Monday, September 27, 2010

Of Wargs, Shippey, and Middle Earth, the Land Worth Saving: Musings on The Fellowship of the Ring

Every time I read The Lord of the Rings, I find something new. This is a cliché. It is also the truth. In reading the warg attack on the Company, the line “These were no ordinary wolves” (FR, II, iii, 291) has always puzzled me – not because I don’t understand that wargs are unusual, but because Gandalf seems to think that they’re even worse than wargs. This time, however, I was abruptly reminded of Sauron’s role in The Silmarillion. He is the Lord of the Isle of the Werewolves, Tol-in-Gaurhoth. He takes on the shape of a wolf; he commands hordes of them, so of course he’d have extraordinary wolves in his service, even if this is several thousand years later. 

In this reading, I have also been struck by how much Middle Earth a vital part of The Lord of the Rings. I had not thought how much until it was mentioned in class, and since then it has been more and more clear to me that Middle Earth itself is not just a backdrop against which this journey takes place, but is a character and is as worth saving as any of the other peoples. It makes the characters the way they are, for as Sam later notes, “Whether they’ve made the land, or the land’s made them, it’s hard to say” (FR, II, vii, 351). He is speaking of Lothlorien and the elves, of course, but the same could be said for the Shire and the Hobbits. 

Some of the most stirring passages of The Fellowship of the Ring are about the land. Legolas’ speech about Eregion, “[T]he trees and the grass do not now remember them [the elves]. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone” directly follows Gimli’s about the mountains that “stand tall in our [the dwarves’] dreams: Baraz, Zirak, Shathur…. [U]nder them lies Khazad-dum, the Dwarrodelf. Tolkien takes these two descriptive sections and uses them to tell us an astonishing number of things. Firstly, there is the love and longing of the dwarves for Khazad-dum, and the fact that a land where elves have dwelt is a land forever changed by them. Secondly we learn that these places are a deep part of the cultural heritage of the dwellers on Middle Earth. Legolas is not of the elves who lived in Eregion, Gimli has only seen Caradhras from afar, but the former hears the lament of the very stones for the elves who used to dwell there, and the latter desires above all else, at this point, to see the dark waters and cold springs of the Dimrill Dale. 

The Shire as a land is the entire reason Frodo is willing to go on this perilous quest. He “should like to save the Shire” despite sometimes feeling that “an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good” for the inhabitance (FR, I, ii, 61). The elves made the three rings so that they might gain “understanding, making and healing, to preserve all things unstained” (FR, II, ii, 262) which both Elrond and Galadriel have done in Rivendell and Lorien. 

As discussed in class, the length of the book between the set out from Bag End to the arrival at Rivendell is partly due to the sheer amount of description of the landscape. But there is a reason for this. By the time we arrive at Rivendell and read “The Council of Elrond”, Middle Earth has become something worth saving for its own merits. Not only are the “kind, jolly, stupid Bolgers, Hornblowers, Boffins, Bracegirdles and the rest” worth saving, but the green Hill, and the calm Water and the homey Green Dragon of the Shire are as well. By the time the hobbits arrive at Bree, the elven glade in the Woody End, the sleepy fields of Bamforlong, and the magic valley of the Withywindle are as important as Gildor, Farmer Maggot, and Tom and Goldberry. The Ring has to be destroyed. Not just for the people of Middle Earth, but for Middle Earth itself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Celebrate Hobbit Day with The Lonely Mountain Band!

Tolkien inspired album from the Lonely Mountain Band
What better timing, on Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday, for the release of the debut album of The Lonely Mountain Band: Beyond the Western Seas
A musical project created by members of the Celtic rock group Fathom and fronted by Fathom lead singer John Di Bartolo. The album is inspired by the epic literary world of J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps best known for his The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The scope of Beyond the Western Seas covers the early days of Tolkien’s world, however, giving its intricately detailed history a unique musical life.

While Di Bartolo’s Celtic roots are clear throughout Beyond the Western Seas, The Lonely Mountain Band is a separate musical experience infused with fantasy. In addition to original lyrical content, The Lonely Mountain Band puts several of Tolkien’s poems into new settings for fans to enjoy as free downloads from the band’s website. Di Bartolo is joined by multiple guest performers, including Robert Muller (also of Fathom), Celtic fusion artist Danny McLauglin (Darkwood), and harpist Harperella. Fans of Tolkien’s work will find many details in the album to enjoy from the familiar poetry and names of heroes and battles right down to the cover art provided Ted Nasmith, an artist renowned for his interpretations of Tolkien’s work.

The catalyst for this new collection of songs was the recording of “Let Us Sing Together,” a re-worked cover of a song from the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings Online written by composer Chance Thomas.

Beyond the Western Seas features three bonus tracks dedicated to the game’s community, included free with the album or online as downloads at

Beyond the Western Seas is having its worldwide release NOW on September 22, 2010, with a virtual release party to be held within the world of The Lord of the Rings Online.

Digital Album

Includes digital liner notes and cover art in PDF format.

Immediate download of 12-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

Compact Disc (bonus digital tracks included!)

Buy the Physical CD now and get the 3 bonus free tracks plus two more songs only included on the physical CD (Misty Mountain Air & Lament of Khazad-dûm)

CD comes with a two page insert & picture disc, poly-wrapped.

When you buy the physical CD it ALSO includes an immediate download of the [12]-track digital album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

NOTE: Expect 2-4 week ship time on physical CD from 9/22 date of your ordering as we rush to fulfill all CD orders. The digital download is immediate. Feel free to contact with any questions.
Track Listing:
1. Vingilot 03:42

2. Swanships of Alqualondë 02:39
3. The Fall of Gil-galad (free) 03:19
4. Teleri 02:58
5. Ballad of Aiglos 04:34
6. Cuiviénen 03:27
7. Song of Durin's Awakening (free) 04:11
8. Let Us Sing Together 03:12
9. Lament of Eorl the Young (free) 02:40
10. Celduin 03:39
11. Swordsman of the Sky 04:03
12. Beyond the Western Seas 09:38

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Lord of The Rings" Fan Art Contest


The Lord of The Rings exists beyond the pages of the trilogy and apart from the celluloid of Peter Jackson's films. It is a saga that lives in the heart and minds of fans around the world, and while the language of the story may change throughout the globe, the iconography is universal.

To celebrate this, and in anticipation of the Radio City Music Hall presentation of The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, New York Comic Con and CAMI Music are asking fans of Lord of The Rings to put their affection down on paper in this global Fan Art contest.

With pen and paper, water color, oils, chalk, inks, or Photoshop, create a piece of art hearkening back to you favorite characters, locations, scenes, elements, or themes of the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

And, for young fans, we have a separate division for artists under the age of 18, so express yourself and encourage your children to, too!


Winners of The Legend Of Sigurd and Gudrun Book Giveaway

In the first week of September we announced a great opportunity for everyone to win a copy The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun that was released in trade paperback by Hougton Mifflin Harcourt on September 10th, 2010

We send word out via Facebook, Twitter and here on our website asking readers to tell us why they should be selected to win this book.

Here are the four winners, and congrats to them all!

Russell Lott:

Simplest answer: It's a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien. You know it'll be good.

Longer answer: I grew up in the 70s in the middle of nowhere. At sometime, I found The Hobbit is the town's tiny public library (now closed). From there it was the Trilogy, and the Silmarillion, and ... and we waited desparately for Christopher to put together some lost work of his father's. Leaf by Niggle was fantastic. ;-) Tolkien had a fantastic understanding of "legend". He could retell an existing legend, or he could weave his own. He was a master story-teller, and I'd like to read his take on the Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. 

Namiko Hitotsubashi:
We are studying Sigurd and Gudrun in my Tolkien class here at Wheaton, and while I already have a hard cover copy of said book, it's one of those things I'd rather not mark up with notes and underlines if I don't have to! Of course, I understand if I'm not chosen, as technically I already OWN it, but if I DO win, it will certainly be put to good use!

Michael Sean McGuiness:
Dear Northeast Tolkien Society-
I believe I should win a copy of Sigurd and Gudrun because I am a 100 years old and I love the history and the flora and fauna of the Northeast where I grew up and lived most of my life. In addition, some of my earliest reading joys were reading Bulfinch's Mythology, Padraic Colum's Nordic Gods and Heroes, as well as, of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien.

Neil O'Donnell:
From Editors: Neil entered via Twitter and was selected from those entries.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frank Giallombard -- Songs of Fantasy, Swords, & Sorcery.

Friday, September 24 · 7:00pm - 10:30pm
Comic Book Jones
2220 Forest Ave, Staten Island, NY
across from Lowes Home Center

A comic book store is fine environment to hear songs about fantasy, swords, kings, wizards, Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, medieval lands, and battles.                                                                 All songs performed on the 12-string Guitar by Frank Giallombard.                                       Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien set to Frank's original music.
Covers by Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep, Al Stewart, Rush, Rainbow, Blackmore's Night, Jethro Tull, Gryphon, and others.
There may also be some special guests.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at Radio City Music Hall


                           21st CENTURY  SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA              







There is only one Lord of the Rings. Come share in the power.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, will be presented live to film at Radio City Music Hall for two performances only, on Friday, October 8th and Saturday, October 9th, 2010 at 7:30PM. Following the success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring concert last October, the Academy Award®-nominated film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers gets the same treatment at the world-famous Radio City Music Hall. Beneath an immense 60-foot screen, Howard Shore’s Grammy®-winning complete original score will be performed live to Peter Jackson’s award-winning epic.

The music of Middle-earth will be brought to life by more than 300 musicians Switzerland’s 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, The Grammy Award ® - winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, The award-winning Dessoff Symphonic Choir and renowned soprano Kaitlyn Lusk, all under the direction of celebrated Maestro Ludwig Wicki.

Last fall, over 10,000 people filled Radio City for The Fellowship of the Ring shows. The New York Times said “the music of Middle-earth soared at Radio City Music Hall,” while Entertainment Weekly said “it was a terrific night at the theater…Too bad we’ve got to wait until Oct. 9, 2010 to see The Two Towers in the same fashion.”
“This new presentation of cinematic image and music came about as the process of releasing The Complete LOTR Recordings was coming to an end,” says Howard Shore. “After three years of working with all of the original recordings I had a real interest in hearing the complete score performed live. From the very first time I sat in the audience watching and listening, I felt that I was seeing the music with more clarity and hearing the image in an entirely new way. It became a completely new experience. Maestro Ludwig Wicki is the foremost conductor of this score-to-film concert. His precision, detail and supreme musicianship will be on display at Radio City. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Doug Adams, musicologist and author of book Music of The Lord of the Rings Films said, "Howard Shore's music for The Lord of the Rings stands proudly as one of the most intricate and moving efforts in the history of the medium. The score-to-film performances create a fully immersive experience - a night of dramatic theater, cinematic spectacle and symphonic grandeur that honor the incomparable imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. Radio City Music Hall, with its opulence and history, was the perfect venue for The Fellowship of the Ring and we are thrilled about The Two Towers. This will be a weekend like none other."

Carpentier and Alfred Music Publishing will release of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, a comprehensive account of Howard Shore’s score for the trilogy, on October 5th, which coincides with The Radio City event.. The culmination of almost a decade of writing and research, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films is an unprecedented look at Howard Shore’s Academy Award®-winning score, with extensive music examples, original manuscript scores, a rarities CD, and glimpses into the creative process from the composer, himself.

Released on December 18, 2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the second installment in Peter Jackson’s fantasy adventure film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of  the Rings. Set in Middle-earth, the story picks up with Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) trekking to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power while Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) search for the orc-captured Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd). All along, nefarious wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) awaits the Fellowship members at the Orthanc Tower in Isengard. Highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike, the film earned over $925 million worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing films of the year in the U.S. and worldwide. The film remains one of the top-10 highestgrossing worldwide films of all time. It won two Academy Awards®, a Grammy® Award and three
BAFTAs, and was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars®, Golden Globes®, and BAFTA Awards.


Howard Shore (Composer) is among today’s most respected, honored, and active composers and music conductors. His work with Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings trilogy stands as his most towering achievement to date, earning him three Academy Awards®. He has also been awarded four Grammys® and three Golden Globes. Shore was one of the original creators of Saturday Night Live where he served as the music director from 1975 to 1980.

At the same time, he began collaborating with David Cronenberg, and has scored 12 of the director’s films, including The Fly, Dead Ringers, Crash, Naked Lunch and Eastern Promises for which he was honored with a Genie Award. Shore continues to distinguish himself with a wide range of projects, from Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, The Aviator, and Gangs of New York, to Ed Wood, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Shore’s music has been performed in concerts throughout the world. In 2003, Shore conducted the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Wellington, New Zealand. Since then, the work has had over 140 performances by the world’s most prestigious orchestras. In 2008, Howard Shore’s opera of The Fly premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and at The Los Angeles Opera. Other recent works include Fanfare for the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia and a piano concerto in 2010 for Lang Lang. He is currently working on his second opera and looks forward to a return to Middle-earth with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Shore received the Career Achievement for Music Composition Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and New York Chapter's Recording Academy Honors, ASCAP’s Henry Mancini Award and the Frederick Loewe Award. He holds honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and York University and he is an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Ludwig Wicki (Conductor) began his career as a member of the Lucerne Symphony and Opera Orchestra and founder of the San Marco Brass and the

Philharmonic Brass Quintet. After studying choral conducting with the music director of the world-renowned Dresdner Kreuzchores in Germany, Wicki became a permanent member of the Schola Romanum Luzernsis under the

direction of Pater Roman Bannwart. Wicki then went on to become the music director at the Palace Chapel of Lucerne where he led the choir in Georgian chants and performances of Bach, Handel, Monteverdi and Palestrina, as well as the orchestra in works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and more. He inaugurated a Renaissance ensemble, Il Dolcimelo, and created the concert series Treffpunkt Haydn. In 1999, he founded the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, which has collaborated with internationally-renowned composers including Howard Shore, Randy Newman and Martin Böttcher. In 2007, the city of
Lucerne presented Maestro Wicki with a Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the city’s cultural life.

Film music is the credo and passion of the Lucerne-based 21st Century Symphony Orchestra,
led by Artistic Director Ludwig Wicki. The group has garnered wide acclaim for projects such as
James Bond in Concert, Italian Film Music: An Hommage to Ennio Morricone and Maurice Jarre
and An Evening with Randy Newman. In 2007, the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra entered into a partnership with Academy Award®-winner Howard Shore and has performed his complete score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King live to the epic motion picture. The complete trilogy will be performed next year at the KKL in Luzerne and in Munich.
The Dessoff Symphonic Choir, under the direction of Chris Shepard, traces its roots back to 1924. An award-winning independent chorus, Dessoff has established a reputation for pioneering performances of choral works from the Renaissance era through the 21st century. In addition to presenting its own concert series each season, the choir has performed in numerous New York, American and world premieres by composers such as Philip Glass, Tan Dun and Sir John Tavener and collaborated with major ensembles and orchestras. Appearances have also ranged from collaborations with the Kronos Quartet and Mark Morris Dance Group to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and The New York Philharmonic as well as Lorin Maazel's final performance with the Philharmonic. Dessoff's second CD "Glories on Glories" is also available for digital download from multiple online retailers.

The Grammy® Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus (BYC), now in its 19th season, is one of the country's leading children's choruses and is the ensemble of choice for internationally renowned orchestras and artists. Under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Dianne Berkun, BYC has an international reputation for programmatic and artistic excellence. The Chorus studies and performs a wide range of music-classical and non-classical-and has an active commissioning program to develop new works across a variety of genres. The Chorus has performed with renowned artists such as Elton John, Lou Reed and Alicia Keys, and has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Leon Botstein, and many others. In 2002, BYC debuted with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel in On the Transmigration of Souls, for which the Chorus won a Grammy ® Award. The Chorus receives its training from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA)--a performance-based vocal music education program serving over 300 students annually in six ensembles. The Chorus draws students from all over the city and reflects the broad diversity of the Metropolitan area.

The Chorus has performed with renowned artists such as Elton John, Lou Reed and Alicia Keys, and has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Leon Botstein, and many others. In 2002, BYC debuted with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel in On the Transmigration of Souls, for which the Chorus won a Grammy ® Award. The Chorus receives its training from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA)--a performance-based vocal music education program serving over 300 students
annually in six ensembles. The Chorus draws students from all over the city and reflects the broad diversity of the Metropolitan area.

Kaitlyn Lusk made her major orchestral singing debut with the Baltimore Symphony in 2003 at the age of 14 and has since been sought after for solo appearances with many of the nation’s leading orchestras. Since the fall of 2004, Kaitlyn has been the featured vocal soloist in Howard Shore’s The Lord of  the Rings Symphony. She has performed this role with over 25 orchestras in the United States and Canada from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the San Francisco Symphony, and from the Houston Symphony to the Minnesota Orchestra. She has performed with conductors including Keith Lockhart, Alexander Mickelthwate, Allaistar Willis, Stuart Malina, Nicolas Palmer, Markus Huber. In January 2007, Kaitlyn made her European debut with Maestro

John Mauceri and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. In the summer of 2007, as part of an encore performance of The Lord of the Rings Symphony with the Cleveland Orchestra, she once again performed with Howard Shore, who in 2005 invited Kaitlyn to perform the Academy Award®-winning song as part of the Grammy® Honors of Howard Shore in New York City. In addition to her live performances, Kaitlyn’s first studio album, No Looking Back, features some of the top musicians and songwriters in the industry today and was produced by the award-winning composer and arranger, Kim Scharnberg.

This event is presented by CAMI Music in partnership with New York Comic Con. Swiss International Air Lines is the official sponsor.

LISTINGS EDITORS: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers -Howard Shore’s Complete Score Live to Film plays at New York’s Radio City Music Hall (1260 Avenue of the Americas, at

50th Street) for two performances only, on Friday, October 8th and Saturday, October 9th at 7:30 p.m.
Via subway, take the 1/B/D/F/V trains to 47-50 Street-Rockefeller Center, the N/R trains to 49th Street or the 1 train to 50th Street. Tickets are $59-$150. For tickets, visit

or call Ticketmaster at (866) 858-0008.


Latest Newsletter September 15th 2010

Greetings Everyone,
We hope this finds you well. We have a number of things to announce to you all! 10th Anniversary News, Calendar, New Lonely Mountain Band album and more!

Remember you can sign up on our website to recieve articles as they are posted and stay up to date on all our news!

Speaking of articles, as many of you know we have had the honor of having as a longtime member Namiko Hitotsubashi, who was so inspired by the talk given by Professor Michael Drout at our 2005 Ringbearers Day event that she is now his student and assistant at Wheaton College. If you have received Tolkien Studies 7 she is also in the acknowledgements for her help on the volume.
In our forthcoming podcast we interview Namiko about her interests in and study of Tolkien and Anglo-Saxon, plus she has contributed her first article to our site.

Musings on Bilbo Baggins the Bourgeois Burglar and Gandalf the Mythic but Door Challenged Wizard

We wish Namiko all the best at Wheaton and stay tuned for more of her studies in Tolkien and Anglo Saxon on our site!

As you know we are rapidly approaching our 10th Anniversary event on:
Sunday, September 19th 2010
TIME: 5 pm--??
WHERE: Druids Bar & Restaurant
736 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10019-7006
(212) 307-6410

The reservation in in the name of Anthony Burdge, we will be in the back pation area.

This event will include the winners selected for our Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun giveaway. If you wish to be included in the drawing all you have to do for this is CLICK HERE TO EMAIL US, with your name, address, age and why you should win this book

At 630pm on Sunday, Society chairs Anthony and Jessica will lead a toast to you all, the community who has made this anniversary of The Northeast Tolkien Society possible. We shall also be honoring with a toast longtime member of the Mythopoeic Society, Tolkien Society UK, and Northeast Tolkien Society: Alexei Kondratiev. Many of you know Alexei passed away in May and was a very large contributor to many disciplines aside from Tolkien Studies. In due course you will hear more of what is being done to preserve Alexei's papers and publications, but what we can tell you is that an event is being planned surrounding Alexei's Tolkien contribution.

We will be announcing soon a show being edited and produced by Ken Gale (Alexei's friend of 30+years) that will include highlights from their 3.5 hours discussion about Tolkien and all things Mythopoeic.

If you knew Alexei and would like to take a moment to speak on his behalf, regardless of whether its concerning his Tolkien work or not, please reply to this email or call us directly if you have our phone number.

Click here to Read more of Alexei Kondratiev

Our 2011 Northeast Tolkien Society Calendar is available for Pre-Order!
We have made it very easy for you to place your order now on our new Online shop!
Jessie and I have created an online store where we are selling alot of sci-fi/fantasy collectibles, including some Lord of the Rings items.
Click here to Place your Calendar Pre-Order Now!

As you may know Lord of the Rings Online is free to play 

However, September 22, 2010 10:30pm EST - Virtual Album Release Party for "Beyond the Western Seas" : Bird & Baby on Landroval in LOTRO

Join Galenswerd and help me celebrate the release of the Lonely Mountain Band's first full length album!
What better date than Bilbo/Frodo's birthday?
What better place than the home of the Jack Lewisdown, Carlo Williams, Owen Farfield?

The party is open to all! Plenty of free Old Winyards & Old Toby for all!

"Beyond the Western Seas" will be available to order on CD from Sept 22, 2010 - and can be digitally downloaded on that date as well. Links will be available from band's website and facebook page.

Click here to listen to Song of Durin's Awakening, a free sample from the album, free for the Tolkien fan community.

15 tracks - an hour of Tolkien inspired instrumental music and lore related tales. The album's sound combines folk, new age and celtic played on Harp, acoustic guitar and other various instruments.

The Lonely Mountain Band is a musical project created by John DiBartolo and members of the Celtic Rock band "FATHOM".

The creative venture is inspired by a love for J.R.R. Tolkien's works. As an acoustic and independent body of work in tribute to Tolkien's lore began to grow in John's songbook, it was decided to consolidate these new songs into a new "sub-creative" entity.

Follow along on this minstrel's quest to tap into the mithril lined songs of lore. You can stay up to date on the progress of the project by registering on their facebook, myspace and Twitter.

Click here for their facebook page

The website - (full music site to be launched very soon - right now it is gaming group site)


On October 3rd Join us for our Pre-LOTR Concert The Two Towers Discussion

4:00pm - 8:00pm
Fiddlesticks Pub & Grill
56 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY

A short 5 days prior to the 2nd of the LOTR Concert Series, The Two Towers at Radio City

The Northeast Tolkien Society will be meeting in the back room area of Fiddlesticks Pub to discuss as a whole the events of The Two Towers Book and Film, plus everyone's plans for attending the LOTR Concert on October 8 & 9

Bring your copy of The Two Towers, be prepared to read and discuss your favorite moments from this chapter in Tolkiens epic!

Anthony and Jessica
Northeast Tolkien Society

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Musings on Bilbo Baggins the Bourgeois Burglar and Gandalf the Mythic but Door Challenged Wizard

It is interesting how one notices such different things when one has read a book more than once but less than half a dozen times, especially when the handful of readings spans the period of nearly ten years. In the case of The Hobbit, the last time I read it, I had not yet read Tom Shippey’s The Road to Middle Earth and so the concept of an every day figure walking the path of the epic was something that had spoken to me as an every day person, but which I had not been able to name or put my finger on. As discussed in my Tolkien class , the journey of Bilbo the hobbit from the mundane world to the mythic is one of the key elements that allow the reader to slip into the world of Middle Earth and not really notice until they’ve already been carried away. For as Bilbo himself would later say, “if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”[1]

Bilbo at first is extremely conscious of the fact that he is not quite on the same level as the Dwarves, he knows he is not fierce, but “would go without bead and breakfast”[2] to be thought so. He gives his boast, Beowulf style to the Dwarves saying what he will dare and that it is in his lineage, which links him, if tenuously to the world in which the Dwarves belong. That is the mythic world. Similarly, when he encounters the trolls, he draws on what he has read of the mythic world and tries to apply it to the current situation with questionable effect. He has spent too long thinking of what a “really first-class and legendary burglar” would do.[3] In the tunnels of the goblins, Bilbo doesn’t have much time to think of what his heroic counterparts might do as he gets carried about by the goblins and Dwarves and then stumbles into Gollum’s cave. I would argue that this is truly where Bilbo begins coming into his own. He must rely solely upon his own wits, cunning and skill to save him and doesn’t have time to ponder what a heroic burglar would do in his situation, freeing himself to demonstrate these very traits on his own. By the time he arrives in the domain of the spiders, he is capable of coming up with fantastically audacious plans tailor made for his situation, without reference to past heroes, and not only of coming up with them, but carrying them out, proving that Gandalf is right. Bilbo does possess the necessary skills to take his place as a burglar and even a hero in the mythic world.

Speaking of Gandalf, there is no doubting that he is a great wizard. He is a learned lore master, is not above speaking to the “lesser” folk, and has the ability to make discussions that affect all of Middle Earth and change it for the better. But is it not odd that our dear and learned lore master either does not see the runes on Glamdring and Orcrist or cannot read them, and is unable to open a door (in this case the door to the troll’s lair) without the help of a hobbit?[4] Of course, one could argue that to the latter, there is the problem of a key, but given Gandalf’s use of magic in The Lord of the Rings one could imagine that if he could use magic to hold a door shut, he could perhaps use magic to open a door without it’s key. Yes, magic often has complex rules, so perhaps there are ways in which this would not be possible. In the door incidents, there is a good deal of comic relief as the wise wizard mutters furiously and attempts multiple complex incantations, only to be halted by the simplicity of a key or the elvish word for friend. Almost a reversal, if you will, of the Bilbo journey. Gandalf is firmly in the epic world, except when he has a “senior moment” and can’t recall the precise word for something. In fact, I would argue that Gandalf is the reverse of Bilbo. He is firmly placed in the epic world. He’s a wizard! What is more epic than that!? However, he makes mistakes. He is an old man, with some of an old man’s limitations. He is the ambassador of the epic and mythic to the bourgeois and mundane, just as Bilbo is the representative of the mundane and bourgeois to the epic and mythic. So these lapses of memory or inability to see things or read things bring the epic down to us, even as Bilbo’s deeds lift us closer to the epic.

[1] J.R.R. Tolkien, FOTR, p. 72, Houghton Mifflin paperback.

[2] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, p 18, Houghton Mifflin paperback.

[3] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, p. 33, Houghton Mifflin paperback

[4] This incident is very similarly mirrored in FOTR when Merry’s phrasing suggests the opening words of the Moria gate.

Win a Copy of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun Trade Paperback

In honor of the release of the trade paperback version of
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún tomorrow September 10th 2010, our friends at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have been kind enough send us a few to give away to everyone!
If you wish to be placed in a drawing for a copy, all you have to do is simply send an email to:

HerenIstarionnets AT gmail DOT com

with your NAME, ADDRESS (USED FOR SHIPPING IF YOU WIN), AGE, and a brief sentence as to why you want to win this book

We have several to give away the first two winners will be announced at our 10th Anniversary Dinner September 19th 2010.

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READ MORE ON The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún

Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version of the great legend of Northern antiquity, recounted here in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún

In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir, most celebrated of dragons; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild, who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood.

In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy, and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrún his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrún.

The Lay of Gudrún recounts her fate after the death of Sigurd, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers, and her hideous revenge.