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

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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

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The War of the Jewels

Having set up a safe stronghold in the continent of Aman from which to fight the power of Melkor, the Valar then began to direct their intention back towards healing the hurts Melkor had brought upon Middle Earth. Most importantly, they were concerned about the fate of the lesser beings that Ilúvatar had created in secret — the "Firstborn of Ilúvatar". These two classes of lesser beings — who mirrored in their differing levels of power the same sort of "class distinction" between the Valar and the Maiar — would come to be known as the Elves, and Men.

The Firstborn of Ilúvatar

These "Firstborn" were created specifically by Ilúvatar to reflect his own glory, as only he had the power of life and thus was the only one able to create thinking, sentient beings like himself. They were also created to perform his will in ways that the Valar and Maiar could not. Elves and men were thus created in "God's" image, and even the mighty Valar could only look upon them in wonder and fear, as they knew that the Firstborn were Ilúvatar's special creation.

The Elves were superior to Men in most ways, in that they were taller, stronger, wiser, more intelligent, and much better looking. And though they could be killed in battle, or by grief, wasting away through loneliness or despair, they were otherwise immortal, and were most like the Valar in their aspect, though much less in power. Men on the other hand were much more like Melkor in their lusts and their desire for earthly power, and could die much more easily — through combat, illness, or mere old age. However, unlike the Elves, Men were accorded a special honor by Ilúvatar — when they died, they were not remanded to the Halls of Mandos to await the redeeming of the world at the end of time. Instead, their spirits returned to Ilúvatar directly, where they became his special possession. So, it would seem that the Elves, like those Valar and Maiar who had come down to Earth in order to rule it, had traded in heavenly glory for earthly power, while in the end men, though base and unexceptional on Earth, would in heaven be the most glorious of all.

The Chaining of Melkor

Prometheus Bound

"Prometheus Bound", by Scott Eaton. Prometheus was a titan of Greek mythology, of a race of gods that were supplanted by the Olympian gods led by Zeus. Zeus disliked mankind and wanted to destroy them, but Prometheus challenged Zeus's authority and stole fire from heaven and gave it to mankind. As a punishment, Zeus had Prometheus chained to the Caucasus Mountains (Uber Aquilonis) by a great iron chain, much like the one Morgoth was chained up with in The Silmarillion. The myth of Prometheus probably had a strong influence on Tolkien's conception of Morgoth. Image from Wikipedia.

Fearing that Melkor would corrupt the Firstborn when they awakened, the Valar resolved to exert all of their strength in an all-out war to break his power and bring him to heel. Thus began the War of the Powers, in which the shape of northern Middle Earth — where Melkor had built his great stronghold of Utumno — was altered forever. The Valar easily overcame the power of the lesser spirits that Melkor had corrupted to his service, and then dug their way down to the deepest parts of Utumno, the great fortress that Melkor had built in order to defend himself from just such an occasion. Trapped like a rat, Melkor was finally wrestled into submission by the Valar Tulkas, the greatest of all warriors, and then chained with an unbreakable chain specially made by Aulë named Angainor to bind him fast. Melkor was then led in chains back to Aman, where he was sentenced to be imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for three ages. Then, at least for a time, Middle Earth became relatively peaceful, at least peaceful enough for Elves and Men to multiply and subdue Middle Earth. But unknown to the Valar, before his defeat Melkor had already begun to corrupt both Elves and Men, sowing in them the seeds of doubt and distrust of the Valar that in time would bear bitter fruit.

The Elves

The Elves figure most prominently into the early ages of Arda, men not becoming a factor until the historical ages recorded later in The Silmarillion and in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The actions of the elves early in the history of Middle Earth essentially set the tone for the rest of the history of Middle Earth, though in the end they did not inherit Middle Earth, leaving it up to men to clean up the mess their pride and arrogance had created. The Elves, also called the Quendi (by themselves) or the Eldar (by others), were basically divided up into three races:

The Elf Maidens Arwen and Galadriel

The elf maidens Arwen and Galadriel, as shown in the award-winning film, The Lord of the Rings. Though this particular shot was never used in any of the films (Arwen and Galadriel never actually met), this image shows two of the major female characters of The Lord of the Rings, both of whom were elves. Arwen was the daughter of Elrond the half-elven, whose father was the very famous Eärendil, a human, and whose mother was Elwing, an elven princess. Galadriel's biography was a little simpler, but her power was much greater, being the queen of Lothlorien, a garden of paradise southeast of the Misty Mountains near the entrance to Moria. Image from

The Vanyar, or "Fair Elves", led by the High King Ingwë. These were the greatest and most noble of the three Elven races, and the favorite of Manwë and Varda. The Vanyar went to sit at the feet of the Valar in Aman and never returned to Middle Earth. They were called fair due to their striking blond hair;

The Noldor, or "Deep Elves" led by King Finwë. These were the wisest of the elves, who learned much wisdom and lore from Aulë, who was their divine patron. The Noldor displayed some of the best and some of the worst behavior of elf-kind, being both the cause and the cure for many of the great evils that beset Middle Earth thereafter;

The Teleri, or "Sea Elves", led by Kings Elwë and Olwë. Their hosts were by far the largest, requiring two kings to manage them. Only a few of the Teleri went west to Aman to visit with the Valar, most staying behind or on the far western seashore of Middle Earth. Many reached Aman and beheld the blessed trees with King Elwë, but most stayed behind, their descendants comprising most of the Elves, generically referred to as "Wood Elves", that were to be found in Middle Earth in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Of these three tribes of elven-kind the Noldor took the greatest role in the early history of Middle Earth. And the greatest of the Noldor, greater in some ways even than King Finwë of the Noldor, was the great Noldorin prince Fëanor.

Fëanor, the

Fëanor, whose name literally means "spirit of fire", is perhaps the most famous — and infamous — elf who ever lived in the history of Middle Earth. Fëanor was also the greatest craftsman ever, having the mastery of all minerals, particularly gemstones. He created the famous palantiri, the Elessar "Elfstone" that was reputed to have healing properties, and the most famous of all, the Silmarilli. Fëanor had a powerful dark side, however, which led himself — and 1/3 of the Noldor — into destruction in revenge for Morgoth's theft of the Silmarilli.
Image from Tolkien Gateway.

Fëanor was a Noldorin prince, the son of the Noldorin high king Finwë. A being of great power and passion, Fëanor was described in The Silmarillion as "the mightiest in skill of word and hand" and "the greatest of the Eldar in arts and lore."21 Fëanor's life was one of contradictions, as he was at times hero, at other times, anti-hero, neither totally good nor totally evil. So great was the fiery spirit within him that after his mother had given birth to him, her own life force was drained and she, despairing of life, died of grief. It was this great fiery spirit within Fëanor that drove him to his greatest achievements, but also to his ultimate downfall, taking many others down with him in a blaze of glory.

Fëanor was the greatest of all elvish craftsmen, having learned all the arts and crafts from Mahtan, a student of the Vala Aulë, the "god" of crafts, during the time the Noldor dwelt with the Valar in Aman.22 Besides being a master craftsman, Fëanor also created a language that would be the basis of Quenya, an elvish language that was heavily influenced by Finnish, Tolkien's favorite language23 The other major elvish language, Sindarin, was based upon Welsh24, his second favorite language. Both of these languages, according to Tolkien's Middle Earth mythology, were derived from an older, root language called "Eldarin" — the original language of the elves, the Eldar.)

Though Fëanor was a multifaceted genius, mighty in thought, word and deed and the master of many crafts, Fëanor's greatest skill was in the art of gemsmithing. And though Fëanor created many precious jewels, including such notables as the Elessar, the "Elfstone", a green gemstone that could be used to heal, and the palantiri, the "seeing stones" that could be used to communicate over long distances, Fëanor's greatest achievement was the creation of the Silmarilli (lit., "radiance(s) of pure light").

The Silmarilli: The Stones of Fire
Fëanor with the Silmarilli

Fëanor with the mysterious Silmarilli, three magical jewels that held the original light of creation that emanated from the Two Trees of Valinor. Most of the history of the First Age of Middle Earth revolved around the possession — or reposession — of these three magical stones. Note the positioning of the stones in this image, as well as the eight-rayed star immediately above. Image from

The Silmarilli were three brilliant, star-like jewels made of a crystalline substance called silima25 that Fëanor had filled with the light of the two trees Laurelin and Telperion. Thus, next to the trees themselves, the Silmarilli were considered to be the most valuable objects in all of Arda. The means of their manufacture was so mysterious that not even Aulë was able to discover their secret, as part of Fëanor's own fiery essence went into their making. So unique were they, in fact, that Fëanor himself was not able to reproduce their like again. Because the Silmarilli held the precious, irreplaceable original light of the Creation, the entire First Age of Middle Earth's history came to revolve around the control of these most precious of jewels, to the point where the control of these fiery stones was nearly akin to the control of all Arda. Indeed, it is for good reason that Christopher Tolkien called his father's unpublished collection of Middle Earth's prehistory The Silmarillion, as forever after their creation, the struggle for the control of the Silmarilli effectively determined the destiny of Middle Earth.

The Stone Cipher
Continuing our theme of decoding our theoretical "Lord of the Rings Cipher", from where might Tolkien's inspiration for the Silmarilli have come? Such important objects must surely contain the most important of encoded information in Tolkien's mysterious world. Are there cognates, whether real or symbolic, in the histories and mythologies of the ancient world of the real? In fact, the concept of a luminous gemstone that contains all knowledge called the tsohar occupies a prominent place in Hebrew legend. As Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis explains,

[The tsohar is] a luminous gemstone holding the primordial light of creation. Those who possessed it not only had illumination, but access to the secrets of the Torah and all its powers. God created it, but then hid it away for the sole use of the righteous. The angel Raziel gave it to Adam after the Fall. Adam gave to his children. Noah used it to illumine the Ark (Gen. 6:16). Abraham possessed this stone, and used it to heal all who came to him. According to one legend, he returned to heaven and hung it on the sun. But other traditions track its continued use by the righteous of each generation. Joseph used it for his dream interpretations. Moses recovered it from the Bone[s] of Joseph and placed it in the Tabernacle. Zohar claims that Ben Yochai possessed it in the Rabbinic era (B. B. 16b; Lev. R. 11; Gen. R 31:11; Zohar I:11; Otzer ha-Midrash).26

According to Rabbinic tradition, Noah took on the ark a magical shining stone called a tsohar that illuminated the interior of the ark, a stone that also contained "all knowledge". Noah was apparently able to use this stone to not only bring forth a great light, but to also consult it as an oracle, not unlike a computer, and possibly also use it like a sort of "crystal ball" — like the palantiri were used in Tolkien's Middle Earth — to see outside the ark, possibly even communicate with God Himself! Micah Johnson has an interesting, but unfortunately anonymous, article on the subject of the mysterious tsohar on his popular website,

All myths are based at some time on real events, and here are the real events: Let's take a look at the Genesis description of the Flood and the survival vessel, and focus our attention on two references. In this account we find two indications that electricity may have played a vital role in the operation of the ark. One reference is found in Genesis 8:6, where the Hebrew word challon or "opening" is used, referring to the window through which Noah released the birds. The other reference, however, utilizes a different word — tsohar — which is translated as "window" but does not mean window or opening at all! Where it is used (22 times in the Old Testament), its meaning is given as "a brightness, a brilliance, the light of the noonday sun." Its cognates refer to something that "glistens, glitters or shines." Many Jewish scholars of the traditional school identify tsohar as "a light which has its origins in a shining crystal." For centuries Hebrew tradition has described the tsohar as an enormous gem or pearl that Noah hung from the rafters of the ark, and which, by some power contained within itself, illuminated the entire vessel for the duration of the Flood voyage. Noah's light source seems to have been preserved in history for hundreds of years, for we find indications that King Solomon of Israel may have used it in about 1000 B.C. An ancient Jewish manuscript entitled "The Queen of Sheba and Her only Son Menyelek," translated by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, contains this statement: "How the House of Solomon the King was illuminated as by day, for in his wisdom he had made shining pearls which were like unto the sun, the moon and the stars in the roof of his house." In view of this, it is not surprising that Solomon himself once wrote, "...there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time which was before us." (Eccl. 1:9-10.) "Of old time which was before us" probably refers to the ancient ones. (The ones that were wiped out in one of the cataclysms before the Flood)27 (emphasis added).

A word study of Hebrew words related to tsohar includes the following: tsor ("a stone", "the edge of a sword or knife", and/or "to cut a rock (or a gem)"; tsoorah ("something that is formed into a certain shape"); tsachar ("to be intensely white", from the root tsachach, "to be bright, white, sunny"); and tsoot ("to burn"). Thus in context the tsohar, like a Silmaril, was a bright, white gemstone that literally shone as bright as the sun. Moreover, a study of the original Hebrew of Genesis 6:16, which describes God's instructions to Noah on how to build the ark, reveals that the text does not describe the creation of a "window" and a "door", but the installation of a tsohar, a bright, white "firestone" that was used to illuminate the interior of the ark. Most interestingly, there are not one but three tsohar described in Genesis 6:16, one to illuminate each of the three decks in the ark — exactly the same number as the number of Silmarilli created by Fëanor.28

And thus the "stone cipher" is deciphered — Tolkien apparently knew of the existence of not one but three "firestones" that Noah had saved from the destruction of the antediluvian world, and thought that fact so important that he set them at the center of his mythological "sub-creation" of Middle Earth. But what exactly were these "firestones", and why were they so important?

The Firestones
In his visions of ancient Atlantis, and the antediluvian world the legendary prophet and seer Edgar Cayce made frequent mention of mysterious, powerful stones known as "firestones" that ancient mankind had fashioned in order to communicate with the spirit world — i.e., with God. These "firestones", which were essentially huge crystals — possibly quartz crystals that were cut into hexagonal shapes — shone with a bright, white light that could, if properly harnessed, generate enormous amounts of power that could be put to good — or evil — purposes. Cayce spent most of his time describing how the crystals worked, saying that they basically absorbed the light of the sun, moon and stars, and converted it into enormous amounts of power that was used by the ancient Atlanteans for a variety of uses, providing power for everything from air, land and sea vehicles to common household appliances. J.F. Sutton provides the relevant quotes from Cayce in his excellent article, " The Atlantean Tuaoi Stone Revisited", where Cayce in his visions explains what he saw through the eyes of the ancient scientist-priests who were responsible for the creation and maintenance of the giant power crystals known as "Tuaoi" stones or "firestones":

A representation of the Atlantean Tuaoi Stone, or 'Firestone', as described by Edgar Cayce

A representation of the Atlantean Tuaoi Stone or "Firestone", as described by Edgar Cayce in his "Atlantis" readings. The firestone was prominently featured in the Atlantis readings as a device that could be used for great good — or great evil. Could this be the true origin of the "magical" "Solomon's Seal" emblem that was adopted by the Jews during their captivity in Babylon? Image from The Hutton Commentaries.

We find the entity was in the Atlantean land when there were the preparations of those things that had pertained to the ability for the application of appliances to the various elements known as electrical forces in the present day; as to the manners and ways in which the various crafts carried individuals from place to place, and what may be known in the present as the photographing from a distance, or the fields of activity that showed the ability for reading inscriptions through walls — even at distances, or for the preparations of the elevations in the various activities where there was the overcoming of (termed today) the forces of nature or gravity itself; and the preparations through the crystal, the mighty, the TERRIBLE CRYSTAL that made for the active principles in these, were a portion of the activity of the entity in that experience. For this entity, then … we would begin with the stone as the light of the activities in the temple in the Atlantean-Poseidian era. This might be termed the TUAOI STONE — T-u-a-o-i. This would be a six-facet stone of the height, as to proportion, with the rest of the chart as may be indicated. The STONE OF THE TUAOI would be opalescent, while the light would be indicated from the top in the rays of the white light. [The TUAOI stone] was in the form of a six-sided figure, in which the light appeared as the means of communication between infinity and the finite; or the means whereby there were the communications with those forces from the outside. Later this came to mean that from which the energies radiated, as of the center from which there were the radial activities guiding the various forms of transition or travel through those periods of activity of the Atlanteans.29

These "terrible mighty crystals", as Cayce called them, though they were initially created by the followers of God (whom Cayce referred to as "The Law of One"), or possibly handed down from Adam, the control of these crystal "firestones" was taken over by the wicked "Sons of Belial" faction (the descendants of Cain) who, instead of using the firestones to instruct and heal mankind, used them as terrible weapons to conquer and control mankind. Apparently Noah regained control of at least three of these firestones before the Flood destroyed the antediluvian world, setting them as lights, one for each of the three decks of the ark.

The Hall(s) of Records
Clark Kent rediscovers the green 'master crystal' in Superman II

A battered Clark Kent rediscovers the green "master crystal" that he then uses to heal himself and revive the super strength that he had lost in the movie, Superman II (1980). The Superman character is interesting as he was essentially a superhuman being that fell to Earth, bringing with him great knowledge and exceptional abilities, not unlike the fallen angels described in the Bible. It is important to note that he also had access to all of the knowledge of his home planet embedded in a series of crystals that his parents had sent with him. Interestingly, the Elessar jewel created by Fëanor, that also was used to heal, also was green in color. Possibly the different firestones were created in different colors for different uses, for example, data storage. Though we cannot create crystals that can grow giant ice castles as depicted in the Superman movies, we can embed data into them using lasers (which was another purpose the crystals were used for in the films). So, the idea that enormous amounts of information, including holographic, "3D" movies (as depicted in the original Superman movies), can be stored in a crystal is now a scientific reality, making the otherwise fantastic idea that Noah took with him on the ark a large, precious stone that contained "all knowledge" completely reasonable. Image from Film Fashion.

After the Flood, the final dispensation of these all-important firestones is not clarified in the biblical text, and it may be that they became separated and scattered as control of these terrible, mighty crystals led to terrible, bloody wars.30 Possibly one of each of the crystals was given to the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth respectively, explaining why Cayce says that there were not one, but three widely separated "Halls of Records", each of which he said contained a complete history of the ancient world — one that sunk with Atlantis, one located somewhere in the Yucatan, and a third buried under the right forepaw of the Sphinx.31 Many people assume that these "Halls of Records" are repositories of stone tablets, papyrus scrolls, or some other crude and unreliable method of transmission. However, to this point no one has considered the possibility that each "Hall of Records" is actually a single crystal with data written inside it, which we can do today through the use of lasers. Called "holographic data storage" or "optical holography", the next generation of computer storage will not use two-dimensional disks, but three-dimensional pieces of transparent crystalline material which will hold up to 1 TB of data (one terabyte = one million megabytes) per cubic centimeter, or more.32 This is an enormous amount even by today's standards, a 10 centimeter cube of crystal theoretically being able to hold at last 1,000 TB, or one Petabyte (PT), the equivalent of 1 billion megabytes.33 This enormous storage capacity could not only hold all the text every written, all the images ever created and possibly even all the movies ever made, and still have space left over. And if we can figure out how to store that much information, surely God could too. If this scenario is indeed accurate, a large crystal of the type represented by the tsohar firestone(s) taken by Noah on the ark would be able to hold an amount of information almost impossible to imagine, possibly containing not only the sum total of knowledge accumulated in the world before the Flood, but all the secrets of the universe.

The Abomination of Desolation
The battle for the control of these mysterious firestones may lie at the center of the end-times scenario, and their reappearance in the latter days may explain some of the more enigmatic events in the Book of Revelation, wherein the rediscovered firestones will likely play a central role. In fact, the great wars and rumors of wars that occur at the beginning of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:6, cf. also Revelation 6) may be fought for control of these mysterious "stones of fire", whose great power would give an overwhelming advantage to those who control them and are able to plumb their secrets. As such, an understanding of the capabilities of the firestones and how they have been used in the past may provide critical information necessary to understand the riddle of the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel in 9:27 and reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 24:15. The control of one of these crystals, in the wrong hands, could lead to great destruction of a magnitude almost beyond imagination.

Lex Luthor finds one of Superman's crystals in Superman Returns

Lex Luthor contemplating the destructive possibilities offered by possession of one of the advanced crystals Superman brought with him from his home planet of Krypton in the film, Superman Returns (2006). Note the blimp above Luthor's head — lighter-than-air craft were spoken of by Cayce in the same passage as the description of the firestone as being one of the technological advancements achieved by the ancient Atlanteans. Is there also a "Superman cipher" waiting to be discovered? Stay tuned…. Image from The Cinematic Intelligence Agency.

Fire from Heaven
Lex Luthor finds one of Superman's crystals in Superman Returns

"Prometheus Brings Fire to Mankind". Heinrich Fueger, 1817. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a titan who rebelled against the decree of Zeus and stole fire (technology) from heaven and giving it to mankind. As punishment, he was chained to the Caucasus Mountains, and his self=renewing liver torn out and eaten every day by the eagle of Zeus. Zeus later relented from his punishment, but in order to fulfill the letter of the law, Zeus created a ring of iron from a link of Prometheus' chains, and set it with a stone taken from the mountain, so that Prometheus would still be "chained to the rock" of Mt. Caucasus. This ring was doubtless a powerful inspiration for Sauron's ring in The Lord of the Rings. Image from Wikipedia.

As was discussed earlier, the character of Melkor may have been at least partly inspired by the person described as "the king of Tyre" in Ezekiel 28, who apparently stole one of the "stones of fire" that he once guarded in Eden, and then misused it in order to dominate and control mankind. This story has a close cognate with the Greek myth of Prometheus, where the titan Prometheus, a giant who was the enemy of the gods in Greek mythology, stole "fire" from heaven and gave it to mankind. Tolkien also enciphers this important concept into The Silmarillion by having Melkor steal the fiery Silmarilli from Fëanor in the central story of The Silmarillion.

The Power of Darkness
After having sat in isolation in the Halls of Mandos for three long ages (possibly at least three thousand years), Melkor feigned repentance with sweet words and was finally released, incorrectly judged to have been reformed by the council of the Valar. Set free, however, Melkor began rebuilding his forces, and enlisted a new ally: a powerful, evil Maia in the form of a giant, dark spider named Ungoliant. Ungoliant (lit., "dark spider" or "gloom weaver"), was conceived by Tolkien as a fallen Maia who personified the evil power of darkness, the night, and especially the Void. Ungoliant may have had some cognate in the Hopi concept of "spider woman", a great spider deity that they believed had helped create the world, and to this day still sits at the center of the world, weaving the destinies of mankind.34 However, unlike Spider Woman in the Hopi mythos, who was essentially good, in the Tolkien mythos, Ungoliant represented the power of the Void to devour all life and light, and the power of death to destroy all things.

The Destruction of the Two Trees
Melkor and Ungoliant Killing the Two Trees of Valinor

Melkor and Ungoliant Killing the Two Trees of Valinor. Ungoliant, who took the form of a gigantic, hideous, black spider, was the personification of darkness and the Void, and nearly as powerful as Morgoth himself.
Image from A Silmarillion Chronology.

Melkor had determined in his heart that he would have possession of the Silmarilli at any cost, so he promised Ungoliant all that she desired as a reward for helping him to destroy the two trees that enlightened his dark world and to capture the Silmarilli. Finally agreeing to his request, Ungoliant wove a web of shadows around them both, which hid them from the eyes of even the Valar, who were busy celebrating an important festival and their watchfulness had temporarily grown lax. In this hour of the power of darkness, wicked Melkor used his great spear to stab the two trees to their cores, and their living sap flowed out onto the ground like blood. Greedy Ungoliant then lapped up all their sap, and then set her black beak to their wounds and sucked out all that remained of their living essence, in the process poisoning and killing the trees. As she drank, she emitted terrible, noxious clouds of what Tolkien called "unlight", a great darkness that devoured all life and light wherever it fell.

After the trees were murdered, a great darkness fell over Aman. All but Manwë were blinded, who saw through the darkness to the cloud of unlight that Ungoliant had woven about Melkor and herself as they fled northward, crossing over the northern ice towards Angband, a mighty fortress of Melkor that the Valar had left largely unscathed in their great war to capture Melkor three ages previously. Before they reached Angband, however, they broke into the palace of Fëanor, killed his father Finwë, the King of the Noldor, and stole the Silmarilli, along with a number of other jewels. As Melkor and Ungoliant fled to safety in his fortress of Angband, Melkor sought to abandon Ungoliant, she having fulfilled her purpose in helping him to steal the fiery Silmarilli. Ungoliant's hunger was still not sated, however, and she demanded that Melkor give up to her the jewels that they had stolen from Fëanor. Melkor objected, but Ungoliant reminded him that he owed her "all that she desired" in return for her aid, so he grudgingly fed her the jewels they had stolen — all but the Silmarilli, which he claimed for himself.

A Balrog of Morgoth

A balrog of Morgoth. Balrogs were originally Maiar spirits of fire that allied themselves with Morgoth in the beginning. Evil and destructive, the balrogs embodied the negative aspects of fire.
Image from

Enraged at his treachery, and having grown very great and powerful as a result of having devoured the sap of the trees and the great power of the jewels, Ungoliant then attacked Melkor himself, attempting to strangle him in a great web of thick strands. But his great bellowing cry of fear awakened the Balrogs — great Maiar spirits of fire who had fallen with Melkor — that had lain dormant in the deepest dungeons of Angband during the ages of Melkor's imprisonment awaiting their master's call. Hearing his cries, they came to their master's aid like a tempest of fire, shredding the webs of Ungoliant with their great whips of flame. Terrified at their ferocious onslaught, Ungoliant fled south and hid. There she mated with other giant spiders, afterwards devouring them and everything else she could sink her greedy fangs into. Eventually, when she had run out of things to eat, in her uttermost famine she finally devoured herself, typical of the power of evil which, without anything left to corrupt or destroy, turns on and destroys itself.

In Tolkien's cipher, the destruction of the two trees probably has its cognate in the death of the two witnesses near the end of the Tribulation period. Interestingly, the word in Hebrew for "spear", qayin, is also the name of Cain, the son of Adam who slew his brother, Abel, which explains why Tolkien had Melkor use a spear to kill the trees instead of a sword or an axe. As we discussed previously, the two trees were almost certainly symbolic of the two witnesses of Revelation, who are associated in the Bible with two trees. The two witnesses, according to Revelation 11:7, will be killed by a "beast" that rises out of "the pit". This event will probably be cognate to the description in Revelation 9 of a "star" falling from heaven with a key to the Abyss, which releases a powerful demon named "Abaddon", whose release will be accompanied by thick clouds of black smoke from which locusts with stings like scorpions will descend. The falling star in the Lord of the Rings cipher is likely symbolized by Melkor. Abaddon, who is most likely the same as the beast described in Revelation 11 that will be released from the pit and given power to kill the two witnesses, is symbolized by Ungoliant, who was given power by Melkor to destroy the two trees and take their light from the world, covering it in a thick darkness.

The Oath of Fëanor
The Oath of Feanor

After Morgoth killed his father and stole the precious Silmarilli, Fëanor and his seven sons swore an oath of vengeance that they would not rest until they were recovered, and that they would kill anyone who came in between them and their precious family jewels. This oath led to nothing to pain, suffering and death to all who were ensnared in its ring, the oath soon becoming a curse leading to all evils, even to elves slaying elves. Image from The Journey Begins.

In this black hour, hearing of his father's murder and of the theft of the Silmarilli, Fëanor renamed Melkor Morgoth, "dark enemy of the world", and swore a bloody oath that he and his ancestors would avenge the death of their king and the theft of the Silmarilli. His seven sons then swore the oath of allegiance with him, and the die of the fate of the Noldor, 1/3 of the hosts of Aman, was cast.

This short but crucial passage has an enormous amount of information encoded therein. For example, the fact that Fëanor's seven sons swore the oath with him was probably inspired by the fact that the Hebrew word for "oath", sheva, also means "seven". There may also be a link with God's cursing of Cain and placing of a mark on his forehead in Genesis 4:15, where God swears that anyone who kills Cain will have vengeance taken upon him sevenfold. Strangely, in verse 24 Lamech, the fifth generation descendant from Cain, claimed that "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold!" (Gen. 4:24) This is relevant as Fëanor used to wear the Silmarilli on his forehead as a sign of divine authority, and the motivation his seven sons had to wage the war of the jewels was to not only recover the jewels, but to avenge the death of their grandfather, Finwë.

Another interesting biblical, or in this case apocryphal, cognate occurs in The Book of Enoch, wherein Semjaza, one of the chiefs of the rebel angels who came down from heaven to Earth in order to instruct men in righteousness (or what they thought was righteousness), swore an oath with the other 200 leaders of the fallen host to share the blame among themselves if they failed in their struggle to liberate mankind:

And Semjaza, who was [one of the leaders of the fallen angels], said unto them: "I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin." And they all answered him and said: "Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing." Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred. (1 Enoch 6:4-7)

Interestingly, the Noldor comprised approximately 1/3 of all the elves, which Tolkien may have meant to be cognate to the description in Revelation 12:3-4 of "the dragon" dragging down 1/3 of the stars of heaven with him down to Earth, which most commentators believe refers to Satan tempting and causing to fall with him 1/3 of the angelic host. In this scenario "the dragon" is likely represented in the cipher by Melkor (hereafter Morgoth) indirectly tempting the Noldor to follow him down to Middle Earth from their heavenly abode in Aman to take revenge for their murdered king and to retrieve their family jewels.

Of course, unlike the fallen angels, the elves were basically good, spending most of their time fighting the forces of evil, but they also instructed men in technology and to some extent interbred with them, which is indeed part of what the fallen angels did as described in Genesis 6. In fact, the lines of "half-elves" and high-bred men of elven blood did comprise special bloodlines that formed ruling classes over the men of Middle Earth, so that interpretation of our theoretical cipher is likely correct as well. Perhaps the best conclusion to be drawn is that the elves were neither good nor evil, but both, struggling with their own passions and pride to do what they believed was good, but failing in the end and leaving a huge mess for lowly men to clean up.

And this was indeed the fate of the Noldor. Though they had some initial military successes, they were never able to defeat Morgoth himself, only his servants, the orcs and trolls. The orcs and trolls probably represented in the cipher the variant forms of mankind that have been found in the fossil record such as Neanderthals, homo erectus, and so forth that early homo sapiens fought against and, apparently, defeated. In the end, however, the designs of Fëanor and the Noldor failed as they were ultimately not based upon righteousness, but self-serving vengeance, and were thus doomed to fail, as the concept of vengeance was Morgoth's own creation. Fëanor learned this the hard way when, in his fiery pursuit of the Silmarilli, he pursued Morgoth's armies right to the gates of Angband, where he was slain by the powerful Balrogs — evil spirits of fire even mightier than himself. But even then, with his last breath, he reaffirmed with his sons the oath that they had sworn to recover the Silmarilli, an oath that they came to deeply regret.

Following the cipher to its logical conclusion, could it be that Tolkien believed that the fallen angels led by Semjaza were also looking to recover something that had been stolen, possibly one or more powerful jewels such as the tsohar? It may be that the fallen angels came to Earth not with selfless reasons, such as instructing mankind how to better themselves and become civilized, but for selfish, hidden reasons, such as training and using mankind to search for something that had been lost. The Sumerian myths say as much, saying that mankind was created by the gods as a worker so that the gods did not have to dirty themselves with manual labor. Could mankind have been created in order to help the fallen angels search for stolen jewels, gold and/or other precious things that had been hidden on Earth in ancient times?

Finally, it may be that whereas Morgoth is symbolic of Satan in the cipher, Fëanor is symbolic of rebellious figures in our ancient history such as the king of Tyre/Hiram Abiff (Ezekiel 28, cf. also Hiram Abiff) and Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12) — would-be civilizers who became antichrists, going against the will of God and following their own paths to inevitable self-destruction. These men had a spark of the divine within them, and were capable of doing great good, but in the end they became selfish and corrupt, the great power they had arrogated to themselves becoming more than they could handle, causing their innate flaws to become manifest and their own little universes to suddenly burn out in a blaze of fleeting glory.

Return to 'Two Lamps, Two Trees, Two Witnesses' Continue on to 'Morgoth's Ring'

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

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Artifacts: The Exodus Revelation I
The Journey: Ireland I | Giants of Ireland | The Lord of the Rings Cipher I
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1 Ethan Gilsdorf, "J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: A Literary Friendship and Rivalry" (Literary Traveler:

2 Wikipedia, "Robert E. Howard" (Wikipedia: 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: Cf. also

18 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 10-12.

19 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 27-28.

20 Tolkien, The Silmarillion, 31.

21 Wikipedia, "Fëanor" (Wikipedia:

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:

27 Anonymous, "The Tsohar" (Encyclopedia Mythica:

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: 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.:

32 Geoffrey W Burr, "Optical data storage enters a new dimension" (; see also;;;;;

33 See for a conversion calculator to see how large a Petabyte is.

34 "Native American Legends: The Spider Woman and The Twins" (First People: 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, "Morgoth's Ring" (

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

37 "Iron Crown of Lombardy" (Wikipedia:

38 "Lombards" (Wikipedia: Cf. also

"Lombardy" (Wikipedia:

39 "Iron Crown of Lombardy" (Wikipedia: Cf. also

"Order of the Iron Crown" (Wikipedia: and

"Charlemagne's "Iron Crown"" (Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America:

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? (

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

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

42 "Eärendil" (Wikipedia:

43 Jimmy Dunn, "Apophis (Apep), the Enemy of Re" (Wikipedia:

44 "Urim and Thummim" (Wikipedia: 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:

46 "Oracles of God — The Urim and Thummim" (Israel Elect of Zion: 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: Stone). See also

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:

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 Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema Join with MGM to Produce "The Hobbit" Movie 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

T R A V E L:
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Tolkien's Birthplace)
Southern Africa Places: Bloemfontein
Mangaung Local Municipality: Bloemfontein - Botshabelo - Thaba Nchu Bloemfontein — Heart of the Free State 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 Voice of the West Midlands Edgebaston Tourist Information Photographs of Edgbaston Birmingham
Birmingham Oratory
The Birmingham Oratory: Tolkien and the Oratory

Tours (Including Locations for the Films) Middle-Earth Tours 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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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.
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
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J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
Tom Shippey
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
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J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth
Bradley J. Birzer
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
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
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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
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
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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
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
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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
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
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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)

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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
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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
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
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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