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

Other Storylines the LOTR TV Show Should Be About

Yes, the Amazon TV Show is creating a story in the Second Age. Yes, it seems like this show will be about the War of the Elves and Sauron. Surprisingly, yes, we’ve grown to support this storyline idea, it beats the first reported news that the show was going to be based on a younger Aragorn. However, when we first heard Amazon was creating a TV Show based on The Lord of the Rings we started jotting down our favorite storylines that we would expand if we were running things. Even though Amazon has moved onto the Second Age we still feel like there are plenty of stories in the Third Age that need to be told.

First things first, we feel the best way to tell expanded stories about The Lord of the Rings, isn’t to drag the plot out over the course of multiple seasons, but to tell one great story every season. This “Anthology” series about The Lord of the Rings will keep show writers from being pigeon-holed to the same goal every season, it gives them the flexibility and inspiration to bring something new every year, and the more stories being told the more we get to see how everything is connected.

Our first and most exciting storyline for a TV Show based on The Lord of the Rings is:

Elrohir and Elladan Rescue their Mother

The only time we’ve seen Elrohir and Elladan on screen was during the War in the North video game. Which, if you’re looking for a decent hack-and-slash fantasy RPG for The Lord of the Rings it’s next best game compared to The Two Towers and The Return of the King. You might remember those games from the time when movies typically got a video game to go with it. They don’t do that these days. Now, back to the task at hand, our point is, the sons of Elrond deserve a chance on screen. They’re incredible fighters, loyal sons, and companions of Aragorn. You should check out our post on why they deserve more love than they get HERE.

Elrohir and Elladan undoubtedly went on many journeys, either together or along side the Rangers of the North, but there’s one journey they go on that’s not talked about as much.

In the year 2509 of the Third Age, Celebrían, wife of Elrond and mother to Elrohir, Elladan, and Arwen, left Rivendell to journey to Lórien. Celebrían was also the daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel and would journey back and forth between these two Elven kingdoms on a regular basis. During this journey, her escort was waylaid in the Redhorn Pass, and she was taken captive by Orcs. In her captivity she was tortured and received a poisoned wound.

We don’t know how long it took for the news of her capture to reach Rivendell, but when it did her sons, Elrohir and Elladan tracked down the Orcs and brought her back. We can imagine the emotional connection these brothers would undergo during this story. They know their mother was captured by an Orc group in the Misty Mountains, the same Misty Mountains from The Hobbit that holds caverns and caverns of Orc dwellings. They know there’s a chance that they may never find her. They know there’s a chance that they might not find her alive. They know that she’s being tortured. All these emotions and fears must be running through their heads. This story would allow us to see the Elven race give visceral emotions for the first time. Between Elrond, Celeborn, Arwen, Galadriel, and Legolas we never really saw these characters get emotional to the point of no control. Even when Galadriel had her moment in The Fellowship of the Ring it was incredibly graceful and powerful. This would be the chance for us to see the Elven race unhinged with anger, fear, hate, and suffering. We think that’s a story that’s worth telling.

Not much is expanded with this storyline, for instance, we don’t know how long they searched or how difficult it was. It could’ve taken weeks, or months even. One thing is for certain, this storyline needs to be expanded on.

Maybe when the inspiration strikes we’ll put pen to paper and create our own expansion, but, in the mean time, this is our number one choice for a The Lord of the Rings TV Show.

Let us know your thoughts, is this storyline worth expanding, do you want to see more of Elrohir and Elladan, or is this a complete no-go for you? Let us know! Although we would request refraining from mentioning your own ideas at this point, cause who knows, we’ll probably talk about it in our next post.

Thank you so much for your time, we hope have a great beginning, middle, or end of your day.

Remember, a light from the shadows shall spring.

– The Wandering One

Character of the Week

Anakin Skywalker

Never before has a rise to fame, fall from grace, and return, been so highly anticipated and surprising at the same time.  This week we honor the Chosen One with the Character of the Week title.

Anakin’s storyline has truly been cemented into Star Wars history as an event that could withstand the test of time.  Yes, before him there had been other notable Jedi throughout history making incredible events take place, but none have shaken the galaxy quite like Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side.  With Palpatine guiding this young impressionable Jedi, they overthrew the Galactic Republic and usurped the Jedi’s power in one night.  This was something Palpatine had been planning to accomplish for years but it wasn’t until Anakin rolled around that he was able to make things work. 

If you pair Darth Vader’s story in Episodes 4,5, and 6 with Anakin’s story in Episodes 1,2, 3, and the Clone Wars you get a full understanding of his tragic turn.  Well, maybe not a full understanding,  but you do get to see every step along the way.

Regardless of his turn Anakin, was truly a great leader.  He was the Commander of the 501st Legion throughout the Clone Wars and, not surprisingly, he led them on many successful missions.  His leadership style reflected the “I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do” mentality and he proved it.  Time and time again he would put his life on the line so his Clones wouldn’t die, and, in return, they respected him for that.  Like many Jedi, but not all, Anaking treated his Clones like they were more than expendable soldiers.  Anakin, however, probabaly took it a step further and treated the 501st like they were his brothers.  Combine his relationship with the 501st and his relationship with his Padawan Ahsoka, and you can truly see how much Anakin grows and matures as a young Jedi.

Anakin spent his life with the Chosen One moniker floating around his head, and, while many mistakes led to his turn to the Dark Side, he had some incredible bright moments in his career.  We hope you join us this week as we celebrate this talented Jedi 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

August 22nd

They come to Isengard; they take leave of the King of the West at sunset.

August 28th

They overtake Saruman; Saruman turns towards the Shire.

From Helm’s Deep the company headed towards Isengard, and here they saw how the Ents tore down rock and stone to make a garden filled with orchards and trees.  This place has been christened by the Ents, Treegarth of Orthanc.  It was here that Treebeard let the compant know that he set Saruman free, feeling as though he could do no more harm.

Ganald disagreed but did not dwell on this new information, what’s done was done and it was time to press on.  Aragorn was given the keys of Orthanc and he gave the surrounding land to the Ents, so long as they protect the tower and not let anyone enter without his knowing.

If you remember, Legolas and Gimli had a debate between the wonder and beauty of the Glittering Caves and Fangorn Forest.  After parting words from Treebeard the Fellowship begins their split when Legolas and Gimli depart for Fangorn Forest.  The remaining members of the company made their way to the Gap of Rohan where Aragorn and his knights departed.

“With that they parted, and it was then the time of sunset; and when after a while they turned and looked back, they saw the King of the West sitting upon his horse with his knights about him; and the falling Sun shone upon them and made all their harness to gleam like red gold, and the white mantle of Aragorn was turned to a flame. Then Aragorn took the green stone and held it up, and there came a green fire from his hand.”

The company departed the King, past through the Gap of Rohan, through the borders of Dunland, and as they were journeying through soods near the Misty Mountains, they ran into a beggar.

The “beggar” turned out to be Saruman and while Gandalf and Galadriel offered him a chance to make up for is actions he scorned them.  Saruman wanted neither their pity nor their mercy, he wanted power, and since they had none to offer him he hated them.  Dragging Gríma behind him Saruman passed the Hobbits, they, like Gandalf and Galadriel, pitied him.  Merry even gave him what was left of his pipe weed I hopes to ease his malcontent, but it did not work.  Determined to leave with what diginity he had left Saruman spat ominous words of the Shire and turned his back on the company.  Gríma followed behind.

Thank you so much for your time, we’re incredibly sorry we missed August 22nd’s post, it was a very important moment.  Remember, all that is gold does not glitter.

– The Wandering One

Movie Reviews…Kinda

Bright (2017)

The fantasy movie we never knew we needed. Bright is daring buddy cop movie in a “modern day” fantasy setting where humans live amongst Orcs, Elves, Fairies, and apparently Dragons.

While many might not have enjoyed this movie, we’re a sucker for most fantasy related content. Regardless of the masses, this movie blew away our expectations, perhaps that’s because they were incredibly low, but the setting, acting, and potential for future stories left us astounded. I specifically remember a scene that showed the landscape around the main characters, and there, off in the distance was a dragon, just flying around! I mean, are you kidding me!?! There’s Dragons and Orcs and Elves and Fairies? I mean how much more of this world don’t we know about? I bet there’s Dwarves running around somewhere and Trolls living up in the mountains, some crazy Warlock off in the distance biding his time. As much as we were captivated watching Will Smith’s Officer Daryl Ward come to terms with being a partner with the unit’s first Orc, Nick Jakoby played by Joel Edgerton, we were lost in the possibilities that this world opens up.

Oddly enough, much like Onward, magic shows it’s face back up in the world. But this isn’t the nice, fun magic in Harry Potter, or Onward, it’s much like the magic of The Lord of the Rings, The Witcher, or The Magicians. What we mean is, there’s Magic in the world and there are certain beings that can use it. If it’s used for good great things can happen, but if it’s used for ill, i.e. Saruman, Sauron, and Melkor then the most terrible things can be imagined. With magic anything is possible, you can be rich, powerful, and famous all with the snap of your fingers. This reality makes magic a coveted tool by some of the most evil people. That’s were Officers Ward and Jakoby come in, they find themselves in the possession of this magical tool that they now have to protect from evil figures in their town.

There were plenty of other themes that the movie touched on, as we alluded to early Officer Jakoby is the first Orc in his precinct and Officer Ward becomes his partner. Together they have to overcome the distrust humans have for Orcs. At the same time the Orcs in the community don’t like the Jakoby joined the police force with the humans. There’s a history here that gets lightly touched on, but it’s a reoccurring challenge throughout the movie. Ultimately, it comes down to Officer Jakoby’s actions as to whether or not he can be trusted.

We don’t want to give to many things away, but, as you can expect the movie is filled with action, some humor, and enough lore to make us intrigued for the future of the Bright franchise. If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre and you’re looking for a fresh new take, we’d recommend this movie. If you like gritty action movies but aren’t afraid of the fantastical, we’d also recommend this movie. Essentially, if you’re just looking for a solid action movie, it’s a good one.

Thank you for your time, if you’ve seen Bright let us know what you thought, and remember, deep roots are not reached by the frost.

– The Wandering One