Re-Examining the Women of The Lord of the Rings

I will not argue that Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings contains a wealth of women.  Goldberry, Galadriel, Rosie Cotton, Ioreth, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, Arwen, Eowyn, and Shelob make up a total of eight female characters who appear in the work.  (I do not count named characters such as Elbereth or Lúthien who function more as references than as characters.) However, I do contest the well-worn arguments that Tolkien’s women are not valuable or interesting or that they do not count as meaningful characters “because they are only there to help the men” on their way. 

These claims ignore the rich history Tolkien gives his women and implicitly suggest that women can only be considered strong or worth talking about if they take on certain (traditionally masculine) roles.  That is, these claims suggest that Eowyn is Tolkien’s only significant female character in LotR because she is the only woman who takes up a sword to fight in battle.  But this standard of “strength” is never applied to Tolkien’s male characters. Tolkien’s men get to run the spectrum, to be warriors or not, intelligent or not, brave or not, good or not.  But, for some reason, Tolkien’s women cannot do the same and still receive respect from critics.   The call for “strong female characters” in Tolkien is often actually a demand that women conform to a one-size-fits all model.  And this demand is damaging because it denies women the opportunity to be simply human.

Furthermore, the argument that Tolkien’s women “don’t do anything” is absurdly reductionist.  If we are to make the argument that Goldberry is not significant to the plot, then we must admit that Tom Bombadil is not, either.  He is merely a side adventure on the Hobbit’s journey to Rivendell.  If we want to argue that Galadriel is present merely to bestow gifts and help the Fellowship on their way, then we must also argue that Elrond exists merely to dispense advice and send the Fellowship off.  If we criticize Rosie Cotton for being a boring Hobbit who does not do anything, well, we can probably make the same criticism of half the Shire.  But Tolkien’s male characters do not tend to receive these same types of criticisms.

To be clear, I am not arguing that women of LotR typically receive the same type of characterization as the bulk of the men.  I do not pretend that Arwen receives any significant page time in the story proper or that Ioreth has any sort of character arc.  I understand that Rosie Cotton has about one line and that Shelob is a spider and not necessarily a proper female character.  I readily admit that Eowyn receives the most significant page time and has one of the most fleshed out arcs of the women (though Galadriel’s redemption and Lobelia’s umbrella shaking both merit mention).  I am simply arguing that these women deserve a second look.

If we cannot imagine any meaning for Tolkien’s women or any reasons for their presence in the story other than to support the men, the fault is with our literary analysis, not with the work.  Consider a few examples.  Arwen’s connection with Lúthien, her decision to give up immortality, and her separation from her father and brothers all are worth consideration.  What does it mean for a third Elf and Man couple to appear in the Third Age?  How can we reconsider Arwen in light of her sacrifice and her later realization that death is more bitter than she imagined?  And Galadriel!  Various versions of her story exist.  Sometimes she rebelled against the Valar.  Sometimes she wants to rule a land of her own.  Sometimes she takes up arms against her own kin.  All before the events of the LotR.  But her previous history gives even more meaning to her final rejection of the One Ring and the power it represents.

And what about Goldberry?  If people can write papers about Tom Bombadil, about whom we know essentially nothing, why not a paper on his wife?  Surely scholars can find something to say about the presence of a river spirit in Tolkien’s work, possible influences and inspirations, and the significance of her presence when Tolkien did not have to give Bombadil a wife at all.  Why should we overlook her when people are so fond of her husband?  Even Ioreth, who plays a tiny comical role as a gossip, might have something said of her, her function in keeping lore and healing alive in Gondor, and her characterization.  Scholars have written papers on less.

The Lord of the Rings does have women (and The Silmarillion many, many more), though critics tend to write as if half of them do not exist.  And those women are interesting, though critics apparently can see nothing to admire about any of them except for Eowyn (and sometimes Galadriel).  Let us not pretend that The Lord of the Rings is less than it is.  Rather, let us use our imaginations and apply the same type of inquiry and interest so many people have evidently deemed only the male characters worthy to receive.  Because, if we do not, we are only revealing our own attitudes towards gender and about which types of women matter–and which do not.

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5 Favorite Quotes From Tolkien’s The Hobbit (Guest Post by Rachel)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


Introduction

The Hobbit is an iconic book, one we all know and love. While Tolkien wrote many, many books, The Hobbit is what started such a fantastic series and fandom known as The Lord of the Rings.

The Hobbit laid the base foundation for The Lord of the Rings and is just as an important story as the rest of the tale that celebrates hobbits everywhere.

This book has great storytelling, loveable characters, and wonderful life lessons and messages. Here are my top 5 favorite quotes.

1. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

This is one of my favorites. It’s simple, it’s the first line in the book, it lays the foundation for The Lord of the Rings, and it’s well-known by everyone. This quote is a nice introduction to not only Bilbo, but also to hobbits in general. Hobbits, in my opinion, have the best kind of life.

2. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

This is the perfect introduction to Gandalf the Grey. His personality really shines through this saying and it’s a funny line. Honestly, it got me thinking. Gandalf is right. What are we actually saying when we tell someone, “Good morning?”

3. “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

I read this quote as, “Never give up.” There are times when you’re going nuts looking for your car keys, and it turns out they’ve been hanging up by the door right where they’re supposed to be. However, there are times in our lives when we’re looking for less tangible things. We’re trying to figure out what the right career is for ourselves or we’re simply trying to find out who we are. The answer is never easy, but if you keep pushing forward, you’ll find it – even if it’s not what you expected.

4. “The road goes ever on and on.”

We can all channel our inner Bilbo with this one. We’re all on our own individual journeys in life. What are the right choices to make? Where do we see ourselves 5 years from now? The road goes ever on and on, indeed.

5. “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

I find this quote to be the most inspirational and so true to life. The media and news has been toxic for quite some time, but there are good people in the world. There are good news reports that, for whatever reasons, get buried underneath all the bad. There’s still hope, even if it’s hard to see sometimes.

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Tolkien was a fantastic writer with a wild imagination. He really made a way for himself in the fantasy writing world and has easily taught us a lot about life through fantastical scenarios. I won’t be running into an Orc anytime soon or be making friends with any Elves, but I can heed what I’ve learned and apply it to my life.

What are some of your favorite quotes from The Hobbit? Let us know in the comments below!


About the Author

“I’m a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in all things writing and gaming. I keep myself busy running two blogs among other things in the creative world. I’m currently working on a couple mystery books to be published in the near future. Feel free to connect with me on my Blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.”

10 Misconceptions about J. R. R. Tolkien and His Work

Tolkien Reading Event 2018Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


Tolkien Was Primarily a Fantasy Author.

In his lifetime, Tolkien was a respected philologist and professor of literature; he was Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford.  Some of his professional achievements include convincing the scholarly community of the literary value of Beowulf and producing a highly-regarded translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E. V. Gordon.  Only today do we think primarily of Tolkien as a fiction writer.  In his letters, Tolkien notes he is worried that his colleagues will think he was wasting his time by producing works of fantasy rather than working on his academic obligations.

The Lord of the Rings Was WRitten a Trilogy.

Tolkien actually wrote the work as a single book.  His publishers asked him to split it into three volumes due to a paper shortage that resulted from WWII.  This also lowered the price for consumers.

Denethor Is Nothing But a Loser.

The films depict Denethor as a degenerating madman who no longer cares for the good of his city, but sits back to watch it crumble.  In the book, we learn that Denethor, according to Gandalf is a man of great power and high lineage.  His strength of will allows him to resist Sauron and continue fighting him until Faramir’s seeming death, when Denethor finally succumbs to Sauron’s suggestions that all his acts are without hope.

Eowyn Defeated the Witch-King Alone.

Glorfindel predicted that the Witch-king of Angmar would not fall by the hand of man alone.  Eowyn fulfills this prophecy, but so does the Hobbit Meriadoc, who stabs the Witch-king, allowing Eowyn to go in for the kill.

Gondor= Minas Tirith

The films suggest that Gondor is a fading kingdom comprised primarily of its capital city Minas Tirith, along with a ruined outpost at Osgiliath.  In the book, readers learn that Gondor is a much larger country and that its soldiers are fighting against Sauron on multiple fronts, not just at Osgiliath.

There Are Only Three Women in LotR.  (Four if We Count Shelob)

Fans tend to point towards Arwen, Eowyn, Galadriel, and sometimes Shelob (debatable because she is a spider) as Tolkien’s “only” female characters in the book.  This is presumably because the films leave out Goldberry, Ioreth, and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.  Rosie Cotton appears briefly in both the book and the films.  How effective fans find each character is, of course, open to discussion.

Sauron Is the Ultimate Evil in Tolkien’s Mythology.

Melkor turned Morgoth is Tolkien’s first super villain and, at the height of his power, far stronger than Sauron, who was at first only his lieutenant.  Morgoth is so powerful that only intervention by the Valar (divine beings) can result in his overthrow.

Elves Are Perfect.

The Elvers were, at one point, open to manipulation by Morgoth and Sauron.  For years, they fought each other for possession of the Silmarils.  Fëanor and his sons, for instance, lead an attack on the Teleri for their ships, an act known as the Kinslaying.  They continued to fight and betray each other long after.

The Silmarillion Is Strictly Canonical.

At his death, Tolkien left a large number of unpublished manuscripts with various versions of different stories.  His son Christopher organized these into The Silmarillion and edited them to make a coherent narrative.  However, in many cases, it is difficult for us to know which version of the story Tolkien intended to be the final, definitive version.  Other versions can be found in The History of Middle-Earth.

Tolkien’s Work Is All Too Difficult to Approach.

Tolkien wrote many different kinds of works from academic texts to children’s books.  Readers who find themselves intimidated by The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion might want to check out one of Tolkien’s shorter works such as Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wooton Major, or Roverandom.

Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen Review (Guest Post by Samantha)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018

Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


Book Blurb

For the first time ever, the epic, in-depth story of the creation of one of the most famous fantasy worlds ever imagined—an illustrious compendium that reveals the breathtaking craftsmanship, artistry, and technology behind the magical Middle-earth of the blockbuster film franchises, The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.

Review

This is the most recent Middle-Earth book released by Weta Workshop. If you aren’t familiar with Weta Workshop, they are the very talented people who created the props, design and special effects of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. They are based in New Zealand and also worked on a lot of other big movies.

Prior to releasing Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen, Weta Workshop released 7 books about the production of The Hobbit trilogy (2 books for each movie and one special book about Smaug). But those aren’t the subject of this post.

On December 5th 2017, Middle Earth: From Script to Screen was published. On that same day, a box was delivered to my front door. A BIG and HEAVY box! Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to look at the beauty inside. The book is pretty expensive ($75 US), so I had asked for it as a Christmas present. Therefore, I waited 20 days to get it. But it was absolutely worth it!

First, the book is beautiful. The cover is embossed and there is a yellow ribbon bookmark so you never lose your place. The inside of the book is just as beautiful as the outside. The design is stunning, and it is filled with pictures from the movies and behind the scenes as well as artwork.

The content is also very interesting! For people who have read The Hobbit Chronicles books, you know those are entirely written through quotes. All the information provided in those books come from the actors, special effects specialists, etc. It isn’t the case in this book. Most of it is original text, although there are quotes included from time to time. These occasional quotes give us insight on the development process of the movies and the actor’s experience.

I personally think the book is filled with interesting details. It is divided in chapters, each chapter focusing on a region of Middle-Earth, and the events that took place there. Through the pages, we learn why some scenes from the book weren’t included, why some characters in the movies differ from those in the books, etc. I find it fascinating to learn about all the steps that went into making these movies. Whether it be the props or the sets, the amount of work that was put into making each of the movies is mind-blowing.

I know a lot of Tolkien fans would rather forget about The Hobbit movie trilogy. But whether you are a fan of these movies or not, I believe we can all admire the work that went into it. And reading this work helps understand some of the choices that were made.

I absolutely recommend this book to every LOTR fans. It’s a beautiful volume to add to your Middle-Earth collection!

John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister, Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

Tolkien Reading Event 2018Every year on March 25, the anniversary of the Downfall of Sauron, the Tolkien Society hosts Tolkien Reading Day. This year’s theme is Home and Hearth: The Many Ways of Being a Hobbit. The primary goal is to promote the reading of the works of J.R R. Tolkien! To celebrate, Pages Unbound will be hosting two weeks of Tolkien-related posts. In addition to our own thoughts, we will be featuring a number of guest posts!  Check out the complete schedule here.


Information

Goodreads: John Ronald’s Dragons
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: March 2017

Summary

A picture book biography of J. R. R. Tolkien that spans his childhood to his writing of The Hobbit.

Review

I suspect that this is the type of book that receives rave reviews, not because it is really that good, but because it is about J. R. R. Tolkien. Any fan who reads it wants to like it.  After all, it promises to introduce younger readers to Tolkien–and who would not want that?  However, I admit myself not impressed with this picture book.  The biography is sparse and wastes a good amount of the word count on making parallels the illustrators should make.  The illustrations are nice, but not original, striking, or memorable.

If were not already familiar with Tolkien’s biography, I wonder how much information I would have gleaned from this picture book.  It reads as very sparse and as a little piecemeal.  It begins with Tolkien loving words and animals as a child, but does not mention important details like the fact that he was born in South Africa or that he moved to England after his father died.  Then it seems to jump around, with no indications at any point about how old Tolkien is.  Thus, he suddenly moves from reading to school to being in a boarding house and falling in love to going to a war that the author would have readers believe sprung from nowhere. Then he is teaching at Oxford and, finally, “following” Bilbo Baggins through Mirkwood and over the Lonely Mountains. There the story ends.

Now, I understand that a limited word count leads little room for much detail, but I still think the transitions could have been smoother.  Nothing Tolkien’s age would have been useful, as would have giving the name of the war Tolkien fought in, mentioning his marriage instead of letting readers assume it, and telling readers what Tolkien actually studied in school (he seems to get a job at Oxford out of nowhere).  These parts of his life need to read as connected.  The depiction of the writing of The Hobbit also, to my mind, is too vague and assumes that readers already know that it is a book Tolkien wrote.  The text does not explicitly say that Tolkien wrote a book, any book.  It simply says he “followed” Bilbo and then gives place names that have meaning only if readers have already read The Hobbit.  Then it suddenly cuts short with an odd line that seems to imply that Smaug is still living but probably means metaphorically through Tolkien’s books.  I suspect younger readers will find this line confusing since it is difficult to read into it a metaphor about books that the biography does not bother to mention exist.

A good deal of more useful information could have made it into the book had the author not wasted a fair chunk of her word count in describing the parallels between Tolkien’s imagination and his surroundings: he dreams of dragon smoke, but just sees smoke on his oatmeal; he thinks of dragon scales, but listens to Edith practice scales; and so forth.  These connections are ones the author should trust the illustrator to make; they read as heavy-handed in the actual text and do not contribute much to our understanding of Tolkien’s life.  The author seems to realize that the text is lacking because she provides a page-length biography at the very end that actually gives us details such as Tolkien’s birth place and so forth.

The illustrations themselves are nice, but that is the only word I can think to describe them.  They are not original or daring or striking. In fact, they read to me as fairly safe because they are so straight-forward.  In a book about the imagination, I would hope for more from the illustrations.  I also find they are too pale and pastel for my taste.  I want bold colors to go with a book about dragons.

Tolkien fans will probably buy this book and enjoy it since it is about a beloved author. I have difficulty seeing it being really meaningful to other audiences, however.  It seems to assume background knowledge about Tolkien, and so it not much use as a biography.  As simply a story, I find it unmemorable.

Some of Tolkien’s Dragons

3 Stars

My Tolkien Collection (Guest Post by Bridget)

Tolkien Reading Event 2018


Why hello there!

My name is Bridget from Bridget & Books (you’ve probably never heard of me and that is totally ok). I am a 25 year old book blogger, cat lover, and Tolkien fanatic!

I am so honored to be writing this guest post for Pages Unbound’s Tolkien Reading Event! If you couldn’t tell already from the title – this is going to be a little tour through my small, but ever-growing Tolkien collection. I am going to break this down into several categories: books, jewelry, art, and various knickknacks.

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Books

This is my most beloved set of LOTR that I own. The Fellowship of the Ring was my uncle’s copy (he wrote his name on the inside cover) and then was passed along to my mom. Although, she never read it so it’s in peak condition. But it encouraged me to finish the set, which I was able to do over many, many, many trips to Half Price Books.

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I used to work at my local library for a short time years ago and while there made a lifelong friend. Natasha works at our library still and found this at one of the monthly Book Sales and it’s one of my most treasured Tolkien books! And the art featured inside is pretty great too! 😉

Also, that beautiful pillow is from Sonnet and Fable.

The Hobbit is my favorite novel by Tolkien. I have numerous editions of it because, well, it’s my favorite.

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This is going to come across horrible, but I haven’t read The Silmarillion yet. It’s my goal to get to it this year, but this book really intimidates me.

Next I have a complete series of the Mariner Books edition. I love the cover art.

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Here’s a picture of various books that I still haven’t read yet because, well, I suck. And yes, I found a Spark Notes for LOTR at Half Price Books and thought it was such a great find that I bought it!

The Atlas of Middle Earth was gifted to me by my boyfriend’s dad for my birthday. It has loads of useful information in it!

Jewelry

My sister gifted me The One Ring several years ago as a birthday gift. I wear it almost every single day and the gold has since rubbed off so it’s silver now, but I still love it!

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This is a very recent development*. I got my very first tattoo and I decided to go for one of my all time favorite quotes from The Fellowship of the Ring:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

And yes, in the same day I got my second tattoo beneath that, which is a fern branch – my favorite plant.

*Displayed in front of my LOTR bookshelf because #artistic

Artwork

The Galadriel print on the left is by Steph Lopez. My boyfriend and I met her and her husband (Jess – another artist!) at Houston’s Comicpalooza in the Artist Alley. Ryan’s table was next to theirs and we got to talking and they ended up being absolutely wonderful. Ryan’s mom commissioned this from Steph as a birthday present for me!

On the right is Gandalf battling the Balrog of Morgoth by Woodside Illustrations. I found this also at Comicpalooza, but I’ve since seen them selling art at the Texas Renaissance Festival sooo, fun fact!

I have these LOTR cats hanging above my window. These “caticatures” are by Lulu Lin, the owner of Honey Art Cafe.

Knickknacks

I have two LOTR keychains. One is a Frodo LEGO keychain and the other is made by Ink and Wonder featuring a hobbit hole with “Home sweet home” on it. Ain’t that cute?

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This map is thanks to Natasha yet again! This beautiful thing came falling out of a book at the library so she gave it to me as a birthday present!

Below that are two pens – Gandalf’s staff and the key to the Lonely Mountain. Both came as part of a bookmark set that, I believe, I bought at Barnes & Noble.

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Yes, I am a fan of Funko POPs and have acquired Frodo and Samwise. My collection is slowly, but surely growing. I pre-ordered Treebeard and am eagerly awaiting his arrival!

Obviously I must have the Extended Edition box sets of the movies!

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This tote bag and sweater are from So Effing Cute – and they really are.

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I found this banner of the Tree of Gondor whilst strolling through the Texas Renaissance Festival years ago.

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On the left is a LEGO set from The Hobbit that I got on my birthday. To the right are two spare LEGOs of Bilbo and Elrond that my friend Natasha had extra in one her LEGO sets.

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And last, but certainly not least, is my bookmark collection!


And that’s everything! One day I aspire to have the size of Myla Malinalda’s collection!

If you want to see more content like this or am just in owe of my humorous wit, please come check out my blog. Until then, happy reading and enjoy the rest of the Tolkien Reading Event!

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10 Reasons You Should Not Skip the Lord of the Rings Appendices

Technically, reading the appendices that follow The Lord of the Rings is not really necessary.  An appendix, after all, contains additional information; a reader could stop after the story proper and still have the full story.  However, the LotR appendices are far less boring than you might think.  Here are ten reasons you should not skip them the next time you pick up The Lord of the Rings.

They contain the story of Aragorn and Arwen.

Were you wondering how Aragorn and Arwen met?  What Elrond said when he found out?  (Hint: It is far different from what he says in the films.)  What happened to Arwen after Aragorn died?  It’s all here and it’s possibly more romantic that you thought!

You can read a condensed version of the Fall of Númenor.

Discover Faramir and Aragorn’s heritage by learning about the realm founded by Elros, Elrond’s brother.  Tolkien traces its gifting to Men by the Valar, their growing discontent at their mortality, and their fall, spurred on by Sauron.

Arnor and Gondor’s history is laid out in more detail.

Aragorn’s heritage is a little more complicated than readers might assume.  His ancestor is Elendil, who had two sons: Isildur and Anárion.  Initially, Elendil ruled the North-Kingdom of Arnor while his sons jointly ruled in Gondor.  Eventually the line of kings in the South failed, but the Steward refused to accept the claim of Isildur’s heir in the North-kingdom.  Isildur’s heirs faded and became the Dunedain while Gondor remained under the rule of the Stewards until Aragorn Isidur’s heir claimed the kingship.  Talk about some complicated politics!

The history of the Rohirrim and its kings is included.

Learn how Eorl was gifted the land of Rohan by the Steward of Gondor.  Find out more about Helm, after whom Helm’s Deep is named.  Even catch some tantalizing glimpses of women like Théoden’s wife Elfhild, his mother Morwen, and his sister Théodwyn.

You Can Learn Some Dwarven History.

Tolkien’s Dwarf history contains his only named Dwarf-woman and reveals what happened to Gimli after the events of LotR.

We receive a glimpse of the Wizards and the Rings of Power.

Three Wizards are named in LotR, but more than three arrived in Middle-earth.  We receive a glimpse of them and their mission.  We also learn a little more about the forging of the Rings of Power and where they were bestowed and how some were lost or stolen.

You Can Learn about Merry and Pippin’s families and declining years.

Merry and Pippin became interested in lore.  They also traveled and were honored by the lords of the realms where they had sworn loyalty.  And neither is buried in the Shire.

The lineages reveal some surprisingly interesting information.

Like the names of all twelve of Sam’s children.  The fact that Pippin named a son after Faramir.  And the marriage between one of Sam’s daughters and Pippin’s son.

Even the calendars contain fascinating tidbits.

The actual lists of years do contain passages you won’t want to miss.  This is where you will find out where Merry and Pippin are buried and what happened to Legolas at the end of his life in Middle-earth.  However, the appendix dealing solely with calendars isn’t necessarily as dull as you might think.  For instance, it reveals that the Elven year contains 144 of our years!

Languages, languages, languages.

You can pick up some easy pronunciation tips here, even if you don’t consider yourself a linguist.  For instance, “c” in Quenya is pronounced as “k” so the name “Celeborn” is pronounced “Keleborn,” not “Seleborn.”  You’ll also find a history of the languages of Men, Elves, Hobbits, Orcs, Trolls, etc. and a note on translation.  There are humorous tidbits, such as the information that the Common Speech spoken by Hobbits lacked a deferential form, so that Pippin addressed everyone in Gondor as his equals!  We also learn that some names have been translated.  Merry’s first name is really Kalimac–Kali for short!