First, happy Martin Luther King Day! Today we pause to remember a man who had a dream of racial equality. He didn’t just think about that dream, he acted upon it—though it cost him his life. (For his “I Have a Dream Speech, go here.) Thanks for paving the way, Martin!
On with my usual inanity (which is oddly fitting in a way). . . .
I had grand plans of writing a poem about Middle-earth for today’s post, but couldn’t get the rhyme scheme right. I’m not like Andy of City Jackdaw who crafts beautifully sculptured free verse or Charles of Legends of Windemere and Patty of Petite Magigue who love to challenge themselves with different types of poems (tanka, rondelet, haiku—you name it). So, I’m settling for prose.
Why was I thinking about a poem about Middle-earth of all places? Well, the other day, as I read an article in Game Informer magazine about a new videogame set in Middle-earth (Shadow of Mordor), I thought about life in Middle-earth. If I could be any of the beings in Middle-earth, which would I choose, if I could choose? (Slight spoilers follow.)
As you know, Middle-earth is populated by many different groups: wizards (Istari/Maiar), elves, men, dwarves, hobbits, ents, huorns, orcs, goblins, and trolls, not to mention eagles, giant spiders, and wargs. If I rule out ents, huorns, orcs, goblins, trolls, eagles, giant spiders, and wargs, I’m left with the following choices: wizard, elf, human, dwarf, or hobbit. All have their pros and cons.
Of the people groups, hobbits are the smallest in stature. Hobbits don’t have to wear shoes, because of their woolly feet. That’s a big plus for me, since I don’t like to wear shoes. Hobbits also love good food and drink. Another huge plus. But as awesome as Bag End looks on screen, I’m not sure I’d want to live there or any other hobbit hole permanently. I need more windows and more light.
The Maiar/Istari/wizards have tremendous power, which sometimes corrupts them (Saruman and Sauron, for instance). But they get to say cool things like, “Fly, you fools” and “Annon edhellen, edo hi ammen! Fennas nogothrim, lasto beth ammen!” (366 of The Fellowship of the Ring). The latter means, “’Gate of the Elves, open now for us! Doorway of the Dwarf-folk listen to the word of my tongue!” Lest you think, Wow, she’s awesome, ’cause she knows elvish, here is my source: http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/elvish/book.html. Wizards also wield a staff. I’d love a staff!
The drawback of being a wizard is that some don’t have a settled place of residence and/or are often chased by orcs and other unpleasant creatures (looking at you, Gandalf). Or, they live in a fortress/tower that exudes evil because they’re megalomaniacs (looking at you, Sauron and Saruman). Radagast the Brown, however, seems very sweet, and his house is a haven for animals. But I wouldn’t relish the thought of hundreds of mice taking refuge in my house.
Moving on to men (and women), they can be found in Dale, Bree, Gondor, Rohan, and many other places. There are many noble people in Middle-earth. For example, Théoden, Éowyn, Éomer, Faramir, the men of Númenor (including Aragorn, who smolders at the right), Bard, Beorn, and others. Éowyn, Faramir, and Théoden are among my favorite characters in The Lord of the Rings, so being human has its advantages. But not every human is noble. Some are jerks like the Master of Lake-town (The Hobbit) or sadly flawed like Boromir and Denethor (The Lord of the Rings).
According to The Silmarillion, dwarves (like Fili here) were created by Aulë, one of the Valar. (For more on Aulë or the Valar, go here or here.) They’re exceptional smiths and miners. Dwarves are shorter than the men of Middle-earth, but taller than hobbits. I can relate to their reputation as fierce fighters, since I’ve had a few fights in my day. Unfortunately, dwarves like to live deep underground. A con for me.
Elves, like men, were created by Eru Ilúvatar, the one God. Like the Istari, they are tall (a plus) and often lauded for their beauty and grace (another plus). They also have a killer wardrobe (triple plus), thanks to Peter Jackson’s movies, and are great warriors (bonus points). But elves can be pompous (looking at you, Thranduil [photo at the right]). Still, I wouldn’t mind living in the forest of Lothlórien, home of Galadriel (Elrond’s mother-in-law) and Celeborn. It’s a wondrous place, thanks to a special piece of jewelry worn by Galadriel.
Elrond is an interesting blend of elf and human, being the descendant of a human-elf pairing. He has the long lifespan of the elves and the understanding and compassion of the human existence (though he chose the immortal life). Best of all, he has an awesome house—Rivendell/Imladris—that owes its awesomeness to a certain item of jewelry Elrond has.
If I lived in Middle-earth, I’d prefer to be a Middle-earth version of turducken (photo at the right)—a combination of different groups. I would be an elf-human-hobbit—tall, beautiful, enigmatic, but with woolly feet. I’d live in Rivendell—the “last homely house” (51 of The Hobbit) and occasionally hang out in Hobbiton and Lothlórien. Best of all, Aragorn and Legolas would drop by for a visit. Hey, like Martin, I can dream too.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring. New York: Ballantine Books, 1955. Print.
__________. The Hobbit. New York: Ballantine Books, 1966. First published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd. in 1937. Print.
__________. The Silmarillion. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1977. Print.
Turducken photo from Wikipedia. Hugo Weaving as Elrond from somewhere online. Lee Pace as Thranduil from lotr.wikia.com. Ian McKellan as Gandalf from tolkienpedia.wikia.com. Martin Freeman as Bilbo movie poster from somewhere on the Internet. Dean O’Gorman as Fili from moviecultists.com. Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn from middleearthnews.com.