In this article at TheSanDiegoChannel.com Jim Rygiel, visual effects supervisor on the LotR movies, talks about his work and answers the question, “What was most challenging about Lord of the Rings?”.
The Two Towers Extended Edition DVD has won 6 awards at the 7th Annual DVD Entertainment Awards 2004. The awards included Best in Show, Blockbuster Theatrical and Audio Presentation. There’s a full list of all the winners at recordingmedia.org.
Did you know that parody writing is an art?
Seriously. It is.
I’m going to take you through a crash course in LOTR Parody writing. Let’s start with the different types of LOTR humor.
1: Top-Ten Lists
These lovely creations are easy to write, and great for beginning parodists, even though they’re not exactly “parodies.” The most typical list is “The Top 10 Ways to Tell if You’re Obsessed with LOTR.” As the majority of us merely nod in serious agreement with the larger half, which consists of things such as: “You own both the Theatrical and Extended Edition DVDs,” or: “You watch movies you wouldn’t otherwise because they have a LOTR actor in them,” I believe that the best Top-10 list should go crazy. Write things like:
“You go to sleep clutching your One Ring.”
“You plan to name a child something like ‘Fredrick Isaac George William Ishmael Taylor’ so that you can call him ‘Figwit’.”
Okay, so I’m pretty sure no-one’s going to do either of those! (Woe be unto the child that is called Figwit!) By giving a ridiculous obsession symptom like that, you get people to laugh instead of completely agreeing with the obsession symptom.
My personal favorite. Parody-Sue is sort of like the anti-Mary-Sue. She generally is a teenage girl, who is either a fangirl or a total non-fan. She gets mysteriously dropped into Middle-Earth, and begins to wreak havoc, doing things like playing traitor to the Fellowship, making a deal with the Dark Lord himself: that if she turns the Fellowship in to him, he’ll make Legolas marry her.
Note: With this type, be careful, as many times people write girls that are more like 6-year-olds than teenagers. A truly funny Parody-Sue character isn’t self-conscious about how funny she is. Don’t have her constantly doing things like egging Gandalf, or tying Aragorn’s bootlaces together, in the attempt for her to be annoying, unless you’re an expert parodist.
I.E.: Don’t try that at home!
Or, she could be a Mary-Sue. She is beautiful, strong, too-smart-for-her-own-good — typical Mary-Sue traits. However, with this story, you over-exaggerate all the Mary-Sue-ness. Add the word ‘perfect’ in as much as possible, along with wink-like comments in the text.
“She calmly and gracefully brushed her perfect waist long hair, which shimmered like pure and perfect gold in the sunlight. It fell in perfect waves, cascading down her back, glinting and gleaming whenever she moved her head (which she did a lot to show her hair off.) Her skin was fair and looked as delicate and perfect as a china doll, smooth and without blemish. No harsh chemicals or toners ever touched, had touched, or would touch her lovely perfect complexion, for it was, in fact, perfect. (Well, duh! She’s Mary-Sue herself!)”
Other Mary-Sue factors you can play around with are:
Amazing fighting skills
A doting hero
3: Movie Madness
An excellent choice! This is where YOU get to re-write the movie script to whatever fits your fancy. Tolkien purists need not attempt, as most often they dice the books and grind them into tiny bits in order to create the ultimate non-Tolkien-esque movie.
The audience’s comments make a great addend to this kind of parody. You might even try to add some of the outrageous comments that you have heard in the theaters…
4: General Parody
This is the one with the most variation… (duh!)
But this usually takes place in Middle-Earth, sometime after the War of the Ring. Aragorn is king, everyone is happy, and everything is quiet. Too quiet.
Some deadly fiasco suddenly erupts – maybe a horrible fad in clothing, maybe a potential raid of Fan-girls, or maybe even (shudder) Leggy’s Shampoo has been stolen! – and our heroes must to all in their power to stop it.”
It’s all up to the author…
Okay, so those are the most common types of parody. Let’s go over character writing.
This is the tricksey part: re-writing the beloved Tolkien characters in order to make them laughable. The most typical re-written character is Legolas. He’s almost always Mr. Dandy, often called ‘Leggy’, fastidious, all-too-perfect, and sort of the male version of Mary-Sue.
Sauron’s personal trials and triumphs are neglected by both Prof. Tolkien and Peter Jackson. So, many parody writers make him to be more like a bratty 2-year-old with a zillion behavior problems than an ancient wicked spirit. He complains, throws tantrums, makes snide comments about the Fellowship, and loves his great sense of evil-ness.
As for Frodo— well, if the typical parody Frodo had only two words he could ever say, they would be: “WHY ME?!”
Poor Mr. Frodo. Make your readers feel sorry for him.
But forget all I just said. The Number One Rule of Thumb is OOC: Out of Character. Think Legolas suddenly having awesome lines. (gasp!)
Now, here are some dos and don’ts of parody writing.
DO: Make it funny.
DON’T: Make it serious.
DO: Use punch-lines from the movies/books. (But only in moderation)
DON’T: Make it overly random. (e.g. characters throwing bubble-gum everywhere shouting ‘I love Barney!!!’ for utterly no reason)
DO: Make is somewhat random. (e.g. characters riding attack llamas to rescue the DVD of Doom)
DON’T: Do knock-knock jokes for punch lines. They’re not funny. Really they aren’t.
DO: Pun!! “He who would pun would pick a pocket,” but he also gets rich and famous for doing so in a parody.
DON’T: Use jokes from well-known parodies (we’ve heard them a million times), unless you’re sure of your audience not hearing them before, or unless you’re a professional, who really knows the art of making people laugh.
DO: Keep your audience in mind. If you’re using lines from a certain ridiculous Mary-Sue, and if the author of said ridiculous Mary-Sue will read it, don’t put it up.
DON’T: Use the movie script word-for-word and throw in a joke every few chapters. Your readers DO expect to giggle or at least smile every paragraph or so.
DO: Get the book/movie characters to be horribly Out of Character.
DON’T: Describe character’s clothes to a great extent, unless you’re writing a Mary-Sue spoof.
DO: Ask someone you can trust to give you a TRUTHFUL review before ‘publishing.’
DON’T: Put it up if you haven’t even smiled to yourself during the writing process.
DO: HAVE FUN!!!
What do you think is the best way to get My Pastor to say ‘My Preciousss’ in the pulpit???
An Anonymous Gollum Addict
Dear An Anonymous Gollum Addict,
Well, getting a Pastor to say “My Preciousss” in the pulpit can be quite a challenge, but for you, I have an easy-to-follow 4-step program.
1) Obtain an object of power (preferably a ring) created by one of the Dark Lords.
2) Give said object of power to your pastor.
3) Leave him alone with object of power for a few thousand years.
4) Retrieve pastor and put him behind the pulpit the next Sunday.
If you follow these four steps, I can almost guarantee that your pastor will utter the words “My Precioussss” (among other things) while preaching. It sometimes helps to take the object of power away from the pastor after retrieving him, however this sometimes does more harm than good, and some pastors have been known to turn on their congregation after having the previously mentioned object of power taken from them.
I have a problem. It appears that I have been partially swallowed by a lion. I wouldn’t mind, only it’s a little dark and kind of smelly… at least I have my laptop!! Any advice on how to get out?
Stuck Inside A Lion
Dear Stuck Inside A Lion,
I think your situation requires a different approach for being head-first or feet-first in the lion’s esophagus. If you were swallowed feet-first, I suggest knocking on the roof of the lion’s mouth and politely asking if he/she would let you wiggle your way out. If you are unable to wiggle sufficiently, suggest that the lion hangs upside down, and let gravity help you wiggle out.
If, however, you have been swallowed head-first, I would use my laptop to electrocute the lion’s stomach, causing an involuntary retching action. Although your laptop will probably be fried by this, your warrantee should cover the situation.
If, by the time you receive this answer, you have been completely swallowed by the aforementioned lion, I would advise letting nature take its course.
I’m stuck in a tough situation. I want to give Orlando some shampoo, but which kind should I get him? Herbal Essences, Tresemme, or Pantene? Any advice?
Dear Shampoo Lover,
When choosing a shampoo for Orlando, you must keep in mind which character of his you want him to be reminded of when he uses it. If Legolas or Paris is your character of choice, Tresemme or any other French-named shampoo would be appropriate. After all, any Prince would only use the best. For “essence of Will”, Herbal Essences is called to mind – a high quality shampoo for impressing the ladies but down-to-earth enough for a working man. To reference his role as Joe Byrne, or his brief appearance in Black Hawk Down, Pantene or a generic brand would suffice. Outlaws and soldiers are too preoccupied with survival to worry about their shampoo.
I wish you luck in your search, and hope Mr. Bloom appreciates your gift.
Haldir often rambles on and on about how PJ killed his character in the Helms Deep scene. He says that not even for his friendship with Aragorn would he have gone to that retched place. I have to listen to him go on about how unfair it was, that he, “being so much more gorgeous than Legolas, should not have had to die, that in fact it should have been the Prince of Mirkwood.” It’s starting to get rather annoying and I want to tell him to just stop already, but I have no idea how to tell him this with how overly sensitive he is. What do I do?
Dear Had-enough Haldir,
From the sounds of it, you are either closely related to or married to Haldir. Being in such close quarters with a sensitive elf can be very trying indeed, and I feel for you. In regards to getting him to stop, there are a couple of methods you can try.
1) Get him a PJ punching bag/archery target and tell him to pretend it’s the real PJ. Attacking a dummy made to look like the person he’s upset at may help Haldir to relieve stress and anger, resulting in less of the complaining you dislike so much. It might help to have one of Legolas, too.
2) Send him to an Eldar Rehabilitation Center. The Protectors of the Plot Continuum have a good counseling center, and they may have ways of helping him through his emotional stress that no-one saner than they would come up with.
3) Tell him how you feel. Sit him down and (kindly) tell him to shut up before you are forced to take drastic measures. It helps to have a dagger to play with while you talk when you use this method.
Best of luck to you,
The latest book given to me to read for school is probably the most boring ever written in the history of Mankind. Any suggestions as to how I can not be quite so bored by it but not flunk the test from skimming or reading Cliff-Notes???
Dear Totally Bored,
In order to escape the complete monotony of a bad book, but not fail tests because of Cliff Notes, you need one of two things:
1) A Magic spell to help you remember everything, even if you don’t really read it, or
2) A cheat sheet
Other than that, your only option is to slog through it. So get hopping! Time’s wasting, and the book isn’t going to read itself! (Unless you happen to have the latest in wizarding student accessories…a book that reads itself and transmits the information to your brain. Available for 70 sickles, see Fred or George Weasley for more information.)
I have recently acquired a Balrog and am keeping it shut up in my basement. However, I don’t really know what to feed it. Any suggestions on the dietary needs of a Balrog?
Master of Moria
Dear Master of Moria,
Congratulations on your new pet! A Balrog is a wonderful pet to have – it will guard your home with ferocity and it’s great for the kids.
As for a Balrog’s dietary needs, different experts will say different things. Dr. Burnt T. Acrisp says that “A healthy Balrog prefers to eat Dwarves and Wizards, although an occasional elf provides motivation for house-breaking”. Miss Runfer Urlives insists that “Only the best Misty Mountain Goblins will suffice for a hungry Balrog”. You may take your pick of any expert’s advice – I have found that Balrogs don’t usually mind what you feed them so long as you feed them.
If your Balrog is of the Mini variety, however, you must adhere to the strict diet regulations of Mini-Balrog expert Miss Cam: “Don’t forget to feed your Mini plenty of bacon and raw eggs, with the occasional fangirl thrown in”. I myself own a Mini-Balrog, Gangee, and he especially likes the fangirls who wear excessive amounts of glitter. I have found, however, that Mini-Balrogs are very unique, and if your Balrog is a Mini, I suggest trying many different brands and varieties of fangirl before settling into a set routine.
Best of luck to you and your Balrog,
I have recently made friends with a community of great, creative, elf-like people, and enjoy hanging out with them– mostly. But they seem rather reserved, as if restrained by some other force; unable to enjoy a good laugh or to create anything light-hearted as elves do in Tolkien’s books.
My friends feel insecure with anything lighthearted. I think it’s because of PJ’s portrayal of elves as somber and solemn in his movies.
Heeeeelp! The Solemnity is STIFLING ME!!!!!
It is a truly sad thing that these elf-like people are so somber. Peter Jackson’s portrayal of the elves has indeed skewed the perspective of many people like your friends, not to mention the Eldar themselves.
I suggest sending them to a PPC counselor. Because they are not strictly elves or canon characters, most of the PPC probably would not bother with them, but I do have one acquaintance who would be (I’m sure) more than happy to help. Agent Scooter is a very kind young lady.
If you don’t have the means to send these friends of yours to counseling, I would find some light-hearted scenes and songs involving elves from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and re-enact them. Teach your friends the song the elves of Rivendell sing as Bilbo and the dwarves come into the valley.
I do hope that your friends will find the help they need.
I am going crazy. I mean, I’m stressed out, there are pencils in my hair, and I have never drunk so much coffee in my life! How do I help ease the stress?
Apparently you are beginning to go insane from the stress in your life. My suggestion is to take the pencils out of your hair, and learn a lesson from Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect – It’s a lot easier to go insane then to keep yourself sane.
It’s a lot more fun, too.
Yours in Insanity,
** warning ~ because some information is derived from Unfinished Tales, certain parts may not be canonical**
In the year 700 of the Second Age, Galadriel and Celeborn moved east to a land near the Misty Mountains, establishing the Noldorian realm of Eregion. It was known to the couple that Sauron had previously hidden himself near these Mountains and they hoped to keep a watchful eye upon the dark Maia. Khazad-dûm was near to Eregion, and though it was unusual, Dwarves and Elves became friends, both ultimately profiting in the other’s knowledge and skill. Being of the Noldor race, many of these people were craftsmen. One brotherhood, Gwaith-i-Mírdain in particular was said to have talent to equal Fëanor. Celebrimbor, son of Curufin and grandson of Fëanor was one member of the Mírdain. In the year 1200 of the Second Age, Sauron came in the fair shape of Annatar in an attempt to sway the hearts of those in Eregion. He was widely accepted, especially by the Mírdain, for they were blinded by their greed. In an attempt to gain further control over the realm, he persuaded the brotherhood to lead a revolt against Galadriel and Celeborn. Convinced she could not sway her people otherwise, Galadriel fled to Lórinand (Lórien) with Amroth and Celebrían, who was already protected against Sauron. However, Celeborn refused to travel through the mansions of the Dwarves and stayed behind, ignored by the now in-power Mírdain.
As Sauron’s control over the Mírdain grew, so too did their knowledge of craftsmanship. Of the powerful treasures crafted, the Rings of Power are the most renowned. These rings held the will to govern each race, to strengthen and embellish each realm, and to ward off the decay of time. So saying, the desire for these rings and the power they withheld, harbored in every race’s heart. But what they did not know was how these rings contained such power, until the departure of Sauron in 1500. Content that he had successfully overcome the Noldor, he was not seen again until 1695, when the Elves learned of the one ring. The one ring in which all others were subject to, which their power relied upon, and through these rings, so too could their masters’ thoughts and actions be controlled. When Celebrimbor learned of this treachery, he fled to Lórien with the Three Elven Rings he forged without the guidance of Sauron. There he took Galadriel’s counsel that the rings were to be hid, dispersed, and never to be used so that none would know where they lay hidden. The rings would go to the Elvish guardians, Galadriel and Gil-Galad. It was then that the Lady of Light received Nenya, the Ring of Water and Adamant. The ring held powers which were unlooked for; as well as strengthening and enriching the realm of Lórien, it also increased Galadriel’s desire for the Sea and her return to the West, so that her joy in Middle Earth diminished. Gil-Galad received Narya and Vilya, the Ring of Fire and Ruby, and the Ring of Air and Sapphire. Here the story splits in two as to how Círdan came to receive Narya. Some resources say that the moment Gil-Galad received the ring, it was sent to the Ship-Wright. Others state that it was not until the Last Alliance that he received the Ring of Fire.
The other rings were taken off as the truth circled through the Elven realms and Khazad-dûm. War was brought to Eregion in 1695, when Sauron learned of the betrayal of the Mírdain. In response, Gil-Galad sent an army out of Lindon, headed by Elrond. This host, however proved too small to break through and aid Celeborn in protecting Eregion, as Sauron’s army was large enough to both drive back Celeborn’s forces and protect the rear. The purpose of the invasion was to gather the Rings of Power, but Celebrimbor would not allow Sauron to defile the house of the Mírdain in his search, nor learn the whereabouts of the three rings. Celebrimbor was taken captive and tortured, but never did he tell Sauron of the three strongest rings, and so he was killed. However, Sauron guessed the two Elvish guardians had received the rings, and in his rage, turned his troop’s focus on Elrond. They would have destroyed the Elven host completely if it had not been for the army of Lórien led by Amroth and the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm. Together, the two kin were able to drive back Sauron’s troop, biding time for Elrond and the remnants of his men to flee to a safer land (later named Imladris). As the plan was successful, the remainder of Dwarves and Elves retreated and the doors of Moria were shut.
All things did not go as planned. Sauron successfully conquered all of Eriador, except for Imladris, and Elrond’s strength was waning. In 1700, five years after the seize of Eriador, Tar-Ministar and his Númenórean troops crossed the sea to aid Gil-Galad in recapturing that which originally was not tainted by evil. After Sauron was driven away, Eriador lay in ruins and so the first White Council was held. Between the leaders of Middle Earth, it was decided that Imladris would be the new Elven stronghold and that Elrond was to receive Vilya to aid in the protection of his realm.
It was prophesized that if Sauron ever took form again and found the one ring, or if the ring were destroyed, the Elven rings would loose their powers and the realms would wane; with the fading of the Elven realms, so too would the mirth of the Elves. They would leave for the West and never return, and the Dominion of Men would begin in Middle Earth. In 3019 of the Third Age, this prophecy came true. After the destruction of Sauron and the last Dark Power, the ring bearers took the last White Ship for Valinor. They were Elrond Peredhil, Galadriel, Frodo Baggins and Mithrandir.
The Silmarillion ~ Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age
The Unfinished Tales ~ The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
“Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.” (Gandalf, ROTK)
The song “Minas Tirith” is, in my opinion, one of Howard Shore’s greatest achievements in all three Lord of the Rings soundtracks. It captures not only the majesty and splendor of Gondor (and the White City in particular), but also the tension and urgency that are present in the early chapters and scenes from The Return of the King.
The song begins very softly, with eerie-sounding strings in the background that sound like the evil that is creeping up on Minas Tirith. This part of the song sounds very tense and foreboding, signifying not only the present dangers but also the greater trouble that is to come. The majestic brass music that comes later reflects the splendor, nobility, and pride of Gondor, its people, and its City. Yet there is a note of fear and even despair in the music, made explicit in the Sindarin words: “Black wings against a pale morning/There is no more light, not in this sun/Call the retreat/There will be no warning/The citadel of the stars is gone/Osgiliath is fallen.”
As the music progresses, it swells to a great feeling of urgency, and seems to carry a sense of the very faint hope that perhaps Minas Tirith can be saved. Finally, just as it seems that the music has reached its peak, it is abruptly broken off. Like us, the music sounds as if it is waiting breathlessly to see what will come next.
Next time you listen to “Minas Tirith”, close your eyes and imagine the White City standing proud and tall. Imagine that “[you] stand upon some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before [your] feet, but whether there is any light behind [you, you] cannot tell. For [you] cannot turn yet. [You] wait for some stroke of doom.” (Eowyn, ROTK)
The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
“Wise and learned in the scrolls of lore and song, and yet a man of hardihood and swift judgment in the field. Less reckless and eager than Boromir, but no less resolute.”
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the men of Numenor.”
“Yet he [Frodo] felt in his heart that Faramir, though much like his brother in looks, was a man less self-regarding, both sterner and wiser.”
It is passages like those that Tolkien gave us to describe the character of Faramir, a favorite of many in The Two Towers. He is the quintessential man: Intelligent, strong yet kind, noble and wise. He doesn’t jump to conclusions, and treats those around him, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum included, with the utmost respect. As depicted in the books, Faramir reminds one more of Aragorn in character than his brother Boromir.
The movie version of The Two Towers, however, shows us a different Faramir. This Faramir is harsh in his treatment and questioning of Sam and Frodo, and suspicious of the two. Upon finding Gollum, he orders him to be beaten. The books are contradicted entirely by his taking Frodo, along with the ring, to Osgiliath. In the book, he states, “I would not take this thing if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs.” Why the change?
I did some digging and found the answer. It all goes back to the drafting of the scripts, and the decision to put the Shelob sequence into The Return of the King, instead of The Two Towers. If the struggle with Shelob was not part of Sam and Frodo’s journey in The Two Towers, where would they be going? Without a conflict of some sort, their whole passage through the second movie would seem rather pointless.
Enter Faramir, the conflict. Since Frodo and Sam were traveling to seemingly no end in The Two Towers movie, the writers had to find somewhere for them to go. The only thing that they found could plausibly work was to change the character of Faramir, to tweak it slightly, so that our heroes would end up somewhere, at some “end” by the end of the movie. The result: a mean, relatively unlikable Faramir. Upon seeing this change on the big screen, I, along with Tolkien fans around the world, was understandably infuriated. The adaptation of Faramir’s character, however, eventually works itself out for the good of the story.
Had Faramir been all that we had known him to be throughout the duration of both The Two Towers and The Return of the King, we would have been stuck with a fairly boring character. He wouldn’t have had any room to evolve and develop. The character as we knew him was almost too perfect. The first movie spends much of its time trying to tell the audience that the Ring is the most evil thing ever made. It has consumed the mind of Frodo and has reduced Smeagol to the creature that he is. How would a character on which the Ring has absolutely no effect help the story? It wouldn’t.
As a result, we have a Faramir who wants to take the Ring, and does, but not for completely corrupt reasons. He simply wants to prove himself to his father. In the Extended Edition of the film, we also see Faramir redeem himself by leading the hobbits safely out of the city after seeing the adverse effects the Ring has on those who come into contact with it, his own brother included. This Faramir continues to develop in the third film, showing us a man who desperately wants to do what is right, and please his father as well. Had Faramir’s character remained true to the book, we would have seen a duller story on film. Tolkien purists may not appreciate it, but I rather like the way the story works itself out.
~ The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
~ The Two Towers special features, “From Book to Script.”
Who exactly are the Dunedain? Avid fans know that in his time, Aragorn was the chieftain of them, and know they are secretive rangers of the North, but how and why did they become that way? To answer these questions, and more, one must study the History of the Dunedain.
After the men of Westernesse came from over the sea, they set up two different seats of power. One, to the North, was set up in a region known as Eriador, and became known as Arnor. The other was set up in the South and was known as Gondor. There were two Kings, one in each seat. The Rangers were mainly inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom, though they did venture out to other regions on errands for the King. Arnor divided into three different jurisdictions due to discrepancies amongst the then King’s sons. Most of these problems were over property rights to the Weather Hills and the lands East of Bree, which contained Amon Sul (known as Weathertop) and its tower. These new regions were Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Cardolan. The Dunedain then acted as the rangers of these new regions, instead of Arnor as a whole.
In 1409 a great host of enemies came from Angmar and surrounded the then fortified Weathertop. The Dunedain were defeated, and King Arveleg was slain. The Tower of Amon Sul, which was house to the chief Palantir of the North, was burned and raised. The Palantir was however, saved and carried back to Fornost in the armies retreat. The Dunedain who remained to defend Rhudaur were slain, or they fled to the West. After Arveleg’s son, Araphor, and Círdan, the elvish Shipwright, repelled enemies out of Fornost and the Northern Downs, faithful remnants of Cardolan’s Dunedain held the land of Tyrn Gorthad (now known as the Barrowdowns) or took refuge in the forest behind it. The 1409 attack on Weathertop marked the fall of the land of Rhudaur to Angmar and it’s Witch-king.
During the reign of Argeleb II, a horrible plague came into Eriador from the Southeast. Most of the people of this land perished. The plague, however, lessened in intensity as it passed to the North, leaving the land of Arthedain little affected by the virus. The Dunedain of Cardolan faltered, and evil beings from Angmar and Rhudaur entered the deserted mounds and dwelt there. These beings are now known as the Barrow-wights.
In 1974, the power of Angmar rose once again and attacked Arthedain before the end of winter. The Witch-king’s forces captured Fornost and drove most of the remaining Dunedain over the Lune river, including the sons of the then King, Arvedui.
Arvedui held out until the last on the North Downs, and then fled to the North with his remaining guard and their horses. Arvedui and company hid in abandoned, dwarven mines under the Blue Mountains for a long time. Arvedui, driven by hunger, eventually came out of the mountains and asked for help from the Lossoth, who were the snow people of Forochel. The Lossoth took pity on the starving men, and gave to them shelter and food. Círdan heard from Arvedui’s son, Aranath, of the King’s flight northward, and sent a ship to Forochel for him. The ship arrived, but the Lossoth’s Chief was uneasy and tried to persuade Arvedui and his men to wait until summer to leave. Arvedui decided against this counsel, but gave the Chief the ring of Barahir out of gratitude. The ship of Círdan had not yet reached open sea when a great snowstorm drove the ship back unto the ice and piled more ice up against it. Círdan’s seamen were defenseless against the ice, which crushed the ship’s hull and caused the ship to flounder. The death of Arvedui marked the end of the Northern Kingdom, and the scattering of the Dunedain.
It was not until after the Dunedain became a scattered and secretive people that a chieftain of the Dunedain was decided. Before the time of Great Peace, after the fall of Sauron, there were sixteen chieftains. The very first chieftain was none other than Aranath, Arvedui’s elder son. Aranath became chieftain in 2106. Arahael then became the second chieftain in 2177. Aranuir was the third chieftain starting in 2247, followed by the fourth chief, Aravir, in 2319. Aragorn the first was the fifth chieftain in 2327, until he was slain by wolves in Eriador. He was then followed by the sixth chieftain, Araglas, in 2455. The seventh chieftain was Arahad in 2523. The eighth chief was Aragost in 2588. The ninth chieftain was Aravorn in 2654. The tenth chief, Arahad II in 2719, then followed Aravorn. The eleventh chief was Arassuil in 2784, which was followed by Arathorn I, the twelfth chieftain in 2848. Arathorn suffered a premature death of unknown causes, and was followed in office by the thirteenth chieftain, Argonui, in 2912. Argonui was then followed by the fourteenth chief, Arador, who came into office in 2930, but was slain by hill trolls in the coldfells north of Rivendell. Then, Arathorn the second was made chieftain in 2933, only to be slain by orcs. His office then passed down to the sixteenth chieftain, Aragorn II in FA 120. Aragorn II then went on to become King Elessar and brought about the period of Great Peace, and repopulated the North Kingdom.
~All information from Appendix A in Return of the King~
One of Tolkien’s most captivating creations are the Elves. The Elves, of all Middle Earth’s races were closest to his heart. They were the ideal beings pure, beautiful, and immortal.
The comprehensive and elegant languages of the Elves are collectively called Elvish. They are the most popular languages of Tolkien’s series: The Lord of the Rings. One of Tolkien’s primary inspirations for Elvish is a language that can still be heard today in Viena Karelia; a remote region of villages and lakes spanning the Finnish and Russian borders.
The epic song still heard here is the KaleVala which means the Land of the Heroes. The KaleVala is a voluminous work considered to be the single most important expression of the Finnish heritage. As a teenager Tolkien was enthralled by the KaleVala. He taught himself Finnish to better understand this monumental collection of ancient epic poems. Tolkien turned to the KaleVala as he began inventing the languages of Middle Earth.
“He was trying to construct languages which had a similar inner feel to something he admired. Quenya, the Elvish Latin, I think is quite clearly based on Finnish. He very much liked Finnish. He very much liked the Finnish literary tradition which attracted him from an early age.” –quoted from Tom Shippey.
Tolkien was fascinated by more than the KaleVala’s language. He found eternal themes and archetypal characters there as well. For example, the KaleVala’s hero is a wise old leader with magical powers. The obvious parallel is the wizard Gandalf. Who, like the KaleVala’s hero, employs the power of words.
The Lord of the Rings and the KaleVala share another key element. At the center of both stories is a powerful forged object. In the Finnish poem it’s called the Sampo. Like the Ring it brings its owner great fortune, but in the end is destroyed to secure peace.
I have only discussed a small section of the KaleVala and how it inspired Tolkien with not only the Elvish language but themes and characters in his books as well. I hope I’ve left you with a better understanding of Tolkien and the Finnish culture.
–all information obtained is in: National Geographic Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.