Some of my Favourite Tolkien Illustrations

JRR Tolkien

While Tolkien (in my not-so-humble-opinion) is the greatest author, he is not the greatest artist (in the drawing sense. Writing is an art). Though I am a devoted Tolkienite, I am not afraid to say that I don't particularly care for all of his drawings (though I couldn't do nearly so well myself). But there are many that I love, and here are a few of them.
All of these images were taken from the Tolkien Estate Website, and are the works of JRR Tolkien. Disclaimer blah blah they aren't mine (obviously) blah blah trying not to get sued blah blah blah I own no rights to these blah blah THEY BELONG TO THE MAGIC TOLKIEN PEOPLE IN THE SKY ( blah blah due credit blah not stealing ladida okay I'm done.

 I particularly like this one. The stained glass feel.
I like this because people often forget that many hobbits lived in normal houses
Old Man Willow

Nargothrond: I love being able to see it the way Tolkien imagined it
It's so pretty

The cuteness is too much.

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Chapter by Chapter Challenge: Fellowship of the Ring Book II

I'm back with the rest of my Fellowship of the Ring quotes. I also forgot how incredibly sad Fellowship (the whole thing really) is. Not depressing though, I mean sad in the best of ways. Beautiful and uplifting. The sort of thing that leaves you staring at a wall for hours with a blank face, because there are no words, nor any facial expression that can convey what you feel. But somehow, you feel a little bigger than when you started.  
Since I made this a challenge for no particular reason, I might as well make a new rule just for kicks. 

1. Add the above image to your post.
2. Leave a link to your post around here somewhere, so I can come see (the eye of Goldenrod is watching).
3. List a beloved (or favourite) quote from each chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring.
4. Sing a song or dance a jig, and make plans to watch LOTR sometime in the near future.
5. Change rule 4 when you challenge your own followers. 

And now for the quotes from Fellowship Book II (which is technically the same thing as LOTR Book II, for those of us who prefer the intended format of the book).

Chapter I: Many Meetings
"Almost it seemed that the words took shape, and visions of far lands and bright things that he had never yet imagined opened out before him; and the firelit hall became like a golden mist above the seas of foam that sighed upon the margins of the world."

Chapter II: The Council of Elrond*
"This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."

Chapter III: The Ring Goes South
"[V]arious small belongings of his master's that Frodo had forgotten and Sam had stowed to bring them out in triumph when they were called for."

Chapter IV: A Journey in the Dark
"The world was young, the mountains green, 
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and ells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stopped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head."

Chapter V: The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
"I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass."

Chapter VI: Lothlórien
"Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him."

Chapter VII: The Mirror of Galadriel
"A lord of wisdom throned he sat,
swift in anger, quick to laugh;
an old man in a battered hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff."

Chapter VIII: Farewell to Lórien
"Then you may remember Galadriel, and catch a glimpse far off of Lórien, that you have seen only in our winter. For our spring and our summer are gone by, and they will never be seen on earth again save in memory."

Chapter IX: The Great River
"Upon great pedestals founded in the deep waters stood two great kings of stone: still with blurred eyes and crannied brows they frowned upon the North. The left hand of each was raised palm outwards in a gesture of warning; in each right hand there was an axe; upon each head there was a crumbling helm and crown. Great power and majesty they still wore, the silent wardens of a long-vanished kingdom."

Chapter X: The Breaking of the Fellowship
"Darkness lay there under the Sun. Fire glowed amid the smoke. Mount Doom was burning, and a great reek rising. Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him."

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*If you should like to pick two quotes from Council of Elrond, due to its length, I won't complain.

(Lest there should be any confusion or matter of rights and whatnot, all quotes in this post are from The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, unless otherwise mentioned. There may be slight errors, misspellings, or alternate punctuation in the quotes, and if you notice such, please inform me so that I can speedily remedy them. But I think the fact that I made this blog proves that I would never intentionally change something of Tolkien's in the transcribing of it.)

The Fellowship of the Ring Book I (and 75th anniversary edition review?)

Hello friendlies! I finished Fellowship of the Ring at long last, after reading it in snitches and in snatches at meals. The copy I was reading is a little worse for the wear, but in a loved way. A couple months ago, I purchased the 75th anniv. paperback set (not including the hobbit):
I have a few things to say about them. 
First of all, Amazon seems incapable of sending me a copy in perfect condition, even though I wasn't buying them used.
Second of all, I kind of forgave Amazon when I realized how terribly fragile these books were. They scuff quite easily. The cover art is JRR Tolkien's original designs from the first editions (I think it was on the first? maybe a slightly later one), so yay 75th anniversary. Of course, the cover art on my 50th anniversary edition is also original awesomeness so.....
Despite being snazzy looking, these were the same price as most average length paperbacks 6-10 dollars depending on sellers etc. Because of that, I don't feel so protective of them that I can barely read them because I'm scared to open them all the way. Very down-to-earth, these books.

Now then, you are not may be wondering about the 75th anniv. hardcovers. 
They look like this picture, they also have the original art, and I want them. 
Are the hardcovers beautiful? Yes. 
Do I have them? No.
Do I want them? Yes.
Do I intend to own them at some point in the future? Yes. 
Can I, in any way, justify buying them considering how many copies of this book I already have? No, but that never stopped me before. Muahahahaha. 
Has anyone ever stopped to consider how rich Christopher Tolkien must be? And yet he lives a quiet, decently normal (considering the circumstances) life with his wife somewhere in France. He is also member of that ancient generation that makes it to 92. Oh my goodness, he is terribly old. Now I'm sad. I think that Christopher Tolkien deserves an eleventy-first birthday. It's only fitting. Someday I ought to do a post on Simon Tolkien....I'm not at all happy with that chap. I honestly don't know anyone as easily sidetracked as myself. Anyway. Here is a quote from every chapter in the Fellowship of the Ring. Enjoy. I should make this a challenge. Um...Chapter by Chapter Challenge? Boom! Now it's a thing. 
Time for some random rules:
1. Add the Chapter by Chapter image to your post.
2. Leave a link to your post around here somewhere, so I can come see (the eye of Goldenrod is watching).
3. List a beloved (or favourite) quote from each chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring.
4. Sing a song or dance a jig, and make plans to watch LOTR sometime in the near future.
I shall be doing mine in two parts, Book I and Book II, for the sake of reasonably long posts (HA!). I also refuse to commit to picking my 'favourite' quotes because that is impossible. I shall choose mostly at random from among all the ones I have underlined. Book II will arrive at some point between now, and the day I die. 

Chapter I: A Long-Expected Party
'I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.' This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment.

Chapter II: The Shadow of the Past
'Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.'

Chapter III: Three is Company

'"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."'

Chapter IV: A Short Cut to Mushrooms

"Ho! Ho! Ho! to the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe. 
Rain may fall and wind may blow, 
And many miles be still to go, 
But under a tall tree I will lie, 
And let the clouds go sailing by."

"Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of the Big People. A fact which partly explains young Frodo's long expeditions to the renowned fields of the Marish, and the wrath of the injured Maggot. On this occasion there was plenty for all, even according to hobbit standards."

Chapter VI: The Old Forest
"Then another clear voice, as young and as ancient as Spring, like the song of a glad water flowing down into the night from a bright morning in the hills, came falling like silver to meet them:
       'Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
       Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather,
       Light on the budding leaf, dew on the feather,
       Wind on the open hill, bells on the heather,
       Reeds by the shady pool, lilies on the water:
       Old Tom Bombadil and the River-daughter!"

Chapter VII: in the House of Tom Bombadil
"Tom's words laid bare the hearts of trees and their thoughts, which were often dark and strange, and filled with a hatred of things that go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning: destroyers and usurpers."

Chapter VIII: Fog on the Barrow-downs
"Frodo heard a sweet singing running in his mind: a song that seemed to come like a pale light behind a grey rain-curtain, and growing stronger to turn the veil all to glass and silver, until at last it was rolled back, and a far green country opened before him under a swift sunrise." 

Chapter IX: At the Sign of The Prancing Pony
"There were several Underhills from Staddle, and as the could not imagine sharing a name without being related, they took Frodo to their hearts as a long-lost cousin."

Chapter X: Strider
"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."

Chapter XI: A Knife in the Dark
"Immediately, though everything else remained as before, dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. He was able to see beneath their black wrappings. There were five tall figures: two standing on the lip of the dell, three advancing. In their white faces burned keen and merciless eyes; under their mantles were long grey robes; upon their grey hairs were helms of silver; in their haggard hands were swords of steel."

Chapter XII: Flight to the Ford
"Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars. The rider's cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed. To Frodo it appeared that a white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if through a thin veil."

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If anyone should notice any errors in these quotes, please point them out so that I can change them. Also excuse the inconsistent formatting in this post....I don't know what is going on. 

Announcing: The Silmarillion

John Howe

I have finished the tale of the Third Age. But now it is time to go all the way back to before the world's beginning. 
Beginning January 1st, I shall be doing a... cataloguing? of the Silmarillion. Cataloguing isn't really the right word, but it will have to do. I haven't really made a final decision on the format of the posts yet, but I will just feel my way through. 
At the moment, I'm thinking of taking it small segment by small segment, and doing three posts a segment. One that just sort of says what happens. One that draws connections back to LOTR, and one that is just my thoughts and comments of the segment. We'll see how it goes. 
The Silmarillion is a very weighty book, completely packed with information. Though it is much shorter than LOTR, it took me longer to read. It's more of a very very dense history book than a fantasy novel. There are a lot of times where I just had to stop and keep rereading things to figure out what was going on. 
Hopefully these coming posts will help clarify a little bit? Or perhaps they will just be more confusing. I don't know. I'm enjoying writing them. Yes, I am getting as many done early as I can, but fear not! I shall be bogged down and behind schedule in no time, as per usual. 

I have high hopes though, as I am only doing one of these every two weeks. You shall laugh at me when I complain about how time consuming it is, as I'm afraid the end products aren't THAT wonderful, but reading Silmarillion, taking notes, and then trying to figure out how to fit it into a post, and then writing the post....well it simply takes time. 

As always, I am very open to commentary and critique, and if you have any specific questions or things you want me to write about, let me know. 
Wish me luck, good readers. 
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The End

As you have probably noticed, my day by day exploration of The Lord of the Rings is coming to a close. Which is rather sad. It's been nice to be able to draw the book out much farther than if I just sat down and read the whole thing. But all things must come to a close eventually. 
"All's well that ends better."
When you read a good book, you want it to just keep going, the longer the better. But it's also true that the longer something is, the more it hurts when it's finally done. When I reread books, I know perfectly well that they will end the same way, but there is always a tiny part of me that hopes that maybe this time, it will keep going. In a twist, I don't like stories that have 37 books, none of which have any kind of proper conclusion or ending because they are all holding the story open so that someone can make more money off of another sequel. The point is, if The Lord of the Rings didn't have such a sad and beautiful ending, I wouldn't love it as much. If it went on forever I wouldn't want it to. And yes, that does make sense. 
So now I bring to you the final day. 

September 29 3021 TA: The End of the Third Age
"And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."

Sam, you wondered what sort of a tale you had fallen into, well I can tell you. 
The best.

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(Lest there should be any confusion or matter of rights and whatnot, all quotes in this post are from The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, unless otherwise mentioned. There may be slight errors, misspellings, or alternate punctuation in the quotes, and if you notice such, please inform me so that I can speedily remedy them. But I think the fact that I made this blog proves that I would never intentionally change something of Tolkien's in the transcribing of it.)

7 Deadly Sins in The Silmarillion: A guest post by the Lover of Lembas

While reading the Divine Comedy, I was inspired to find where each of the Seven Deadly Sins are present in Middle-earth. Examples are from The Silmarillion. 

Starting at the top of the cone of Hell, we have lust. There are multiple examples of this sin throughout Middle-earth, though not very detailed. 

Perhaps the most infamous examples of lust, however, come from the much darker of Tolkien's works--The Silmarillion. The first example comes from Eol, the Dark Elf of Nan Elmoth.
"And it came to pass that he [Eol] saw Aredhel Ar-Feiniel as she strayed among the tall trees near the borders of Nan Elmoth, a gleam of white in the dim land. Very fair she seemed to him, and he desired her; and he set his enchantments about her so that she could not find the ways out, but drew ever nearer to his dwelling in the depths of the wood. There were his smithy, and his dim halls, and such servants as he had, silent and secret as their master. And when Aredhel, weary with wandering, came at last to his doors, he revealed himself; and he welcomed her, and led her into his house. And there she remained; for Eol took her to wife, and it was long ere any of her kin heard of her again." (Silmarillion 133)
Eol's pursuit of "those who love you no more" leads to his own downfall, "then they cast Eol over the Caragdur, and so he ended, and to all in Gondolin it seemed just...". The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and Maeglin, the product of this lustful union also struggles with this deadly sin. He lusts after his own cousin to the point where he is willing to betray his own king and uncle to Morgoth. His lust is the most infamous in the history of the Elder Days, and causes the downfall of the best of the Elven kingdoms and countless deaths:
"For from his first days in Gondolin he had borne a grief, ever worsening, that robbed him of all joy: he loved the beauty of Idril and desired her, without hope. The Eldar wedded not with kin so near, nor ever before had any desired to do so. And however that might be, Idril loved Maeglin not at all; and knowing his thought of her she loved him the less. For it seemed to her a thing strange and crooked in him, as indeed the Eldar ever since have deemed it: an evil fruit of the Kinslaying, whereby the shadow of the curse of Mandos fell upon the last hope of the Noldor. But as the years passed still Maeglin watched Idril, and waited, and his love turned to darkness in his heart, And he sought the more to have his will in other matters, shirking no toil or burden, if he might thereby have power. Thus it was in Gondolin; and amid all the bliss of that realm, while its glory lasted, a dark seed of evil was sown...and indeed desire for Idril and hatred for Tuor led Maeglin the easier to his treachery..." (Silmarillion 139, 242)
Maeglin and Idril from

This is one of the best descriptions of lust in this work. Tolkien acknowledges that sometimes attraction happens without the will of either party ("he loved the beauty of Idril and desired her, without hope"), but only becomes a sin when "his love to turned to darkness in his heart" and he dwelt upon it until he finally could not bear it and acted upon his lust.

A sure sign that Maeglin has gone astray through this act--if you weren't already convinced--is the fat that is is similar to Morgoth in this regard. Tolkien reserves some of his strongest language when discussing Morgoth's lust for Luthien:
"Then Morgoth looking upon her beauty conceived in his thought an evil lust, and a design more dark than any that had yet come into his heart since he fled from Valinor. Thus he was beguiled by his own malice, for he watched him leaving her free for a while, and taking secret pleasure in his thought." (Silmarillion 180)
I will have to agree with Tolkien once again: this is one of the darkest acts of Morgoth. The treason, the murder, even the corruption I can handle, but this? This is so twisted and sick I feel uncomfortable just reading it. Yet Morgoth was indeed "beguiled by his own malice" and the Silmaril is successfully taken from him.

Interestingly enough, Dante places lust at the top of Hell as the least of the deadly sins (yet a deadly sin it remains). Tolkien here says it is "more dark than any [thought]". Is this contradictory, or is there another way that these could be interpreted? It is unclear.

According to Dante, gluttony is the second deadly sin. Gluttony is not necessarily limited to excessive consumption of food, but can relate to any concupiscent desire. Interestingly enough, many of the characters we might say have a particular inclination to food or are "fat" are good characters! Certainly the Hobbits, the Dwarves, and other characters such as Tom Bombadil are described as being rotund. It could be argued that this love of food is positive, but the case could also be made that it is an unhealthy trait. In the end, this is left relatively ambiguous.

One case of gluttony completely unambiguous, however, is Ungoliant, the she-spider from The Silmarillion. Here's what Tolkien has to say about her:
"But she had disowned her Master, desiring to be mistress of her own lust*, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness...for she hungered for light and hated it." (Silmarillion 73)
Melkor and Ungoliant from

Once again the deadly sin is represented very well. The bottom line is that everyone who suffers from gluttony is acting upon a good desire planted in their heart, but they try and satisfy it with things that just aren't going to cut it. Food is not going to give you the satisfaction you can only gain from love, and when you try and replace one or the other, you will end up in dire straits.

While there are not many examples of gluttony in Middle-earth, there are a plethora of cases of greed. Probably the most notorious of these is Feanor, whose greed for the Silmarils cost his people a lot of hardship:
"For Feanor began to love the Silmarils with a greedy love, and grudged the sight of them to all save to his father and his seven sons; he seldom remembered now that the light within them was not his own." (Silmarillion 69)
I have this passage underlined in my copy of the Silmarillion because I find it so insightful. The point is that greed is essentially fooling yourself because even if you gathered up all the treasure in the world and piled it up, it would still not be yours--"the light within them was not his own" and the things of this world will not be ours.

Thingol also has his share of greed:
""'I sell not to Elves or Men those whom I love and cherish above all treasure. And if there were hope or fear that Beren should come ever back alive to Menegroth, he should not have looked again upon the light of heaven, though I had sworn it.' And Luthien was silent, and from that hour she sang not again in Doriath." (Silmarillion 168)
Copyright Alan Lee
Even though he knows that Luthien and Beren are in love, he refuses them their joy because he is possessive and greedy over his daughter. It turns from love (wanting the best for his daughter) to possessiveness (denying her to anyone else).

Thingol's greed just gets worse from there and escalates to the point where it causes his downfall:
"For as the years passed Thingol's thought turned unceasingly to the jewel of Feanor, and became bound to it, and he liked not to let it rest even behind the doors of his inmost treasury; and he was minded now to bear it with him always, waking and sleeping." (Silmarillion 232)
Thingol hires the Dwarves to craft the Silmaril into a necklace for him, and they too are consumed by greed:
"Then the Dwarves looked upon the work of their fathers, and they beheld with wonder the shining jewel of Feanor; and they were filled with a great lust to possess them, and carry them off to their far homes in the mountains...then the lust* of the Dwarves was kindled to rage..." (Silmarillion 232, 233
In the end, both parties are the worse for their greed: their kindreds fight constantly, Doriath falls, and the Dwarves are no longer trusted by the Elves, and vice versa.

The next sin is wrath. It is important to note that Tolkien often uses the word "wrath" in the archaic sense of the word, which does not necessarily mean disordered anger. For instance, he refers to the anger of Orome (Silmarillion 29), but not in a negative way. Orome, an unambiguously good character had just cause to be angry at his foes--Morgoth and the orcs. Don't automatically assume that any anger or wrath in this story is an example of the deadly sin. 

There are, however, some instances of anger out of measure. Feanor demonstrates this in The Silmarillion when he goes a step too far and threatens his own brother out of anger. This is also related to envy, but we'll get to that later.
"Then turning upon Fingolfin he drew his sword, crying: 'Get thee gone and take thy due place!' Fingolfin bowed before Finwe, and without word or glance to Feanor he went from the chamber. But Feanor followed him, and at the door of the king's house he stayed him; and the point of his bright sword he set against Fingolfin's breast. 'See half-brother!' he said. 'This is sharper than thy tongue. Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father, and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.'" (Silmarillion 70
Clearly this little outburst does not end well for Feanor and his sin of wrath does not go unpunished:
"But Feanor was not held guiltless, for he it was that had broken the peace of Valinor and drawn his sword upon his kinsman; and Mandos said to him: 'Thou speakest of thraldom. If thraldom it be, thou canst not escape it; for Manwe is King of Arda, and not of Aman only. And this deed was unlawful, whether in Aman or not in Aman. Therefore this doom is now made: for twelve years thou shalt leave Tirion where this threat was uttered. In that time take counsel with thyself, and remember who and what thou art.'" (Silmarillion 70-71

Feanor is not only wrathful himself, but he is the master at using other people's emotions for his own benefit. As he and his people are leaving Valinor:
"Therefore when Finarfin spoke yet again for heed and delay, a great shout went up: 'Nay, let us be gone!' and straightaway Feanor and his sons began to prepare for the marching forth. Little foresight could there be fort hose who dared to take so dark a road. Yet all was done in over-haste; for Feanor drove them on, fearing lest in the cooling of their hearts his words should wane and other counsels yet prevail..." (Silmarillion 84)
This urging on of his people out of wrath does come back to bite them. The Elves were so under-prepared that many died in the cold of the Helcaraxe and elsewhere along the rushed journey.

Eol, who was guilty of lust is also guilty of wrath. He pursues his son and wife to Gondolin where Turgon offers him a life of happiness, but no chance of leaving the city. Because of his hatred for Gondolin and the Noldor in general, Eol erupts into a fit of rage:
"Suddenly, swift as serpent, he seized a javelin that he held hid beneath his cloak and cast it at Maeglin, crying: 'The second choice [dying rather than remaining in Gondolin] I take and for my son also! You shall not hold what is mine!'" (Silmarillion 138
Aredhel, Eol's wife and Turgon's sister leaps in front of the dart and it kills her. For this crime, Eol is hurled over the walls of Gondolin and killed. This fit of rage did not work out for him, clearly.

Turin Turambar also confronts wrath:
"And he [Brandir, a woodman] answered: 'Niniel is gone forever. The dragon is dead, and Turambar is dead; and those tidings are good.'...But even as he ceased, and the people wept, Turin himself came before them...and he said: 'Nay be glad; for the Dragon is dead, and I live. But wherefore have you scorned my counsel, and come into peril? And where is Niniel? For her I would see. And surely you did not bring her from her home?' Then Brandir told him that ti was so, and Niniel was dead. But the wife of Dorlas cried out: 'Nay, lord, he is crazed. For he came here saying that you were dead, and he called it good tidings. But you live.' Then Turambar was wrathful, and believed that all Brandir said or did was done in malice towards himself and Niniel, begrudging their love; and he spoke evilly to Brandir, calling him Club-foot. Then Brandir reported all that he had heard, and named Niniel Nienor daughter of Hurin, and he cried out upon Turambar with the last words of Glaurung, that he was a curse unto his kin and to all that harboured him. Then Turambar fell into a fury, for in those words he heard the feet of his doom overtaking him; and he charged Brandir with leading Niniel to her death, and publishing with delight the lies of Glaurung, if indeed he had devised them not himself. Then he cursed Brandir, and slew him; and he fled from the people into the woods...Then at last Turin knew that doom had overtaken him, and that he had slain Brandir unjustly; so that the words of Glaurung were fulfilled in him." (Silmarillion 224-225

Notice Tolkien's wording: "wrathful" and "evilly" and "fury" clearly point out that Turin is in the wrong here. His rage causes him to kill an innocent person and just adds to his misery.

Turin's father, Hurin, watches all these events unfolds and becomes angry. Instead of being angry at his proper enemy--that is, Morgoth, who caused all this--he takes his anger out on two other people: Thingol and Mim the petty dwarf.
"'Who are you, that would hinder me from entering the house of Finrod Felagund?' 'I am Mim; and before the proud ones cam over the Sea, Dwarves delved the halls of Nulukkizdin. I have but returned to take what is mine; for I am the last of my people.' 'Then you shall enjoy your inheritance no longer,' said Hurin, 'for I am Hurin son of Galdor, returned out of Angband, and my son was Turin Turambar, whom you have not forgotten...' Then Mim in great fear besought Hurin to take what he would, but to spare his life; but Hurin gave no heed to his prayer, and slew him there before the doors of Nargothrond." (Silmarillion 230)
Hurin takes from Nargothrond the Necklace of the Dwarves, which he uses to perpetuate his rage. He brings it to Thingol:
"And Hurin cast it at the feet of Thingol with wild and bitter words. Receive thou thy fee,' he cried, 'for thy fair keeping of my children and my wife! For this is the Nauglamir, whose name is known to many among Elves and Men; and I bring it to thee out of the darkness of Nargothrond, where Finrod thy kinsman left it behind him when he set forth with Beren son of Barahir to fulfill the errand of Thingol of Doriath!'" (Silmarillion 231)
Hurin is very disrespectful to Thingol, forgetting how much Thingol actually did for his family. Luckily Thingol takes pity on him and lets him go with little punishment. Hurin, however, is so distraught that he casts himself into the sea.
Copyright Alan Lee

The next sin is envy. Many characters exhibit envy. Just to name a few: from the Silmarillion, Feanor is jealous of his two brothers, Fingolfin and Finarfin.
"The wedding of his father was not pleasing to Feanor; and he had no great love for Indis, nor for Fingolfin and Finarfin, her sons." (Silmarillion 65)
Maeglin is extremely jealous of Tuor:
"...and hatred for Tuor led Maeglin the easier to his treachery, most infamous in all the histories of the Elder days." (Silmarillion 242
The Numenorians are jealous of the immortality of the Elves:
"And they said among themselves: 'Why do the Lords of the West sit there in peace unending, while we must die and go we know not whither, leaving our home and all that we have made? And the Eldar die not, even those that rebelled against the Lords.'" (Silmarillion 264

  • Melkor; thought he was better than Eru
  • Feanor; prideful over Silmarils
  • Galadriel; wanted to be a ruler of Middle-earth and get the highest place she could
  • Eol; appropriated his own desire for Aredhel over her own wants and needs
  • Thingol; was arrogant towards the Men and treated them as lesser than he
  • Turin; would not heed the advice of Ulmo's missionaries which led to the downfall of Nargothrond
  • Thingol; was arrogant towards the Dwarves and treated them as lesser than he
  • Turgon; would not heed the advice of Ulmo's missionaries which led to the downfall of Gondolin
  • Numenorians; thought they knew better than Eru

*In the archaic use of the word lust, used in much of medieval literature, "lust" is not specific only to sexual lust, but just indicates any kind of greed or disordered desire. Luxury was the word the medievals used to convey what we mean today when we say lust. When Tolkien says "lust" he seems to intend it in the medieval sense.

Lover of Lembas is an independently run blog with topics ranging from Lord of the Rings to general life posts. The author is Jenny Leonard who spends her time listening to or playing music, sipping tea, reading and writing. You can read more about her and The Lord of the Rings at

Thank you to Lover of Lembas for this post. I have read the Divine Comedy, and while I did see the connections, I didn't really think about it to this extent, and I think this is really cool. I hope it will encourage you guys to go and read Dante's Divine Comedy, because it is really quite amazing. I rather liked Inferno the best, as it seemed the most plausible of the three and was also just more interesting to me than the other two.

QUOTES: Thorin

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
~Thorin, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

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You cannot pass!

First off, in case you didn't already know, it isn't "you shall not pass" at least not in the book. It's one of those changes that I don't really care about, but also don't particularly understand. It's the same number of syllables either way, and they would both sound great in the Gandalf voice in that moment. Just imagine him saying 'cannot', it sounds great. 
While I don't really mind the change, I do think it is important to note the difference between 'shall not' and 'cannot'. 'Shall not' implies more power in Gandalf himself, whereas 'cannot' is more like the child saying to a friend 'we cannot go into that room, because mom said so.' There is no other reason. The balrog simply can't pass. 
That word shows Gandalf surrendering himself to the powers that be. He doesn't know that 'he will make sure the balrog doesn't go one, because he is a powerful wizard', he knows that the balrog cannot go on, and that he is the tool that is going to stop it. "I don't know how I'm supposed stop you, I don't know what is going to happen next, all I know is you cannot go any further. I honestly don't know why you can't, I mean you have wings so you could just fly, but you can't go over there." 
It's a small and subtle difference, but it's there for a reason (in my opinion). 

Now then, the real purpose of this post is to talk about an unexplained...thing, in the movie. It's not really a plot hole, it's just one of those moments where everyone said "but, why?". Specifically: "why didn't Aragorn just pull him up?" 
A moment where, had the movie stuck with the book, they wouldn't have created a question. 

MOVIE: Gandalf falls, and clings to the edge of a bridge which is not crumbling at all, and stays there long enough for someone to come help him up, and then lets go, for no particular reason."

BOOK: Gandalf breaks the bridge, the balrog falls, and as it plummets downward, swings its whip, wrapping it around Gandalf's knees. In a small space of time, not long enough for anyone to help the wizard, Gandalf "staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss." In that last second, he cries 'fly, you fools!' and is gone. There is no time for anyone to save him. He doesn't catch himself on the stone and hang out (pun intended) for a chat with the fellowship. 

So there you go, yet another moment where everything would have made much more sense if they had just stuck to the book. 
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