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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"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."
~ Gimli

What Really Happened?

I am going to start a thing on here, where I just make tie-ins and comparisons between the book and movie. So...if there are any movie scenes that you want me to break down with a comparison to the book, or try to find the inspirations and origins of the lines, let me know. A lot of the dialogue that you can look at and not have found at that spot in the book, is actually present elsewhere. The writers used as much of Tolkien's actual writing as they could, and the franken-lines are kind of fun to track down in the books.

For starters:
I: In the movie, at Helm's Deep, Theoden says something along the lines (pun intended) of: Saruman's arm will have grown long indeed if he thinks he can reach us here.
In the book:
Referring to Sauron, not Saruman:
"'His arm has grown long indeed,' said Gimli, 'if he can draw snow down from the North to trouble us here three hundred leagues away.'"

II: You know that part where Legolas talks about the Crebain from dunland? Well in the book, in the chapter The Ring Goes South, Sam and Aragorn on on the watch, and Aragorn (not Legolas) wakes Gandalf up to tell him about the crebain. 

III: In the movie, Gimli wants to go to Moria, and Gandalf REALLY doesn't. In the Book, Gandalf thought they should try Moria, and Aragorn didn't want to, so they attempted Caradhras, but were eventually driven down. So Aragorn agreed to go through Moria, as Gandalf had originally said they should, but says to Gandalf:
"And I say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!"

IV: In the movies, there is a surprise warg attack on the company fleeing from Edoras to Helm's Deep. While the book has no such attack in it, and it is quite the little twist, the fellowship is hunted by wargs in The Fellowship of the Ring, on their way from Caradhras to the Gate of Moria. 

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The Scouring of the Shire

Painting by Alan Lee

November 3 3019 TA

Having roused the Shire to fight, the Hobbits proceed to set a trap for the 'big folk'. Some fighting ensues and Merry kills the leader "a great squint-eyed brute like a huge orc". 

"At last it was all over. Nearly seventy of the ruffians lay dead on the field, and a dozen were prisoners. Nineteen hobbits were killed, and some thirty were wounded. The dead ruffians were laden on waggons and hauled off to an old sand-pit nearby and there buried: in the Battle Pit, as it was afterwards called. The fallen hobbits were laid together in a grace on the hill-side, where later a great stone was set up with a garden about it.So ended the Battle of Bywater, 1419, the last battle fought in the Shire, and the only battle since the Greenfields, 1147, away up in the North-farthing."

"'This is worse than Mordor!' said Sam. 'Much worse in a way. It comes to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.''Yes, this is Mordor,' said Frodo. 'Just one of its works. Saruman was doing its work all the time, even when he thought he was working for himself. And the same with those that Saruman tricked, like Lotho.'"

Saruman is sent away, but as he passes Frodo, he stabs him. Fortunately, Frodo is wearing his mithril shirt, and the blade breaks. The other hobbits, enraged, are about to kill Saruman, but Frodo stops them.

"No, Sam!' said Frodo. 'Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.'Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. 'You have grown, Halfling,' he said. 'Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and not I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell.'"

Saruman forces Wormtongue to reveal that he killed Lotho at Saruman's bidding. Then he teases and mocks him, driving Grima to stab him. The hobbits shoot Grima in an attempt to stop him, but in the end both Grima and Saruman wind up dead.

Thus ends the War of the Ring.

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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.)


November 1
"They are arrested at Frogmorton."

November 2
"They come to Bywater and rouse the Shire-folk."
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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.)