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, October 31, 2004

TIME October 31st

Today in Middle-earth

Peter was born on Haloween 1961 in Pukerua Bay, New Zealand.

Happy Birthday Peter Jackson!!

There are only 30 days in the Shire Reckoning... but it's Peter's day... so we'll create an extra one just for him!
(pssst, Peter... hurry up with that monkey movie! I can't wait to see it... but you've got another hobbity movie to make ;)

October 31, 3018 (S.R. 1418)

(not in the appendices)
The hobbits rest in Rivendell.
[I'm repeating this cuz I really, really like it!!]

...... "For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song."

October 31, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not in the appendices – continuing October 30th post)

...... "The hobbits as the gate still seemed ill at ease, evidently some rule or other was being broken; but there was no gainsaying four such masterful travellers, all armed, and two of the uncommonly large and strong-looking. Frodo ordered the gates to be locked again. There was some sense at any rate in keeping a guard, while ruffians were still about. Then the four companions went into the hobbit guard-house and made themselves as comfortable as they could. It was a bare and ugly place, with a mean little grate that would not allow a good fire. In the upper rooms were little rows of hard beds, and on every wall there was a notice and a list of Rules. Pippin tore them down. There was no beer and very little food, but with what the travellers brought and shared out they all made a fair meal; and Pippin broke Rule 4 by putting most of the next day's allowance of wood on the fire.
...... 'Well now, what about a smoke, while you tell us what has been happening in the Shire?' he said.
...... 'There isn't no pipe-weed now,' said Hob; 'at least only for the Chief's men. All the stocks seem to have gone. We do hear that waggon-loads of it went away down the old road out of the Southfarthing, over Sarn Ford way. That would be the end o' last year, after you left. But it had been going away quietly before that, in a small way. That Lotho----'
......'Now you shut up, Hob Hayward!' cried several of the others. 'You know talk o' that sort isn't allowed. The Chief will hear of it, and we'll all be in trouble.'
......'He wouldn't hear naught, if some of you where weren't sneaks,' rejoined Hob hotly.
...... 'All right, all right!' said Sam. 'That's quite enough. I don't want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead. I hoped to have a rest, but I can see there's work and trouble ahead. Let's sleep and forget it till morning!'"

October 31, 3021 (S.R. 1421)

As the Shire recovers from its wounds.

(not in the appendices-no text)

...... Rosie watches Sam as he quietly leads in the renewal of the Shire, tends to their gardens outside the windows of Bag End, and delights in play with baby Elanor; but she also sees him as he stands in the garden resting heavily against the hoe looking to the distant west beyond the mountains and across the sea.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

TIME October 30th

Today in Middle-earth... and a heads-up on Peter's birthday tomorrow :) BE PREPARED!!!

October 30, 3018 (S.R. 1418)

(not in the appendices-no text)
The hobbits rest in Rivendell.

October 30, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
1. They leave Bree.

...... "The Bree folk were all out to see them off, and were in merrier mood than they had been for a year; and those who had not seen the strangers in all their gear before gaped with wonder at them: at Gandalf with his white beard, and the light that seemed to gleam from him, as if his blue mantle was only a cloud over sunshine; and at the four hobbits like riders upon errantry out of almost forgotten tales. Even those who had laughed at all the talk about the King began to think there might be some truth in it.
...... 'Well, good luck on your road, and good luck to your home-coming!' said Mr. Butterbur. 'I should have warned you before that all's not well in the Shire neither, if what we hear is true. Funny goings on, they say. But one thing drives out another, and I was full of my own troubles. But if I may be so bold, you've come back changed from your travels, and you look now like folk as can deal with troubles out of hand. I don't doubt you'll soon set all to rights. Good luck to you! And the oftener you come back the better I'll be pleased....'"

......'...I wonder what old Barliman was hinting at,' said Frodo.
...... 'I can guess some of it,' said Sam gloomily. 'What I saw in the Mirror: trees cut down and all, and my old gaffer turned out of the Row. I ought to have hurried back quicker....'

2. The 'Travellers' come to the Brandywine Bridge at dark.
(from the appendices)

...... "It was after nightfall when, wet and tired, the travellers came at last to the Brandywine, and they found the way barred. At either end of the Bridge there was a great spiked gate; and on the further side of the river they could see that some new houses had been built: two-storeyed with narrow straight-sided windows, bare and dimly lit, and very gloomy and un-Shirelike.
......They hammered on the outer gate and called, but there was at first no answer; and then to their surprise someone blew a horn, and the lights in the windows went out. A voice shouted in the dark:
......'Who's that? Be off! You can't come in. Can't you read the notice: No admittance between sundown and sunrise?'
......'Of course we can't read the notice in the dark,' Sam shouted back. 'And if hobbits of the Shire are to be kept out in the wet on a night like this, I'll tear down your notice when I find it.'

......... Merry and Pippin climbed the gate, and the hobbits fled. Another horn sounded. Out of the bigger house on the right a large heavy figure appeared against a light in the doorway.
...... 'What's all this,' he snarled as he came forward. 'Gate-breaking? You clear out, or I'll break your filthy little necks!' Then he stopped, for he had caught the gleam of swords.
......'Bill Ferny,' said Merry, 'if you don't open that gate in ten seconds, you'll regret it. I shall set steel to you, if you don't obey. And when you have opened the gates you will go through them and never return. You are a ruffian and a highway-robber.'
......Bill Ferny flinched and shuffled to the gate and unlocked it. 'Give me the key!' said Merry. But the ruffian flung it at his head and then darted out into the darkness. As he passed the ponies one of them let fly with his heels and just caught him as he ran. He went off with a yelp into the night and was never heard of again.
......'Neat work, Bill,' said Sam..."

Friday, October 29, 2004

TIME October 29th

Today in Middle-earth.

October 29, 3018 (S.R. 1418)

(not from the appendices)
The hobbits rest in Rivendell.

...... "For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think of the past journey and of the perils that lay ahead; but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song."

October 29, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not from the appendices)
The company pause in Bree at the Prancing Pony.

...... "...Mr. Butterbur could not complain of his business next evening at any rate. Curiosity overcame all fears, and his house was crowded. For a while out of politeness the hobbits visited the Common Room in the evening and answered a good many questions. Bree memories being retentive, Frodo was asked many times if he had written his book.
...... 'Not yet,' he answered. 'I am going home now to put my notes in order.' He promised to deal with the amazing events at Bree, and so give a bit of interest to a book that appeared likely to treat mostly of the remote and less important affairs 'away south'.
...... Then one of the younger folk called for a song. But at that a hush fell, and he was frowned down, and the call was not repeated. Evidently there was no wish for any uncanny events in the Common Room again."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

TIME October 28th

Today in Middle-earth.

October 28, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(from the appendices)
They reach Bree at nightfall.

...... "'So it was that near the end of a wild and wet evening in the last days of October the five travellers rode up the climbing road and came to the South-gate of Bree. It was locked fast; and the rain blew in their faces, and in the darkening sky low clouds went hurrying by, and their hearts sank a little, for they had expected more welcome.
...... When they had called many times, at last the Gate-keeper came out, and they saw that he carried a great cudgel. He looked at them with fear and suspicion; but when he saw that Gandalf was there, and that his companions were hobbits, in spite of their strange gear, then he brightened and wished them welcome.
......'Come in!' he said unlocking the gate. 'We won't stay for news out here in the cold and the wet, a ruffianly evening. But old Barley will no doubt give you a welcome at The Pony, and there you'll hear all there is to hear....' ...When they came to Bill Ferny's house they saw that the hedge there was tattered and unkempt, and the windows were all boarded up.
...... 'Do you think you killed him with that apple, Sam?' said Pippin.
...... 'I'm not so hopeful, Mr. Pippin,' said Sam. 'But I'd like to know what became of that poor pony. He's been on my mind many a time, and the wolves howling and all.'
...... At last they came to The Prancing Pony, and that at least looked outwardly unchanged; and there were lights behind the red curtains in the lower windows. They rang the bell, and Nob came to the door, and opened it a crack and peeped through; and when he saw them standing under the lamp he gave a cry of surprise.
...... 'Mr. Butterbur! Master!' he shouted. 'They've come back!'
...... 'Oh have they? I'll learn them,' came Butterbur's voice, and out he came with a rush, and he had a club in his hand. But when he saw who they were he stopped short, and the black scowl on his face changed to wonder and delight.
...... 'Nob, you wooly-pated ninny!' he cried. 'Can't you give old friends their names? You shouldn't go scaring me like that, with times as they are. Well, well! And where have you come from? I never expected to see any of you folk again, and that's a fact: going off into the Wild with that Strider, and all those Black Men about. But I'm right glad to see you, and none more than Gandalf. Come in! Come in...!'
...... He led them down the passage to the parlour that they had used on that strange night more than a year ago; and they followed him, a little disquieted, for it seemed plain to them that old Barliman was putting a brave face on....
...... '...You see, we're not used to such troubles; and the Rangers have all gone away, folk tell me. I don't think we've rightly understood till now what they did for us. For there's been worse than robbers about. Wolves were howling round the fences last winter. And there's dark shapes in the woods, dreadful things that it makes the blood run cold to think of. It's been very disturbing, if you understand me.'
...... 'I expect it has,' said Gandalf. 'Nearly all lands have been disturbed these days, very disturbed. But cheer up, Barliman! You have been on the edge of very great troubles, and I am only glad to hear that you have not been deeper in. But better times are coming. Maybe, better than you remember. The Rangers have returned. We came back with them. And there is a king again, Barliman. He will soon be turning his mind this way....'
...... '...Well, that sounds more hopeful, I'll allow,' said Butterbur. 'And it will be good for business, no doubt. So long as he lets Bree alone.'
......'He will,' said Gandalf. 'He knows it and loves it.'
......'Does he now?' said Butterbur looking puzzled. 'Though I'm sure I don't know why he should, sitting in his big chair up in his great castle, hundreds of miles away. And drinking wine out of a golden cup, I shouldn't wonder. What's The Pony to him, or mugs o' beer? Not but what my beers good, Gandalf. It's been uncommon good, since you came in the autumn of last year and put a good word on it. And that's been a comfort in trouble, I will say.'
......'Ah!' said Sam. 'But he says your beer is always good.'
...... 'He says?'
...... 'Of course he does. He's Strider. The chief of the Rangers. Haven't you got that into your head yet?'
......It went in at last, and Butterbur's face was a study in wonder. The eyes in his broad face grew round, and his mouth opened wide, and he gasped. 'Strider!' he exclaimed when he got back his breath. 'Him with a crown and all and a golden cup! Well, what are we coming to?'
...... 'Better times, for Bree at any rate,' said Gandalf.
...... 'I hope so, I'm sure,' said Butterbur.... '...Nob, you slowcoach!'
...... 'Nob!' he said to himself, slapping his forehead. 'Now what does that remind me of?'
......'Not another letter you've forgotten, I hope, Mr. Butterbur?' said Merry.
...... 'Now, now, Mr. Brandybuck, don't go reminding me of that! But there, you've broken my thought. Now where was I? Nob, stables, ah! that was it. I've something that belongs to you. If you recollect Bill Ferny and the horse-thieving: his pony as you bought, well, it's here. Come back all of itself, it did. But where it had been to you know better than me. It was as shaggy as an old dog and as lean as a clothes-rail, but it was alive. Nob's looked after it.'
...... 'What! My Bill?' cried Sam. 'Well, I was born lucky, whatever my gaffer may say. There's another wish come true! Where is he?' Sam would not go to bed until he had visited Bill in his stable."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

October 27th BS

We're gonna have more Book Spoilers for a while with a spattering of TIME here and there... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The Black Gate Is Closed: The Two Towers

...... "'Well, here we are!' said Sam. 'Here's the Gate, and it looks to me as if that's about as far as we are ever going to get. My word, but the Gaffer would have a thing or two to say, if he saw me now! Often said I'd come to a bad end, if I didn't watch my step, he did. But now I don't suppose I'll ever see the old fellow again. He'll miss his chance of I told 'ee so, Sam: more's the pity. He could go on telling me as long as he'd got breath, if only I could see his old face again. But I'd have to get a wash first, or he wouldn't know me.
...... 'I suppose it's no good asking "what way do we go now?" We can't go no further—unless we want to ask the Orcs for a lift.'
...... 'No, no!' said Gollum. 'No use. We can't go further. Sméagol said so. He said: we'll go to the Gate, and then we'll see. And we do see. O yes, my precious, we do see. Sméagol knew hobbits could not go this way. O yes, Sméagol knew.'
...... 'Then what the plague did you bring us here for?' said Sam, not feeling in the mood to be just or reasonable.
...... 'Master said so. Master says: Bring us to the Gate. So good Sméagol does so. Master said so, wise master.'
...... 'I did,' said Frodo His face was grim and set, but resolute. He was filthy, haggard, and pinched with weariness, but he cowered no longer, and his eyes were clear. 'I said so, because I purpose to enter Mordor, and I know no other way. Therefore I shall go this way. I do not ask anyone to go with me.'
...... 'No, no, master! wailed Gollum, pawing at him, and seeming in great distress. 'No use that way! No use! Don't take the Precious to Him! He'll eat us all, if He gets it, eat all the world. Keep it, nice master, and be kind to Sméagol. Don't let Him have it. Or go away, go to nice places, and give it back to little Sméagol. Yes, yes, master: give it back, eh? Sméagol will keep it safe; he will do lots of good, especially to nice hobbits. Hobbits go home. Don't go to the Gate!'
...... 'I am commanded to go to the land of Mordor, and therefore I shall go,' said Frodo. 'If there is only one way, then I must take it. What comes after must come.'
...... Sam said nothing. The look on Frodo's face was enough for him; he knew that words of his were useless. And after all he never had any real hope in the affair from the beginning; but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed. Now they were come to the bitter end. But he had stuck to his master all the way; that was what he had chiefly come for, and he would still stick to him. His master would not go to Mordor alone. Sam would go with him—and at any rate they would get rid of Gollum.
...... Gollum, however, did not intend to be got rid of, yet. He knelt at Frodo's feet, wringing his hands and squeaking. 'Not this way, master!' he pleaded. 'There is another way. O yes indeed there is. Another way, darker, more difficult to find, more secret. But Sméagol knows it. Let Sméagol show you!'
...... 'Another way!' said Frodo doubtfully, looking down at Gollum with searching eyes.
...... 'Yess! Yess indeed! There was another way. Sméagol found it. Let's go and see if it's still there.'
...... 'You have not spoken of this before.'
...... 'No. Master did not ask. Master did not say what he meant to do. He does not tell poor Sméagol. He says: Sméagol, take me to the Gate—and then good-bye! Sméagol can run away and be good. But now he says: I purpose to enter Mordor this way. So Sméagol is very afraid. He does not want to lose nice master. And he promised, master made him promise, to save the Precious. But master is going to take it to Him, straight to the Black Hand, if master will go this way. So Sméagol must save them both, and he thinks of another way that there was, once upon a time. Nice master. Sméagol very good, always helps.'"

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

October 26th BS

(Happy Birthday Ralph Bakshi)

This is a continuation of the October 25th post. There's nothing for several weeks to report as the Fellowship rests and prepares to begin their quest. But I just love this exchange between the hobbits following the Council's decision. It says so much about them... and so becomes our Book Spoiler and moment of Tolkien-zen.

October 25, 3018 (S.R. 1418)

(not from the appendices)—CONTINUED after the Council of Elrond]

......"Later that day the hobbits held a meeting of their own in Bilbo's room. Merry and Pippin were indignant when they heard that Sam had crept into the Council, and he had been chosen as Frodo's companion.
...... 'It's most unfair,' said Pippin. 'Instead of throwing him out, and clapping him in chains, Elrond goes and rewards him for his cheek!'
......'Rewards!' said Frodo. 'I can't imagine a more severe punishment. You are not thinking what you are saying: condemned to go on this hopeless journey, a reward? Yesterday I dreamed that my task was done, and I could rest here, a long while, perhaps for good.'
...... 'I don't wonder,' said Merry, 'and I wish you could. But we are envying Sam, not you. If you have to go, then it will be a punishment for any of us to be left behind, even in Rivendell. We have come a long way with you and have been through some stiff times. We want to go on.'
......'That's what I meant, said Pippin. 'We hobbits ought to stick together, and we will. I shall go, unless they chain me up. There must be someone with intelligence in the party.'
......'Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!' said Gandalf, looking in through the window, which was near the ground. 'But you are all worrying yourselves unnecessarily. Nothing is decided yet.'
......'Nothing decided!' cried Pippin. 'Then what were you all doing? You were shut up for hours.'
...... 'Talking,' said Bilbo. 'There was a deal of talk, and everyone had an eye-opener. Even old Gandalf. I think Legolas's bit of news about Gollum caught even him on the hop, though he passed it off.'
......'You were wrong,' said Gandalf. 'You were inattentive. I had already heard of it from Gwaihir. If you want to know, the only real eye-openers, as you put it, were you and Frodo; and I was the only one that was not surprised.'
...... 'Well, anyway,' said Bilbo, 'nothing was decided beyond choosing poor Frodo and Sam. I was afraid all the time that it might come to that, if I was let off. But if you ask me, Elrond will send out a fair number, when the reports come in. Have they started yet, Gandalf?'
......'Yes,' said the wizard. 'Some of the scouts have been sent out already. More will go tomorrow. Elrond is sending Elves, and they will get in touch with the Rangers, and maybe with Tranduil's folk in Mirkwood. And Aragorn has gone with Elrond's sons. We shall have to scout the lands all round for many long leagues before any move is made. So cheer up, Frodo! You will probably make quite a long stay here.'
......'Ah!' said Sam gloomily. 'We'll just wait long enough for winter to come.'
......'That can't be helped,' said Bilbo. 'It's your fault partly Frodo my lad: insisting on waiting for my birthday. A funny way of honouring it, I can't help thinking. Not the day I should have chosen for letting the S.-Bs. into Bag End. But there it is: you can't wait now till spring; and you can't go till the reports come back.

...... When winter first begins to bite
.......... and stones crack in the frosty night,
...... when pools are black and trees are bare,
.......... 'tis evil in the Wild to fare.

But that I am afraid will be just your luck.'
...... 'I am afraid it will,' said Gandalf. 'We can't start until we have found out about the Riders.'
...... 'I thought they were all destroyed in the flood,' said Merry.
...... 'You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that,' said Gandalf. 'The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him. We hope that they were all unhorsed and unmasked, and so made for a while less dangerous; but we must find out for certain. In the meantime you should try and forget your troubles, Frodo. I do not know if I can do anything to help you; but I will whisper this in your ears. Someone said that intelligence would be needed in the party. He was right. I think I shall come with you.'

...... So great was Frodo's delight at this announcement that Gandalf left the window-sill, where he had been sitting, and took off his hat and bowed. 'I only said I think I shall come. Do not count on anything yet. In this matter Elrond will have much to say, and your friend the Strider."

Monday, October 25, 2004

TIME October 25th - The Council of Elrond

Today in Middle-earth.

(It's rather chopped up, I'm afraid. The Council of Elrond is a lengthy, long day for all... so I've touched on parts of it. Mayhaps it'll inspire some to pick up the book ;)

October 25, 3018 (S.R. 1418)

(from the appendices)
Council of Elrond.

...... "Suddenly as they were talking a single clear bell rang out. 'That is the warning bell for the Council of Elrond,' cried Gandalf. 'Come along now! Both you and Bilbo are wanted.'
...... Frodo and Bilbo followed the wizard quickly along the winding path back to the house; behind them, uninvited and for the moment forgotten, trotted Sam...
...... ...Elrond was there, and several others were seated in silence about him. Frodo saw Glorfindel and Glóin; and in a corner alone Strider was sitting, clad in his old travel-worn clothes again. Elrond drew Frodo to a seat by his side, and presented him to the company, saying:
...... 'Here, my friends, is the hobbit, Frodo son of Drogo. Few have ever come hither through greater peril or on an errand more urgent...' ...And seated a little apart was a tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey-eyed, proud and stern of glance... ...He gazed at Frodo and Bilbo with sudden wonder.
.........The all listened while Elrond in his clear voice spoke of Sauron and the Rings of Power, and their forging in the Second Age of the world long ago....

...... '...What shall we do with the Ring, the least of rings, the trifle that Sauron fancies? That is the doom that we must deem.
...... 'That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world....'

...... ...Boromir stood up, tall and proud, before them.... '...In this evil hour I have come on an errand over many dangerous leagues to Elrond... ...a dream came to my brother in a troubled sleep; and afterwards a like dream came oft to him again, and once to me. 'In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying: Seek for the Sword that was broken: In Imladris it dwells; There shall be counsel taken Stronger than Morgul-spells. There shall be shown a token That Doom is near at hand, For Isildur's Bane shall waken, And the Halfling forth shall stand. Of these words we could understand little, and we spoke to our father, Denethor, Lord of Minas Tirith, wise in the lore of Gondor. This only would he say, that Imladris was of old the name among the Elves of a far northern dale, where Elrond and Halfelven dwelt, greatest of lore-masters. Therefore my brother, seeing how desperate was our need, was eager to heed the dream and seek for Imladris; but since the way was full of doubt and danger, I took the journey upon myself. Loth was my father to give me leave, and long have I wandered by roads forgotten, seeking the house of Elrond, of which many had heard, but few knew where it lay.
...... 'In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsel taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.

...... '...My brother, seeing how desperate was our need, was eager to heed the dream and seek for Imladris; but since the way was full of doubt and danger, I took the journey upon myself....'

...... '[Gandalf]...Soon I became aware that spies of many sorts, even beasts and birds, were gathered round the Shire, and fear grew. I called for the help of the Dúnedain, and their watch was doubled; and I opened my heart to Aragorn, the heir of Isildur.'
...... 'And I,' said Aragorn, 'counselled that we should hunt for Gollum, too late though it may seem. And since all seemed fit that Isildur's heir should labour to repair Isildur's fault, I went with Gandalf on the long and hopeless search.'
...... Then Gandalf told how they had explored the whole length of Wilderland, down even to the Mountains of Shadow and the fences of Mordor. 'There we had rumour of him, and we guess that he dwelt there long in the dark hills; but we never found him, and at last I despaired. And then in my despair I thought again of a test that might make the finding of Gollum unneeded. The ring itself might tell if it were the One. The memory of words at the Council came back to me: words of Saruman, half-heeded at the time. I heard them now clearly in my heart.
...... '"The Nine, the Seven, and the Three," he said, "had each their proper gem. Not so the One. It was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings; but its maker set marks upon it that the skilled, maybe, could still see and read..."

...... 'Very well, very well, Master Elrond!' said Bilbo suddenly. 'Say no more! It is plain enough what you are pointing at. Bilbo the silly hobbit started this affair, and Bilbo had better finish it, or himself. I was very comfortable here, and getting on with my book. If you want to know, I am just writing an ending for it. I had thought of putting: and he lived happily ever afterwards to the end of his days. It is a good ending, and none the worse for having been used before. Now I shall have to alter that: it does not look like coming true; and anyway there will evidently have to be several more chapters, if I live to write them. It is a frightful nuisance. When ought I to start?'
...... Boromir looked in surprise at Bilbo, but the laughter died on his lips when he saw that all the others regarded the old hobbit with grave respect. Only Glóin smiled, but his smile came from old memories.'
...... 'Of course, my dear Bilbo,' said Gandalf. 'If you had really started this affair, you might be expected to finish it. But you know well enough now that starting is too great a claim for any, and that only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.'

...... ...The noon-bell rang. Still no one spoke. Frodo glanced at all the faces, but they were not turned to him. All the Council sat with downcast eyes, as if in deep thought. A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.
...... 'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way.'"

Sunday, October 24, 2004

TIME October 24th (Frodo wakes)

Today in Middle-earth.

October 24, 3018 (S.R. 1418)

(from the appendices)
1. Frodo recovers and wakes.

...... "Frodo woke and found himself lying in bed. At first he thought that he had slept late, after a long unpleasant dream that still hovered on the edge of memory... '...Where am I, and what is the time?' he said aloud to the ceiling.
...... 'In the house of Elrond, and it is ten o'clock in the morning,' said a voice. 'It is the morning of October the twenty-fourth, if you want to know.'
...... 'Gandalf!' cried Frodo, sitting up. There was the old wizard, sitting in a chair by the open window.
...... 'Yes,' he said, 'I am here. And you are lucky to be here, too, after all the absurd things you have done since you left home...'
...... '...Where is Sam?' Frodo asked at length. 'And are the others all right?'
...... 'Yes, they are all safe and sound,' answered Gandalf. Sam was here until I sent him off to get some rest, about half an hour ago.'
...... 'What happened at the Ford?' said Frodo. 'It all seemed so dim, somehow; and it still does.'
...... 'Yes, it would. You were beginning to fade,' answered Gandalf. 'The wound was overcoming you at last. A few more hours and you would have been beyond our aid. But you have some strength in you, my dear hobbit! As you showed in the Barrow. That was touch and go: perhaps the most dangerous moment of all. I wish you could have held out at Weathertop.'
...... 'We should never have done it without Strider,' said Frodo. 'But we needed you. I did not know what to do without you.'
...... 'I was delayed,' said Gandalf, 'and that nearly proved our ruin. And yet I am not sure: it may have been better so.'
......'I wish you would tell me what happened!'
...... 'All in good time! You are not supposed to talk or worry about anything today, by Elrond's orders.'
...... 'But talking would stop me thinking and wondering, which are quite as tiring,' said Frodo. 'I am wide awake now, and I remember so many things that want explaining. Why were you delayed? You ought to tell me that at least.'
...... 'You will hear all you wish to know,' said Gandalf. 'We shall have council, as soon as you are well enough. At the moment I will only say that I was held captive.'
...... 'You?' cried Frodo.
...... 'Yes, I, Gandalf the Grey,' said the wizard solemnly. 'There are many powers in the world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming. The Morgul-lord and his Black Riders have come forth. War in preparing!'
...... 'Then you knew of the Riders already—before I met them?'
...... 'Yes, I knew of them. Indeed I spoke of them once to you; for the Black Riders are the Ringwraiths, the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings. But I did not know that they had arisen again or I should have fled with you at once. I heard news of them only after I left you in June; but that story must wait. For the moment we have been saved from disaster, by Aragorn.'
...... 'Yes,' said Frodo, 'it was Strider that saved us. Yet I was afraid of him at first. Sam never quite trusted him, I think, not at any rate until we met Glorfindel.'
...... Gandalf smiled. 'I have heard all about Sam,' he said. 'He has no more doubts now.'
......'I am glad,' said Frodo. 'For I have become very fond of Strider. Well, fond is not the right word. I mean that he is dear to me; though he is strange, and grim at times. In fact, he reminds me often of you. I didn't know that any of the Big People were like that. I thought, well, that they were just big, and rather stupid: kind and stupid like Butterbur; or stupid and wicked like Bill Ferny. But then we don't know much about Men in the Shire, except perhaps the Breelanders.'
...... 'You don't know much even about them, if you think old Barliman is stupid,' said Gandalf. 'He is wise enough on his own ground. He thinks less than he talks, and slower; yet he can see through a brick wall in time (as they say in Bree). But there are few left in Middle-earth like Aragorn son of Arathorn. The race of the Kings from over the Sea is nearly at an end. It may be that this War of the Ring will be their last adventure.'
...... 'Do you really mean that Strider is one of the people of the old Kings?' said Frodo in wonder. 'I thought they had all vanished long ago. I thought he was only a Ranger.'
...... 'Only a Ranger!' cried Gandalf. 'My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West. They have helped me before; and I shall need their help in the days to come; for we have reached Rivendell, but the Ring is not yet at rest.'

...... '...How do the side and shoulder feel now?'
...... 'I don't know,' Frodo answered. 'They don't feel at all: which is an improvement, but'—he made an effort—'I can move my arm again a little. Yes, it is coming back to life. It is not cold,' he added, touching his left hand with his right.
...... 'Good!' said Gandalf. 'It is mending fast. You will soon be sound again. Elrond has cured you: he has tended you for days, ever since you were brought in.'
...... 'Days?' said Frodo.
...... 'Well, four nights and three days, to be exact. The Elves brought you from the Ford on the night of the twentieth, and that is where you lost count. We have been very anxious, and Sam has hardly left your side, day or night, except to run messages. Elrond is a master of healing, but the weapons of our Enemy are deadly. To tell you the truth, I had very little hope; for I suspected that there was some fragment of the blade still in the closed wound. But it could not be found until last night. Then Elrond removed a splinter. It was deeply buried, and it was working inwards.... ...It is gone now. It has been melted. And it seems that Hobbits fade very reluctantly. I have known strong warriors of the Big People who would quickly have been overcome by that splinter, which you bore for seventeen days....'

...... 'What about Rivendell and the Elves? Is Rivendell safe?'
...... 'Yes, at present, until all else is conquered. The Elves may fear the Dark Lord, and they may fly before him, but never again will they listen to him or serve him. And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes; the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.'
...... 'I thought I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?'
...... 'Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the First-born. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes. Indeed there is a power in Rivendell to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while and elsewhere other powers still dwell. There is power, too, of another kind in the Shire. But all such places will soon become islands under siege if things go on as they are going. The Dark Lord is putting forth all his strength.
...... 'Still,' he said, standing suddenly up and sticking out his chin, while his beard went stiff and straight like bristling wire, 'we must keep up our courage. You will soon be well, if I do not talk you to death. You are in Rivendell, and you need not worry about anything for the present.'
...... 'I haven't any courage to keep up,' said Frodo, 'but I am not worried at the moment. Just give me news of my friends, and tell me the end of the affair at the Ford, as I keep on asking, and I shall be content for the present. After that I shall have another sleep, I think; but I shan't be able to close my eyes until you have finished the story for me.'
...... Gandalf moved his chair to the bedside, and took a good look at Frodo. The colour had come back to his face and his eyes were clear, and fully awake and aware. He was smiling, and there seemed to be little wrong with him. But to the wizard's eye there was a faint change, just a hint as it were of transparency, about him, and especially about the left hand that lay outside upon the coverlet.
...... 'Still that must be expected,' said Gandalf to himself. 'He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can....'"

...... As the evening drew on, Frodo woke up again, and he found that he no longer felt in need of rest or sleep, but had a mind for food and drink, and probably for singing and story-telling afterwards. He got out of bed and discovered that his arm was already nearly as useful again as it had ever been. He found laid ready clean garments of green cloth that fitted him excellently. Looking in a mirror he was startled to see a much thinner reflection of himself than he remembered: it looked remarkably like the young nephew of Bilbo who used to go tramping with his uncle in the Shire; but the eyes looked out at him thoughtfully.
...... 'Yes, you have seen a thing or two since you last peeped out of a looking-glass,' he said to his reflection. 'But now for a merry meeting!' He stretched out his arms and whistled a tune.
......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.'
......'I am ready,' said Frodo. 'Let's go and look for the rest of the party!'

...... "'...Hurray!' cried Pippin, springing up. 'Here is our noble cousin! Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!'
...... 'Hush!' said Gandalf from the shadows at the back of the porch. 'Evil things do not come into this valley; but all the same we should not name them. The Lord of the Ring is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower of Mordor whose power is again stretching out over the world! We are sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting dark.'
...... 'Gandalf has been saying many cheerful things like that,' said Pippin. 'He thinks I need keeping in order...'"

2. Boromir arrives in Rivendell at night.

...... "...a tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey-eyed, proud and stern of glance. He was cloaked and booted as if for a journey on horseback; and indeed though his garments were rich, and his cloak was lined with fur, they were stained with long travel. He had a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set; his locks were shorn about his shoulders. On a baldric he wore a great horn tipped with silver...."

October 24, 3019 (S.R. 1419)

(not from the appendices-no text)
Gandalf and the hobbits make their way to Bree after passing Weathertop.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

October 23rd BS

Book Spoilers, fersher... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From The House of Tom Bombadil: The Fellowship of the Ring.

...... "Frodo could not help asking one more question: the one he most desired to have answered. 'Tell us, Master,' he said, 'about the Willow-Man. What is he? I have never heard of him before.'
......'No, don't!' said Merry and Pippin together, sitting suddenly upright. 'Not now! Not until the morning!'
...... 'That is right!' said the old man. 'Now is the time for resting. Some things are ill to hear when the world's in shadow. Sleep till the morning light, rest on the pillow! Heed no nightly noise! Fear no grey willow!' And with that he took down the lamp and blew it out, and grasping a candle in either hand he led them out of the room.
...... Their mattresses and pillows were soft as down, and the blankets were of white wool. They had hardly laid themselves on the deep beds and drawn the light covers over them before they were asleep.

...... In the dead night, Frodo lay in a dream without light. Then he saw the young moon rising; under its thin light there loomed before him a black wall of rock, pierced by a dark arch like a great gate. It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up, and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a vast tower but not made by hands. On its top stood the figure of a man. The moon as it rose seemed to hang for a moment above his head and glistened in his white hair as the wind stirred it. Up from the dark plain below came the crying of fell voices, and the howling of many wolves. Suddenly a shadow, like the shape of great wings, passed across the moon. The figure lifted his arms and a light flashed from the staff that he wielded. A mighty eagle swept down and bore him away. The voices wailed and the wolves yammered. There was a noise like a strong wind blowing, and on it was borne the sound of hoofs, galloping, galloping, galloping from the East. 'Black Riders!' thought Frodo as he wakened, with the sound of the hoofs still echoing in his mind. He wondered if he would ever again have the courage to leave the safety of these stone walls. He lay motionless, still listening; but all was now silent, and at last he turned and fell asleep again or wandered into some other unremembered dream.
...... At his side Pippin lay dreaming pleasantly; but a change came over his dreams and he turned and groaned. Suddenly he woke, or thought he had waked, and yet still heard in the darkness the sound that had disturbed his dream: tip-tap, squeak: the noise was like branches fretting in the wind, twig-fingers scraping wall and window: creak, creak, creak. He wondered if there were willow-trees close to the house; and then suddenly he had a dreadful feeling that he was not in an ordinary house at all, but inside the willow and listening to that horrible dry creaking voice laughing at him again. He sat up, and felt the soft pillows yield to his hands, and he lay down again relieved. He seemed to hear the echo of words in his ears: 'Fear nothing!' Then he went to sleep again.
......It was the sound of water that Merry heard falling into his quiet sleep: water streaming down gently, and then spreading, spreading irresistibly all round the house into a dark shoreless pool. It gurgled under the walls, and was rising slowly but surely. 'I shall be drowned!' he thought. 'It will find its way in, and then I shall drown.' He felt that he was lying in a soft slimy bog, and springing up he set his foot on the corner of a cold hard flagstone. Then he remembered where he was and lay down again. He seemed to hear or remember hearing: 'Nothing passes doors or windows save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top.' A little breath of sweet air moved the curtain. He breathed deep and fell asleep again.
...... As far as he could remember, Sam slept through the night in deep content, if logs are contented."

Friday, October 22, 2004

October 22nd BS

How 'bout a Book Spoiler... for a moment of Tolkien-zen?

From A Journey in the Dark: The Fellowship of the Ring

......"Gandalf spared them one more mouthful each of the miruvor of Rivendell. When they had eaten some food he called a council.
...... 'We cannot, of course, go on again tonight,' he said. 'The attack on the Redhorn Gate has tired us out, and we must rest here for a while.'
...... 'And then where are we to go?' asked Frodo.
...... 'We still have our journey and our errand before us,' answered Gandalf. 'We have no choice but to go on, or to return to Rivendell.'
...... Pippin's face brightened visibly at the mere mention of return to Rivendell; Merry and Sam looked up hopefully. But Aragorn and Boromir made no sign. Frodo looked troubled.
......'I wish I was back there,' he said. 'But how can I return without shame—unless there is indeed no other way, and we are already defeated?'
......'You are right, Frodo,' said Gandalf: 'To go back is to admit defeat, and face worse defeat to come. If we go back now, then the Ring must remain there: and we shall not be able to set out again. Then sooner or later Rivendell will be besieged, and after a brief and bitter time it will be destroyed. The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would possess if the Ruling Ring was on their master's hand again'
...... 'Then we must go on, if there is a way,' said Frodo with a sigh. Sam sank back into gloom.
...... 'There is a way that we may attempt,' said Gandalf. 'I though from the beginning, when first I considered this journey, that we should try it. But it is not a pleasant way, and I have not spoken of it to the Company before. Aragorn was against it, until the pass over the mountains had at least been tried.'
...... 'If it is a worse road than the Redhorn Gate, then it must be evil indeed,' said Merry. 'But you had better tell us about it, and let us know the worst at once.'
...... 'The road that I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria,' said Gandalf. Only Gimli lifted up his head; a smouldering fire was in his eyes. On all the others a dread fell at the mention of that name. Even to the hobbits it was a legend of vague fear.
......'The road may lead to Moria, but how can we hope that it will lead through Moria?' said Aragorn darkly.
......'It is a name of ill omen,' said Boromir. 'Nor do I see the need to go there. If we cannot cross the mountains, let us journey southwards, until we come to the Gap of Rohan, where men are friendly to my people, taking the road that I followed on my way hither. Or we might pass by and cross the Isen into Langstrand and Lebennin, and so come to Gondor from the regions nigh to the sea.'
......'Things have changed since you came north, Boromir,' answered Gandalf. 'Did you not hear what I told you of Saruman? With him I may have business of my own ere all is over. But the Ring must not come near Isengard, if that an by any means be prevented. The Gap of Rohan is closed to us while we go with the Bearer."

Thursday, October 21, 2004

October 21st BS

......As Frodo has come to Rivendell and is under the care of Elrond and Gandalf, let's venture into a Book Spoiler. The first paragraph was one of Widfara's favourite passages... and one I wanted to share today... for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

From the Prologue: The Fellowship of the Ring

...... "The land was rich and kindly, and though it had long been deserted when they entered it, it and before been well tilled, and there the king had once had many farms, cornlands, vineyards, and woods.
...... Forty leagues it stretched from the Far Downs to the Brandywine Bridge, and fifty from the northern moors to the marshes in the south. The Hobbits named it the Shire, as the region of the authority of their Thain, and a district of well-ordered business; and there in that pleasant corner of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and they heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it.
...... At no time had Hobbits of any kind been warlike, and they had never fought among themselves. In olden days they had, of course, been often obliged to fight to maintain themselves in a hard world; but in Bilbo's time that was very ancient history. The last battle, before this story opens, and indeed the only one that had ever been fought within the borders of the Shire, was beyond living memory: The Battle of Greenfields, S.R. 1147, in which Bandobras Took routed an invasion of Orcs. Even the weather had grown milder, and the wolves that had once come ravening out of the North in bitter white winters were now only a grandfather's tale.
...... So, though there was still some store of weapons in the Shire, these were used mostly as trophies, hanging above the hearths or on walls, or gathered into the museum at Michel Delving. The Mathom-house it was called; for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort.
...... Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to it, difficult to daunt or to kill; and they were, perhaps, so unwearingly fond of good things not least because they could, when put to it, do without them, and could survive rough handling by grief, foe, or weather in a way that astonished those who did not know them well and looked no further than their bellies and their well-fed faces. Though slow to quarrel, and for sport killing nothing that lived, they were doughty at bay, and at need could still handle arms. They shot well with the bow, for they were keen-eyed and sure at the mark. Not only with bows and arrows. If any Hobbit stooped for a stone, it was well to get quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well."

We lost Wid this day two years ago. She was a cool breeze through the window :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Faces of Aragorn

Faces of Strider/Aragorn/Estel/Elessar/Elfstone/Telcontar/The Renewer/Isildur's Heir/Longshanks/Wing-foot/Dúnadan/Thorongil/Elessar Telcontar/King

Happy Birthday Viggo Mortensen

In honour of Viggo's birthday... a look at Aragorn. I still can't believe how he's made Aragorn's character BETTER than the text! Thank you, Viggo, for sharing in this adventure :)

...... "Suddenly Frodo noticed that a strange-looking weather-beaten man, sitting in the shadows near the wall, was also listening intently to the hobbit-talk. He had a tall tankard in front of him, and was smoking a long-stemmed pipe curiously carved. His legs were stretched out before him, showing high boots of supple leather that fitted him sell, but had seen much wear and were now caked with mud. A travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth was drawn close about him, and in spite of the heat of the room he wore a hood that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen as he watched the hobbits....
.........Frodo found that Strider was now looking at him, as if he had heard or guessed all that had been said. Presently, with a wave of his hand and a nod, he invited Frodo to come over and sit by him. As Frodo drew near he threw back his hood, showing a shaggy head of dark hair flecked with grey, and in a pale stern face a pair of keen grey eyes.
......'I am called Strider,' he said in a low voice. 'I am very pleased to meet you, Master—Underhill, if old Butterbur got your name right.'
......'He did,' said Frodo stiffly. He felt far from comfortable under the stare of those keen eyes.

......Frodo, Pippin, and Sam made their way back to the parlour. There was no light. Merry was not there, and their fire had burned low. It was not until they had puffed up the embers into a blaze and thrown on a couple of faggots that they discovered Strider had come with them. There he was calmly sitting in a chair by the door!
......'Hallo!' said Pippin. 'Who are you, and what do you want?'
......'I am called Strider,' he answered: 'and though he may have forgotten it, your friend promised to have a quiet talk with me.'
......'You said I might hear something to my advantage, I believe,' said Frodo. 'What have you to say?'
......'Several things,' answered Strider. 'But, of course, I have my price.'
......'What do you mean?' asked Frodo sharply.
...... 'Don't be alarmed! I mean just this: I will tell you what I know, and give you some good advice—but I shall want a reward.'
......'And what will that be, pray?' said Frodo. He suspected now that he had fallen in with a rascal, and he thought uncomfortably that he had brought only a little money with him. All of it would hardly satisfy a rogue, and he could not spare any of it.
......'No more than you can afford,' answered Strider with a slow smile, as if he guessed Frodo's thoughts.
......'Just this: you must take me along with you, until I wish to leave you.'
......'Oh, indeed!' replied Frodo, surprised, but not much relieved. 'Even if I wanted another companion, I should not agree to any such thing, until I knew a good deal more about you, and your business.'
......'Excellent!' exclaimed Strider, crossing his legs and sitting back comfortably. 'You seem to be coming to your senses again, and that is all to the good. You have been much too careless so far. Very well! I will tell you what I know, and leave the reward to you. You may be glad to grant it, when you have heard me.'
......'...You can do as you like about my reward: take me as a guide or not. But I may say that I know all the lands between the Shire and the Misty Mountains, for I have wandered over them for many years. I am older than I look. I might prove useful. You will have to leave the open road after tonight; for the horsemen will watch it night and day. You may escape from Bree, and be allowed to go forward while the Sun is up; but you won't go far. They will come on you in the wild, in some dark place where there is no help. Do you wish them to find you? They are terrible!'
......The hobbits looked at him, and saw with surprise that his face was drawn as if with pain, and his hands clenched the arms of his chair. The room was very quiet and still, and the light seemed to have grown dim. For a while he sat with unseeing eyes as if walking in distant memory or listening to sounds in the Night far away.

All that is gold does not glitter,
......Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
......Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
...... A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
...... the crownless again shall be king.

......'I was too careless on the hill-top,' answered Strider. 'I was very anxious to find some sign of Gandalf; but it was a mistake for three of us to go up and stand there so long. For the black horses can see, and the Riders can use men and other creatures as spies, as we found at Bree. They themselves do not see the world of light as we do, but our shapes cast shadows in their minds, which only the noon sun destroys; and in the dark they perceive many signs and forms that are hidden from us: then they are most to be feared. And at all times they smell the blood of living things, desiring and hating it. Senses, too, there are other than sight or smell. We can feel their presence—it troubled hour hearts, as soon as we came here, and before we saw them; they feel ours more keenly. Also,' he added, and his voice sank to a whisper, 'the Ring draws them.'
......'Is there no escape then?' said Frodo, looking round wildly. 'If I move I shall be seen and hunted! If I stay, I shall draw them to me!'
...... Strider laid his hand on his shoulder. 'There is still hope,' he said. 'You are not alone. Let us take this wood that is set ready for the fire as a sign. There is little shelter or defence here, but fire shall serve for both. Sauron can put fire to his evil uses, as he can all things, but these Riders do not love it, and fear those who wield it. Fire is our friend in the wilderness.'
......'Maybe,' muttered Sam. 'It is also as good a way of saying "here we are" as I can think of, bar shouting.'

...... Frodo and his companions huddled round the fire, wrapped in every garment and blanket they possessed; but Strider was content with a single cloak, and sat a little apart, drawing thoughtfully at his pipe.
...... As night fell and the light of the fire began to shine out brightly he began to tell them tales to keep their minds from fear. He knew many histories and legends of long ago, of Elves and Men and the good and evil deeds of the Elder Days. They wondered how old he was, and where he had learned all this lore.

......Strider walked forward unconcernedly. 'Get up, old stone!' he said, and broke his stick upon the stooping troll.
...... Nothing happened. There was a gasp of astonishment from the hobbits, and then even Frodo laughed. 'Well!' he said. 'We are forgetting our family history! These must be the very three that were caught by Gandalf, quarrelling over the right way to cook thirteen dwarves and one hobbit.'
......'I had no idea we were anywhere near the place!' said Pippin. He knew the story well. Bilbo and Frodo had told it often; but as a matter of fact he had never more than half believed it. Even now he looked at the stone trolls with suspicion, wondering if some magic might not suddenly bring them to life again.
...... 'You are forgetting not only your family history, but all you ever knew about trolls,' said Strider. 'It is broad daylight with a bright sun, and yet you come back trying to scare me with a tale of live trolls waiting for us in this glade! In any case you might have noticed that one of them has an old bird's nest behind his ear. That would be a most unusual ornament for a live troll!'

......'Do you really mean that Strider is one of the people of the old Kings?' said Frodo in wonder. 'I thought they had all vanished long ago. I thought he was only a Ranger.'
......'Only a Ranger!' cried Gandalf. 'My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West. They have helped me before; and I shall need their help in the days to come; for we have reached Rivendell, but the Ring is not yet at rest.'

......They were so deep in the doings of the Four Farthings that they did not notice the arrival of a man clad in dark green cloth. For many minutes he stood looking down at them with a smile.
......Suddenly Bilbo looked up. 'Ah, there you are at last, Dúnadan!' he cried.
......'Strider!' said Frodo. 'You seem to have a lot of names.'
......'Well, Strider is one that I haven't heard before, anyway,' said Bilbo. 'What do you call him that for?'
......'They call me that in Bree,' said Strider laughing, 'and that is how I was introduced to him.'
......'And why do you call him Dúnadan?' asked Frodo.
......'The Dúnadan,' said Bilbo. 'He is often called that here. But I thought you knew enough Elvish at least to know dún-adan: Man of the West, Númenorean. But this is not the time for lessons!' He turned to Strider. 'Where have you been, my friend? Why weren't you at the feast? The Lady Arwen was there.'
......Strider looked down at Bilbo gravely. 'I know,' he said. 'But often I must put mirth aside. Elladan and Elrohir have returned out of the Wild unlooked-for, and they had tidings that I wished to hear at once.'
......'Well, my dear fellow,' said Bilbo, 'now you've heard the news, can't you spare me a moment? I want your help in something urgent. Elrond says this song of mine is to be finished before the end of the evening, and I am stuck. Let's go off into a corner and polish it up!'
......Strider smiled. 'Come then!' he said. 'Let me hear it!'

......'There is little need to tell of them,' said Aragorn. 'If a man must needs walk in sight of the Black gate, or tread the deadly flowers of Morgul Vale, then perils he will have. I, too, despaired at last, and I began my homeward journey. And then, by fortune, I came suddenly on what I sought: the marks of soft feet beside a muddy pool. But now the trail was fresh and swift, and it led not to Mordor but away. Along the skirts of the Dead Marshes I followed it, and then I had him. Lurking by a stagnant mere, peering in the water as the dark eve fell, I caught him, Gollum. He was covered with green slime. He will never love me, I fear; for he bit me, and I was not gentle. Nothing more did I ever get from his mouth than the marks of his teeth. I deemed it the worst pat of all my journey, the road back, watching him day and night, making him walk before me with a halter on his neck, gagged, until he was tamed by lack of drink and food, driving him ever towards Mirkwood. I brought him there at last and gave him to the Elves, for we had agreed that this should be done; and I was glad to be rid of his company, for he stank. For my part I hope never to look upon him again; but Gandalf came and endured long speech with him.'

......The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent Moon and the rayed Sun, and above them were written many runes; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the marches of Mordor. Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen. And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Andúril, Flame of the West.

......The company took little gear of war, for their hope was in secrecy not in battle. Aragorn had Andúril but no other weapon, and he went forth clad only in rusty green and brown, as a ranger of the wilderness.

...... 'I am sorry, Frodo!' he cried, full of concern. 'So much has happened this day and we have such need of haste, that I have forgotten that you were hurt; and Sam too. You should have spoken. We have done nothing to ease you, as we ought, though all the orcs of Moria were after us. Come now! A little further on there is a place where we can rest for a little. There I will do what I can for you. Come, Boromir! We will carry them.'
...... ...While Gimli and the two younger hobbits kindled a fire of brush- and fir-wood, and drew water, Aragorn tended Sam and Frodo. Sam's wound was not deep, but it looked ugly, and Aragorn's face was grave as he examined it. After a moment he looked up with relief.
......'Good luck, Sam!' he said. 'Many have received worse than this in payment for the slaying of their first orc. The cut is not poisoned, as the wounds of orc-blades too often are. It should heal well when I have tended it. Bathe it when Gimli has heated water.
...... He opened his pouch and drew out some withered leaves. 'They are dry, and some of their virtue has gone,' he said, 'but here I have still some of the leaves of athelas that I gathered near Weathertop. Crush one in the water, and wash the wound clean, and I will bind it. Now it is your turn, Frodo!'
......'I am all right,' said Frodo, reluctant to have his garments touched. 'All I needed was some food and a little rest.'
......'No!' said Aragorn. 'We must have a look and see what the hammer and the anvil have done to you. I still marvel that you are alive at all.' Gently he stripped off Frodo's old jacket and worn tunic, and gave a gasp of wonder. Then he laughed. The silver corslet shimmered before his eyes like the light upon a rippling sea. Carefully he took it off and held it up, and the gems on it glittered like stars, and the sound of the shaken rings was like that tinkle of rain in a pool.
......'Look, my friends!' he called. 'Here's a pretty hobbit-skin to wrap an elven-princeling in! If it were known that hobbits had such hides, all the hunters of Middle-earth would be riding to the Shire.'

......At the hill's foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes. He was wrapped in some fair memory: and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld things as they once had been in this same place. For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. "Arwen vanimelda, namarie!" he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.
......'Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he said, 'and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come with me!' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man.

...... 'Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!' said Aragorn sternly. 'You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware! But tonight I shall sleep without fear for the first time since I left Rivendell. And may I sleep deep, and forget for a while my grief! I am weary in body and in heart.' He cast himself down upon his couch and fell at once into a long sleep.

......'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?'

......'Fear not!' said a strange voice behind him. Frodo turned and saw Strider, and yet not Strider; for the weatherworn Ranger was no long 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 years for Minas Anor and the walls of my own city! But whither now shall I go?'

...... 'Halbarad Dúnadan, Ranger of the North I am,' cried the man. 'We seek one Aragorn son of Arathorn, and we heard that he was in Rohan.'
......'And you have found him also!' cried Aragorn. Giving his reins to Merry, he ran forward and embraced the newcomer. 'Halbarad!' he said. 'Of all joys this is the least expected!'

...... But Merry had eyes only for Aragorn, so startling was the change that he saw in him, as if in one night many years had fallen on his head. Grim was his face, grey-hued and weary.
...... 'I am troubled in mind, lord,' he said, standing by the king's horse. 'I have heard strange words, and I see new perils far off. I have laboured long in thought, and now I fear that I must change my purpose....
...... ...He looked up, and it seemed that he had made some decision; his face was less troubled. 'Then, by your leave, lord, I must take new counsel for myself and my kindred. We must ride our own road, and no longer in secret. For me the time of stealth has passed. I will ride east by the swiftest way, and I will take the Paths of the Dead.'

...... 'The Paths of the Dead!' said Théoden, and trembled. 'Why do you speak of them?' Éomer turned and gazed at Aragorn, and it seemed to Merry that the faces of the Riders that sat within hearing turned pale at the words. 'If there be in truth such paths,' said Théoden, 'their gate is in Dunharrow; but no living man may pass it.'
...... 'Alas! Aragorn my friend!' said Éomer. 'I had hoped that we should ride to war together; but if you seek the Paths of the Dead, then our parting is come, and it is little likely that we shall ever meet again under the Sun.'
...... 'That road, I will take, nonetheless,' said Aragorn. 'But I say to you, Éomer, that in battle we may yet meet again, though all the hosts of Mordor should stand between.'

......'Farewell, lord!' said Aragorn. 'Ride unto great renown! Farewell, Merry! I leave you in good hands, better than we hoped when we hunted the orcs to Fangorn. Legolas and Gimli will still hunt with me, I hope; but we shall not forget you.' ...Aragorn rode to the Dike and watched till the king's men were far down the Coomb. Then he turned to Halbarad.
...... 'There go three that I love, and the smallest not the least,' he said. 'He knows not to what end he rides; yet if he knew, he still would go on.'
...... 'A little people, but of great worth are the Shirefolk,' said Halbarad. 'Little do they know of our long labour for the safekeeping of their borders, and yet I grudge it not.'
...... 'And now our fates are woven together,' said Aragorn.

...... 'The living have never used that road since the coming of the Rohirrim,' said Aragorn, 'for it is closed to them. But in this dark hour the heir of Isildur may use it, if he dare. Listen! This is the word that the sons of Elrond bring to me from their father in Rivendell, wisest in lore: Bid Aragorn remember the words of the seer, and the Paths of the Dead.'
...... 'And what may be the words of the seer?' said Legolas.
...... 'Thus spoke Malbeth the Seer, in the days of Arvedui, last king at Fornost,' said Aragorn:
Over the land there lies a long shadow,
westward reaching wings of darkness.
The Tower trembles; to the tombs of kings
doom approaches. The Dead awaken;
for the hour is come for the oathbreakers:
at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again
and hear there a horn in the hills ringing.
Whose shall the horn be? Who shall call them
from the grey twilight, the forgotten people?
The heir of him to whom the oath they swore.
From the North shall he come, need shall drive him:
he shall pass the Door of the Paths of the Dead.

...... 'Dark ways, doubtless,' said Gimli, 'but no darker than these staves are to me.'
...... 'If you would understand them better, then I bid you come with me,' said Aragorn; 'for that way I now shall take. But I do not go gladly; only need drives me. Therefore, only of your free will would I have you come, for you will find both toil and great fear, and maybe worse.'
...... 'I will go with you even on the Paths of the Dead, and to whatever end they may lead,' said Gimli.
...... 'I also will come,' said Legolas, 'for I do not fear the Dead.'
...... 'I hope that the forgotten people will not have forgotten how to fight,' said Gimli; 'for otherwise I see not why we should trouble them.'

...... 'This is an evil door,' said Halbarad, and my death lies beyond it. I will dare to pass it nonetheless; but no horse will enter.'
...... 'But we must go in, and therefore the horses must go too,' said Aragorn. 'For if ever we come through this darkness, many leagues lie beyond, and every hour that is lost there will bring the triumph of Sauron nearer. Follow me!'
...... Then Aragorn led the way, and such was the strength of his will in that hour that all the Dúnedain and their horses followed him.

...... 'For that is not my errand!' he cried, turning back and speaking to the whispering darkness behind. 'Keep your hoards and your secrets hidden in the Accursed Years! Speed only we ask. Let us pass, and then come! I summon you to the Stone of Erech!'

...... To that Stone the Company came and halted in the dead of night. Then Elrohir gave to Aragorn a silver horn, and he blew upon it; and it seemed to those that stood near that they heard a sound of answering horns, as if it was an echo in deep caves far away. No other sound they heard, and yet they were aware of a great host gathered all about the hill on which they stood; and a chill wind like the breath of ghosts came down from the mountains. But Aragorn dismounted, and standing by the Stone he cried in a great voice:
...... 'Oathbreakers, why have ye come?'
...... And a voice was heard out of the night that answered him, as if from far away:
...... 'To fulfil our oath and have peace.'

...... But when the dawn came, cold and pale, Aragorn rose in haste, and he led the Company forth upon the journey of greatest haste and weariness that any among them had known, save he alone, and only his will held them to go on. No other mortal Men could have endured it, none but the Dúnedain of the North, and with them Gimli the Dwarf and Legolas of the Elves.

...... ...Aragorn halted and cried with a great voice: 'Now come! By the Black Stone I call you!' And suddenly the Shadow Host that had hung back at the last came up like a grey tide, sweeping all away before it.

...... 'In the Uplands of Lamedon they overtook our horses, and swept round us, and would have passed us by, if Aragorn had not forbidden them. At his command they fell back. "Even the shades of Men are obedient to his will," I thought. "They may serve his needs yet!"

...... 'Strange indeed,' said Legolas. 'In that hour I looked on Aragorn and thought how great and terrible a Lord he might have become in the strength of his will, had he taken the Ring to himself. Not for naught does Mordor fear him. But nobler is his spirit than the understanding of Sauron; for is he not of the children of Lúthien? Never shall that line fail, though the years may lengthen beyond count.'
...... 'Beyond the eyes of the Dwarves are such foretellings,' said Gimli. 'But mighty indeed was Aragorn that day. Lo! all the black fleet was in his hands; and he chose the greatest ship to be his own, and he went up into it. Then he let sound a great concourse of trumpets taken from the enemy; and the Shadow Host withdrew to the shore. There they stood silent, hardly to be seen, save for a red gleam in their eyes that caught the glare of the ships that were burning. And Aragorn spoke in a loud voice to the Dead Men, crying:
...... 'Hear now the words of the Heir of Isildur! Your oath is fulfilled. Go back and trouble not the valleys ever again! Depart and be at rest!"
...... 'And thereupon the King of the Dead stood out before the host and broke his spear and cast it down. Then he bowed low and turned away; and swiftly the whole grey host drew off and vanished like a mist that is driven back by a sudden wind...'

...... And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold.
...... Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur's heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohirrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells. But the hosts of Mordor were seized with bewilderment, and a great wizardry it seemed to them that their own ships should be filled with their foes; and a black dread fell on the, knowing that the tides of fate had turned against them and their doom was at hand....
...... ... before all went Aragorn with the Flame of the West, Andúril like a new fire kindled, Narsil re-forged as deadly as of old: and upon his brow was the Star of Elendil.

...... Then Aragorn entered first and the others followed. And there at the door were two guards in the livery of the citadel: one tall, but the other scarce the height of a boy; and when he saw them he cried aloud in surprise and joy.
...... 'Strider! How splendid! Do you know, I guessed it was you in the black ships. But they were all shouting corsairs and wouldn't listen to me. How did you do it?'
...... Aragorn laughed, and took the hobbit by the hand. 'Well met indeed!' he said. 'But there is not time yet for travellers' tales.'
...... But Imrahil said to Éomer: 'Is it thus that we speak to our kings? Yet maybe he will wear his crown in some other name!'
...... And Aragorn hearing him, turned and said: 'Verily, for in the high tongue of old I am Elessar, the Elfstone, and the Renewer': and he lifted from his breast the green stone that lay here. 'But Strider shall be the name of my house, if that be ever established. In the high tongue it will not sound so ill, and Telcontar I will be and all the heirs of my body.'"

...... Aragorn went first to Faramir, and then to the Lady Éowyn, and last to Merry. When he had looked on the faces of the sick and seen their hurts he signed. 'Here I must put forth all such power and skill as is given to me,' he said. 'Would that Elrond were here, for he is the eldest of all our race, and has the greatest power.'
...... And Éomer seeing that he was both sorrowful and weary said: 'First you must rest, surely, and at the least eat a little?'
......'But Aragorn answered: 'Nay, for these three, and most soon for Faramir, time is running out. All speed is needed.'
.........Now Aragorn knelt beside Faramir, and held a hand upon his brow. And those that watched felt that some great struggle was going on. For Aragorn's face grew grey with weariness; and ever an anon he called the name of Faramir, but each time more faintly to their hearing, as if Aragorn himself was removed from them, and walked afar in some dark vale, calling for one that was lost....
.........Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. 'My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?'
......'Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!' said Aragorn. 'You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return.'
...... 'I will, lord,' said Faramir. 'For who would lie idle when the king has returned?'

......Then, whether Aragorn had indeed some forgotten power of Westernesse, or whether it was but his words of the lady Éowyn that wrought on them, as the sweet influence of the herb stole about the chamber it seemed to those who stood by that a keen wind blew through the window, and it bore no scent, but was an air wholly fresh and clean and young, as if it had not before been breathed by any living thing and came new-made from snowy mountains high beneath a dome of stars, or from shores of silver far away washed by seas of foam.
...... 'Awake, Éowyn, lady of Rohan!' said Aragorn again, and he took her right hand in his and felt it warm with life returning. 'Awake! The shadow is gone and all darkness is washed clean!' Then he laid her hand in Éomer's and stepped away, 'Call her!' he said, and he passed silently from the chamber.

...... 'Do not be afraid,' said Aragorn. 'I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Éowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.'
...... Then Aragorn laid his hand on Merry's head, and passing his hand gently through the brown curls, he touched the eyelids, and called him by name. And when the fragrance of athelas stole through the room, like the scent of orchards, and of heather in the sunshine full of bees, suddenly Merry awoke, and he said:
...... 'I am hungry. What is the time?'

...... 'Smoke then, and think of him!' said Aragorn. 'For he was a gentle heart and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last fair morning. Though your service to him was brief, it should be a memory glad and honourable to the end of your days.'
...... Merry smiled. 'Well then,' he said, 'if Strider will provide what is needed, I will smoke and think. I had some of Saruman's best in my pack, but what became of it in the battle, I am sure I don't know.'
...... 'Master Meriadoc,' said Aragorn, 'if you think that I have passed through the mountains and the realm of Gondor with fire and sword to bring herbs to a careless soldier who throws away his gear, you are mistaken. If your pack has not been found, then you must send for the herbmaster of this House. And he will tell you that he did not know that the herb you desire had any virtues, but that it is called westmansweed by the vulgar, and galenas by the noble, and other names in other tongues more learned, and after adding a few half-forgotten rhymes that he does not understand, he will regretfully inform you that there is none in the House, and he will leave you to reflect on the history of tongues. And so now must I. For I have not slept in such a bed as this, since I rode from Dunharrow, nor eaten since the dark before dawn.'
...... Merry seized his hand and kissed it. 'I am frightfully sorry,' he said. 'Go at once! Ever since that night at Bree we have been a nuisance to you. But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right words when a jest is out of place.'
...... 'I know that well, or I would not deal with you in the same way.' said Aragorn. 'May the Shire live forever unwithered!' And kissing Merry he went out, and Gandalf went with him.

...... 'For do I not guess rightly, Aragorn, that you have shown yourself to him in the Stone of Orthanc?'
...... 'I did so ere I rode from the Hornburg,' answered Aragorn. 'I deemed that the time was ripe, and that the Stone had come to be for just such a purpose. It was then ten days since the Ring-bearer went east from Rauros, and the Eye of Sauron, I thought, should be drawn out from his own land. Too seldom has he been challenged since he returned to his Tower.

...... 'As I have begun, so I will go on,' said Aragorn. 'We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall. Let none now reject the counsels of Gandalf, whose long labours against Sauron come at last to their test. But for him all would long ago have been lost. Nonetheless I do not claim to command any man. Let others choose as they will.'

......... So desolate were those places and so deep the horror that lay on them that some of the host were unmanned, and they could neither walk nor ride further north. Aragorn looked at them, and there was pity in his eyes rather than wrath; for these were young men from Rohan... ...and to them Mordor had been from childhood a name of evil.

...... 'Is there any one in this rout with authority to treat with me?' he asked. 'Or indeed with wit to understand me? Not thou at least!' he mocked, turning to Aragorn with scorn. 'It needs more to make a king than a piece of elvish glass, or a rabble such as this. Why? any brigand of the hills can show as good a following!'
...... Aragorn said naught in answer, but he took the other's eye and held it, and for a moment they strove thus; but soon, though Aragorn did not stir nor move hand to weapon, the other quailed and gave back as if menaced with a blow...

...... ...under the wings of the Nazgûl the shadows of death fell dark upon the earth. Aragorn stood beneath his banner, silent and stern, as one lost in thought of things long past or far away; but his eyes gleamed like stars that shine the brighter as the night deepens.

...... "...but behind the highest throne in the midst of all a great standard was spread in the breeze, and there a white tree flowered upon a sable field beneath a shining crown and seven glittering stars. On the throne sat a mail-clad man, a great sword was laid across his knees, but he wore no helm. As they drew near he rose. And then they knew him, changed as he was, so high and glad of face, kingly, lord of Men, dark-haired with eyes of grey.
...... Frodo ran to meet him, and Sam followed close behind. 'Well, if it this isn't the crown of all!' he said. 'Strider, or I'm still asleep!'
...... 'Yes, Sam, Strider,' said Aragorn. 'It is a long way, is it not, from Bree, where you did not like the look of me?'"

...... So now there was a wide space before the walls of Minas Tirith, and it was hemmed in upon all sides by the knights and the soldiers of Gondor and of Rohan, and by the people of the City and all parts of the land. A hush fell upon all as out from the host stepped the Dúnedain in silver and grey; and before them came walking slow the Lord Aragorn. He was clad in black mail girt with silver, and he wore a long mantle of pure white clasped at the throat with a great jewel of green that shone from afar; but his head was bare save for a star upon his forehead bound by a slender fillet of silver. With him were Éomer of Rohan, and the Prince Imrahil, and Gandalf robed all in white, and four small figures that many men marvelled to see.
...... "...Now he is a marvel, the Lord Elfstone: not too soft in his speech, mind you, but he has a golden heart, as the saying is; and he has the healing hands. "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer", I said; and that was how it was all discovered. And Mithrandir, he said to me: "Ioreth, men will long remember your word", and ----'

...... ...Faramir met Aragorn in the midst of those there assembled, and he knelt, and said: "The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office.' And he held out a white rod; but Aragorn took the rod and gave it back, saying: 'That office is not ended, and it shall be thine and thy heirs' as long as my line shall last. Do now thy office!'
...... Then Faramir stood up and spoke in a clear voice: 'Men of Gondor, hear now the Steward of this Realm! Behold! one has come to claim the kingship again at last. Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur's son, Elendil's son of Númenor. Shall he be king and enter into the City and dwell there?'
...... And all the host and all the people cried yea with one voice...
...... ...Men of Gondor, the loremasters tell that it was the custom of old that the king should receive the crown from his father ere he died; or if that might not be, that he should go alone and take it from the hands of his father in the tomb where he was laid. But since things must now be done otherwise, using the authority of the Steward, I have today brought hither from Rath Dinen the crown of Earnur the last king, whose days passed in the time of our longathers of old.'
...... ...Aragorn took the crown and held it up and said; Et Earello Endorenna utulien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!
...... And those were the words that Elendil spoke when he came up out of the sea on the wings of the wind: 'Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world'
...... Then to the wonder of many Aragorn did not put the crown upon his head, but gave it back to Faramir, and said: 'By the labour and valour of many I have come into my inheritance. In token of this I would have the Ring-bearer bring the crown to me, and let Mithrandir set it upon my head, if he will; for he has been the mover of all that has been accomplished, and this is his victory.'
...... Then Frodo came forward and took the crown from Faramir and bore it to Gandalf; and Aragorn knelt, and Gandalf set the White Crown upon his head, and said:
...... 'Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure!'
...... But when Aragorn arose all that beheld him gazed in silence, for it seemed to them that he was revealed to them now for the first time. Tall as the sea-kings of old, he stood above all that were near; ancient of days he seemed and yet in the flower of manhood; and wisdom sat upon his brow, and strength and healing were in his hands, and a light was about him. And then Faramir cried:
...... 'Behold the King!'
...... And in that moment all the trumpets were blown, and the King Elessar went forth and came to the barrier, and Hurin of the Keys thrust it back; and amid the music of harp and of viol and of flute and the singing of clear voices the King passed through the flower-laden streets, and came to the Citadel, and entered in; and the banner of the Tree and the Stars was unfurled upon the topmost tower, and the reign of King Elessar began, of which many songs have told."

...... In the days that followed (his crowning) the King sat on his throne in the Hall of the Kings and pronounced his judgements.... ...And then Beregond, perceiving the mercy and justice of the King, was glad, and kneeling kissed his hand, and departed in joy and content. And Aragorn gave to Faramir Ithilien to be his princedom, and bade him dwell in the hills of Emyn Arnen within sight of the City.
...... And last of all Aragorn greeted Éomer of Rohan, and they embraced, and Aragorn said: 'Between us there can be no word of giving or taking, nor of reward; for we are brethren. In happy hour did Eorl ride from the North, and never has any league of peoples been more blessed, so that neither has ever failed the other, nor shall fail...'
.........And Éomer answered: 'Since the day when you rose before me out of the green grass of the downs I have loved you, and that love shall not fail...'

...... The Hobbits still remained in Minas Tirith, with Legolas and Gimli; for Aragorn was loth for the Fellowship to be dissolved. 'At last all such things must end,' he said, 'but I should have you wait a little while longer: for the end of the deeds that you have shared in has not yet come. A day draws near that I have looked for in all the years of my manhood, and when it comes I would have my friends beside me.' But of that day he would say no more.

...... is your task to order its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. For though much has been saved, much must now pass away; and the power of the Three Rings also is ended. And all the lands that you see, and those that lie round about them, shall be dwellings of Men. For the time comes of the Dominion of Men, and the Elder Kindred shall fade or depart.'
...... 'I know it well, dear friend,' said Aragorn; 'but I would still have your counsel.'
......'Not for long now,' said Gandalf. 'The Third Age was my age. I was the Enemy of Sauron; and my work is finished. I shall go soon. The burden must lie now upon you and your kindred.'
...... 'But I shall die,' said Aragorn. 'For I am a mortal man, and though being what I am and of the race of the West unmingled, I may have life far longer than other men, yet that is but a little while; and when those who are now in the wombs of women are born and have grown old, I too shall grow old. And who then shall govern Gondor and those who look to this City as to their queen, if my desire be not granted? The Tree in the Court of the Fountain is still withered and barren. When shall I see a sign that it will ever be otherwise?'
...... ...Then Aragorn cried: 'Ye! utuvienyes! I have found it! Lo! here is a scion of the Eldest of Trees! But how comes it here? For it is not itself yet seven years old.'
...... And Gandalf coming looked at it, and said; 'Verily this is a sapling of the line of Nimloth the fair; and that was a seedling of Galathilion, and that a fruit of Teleperion of many names, Eldest of Trees. Who shall say how it comes here in the appointed hour? But this is an ancient hallow, and ere the kings failed or the Tree withered in the court, a fruit must have been set here. For it is said that, though the fruit of the Tree comes seldom to ripeness, yet the life within may then lie sleeping through many long years, and none can foretell the time in which it will awake. Remember this. For if ever a fruit ripens, it should be planted, lest the line die out of the world. Here it has lain hidden on the mountain, even as the race of Elendil lay hidden in the wastes of the North. Yet the line of Nimloth is older far than your line, King Elessar.'

...... 'Our King, we shall call him; and when he comes north to his house in Annúminas restored and stays for a while by Lake Evendim, there everyone in the Shire is glad. But he does not enter this land and binds himself by the law that he has made, that none of the Big People shall pass its borders. But he rides often with many fair people to the great bridge, and there he welcomes his friends, and any others who wish to see him; and some ride away with him and stay in his house as long as they have a mind. Thain Peregrin has been there many times; and so has Master Samwise the Mayor. His daughter Elanor the Fair is one of the maids of Queen Evenstar.'
...... It was the pride and wonder of the Northern Line that, though their power departed and their people dwindled, broken from father to son. Also, though the length of the lives of the Dúnedain grew ever less in Middle-earth, after the ending of their kings the waning was swifter in Gondor; and many of the Chieftains of the North still lived to twice the age of Men, and far beyond the days of even the oldest amongst us. Aragorn indeed lived to be two hundred and ten years old, longer than any of his line since King Arvegil; but in Aragorn Elessar the dignity of the kings of old was renewed."