On This Day in Middle-earth

September 21st

Gandalf meets Shadowfax, but the horse will not allow him to come near.

He follows Shadowfax far over the fields.

They return to Rivendell.

An incredibly big moment for the remaining memebers of the company that left Gondor, today they finally reached Rivendell.  Here Frodo is able to see Bilbo again and Elrond, and his sons, return home.  It was possibly on purpose that that group arrived a day before Biblo and Frodo’s Birthday.  Tomorrow they will be able to celebrate the life of these two great Hobbits together. 

We’re jumping timelines today, Gandalf the Grey reached Edoras yesterday and was given leave to pick any horse he deemed fit.  Gandalf finally found a horse that caught his eye, Shadowfax, a descendant of the Mearas, the greatest horses in Middle-earth.  Shadowfax, of course, wasn’t just going to let anyone ride him, they had to be worthy enough of that honor.  So, Gandalf bides his time, a companion like Shadowfax is worth the effort, even if this causes a delay Shadowfax has the skill to make up the time lost.

Thank you for your time and remember, not all those who wander are lost.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

September 20th

Gandalf gains entrance to Edoras.

Théoden commands him to go: ‘ Take any horse, only be gone ere tomorrow is old!’

Ganalf journeyed to Edoras to borrow a horse from the land of Rohan, here the horses were the strongest and fastest of any breeds in the world.  Gandalf had one goal on his mind, to get to Frodo as fast as he could. 

At this point of time Théoden was being influenced by Saruman but he wasn’t fully under the wizard’s “spell.”  Théoden figured Gandalf would be far more trouble than he was actually worth, so in an effort to spare himself difficulties, he sent Gandalf away.  Théoden had no idea what horse Gandalf was going to take he just wanted this wizard gone.  His words, however, gave Gandalf free reign to seek out the greatest horse in Rohan.   We won’t meet this horse today but he’s coming soon.

Thank you for your time and remember, the old that is strong does not wither.

– The Wandering One

Character of the Week

King Théoden

Son of Thengel and Lord of the Riddermark, another great king graces our presence with the Character of the Week title.

Théoden certainly wasn’t at his best when we first met his character in The Two Towers.  Old, worn down, tired, and corrupted by the lies and powers of Saruman, this once great king was a shell of his former self.  But then, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli made their way to Edoras, confronted Saruman’s servant Grima, and showed Théoden the truth.  In that moment, Théoden regained his true strength and fought back against the powers of Isengard and Mordor.  He went on to lead his men against the evils and lies of Saruman, he did not allow himself to be persuaded by Saruman’s lies when they met face to face after the Battle of Helm’s Deep, he answered Gondor’s call for aid, and rode to save the Free Peoples of Middle-earth from Sauron’s destruction.  This king cast aside his former mistakes, rose from the darkness, and fought to save Middle-earth. 

We should take heart in Théoden’s story, even when we are at our lowest there is still a light shining in us, begging to catch fire and blaze forth. 

In life and death Théoden inspires those around him to be better, we hope you join us this week as we celebrate this great king with the Character of the Week title.

Thank you for your time and remember, from the ashes a fire shall be woken.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

September 19th

Gandalf comes to Edoras as a beggar, and is refused admittance.

Yesterday Gandalf escaped Isengard, with the help of Gwaihir.  Today Gandalf reaches Edoras.  When Gwaihir helped Gandalf escape he found Gandalf on top of Orthanc by accident, he could not bear Gandalf far.  Gandalf made the decision the to be dropped off near Edoras.  Here, he would receive a mighty steed to bear him quickly on his journey.

Gandalf decided to approach Edoras as a beggar because he was unsure of their loyalty.  Gwaihir had heard rumors that the men of Rohan were giving Modor horses as tribute, and Saruman’s betrayals had left him wary.  Approaching as a beggar allowed him to see how the men of Rohan would react and learn more about their allegiance.  The Rohan of old wouldn’t have turned away a beggar, things aren’t the same.

The next few days of September will be very busy for people in Middle-earth.

Thank you for your time and remember, a light from the shadows shall spring.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

September 18th

Gandalf escapes from Orthanc in the early hours.

The Black Riders cross the Fords of Isen.

From July 10th till today Gandalf had been imprisoned in Orthanc.  Two months of captivity certainly can take its toll on a person, luckily for us Gandalf is no ordinary individual.  Saruman, of course, tried to persuade Gandalf to join him in his quest for the One Ring and the power that came with it, but Gandalf refused.  With the help of his friend Gwaihir, Gandalf was able to escape the Tower of Orthanc and head towards Rohan.

At this point of time Gandalf had encouraged Frodo to leave the Shire and he planned on joining Frodo, unfortunately Saruman had gotten in the way.  Time was precious, but there was no way of knowing where Frodo was, besides making his way towards the Shire.

While Gandalf and Saruman were making their moves, Sauron was joining the game.  His Black Riders crossed the Fords of Isen and were making their way towards a “Baggins” who dwelt in the “Shire.”

Thank you for your time and remember, renewed shall be blade that was broken.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

September 13th

Celeborn and Galadriel depart, the others set out for Rivendell.

Well yesterday really, but yesterday was a big day for us, so unfortunately we’re posting behind schedule again. 

On this day, Celeborn and Galadriel parted ways with the remaining company as they set out for Rivendell.  If you don’t remember, Frodo and the Hobbits are on their journey back home to the Shire.  Many went with them as their journey coincided with Théoden’s funeral and trips to Helm’s Deep and Isengard.  Now, all that remains of the company include Elrond, Elrohir, Elladan, a few other members of Rivendell, Gandalf, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and Frodo.  This group, along with Celeborn and Galadriel stopped near the Gates of Moria on September 6th and paused their journey. 

On September 13th, they split up again and the remaining members are making their way to Rivendell, wher another departure will take place.

Thank you so much for your time and remember, the crownless again shall be king.

– The Wandering One

Celebrate the Life of J.R.R. Tolkien

On September 2, 1973 J.R.R. Tolkien passed away.  To celebrate his life we wanted to put together a post that answered three questions asked in a recent effort to document Tolkien’s Fandom. 

  1. When did you first encounter the works of J. R. R. Tolkien?
  2. Why are you a Tolkien fan?
  3. What has he meant to you?

I first encountered the works of Tolkien when I was in the 3rd grade.  I’m showing my age a bit here, but at that time The Fellowship of the Ring movie was being made/coming out and my dad was telling me he thought I would like it.  So, after finding out the movie was based on a book we went to the library and I got the entire The Lord of the Rings books in one volume and started working.  Now I was in 3rd grade, I didn’t get very far, if I remember correctly I got through The Fellowship of the Ring, but it wasn’t until later that I read the rest of the books.  The movie of course, blew my mind and began my passion for Tolkien and his works.  For years now I’ve been taking part in a wonderful tradition of reading The Lord of the Rings once a year, every year.  In between those books I’ll periodically fit in The Silmarillion, Harry Potter, Redwall Novels, Star Wars Novels, other Fantasy works, and The Hobbit, which I’m working my way through right now.

Why am I a Tolkien fan?  The short answer is because I like reading his stories about the world he built.  Middle-earth and Valinor are incredibly fascinating to me, these places are also a big part of my childhood.  I was able to escape to Middle-earth and travel with Frodo and Sam and Aragorn on their journeys.  I pretended to fight Orcs and Trolls and Balrogs in my backyard with my friends and brother.  As I got older, I was able to delve further into his stories reading The Silmarillion, Smith of Wootton Major, Leaf by Niggle, and so on.  Everytime I break open one of his books and begin reading, a feeling of peace and contentment washes over me.

What has he meant to me?  Tolkien and his works have meant a lot to me, but speaking about the man himself, Tolkien has provided me with inspiration on how to be, how to tell a story, how to build a world, how to build a culture, how to write, how to act, etc.  I take a large amount of inspiration from a few quotes in his Forward to The Lord of the Rings.

“The Lord of the Rings has been read by many people since it finally appeared in print; and I should like to say something here with reference to the many opinions or guesses that I have received or have read concerning the motives and meaning of the tale. The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, and for many the guide was inevitably often at fault. Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer. But even from the points of view of many who have enjoyed my story there is much that fails to please. It is perhaps not possible in a long tale to please everybody at all points, nor to displease everybody at the same points; for I find from the letters that I have received that the passages or chapters that are to some a blemish are all by others specially approved. The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor and major, but being fortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again, he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short.”

In this passage I gather inspiration from Tolkien and learn how he read reviews, either harsh or pleasing.  Tolkien wanted to create a story, a story that was exciting and attention grabbing, and he acheived that goal.  At the same time, not everyone enjoyed his story, but that didn’t bother him, it seemed that in his mind that it was ok, his story wasn’t meant for the people who reviewed it negatively.  His story was meant for the people to enjoy it and I think we can all grab inspiration from that mind set.  Not everyone will agree or enjoy the things we create, and so be it, we create things for the people they’re meant for.  Also, I just love his one objection with the book matches many fans…the book is too short.  To me, that screams, he loved and cared for his story.  Which, as someone who would love to finish his own story one day, gives me great solace. 

Lastly, I’d like to call out one more passage.

“As for any inner meaning or ‘message’, it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical.”

This statement is amazing, far too often we sit and ponder what an author meant in this passage, or, what was the message behind the story.  Tolkien straight up tells us what it is here, the story is the story, there is no inner meaning.  He wanted to create an entertaining story.  I appreciate, so much, that he went out of his way to end the discussion and urge people to just enjoy reading. 

To end this question, Tolkien, to me, means what every author should be, open honest, and striving to tell an entertaining story. 

We end this long post to celebrate a great author who brought many great stories to light.  Yes there was The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but take the time, pick up The Silmarillion, Leaf by Niggle, and Smith of Wootton Major.  There’s great stories in there and much more to explore after. 

Thank you so much for your time, let’s open up a discussion, what’s your favorite Tolkien tale, non-Lord of the Rings related?  Let us know in the comments below.

Remember, the old that is strong does not wither.

– The Wandering One

The Rise and Fall of Star Wars: 1313

For Star Wars fans around the time of 2012, Star Wars: 1313 was shaping up to be the best Star Wars video game ever made.  At least, that was the type of hype surrounding it.  We must confess, we were caught up in that hype. 

When 1313 was revealed at E3 that year the gameplay snipits they put together blew us away.  If you go back and watch the release video, the graphics might be slightly less compared to today’s tech, but the movements and animations look somewhat similar to The Fallen Order.  Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think.  We think you could make this game today and looking like that would still be good, but for the 2012, too good.

The premise for the game was, you’re a young Bounty Hunter trying to make a name for themselves, in doing so you travel to level 1313 of Coruscant.  We’re all familiar with the upper levels of Coruscant, were the Senate, Jedi Council, and various upper class individuals live.  The further down you get into Coruscant the rougher the neighborhoods get, less than savory characters make there living there, in short, it’s a breeding ground for some of the best Bounty Hunters.  The story was shaping up to be a unique experience for video game and Star Wars fans.  The developers were also trying to get a mature rating for the game too, proof we were going to get a gritty Star Wars story.  Like we said, the hype was there surrounding this game, but unfortunately it didn’t last long.  For us, all that changed when they shifted the story, or released more of the story.  Hard to know for sure if you weren’t apart of the process.  Either way, instead of playing a young unkown Bounty Hunter, the story developed into a video game about the well known Boba Fett.  Exciting sure, but for us, it’s not as exciting as a unique introduction to a new character in the Star Wars Universe.  Also, the gameplay we saw showed the main character looking nothing like Temuera Morrison.  So, we’re not 100% sure that was the plan from the beginning. That might put us in the minority, but, that’s not what officially stopped the game from being made.

Disney bought Star Wars and, for those not aware, halted production on all projects.  1313 was amongst those halted and ultimately scrapped and thrown on the shelf.  What was gearing up to be a great game from Star Wars never got to see the light of day.  Will we ever get to see this game made?  No, probably not exactly how it was originally shown with the unknown Bounty Hunter.  Who knows, Kathleen Kennedy has all of the sudden realized Disney should’ve taken more care with the Star Wars Universe than they had previously, we might end up seeing some shifts in story-making.  We’re not going to hold our breath though.

Thank you so much for your time and let us know your thoughts, do you remember Star Wars:  1313?  Were you as excited about this game as we were?  What about The Fallen Order, does that game make up for the lost 1313?  Let us know your thoughts and comments below. 

Remember, not all those who wander are lost.

– The Wandering One

On This Day in Middle-earth

September 6th

They halt in sight of the Mountains of Moria.

Today marks, somewhat, a day of remembrance for the remaining company.  Moria was a tough challenge that Gandalf and the Hobbit had to bear, camping so near to the mountains must not have been an enjoyable time.  Even after all the good that has happened, the Orcs of Moria still dwell deep in those caverns.  Although, the depiction of the scene in the book does make it sound like a beautiful sight.

“So they passed into Eregion, and at last a fair morning dawned, shimmering above gleaming mists; and looking from their camp on a low hill the travellers saw away in the east the Sun catching three peaks that thrust up into the sky through floating clouds: Caradhras, Celebdil, and Fanuidhol. They were near to the Gates of Moria.”

This pause in their journey was also the beginning of another departure.  Soon, Galadriel and Celeborn will depart from the group and make their way back to Lórien.  I would imagine that the members of the White Council (Elrond, Gandalf, and Galadriel) would like a few words with each other before they go there separate ways.

Thank you so much for your time and remember, deep roots are not reached by the frost.

– The Wandering One

Character of the Week

Luna Lovegood

Everyone’s favorite loveable loony has earned herself the Character of the Week title.

Luna burst onto the scene in Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts and quickly won over everyone’s hearts.  Her quirky ways and oblivious nature threw off most people, but Harry particularly enjoyed the fact that she was always herself, no matter who she was talking to.  Luna, of course, went on to become a stronger character throughout the books, she joined Dumbledore’s Army, followed Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville to the Ministry of Magic, she helped a few members of Dumbledore’s Army fight off Death Eaters in the Half-blood Prince, she actively opposed Voldemort, and fought to protect Hogwarts in the Deathly Hallows.  For a character that hadn’t been around for the majority of the series, she really made a big name for herself in the final three books. 

Above anything Luna was honest, determined, formidable, and a student worthy of being sorted in Ravenclaw.  Though she was viewed as loony person, she had wit, cunning, and intelligence that surpassed her peers.

We hope you join us as we celebrate Luna Lovegood with the Character of the Week title, perhaps bust out the Order of the Phoenix book, or movie, and give it another go.

Thank you for your time, and remember, not all those who wander are lost.

– The Wandering One