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.

*      *     *

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.”

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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!

Mr. Bliss by J.R.R. Tolkien

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.


Mr. Bliss by JRR Tolkien

Information

Goodreads: Mr. Bliss
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: 1982

Official Summary

Mr. Bliss’s first outing in his new motor-car, shared with several friends, bears, dogs, and a donkey, though not the Girabbit, proves to be unconventional though not inexpensive.

Review

Mr. Bliss is a delightful yet little-known story that Tolkien wrote for his children.  It’s fairly straightforward as children’s stories go, following the misadventures of Mr. Bliss after he buys a new automobile and discovers it might be more trouble than it’s worth, so I can see why the tale isn’t generally mentioned among Tolkien’s bigger works.  However, the story is amusing and a must-read for any Tolkien fan.

The published book is a facsimile edition, reproducing Tolkien’s illustrations and hand-lettered text on the right-hand pages, with typed-out text on the left.  The illustrations are on the smallish side but still detailed and characteristically Tolkien.  There are also some entertaining captions, such as when Tolkien notes that he’s tired of drawing the car in every scene so he simply left it out or when he comments that a character is missing from a certain scene because he rose from his chair to do something else.  Normally I’m not a fan of authorial asides, but these come across as personal notes to the reader and are just in the right space between charming and funny.

The plot is wild and clips along at as a fast pace, as Mr. Bliss encounters an increasing number of troubles with his new car, running people over, picking people up, driving into walls, and so forth.  I suppose it’s a bit of a story of its time, when automobiles were still kind of wild and new, but it doesn’t read as old or out of touch.  Rather, it’s just hilarious and will still resonate with today’s readers.  (As a side note, I half wonder if the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender reader Mr. Bliss because there’s a character here who keeps screaming “My cabbages!” and Mr. Bliss keeps as a pet a Girabbit, a cross between a giraffe and a rabbit.)

I’ve been meaning to read Mr. Bliss for years because it’s currently out of print in the US and can be a bit hard to find.  I was excited to discover my local library actually has a copy (it never occurred to me to look before), and I highly recommend it to anyone else who can locate a copy.

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4 stars Briana

The Silmarillion: A Reader’s Guide (Guest Post by Linda White)

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.


Happy Tolkien Reading Day! And in that spirit, I will be talking about one of the most ambitious Tolkien books you could pick up, both in terms of writing it and reading it: The Silmarillion. You may have heard of this book, and simply disregarded it as something that wouldn’t interest you. Or thought it was too difficult to read, or not enjoyable. Well, I am here to dispel all rumors, and win you over.

The Silm, as the book is affectionately called by anyone who has read it, can be difficult to access. It is made more daunting because it is, in fact, incomplete. It was never meant to really be a story unto itself. Christopher Tolkien pieced it together from bits and bobs his father had written, so it is not a flowing narrative. But it is an incredible collection of stories that will greatly enrich any further enjoyment of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

Other difficulties include the fact that there is little dialogue. What there is tends to be threats, oaths or bargains. Some of them come back again and again. And the Fingolins and Fangolins can get a bit confusing (there are a lot of F names!). The characters are not all fleshed out as well as one would hope. Even Beren and Luthien, perhaps the best-known story of the collection, is not as rich in character development as you would like to see.

Its saving grace is that it is beautifully written and contains many memorable characters. And if you have read the later books, you will love to see some of your favorite characters peeking out now and then, such as Galadriel. There is a whole new world here, but somehow it is a bit familiar. The map, of course, is wonderful. I was lucky enough to obtain a first edition which still had its map folded up in the back. Joy!

I don’t know why I waited so long to read this. I guess I was daunted. But no more! Now I am urging anyone with an interest in Tolkien’s works or fantasy in general to dive into this. But yes, there are a few tips that might help you. These are gleaned from Justin @collecttolkien who helpfully posted this before Middle Earth March began. They were helpful tips for me, so I hope they help you, too!

Read it like a history, as that’s really what it is. Not a novel.

Read it in parts. It is divided up into sections of history. Don’t feel like you have to read a ton in one sitting.

Mark it up – flag it, underline, mark things to look up later. Or whatever you want. There is a wealth of information in the back, from pronunciations to family trees, and a big glossary. So make a game of it.

Skip parts that are tough for you or don’t interest you as much. Move on to something fun. There are a lot of LOTR and Hobbit related things toward the end. Plus stories that have been made into full-length books, like Beren and Luthien and The Children of Hurin. So maybe read what is most familiar and work your way in from there.

Don’t sweat taking a break from it. Just mark your spot and try again another time.

I’ve paraphrased a little bit and added some of my own ideas, but the bulk of this post came from Justin and I want to thank him so much for letting me use it, and for giving this great advice! Check out his Instagram feed (oh, so excellent) at https://www.instagram.com/collecttolkien/

The general advice is that the books should be read in a certain order to get the most from the stories. But really, that is personal preference. I think it helps to just pick up at whatever entry point works for you, and then read whatever grabs your fancy next. At some point, though, I think it would be good to go through the whole progression, and read the stories in the order in which they were published, which would be: The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion. Or, you could read them in narrative order, which would be… hmmm. I think The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and then maybe Unfinished Tales? I have not read Unfinished Tales yet so not quite sure if that fits there. The upshot is, it’s all wonderful and you should definitely dive in somewhere. Maybe with one of the newer stand-alone novels, or with his short stories, or the Father Christmas Letters? It’s all so good, you can’t go wrong.

About the Author

Find me at www.bookmanialife.com and https://www.instagram.com/lindabookmania/ and on Twitter @LindaWonder.

Gender Roles in Middle-Earth (Guest Post by Ley)

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.


For the purposes of this post, I’m focusing solely on the trilogy of books. As much as I adore the films, they’re not exactly the best representation of what I’m trying to get across here.

J.R.R. Tolkien was ahead of his time, that’s a given. He created this amazing world with some of the most endearing characters in literature. However, he didn’t really give us many endearing female characters.

First off, Arwen, Lord Elrond’s daughter, betrothed to Aragorn. She has the potential to be truly badass. But then she fades into the background. Her entire purpose is to add depth to Aragorn. She starts wasting away because of despair. Which, honestly, is kind of understandable, since Sauron is quite possibly the worst possible entity in any fictitious universe. But at the same time, I feel like that borders on silly Victorian-era literature deaths (like dying from reading a novel, or having a headache, or cold hands.) 

She’s sort of immortal (she gave up her immortality for love, which…I have a million and one issues with). She should, in theory, be able to stand up for good, like everyone else does. I mean, she lives, and lives a very long life. But we don’t actually see her happy, or know for sure that she’s comfortable with her choice to give up immortality.

As her foil, or opposite, we have Éowyn, a shieldmaiden for Rohan. She wants desperately to fight in a battle for glory, since she’s royalty (the niece/goddaughter of Théoden, King of Rohan). But, since she’s a woman, she obviously can’t take part in any battles. Only our girl Éowyn is a straight up honey badger, and goes to battle anyway. I could argue that she goes to battle because she too loves Aragorn, but I prefer to think she did it because if the world seems like it’s gonna end, may as well go down fighting. She also had to deal with gross Gríma Wormtongue, her uncle’s advisor, and his constant harassment (could she be one of the first #MeToo characters in fantasy? Maybe!). Now, as much as I love the scene in Return of the King where Miranda Otto screams, “I am no man!”, that’s not exactly how it happened in the book. My sweet precious baby hobbit Meriadoc Brandybuck stabbed the Witch-King in the knee with a barrow blade, allowing Éowyn to actually kill him. And we do have at least this line:

“But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

It’s pretty badass and gets the same point across. And she ends up with Faramir, creating a pretty great combined kingdom, and he was pretty badass, too. Éowyn had control of her own life.

Galadriel, lady of Lothlórien, is another elf, but again, she has more agency than Arwen. She made an active choice to not take the Ring from Frodo, she aided the Fellowship by giving them cloaks and lembas and her phial of light (which comes in handy in the next little bit). She knows her strengths and weaknesses, and doesn’t try to hide them.

And her foil, Shelob the massive spider. Ohhhh man. She gets quite an introduction:

“But still, she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.”

I mean, she vomits darkness! But honestly, she’s only there to add more trauma to Samwise and Frodo. Because WHO WOULDN’T BE TRAUMATIZED BY A GIANT SPIDER! She’s mentioned briefly in The Hobbit, but again, she’s there as background. She adds to the darkness. And she doesn’t like light at all, so of course Sam exploits that and blinds her with the Phial of Light and stabs her. She poisons Frodo, but just enough to where he can’t move for a bit.

The four female characters with significant page time are mostly there to help provide depth to our story and to Middle Earth, but  they could have, and should have, been so much more than that.


About the AUThOr

You can find Ley blogging over at Mall3tg1rl.

“I Sit Beside the Fire and Think”– Home, Hearth, Hobbits (Guest Post by Tom Hillman)

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.


I sit beside the fire and think

of all that I have seen,

of meadow-flowers and butterflies

in summers that have been….  (excerpt from FotR)

Ever since the first time I read ‘I sit beside the fire and think’ as a young boy, it’s been my favorite. It has always spoken to me of home, just as I think it does to Bilbo, but it speaks in a more complex and poignant way than most other hobbit songs.

Of these, Pippin’s ‘Sing hey! for the bath at close of day’ (FR 1.v.101) is probably the most purely hobbit-like. In a simple meter — iambic tetrameter, which seems characteristic of hobbit poetry* — it embraces the beauty and pleasures of water in its various forms, but emphasizes the special joy and even nobility of the hot bath ‘that washes the weary mud away’.  Few things could conjure a more comforting image of home than Water Hot which so thoroughly redeems our weariness that we end up playfully splashing water with our feet, or even, as in Pippin’s case, creating a fountain.

Similarly in Three Is Company the hobbits sing a song — ‘Upon the hearth the fire is red’ — which begins and ends by evoking hearth and home, roof and bed (FR 1.iii.77-78). Yet Bilbo wrote the words to this song, and his experiences gave him a deeper perspective. ‘[N]ot yet weary are our feet’ tells us that we are not ready for home and bed. Adventure and discovery await us before then. We never know where we may find ‘the hidden paths that run / Towards the Moon or to the Sun’. All that we may meet on our journey, however, will in the end fade before the lights of hearth and lamp that summon us home to bed and board.

Immediately after the end of this song, however, the approach of a Black Rider impresses the dangers of the journey upon them. After their last near encounter earlier in the day the hobbits had seen Bilbo’s warning about the perils of stepping out the front door take on new meaning, as it must when Ringwraiths show up down the lane. Adventures are too often ‘not a kind of holiday … like Bilbo’s’ (FR 1.ii.62), nor, as events at Crickhollow will show, do front doors keep all perils out (FR 1.xi.176-77).

We may also discover a little noticed counterpoint to the hobbits’ song in the hymn** to Elbereth sung by the elves whose arrival drives off the Black Rider. The longing for their home ‘[i]n a far land beyond the Sea’, which lies at this song’s heart, balances the exile of the elves against the security the hobbits (wrongly) feel is their due in their own Shire (FR 1.iii.83). Though the elves know where to find those ‘hidden paths’, they linger ‘in this far land beneath the trees.’ Their ‘chance meeting’ with Frodo, who regards his own journey as a flight into ‘exile’ for himself and his companions, brings face to face those whose age-long exile is nearly over with one who senses that his home will soon be forever lost to him, if indeed it has not already been lost.

If we take a further step back towards that home, we come to the first song that Frodo sings, Bilbo’s ‘The road goes ever on and on’, which he recalls, not from conscious memory, but from some deeper place beyond all names. Yet, as many have remarked, Frodo’s version differs in a single word from the one Bilbo recited as he left Bag End seventeen years earlier. Bilbo sets off on the road, ‘pursuing it with eager feet’  (FR 1.i.35), but Frodo’s feet are ‘weary’ from the start (FR 1.iii.73). Recall ‘the weary mud’ in Pippin’s bath song, to be washed off at journey’s end. Recall the ‘not yet weary’ feet of Bilbo’s walking song. These songs better suit the ‘eager’ feet of Bilbo, who embraces both journey and journey’s end: ‘I want to see the wild country again before I die, and the Mountains’ (FR 1.i.33). That Frodo has a different attitude towards his journey is part of the tragic situation in which he finds himself, for which the Ring is largely, though perhaps not solely, to blame. Like Merry, who ‘loved the thought of [mountains] marching on the edge of stories brought from far away’, Frodo may have ‘longed to shut out [their] immensity in a quiet room by a fire’ (RK 5.iii.x.791). If  so, that was not to be.

Bilbo’s embrace of journey and journey’s end alike is also visible in ‘I sit beside the fire and think’, yet this poem is also firmly tied to the idea of hearth and home by the repetition of the initial line to begin the third and fifth quatrains and the variation of it in the first line of the last. It is the song of someone whose days of adventure are over, but for whom memory and reflection on the time he spent journeying enrich the life he now lives by hearth and home. Nor need we think of this poem as applying only to Bilbo in his years in Rivendell, where he introduces us to the poem. We can also easily imagine it across the decades he spent in the Shire after his return, dawdling with his book, walking the countryside with Frodo and talking of adventure, ‘learning’ young Sam Gamgee his letters and telling him tales of the Elves. The walking song he composed the words to, the evolution and distillation of ‘The road goes ever on’ from the poem we first see at the end of The Hobbit, and his meditations on the ‘dangerous business’ of stepping out of one’s home and into the road, all point to the close connection between ‘there’ and ‘back again’. So, too, does his exchange with Sam and Frodo at Rivendell:

 

‘Books ought to have good endings.[said Bilbo] How would this do: and they all settled down and lived together happily ever after?’

‘It will do well, if it ever comes to that,’ said Frodo.

‘Ah!’ said Sam. ‘And where will they live? That’s what I often wonder.’

(FR 2.iii.273-74)

And Bilbo’s last quatrain, especially its final words, is significant in that it comes after the bow to approaching death in ‘a spring that I shall never see’. For tales goes on despite death.  With ‘I listen for returning feet / and voices at the door’ Bilbo also accepts that his part in the tale has already ended and that others will carry it on and bring the word of their journeys back to him. In just this way he awaits the return of Sam and Frodo. In this way, too, Sam and Frodo, who both finally expect not to survive their quest, imagine that their part in the great tale in which they have found themselves will come to an end for them, but that others will have their own parts to play later on. It is no accident that the book itself ends with Sam at home in his chair by the fire.

At the last, that is what all the tales are about.

‘I sit beside the fire and think’ is not in iambic tetrameter, but in alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, which is more characteristic of Elvish poetry, and likely shows the influence of such poetry on Bilbo.

** If alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and trimeter distinguish Elvish poetry, one may rightly ask why the hymn to Elbereth is not in this meter, or in the single lines of heptameter which also occur (e.g., ‘Nimrodel’). The answer lies in the fact that the song is mediated through the understanding of the hobbits — as the text explicitly says at FR 1.iii.83:

 

It was singing in the fair elven-tongue, of which Frodo knew only a little, and the others knew nothing. Yet the sound blending with the melody seemed to shape itself in their thought into words which they only partly understood. This was the song as Frodo heard it…


*All citations reference the single volume fiftieth anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, Houghton Mifflin (2004).


About the Author

You can find Tom blogging at his website Alas, Not Me.

16 of Tolkien’s Most Badass Women

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.


Spoilers Ahead!

Aredhel

The White Lady of the Noldor is the brother of Turgon, ruler of Gondolin.  When he decrees that she should not leave the secret city, she answers him, “I am your sister and not your servant, and beyond your bounds I will go as seems good to me.  And if you begrudge me an escort, then I will go alone” (The Silmarillion).  She subsequently marries the Dark Elf Eöl, then, tiring of never seeing the sunlight, flees with her son back to Gondolin.

Arwen

Peter Jackson did not have to make Arwen a warrior to make her impressive.  The only daughter of Elrond, Arwen gives up her Elven inheritance in order to marry Aragorn and restore some of the ancient dignity to the ruling house of Gondor.  Her decision is a difficult one.  Most fans understand that she actively chose to surrender her immortality to lead the life she wanted.  However, those who have only seen the films may not realize that the Elves believe that Elves and Men go to separate afterlives.  In choosing to marry Aragorn, Arwen, as far as she knows, is giving up the possibility of ever seeing her parents and brothers again–even after death.

And, as a side note, Tolkien’s original Arwen does not sit around sadly wasting away as Sauron gains power.  We do not really know what she does, aside from making Aragorn a banner, but there is no reason that Arwen, alone in Middle-earth, would possess a weird connection to Sauron that makes her weak as he grows strong.  Nor does book-Arwen prove fickle in love by planning to leave Middle-earth forever while her betrothed is off fighting evil.  In these regards, at least, Jackson actually creates a weaker Arwen than Tolkien!

Elbereth

One of the mightiest of the Valar, Elbereth the Star-kindler is associated with light.  It is said in The Silmarillion that Melkor “hated her, and feared her more than all others whom Eru made.”

Elwing

The granddaughter of Lúthien and Beren, Elwing saves the Silmaril they won by casting herself into the sea when the sons of Feanor attack.  Lifted up by Ulmo and transformed into a bird, she follows her husband Eärendil to the Undying Lands.  There she steps ashore with him in order that she might share with him whatever doom the Valar would decree.  She is the mother of Elrond and Elros.

Emeldir the Man-hearted

The mother of Beren, she leads the women and children of the House of Bëor south after the Dagor Bragollach, when her husband and her son became outlaws.

Eowyn

Eowyn is possibly Tolkien’s most well-known “badass” woman.  Discontent at being left behind during the War of the Ring, she disguises herself as a soldier of Rohan and fulfills Glorfindel’s prophecy that the Witch-king of Angmar shall not fall by the hand of man (with Merry’s help, of course!).  After the War of the Ring, she shows her strength further by turning away from her childish idolization of war.  She decides to devote herself to healing and growth along with her husband Faramir.

Galadriel

In The Silmarillion, Galadriel willingly goes into exile from Valinor that she might rule a land of her own in Middle-earth.  She does not participate in the Kinslaying and, in other accounts, even fights against Fëanor and his sons during the battle. After part of the Noldor are abandoned by Fëanor without ships, she crosses the Helcaraxë or Grinding Ice to reach Middle-earth.  Various accounts have her subject to the Ban of the Valar for revolting against the Valar or not subject to the Ban but choosing to stay in Middle-earth.  In the version of the story where she is banned for rebellion, she earns pardon after rejecting the One Ring.

Haleth

When her father and brother fall in battle against the orcs, Haleth becomes the chief of her people. She rejects an offer by Caranthir to move north and instead moves west to Estolad.  Later she leads her people to the Forest of Brethil.  Of their road The Silmarillion says “It was no road for mortal Men to take without aid, and Haleth only brought her people hrough it with hardship and loss, constraining them to go forward by the strength of her will.  Her people become known as the People of Haleth.

Idril

Idril Celebrindal is the daughter of Turgon, ruler of Gondolin.  When Ulmo counsels Turgon to flee, Turgon’s pride prevents him.  Idril, however, orders a secret tunnel to be excavated from the city, allowing her and her husband Tuor to lead a band of refugees from the ruin of Gondolin.

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

Lobelia was disliked by much of the Shire for most of her life.  However, she gains acclaim when she dares to defy Sharkey’s men and shake her umbrella them–resulting in a prison sentence.  After her death she bequeaths her money to Frodo to help Hobbits left homeless by the actions of Saruman and her son.

Lúthien

Locked away by her father, Lúthien uses magic to escape her prison and follow Beren on his quest to wrest a Simaril from the crown of Morgoth.  Her enchantments enable them to enter the Dark Lord’s halls disguised and lull Morgoth into slumber so that Beren can take the jewel.  Her tears and song eventually bring Beren back to life so that they can be together.  Suffice it to say that Beren would not have accomplished much without Lúthien at his side.

Melian

One of the Maiar, Melian falls in love with the Elf Thingol and rules with him the realm of Doriath.  She protects her lands with the Girdle of Melian, which confuses enemies and prevents them from entering.  With her foresight, she counsels her husband not to send Beren on the quest for a Silmaril, but is overruled, resulting in the eventual fall of Doriath.  As with many of Tolkien’s matches, the wife here seems to hold the greater wisdom and power.

Morwen

Morwen called Eledhwen or “Elfsheen” weds Húrin, upon whose house Morgoth puts a curse.  After her husband’s capture by Morgoth, the Easterlings take her lord’s lands but fear to touch Morwen.  She sends her son Túrin away to Doriath to save his life, then later travels there herself with her daughter Nienor.  She is lost trying to find Túrin again after he flees Doriath and eventually dies from wandering and weariness.

Nienna

One of the Valar, she is the lady of grief.  The Silmarillion says “But she does not weep for herself; and those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope…she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom.”

Ungoliant

Ungoliant’s great hunger makes Shelob’s sport with Frodo look like innocent fun.  She is an evil spirit in the form of a spider.  She sucks the light from the Two Trees of Valinor and spins darkness to hide Melkor’s flight from the Valar.  According to one legend, her insatiable hunger eventually leads her to devour herself.

Yavanna

Yavanna, the Giver of Fruits, is one of the Valar.  She makes the Two Trees of Valinor as well as the Ents, meant to protect her beloved trees.

Honorable Mentions

Tar-Ancalimë

The first ruling queen of Numenor.

Arien

A Maia and spirit of fire, she is chosen to guide the vessel of the Sun because she once tended Laurelin.  She casts off her Elven shape and becomes a burning flame.

Dís

The mother of Fíli and Kíli.  The only Dwarf-woman named by Tolkien.

Shelob

Shelob definitely knows how to terrorize her enemies.  Even the Orcs of Mordor fear to tread her pathways!

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