REAL Western Banks of Anduin

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In Algonkian Regional Park (http://www.nvrpa.org/park/algonkian/) located in Northern Virginia, settled right on the Potomac River, lies an area very close in resemblance to Tolkien’s Middle Earth land of the western banks of Anduin where Frodo and the Fellowship arrive after leaving Lothlorien. Anduin, in Sindarin, means a “long river” or “great river.” Depiction of the River Anduin

 

Imagine the Fellowship arriving on these banks and then settling here.

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Web Round-Up #1

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Each Wednesday I will be posting different pieces of photography, art, and various forms of fan fiction that all relate to authentic Tolkien work. This will be a conglomeration of work that is separate from the contemporary films and specifically focuses on appreciating the artistry of others who have taken the time to contribute or appreciate Tolkien’s works.

This picture, from Tolkien Art found on facebook is a beautiful representation of Sam and Frodo’s quest throughout Mordor. Each detail of this painting depicts an accurate presentation of Tolkien’s writings, from the color contrasts of Mount Doom to the Eye of Sauron, to Sam standing up and Frodo sitting on a rock. While Mordor may seem to others as a complete barren wasteland, this painting has some green pastures in the middle of the land of Mordor, suggesting that it may be more of a hospitable place than normally thought. I would like like to think that this quote applies well

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” – The Return of the King, VI, 2

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(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=484365441681620&set=a.177565855694915.36829.100003245058411&type=1&theater)

This next picture is an awesome representation of Balin’s relationship with Bilbo from The Hobbit. I found this from TurnerMohan on DeviantArt, who has a ton of other amazing LotR and Hobbit related pictures that you should check out (http://turnermohan.deviantart.com/). I enjoy this piece so much because now that the Hobbit films have come out all we are seeing are pictures of Fili and Kili, when in truth the subtle relationship between Balin and Bilbo was a great friendship that lasted several years. “But the ravens are different. There used to be great friendship between them and the people of Thror, and they often brought us secret news, and were rewarded with such bright things as they coveted to hide in their dwellings.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit

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The next piece I’d like to show is from facebook again, this time from Matthew Ryan Historical Illustrator and his painting “Orthanc-Might of the White Hand” which is one of my favorite depictions of Saruman’s betrayal. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheTolkienSociety.EducationalCharity/permalink/10152124883966068/) The use of yellow lightning is very striking to me and I really enjoy the unique contrast of the crebain crows lining up against the sky over the mountains. This is a great piece of art, and you should check out more of his work.

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All of these photographs are amazing representations of Tolkien related art. I look forward to finding even more each week!

 

Dedication to the Professor

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ght of his 122nd(ieth) birthday, I want to dedicate this post to J.R.R. Tolkien and his masterpieces. Particularly, I would like to discuss how his work has essentially set the stage for all contemporary fantasy literature, and even many works of epic fiction. I will endeavor to create some literary connections between his work and several other authors who I have come to enjoy over the years. While many authors will not claim to base their writings off of Tolkien’s work directly, I believe that no author can escape the creative mythological framework that Tolkien established. It was entirely brave of Tolkien to set out on a journey to create a world with so many intricacies that was far different than his predecessors.

Tolkien’s ability to craft languages on a whim while still appreciating nuances within language has inspired many authors to attempt to do the same. (To read more about Tolkien’s language check out this blog post http://stancarey.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/tolkien-on-language-invention/) While it is not believed that any author has come close to developing a world of languages as intricate as Tolkien’s, this very idea of expressing stories through the development of languages has been pervasive in many recent fantasy classics. Language creation has become the norm in several novels, including but not limited to, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire books, and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles series.

In Harry Potter we witness this with parseltongue, the language of snakes that the heir of Slytherin, Voldemort, and Harry Potter use throughout the series. While the language is sparsely used (mainly in Chamber of Secrets), Rowling’s usage of this language may not have been a purposeful dedication to Tolkien, but it definitely was a semblance of his influence.

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In the Game of Thrones series, language plays a large role in the plots of several characters. In Arya’s story line we learn about languages of Braavos, Lys, Volantis, and several others. Dany’s storyline in particular reveals multiple languages of Dothraki, Westerosi, Old Valyrian, and many more. Each of these languages has its own characteristics that define the characters who utilize the languages, in an almost similar way that Tolkien utilized his own. For the Game of Thrones series to be as popular as it has been, languages have had to be a cornerstone aspect of its value.

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Patrick Rothfuss also utilizes the extent of multiple languages to portray a deeper and more convincing world that is far different than our own. In the Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two, the language of Aturan is described heavily throughout the novel as the main character Kvothe, seeks to not only learn the language’s words, but also the body language associated with conversation. This emphasis is heavily reminiscent of Tolkien’s description of how Gandalf and the Elves communicated without words. Additionally, Tolkien continuously emphasizes non-verbal communication between beings of Middle-Earth and other organic beings like trees (ents). One of the best Tolkien quotes that emphasizes this form of language is “Elves began it of course, waking trees up and teaching them to speak and learning their tree-talk. They always wished to talk to everything, the old Elves did.”

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Tolkien’s work truly inspired the creation of languages in modern-day novels and works of fictions. I would love to know about more connections that you see between Tolkien’s creation of languages and that of other author’s work. I always find it fascinating when I read a new novel with multiple languages because I cannot help but think that Tolkien was responsible for this incredible idea to establishing literary importance.

Tolkien Talk: Divine Intervention in Middle-earth

This is a fantastic post that enlightens the conversation on divine intervention on Middle Earth. The discussion on wizards even relates well to my previous post below!

The Collective

I’m enjoying a vacation from work (sometimes I really love the academic calendar) and like any good Tolkienite, I’m marathoning the films once more before I go back to work on Monday. This time, as I work my way back through Middle-earth in the books and on screen, I am noticing things I never noticed before. Perhaps I should blame my graduate-level education for being unable to enjoy a book for its own sake any more, but the intricacies enrich the world and make the story so much richer for me.

Throughout my re-reading of The Lord of the Rings, it is repeatedly seen that Frodo, and other Fellowship members, have thoughts in their heads that are not their own–a narrative tactic that I wish I could duplicate in my own work. Oftentimes these characters will make exclamations in languages in which they are not fluent, usually Elvish, and…

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Questioning the Role of Wizards

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“A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to”

Wizards are some of the most mysterious type of beings that inhabit Middle Earth. Their purpose is to watch over all realms of beings and be a beacon of protection against all potential evil influences. The two wizards most commonly known, Gandalf the Grey(and white), and Saruman of many colors, play the most significant roles in Tolkien’s writings. Radagast the brown is scarcely mentioned, but even his presence is interestingly ominous due to his specific liking toward nature and animals. There are two other wizards as well but do not play a significant role in any of the conventional story lines that are most often discussed. I would like to open up a dialogue about these wizards and whether or not the extent of their powers and choices had a significant effect upon the overall plots of either the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The most well known quote, as mentioned at the start, depicts the role that wizards play well, and almost puts them into a category of more “eventful” characters than “event-making” characters. An argument can be made that once a wizard seeks to create events on Middle-Earth he has deviated from his true purpose.

Saruman proves this in his own ambition to obtain power through abdicating Orthanc to Mordor’s cause. I believe that Gandalf the Grey even meddled too much in the realms of men, elves, and yes, hobbits. He shows this when he convinces Bilbo to partake in a perilous adventure to the Lonely Mountain, without much explanation for his true purpose. He is involved and uninvolved in the events of the Hobbit, only appearing when the company is in need of a true life savor (the eagles). Gandalf the White, however, is a different type of wizard that must assume more of a leadership role due to the absence of Saruman. There are obvious character differences between the two, and it is evidenced in Tolkien’s writing when Gandalf the White openly approaches Denethor and Theoden about specific measures that need to be taken. Gandalf the Grey, however, was more of a mentor figure to that of Frodo, Bilbo, and even Aragorn. When Gandalf the Grey perished and Gandalf the White came to being, he had to throw away his mentor cap and put on his wizarding leadership cap. I believe that this difference played a significant role in the events of the War of the Ring, and look forward to discovering this topic further. Please comment below on any relevant quotes or knowledge about this topic of the extent of effect that wizards play in Tolkien’s writings.

Who is the Real LOTR?

Due to the incredible amount of attention given to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises over the past decade, authentic dialogue about J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpieces has been shrouded by massive CGI effects and action-packed driven plots. The Real LOTR attempts to bring back authentic dialogue and discussion to his work. This blog is a dedication to not only Tolkien’s work, but to the work of his son, the thousands of fans who have produced incredible fan-fiction and illustrations, photographers, and all other artists who have dedicated a piece of their creative work to the world of Middle-Earth. I hope that this blog can be a space for all Tolkien enthusiasts to bring forth questions, commentary and dialogue about the vastness of Middle-Earth. The Real LOTR does not know all of the answers, and does not seek to determine an answer for all the complexities of Middle-Earth and its peoples, philosophies, and cultures. It’s time to explore Middle-Earth again, appreciate its incredible history, and contribute more to the imagination of this world. The Real LOTR will post  a hodge-podge of topics on Tolkien’s work, and will look to engage with Tolkien fans worldwide. Thank you and look forward to future discussions!