26 March 2015

Tolkien Reading Day 2015 – Friendship

While Tolkien Reading Day occurred yesterday, a migraine left me with no energy to prepare a post or do much on social media. Even though I'm a day late, I thought I'd quickly pull and share a few quotes which have really resonated with me and deal with this year's theme, which was friendship:

'You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin–to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.' 
–The Fellowship of the Ring, A Conspiracy Unmasked

'But you won't send him off alone surely, Master?' cried Sam, unable to contain himself any longer, and jumping up from the corner where he had been quietly sitting on the floor.  'No indeed!' said Elrond, turning towards him with a smile. 'You at least shall go with him. It is hardly possible to separate you from him, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond
The Brothers Hildebrandt
'I should dearly love to journey in Fangorn's Wood. I scarcely passed beyond the eaves of it, and I did not wish to turn back.'

Treebeard's eyes gleamed with pleasure. 'I hope you may have your wish, ere the hills be much older,' he said.

'I will come, if I have the fortune,' said Legolas. 'I have made a bargain with my friend that, if all goes well, we will visit Fangorn together–by your leave.'

'Any Elf that comes with you will be welcome,' said Treebeard.

'The friend I speak of is not an Elf,' said Legolas; 'I mean Gimli, Glóin's son here.'
 –The Two Towers, The Voice of Saruman

Éowyn and Faramir by Ted Nasmith
'How should I ease your care, my lord?' she said. 'And I do not desire the speech of living men.'  

'Would you have my plain answer?' he said.

'I would.'

'Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back.'

The Return of the King, The Steward and the King
Beleg's Death by Anke Eissmann
'Thus ended Beleg Strongbow, truest of friends, greatest in skill of all that harboured in the woods of Beleriand in the Elder Days, at the hand of him whom he most loved; and that grief was graven on the face of Túrin and never faded.'
The Children of Húrin, The Death of Beleg


What are some of your favourite book quotes relating to friendship in Middle-earth? Leave a comment below or Tweet me @TolkienBritta!

25 March 2015

Today in Middle-earth: March 25

Fall of Sauron by Caoranach
On this day in the year 3019 of the Third Age:

  • The Host is surrounded on the Slag-hills
  • Downfall of Barad-dûr and the passing of Sauron
  • Frodo and Samwise reach the Sammath Naur
  • Gollum seizes the Ring and falls in the Cracks of Doom
  • Minas Tirith

24 March 2015

Today in Middle-earth: March 24

John Howe
 On this day in the year 3019 of the Third Age:
  • The Host camps in the Desolation of the Morannon 
  • Frodo and Samwise make their last journey to the feet of Mount Doom 

23 March 2015

Own The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on DVD + Blu-Ray Tomorrow! (Review)

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Review)
by Britta Siemen

Many years ago, I was one of those people who got really excited by the idea of Peter Jackson making another film set in Middle-earth. While The Lord of the Rings films were not perfect, they were a noble and well-executed attempt at bringing an "unfilmable" story to life on the big screen, and I enjoyed them immensely. After seeing those films, I had no doubt that he could do equal justice to The Hobbit, a considerably shorter tale. 

Unfortunately, from the very beginning, the Hobbit films have seemed more like fan fiction than a straightforward adaptation: where the Lord of the Rings films omitted some of the source material in order to tell a more concise story, the Hobbit films added new, often made up, material in order to lengthen a story that really didn't need any help. When I first saw An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, I couldn't resist pointing out all of the inaccuracies; but after the DVDs came out and I watched each film a second time, I found myself able to overlook some of my gripes and actually enjoy the experience. As I've said before, Peter Jackson and his team do know how to make films that are worth watching. 

Going forward, I chose not to assess The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on its merit as an adaptation of The Hobbit. I would probably drive myself (and others) mad if I continued to nitpick all the changes, whether major or minor. Instead I opted to judge it by what it was: a movie. And since it was almost entirely devoted to the Battle of the Five Armies, I frequently found myself comparing it to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

With The Battle of Helm's Deep, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and the Battle of the Morannon as prime examples of what Jackson and his crew are capable of, I was expecting to be blown away by the Battle of the Five Armies. If anyone can take a single sentence from a book ("So began a battle that none had expected; and it was called the Battle of the Five Armies, and it was very terrible" [The Hobbit, 'The Clouds Burst']) and turn it into an engaging three hour cinematic experience, Jackson's your guy. Not to mention he's had a decade to improve his craft. 

22 March 2015

Today in Middle-earth: March 22

Frodo Gazing at Mt Doom by Ted Nasmith
 On this day in the year 3019 of the Third Age:
  • The dreadful nightfall
  • Frodo and Samwise leave the road and turn south to Mount Doom
  • Third assault on Lórien