My last entry and a late night session with Return of the King sort of got together and this is one of the results. I know that not everyone is familiar with either the films or the books so here is a link to http://www.glyphweb.com/ARDA/banner.html an online reference called the Encyclopedia of Arda. The link is sort of the lazy woman's answer to trying to explain the whos, the wheres and how they fit together. If you scroll down to the bottom of the frame at the left you'll get to the index.
But the relatively short version of the whos and wheres is this.
Elves-immortal beings sort of. They don’t age, they don’t get sick but they can be killed by accident, in battle or by despair.
Men-exactly that. Human beings of all shapes and sizes with all their faults and heroism.
Dwarves-shorter than men and taller than hobbits. Miners and craftsmen. Very handy with an ax, or two or three.
Hobbits-also known as Halflings. They live in the Shire, farm love good food and plenty of it, but can get by on short rations if they have to. Don’t travel much and stick mainly to farm tools and the like.
Wizards-old men of great age, mysterious origin and uncertain temper. The two in the stories are Saruman who hangs out in a very tall tower with many sharp edges called Orthanc. Saruman’s curiosity has gotten the better of him. The other is Gandalf. A wanderer with a reputation for showing up only when he’s needed. Also creates fantastic fireworks displays.
The One Ring-a piece of bad news jewelry. Lost by it’s creator, Sauron who created it in an effort to control Middle Earth. Lost the ring in a great battle centuries before. Since he allowed much of his power to enter the ring. Sauron is currently visible as great flaming eye. The ring was lost in battle, landed in a river, was found by creepy character known as Gollum and dumped him for a hobbit named Bilbo who left it (very reluctantly and with a lot of persuasion from Gandalf) to his younger relative, Frodo. The ring leaves you not the other way around.
Orcs -creatures of uncertain origin and extremely nasty dispositions. One real draw back-they don’t do well in sunlight. Saruman claims they started as elves who were twisted by this universes’ version of Lucifer. I think the fallen equivalent of what we would call an arch angel who tried to claim all of Middle Earth ages ago, and almost succeeded. Basically sword fodder in the films. The sword fodder also includes Uruks. Created by Saruman they are bigger than orcs with even worse dispositions and an ability to function in daylight.
The shire-think rural <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />England without the lord of the manor. Basically the yeoman style farmers. Hobbits don’t travel outside the Shire very often. Since an average size person won’t fit in a hobbit hole or house, they don’t get many visitors. Lies to the west of the Misty Mountains.
Gondor-A kingdom of men to the south and east of the Misty Mountains. The survivor of two kingdoms. The northern kingdom, Arnor fell centuries before as did the royal house of Gondor. Currently governed by a series of hereditary stewards.
Rohan-plains country, home to a people modeled after a cross between the old Anglo Saxons and the Scandinavians with horses instead and ships and much friendlier than the old Vikings. The Rohirram don’tsend their summers raiding their neighbors. Small communities scattered across thecountry. Led by a king.
Mordor-the one place in middle earth you don’t want to visit. Rocky, black, twisted, almost impossible to get into and even harder to get out of. Main landmarks include waterless plains, a volcano where Sauron had his forge, channels of lava and a huge black tower with that flaming eye on top.
The main characters that show up in the second half of this entry.
Includes four hobbits-Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Sam. Two men, Boromir from Gondor and Aragorn. Boromir is the older son of the current ruling steward. Aragorn is the last of the line of the northern kings. Better than great with a sword, older than he looks and haunted by the failure of his ancestor to destroy that cursed chunk of gold when he had the chance. The other three members include an elf, a dwarf and Gandalf. By the end of the first film Frodo, Sam and the ring are headed to Mordor on their own, Merry and Pippin are in the ungentle hands of Saruman’s Uruks. Gandalf literally fell out of the picture in the ruins of the old dwarf kingdom of Moria only to return better than new. (It’s hard to explain without sounding totally off the wall. Let’s just say that Gandalf is more like a lesser angel and leave it at that.) Boromir fell trying to protect Merry and Pippen. The remaining three are pursuing the Uruks-on foot.
Theoden king of Rohan, his nephew and heir Eomer and his niece Eowyn. Saruman is very good at mind control and Theoden is his current victim. Eowyn, well lets just say that watching the uncle she loves turn into a mindless shell and dodging the attentions of his slimy advisor, appropriately nicknamed Wormtongue, do not make her day. Frankly she’d rather join her brother in battle. A duel of minds between Gandalf and Saruman that plays better onfilm than in words results in a healed Theoden. Unfortunately he’s up to speed just in time to lead the retreat to an old fortress in the mountains. The man who is a king and the warrior who may become a king if he manages to live long enough lock horns a time or two over strategy. Gandalf and Aragorn counsel that warriors try to lead the enemy away from the city. Theoden prefers to lead the entire population in a retreat to Helm’s Deep. Definitely more defensible. Trouble is it’s at a dead end. The only real way out is the way they came in. Which is where part two comes in.
This did grow didn’t it? Check out the website when you have time, it’s kind of cool.