TolkienERA |OT| Renewed shall be the blade that was broken

Bombadil

Member
Oct 25, 2017
261
Near the Withywindle river
One thing I've been wondering about lately - what exactly happens when an elf dies in middle earth? Do they just wake up in an exact copy of their body in Valinor? I figure it's a bit more complicated than that.
Their spirit enters the Halls of Mandos where they would await the chance to be re-embodied and return to life in Valinor if they so chose, or they would remain there until the end of time if they so chose. Fëanor, however, was not given a choice due to his actions in life, and remained bound to the Halls, returning only for the Dagor Dagorath to reclaim his Silmarils.
 

Anoregon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,608
Their spirit enters the Halls of Mandos where they would await the chance to be re-embodied and return to life in Valinor if they so chose, or they would remain there until the end of time if they so chose. Fëanor, however, was not given a choice due to his actions in life, and remained bound to the Halls, returning only for the Dagor Dagorath to reclaim his Silmarils.
Ah yeah, that rings a bell. I'm sure this is subjective, but what would compel one to remain in the Halls instead of enjoying everlasting life in Valinor?
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland
One thing I've been wondering about lately - what exactly happens when an elf dies in middle earth? Do they just wake up in an exact copy of their body in Valinor? I figure it's a bit more complicated than that.
Bombadil covered the basics already, but shameless plug nonetheless. :P

For a more revisionist interpretation (which I did not write but am sympathetic to), this essay goes into detail with the discussion of Elvish reincarnation in Laws and Customs among the Eldar and takes a highly critical view of the morality of the Valar's approach (which is rather ad hoc and inconsistent in a lot of ways, not just this).
 

DrForester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,094
Doing a re-read of the books (well, the excellent Robert Inglis audiobook), and a line from Gandalf stood out to me when he reveals himself to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in Fangorn. He's talking about Sauron's plans and how he fears the men of the west using the ring.

I know that the ring corrupts all to evil, but would a poweful enough person with it be able to defeat Sauron with it? If it had gone to Minas Tirith with Aragorn, would he have been able to defeat Sauron with it? What about Gandalf? Again, I understand that they would be corrupted to evil, but would that evil be able to vanquish Sauron?
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland
Doing a re-read of the books (well, the excellent Robert Inglis audiobook), and a line from Gandalf stood out to me when he reveals himself to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in Fangorn. He's talking about Sauron's plans and how he fears the men of the west using the ring.

I know that the ring corrupts all to evil, but would a poweful enough person with it be able to defeat Sauron with it? If it had gone to Minas Tirith with Aragorn, would he have been able to defeat Sauron with it? What about Gandalf? Again, I understand that they would be corrupted to evil, but would that evil be able to vanquish Sauron?

Tolkien touched on this in Letter 246. (ETA: Sorry for the quote drop; trying to make myself get up and do something momentarily. :P )
In any case a confrontation of Frodo and Sauron would soon have taken place, if the Ring was intact [ie, if not for Gollum's intervention]. Its result was inevitable. Frodo would have been utterly overthrown: crushed to dust, or preserved in torment as a gibbering slave. Sauron would not have feared the Ring! It was his own and under his will. Even from afar he had an effect upon it, to make it work for its return to himself. In his actual presence none but very few of equal stature could have hoped to withhold it from him. Of 'mortals' no one, not even Aragorn. In the contest with the Palantír Aragorn was the rightful owner. Also the contest took place at a distance, and in a tale which allows the incarnation of great spirits in a physical and destructible form their power must be far greater when actually physically present....

Of the others only Gandalf might be expected to master him – being an emissary of the Powers and a creature of the same order, an immortal spirit taking a visible physical form. In the 'Mirror of Galadriel', 1381, it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond. But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power. But this the Great had well considered and had rejected, as is seen in Elrond's words at the Council. Galadriel's rejection of the temptation was founded upon previous thought and resolve. In any case Elrond or Galadriel would have proceeded in the policy now adopted by Sauron: they would have built up an empire with great and absolutely subservient generals and armies and engines of war, until they could challenge Sauron and destroy him by force. Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated. One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in possession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors. If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever. But the Ring and all its works would have endured. It would have been the master in the end.

That's probably a long enough quote as it is, but there's some other interesting stuff in that letter too, including one of the (several) pieces of evidence that Sauron had physical form at the time of LOTR ("that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic") and the comment that if Gandalf would have become "far worse" than Sauron, had he claimed the Ring and defeated him, since he "would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous [and] would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great)."
 
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Loxley

Loxley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,065
So...this is a thing:

'Lord of the Rings: Gollum' Video Game in the Works From German Studio Daedalic



German video game developer Daedalic Entertainment unveiled its upcoming title, Lord of the Rings: Gollum, on Monday. The action-adventure game will follow the years of the popular J.R.R. Tolkien character after he acquired the One Ring but before the events of The Lord of the Rings novels and films.

"You already have that big conflict in the character, two voices talking to you continuously, which means there is a good reason there are decisions to make in the game: the Smeagol decisions or the Gollum decision," Carsten Fichtelmann, CEO and co-founder of Daedalic Entertainment, tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"We have the story that we all know from the book, but everything that happens to him before he appears in the book are the main things we will see in our game," Fichtelmann says. "We will tell the story before he first appears in the books."

Daedalic partnered with Middle-earth Enterprises to develop and publish the new game, which is slated for release in 2021 on PC and "all relevant console platforms at that time." Gollum is the first title being developed in the new partnership between Daedalic and Middle-earth, but plans for further games in the future are in the works.

“Our goal was to present a storytelling experience. About four years ago, I caught Middle-earth Enterprises in Berkeley, maybe like Peter Jackson did 20 years ago, and I said we’re interested in licensing Lord of the Rings,” Fichtelmann says of the formation of the partnership. "After some negotiations, it was clear that the Tolkien estate looked for a company that was capable of doing something which is more story-orientated than some of the other products that came out over the last years."
While I'm all for more Middle-earth video games, and like the idea of more story-focused games at that, a game about Smeagol seems...weird? I dunno. They must have a convincing vision for whatever this game is in order to secure the license and funding for it.

I dig the logo, if nothing else.
 

tryagainlater

Member
Oct 25, 2017
885
I'm fine ignoring any story and character changes if it allows me to run around in Middle Earth environments and it's a decent playing game in its own right. Definitely a weird choice though.
 

Bombadil

Member
Oct 25, 2017
261
Near the Withywindle river
I wish The History of Middle-earth was available in e-book format beyond The Book of Lost Tales Parts I and II. I really don't want to open up my copy of The Complete History of Middle-earth. :(
 
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Loxley

Loxley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,065
I wish The History of Middle-earth was available in e-book format beyond The Book of Lost Tales Parts I and II. I really don't want to open up my copy of The Complete History of Middle-earth. :(
Tell me about it :( It'd be great to be able to have the complete works of Tolkien available digitally.
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland
So, this past week, I took an intercity bus (after finding a great deal on Airbnb for a place to crash in) to see the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York--more specifically, in Midtown Manhattan. The Morgan is a private research library which also features a number of galleries, and was originally the private collection of J. P. Morgan. This upscale origin quickly becomes apparent once you enter. For example, I sat down at a table in the lobby without realizing it was cafe seating, and was immediately handed a menu and wine list that included such items as:

Ginger lemonade, $8
Glass of 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from California, $19
Cheese and crackers, $14
Avocado toast, $18.50
Veggie burger with fries, $21

Needless to say, I felt rather out of place, but they'd let me in wearing jeans, so eh. The Tolkien exhibit is on the second floor; as soon as you get off the elevators, there's a round doorway to get into the gallery. The wall around said doorway is painted to resemble Tolkien's black and white drawing of the interior of Bag End. Several of Tolkien's full color illustrations are reproduced within the gallery as wall murals, which was a nice touch. The gallery itself was not terribly big, though they had a bunch of dividers and such to increase the available wall space. The items on display were generally either hung in frames or displayed under glass along the side of the wall. The one non-paper item on display--the robe Tolkien wore when receiving his honorary D.Litt degree in 1971--was in a freestanding case in the middle of the room.

I had seen copies of much of the material on display before, but seeing the original drawings, paintings, and manuscript pages in person, from just inches away, was something totally different. One of the first things I saw, near the entrance, were some of Tolkien's First Age heraldic designs from the 1960s (the ones near the top of that page, not the Gondolin ones). I can't really put that initial feeling into words besides "wow"; I wouldn't expect the exhibit to have the same effect on everyone not deeply invested in Tolkien, but I figure people here can relate. One of the things that really struck me was just how small many of the originals were. Only a handful of items were on anything like A4/letter size or larger. The largest items were probably maps, though the earliest Silmarillion map was surprisingly small (the words "Do not write on this margin" are there because the page came from a University of Leeds workbook).

Some of the minor pieces I hadn't seen before were really neat. They had a bunch of sketches and designs, some of them in color, that Tolkien drew on scraps of newspaper. They were cool enough on their own--Tolkien evidently contextualized some of them as Númenórean design patterns--though it was also fun trying to read the original newspaper text through and around the ink. They had a bunch of material from the Father Christmas Letters, some of which was new to me, though some can also be found online (presumably because it was included in the published version, which I don't have a copy of). There were a number of family photographs as well. Everything came with fairly detailed descriptive labels, which I didn't notice any errors in--not that I expected any, as I've heard nothing but good things about Catherine McIlwaine's work.

I spent about an hour in the exhibit, though I didn't spend as much time with some of the items in the back as I might have liked, since it was getting crowded and a loud (and not super-great) tour guide showed up with a large group. Otherwise, everyone spoke in hushed and at times reverent voices. It was a really special experience, all the more so since the vast majority of my engagement with Tolkien has been online or else solitary (though I wasn't traveling with anyone I know on this trip). Also, it turns out the Morgan is only a short walk away from the main branch of the New York Public Library, so on a whim I decided to see their exhibition about the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots--and I didn't have to pay $22 to get in the door* for that one. :P

The Tolkien exhibit is at the Morgan until May 12 and will next be shown in Paris at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, starting in October. I definitely recommend visiting to anyone who can make it. I've seen this described as a once-in-a-generation event and it could very well be a long time before something like this, featuring material from so many different collections, is brought together again. It makes me want to visit the Tolkien collections at Oxford or Marquette even more, though who knows when--if ever--that'll be in the cards for me. In any event, I'm very glad I was able to see this. To be honest, I've been pretty worn down lately and didn't really feel up to traveling, but I would've regretted letting this opportunity pass by.


*It's actually only $13 for students, but I wasn't presenting so I didn't want to invite questions about the name on my student ID.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
2,231
United Kingdom
So, this past week, I took an intercity bus (after finding a great deal on Airbnb for a place to crash in) to see the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York--more specifically, in Midtown Manhattan. The Morgan is a private research library which also features a number of galleries, and was originally the private collection of J. P. Morgan. This upscale origin quickly becomes apparent once you enter. For example, I sat down at a table in the lobby without realizing it was cafe seating, and was immediately handed a menu and wine list that included such items as:

Ginger lemonade, $8
Glass of 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from California, $19
Cheese and crackers, $14
Avocado toast, $18.50
Veggie burger with fries, $21

Needless to say, I felt rather out of place, but they'd let me in wearing jeans, so eh. The Tolkien exhibit is on the second floor; as soon as you get off the elevators, there's a round doorway to get into the gallery. The wall around said doorway is painted to resemble Tolkien's black and white drawing of the interior of Bag End. Several of Tolkien's full color illustrations are reproduced within the gallery as wall murals, which was a nice touch. The gallery itself was not terribly big, though they had a bunch of dividers and such to increase the available wall space. The items on display were generally either hung in frames or displayed under glass along the side of the wall. The one non-paper item on display--the robe Tolkien wore when receiving his honorary D.Litt degree in 1971--was in a freestanding case in the middle of the room.

I had seen copies of much of the material on display before, but seeing the original drawings, paintings, and manuscript pages in person, from just inches away, was something totally different. One of the first things I saw, near the entrance, were some of Tolkien's First Age heraldic designs from the 1960s (the ones near the top of that page, not the Gondolin ones). I can't really put that initial feeling into words besides "wow"; I wouldn't expect the exhibit to have the same effect on everyone not deeply invested in Tolkien, but I figure people here can relate. One of the things that really struck me was just how small many of the originals were. Only a handful of items were on anything like A4/letter size or larger. The largest items were probably maps, though the earliest Silmarillion map was surprisingly small (the words "Do not write on this margin" are there because the page came from a University of Leeds workbook).

Some of the minor pieces I hadn't seen before were really neat. They had a bunch of sketches and designs, some of them in color, that Tolkien drew on scraps of newspaper. They were cool enough on their own--Tolkien evidently contextualized some of them as Númenórean design patterns--though it was also fun trying to read the original newspaper text through and around the ink. They had a bunch of material from the Father Christmas Letters, some of which was new to me, though some can also be found online (presumably because it was included in the published version, which I don't have a copy of). There were a number of family photographs as well. Everything came with fairly detailed descriptive labels, which I didn't notice any errors in--not that I expected any, as I've heard nothing but good things about Catherine McIlwaine's work.

I spent about an hour in the exhibit, though I didn't spend as much time with some of the items in the back as I might have liked, since it was getting crowded and a loud (and not super-great) tour guide showed up with a large group. Otherwise, everyone spoke in hushed and at times reverent voices. It was a really special experience, all the more so since the vast majority of my engagement with Tolkien has been online or else solitary (though I wasn't traveling with anyone I know on this trip). Also, it turns out the Morgan is only a short walk away from the main branch of the New York Public Library, so on a whim I decided to see their exhibition about the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots--and I didn't have to pay $22 to get in the door* for that one. :P

The Tolkien exhibit is at the Morgan until May 12 and will next be shown in Paris at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, starting in October. I definitely recommend visiting to anyone who can make it. I've seen this described as a once-in-a-generation event and it could very well be a long time before something like this, featuring material from so many different collections, is brought together again. It makes me want to visit the Tolkien collections at Oxford or Marquette even more, though who knows when--if ever--that'll be in the cards for me. In any event, I'm very glad I was able to see this. To be honest, I've been pretty worn down lately and didn't really feel up to traveling, but I would've regretted letting this opportunity pass by.


*It's actually only $13 for students, but I wasn't presenting so I didn't want to invite questions about the name on my student ID.
Thanks for the review Eldy. From what I gather the Oxford and New York exhibitions were exactly the same in terms of content and differed only slightly in the presentation style. Certainly a must for a Tolkien fan.

I'm sure that one day in the future, you'll be able to make the pilgrimage to Oxford.
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland
Thanks for the review Eldy. From what I gather the Oxford and New York exhibitions were exactly the same in terms of content and differed only slightly in the presentation style. Certainly a must for a Tolkien fan.

I'm sure that one day in the future, you'll be able to make the pilgrimage to Oxford.
Cheers. :) I was really happy when I found out that the exhibition would be coming to America as well, and I'm glad it will keep touring. Hopefully it can make it even further afield so it's easier for more Tolkien fans and readers to visit.
 

Anoregon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,608
Apologies for the crappy glare on the photo, but thought some of you folks might appreciate this. Picked up the print a few months ago for an attractive $15, but only just got around to picking up a frame for it last weekend:

 

Anoregon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,608
You know, now that you mention it I wouldn't be surprised if there is a variant that has the Doors of Durin glow in the dark.
 
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Loxley

Loxley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,065
Apologies for the crappy glare on the photo, but thought some of you folks might appreciate this. Picked up the print a few months ago for an attractive $15, but only just got around to picking up a frame for it last weekend:

That's awesome! I remember seeing that map floating around the LOTR subreddit last year and some killjoys were just whining about how "inaccurate" it is (I believe the original artist said he made it for a D&D campaign or something). Some folks just don't want to have any fun.
 

DrForester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,094
I am almost done with my first reading of The Silmarillion.

How many times do I need to read this before I start to remember even half of these names?
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland
I am almost done with my first reading of The Silmarillion.

How many times do I need to read this before I start to remember even half of these names?
Congratulations!

The name stuff gets even more fun in the later volumes of The History of Middle-earth when you learn about naming customs in Quenya and get at least two additional names to remember for every member of the House of Finwë. :V Some people have it all memorized, but one of the reasons I struggle with Silmarillion fanfic sometimes is trying to remember which son of Fëanor had the father-name Turcafinwë and which had the mother name Atarinkë--which, confusingly, includes the Quenya word for "father"--and so on. And don't even get into the subject of how to pronounce Fëanor's mother's name, which is actually a fairly major plot element in the story of the Noldor's rebellion.

Fake edit: I'm not sure how useful it is, but I just stumbled across this chibi Silmarillion family tree (also incorporating material from HoMe, so it differs from the family trees in '77 Silm) which I just have to share.



(Note that the diagonal lines between Thingol, Celeborn, and Nimloth represent uncle-nephew/uncle-niece relationships.)
 

itsinmyveins

Member
May 4, 2019
17
Just started rewatching the trilogy – the extended versions which I haven't seen. It's probably been a decade or so since I last saw the original movies.

I'm doing it sort of in episodes of say 40–80 minutes per evening.

Halfway through The Two Towers now. Honestly, I'm sort of blown away. It holds up and holy shit do they look good.
 
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Loxley

Loxley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,065
Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins were on Colbert last night to talk about Tolkien:



It's funny hearing Stephen ask them questions about Tolkien that he clearly already knows the answers to XD

Just started rewatching the trilogy – the extended versions which I haven't seen. It's probably been a decade or so since I last saw the original movies.

I'm doing it sort of in episodes of say 40–80 minutes per evening.

Halfway through The Two Towers now. Honestly, I'm sort of blown away. It holds up and holy shit do they look good.
It always confuses me when folks say The Two Towers is a bad movie. I grant you it's arguably the weakest of the trilogy simply by being the middle chapter and therefore there's little-to-no closure by the end, but bad? Nah. It has arguably some of the best individual scenes/sequences of all three films. Obviously there's Helms Deep, but also the Boromir flashback, Gandalf fighting the Balrog, the scene between Gandalf and Theoden after Theodred's death, the last march of the Ents, etc.

And this scene is easily in my top 5 of the whole trilogy:

 
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tryagainlater

Member
Oct 25, 2017
885
Back when I used to watch GoT, I remember his episodes usually being pretty good so I'll take this as moderately positive news.
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland
Film-maker and writer Fran Walsh receives Damehood in Queen's Birthday Honours

"I'm delighted to be finally level-pegging with Pete!" says Fran Walsh of her investiture as a Dame, announced as part of the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours list. "At least that's my understanding of what's occurring."

She jests, but it's hard not to agree with her assessment.

Walsh was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2002, the same year that her personal and professional partner, Peter Jackson, was given the higher title of Companion.
Walsh has a much lower public profile than Jackson but she contributed to the films in a ton of ways, as the article goes on to describe. Despite disagreements about certain adaptational choices, I think this is much deserved.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,231
United Kingdom
New Alan Lee book alert:


This richly illustrated book celebrates in words and pictures the beautiful work that award-winning artist Alan Lee produced for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and includes dozens of brand-new paintings and pencil drawings exploring the world of Bilbo Baggins.

Since The Hobbit was first published in 1937, generations of readers have fallen under its spell. That magic was reignited sixty years later, when Alan Lee was commissioned to produce a special illustrated edition, and his delicate pencil drawings and beautiful watercolour paintings have become for many the definitive vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

In this sumptuous, large-format hardback Alan Lee reveals in pictures and in words how he created these images, which would prove so powerful, matching perfectly with Tolkien’s own vision, that they would eventually define the look of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations and earn Alan a coveted Academy Award.

The Hobbit Sketchbook is filled with more than 100 of his sketches and early conceptual pieces that reveal how the project progressed from idea to finished art. It also contains a wealth of brand-new full-colour paintings and sketches drawn specially for this book, which unlock the secrets of how Alan creates his own magic and provide a fascinating insight into the imagination of the man who breathed new life into Tolkien’s vision.
 

Eldy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Maryland

Just saw someone on another forum share this (AFAICT fan-made) documentary about Howard Shore's music for LOTR. It primarily draws on Doug Adams' excellent book The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films, but includes clips from interviews with Shore as well as snippets of the actual music and footage from the films. The names of the themes are the ones used by Shore himself, who consulted on Adams' book, though third-party analyses of the score written before the official account was published--such as those by Marilynn Miller and Eric Rawlins, both of which I also enjoy---have used slightly different names and classifications.

ETA: When I try to play the embedded video I'm getting YouTube's "video unavailable" error message, but if you open it in a new tab it should work.
 
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Loxley

Loxley

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,065
I just noticed on Amazon US that they'll be selling a hardcover box set of Lee's LOTR sketchbook and new Hobbit sketchbook. Looks like it comes out October 4th.



Just saw someone on another forum share this (AFAICT fan-made) documentary about Howard Shore's music for LOTR. It primarily draws on Doug Adams' excellent book The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films, but includes clips from interviews with Shore as well as snippets of the actual music and footage from the films. The names of the themes are the ones used by Shore himself, who consulted on Adams' book, though third-party analyses of the score written before the official account was published--such as those by Marilynn Miller and Eric Rawlins, both of which I also enjoy---have used slightly different names and classifications.

ETA: When I try to play the embedded video I'm getting YouTube's "video unavailable" error message, but if you open it in a new tab it should work.
Awesome, I'll definitely check this out this weekend.