Today in Middle Earth

Tolkien alligned the events in Lord of the Rings with a calendar similar to the one we use today. This site tells you exactly what was happening in Middle Earth on any given day of the year.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

TIME February 29th


February 29, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
(from the appendices)

1. Meriadoc and Pippin escape and meet Treebeard.

......"'We have watched too long,' said Merry. 'There's Uglúk! I don't want to meet him again.' The hobbits turned and fled deep into the shadows of the wood..."
......'Almost felt you liked the Forest! That's good! That's uncommonly kind of you,' said a strange voice. 'Turn round and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty. Turn round!' A large knob-knuckled hand was laid on each of their shoulders, and they were twisted round, gently but irresistibly; then two great arms lifted them up...
......'Hrum, Hoom,' murmured the voice, a deep voice like a very deep woodwind instrument. 'Very odd indeed! Do not be hasty, that is my motto. But if I had seen you, before I heard your voices - I liked them: nice little voices; they reminded me of something I cannot remember - if I had seen you before I heard you, I should have just trodden on you, taking you for little Orcs, and found out my mistake afterwards. Very odd you are, indeed. Root and twig, very odd!'"

2. The Rohirrim attack at sunrise and destroy the orcs.
(from the appendices)

......"...Uglúk was overtaken and brought to bay at the very edge of Fangorn. There he was slain at last by Éomer, the Third Marshal of Rohan, who dismounted and fought him sword to sword. And over the wide fields the keen-eyed Riders hunted down the few Orcs that had escaped and still had strength to fly."

3. The Hunters continue their pursuit.
(not from the appendices)
......"As before Legolas was first afoot, if indeed he had ever slept. 'Awake! Awake!' he cried. 'It is a red dawn. Strange things await us by the eaves of the forest. Good or evil, I do not know; but we are called. Awake!'"

4. Frodo descends from the Emyn Muil and meets Gollum.
(from the appendices)
......"Sam stared at his master, who seemed to be speaking to some one who was not there. Gollum lifted his head.
......'Yess, wretched we are, precious,' he whined. 'Misery misery! Hobbits won't kill us, nice hobbits.'
......'No, we won't,' said Frodo. 'But we won't let you go, either. You're full of wickedness and mischief, Gollum. You will have to come with us, that's all, while we keep an eye on you. But you must help us, if you can. One good turn deserves another.'
......'Yess, yes indeed,' said Gollum sitting up. 'Nice hobbits! We will come with them. Find them safe paths in the dark, yes we will. And where are they going in these cold hard lands, we wonders, yes we wonders?' He looked up at them, and a faint light of cunning and eagerness flickered for a second in his pale blinking eyes.
......Sam scowled at him, and sucked his teeth; but he seemed to sense that there was something odd about his master's mood and that the matter was beyond argument. All the same he was amazed at Frodo's reply.
......Frodo looked straight into Gollum's eyes which flinched and twisted away. 'You know that, or you guess well enough, Sméagol,' he said, quietly and sternly. 'We are going to Mordor, of course. And you know the way there, I believe.'
......'Ach! sss!' said Gollum, covering his ears with his hands, as if such frankness, and the open speaking of the names, hurt him."

5. Faramir sees the funeral boat of Boromir.
(from the appendices)
......"'... I saw, glimmering grey, a small boat of a strange fashion with a high prow, and there was none to row or steer it.
......'An awe fell on me, for a pale light was round it. But I rose and went to the bank, and began to walk out into the stream, for I was drawn towards it. Then the boat turned towards me, and stayed its pace, and floated slowly by within my hand's reach, yet I durst not handle it. It waded deep, as if it were heavily burdened, and it seemed to me as it passed under my gaze that it was almost filled with clear water, from which came the light; and lapped in the water a warrior lay asleep.
......'A broken sword was on his knee. I saw many wounds on him. It was Boromir, my brother, dead. I knew his gear, his sword, his beloved face.'"

Saturday, February 28, 2004

TIME February 28th

February 28, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
(from the appendices)

1. Éomer overtakes the Orcs just outside Fangorn Forest.
......"'...we overtook the Orcs at nightfall two days ago [first battle of Isen?], near to the borders of the Entwood. There we surrounded them, and gave battle yesterday at dawn. Fifteen of my men I lost, and twelve horses alas! For the orcs were greater in number than we counted on. Others joined them, coming out of the East across the Great River: their trail is plain to see a little north of this spot. And others, too, came out of the forest. Great Orcs, who also bore the White Hand of Isengard: that kind is stronger and more fell and all others.'"

2. The Hunters on the trail
(not from the appendices)
......"Stooping Aragorn roused the Dwarf. 'Come! We must go,' he said. 'The scent is growing cold.'
......'But it is still dark,' said Gimli. 'Even Legolas on a hilltop could not see them till the Sun is up.'
......'I fear they have passed beyond my sight from hill or plain, under moon or sun,' said Legolas.
......'Where sight fails the earth may bring us rumours,' said Aragorn. 'The land must groan under their hated feet.'
......He stretched himself upon the ground with his ear pressed against the turf. He lay there motionless, for so long a time that Gimli wondered if he had swooned or fallen asleep again. Dawn came glimmering, and
slowly a grey light grew about them. At last he rose, and now his friends could see his face: it was pale and dawn, and his look was troubled.
......'The rumours of the earth is dim and confused,' he said. 'Nothing walks upon it for many miles about us. Faint and far are the feet of our enemies.
......'But loud are the hoofs of the horses. It comes to my mind that I heard them, even as I lay on the ground in sleep, and they troubled my dreams: galloping, passing in the West. But now they are drawing ever further from us riding northward. I wonder what is happening in this land!'"

3. Merry, Pippin and Orcs.
(not from the appendices)
......"Evil dreams and evil waking were blended into a long tunnel of misery, with hope growing ever fainter behind. They ran, and they ran, striving to keep up the pace set by the Orcs, licked every now and again with a cruel thong cunningly handled. If they halted or stumbled, they were seized and dragged for some distance. The warmth of the orc-draught had gone. Pippin felt cold and sick again..."


......"...'I don't think you will find it that way,' he whispered. 'It isn't easy to find.'
......'Find it?' said Grishnákh: his fingers stopped crawling and gripped Pippin's shoulder. 'Find what? What are you talking about, little one?'
......For a moment Pippin was silent. Then suddenly in the darkness he made a noise in his throat: gollum, gollum. 'Nothing, my precious,' he added.
......The hobbits felt Grishnákh's fingers twitch. 'O ho!' hissed the goblin softly. 'That's what he means, is it? O ho! Very ve-ry dangerous, my little ones.'
......'Perhaps,' said Merry, now alert and aware of Pippin's guess. 'Perhaps; and not only for us. Still you know your own business best. Do you want it or not?'"

4. Frodo and Sam make their way into Emyn Muil.
(not from the appendices)
......"...they had almost lost count of the hours during which they had climbed and laboured among the barren slopes and stones of the Emyn Muil, sometimes retracing their steps because they could find no way forward, sometimes discovering that they had wandered in a circle back to where they had been hours before."

Friday, February 27, 2004

TIME February 27th

Today in Middle-earth.

February 27, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. Aragorn reaches the west-cliff at sunrise.

......"’Gondor! Gondor!’ cried Aragorn. ‘Would that I looked on you again in happier hour! Not yet does my road lie southward to your bright stream.

Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree
Fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old.
O proud walls! White towers! O winged crown and throne of gold!
O Gondor, Gondor! Shall Men behold the Silver Tree,
Or West Wind blow again between the Mountains and the Sea?


......'Now let us go!' he said, drawing his eyes away from the South, and looking out west and north to the way that he must tread.
...... The ridge upon which the companions stood went down steeply before their feet. Below it twenty fathoms or more, there was a wide and rugged shelf which ended suddenly in the brink of a sheer cliff: the East Wall of Rohan. So ended the Emyn Muil, and the green plains of the Rohirrim stretched away before them to the edge of sight.
......‘Look!’ cried Legolas, pointing up into the pale sky above them. ‘There is the eagle again! He is very high. He seems to be flying now away, from this land back to the North. He is going with great speed. Look!’
......‘No, not even my eyes can see him, my good Legolas,’ said Aragorn. ‘He must be far aloft indeed. I wonder what is his errand, if he is the same bird that I have seen before. But look! I can see something nearer at hand and more urgent; there is something moving over the plain!’
......‘Many things,’ said Legolas. ‘It is a great company on foot; but I cannot say more, nor see what kind of folk they may be. They are many leagues away: twelve, I guess; but the flatness of the plain is hard to measure.’
......‘I think, nonetheless, that we no longer need any trail to tell us which way to go,’ said Gimli. ‘Let us find a path down to the fields as quick as may be.’
......‘I doubt if you will find a path quicker than the one that the Orcs chose,’ said Aragorn.”

2. Éomer against Théoden's orders sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the Orcs.
(from the appendices)

......"'...So suspecting what I most feared, a league between Orthanc and the Dark Tower, I led forth my eored, men of my own household'"

3. Merry and Pippin endure their captivity.
(from the appendices)
......“Then the whole company began to run with the long loping strides of Orcs. They kept no order, thrusting, jostling, and cursing; yet their speed was very great. Each hobbit had a guard of three. Pippin was far back in the line. He wondered how long he would be able to go on at this pace…
......Every now and again there came into his mind unbidden a vision of the keen face of Strider bending over a dark trail, and running, running behind. But what could even a Ranger see except a confused trail of orc-feet? His own little prints and Merry’s were overwhelmed by the trampling of the iron-sod shoes before them and behind them and about them.
......They had gone only a mile or so from the cliff when the land sloped down into a wide shallow depression, where the ground was soft and wet. Mist lay there, pale-glimmering in the last rays of the sickle moon. The dark shapes of the Orcs in front grew dim, and then were swallowed up.
......‘Ai! Steady now!’ shouted Uglúk from the rear.
......A sudden thought leaped into Pippin’s mind, and he acted on it at once. He swerved aside to the right, and dived out of the reach of his clutching guard, headfirst into the mist; he landed sprawling on the grass.
......‘Halt!’ yelled Uglúk.
......There was for a moment turmoil and confusion. Pippin sprang up and ran. But the Orcs were after him. Some suddenly loomed up right in front of him.
......‘No hope of escape!’ thought Pippin. ‘But there is a hope that I have left some of my own marks unspoilt on the wet ground.’ He groped with his two tied hands at his throat, and unclasped the brooch of his cloak. Just as long arms and hard claws seized him, he let it fall. ‘There I suppose it will lie until the end of time,’ he thought. ‘I don’t know why I did it. If the others have escaped, they’ve probably all gone with Frodo.’”

Thursday, February 26, 2004

TIME February 26th Fellowship Breaks

Today in Middle-earth.

February 26, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

The Breaking of the Fellowship.

1. Death of Boromir; his horn is heard in Minas Tirith.
(from the appendices)

......"'I read the signs aright,' he said to himself. 'Frodo ran to the hill-top. I wonder what he saw there? But he returned by the same way, and went down the hill again.'
......Aragorn hesitated. He desired to go to the high seat himself, hoping to see there something that would guide him in his perplexities; but time was pressing. Suddenly he leaped forward, and ran to the summit, across the great flag-stones, and up the steps. Then sitting in the high seat he looked out....
.........Even as he gazed his quick ears caught sounds in the woodlands below, on the west side of the River. He stiffened. There were cries, and among them, to his horror, he could distinguish the harsh voices of Orcs. Then suddenly with a deep-throated call a great horn blew, and the blasts of it smote the hills and echoed in the hollows, rising in a mighty shout above the roaring of the falls.
......'The horn of Boromir!' he cried. 'He is in need!' He sprang down the steps and away, leaping down the path. 'Alas! An ill fate is on me this day, and all that I do goes amiss. Where is Sam?'

2. Meriadoc and Peregrin captured.
(from the appendices)

......"A mile, maybe, from Parth Galen in a little glade not far from the lake he found Boromir. He was sitting with his back to a great tree, as if he was resting. But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilts; this horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.
......Aragorn knelt beside him. Boromir opened his eyes and strove to speak. At last slow words came. 'I tried to take the Ring from Frodo,' he said. 'I am sorry. I have paid.' His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. 'They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.' He paused and his eyes closed wearily.

......"...he and Merry had run off into the woods. What had come over them? Why had they dashed off like that, taking no notice of old Strider? ...suddenly they had crashed right into a group of Orcs: they were standing listening, and they did not appear to see Merry and Pippin until they were almost in their arms. Then they yelled and dozens of other goblins had sprung out of the trees. Merry and he had drawn their swords, but the Orcs did not wish to fight, and had tried only to lay hold of them, even when Merry had cut off several of their arms and hands. Good old Merry!
......Then Boromir had come leaping through the trees. He had made them fight. He slew many of them and the rest fled. But they had not gone far on the way back when they were attacked again, by a hundred Orcs at least, some of them very large, and they shot a rain of arrows: always at Boromir. Boromir had blown his great horn till the woods rang, and at first the orcs had been dismayed and had drawn back; but when no answer but the echoes came, they had attacked more fiercely than ever. Pippin did not remember much more. His last memory was of Boromir leaning against a tree, plucking out an arrow; then darkness fell suddenly."

3. Frodo and Samwise enter the eastern Emyn Muil.
(from the appendices)

......"So Frodo and Sam set off on the last stage of the Quest together. Frodo paddled away from the shore, and the River bore them swiftly away, down the western arm, and past the frowning cliffs of Tol Brandir. The roar of the great falls drew nearer. Even with such help as Sam could give, it was hard work to pass across the current at the southward end of the island and drive the boat eastward towards the far shore.
......At length they came to land again upon the southern slopes of Amon Lhaw. There they found a shelving shore, and they drew the boat out, high above the water, and hid it as well as they could behind a great boulder. Then shouldering their burdens, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the grey hills of the Emyn Muil, and down into the Land of Shadow."

4. Aragorn sets out in pursuit of the Orcs at evening.
(from the appendices)

......"'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'
......'But they go with a great speed for all that,' said Aragorn, 'and they do not tire. And later we may have to search for our path in hard bare lands.'
......'Well, after them!' said Gimli. 'Dwarves too can go swiftly, and they do not tire sooner than Orcs. But it will be a long chase: they have a long start.'
......'Yes,' said Aragorn, 'we shall all need the endurance of Dwarves. But come! With hope or without hope we will follow the trail of our enemies. And woe to them, if we prove the swifter! We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!'
......Like a deer he sprang away. Through the trees he sped. On and on he led them, tireless and swift, now that his mind was at last made up. The woods about the lake they left behind. Long slopes they climbed, dark, hard-edged against the sky already red with sunset. Dusk came. They passed away, grey shadows in a stony land."

5. Éomer hears of the descent of the Orc-band from the Emyn Muil.
(from the appendices)

......"'Indeed in this riding north I went without the king's leave, for in my absence his house is left with little guard. But scouts warned me of the orc-host coming down out of the East Wall... and among them they reported that some bore the white badges of Saruman."

6. Gandalf diverts the Eye from Amon Hen.
(not from the appendices)

......“And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep. He knew that it had become aware of his gaze. A fierce eager will was there. It leaped towards him; almost like a finger he felt it, searching for him. Very soon it would nail him down, know just exactly where he was, Amon Lhaw it touched. It glanced upon Tol Brandir—he threw himself from the seat, crouching, covering his head with his grey hood.
......He heard himself crying out: Never, never! Or was it: Verily I come, I come to you? He could not tell. Then as a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!'
......The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so. He took the Ring off his finger. He was kneeling in clear sunlight before the high seat. A black shadow seemed to pass like an arm above him; it missed Amon Hen and groped out west, and faded. Then all the sky was clean and blue and birds sang in every tree.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The faces of Samwise Gamgee

Happy birthday Sean Astin

This one's for Sam... the torch bearer of hope, faith and generosity... portrayed by a man of equal quality.

I can't think of anyone else in the world more perfectly fit to bring Sam to life than Sean. A man of integrity, warmth, great humor, passion, loyalty, and someone who understands the value and joy of family and friends. We're so lucky for him to have found his way to these films and to "be" Sam. NAR (no acting required) Thanks, Sean... for giving us Sam. Happy Birthday :)

In celebration of Sean's Birthday, I've collected some "Sam" moments. Okay... LOTS of "Sam" moments. Just pick out what you like and have a read :)

......"'But if you want to be introduced to our chief investigator, I can produce him.'
......'Where is he?' said Frodo, looking round, as if he expected a masked and sinister figure to come out of a cupboard.
......'Step forward, Sam!' said Merry; and Sam stood up with a face scarlet up to the ears. 'Here's our collector of information! And he collected a lot, I can tell you, before he was finally caught. After which, I may say, he seemed to regard himself as on parole, and dried up.'
......'Sam!' cried Frodo, feeling that amazement could go no further, and quite unable to decided whether he felt angry, amused, relieved, or merely foolish.
......'Yes, sir!' said Sam. 'Begging your pardon, sir! But I meant no wrong to you, Mr. Frodo, nor to Mr. Gandalf for that matter. He has some sense, mind you; and when you said go alone, he said no! take someone as you can trust.'
......'But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,' said Frodo.
......Sam looked at him unhappily."

......"'All right!' said Pippin. 'I will follow you into every bog and ditch. But it is hard! I had counted on passing the Golden Perch at Stock before sundown. The best beer in the Eastfarthing, or used to be: it is a long time since I tasted it.'
......'That settle it!' said Frodo. 'Short cuts may make delays, but inns make longer ones. At all cost we much keep you away from the Golden Perch. We want to get to Bucklebury before dark. What do you say, Sam?'
......'I will go along with you, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam (in spite of private misgiving and a deep regret for the best beer in the Eastfarthing)."

......"Won't somebody give us a song, while the sun is high?' said Merry, when they had finished. "We haven't had a song or a tale for days.'
......'Not since Weathertop,' said Frodo. The others looked at him. 'Don't worry about me!' he added. 'I feel much better, but I don't think I could sing. Perhaps Sam could dig something out of his memory.'
......'Come on, Sam!' said Merry. 'There's more stored in your head than you let on about.'
......'I don't know about that,' said Sam, 'But how would this suit? It ain't what I call proper poetry, if you understand me: just a bit of nonsense. But these old images here brought it to my mind.' Standing up, with his hands behind his back, as if he was a school, he began to sing to an old tune.

Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by...


......'Well, that's a warning to us all!' laughed Merry. 'It is as well you used a stick, and not your hand, Strider!'
......'Where did you come by that, Sam!' asked Pippin. 'I've never heard those words before.'
......Sam muttered something inaudible. 'It's out of his own head, of course,' said Frodo. 'I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on his journey. First he was a conspirator, now he's a jester. He'll end up by become a wizard--or a warrior!'
......'I hope not,' said Sam. 'I don't want to be neither!'

......"'But you can't leave poor old Bill behind in this forsaken place, Mr. Gandalf!' cried Sam, angry and distressed. 'I won't have it, and that's flat. After he has come so far and all!'
......'I am sorry, Sam,' said the wizard. 'But when the Door opens I do not think you will be able to drag your Bill inside, into the long dark of Moria. You will have to choose between Bill and your master.'
......'He'd follow Mr. Frodo into a dragon's den, if I led him,' protested Sam. 'It'd be nothing short of murder to turn him loose with all these wolves about.'
......'It will be short of murder, I hope,' said Gandalf. He laid his hand on the pony's head, and spoke in a low voice. 'Go with words of guard and guiding on you,' he said. 'You are a wise beast, and have learned much in Rivendell. Make your way to places where you can find grass, and so come in time to Elrond's house, or wherever you wish to go.
......'There Sam! He will have quite as much chance of escaping wolves and getting home as we have.'
......Sam stood sullenly by the pony and returned no answer. Bill, seeming to understand well what was going on, nuzzled up to him, putting his nose to Sam's ear. Sam burst into tears, and fumbled with the straps, unlading all the pony's packs and throwing them on the ground...."

......"Frodo felt something seize him by the ankle, and he fell with a cry. Bill the pony gave a wild neigh of fear, and turned tail and dashed away along the lakeside into the darkness. Sam leaped after him, and then hearing Frodo's cry he ran back again, weeping and cursing. The others swung round and saw the waters of the lake seething, as if a host of snakes were swimming up from the southern end.
......Out from the water a long sinuous tentacle had crawled; it was pale-green and luminous and wet. Its fingered end had hold of Frodo's foot, and was dragging him into the water. Sam on his knees was now slashing at it with a knife.
......The arm let go of Frodo, and Sam pulled him away, crying out for help. Twenty other arms came rippling out. The dark water boiled, and there was a hideous stench."

......"'What food have we got left?'
......'Only those, what d'you call 'em, lembas, Mr. Frodo. A fair supply. But they are better than naught, by a long bite. I never thought, though, when I first set tooth in them, that I should ever come to wish for a change. But I do now: a bit of plain bread, and a mug--aye, half a mug--of beer would go down proper. I've lugged my cooking-gear all the way from the last camp, and what use has it been? Naught to make a fire with, for a start; and naught to cook not even grass!'"

......"Even as Sam himself crouched, looking at her, seeing his death in her eyes, a thought came to him, as if some remote voice had spoken, and he fumbled in his breast with his left hand, and found what he sought: cold and hard and solid it seemed to his touch in a phantom world of horror, the Phial of Galadriel.
......'Galadriel!' he said faintly, and then he heard voices far off but clear: the crying of the Elves as they walked under the stars in the beloved shadows of the Shire, and the music of the Elves as it came through his sleep in the hall of Fire in the house of Elrond.
......Gilthoniel A Elbereth!
...... And then his tongue was loosed and his voice cried in a language which he did not know:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-diriel,
le nallan si di'nguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!

......And with that he staggered to his feet and was Samwise the hobbit, Hamfast's son, again.
......'Now come, you filth!' he cried. 'You've hurt my master, you brute, and you'll pay for it. We're going on; but we'll settle with you first. Come on, and taste it again!'"

......"At that moment there was a knock on the door, and Sam came in. He ran to Frodo and took the left hand, awkwardly and shyly. He stroked it gently and then he blushed and turned hastily away.
......'Hullo, Sam!' said Frodo.
......'It's warm!' said Sam. 'Meaning your hand, Mr. Frodo. It has felt so cold through the long nights. But glory and trumpets!' he cried, turning round again with shining eyes and dancing on the floor. 'It's fine to see you up and yourself again, sir! Gandalf asked me to come and see if you were ready to come down, and I thought he was joking.'"

......"Of all the confounded nuisances you are the worst, Sam!' he said.
......'Oh, Mr. Frodo, that's hard!' said Sam shivering. 'That's hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn't a guessed right, where would you be now?'
......'Safely on my way.'
......'Safely!' said Sam. 'All alone and without me to help you? I couldn't have a borne it, it'd have been the death of me.'
......'It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,' said Frodo, 'and I could not have borne that.'
......'Not as certain as being left behind,' said Sam.
......'But I am going to Mordor.'
......'I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.'"

......"Another bed was set beside him for his servant. Sam hesitated for a moment, then bowing very low: 'Good night, Captain, my lord,' he said. 'You took the chance, sir.'
......'Did I so?' said Faramir.
......'Yes sir, and showed your quality: the very highest.'
......Faramir smiled. 'A pert servant, master Samwise. But nay: the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was naught in this to praise. I had no lure or desire to do other than I have done.'
......'Ah well, sir,' said Sam, 'you said my master had an elvish air; and that was good and true. But I can say this: you have an air too, sir, that reminds me of, of--well, Gandalf, of wizards.'"

......"'Master, dear master!' said Sam, and through a long silence waited, listening in vain.
......Then as quickly as he could he cut away the binding cords and laid is head upon Frodo's breast, and to his mouth, but no stir of life could he find, nor feel the faintest flutter of the heart. Often he chafed his master's hands and feet, and touched his brow, but all were cold.
......'Frodo, Mr. Frodo!' he called. 'Don't leave me here alone! It's your Sam calling. Don't go where I can't follow! Wake up, Mr. Frodo! O wake up, Frodo, me dear, me dear. Wake up!'
......Then anger surged over him, and he ran about his master's body in a rage, stabbing the air, and smiting the stones, and shouting challenges. Presently he came back, and bending looked at Frodo's face, pale beneath him in the dusk. And suddenly he saw that what was in the picture that was revealed to him in the mirror of Galadriel in Lorien: Frodo with a pale face lying fast asleep under a great dark cliff... ...And then black despair came down on him, and Sam bowed to the ground, and drew his grey hood over his head, and night came into his heart, and he knew no more."

......"'What did you blush for, Sam?' said Pippin. 'You soon broke down. Anyone would have thought you had a guilty conscience. I hope it was nothing worse than a wicked plot to steal one of my blankets.'
......'I never thought no such thing,' answered Sam, in no mood for jest. 'If you want to know, I felt as if I hadn't got nothing on, and I didn't like it. She seemed to be looking inside me and asking me what I would do if she gave me the chance of flying back home to the Shire to a nice little hole with--with a bit of garden of my own.'"


......"'What do you think of Elves now, Sam?' he said. 'I asked you the same question once before--it seems a very long while ago; but you have seen more of them since then.'
......'I have indeed!' said Sam. 'And I reckon there's Elves and Elves. They're all elvish enough, but they're not all the same. Now these folk aren't wanders or homeless, and seem a bit nearer to the likes of us: they seem to belong here, more even than Hobbits do in the Shire. Whether they've made the land, or the land's made them, it's hard to say, if you take my meaning. It's wonderfully quiet here. Nothing seems to be going on, and nobody seems to want it to. If there's any magic about, it's right down deep, where I can't lay my hands on it, in a manner of speaking.'
......'You can see and feel it everywhere,' said Frodo.
......'Well,' said Sam, 'you can't see nobody working it. No fireworks like poor old Gandalf used to show. I wonder we don't see nothing of the Lord and Lady in all these days. I fancy now that she could do some wonderful things, if she had a mind. I'd dearly love to see some Elf-magic, Mr. Frodo!'"

......"Sam sat on the ground and put his head in his hands. 'I wish I had never come here, and I don't want to see no more magic,' he said and fell silent. After a moment he spoke again thickly, as if struggling with tears. 'No, I'll go home by the long road with Mr. Frodo, or not at all,' he said. 'But I hope I do get back some day. If what I've seen turns out true, somebody's going to catch it hot!'"

......"Sam sat propped against the stone, his head dropping sideways and his breathing heavy. In his lap lay Frodo's head, drowned deep in sleep; upon his white forehead lay one of Sam's brown hands, and the other lay softly upon his mater's breast. Peace was in both their faces."

......"'Well, I call that neat as neat,' said Sam. 'If this nice friendliness would spread about in Mordor, half our trouble would be over...'"

......"His voice sounded thin and quavering in the cold dark tower: the voice of a forlorn and weary hobbit that no listening orc could possibly mistake for the clear song of an Elven-lord. He murmured old childish tunes out of the Shire, and snatches of Mr. Bilbo's rhymes that came into his mind like fleeting glimpses of the country of his home... ...and then he stopped short. He thought that he had heard a faint voice answering him."

......"...rage blazed in Sam's heart to a sudden fury. He sprang up, ran, and went up the ladder like a cat... ...Something was lying on the floor by the wall under the window, but over it a black orc-shape was straddled. It raised a whip a second time, but the blow never fell. With a cry Sam leapt across the floor, Sting in his hand. The orc wheeled round, but before it could make a move Sam slashed its whip-hand from its arm.
.........Sam ran to the figure huddled on the floor. It was Frodo. He was naked, lying as if in a swoon on a heap of filthy rags: his arm was flung up, shielding his head, and across his side there ran an ugly whip-weal.
......'Frodo! Mr. Frodo, my dear!' cried Sam, tears almost blinding him. 'It's Sam, I've come!' He half lifted his master and hugged him to his breast. Frodo opened his eyes. 'Am I still dreaming?' he muttered. 'But the other dreams were horrible.'
......'You're not dreaming at all, Master,' said Sam. 'It's real. It's me. I've come.'
......'I can hardly believe it,' said Frodo, clutching him. 'There was an orc with a whip, and then it turns into Sam! Than I wasn't dreaming after all when I heard that singing down below, and I tried to answer? Was it you?'
......'It was indeed, Mr. Frodo. I'd given up hope, almost. I couldn't find you.'
......'Well, you have now, Sam, dear Sam,' said Frodo, and he lay back in Sam's gentle arms, closing his eyes, like a child at rest when night-fears are driven away by some loved voice or hand. Sam felt that he could sit like that in endless happiness..."

......"'The two big brutes; they quarrelled, I think. Over me and my things. I lay here terrified. And then all went deadly quiet, and that was worse.'
......'Yes, they quarrelled, seemingly,' said Sam. 'There must have been a couple of hundred of the dirty creatures in this place. A bit of a tall order for Sam Gamgee, as you might say. But they've done all the killing of themselves. That's lucky, but it's too long to make a song about, till we're out of here. Now what's to be done? You can't go walking in the Black Land in naught but your skin, Mr. Frodo.'"

......"'Now you go to sleep first, Mr. Frodo,' he said. 'It's getting dark again. I reckon this day is nearly over.'
......Frodo sighed and was asleep almost before the words were spoken. Sam struggled with his own weariness, and he took Frodo's hand; and there he sat silent till deep night fell. Then at last, to keep himself awake, he crawled from the hiding-place and looked out. The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or foot. Far above the Ephel Dúath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master's, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo's side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep."

...... "But the bitter truth came home to him at last: at best their provision would take them to their goal; and when the task was done, there they would come to an end, alone, houseless, foodless in the midst of a terrible desert. There could be no return. 'So that was the job I felt I had to do when I started,' thought Sam: 'to help Mr. Frodo to the last step and then die with him? Well, if that is the job then I must do it... ...I can't think somehow that Gandalf would have sent Mr. Frodo on this errand, if there hadn't a' been any hope of his ever coming back at all. Things all went wrong when he went down in Moria. I wish he hadn't. He would have done something.'
......But even if hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it was turned to a new strength. Sam's plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue."

......"Sam looked at him and wept in his heart, but no tears came to his dry and stinging eyes. 'I said I'd carry him, if it broke my back,' he muttered, 'and I will!'
......'Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he'll go.'
......As Frodo clung upon his back, arms loosely about his neck, legs clasped firmly under is arms, Sam staggered to his feet; and then to his amazement he felt the burden light. He had feared that he would have barely strength to lift his master alone, and beyond that he had expected to share in the dreadful dragging weight of the accursed Ring. But it was not so. Whether because Frodo was so worn by his long pains, wound of knife, and venomous sting, and sorrow, fear and homeless wandering, or because some gift of final strength was given to him, Sam lifted Frodo with no more difficulty than if he were carrying a hobbit-child pig-a-back in some romp on the lawns or hayfields of the Shire. He took a deep breath and started off."

...... "Sam ran to Frodo and picked him up and carried him out to the door... '...Well, this is the end, Sam Gamgee,' said a voice by his side. And there was Frodo, pale and worn, and yet himself again; and in his eyes there was peace now, neither strain of will, nor madness, nor any fear. His burden was taken away. There was the dear master of the sweet days in the Shire.
...... 'Master!' cried Sam, and fell upon his knees. In all that ruin of the world for the moment he felt only joy, great joy. The burden was gone. His master had been saved; he was himself again, he was free."

...... "They stood now; and Sam still holding his master's hand caressed it. He signed. 'What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven't we?' he said. 'I wish I could hear it told! Do you think they'll say: "Now comes the story of Nine-fingered Frodo and the Ring of Doom?" And then everyone will hush, like we did, when in Rivendell they told us the tale of Beren One-hand and the Great Jewel. I wish I could hear it! And I wonder how it will go on after our part.'
......But even while he spoke so, to keep fear away until the very last, his eyes still strayed north, north into the eye of the wind, to where the sky far off was clear... "

......"Suddenly he stopped as if listening. Frodo became aware that all was very quiet, inside and outside. Gandalf crept to one side of the window. Then with a dart he sprang to the sill, and thrust a long arm out and downwards. There was a squawk, and up came Sam Gamgee's curly head hauled by one ear.
......'Well, well, bless my beard!' said Gandalf. 'Sam Gamgee is it? Now what may you be doing?'
......'Lor bless you, Mr. Gandalf, sir!' said Sam. 'Nothing! Leastways I was just trimming the grass-border under the window, if you follow me.' He picked up the shears and exhibited them as evidence.
......'I don't,' said Gandalf grimly. 'It is some time since I last heard the sound of your shears. How long have you been eavesdropping?'
......'Eavesdropping, sir? I don't follow you, begging your pardon. There ain't no eaves at Bag End, and that's a fact.'
......Don't be a fool! What have you heard, and why did you listen?' Gandalf's eyes flashed and his brows stuck out like bristles.
......'Mr. Frodo, sir!' cried Sam quaking. 'Don't let him hurt me, sir! Don't let him turn me into anything unnatural! My old dad would take on so. I meant no harm, on my honour, sir!'
......'He won't hurt you,' said Frodo, hardly able to keep from laughing, although he was himself startled and rather puzzled. 'He knows, as well as I do, that you mean no harm. But just you up and answer his questions straight away!'
......'Well, sir,' said Sam, dithering a little. 'I heard a deal that I didn't rightly understand, about an enemy, and rings, and Mr. Bilbo, sir, and dragons, and a firey mountain, and--and Elves, sir. I listened because I couldn't help myself, if you know what I mean. Lor bless me, sir, but I do love tales of that sort. And I believe them too, whatever Ted may say. Elves, sir! I would dearly love to see them. Couldn't you take me to see Elves, sir, when you go?'"

......"In the morning Sam and Frodo rose again in hope and peace; and they spent many days in Ithilien... ...The hobbits wandered here and there visiting again the places that they had passed before; and Sam hoped always in some shadow of the woods or secret glade to catch, maybe, a glimpse of the great Oliphaunt. And when he learned that at the siege of Gondor there had been a great number of these beasts but that they were all destroyed, he thought it a sad loss.
......'Well, one can't be everywhere at once, I suppose,' he said. 'But I missed a lot, seemingly.'

......"...to Sam's final and complete satisfaction and pure joy, a minstrel of Gondor stood forth, and knelt, and begged leave to sing...
......'...I will sing to you of Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom.' And when Sam heard that he laughed aloud for shear delight, and he stood up and cried: 'O great glory and splendour! And all my wishes have come true!' And then he wept. And all the host laughed and wept..."

......"'I wish I had taken Elrond's advice,' muttered Pippin to Sam. 'I am no good after all. There is not enough of the breed of Bandobras the Bullroarer in me: these howls freeze my blood. I don't ever remember feeling so wretched.'
...... 'My heart's right down in my toes, Mr. Pippin,' said Sam. 'But we aren't eten yet, and there are some stout folk here with us. Whatever may be in store for old Gandalf, I'll wager it isn't a wolf's belly.'"

......"The trees were the worst loss and damage, for at Sharkey's bidding they had been cut down recklessly far and wide over the Shire; and Sam grieved over this more than anything else. For one thing, this hurt would take long to heal, and only his great-grandchildren, he thought, would see the Shire as it ought to be."

......'Morning, my little friends!' he said to the others. 'I suppose you know who you've taken up with? That's Stick-at-nought Strider, that is! Though I've heard other names not so pretty. Watch out tonight! And you, Sammie, don't go ill-treating my poor old pony! Pah!' He spat again.
...... Sam turned quickly. 'And you, Ferny,' he said, 'put your ugly face out of sight, or it will get hurt.' With a sudden flick, quick as lightning, an apple left his hand and hit Bill square on the nose. He ducked too late, and curses came from behind the hedge. 'Waste of a good apple,' said Sam regretfully, and strode on."

...... "But to Sam, the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West. There still he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart."

TIME February 25th

Today in Middle-earth.

February 25, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. The Company pass the Argonath and camp at Parth Galen.

......"Great power and majesty they still wore, the silent wardens of a long-vanished kingdom. Awe and fear fell upon Frodo, and he cowered down, shutting his eyes and not daring to look up as the boat drew near. Even Boromir bowed his head as the boats whirled by, frail and fleeting as little leaves, under the enduring shadow of the sentinels of Númenor. So they passed into the dark chasm of the Gates.
......Sheer rose the dreadful cliffs to unguessed heights on either side. Far off was the dim sky. The black waters roared and echoed, and a wind screamed over them. Frodo crouching over his knees hears Sam in front muttering and groaning: 'What a place! What a horrible place! Just let me get out of this boat, and I'll never wet my toes in a puddle again, let alone a river!'
......'Fear not!' said a strange voice behind him. Frodo turned and saw Strider, and yet not Strider; for the weatherworn Ranger was no longer there. In the stern sat Aragorn son of Arathorn, proud and erect, guiding the boat with skilful strokes; his hood was cast back, and his dark hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes: a king returning from exile to his own land.
......'Fear not!' he said. 'Long have I desired to look upon the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, my sires of old. Under their shadow Elessar, the Elfstone son of Arathorn of the House of Valandil Isildur's son, heir of Elendil, has nought to dread!'
......Then the light of his eyes faded, and he spoke to himself: 'Would that Gandalf were here! How my heart yearns for Minas Anor and the walls of my own city! But whither now shall I go?'

.........The tenth day of their journey was over. Wilderland was behind them. They could go no further without choice between the east-way and the west. The last stage of the Quest was before them....

......"'Here we will rest tonight,' said Aragorn. 'This is the lawn of Parth Galen: a fair place in the summer days of old. Let us hope that no evil has yet come here.'
......They drew up their boats on the green banks, and beside them they made their camp. They set a watch, but had no sight nor sound of their enemies. If Gollum had contrived to follow them, he remained unseen and unheard. Nonetheless as the night wore on Aragorn grew uneasy, tossing often in his sleep and waking. In the small hours he got up and came to Frodo, whose turn it was to watch.
......'Why are you waking?' asked Frodo. 'It is not your watch.'
......'I do not know,' answered Aragorn; 'but a shadow and a threat has been growing in my sleep. It would be well to draw your sword.'
......'Why?' said Frodo. 'Are enemies at hand?'
......'Let us see what Sting may show,' answered Aragorn.
......Frodo then drew the elf-blade from its sheath. To his dismay the edges gleamed dimly in the night. 'Orc!' he said. 'Not very near, and yet too near, it seems.'"

2. First Battle of the Fords of Isen.
(from the appendices-no text)

[I believe Éomer led this first Battle based on the following excerpts:]

......[Éomer after meeting the Hunters in the fields of Rohan] "'The East-mark is my charge, the ward of the Third Marshal...'

.........'But at this time our chief concern is with Saruman. He has claimed lordship over all this land, and there has been war between us for many months. He has taken Orcs into his service, and Wolf-riders, and evil Men, and he has closed the Gap against us, so that we are likely to be beset both east and west.'"

3. Théodred son of Théoden slain.
(from the appendices)

......[Wormtongue to Théoden] '...the bitter tidings came that Théodred your son was slain upon the West Marches: your right hand, Second Marshal of the Mark.'"

4. Gandalf's continues his recovery in Lothlórien.
(not from the appendices-no text)

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

TIME February 24th

Today in Middle-earth.

February 24, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not from the appendices)
1. The Company's burden of choice is approaching.

......"'I do not see why we should pass the Rapids or follow the River any further,' said Boromir. 'If the Emyn Muil lie before us, then we can abandon these cockle-boats, and strike westward and southward, until we come to the Entwash and cross into my own land.'
......'We can, if we are making for Minas Tirith,' said Aragorn, 'but that is not yet agreed. And such a course may be more perilous than it sounds. The vale of Entwash is flat and fenny, and fog is a deadly peril there for those on foot and laden. I would not abandon our boats until we must. The River is at least a path that cannot be missed.
......'But the Enemy holds the eastern bank,' objected Boromir. 'And even if you pass the Gates of Argonath and come unmolested to the Tindrock, what will you do then? Leap down the Falls and land in the marshes?'
......'No!' answered Aragorn. 'Say rather that we will bear our boats by the ancient way to Rauros-foot, and there take to the water again. Do you not know, Boromir, or do you choose to forget the North Stair, and the high seat upon Amon Hen, that were made in the days of the great kings? I at least have a mind to stand in that high place again before I decide my further course. There, maybe, we shall see some sign that will guide us....'"

......"...The day was now growing, and the fog had lifted a little. It was decided that Aragorn and Legolas should at once go forward along the shore, while the others remained by the boats. Aragorn hoped to find some way by which they could carry both their boats and their baggage to the smoother water beyond the Rapids.
......'Boats of the Elves would not sink, maybe,' he said, 'but that does not say that we should come through Sarn Gebir alive. None have ever done so yet. No road was made by the Men of Gondor in this region, for even in their great days their realm did not reach up Anduin beyond the Emyn Muil; but there is a portage-way somewhere on the western shore, if I can find it. It cannot yet have perished; for light boats used to journey out of Wilderland down to Osgiliath, and still did so until a few years ago, when the Orcs of Mordor began to multiply.'
......'Seldom in my life has any boat come out of the North, and the Orcs prowl on the east-shore,' said Boromir. 'If you go forward, peril will grow with every mile, even if you find a path.'
......'Peril lies ahead on every southward road,' answered Aragorn. 'Wait for us one day. If we do not return in that time, you will know that evil has indeed befallen us. Then you must take a new leader and follow him as best you can.'
......It was with a heavy heart that Frodo saw Aragorn and Legolas climb the steep bank and vanish into the mists; but his fears proved groundless. Only two or three hours had passed, and it was barely mid-day, when the shadowy shapes of the explorers appeared again.
......'All is well,' said Aragorn, as he clambered down the bank. 'There is a track, and it leads to a good landing that is still serviceable. The distance is not great: the head of the Rapids is but half a mile below us, and they are little more than a mile long.... ...I fear we must leave the River now, and make for the portage-way as best we can from here.'
......'That would not be easy, even if we were all Men,' said Boromir.
......'Yet such as we are we will try it,' said Aragorn.
......'Aye, we will,' said Gimli. 'The legs of Men will lag on a rough road, while a Dwarf goes on, be the burden twice his own weight, Master Boromir!'

......"...One by one Boromir and Aragorn carried the boats, while the others toiled and scrambled after them with the baggage. At last all was removed and laid on the portage-way. Then with little further hindrance, save from sprawling briars and many fallen stones, they moved forward all together. Fog still hung in veils upon the crumbling rockwall, and to their left mist shrouded the River: they could here it rushing and foaming over the sharp shelves and stony teeth of Sarn Gebir, but they could not see it. Twice they made the journey, before all was brought safe to the southern landing..."

......'...Well, here we are, and here we must pass another night,' said Boromir. 'We need sleep, and even in Aragorn had a mind to pass the Gates of Argonath by night, we are all too tired—except, no doubt, our sturdy dwarf.'
......Gimli made no reply: he was nodding as he sat."

Monday, February 23, 2004

TIME February 23rd

Today in Middle-earth... as we pick up from yesterday's adventure!

February 23, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. The boats are attacked at night near Sarn Gebir.

......"'All together, paddle!' shouted Boromir. 'Paddle! Or we shall be driven on the shoals.' Even as he spoke Frodo felt the keel beneath him grate upon stone.
......At that moment there was a twang of bowstrings: several arrows whistled over them, and some fell among them. One smote Frodo between the shoulders and he lurched forward with a cry, letting go his paddle; but the arrow fell back, foiled by his hidden coat of mail. Another passed through Aragorn's hood; and a third stood fast in the gunwale of the second boat, close by Merry's hand. Sam thought he could glimpse black figures running to a fro upon the long shingle-banks that lay under the eastern sore. They seemed very near.
......'Yrch!' said Legolas, falling into his own tongue.
......'Orcs!' cried Gimli.
......'Gollum's doing, I'll be found,' said Sam to Frodo. 'And a nice place to choose, too. The River seems set on taking us right into their arms!'
......They all leaned forward straining at the paddles: even Sam took a hand. Every moment they expected to feel the bite of black-feathered arrows. Many whined overhead or struck the water nearby; but there were no more hits. It was dark, but not too dark for the night-eyes of Orcs, and in the star-glimmer they must have offered their cunning foes some mark, unless it was that the grey cloaks of Lórien and the grey timber of the elf-wrought boats defeated the malice of the archers of Mordor.
......Stroke by stroke they laboured on. In the darkness it was hard to be sure that they were indeed moving at all; but slowly the swirl of the water grew less, and the shadow of the eastern bank faded back into the night. At last, as far as they could judge, they had reached the middle of the stream again and had driven their boats back some distance above the jutting rocks. Then half turning they thrust them with all their strength towards the western shore. Under the shadow of bushes leaning out over the water they halted and drew breath.
......Legolas laid down his paddle and took up the bow that he had brought from Lórien. Then he sprang ashore and climbed a few paces up the bank. Stringing the bow and fitting an arrow he turned, peering back over the River into the darkness. Across the water there were shrill cries, but nothing could be seen.
......Frodo looked up at the Elf standing tall above him, as he gazed into the night, seeking a mark to shoot at. His head was dark, crowned with sharp white stars that glittered in the black pools of the sky behind. But now rising and sailing up from the South the great clouds advanced, sending out dark outriders into the starry fields. A sudden dread fell on the Company.
......'Elbereth Gilthoniel!' sighed Legolas as he looked up. Even as he did so, a dark shape, like a cloud and yet not a cloud, for it moved far more swiftly, came out of the blackness in the South, and sped towards the Company, blotting out all light as it approached. Soon it appeared as a great winged creature, blacker than the pits in the night. Fierce voices rose up to greet it from across the water. Frodo felt a sudden chill running through him and clutching at his heart; there was a deadly cold, like the memory of an old wound, in his shoulder. He crouched down, as if to hide.
......Suddenly the great bow of Lórien sang. Shrill went the arrow from the elven-string. Frodo looked up. Almost above him the winged shape swerved. There was a harsh croaking scream, as it fell out of the air, vanishing down into the gloom of the eastern shore. The sky was clean again. There was a tumult of many voices far away, cursing and wailing in the darkness, and then silence. Neither shaft nor cry came again from the east that night."

Sunday, February 22, 2004

TIME February 22nd

Today in Middle-earth.

February 22, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not from the appendices)
1. The Company tries to elude their tracker.

......"The night passed without Gollum showing so much as a shadow again. After that the Company kept a sharp lookout, but they saw no more of Gollum while the voyage lasted. If he was still following, he was very wary and cunning. At Aragorn's bidding they paddled now for long spells, and the banks went swiftly by. But they saw little of the country, for they journeyed mostly by night and twilight, resting by day, and lying as hidden as the land allowed. In this was the time passed without event until the seventh day."

......"...Later as the sun was setting, and the Company was stirring and getting ready to start again, he [Aragorn] described a dark spot against the fading light: a great bird high and far off, now wheeling, now flying on slowly southwards.
......'What is that, Legolas?' he asked, pointing to the northern sky. 'Is it, as I think, an eagle?'
......'Yes,' said Legolas. 'It is an eagle, a hunting eagle. I wonder what that forebodes. It is far from the mountains.'"

Saturday, February 21, 2004

TIME February 21st

Today in Middle-earth.

February 21, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not from the appendices)
1. The River is no longer a refuge.

......"To Sam in the leading boat was given the task of watchman. He lay forward peering into the gloom. The night grew dark, but the stars above were strangely bright, and there was a glimmer on the face of the River. It was close on midnight, and they had been drifting for some while hardly using the paddles, when suddenly Sam cried out. Only a few yards ahead dark shapes loomed up in the stream and he heard the swirl of racing water. There was a swift current which swung left, towards the eastern shore where the channel was clear. As they were swept aside the travellers could see, now very close, the pale foam of the River lashing against sharp rocks that were thrust out far into the stream like a ridge of teeth. The boats were all huddled together.
......'Hoy there, Aragorn!' shouted Boromir, as his boat bumped into the leader. 'This is madness! We cannot dare the Rapids by night! But no boat can live in Sarn Gebir, be it night or day.'
......'Back, back!' cried Aragorn. 'Turn! Turn if you can!' He drove his paddle into the water, trying to hold the boat and bring it round.
......'I am out of my reckoning,' he said to Frodo. 'I did not know we had come so far: Anduin flows faster than I thought. Sarn Gebir must be close at hand already.'
......With great efforts they checked the boats and slowly brought them about; but at first they could make only small headway against the current, and all the time they were carried nearer and nearer to the eastern bank. Now dark and ominous it loomed up in the night.
......'All together, paddle!' shouted Boromir. 'Paddle! Or we shall be driven on the shoals.' Even as he spoke Frodo felt the keel beneath him grate upon stone."

2. A clever waterman; slyer than a fox and slippery as a fissssshhhh.

......"As dusk drew down on the fourth day, he was looking back over the bowed heads of Frodo and Aragorn and the following boats; he was drowsy and longed for camp and the feel of earth under his toes. Suddenly something caught his sight: at first he stared at it listlessly, then he sat up and rubbed his eyes; but when he looked again he could not see it anymore.
......That night they camped on a small eyot close to the western bank. Sam lay rolled in blankets beside Frodo. 'I had a funny dream an hour or two before we stopped, Mr. Frodo,' he said. 'Or maybe it wasn't a dream. Funny it was anyway.'
......'Well, what was it?' said Frodo, knowing that Sam would not settle down until he had told his tale, whatever it was. 'I haven't seen or thought of anything to make me smile since we left Lothlórien.'
......'It wasn't funny that way, Mr. Frodo. It was queer. All wrong, if it wasn't a dream. And you had best hear it. It was like this: I saw a log with eyes!'
......'The log's all right,' said Frodo. 'There are many in the River. But leave out the eyes!'
......'That I won't,' said Sam. 'Twas the eyes as made me sit up so to speak. I saw what I took to be a log floating along in the half-light behind Gimli's boat; but I didn't give much heed to it. Then it seemed as if the log was slowly catching us up. And that was peculiar, as you might say, seeing as we were all floating on the stream together. Just then I saw the eyes: two pale sort of points, shiny-like, on a hump at the near end of the log. What's more, it wasn't a log, for it had paddle-feet, like a swan's almost, only they seemed bigger, and kept dipping in and out of the water.
......'That's when I sat right up and rubbed my eyes, meaning to give a shout, if it was still there when I had rubbed the drowse out of my head. For the whatever-it-was was coming along fast now and getting close behind Gimli.'"

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

TIME February 17th

Today in Middle-earth.

February 17, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. Gwaihir bears Gandalf to Lórien.

......"'And so at the last Gwaihir the Windlord found me again, and he took me up and bore me away.
......'"Ever am I fated to be your burden, friend at need," I said.
......'"A burden you have been," he answered, "but not so now. Light as a swan's feather in my claw you are. The Sun shines through you. Indeed I do not think you need me any more: were I to let you fall, you would float upon the wind."
......'"Do not let me fall!" I gasped, for I felt life in me again. "Bear me to Lothlórien!"
......'"That indeed is the command of the Lady Galadriel who sent me to look for you," he answered.
......'Thus it was that I came to Caras Galadon and found you but lately gone. I tarried there in the ageless time of that land where days bring healing not decay. Healing I found, and I was clothed in white....'"

2. The Fellowship faces their first full day on the Great River.
(not from the appendices)

......"They started again before the day was broad. Not that most of the Company were eager to hurry southwards: they were content that the decision, which they must make at latest when they came to Rauros and the Tindrock Isle, still lay some days ahead; and they let the River bear them on at its own pace, having no desire to hasten towards the perils that lay beyond, whichever course they took in the end. Aragorn let them drift with the stream as they wished, husbanding their strength against weariness to come. But he insisted that at least they should start early each day and journey on far into the evening; for he felt in his heart that time was pressing, and he feared that the Dark Lord had not been idle while they lingered in Lórien."


February 17, 3020 (S.R. 1420)

(not in the appendices-no text)
1. The Shire continues to recover from its hurts.

......Though the work of tearing down the brooding, dark buildings that had plagued Hobbiton was complete, the frigid months of winter forced them to turn their attention to other needs. There was much to keep the hobbits busy while waiting out the cold season as they restored the interiors of homes and businesses marred by Sharkey's ruffians. Their work was certainly the most rewarding at the Green Dragon Inn. It took several weeks of finishing and polishing to undo the damage; but it wasn't until after testing the kegs of ale recovered from the tunnels of Michel Delving before it was unanimously agreed that it had been restored to its proper standard.

Monday, February 16, 2004

TIME February 16th

Today in Middle-earth

February 16, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. Farewell to Lórien.

......"'We have drunk the cup of parting,' she said, 'and the shadows fall between us. But before you go, I have brought in my ship gifts which the Lord and Lady of the Galadrim now offer you in memory of Lothlórien.' Then she called to each in turn.
......'Here is the gift of Celeborn and Galadriel to the leader of your Company,' she said to Aragorn, and she gave him a sheath that had been made to fit his sword. It was overlaid with a tracery of flowers and leaves wrought of silver and gold, and on it were set in elven-runes formed of many gems the name Andúril and the lineage of the sword.
......'The blade that is drawn from this sheath shall not be stained or broken even in defeat,' she said. 'But is there aught else that you desire of me at our parting? For darkness will flow between us, and it may be that we shall not meet again, unless it be far hence upon a road that has no returning.'
......And Aragorn answered: 'Lady, you know all my desire and long held in keeping the only treasure that I seek. Yet it is not yours to give me, even if you would; and only through darkness shall I come to it.'
......'Yet maybe this will lighten your heart,' said Galadriel; for it was left in my care to be given to you, should you pass through this land.' Then she lifted from her lap a great stone of a clear green, set in a silver brooch that was wrought in the likeness of an eagle with outspread wings; and as she held it up the gem flashed like the sun shining through the leaves of spring. 'This stone I gave to Celebrain my daughter, and she to hers; and now it comes to you as a token of hope. In this hour take the name that was foretold for you, Elessar, the Elfstone of the House of Elendil!'
......Then Aragorn took the stone and pinned the brooch upon his breast, and those who saw him wondered; for they had not marked before how tall and kingly he stood, and it seemed to them that many years of toil had fallen from his shoulders. 'For the gifts that you have given me I thank you,' he said, 'O Lady of Lórien of whom were sprung Celebrain and Arwen Evenstar. What praise could I say more?'
......The Lady bowed he head, and she turned then to Boromir, and to him she gave a belt of gold; and to Merry and Pippin she gave small silver belts, each with a clasp wrought like a golden flower. To Legolas she gave a bow such as the Galadrim used, longer and stouter than the bows of Mirkwood, and strung with a string of elf-hair. With it went a quiver of arrows.
......'For you little gardener and lover of trees,' she said to Sam, 'I have only a small gift.' She put into his hand a little box of plain grey wood, unadorned save for a single silver rune upon the lid. 'Here is set G for Galadriel,' she said; 'but also it may stand for garden in your tongue. In this box there is earth from my orchard, and such blessing as Galadriel has still to bestow is upon it. It will not keep you on your road, nor defend you against any peril; but if you keep it and see your home again at last, then perhaps it may reward you. Though you should find all barren and laid waste, there will be few gardens in Middle-earth that will bloom like your garden, if you sprinkle this earth there. Then you may remember Galadriel, and catch a glimpse far off of Lórien, that you have seen only in our winter. For our spring and our summer are gone by, and they will never be seen on earth again save in memory.'
......Sam went red to the ears and muttered something inaudible, and he clutched the box and bowed as well as he could.
......'And what gift would a Dwarf ask of the Elves?' said Galadriel, turning to Gimli.
......'None, Lady.' answered Gimli. 'It is enough for me to have seen the Lady of the Galadrim, and to have heard her gentle words.'
......'Hear all ye Elves!' she cried to those about her. 'Let none say again that Dwarves are grasping and ungracious! Yet surely, Gimli son of Glóin, you desire something that I could give? Name it, I bid you! You shall not be the only guest without a gift.'
......'There is nothing, Lady Galadriel,' said Gimli, bowing low and stammering. 'Nothing, unless it might be-—unless it is permitted to ask, nay, to name a single strand of your hair, which surpasses the gold of the earth as the stars surpass the gems of the mine. I do not ask for such a gift. But you commanded me to name my desire.'
......The Elves stirred and murmured with astonishment, and Celeborn gazed at the Dwarf in wonder, but the Lady smiled. 'It is said that the skill of the Dwarves is in their hands rather than in their tongues,' she said; 'yet that is not true of Gimli. For none have ever made to me a request so bold and yet so courteous. And how shall I refuse, since I commanded him to speak? But tell me, what would you do with such a gift?'
......'Treasure it, Lady,' he answered, 'in memory of your words to me at our first meeting, and if ever I return to the smithies of my home, it shall be set in imperishable crystal to be an heirloom of my house, and a pledge of good will between the Mountain and the Wood until the end of days.'
......Then the Lady unbraided one of her long tresses, and cut off three golden hairs, and laid them in Gimli's hand. 'These words shall go with the gift,' she said. 'I do not foretell, for all foretelling is now vain: on the one hand lies darkness, and on the other only hope. But if hope should not fail, then I shall say to you, Gimli son of Glóin, that your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have no dominion.
......'And you, Ring-bearer,' she said, turning to Frodo. 'I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you have prepared this.' She held up a small crystal phial; it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. 'In this phial,' she said, 'is caught the light of Eärendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out. Remember Galadriel and her Mirror!'
......Frodo took the phial, and for a moment as it shone between them, he saw her again standing like a queen, great and beautiful, but no longer terrible. He bowed, he found to words to say."

2. Gollum in hiding on the west bank observes the departure.
(from the appendices - no text)

Sunday, February 15, 2004

TIME February 15th

Today in Middle-earth.

February 15, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not from the appendices)
1. The Fellowship's stay in Lothlórien ends.

......"In the morning, as they were beginning to pack their slender goods, Elves that could speak their tongue came to them and brought them many gifts of food and clothing for the journey. The food was mostly in the form of very thin cakes, made of a meal that was backed a light brown on the outside, and inside was the colour of cream. Gimli took up one of the cakes and looked at it with a doubtful eye.
......'Cram,' he said under his breath, as he broke off a crisp corner and nibbled at it. His expression quickly changed, and he ate all the rest of the cake with relish.
......'No more, no more!' cried the Elves laughing. 'You have eaten enough already for a long day's march.'
......'I thought it was only a kind of cram, such as the Dale-men make for journeys in the wild,' said the Dwarf.
......'So it is,' they answered. 'But we call it lembas or waybread, and it is more strengthening than any food made by Men, and it is more pleasant that cram, by all accounts.'
......'Indeed it is,' said Gimli. 'Why, it is better that the honey-cakes of the Beornings, and that is great praise, for the Beornings are the best bakers that I know of; but they are one too willing to deal out their cakes to travellers in these days. You are kindly hosts!
......'All the same, we bid you spare the food,' they said. 'Eat a little at a time, and only at need. For these things are given to serve you when all else fails. The cakes will keep sweet for many many days, if they are unbroken and left in their leaf-wrappings, as we have brought them. One will keep a traveller on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith.'
......The Elves next unwrapped and gave to each of the Company the clothes they had brought. For each they had provided a hood and cloak, made according to his size, of the light but warm silken stuff that the Galadrim wove. It was hard to say of what colour they were: grey with the hue of twilight under the trees they seemed to be; and yet if they were moved, or set in another light, they were green as shadowed leaves, or brown as fallow fields by night, dusk-silver as water under the stars. Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like green leaf veined with silver.
......'Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
......'I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the elves. 'They are fair garments, and the web is good, for it was made in this land. They are elvish robes certainly, if that is what you mean. Leaf and branch, water and stone: they have the hue and beauty of all these things under the twilight of Lórien that we love; for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make. Yet they are garments, not armour, and they will not turn shaft or blade. But they should serve you well: they are light to wear, and warm enough or cool enough at need. And of unfriendly eyes, whether you walk among the stones or the trees. You are indeed high in the favour of the Lady! For she herself and her maidens wove this stuff; and never before have we clad strangers in the garb of our own people.'
......After their morning meal the Company said farewell to the lawn by the fountain. Their hearts were heavy; for it was a fair place, and it had become like home to them, though they could not count the days and nights that they had passed there. As they stood for a moment looking at the white water in the sunlight, Haldir came walking towards them over the green grass of the glade. Frodo greeted him with delight.
......'I have returned from the Northern Fences,' said the Elf, 'and I am sent now to be your guide again. The Dimrill Dale is full of vapour and clouds of smoke, and the mountains are troubled. There are noises in the deeps of the earth. If any of you had thought of returning northward to your homes, you would not have been able to pass that way. But come! Your path now goes south!'

.........On the bank of the Silverlode, at some distance up from the meeting of the streams, there was a hythe of white stones and white wood. By it were moored many boats and barges. Some were brightly painted, and shone with silver and gold and green, but most were either white or grey. Three small grey boats had been made ready for the travellers, and in these the Elves stowed their goods. And they added also coils of rope, three to each boat. Slender they looked, but strong, silken to the touch, grey of hue like the elven-cloaks.
......'What are these?' asked Sam, handling one that lay on the green-sward.
......'Ropes indeed!' answered an Elf from the boats. 'Never travel far without a rope! And one that is long and strong and light. Such are these. They may be a help in many needs.'
......'You don't need to tell me that!' said Sam. 'I came without any, and I've been worried ever since. But I was wondering what these were made of, knowing a bit about rope-making: it's in the family as you might say.'
......'They are made of hithlain,' said the Elf, 'but there is no time now to instruct you in the art of their making. Had we known that this craft delighted you, we could have taught you much. But now alas! unless you should at some time return hither, you must be content with our gift. May it serve you well!'"

Saturday, February 14, 2004

TIME February 14th - Galadriel's Mirror

Today in Middle-earth.

This is an important day for the Ring-bearer and the Fellowship. It's a long passage for I did not have the heart of chop it up. So skim, absorb, or pass it by... but here it is :)

February 14, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. The Mirror of Galadriel.

......"'Do you now wish to look, Frodo?' said the Lady Galadriel. 'You did not wish to see Elf-magic and were content.'
......'Do you advise me to look? asked Frodo.
......'No,' she said. 'I do not counsel you one way or the other. I am not a counsellor. You may learn something, and whether what you see be fair or evil, that may be profitable, and yet it may not. Seeing is both good and perilous. Yet I think Frodo, that you have courage and wisdom enough for the venture, or I would not have brought you here. Do as you will!'
......'I will look,' said Frodo, and he climbed on the pedestal and bent over the dark water. At once the Mirror cleared and he saw a twilit land. Mountains loomed dark in the distance against a pale sky. A long grey road wound back out of sight. Far away a figure came slowly down the road, faint and small at first, but growing larger and clearer as it approached. Suddenly Frodo realized that it reminded him of Gandalf. He almost called aloud the wizard's name, and then he saw that the figure was clothed not in grey but in white, in a white that shone faintly in the dusk; and in its hand there was a white staff. The head was so bowed that he could see no face, and presently the figure turned aside round a bend in the road and went out of the Mirror's view. Doubt came into Frodo's mind: was this a vision of Gandalf on one of his many lonely journeys long ago, or was it Saruman?
......The vision now changed. Brief and small but very vivid he caught a glimpse of Bilbo walking restlessly about his room. The table was littered with disordered papers; rain was beating on the windows.
......Then there was a pause, and after it many swift scenes followed that Frodo in some way knew to be parts of a great history in which he had become involved. The mist cleared and he saw a sight which he had never seen before but knew at once: the Sea. Darkness fell. The sea rose and raged in a great storm. Then he saw against the Sun, sinking blood-red into a wrack of clouds, the black outline of a tall ship with torn sails riding up out of the West. Then a wide river flowing through a populous city. Then a white fortress with seven towers. And then again a ship with black sails, but now it was morning again, and the water rippled with light, and a banner bearing the emblem of a white tree shone in the sun. A smoke as of fire and battle arose, and again the sun went down in a burning red that faded into a grey mist; and into the mist a small ship passed away, twinkling with lights. It vanished, and Frodo sighed and prepared to draw away.
......But suddenly the Mirror went altogether dark, as dark as if a hole had opened in the world of sight, and Frodo looked into emptiness. In the black abyss there appeared a single Eye that slowly grew, until it filled nearly all the Mirror. So terrible was it that Frodo stood rooted, unable to cry out or to withdraw his gaze. The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing.
......Then the Eye began to rove, searching this way and that; and Frodo knew with certainty and horror that among the many things that it sought he himself was one. But he also knew that it could not see him—not yet, not unless he willed it. The Ring that hung upon its chain about his neck grew heavy, heavier than a great stone, and his head was dragged downwards. The Mirror seemed to be growing hot and curls of steam were rising from the water. He was slipping forward.
......'Do not touch the water!' said the Lady Galadriel softly. The vision faded, and Frodo found that he was looking at the cool stars twinkling in the silver basin. He stepped back shaking all over and look at the Lady.
......'I know what it was that you last saw,' she said; 'for that is also in my mind. Do not be afraid! But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!'
......She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.
......'Yes,' she said, divining his thought, 'it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.
......'He suspects, but he does not know—not yet. Do you not see now wherefore your coming is to us the footstep of Doom? For if you fail, then we are laid bare to the Enemy. Yet if you succeed, then our power is diminished, and Lothlórien will fade, and the tides of Time will sweep it away. We must depart into the West, or dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and caves, slowly to forget and to be forgotten.
......Frodo bent his head. 'And what do you want?' he said at last.
......'That what should be shall be,' she answered. 'The love of the Elves for their land and their works is deeper than the deeps of the Sea, and their regret is undying and cannot ever wholly be assuaged. Yet they will cast all away rather than submit to Sauron: for they know him now. For the fate of Lothlórien you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task. Yet I could wish, were it of any avail, that the One Ring had never been wrought, or had remained for ever lost.'
......'You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,' said Frodo. 'I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.'
......Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. 'Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,' she said, 'yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?
......'And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountains! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!'
......She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall and beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
......'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.'
......They stood for a long while in silence. At length the Lady spoke again. 'Let us return!' she said. 'In the morning you must depart, for now we have chosen, and the tides of fate are flowing.'
......'I would ask one thing before we go,' said Frodo, 'a thing which I often meant to ask Gandalf in Rivendell. I am permitted to wear the One Ring: why cannot I see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them?'
......'You have not tried,' she said. 'Only thrice have you set the Ring upon your finger since you knew what you possessed. Do not try! It would destroy you. Did not Gandalf tell you that the rings give power according to the measure of each possessor? Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others. Yet even so, as Ring-bearer and as one that had borne it on finger and seen that which is hidden, your sight is grown keener. You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise. You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine. And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?' she asked turning again to Sam.
......'No, Lady,' he answered. 'To tell you the truth, I wondered what you were talking about. I saw a star through your finger. But if you'll pardon my speaking out, I think my master was right. I wish you'd take his Ring. You'd put things to rights. You'd stop them digging up the gaffer and turning him adrift. You'd make some folk pay for their dirty work.'

(continues on Feb 15)

2. Gandalf returns to life, and lies in a trance.
(from the appendices)

......"'Naked I was sent back—for a brief time, until my task was done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top. The tower behind was crumbled into dust, the window gone; the ruined stair was choked with burned and broken stone. I was alone, forgotten, without escape upon the hard horn of the world. There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over, and each day was as long as a life-age of the earth. Faint to my ears came the gathered rumour of all lands: the springing and the dying, the song and the weeping, and the slow everlasting groan of over-burdened stone....'"


February 14, 3020 (S.R. 1420)

(not in the appendices-no text)
The Shire continues to heal the hurts to the land, home and hearth caused by Sharkey and his minions.