Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hey Everyone

Sorry I havnt had a post up in a while ive been on spring break. Gonna have a special series of post about Gandalf this weer. Make sure you check them out!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Treebeard is the oldest of three remaining original Ents. He is said to have once roamed all of the forests in Middle-earth, which included the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, and the Blue Mountains. After the loss of the Entwives by the end of the Third Age, he and the remaining Ents dwelt in the Forest of Fangorn. This led the remaining Ents into isolation and all information from the outside world was cut off. The arrival of Merry and Pippin shifted Treebeard's attention to take action against Saruman for hacking down his trees. He led the Ents to war against Saruman and his Orcs. Treebeard later realised that while Saruman had learned much from him, the Wizard had shared no useful information of his own.
"One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present: like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don't know but it felt as if something that grew in the ground — asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years."
—The description of Treebeard in The Two Towers Volume III - Treebeard
Treebeard had been friends with Saruman. It is described in The Two Towers that Saruman visited Treebeard in Fanghorn Forest and had talked with him on various subjects of concern. Saruman gathered information from Treebeard about the Forest of Fangorn; its inter-twinning paths were of particular concern to him.

After Merry and Pippin's meeting with Treebeard, Treebeard called a meeting of the Entmoot, which lasted three days, who then decided to call an attack on Isengard and Saruman. Since Leaflock and Skinbark were the oldest of the Ents along with Treebeard, they refused to fight, however, Treebeard thought he was going to his doom during "the last march of the Ents." Treebeard hoped that some of the younger Ents would come instead of just the two, and, during the night he spread the word. They later launched an assault on Isengard.

After Treebeard ordered the Ents to march to Isengard, the Ents felled Saruman's walls and destroyed every object in and around Isengard; the Tower of Orthanc could not be breached, but Saruman was trapped within. Treebeard stopped the attack on the tower when he realised their efforts were in vain: the tower was too strong. The Ents were ordered to unleash the waters of the River Isen, which flooded Isengard. When Merry and Pippin departed Treebeard he requested them to watch for the Entwives. At one point in the book, Tolkien gives hints on the whereabouts of the Entwives. It is speculated that they were spotted by Samwise Gamgee's cousin Hal in the North Farthing. However, this may or may not be conjecture:
"But what about these Tree-men, these giants, as you might call them? They do say that one bigger than a tree was seen up away beyond the North Moors not long back......But this one was as big as an elm tree, and walking — walking seven yards to a stride, if it was an inch."
—Samwise Gamgee and Ted Sandyman arguing over Sam's cousin's account of spotting Ents near the Shire in the Fellowship of the Ring Volume I - The Shadow of the Past
In the Years of the Trees where the Ents were thriving in 1495 Morgoth had re-established his realm in Middle-earth. With this the Entwives had moved across to the east where Anduin lay. Treebeard's Entwife Fimbrethil was driven from her land and the two were separated forever. This may have been the dominant cause of the loss of the Entwives and the loss of the Entings.

The Elven-realm Lothlórien was situated near the North of Fangorn Forest and Treebeard had met the Lord and Lady of the Galadhrim of Lothlórien, who refer to him as "Eldest". Over time the Ents and the Elves separated and the Elves had nothing more to do with the business of Ents.

The "Great Darkness" is an uncertain term used by Treebeard, apparently referring to the time that Middle-earth was under the dominion of Morgoth. It was in the Great Darkness before the Sun and Moon that Melkor first created the Orcs and the Trolls, so that these creatures feared sunlight and shunned it. The Darkness described by Treebeard was not dispelled by the coming of the Sun: Morgoth held his fortress of Angband for centuries afterwards, and even after he was overthrown, the Darkness lingered (even at the time of the War of the Ring, remnants of the Great Darkness could still be found in the deep valleys of Fangorn forest, and elsewhere).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Thanks guys for the support. I'll be posting stuff everyday so make sure you keep checking back

The Balrog of Moria

Balrogs were created by Morgoth, who was the master of Sauron before he was defeated in the War of Wrath. They were once Maiar like Gandalf and the other wizards but were taken and corrupted by Morgoth.

The Balrog survived the defeat of Morgoth in the War of Wrath and escaped to hide beneath the Misty Mountains. For more than five millennia, the Balrog remained in its deep hiding place at the roots of the mountains in Khazad-dûm, until in the Third Age the mithril-miners of Dwarf-King Durin VI disturbed it (or released it from its prison) in T.A. 1980. Durin was killed by the Balrog, whence it was called Durin's Bane by the Dwarves.

The Dwarves attempted to fight the Balrog, but its power was far too great. Despite their efforts to hold Khazad-dûm against it, King Náin and many other Dwarves were killed and the survivors were forced to flee. This disaster also reached the Silvan Elves of Lórien, many of whom also fled the "Nameless Terror" (it was not recognized as a Balrog at the time). The Elves called the place Moria, the "Black Pit" or "Black Chasm" (though the name Moria also appears on the West Gate of Moria, constructed thousands of years earlier in the Second Age).

For another 500 years, Moria was left to the Balrog; though according to Unfinished Tales, Orcs crept in almost immediately after the Dwarves were driven out, leading to Nimrodel's flight. Around T.A. 2480 Sauron began to put his plans for war into effect, and he sent Orcs and Trolls to the Misty Mountains to bar all of the passes: Some of these creatures came to Moria, and the Balrog allowed them to remain.
During the reign of Thráin II, the Dwarves attempted to retake Moria in the War of the Dwarves and Orcs, culminating in the Battle of Azanulbizar before the eastern gate of Moria in T.A. 2799. This was a victory for the Dwarves, but the presence of the Balrog prevented their occupying Moria. Dáin Ironfoot, having slain the Orc Azog near the gate, perceived the terror of the Balrog within and warned Thráin that Moria was unachievable until some force could change the world and remove the Balrog. The Dwarves thus departed and resumed their exile.

Despite Dáin's warning, Balin attempted to recolonize Moria in T.A. 2989, but his party was destroyed. Dáin was killed in battle at the end of the War of the Ring in T.A. 3019, just as the change he spoke of was coming to pass.

In January T.A. 3019, the Fellowship of the Ring travelled through Moria on the way to Mount Doom. They were attacked in the Chamber of Mazarbul by Orcs. The Fellowship fled through a side door, but when the wizard Gandalf the Grey tried to place a "shutting spell" on the door to block the pursuit behind them, the Balrog entered the chamber on the other side and cast a counterspell. Gandalf spoke a word of Command to stay the door, but the door shattered and the chamber collapsed. Gandalf was severely weakened by this encounter. The company fled with him, but the Orcs and the Balrog, taking a different route, caught up with them at the bridge of Khazad-dûm. The Elf Legolas instantly recognized the Balrog and Gandalf tried to hold the bridge against it. Since Gandalf and the Balrog were both Maiar, they were beings of the same order. As they faced each other, Gandalf broke the Bridge beneath the Balrog, but as it fell it wrapped its whip about Gandalf's knees, dragging him to the brink. As the Fellowship looked on in horror, Gandalf cried "Fly, you fools!" and fell.

After the long fall, the two landed in a subterranean lake, which extinguished the flames of the Balrog's body; however it remained "a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake". They fought in the water, with the Balrog clutching at Gandalf to strangle him, and Gandalf hewing the Balrog with his sword, until finally the Balrog fled into ancient tunnels of unknown origin. Gandalf pursued the creature for eight days, until they climbed to the peak of Zirakzigil, where the Balrog was forced to turn and fight once again, its body erupting into new flame. Here they fought for two days and nights. In the end, the Balrog was defeated and cast down, breaking the mountainside where it fell "in ruin". Gandalf himself died following this ordeal, but he was later sent back by Eru Ilúvatar to Middle-earth with even greater powers, as Gandalf the White, "until his task was finished". Tolkien does not reveal the ultimate fate of the Balrog.

Monday, March 7, 2011

You decide

I just wanted to see if there was one character in particular that anyone cared to know about?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Peregrin Took

Pippin was the only hobbit who had not yet reached his 'coming of age' when the Fellowship set out (being eight years younger than Merry, while Frodo himself was 50 years of age) and was therefore still in his 'tweens'. He was a worthy accomplice to Merry's plans, but showed his youth as well; he was still a cheerful, if occasionally thoughtless Hobbit, and was first to miss the comforts of Hobbit life. At Rivendell, Elrond almost denied Pippin the chance to accompany Frodo, nearly deciding to send Pippin and Merry as messengers to the Shire. Gandalf, however, supported his and Merry's claims of friendship and loyalty, and they were chosen as the last members of the Fellowship.

After remaining with the Fellowship until its breaking at Amon Hen, Pippin was captured along with Merry by an Orc-band, which included some of Saruman's evil Uruk-hai. While held captive by the Orcs, he purposefully dropped his elven brooch (a gift from Lórien) as a sign for Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, who were in pursuit. During a skirmish amongst his captors, Pippin managed to cut his bonds using a sword held fast by a dead Uruk. In the land of Rohan, Pippin and Merry managed to escape when the Orcs were attacked by a company of Rohirrim, the local people. Upon their escape, he and Merry befriended Treebeard, leader of the Ents. They roused the other Ents to fight against Saruman and they attacked his stronghold of Isengard, partially crippling his power. Due to a special "Ent-draught" that Treebeard made him and Merry drink, Pippin and his cousin became the tallest Hobbits ever in history, at four and a half feet, surpassing Pippin's ancestor, Bullroarer Took, who was four feet and five inches tall.

Pippin picked up the palantír of Orthanc after Gríma Wormtongue foolishly threw it as a missile. Later, Pippin took it out of Gandalf's hands while the wizard slept, putting a rock in its place. Looking into the stone, he had a terrifying encounter with Sauron himself. As a result of this, Gandalf brought Pippin to the city of Minas Tirith, separating him from his friends. After meeting Denethor, Steward of Gondor, Pippin volunteered for service to repay him for the death of Denethor's son Boromir, who had died trying to defend Merry and Pippin from the orcs. This amused Denethor, who accepted the hobbit's offer and made him one of the elite Guards of the Citadel. Later, when a despairing Denethor set out to burn his son Faramir and himself alive, Pippin rushed to fetch Gandalf, saving Faramir's life.

Pippin was part of the Army of the West led by Aragorn, the descendent of the kings of Gondor that assaulted the Black Gate in a desperate gambit. During the final parley with the Mouth of Sauron, Gandalf instructed that members of each race that opposed Sauron be present at the parley, including Gimli son of Glóin for Dwarves, Legolas Greenleaf, Prince of Mirkwood, Elladan and Elrohir (Elrond's twin sons) for Elves, and Pippin for Hobbits. During the last battle before the Morannon, Pippin managed to slay a troll officer before being knocked unconscious when the dying troll fell on him. Gimli later recognised his Hobbit feet under the troll and dragged him out of the battle, saving his life. After the return of the king he was knighted by King Elessar, who then granted him leave to return home. Later he and Merry were instrumental in overthrowing Saruman's forces during the Scouring of the Shire.

In F.A. 6 Pippin married Diamond of Long Cleeve, when she was 32 and he was 37. They had one son, Faramir. Faramir Took later married Samwise Gamgee's daughter Elanor.

In F.A. 13 Pippin inherited his father's title and became 32nd Thain of the Shire, a position he held for 50 years before retiring in F.A. 63. After he retired, he revisited Rohan and Gondor with Merry. He remained in Gondor for the rest of his life.

Pippin died sometime after the year F.A. 70 and his body was set with Merry's in Rath Dínen. Years later, when Aragorn died, they were laid beside him.

Peregrin was the only son of Paladin Took II and wife Eglantine Banks, and therefore inherited Paladin's title of Thain of the Shire upon his death in F.A. 13. He had three older sisters, Pearl Took, Pimpernel Took, and Pervinca Took. His best friend Meriadoc Brandybuck was his cousin, son of Paladin's sister Esmeralda Brandybuck.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tom Bombadil

Tolkien invented Tom Bombadil in honor of his children's Dutch doll, and wrote light-hearted children's poems about him, imagining him as a nature-spirit evocative of the English countryside, which in Tolkien's time had begun to disappear.

Old Merry Tom

Tolkien's 1934 poem "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" depicts Bombadil as a "merry fellow" living in a dingle close to the Withywindle river, where he wanders, exploring nature at his leisure. Several of the dingle's mysterious residents, including the River-spirit Goldberry (also known as the "River-woman's daughter"), the malevolent tree-spirit Old Man Willow, the Badger-folk and a Barrow-wight all attempt to capture Bombadil for their own ends, but quail at the power of Tom's voice, which defeats their enchantments and commands them to return to their natural existence. At the end of the poem, Bombadil captures and marries Goldberry. Throughout the poem, Bombadil is unconcerned by the attempts to capture him and brushes them off with an inherent power in his words.
Tom Bombadil and Goldberry

The later poem "Bombadil Goes Boating" anchors Bombadil in Middle-earth, featuring a journey down the Withywindle to the Brandywine river, where Hobbits ("Little Folk I know there") live at Hays-End. Bombadil is challenged by various river-residents on his journey, including birds, otters, and hobbits, but charms them all with his voice, ending his journey at the farm of Farmer Maggot, where he drinks ale and dances with the family. At the end of the poem, the charmed birds and otters work together to bring Bombadil's boat home. The poem includes a reference to the Norse lay of Ótr, when Bombadil threatens to give the hide of a disrespectful otter to the Barrow-wights, who he says will cover it with gold apart from a single whisker. The poem mentions a number of Middle-earth locations, including Hays-End, Bree and the Tower Hills, and hints at the events of the end of the Third Age, speaking of "Tall Watchers by the Ford, Shadows on the Marches".
The poems were published in the collections The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and later in Tales from the Perilous Realm.

Within The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil is a mysterious character who aids Frodo and his companions on their journey. He and his wife Goldberry, the "Daughter of the River," still live in their house on the Withywindle, and some of the characters and situations from the original poem are recycled into story-elements for The Lord of the Rings. In the book, he is described as "Master of wood, water and hill", and nearly always speaks or sings in stress-timed metre: 7-beat lines broken into groups of 4 and 3. He appears in three chapters, "The Old Forest", "In the House of Tom Bombadil", and "Fog on the Barrow-downs". He is also mentioned briefly in the chapter "The Council of Elrond" as a possible keeper and protector of the One Ring. He is also spoken of at the end of the story in "Homeward Bound" and "The Grey Havens". Behind Bombadil's simple façade are hints of great knowledge and power, though limited to his own domain.

Tom rescuing the hobbits from Old Man Willow
Tom first appears within the story after Merry and Pippin are trapped by Old Man Willow and Frodo and Sam cry for help. Tom commands Old Man Willow to release them, singing him to sleep, and shelters the hobbits in his house for two nights. Here it is revealed that the One Ring has no power over Bombadil. Frodo wearing the Ring can be seen by him, and Tom wearing the Ring does not turn him invisible. He even tosses the Ring in the air and makes it disappear, but then produces it from his other hand and returns it to Frodo. While this seems to demonstrate that he has unique and mysterious power over the Ring, the idea of giving him the Ring for safekeeping is rejected within Book Two's second chapter, "The Council of Elrond." Gandalf says, rather, that "the Ring has no power over him", and believes that Tom would not find the Ring to be very important and so might simply misplace it.

Frodo spends two nights in Tom Bombadil's house, each night dreaming a different dream, which are implied to be either clairvoyant or prophetic. The first night he dreams of fearful things, including Gandalf's imprisonment atop Orthanc in Isengard. The second night he dreams of a song that "seemed to come like a pale light behind a grey rain-curtain, and growing stronger to turn the veil all to glass and silver, until at last it was rolled back, and a far green country opened before him under a swift sunrise." Whether he derives these visions from Bombadil's numinous presence or is simply the only hobbit to display oracular foresight is never addressed.

Gathering Lillie's for Goldberry
Before sending the hobbits on their way, Tom teaches them a rhyme to summon him if they fall into danger inside his borders again. This proves fortunate, as the four encounter Barrow-wights during "Fog on the Barrow-downs," the eighth chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring. After saving them from the Barrow-wights, Tom gives each hobbit a long dagger taken from the treasure in the barrows. As the hobbits leave the Old Forest, he refuses to pass the borders of his own land, but before he goes he directs them to The Prancing Pony Inn at Bree.

Towards the end of The Return of the King, when Frodo and Gandalf take their leave, Gandalf mentions that he wants to have a long talk with Bombadil, calling him a "moss-gatherer". Gandalf also says, in response to Frodo's query of how well Bombadil is getting along, that Bombadil is "as well as ever" and "quite untroubled". Gandalf also states that Bombadil is "not much interested in anything that we have done and seen," save their visits to the Ents. At the very end of The Lord of the Rings, as Frodo sails into the West and leaves Middle-earth, he has what seems to him the very experience that appeared to him in the house of Bombadil in the second night of his dream.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In the Second Age, the Rings of Power were forged by the Elves of Eregion under Sauron's direction, and nine of these were given to men of the time, one of whom became the Witch-king. The rings gave them immense power, and they "became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old." The rings also made them immortal, but eventually corrupted them, turning them into the ghastly, undead Nazgûl. The Witch-king became their leader. The Lord of the Nazgûl served Sauron as his second in command for over 4000 years. He fought in the war against the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. When Sauron was defeated by the Alliance, the nine Nazgûl went "into the shadows".

A millennium into the Third Age, the Witch-king reappeared in Angmar, a realm in the far North straddling the Misty Mountains. He quickly dominated Angmar, and turned to wage war against the three splinter kingdoms of Arnor (Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Cardolan); for Sauron, seeing that Gondor remained strong, sought to capitalise on the dissension among the northern kingdoms. It was during these northern wars, prosecuted against the Dúnedain for the next several hundred years, that the King of Angmar became known as the Witch-king. Rhudaur was soon compromised; power there was seized by evil Hillmen allied with Angmar. Argeleb I of Arthedain fortified the border against Rhudaur along the Weather Hills, but was killed in battle with Angmar and Rhudaur. The Witch-king then invaded Cardolan. King Arveleg I of Arthedain was killed defending Weathertop, but the palantír there was saved and moved to Fornost. The last Prince of Cardolan was killed, and most of the Dúnedain of Rhudaur were killed or driven out. Later the Great Plague destroyed many of the remaining Dúnedain of Cardolan, and evil spirits from Rhudaur and Angmar infested the burial mounds in the Barrow-downs.

Only Arthedain remained to resist the Witch-king (though with frequent help from both Lindon and Rivendell). Araval won a victory over Angmar and sought to reoccupy Cardolan, but the Barrow-wights terrified all who tried to live near the Barrows. Finally, as it became apparent that Angmar was preparing another attack, Arvedui appealed for help from King Eärnil II of Gondor. But before help could arrive, Angmar overran Arthedain. The Witch-king captured Fornost Erain, the capital of Arthedain. Arvedui fled north, only to drown in the Ice Bay of Forochel early the next year when the ship from Lindon that rescued him sank.
The following summer, arriving too late to save Arvedui, Prince Eärnur of Gondor landed at the harbours of Mithlond with an army from Gondor. The Elves of Lindon and the remnant of the northern Dúnedain joined his army and the combined forces marched against the Witch-king. On the plains west of Fornost Eärnur's army met the army of Angmar, which was forced to retreat toward Fornost. As his army was routed, the Witch-king fled north toward Carn Dûm in Angmar; but Eärnur and Glorfindel, with reinforcements from Rivendell, pursued the retreating party and defeated them. In the process the Witch-king caused the panic of much of Gondor's cavalry, including Eärnur's horse. But with the appearance of Glorfindel the Witch-king fled into the gathering darkness. Eärnur attempted to follow him, but Glorfindel stopped the prince and prophesied that the witch king would not be killed by the hand of a man.

The Witch-king returned to Mordor and led the Nazgûl in the siege of Minas Ithil. The city soon fell to the Nazgûl, and was known afterward as Minas Morgul, the Tower of Black Sorcery. Here the Witch-king made his stronghold, and he was called "the Lord of Morgul".

When King Eärnil II of Gondor died, his son Eärnur, the Witch-king's old enemy, inherited the throne. The Witch-king challenged him to single combat, but Eärnur refused. Seven years later, the Witch-king again challenged him; this time the king accepted. Eärnur rode out of Minas Tirith to meet the Witch-king in Minas Morgul. He entered the city's gates and was never seen again. From this time the Stewards of Gondor ruled the kingdom on behalf of the absent line of kings.

During the time of the events of The Lord of the Rings, Sauron learned from Gollum that the One Ring was held by a hobbit named "Baggins" in a land called "Shire". Sauron sent the Ringwraiths forth disguised as riders in black to search for the Ring. The Riders did not at first know the location of the Shire, and were dispelled by Saruman from Isengard, but when they came by chance upon Gríma Wormtongue in Rohan, he told them what he knew of Saruman's plans, including his interest in the Shire and the Shire's location.

The Witch-king and the other Nazgûl rode from Mordor to the Shire, where they tracked "Baggins" to Buckland. Five of the Riders raided Buckland but could not find the Ring. The Witch-king led three other Nazgûl to Weathertop where they discovered Frodo Baggins and the other hobbits, accompanied by the Ranger Aragorn. The Ringwraiths attacked the party, and the Witch-king wounded Frodo with a Morgul-blade. Frodo's wound threatened to turn him into a wraith under the control of the Nazgûl.

As the company made for Rivendell, the realm of Elrond Half-elven, they met Glorfindel, who loaned Frodo his horse Asfaloth. Pursued by all nine Nazgûl, the horse carried Frodo across the River Bruinen. From the far bank Frodo defied the Nazgûl. When the Witch-king rode into the water, Elrond, who controlled the river, released a flood that caught three Nazgûl and their horses. Glorfindel advanced and drove the terrified horses of the remaining Nazgûl into the flood. The horses drowned, and all nine Nazgûl were swept away.

On their return to Mordor, the Nazgûl were remounted on great winged beasts. The Witch-king returned to Minas Morgul to prepare the assault upon Gondor. His forces attacked Faramir's Rangers at Osgiliath and drove them back across the Anduin.

The Witch-king soon led large numbers of Orcs, Haradrim, and Easterlings to besiege Minas Tirith. After the gates of the city were broken, he rode to enter the city, but was prevented from entering by Gandalf.
Recalled to the battle by the unexpected advance of the Rohirrim, the Witch-king attacked Théoden, who had outrun his own riders. Snowmane, Théoden's horse, was struck by an arrow (presumably from the Witch-king) and fell upon Théoden. As the Witch-king approached him for the kill, Éowyn, the king's niece, barred his way. She decapitated his mount, and the Witch-king replied with a powerful blow from his mace, breaking her arm and her shield. As the Witch-king prepared to finish her off, Merry stabbed the back of the Witch-king's knee. Éowyn thrust her sword into the void between the Witch-king's crown and body. Her sword shattered, but the Witch-king's clothing fell to the ground, and he vanished with a wailing cry.
Here the prophecy of Glorfindel was fulfilled; he had fallen not by "the hand of man", but by a woman and a hobbit.

It is perhaps noteworthy that Gandalf would himself have gone after and confronted the Witch-king but, before he could do so, he learned (from Peregrin Took) of an impending attempt by Denethor to burn himself and his still living son Faramir on a pyre, and had to go off and prevent it, leaving the Witch-king to battle the approaching Rohirrim. On several occasions earlier in the book, Gandalf expresses some degree of doubt whether he is a match for the Witch-king, an unusual sentiment coming from a being who is of the same class as Sauron.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Radagast the Brown

Unfinished Tales explains that Radagast, like the other Wizards, came from Valinor around the year 1000 of the Third Age of Middle-earth and was one of the Maiar. His original name was Aiwendil, meaning bird-friend in Tolkien's invented language of Quenya. The Vala Yavanna forced the wizard Saruman to accept Radagast as a companion, which, Tolkien says, may have been one of the reasons Saruman was contemptuous of him, to the point of scornfully calling him "simple" and "a fool".However, he was an ally and confidant of Gandalf, who describes him in The Hobbit as his "cousin". He was also friends with the skin-changer Beorn, who deemed him to be "not a bad fellow as wizards go" and also said to Gandalf that he "used to see him [Radagast] now and again".

Radagast lived for much of his time in Middle-earth at Rhosgobel in the Vales of Anduin, on the western eaves of Mirkwood, near the Gladden Fields. He had a strong affinity for — and relationship with — wild animals, and it seemed his greatest concern was with the kelvar and olvar (flora and fauna) of Middle-earth. He was wiser than any Man in all things concerning herbs and beasts. It is said he spoke the many tongues of birds, and was a "master of shapes and changes of hue". Radagast is also described by Gandalf as "never a traveller, unless driven by great need", "a worthy Wizard", and "honest".

Radagast appears in The Silmarillion where he played a part in helping Saruman, who was a member of the White Council, which was formed to stand against Sauron (although he was not a member of the Council himself). It is mentioned that there were birds among Saruman's spies, due to Radagast lending to him his aid, though Radagast knew nothing of Saruman's treachery and believed that Saruman wished to use the birds for watching the Enemy (Sauron).

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Radagast was unwittingly used by Saruman to lure Gandalf to his tower of Orthanc, where Gandalf was captured. However, Radagast also unwittingly helped rescue him by sending Gwaihir the Eagle to Orthanc with news of the movements of Sauron's forces. When Gwaihir saw that Gandalf was imprisoned on the top of the tower he carried him off to safety before Saruman realized he was gone.

The only other reference to Radagast in The Lord of the Rings is after the Council of Elrond when it is decided to summon all the allies against Sauron together. Scouts are sent to look for help, and it is reported that Radagast is not at his home at Rhosgobel and cannot be found. Tolkien makes no mention of what has happened to Radagast, and he plays no further role in events.

Tolkien wrote that he gave up his mission as one of the Wizards by becoming too obsessed with animals and plants. Tolkien also wrote that he did not believe that Radagast's failure was as great as Saruman's and that he may eventually have been allowed (or chose) to return to the Undying Lands.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Last High Elven King

Gil-galad was the last High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth. In early texts, he was the son of Fingon the Valiant, son of Fingolfin, son of Finwë, first High King of the Noldor. Other sources and versions of the text however, indicate Gil-galad is the Son of Orodreth of the House of Finarfin. This would make him grandson of Angrod, the brother of Finrod Felagund and Galadriel. It is through this descent that his High-kingship of the Noldor is explained.

Gil-galad was the last of the High Kings of the Noldor-in-Exile in Middle-earth. An Elf of the House of Finarfin, he was named High King of the Noldor-in-Exile in Beleriand after the fall of Gondolin and the death of the previous High King, Turgon.

The early history of Gil-galad is somewhat obscure, as Tolkien himself repeatedly changed his mind about who exactly Gil-galad was, and how to fit him into the already existing history of the First Age (see concept and creation, below). Gil-galad was certainly born in Beleriand at some point during the First Age. He was perhaps at some point sent to live in the Falas with Círdan the Shipwright, but this is unclear — certainly after the fall of Nargothrond he was living on the Isle of Balar with Círdan, and became the last High King of the Noldor following the fall of Gondolin and the death of Turgon. Gil-galad, despite his long life (he was born during the First Age and lived through almost the entirety of the Second), was not known to have a wife, nor any children. Due to this, and the fact that there were few Noldor remaining in Middle-earth, the title of High King of the Noldor in Exile ended with his death.

After the War of Wrath and the end of the First Age, Gil-galad founded a realm in the coastal region of Lindon along the shores of Belegaer, the Great Sea. At its height, his realm extended eastward as far as the Misty Mountains, though most of the Eldar remained in Lindon and in Elrond's refuge of Rivendell.
According to The Fellowship of the Ring, Gil-galad was the first of the Eldar to mistrust a stranger calling himself Annatar, and forbade him from entering Lindon. His mistrust was well founded, for it was soon learned that Annatar was in fact Sauron. After Sauron forged the One Ring, Gil-galad was given one of the Three Elven Rings: Vilya, the Ring of Air (and most probably also Narya, the Ring of Fire). Just before Gil-galad's death, Elrond was given Vilya for safekeeping (and Narya was given to Círdan).
During most of the Second Age, Gil-galad enjoyed the friendship of the Númenóreans. This proved very useful as during the War of the Elves and Sauron; a great Númenórean force under the command of their king Tar-Minastir helped Gil-galad destroy Sauron's armies.

After the Downfall of Númenor and the establishment by the Elendili of the Dúnadan kingdoms in exile, there was peace in Middle-earth. In the Age's closing years, however, Sauron reappeared with a newly formed army and a war against the kingdom of Gondor, closest to his old home of Mordor. Gil-galad then formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Elendil, High King of the Dúnedain-in-Exile, The armies of Elves and Men, victorious after the Battle of Dagorlad, laid siege to Sauron in Mordor.At the end of the siege, both Gil-galad and Elendil aided in the overthrow of Sauron's physical body yet perished themselves in the assault. At the Council of Elrond, Elrond says that only three people survived the final battle with Sauron: Isildur, Círdan, and himself.

A record left by Isildur in Minas Tirith implies that Sauron himself slew Gil-galad, with the heat of his bare hands.

Gil-galad's spear was named Aiglos or Aeglos, meaning "snow-point" or "snow-thorn" or more commonly "icicle" (aeg: sharp, pointed; los: snow) because when orcs saw his spear, they would recognize it by its reputation to bring a cold death to them. Elrond said that at the battle of Dagorlad, "we had the mastery: for the Spear of Gil-galad and the Sword of Elendil, Aiglos and Narsil, none could withstand."