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The Lord of the Rings Cipher Part I: Morgoth's Ring


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Artifacts: The Exodus Revelation I
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Introduction | J.R.R. Tolkien | The Song of Creation | The Shaping of Earth
Two Lamps, Two Trees, Two Witnesses | The War of the Jewels | Morgoth's Ring

LOTR_Cipher Notes | LOTR_Cipher Links | LOTR_Cipher Books | LOTR_Cipher Audio
LOTR_Cipher Video | LOTR_Cipher Collectibles

J.R.R. Tolkien logo ©The Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ltd.
The Lord of the Rings (50th Anniversary Edition)
J.R.R. Tolkien's masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, since its first publication in October of 1954, has been widely acclaimed as not only the greatest work of Western literature written in the twentieth century, but also as one of the greatest works of fiction written throughout all of Western history. Deeply steeped in the myths and legends of ancient Europe, mysteriously wedded to various key Judaeo-Christian themes, and influenced by religions and mythologies from around the world as nearby as Ireland and possibly as far away as the American Southwest, The Lord of the Rings did indeed, as friend and colleague C.S. Lewis famously stated, fall from heaven "like lightning from a clear sky".1

The Lord of the Rings is unique in several ways, most notably by the fact that, unlike most other fiction (save perhaps the works of such notable contemporaries as Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft and Michael Moorcock),2 Tolkien actually created not only an entire world, but an entire universe, borrowing from a variety of creation myths and cosmogonies, biblical and otherwise, and creating his own unique view of how he believed the universe was actually created. He then populated this universe with a host of divine beings, both good and evil, with personalities and even fairly detailed biographies, and then fleshed out the remainder of the inhabitants of this imaginary world with not one but five different races, each with their own unique histories, mysteries, and complete systems of language and literature that Tolkien himself, a master linguist, created out of whole cloth. Thus, it is for good reason that J.R.R. Tolkien has been described as "the author of the century",3 because he was.

The Silmarillion

And of all of his stories regarding Middle Earth, the most brilliant of all were those contained in his seminal "prequel" to The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion. In The Silmarillion, named after a set of three fabulous jewels called the Silmarils (Silmarilli in the Middle Earth nomenclature), the control of which would determine the destiny of Middle Earth, Tolkien created a complete cosmogony about how Middle Earth — and indeed the entire universe — was created. But this was no "fairy story". Tolkien actually believed that the stories he wrote were, if not actually true, very close to the truth, separated from real history by a thin veil of forgetfulness — a "dark mirror" — which even his keen mind could not fully pierce.

The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy Soundtrack
The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy Soundtrack
Howard Shore
(Clips courtesy Amazon.com)
The Prophecy
Concerning Hobbits
The Shadow of the Past
The Treason of Isengard
The Black Rider

It is important to note that J.R.R. Tolkien actually believed that his stories were true, in a mythological sense — what might be called "symbolically true" — which means that though the names and places may have been different, Tolkien believed that events much like those described in his epic tales actually occurred sometime in Earth's misty, forgotten past. As such, it is the essential thesis of this series that Tolkien actually encoded, or "enciphered", his personal historical, mythological and spiritual beliefs about life, the universe and everything into his writings regarding Middle Earth, effectively hiding them from the unlearned and the ignorant of his day until the time came for the cipher to be broken, the curse to be lifted, and for all things to be revealed.

Continue on to 'J.R.R. Tolkien'

Introduction | J.R.R. Tolkien | The Song of Creation | The Shaping of Earth
Two Lamps, Two Trees, Two Witnesses | The War of the Jewels | Morgoth's Ring

LOTR_Cipher Notes | LOTR_Cipher Links | LOTR_Cipher Books | LOTR_Cipher Audio
LOTR_Cipher Video | LOTR_Cipher Collectibles




Editorial | Press Releases | Book Reviews | Fragments
Artifacts: The Exodus Revelation I
The Journey: Ireland I | Giants of Ireland | The Lord of the Rings Cipher I
Register for our Hall of Records Newsletter
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Advertising? Press Releases? Contact us!





Notes

1 Ethan Gilsdorf, "J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: A Literary Friendship and Rivalry" (Literary Traveler: http://www.literarytraveler.com).

2 Wikipedia, "Robert E. Howard" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org). Howard, whom some feel was a great inspiration to Tolkien, created an entire world that he theorized actually existed "between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas", which he called the Hyborean Age. Though it was fairly well fleshed out, it lacked the subtle details such as non-human races and multiple languages that Tolkien actually created almost ex nihilo. Lovecraft and Moorcock also created their own universes in which their heroes fought and strove to make their mark, but Moorcock's characters, such as the classic Elric of Melniboné, were actually drawn purposely as anti-heroes specifically in order to contrast the writings of Tolkien and Howard.

3 Tom Shippey, J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000).

4 Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 28-29.

5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 87.

6 Carpenter, Biography, 67, 97-98.

7 Carpenter, Biography, 101.

8 Carpenter, Biography, 83.

9 Bradley J. Birzer, J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2002), 23-24.

10 Carpenter, Biography, 99-101.

11 J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien ed., The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), 144-145.

12 Carpenter, Biography, 99.

13 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 3-4.

14 One of the reasons Tolkien had Fëanor the elf (q.v.) create three jewels may have been that he wanted them to symbolize the Holy Trinity — a God who was three, yet one.

15 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 4-5. Note that Melkor was the fifteenth and greatest of the Valar, but was removed from their ranks after falling from heaven.

16 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 6-7.

17 Text adapted from Ellie Crystal, "Ayer's Rock, Uluru" (Crystalinks: http://www.crystalinks.com/ayersrock.html). Cf. also http://www.mysteriousworld.com/Journal/2002/Autumn/Atlantis/#TheOriginsOfMan.

18 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 10-12.

19 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 27-28.

20 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 31.

21 Wikipedia, "Fëanor" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org).

22 Wikipedia, "Fëanor".

23 Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 67, 101.

24 Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 101.

25 Silima may be based upon the Greek word thelema, "will", which Aleister Crowley used at length in his profane occult treatises. It was also used in the Bible to describe the "will" of God, so its function is not strictly negative in orientation. Tolkien probably intended to focus on the concept that Fëanor "willed" the jewels into existence, that they were a product of his and his alone. It is also interesting to note that at the heart of Buddism is the principle of "The Three Jewels" that Buddhists look to for guidance. Could this concept actually be the memory of three actual ancient jewels which had mysterious powers? Furthermore, could these three jewels have also been one of Tolkien's inspirations for the three Silmarilli?)

26 Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis, "Tzohar" (Encyclopedia Mythica: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/t/tzohar.html).

27 Anonymous, "The Tsohar" (Encyclopedia Mythica: http://www.indyfan.com/ark/tsohar.html).

28 See "The Exodus Revelation" previously in this issue for an in-depth discussion of the tsohar "firestones" and how they have played crucial roles throughout the history of mankind. It is interesting to note that the term "three jewels" is used frequently in Masonic initiations, as well as Buddhist teachings.

29 J. F. Sutton, "The Atlantean Tuaoi Stone Revisited" (The Hutton Commentaries: http://www.huttoncommentaries.com/subs/Special/AtlanRec_Firestone/Tuaoi/ TuaoiRevisited.htm), edited for brevity. Note that Cayce's reference to "the entity" refers to his belief that he was able to communicate with spirit entities who had reincarnated themselves over and over again throughout history, even from the beginning of human history, so Cayce allegedly was able to find out about the past by questioning the spirit of the person asking for the "reading" where he or she was and what they were doing in the past. This was how he was allegedly able to find out so much about Atlantis — so many "entities" who had once lived in Atlantis reincarnated in the 20th century that Cayce was able to relate an enormous amount of information about that period of Earth's history.

30 For more information on the mysterious firestones in the Bible, see "The Exodus Revelation" elsewhere in this issue.

31 Association for Research and Enlightenment A.R.E. ®, Inc., "Searching for the Hall of Records in the Yucatan" (Edgar Cayce's A.R.E.: http://www.edgarcayce.org/about_ec/cayce_on/ancient/search.html)

32 Geoffrey W Burr, "Optical data storage enters a new dimension" (PhysicsWorld.com: http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/13/7/7); see also http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/rd/443/ashley.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_optical_data_storage; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hologram; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_storage#Optical_storage; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_Versatile_Disc.

33 See http://www.t1shopper.com/tools/calculate/ for a conversion calculator to see how large a Petabyte is.

34 "Native American Legends: The Spider Woman and The Twins" (First People: http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TheSpiderWomanandtheTwins-Hopi.html). Interestingly, in the Hopi myth of Spider Woman, the first thing she created were two twin males, Pöqánghoya and Palöngawhoya, which may be the Hopi version of the "two witnesses" concept discussed previously. Tolkien appears to have found some very deep correlaries in mythology, as far afield as the Desert Southwest of America. An important point to note is that Spider Woman brought life to the twins, and all plants and animals, through the use of something called a "white substance cape", which was "the creative wisdom itself". Could this be the same substance as the heavenly manna mentioned in the Bible? See "Exodus Revelation" for more on this critical subject.

35 Tolkien-Online.com, "Morgoth's Ring" (Tolkien-Online.com: http://www.tolkien-online.com/morgoths-ring.html).

36 Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 101.

37 "Iron Crown of Lombardy" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Crown_of_Lombardy).

38 "Lombards" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombards). Cf. also

"Lombardy" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombardy)

39 "Iron Crown of Lombardy" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Crown_of_Lombardy). Cf. also

"Order of the Iron Crown" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Iron_Crown) and

"Charlemagne's "Iron Crown"" (Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America: http://www.charlemagne.org/ic.html).

Charlemagne's father was named "Pippin the Short", probably where Tolkien took the name for the Hobbit "Pippin" in The Lord of the Rings. Theodolinda, the Queen of the Lombards, Germanic conquerors of northern Italy, was said to have found the crown. Was she the inspiration for Theoden of Rohan, or perhaps for Eowyn, who reigned after his death, or perhaps a combination of both? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodelinda)

40 Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 72.

41 Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 72, 79, 83.

42 "Eärendil" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earendel).

43 Jimmy Dunn, "Apophis (Apep), the Enemy of Re" (Wikipedia: http://touregypt.net/featurestories/apep.htm).

44 "Urim and Thummim" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urim_and_Thummim). Interestingly, the Mormons believed that their founder, Joseph Smith, had been led by an angel to find a cache of golden plates that could only be read with what the angel called "Urim and Thummim", which Smith described as essentially a pair of silver-rimmed glasses with smooth, three-cornered diamonds for lenses. Whereas this cannot be corroborated, the idea that the Urim and Thummim were essentially a pair of glasses that could be used to decipher encoded text is a very plausible one. Click here to read more about this fascinating theory.

45 "Urim and Thummim" (Jewish Encyclopedia: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=52&letter=U).

46 "Oracles of God — The Urim and Thummim" (Israel Elect of Zion: http://www.israelect.com/reference/WesleyASwift/sermons/68-11-06.htm). Note that the author appears to be a racist, so take his teachings with a large grain of salt.

47 See "The Exodus Revelation" previously in this issue for an in-depth discussion of the tsohar "firestones".

48 "The Palantíri: The Stone of Osgiliath" (The Thain's Book: http://www.tuckborough.net/palantir.html#Osgiliath Stone). See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palant%C3%ADr.

49 The seven palantiri "seeing stones" may correspond to seven mobile firestones that God uses to routinely survey the Earth and "keep an eye on things" (Zech. 4:10). One of these "eyes of the Lord" vehicles, each of which appear to be essentially a huge firestone on a square platform driven by a combination of four turbine engines ("wheels within wheels") on each corner, with suction to reduce drag (the word ayin, in Hebrew, incorrectly translated as "eyes" here, basically means "holes"), appeared in a vision to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1. Basically, it appears that God sits on His heavenly throne and looks into the chief firestone on the heavenly Ark, which is hooked up to the seven mobile firestones, that transmit images back to Him so he can constantly survey the entire planet, just as the Kings of Gondor once used The Stone of Osgiliath in Tolkien's cipher.

50 Tolkien, Silmarillion, 306.

51 "Dagor Dagorath" (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagor_Dagorath).



Selected Lord of the Rings-oriented content © The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate Ltd., EA Games or New Line Cinema, and is used for didactic purposes only. The terms "Lord of the Rings Cipher", "LOTR Cipher" and all original concepts and content are all © 2007 Doug Elwell, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All Bible quotations are taken from the New Kings James Version (NKJV) unless otherwise noted.


           

LOTR_Cipher Links

The Tolkien Society
TheOneRing.net
TheOneRing.net: Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema Join with MGM to Produce "The Hobbit" Movie
LordOfTheRings.net: The Official Movie Site
The Hobbit: The Official Movie Blog
Watchman Fellowship: Tolkien, Fantasy and Magic
The Lost Tolkien Novel
Internet Sacred Text Archive: Sources of Lord of the Rings
The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship: Resources for Tolkienian Linguistics
Ted Nasmith: The J.R.R. Tolkien Gallery
Arwen-Undomiel.com

T R A V E L:
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Tolkien's Birthplace)
Southern Africa Places: Bloemfontein
Mangaung Local Municipality: Bloemfontein - Botshabelo - Thaba Nchu
SouthAfrica.net: Bloemfontein — Heart of the Free State
SafariNow.com: Bloemfontein
Wikipedia: Bloemfontein
Wikitravel: Bloemfontein
Wikipedia: Orange Free State
Wikipedia: South Africa

Birmingham, England (Tolkien's Childhood Years)
Wikipedia: Birmingham, England
Birmingham City Council
Birmingham City Council: The Shire Country Park: Tolkien Weekend
Visit Birmingham
Britain Express: West Midlands
Wikipedia: West Midlands
Warwickshire County Council
Heart-of-England: Best Tourist Attractions in the Heart of England
Heart-of-England: Village of Sarehole
Heart-of-England: Dormston with Bag End
Heart-of-England: Tolkien's Warwickshire
Wikipedia: Sarehole
Wikipedia: Sarehole Mill
Birmingham Picture Library: Sarehole
Birmingham City Council: Sarehole Mill (w/map)
Birmingham City Council: The Shire Country Park
Birmingham City Council: The Shire Country Park: Tolkien Weekend
Birmingham City Council: Moseley Bog Local Nature Reserve
Shire Productions: Outdoor Theatre and Dramatisations of J.R.R Tolkien's Works
The Tolkien Society: Sarehole
Virtual Brum: Tolkien's Birmingham (pictures)
Tolkien Gateway: Sarehole
Tolkien Gateway: Sarehole Mill
Wikipedia: Edgebaston
Birminghamuk.com: Voice of the West Midlands
Birminghamuk.com: Edgebaston Tourist Information
Birminghamuk.com: Photographs of Edgbaston Birmingham
Birmingham Oratory
The Birmingham Oratory: Tolkien and the Oratory

Tours (Including Locations for the Films)
TheOneRing.net: Middle-Earth Tours
NewZealand.com: Lord of the Rings Tours
New Zealand Tourism Online: Lord of the Rings Tours
The Misty Mountains (Australia)





LOTR_Cipher Books

The Lord of the Rings (50th Anniversary Edition) The Lord of the Rings (50th Anniversary Edition)
J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating:
The Fellowship of the Ring, part one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, fist reached these shores on October 21, 1954, arriving, as C. S. Lewis proclaimed, "like lightning from a clear sky." Fifty years and nearly one hundred million American readers later comes a beautiful new one-volume collector’s edition befitting the stature of this crown jewel of our list. With a text fully corrected under the supervision of Christopher Tolkien to meet the author’s exacting wishes, two large-format fold-out maps, a ribbon placemarker, gilded page edges, a color insert depicting Tolkien's own paintings of the Book of Mazarbul and exceptionally elegant and sturdy overall packaging housed within an attractive slipcase, this edition is the finest we’ve ever produced.
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The Silmarillion The Silmarillion
J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating:
The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien's tragic, operatic history of the First Age of Middle-Earth, essential background material for serious readers of the classic Lord of the Rings saga. Tolkien's work sets the standard for fantasy, and this version of the "Bible of Middle-Earth" does The Silmarillion justice, conveying all the powerful events and emotions that shaped elven and human history long before Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and all the rest embarked on their quests. Beginning with the Music of the Ainur, The Silmarillion tells a tale of the Elder Days, when Elves and Men became estranged by the Dark Lord Morgoth's lust for the Silmarils, pure and powerful magic jewels. Even the love between a human warrior and the daughter of the Elven king cannot defeat Morgoth, but the War of Wrath finally brings down the Dark Lord. Peace reigns until the evil Sauron recovers the Rings of Power and sets the stage for the events told in the Lord of the Rings. This is epic fantasy at its finest, thrillingly and gloriously unabridged.
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Morgoth's Ring: The Later Silmarillion, Part One Morgoth's Ring: The Later Silmarillion, Part One
(The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 10)

J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, ed.
Rating:
In Morgoth's Ring, the tenth volume of The History of Middle Earth and the first of two companion volumes, Christopher Tolkien describes and documents the legends of the Elder Days, as they were evolved and transformed by his father in the years before he completed The Lord of the Rings. The text of the "Annals of Aman", the "Blessed Land" in the far West, is given in full. And in writings never before published, we can see the nature of the problems that J.R.R. Tolkien explored in his later years as new and radical ideas, portending upheaval in the heart of the mythology. At this time Tokien sought to redefine the old legends, and wrote of the nature and destiny of Elves, the idea of Elvish rebirth, the origins of the Orcs, and the Fall of Men. His meditation of mortality and immortality as represented in the lives of Men and Elves led to another major writing at this time, the "Debate of Finrod and Andreth," which is reproduced here in full. "Above all," Christopher Tolkien writes in his foreword, "the power and significance of Melkor-Morgoth...was enlarged to become the ground and source of the corruption of Arda." This book indeed is all about Morgoth. Incomparably greater than the power of Sauron, concentrated in the One Ring, Morgoth's power (Tolkien wrote) was dispersed into the very matter of Arda: "The whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring." (From the book description)
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The War of the Jewels: The Later Silmarillion, Part Two The War of the Jewels: The Later Silmarillion, Part Two
(The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 11)

J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, ed.
Rating:
In volumes ten and eleven of The History of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien recounts from the original texts the evolution of his father's work on The Silmarillion, the legendary history of the Elder Days or First Age, from the completion of The Lord of the Rings in 1949 until J.R.R. Tolkien's death. In volume ten, Morgoth's Ring, the narrative was taken only as far as the natural dividing point in the work, when Morgoth destroyed the Trees of Light and fled from Valinor bearing the stolen Silmarils. In The War of the Jewels, the story returns to Middle-earth and the ruinous conflict of the High Elves and the Men who were their allies with the power of the Dark Lord. With the publication in this book of all of J.R.R. Tolkien's later narrative writing concerned with the last centuries of the First Age, the long history of The Silmarillion, from its beginnings in The Book of Lost Tales, is completed; the enigmatic state of the work at his death can now be understood. A chief element in The War of the Jewels is a major story of Middle Earth, now published for the first time — a continuation of the great "saga" of Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor, the children of Hurin the Steadfast. This is the tale of the disaster that overtook the forest people of Brethil when Hurin came among them after his release from long years of captivity in Angband, the fortress of Morgoth. The uncompleted text of the Grey Annals, the primary record of The War of the Jewels, is given in full; the geography of Beleriand is studied in detail, with redrawings of the final state of the map; and a long essay on the names and relations of all the peoples of Middle Earth shows more clearly than any writing yet published the close connection between the language and history in Tolkien's world. The text also provides new information, including some knowledge of the divine powers, the Valar. (From the book description)
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The Shaping of Middle-Earth: The Quenta, the Ambarkanta and the Annals The Shaping of Middle-Earth: The Quenta, the Ambarkanta and the Annals (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 4)
J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, ed.
Rating:
This is the fourth volume of The History of Middle-earth, edited by Christopher Tolkien, the first two comprising The Book of Lost Tales Parts One and Two, and the third The Lays of Beleriand. It has been given the title The Shaping of Middle Earth because the writings it includes display a great advance in the chronological and geographical structure of the legends of Middle Earth and Valinor. The hitherto wholly unknown Ambarkanta, or "Shape of the World", is the only account ever given of the nature of the imagined universe, and it is accompanied by diagrams and maps of the world before and after the cataclysms of the War of the Gods and the Downfall of Numenor. The first map of Beleriand, in the North-west of Middle-earth, is also reproduced and discussed. In the "Annals of Valinor" and the "Annals of Beleriand" the chronology of the First Age is given shape; and with these are given the fragments of the translations into Anglo-Saxon made by Aelfwine, the Englishman who voyaged into the True West and came to Tol Eressea, the Lonely Isle, where he learned the ancient history of Elves and Men. Also included are the original "Silmarillion," written in 1926, from which all the later development proceeded, and the "Quenta Noldorinwa" of 1930, the only version of the myths and legends of the First Age that J.R.R. Tolkien completed to their end. As Christopher Tolkien continues editing the unpublished papers that form the bedrock from which The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion were quarried, the vastness of his father's accomplishment becomes even more extraordinary. (From the book description)
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J.R.R. Tolkien: A BiographyJ.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
Humphrey Carpenter
Rating:
Though he single-handedly gave a mythology to the English and was beloved by millions, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien remained refreshingly unchanged by his fame and fortune, living out his days simply and modestly among the familiar surroundings of Oxford College. Humphrey Carpenter, who was given unrestricted access to Tolkien's papers, brilliantly puts meat to the bones of the Tolkien legend in J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, offering a well-rounded portrayal of this quiet, bookish man who always saw himself first and foremost as a philologist, uncovering rather than creating the peoples, languages, and adventures of Middle-Earth. Carpenter chronicles Tolkien's early life with a special sensitivity; after losing both parents, Tolkien and his brother Hilary were taken from their idyllic life in the English countryside to a poverty-ridden existence in dark and sooty Birmingham. There were bright points, however. A social and cheerful lad, Tolkien enjoyed rugby and was proud of his gift for languages. It was also at this time that he met Edith Bratt, who would later become his wife. Academic life — both as a student and professor — is where this biography shines. Friendship with other men played a huge part in Tolkien's life, and Carpenter deftly reveals the importance these relationships — his complex friendship with C.S. Lewis, membership in the Inklings and the T.C.B.S. — had on the development of his writing. (Review by Amazon.com)
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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien ed.
Rating:
Scholars and fans of the great mythologist will find a rich vein of information in Humphrey Carpenter's The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien was a prodigious letter writer all his life; the sheer mass of his correspondence would give pause to even the most stalwart archivist (one shudders to think what he would have done with e-mail). But with the able assistance of Tolkien's son Christopher and a healthy dose of determination, Carpenter manages find the cream of the crop--the letters that shed light on Tolkien's thoughts about his academic and literary work, as well as those that show his more private side, revealing a loving husband, a playful friend, and a doting father. The most fascinating letters are, of course, those in which he discusses Middle-Earth, and Carpenter offers plenty of those to choose from. Tolkien discussed the minutia of his legend--sometimes at great length--with friends, publishers, and even fans who wrote to him with questions. These letters offer significant insights into how he went about creating the peoples and languages of Middle-Earth. This new edition of letters has an extensive index, and Carpenter has included a brief blurb at the beginning of each letter to explain who the correspondent was and what was being discussed. Still, we strongly recommend buying the companion volume, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, in order to better understand the place these correspondents had in Tolkien's life and get a better context for the letters. (Review by Amazon.com)
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J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
Tom Shippey
Rating:
In a wonderfully readable study aimed at not just the Tolkien fan but any literate person curious about this fantasy author's extraordinary popularity, British scholar Shippey (The Road to Middle Earth) makes an impressive, low-key case for why the creator of Middle Earth is deserving of acclaim. (Recent polls in Britain have consistently put The Lord of the Rings at the top of greatest books of the century lists.) Having taught the same Old English syllabus at Oxford that his subject once did, Shippey is especially well qualified to discuss Tolkien's Anglo-Saxon sources, notably Beowulf, for the elvish languages and names used in the fiction. The author's theory on the origin of the word hobbit, for example, is as learned as it is free of academic jargon. In addition, Shippey shows that Tolkien as a storyteller often improved on his ancient sources, while The Lord of the Rings is unmistakably a work of its time. (The Shire chapters, like Orwell's 1984, evoke the bleakness of late-'40s Britain.) In treating such topics as the nature of evil, religion, allegory, style and genre, the author nimbly answers the objections of Tolkien's more rabid critics. By the end, he has convincingly demonstrated why the much imitated Tolkien remains inimitable and continues to appeal. (Review by Amazon.com)
Click here to buy this book.


J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth
Bradley J. Birzer
Rating:
In a wonderfully readable study aimed at not just the Tolkien fan but any literate person curious about this fantasy author's extraordinary popularity, British scholar Shippey (The Road to Middle Earth) 2002 brought a bumper crop of spirituality-of-Tolkien books, no doubt fueled by the heightened interest generated by the new film series. Birzer's book differs somewhat from recent volumes on the Christian themes to be found in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's spirituality, says Birzer, was not generically Christian but specifically Roman Catholic: the lembas that sustains the company represents the Eucharist; Galadriel and Elbereth exemplify traits of the Virgin Mary; and the company looks to the restoration of a kingdom similar to the Holy Roman Empire. The best chapter of Birzer's study explores how Tolkien's "sanctifying myth" was informed by such Roman Catholic beliefs; Tolkien told a Jesuit friend, for example, that the trilogy was "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." Other chapters place Tolkien more generally within the usual canon of 20th-century Christian humanists, including his on-again, off-again friend, C. S. Lewis. Birzer is a fine writer who does a wonderful job of integrating primary sources such as letters, reminiscences and journals into his text; he also includes glimpses of unpublished materials, such as a scuttled LOTR chapter about Sam, as well as Tolkien's little-known attack on Lewis, "The Ulsterior Motive." This is, overall, a fine tribute to the man who, Birzer suggests, "resuscitated the notion that the fantastic may tell us more about reality than do scientific facts." (Review by Publishers Weekly)
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LOTR_Cipher Books

The Two Towers - Howard Shore The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy Soundtrack
Howard Shore
Rating:
Howard Shore's music for the massively successful The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film chapter of Tolkien's Ring saga, won him the Oscar® for Best Original Score, something of a surprise given the music's ambitious scale and determinedly dark overtones, factors that handily blurred the line between typical film fantasy music and accomplished concert work.
    Its sequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, takes the same, often Wagnerian-scaled dramatic tack, following the film's story line into even more brooding and ominous dark corners. Fellowships' Hobbit-inspired pastoralism is supplanted in Towers by rich ethnic textures that expand the musical scope of Middle-earth and the World of Men. The score's looming orchestral clouds are brightened by Shore's masterful choral writing, which infuses ancient liturgical influences with various solo turns by Isabel Bayrakdarian, indie-pop star Sheila Chandra, Ben Del Maestro, and Elizabeth Fraser.
    The final chapter of Peter Jackson's sprawling adaptation of Tolkien's "Ring" trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King closes out one of the most accomplished cycles in cinema — and film music — history. As he's done for the saga's first two installments, composer Howard Shore has honed a mature, brooding orchestral masterpiece that's long on subtle shadings of mood and nuance, while eschewing the hollow bombast that's characterized all too many mainstream action and adventure films for three decades. Shore uses his preternatural understanding of orchestral timbres and their almost mystical connections with human emotions to close out this remarkable trilogy with a Wagnerian dramatic sweep, tempered by a distinctly modern, understated melodic sense that is Shore's alone.(Review adapted from Amazon.com)
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The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring (The Complete Recordings) The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring
(The Complete Recordings)

Howard Shore
Rating:
As fans of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy know, each film exists in two versions: the theatrical one and the extended one that appeared on DVD. This luxurious box set--which also comes with a detailed essay on the movie's musical themes — features the full extended score, so many cues not on the CDs of the individual movies are included. Granted, the majority of listeners will be perfectly happy with the shorter versions of the scores — it's a safe bet that most people can live without hearing, say, Ian McKellen's 35-second-long ditty "The Road Goes Ever On" at the beginning of "Bag End," or Viggo Mortensen's performance of his own composition, "The Song of Lúthien," within the track "The Nazgûl." But if you're a completist and/or a devotee of Howard Shore's pounding tympani and overwhelming choral compositions (featured particularly prominently on disc 3, a large chunk of which is devoted to a battle scene), then this set is a dream come true. Audiophiles should note that the fourth disc, a DVD, offers the score in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Fire up those speakers so the whole Shire can hear! (Review from Amazon.com)
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The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (The Complete Recordings) The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
(The Complete Recordings)

Howard Shore
Rating:
Where Fellowship Of The Ring dealt with the world of joyous hobbits and magical elves, Two Towers focuses on the decaying world of men, their desperate war against Saruman and Frodo's dreary journey through marshes and woods. Some lighter hobbit material provides a couple of comedic breaks during Merry and Pippin's storyline with Treebeard and the Ents, who are represented by a very particular sound texture of wooden percussion and a specific motif, which unfortunately mostly cut from the film, but which can be heard here in full form. All in all, there are over a dozen new themes and motifs in this expanded version to fill in the blank spots for Rohan, Gondor, Fangorn, Gandalf The White and Frodo. Very noticeable, and very appropriately, in the expanded score is the extensive exploration of the Isengard material, whose 5/4 pattern is very invasive, spreads throughout the score and tries to take over other thematic material. Orchestration and composition of the theme are expanded as well, it's not as isolated as in Fellowship anymore, it feels alot more active. Connected to that is Gandalf's resurrection. In "Gandalf The White", which heavily features unused music, the White Rider theme is introduced, which sounds like a beautiful, soaring contrast to the Isengard motif. Frodo and Sam's journey, as soon as they encounter Gollum, is slowly getting dominated by his music. The Pity Of Gollum theme, already present in more conventional form in Fellowship, gets some serious workout, and not only that; Howard Shore expands it and defines a distinct Gollum sound, together with the cembalon. This hammer dulcimer is the weapon of choice for Gollum's evil "Stinker" motif, one of the many new themes for Two Towers. It can be heard prominently in "Lost In Emyn Muil" and on bassoon at the end of "The Tales That Really Matter". The set encompasses three CDs plus a DVD-audio disc featuring the score in four superior sound configurations. (Review from Amazon.com)
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The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (The Complete Recordings) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King
(The Complete Recordings)

Howard Shore
Rating:
The final film in The Lord Of The Rings blockbuster trilogy features the climax of the epic journey that brought Tolkien’s world before our very eyes. The Complete Recordings series featuring the soundtrack albums have been hits and award winners. This five-disc set caps off the "complete recordings" series, which offers extensive versions of Howard Shore's score for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though it includes the climactic trek to Mount Doom, the overall mood is less dark than in The Two Towers. The London Philharmonic Orchestra handles the heavy lifting, with help from adult and children's choirs, and well-selected guest stars. Soprano Renée Fleming, for instance, lends a particularly eerie, otherworldly touch to disc 1's "The Grace of Undómiel," and disc 4's "Mount Doom" and "The Eagles." Meanwhile, flutist James Galway provides a quasi-spiritual counterbalance, a musical ray of hope on tracks such as disc 3's "The Mouth of Sauron." And of course, Annie Lennox's Academy Award–winning "Into the West" is here, incorporated in disc 4's "Days of the Ring." Finally, the fifth disc is a DVD-Audio that includes the score in super-duper surround sound. It may seem like overkill, but too much is never enough for LOTR fans — and besides, people buying this set are exactly the kind of people who own the type of equipment required to make disc 5 explode. Finally, the packaging includes new artwork and liner notes written by Doug Adams, an expert on the music from LOTR. (Review from Amazon.com)
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LOTR_Cipher Video

The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition) The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy
(Platinum Series Special Extended Edition, 2004)

Rating: Osiria IV bullet Osiria IV bullet Osiria IV bullet Osiria IV bullet Osiria IV bullet
The extended editions of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings present the greatest trilogy in film history in the most ambitious sets in DVD history. In bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's nearly unfilmable work to the screen, Jackson benefited from extraordinary special effects, evocative New Zealand locales, and an exceptionally well-chosen cast, but most of all from his own adaptation with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, preserving Tolkien's vision and often his very words, but also making logical changes to accommodate the medium of film. While purists complained about these changes and about characters and scenes left out of the films, the almost two additional hours of material in the extended editions (about 11 hours total) help appease them by delving more deeply into Tolkien's music, the characters, and loose ends that enrich the story, such as an explanation of the Faramir-Denethor relationship, and the appearance of the Mouth of Sauron at the gates of Mordor. In addition, the extended editions offer more bridge material between the films, further confirming that the trilogy is really one long film presented in three pieces. The scene of Galadriel's gifts to the Fellowship added to the first film proves significant over the course of the story, while the new Faramir scene at the end of the second film helps set up the third and the new Saruman scene at the beginning of the third film helps conclude the plot of the second. To top it all off, the extended editions offer four discs per film: two for the longer movie, plus four commentary tracks and stupendous DTS 6.1 ES sound; and two for the bonus material, which covers just about everything from script creation to special effects. The LOTR extended editions without exception have set the DVD standard by providing a richer film experience that pulls the three films together and further embraces Tolkien's world, a reference-quality home theater experience, and generous, intelligent, and engrossing bonus features. (Review by Amazon.com)
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LOTR_Cipher Collectibles

Lord of the Rings 24 Lord of the Rings 24" Balrog with Sound
The most anticipated Lord of the Rings figure of all time! The Fire Demon Balrog is over 20" tall with a 3-1/2 foot wing span. Comes complete with sword and whip. This fully poseable figure includes ball jointed shoulders, bendable elbows, swivel wrists, and more. The eyes and flames on his back 'glow' with LED lights inside. (From the product description. Note that the red aura has been added for clarity against the black background and is not present in the actual product. Please read Amazon description and reviews before purchasing.)
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The Lord Of The Rings Fellowship Of The Ring 10-inch Sauron Deluxe The Lord Of The Rings Fellowship Of The Ring 10" Sauron Deluxe
Rating:
The great evil who is seeking to rule Middle Earth has been masterfully crafted into a 10" action figure. Adorned in intricately detailed armor, Sauron features 16 points of articulation. He holds his evil mace and wears a shrouded back cape. Sauron wears "the one ring to rule them all," which is lost when his fingers are realistically severed. His eyes light up red as he electronically speaks four different phrases from the movie.
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The Lord of the Rings: The One Ring The One Ring
Rating:
One Ring to Rule Them All. One Ring to Find Them,
One Ring to Bring Them All, And in the Darkness Bind Them!

The One Ring...Isildur's Bane, the Ring of Power...forged in the fires of Mount Doom by Sauron himself! Now you, too, can be a Ringbearer, if you dare...
Bearing the Black Speech of Mordor, transcribed into beautiful, flowing Elvish script which is laser engraved, these rings are reproductions of the One Ring you have seen in the movies, and are fully licensed by New Line. The Elvish script is both inside the rings as well as outside. Displayed in a rich wood treasure box, a certificate of authenticity accompanies this recreation of the One Ring to Rule Them All from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Now available in different sizes!
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