BG Image

News Archive

Hapy birthday Billy Boyd

Billy Boyd was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 28 August 1968 and is 39 years old today. You can read his cast bio here. In the CoE gallery you can view pictures of Billy here and Billy in the role of Pippin here.

Many happy returns Billy.

Realm Newsletter: August Edition

The August issue of the Realm Newsletter, brought to you by the Realm of Nessa, is now complete. Click here to find out what’s happening on the CoE, and much more!

Finding Your Favorite Place

For ages, people have viewed retreating alone into nature or into a “safety zone” a sort of oddity. This is obvious in the FotR, when Frodo shows a preference for wandering in the woods and fields alone and instead of calling him a genius, his friends constantly worry about him. Aragorn, also, retreated into the wilderness for many years and it took awhile before the people of Gondor would recognize this “crazy wanderer” as their king. And yet, isn’t this something we’re all guilty of? In this article, Realm of Nessa members talk about their favorite places, and why they think it’s important for all human beings to have this place of retreat.
shadowmaster_bobadil says:

At present my safe haven is the peak of my barn roof. I live in the middle of no where, with corn and bean fields north, east, south, and west so the way I can go with out runing into my brothers and/or chickens, ducks, etc. is up. Besides I have the best vantage point for the beautifull Midwest American sunsets. There are allso a pair golden finches ,that have nested on our property, that like to fly overhead.

Shadowfax_Pip says:

My places to retreat would be my room and the barn. My room has all my creative stuff in it, so it’s usually the first place I go to. It’s quiet, with no major distractions, and I can play/listen to music, write, draw, read, or just think about whatever pops to mind. It’s also off-limits to my brothers, so that’s a plus as well.

The barn is my second choice, usually when it’s very loud or busy in the house. The three horses usually come up to the barn and hang around with me; except for the occasional chicken and the flies it’s very peaceful. Until my brothers decide to interrupt my reveries. Then it’s irritating.

A third place would have to be underneath a swamp oak in the yard. Because it has lots of foilage I can sit in the cool shade with my back to it and think. The acorns littered on the ground have also brought out my creativity, so I sometimes make little acorn faces out of the shells and stuff . Of course, the cats also love it under there and like to interrupt my creative endeavours.

Evermind~Niphredil says:

My own private spot is, well, my bedroom. The bean bag and bed are officially for reading, listening to music on my walkman, or writing by hand; the computer is for writing and listening to music. And trying to make computer graphics The rest of my bedroom can also be used to make music videoclips (lip synching ).

I think it’s normal for a human being to have his or her own private space — a spot where one can relax and just enjoy being alive.

Fealome says:

Not only is my car the thing that takes me away from the rush of things, it often serves as my place of retreat when things get hectic… or the inspiration rises. It’s probably the ugliest car you’d ever set eyes on. But as long as it takes me where I want to go, it doesn’t bother me that I can’t see my reflection in the hubcaps. Driving along, I can sing more loudly and shamelessly than anywhere else. The radio busted about a year ago, so I have to fill the musical void myself. When you’re running around all the time, getting things done, and leaving even more things undone, it’s wonderful to find a place where you can be free. Where you can untie all the knots that keep tethering you to the ground. All the same, I’m not a big fan of sitting and thinking. I find it’s better to move and go wild, and that’s where my car ends up being the perfect place to “hide” and be alive all at once.

vanyar says:

We have this national Forest area called “Vanderhoff State Park” that my friend and myself are particularly fond of. It has a couple of great walking paths through the forest, and this scenic overlook that juts out over the creek. Its calm, peaceful, and a lovely place to sit down and write. I think it’s only natural that humans find a place like that in nature that they gravitate towards when the pressure of life is on. It’s our escape route, our “Happy Place”. While some people’s happy place may not be by a creek in the middle of a forest, they may have a certain tree in their backyard they like to sit under. Its a very common, and exceptable thing to do in my opinion. I’d be more worried about the people who don’t find a happy place…cuz I bet they get reeeaaalllllllyyyy cranky, and that is un-exceptable!

The Hoard: A Poetry Analysis

Interspersed throughout Tolkien’s books are many poems telling of elves, men, dwarves, cities, wildernesses, rivers, mountains… and often relating entire stories. Less well known, however, is a collection of Tolkien poems called The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. While most of these poems are not included in either The Lord of the Rings or the Silmarillion, they hold similar themes. In this poetry analysis, Nessa member Shafan provides her own interpretation of one of these poems.

The Hoard by JRR Tolkien

When the moon was new and the sun young
of silver and gold the gods sung:
in the green grass they silver spilled,
and the white waters they with gold filled.
Ere the pit was dug or Hell yawned,
ere dwarf was bred or dragon spawned,
there were Elves of old, and strong spells
under green hills in hollow dells
they sang as they wrought many fair things,
and the bright crowns of the Elf-kings.
But their doom fell, and their song waned,
by iron hewn and by steel chained.
Greed that sang not, nor with mouth smiled,
in dark holes their wealth piled,
graven silver and carven gold:
over Elvenhome the shadow rolled.

There was an old dwarf in a dark cave,
to silver and gold his fingers clave;
with hammer and tongs and anvil-stone
he worked his hands to the hard bone,
and coins he made, and strings of rings,
and thought to buy the power of kings.
But his eyes grew dim and his ears dull
and the skin yellow on his old skull;
through his bony claw with a pale sheen
the stony jewels slipped unseen.
No feet he heard, though the earth quaked,
when the young dragon his thirst slaked,
and the stream smoked at his dark door.
The flames hissed on the dank floor,
and he died alone in the red fire;
his bones were ashes in the hot mire.

There was an old dragon under grey stone;
his red eyes blinked as he lay alone.
His joy was dead and his youth spent,
he was knobbed and wrinkled, and his limbs bent
in the long years to his gold chained;
in his heart’s furnace the fire waned.
To his belly’s slime gems stuck think,
silver and gold he would snuff and lick:
he knew the place of the least ring
beneath the shadow of his black wing.
Of thieves he thought on his hard bed,
and dreamed that on their flesh he fed,
their bones crushed, and their blood drank:
his ears drooped and his breath sank.
Mail-rings rang. He heard them not.
A voice echoed in his deep grot:
a young warrior with a bright sword
called him forth to defend his hoard.
His teeth were knives, and of horn his hide,
but iron tore him, and his flame died.

There was an old king on a high throne:
his white beard lay on knees of bone;
his mouth savoured neither meat nor drink,
nor his ears song; he could only think
of his huge chest with carven lid
where pale gems and gold lay hid
in secret treasury in the dark ground;
its strong doors were iron-bound.
The swords of his thanes were dull with rust,
his glory fallen, his rule unjust,
his halls hollow, and his bowers cold,
but king he was of elvish gold.
He heard not the horns in the mountain-pass,
he smelt not the blood on the trodden grass,
but his halls were burned, his kingdom lost;
in a cold pit his bones were tossed.

There is an old hoard in a dark rock,
forgotten behind doors none can unlock;
that grim gate no man can pass.
On the mound grows the green grass;
there sheep feed and the larks soar,
and the wind blows from the sea-shore.
The old hoard the Night shall keep,
while earth waits and the Elves sleep.

~Interpretation by Shafan

For those who have read the Lord of the Rings, the effect that the ring has on its wearer is well known. Throughout the books we are able to see the struggle characters have with their strong desire for it. That is to say their covetousness. In the beginning of the Hoard it tells of covetousness, the shadow that it casts, and the effects that the shadow has. These effects are shown in the lives of those in the poem.

In the life of the dwarf his purpose for his covetousness is to have the power of kings. It would seem he spends his whole life alone working his “hands to the hard bone” in hopes of one day having this power. However in the end this is to no benefit to him as a dragon comes along and kills him. In the life of the dragon his covetousness made the fire in the furnace of his heart wane. Though he had treasure he did not find pleasure in it and is alone until a young warrior comes along and kills him. In the life of the king he fell from his former glory and became a man who was not just. He could think of nothing but the treasure he had obtained so much so that he is not aware of a war going on in his own kingdom. His dies at the hands of his enemies and his bones are thrown into a pit.

In each of these cases it shows how a life can be consumed by a covetousness that causes one to be oblivious to all else around him. All that one had was his possessions and that is all that one would live for. Each of those in the poem did not find pleasure in their possessions in the end or in anything else. They lost pleasure for and in life.

As the characters in the Lord of the Rings have struggled with covetousness, so do we. Each of us have the choice of either being controlled by our covetousness or to be the one who controls it.

Narnia: A Ringer’s Consolation?

~by Lady_Tolwen~

Well, now that Lord of the Rings is over, what’s a fellow fan to do besides waiting, hoping, and praying to the Powers that Be that Peter Jackson will make The Hobbit? A good alternative could be to check out C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

Why? Because CoN is a fantastic piece of fantasy literature. Yes, it comprises of seven stories written for children, but there are themes and messages that even adults can truly appreciate. Often the simplest of phrases can cause bouts of serious thinking, for those who want to think deeply, just as Tolkien’s works often have inspired fans.

It also helps that C.S. Lewis was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien. Both authors were part of a group of literary critics and writers called the Inklings. This group often gathered to hear stories of Vikings and the realm of the Old Norse, which later provided inspiration for Tolkien’s works. Both men were also Christians; Tolkien was a Catholic, Lewis was a Protestant. Their stories are full of parallels from their faiths. However, while Tolkien used a subtle approach in his works, Lewis was much more direct.

Some might say that Lewis was a bit forceful with the obvious Christian elements he put into his story, the most obvious being Aslan’s Resurrection in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Well, so what? It is a children’s tale after all. But the thinly veiled elements of Christianity are just a part of a beautifully told story filled with magic, evil witches, all sorts of delightful talking creatures, and exciting adventures.

In 2005, Disney made The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe into a live-action movie. Many people, including myself, were greatly pleased with a decent distraction from Tolkien’s world. (Although some people, like myself, weren’t pleased with some of the liberties taken, but that’s another essay entirely.) What some people might not know that there is an older BBC television serial of the Chronicles of Narnia that includes four film adaptions out of the seven original books. I have not seen it, so I cannot say how good it is. You’ll just have to see it for yourselves while you wait for Disney.

The next movie scheduled to be released is Prince Caspian. Originally it was scheduled to be released in December of this year, but now it has been pushed back to May 16, 2008. (Not that anyone really cares, but my birthday is May 19, so this will probably be an early b-day present! YAY!) Fans of the Disney movie should be pleased to know that all of the Pevensie’s will be returning, as will Liam Neeson, who provided the voice of Aslan. Also joining the cast is Ben Barnes for the role of Caspian, Sergio Castellitto as King Miraz, Vincent Grass as Doctor Cornelius, Peter Dinklage as Trumpkin, and Warwick Davis (who provided the voice of Reepicheep in the BBC version) as Nikabrik. As of yet, Reepicheep has yet to be announced.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a delightful collection of tales that can provide Tolkien fans with some consolation, now that the movies are finished. The current movies are pleasing to the eye, and the stories are wonderful in their own right, made all the better set in a fantasy world of talking animals. I highly recommend at least giving it a sporting chance.

New to the Council: Contributing Members!

In recent months, Rivka has instituted a Contributing Member policy to help with the server costs to When you become a contributing member you gain certain extra privileges, and get your name on the Wall of Contributing Members. One of the more exciting privileges of being a contributor is a year’s access of the new user theming area. In this new area, you can make your own themes, take a glance at the themes created by fellow contributors, and leave comments on the them.

While making your own theme can sound rather daunting, CoE makes it comparatively easy. All you need is Photoshop or some other similar program to create the banners. The site provides several different design templates for would-be creators. The easiest is the One Banner design. You simply create an 800 pixel banner about your favorite Middle-Earthian subject and plug it in. The rest is easy; you just set the different colors for the page layouts. Your work is saved with each changed submission, and you can set the theme as your own to browse the site and see how it looks at any point before you publish it, thereby making it public. The other designs are for the craftier sort, but are still available for anyone to try.

There are of course some rules to follow in making a theme. All themes must have the words “Council of Elrond” in one of the banners. All themes must be related to Lord of the Rings or something else that Tolkien wrote about. In other words, book related subjects…no themes about the actors themselves. If you wish to use fan art in a theme, you must obtain permission from the artist and post their name in the theme description. If you use an illustration by a published artist you must put their name in the theme description. Also, if you get stuck, there is a helpful FAQ page to read, or you can ask for help in the Creations Forum . Creating themes is easy, and most importantly FUN! Don’t just take my word for it though, after all, I consider staring at shiny objects hours of good entertainment.

Here are some other contributing member’s personal opinions about the new theme section:

I think supporting the site is more important than the extras that come with it. I would not want to lose CoE and all that it offers. I would miss my second home terribly… Give yourself a present of CoE for another year. You deserve it!

But the extras are great! I’ve always wanted lighter themes and have used the Éowyn theme since it appeared. So my goal was to make lighter themes, with different characters that I like. I’ve made a lot of CoE greeting cards and wallpapers and have a CoE Website. You use the same skills for making them as you do for making a theme and the theme interface is easy to use.

Mine are simple but I like having several to choose from depending on my mood. My current is Smaug. I’ve always liked him and for me the muted colors are easy on my eyes. But my preferred theme is Elves! I borrowed Gwyllion’s (With her permission. Here is her gallery.) lovely Glorfindel and beautiful Galadriel and taking the color from her drawings created my very favorite theme.

If you like to play in Photoshop or an equivalent program, then support the site and have some fun at the same time. But even if you aren’t addicted to computer graphics, support the site and you can use one of the new themes. And if you ask, maybe one of the theme-creators will try to create a favorite theme for you. There is so much great art and stills from the movies to choose from, the options are endless!

Although there are many lovely themes on CoE for members to use, there is an added pleasure at being able to make your own. I had a little difficulty at first when making my themes, but after a bit of trying this and that, everything fell into place. It’s a matter of try, try again until you succeed. I started off with the simplest one ~ the fixed banner, then progressed tentatively to the others.

I would definitely recommend becoming a contributing member and it is worth it, not only for the ability to make themes, web site perks, the little green star and special title, it helps CoE and that can only be a good thing.

So there you have it! It is fun, possibly a little exciting, and it gives back to the site that gives you so much. Anyone can become a contributing member by donating $15 through Paypal, or sending the money through the mail to:

Rebecca Smallwood
P.O. Box 3401
Tustin, CA 92781-3401

(Rivka asks that you include your CoE username with your payment)

A Newbie Survival Guide

Newbies, as everyone knows, are everywhere. Everyone was a newbie once, and probably remember how it feels-a little confused, maybe a bit nervous and excited? Maybe you lurked around the site for a while, then introduced yourself when you were more comfortable, or just hopped right in. But newbies are important to many websites- which is just why there needs to be an article devoted especially to them- those new thinkers that are a total asset to an online community.
Meet Laiquendi~Rodwen and Shafan, two wondernessaful newbies from (where else?) the Realm of Nessa! They’ve been site members less than four months, and realm members even less time. Why did they join Nessa? How were the welcomed? Are they happy now? Let’s see what Laiquendi and Shafan have to say.

“Once there was a newbie named Laiquendi~Rodwen on this very website. She did as all newbies should, and decided to post an introduction on the Newbies forum, the way her welcome letter had recommended. After carefully typing out some good information about herself, Laiquendi sat back and waited for people to reply. And reply they did! In fact, so many people replied, with all sorts of suggestions to join the book forum, or to get involved in roleplaying, or to do every other thing, that Laiquendi was fairly disconcerted. One suggestion, repeated several times, was to find a realm. And Laiquendi did.
In case you didn’t guess, Laiquendi~Rodwen is me. I have been a member of COE since early June, and a member of Nessa since early July. Why did I join Nessa? After I took the realms quiz a few times and always got different answers, I decided to just read the info on the realms and ignore the quiz entirely. Nessa was the very first realm I looked at, and I was drawn to their random sense of humor and the promise of a smallish group. But truly, what really finished it for me was the pop tarts. I eat poptarts nearly every single day, and a whole realm of people like that? Nessa sounded great!

Partway through July, I found some time, and finally hopped onto the Nessa message boards, not sure what exactly to expect. What if they didn’t like me, or if I had picked the wrong realm? I posted a brief introduction on the aptly named Getting to Know You thread, and checked back in a few days to see what everyone had to say. There turned out to be another Rodwen in the realm, and a few others remarked that based on what I had said, I would be just perfect. This quickly eliminated any nervousness I could possibly have about joining, and right away joined the Tale of the Maidens of Nessa, became a Sponge Fighter, and started posting on many of the forum games.
I’m still one of the newest Nessians, and one of the youngest as well. I discovered Nessa to be a fantastic place where I could relax and let loose my inner sillyness. My wish, for all the incoming Newbies, is that they find the realm that’s perfect for them, whether they be nature lovers, pranksters, artists, or any and everything else. Nessa the perfect realm for me. “
“Shafan stared at her screen considering which one of the Realms she should choose to become a member of. She did not know who all of the Valar were and did not really understand what these Realms were. This made her decision all the more difficult to make. As she ran through the Realm descriptions one caught her eye “Dance into the Realm of Nessa where our close knit caring community is quick to befriend and even quicker to share in a nice laugh”. She clicked on the Realm of Nessa and upon looking at its page she began to look over all of the information there. Llamas? Why this is all so absurd but it is me! So Shafan decided to join this Realm and soon found herself posting in the “Getting To Know You” thread. As soon as she posted her introduction post she found she was nervous and afraid that she would not fit in well. She waited with bated breath for responses to her post to come in.

I am this Shafan. I was very nervous upon becoming a member of the Realm of Nessa but I found that the Nessians were described to a tee by the Realm description. They really are a “close knit, caring community” and they have considered me a part of this community since the day I joined. After the warm welcome members gave me and looking around the board I became confident that I had chosen the right Realm to join. I soon joined the roleplay parody called the Tales of the Maidens of Nessa and adopted one of the smilies in another fun ungoing activity. I am also looking forward to learning the ways of being a sponge fighter after obtaining a sponge of my own as well as sharing stories I have written and reading those others have written in “The Golden Quill”.

Whether you are looking for a group that shares your interests in so much more than the Lord of the Rings or helpful members who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and immediately make you feel at home, you should should look into joining one of the fourteen Realms. Though the Realm of Nessa has been the perfect place for me you should consider all of the Realms before becoming a member of any one. In choosing a Realm you should always consider which one would be the perfect place for you to be a member of. If you do this you should have as positive of an experience as I did!”

CoE Member of the Month: ElfmaidenofLorien

This month, the Realm of Nessa interviewed CoE member, Nienna Realmer, forum sensation, and Official Waffle Recovery Team Leader, ElfmaidenofLorien!

• So how were you introduced to LotR?
Well, by the time LotR came into my life it was after all the movies were out. I had heard about it because my parents went to see it in theatres, but I wasn’t very sure about it. Then my best friend came along and made me watch the movies and soon after I read the books and I fell in love.

• You’ve been a member for two years now. Happy anniversary! How did you discover the CoE?
My best friend yet again. She told me I had to join and so I eventually did. I didn’t think I’d have much time for it, but it seems that I make time.

• Can you describe your role as Official Waffle Recovery Team Leader?
haha, well, I suppose my job in that role would be to protect the rights of waffles and be sure they don’t get a freezer burn.

• While many people cling to one forum, or even prefer to stay hidden in their realm, you seem to enjoy posting everywhere! Do you have a favorite forum?
Oh, lets see..I enjoy posting in the Prancing Pony the best, it’s a lovely place. But I love getting around and meeting new people.

• The grapevine tells us that you are a horse rider. Do you own a horse?
I do not own my own horse, yet. But when I do I will be naming him Brego.

• Is there a story behind your user name?
After reading the books and watching the movies I found that I was in love with Lothlorien and and fact that my favorite elf, Haldir, lives in the Golden Wood sort of decided the name.

• Do you own any LotR collectors items? I do own a couple action figures and the ME map, and of course, my own books, but I think that’s it.

• We’ve heard that you have a very Elven personality. Do you think this is a natural-born talent or something that *cough* any elf-fanatic could acquire?
(hehe) lol! Well, I think some of it is my own talent to tell you the truth, but I think that LotR brought it out.

• How often do you log on to CoE? I try to log on at least twice a day if I can.

• You are a member of the Realm of Nienna. What Nienna traits do you especially relate to?
Taking care of our world is important to me. I’m always very sad when forests are taken out to make new housing developements. I used to have a big forest in my backyard but it was all taken out to make a housing developement for houses that were half a million to buy. I was really sad for a long time about it.

• Do you have any advice for newbies?
Get out there! We want to see you in the realms and forums! Get active and explore. It took me a while to be able to find my way around, but if you need help just ask, everyone here is wonderful, and we won’t bite, I swear.

• In this issue, we’re talking about “favorite places” where we go to relax, get creative, or just be crazy. Do you have a favorite place and if so, would you describe it?
Hmmm, favorite place…well I guess my favorite place would be sitting in my tree in my yard. I call it my mallorn tree and it’s a lovely place to sit and read a book or imagine something up for a new story.

Thank you, ElfmaidenofLorien, for your help in making this site the fabulous place it is. Happy posting!

Staff Member of the Month: Rivka

For years she’s watched over the thousands of crazy fans who have found a home on CoE. She’s the mastermind before whom we stand in awe. Programming, hiring staff members, solving problems, serving as 911 AND the police force… a complete list of Rivka’s accomplishments around here would be pretty useless. Better to just go out and explore the site! But first, let’s hear what she thinks of this place… in her own words.

• Are you relieved that the initial craziness after the LotR movies were released is over? Does it make you a little sad?

I’m a little relieved that things have slowed down now, in that when I started the site, I was a full-time student, and had a lot more time on my hands to work on the site back then. Since I work full time now, I really don’t have 4 hours a day to put into the site anymore! But of course, it’s sad as well, to see how much slower things are — the site used to be much more active when the movies were out. I do miss those times a bit, although realistically, I would have a hard time keeping up with the needs of the site.

• Even though running a site and posting don’t often go hand in hand, do you have a favorite forum?

It’s true, I don’t post much, although I do pop into all the forums every few days to see what’s going on. My favorite forum to read is the Books Forum, because I find the conversation in there stimulating. It’s amazing how site members can always find new and interesting aspects of Tolkien to explore.

• What one piece of advice would you share with new members of CoE?

Make sure you always have dry socks? In regards to CoE itself, I guess I’d tell them to not get overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to explore, and please read (and follow!) the rules. There, that’s three pieces of advice!

• How is the Lord of the Rings different from other books you have read?

Tolkien’s writing has a depth and specific style that most modern writers don’t have. I read a lot of genre fiction — fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, and while I don’t think most of it is _bad_ writing, I wouldn’t consider most of it to be writing that will go down in history as being a great or classic work like Lord of the Rings is. I find authors like Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, or Anne McCaffrey immensely enjoyable, but they are what they are; I find it unlikely that 50 years from now, we’ll be studying their works in college classrooms like we are Tolkien.

• Designing a website takes a lot of work. How did seeing FotR inspire you to create the Council of Elrond? (was it a desire to meet other Tolkien fans? An eagerness to try something big? On that note, did you have any idea it would ever grow this big?)

The main reason I chose to build the site was because of the technical challenge (and that’s why I continue to maintain it). You see, at the time, I was in library school, and learning all kinds of new and exciting things about how the Interwebs work 😉 And while my colleagues were doing boring stuff like making up websites that were school related, or you know, helpful and informative, I thought it was cool to make fansites. At the time, I would never have guessed it would grow as big as it has; at the time, I was happy if we had a few thousand total members.

• Did you dream it up in one night, or did the idea come to you slowly, drop by drop?

I can tell you exactly how it happened. As soon as FotR ended, I turned to my husband and said “I’m making a site about Lord of the Rings.” He said, “Okay, dear, have fun.” I already had one about the X-men that was very similar in format to CoE, so I had a pretty good idea how to get started. I was a little crushed when I got online and discovered that there were already dozens of good LotR fansites out there already, but I said, “Heck with it, I’ll make one anyway, and I’ll do it bigger and better.” We started relatively small…but just started adding everything we could think of in that first year (anytime a staff or site member said “Hey, we should do _____”, we’d just go ahead and add it to the site), and you can see the end result!

• We’ve heard rumors that your inbox is almost always full. How many pm’s do you generally get on a normal sunny day?

Nowadays, I generally get about one or two a day; there was a time where I’d be getting as many as 5 or 6. My problem is that I have a lot of PMs that I can’t get rid of because they’re important. So I keep cleaning out the last 5 or 6 PMs, which will be good enough for a few days, until I get full again, and then the cycle starts again. I _could_ just put something in the PM code that would give ME more PMs than everyone else, but hey, we’re all equal here. What I really ought to do is just save all the “important” PMs to my computer, and then delete them from my inbox, but man, that takes too much work.

• The Council of Elrond is home to many people from all corners of the world. Has the site lead you to visit any cool places you never would have gone to otherwise?

I’ve been a homebody for the last few years…I am going to Scotland in a couple of weeks, but not for any particular reason other than curiosity. I do really enjoy all the different people I’ve “met” online over the past several years, especially the staff, who have come from all corners of the globe.

• Not only is Beauty and the Beast your favorite Disney movie- you’ve also created a site about it! What is it about this deliciously monsterous fairytale that you love?

Yikes! I can’t believe you stumbled across that old thing. That was one of my very earliest sites, made many, many years ago. Yes, B&B is my favorite fairy tale, because it’s one of the few fairy tales where the two main characters actually spend some time together before falling in love. That makes it more “realistic” in my opinion. How many fairy tales have the two characters fall in love with just one evening, or even worse, just one kiss? But Beauty and the Beast spend weeks together, learning about each other…and even better, she learns to love him despite his monstrous appearance.

• What do you think? Is The Hobbit ever going to become film?

I’m firmly convinced it will happen eventually. If pure drek like some of the stuff that has come out this past summer can get made by the studios, do you think they’re going to pass up the opportunity to make a sure crowd pleaser and money maker like The Hobbit?

• Is your cat named after Fredegar Bolger?

Nope. She’s over 12 years old, and I got her long before I read Lord of the Rings for the first time 🙂 I named her Fred just because I like the name.

• What is your favorite thing about being a librarian?
• Do you hope to become a full-time web programmer eventually?

I’m going to combine these two. I actually only worked as a librarian for about a year and a half. It turned out that being a librarian was not as much fun as I thought it would be…looks like spending two years and several thousand dollars on graduate school probably wasn’t such a good idea! I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that enjoy library work; I unfortunately am not one of them. I do better in jobs where I don’t have to do customer service type stuff…which is why I am now a full-time web programmer (I often go the whole day without interacting with anyone – awesome!), and have been for over two years. See, kids — making a fansite _can_ get you your dream job. I actually do use CoE in my portfolio, and my boss was pretty impressed with it; it’s part of the reason why he hired me.

Thank you Rivka, for everything you’ve done for Tolkien fans around the world!

The Art of Sponge Fighting

~by vanyar

~ image by asea_aranion~

Ever since the dawn of time, sponges have existed. They lurk, merciless, at the bottom of every ocean. Then man came along and domesticated these ferocious poriferans, and soon taught their domestic help how to use them. Due to the spongy nature of a sponge, they worked great for cleaning and scrubbing. Impressed with the sponge’s ability to soak up water and soap, man began to search for new uses for the domestic sponge.

Lord Conden Sation II began this era of discovery by attempting to use sponges to hold his beverages at the dinner table. Having noticed a wet substance forming on the outside of his glass, he wished to develop a holder that could soak up the moisture, without leaving any further moisture on his beloved table. Unfortunately, Lord Sation did not remember to rinse and dry out his sponge, causing mildew, and a rather nasty stain on said table. Next to appear in the history pages was William Perspirate, a rather sweaty field worker, who designed a sponge hat to soak up the perspiration while he worked in his master’s field. Unfortunately, the spongy hat only made poor William perspire more, which led to the first documented case of heat stroke. Lastly, came Matilda Foote, a neighbor of William. Inspired by the young lad’s head gear, Matilda fashioned herself some sponge shoes in hopes that the footwear would soak up her embarrassing foot sweat. Matilda’s design was surprisingly flawless, barring the accidental puddle walk-through incident. Unfortunately, Matilda went on Holiday in a boggy area, and was never seen again. Many historians blame her sponge shoes, but no evidence has ever been found.

Depressed after all these faulty designs, the sponge front grew quite for awhile. People became resigned to the idea of using sponges simply as cleaning tools. Then, brilliancy struck through one Sir B. Rillopad. Legend dictates that Sir Rillopad got exasperated at a young servant who had been eating all of his red colored Jelly beans. In his anger, Rillopad reached into the boy’s cleaning supplies and hurled a dry sponge at the lad. The boy never ate a red jelly bean again. The good Sir spread word to his friends of the great fun he had hurling the sponge at the poor boy, and the race to discover new ways to attack people with sponges was on!

After developing their fighting techniques over a sequence of years, the group of overly rich men realized that in order to properly fight with a sponge, rules needed to be set. Thus, in the year of 2004, the Society of the Sponge Fighters was formed in order to protect and preserve the sanctity of sponge fighting. The society is secretive, but those truly in search of sponge fighting knowledge are allowed to join. Once enrolled in the society, trained sponge fighting instructors will commence to train members not only on how to fight in the various techniques, but also the history, and theory behind them. Trained sponge fighting instructors are stationed in every continent, if you know where to find them. I myself am such an instructor. For a nominal fee of $8,888,888 you may join this ancient and revered society, and I will teach you all there is to know about the ancient art of sponge fighting. Just send that amount to me, vanyar, in a bright green envelope, and you’re correspondence will begin. You may also purchase sponge fighting lessons for llamas for an additional $24,601. All proceeds of my lessons go to Llamas Frolic Freely (commonly referred to as LFF), a wonderful charity that stands for the freeing of penned up llamas who dream of frolicking in lush fields of green. Thank you for your attention, and may the sponge always be with you.