Middle Earth Challenge: The Return of the King

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way. Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. Pippin: What? Gandalf? See what?Gandalf: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise. Pippin: Well, that isn’t so bad. Gandalf: No. No, it isn’t.Gandalf and Pippin speaking in Minas Tirith

So here we are. At the end of all things. This has to be one of my favorite and random challenges I’ve started for myself. I think I originally started this to keep myself busy while I was stuck at home because of Covid-19. Also from helping the kids with their school work and fixing things around the house. I had a lot of downtime on my hands.. A lot…..

I have to say this adventure had a surprising out comes. The number people I’ve met while writing about these was fantastic. Made a few new friends and not to mention the knowledge about the Middle Earth has grown 10 fold. While I had a good knowledge base before, this help me have a better understanding about the this world in novels and film. I have found myself growing rather attached to these characters and the Middle Earth as whole. So there is an element of sadness knowing that this is the end of the challenge. Oh sure I can revisit the novels again or watch the movies. But it’ll be different. It’s hard to explain how or why, just is.

I have to say by diving into the Middle Earth, it has given me a number of ideas for campaigns for D&D and/or events within’ the game. It has help develop my storytelling ability and have a better understanding on how to make a backstory for characters. but I am getting off topic here.

before I get into the The Return of the King, I have made a top 10 list of my challenge to share with you. Also make a list of links for the videos that I have shared in addition to this challenge.

TOP 10 MIDDLE EARTH CHALLENGES:

Here are some links that have helped me on long my adventure through out the Middle Earth.

First we have History of the Ages. They were called History of the Middle Earth not that long ago. but do to copyright laws, they had to change their name to History of the Ages. The work these guys do is awesome and fun to watch. In addition to the Middle Earth history videos, they make fan made movies and readings from the books.

Description: History of the Ages is a channel dedicated to everything Tolkien Lore, here we have videos based on Middle Earth Lore and answering some interesting questions regarding The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and more!! If you’re a fan of Tolkien then please subscribe and help us build our Middle Earth community!! We are sure you will not regret it! If you want to support our channel, please head to our Patreon page and consider becoming a Patron! 🙂 https://www.patreon.com/historyoftheages Also we have our own official website too! https://www.historyoftheages.co.uk All content falls under fair use: any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Huge thanks to all artists of Tolkien’s world.

Second on the list we have Lore of the Rings. This another group I used a few times for this quest.

Description: This channel is dedicated to Tolkien’s Legendarium. I investigate the rich and abundant world of Arda, Lore of the Rings is a channel dedicated to the exploration of Middle-Earth. My goal is to share Tolkien’s world to the masses and to give a mere representation of his works. I hope you find my content enjoyable and enriching. Subscribe now to explore the legendarium together with me.

Third we have Rosenthal z.s.. They make soundtracks and best known for the Horn of Gondor: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Music Composed by Petr Kubelik

Forth the Independent Online Cinema group.

Description: Independent Online Cinema is a London based filmed entertainment production and distribution platform known for creating hugely popular fantasy, sci-fi and children’s films including The Hunt for Gollum. IOC was founded in 2009 by British film director Chris Bouchard to release ‘The Hunt for Gollum’ in partnership with YouTube. After millions of views, the channel went on to premiere another popular LOTR fan film ‘Born of Hope’ by Kate Madison. Bouchard since co-directed The Little Mermaid 2018 starring Shirley MacLaine and Madison created the award winning fantasy web-series Ren: The Girl with the Mark. IOC now develops and creates high quality and ambitious independent fantasy films and TV shows, as well as supporting high quality independent films from around the Internet. http://www.independentonlinecinema.com http://thehuntforgollum.com http://bornofhope.com http://rentheseries.com Founded by film producer Chris Bouchard: http://chrisbouchard.co.uk

Fifth group, we have Nerd of the Rings.

Description: Sharing a passion for all things Tolkien! On Nerd of the Rings, I’ll post videos explaining characters and concepts from Middle-earth history, video essays, gaming, DIY, Amazon LOTRonPrime series updates, dramatic readings, and more! If you love the Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, the books, the movies, the music – any and all of Middle-earth, please subscribe and join me in this adventure! I am honored to share this love of Tolkien with such excellent and admirable hobbits! All content falls under fair use: any copying of copyrighted material is done for a limited, educational and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Thank you so much to all the artists who do such amazing work inspired by Tolkien’s world! If your art is featured in a video, please let me know and I would love to post your name in the description of the video!

Sixth we have the last, but not least the Nerd Cookies group.

Description: In-depth analysis and coverage of new and old Science Fiction and Fantasy entertainment. Twitter: @Nerd_Cookies

If you find your self wanting to know more about the Middle Earth would check out any of these guys. Most of the videos are no more than 5 minutes, some are up to 15 minutes long. That is you don’t want to read the novels and other website for the information. but at any rate, we have now come to the main point of this post. The Return of the King… From day one I knew I was going to make this novel my end game to this challenge. With the Hobbit being the beginning of it all.

Now if you haven’t read the book or watched the movies. Please stop reading this post. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

As the Shadow of Mordor grows across the land, the Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, has joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and takes part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escape into Fangorn Forest and there encounter the Ents. Gandalf has miraculously returned and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam has left his master for dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive — now in the foul hands of the Orcs.
And all the while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing as the One Ring draws ever nearer to the Cracks of Doom.

Gandalf delivers news to Denethor, Steward of Gondor, that war is coming. Gandalf along with Pippi, who enters the service of Denethor. Aragorn, with his courage and leadership, proves to be a worthy ruler of men. He starts his quest to find a lost army of men now dead and entrapped in a curse given long ago for their own disobedience. In a place known as the Paths of the Dead. Remnants of the Fellowship lead the forces of Gondor and Rohan in defence of Gondor’s capital city. Minas Tirith, resulting in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Those characters who manage to survive the battle are led by Aragorn on an assuredly suicidal feint-attack against the Black Gates of Mordor. A plan was laid out to partly distract Sauron from defending his other borders, so that Frodo and Sam can gain passage into Mordor. Aragorn’s company now surrounds the Black Gates of the Morannon exchanging words with the Mouth of Sauron.

Sam Gamgee (for a short time had himself become the ring-bearer) enables the long-suffering Frodo to navigate the barren wasteland of Mordor. For part of the way, they are captured by a company of Orcs and must pretend to be orcs before they are able to escape. The company, tired and half-alive, finally reaches the Crack of Doom, where the One Ring is destroyed along with Gollum, freeing Middle-earth from Sauron’s power forever. This happens when Frodo at the last moment decides to keep the ring rather than destroy it, and is attacked by Gollum who bites off Frodo’s finger to take the ring, trips, and falls into the lava while still holding the ring. Frodo and Sam are rescued by the giant eagles whom Gandalf rides to Mount Doom. After Sauron is defeated, his armies at the black gates flee.

Aragorn now crowned King of Gondor at Minas Tirith. After a series of goodbyes, the Hobbits return home, only to find the Shire under the control of ‘Sharkey’ who they find out is Saruman, diminished in power but not in malevolence. Now in the movie Saruman was killed in the beginning of the film. In fact, Saruman does not appear in the theatrical cut of The Return of the King. It was Treebeard who suggests that the fallen wizard’s power is no more.Now in the extended edition, Gandalf, Aragorn, Théoden, Gimli, Merry and Pippin confront Saruman in Isengard at the beginning of the film. Gandalf wishes to interrogate Saruman, but Gríma stabs Saruman at the pinnacle of Orthanc. As Saruman falls to his death, he drops the Palantir. Now in the novel, Merry and Pippin, now experienced warriors of Rohan and Gondor respectively, take the lead in setting things right again, and lead an uprising of hobbits against Saruman, freeing the shire.

The Shire heals, sadly not Frodo does not. Eventually Frodo departs for the Undying Lands to find healing, along with Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the Elves. Sam, Merry and Pippin watch them depart and return home in silence. Sam is greeted by his wife Rose and his daughter Elanor. The last line spoken in this book Sam says to Rose;

“Well, I’m back”.

The differences between the novel and the film:

A sequence that did not make it from the book into the film at all despite the hopes of many fans, was the “Scouring of the Shire”, in which the Hobbits return home at the end of their quest to find they have some fighting to do, owing to Saruman’s takeover of the Shire. Jackson felt that it would tax the audience’s patience to mount another battle scene after the critical conflict, the defeat of Sauron, had already been resolved.

Several changes can be found in the scenes encompassing the Siege of Minas Tirith. In the film Denethor loses his mind and tells everyone to run for their lives, and Gandalf knocks him unconscious and rallies the defense of Minas Tirith. This did not happen in the book.

The Witch-King never broke Gandalf’s staff in the book, and there was never any indication that Gandalf feared him in the least.

The pyre scene in the book involved Gandalf’s rescuing Faramir, and Denethor’s revealing the Palantir before burning himself. The film gives a more violent depiction, in which Gandalf physically assaults Denethor so that Pippin can pull Faramir off the pyre. Denethor tries to stop him, but Gandalf has Shadowfax kick Denethor into the flames. Before he dies, Denethor actually sees Faramir regain consciousness. Denethor is somehow able to run all the way to the peak of Minas Tirith and jump to his death. Denethor never reveals the Palantir itself, although he makes a clear reference to it with the line “… the eyes of the White Tower…” in an earlier scene.

The Army of the Dead have an expanded role, including their leader the King of the Dead. The Dead not only defeat the Corsairs of Umbar, but follow Aragorn all the way to Minas Tirith and abruptly end the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The extended edition shows the Dead destroying their city, presumably because they have no further need of it.

The Mouth of Sauron is decapitated by Aragorn, which is ironic given that the Mouth claimed to the right not to be assailed in the book, as he was an emissary. Gandalf also assured him of no harm.

Gollum does not topple over the edge of the precipice in Mount Doom. Instead, Frodo attacks him in an attempt to regain the One Ring, which results in both of them falling over the edge, with Gollum and the Ring dissolving in the lava and Frodo being saved by Sam.

The Return of the King was always one of my favorite parts of the story. Originally Tolkien wrote it as one story. But it was the publishers that broke it up into three different parts. This has been a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the upcoming Amazon show about the First/Second Age of the Middle Earth. There are so many stories that they can use and as well make up new stories.

So if you find yourself with some time on your hands. I’d say pick up the LOTR and dive into the wonderful universe. There are some many story to pick from and a few different films as well .

“And he lived happily ever after to the end of his days.” -Bilbo Baggins

Sources:

https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._R._Tolkien, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaA5XOYRRQ7XeJh-3ugBP0g, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120737/

Middle Earth Challenge: The Silmarillion

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Silmarillion is Tolkien’s first book and his last. Long preceding in its origins The Lord of the Rings, it is the story of the First Age of Tolkien’s world, the andcient drama to which characters in the Lord of the Rings look back, and in which some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The Silmarillion was begun in 1917, and Tolkien worked on it, changed it, and enlarged it throughout his life. Edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien, the book finally appeared four years after the author’s death.

Now this novel out of all the Tolkien’s novels, I was worried the most about. I’ve tried reading it in the past a number of times and never could make. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. I love Tolkien and the Middle Earth. But I just could not make it through this novel. Then I realized I need to tae it on like a history book and not a adventure/epic story novel. While yes it is a story and there are MANY stories through out this book, it does not read that way. I had to approach it like I did for the History of the Lord of the Rings or the first part of The Lord of the Rings. In fact is also like reading a ancient scroll or even a Bible of the Middle Earth at points.

The Silmarillion is the source for the First Age of the Middle Earth and the downfall of the Kingdom of Númenor. It is composed of five different parts:

  • The Ainulindalë – Creation of Eä (Tolkien’s universe), the Timeless Halls, and Ainur by Eru Ilúvatar and the corruption of Melkor
  • The Valaquenta – Description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural beings.
  • The Quenta Silmarillion – Events before & during the First Age, which is the bulk of the collection
  • The Akallabêth – The history of the Second Age
  • The Rings of Power and the Third Age

If you take the The History of Middle Earth and Unfinished Tales, with The Silmarillion you get more of the narrative of the universe that Tolkien was trying to express in the The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Within’ this novel there is also 4 Great Tales that were summarized:

  • “Of Beren and Lúthien”
  • “Of Túrin Turambar”
  • “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin”
  • “Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath”

Now Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien finished putting together Middle Earth Challenge: The Fall of Gondolin, Middle Earth Challenge: Beren and Lúthien, Middle Earth Challenge: The Children of Húrin. You can follow the link to find out more details about them. But those stories definitely expanded more on the The Silmarillion adn the history of the First, Second Age of the Middle Earth. Now from what I gathered, Christopher Tolkien had some problems with The Silmarillion material. Mostly caused by Guy Kay who helped Tolkien’s son put this together. Stating:

“This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the outcome of long experimentation among alternative conceptions. In this work Guy Kay took a major part, and the chapter that I finally wrote owes much to my discussions with him. It is, and was, obvious that a step was being taken of a different order from any other ‘manipulation’ of my father’s own writing in the course of the book: even in the case of the story of The Fall of Gondolin, to which my father had never returned, something could be contrived without introducing radical changes in the narrative. It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function. ‘Apart from a few matters of detail in texts and notes that have not been published, all that my father ever wrote on the subject of the ruin of Doriath has now been set out (…) If these materials are compared with the story told in The Silmarillion it is seen at once that this latter is fundamentally changed, to a form for which in certain essential features there is no authority whatever in my father’s own writings.”

In the later books that I list above, Christopher would go back and introduced the details his Father planned on. There were a number of other issues that Christopher had, like the slaying of Thingol(High King of the Teleri). Again Christopher like to blame Guy Kay… At this point I’m growing tired of Christopher Tolkien. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the work he has done. But there comes a point where you need to stop riding your Father’s coattails and blaming other people. If there questions or something didn’t set right with the Silmarillion, why publish it? Why wait year down the road, let everyone think one thing about the Middle Earth history. It’s just not the books, it’s everything dealing with the Middle Earth universe. Sorry, after reading and writing about this for a couple of months now. I’m starting to see a patter with Christopher Tolkien and his selfish/possessive behavior or dare I say holier than thou? Yes, yes I do..

But at any rate, back to the slaying of Thingol.. Christopher had this to say:

“In the story that appears in The Silmarillion the outlaws who went with Hurin to Nargothrond were removed, as also was the curse of Mîm; and the only treasure that Húrin took from Nargothrond was the Nauglamîr – which was here supposed to have been made by Dwarves for Finrod Felagund, and to have been the most prized by him of all the hoard of Nargothrond. Húrin was represented as being at last freed from the delusions inspired by Morgoth in his encounter with Melian in Menegroth. The Dwarves who set the Silmaril in the Nauglamîr were already in Menegroth engaged on other works, and it was they who slew Thingol; at that time Melian’s power was with-drawn from Neldoreth and Region, and she vanished out of Middle-earth, leaving Doriath unprotected. The ambush and destruction of the Dwarves at Sarn Athrad was given again to Beren and the Green Elves [following my father’s letter of 1963 quoted on p. 353, where however he said that ‘Beren had no army’] and from the same source the Ents, ‘Shepherds of the Trees’, were introduced.”

The game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a story of a ranger leading a garrison on the Black Gate is killed along with his family, shortly after he is revived and a wraith Celebrimbor takes host in his once dead body. As told in the last section of The Silmarillion, Celebrimbor is killed after protecting his forged rings of power from Sauron. These two sharing a body both seek revenge and redemption.

This is a vary important novel to have with LOTR & the Hobbit. I would also pick up the other three novels I listed earlier. they stories are fantastic.

Middle Earth Challenge: Beren and Lúthien

Middle Earth Challenge

32708664._SY475_Restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Humans, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

by

Alan Lee (Illustrator)
If you have read the The Silmarillion or the Book of Lost Tales Vol 1 & 2, you would know this tale. I know in the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn had mention. Do to the parallels in theme with him and Arwen.
Now this is a tricky one to write about… Where I do like the book and think it does have a home in the Tolkien line up. It really isn’t a stand alone story like the The Children of Húrin. Beren and Lúthien novel is not set up in a stand alone format, in fact it’s reads more like a history/poem/how Tolkien worked book. There is about 40 or so pages of just intro/preface by Christopher Tolkien. Then the story of the Tale of Tinuviel (Beren and Lúthien). . So basically the first one hundred pages are worth the read. The part I had trouble getting through was the long poems afterwards. Hundred plus pages of this.. With notes from Christopher in between explain how his father wrote these stories and what the meaning behind a lot of it was.
When the story of Beren and Lúthien came about in the The Silmarillion and it was vary straight and to the point. Much like the recalling from Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings. it is said that Tolkien wanted these stories that were brought up in the The Silmarillion to have their own long narratives. The stories are Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin, and The Fall of Gondolin. It was within these stories that covered the events in the first age of Middle Earth.
While the novel of Beren and Lúthien is the beginning of the 3. It does not read like the other two. If you want more information about  Beren and Lúthien, I would recommend reading the The Silmarillion and Book of Lost Tales 1 & 2. I would also check out these website about  Beren and Lúthien:

 

Beren and Lúthien (LOTR Wiki)

Beren and Lúthien (Wiki)

It is here you can get a more full history and understanding of this love story and the rise of Morgoth. Now please keep in mind, I am not bashing this book. I just made the mistake of reading The Children of Húrin first. So I had a mind set of a stand alone story, only to find it was more of a history/poem novel. So that kinda lead to my… I don’t want to say my disappointment… But it left me with a “meh” feeling haha. I guess if you really want to look at it. It’s almost like The Fellowship of the Ring and how it reads. Except the Fellowship severed more as a stand alone novel kinda..

At any rate, I would say check it out if you have the time and are a big Tolkien fan.

Middle Earth Challenge: The Tale of Tinúviel

Middle Earth Challenge

…It is a long tale…” — Aragorn

This one is a little different. As the The Tale of Tinúviel is really the first chapter in the novel The book of Lost Tales Vol. 2. I kinda felt I should write about this before the I write about Beren and Lúthien. Now the Book of Lost Tales Vol. 1 & 2, cover of events that happen in the first age of Middle Earth. They also go with the The Silmarillion to add support to the events and stories within that novel as well.

In the story of The Tale of Tinúviel it is the earliest version of Lúthien(but in this story she is named Tinúviel) writen by Tolkien in 1917. It’s a complex tale of the love between her and Beren and the quest/adventure they have to get the Silmaril. **Spoilers** it also tells the stories of the deaths of Finrod Felagund, Draugluin, Carcharoth, Huan (Beren’s wolf-hound), and the tragic death of Beren.

d5sj3y4-5b5531c0-3672-4bf5-9e54-6df948c7be14
Art work by https://www.deviantart.com/steamey

The Silmarils is the jewels of the Fëanor. Made with the essence of the two trees of Valinor. Said to be the most prized wonders that would made by the Elves. It was this that started the War of the Jewels and ended the first age of Middle Earth. Now much this tale is told again in the novel The Silmarillion as the epic poem The Lay of Leithian and it does not differ much. In the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn told Frodo of the story Beren and Lúthien. Plus the fact the both Aragorn and Arwen were both descendants of Beren and Lúthien.

It is also said that the tale of Aragorn and Arwen were to act a follow up to the Beren and Lúthien love story. So the themes are similar to each other and Tolkien also mirrored his relationship with his wife within these stories. In 2017 Christopher Tolkien wrote and worked on a 3 part series of the first age of Middle Earth. Beren and Lúthien became the first, taking the tales from Vol 1 & 2 and the works from the Silmarillion. Plus with the note from his father Christopher was able to make a book out of their quest.

Fun History Facts:

  • Tinúviel is only known by that name, which in this version is her given name and not an epithet given by Beren; the name Lúthien never appears.

  • Tevildo, “Prince of Cats”, is the precursor to the later character of Sauron.

  • Tinwelint was the name of the King of Artanor, who later would be changed to Thingol, King of Doriath.

  • Gwendeling was the name of Tinwelint’s wife, who later would be changed to the Maia Melian, Queen of Doriath.

  • Umuiyan is a character who is Tevildo’s doorkeeper.

  • Karkaras is the name of the beast-villain who later would be the wolf Carcharoth.

  • When Beren cuts the Silmaril from Melkor’s crown, he uses a kitchen-knife of Tevildo’s in this tale. Later, Angrist is what he uses instead.

  • Glorund the dragon is mentioned, who later becomes Glaurung.

  • Two named giants are mentioned, Nan and Gilim. In a certain song that Tinúviel sings, they are noted for their length of sword and height of neck, respectively. (Nan’s sword is said to be named Glend).

Middle Earth Challenge: The Dark Powers of Tolkien

Middle Earth Challenge

The Dark Powers of TolkienJ.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are some of the greatest tales of good versus evil ever told. From the creation of Arda to the War of the Ring, Tolkien’s Middle-earth has seen war and rebellion, devastation and loss, in which the powers of darkness emerged.

Here in his latest book, best-selling author and Tolkien expert David Day explores Tolkien’s portrayal of evil, and the sources that inspired his work: from myth, literature and history.

 

I found this book at a local Costco for $10.00. I wasn’t expecting groundbreaking, but it did look cool and filled with useful information into the Middle Earth. Most the darker side of Middle Earth that is. This is Book 5 in a series, here are the other ones if you are interested.

  • The Heroes of Tolkien
  • An Atlas of Tolkien
  • The Battles of Tolkien
  • The Hobbits of Tolkien

First and foremost, the art work is amazing and the maps/timeline are well planned out. That’s where it kinda ends really.. Where it does history of the characters, it’s rather basic. It spends more time focusing on the parallels between Christian icons and Middle Earth icons. As well the Norse and Geek mythology themes/icons. Which is well and good, but it comes off as Sunday school lesson and I found myself loosing interest after awhile.

9781684127177_p2_v4_s600x595

I think it was my fault in the end really. I was hoping that there was more history and insight of Middle Earth and it’s people/monsters. But like I said before the art work is amazing and the timelines that are laid out are great. In the end I am happy I got it and it fits in with my collection of Tolkien books. I just had higher hopes for it.

Middle Earth Challenge: The Hobbit

Middle Earth Challenge

“Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless Dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo–alone and unaided–who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside.”

20200328_1216016288655749656073878.jpg“Where did you go to, if I may ask?’ said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along.
To look ahead,’ said he.
And what brought you back in the nick of time?’
Looking behind,’ said he.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

This is not the first time I’ve read the The Hobbit, nor will it be the last. I can’t tell you how many times I have read it over the years. Between Middle School, High School and even as a bedtime story for my kids. This goes for all the stories of the Middle Earth. Unlike my Star Trek Challenge, where they were completely new adventures to me. Where I have love for some and hatred for others haha. The Middle Earth as a whole has been a love of mine for sometime now. I’ve always wanted to do a reading train on the novels for awhile and now that I have free time on my hands. I think I will.

Now I will odiously be going over the books of Middle Earth in this challenge. But to add a twist at the end I wanted to compare them to the movies. I know there is a number of people who love the movies and others who hate them, there really is no middle ground with them. I for one love them, over all I’m just happy I get to live in a time where they were made and done well . Not slapped together like the D&D movie…….

Now the The Hobbit is a much lighter tale then the LOTR trilogy. A lot of I believe is do to how Hobbits live and their views on life. It’s funny because I’m having a hard time writing a review for the book and explain my joy in this adventure. At it’s core it is an adventure novel, dare I say one of the most charming adventure stories ever told? Oh sure there are a few parts where it gets long winded, but it’s not as bad as George R.R. Martin.

Nowadays People have the good fortune of seeing Peter Jackson’s films, but I and many folks of an earlier generation recall the 1977 animated film with voice talent from John Huston, Orson Bean and Richard Boone. This cartoon was my first introduction to Tolkien’s work and would later lead me to read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Thorin, the lead Dwarf and company leave from the Green Dragon, accompanied by the wizard Gandalf and employed Mr. Baggins as their lucky number 14 and as a burglar. And Bilbo’s unexpected adventure had begun.

Riddles in the Dark. After some fairly pedestrian undertakings Tolkien has Bilbo getting lost in a deep cave and introduces us to one of his strangely likeable villains, Gollum. Later readers would learn the deeper truths of his history, but Tolkien’s guests in this chapter see him as a eccentrically troubled scoundrel.

Songs. A reader in the twenty-first century, and especially one who has enjoyed the Jackson films, may discover that Tolkien’s original story was not as martial as the films. Jackson produced his Hobbit films to be less war-like than his LOTR films, but Tolkien’s prose contained a fair amount of poetry and song, casting his story. If you happen to find yourself a copy of this book, read it. It’s a charming novel that can stand by itself.

Now!! Lets get into the differences between the movies and the book:
i-feel-thinWow.. Okay after going over my notes I have realized this post will be come a small novel in itself. While there are a number of changes between the 1 book and the 3 movies hahaha. I feel that some had to be made.. A lot of people complained that there was to many changes or they just added random things in. When you read though the complains, they seem to be rather small. The Hobbit trilogy’s storyline draws on material from the appendices at the end of the Return of the King novel, especially Dwarven history and the White Council’s dealings with the Necromancer, who proves to be Sauron. As well as some elements of the The Silmarillion. While yes, there are a few parts in the movies where I found myself tilling my head going, “what?”. But I had a smile across my face and enjoyed the movies as a whole.

91VBFn334yL._RI_Now the 1977 animated production in most respects similar to the book. The criticism focused on adaptation issues, with unfamiliar style of artwork used by the Japanese-American co-production team. Tolkien fans questioned the appropriateness of repackaging the material as a family film for a very young audience. Douglas A. Anderson, a Tolkien scholar, called the adaptation “execrable” in his own introduction to the Annotated Hobbit, although he did not elaborate; and a few critics said it was confusing for those not already familiar with the plot. On the other hand, critics praised the adaptation as “excellent”, saying the work received “big points” for being “faithful to Tolkien’s story” and that the “vocal cast can’t be improved upon.” I myself loved this as a kid, the LOTR animated film left me going WTF? The Return of the King was good, from what I can remember.