OOTHERTHER MMINDSINDS The Unofficial Role-Playing Magazine for J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Middle-earth and beyond

Other Minds Content Magazine Main Features Issue 1 2 Editorial: Here we are! July 2007 3 Opinion: The Acroteriasm of Other Hands Hawke Robinson Publisher 6 The Battle over Role Playing Gaming Other Minds Volunteers Hawke Robinson

Editors Assistant Editors 9 Mapping Arda Hawke Robinson Chris Seeman Thomas Morwinsky,Stéphane Hœrlé, Gabriele Thomas Morwinsky Chris Wade Quaglia, Oliver Schick, Christian Schröder

21 Of Barrow-wights Art Director Neville Percy Hawke Robinson 28 Magic in Middle-earth Production Staff Chris Seeman Thomas Morwinsky Hawke Robinson 31 Thoughts on Imladris Thomas Morwinsky

Other Features

37 Fineprint 38 Creative Commons license Appendix: Maps of Arda For use with “Mapping Arda”

Next Issue’s featured theme will be: Númenor

Unless otherwise noted, every contribution in this magazine is published under the CreaticeCommons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license (b n a) The exact license of a given contribution can be found at the beginning of each contribution.


you want to see your adventure, realm de- scription, or whatever else in print – you know whom to look for! We are especially in need of good artists Editorial and images to enhance the magazine with original art. If you submit someone else’s art, please add a written approval from the artist. the Tolkien-related content of course). More Here we are! Now, for the actual content of this inaugu- of the team will be introduced in later issues. Perhaps you know the famous Fantasy ral issue: First we have an insightful essay in movie in whose title track this line is the 1 the category “Opinion” by Hawke Robinson, opener – and how it continued. We do not in which he details the development of the claim such honors as in the next lines of this Middle-earth gaming license since the advent track, though they create a powerful image in- of the movies. If you were ever deed. But everything in due order: interested in such “behind-the-scenes” issues, Since the demise of Other Hands magazine this article is for you! in 2001 there was a distinct lack of a gaming The second is from Hawke as well and fanzine that addressed specifically the Middle- deals with the image of RPG’s in the general earth gaming community on a broad basis. public and media and how this is handled. This went on for some years, despite several The third contribution is the main feature community-based efforts like the fan- 2 to be sure: A fully-fledged essay on the prob- sourcebooks project. lems and possible solutions when mapping Nearly two years after the introduction of Middle-earth on a global scale authored by Decipher’s Lord of the Rings Role Playing Game Thomas Morwinsky, Stéphane Hœrlé, Gab- (LotRRPG) in 2002, the Online Fanzine The riele Quaglia, Oliver Schick and Christian Hall of Fire (http://www.halloffire.org) Schröder. It has been developed with the high- opened its doors in December 2003 to sup- est priority on Tolkien sources and RPG port this game. One might wonder why an- sources as a secondary need when it did not other magazine should be needed if there is al- contradict Tolkien. This is capped with several ready one which does a pretty good job. The Hawke Robinson maps to match the essay. They depict Arda answer is that the Hall of Fire is focused on throughout the Ages. And all this in a resolu- providing LotRRPG-only material plus supple- tion sufficient for a printed-out wallpaper! We ments for the specific timeframe of this game. hope that it will be useful for your game and a This focus leaves everything else out. Other suitable base for further articles. Minds strives to fill this gap. It is open to sug- Neville Percy provides us with an excellent gestions for any game system, though we will essay on the Barrow-wights. Here you can see provide our own generic system of describing all the relevant facts a'ssembled together with character and creature abilities to make con- a well-based interpretation of what these crea- versions easier if your system of choice is not tures might be – and what not. Stuff for ad- mentioned in a specific article. This system justing the standard Undead-cliché for sure! will be published on the Other Minds website Chris Seeman gave us permission to publish (http://www.othermindsmagazine.com) as his excellent summary on the manifestations of well as in the next issue. magic in Middle-earth. As is to be expected, Providing a platform for any Middle-earth you’ll not be disappointed. gaming related issue is the central and pivotal Finally we provide you with an interesting raison d’être for this magazine. essay on the nature of Imladris. Tolkien’s Thus we see Other Minds not in competition many hints are summarized and set into con- to the Hall of Fire, but rather as a complement text with the professional RPG products. Dis- due to the different foci of both publications. cover some fascinating facets here!

The photos to the right show the guys most Thomas Morwinsky So much for now, we hope to greet you again next January for the second issue. responsible for Other Minds. The first one is We hope that you will find as much joy in Hawke Robinson, long-time manager of the reading this first issue of Other Minds as as we Hawke Robinson Merp mailing list and organizer of MERPCON. had in making it happen! Thomas Morwinsky The second you might know from Other Hands’ This leads us already to the last subject in July 2007 times; it is Thomas Morwinsky who has con- this context: If you want to see Other Minds tributed a number of articles to this magazine 1 endure for any length of time, please submit As a hint, this movie does not deal with as well as some online-essays and maps. contributions. For details how to submit, Tolkien and it was released quite long ago. The team of Other Minds is much bigger of 2 see page 37 We have material assembled by http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/ course (proofreaders, contributors etc.) This ourselves, but to achieve a viable long-term fan-modules great voluntary effort of so many people is survivability, we need your contributions. If what makes this whole project so good (beside 2 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007

He was very frustrated by the majority of submissions not seeming to “get” his vision, and referred to the poor quality fan fiction at- tempts as “tripe” (Letters, #292, p.371). He was not particularly impressed with Opinion large corporate art resources either, especially from the United States. Whereas he was po- tentially open to individual artists themselves, he had “Opinion” is a section of Other Minds devoted to personal views of individual authors about topics related to roleplaying in Midlle-earth. Even more so than the other sections, it ... a “heartfelt loathing” for “any- is a highly subjective forum for which the caveats mentioned in the Disclaimer on page 37 thing from or influenced by the Disney are especially stressed. studios” Letters #13, p 17 We encourage anyone to submit follow-up(s) to topics mentioned in “Opinion”, thus allowing for different points of view on a certain subject. In 1966 J.R.R. Tolkien sold the film, stage and merchandise rights to United Artists. When he died those rights reverted to the The Acroteriasm of The Creator family. The family, represented by The J.R.R. Tolkien wrote prolifically during his Tolkien Estate, sold the rights to Saul Zaentz Other Hands 81 years of life. He loved languages, studying who established the business entity Tolkien many, and he even created more than a dozen The Tolkien Legacy, The Tolkien Estate, Tol- Enterprises to manage the intellectual prop- of his own languages. Tolkien was a world re- kien Enterprises, and “Other Hands” erty licensing and legal enforcement. Tolki- nowned philologist, and translated a number © 2007 by W. A. Hawke Robinson en Enterprises has taken a very commercial, of famous works. He was Professor of Anglo- ([email protected]) per the terms rather than literary, view of the works, and Saxon and English, and later Professor of Eng- b n a 1 has been very aggressive in using IP (Intellec- under CC license: lish language and literature for Oxford Uni- tual Property) laws to enforce the rights it ac- versity in England. Outside of the purely aca- quired though never created. The Tolkien Estate sold the film, stage and mer- demic world, he is most famous for his crea- Tolkien Enterprises’ imperious enforce- chandise related rights for and tion of The and The Lord of the Rings as ment has led to many authors, artists, musi- to Saul Zaentz who then created well as , , Book(s) Tolkien Enterprises. cians and publications having their works of Lost Tales, History of Middle-earth series, and J.R.R. Tokien indicated in some of his letters forcefully removed from the public venue. other works published posthumously by his that he wanted others to build upon his legacy, espe- Some artists’ lives have been dramatically im- son including the recent cially in the areas of visual arts and music, as well pacted by Tolkien Enterprises, having their li- 2007 release of The Children of Húrin. as quality derivative written works. He had a strong fe’s works removed from public access (Anois sense of how these derivative works must meet a strict An Open Invitation music group. 2007), rather than allowed to be level of purity, appreciation and accurate under- In some areas, under strict consideration to released to the general public, something Tol- standing of his works. The Estate has kept for the “understanding” his works, he clearly wanted kien may very well have wanted for the bet- most part, a very loyal academic and literary ap- derivative works such as art and music to be terment of mankind, and specifically England. proach in the treatment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s many allowed, as he stated in his “other minds and He would probably have wanted the en- works. While not being significantly heavy handed hands” quote: hancement of his world being opened up to a in preventing derivative works, they have been dis- broader audience worldwide than Tolkien En- couraging of such efforts. Enterprises on the other “I would draw some of the great tales terprises has allowed, though he most likely hand has had a solely commercial and legal interest, in fullness, and leave many only placed in would have disapproved of the ways in which with little indication of any concern for preserving the scheme, and sketched. The cycles Tolkien Enterprises already has capitalized on the literary quality or “purity” of the works. They should be linked to a majestic whole, and have shown a very significant heavy handedness in his works. yet leave scope for other minds and hands, Tolkien would likely have been dismayed dealing with absolutely any derivative works on any wielding paint and music and drama.” scale. Other Hands (OH) magazine was a non- by the stifling of the potential for development Tolkien, J.R.R. Letter #131 to of quality works created by “other minds and profit journal run by fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and role Milton Waldman. Circa 1951 playing gamers who had a strong reverence for his hands” as derivations of his original works as works. This journal was originally given permission This quote strongly indicates Tolkien’s he implied he wanted (Letters, #131). to operate by Enterprises, then nine years later En- wish that others would build many derivative On the other hand Tolkien was not at all terprises demanded that the publication be shut- works based upon his legacy. That being said, impressed with the early attempts at fan fic- down. he was very picky about these artists staying tion proposals he received, and the general true to the complexities of the world he cre- “pop” culture over his works. He was far ated. He hoped that derivative writers would more supportive of musical works however, see: stating in 1964 to an aspiring musician wishing to compose a Hobbit Overture: “how closely linked is linguistic in- vention and legendary growth and con- struction.” Letters, #297, p 387

3 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE “You certainly have my permission to However, the Estate has indirectly benefited earth setting than ICE’s Rolemaster derivative compose any work that you wished based because of the renewed interest in the books, MERP system had been. on The Hobbit. .... As an author I am leading to a very significant spike in book Unfortunately, the licensing was so restric- honoured to hear that I have inspired a sales. tive, that even when writers of modules and composer. I have long hoped to do so, and source material knew the correct names and hoped also that I might perhaps find the Iron Crown Gets ICEd places for NPCs (Non Player Characters) and result intelligible to me, or feel that it was Iron Crown Enterprises was given exclu- races and cultures, they could not use that in- akin to my own inspiration as much as sive world wide rights by Tolkien Enterprises formation because it was outside of the limits are, say, some (but not all) of Pauline to create role playing games based on of the license agreement with Tolkien Enter- Baynes’ illustrations. ... Tolkien’s works. The company had this license prises, and the writers were forced by legal I have little musical knowledge. Though I from 1981 to 1999. When Tolkien Enter- pressues to “make up” information. Decipher come of a musical family, owing to defects prises obtained a court order to force ICE to just recently announced in Spring 2007 that it of education and opportunity as an or- freeze sales of MERP (Middle-earth Role Play- would not renew it’s Tolkien Enterprises li- phan, such music as was in me was sub- ing) related products, income plummeted. In cense in Summer 2007, so the licensing will merged (until I married a musician), or addition to freezing sales, ICE was forced to once again open up. However, the current transformed into linguistic terms. Music pay for expensive storage and insurance of the conversation is that no one will want to touch gives me great pleasure and sometimes in- products, while being prohibited from selling the license with a ten foot prod, because spiration, but I remain in the position in off the remaining inventory assets. This went of how overly restrictive and expensive it is. reverse of one who likes to read or hear on all the while continuing the expensive legal poetry but knows little of its technique or battle with court hearing extensions, court Hands Off tradition, or of linguistic structure.” The costs, lawyers, etc. Since ICE was very de- The confusion and complications caused by Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. #260. pendent on MERP sales as a revenue stream, the split ownership and licensing between the August 16, 1964 this multi-pronged strategy by Tolkien Enter- Estate and Enterprises, was exemplified in the prises quickly drained the limited coffers of seemingly unwarranted, and on the surface in- A Clear Stance On Piracy ICE and led to the company’s being forced to explicable, forced termination of the well re- Though J.R.R. Tolkien provided a fairly file bankruptcy and eventually led to ICE’s spected, nine years long nonprofit journal open invitation for others to create derivative demise in 1999, ending an 18 year series of Other Hands magazine. In 2001, two years af- works, he provided at best, mixed views on role playing products for gaming in Middle- ter the destruction of Iron Crown Enterprises, his attitude towards those specific derivative earth. Tolkien Enterprises forced OH to shut down. works submitted over the years. On the other The company was later reincarnated by OH played a strong supportive role to those hand, he was very clear on his strong active Aurigas Aldabaron LLC, but was not allowed using the Iron Crown Enterprises Middle- stance against any piracy of his works, espe- to (re)acquire the rights to continue creating earth Role Playing game system, but was al- cially in the case of the USA Ace Books piracy Middle-earth/Tolkien-based games. ways a useful resource for Tolkien enthusiasts scandal (Letters, #269, 270, 271, 364, 367). world wide, whether a gamer, or a non- Conspiracy Theories gaming Tolkien fan. The Estate vs. Enterprises Many, if not most, believe that it was En- Other Hands magazine was a non-profit The relationship between The Tolkien Es- terprises’ wish to maximize on the potential journal founded by Professor Chris Seeman for tate and Tolkien Enterprises over the decades windfall from the Peter Jackson movies, that those fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works that has at best been strained. The Estate does not led to their using what many considered at wished to role play in his imaginary Middle- directly get a single penny from the movies or best, questionable legal practices, to free the earth. Though primarily a role playing gaming merchandise created from the Lord of the license up from ICE, and then reissue it for a magazine, many Tolkien scholars and non- Rings or The Hobbit movies. Only if the significantly higher rate, with far more restric- gaming Tolkien fans found the publication ex- products are directly derived from the books. tions than when ICE owned the rights. tremely valuable. The magazine was given does the Estate directly benefit financially. As Whether that was the original plan is not pub- verbal permission by phone (Chris Seeman, an example, The Hobbit cartoon movie led to licly certain, but it clearly has been the end re- email, 2007) to publish by Laurie Battle, Li- figurines made by Knickerbocker toys in the sult. censing Director of Tolkien Enterprises in styling of the Hobbit cartoon characters, Short Lived Resurrection 1992. In fact, she was interviewed in Other rather than accurately fitting the descriptions A company known as Decipher, maker of Hands in Issue #10/11 on November 1995 by of the books. This meant that Enterprises many card games and some some role playing Chris Seeman on the topic of the role playing would get the profits, and the Estate would games, acquired the rights to create a much gaming rights of Iron Crown Enterprises for not see a penny. On the other hand, Toy Vault more restricted Middle-earth role playing role MERP (Middle-earth Role Playing). made miniature figurines that were accurate playing gaming system known as Decipher’s renditions straight from the books, letting the In 2001, Tolkien Enterprises appar- LotR (Lord of the Rings) RPG. They invested Estate get some profits with Enterprises get- ently desiring to “clear the slate” for the much in the cards and other venues, but ar- ting none (Lord of the Rights. 2001). role playing and Tolkien fanzine world, guably only half-heartedly put forth effort into sent OH a “Cease and Desist” letter forc- This dichotomy of IP ownership, means the RPG portion of the very restrictive li- profits on all the billions of dollars and pounds ing the journal out of publication, claim- cense. Those who actually worked on the made on the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings ing that Other Hands was “an unauthor- LotR RPG project worked very hard on it, films went to Tolkien Enterprises/Saul Zaentz ized derivative work of the Tolkien works” looking at the changing of the guard as an op- (and New Line Cinemas and Peter Jackson), Hurst. 2001 portunity to “start fresh” and make a better and not a penny went to the Family/Estate. RPG system more “true” to a Tolkien Middle- 4 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 Frustration 30+ Years To Freedom Print Sources Since then, the Tolkien-based role playing It will be another 30-40 years before the Tolkien, J.R.R.: The Letters of J.R.R. Tolki- gaming world has struggled. Long gone are Tolkien works officially become public do- en. Ed. . Assistance by the heady days of Iron Crown Enterprises’ main, assuming no further extensions to copy- Christopher Tolkien. New York & Boston, more than one hundred supplement books. right posthumous laws. So for now, the legal Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981. 173, 174, The new licensing restrictions have severely wrangling and the up and down drama of 181-189. Letters# 131, 145, 167, 323. stifled the creativity and accuracy that most those wishing to heed Tolkien’s open invita- Other Hands Magazine: Issues 10/11, No- gamers desire in a Tolkien based role playing tion to use their “other minds and hands” vember 1995. “An Interview With Laurie gaming system. It is likely the overly restric- building on Tolkien’s works will have to con- Battle”. p 29. by Chris Seeman tive license that has led to Decipher only tinue to worry about their creative hands be- minimally supporting the Lord of the Rings ing dismembered when trying to make their Hurst, Annette L. Re: Other Hands. Role Playing Game product line intermit- works publicly available. tently, and then their opting not to renew the Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & license in 2007, will dissuade anyone wanting Acroteriasm definition: A word de- Rabkin, November 16th, 2001. rived from the Greek verb akroteriazein to continue the legacy as a public or commer- Online sources cial venture. Even if some company sees an meaning “amputation of the extremities”, or the act of cutting off the extreme parts Anois. opportunity to capitalize on any upcoming http://anois.info/elvish_music_songs.htm Hobbit movie, the product produced is likely of body by a saw. Used in the case of this opinion article as a (bad) pun on Other Viewed June 29th, 2007. to continue to let down the general public Hands magazine being “cut off” from pub- clamoring for “true” contributions to the The Tolkien Estate Website lication. Tolkien legacy, in the the Tolkien based role http://www.tolkienestate.com/home/ playing gaming community. Copyright © 2007 W.A. Hawke Robinson. Viewed June 29th, 2007. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and /or Tolkien Enterprises Website Worldwide Community modify this document under the terms of the GNU In frustration with the lack of much mate- http://www.tolkien-ent.com/ Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any la- Viewed June 29th, 2007. rial available in the way of “authorized” re- ter version published by the Free Software Founda- sources, there has been a growing “under- tion; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Cole, Nicholas. The Lord of the Rights. De- ground” movement growing steadily interna- Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the li- cember 9, 2001. Research paper in PDF tionally. Many of the community members in cense is included in the section entitled “GNU Free format. this movement were part of ICE, OH, and Documentation License” on page 38 of this publica- http://www.cse.unr.edu/~ncole/docs/Lo Decipher LotR authorship spanning more than tion. rd of the Rights.pdf 25 years, others are just inspired by those, the original J.R.R. Tolkien works and subsequent Tolkien works released by his son Christopher Tolkien. There are now hundreds of authors, 1 and millions of participants in this movement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses There are multiple “unofficial” magazines, /by-nc-sa/3.0/ websites and game systems now available. Be- side many others, these include the following resources: • Hall of Fire zine http://www.halloffire.org • Other Minds magazine (new) http://www.othermindszine.org • Fan-sourcebooks at Yahoo Groups http://games.groups.yahoo.com/ group/fan-modules • Ambarquenta RPG system http://www.ambarquenta.com • Hither Lands role playing game system http://www.hither-lands.com • Eä d20 role playing game system http://ead20.com/ In addition, there dozens of adaptations of existing games systems to Middle-earth (GURPS, D&D, HârnMaster, HARP, etc.), as well as hundreds of new adventure modules and supplements for many game systems set in Middle-earth.


The Battle Over Role Playing Gaming

© 2007 by W.A. Hawke Robinson playing gaming or MMORPGs (Massive Mul- tionally there are clearly defined rules with a ([email protected]) per the terms tiplayer Online Role Playing Games). moderator, the GM (Game Master), to keep under CC license: b n a 1 For the purposes of this document, the per- the game flowing. spective that this topic is being approached The Opponents History Overview with, is that role playing games are merely neutral tools as a collection of paper, rules and Some of those who are opposed to role War-gaming has been around for thousands playing gaming focus their concerns on entire of years in the military and elite levels of soci- dice that are inert and have no causal influence on anyone until they are actually used by play- genres, such as fantasy or horror. Others focus ety. It was H.G. Wells’ “Little Wars” that on specific products such as”The Lord of the made it accessible to the general public in ers to participate in role playing gaming ses- sions. As an example corollary, a shovel inher- Rings”, “Dungeons & ”, “Harry Pot- 1913. ter”, or “Call of Cthulu”. Still others express Role playing gaming (RPGing) originally ently has neither a positive, nor negative influ- ence when it is sitting in the storage shed on concerns about all role playing gaming in gen- grew as an offshoot from war-gaming in the eral, which has a nearly limitless range of gen- 1960’s and 1970’s, and has grown significantly since 1974 with the publication of Dungeons & Dragons. This splitting off from classical war-gaming was due in part to the popularity and influence of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hob- bit” and “The Lord of Rings”. Detractors of RPGing claim serious risks to life, limb, mind, and spirit for those who en- gage in this endeavor. Advocates claim little to no risk, and a lengthy list of benefits for those who participate in this recreational activity. Meanwhile the media has had an unbalanced bias on this topic. Studies that have been run by both sides of the wall. Only when someone uses the shovel res, from fantasy and science fiction to horror, the debate, as well as neutral parties, have to dig a ditch for drainage, or as a weapon to historical, bible-based, mystery, American provided some interesting data. Most of the assault someone, does the potential for assess- “Old West”, time travel, espionage and mod- data, when valid and verifiable, has either been ing positive or negative aspects manifest. ern to name just a few. correlative rather than causal, or been on such Those who oppose the manufacture and use What is Role Playing Gaming? a small scale in either the number of test sub- of role playing games in general, and “Dun- Role playing gaming can be summed up as jects or duration, that it is difficult from a sci- geons & Dragons” specifically, have gone so far “interactive storytelling”. The participants cre- entific perspective to clearly ascertain exactly as attempting to have laws ate on paper imaginary what exact characteristics of role playing gam- passed outlawing their use. characters in a story run ing have the claimed positive or negative im- One effort attempted to by the “game master” or pact. lobby the United States “narrator” who acts as The emphasis of this document is on the Federal Trade Commis- writer, director and verb “role playing gaming” as opposed to the sion, and then subsequently referee of this imagi- noun “Role Playing Games”. Live Action Role the Consumer Product nary, verbal-only play. Playing known as LARP, which is a physical Safety Commission, re- The activity is similar to enactment of role playing, is not included in questing a mandate to put childhood “let’s pre- this essay due to the significant differences warning labels on gaming tend” games such as from paper and dice role playing gaming. This materials that they “were “cops and robbers” or essay also does not cover computer based role hazardous and could cause “treasure hunt”, but with some key differ- suicide” (CARDWELL, JR., PAUL. 1994). ences; the players are sitting around a table us- The one woman organization , B.A.D.D. ing their imagination and verbally describing (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons), their character’s actions to each other, rather widely distributed pamphlets to law enforce- than physically acting out the scenes. Addi- ment agencies for use in interrogating children 6 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 for potential links to satanism, included role (PULLING, RADECKI, BADD, & NCTV). Using “The Associated Press and United playing gaming as one of the “danger signs” to the list of supposedly D&D related suicides, Press International, between 1979 and check for during interrogation (STACKPOLE, the claims were later shown to be based on in- 1992, carried 111 stories mentioning A., MICHAEL, 1990). correct data. Even later correlative research role-playing games... Almost all named These organizations take a zero tolerance based on the numbers given by the detractors only Dungeons & Dragons, even though stance that all forms of role playing games indicated that role playing gamers would be at there are several hundred such games on must be prohibited. A section of a tract dis- less than one tenth the risk of the general the market...Of the 111 stories, 80 were tributed by the “Daughters of St. Paul” clearly United States population for suicide if based anti-game, 19 had no majority, 9 were spells out their position as: on the numbers of supposed suicides posited neutral, and only 3 were pro-game. Those by the BADD & NCTV organizations (Card- three pro-game stories were all from UPI, “Thus more families must become in- well, Jr., Paul 1994). The overturning of sup- which is a considerably smaller wire ser- formed of the hazards of Dungeons and posed “proof” about the dangers of role play- vice than AP.” Cardwell, Jr., Paul Dragons in order to prevent it’s introduc- ing games has been a common theme. 1994 tion into the home, neighborhood, and The opponents of role playing gaming later school. An absolute prohibition of the The supporters refute the detractors “evi- claimed that participants were at a risk of in- game must be maintained.” dence” by providing a large body of scientific Games Un- creased antisocial behavior such as kidnap- research indicating potential benefits ranging suspecting People Play, 1984 pings, robbery, assault and even homicide from lower criminal and social risks (CARD- (RADECKI and PULLING). Research in the fol- WELL, JR., PAUL. 1994), to more rapidly de- The Case of Eggbert III lowing years determined these claims to be veloping foreign language skills (PHILLIPS, D. Prior to 1979, there does not appear to be completely mistaken as well (CARDWELL, JR., BRIAN. PHD, C.H. 1993). Many cite the bene- any publicized detractors of role playing gam- PAUL. 1994). fits for developing stronger skills in reading, ing. Then in 1979 a 16 year old “genius” stu- Those in the religious camp that were sup- mathematics, creative thinking, cooperative dent at Michigan State University named Dal- porting the fight against role playing gaming, play, history and many other cognitive and las Egbert III suddenly disappeared. Egbert’s focused on stating that role playing gaming led creative skills as well as potential therapeutic uncle hired a private investigator named Wil- participants down the path of occultism and benefits (KESTREL, 2005). liam Dear to find out what happened. Mr. satanism because of magic being a topic in- Dear stated eleven possible reasons for Eg- cluded in some role playing games (Dungeons Cooperation bert’s disappearance, and Dragons, Only A Game? 1986). This was Role playing gaming is by design a coopera- strongly refuted by a number of scientific tive past time, which in and of itself may have conjecture “#9 That Dallas had come studies that indicated there was no such cor- significant benefits in a world where every- to identify so much with his D&D charac- relative statistical link, and also showed a dis- ter that he believed he was his character” thing is becoming competitive at all ages and tinct difference in personality from those ad- levels of society. There are very few social ta- The Dungeon Master: The Dis- mittedly involved in satanism and those who appearance of James Dallas Eg- ble-top recreation activities available that are were role playing gamers (Leeds, Stuart. cooperative rather than competitive in nature. bert III (Part I), 1991 1995). Jessica Statsky, author of the essay Children This case became the inspiration for books Lastly the religious portion of those against Need to Play, Not Compete, expressed her and television movies for the next fifteen role playing gaming quit trying to create or concern about the over-competitive attitude years, as well as a mis-stated example by role use “scientific” data that kept getting over- towards play, and the lack of cooperation- playing gaming protagonists when listing evi- turned, and were no longer able to capitalize based activities by stating: dence of the potential pitfalls. on the wave of “satanic panic” that was popular “Their goals should be having fun, The truth of the story is it turned out that in the 1980s. They instead consolidated their learning, and being with friends. Al- Egbert had attempted suicide in the steam focus on the general “risk” of straying from a “one true god” by playing games that included though winning does add to the fun, too tunnels. His suicidal ideations had been build- many adults lose sight of what matters ing from his ongoing drug abuse and finally non-monotheistic deities, using many citations from the bible as “proof”. Ironically there is a and make winning the most important triggered by his mother being dissatisfied with goal.” 157 him not receiving a 4.0 on his grades. He had very strong and large group of devout Chris- run away and hidden under the campus steam tians who are avid role playing gamers, known tunnels. After failing in his drug overdose sui- as the “Christian Gamers Guild”, who refute Return of the Shadow cide attempt he hid at a friend’s house for ap- what the other groups state are the risks. This The mid to late 1990s saw the decline of proximately a month, before finally “turning has lead to a considerable amount of “name attacks on role playing games. This may be up”. A year later he finally committed suicide calling” and rifts between the different reli- due to the same organizations changing their with a gun. The media did not retract the ear- gious organizations (Should A Christian Play focus to other targets such as books (à la Harry lier focus on the D&D related statements. Mr. Dungeons & Dragons?, 2001). Potter), computer based and online gaming, movies, television and music. It could also be a Dear revealed five years later that he found The Media Has Picked Sides Dallas Egbert had not played D&D much at parallel to the decline in paper and diced role The media has not by any means been a playing gaming market share growth, when all, and never participated in “Live Action neutral bystander in this controversy. A Role Playing”. having to compete with the aforementioned study published in the Skeptical Inquirer media entertainment. Changing Tactics on the media and it’s potential bias in In recent years however, there has been a Detractors first started out stating that role reporting on this debate indicated: revivalism of some of the old issues, including playing greatly increased the risk of suicide. exact reprints of pamphlets on the topic from 7 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE more than 20 years ago that have already been Copyright © 2007 W.A. Hawke Robinson. Phillips, David, Brian. Ph.D., C.H. “Role- refuted. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and /or Playing Games in the English as a Foreign Additionally, as role playing gaming has modify this document under the terms of the GNU Language Classroom.” 1993. begun to spread throughout other countries, Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any la- http://www.rpg.net/larp/papers/eflrpg. some are going through the same or similar ter version published by the Free Software Founda- html debates, including somewhat surprisingly, tion; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Accessed April 12th, 2007. Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the li- the Israeli Defense Force as recently cense is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Pratte, David. “Dungeons & Dragons, Only A as 2005. They have come up with a new Documentation License” on page 38 of this publica- Game?”. Original publication date twist to the arguments against role play- tion. unknown. Reprinted in 1986, Australia. ing gaming, and are denying higher level http://www.espministries.com/topic_du security clearances for anyone found to Print Sources ngeons.htm have participated in role playing gaming Accessed April 12th, 2007. at any point in their lives Army Dear, William C. The Dungeon Master: RPG Studies.net. Studies About Fantasy Role- Frowns on Dungeons and The Disappearance of James Dallas Eg- Playing Games. Ed. Not Listed. Dragons bert III. Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd, London. 1991. Last Updated 2002. Scientific Research http://www.rpgstudies.net/ Shanahan, Louise. Games Unsuspecting Accessed April 11th, 2007 As of 1998, there had been more than sev- People Play: Dungeons & Dragons tract enty four research projects related to various for The Daughters of St. Paul. Catalog Schnoebelen, William. “Should A Christian aspects of role playing gaming (RPG Stud- No. PM0798. 1984 Play Dungeons & Dragons?”. 2001. ies.net, 1998). For over 30 years there has de- http://www.chick.com/articles/frpg.asp veloped a a large body of correlative scientific Statsky, Jessica. “Children Need to Play, Not Accessed April 13th, 2007. work, as well as smaller causal studies, refut- Compete.” Beyond Fundamentals – Exposi- ing the anti-RPGing parties’ claims, and point- tion, Argumentation, and Narration. A Cus- Stackpole, A., Michael. Pat Pulling, ing to potentially very powerful positive tom Text and Reader for Eastern Washing- “Dungeons and Dragons and Satanism.” therapeutic benefits to role playing gaming in ton University. Ed. Boston & New York: 1990. social, intellectual and creative areas. Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2006. 156-159 The Church of Y . There is not yet a sufficient body of long Sources from Internet Sites http://www.tylwythteg.com/lawguide/p term, large scale, causal scientific work detail- ulling.html rev. 1999. ing which components of RPGing are key to Cardwell, Jr. Paul. “The Attacks on Role- Accessed April 12, 2007. optimizing potential therapeutic benefits for Playing Games.” Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 18 the most efficient implementation as a therapy No. 2 Winter 1994 157-168. Additional References modality. Such an endeavor would require a http://www.rpgstudies.net/cardwell/atta Studies About Fantasy Role-Playing Games properly designed, funded, and implemented cks.html 1998 long term project spanning ten to twenty http://www.rpgstudies.net/ years. It should use the key requirements of Greenberg, Hanan. “Army Frowns on Dun- truly scientific research study, including being geons and Dragons.” Israel News February Role Playing Gaming Research Project 2007 triple-blind, with multiple types of control 28th, 2005 http://www.rpgresearch.com/ groups and tracking of multiple variables, with http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,73 a number of test subjects in the thousands. 40,L-3052074,00.html There is such an effort currently in it’s early Accessed April 12th, 2007. stages at the RPG Research Project Kestrel, F.M., Gwendolyn. (http://www.rpgresearch.com). 1 “Working Hard At Play”. March 2005. http://creativecommons.org/licenses The Battle Continues... http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/ /by-nc-sa/3.0/ Until such an overwhelming body of evi- literacy/kestrel.htm dence is clearly developed, the debate on the Accessed April 14th, 2007. pro’s and con’s of role playing gaming will continue to flare up periodically. Meanwhile Leeds, Stuart. “Personality, Belief in the Para- the millions of role playing gamers will keep normal, and Involvement with Satanic playing despite the stigma, while many mil- Practices Among Young Adult Males: Dab- lions more potential participants will avoid or blers Versus Gamers.” be denied the benefits from role playing gam- Cultic Studies Journal Vol. 12 No. 2 1995 ing because of the misconceptions and misin- 148-165. formation propagated by misguided individu- als and organizations, extremist religious groups, the press and the misinformed general public.

8 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007

legends. Because of this we deem it pointless to equate Middle-earth geo- graphical features (e.g. rivers or mountains) directly with existing Mapping Arda real-world ones. • More importantly, it ignored Tolkien’s own drafts or thoughts of the continental shape as published in © 2006-2007 by Foundations and aims the History of Middle-earth Vol. 4 “The Thomas Morwinsky ([email protected]), Since the publication by Iron Crown En- Shaping of Middle-earth” (HoMe 4), and Stéphane Hœrlé ([email protected]), terprises (ICE) of Middle-earth Role-playing the History of Middle-earth Vol. 7 “The Gabriele Quaglia ([email protected]), (MERP) in 1982, gamers have had a continental Treason of ” (HoMe 7). Oliver Schick ([email protected]), map at their disposal. This was drawn by Peter Image 1 below illustrates these different Christian Schröder ([email protected]) 1 C. Fenlon of ICE for use with the game. De- approaches. Pete Fenlon’s map from 1982 is per the terms under CC license: b n a spite several later attempts to re-draw Middle- in color, while the one published in Other earth, Fenlon’s map for some still serves as Hands in 2000 is in B/W. some kind of de facto-standard for any expan- Our recent map-set and essay provided Gaming in Tolkien’s imaginary world of Arda has sion of the geography of Middle-earth beyond with this text aims to rectify the shortcomings many aspects, each of them capable of spawning an the boundaries presented by the maps from of both of these older publications and to give entire book in its own right. One of the most basic LotR and UT. future explorers of the wide realms of Arda necessities for the development of epic fantasy is Another attempt at a continental map was highly consistent continental maps ready for solid geography. Tolkien deemed it very important published in Other Hands (OH) magazine in July use. The maps were made with the following to have detailed and good maps that matched his 4 aims in mind: 2 2000. It depicted a greatly enlarged conti- narratives. Hence, he took great care to map the nent, bringing Middle-earth near the size of • Being very close to Tolkien’s final North-west of Middle-earth while writing the Lord Eurasia. While considering Tolkien’s original ideas concerning the shape of the of the Rings (LotR). (Further information is pro- intent of making Middle-earth the past of our world of Middle-earth. 5 vided in Unfinished Tales – UT). The territory world , it failed to address several key issues • Retaining as much of Pete Fenlon’s beyond this well-known North-west remains much of Tolkien’s vision and therefore remained continent as possible. This is not in more problematic. fundamentally flawed: conflict with Tolkien since it seems At first glance, this article may appear to be just another futile attempt at cracking the many prob- • It took Tolkien’s words too literally. that Pete Fenlon had many of lems inherent in mapping Middle-earth. However, Tolkien envisioned his world only as a Tolkien’s quotes in mind when he “mythological past” of our world; e.g. drew his map – even when it does not we are convinced that it presents the best, most com- 6 prehensive and exhaustive determinations yet to perhaps as historically and geographi- seem so at first glance. In addition, some of the most difficult apparent contradictions, cally accurate (in context with the the Fenlon continent does fit neatly real-world’s history) as the Arthurian into the limits of the earlier ambiguities, and canonical puzzles. 7 This essay complements the set of new maps pro- “bounded” world as detailed below. vided with this issue of Other Minds. Both map-set and essay are meant to present a profoundly reliable basis from which to enable those endeavouring to produce their own extensions to Tolkien’s secondary world, while staying consistent with his original imagination of its shores and shires.3

Image 1: Fenlon and Other Hands map overlayed 9 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE • The maps are meant to show the geo- The continents of Morenorë (“the Dark graphic “reality” of Middle-earth in Land”), Aman and the Empty Lands with their “And all the coasts and seaward re- gions of the western world suffered great precisely defined timeframes. internal structures were developed in the same way. The coastline of the Empty Lands as change and ruin in that time; for the seas The sources shown on Ambarkanta-Map V was abandoned invaded the lands, and shores foundered, The diagrams I to III and the maps IV and V in favour of the coastlines as shown on Ambar- and ancient isles were drowned, and new isles were uplifted; and hills crumbled and plus the accompanying text from the Ambar- kanta-Map IV, since the latter fits much easier rivers were turned into strange courses.” kanta in HoMe 4 were the pivotal sources when with Tolkien’s later image of this continent as Sil: Akallabêth; 1958 devising the general shape of the lands of the hinted at in The Drowning Of Anadûne. First Age (and indirectly of later Ages). In ad- Finally, the southern half of Endor The issue that some islands sank, others dition, the relevant geographical and cosmo- (“Pseudo-Africa” or Dark ) was enlarged were raised and hills crumbled but no moun- logical passages all throughout the History of to fit with Tolkien’s global view as first devel- tain raised might seem indicative what hap- Middle-earth and the published Silmarillion oped in the aforementioned fragments of The pened as a result of the Akallabêth and what were of great use. Further sources (e.g. Let- Drowning of Anadûne and Letter #294 (v.i.), re- not. Here we had to consider the imaginary ters) were consulted when necessary. spectively. The outer dimensions of the habit- composer of the narrative (e.g., for able (for the Eruhíni) world were equated with the Silmarillion-Akallabêth) with his limited Timeframe of the maps the corresponding distances in the real world, knowledge. In this context, it looked as if the A severe problem in former mapping- e.g. the distance from the farthest North to 11 author was describing events that had hap- attempts of the whole of Middle-earth lay in the deepest South on Earth and in Arda are pened in regions he was familiar with. Things the fact that they were viewed as more or less presumed to be equal. might have looked differently in places un- universally applicable – regardless of the en- When Tolkien died, he left an enormous known to the author. Additionally, his account visaged temporal setting. For instance, the bundle of textual fragments, making it very is highly stylised, merely indicating the titanic Fenlon continental map was drawn with the hard for later scholars to assemble a coherent forces at work that re-shaped whole lands. late Third Age in mind (see note 6). However, and complete narrative, especially for the ear- Thus we concluded that this was not an exact it was used (both by MERP authors and later lier ages of Arda. With this lack of coherent description of all events. writers) as if exactly the same shape had al- narrative went a lack of coherently narrated ready been present in the Second or even the geography and cosmology. This meant that we “I have crossed many mountains and First Ages (apart from sunken ). had to delve deeply into the various posthu- many rivers, and trodden many plains, However, careful study of the relevant pas- mous fragments to recover – as far as possible even into the far countries of Rhûn and sages in LotR and other primary sources makes – all of the relevant geographical passages to Harad where the stars are strange.” LotR very clear that the overall shape of Middle- present maps with a very high level of “canon- I: The Council of 8 earth changed drastically over the ages. icity”. In this process, we often weighed up Therefore, every one of our new maps is ex- very carefully the respective merits of incon- Again, the exact wording suggests that plicitly made with a certain clearly defined sistent and sometimes contradictory sources: never used any other form of trans- timeframe in mind. Naturally, there still re- The corpus of Tolkien’s legendarium (especially portation than his own feet (“trodden”). While main significant temporal gaps between the HoMe) offers countless quotes for nearly every theoretically possible, it is highly unlikely, that various maps. The choice of “time slots” was interpretation imaginable. We had to develop Aragorn never used any other mode of travel. made based on which ones seemed most useful a strict approach to choosing between passages Therefore, the quote should be read by recog- for the majority of game settings. worth considering and quotes it was possible nising the rhetorical devices that Aragorn uses to ignore. to give the audience an image of the magni- Basic approach We also developed numerous consistent tude of his travels while he is at the same time The core of all development has been the solutions to non-literal interpretation of key unconcerned with the detail of the forms of map from LotR. It was referenced to fix a few texts.The following example shows an exam- transport. glaring discrepancies inherent in Fenlon’s ple of such interpretative work: map. Further modifications were then applied A note on scale Since these maps are drawn on a large to Fenlon’s map because of material found in ”And all the coasts and seaward re- 12 other primary sources. This ‘adjusted Fenlon gions of the world suffered great ruin and scale, they cannot be completely precise. In- map’9 has been used throughout. Hence our change in that time; for the Earth was stead, the scale actually offers the possibility of new map-set is still rather a derivative of sorely shaken, and the seas climbed over minor geographic changes. Fenlon’s original concept than a complete sub- the lands, and shores foundered, and an- Changes to the coastline of up to about stitution. This was done because it still is cient isles were drowned, and new isles 10km are not noticeable at such a large scale. probably the one most broadly used when were uplifted; and hills crumbled, and At the scale of the maps, the width of the line large-scale mapping of the uncharted lands be- rivers were turned into strange courses.” depicting the shoreline corresponds to ca. yond the North-west is needed. Beleriand HoMe 09: The Drowning of 9km. It is therefore possible for the maps to be (taken from HoMe 4, 5 & 11) was attached to Anadûne II; 1946 unaffected in their accuracy by individual events that change the coastline. Likewise, Lindon and the Blue Mountains. From this re- constructed area found in Tolkien’s original river deltas could silt up without much effect works, the overall coastline for the First Age on the integrity of these continental maps. Such changes should of course be visible on was developed, based on the general shape of the shores as seen on Map V of the Ambarkanta regional maps drawn on a much smaller scale. 10 and applied to an enlarged continent. 10 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 The First Age Age. Tolkien had drawn this island only one ‘epic style’ prose of the true Silmarillion tradi- Our map shows the geographical situation time and on his own first LotR map in 1940. At tion, Christopher Tolkien could not draw ex- of Arda after the tumults following the Battle that time he still pronounced ’ for- clusively from these newer materials as he of Powers have settled into a new, stable ge- tress Himling and Christopher Tolkien erro- compiled a publishable text of his Silmarillion. ography. After ’s escape from Aman neously did not update the spelling when he This choice meant that outdated geographical following his theft of the , he piled up included Tol Himring on his UT map. We information would have to be included in the Thangorodrim, shortly before the ar- chose to use Himring as the anchor point for published Silmarillion, drawn from older and rived in Middle-earth. In most of its parts this the addition of Beleriand, as this method en- other texts, in the process confusing every car- map of the First Age shows the state of Mid- abled us to obtain the best fit between the two tographer after him. dle-earth from the creation of the Than- maps. It resulted in the northern range of the However, the fact that the Ered Engrin and gorodrim until the beginning of the Ered Luin fitting perfectly for both HoMe 11 Thangorodrim are not featured on the Sil- War of Wrath, when large portions of the and LotR-maps, with only the southern range marillion map can be seen as a hint that Chris- continent were again changed. In our opinion, diverging slightly between them. topher Tolkien was quite aware of the textual discrepancies concerning their locations and this is also the most promising period for gam- At first glance, the usefulness of the ing in the First Age: The Noldor have returned avoided a clear statement by excluding any Fonstad atlas seems great since it shows to wage war upon Morgoth, and eventually Thangorodrim features from the map in the even not widely known aspects of the world in published Silmarillion. Had he stuck to the men (Edain and Easterlings) reach Beleriand great detail. Unfortunately, however, the and become involved in this bitter struggle. older version, both of these should be mapped map-design of the second edition in particular at least partially. Their omission might be The Dwarves of the Ered Luin are still reclu- is based on a mixture of varying sources sive but trade is gradually established, as told surmised to indicate that Christopher Tolkien melted together without much care for their tended towards the “northern position”. in the Silmarillion, and they have some in- compatibility.15 With respect to the First Age, volvement in the later wars. We eventually chose Tolkien’s final vision the Fonstad map used a hodgepodge of frag- as our preferred solution. It is the only version There were some important questions that mentary sources while totally disregarding the had to be solved when mapping out this phase in all of the sources which gives a definite various phases of Tolkien’s work or even mak- measurement of the distance. We chose to ig- of the First Age of Arda. These key issues ing them clear in the mapping. Even worse, were: nore the older passages and maps. Interest- Fonstad includes her own inventions and per- ingly, K.W. Fonstad used the older placement • How should Beleriand be stitched to sonal additions and does not show them as the LotR map? of the Ered Engrin and Thangorodrim in the such. For these reasons, her Atlas can only be 2nd edition of her Atlas without comment or • How useful is the Fonstad atlas for used with great caution for issues not covered note about the associated problems. This is this project? 16 in the Hobbit or LotR. even more interesting because she originally • What is the position of the Ered En- st The position of the Ered Engrin and followed Tolkien’s 450 miles in the 1 edi- grin and Thangorodrim, both so ele- of Thangorodrim is a very important issue tion. To the best of our knowledge, she did gantly absent from Christopher as well. Looking at Tolkien’s older ideas on not explain or even mention the reasoning be- Tolkien’s Silmarillion-map? the subject (seen in HoMe 4), the Ered Engrin hind this change anywhere. • Is a great Bay of Utûm – as drawn and are shown at a fairly southerly latitude and as labeled as such on the Fenlon map13 – The question whether the great Bay of lying very close to Beleriand. In the further Utûm in north central Endor of the Fenlon justified when compared to Map V of development of the legends, Tolkien changed the Ambarkanta? map is acceptable is a tricky one. Map V of the this and moved Thangorodrim further north, Ambarkanta does not show any comparable fea- • Is pre-Akallabêth Arda globed or flat? as expressed clearly in the Silmarillion, for in- ture, and this map is supposed to show the ge- • Are the Grey Mountains from Map V stance. This position of Thangorodrim is also ography of Arda after the Battle of the Powers of the Ambarkanta still justified? found in the final version of the First-Age- – even if only in a very rough and sketchy • Should the general shape of mythology (cf. HoMe 11), so that it is possible way. So Map V seemed to preclude any inclu- already be present in the First Age? to use this part of the Silmarillion: sion of this bay as the result of the destruction The most important question of course, “... and the gates of Morgoth were of Utumno. was how the maps of Beleriand and those but one hundred and fifty leagues distant On the other hand, Tolkien’s final writings of the late-Third Age North-west of from the bridge of Menegroth: far and yet concerning the Battle of the Powers do justify Middle-earth were to be fitted together. The all too near.” Sil: Of the Sindar this bay exactly at this phase of the First Age general placement is no problem, since the and precisely in this position. In this context, Since Tolkien tells us the measure of a the date of the Ambarkanta-map is of pivotal eastern boundary of Beleriand – the Ered Luin 17 league (nearly exactly 3 miles), we know – is more or less the western boundary of importance. It was drawn before Tolkien de- that the distance from the doors of Angband to veloped the idea of the widespread destruction Eriador on the LotR map. The map found in 18 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 11 “The War of the bridge of Menegroth was 450 miles. This of Arda during the Battle of the Powers. In the Jewels” (HoMe 11) is nearly identical to the is clearly not compatible with the position of fact, at the time of the map’s inception, one published in the Silmarillion,14 but conven- Angband in the older versions, which was Utumna and Angband were in the same loca- iently contains a scale. much closer to Menegroth. But that the new tion; i.e. Utumna became Angband after the One of the common features on both the version was Tolkien’s final thought on the is- necessary repairs had been carried out. It was Third- and First Age map is Himring. This for- sue is well-documented in the Grey Annals (one only later that Tolkien returned to his original tress-hill of Maedhros probably survived as the of the key sources of the published Silmaril- idea (first developed in The Lost Tales) that island of the same name into the late Third lion). Since these were not wholly set in the Utumno and Angband should be in two sepa- 11 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE rate places. Following this change, the de- “[The Messengers of the Avaloi said:] the Faithful were of mixed nature in varying scription of the effects of the destruction of ‘[...] And behold! the fashion of the degrees, representing the knowledge of north- Utumno in the Silmarillion and the Annals of Earth is such that a girdle may be set western Dúnadan scholars with limited access Aman became nearly identical to those of the about it. Or as an apple it hangeth on the to (dark-)elvish sources.20 The Akallabêth was breaking of Angband and its subsequent sub- branches of , and it is round and the most notable outcome of such mixed leg- mersion.19 This is why we think that the sub- fair, and the seas and lands are but the ends. mersion of the ruins of Utumno and the crea- rind of the fruit, which shall abide upon tion of a great bay after the Battle of the Pow- the tree until the ripening that Eru hath “All these histories are told by ers is highly likely. It is completely justified to appointed ... So would you but come at and are not primarily concerned with regard Fenlon’s Bay of Utûm as a result of that the last back to the places of your setting Men. conflict. At the same time, the Ered Engrin out: and then the whole world would seem I have ventured to include 2 others. (1) A ‘Round World’ version of the ‘Mu- were broken and twisted southward, thus cre- shrunken, and you would deem that it was sic of the ’ ating a mountainous coastline along the shores a prison.’ “ HoMe 09: The Drown- (2) A ‘’s’ version of the Fall of of the bay. Furthermore, in the late 1950s ing Of Anadûne II; first half of 1946 Númenor told from men’s point of Tolkien clearly stated that Utumno should be view, and with names in a non-Elvish positioned in the northern centre of Middle- tongue. ‘The Drowning of Anadûne’. earth: “The ancient Númenóreans knew (be- This also is ‘Round World’.’ “In the North of the world Melkor ing taught by the Eledai) that the Earth The Elvish myths are ‘Flat World’. A reared Eryd-engrin the Iron Mountains; was round; but taught them that pity really but it is too integral to change and they stood upon the regions of ever- it was a disc and flat, and beyond was it.” Letters: Initial draft for a let- lasting cold, in a great curve from East to nothing, where his master ruled.” HoMe ter to Katherine Farrer; 1948 09: Preliminary Sketch to the West, but falling short of the sea upon ei- So, a fine but important distinction must be ther side. These Melkor built in the elder Drawning of Anadûne III, first made between elvish (high- and dark-elvish) days as a fence to his citadel, Utumno, half of 1946 and mannish traditions. Unfortunately, this is and this lay at the midmost of his north- It is interesting to note that that the Elves not made clear in the Silmarillion as edited and ern realm.” HoME 11: LQ2 with (called “Eledai” here) are credited with teach- published by Christopher Tolkien. This last emendations after 1958 ing the Númenóreans about the world as being spawned a widespread but incorrect belief that When reading the Silmarillion, it seems un- globed. It is only Sauron, lying according to Arda was flat before the Akallabêth. And if deniable that Arda was flat before the his needs, who teaches that the world is flat. one considers what Tolkien says in the Prologue of the second edition of the LotR, it is most Akallabêth and that it was only globed after “But they [The mariners] found it the sinking of Númenor. But this is just an illu- likely that at last Tolkien wished the Silmaril- [the isle of the Meneltarma] not, and they lion to be regarded as a compilation of late sion, a trick intentionally being played on us said: ‘All the ways are bent that once were by Tolkien, as he got more and more used to Dúnadan or dark elvish legends translated and straight.’ For in the youth of the world it written down by in write his texts in the view of his virtual au- was a hard saying to men that the Earth from his limited hobbitic point of view and thors and strictly within their limited knowl- was not plain as it seemed to be, and few edge. As far as the “real” conceptual basis is even of the Faithful of Anadûne had be- with just a little help from high-elvish scholars concerned, Tolkien had explicitly changed his lieved in their hearts this teaching; and who did not care to correct every false as- mind about the shape of the world of the First when in after days, what by star-craft, sumption found in his sources. It was no Age nearly ten years before the publication of what by the voyages of ships that sought longer Tolkien’s intention to tell the accurate the LotR. In the first half of 1946, Tolkien be- out all the ways and waters of the Earth, historical and geographical “truth” in favour of gan to re-work the ancient “flat” world into a the Kings of Men knew that the world was legends with varying (but lesser) degrees of “round ptolemaic” world: indeed round, then the belief arose among “historical truth”. them that it had so been made only in the time of the great Downfall, and was not thus before. Therefore they thought that, while the new world fell away, the old road and the path of the memory of the Earth went on towards heaven, as it were a mighty bridge invisible.” HoMe 09: The Drowning Of Anadûne III; first half of 1946

After 1946 Tolkien established two or rather three traditions. One of elvish scholar- ship (globed world) and one of mannish origin (flat world), which appears to have been rein- forced by Sauron, but which existed inde- pendently of him and before he came to Númenor. In addition to these, after the drowning of Anadûne the traditions kept by 12 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 “Actually in the imagination of this tion that fit into their limited cosmological “c. 1000 Sauron, alarmed by the story we are now living on a physically views, as experienced on their former expedi- growing power of the Númenóreans, round Earth. But the whole ‘legendarium’ tionss and manipulated by the lies of Sauron chooses Mordor as a land to make into a contains a transition from a flat world (or (v.s.). stronghold.” LotR App. B: The Sec- at least an οίχονένη with borders all So, on the one hand there is the well- ond Age about it) to a globe: an inevitable transi- established and widely known “flat earth” tra- tion, I suppose, to a modern ‘myth-maker’ dition somehow present in the Silmarillion. On “But slowly he [Sauron] reverted with a mind subjected to the same ‘ap- the other hand there exist many letters and again to the allegiance of Morgoth and pearances’ as ancient men, and partly fed fragments clearly showing that Tolkien aban- began to seek power by force, marshalling on their myths, but taught that the Earth doned any idea of a “real” flat world in the first again and directing the Orks and other was round from the earliest years. So deep half of 1946. However, it was Tolkien himself evil things of the First Age, and secretly was the impression made by ‘astronomy’ who offered a possibility to reconcile both building his great fortress in the moun- on me that I do not think I could deal views (as outlined above). Thus our maps of tain-girt land in the South that was af- with or imaginatively conceive a flat the First and Second Age may be read in two terwards known as Mordor.” HoMe 12: world, though a world of static Earth ways: Late Writing; Of Dwarves And with a Sun going round it seems easier (to 1. The boundaries are the “real” bounda- Men; 1969 fancy if not to reason). ries of a disc-shaped world according The particular ‘myth’ which lies be- to the Ambarkanta. In those days the land might already bear its hind this tale, and the mood both of Men 2. The boundaries only show those parts name ‘Black-Land’, which was based on the and Elves at this time, is the Downfall of volcanic nature of its landscapes : Númenor: a special variety of the Atlantis of the globe that were accessible to the Númenóreans, but were interpreted tradition. 22 “No doubt because Gil-galad had by [...], and eventually in the height of by them as borders of a flat world. then discovered that Sauron was busy in their [the Númenóreans’] pride attempted Thus anybody can use these maps regard- Eregion, but had secretly begun the mak- to occupy Eressëa and by force, less of their personal opinion concerning the ing of a stronghold in Mordor. (Maybe al- Númenor was destroyed, and Eressëa and shape of Arda. However, we strongly recom- ready an Elvish name for that region, be- Valinor removed from the physically at- mend the usage of a globed world from the cause of its volcano Orodruin and its tainable Earth: the way west was open, beginning. All our future treatises on geogra- eruptions – which were not made by but led nowhere but back again - for mor- phy will exclusively use this ”globed world Sauron but were a relic of the devastating tals. [...]” Letter #154; 25 Sep- from the beginning” version. This does not works of Melkor in the long First Age.)” tember 1954 (our emphasis) mean that in role-playing environments such HoMe 12: Last Writings, au- interpretations should be universal knowledge thorial note; 1972 The quote above is of special interest since for players or even game masters; rather, the it offers a possibility to reconcile the flat with atmosphere should be set, and players’ actions Part of Mordor were the plains around the 21 the globed earth. The former’s major charac- determined, by the state of the prevailing tra- Lake of Núrnen. During the time of the War teristic was of course a definitely bounded ditions and limited knowledge of the protago- of the Ring these plains were extensively cul- world which the Númenórean mariners were nists. tivated to produce food for Sauron’s armies : not able to leave. Accordingly, they were only able to navigate the disc of the known world. The last big issue to resolve were the Grey “Neither he [Sam] nor Frodo knew But with Letter #154 Tolkien offers the Mountains from Map V of the Ambarkanta. Is anything of the great slave-worked fields possibility that the world was globed even in the continued existence of these mountains away south in this wide realm, beyond the Númenor’s days but the edges of this ”old still justified in light of the fact that there ex- fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake Núrnen; nor of the great world” were made in such a manner that it ists another mountain range of this name in the roads that ran away east and south to seemed flat and bounded: In the West, the north of Rhovanion? This question is further complicated by the fact that the Southern Grey tributary lands, from which the soldiers of range was limited by the Ban of the Valar and the Tower brought long waggon-trains of the continent of Aman, in the East sailors Mountains did not leave any visible remnant on the LotR map. As they appeared on Map V goods and booty and fresh slaves.” LotR were blocked by the impassable barrier of the II: The Land of Shadow Empty Lands, while in the Utter North and of the Ambarkanta, we decided to retain them. the furthest South the way was blocked by Their continued existence solves very ele- It is not unreasonable to assume this area massive pack ice. Hence the Númenóreans gantly an interesting issue of the Second Age, might have served already the same purpose were duped into believing the world was a which will be discussed later. during the Dark Years of the Second Age. But disc, while in reality they were merely pre- We decided that the general shape fields need soil, and soil is withered from vented from passing to the other half of the Mordor was created as early as the First Age. rock. It needs a couple of thousands of years of globe. Here we differ from the lore of the 2nd Edi- withering to accumulate enough soil to enable If we follow this line of thought, the “New tion of Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas, in which agriculture. Hence if Mordor was already sup- Lands” were perhaps not meant to be entirely she introduces Mordor as a tectonic result of plied with grain from the fields of Núrn during newly made in the wake of the Akallabêth but the much later War of Wrath. It is commonly the Second Age, the withering of the plains could just be newly reachable after the former known though, that Sauron initially chose must have begun much earlier deep into the obstacles were removed. Since the Dúnedain Mordor as his stronghold around the year First Age. More importantly, Mordor consists had no way of discerning whether these lands 1000 SA: of a couple of volcanic mountain ranges. They were really new or merely made newly acces- form three topographic arcs, building a unified sible, they seemed to have developed a tradi- whole. Thus it is not unreasonable to assume 13 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE that their uprising has taken place approxi- The Second Age We explain the shrinking and near total mately around the same time. Just halfway in This Age was the most difficult for map- disappearance of the Sea of Helcar during the middle of two protrusions of Ered Lithui ping purposes. Since the large Inland Sea of the Second Age by draining of water into sub- and Ephel Dúath stands . Helcar from the First Age had to disappear terranean cracks and enhanced evaporation Tolkien states that this volcanic mountain was somehow until the dawn of the Third Age, it due to a general warming in climate This erected many years back during the First Age was not possible to make only one satisfying warming was caused by the absence of Melkor (see above). Because of the unified tectonic map for the Second Age. We decided to make who had very strongly cooled his northern structure along all of Mordor, it is reasonable several maps to account for the changes of the abode, thereby binding great quantities of wa- to accept an early creation of the majority of shape of the central continental sea. Since the ter in the form of ice and snow in those re- the mountains of Mordor already in the First shrinking of the Sea of Helcar was most likely gions. This ice reflected sunlight more and Age. The rise of the Mountains of Mordor a gradual process over thousands of years, each thus led to a cooler global climate. The ab- might be accompanied by a certain uplifting of individual map can only show a narrow time- sence of Morgoth’s direct influence caused the whole area which lead to a segregation of frame. For this reason, we chose to make more ice to melt and led to global warming.23 the Lake of Núrnen from the rest of the Sea of maps for four periods of the Second Age. It The freed water later emerged in other places Helcar as is shown on our maps. should not be too difficult to adapt the maps through the global water cycle, raised the wa- ter level and led to massive inundations, espe- for the intervening periods. The time periods chosen were: cially in the East of Middle-earth. Such inun- • S.A. 1200: The time of the first great dations offer plausible causes of diluvian-style expeditions of the Númenóreans legends among the mannish cultures of these within accessible Arda regions which will certainly influence their be- • S.A. 2000: The beginning of liefs even in later ages. Númenórean colonisation The actual placement of Númenor may • S.A. 2600: The period of massive co- be thought to pose some difficulties due to the lonial expansion and the establish- scarce direct information found in Tolkien’s ment of a great empire in the western work. However, the problem largely disap- hemisphere pears if one considers indirect evidence pro- • S.A. 3200: The apex of the vided by him: Númenórean empire a few decades • The Calacirya and the Bay of Eldamar prior to Sauron’s surrender before lay very near to the Girdle of Arda Ar-Pharazôn (Equator). This is shown very clearly in the Ambarkanta maps24 and the Sil- We suggest that our Second Age maps be 25 used as applicable to temporal settings no marillion . • The Bay of Eldanna opened up more more than 50 years before or after these 26 times. Adapting the maps for other times is la- or less opposite to Eressëa . borious and would involve, at the least, re- The only logical conclusion from these facts drawing the Sea of Helcar (or its remnants). is that Númenor itself must lie near to the Apart from the various temporal settings equator. provided, there were a number of other issues This leads directly to the next issue: The that needed scrutiny. These were: climate of Númenor as described by • The mechanism of the shrinking of Tolkien does not correspond well with the is- the Sea of Helcar land’s supposed location near the equator. • The placement of Númenor in rela- Tolkien describes the seasons of Númenor as if tion to Aman and Middle-earth (espe- the island were located in the temperate zone: cially the distances between them) “Thrice only in each year the King • The supposed location of Númenor spoke, offering prayer for the coming year and the climate of the island at the Erukyermë in the first days of • The visibility of Eressëa from Mount spring, praise of Eru Ilúvatar at the Eru- Meneltarma or from a ship lying off laitalë in midsummer, and thanksgiving the western coast of Númenor to him at the Eruhantalë at the end of autumn.” UT: A description of the • The coastline in the North-west after Island of Númenor (our empha- the sinking of Beleriand and of the sis) neighbouring Northlands • Changes in the coastlines (eastern as At Númenor’s supposed tropical latitude, well as the western ones) to achieve a there should be no seasons beside rainy and transition to the coastlines of Fenlon’s dry seasons. But Tolkien’s description suggests mapping of the Third Age that he definitely had a temperate climate in • The importance of the Southern Grey mind when imagining Númenor: Mountains 14 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 “The Forostar was the least fertile “But the Lords of Valinor forbade tarma is unlikely to have been visible even part; stony, with few trees, save that on them to sail so far westward that the from within the Bay of Eldanna – let alone one the westward slopes of the high heather- coasts of Númenor could no longer be of the western promontories of Númenor. covered moors there were woods of fir and seen; and for long the Dúnedain were Therefore, the inference above is already larch.” UT: A description of the content [...] and at times, when all the problematic. Island of Númenor air was clear and the sun was in the east, Unfortunately, there is also another crucial they would look out and descry far off in quote to consider. Vegetation such as heath moors, fir and the west a city white-shining on a distant larch trees is typical for a more northern tem- shore, and a great harbour and a tower. “... the son [Aldarion] of the King’s perate climate (e.g. northern England or Scot- For in those days the Númenóreans were Heir of Númenor sailed from the land land), but certainly not a tropical one. It is far-sighted; yet even so it was only the [probably Rómenna]; and ere day was impossible to explain this conclusively by ref- keenest eyes among them that could see over he saw it [the land] sink shimmering erence to unknown climatic factors, such as a this vision, from the Meneltarma, maybe, into the sea, and last of all the peak of cool ocean stream, around Númenor, as we or from some tall ship that lay off their the Meneltarma as a dark finger against have no other evidence. We therefore have to western coast as far as it was lawful for the sunset.” UT: Aldarion and Er- conclude that the temperate climate of them to go. For they did not dare to break endis Númenor – e.g. similar to the Eriadoran one – the Ban of the Lords of the West. But the Thus the cliffs of Númenor get quickly out is an effect of the Secondary World. Perhaps wise among them knew that this distant of sight when leaving on a ship. If the world of the Valar arranged for a climate which was land was not indeed the Blessed Realm of the Second Age was not globed, Númenórs reminiscent of the Edain’s ancient homeland: Valinor, but was Avallóne, the haven of the Eldar upon Eressëa, easternmost of the coasts would not vanish as quickly. The disap- “Now aforetime in the isle of Undying Lands” Sil: Akallabeth; pearance of the land out of sight within a few Númenor the weather was ever apt to the 1958 hours is only possible if Aldarion travels on a needs and liking of Men: rain in due sea- globe in the quote above. The curvature of son and ever in measure; and sunshine, This well-known quote is responsible for earth limits the vision through the horizon; now warmer, now cooler, and winds from the general interpretation of the visibility of another clear hint that Tolkien was sure about the sea. And when the wind was in the Eressea for the Númenóreans. It can be argued the globed nature of the world even during the west, it seemed to many that it was filled that it carries within itself an inconspicuous Second Age in his later years. with a fragrance, fleeting but sweet, though pivotal contradiction: Diagram 1 below illustrates all the factors heart-stirring, as of flowers that bloom for If you can see Eressëa – under favorable needed to calculate the distance to the horizon 27 ever in undying meads and have no names conditions – from the top of Meneltarma, on an earth-sized globe. on mortal shores But all this was now [in you can likewise see the top of the Menel- If you keep a lookout on a globed earth un- the days of Ar-Pharazôn] changed; for the tarma from the opposite end at Eressëa. This der clear atmospheric conditions, your range sky itself was darkened, and there were would set the lawful limit for western of sight (d) depends on three parameters. The storms of rain and hail in those days, and Númenórean travel right at the quays of radius of the earth (r), your position above the violent winds; and ever and anon a great Avallóne. Since this is obviously not the case, surface of the earth (h), and the position of the ship of the Númenóreans would founder it simply is not possible to see Eressëa both object you wish to look at (H). and return not to haven, though such a from the Meneltarma and from a ship lying at In the initial quote on this matter, the grief had not till then befallen them since the western end of the lawful limit. Númenóreans descry the great harbour basin the rising of the Star.” Sil: Akallabêth We say “can be argued” intentionally, since of Avallóne itself (HAvallóne = 0m). We equate The greatest problem was the distance be- if we take the words literally, only the coasts the great cliffs of the western Númenórean tween Númenor and Eressëa on the one hand of Númenor are relevant for the law and not coast with very large earthen cliffs, such as the and Númenor and Middle-earth on the other. the Meneltarma as a part of Númenor. Con- White Cliffs of Dover (Hcliffs = 100m). Fur- This cannot be estimated without doubt. sidering the circumstances, it is not unreason- thermore, we generously estimate the height However, a few conditions are unavoidable. able to assume that the meaning of the law ist of the crow’s nest of a tall Númenórean ship that the Valar forbade the Númenóreans to sail with the height of the crow’s nests of a very This brings us to the next issue – the visi- further west than any part of Númenor (any tall pre-enlightenment-era sailing ships (hnest = bility of Eressëa for the Númenóreans. part thereof) can no longer be seen. As out- 45m). Tolkien tells us that: lined below, on a round world the Menel- - from the summit of the Meneltarma, one can get – under favorable condi- r = 6370km (approximate radius of Earth and Ambar) d tions – a glimpse of Eressëa. b h = height of crow’s nest - the same is possible from a ship lying a as far off the western coasts of H = height of descried object a = distance between viewer and visual horizon H Númenor as is lawful to do, i.e. before visual b = distance between visual horizon and object h Númenor vanishes from sight. horizon d = range of sight between viewer and object

r r r

Diagram 1: Calculating distances 15 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE dnest–cliffs ≈ 59 637m ≈ 37 miles points on the two western promontories of “These [the coasts of Middle-earth] Númenor. Only a height comparable to that of were much changed in the tumult of the dnest-Avallóne = 23 944m ≈ 15 miles 31 Olympus Mons on Mars at about 26,400m winds and seas that followed the Down- According to this calculation, the most leads to a horizon that extends well westward fall; ..., Thus while Lindon suffered great westerly position allowed to a Númenórean into the open sea. It goes without saying that loss, the Bay of Belfalas was much filled ship is 37 miles off Númenor’s coast. If the such an elevation is no serious option at all.32 at the east and south, so that Pelargir sailors could see a glimpse of the real port of There seems to be no possible natural explana- which had been only a few miles from the Avallóne from that point, Tol Eressëa would tion for the sight of the haven of Avallóne sea was left far inland, and Anduin be just 52 miles off the Númenórean shores. from the peak of Mount Meneltarma. The carved a new path by many mouths to the This would mean that that Numenor itself most likely solution is that Eressëa is not really Bay. But the Isle of Tolfalas was almost would lie inside the Bay of Eldamar! Since this visible from the Meneltarma through natural destroyed, and was left at last like a bar- is obviously not the case, we must assume that means at all. Instead this sighting of Eressëa ren and in the water not it was not a natural image of Avallóne that is should be attributed to the grace of the Valar. far from the issue of the River.” HoMe visible from the crow’s nests. Considering The idea that glimpsing Eressëa was only pos- 12: The Tale of Years this, we found an acceptable explanation based sible with the additional help of the Valar has Though the quote reports primarily on an atmospheric phenomenon known as fata some justification in its nature as a “holy changes after the Akallabêth, it gives valuable morgana. On the open sea, this is known to ex- mountain” endowed with special properties indirect information about the situation before tend the range of vision and make faraway ob- right from the beginning of Númenor. jects visible. The greatest known distance cov- this event. We are not only told that Pelargir ered in this way is a little over 400km.28 If Er- “Thus it was that great mariners lay near the sea in the Second Age, but also essëa had been up to 450km (280 miles) dis- among them [the Third Age - Dúnedain] that the isle of Tolfalas was larger before the tant to Númenor, the sighting phenomenon would still search the empty seas, hoping Downfall. The shape that we see on the LotR would still be explicable by reference to fata to come upon the Isle of Meneltarma, and map is only the pitiful remnant of the bigger morgana. This distance could be even greater if there to see a vision of things that were.” Second Age-island. It also says that Lindon was we assumed a greater height for Númenor’s Sil: Akallabêth; 1958 larger in the Second Age, since the well- known geography of the Third Age as seen in most westward point (e.g. a small mountain That people believed that even the Third- instead of the cliffs above). Thus we found the LotR maps is the result of the “great loss” Age-Meneltarma (now an island of undoubt- that Lindon suffered during the Akallabêth. ample room for variation here. It is important edly much diminished elevation) might offer a to note that even using conservative estimates vision of Eressëa may be understood as evi- “After the ‘breaking of the North’ in (e.g., a Dover-like cliff), the phenomenon of dence – already shared by the Númenóreans of the Great Battle, the shape of the North- descrying Eressëa from a ship as described by the Second Age – that the vision from top of west of Middle-earth was changed. Nearly Tolkien is realistic. Mount Meneltarma was granted by enchanted all Beleriand was drowned in the Sea. Due to the origin of Númenor (lifted up means and not natural at all. Taur na Fuin became an Island. The from the bottom of the sea by Ossë) it is Support for the interpretation of the sacred mountains of Eredwethion etc. became highly probable that the island is of volcanic and therefore special position of the Menel- small isles (so also Himling). Eredlindon origin with the Meneltarma as the pre- tarma might be seen in the following quote: was now near the Sea (at widest 200 eminent volcano29. Thus, in terms of elevation miles away). A great gulf of the Sea came and nature, we deem a comparison with the Near to the centre of the Mittalmar in through Ossiriand and a gap made in real-world Kilimanjaro as a volcanic mountain stood the tall mountain called the Menel- the Mountains through which the Lhûn fitting. Since the summit of the Meneltarma tarma, Pillar of the , sacred to flowed.” HoMe 07: The History of was the place for the gathering of large num- the worship of Eru Ilúvatar. UT: A de- Middle-earth, Volume 7: LotR- ber of people at the High Feasts, it must have scription of the island of Fragment; 1939/40 been fairly easy to climb.30 The Kilimanjaro is Númenor also relatively easy to climb – if you follow the The number of miles given here for the maxi- For such “aided sight” the height of the van- mum width of Lindon west of the mountains is major tourist paths (hMeneltarma = 6,000m). With the help of the formula shown above we tage point would have been irrelevant, of important because it is the only known in- can calculate the maximum distances between course. stance where Tolkien gives us a concrete the places mentioned above: Hence we set the Isle of Númenor right measurement for the width of this region in into the midst of Belegaer. 450 miles east of times past. The maps of the Second Age have dAvallóne-Meneltarma = 276 543m ≈ 172 miles the eastern protrusion of Tol Eressëa and still been adjusted to fit this statement. many miles beyond the girdle of the En- The same passage deals with another very Given the assumption of natural visibility 33 chanted Isles. mysterious issue: How many fragments of from the top of Meneltarma, Avallóne must The coastline in the North-west after Beleriand actually survived the War of Wrath? hae been just as far away as the harbour of 34 the sinking of Beleriand has been devel- Tolkien mentions the islands of Taur-nu-Fuin Eldalondë, right to the very end of the Bay of oped mainly along the two following quotes: (Tol Fuin) and of Himring (Tol Himring), to- Eldanna! This too is impossible. Raising the gether with surviving mountain tops of supposed elevation of the Meneltarma does “Eredwethion etc.” The latter must mean that not solve the problem at all. A height compa- the summits of the mountains of Ered rable to Mount Everest (ca. 9,000m) results in Wethrin, Ered Lindon, the Mountains of a horizon that barely extends to half the Bay of Mithrin and perhaps even some summits of the Eldanna and well east of the two westernmost 16 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 mountains around Nevrast should still remain abandoned the idea of islands formed from Mountains form a natural and formidable bar- above the wave. mountaintops. rier to protect this area, and only the passes Tol Morwen had not been invented yet, so had to be watched and guarded. In its north “But there remains a legend of Beleri- that when Christopher Tolkien drew his LotR- lay Umbar with its natural harbour. and. Now that land had been broken in map in 1954 he could not have considered it. From the LotR and UT maps it could be the Great Battle with Morgoth; and at the Since Christopher turned back to this map as guessed with a great degree of certainty that fall of Númenor and the change of the model for his new Unfinished-Tales-map in Umbar lay in an arid region, comparable to fashion of the world it perished; for the 1979, it is not surprising thatTol Morwen is northern Africa or the Near East of our world. sea covered all that was left save some of still missing from it. This rough comparison of the Mediterranean the mountains that remained as islands, even up to the feet of Eredlindon. But However, for that new map, Christopher with the southern part of the LotR map is indi- that land where Luthien had dwelt re- also consulted his father’s old map-sketches rectly alluded to in the Letters: from the year 1940. This led to Tol Himring mained, and was called Lindon. A gulf of “The action of the story takes place in the sea came through it, and a gap was (Himling) being reintroduced, although there is no evidence that Tolkien planned to retain the North-west of ‘Middle-earth’, equiva- made in the Mountains through which the lent in latitude to the coastlands of River Lhûn flowed out. But in the land this island after 1940. It is not known whether he complained about its omission on Christo- Europe and the north shores of the Medi- that was left north and south of the gulf terranean .... The Mouths of Anduin and pher’s original LotR-map. the Elves remained, and Gil-galad son of the ancient city of Pelargir are at about You can see the development on this mat- Felagund son of Finrod was their king.” the latitude of ancient Troy.” Letter ter depicted in table 1 on the bottom of this HoMe 05: The Last Tale: The #294 Fall of Numenór (Revision); page. Of course such an inconsistent situation 1936/37 concerning the available sources is not very On the maps Umbar lies well south of Pe- satisfying for a cartographer. Accordingly, we largir, so its comparison with a Near East or This is an older fragment from a period a suggest a compromise: During the Second northern Africa region is obvious. Unfortu- few months before Tolkien wrote down the Age, many mountaintops survived as islands nately, the placement of Umbar and its men- first version of “A Long-expected Party” in the together with the larger islands of Tol Fuin tioning in the various books offered no hint middle of December 1937. Hence in 1937 he and Tol Himring. South of it of all of former why this place in a peripheral region of the wrote “some of the mountains that remained Beleriand west of Lindon only Tol Morwen original map held such importance for the as islands”, which in 1939/40 changed to “the remains above the waves. Númenóreans that they fortified it heavily mountains of Eredwethion etc. became small After the Downfall of Númenor, most of even in the mid-Second Age. The geography isles”. In the interim period of about two years the smaller isles sunk or were shifted to the developed according to Tolkien’s sketches Tolkien seems to have decided that more than Straight Path into the Realm of Hidden clarifies the importance of Umbar: It was lo- just some mountaintops should still reach be- Things. Some may still endure in the physical cated at a key strategic point for their core co- yond the waves. world, among them certainly Tol Morwen. lonial possessions in Middle-earth and guarded After Tolkien had written the second frag- But these isles are still too small or not impor- the access to them against the threat of the ment, he went on to draw his first LotR-map tant enough to be shown on J.R.R. Tolkien’s other major power: Sauron’s inland empire. (1940). On the left part of the map he pen- and Christopher Tolkien’s maps. We show at This makes it perfectly understandable why cilled in Tol Fuin and Tol Himring, but he ex- least some of them on our own maps. the Dúnedain invested so much to make this cluded the mountain-top-islands. Further- place secure and strong. The regional climate more, he did not mention Tol Morwen, the The changes in the eastern shores from the First Age are caused by massive may also have been different in the Second site of the Stone of the Hapless that also sur- Age, making the Umbarean region more fa- vived the drowning of Beleriand35, as this is- inundations from melting ice of Morgoth’s northern realm. Since many eastern lands are vorable to agriculture in this time. Further, land would only be invented some 15 years this helps to explain why Pelargir was founded later. considered to have been quite low-lying, widespread loss of land should be the natural as the major port of the Faithful. The later “And a seer and harp-player of Bre- consequence. Númenórean kings probably found it conven- thil, Glirhuin, made a song saying the ient to get rid of these unreliable subjects in Stone of the Hapless should not be defiled The existence of the Southern Grey one place far away from the most profitable by Morgoth nor ever thrown down, not Mountains benefited the Númenóreans in and populous colonies. Nonetheless, they their colonial ventures. West of them lay would have wished to situate it in the vicinity though the Sea should drown all the land. 36 As after indeed befell, and still Tol Mor- “West Africa” , which formed the core and of their loyal and powerful fortress of Umbar wen stands alone in the water beyond the most developed region of their colonial pos- to keep an eye on the Faithful while at the new coasts that were made on the days of sessions in Middle-earth. The Southern Grey the wrath of the Valar” Lands west of the Ered Luin that survived the War of Wrath HoMe 11: The Wanderings Year 1936/37 1939/40 1940 1954 later 1950s 1979 HoMe 05: The HoMe 07: LotR- HoMe 07: LotR – Original HoMe 11: The UT – Re- of Húrin; second half of 1950s Last Tale: The Fragment First LotR- map by Chris- Wanderings drawn map Source Fall of Numenór map topher of Húrin by C. The omission of the tiny isles of the former (Revision) Tolkien Tolkien

Beleri- Lindon Lindon Lindon Lindon Lindon Lindon mountain-tops on the maps may be explained f and — — — — Tol Morwen — by the small scale of the maps. They are too North- some mountain- more mountain- — — ? —

small to be shown. On the other hand, the Parts o lands tops tops Tol Fuin — ? — maps might show that after 1940 Tolkien Tol Himring — ? Tol Himring Table 1: Development of surviving regions 17 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE same time establishing a potential ally against The Third Age The massive changes in the geography of 37 Mordor, their common enemy. Since no major upheavals occurred during Middle-earth between the Second and Third Together with Númenor, the lands be- this Age, the map shows continuity of geogra- Ages were all triggered by the Downfall of tween the Grey Mountains and Belegaer (the phy throughout the whole age. Númenor. It is suggested that most of the second centre of Númenórean power) suffered The following list shows the necessary changes were not abrupt but took place over the greatest damage because of the Downfall. changes to the Fenlon map: the course of about a century, from the Most of these colonies sank beneath the waves • The coastline of Forodwaith had to be Downfall of Númenor to the Last Alliance. of the Great Sea within about one and a half changed according to the map in The geography settled at the onset of the centuries after the Downfall with only scat- HoMe 7; thereby unfortunately caus- Third Age, about the same time when tered remnants of it remaining above the new ing problems with one of the best Sauron’s shape was destroyed for the third sea level. MERP modules, ICE’s The Northern time.

Waste. Fortunately, these are well The well-known area of the North-west manageable. needed to be re-drawn too, since the layout • The North-west of Middle-earth had and the proportions of the Fenlon map were to be re-drawn based on the LotR and much distorted. Just have a look at the image UT maps, since Fenlon had distorted 2 below for a comparison. It shows a part of the relative internal distances and ar- the Fenlon continental map overlaid with a eas in the known North-west, some- B/W image of the map found in the Lord of the 38 times heavily. The outer boundaries Rings. Both maps are shown in the same scale had to be corrected, too, since Fenlon and the overlay has its reference point on the stretched this area quite noticeably north-western cape of the Bay of Forochel. from East to West, as well. • A few – minor – mountain ranges had to be added in order to achieve greater consistency with earlier ages. • Changes to the bay of Utûm • Changes in the geography of Lindon • A part of Aman remaining in the mor- tal world as Oiomúrë • Why are so few New Lands depicted on the TA-map? The Forodwaith coastline of the Fenlon map is unfortunately incompatible with the map Tolkien himself made for the area in the Image 2: NW of Middle-earth in Fenlon and year 1940. It was published in HoMe 7. The Tolkien version overlayed LotR map did not extend as far as Forodwaith, Please note the massive distortions espe- probably because that was irrelevant to the cially in central , Mordor and Rhovan- plot of the book. In our present continental ion. Eriador is also of a very different shape. map, it was added to the LotR map, thereby One of the most obvious changes is the posi- eliminating Fenlon’s Forodwaith. Fortunately, tion of Mordor, whose eastern tip ends much we found a way to preserve the core content further westward than on the Fenlon map. of ICE’s The Northern Waste module for the This leads to a significant enlargement of the new map. An island with the Ered Rhívamar Gap of Khand. The greater gap has been from The Northern Waste was created to salvage remedied somewhat by the addition of a few as much as possible of this module. The island hills on the eastern and western mountains ad- was moved further north-westward from its jacent to it. original position on Fenlon’s map because it should lie outside the area covered by the The geography of Lindon required maps in HoMe 7, but this should not reduce its some changes, too. Since the curvature of the usability in gaming. We explain the movement Ered Luin/Lindon corresponds well only in with massive tectonic activity following the their northern part (see also this topic in the Downfall of Númenor. In the Third Age, pack part on the First Age), it is supposed that the ice connected this island with the mainland. southern range of the mountains was moved to The ice should only be reduced in extraordi- some extent by the massive changes of the nary warm summers, as it is largely located in Akallabêth. Correspondingly, it is Harlindon, Middle-earth’s Arctic region, and should very too, that suffers the greatest loss. Ancient rarely leave the island separated by open wa- places like Tol Galen that were still in exis- ter. tence after the sinking of Beleriand vanished in the wake of the changes. This is a fitting image 18 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 for the transition between ages of the world reached Aman and caused a fault there that ‘Karen’ is the Danish form of the original and the waning of the Elves. cracked during the Akallabêth. Roman Christian name ‘Katharina’, itself de- riving from the Greek word καθαρός Some additional mountains had to be We have deliberately left out almost all of (katharós), ‘pure’. Professor Tolkien gives us added in order to make a more consistent the “New Lands” that became accessible af- no Elvish (either or ) form for transition from earlier ages where these ter the Akallabêth. Oiomurë (see above) such a word, but if we follow the elven way of mountains were present, too. The mountains might technically be a remnant of the old lands seeing things, we can render ‘pure’ as ‘free are mainly located around the Sea of Utûm (see above) while the sole undisputable genu- from Shadow’. Therefore, we translate Karen and do not interfere much with the general ine part of the “New Lands” is the single island with the Sindarin “Ugwathannen”. outline of the continent. in the western sea, whose reasoning is detailed

below. We think that it is up to each GM to Copyright © 2007 Thomas Morwinsky, Sté- Some changes to the Bay of Utûm took design the remainder of the “New Lands”. place, too, and the most southerly part of the phane Hœrlé, Gabriele Quaglia, Oliver Schick, Perhaps we will elaborate upon this topic in a Christian Schröder. Permission is granted to copy, bay was added based on the supposition that it future publication, but this is uncertain. was created by the tumults of the Akallabêth. distribute and /or modify this document under the This resulted in the final shape of the bay that Future prospects terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Ver- we know from the Fenlon map. Our new map-set offers the possibility of sion 1.2 or any later version published by the Free correcting many issues of mapping that have Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no In the Third Age, the ancient continents of Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy not really been worked on in Middle-earth re- Aman and the Empty Lands are no longer of the license is included in the section entitled lated publications until now. We regard these in the mortal world. As we know, Aman has “GNU Free Documentation License” on page 38 of maps as a broad and firm basis for many future been removed by Eru himself, unreachable for this publication. publications, covering all the Ages of Middle- mortals. Unfortunately, the fate of the eastern earth. Possible follow-up issues that may be of continent of the Empty Lands is not as certain. the greatest interest for mapping might be: Notes It may either share the fate of Aman and may colour-coded versions of these maps to have been removed into the Realm of Hidden 1 show vegetation zones http://creativecommons.org/licenses things, or, as Tolkien’s later fragments con- /by-nc-sa/3.0/ cerning its fate are ambiguous enough, may maps of the habitats of the notable 2 animals “I feel that the maps ought to be done prop- have remained within the planet of Ambar. erly.” (Letters. #141 from October 9th, If the latter view is followed, the Empty migration routes for the major move- ments of elves, dwarves, men and 1953) Lands should have been broken and moved 3 As far as this is possible due to the incom- eastward and their fragments built a chain of other important races/creatures dur- ing their respective histories plete nature of the corpus. islands in the far eastern seas of Middle-earth. 4 Unfortunately, this map was created by one topographic maps that show the names If the former view is followed, the Empty of the authors of this essay. The fundamen- of all the major – and not so major – Lands were drawn into the Realm of Hidden tal errors and flaws of this older attempt in physical features Things. In this case the eastern chain of islands re-drawing the continent are apparent. The should be considered as the nearest New an overview map depicting the major author expresses his deep regret to have Lands. Either explanation is plausible. courses of the famed Underdeeps published such a flawed product that did not We added the island of Oiomúrë in refer- political maps showing the extent of meet an adequate standard for developing ence to the excellent article by Jeff Erwin various realms at various times. This Middle-earth gaming aids. which appeared in Other Hands issue 31/32 could be Númenor’s colonial realm 5 cf. Letter #211 from January 2001. This essay deals with real- and Sauron’s continental empire plus 6 For more insight into how the map came to world legends and “lost isles” of the North At- their respective client-states during the be, see ”Mapping Middle-earth: an inter- lantic. Here Jeff identifies the land of Oiomúrë Second Age, the realms of the Free view with Pete Fenlon” OH12, January as a part of Araman that broke off in the wake Peoples and the growing shadow in the 1996. of the Akallabêth and remained in the mortal Third Age. Even the extent of the 7 In contrast, the continent from the OH arti- world – though still much “enchanted” and realms of the non-mannish races (pri- cle already mentioned is far too large to fit thus fitting for such a “lost” place. See the re- marily elves and dwarves of course) into this early Arda. spective issue of Other Hands for more details are of great interest too. 8 For example: “In that time the shape of mid- on Oiomúrë. dle-earth was changed, and the Great Sea In the same way as with the possible rem- A final personal note An island of the New Lands – created after that sundered it from Aman grew wide and nants of the Empty Lands, this “Greenland- deep; and it broke in upon the coasts and like” land can be either interpreted as a part of the submersion of Númenor and the removal of Aman – has been placed on the Third Age made a deep gulf to the southward.” Sil- Araman broken off (like Jeff did) or indeed marillion. Of the Coming of the Elves and the one of the genuine “New Lands”. If you follow map in the western sea. The same isle can be found in the 2nd ed. atlas of Karen Wynn Fon- Captivity of Melkor the former view, this sundering can be ex- 9 See the chapter on the Third Age for more plained by the weakening of the fabric of Arda stad as a result of the changes made by the Akallabêth. Though we are at variance with details on these adjustments. in the northwestern regions of Middle-earth 10 Neither Eriador or Rhovanion were envi- through the many conflicts against Ms. Fonstad on many issues, we recognise her pioneering work in mapping Middle-earth and sioned by Tolkien at the time when the Melkor/Morgoth that took place in this gen- Ambarkanta map was made. eral area. Some seismic shockwaves could have added this island in tribute. It shall bear the 11 name Tol Ugwathannen. The geographical North Pole and South Pole, respectively. 19 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE

12 Neither are they intended to be so. 24 See Ambarkanta-map V. But it was a hollow land, surrounded by moun- 13 Fenlon’s Bay of Utûm is obviously supposed 25 ”Túna beneath Taniquetil was set nigh to the tains and great coast-cliffs higher than the plains to show the place of the sunken remains of girdle of Arda" Sil: Of the Flight of the Noldor behind, and no river flowed thence.” HoMe 11: Melkor’s first fortress, Utumno. 26 cf. UT: A description of the Island of Númenor LQ2; 1958 14 This is probably the base for Christopher 27 A handy formula for calculating small angles 36 We are aware of this provisional designation Tolkien’s drawing of the Silmarillion map. is found at the following web page: and attempts are underway to devise a bet- 15 The greatest problem is that Karen Wynn http://www.sciencecore.columbia.edu/de ter genuine name. Fonstad does not explain her reasoning in mo/web/etextbook/6266.html 37 This supposes of course that Pelargir was creating her maps. 28 The following two web pages discuss this not founded by the Faithful on their own ac- 16 Nonetheless, in illustrating the well- matter. Please note that they are in French: cord, but through orders from and/or per- documented parts (e.g. The Hobbit or The http://www.jrrvf.com/hisweloke/site/art mission by the king in Armenelos. Lord of the Rings) the atlas is quite useful and icles/geographie/numenor/index.html 38 Interestingly, the same problem applies to a delight to look at. http://www.jrrvf.com/hisweloke/site/art the more detailed maps by Pete Fenlon that 17 ”League” is used because it was the longest icles/geographie/numenor2/index.html appeared in many MERP campaign mod- measurement of distance: in Númenórean 29 Though dormant until the Downfall: ”For ules. reckoning (which was decimal) five thou- the land shook under them, and a groaning sand rangar (full paces) made a lár, which as of thunder underground was mingled was very nearly three of our miles. ... with the roaring of the sea, and smoke is- Therefore, five thousand rangar would be sued from the peak of the Meneltarma.” almost exactly the equivalent of 5280 yards, (Sil: Akallabêth; 1958) our ”league: 5277 yards, two feet and four 30 Relatively speaking for a mountain several inches, supposing the equivalence to be ex- thousand meters high. act.’ Unfinished Tales. The Disaster of the Glad- 31 Or about 86,613.91 ft. It is the highest den Fields (Appendix) known mountain in the solar system. 18 Or 449.8105 miles to be exact 32 Not even a height comparable to Mount Ev- 19 ”And the lands of the far North were all made erest is a realistic option due to the moun- desolate in those days, and so have ever remained; taineering and physiological problems asso- for there Utumno was delved exceeding deep, and ciated with such extreme altitudes. Imagine its pits and caverns reached out far beneath the hundreds or even thousands of normal peo- earth, and they were filled with fires and with ple (not highly-trained experts) ascending great hosts of the servants of Melkor.” Mount Everest three times a year. The air is HoMe10. Annals of Aman very low in physiologically available oxygen ”In those days [the assault upon Utumno] the there and the temperatures are not gentle shape of middle-earth was changed and broken either ... and the seas were moved. ... But when the Battle 33 ”And were you so to voyage that escaping all was ended and from the ruin of the North great deceits and snares you came indeed to clouds arose and hid the stars, the Valar drew Aman, the Blessed Realm, little would it Melkor back to Valinor [...].” HoMe 10: LQ1, profit you.” (Sil: Akallabêth; 1958) 1951) 34 This concerns mainly Lindon. ”For so great was the fury of those adversaries that 35 Not all sunken fragments of the western the northern regions of the western world were world are counted as parts of Beleriand. rent asunder, and the sea roared in through many Hithlum and its mountains (Ered Lomin and chasms, and there was confusion and great noise; Ered Wethrin) as well as the highlands of and rivers perished or found new paths, and the valleys were upheaved and the hills trod down; Dorthonion and Himring constitute the and Sirion was no more.” The Silmarillion. Northlands which lay north of Beleriand Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the proper: ”Now the great and fair country of Beleriand lay War of Wrath 20 on either side of this mighty river Sirion, re- Probably even Elendil himself. 21 nowned in song, which rose at Eithel Sirion in the Perhaps Tolkien even had similar thoughts east of Eredwethion [> Ered Wethrin], and when he wrote this. 22 skirted the edge of Bladorion [> Dorthonion], ere We are aware that the problems of project- he plunged through the pass, becoming ever fuller ing a three-dimensional object (a globe) with the streams of the mountains.” HoMe 05: onto a two-dimensional map persist. For Quenta Silmarillion.Of Beleriand and reasons of practicability, we ignore these Its Realms; 1937 and thus the shape of the world would be a ”And Nivrost [> Nevrast] was by some held to cylinder. We consider this inaccuracy un- belong rather to Beleriand than to Hithlum, for it avoidable. 23 was a milder land, watered by the wet winds from The binding of the water might also be a the Sea and sheltered from the North and East, nice motif of opposition against Ulmo. whereas Hithlum was open to cold north-winds. 20 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007

Of Barrow-wights – Part One

© 2007 by Neville Percy Wights as Spirits ([email protected]) In fact barrow-wights are primarily spirits 1409 ... The deserted mounds of per the terms under CC license: b n a 1 – explicitly termed “evil spirits”, “evil wights” Cardolan become filled with deadly and “deadly spirits” when they were sent to spirits; ... PoME: The Tale of : “A shadow came out Cardolan, before their association with the Years of the Third Age (T2) of dark places far away, and the bones Barrow-mounds and the corpses of men in- These spirit-animated corpses of the dead were stirred in the mounds. Barrow- terred there. wights walked in the hollow places with a not only prey upon careless travellers but also click of rings on cold fingers, and gold In the days of Argeleb II ... evil spir- appear to be undead beings that defy nature chains in the wind. Stone rings grinned its out of Angmar and Rhudaur entered and the very rule of Ilúvatar (although the true out of the ground like broken teeth in the into the deserted mounds and dwelt there. souls of the deceased have indeed passed into moonlight.” LotR: In the House of LotR: Appx A the West). It seems likely that the Witch-king Tom Bombadil deliberately intended for this deception to

challenge the beliefs of the Faithful. The barrow-wight is best known from the early The Witch-king had now a clearer Suggestions as to the nature of the Wight- part of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as the understanding of the matter. He had spirits include fallen maiar, corrupted ëalar or dread foe that haunts the burial mounds of a former known something of the country long ago, nature spirits, ‘Houseless’ Elves, or the souls age, waylays the , and would have executed in his wars with the Dúnedain, and espe- of sorcerers or morgûl-stricken Men. Though them were it not for the intervention of Tom Bom- cially the Tyrn Gorthad of Cardolan, now the wights were described as being sent from badil. The episode is an example of great horror the Barrow-downs, whose evil wights had Angmar and Rhudaur, their primary existence writing, evoking imaginative fear in the reader pre- been sent there by himself. seems to be in an ‘other world’ as hinted at by cisely because little is ever made explicit; and the ... he himself visited the Barrow-downs Tolkien’s use of metaphors of extreme dis- barrow-wights’ haunting of the mounds further [and] stayed there for some days, and the tance. This suggests them to be more alien proves to be a deliberate work of deception by the Barrow-wights were roused, and all things than the souls of formerly incarnate Elves or forces of darkness. Vagueness and deception combine of evil spirit, hostile to Elves and Men, to prevent the reader from knowing almost anything were on the watch with malice in the Old Men. certain about the true nature of this episode, and the Forest and on the Barrow-downs. UT: barrow-wights are often misunderstood. The Hunt for the Ring Tolkien did not, however, first conceive of bar- row-wights for The Lord of the Rings, this being one of several instances in which he drew on his own ear- lier writings in the creation of that work. Through a full review of the conception and development of the barrow-wights, we may hope to glean as much un- derstanding of them as possible. The term “barrow-wight” was in fact first coined as a passing reference by the author Andrew Lang in 1891, but it seems to have struck a chord in

Tolkien, inspiring him to elaborate upon it: to put flesh on the bones, so to speak. He first wrote of “Barrow-wight” as a hostile character in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, published in The Oxford Magazine in 1934, and “barrow- wights" are mentioned in Bombadil Goes Boating, written in the same style. And then he added further detail to the same barrow-wight concept in writing The Lord of the Rings in 1954. Though there is more to the true nature of the barrow-wights than meets the eye, the people of Middle-earth would have considered them to be un- dead. They appear as corpses risen again after burial in the barrow-mounds, living on by a power of sor- cery and preying on anyone they find in the coun- tryside during the hours of darkness.

21 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE He [Frodo] thought there were two At that time many strange spirits fare Wake now, my merry lads! Wake and eyes, very cold though lit with a pale into the world, for there were pleasant hear me calling! light that seemed to come from some re- places dark and quiet for them to dwell Warm now be heart and limb! The cold mote distance. in. Some came from Mandos, aged spirits stone is fallen; ... that journeyed from Ilúvatar with him Dark door is standing wide; dead hand is Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in who are older than the world and very broken. the sunlight! gloomy and secret, and some from the for- Night under Night is flown, and the Gate Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds tresses of the North where Melko then is open! LotR: Fog on the Barrow- go wailing, dwelt in the deep dungeons of Utumna. downs Out into the barren lands far beyond the Full of evil and unwholsome were they; mountains! luring and restlessness and horror they The final line appears to relate to the con- Come never here again! Leave your bar- brought, turning the dark into an ill and dition the Barrow-wight had imposed on the row empty! fearful thing, which it was not before. hobbits. By this point Bombadil has already Lost and forgotten be, darker than the HoMe 1: The Chaining of removed the hobbits from the barrow, so “the darkness, Melko Gate” cannot refer to that physical exit and Where gates stand for ever shut, till the must instead be a metaphor: the gate between world is mended. The Spirit-powers of the Wights unconsciousness and waking. The phrase At these words there was a cry and The Wight-spirits were known to be capa- “Night under Night is flown”, despite the close part of the inner end of the chamber fell ble of ‘magic’, with even the folklore of the correspondence with the phrase “darker than in with a crash. Then there was a long parochial Shire including “the dreadful spells the darkness” earlier in the passage but not trailing shriek, fading away into an un- of the Barrow-wights about which whispered quoted here, therefore refers not to the depar- guessable distance; and after that silence. tales spoke”. Their most prominent power is ture of the Wight-spirit but to the removal of LotR: Fog on the Barrow-downs that of possessing and animating the bodies of the sorcerous sleep that it had imposed. The the dead (discussed in detail below), but they The same metaphors of remoteness are hobbits are no longer under the spell of the can also create sickly-glowing light and argua- used of the speech of the Barrow-wight (dis- Barrow-wight but merely asleep and now able bly raise and control the fog to confuse and to wake naturally once again. cussed below), and correspond exactly to the 5 draw in their victims. metaphors used to describe Frodo’s voice More directly, they appear to possess a The Death Ritual whilst wearing the Ring. The Wight-spirit is power of dread similar to that of the Nazgûl therefore clearly a being of the same “wraith- A common feature of undead monsters is and the Dead Men of Dunharrow. This dread world” as the Nazgûl.2 the dark designs they have upon the living. spills out into the hills amongst which they Bombadil’s song sounds like an exorcism, The Barrow-wight in LotR performs a ritual dwell, the very sight of which was “disquiet- but there is no suggestion of banishing the on the hobbits that resembles a human sacri- ing” to the hobbits, and the fog upon the hills Wight-spirit from the ‘Seen’ world of the here fice, in which they are dressed in ceremonial gave the hobbits the unnerving sense that a and now. The song is one of driving away to garments and bedecked with jewellery, with a trap had closed about them. This dread was other parts of Middle-earth, whereas the right- sword intended as the instrument of their not particular to the time that the Lord of the ful place for an Elven or Mannish spirit to be deaths laid across their throats. Nazgûl had “roused” the barrow-wights in the sent would be the Halls of Mandos. The of- The earliest-conceived Barrow-wight in Hunt for the Ring; their longstanding name in fending spirit is also not destroyed but re- told Tom: Elvish, Tyrn Gorthad, translates as “Hills of duced to the same sort of futile impotence, as Horror”. He’s [Barrow-wight’s] got loose Tolkien described for Sauron after the de- This dread would seem either to be a mani- again. Under earth he’ll take you. struction of the Ring.3 festation of a fear of death that Melkor- Poor Tom Bombadil! pale and cold he’ll The song surely evoked great power, given Morgoth planted in the hearts of Men in their make you!’ The Adventures of its destructive effect on the barrow’s struc- 6 earliest days, or an instinctive response to a Tom Bombadil ture,4 but the exorcism was still not complete. concentration of the Morgoth-element that Frodo thought he saw the severed hand of the was a pre-requisite to all works of sorcery (see But there is no indication of whether this wight move, and then Bombadil returned for a quote below)and always “fills the heart with “pale and cold” fate is simply death, or some bout of “thumping and stamping” – perhaps 7 loathing” or a combination of both. Projecting darker abomination. Other ‘undead’ are very literally describing yellow-booted feet or intensifying its power the Wight-spirits can known for stealing the life force from their fighting an animated hand? – and it required so oppress their victims’ will and vitality as to victims or causing them to join the ranks of the removal of the barrow-hoard into the light instil drowsiness, daunt them or rob them of the undead – the Witch-king with the morgul- of the Sun to truly disempower the wight. volition, or even cast them into a sorcerous knife, and the corpse-candles of the Dead A descriptive passage in one of Tolkien’s 8 sleep from which there is no natural waking. Marshes, and the barrow-wight’s drone is de- earliest conceptions, admittedly not subse- The song sung by Bombadil after he has scribed as “the cold cursing the warmth for quently repeated, nevertheless describes cor- carried the unconscious hobbits out of the bar- which it hungered” (my emphasis). But its sub- rupted maiar or ëalar originally of Mandos’ row first bids them to awaken, then gives an sequent incantation suggests the hobbits will following which closely resemble what we account of how his opening the barrow and suffer a cold sleep rather than be fed upon or know of the nature of the Barrow-wights: exorcising the wight has made that waking converted into undead themselves.


22 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 Cold be hand and heart and bone, Appearance little, as it might well be a feature of the quasi- and cold be sleep under stone: religious ritual it was performing. never more to wake on stony bed, Trembling, [Frodo] looked up, in In the earlier Adventures of Bombadil, never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is time to see a dark figure like a shadow though, when Tom drives off Barrow-wight: dead. against the stars. It leaned over him. He In the black wind the stars shall die, thought there were two eyes, very cold Out fled Barrow-wight through the and still on gold here let them lie, though lit with a pale light that seemed window leaping, till the lifts his hand to come from some remote distance. Then through the yard, over wall like a shadow over dead sea and withered land. LotR: a grip stronger and colder than iron sweeping, Fog on the Barrow-downs seized him. The icy touch froze his bones, up hill wailing went back to leaning and he remembered no more. LotR: Fog stone-rings, These words describe the victims being on the Barrow-downs, back under lonely mound, rattling his prepared for the “dark lord” to raise at the end bone-rings. The Adventures of of days – either by preserving their corpses In keeping with the principles of good hor- Tom Bombadil from which the warmth has been devoured to ror writing, Tolkien never provides a direct be available for eventual re-animation, or far description of the Barrow-wight. Instead we This fleeing, leaping through a window and more horrifically by causing the hobbits’ very have a mere silhouette on which no detail is sweeping over a wall certainly seems to de- souls to lie in limbo until they are awoken as discernible save its palely glowing eyes, and scribe a creature capable of at least the same the dark lord’s slaves. But it would be a potent even in the direct encounter inside the barrow agility as a normal active man. deed of indeed to overcome itself, only one arm of the Barrow-wight is If this establishes that the Barrow-wights Ilúvatar’s will that souls should pass west and ever seen. were fearsomely strong, and not hindered by duly receive the Gift of Death. Tom Bombadil had previously told the any particular lurching undead ponderousness, The way this incantation refers to a dark hobbits that “the bones were stirred in the their movements were nevertheless con- lord ruling over a nihilistic end of the world is mounds”, and in The Adventures of Tom strained to some extent. They must at least more characteristic of the original dark lord, Bombadil he commands Barrow-wight to lay fear the daylight, and it is probable that the Melkor-Morgoth, than of Sauron, again indi- down his “bony head” on “stony pillow”. These evil magic by which they possess their corpses cating the truly ancient nature of the Wight- fragmentary descriptions suggest the Barrow- would be suppressed or dispelled by the light spirits. wight to be embodied in a skeletal corpse. But of the Sun, meaning that they would never Tom also then went on to refer to the “click of roam more than half a night’s journey from The nature of Wight-spirits rings on cold fingers” rather than finger-bones; the safety of their barrows. When Barrow- embodied as Barrow-wights the arm that Frodo saw also did not warrant wight accosts Tom in The Adventures of Tom The barrow-wight encountered by the any particular description as either skeletal or Bombadil it declares, “Barrow-wight has got hobbits is not a discorporeal spirit, not one spectral. It moved with “a creaking and scrap- loose again,” sounding as though it rarely projecting an image of its appearance either ing sound”, and it was described as “breaking leaves its barrow, owing to something or into the air or into the minds of those who be- off” when Frodo chopped at it with a sword, someone actively constraining it. hold it, nor yet one wearing a fana body of its which suggests a desiccated, decayed or In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn tells us “ own making. It sorcerously animates the man- probably embalmed corpse. It is likely that the ‘Strider’ I am to one fat man who lives within nish corpse for which the barrow was origi- Dúnedain of Cardolan would have embalmed a day’s march of foes that would freeze his nally raised. The way Frodo elicits a shriek their dead, or at least the great amongst them, heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were from it when he hews off the barrow-wight’s but the dead of the pre-Edainic men for whom not guarded ceaselessly.” And since the deadly hand and causes the sickly light in the barrow the earliest barrows were raised in the First spirits only come to Cardolan after the to be extinguished also indicates that the wight Age were probably not thus preserved, and mounds are deserted (cited above) this might was more intimately associated with the their skeletons would therefore give rise to not have been possible if the lands were still corpse than would be expected if it was entirely fleshless barrow-wights. inhabited. Is it possible that some effort on the merely using some power to manipulate it like part of the rangers or the wandering compa- a puppet. Vigour and Mobility nies of the Elves prevent the barrow-wights The power by which the barrow-wights The senses of a barrow-wight do not, how- from preying more widely than they do? animate their corpse-bodies affords them ever, depend on the physical sense organs of Whatever the reason, the normal condition greater strength than a living man. In The the corpse they animate. They detect the fea- of the barrow-wights – when not “roused” Lord of the Rings, when the barrow-wight tures of Middle-earth and interact with it and during the Hunt for the Ring, for example – seizes Frodo it has immense strength: “a grip its inhabitants in the Unseen, the wraith- seems to be to languish morbidly within their stronger and colder than iron”. But its ability world, rather than in the Seen world as ex- barrows, and during the hours of daylight they to grasp him gives no indication of how rapidly perienced by the Free Peoples. are no great threat to anyone who does not it could move, as Frodo had collapsed to his tamper with their dwelling-places. In the first knees in abject terror. Within the barrow the draft of The Lord of the Rings Tom Bombadil creaking and scraping of its hand suggests stiff says “Horsemen. Dead men [?riding the wind. and laboured movement, and there is a long ‘Tis long since they came hence.] What ails description of Frodo’s thoughts as it advanced the Barrow-wights to leave their old on its fingers, but in that time it still does not mounds?”9 move so far that even its shoulder follows the There seems also to be another constraint arm into view. Again this slowness indicates upon them that lessens the threat that they 23 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE pose specifically in a westerly direction. Bom- “Where are you?” he [Frodo] cried Other witnesses less sensitive than Frodo the badil advises the hobbits thus: again, both angry and afraid. Ring-bearer – the other hobbits included – “Here!” said a voice, deep and cold, that might not have perceived anything at all. “Keep to the green grass. Don’t you seemed to come out of the ground. “I am go a-meddling with with old stone or cold waiting for you.” Intelligence Wights or prying in their houses, unless “No!” said Frodo; but he did not run There is little evidence on which to base an you be strong folk with hearts that never away. His knees gave, and he fell on the assessment of how intelligent the Barrow- falter!” He said this more than once; and ground. wights were. They might be imagined to be he advised them to pass barrows by the fiendishly cunning in stalking and trapping west-side; if they chanced to stray near ... Suddenly a song began: a cold their victims, and learned enough to have a one. LotR: In the House of Tom murmur, rising and falling. The voice mastery of magic. Alternately, what hobbit Bombadil seemed far away and immeasurably folklore called their “dreadful spells” might not dreary, sometimes high in the air and have employed any complex magical lore but And whether his steps were mis- thin, sometimes like a low moan from the might simply be a spirit-being’s purely instinc- directed by the fog or by some other ground. Out of the formless stream of sad tive projections of power or dread. but horrible sounds, strings of words sorcery of the Barrow-wight’s, or The Barrow-wight in The Adventures of would now and again shape themselves: whether it was through simple Tom Bombadil refers to itself in both the first chance, Frodo eventually finds him- grim, hard, cold words, heartless and mis- erable. The night was railing against the and the third person, using just “Bar- self inadvertently approaching the row-wight” almost as its own name: barrow exactly from the east: morning of which was bereaved, and the cold was cursing the warmth for which it ‘Hoo. Tom Bombadil’ Look what A glance showed him that he was now hungered. Frodo was chilled to the mar- night has brought you! facing southwards and was on a round row. I’m here behind the door. Now at last I’ve hill-top, which he must have climbed from ... Then there was a long trailing caught you! the north. Out of the east a biting wind You’d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in was blowing. To his right there loomed shriek, fading away into an unguessable distance; and after that silence. LotR: the old mound against the westward stars a dark black up there on hill-top with the ring of shape. A great barrow stood there. Fog on the Barrow-downs, stones round. The Adventures of

LotR: Fog on the Barrow-downs Tom Bombadil Take away gleaming eyes, take your This appears to be one of several examples hollow laughter! The Adventures of The lack of a name suggests that much is in which Tolkien attributes goodness with the Tom Bombadil missing from this creature’s identity and sense direction of west, westerly winds etc., by as- of self.13 sociation with the Blessed Realm of the Valar. Tolkien employs the same mode of descrip- The Barrow-wight in The Lord of the Rings is Perhaps any reminder of the goodly west is tion for the voice of Frodo whilst wearing the far less vocal than this first conception. Early uncomfortable to the corrupted Wight-spirits Ring on Weathertop: draft notes in which more than one barrow- in a way similar to the name of Elbereth being Suddenly to his horror Sam found wight worked together, and therefore pre- painful to the Nazgûl, and they avoid looking sumably communicated with one another, westwards whenever possible. that his master had vanished... He heard Frodo’s voice, but it seemed to come from were in fact rejected so we only have evidence Speech a great distance, or from under the earth, of the solitary one that waylays the hobbits. Whilst the Wight-spirits clearly animated crying out strange words. LotR: Flight This one also doesn’t exactly engage in dia- their adopted corpse-bodies with strength and to the Ford logue; its “[I am] here! I am waiting for you,” agility, it is doubtful that the same power is the only moment in which it addresses the could elicit voices from their dead throats, and (The words as Frodo heard himself utter hobbits at all. yet the Barrow-wight ‘speaks’. But its speech them were not strange, but perfectly normal: Some readers speculate as to why the Bar- is always mysterious and otherly: sometimes “What has happened? Where is the pale row-wight didn’t take the Ring from Frodo, described as ethereal and sometimes chthonic. king?”) since all evil things were known to be drawn These varying descriptions represent the to it. We know that it did keep Frodo aside way the speech of the Barrow-wight defies the when it prepared the three other hobbits for normal senses of Frodo, the protagonist from sacrifice, but since its plans were interrupted whose perspective this episode is described. It by Frodo’s sword-blow and Bombadil’s inter- is possible that he is not hearing true speech at vention, we can derive little else from this. all. Later in The Lord of the Rings, Elves con- But it does at least suggest that beyond merely 10 verse by direct exchange of thoughts, and it being “roused”, it had received and understood is also suggested that the Ring allows an un- and was acting on instructions from the Lord derstanding of unknown languages by hearing of the Nazgûl. 11 the thoughts behind the words. This allows Drawing on other details from Tolkien’s the possibility that the Barrow-wight made no later writings, we know that good and right- sound but projected its thought in a fashion eous spirit-beings of great strength, the Valar 12 that Frodo perceived as speech. Its speech and maiar, could create physical bodies, or fa- would then properly be considered as a ‘spirit nar, for themselves.14 They lost some of their power’ of the wight, as discussed above. powers in becoming associated with the mate- 24 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 rial world in this way. Embodiment achieved The golden treasure hoards of the barrows Barrow-wights as only by possession of a corpse might reduce are also of significance to the wights’ anima- enemies in a RolePlaying game the powers and intelligence of a spirit-being tion of the barrow-corpses. Tolkien’s chapter ‘Fog on the Barrow- even more dramatically. If the wight-spirits downs’ is an exercise in horror-writing in a Morgoth’s power was disseminated had already long been corrupted by Morgoth, very different vein from most of the rest of their very sanity might have been question- throughout Gold, if nowhere absolute (for he did not create Gold) it was nowhere The Lord of the Rings. To recreate the atmos- able, and perhaps centuries-or millennia-long phere of The Lord of the Rings in a roleplaying association with a corpse and impersonation of absent. (It was this Morgoth-element in matter, indeed, which was a prerequisite game it would therefore be ideal for a Game its original owner caused the Wight-spirits to Master to use barrow-wights as a source of 15 for such ‘magic’ as Sauron practised with come to think of themselves as the deceased. it and upon it.) HoMe 10: Myths drama through horror rather than as a source of sword-fodder enemies to be defeated for The ‘Magic’ of the Transformed VII (ii) their treasure. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil Animation/Possession And indeed, the final stroke of Bombadil’s do not see Barrow-wight destroyed, only de- Little can really be known of the ‘magical’ ‘exorcising’ of the Barrow-wight that had feated or repelled. It takes the Barrow-wight, mechanism by which the Barrow-wights in- taken the hobbits was to expose the treasures as roused by the Lord of the Nazgûl, to habited and animated the corpses that they of the hoard to the light of the Sun and leave threaten the lives of the hobbits before Tom took as their own. But whilst the Lord of the the hoard to be dispersed. Bombadil is moved to truly vanquish it, and Nazgûl was responsible for their taking up Tom is a unique being of ineffable power. residence in the Barrow-downs, it was stated When he [Bombadil] came out he was However confident a group of adventurers that he “sent” them there, so he was not pre- bearing in his arms a great load of treas- might be in their abilities at the outset, when sent in person to ensorcel the spirits into the ure: things of gold, silver, copper, and they encounter a barrow-wight they are likely corpses. The ‘magic’ involved must therefore bronze; many beads and chains and jew- to be caught unaware by the full range of have been their own. elled ornaments. He climbed the green powers at the wights’ disposal, which are In a late essay, Tolkien discussed the spirits barrow and laid them all on top in the known only in broad outline even by such of wrongful-minded Elves that defied the call sunshine. loremasters as Elrond Halfelven. They should of Mandos when their mortal bodies died and ... [Bombadil bade the mound-treasures] often count themselves lucky if they survive thus remained incorporeally in Middle-earth – lie there ‘free to all finders, birds, beasts, the encounter, let alone succeed in fulfilling and their ability to cohabit with or subdue the Elves or Men, and all kindly creatures’; their original goal in going there, and the soul of the natural owner of a living body and for so the spell of the mound should be wight-spirits are next to impossible to truly thus possess it. broken and scattered and no Wight ever come back to it. LotR: Fog on the vanquish. If its host corpse is dismembered, [A spirit] may plead for shelter, and Barrow-downs the wight-spirit can continue to animate the if it is admitted, then it will seek to en- acroteriastised body parts. The least ‘sane’ slave its host and use both his will and his When Frodo struck at the arm of the Bar- wight-spirits may have lost their sense of their body for its own purposes. It is said that row-wight, he did so by taking up a sword that true identities as spirits and will be reduced to Sauron did these things, and taught his he found close by. In striking off the Barrow- relative impotence by the crippling of the followers how to achieve them. HoMe wight’s hand, “the sword splintered up to the corpses to which they are (after long centu- 10: Laws and Customs among hilt.” This is very similar to what happened ries, irreversibly) bound, the most powerful the Eldar when Merry used his barrow-blade to strike at ones that have retained full knowledge of their the Lord of the Nazgûl, a blow which we are own true nature will still retain their spirit- If the Wight-spirits had the strength or told could not have been struck by any lesser powers even if the corpses they inhabit are ut- power to possess a living being, that would weapon. As the two swords came from the terly destroyed. surely have been preferable, if only for the same place, it may also be that normal blades Many players can be very blasé in their atti- mobility it would allow. But since there is no would not bite on the Barrow-wight, and that tude to encounters in which their characters suggestion of the wights dis-associating them- Frodo’s choice of weapon was a very fortui- are supposed to be affected by fear, and if fear selves from their corpses to travel abroad as tous one. is to be central to an episode of the game, it naked spirits, nor transferring their possession The corpse possessed by the Barrow-wight needs to be tangibly represented in the game to a living being, the large part of their was of a very different nature from the sorcer- mechanics. GMs should, however, employ strength must have been spent in binding the ous body of “unseen sinews” possessed by the caution in imposing mechanics which deprive Barrow-corpses to them, such that they could otherwise incorporeal Lord of the Nazgûl, but players of their normal options to control the not move on. Maybe the act of possessing a the similarity between the two events suggests actions of their characters (either to act as val- living being would cost them more power a common factor. Perhaps the concentration iantly as they might wish or indeed even to act than they could recoup in the living host’s life- of Morgoth-element in each caused the de- at all rather than cowering in terror). Whilst time, meaning they wouldn’t have the struction of the swords that struck them.16 partial loss of player-control can be a potent strength to take another when that one died. It is said that in the time leading up to the source of tension, there is a great danger of The one advantage of inhabiting the (presuma- War of the Ring, Sauron “roused all evil confounding and irritating them rather than bly embalmed) corpses in the barrows is that things”. It is possible that this was achieved by giving them a fulfilling dramatic experience. despite their limitations they don’t degrade some sort of ‘potentiation’ of the power of the beyond a certain point, even with the passing Morgoth-element in the fabric of Middle-earth of many years. – and especially in gold.

25 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE Physical attributes wight-spirit inhabits, the abilities of a barrow- them to the full effects of the fear • Because they do not depend for their wight all derive from the power they receive they exude) animation upon the physiology of the from the Morgoth-element inherent in their • Suppression of light to deepen shad- corpses they have taken, only gross hoards, up to a maximum capacity determined ows, reducing the vision of their vic- (skeletal) structural damage truly de- by the strength and sanity of the spirit itself. tims (not attested, but easily applica- bilitates them. Damage to their skele- The rate at which this power is expended in ble) tons is difficult to inflict with piercing animating its body and exercising its powers, • Fog-weaving: raising and controlling or slicing strikes (e.g. halving abso- and the rate at which it is regained from its mists and fog (if deemed applicable by lute attack chances), whilst hacking hoard are up to the GM. It will, however, be the GM) appropriate for barrow-wights to behave with and bludgeoning strikes attack nor- • ‘Mazes Unseen’, dark enchantment to ponderous undead slowness to conserve their mally. misdirect the steps of a tar- power until such time as they have need of • Brittle skeletal wights lacking flesh get,drawing in their victims or con- strength and speed (and the more cunning may suffer up to double damage from founding those who flee them. hacking and bludgeoning strikes. ones will be aware of the advantage to be won from deceiving their opponents as to their true • ‘Night Under Night’, a ‘gaze’ power • Because they merely possess and ani- abilities). In deciding the actions of a barrow- requiring the victim to be facing them mate the corpses they have taken, wight, the GM should consider than anything with eyes open, which oppresses the barrow-wights suffer only distress but other than complete inertness, even the exer- victim’s will and vitality to an extent no pain at any damage inflicted upon cise of its senses, will cost the wight- spirit a dependent on the wight-spirit’s them. This means that wounds which certain portion of its power. But for practical power. would normally cause daz- purposes, the use of its senses and normal • lack of volition, requiring a real effort ing/stunning/bleeding etc. have no animation of its body should not be considered of will (expenditure of points?) to act: effect upon them. Physical damage so demanding as to require book-keeping. - drowsiness, inflicting a penalty only affects them in the mechanical The greater the power of a wight-spirit, the on any attempt to act, sense, and any associated penalties more scope it has for the exercise of its spirit- - sleep should be halved to represent their powers, and the better it is able to retain its - sorcerous sleep from which imperviousness to pain. intelligence and ‘sanity’: its sense of its true there is no natural waking (and Power Levels nature as a spirit-being. The least potent which can cause loss of mem- The very lack of definition of the nature of wight-spirits have lost all sense of themselves ory, the power of speech, skill the Barrow-wight that made ‘Fog on the Bar- as anything other than “Barrow-wight”, iden- ranks, Intelligence points, etc.) row-downs’ such an evocative chapter leaves tify completely with the corpse they inhabit, Each of these degrees of oppression is eas- the GM a great deal of leeway in selecting the and lack any sophistication in their actions, at- ier (cheaper in power cost) to inflict upon a power level of the barrow-wight(s) with tacking their victims with brute grasping at- victim who has already succumbed to a lesser which he can confront his characters. tacks of their out-stretched arms. The most degree. The more primitive, First Age Edainic bar- potent retain much of the intelligence they had rows are simple mounds with a stone-sealed as mighty spirits and all the cunning gained Behaviour: entrance leading down a short corridor to the down long centuries, read and anticipate the Motivation and Weaknesses burial chamber in which the corpse(s) are in- actions of their victims or enemies and use Except when roused and acting under the terred along with the grave-goods which con- their powers to maximum effect, wielding instructions of the Lord of the Nazgûl or an- stitute a relatively meagre hoard. These weapons at need with more strength and other necromancer, barrow-wights’ motives corpses will typically have decayed to brittle speed (if not practiced skill) than any mortal are simple. skeletons and are often unarmoured. warrior. Sunk in morbid obsession with their own existence many do not even expend the power The barrows of the Second and Third Ages Specific Powers can be increasingly sophisticated in design, be- to open the stone doors of their barrows, and • ing enclosed within earthwork ‘garths’, some- Radiated fear (inherent at no cost, will encounter only such foolhardy tomb- times featuring standing stones and proces- range/intensitymay vary) robbers as deliberately break in. Others, the sional avenues, and containing longer corri- Men and probably hobbits are very more powerful, keep their hatred of the living dors and various alcoves or side-chambers and susceptible to this, dwarves less so, more in mind and roam the (mostly deserted) and elves still less. ante-rooms. These corpses will more often downs by night in the abject hope of snaring have been embalmed and therefore able to • Focussed fear, a ‘gaze’ power requir- some unwitting benighted traveller. withstand more physical punishment, whilst ing the victim to be facing them with All barrow-wights act to preserve their their hoards and the armour and weapons with eyes open, whereby the wight can hoards (either wittingly or even out of nothing which the corpse(s) were decked for burial re- expend power to inflict fear with more than a remembered instinct) to destroy flect their more technologically and economi- greater range/intensity the hated living interlopers, to steal the cally advanced cultures. • Exertion of unnatural strength warmth from them, or to sacrifice them to the The source of the barrow-wights’ power is • Feats of agility Dark Lord. Conceivably, if they detect gold or the hoarded treasure in the barrow-mound in • Illumination with sickly green light some other concentration of the Morgoth- which they dwell: the greater the hoard, the (this seems ‘theatrical’ rather than re- element, they might seek to add it to their more powerful is its guardian. Apart from the quired by the wights, except that let- hoards. condition and equipment of the corpse the ting their victims see them exposes 26 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 This predictability is the greatest weakness Notes of the barrow-wight, but with counsel from len identity, haunting someone else’s tomb and the Wise, other constraints upon them might 1 http://creativecommons.org/licenses half-believing they are the true owner of the be turned to the advantage of the cunning ad- /by-nc-sa/3.0/ place.” Wes Frank, 15/05/2001 venturer. 2 16 The closeness between the Sindarin element The Lord of the Nazgûl also broke Frodo’s Twisted and evil as they are, barrow- gûl for (a creation of) dark magic in Nazgûl, next sword, even at a distance, when Frodo wights loathe (and fear) the purity, goodness and Arabic ghul or ghûl (“grasper”) as the raised it in defiance of his pursuers at the and power of the Valar. Distracted by this fear original “ghoul” is not often noted. Ford of Bruinen. Does this suggest a power and loathing, they are less capable of focussing 3 HoMe 10: Myths Transformed of projecting raw Morgoth-element as a their senses effectively in a westerly direction. 4 form of attack? Other reminders of the Valar, such as the ut- Cf. ’s Word of Command destroy- ing the door in the Chamber of Mazarbul. tering of their names – especially that of El- 5 bereth – causes distress and distraction to a Cf. the control of fog attributed to barrow-wight, as do pure silver and pure run- in The Ride of Eorl, UT. 6 ning water. Seemingly the same dread is also radiated by The emissaries of the Valar, Arien the the ‘Dark Door’ of Dunharrow, but that did of the Sun and Tilion the huntsman-maia of not only affect Men but also the the Moon have a more direct impact on bar- and the Grey Company’s horses. row-wights. Daylight blinds their spirit-senses 7 “Nay it was not so,” said . “For his and negates their every power including the [Sauron’s] works fill the heart with loathing; but ability even to move, and exposure to the di- my heart was filled with grief and pity. LotR: rect light of the Sun is grievously damaging to The Window on the West them, rapidly destroying their stock of Mor- 8 These effects present a coherent magical goth-element power. In consequence of this, principle such as is rarely explicit in even the more aggressive barrow-wights range Tolkien’s writings. In other situations the only a limited distance from the safety of their same principle appears to extend into the dark crypts. Exposure to the direct light of the paralysis of “holding-spells” and into the Moon halves the range of their senses and im- theft of memory or even of the power of pedes their powers (by doubling all power speech. costs), but this effect is cancelled by even a 9 HoMe 6: Tom Bombadil light mist. 10 For they did not move or speak with mouth, look- ing from mind to mind; and only their shining Copyright © 2007 Neville Percy. Permission is eyes stirred and kindled as their thoughts went to granted to copy, distribute and /or modify this and fro. LotR: Many Partings document under the terms of the GNU Free Docu- Tolkien discussed this ability at some length mentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version in the essay Ósanwë-kenta. published by the Free Software Foundation; with no 11 Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no “While I wear the Ring I can understand much of Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included orcish speech,” said Frodo, “or of the thought be- in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation hind it – I don’t know which.” HoMe 7: The License” on page 38 of this publication. Story Foreseen from Lórien 12 Cf. this passage from a piece of Tolkien’s work: “Spirits are often recorded as speaking.” “I know. But I wonder if they really do, or if they make you hear them, just as they can also make you see them in some appropriate form, by pro- ducing a direct impression on the mind.” HoMe 9: 13 Cf. the Mouth of Sauron having been so immersed in sorcery and service to the Dark Lord as to forget his name. 14 The main examples of this are the Valar, and Maiar such as , Sauron and the Is- tari, and Bombadil’s spouse , River Woman’s daughter, is probably also embodied in the same fashion. 15 “For purposes of my [ICE] modules, the spirits in the barrows are those of mannish warriors sworn to, and cursed by, Morgoth or Sauron. Their re- ward for their service to Darkness is a hideous sto- 27 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE

Magic in Middle-earth

© 2005-2007 by Chris Seeman Oaths and Curses Enchanted sites ([email protected]) The magical efficacy of oaths and curses is The Girdle of Melian, “an unseen wall of per the terms under CC license: b n a 1 the primary engine that drives the drama of shadow and bewilderment,” a “girdle of enchant- Middle-earth’s history (at least in the First ment” (97, 108); “for love of Elwë Singollo she took There are literally hundreds of examples of Age, though it is not absent from the Second upon herself the form of the Elder Children of Ilúva- magic use in Tolkien’s writings upon which a game and Third). A game mechanics worth its met- tar, and in that union she became bound by the mechanics of supernatural power might readily be tle must create guidelines for how such words, chain and trammels of the flesh of Arda. In that developed. Unfortunately, most attempts at devising spoken in the course of a game, may come to form she bore to him Lúthien Tinúviel; and in that principles of Middle-earth magic have either chosen exercise such an all-embracing power on the form she gained a power over the substance of Arda, to totally ignore this extensive source material, or to course of events in a way that forces the PCs and by the Girdle of Melian was Doriath de- narrowly focus only on one or two facets of it, or to to take them seriously. The Oath of Fëanor; fended...” (234). “the Enchanted Isles were set, and impose abstract generalizations that do not fit the all the seas about them were filled with shadows and evidence. The only way to remedy this is to under- “For so sworn, good or evil, an oath bewilderment. And these isles were strung as a net in take the research necessary to do justice to what may not be broken, and it shall pursue the Shadowy Seas...”; “... shadow and enchantment Tolkien has actually written. What follows is a pre- oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world’s lay upon [the seas];” “defeated by shadows and en- liminary list of some prominent manifestations of end” (83). The Curse of Mandos (88; chantment” (102, 159, 246). “... enchantment lay supernatural power that appear in the Silmarillion. cf. 139, 176) upon [Nan Elmoth] still” (132). Unless otherwise noted, all page numbers are in ref- erence to this book. Eöl curses his son (138). swears “... all the forest of the northward slopes of that not to slay Beren (167). Morgoth curses Húrin land was turned little by little into a region of such and his family (197). dread and dark enchantment that even the would not enter it unless need drove them...those Arts of Enchantment that strayed among [the trees] became lost and The creation of enchantment is the hall- blind, and were strangled or pursued to madness by mark of Elven magic. At times its effects are phantoms of terror.” (155). similar to those wrought by sorcery, but its in- A spell of mastery binds the stones of the tentions and motivations are generally quite tower of Tol Sirion (175; cf. Barad-dûr 304). different from it. At the same time, there are The River Esgalduin (234). The Hills of no set formulas for enchantments, there are Tumladen (240). no “spell lists” involved here. They simply are expressions of the wielder’s Will, the effects Enchanted artifacts of which are determined by need, occasion The enchantment of an artifact involves the and circumstance. Lúthien’s dance enchants transfer of Will (sometimes permanent, at Beren (165). Melian most skilled in songs of other times temporary) from the wielder to an 2 enchantment of all the folk of Lórien (55). external object. The Silmarils [see “Proximity Melian’s voice enchants Thingol, who falls to Holiness” below]. The Nauglamír enhances into a trance and “forgot then utterly all his people the grace and loveliness of its wearer (114). and all the purposes of his mind” (55, 58). Lúthien’s cloak was “laden with a spell of sleep” Eöl “set his enchantments about Aredhel so that (172; cf. 175). Angrist “would cleave iron as it she could not find the ways out, but drew ever nearer were green wood” (177). Anglachel “would cleave to his dwelling in the depths of the wood” (133). all earth-delved iron” (201). Lembas [cf. PoMe Finrod’s minstrelsy conjures visions in the for virtues]. Ulmo’s cloak shadowed Tuor eyes of its hearers (140-141; cf. Celegorm and from the eyes of his enemies (239; cf. UT). Curufin’s words 170 and Lúthien’s song to The stores will and enables the Beren 174). Lúthien’s arts of enchantment wearer to see/control thoughts of the other cause her hair to grow (172). Ringbearers (287-288). The ward off the decays of time (288). The Seven Rings generate treasure hoards (289). The Nine Rings allow wearers to view things invisible to Men (289). Narsil breaks when its wielder dies, its light is extinguished (294, 295). The Palantíri permit the viewer to see other times as well as places (64, 281, 292). The Ulumúri

28 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 put an eternal sea-longing in the heart of their illusion of Gorlim’s dead wife to trap Gorlim, Read Thoughts hearer (27). “a phantom devised by wizardry” (162-163). The ability to read another’s intention by “Sauron brought werewolves, fell beasts inhabited by the light in their eyes is also a recurrent motif Spells dreadful spirits that he had imprisoned in their bod- that often drives the actions of characters. The The most notable category distinction be- ies” (164; cf. 180). Some of the Ringwraiths ability to do so is based upon Wisdom, com- tween spells and enchantment is that the for- became sorcerers with the aid of their rings bined with the active engagement of Will and mer tend to involve coercion. Beren is (289). Sauron “used the fire that welled there from perhaps Presence. Characters reared in a cul- stricken dumb, “as one that is bound under a the heart of the earth in his sorceries” (292). ture that abstains from falsehood and lies (like spell” (165). Lúthien declares her po- Morgul = “Sorcery” (297). Sorcerer = “Necro- the Dúnedain and the Rohirrim) are, accord- wer/mastery over Sauron’s isle, “and the spell mancer” (299, 300). ing to Faramir’s claim at any rate, more capa- was loosed that bound stone to stone, and the gates ble of penetrating the deception of others and were thrown down, and the walls opened, and the Domination of Will discerning truth. Incorporating this principle pits laid bare” (175). Túrin falls “under the bind- The thralls of Morgoth are chained to his into the game mechanics would encourage ing spell” of Glaurung’s eyes, unable to move will, even when set free (156). Sauron daunts PCs who desire the power to take seriously or speak until released, and bemused, the Gorlim to reveal his secrets, even though he their own truthfulness in speech and action. dragon’s words altering his perception of resists (163). Maeglin’s thought “could read the secrets of events (213-215; cf. 217, 222, 231). Glau- hearts beyond the mist of words” (133, 134, 139). rung lays “a spell of utter darkness and forgetful- Morgoth Element Finrod interprets the speech of Men through ness” upon Nienor, causing her to lose all voli- Morgoth’s will “remained and guided his ser- their thoughts (141). Melian “read the doom that tion (218, 225). vants, moving them ever to thwart the will of the Valar and to destroy those that obeyed them” (260; was written” in Lúthien’s eyes (188). Melian Word of Command cf. 264). reads the disposition of Eöl’s sword (202). I left this in a separate category because in LotR, Gandalf intimates that a word of com- Wizardry Divine intervention The Valar do in fact lend aid to the Free mand is different from a normal spell, which No power of wizardry could defend anyone Peoples, but in all of this there is no trace of generally takes more time to work. A “com- from the Oath of Fëanor (169). The Elven the notion that there exist individuals capable mand”, on the other hand, is more immediate warriors of Nargothrond went into battle us- of “Channeling” the power of the Valar for and more draining on the speaker. Lúthien ing wizardry, along with other weapons of se- magic. On the contrary, the Valar would re- commands Carcharoth to sleep, a power de- crecy and deception (170). Wizardry = Sor- gard such a notion as dangerously conducive to rived from her divine heritage (180, 181). cery (171). Wizardry distinguished from spells (175). “worship”, a claim to which Eru alone has a Songs of Power right. This is, in fact, what distinguishes “good” Why do certain effects require a song Shape-changing magic from sorcery: authentic magic origi- rather than some other kind of utterance? Morgoth’s spies assume the shape and ap- nates solely in the Will of the caster, whereas Yavanna’s song creates the Two Trees (38; cf. pearance of those whom they spy upon (144- sorcery seeks to Channel the Morgoth ele- 78). Finrod and Sauron duelled in song to 145, 156). Finrod disguises himself and his ment. Ulmo communicates to Finrod and conceal/reveal Finrod’s identity (171). companions as Orcs (170, 171). Sauron exer- Turgon via dream (114, 158). Ulmo sets un- Lúthien drives Morgoth and his court blind cises power over his own fana (175; cf. 285). quiet in Turgon’s heart (125). Gorlim’s wraith and lays sleep upon them (180-181). Lúthien, Huan and Beren assume the forms of warns Beren of his father’s death in a dream Draugluin and Thuringwethil; Morgoth strips (163). Ulmo “set it in [Tuor’s] heart to depart the Healing her of her disguise by his will (178-179, 180). land of his fathers” (238). Ulmo appears to Tur- Lúthien uses her arts to heal Beren (178; Ulmo gives Elwing the shape of a bird, which gon in person and guides him to Tumladen cf. 182). Lúthien heals Thingol by her touch she subsequently gains the power to do on a (115; cf. 125-126). Ulmo appears to Círdan (188). The Silmaril brings healing and blessing regular basis, like (247, 250). and delivers his oracle (212). Ulmo appears to to the refugees of Gondolin (247). Foresight and Prophecy Tuor and commissions him (239). Ulmo Sorcery Premonition of the future is a pervasive speaks through Tuor in Gondolin (240). By contrast to enchantment, spells or wiz- theme in Tolkien’s stories. Practically all as- Uinen aids mariners that call upon her (30). ardry (which may be either good or evil in in- tute characters experience it at some point. Fingon prays to Manwë for aid and is an- tent), sorcery always has a negative connota- The Wisdom stat could be used to measure swered by Thorondor (110). Ulmo raises mist tion. We learn elsewhere (HoMe) that sorcery, the degree to which PCs can accurately per- from Sirion to aid the escape of Huor and unlike all other forms of supernatural power, ceive and interpret such premonitions. It also Húrin (158). Ulmo rescues Voronwë from has its source in the Morgoth element “the has a bearing upon the role of the prophet or Ossë’s wrath (239). Shadow”, Morgoth’s evil will that inheres in all seer (which actually turns up more often than of Arda Marred, lying dormant, waiting to be one might think among Tolkien’s characters). used by those who would further its ends. As Characters experience foreboding or fore- the examples show, necromancy (the domina- knowledge of future events (67, 78, 127, 130, tion of other wills and spirits) is a hallmark of 136, 162, 179, 185, 194, 196, 202, 205, 213, sorcery. “Sauron was now become a sorcerer of 216, 220, 221, 295-296, 298, 301). Ulmo de- dreadful power, master of shadows and of phan- livers prophetic oracles through Elven or hu- toms...misshaping what he touched, twisting what man messengers (212, 240). Tar-Palantir’s he ruled...lord of werewolves” (156; cf. 289 on foresight marks him as a prophet and a true- phantoms and delusions). Sauron conjures an seer (269). 29 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE Hallowing Proximity to Holiness Being Ainur (Holy Ones), it is not surpris- The native power of Manwë and Varda is ing that one of the main “magical” activities of enhanced when they stand together (26). the Valar and the Maiar is to make things holy; “Great power Melian lent to Thingol” (56). Thin- that is to say, to render them inviolate to evil gol’s sojourn with Melian at Nan Elmoth en- and corruption, and to make them a blessing hances his presence to god-like heights (58). to all who dwell in proximity to them. From a The wearing of the Silmaril enhances Lúthien’s game mechanics perspective, it is interesting beauty but hastens her end (236). The pres- to note that certain heroic Men and Elves also ence of the Silmaril brings healing and blessing exude a kind of holiness, at least after they to the exiles of Gondolin (247). The power of have died, as the sanctity of graves attests. the Silmaril enables Eärendil to confound the This suggests that characters with a great enchantments of Aman (248). enough Presence may well come to possess certain hallowing powers (in their measure). Copyright © 2005-2007 Chris Seeman. Per- The priest-kings of Númenor, for instance, mission is granted to copy, distribute and /or mod- had the power to bless and curse, and to heal. ify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Manwë hallows the Great Lamps (35). Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later Yavanna hallows Ezellohar (38). Dwarves be- version published by the Free Software Foundation; lieve that Ilúvatar will hallow them at the End with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, of Time (44). Varda hallows the Silmarils “so and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is in- that...no mortal flesh, nor hands unclean, nor any- cluded in the section entitled “GNU Free Documen- thing of evil will might touch them, but it was tation License” on page 38 of this publication. scorched and withered” (67). Manwë hallows the last fruits of the Two Trees (99). “No dared ever after to pass over the mount of Fingolfin or Notes draw nigh his tomb, until the doom of Gondolin was come...” (154). Melian hallows the water of 1 http://creativecommons.org/licenses Tarn Aeluin (162). “They buried the body of Fela- /by-nc-sa/3.0/ gund upon the hill-top of his own isle, and it was 2 The Irmo; not the elven land west of clean again; and the green grave of Finrod Fi- Anduin. narfin’s son, fairest of all the princes of the Elves, remained inviolate, until the land was changed and broken...” (175-176). Ulmo protects the waters of Ivrin (209). “It is told...that the Stone of the Hapless should not be defiled by Morgoth nor ever thrown down, not though the sea should drown all the land...” (230). “...they buried in a mound of stones beside the pass; and a green turf came there, and yellow flowers bloomed upon it amid the barrenness of stone, until the world was changed” (243). The Valar hallow Vingilot (250). The Meneltarma is hallowed to Eru (261; cf. 281). The presence of the Deathless hallows the land of Aman (264; cf. 37-38).

30 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007

Thoughts on Imladris Part One

© 2005-2007 by Thomas Morwinsky History “The army that was besieging Im- ([email protected]) The history of this place begins in the mid- ladris was caught between Elrond and per the terms under CC license: b n a 1 dle of the Second Age during the War of the Gil-galad, and utterly destroyed ... and it Elves with Sauron. According to the tale of was there[at the first Council after the Frodo was now safe in the Last years in the Appendix B of the Lord of the Rings war] determined that an Elvish strong- Homely House east of the Sea. That house (LotR), Elrond founded the site in the year hold in the east of Eriador should be was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, `a 1697 of the Second Age. In Unfinished Tales maintained at Imladris rather than in perfect house, whether you like food or (UT) this is further elaborated upon: Eregion.” UT, The History of sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just Celeborn and Galadriel and sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant “...that he [Elrond] established a ref- Amroth king of Lórien mixture of them all’. Merely to be there uge and stronghold at Imladris was a cure for weariness, fear, and sad- (Rivendell).” UT, The History of Here we meet again the phrase of the ness. Celeborn and Galadriel and “stronghold”. We also learn that the decision The Lord of the Rings, Book II (Many Amroth king of Lórien not to re-settle Eregion was a deliberate one. Meetings) Certainly the assembled elven leaders per- In this quote we already find a phrase that ceived that the latter’s time was over and a Imladris is the house of Elrond Half-elven, “The appears also in other passages and makes the new, hidden and more modest refuge was a Last Homely House east of the sea” as so vividly de- definition of Imladris a bit problematic. It is better choice rather than the splendid Eregion scribed above. Its role and history is of utmost im- the appelation as a stronghold that is a bit puz- with its bitter memories. portance for Middle-earth in general and Eriador in zling. Normally a stronghold is a fortified 2 Concerning the military involvement of particular. place, often located in an inaccesible area. Al- this place, the next textual evidence is for the The rôle of that location is well reflected in its though the vale is quite inaccesible because of Third Age. popularity in roleplaying – who would not have its hidden location – as well as in a remote wanted to visit the Hidden vale, talk to Elrond or area – there is no mention of any fortifica- “It is said that at this time [after the experience the magnificient atmosphere of that tions. When we read about Imladris in the accession of Arveleg I. of Arthedain in the place. Regardless whether you play in the early, LotR or the Hobbit we get the impression, second half of the 14th century TA] middle, or late Third Age, Rivendell always is some- Rivendell was besieged.” LotR, Ap- that it was more like a big manor house (in thing special. pendix A whatever style) and not a (small) fortress with defensive walls, ditches etc. Again it is a bit hard to conceive how a The history continues with the notion that place is “besieged” if it is not protected by “...his [Saurons] force was weakened regular fortifications but only its remote and by the necessity of leaving a strong de- hidden location: To “besiege” someone, you tachment to contain Elrond and prevent have to know where he is, otherwise you are him coming upon his rear... By that time hard put to set up a siege indeed. For the [SA 1700] Sauron had mastered all Third Age we have the factor of Elrond’s ring, Eriador, save only besieged Imladris.” but as shown above, the place was already be- UT, The History of Celeborn sieged by Sauron’s forces when Elrond had no and Galadriel and Amroth king ring in SA 1697-1700 and therefore lacked its of Lórien powers. And even then he was “besieged” in that very place. This strongly suggests the image of a be- A possible solution to this problem is pre- sieged fortress – and this is developed further sented later in this essay. in the course of the narrative:

31 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE The makeup of Rivendell “ ‘Then you certainly will not be cho- [Years of the Second Age] We find a few scattered hints about the sen, Peregrin Took!’ said Gandalf, look- 3431 Gil-galad and Elendil march makeup of the place in the Lord of the Rings: ing in through the window, which was east to Imladris. near the ground.” LotR, Book II 3434 The host of the Alliance crosses “He [Frodo] lay a little while longer (The Ring goes South) the Misty Mountains. LotR, Appen- looking at patches of sunlight on the dix B (Tale of Years) wall, and listening to the sound of a wa- The river below the Bruinen ford is also al- terfall.” LotR, Book II (Many luded to: This strongly suggests that that the afore- Meetings) mentioned stay of Elendil and Gil-galad at “On the rocks of the rapids below it Rívendell lasted three years. The encamped The waterfall at the bridge of the Bruinen searchers discovered the bodies of five great host would have made the necessary lo- must have had quite a good sound to carry so more,...” LotR, Book II (The Ring gistics an impossible nightmare if the whole far, or there was perhaps at least one more goes South) army was really assembled in the limited val- waterfall nearer to the house. Or maybe it was 3 It is interesting that the Bruinen had rapids, ley of Rivendell. Even if we factor in the dis- just a silent moment and the sound from afar tribution of the army in the surrounding terri- was carried a bit better (see also next quote). indicating a turbulent river that is neither easy to cross nor to navigate. tory, the picture does not get much better be- “He [Frodo] walked along the terraces The accomodation needs varied over the cause of the inhospitable and barren nature of above the loud-flowing Bruinen and course of the habitation as the population the lands about (rocks, heath and moors – see watched the pale, cool sun rise above the number changed (see below). An extreme also the following paragraph). In any case we far mountains, and shine down ... ‘I case of a temporary “overpopulation” must face a serious problem: either the army was [Frodo speaking] should like to get into have been the days of the Last Alliance. more dispersed in Arnor in order to supply it those pine-woods up there.’ He pointed Elrond’s own account of the time seems or Elrond had some very good logistics offi- away far up the side of Rivendell to the reasonable: cers (with nearly unlimited stores of supplies north.” LotR, Book II (The Coun- of every kind!) at his fingertips in Rivendell. cil of Elrond) “But Sauron of Mordor assailed them, and they made the Last Alliance of Elves The surrounding territory So there were some terraces, walkways and Men, and the hosts of Gil-galad and An insightful account of what the heights etc. leading from the house to the bank of the Elendil were mustered in Arnor. surrounding Rivendell looked like can be river; indicating at least a spatial separation be- ... found in the LotR as well: tween these (see also picture on the next Thereupon Elrond paused a while “They [the Fellowship] crossed the page). The elaborate structure of Elrond’s and sighed. ‘I remember well the splen- bridge and wound slowly up the long steep gardens is also shown in the LotR: dour of their banners,’he said. ‘It recalled paths that led out of the cloven vale of to me the glory of the Elder Days and the Rivendell; and they came at length to the “Sam led him along several passages hosts of Beleriand, so many great princes and down many steps and out into a high high moor where the wind hissed through and captains were assembled.’” LotR, the heather. Then with one glance at the garden above the steep bank of the river. Book II (The Council of Elrond) He found his friends sitting in a porch on Last Homely House twinkling below them they strode away far into the night.” the side of the house looking east. The air Here we learn that the hosts were mus- LotR, Book II (The Ring goes was warm. The sound of running and fal- tered in Arnor. This implies that all these

ling water was loud, ...” LotR, Book troops were assembled and mobilized all over South) II (Many Meetings) Arnor (and probably Lindon). When the mus- So there was no dense vegetation around ter was complete, the army must have moved here (at least on this side of the valley) that It is the same porch where later the Coun- somewhere (cf. the Muster of in the cil of Elrond is held. Though the location could be used as a cover for the hidden vale. LotR!). This is alluded to in the Silmarillion, On the other hand, a high moor with bogs, fog above the steep river bank pertains to the gar- where we are explicitly told that all this great dens, it is probable that the porch also lay near etc. is nearly as good a defense when the safe host stayed at Rivendell some time after the paths through it are only known to a handful it (perhaps not as near as the gardens). It muster: might also be that at first Frodo and Sam wan- of trusted people. Potential invaders had to dered a bit before returning to the house and “Therefore they [Elendil and Gil- find these paths, and any misguiding or even there found their friends. Since the sound of galad] made that League which is called killing of such scouts would be relatively easy running water is also to be heard here (Frodo the Last Alliance, and they marched east for Rivendell’s guards. heard it in his bed as well), it seems possible into Middle-earth gathering a great host Combined with the quote above, we get that perhaps another waterfall was near this of Elves and Men; and they halted for a quite a good picture of the supposed vegeta- end of the house or the one west of the bridge while at Imladris.” Silmarillion (Of tion around Imladris. It was a mix of pine for- was loud enough to be heard here. the and the ests plus high moors; e.g. typical for rugged and cool northern regions like Scotland or The room where Bilbo was housed lay Third Age) 4 close to the ground (probably ground-level), Russian Taiga. as is shown in the following quote: Unfortunately, it is not told, how long “a That the area around Rivendell was quite while” was. This is indirectly mentioned how- rugged and not very hospitable is vividly de- ever in another place: scribed in the LotR as well:

32 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 “At the Ford of Bruinen they left the follow the course of the Road and turning southwards went on by river to find Elrond’s house. narrow paths among the folded lands. This may be prevented by Their purpose was to hold this course west two factors: of the Mountains for many miles and • First the geography: days. The country was much rougher and after passing more barren than in the green vale of the through the vale of Great River in Wilderland on the other Imladris, the river side of the range,...” LotR, Book II can descend through (The Ring goes South) a deep gorge and The territory in the vicinity of the valley is steep rapids or even rugged and inaccessible as well. Especially the a small waterfall troll-fells are described as being not manage- down to the union able for horses: with the northern fork. That the Bru- “ ‘I [Gandalf speaking] reached here inen had rapids be- at last by a long hard road, up the Hoar- low the ford where well and through the Ettenmoors, and the Nazgûl lost their down from the north. It took me [Gan- horses has already dalf] nearly fourteen days from Weather- been mentioned. In top, for I could not ride among the rocks addition, owing to Image 1: Rivendell looking east (Tolkien, 1937) of the troll-fells, ...’” LotR, Book II the structure of the (The Council of Elrond) river bank, one cannot look past the edge of the barrier, ef- Beside the textual hints concerning the na- fectively barring any further in- ture of Imladris, we have five pictures by vestigation. In this way it is not Tolkien which show Imladris. Four represent that easy to use the river as a sketches or earlier versions (#104-107 in guide into the vale. The princi- HAMMOND, WAYNE C. & SCULL, CHRISTINA, pal problems remain though. 1995), while the fifth (#108, ibid) has been • Secondly the elves: Elrond published in the second impression of the brit- takes great precautions against ish “Hobbit” (and in the first US impression of any intruders (by chance or the same title). This final one is shown in the purpose) by setting a dense pa- Image 1 to the right. Several bits of informa- trol for the area through his tion can be gleaned from here: guards. In this way normal folk • The house stands not directly above who come too close can be the river, and its style is quite conser- misguided so that they do not vative. even suspect being near Im- • The river bank at the house is quite ladris.6 steep. Here another picture by Tolkien is of • There is at least one small waterfall help that shows a sketch of Imladris west of the bridge looking west (Image 2 to the right; • The heights above the valley are not #105 in HAMMOND, WAYNE C. & extremely forested SCULL, CHRISTINA, 1995). We have to Imladris, looking west (sketch by Tolkien) The question now is, how do we reconcile be careful since it is only a preliminary Image 2: sketch, but interesting nonetheless. the “stronghold” that has been “besieged” at So, one of the key measures for the secu- least two times and the impression of the gen- Here we see that the valley narrows ex- tremely and the Bruinen flows through a gorge rity of Imladris is the active and offensive erous manor house without defensive walls or patrolling of the outer perimeter of the vale other artificial fortifications – only protected of sheer cliffs before meeting the northern arm 5 of the river (beyond the cleft). It seems that to eliminate any security threats well before by a hidden valley? they reach the vicinity of the hidden valley. In my opinion this can only be achieved by the geography favors the secrecy of the place, because it is not easy (in fact impossible) to In the context of the above mentioned a consequent patrolling of the extensive moors sieges, this is probably the best explanation around Rivendell that hide the exact location find a way through such a gorge. To prevent any suspicions about this particular why Sauron’s, as well as the Witch-king’s, from potential enemies. So the principal de- minions only had a general idea that in this fense is its inaccessibility and the watch that gorge/waterfall being the entrance to the hid- den vale, it might be helpful that this was not a heavily rugged area with its many vales, Im- keeps prying eyes away from the vicinity. ladris was located. They knew nothing cer- The only problem here is the southern fork unique occurence in the area, but that there existed several other similar geographic fea- tain, and so these “sieges” should be more of the Bruinen river that runs through the val- envisioned as a series of forts/camps around ley. Any invader or a simple scout only has to tures that might have helped the elves in eliminating an enemy (see also below). the area and a lot of heavy patrolling in be- tween. 33 OTHER MINDS MAGAZINE Elrond and his guards surely used the sup- The nadir of Rivendell’s population surely Imladris in RPG’s posed other vales in the area to their advantage was the end of Third Age when almost all of Being a premier place in Tolkiens Middle- when they had to deal with larger groups of its prominent inhabitants like Elrond left Mid- earth legendarium, Rivendell quickly caught enemies (e.g. by misleading an enemy force dle-earth and only a small remnant lingered on the attention of game designers with the li- into a wrong vale and then ambushing them for a while. Not long after the end of the cense for gaming in Middle-earth. Corre- there). Third Age there arrived a new prominent spondingly, we have two RPG-incarnations of The size of the “general area” to which Im- resident however: Imladris: ladris could be located by an enemy would • “Rivendell – the House of Elrond” by ICE vary, but I suggest it to be at least 30 km7 in “But after the passing of Galadriel in • “Maps of Middle-earth – Cities and diameter a few years Celeborn grew weary of his realm [greater Lórien] and went to Im- Strongholds” by Decipher including a Inhabitants and Population ladris to dwell with the sons of Elrond.” map and short description of The elven inhabitants of the place vary LotR, Appendix B (The Tale of Rivendell wildly. As it is the only elven refuge in Eriador Years) ICE’s Imladris east of Lindon, it is natural to find a mix of This last tarrying might have endured until ICE chose a rather conservative design for many elven races here, just as Sam observed in the location. It depicts the place in a style the LotR: the death of Elessar in the year 120 of the th Fourth Age, because the king states that reminiscent of an english 19 – century rural “And Elves, sir! Elves here, and Elves manor (see Image 3 below). It resembles there! Some like kings, terrible and splen- ‘ “Lady Undómiel,” said Aragorn, Tolkiens picture quite well, though some indi- did; and some as merry as children.” “the hour is indeed hard, yet it was made rect descriptions from the LotR (see quotes LotR, Book II (Many Meetings) even in that day when we met under the above) do not fit very well with the floorplans white birches in the garden of Elrond and the immediate surroundings of the house. The first kind surely describes Noldor and where none now walk.” ‘ LotR, Ap- Some details like the many and high chim- perhaps Sindar, while the more merry ones pendix A (The Númenórean neys also do not appear on the painting, but (who appear so prominently in the Hobbit) are Kings, part V; my emphasis) this can be amended with ease. surely of the “lesser” Silvan kindred. The shortcomings concerning the textual The population number of Imladris is very So the sons of Elrond and Celeborn had evidence must be amended as well to make hard to pin down. It seems certain that it departed sometime before that date, ending them more compatible with the LotR descrip- reached its population peak right at the begin- the long elven habitation of the Last Homely tions. Like the house layout, this is relatively ning, when many refugees from Eregion were House. easy. Also the placement of the house in rela- in Elrond’s host. After the war, there were tion to the river also has to be corrected. probably a number of the survivors leaving All in all, there are some issues, but these over the sea. This emigration is likely to have can be addressed too without major re- continued all through the remaining existence workings. In general, the ICE layout is rela- of Imladris. The peaceful second half of the tively near to Tolkiens picture of the location. Second Age (at least for Eriador) and the growing power and influence of Gil-galad Decipher’s Imladris might have mitigated this trend a bit. After the The Decipher Imladris is basically the ver- war of the Last Alliance however, another great exodus is likely to have taken place. The use of Vilya by Elrond8 since the beginning of the Third Age surely lessened this trend – or perhaps stayed it almost totally – and enabled the demographic survival of this place9 – apart from real danger like military attack. At the end of the second millenium of the Third Age, Imladris was still powerful enough to field a sizable contingent that landed the felling strike for the remnants of the Witch- king’s force in the battle of TA 1975: “At the same time [when the remnants of Angmars army tried to flee to Carn- dûm] a force under Glorfindel the -lord came up out of Rivendell. Then so utterly was Angmar defeated that not a man nor an orc of that realm remained west of the Mountains.” LotR, Appendix A (The Númenórean Kings, part IV)

34 Image 3: Cover Image of ICE’s Rivendell (Rivendell – The House of Elrond, 1987. Artwork by Angus McBride) ISSUE 1, JULY 2007 sion from the Peter Jackson movie trilogy (see Consequently, the result is unnecessarily RPG conclusions Image 4 below). It corresponds well with the flawed. One can only imagine how the superb Essentially, both versions are usable. Most aforementioned quotes from the LotR (con- designers would have sculpted Imladris, had contemporary gamers probably will prefer the cerning locations in relation to the river; see they been allowed to use all available sources. Decipher version, this being the current “offi- above) and so seems to be more compatible cial” one.10 For the reasons explained above, I with Tolkien’s work. It does not, however, deem the ICE version better suited to resemble the images by Tolkien (see Images 1 Tolkiens image of the valley, because its errors and 2). The house is more or less built directly can be amended without too much work, above the river and the overall design is more while fixing the ones in the Decipher version “fantastic” rather than the “down to earth” would need a major re-design of the place. style used by Tolkien. This shows the prob- Both RPG incarnations of the place seem to lems of any RPG module that is forced to rely lack one important structure: stables are ab- solely on the Hobbit and LotR for its design: It sent in the ICE version as well as Deciphers must disregard any other material which sup- design. Even if we allow the Elves to house plements or highlights Tolkien’s world in their mounts and their equipment not in a more depth. Some topics are only vaguely or mannish way, at least the needs of the mannish peripherally mentioned in the LotR, while guests/travellers11 should be addressed in the other sources (the HoME being a primary one) design. In my opinion, a stable with the capac- must be left aside. In this case, the publica- ity for 20-30 horses plus their equipment tions Pictures by Tolkien and Tolkien – The Artist should be enough for Elrond’s needs most of seem to have been unavailable for the design. the time. Further plans This essay did mention some basic and sometimes academic issues concerning Rivendell. In a follow-up to this article I will present a more game-oriented article that will make use of the issues mentioned above. This will appear in one of the next issues of Other Minds – perhaps even already in the next one. Bibliography Amthor, Terry Kevin: Rivendell – The House of Elrond, Iron Crown Enterprises, 1987 Hammond, Wayne C. & Scull, Christina: J.R.R. Tolkien. Artist and Illustrator, Harper- Collins, 1995 Mandala, Joe: Cities and Strongholds of Middle- earth, Decipher Inc., 2003 Tolkien, Christopher: Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1979 Copyright © 2005-2007 Thomas Morwinsky. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and /or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any la- ter version published by the Free Software Founda- tion; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the li- cense is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License” on page 38 of this publica- tion.

Image 4: Deciphers Imladris (Maps of Middle-earth – Cities and Strongholds, 2004. Design by Weta)



1 http://creativecommons.org/licenses /by-nc-sa/3.0/ 2 First Elrond shelters the remnants of Ar- nor’s royal line and secondly it is here where the fate of the Ruling Ring is decided. 3 Remember – it was the combined host of Lindon and Arnor, that formed a key – per- haps the greatest – contingent of the army of the Last Alliance; the remainder being the Elves of Oropher in Greenwood, Amroth from Lórien and the Gondorian host under Anárion. Since Elrond compares it to the host that threw down Thangorodrim(!), even a very careful estimate of the troops of Elendil and Gil-galad should leave us with several tens of thousands men (probably somewhere between 25-50,000). 4 Which of course lacks the foothills of Alpine mountains. Only Taiga regions around the Ural mountains might be comparable to the area around Rivendell. 5 and later the power of Vilya 6 The course of action depends heavily on the nature of the intruder. Evil people or crea- tures might be dispatched straight away when they endanger the security of the ref- uge. 7 about 20 miles 8 With the corresponding “timelessness” that the Elves so desired 9 Otherwise Elrond was likely to have sit in an empty house at the end of the Third Age 10 Which is also more “flashy” and “elvish” ac- cording to the contemporary perception of “elvishness”. 11 Mostly Dúnedain of course

36 ISSUE 1, JULY 2007

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