from.

-Meneldil: Son of Anárion who ruled Gondor.

-Gorgoroth: Desolate plateau in the middle of Mordor. Don’t go there…unless you’re Frodo and Sam.

So many! And it’s amazing how they’re mentioned in the text: as if we’re sort of supposed to know what they are. I mean, we’re not, but Elrond speaks of these things to a group of people who know (or should know) them well. It’s like someone talking about New York City, Paris, or even a better example, the USSR. These things are either very well-known all over the world, or were once great things that are now gone. People in Middle-earth know them like we do these things from our world.

Playing Risk is useful in this regard.

Anyway, I like learning all this stuff. It’s interesting to me, and will officially turn me into the Lord of the Rings dork I have always dreamed of being. Be careful what you might need an answer to. I WILL KNOW ALL.

It’s that kind of thirst for unbounded knowledge that dooms a lot of people in fantasy worlds… Oh well.

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On to more history tomorrow! Honestly, you should expect that at this point.

“‘And on a time evil things came forth, and they took Minas Ithil and abode in it, and they made it into a place of dread;…'”

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Just by that first line, you can tell that this page is more and more history.

Before we start, I have to fix an error. Yesterday I said that Anárion, Isildur’s brother, founded Arnor. Nope. He didn’t. He jointly ruled Gondor with Isildur. My bad. I’ll edit that post later.


So, Elrond keeps telling the tale of the ring. He was present at the last battle with Sauron, when Elendil and Gil-galad fell, and Isildur cut the ring from Sauron’s hand. This shocks Frodo, who inappropriately forgets about elven immortality. This is awkward. Unfortunately, Elrond also remembers how Isildur kept the ring as a repayment for his father’s and brother’s deaths. (Oh yeah, Anárion dies too. That’s why we never hear about him.) Boromir did not know this part of the tale, and is surprised. Elrond continues to say that few actually knew of Isildur’s betrayal and death at the hands of the ring. When he was killed in the Gladden Fields, only three men escaped, and after wandering the mountains for a long time.

First Mentions:

-Beleriand: Northern region of Middle-earth. Once proud, but widely destroyed in the battle against Morgorth at the end of the First Age.

-Thangorodrim: Group of three volcanos, raised by Morgoth. His fortress of Angband in the north was below them.

-Gondolin: Hidden elven city in Beleriand. Destroyed…of course.

-Doriath: Another elven land in Beleriand. Also gone.

-the Battle of Dagorlad: Battle in which Sauron was defeated by the Last Alliance, with Isildur cutting the ring from his hand.

-Aiglos: Spear of Gil-galad. Nine feet tall. Clearly awesome.

-Narsil: Elendil’s sword, broken, which Isildur used to cut the ring from Sauron’s hand. Aragorn carries it around.

-Ohtar: Esquire of Isildur. Survived the ambush which killed Isildur. Brought with him the shards of Narsil to Rivendell.

History, history, history! So many new things!

Frodo forgetting that Elrond has been around for a long time certainly feels uncomfortable in this formal setting of the Council. Elrond has to go back and remind Frodo that he’s Eärendil’s son. DUH. Obvi.

Wait...Elrond is an ELF!?

Boromir’s outburst, though also uninformed, is more acceptable. Gondor’s been slowly falling out of grace, so I don’t doubt that he doesn’t know about the fate of Isildur. Education is lax in the south there…

Anywho, I’m going to withhold trying to figure out where things are going in this story, because we’re just going to move forward through it as we go day by day.

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Oh look, the same list. Ho hum

“‘One of these was Ohtar, the esquire of Isildur, who bore the shards of the…'”

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Oh, it’s story time, yes it is!

…well, this whole thing is a story, but we’re going to have a story time in the story. META.

When typing "META", I keep accidentally typing "MEAT". Oh well.

Elrond announces that they have all come to Rivendell in times of need, and the main problem is the ring. In order for everyone to be on the same page, he will begin telling the tale of the ring, in every detail, up to the present.

You see, a long time ago, Sauron was not evil. He was just doing his own thing, and asked all the races of Middle-earth to be his friends. Kind of like a little kid all alone on the playground looking for a group to hang out with.

Baby Sauron!

Sauron convinced great elven-smiths, close allies of the dwarves in Moria, to make the Rings of Power. Sauron, however, had ulterior motives, and deceived them by forging his own ring in secret. The elves caught on, and hid their three rings. War was fought, and Sauron was beaten. Later on, men came to Middle-earth after the collapse of Númenor, and Sauron tried to hold power over them as well. They had been too far away before, but Sauron had a hand in corrupting Númenor, and thus brought them closer to him. The kingdoms of Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south were established.

First Mentions:

-the Second Age: Period of time in Middle-earth between Morgoth’s banishment and Sauron’s defeat by Isildur. Currently, Middle-earth is in the Third Age.

-Celebrimbor: Elf who resisted Sauron. The first to do so, and hid the Three away. Probably saved everything from being awful.

-Anárion: Elendil’s second son, and Isildur’s brother. Founded Arnor. I don’t know why we don’t talk about him more…

UPDATE: No, he didn’t found Arnor. Shut up, past me.

FURTHER UPDATE: -Gondor: I forgot to give it a First Mention. Whoops. It’s that big old southern kingdom. It’s a thing.

Okay, so quick rundown of everything that happened. Sauron had already teamed up with Morgoth (Melkor…whatever) long before any of this happened. When Morgoth was banished into the Void at the end of the First Age, Sauron repented, and drew away from the public eye. He presented the Rings of Power as a sort of peace offering once he had gotten into the better graces of many mortals. The Three, Seven, and Nine were all made then. The dwarves didn’t fall under much of Sauron’s power, like the men did, who became the Ringwraiths as we know them. The elves were smart, and hid their rings, as we know.

Sauron was captured by the men of Númenor, but was able to wriggle his way out, convincing the men to attack Valinor by poisoning their minds in service of Morgoth. The creator, Eru, forbid this, and sunk Númenor.

History has never been so awesome.

That’s where Elrond has gotten up to by the end of this page. Trust me, there’s more. Oh, so much more.

Elrond does say that he will begin the story, but not end it. I’m assuming that he wants to go all the way up to the present moment, so I think Frodo will have to finish the tale. I hope he’s been paying attention in public speaking class!

No pressure. It’s not like these aren’t the most powerful people in Middle-earth gathered here…

Whoops. Yeah they are.

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Again, Celebrimbor is pronounced with a hard “c”. (kεlεbrɪmbɔr) IPA is fun! (And exciting for my special characters menu.)

“But Sauron of Mordor assailed them, and they made the…”

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Very interesting page today!

However, some other news to get to: I finally got the end of my Christmas presents last night! Why is this relevant, you may ask? My girlfriend finally finished off my collection by getting me both Extended Editions of Fellowship and Two Towers, which joined up with Return of the King to make the full set of DVDs! I already had the first two movies…but not Extended Editions, so they didn’t really count. Also, her mother (giver of the great tome that I read from) gave me four glasses. Two are engraved with the logo of The Green Dragon, and the other two are from The Prancing Pony! They will come in handy. Very much.


On to today’s action! The next morning, being six days of travel from Bree, the hobbits and Aragorn come across a path. Merry is skeptical of it, worrying that it might be the work of more Barrow-wights. Aragorn calms his fears, and gives some history of Weathertop and the surrounding area. His ancestors once defended the lands from attacks from Angmar, and built a watchtower on Weathertop. Now nothing is left but ruins, though it is said that the great king Elendil would stand at the tower to watch for the elf-king, Gil-galad. Suddenly, someone speaks a poem about the great life and downfall of Gil-galad.

First Mentions:

-Arnor: The ancient northern kingdom of men. Aragorn’s ancestors hailed from here to defend the hills. Destroyed and scattered.

-Amon Sûl: The watchtower of Weathertop. Tall and proud, though now in ruins. One of the places to once contain a Palantír. More on those later. Much later.

-the Last Alliance: Union of elves and men who resisted Sauron in a great war long ago. The conflict ended when Isildur cut the ring from Sauron’s hand with Elendil’s broken sword.

I thought Gil-galad was going to be a First Mention… Nope. We’ve talked about him a bit already.

But don’t worry, we’re going to talk about him again!

You didn't know he was in the movies, did you?

The poem spoken at the end of this page is gorgeous. We don’t learn the speaker (we will tomorrow), but it tells the sad tale of the elven king. He was great, but fell in the battle against Sauron. “For into darkness fell his star,” the poem states. Pretty stuff, if I do say so myself. “In Mordor where the shadows are,” it ends. Does every dark poem end with a line about Mordor and its shadows? The final line of the poem containing the ring inscription is “In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.” That’s two! I’m sensing a pattern.

The poem really dominates in how I view this page. I find it very beautiful, and after highlighting it I can’t really bring myself to say much else. The brief history lesson from Aragorn is nice, and goes a ways to show how he connects with his kingly lineage. He won’t say it, but when he brings up Elendil he’s talking about his great-great-great…etc. grandfather.

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Yes, “barrow-wightish”, meaning kind of like the same feeling as a Barrow-wight. You know, generally creepy?

“But long ago he rode away, and where he dwelleth none can say; for into darkness fell his star in Mordor where the shadows are.”

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If you ever have any doubt about whether or not Tolkien really had rich backstories for every single thing mentioned in his works, this page (along with yesterday’s) proves that he did. We’re learning a little bit more about Bree today.

No. Stop. We went over this yesterday.

The inhabitants of Bree don’t travel much, though some hobbits used to venture to Buckland or the Eastfarthing from the village, and hobbits in the eastern parts of the Shire would sometimes visit the taverns in Bree. This back-and-forth has waned over the years, though it is undeniable that the hobbits of Bree and Buckland share some of the same ancestry. Today, the Shire-hobbits tend to think of anyone outside the Shire as backwards, even though the hobbits of Bree live comfortable lives similar to those in the Shire.

Bree itself is surrounded by a tall hedge and ditch, much like Buckland, and the East Road runs right through it, from a gate in the west to another in the south. The gates are guarded at night. The growth of Bree, as I had thought, was due to the convergence of the East and North roads just west of the village. Though the northern road is rarely used now, tales told by all the various travelers passing though Bree at The Prancing Pony were said to be strange.

First Mentions:

-Outsiders: The term given by hobbits in the Shire to anyone living outside its borders. Kind of a derogatory title.

-the Northern Lands: Abandoned lands to the north. Once the kingdom of Arnor. Now, nothing.

-the North Road: North-south road passing by Bree. Now called the Greenway by Bree-folk due to its overgrowth.

Bree is a crossroads town! It’s like the Midwest of Middle-earth.

Oh, I went there.

Why must the hobbits of the Shire be so elitist? Aren’t we supposed to like them? I would understand if we were just talking about wayward hobbits roaming the countryside, but the divide between hobbits in the Shire and hobbits in Bree seems to come from the fact that the two groups don’t see each other as much anymore. But seriously, it’s just because of laziness! Hobbits are lazy, that’s a fact, and if the hobbits in the Shire or Bree would just work up the effort to travel for a single day, they could visit the other hobbits easily. Get it together, folks.

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It’s amazing what words I haven’t already used that you would assume I would have. Like that one.

“The Inn of Bree was still there, however, and the innkeeper was…”

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