Numenoreans, the Last Alliance and Whatever the Hell Elrond Was Talking About

During the Council of Elrond, after Elrond was finishing up his retelling of the Tale of How the One Ring Was Made, he talked about Numenor. He must have went on and on about that as well, since it was summarized by the narrator.

Elrond had nothing really to do with Numenor. His brother, Elros, was the island’s first king, but he died in 442 of the Second Age just as he reached the five-century mark. The whole tale of Numenor was summarized in a sentence, including “and the return of the Kings of Men to Middle-earth out of the deeps of the Sea, borne upon the wings of storm.”

The Numenoreans were known as the Kings of Men. But then, the Valar called them the Atani (meaning “Second People”), while they were known as the Edain in the Sindarin tongue. Once they got to Numenor, they were called the Numenoreans, or, just to make things more Tolkien-esque, the Dunedain (which means Edain of the West). They apparently called themselves the Adun.

Anyway, at first, there were just Men. But some of these men aided the Valar and the Elves against Morgoth in the War of Wrath (at the end of the First Age). These men, made up of what remained of the Houses of Beor and Hador, were rewarded for their sacrifice by the Valar.

They were given what the Valar called Andor, an island in the middle of the sea (though closer to Valinor). The Men called it Elenna, meaning “Starwards,” because they, led by Elrond’s brother Elros, followed the Star of Earendil (Venus) to find it. They also called it Anadune, meaning “Westernesse.” The Elves, however, called it Numenor, and that’s apparently all that mattered because that’s the name that stuck.

Apart from the island, they were given long lives without sickness. “Therefore they grew wise and glorious, and in all things more like to the Firstborn (Elves) than any other of the kindreds of Men; and the light of their eyes was like the bright stars.” (from the Silmarillion‘s Akallabeth)

They were also pretty tall. By some accounts, Elendil, father of Isildur, was eight feet tall. We’re given the Numenorean unit of measurement, the ranga, which was based upon the typical stride of a Numenorean. Tolkien glossed it as “slightly longer than our yard, approximately thirty-eight inches,” because why not.

In Unfinished Tales we’re told that two rangas was called “man-high,’ which means that typical men were 6’4” tall. However, these measurements were actually used on Middle-earth, not Numenor. The Numenor-Atlantis men were said to have been “more than man-high.” Elendil’s height was supposed to be man-high plus half a ranga, so nearly eight feet tall, which is why Elrond referred to him as “Elendil the Tall.” He was the tallest Numenorean to escape the downfall. Later, however, Tolkien must have rethought it, placing the average tall person’s height at around seven feet. Seriously, Tollers….

Elrond moved on to talk about Isildur and Anarion, the sons of Elendil who became the leaders of Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south, respectively. Together, they were known as the Realms in Exile or simply The Two Kingdoms. This was in 3320 of the Second Age, or 3,139 years before the our story takes place.

Both places had been Numenorean colonies for some time, and both welcomed Elendil and his followers after the downfall of Numenor. But there were also Black Numenoreans who had become followers of Sauron. They didn’t recognize Elendil’s authority, especially in Gondor.

After a bit of shuffling, Isildur and Anarion divided up the kingdom. Isildur built Minas Ithil (which we’ll later know as Minas Morgul) right next to Mordor to keep a watch on it and probably as a bit of piss to throw at Sauron. Anarion built Minas Anor (which we’ll know as Minas Tirith).

Really not keen on this whole idea, Sauron attacked in 3429, about a hundred years after the Realms in Exile were established. A year later, the Last Alliance of Elves and Men was formed. This combined the troops of Gil-galad from Lindon and Elendil (both Isildur’s and Anarion’s from Gondor and Arnor). Here you can see a map of where everybody was coming from. Lindon was mostly near the coast and sort of west of Arnor.

While, as Elrond says, “the hosts of Gil-galad and Elendil were mustered in Arnor,” the army under Anarion was doing their best to hold off Sauron’s forces spilling out of Mordor, the East, as well as the South. It took the Last Alliance three years to prepare, which they did in Rivendell (then called Imladris). This is when Elrond was with them.

‘I remember well the splendour of their banners,’ he said. ‘It recalled to me the glory of the Elder Days and the hosts of Beleriand, so many great princes and captains were assembled.’

Finally… FINALLY, the Last Alliance was ready, and they marched over the Misty Mountains and down the Andiun. This is where they picked up the Elves from Greenwood and Lorien and the Dwarves from Moria. You’ll notice that this wasn’t called the Last Alliance of Elves, Men and Dwarves – and they wonder why the Dwarves are so unhappy with Elves (who do all the naming).

When they got near Mordor, they also picked up Anarion’s army, which was probably exhausted after three years of struggling on their own. While it makes sense that the Last Alliance couldn’t join with Anarion’s army due to not being prepared, why couldn’t the Greenwood and Lorien Elves help out before then? Why not the Dwarves?

They attacked in what became known as the Battle of Dagorlad, which took place near what later was known as the Dead Marshes, just outside of the Black Gate of Mordor. Defeated, Sauron’s forces retreated to Barad-dur, which the Last Alliance then besieged for seven years.

At this point in the telling, Elrond is interrupted by Frodo and goes off on a bit of a tangent before returning to the siege. Over the next two (hell, probably morr) days, we’ll follow suit.

A Few Notes
Incidentally, Tolkien placed Aragon’s height at 6’6″ and Boromir’s at 6’4″. You’ll find in Tolkien’s writings that the tallest person is almost always the leader (even among hobbits and dwarves). Speaking as someone who is 5’4″, this is an incredibly dodgy way to pick leaders.

When reading about this stuff, a map really, really helps. My go-to maps are from Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle-Earth. You seriously can’t go wrong with it.

Camera: Ansco Color Clipper Film: FujiChrome 400D (expired 08/1994) (xpro as C-41)

Camera: Ansco Color Clipper
Film: FujiChrome 400D (expired 08/1994) (xpro as C-41)

About the Photo
I didn’t take nearly as many photos of the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields as I wanted to when I traveled through them last year. I did, however, manage to accidentally destroy a whole roll of film with said photos on it. I was pretty bummed. A few survived from the trip, including this one of the “Triangular Field,” one of my favorite spots.

  • Day 119
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 596 (142 from Rivendell)
  • 325 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,183 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Encamped south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. January 2, 3019 TA. (map)


Where is the Story of the One Ring ‘Elsewhere Recounted’?

“Then through all the years that followed he traced the Ring, but since that history is elsewhere recounted, even as Elrond himself set it down in his books of lore, it is not here recalled.”

This must have been incredibly frustrating for anyone reading Fellowship of the Ring when it was published. It wouldn’t be until twenty-three years later that this was fully(ish) recounted in the Silmarillion. Sure, we get some of the story in his chapter and a bit in the Appendices, but for the full story, the reader would have to wait until 1977 to read “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.” Three years later, with the publication of Unfinished Tales, even more of the story, complete with contradictions and anomalies, would see the light of day.

When studying the differing variations of Tolkien’s stories and how they changed from before, during and after the writing and publication of Lord of the Rings, usually it’s understood that he concluded much of what he started in the writing phase after the publication (or at least the final draft). As an example, while he explored a bit of the “Quest for Erebor” in the Lord of the Rings, he went much deeper a decade or so after finishing the book (the full version of which didn’t see the light of day until the Annotated Hobbit was published a few years ago).

In the case of Elrond’s tale about the Ring, which was “elsewhere recounted,” much of it was written over the varying drafts of this chapter. Once that got too weighty, he compiled the accounts and wrote “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age,” which he wished to have placed in the Appendices. When even that became overflowing, it was simply dropped and would have to wait for son to plop it down in the Silmarillion.

But the spinning of this tale took time. As far as the narrative is concerned, the Elves of Eregion were friends with the Dwarves in Moria. However, they had also become ensnared by Sauron. One, named Celebrimbor, had made three Elven rings, but was on to Sauron, who made the One Ring to rule over the three. Celebrimbor hid the three Elven rings, “and there was war, and the land was laid waste, and the gate of Moria was shut.”

The character of Celebrimbor existed prior to the writing of The Lord of the Rings, though he was merely mentioned in passing as the son of Curufin. He was first used by Tolkien in his initial draft of the “Mines of Moria” chapter, when Gandalf said that “Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs” (meaning the “Speak friends and enter” script above the door). He wasn’t brought up in the Council of Elrond or into the story of the One Ring until the very final draft. This was probably because Tolkien wanted to take the whole thing to the Appendices.

In late 1951 or early 1952, Tolkien started rewriting his “Tale of Years,” an expurgated version of which would appear as Appendix B. It was into this, from all I can tell, that Celebrimbor was folded.

And even that story evolved. In one of the early drafts, the year 1500 of the Second Age is given as when “The Three Great Rings are made by Celbrimbor of the Silver Grasp.” Also, the Ruling Ring was made by Sauron in Mordor. By the publication of Lord of the Rings, it was the “Elven-smiths instructed by Sauron” who made the Rings of Power, which weren’t finished for another ninety years. Ten years after that, Sauron forged the One Ring in Orodruin, and “Celebrimbor perceives the designs of Sauron.”

As strange as it might seem, Tolkien wouldn’t return to the Celebrimbor tale until the late 1960s when he wrote “Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn” (which appeared in Unfinished Tales). Tolkien had several different origin stories for him, all which he fiddled with around that time – fifteen years after the Lord of the Rings was published. Sometimes Celebrimbor was of Noldorin origin, other times he was of the Teleri. Hell, he was even once a Sinda descended from Daeron. Whatever, Tollers. Whatever.

Okay, I really got off track. Basically, at the point when Tolkien wrote that the history was “elsewhere recounted,” it actually existed, though probably only as an outline for his drafts of “The Tale of Years.”

So if you want to know the story as “elsewhere recounted,” you’ll have to pick up the Silmarillion and read the final chapter. Then, if you really want to delve, hit up “Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn” in Unfinished Tales. But as you do keep in mind that the Silmarillion chapter was never finished by Tolkien. From what I understand (and I can’t find a source for this) it was finished by his son, Christopher Tolkien. Also keep in mind that the bits from Unfinished Tales were written near the end of his life, and probably don’t reflect whatever he was thinking when he wrote Lord of the Rings.

That’s how it works, folks. Good luck!

A Few Notes

  • There’s a hell of a lot of guessing going on here, and much of what I wrote isn’t very clear. There’s no history that I could find about the essay “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age,” so I had to piece together what I could.
  • Celebrimbor was also mentioned in the 1969ish essay “Of Men and Dwarves.” Tolkien collected and explained the references in Appendix F as well as Faramir’s talk in The Two Towers‘s chapter “The Window on the West”. This can be found in The Peoples of Middle-Earth.
  • I really hope you made it through this. Just re-reading it, the whole thing seems pretty dense. I’m sorry about that. Tomorrow, I’ll be better!
Camera: Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex Film: Ilford XP2 Super 400

Camera: Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex
Film: Ilford XP2 Super 400

About the Photo
I guess I’m not really sure. Maybe something about ideas splitting or coming together or running parallel. Maybe?

  • Day 118
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 591 (137 from Rivendell)
  • 330 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,188 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Marching south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. January 1 – 2, 3019 TA. (map)

A Nazgul Visits the Lonely Mountain

The first person to speak at the Council of Elrond, after everyone was introduced to everyone else, was not Elrond, but Gloin the dwarf from The Hobbit.

‘It is now many years ago,’ said Gloin, ‘that a shadow of disquiet fell upon our people.’

We’re told that not everything that was said at the Council was related in the chapter, and Gloin’s tale seems to be heavily edited. For instance, the background was skipped and appears as “Durin’s Folk” in part three of Appendix A. But what we are told is pretty fascinating stuff.

First, we hear again of Moria, which we first heard of in The Hobbit’s “An Unexpected Party,” when Gandalf reminds Thorin: “Your grandfather Thror was killed, you remember, in the mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin.” Elrond also makes mention of it and its “forgotten treasures of old.”

Clearly Moria was a place that the Dwarves dearly wanted to regain. Gloin called it, “Wonder of the Northern World!,” but explained why it was abandoned. They had mined too deep “and woke the nameless fear.” This, as we’ll learn, was a Balrog – a nasty creature, evil and powerful. Nobody who ever killed one had lived to tell the tale (though two were curiously reincarnated – well, one so far in the story…anyway).

This was in 1980 of the Third Age. In 1981, the Dwarves left living escaped, eventually taking refuge in Erebor – The Lonely Mountain – in 1999 (where they partied like it was … well, you know). There they remained until Smaug came around in 2770. It was a pretty good run. But since the Dwarves had taken back Erebor, some were looking to do the same with Moria, or as they called it, Khazad-dum.

Those “some” were led by Balin, from The Hobbit, who was accompanied by Ori and Oin in 2989, forty-eight years after the Battle of Five Armies and the retaking of Erebor. For awhile things seemed to be going well enough for Balin and his party. For a time (a few years, maybe?) messages regularly came from Moria. Then, all of a sudden, they stopped. It had been twenty-nine years since Balin entered Moria, and nearly that many since word had last been received.

About a year ago (so in 3017), Dain, who now ruled the Dwarves at Erebor, was visited by “a horseman in the night.” He was a messenger from Sauron in Mordor, and his description was hardly given. All we are told was that he rode a horse and that “his breath came like the hiss of snakes, and all who stood by shuddered.”

From Evan Dorkin's new comic, The Eltingville Club, which is pretty great.

From Evan Dorkin’s new comic, The Eltingville Club, which is pretty great.

This was pretty clearly one of the Nazgul. First, he came only at night. Also, the hissing is a pretty dead (ha! get it!) giveaway, as is the reaction of the Dwarves. His voice was described as “fell,” and he was accompanied by other messengers who visited nearby Dale. However, the thing that really clinches it is his Rider’s quest.

He starts by saying that Sauron only wanted their friendship, and in return, he would give them rings, just like the old days. But Sauron was also interested in hobbits, “of what kind they were, and where they dwelt.” It’s pretty clear here that until recently Sauron had never heard of Hobbits and had no idea where The Shire was. But somehow had learned that the Dwarves knew Bilbo. Maybe Gollum said a bit more than “Baggins” and “Shire” when being tortured in Moria, hm?

“As a small token only of your friendship Sauron ask this,” he said: “that you should find this thief,” such was his word, “and get it from him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of your good will.”

Basically, the Rider wanted any information they could get about this “thief” (which makes it pretty obvious that the information came from Gollum). In return, he promised that Moria would be theirs forever. This messenger had visited Erebor three times and promised to come again before the year was out (probably meaning 3018, which was to end in less than two and a half months – the Council of Elrond was held on October 25th).

Since this quest was essentially for the Ring, it had to be a Nazgul, as Sauron could trust nobody else in finding it – not even the Mouth of Sauron, it seems.

And so Dain dispatched Gloin “to warn Bilbo that he is sought by the Enemy.” He was also sent to take council of Elrond, which could conveniently be had at the Council of Elrond.

That was really all Gloin had to say. Next up was Elrond, who found himself fairly wordy.

A Few Notes

  • The word “Moria” was actually nicked from a Scandinavian castle called Soria Moria. In Tolkien’s world, however, the word was derived from “mor” (meaning dark or black, as in Morgoth) and “ia” (meaning void or abyss). Sounds like a swell place.
  • The word Khazad-dum, on the other hand means “deeps of the Khuzd.” Khuzd being what the Dwarves call themselves. Dum meant mansion or halls.
Camera: Mamiya C3 Film: Film: FujiChrome Provia 100F (xpro - not expired)

Camera: Mamiya C3
Film: Film: FujiChrome Provia 100F (xpro – not expired)

About the Photo
I have some great ideas for the Mines of Moria photos, but I can’t get to the places until the snow finally melts on the mountains. Until then, I think this old Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnel will do nicely. This is one of my favorite spots in Pennsylvania, and I’m glad I got to visit it again last summer.

  • Day 117
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 586 (132 from Rivendell)
  • 335 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,193 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Marching south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. January 1 – 2, 3019 TA. (map)

In Many Ways they Resembled ‘Egyptians’

I’m taking the day off today (from writing, not from exercising). So here’s a blurb about Numenoreans from Tolkien’s letters…

The Numenoreans of Gondor were proud, peculiar, and archaic, and I think are best pictured in (say) Egyptian terms. In many ways they resembled ‘Egyptians’ – the love of, and power to construct, the gigantic and massive. And in their great interest in ancestry and in tombs. (But not of course in ‘theology’: in which respect they were Hebraic and even more puritan – but this would take long to set out: to explain in deed why there is practically no overt ‘religion’, * or rather religious acts or places or ceremonies among the ‘good’ or anti-Sauron people in The Lord of the Rings.) I think the crown of Gondor (the S. Kingdom) was very tall, like that of Egypt, but with wings attached, not set straight back but at an angle.

A Few Notes

This drawing accompanied the letter:

I’m also thinking about getting an Instagram account for the blog (and life, I suppose). I’m just way more visual than Twitter implies. And a bit wordier. We shall see.

About the Photo

Camera: Ansco Color Clipper Film: Kodak Portra 400NC (expired 01/2003)

Camera: Ansco Color Clipper
Film: Kodak Portra 400NC (expired 01/2003)

It’s the closest thing to a pyramid I’ve got!

  • Day 116
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 581 (127 from Rivendell)
  • 340 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,198 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Encamped along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. Yule 2 – Jan 1, 3019 TA. (map)

The Warning Bell for the Council of Elrond!

And so now we start the Council of Elrond. I’ve been excited for and dreading this, so I’ll probably ease on into it rather than dive head first.

The council doesn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Aragorn alluded to it on the way to Rivendell, and Sam told Bilbo and Frodo about it the night before.

The chapter itself is ridiculously long, clocking in at 15,000 or so words. Literally nothing happens – there is only talking. Seven of the twelve characters who have something to say, we’ve never even heard of before.

If the Rivendell chapters completely change the tone of the story, The Council of Elrond is why and how. And that it changes everything must lead us back to why and how Tolkien created it (told you I was easing in).

When Tolkien arrived in Rivendell, he had no real idea where to go (or at least how to get there). Strider, for example, was named Trotter and was a hobbit. He had no great lineage and nothing seemed all that spectacular about him.

Tolkien began writing The Lord of the Rings in December 1937. It wasn’t until August of 1939 that he came to this point. In the very first drafts of the Rivendell chapters, the council was mostly just Elrond giving a bit of Silmarillion back story and going on about the Necromancer. In his second attempt, he hardly got far enough into Rivendell to reach the place where the Council might be.

There, Tolkien stopped to assess his next move and make notes about what to change in the story thus far. I won’t go into the specific differences at this point – remember, we’re easing – but the changes made are pretty significant once Tolkien decided that some council must be held.

But when Tolkien wrote in the margins: “?? Trotter had better not be a hobbit – but a Ranger, remainder of Western Men, as originally planned,” everything changed. He did not, at first, simply make Trotter a Man. That came a touch later.

The published Council of Elrond was attended by:
Elves: Elrond, Erestor, Glorfindel, Galdor, and Legolas
Men: Aragorn and Boromir
Dwarves: Gloin and Gimli
Hobbits: Bilbo, Frodo and Sam
And, of course, Gandalf

The original draft, however, featured:
Elves: Elrond, Glorfindel, “a strange elf (a messenger from the Wood-elves, proto-Legolas)”
Men: Boromir
Dwarves: Gloin and Burin (son of Balin, later called Frar before becoming Gimli)
Hobbits: Trotter (proto-Strider, here named Peregrin Boffin), Frodo, Merry, Folco (proto-Pippin), and Odo (no equivalent, but traveled with Gandalf)
And, of course, Gandalf

Rather than give a verbatim accounting of what was said at the council, Tolkien wrote: “It would take long to tell of all that was spoken in that council under the fair trees of Rivendell.” He wrote two drafts of this, and both stopped at that point.

Tolkien then went about changing things again. First, he moved the Council from “a high glade among the trees on the valley-side far above the house” to “behind closed doors.” Additionally, it was here that he decided: “Ring must be destroyed.” He also jotted notes such as: “Odo must be cut out.”

Sometimes, when Tolkien would write notes, he would do so in the voice of the character speaking. For instance, he has Gandalf warning: “‘Beware! of the Giant Treebeard, who haunts the Forest between the River and the South Mts.’ Fangorn?”

The only real bits of the Council itself that came about from these notes concerned the Rings of Power and how many the Elves and Dwarves still held. (The Elves still had three, and “Some of the seven” given to the Dwarves remain, but they don’t see to have any idea where they are.)

Throughout the writing of Lord of the Rings, Tolkien did his best to not contradict The Hobbit – no small task. In a note about the Dwarves’ rings, he wrote: “No! This won’t do – otherwise the dwarves would have been more suspicious of Bilbo.”

The Council of Elrond Chapter went through five different drafts after he finally was able to write the first. Eventually, he wrote enough material to piece together what became the final published version of the chapter. It probably took a year to get to the fifth draft, though, of course, he didn’t write it continuously, and took a fairly long break sometime that year.

And we’ll now take a short break and dig into the Council of Elrond!

A Few Notes

  • Trotter was not “originally planned” to be a Numenorean, but a hobbit. By “originally planned,” Tolkien was probably talking in a more recent sort of way.
  • You better believe it that we’ll be coming back to this “Giant Treebeard” fellow who haunts the Fangorn Forest.
Camera: Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex || Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D (expired 08/1994)(xpro as C-41)

Camera: Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex || Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D (expired 08/1994)(xpro as C-41)

About the Photo
I think this is actually a gymnasium at an old army base in Seattle (Fort Lawton). I’m not sure why I think that the Council of Elrond should have been held here, but if it had been, Elrond would totally have worn sweatpants.

  • Day 115
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 576 (122 from Rivendell)
  • 345 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,203 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Marching south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. Yule 2 – Jan 1, 3019 TA. (map)

Earendil Was an Errantry – A Metre So Difficult

Yesterday, I wrote about the Earendil poem chanted by Bilbo in Rivendell the night before the Council of Elrond. But, not at all surprisingly, that wasn’t the first version of the poem.

Originally, it had started as a completely different piece (as far as subject matter went), called ‘Errantry’. Around 1930 or 1931, Tolkien composed the poem with a meter and rhyme scheme so difficult it makes the Earendil poem seem like iambic verse. Tolkien referred to it in a 1966 letter as “a piece of verbal acrobatics and metrical high-jinks… intended for recitation with great variations of speed.” Once the reader came to the end, he or she “was supposed at once to begin repeating (at even higher speed) the beginning, unless somebody cried ‘Once is enough’.”

You can hear Tolkien himself reading it here.

The first version of ‘Errantry’ was published in Oxford Magazine in November of 1933, while a (very) slightly altered version of included in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It grew out of itself to become the Earendil poem, but had absolutely nothing to do with Middle-earth prior to that.

Tolkien famously had great disdain for the Victorian idea of faeries as small sprites who dance around. In fact, one of the early goals of his Book of Lost Tales writings (basically the early versions of the Silmarillion material) was to explain that the Elves used to be great beings who faded to become the small sprites we know of today.

Still, in 1930, he dipped back into the idea of small faeries.

There was a merry passenger,
A messenger a mariner:
He built a gilded gondola
To wander in and had in her
A load of yellow oranges
And porridge for his provender;
He perfumed her with marjoram,
And cardamom and lavender.

You can see the simularities to the Earendil poem, especially in meter and rhythm, but also the idea that a mariner built a boat to set sail.

Basically, a mariner sailed rivers and crossed land apparently on a mission of some sort. But soon he forgot the mission…

He sat and sang a melody,
His errantry a tarrying,
He begged a pretty butterfly,
That fluttered by to marry him.

This is some brillian rhyming, and in my opinion far superiour to the Earendil poem. Anyway, borrowing a bit from the Beren and Luthien story, the butterfly “laughed at him unpitying” and scorned him. Angery, he took up learning magic, “sigaldry,” and smithying. He then used those trades to build a beautiful trap and a bridal bed.

Somehow or another, he caught her and gave her gems and necklaces, but she squandered them and they fought. Unable to convince her to love him, he continued on his way, which was that of a warrior. As later in the Earendil poem, Tolkien described his armament. The Mariner fought many different insects (both real and made up).

He battled with the Dumbledors,
The Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,
And won the Golden Honeycomb,
And running home on sunny seas,
In ship of leaves and gossamer,
With blossom for a canopy,
He sat and sang, and furbished up,
And burnished up his panoply.

But none of this was his original task, which he had completely forgotten to accomplish before returning home. And so he had to once more set out on his mission.

The poem had many, many revisions, which are all well documented in The Treason of Isengard by Christopher Tolkien. For its inclusion in the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien reworked “Errantry,” created fifteen or so different drafts which spanned the spectrum from the original to the Earendil poem. Eventually, he decided upon the version that’s now published (though there was an even longer version that was apparently supposed to be used).

A few years after Lord of the Rings, when Tolkien wished to include ‘Errantry’ in his Adventures of Tom Bombadil collection, he came up with a bit of retcon, as he was wont to do.

The poem, “Errantry,” was “evidently made by Bilbo. This is indicated by its obvious relationship to the long poem recited by Bilbo, as his own composition, in the house of Elrond.” And so Tolkien projected his own writing history upon Bilbo.

“Probably because Bilbo invented its metrical devices and was proud of them. They do not appear in other pieces in the Red Book. The older form, here given, must belong to the early days after Bilbo’s return from his journey.”

Or, to use Tolkien’s own words from a 1952 letter (No. 133): “It is for one thing in a metre I invented (depending on trisyllabic assonances or near-assonances) , which is so difficult that except in this one example I have never been able to use it again – it just blew out in a single impulse.”

A Few Notes

  • In the very first draft of the poem, the subject wasn’t a mariner, but “an errander” who mostly rode around on insects.
  • I’ve heard from a fairly reputable Tolkien scholar that the word “sigaldry” was made up by Tolkien, that it didn’t exist before he wrote about it in this poem. That’s not true. In James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps’ Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words published in 1852, sigaldry is defined “(1) Deceit; trick. (2) To deceive.” An example of its use appears in the Chester Plays, 14th Century plays based upon Biblical scripture, which Tolkien most certainly must have known about. At any rate, the definition fits. The Mariner in the poem learned deceit, along with wizardry and smithying.
  • “Dumbledores” are what bumblebees were called in Hampshire and Cornwall, England. I’m not sure if J.K. Rowling nicked the word from Tolkien. But I hope so. It’s a great word.
Camera: Kodak Duaflex II Film: FujiChrome Velvia 100 cross-processed as C-41.

Camera: Kodak Duaflex II
Film: FujiChrome Velvia 100 cross-processed as C-41.

About the Photo
I don’t really take pictures of insects (or faeries), but here’s a purple starfish!

  • Day 114
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 571 (117 from Rivendell)
  • 350 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,208 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Encamped along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. Yule 2 – Jan 1, 3019 TA. (map)

Earendil Was a Mariner and Elves are Still Dicks

After Frodo met up with Bilbo in Rivendell, they had a little chat and he discovered that Strider and Bilbo were friends. Not only that, we were introduced to the term “Dunadan,” which means Numenorean. We also see that there might be something of a romance between Strider and Arwen.

But the most interesting thing is Bilbo’s poem! He apparently wrote it nearly on the spot and in his head. He needed just a bit of help from Strider to complete it. So the two of them sat down and pounded it out.

Many people skip over or at most skim the poems and songs in Lord of the Rings. This is incredibly unfortunate, because many of them are just fun. Take this one, the Earendillinwe, for example.

Earendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien;
he built a boat of timber felled
in Nimbrethil to journey in

(you should read the rest of it, either in the book or here)

The first thing I noticed about the poem was the crazy rhyme scheme. Now, I’ve written a ridiculous amount of poetry in my days, but mostly it was pretty free of form/meter/rhyme, etc. Here’s an example.

Having tried my hand at meter once or twice, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. This… well, this is just ridiculous. Some of the rhymes are trisyllabic (well, nearly so – there’s a lot of slant-rhyming going on here). There’s an intricate internal rhyme structure. Honestly, I don’t know much about this sort of thing, so I won’t bore you with more words like “trisyllabic.”

The poem is about Earendil the mariner. I wrote a bit about him here. In the poem, he builds a ship and sails in search of Valinor. He had left his wife, Elwing, behind, but she found her way to him on the sea (there’s a bunch more to that story). She carried with her the Silmaril, which she crowned him with. Continuing on, he finally reached Valinor, where he stayed for a time. Them poem really doesn’t go into why he went to Valinor, but it tells that the Valar built him a new ship and the Silmaril was her light.

But this was no ordinary ship. It was to take him “behind the Sun and light of Moon.” Earendil, with the light of the Silmaril would become “the Flammifer of Westernesse” – a star. Technically, Venus, the star by which the Edain followed to Numenor, where they became Numenoreans.

Bilbo “chanted” this poem in the Hall of Fire before the assembled Elves. The point had been for them to guess which lines were his and which were Aragorn’s. They asked to hear it again, supposedly because they couldn’t tell which lines were whose.

“‘It is not easy for us to tell the difference between two mortals,’ said the Elf.”

But Bilbo calls him on it: “If you can’t distinguish between a Man and a Hobbit, your judgment is poorer than I imagined.”

This is the cover to the Chinese edition of the Silmarillion. Lucky bastards.

This is the cover to the Chinese edition of the Silmarillion. Lucky bastards.

And I think Bilbo was right. The Elves could totally tell the difference. They were, as they often were, being dicks. I’ve said it before, many times, Elves are dicks. It’s their nature.

“‘Maybe. To sheep other sheep no doubt appear different,’ laughed Lindir. ‘Or to shepherds. But Mortals have not been our study. We have other business.'”

Like hell. First, comparing Men and Hobbits to sheep was no accident. And come on, the Silmarillion (written by Elves for Elves) is full of stories about Men – Beren, Huron, Turin, Beor, and more!

Now, sure, maybe they were taking the piss out of Bilbo for having the chutzpah to tell the Earendil story in Rivendell. Earendil was Elrond’s father, and it was Elros, Elrond’s brother, who followed the Star of Earendil to Numenor. Maybe a slightly touchy subject.

So obviously, if the Elves wanted to hear it again, they must have liked it. But they apparently couldn’t tell Bilbo that (because they’re dicks), so they made up the (racist) story of not being able to tell mortals apart. In an earlier draft, in response to Bilbo saying that Men and Hobbits were “as different as peas and apples,” The dickish Elves replied : “No! – little peas and large peas!” And: “Their languages all taste the same to us, anyway.”

What dickishness even from the rough drafts!

A Few Notes
Oh, if you were wondering, or couldn’t remember, Aragorn added only one phrase to the poem – one about a “green stone,” which was probably: “upon his breast an emerald,” since no other green stone appears in the poem.

This poem was actually based on an earlier poem that’s even more intricate. I’ll dip into that and a bit of the history tomorrow, I hope.

Camera: Tru-View (Diana Clone, circa 1960) || Film: Kodak Ektachrome 64 (x-pro)

Camera: Tru-View (Diana Clone, circa 1960) || Film: Kodak Ektachrome 64 (x-pro)

About the Photo
Well, I don’t really have a lot of watery photos, since I mostly shoot in the desert. Nevermind that there’s salt water only a few miles away from me…. This was taken on “Banks Lake,” which is actually the Columbia River flooded over by Grand Coulee Dam.

  • Day 113
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 566 (112 from Rivendell)
  • 355 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,213 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Encamped along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. Yule 1 – Yule 2, 3018-9 TA. (map)

The ‘Unanswerable Question’ of Gandalf and Bilbo

Finally! Frodo and Bilbo are reunited! On his 111th birthday, Bilbo left the Shire. Seventeen years later, he and Frodo meet again. For twelve years, Frodo had lived with Bilbo, and they were basically inseparable. When Bilbo left, Frodo more or less took on his roll as weird guy at Bag End, but mostly, he just missed his old friend.

The biggest reason that Frodo set out on this journey was to see Bilbo once again. Sure, he knew he had an important task – to bring the Ring to Rivendell – but mostly, the separation was a killer.

Bilbo related what he had done the year before settling in Rivendell. He had traveled all over the place, making it to Dale to visit the dwarves, “but somehow he had steered all the time towards Rivendell. That’s all pretty simple, but there’s something he says that is not. At least not at first glance.

He relates that he had heard about the Ring from Gandalf, who had been to Rivendell often. “It is a pity that Gandalf did not find out more sooner.” Bilbo considered returning to Hobbiton to get the Ring several times, but he was getting old and neither Gandalf nor Elrond would let him. “They seemed to think that the Enemy was looking high and low for me, and would make mincemeat of me, if he caught me tottering about in the Wild.”

As we know, Gandalf had suspected something was strange with the Ring ever since he learned that Bilbo had it. But he wasn’t sure what it was. In fact, he wasn’t completely sure until April of 3018 (it was now October of 3018). Gandalf’s whereabouts are well known through that timespan.

When Gandalf learned about the Ring, he went immediately to the Shire to see Frodo. This was, as stated, in April. As he was leaving the Shire, he ran into Radagast, who told him that the Nazgul were closing in. He also told him to seek our Saruman. Gandalf then went to Bree, where he left a note for Frodo. This was on Midyear’s Day (basically, the middle of the three days between June and July). Immediately after that, Gandalf went to Isengard to see Saruman. He was a guest at Orthanc from July 10th till September 18th. The next week was spent in Edoras where he tamed Shadowfax. He then made haste for the Shire, where he arrived September 29th. From that point on, he’s a few days behind Frodo and the hobbits.

At no point in any of this time did he have a chance to check back in at Rivendell. So, by the time that Gandalf knew for sure that the ring was the One Ring, it’s impossible that he could have spoken to Bilbo, which seems to make this statement a bit of a mistake on Tolkien’s part.

It isn’t so rare that this happens. Many times in his writing, Tolkien would be headed in a certain direction, but then change that thought, and neglect to go back and change what came before it. Maybe this is one of those instances.

Or maybe not. It’s possible that sometime before he knew for certain that Bilbo’s ring was The Ring, he could have told Bilbo his mind.

In 3001, Bilbo left the Shire. At that point, Gandalf was suspicious that his ring was the One Ring, but he urged Bilbo not to take it with him to Rivendell. A year later, Bilbo arrived in Rivendell, and Gandalf set off in search of Gollum, and doubled the guard on the Shire. He would only have done this if he thought that the Enemy would try to get The Ring. In 3008, Gandalf visited the Shire for the last time (until he met again with Frodo in April of 3018).

For the next eight years, Gandalf and Aragorn searched for Gollum, but were unable to find him – this was when Gollum was in Mordor. But in 3017, a year before our tale begins, Gollum was released only to be captured by Aragorn. The next year, in June, Gollum escaped.

Gandalf wouldn’t have basically dedicated his entire life to finding Gollum and thus the true nature of The Ring unless he was pretty damn sure that the ring was The Ring. And while he didn’t know with absolute certainty what it was, he was probably confident enough to tell Bilbo to stick to Rivendell.

The reasons he gave him, however, might have been less than truthful. He warned that the Enemy was on the prowl (not quite true yet), and would make mincemeat out of him. And while Sauron wouldn’t know the name “Baggins” until he captured Gollum (3009 – 3017ish), Gandalf would not have known that.

The true reason might have been for Bilbo’s own safety from himself and The Ring. When Bilbo was leaving the Shire in 3001, he was going to take The Ring. Gandalf pleaded with him to leave it – at least in The Shire it would be safe (and Gandalf didn’t know at that point that Bilbo was going to Rivendell). Bilbo seriously didn’t want to leave it behind: “I won’t give my Precious away, I tell you!” After he said that, he went for his sword.

It was only through Gandalf’s threats (“you will see Gandalf the Grey uncloaked”) that Bilbo was convinced to leave it behind. Certainly Gandalf wouldn’t have forgotten this when Bilbo later suggested that he simply return to Hobbiton, pick up the Ring and bring it back to Rivendell. He had zero reason to trust that Bilbo wouldn’t once again be possessed by the Ring. Bilbo had rid himself of it in Rivendell, and so in Rivendell he should remain.

A Few Notes

  • The idea of the “unanswerable questions” over Gandalf’s timeline comes from Hammond & Scull’s Reader’s Guide. While this book is an essential resource, I can’t agree with their conclusion that these are actually “unanswerable.”
  • I hope I’m not moving too slowly through the Rivendell chapters. I really want to be able to delve into the Council of Elrond. So far I’m stuck in Many Meetings. Here’s hoping!
Camera: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye || Film: Kodak PPF-2 (expired 09/1999)

Camera: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye || Film: Kodak PPF-2 (expired 09/1999)

About the Photo
When I think of Bilbo, I think of the open road. Even though Frodo (probably) traveled a greater distance, Bilbo’s heart was in the journey. Gandalf, of course, was always on the road. And now that it’s basically summer, so am I!

  • Day 112
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 560 (107 from Rivendell)
  • 360 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,218 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: Book II, Chapter 3. Walking south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. Yule 1 – Yule 2, 3018-9 TA. (map)

Come Celebrate Yule with the Hobbits!

Though it was probably not celebrated by the Fellowship, this day in the narrative was the night of the first day of Yule and the morning of the second. So let’s take a look at what Yule was all about.

Yule had everything to do with the Shire Reckoning, and was something only celebrated by the Hobbits. While their calendar was derived from the Westron calendar, each culture dealt with the five additional days in different ways. For the most part, the Shire Calendar is quite like ours. It’s got twelve months, though each had thirty days. The remaining five days were accounted for in the middle of the year and at the end/beginning of the next. After the sixth month came a three day period called Lithe. The first day was called 1 Lithe, the second was Midyear’s Day, and the third was 2 Lithe. On leap years, Overlithe fell between Midyear’s Day and 2 Lithe. On the years when that day fell, there was extra partying.

The two remaining days were the Yule – the first and last day of the year. The word “Yule,” according to an early draft of Tolkien’s “Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings, should not be confused with the modern word “Yule.” It was, he said, “an accident,” though that’s pretty impossible to believe. Though the word was Hobbit in origin, he supposed “that a form of the same word had been used by the Northmen who came to form a large part of the population of Gondor.” Apparently “some word like Yule was well-known in Gondor as a ‘northern name’ for the midwinter festival.”

Because of the Shire Calendar, the Yules always fell on the same days. 1 Yule was always on Friday, called Highday, and 2 Yule was always the next, called Sterday. And so the Hobbit year, like the week, started on Sterday and ended on Highday.

In other drafts, which might not be canonical (though who knows), Tolkien described the tradition of Yule beginning in the North Kingdom and was “eventually adopted by Hobbits.” Early Hobbits (or “wild Hobbits” as they’re called here) “were said to have begun their year with the New Moon nearest to the beginning of Spring, while the settled Hobbits began it around October 1st. In Bree that was also the custom. “A trace of this was left in the keeping of October 1st as a minor festival in the Shire and Bree.” Incidentally, October 1st was the day that Gandalf left Bree, and there’s no mention of a festival or anything like that.

It appears that neither the Hobbits nor Tolkien were satisfied with simply celebrating Yule for two days. We’re told that Yuletide was six days long, including the last three and first three days of the year. However, in a draft of what would become Appendix D (which was edited down from this for reasons of space), Tolkien wrote: “In full ‘Yuletide’ was fourteen days long, the last week of the old and the first of the new year (from December 25 to January 6 inclusive), but the two middle days of the period, Yearsend or Oldyear’s Day, and Yearsday or Newyear’s Day were the great Yuledays.”

With all of this minutia, it’s pretty surprising that Tolkien ever got around to explaining exactly how the Hobbits celebrated Yule. Obviously the feasted, but what else? Did they give gifts? Put out stockings? Run around dressed as Orcs to scare the children? Who knows!

Though Yule was specifically a Hobbit thing, in his later writings, Tolkien used it to place a date having nothing to do with Hobbits. There is a fairly mind-blowing writing called “Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth” or “The Debate of Finrod and Andreth.” It appears in Morgoth’s Ring. Probably written in 1959, the Athrabeth dealt mostly this deals with death and afterlife concerning both Elves and Men (I covered it a bit here).

Andreth was the grandmother of Beren (of Beren and Luthien fame), and so this would place the conversation squarely in the First Age. In passing, Tolkien wrote: “For at that time Boron, Lord of the folk of Beor, had but lately died soon after Yule, and Finrod was grieved.”

It could be argued that perhaps a Hobbit (Bilbo, maybe. Or Sam.) was responsible for translating it and added that bit about Yule. I suppose that could be, though Tolkien never mentions that, as far as I can tell.

He also once used it in an early draft of the Tale of Years for 506-507 of the First Age: “At Yule Dior fought the sons of Feanor on the east marches of Doriath, and was slain.”

Again, the same could be argued, but why would a Hobbit get so specific about a date that didn’t exist in the Elvish calendar? The Elves had no Yule equivalent, as their year began with the spring equinox and was divided into six months. Four of those months had 54 days, while two had 74 days. The extra days, like the Hobbits’, were placed between the last and first months of the old and new years, but were not called Yule and were not part of a winter festival – something the Elves did not have.

Yule appeared twice in The Lord of the Rings. The first came and went without mention as the Fellowship made their way south along the Misty Mountains after leaving Rivendell, while the second came at the end of the story.

The first Yuletide after the fall of Mordor and the scouring of the Shire, came about a month and a half after Wormtongue killed Saruman. There was some consternation that there wouldn’t be enough food to celebrate, but “Great stores of goods and food, and beer, were found that had been hidden away by the ruffians in sheds and barns and deserted holes, and especially in the tunnels at Michel Delving and in the old quarries at Scary; so that there was a great deal better cheer that Yule than anyone had hoped for.”

So a very happy Yule to you and yours!

A Few Notes

  • Originally, Tolkien wanted the translators of Lord of the Rings to use whatever word their respective languages had for a winter festival, “so long as this has no recognizable Christian reference.” He later abandoned that idea and told them to just stick with “Yule.”
  • I suppose we’ll just take his word on it that “Yuletide” was also accident and bore no relation to the more modern Yuletide.
  • Days of the Hobbits – Sterday (Saturday), Sunday (Sunday), Monday (Monday), Trewsday (Tuesday), Hevensday (Wednesday), Mersday (Thursday), Highday (Friday). Maybe not the most creative way he ever came up with to name stuff, but to make up for it, he actually thought up how the words they were based upon: Sterrendei, Sunnendei, Monendei, Trewesdei, Hevenesdei, Meresdei, Hihdei.
Camera: Imperial Savoy Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D; expired 10/1994; x-pro

Camera: Imperial Savoy
Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D; expired 10/1994; x-pro

About the Photo
Keep Santa in the truck this Yuletide!

  • Day 111
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 555 (102 from Rivendell)
  • 365 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,223 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: Book II, Chapter 3. Walking south along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Seventh night out from Rivendell. Yule 1 – Yule 2, 3018-9 TA. (map)

Here You Will Hear Many Songs and Tales

The point of this project is to follow Frodo’s journey mile-by-mile (also, exercising). This is fairly easy to do since Tolkien tracked everyone’s movements with minute detail. However, in some cases, he enters a montage where a portion of the Fellowship’s journey is covered in a sentence or two.

After leaving Rivendell, he almost immediately enters into such a passage where 200 miles are covered in a sentence. Since that gap must be filled with something, I’ve been taking a look back at their time in Rivendell, which, due to the nature of the project, I had to skip.

And so we have just covered the dinner and a star-struck Frodo’s meeting with Gloin. Now, for a bit of dessert, Elrond and Arwen lead their guests into the Hall of Fire.

“Here you will hear many songs and tales – if you can keep awake. But except on high days it usually stands empty and quiet, and people come here who wish for peace, and thought. There is always a fire here, all the year round, but there is little other light.”

This was not the first time Tolkien used such a place in his writings, and harkens back to the Cottage of Lost Play from The Book of Lost Tales. Written in 1916 and 1917, it tells part of the story of Eriol, a mariner who travels to Tol Eressea.

The Cottage itself was inhabited by Lindo and his wife, Vaire, both Elves (or as Tolkien originally called them, Gnomes). They welcome Eriol into their cottage and gave him a quick tour (sort of). One of the rooms was called The Room of Log Fire. It was for the telling of tales.

Lindo, Vaire, a bunch of happy children, and Eriol sit down to eat a meal and Eriol tells the Elves a long tale of his journey so far. But then it was time to retire for some more storytelling.

The way Tolkien writes about this is pretty nutty. I’ll give a couple of passages. Before they sat down for dinner, Eriol heard a gong and his face was “filled with happy wonderment.” Seeing that, Vaire explained:

“That is the voice of Tombo, the Gong of the Children, which stands outside the Hall of Play Regained, and it rings once to summon them to this hall at the times for eating and drinking, and three times to summon them to the Room of the Log Fire for the telling of tales.”

But the nuttiness is just getting started. Lindo added:

“If at this ringing once there be laughter in the corridors and a sound of feet, then do the walls shake with mirth and stamping at the three strokes in an evening. And the sounding of the three strokes is the happiest moment in the day of Littleheart the Gong-warden, as he himself declares who has known happiness enough of old; and ancient indeed is he beyond count in spite of his merriness of soul. He sailed in Wingilot with Earendel in that last voyage wherein they sought for Kor. It was the ringing of this Gong on the Shadowy Seas that awoke the Sleeper in the Tower of Pearl that stands far out to west in the Twilit Isles.”

Anyway, they all enter the room at the three gongs. They were surrounded by many differently sized children holding many differently sized candles. At one end of the room was the “red glow as of a big fire.” Vaire explained that it was “tale-fire blazing in the Room of Logs; there does it burn all through the year, for ’tis a magic fire, and greatly aids the teller in his tale.”

While in Lord of the Rings, the Elves break into song in the Hall of Fire, at least on this night in the Room of Log Fire, the Elves tell stories of the old days and of the island they now live upon. On other nights, of course, there is song. For example, on the fourth night of Eriol’s visit, “Meril fared there amid her company of maiedens, and a full of light and mirth was that place; but after the evening meat a great host sat before Ton a Gwedrein, and the maidens of Meril sang the most beautiful songs that island knew.”

The Room of Log Fire was known by a few names (of course), just as the Cottage of Lost Play was also known as Mar Vanwa Tyalieva. It was also the Room of the Tale-fire, the Room of Logs, and Ton a Gwedrin (How much Gwedrin do we got in here? A ton a Gwedrin!). It was in this room that Eriol learned what would later be known as the Quenta Silmarillion. Most commonly, it’s just called “the Tale-fire,” and though Vaire claims it’s some sort of magic fire, it really just seems like a place to kick back, relax and listen to some Tolkien.

The Room of the Tale-fire was abandoned when Tolkien ditched the framing of the story telling, deciding instead to just tell the tales himself, rather than through the various Gnomes like Littleheart. But, as with many things he abandoned, bits are found throughout the legendarium.

A Few Notes

  • Nutty? Yes. But if not for Tolkien, we would not have: “Gozer the Traveller – he will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveller came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants, they chose a new form for him – that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you!”
  • This past Saturday, I took a 10 mile hike to visit a single 15.5 million year old petrified tree. I took mostly film photos of it, which will be posted at some point on my Flickr account, but here’s one from my phone:


  • I am counting the 10 miles hiked toward this project, which basically means that I didn’t have to use the elliptical machine Saturday or Sunday – a boon since on Sunday, I could barely move. The hike was about four miles longer than we thought it would be, and I clearly need better hiking boots. Or just hiking boots.
Camera: Imperial Savoy || Film: Kodak Ektachrome 160 Tungsten (expired 12/1994)

Camera: Imperial Savoy || Film: Kodak Ektachrome 160 Tungsten (expired 12/1994)

About the Photo
Cottage of Lost Play? Who knows.

The photo was taken along Route 66 in Dagget, California. I’ve been by this place a few times and just love the roof. It’s absolutely pointless and perfect.

  • Day 110
  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 550 (97 from Rivendell)
  • 370 miles to Lothlórien
  • 1,228 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: Book II, Chapter 3. Encamped along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. Sixth night out from Rivendell. December 30 – Yule 1, 3018TA. (map)