Bestiary of Middle-Earth

FAN: Discuss various fictional worlds that don't qualify for SF.

Moderator: Steve

User avatar
Harbinger of Doom
Harbinger of Doom
Posts: 27180
Joined: 2002-07-07 06:30am
Location: The Lost City

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by NecronLord » 2009-04-25 12:33pm

Superior Moderator - BotB - HAB [Drill Instructor]-Writer-'s resident Star-God.
"We believe in the systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation, argument and debate and most of all freedom of will." ~ Stargate: The Ark of Truth

User avatar
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2258
Joined: 2002-12-29 09:29pm
Location: Fortress of Angband

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by Balrog » 2009-06-22 03:24pm

Valaquenta wrote: ‘For of the Maiar many were drawn to [Melkor’s] splendor in the days of his greatness, and remained in that Allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.’
Of the Coming of Elves and the Captivity of Melkor wrote: ‘And in Utumno he gathered his demons about him, those spirits who first adhered to him in the days of his splendor, and become most like him in his corruption: their hearts were of fire, but they were cloaked in darkness, and terror went before them; they had whips of flame. Balrogs they were named in Middle-earth in later days.’
Origin and general description of Balrogs, the general theme of Balrogs as beings of "fire and shadow" and the greatest of Melkor's servants.
Of the Flight of the Noldor wrote:‘But Ungoliath had grown great, and he less by the power that had gone out of him; and she rose against him, and her cloud closed about him, an she enmeshed him in a web of clinging thongs to strangle him. Then Morgoth sent forth a terrible cry, that echoed in the mountains...Deep in forgotten places that cry was heard. Far beneath the ruined halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their Lord; and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire. With their whips of flame they smote asunder the webs of Ungolaith, and she quailed, and turned to flight, belching black vapours to cover her...’
An unknown number of Balrogs, with their fiery whips, are clearly too much for a powered-up Ungoliath to deal with on her own.
Of the Fifth Battle wrote:‘Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, high-captain of Angband, was come; and he drove a dark wedge between the Elvenhosts, surrounding King Fingon, and thrusting Turgon and Húrin aside towards the Fen of Serech. Then he turned upon Fingon. That was a grim meeting. At last Fingon stood alone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog, until another Balrog came behind and cast a thong of fire about him. Then Gothmog hewed him with his black axe, and a white flame sprung up from the helm of Fingon as it was cloven. Thus fell the High King of the Noldor; and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood.’
Going by this passage, a High Elven King is a roughly even match with the best of the Balrog; Elves themselves are no slouches when it comes to raw magical power, but clearly it wasn't a contest involving exchanges of nuclear weapons. Also of note is the use of non-fire weaponry, such as Gothmog's "black axe."
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm wrote: ‘Suddenly at the top of the stair there was a stab of white light. Then there was a dull rumble and a heavy thud. The drum-beats broke out wildly: doom-boom, doom-boom, and then stopped. Gandalf came flying down the steps and fell to the ground in the midst of the Company.
“Well, well! That’s over!” said the wizard struggling to his feet. “I have done all that I could. But I have met my match, and have nearly been destroyed. But don’t stand here! Go on! You will have to do without light for awhile: I am rather shaken.”
“Then something came into the chamber – I felt it through the door, and the orcs themselves were afraid and fell silent. It laid hold of the iron ring, and then it perceived me and my spell.

What it was I cannot guess, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking out all the light inside, and I was thrown backward down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well, I think.

I am afraid Balin is buried deep, and maybe something else is buried there too. I cannot say.”
First indications of magical abilities among Balrogs, insofar as their ability to counter magical spells. Counter-spells also can have a negative effect on the original caster, though "breaking" someone is, as usual, left rather vague. Also important is the fact that the Balrog was within the Chamber of Mazarbul when it collapsed, yet obviously survived the cave-in.
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm wrote:‘But it was not the trolls that had filled the Elf with terror. The ranks of the orcs had opened, and they crowed away, as if they themselves were afraid. Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.

It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped across the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs.’
About the clearest description of a Balrog one can get in the books, yet again rather vague. It's clear that a Balrog has a humanoid shape, larger than that of a man; man-height among Númenóreans was slightly more than six feet, with other races slightly shorter, which gives us a rough lower limit of ~1.8m. At the same time, the Balrog could not have been extremely large, otherwise it would not have fit through the door into the Chamber of Mazarbul. We know that the door was large enough for a Cave Troll to fit through, who average twelve feet or more in height, which gives us a rough upper limit of ~3.6m. For purposes of later calculations I'll assume a middle position, about 2.7m, half again as tall as a man. With a shape proportional to that of a human, a Balrog of that size it would have a volume of ~.7m3. These figures are merely approximations, more to give a sense of the order of magnitude rather than exact dimensions.

We also know that Balrogs are composed of fire, of which we know much, and a nebulous material known as "darkness" or "shadow", of which we know nothing. However, it is clear that Balrogs have a physical body with mass, given their interactions with others and propensity to fall into bottomless chasms. They are obviously heavier than air, but by how much is up for debate. For these purposes to give an (admittedly rather absurd) lower limit, I'll assume it has the density of cork, about 200kg/m3; clearly it won't have to worry about swimming. With its volume from above figured out, this would give the Balrog a mass of about 160kg, still twice as massive as an average human.
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm wrote:‘The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.

“You cannot pass,” he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.”

The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.

From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.

Glamdring glittered white in answer.

There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still.

“You cannot pass!” he said.

With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed…

At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog’s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into the emptiness

With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. “Fly, you fools!” he cried, and was gone.’
The fiery weapons Balrogs wield are, apparently, no match for the weaponry of First Age Elves (or, potentially, Gandalf's magic). This might explain why earlier they also use non-fire weapons when fighting against them. There is at the same time a physical component to these weapons; the swords clash with a ring, the whip latches on and drags Gandalf down with it.

However, the Balrog not only survived the fall, but did so quite easily (see below). Given that the chasm over which the Bridge spanned was deep enough to be perceived as bottomless, and that it only takes a few seconds to reach terminal velocity for a human-shaped object, it was traveling 55m/s when it impacted (which, given the weight calculated earlier, means its momentum would've been ~9,400kg*m/s). However, given that we don't know how long it took the Balrog to decelerate when it impacted the water, the actual force of the landing is unknown. Perhaps someone with more knowledge on water landings would know more.
The White Rider wrote:‘“Name him not!” said Gandalf, and for a moment it seemed that a cloud of pain passed over his face, and he sat silent, looking old as death. “Long time I fell,” he said at last, slowly, as if thinking back with great difficulty. “Long I fell, and he fell with me. His fire was about me. I was burned. Then we plunged into the deep water and all was dark. Cold it was as the tide of death: almost it froze my heart.”

“Deep is the abyss that is spanned by Durin's Bridge, and none has measured it,” said Gimli.

“Yet it has a bottom, beyond light and knowledge,” said Gandalf. “Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone. He was with me still. His fire quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake.”

“We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted. Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels. They were not made by Durin's folk, Gimli son of Gloin. Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day. In that despair my enemy was my only hope, and I pursued him, clutching at his heel. Thus he brought me back at last to the secret ways of Khazad-Dûm: too well he knew them all. Ever up we went now, until we came to the Endless Stair.”

“Long has that been lost,” said Gimli. “Many have said that it was never made save in legend, but others say that it was destroyed.”

“It was made, and it had not been destroyed,” said Gandalf. “From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak it climbed, ascending in unbroken spiral in many thousand steps, until it issued at last in Durin's Tower carved in the living rock of Zirakzigil, the pinnacle of the Silvertine.”

“There upon Celebdil was a lonely window in the snow, and before it lay a narrow space, a dizzy eyrie above the mists of the world. There sun shone fiercely there, but all below was wrapped in cloud. Out he sprang, and even as I came behind, he burst into new flame. There was none to see, or perhaps in after ages songs would still be sung of the Battle of the Peak.”

Suddenly Gandalf laughed. “But what would they say in song? Those that looked up from afar thought that the mountain was crowned with storm. Thunder they heard, and lightning, they said, smote upon Celebdil, and leaped back broken into tongues of fire. Is that not enough? A great smoke rose about us, vapour and steam. Ice fell like rain. I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin. Then darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell.

Naked I was sent back – for a brief time, until my task is done. And naked I lay upon the mountain-top. The tower behind was crumbled into dust, the window gone; the ruined stair was choked with burned and broken stone”’
There is some useful information, despite the admitted vagueness of the passage. First, the Balrog has crazy endurance; not only did it survive the fall (see above), but it went on to fight a running battle for ten days:
Appendix B wrote: January 15: The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, and fall of Gandalf.
January 23: Gandalf pursues the Balrog to the peak of Zirakzigil
January 25: He casts down the Balrog, and passes away. His body lies on the peak.
Clearly, trying to exhaust a Balrog would be a tall order; hell, they might not even need sleep in the normal sense of mortal beings, being fallen angels and all. There is also the possibility that we see the Balrog employing fire as a ranged attack, given the "tongues of fire" sentence, and the fact that the tower was "burned and broken," but that is up for interpretation. It is quite explicit that the fight eventually became hot enough to vaporize the surrounding snow and cause it to fall back down as rain. However, given that we don't know how much was vaporized, or how quickly, it can't give us any definitive numbers.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

User avatar
Ted C
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4486
Joined: 2002-07-07 11:00am
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by Ted C » 2009-06-23 12:15pm

Balrog wrote:An unknown number of Balrogs, with their fiery whips, are clearly too much for a powered-up Ungoliath to deal with on her own.
Well, to be technical, an unspecified number of Balrogs in addition to Morgoth (albeit in a weakened state) were sufficient to drive away Ungoliant in her enhanced state.

If Morgoth himself had not also been present and struggling against her, the Balrogs might not have been so much of a problem.
"This is supposed to be a happy occasion... Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who."
-- The King of Swamp Castle, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

"Nothing of consequence happened today. " -- Diary of King George III, July 4, 1776

"This is not bad; this is a conspiracy to remove happiness from existence. It seeks to wrap its hedgehog hand around the still beating heart of the personification of good and squeeze until it is stilled."
-- Chuck Sonnenburg on Voyager's "Elogium"

User avatar
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2258
Joined: 2002-12-29 09:29pm
Location: Fortress of Angband

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by Balrog » 2009-10-09 01:57am

Balrog wrote:
Of the Flight of the Noldor wrote:‘But Ungoliath had grown great, and he less by the power that had gone out of him; and she rose against him, and her cloud closed about him, an she enmeshed him in a web of clinging thongs to strangle him. Then Morgoth sent forth a terrible cry, that echoed in the mountains...Deep in forgotten places that cry was heard. Far beneath the ruined halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their Lord; and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire. With their whips of flame they smote asunder the webs of Ungolaith, and she quailed, and turned to flight, belching black vapours to cover her...’
Something I totally forgot about until now. Going off the map from the Atlas of Middle-Earth, based on a number of Tolkien maps and drawings (and unlike the map printed in the Silmarillion, has a scale), the distance from Angband to the shores of Lammoth, is in the ballpark of around two hundred miles, give or take a few dozen. This means the Balrogs would have had to cover that distance in a relatively short time frame, passing over two mountain ranges as well. Unless we were to postulate that Morgoth spent days or weeks bawling for help, this would be proof that Balrogs can move very, very fast if need be.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

User avatar
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2258
Joined: 2002-12-29 09:29pm
Location: Fortress of Angband

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by Balrog » 2009-10-09 02:00am

For a discussion on Elven endurance see this thread.
Of Men wrote:‘In those days Elves and Men were of like stature and strength of body, but the Elves had greater wisdom, and skill, and beauty; and those who had dwelt in Valinor and looked upon the Powers as much surpassed the Dark Elves in these things as they in turn surpassed the people of the mortal race. Only in the realm of Doriath, whose queen Melian was of the kindred of the Valar, did the Sindar come near to match the Calaquendi of the Blessed Realm.

Immortal were the Elves, and their wisdom waxed from age to age, and no sickness nor pestilence brought death to them. Their bodies indeed were of the stuff of the earth, and could be destroyed; and in those days they were more like to the bodies of Men, since they had not so long been inhabited by the fire of their spirit, which consumes them from within in the course of time. But Men were more frail, more easily slain by weapon or mischance, and less easily healed; subject to sickness and many ills; and they grew old and died.’
Basic overview of Elves, their immortality, immunity to sickness, etc.
Barrels out of Bond wrote: ‘There was no thought of a fight. Even if the dwarves had not been in such a state that they were actually glad to be captured, their small knives, the only weapons they had, would have been of no use against the arrows of the elves that could hit a bird’s eye in the dark.’
Probably exaggeration, but if so its intentions are still pretty clear, Elves are meant to be crack shots with bows.
Barrels out of Bond wrote:‘It must be a potent wine to make a wood-elf drowsy; but this wine, it would seem, was the heady vintage of the great gardens of Dorwinion…’
Elves can take their alcohol with the best of them.
Three is Company wrote: ‘They now marched on again in silence, and passed like shadows and faint lights: for Elves (even more then hobbits) could walk when they wished without sound or footfall.’
Obviously, Elves can be stealthy, more so than a race noted for being damn sneaky when they want to be.
Flight to the Ford wrote:‘[Glorfindel] searched the wound on Frodo’s shoulder with his fingers, and his face grew graver, as if what he learned disquieted him. But Frodo felt the chill lessen in his side and arm; a little warmth crept down from his shoulder to his hands and the pain grew easier. The dusk of evening seemed to grow lighter about him, as if a cloud had been withdrawn. He saw his friends’ faces more clearly again, and a measure of new hope and strength returned.’
Elven healing abilities, while not able to completely counteract a Morgul blade, can ease the pain. How it does with more mundane sickness and injury is not known.
Flight to the Ford wrote: ‘To Frodo it appeared that a white light was shining through the form and raiment of [Glorfindel], as if through a thin veil.’
Many Meetings wrote:‘“And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and Unseen they have great power.”

“I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?”

“Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is on the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes.”’
Powerful Elven lords are perceived differently in the 'shadow world' compared to normal beings.
The Ring Goes South wrote: ‘Legolas watched them for a while with a smile upon his lips, and then he turned to the others. “The strongest must seek a way, say you? But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf, or over snow – an Elf.”

With that he sprang forth nimbly, and then Frodo noticed as if for the first time, though he had long known it, that the Elf had no boots, but only wore light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow.

“Farewell!” he said to Gandalf. “I go to find the Sun!” Then swift as a runner over firm sand he shot away, and quickly overtaking the toiling men, with a wave of his hand he passed them, and sped into the distance, and vanished round the rocky turn.’
This is more than simply being light on your feet. How do Elves defy gravity? It's magic!
Lothlórien wrote:‘“They’re Elves,” said Sam. “Can’t you hear their voices?”

“Yes, they are Elves,” said Legolas; “and they say that you breath so lough that they could shoot you in the dark.” Sam hastily put his hand over his mouth.’
Probably more exaggeration, but then Sam isn't one to breath loudly, and those pointy ears must be good for something.
Lothlórien wrote:‘[Frodo] got up and crawled to the opening and peered down. He was almost certain that he could hear stealthy movements at the tree's foot far below.

Not Elves; for the woodland folk were altogether noiseless in their movements.’
Again, Elves are portrayed as being very good at stealthy movement.
Lothlórien wrote:‘“Celebrant is already a strong steam here, as you see,” said Haldir, “and it runs both swift and deep, and is very cold. We do not set foot in it so far north, unless we must. But in these days of watchfulness we do not make bridges. This is how we cross! Follow me!” He made his end of the rope fast about another tree, and then ran lightly along it, over the river and back again, as if he were on a road.’
Another demonstration of Elven agility.
The Riders of Rohan wrote:‘“It is a great company on foot; but I cannot say more, nor see what kind of folk they may be. They are many leagues away: twelve, I guess; but the flatness of the plain is hard to measure.”’
Legolas can just make out the group of Orcs that took Merry and Pippin, though not in any great detail, at a distance of potentially thirty-six miles. This while standing atop the East Wall of Rohan, where the Emyn Muil ends in a sheer cliff that drops for at least one hundred and twenty feet down to the plains of Rohan.
The Riders of Rohan wrote: ‘Only Legolas still stepped lightly as ever, his feet hardly seeming to press the grass, leaving no footprints as he passed; but in the waybread of the Elves he found all the sustenance that he needed, and he could sleep, if sleep it could be called by Men, resting his mind in the strange paths of elvish dreams, even as he walked open-eyed in the light of this world.’
Expanded upon in the thread above, but on its own the passage suggests that Elves can "sleep" while still functioning normally, in this case cross-country running.
The Riders of Rohan wrote:‘“Yes,” said Legolas, “there are one hundred and five. Yellow is their hair, and bright are their spears. Their leader is very tall.”

Aragorn smiles. “Keen are the eyes of the Elves,” he said.

“Nay! The riders are little more than five leagues distant,” said Legolas.

“There are three empty saddles, but I see no hobbits,” said Legolas.’
At distances of fifteen miles, Elven eyesight can make out much greater detail then before, even giving accurate descriptions and counting of Éomer's household troop.
The Riders of Rohan wrote: ‘A smaller and lighter horse, but restive and fiery, was brought to Legolas. Arod was his name. But Legolas asked them to take off saddle and rein. “I need them not,” he said, and leaped lightly up, and to their wonder Arod was tame and willing beneath him, moving here and there with but a spoke word: such was the elvish way with all good beasts.’
Potentially this could be explained by the Elven ability to communicate with telepathy, rather than just saying "it's magic!"
The Black Gate Opens wrote:‘And from that evening onward the Nazgûl came and followed every move of the army. They still flew high and out of sight of all save Legolas, and yet their presence could be felt, as a deepening of shadow and a dimming of the sun; and though the Ringwraiths did not yet stoop low upon their foes and were silent, uttering no cry, the dread of them could not be shaken off.’
Yet again, Elven eyesight > normal human eyesight.
Many Partings wrote:‘Here now for seven days they tarried, for the time was at hand for another parting which they were loath to make. Soon Celeborn and Galadriel and their folk would turn eastward, and so pass by the Redhorn Gate and down the Dimrill Stair to the Silverlode and to their own country. They had journeyed thus far by the west-ways, for they had much to speak of with Elrond and Gandalf, and here they lingered still in converse with their friends. Often long after the hobbits were wrapped in sleep they would sit together under the stars, recalling the ages that were gone and all their joys and labours in the world, or holding council, concerning the days to come. If any wanderer had chanced to pass by, little would he have seen or heard, and it would have seemed to him only that he saw grey figures, carved in stone, memorials of forgotten things now lost in unpeopled lands. For they did not move or speak with mouth, looking from mind to mind; and only their shining eyes stirred and kindled as their thoughts went to and fro.’
Pretty obvious, Elves are telepathic. The range limit on their telepathy is left vague, but appears to be within normal talking distances.
Of Maeglin wrote:‘For by no means would his mother reveal to Maeglin where Turgon dwelt, nor by what means one might come thither, and he bided his time, trusting yet to wheedle the secret from her, or perhaps to read her unguarded mind…’
Elves can block their thoughts from being read if they want.
Of the Coming of Men into the West wrote:‘Now the Eldar were beyond all other peoples skilled in tongues; and Felagund discovered also that he could read in the minds of Men such thoughts as they wished to reveal in speech, so that their words were easily interpreted.’
More mind-reading, but from this we can determine that, at least for casual conversation, it is possible to block one's thoughts from being read, even if you're not aware of it.
Flies and Spiders wrote:‘After a good deal of creeping and crawling they peered round the trunks and looked into a clearing where some trees had been felled and the ground leveled. There were many people there, elvish-looking folk, all dressed in green and brown and sitting on sawn rings of the felled trees in a great circle. There was a fire in their midst and there were torches fastened to some of the trees round about; but most splendid sight of all: they were eating and drinking and laughing merrily.

The smell of the roast meats was so enchanting that, without waiting to consult one another, every one of them got up and scrambled forwards into the ring with the one idea of begging for some food. No sooner had the first stepped into the clearing than all the lights went out as if by magic. Somebody kicked the fire and it went up in rockets of glittering sparks and vanished. They were lost in a completely lightless dark and they could not find one another, not for a long time at any rate.’

“The lights are coming out again over there, and there are more than ever of them.”

Up they all jumped. There, sure enough, not far away were scores of twinkling lights, and they heard the voices and the laughter quite plainly. They crept slowly towards them, in a single line, each touching the back of the one in front. When they got near Thorin said: “No rushing forward this time! No one is to stir from hiding till I say. I shall send Mr. Baggins alone first to talk to them. They won’t be frightened of him-(“What about me of them?” thought Bilbo)-and any way I hope they won’t do anything nasty to him.”

When they got to the edge of the circle of lights they pushed Bilbo suddenly from behind. Before he had time to slip on his ring, he stumbled forward into the full blaze of fire and torches. It was no good. Out went all the lights again and complete darkness fell.

If it had been difficult collecting themselves before, it was far worse this time. And they simply could not find the hobbit…They were just giving up hope, when Dori stumbled across him by sheer luck. In the dark he fell over what he thought was a log, and he found it was the hobbit curled up fast asleep. It took a deal of shaking to wake him, and when he was awake he was no pleased at all.’

“There’s a regular blaze of light begun not far away – hundreds of torches and many fires must have been lit suddenly and by magic. And hark to the singing and the harps!”

After lying and listening for a while, they found they could not resist the desire to go nearer and try once more to get help. Up they got again; and this time the result was more disastrous. The feast that they now saw was greater and more magnificent than before; and at the head of a long line of feasters sat a woodland king with a crown of leaves upon his golden hair, very much as Bombur had described the figure in his dream. The elvish folk were passing bowls from hand to hand and cross the fires, and some were harping and many were singing. Their gleaming hair was twined with flowers; green and white gems glinted on their collars and their belts; and their faces and their songs were filled with mirth. Loud and clear and fair were those songs, and out stepped Thorin in to their midst.

Dead silence fell in the middle of a word. Out went all the light. The fires leaped up in black smokes. Ashes and cinders were in the eyes of the dwarves, and the wood was filled again with their clamour and their cries.’

‘The dwarves then noticed that they had come to the edge of a ring where elf-fires had been. Whether it was one of those they had seen the night before, they could not tell. But it seemed that some good magic lingered in such spots, which the spiders did not like.’
Enchantments set up by the elves of Mirkwood; woodland elves being noted for having less skill than the Calaquendi in matters such as these. Besides turning out all the lights, they can put an intruder to sleep, and the type of magic used is repellent to evil critters like spiders. How long it takes them to set up these enchantments, how long they last, and other details are left unknown.
Of Maeglin wrote:‘But Eöl, though stooped by his smithwork, was no Dwarf, but a tall Elf of a high kin of the Teleri, noble though grim of face; and his eyes could see deep into shadows and dark places. And it came to pass that he saw Aredel Ar-Feiniel as she strayed among the tall trees near the borders of Nan Elmoth, a gleam of white in the dim land. Very fair she seemed to him, and he desired her; and he set his enchantments about her so that she could not find the ways out, but drew ever nearer to his dwellings in the depths of the wood.’
More examples of enchantments, though again this occurs in Eöl's home woods, so the hows of creating them are left unanswered.
Of Beren and Lúthien wrote:‘Beneath the Shadowy Mountains they came upon a company of Orcs, and slew them all in their camp by night; and they took their gear and their weapons. By the arts of [King Finrod] Felagund their own forms and faces were changed into the likeness of Orcs; and thus disguised they came far upon their northward road, and ventured into the western pass, between Ered Wethrin and the highlands of Taur-nu-Fuin. But Sauron in his tower was ware of them, and doubt took him; for they went in haste, and stayed not to report their deeds, as was commanded to all the servants of Morgoth who passed that way. Therefore he sent to waylay them, and bring them before him.

Thus befell the contest of Sauron and Felagund which is renowned. For Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power, and the power of the King was very great; but Sauron had the mastery, as is told in the Lay of Leithian:

He chanted a song of wizardry,
Of piercing, opening, of treachery,
Revealing, uncovering, betraying.
Then sudden Felagund there swaying,
Sang in answer a song of staying,
Resisting, battling against power,
Of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
And trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
Of changing and of shifting shape,
Of snares eluded, broken traps,
The prison opening, the chain that snaps.

Backwards and forwards swayed their songs
Reeling and foundering, as ever more strong
The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
And all the magic and might he brought
Of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
Singing afar in Nargothrond,
The sighing of the Sea beyond,
Beyond the western world, on sand,
On sand of pearls in Elvenland

Then the gloom gathered; darkness growing
In Valinor, the red blood flowing
Beside the Sea, where the Noldor slew
The Foamriders, and stealing drew
Their white ships with their white sails
From lamplit havens. The wind wails,
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouth of the Sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fire burns–
And Finrod fell before the throne.
The ability to change shape, at least among Elven lords, can be done to yourself and others around you. And, yes, a magical duel in the form of songs. Tolkien always had a thing for songs; indeed, it was through song that Middle-earth was first made according to his creation story.
Farewell to Lórien wrote: “For you little gardener and lover of trees,” she said to Sam, “I have only a small gift.” She put into his hands a little box of plain grey wood, unadorned save for a small silver rune upon the lid. “Here is set G for Galadriel,” she said; “But also it may stand for garden in your tongue. In this box is earth from my orchard, and such blessing as Galadriel has still to bestow is upon it. It will not keep you on your road, nor defend you against any peril; but if you keep it and see your home again at last, then perhaps it may reward you. Though you should find all barren and laid waste, there will be few gardens in Middle-earth that will bloom like your garden, if you sprinkle this earth there.”
The Grey Havens wrote:‘Altogether 1420 in the Shire was a marvelous year. Not only was there wonderful sunshine and delicious rain, in due times and perfect measure, but there seemed something more: an air of richness and growth, and a gleam of beauty beyond that of mortal summers that flicker and pass upon this Middle-earth. All the children born or begotten in that year, and there were many, were fair to see and strong, and most of them had a rich golden hair that had before been rare among hobbits. The fruit was so plentiful that young hobbits very nearly bathed in strawberries and cream; and later they sat on the lawns under the plum-trees and ate, until they had made piles of stones like small pyramids or the heaped skulls of a conqueror, and then moved on. And no one was ill, and everyone was pleased, except those who had to mow the grass.

In the Southfarthing the vines were laden, and the yield of ‘leaf’ was astonishing; and everywhere there was so much corn that at Harvest every barn was stuffed. The Northfarthing barley was so fine that the beer of 1420 malt was long remembered and became a byword. Indeed a generation later one might hear an old gaffer in an inn, after a good pint of well-earned ale, put down his mug with a sigh: “Ah! that was a proper fourteen-twenty, that was!”’
The effects of Elven blessing (admittedly from a very powerful Elf) on a box of dirt later spread across the Shire. Everything is perfect when you're an Elf!

Arms and Armor
The Ring Goes South wrote: ‘[Bilbo] took from the box a small sword in an old shabby leather scabbard. Then he drew it, and its polished and well-tended blade glittered suddenly, cold and bright. “This is Sting,” he said, and thrust it with little effort deep into a wooden beam.’
Apparently one of Sting's many qualities is its sharpness, given the ability to thrust it "deep" into a piece of wood easily.
The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm wrote:‘There was a blow on the door that made it quiver; and then it began to grind slowly open, driving back the wedges. A huge arm and shoulder, with a dark skin of greenish scales, was thrust through the widening gap. Then a great, flat, toeless foot was forced through below. There was a dead silence outside.

Boromir leaped forward, and hewed at the arm with all his might; but his sword rang, glanced aside, and fell from his shaken hand.

Suddenly, and to his own surprise, Frodo felt a hot wrath blaze up in his heart. “The Shire!” he cried, and springing beside Boromir, he stooped, and stabbed with Sting at the hideous foot. There was a bellow, and the foot jerked back, nearly wrenching Sting from Frodo’s arm. Black drops dripped from the blade and smoked the floor.’
Again a demonstration of Elven steel being sharper than steel, its ability to pierce Troll skin where Boromir's normal blade failed.
Shelob’s Lair wrote:‘The outlet was blocked with some barrier, but not of stone; soft and a little yielding it seemed, and yet strong and impervious; air filtered through, but not a glimmer of any light. Once more they charged and were hurled back.

Holding aloft the Phial Frodo looked and before him he saw a greyness which the radiance of the star-glass did not pierce and did not illuminate, as if it were a shadow that being cast by no light, no light could dissipate. Across the width and height of the tunnel a vast web was spun, orderly as the web of some huge spider, but denser-woven and far greater, and each thread was as thick as rope.

Sam laughed grimly. “Cobwebs!” he said. “Is that all? Cobwebs! But what a spider. Have at ’em, down with ’em!”

In a fury he hewed at them with his sword, but the thread that he struck did not break. It gave a little and then sprang back like a plucked bowstring, turning the blade and tossing up both sword and arm. Three times Sam struck with all his force, and at last one single cord of all the countless cords snapped and twisted, curling and whipping through the air. One end of it lashed Sam’s hand, and he cried in pain, starting back and drawing his hand across his mouth.

Then Frodo stepped up to the great grey net, and hewed it with a wide sweeping stroke, drawing the bitter edge swiftly across a ladder of close-strung cords, and at once springing away. The blue-gleaming blade shore through them like a scythe through grass, and they leaped and writhed and then hung loose.’
Elven steel also proves superior to Númenórean blades, which were similarly able to pierce Troll skin.
The Tower of Cirith Ungol wrote:‘[The Orc] was no more than six paces from him when, lifting its head, it saw him; and same could hear its gasping breath and see the glare in its bloodshot eyes. It stopped short aghast. For what it saw was not a small frightened hobbit trying to hold a steady sword: it saw a great silent shape, cloaked in a grey shadow, looming against the wavering light behind; in its right hand it held a sword, the light of which was a bitter pain…’
The Tower of Cirith Ungol wrote:‘[Sam] sprung out to meet Shagrat with a shout…and in his hand was Sting, and its light smote the eyes of the orc like the glitter of cruel stars in the terrible elf-countries, the dream of which was a cold fear to all his kind.’
Both passages suggest that Sting's ability to glow at the approach of Orcs is more than just to act as an early warning system, but causes pain to the orcs themselves. This is hardly something new; many other "good" or "hallowed" items have shown similar capabilities, whether it's the Silmarils themselves or an ordinary piece of Elvish rope:
The Taming of Smeagol wrote:‘He stood over Gollum, while Sam tied the knot. The result surprised them both. Gollum began to scream, a thin, tearing sound, very horrible to hear. He writhed, and tried to get his mouth to his ankle and bit the rope. He kept on screaming.

At last Frodo was convinced that he really was in pain; but it could not be from the knot. He examined it and found that it was not too tight, indeed hardly tight enough. Sam was gentler than his words. “What’s the matter with you?” he said. “If you will try to run away, you must be tied; but we don’t wish to hurt you.”

“It hurts us, it hurts us,” hissed Gollum. “It freezes, it bites! Elves twisted it, curse them! Nasty cruel hobbits! That’s why we tries to escape, of course it is, precious. We guessed they were cruel hobbits. They visit Elves, fierce Elves with bright eyes. Take it off us! It hurts us.”
Farewell to Lórien wrote:‘The Elves next unwrapped and gave to each of the Company the clothes they had brought. For each they had provided a hood and cloak, made according to his size, of the light but warm silken stuff that the Galadhrim wove. It was hard to say what colour they were: grey with the hue of twilight under the trees they seemed to be; and yet if they were moved, or set in another light, they were green as shadowed leaves, or brown as fallow fields by night, dusk-silver as water under the stars. Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.

“Are these magic cloaks?” asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.

“I do not know what you mean by that,” answered the leader of the Elves. “They are fair garments, and the web is good, for it was made in this land. They are elvish robes certainly, if that is what you mean. Leaf and branch, water and stone: they have the hue and beauty of all these things under the twilight of Lórien that we love; for we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make. Yet they are garments, not armour, and they will not turn shaft or blade. But they should serve you well: they are light to wear, and warm enough or cool enough at need. And you will find them a great aid in keeping out of sight of unfriendly eyes, whether you walk among the stones or the trees.”
Properties of Elven cloaks, part of what helps make sneaky Elves so...sneaky.
The Riders of Rohan wrote:‘So the third day of their pursuit began. During all its long hours of cloud and fitful sun they hardly paused, now striding, now running, as if no weariness could quench the fire that burned them. They seldom spoke. Over the wide solitude they passed, and their elven-cloaks faded against the background of grey-green field; even in the cool sunlight of mid-day few but elvish eyes would have marked them, until they were close at hand.
The three companions now left the hill-top, where they might be an easy mark against the pale sky, and they walked slowly down the northern slope. A little above the hill’s foot they halted, and wrapping their cloaks about them, they sat huddled together on the fading grass.

In pairs they galloped by, and though every now and then one rose in his stirrups and gazed ahead and to either side, they appeared not to perceive the three strangers sitting silently and watching them. The host had almost passed when suddenly Aragorn stood up…’
Even on the open plains of Rohan, the cloaks are good enough that more than a hundred men riding right by cannot spot them in the open.
The Taming of Smeagol wrote:‘“Do you think he can see us?” asked Sam.

“I don’t know,” said Frodo. “But I think not. It is hard even for friendly eyes to see these elven-cloaks: I cannot see you in the shadow even at a few paces.”’
Even at short distances, the cloaks can make someone practically invisible, at least to the naked eye.

The Ring Goes South wrote:‘“Give them this,” said Gandalf, searching in his pack and drawing out a leathern flask. “Just a mouthful each – for all of us. It is very precious. It is miruvor, the cordial of Imladris. Elrond gave it to me at our parting. Pass it round!”

As soon as Frodo had swallowed a little of the warm and fragrant liquor he felt a new strength of heart, and the heavy drowsiness left his limbs. The others also revived and found fresh hope and vigour.’
Mount Doom wrote: ‘The lembas had a virtue without which they would long ago have lain down to die. It did not satisfy desire, and at times Sam’s mind was filled with the memories of food, and the longing for simple bread and meats. And yet this waybread of the Elves had a potency that increased as travelers relied on it along and did not mingle it with other foods. It fed the will, and it gave strength to endure, and to master sinew and limb beyond the measure of mortal kind.’
The common theme for Elven food, at least the kind meant for long journeys, is that a little can go a long way.

Elven Rings
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age wrote:‘Now the Elves made many rings; but secretly Sauron made One Ring to rule all the others, and their power was bound up with it, to be subject wholly to it and to last only as long as it too should last. And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven-rings was great, and that which should govern them must be a thing of surpassing potency; and Sauron forged it in the Mountain of Fire in the Land of Shadow. And while he wore the One Ring he could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wore them.

Now these were the Three that had last been made, and they possessed the greatest powers. Narya, Nenya, and Vilya, they were named, the Rings of Fire, and of Water, and of Air, set with ruby and adamant and sapphire; and of all the Elven-rings Sauron most desired to posses them, for those who had them in their keeping could ward of the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the world. But Sauron could not discover them, for they were given into the hands of the Wise, who concealed them and never again used them openly while Sauron kept the Ruling Ring. Therefore the Three remained unsullied, for they were forged by Celebrimbor alone, and the hand of Sauron never touched them; yet they also were subject to the One.’
Origin of the Rings, and why Sauron put so much of himself into the One.
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age wrote:‘Of the Three Rings that the Elves had preserved unsullied no open word was ever spoken among the Wise, and few even of the Eldar knew where they were bestowed. Yet after the fall of Sauron their power was ever at work, and where they abode there mirth also dwelt and all things were unstained by the griefs of time. Therefore ere the third Age was ended the Elves perceived that the Ring of Sapphire was with Elrond, in the fair valley of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of heaven most brightly shone; whereas the Ring of Adamant was in the Land of Lórien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel. A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doraith, yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth. But the Red Ring remained hidden until the end, and none save Elrond and Galadriel and Círdan knew to whom it had been committed.’
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age wrote:‘At the first that Ring had been entrusted to Círdan, Lord of the Havens; but he had surrendered it to Mithrandir, for he knew whence he came and whither at last he would return.

“Take now this Ring,” he said; “for thy labours and thy cares will be heavy, but in all it will support thee and defend thee from weariness. For this is the Ring of Fire, and herewith, maybe, thou shalt rekindle hearts to the valour of old in a world that grows chill. But as for me, my heart is with the Sea, and I will dwell by the grey shores, guarding the Havens until the last ship sails. Then I shall await thee.”’
Who and where the Three Rings ended up with in the end. The passage about Narya suggests it might have its own special powers, a "Ring of Fire" that can "rekindle hearts" for the upcoming fight. Raises the possibility that the other two might also have individual powers.
The Shadow of the Past wrote:‘“In Eregion long ago many Elven-rings were made, magic rings as you call them, and they were, of course, of various kinds: some more potent and some less. The lesser rings were only essays in the craft before it was full-grown, and to the Elven-smiths they were but trifles – yet still to my mind dangerous to mortals.”’
Besides the major rings, the Elves also produced many lesser rings; how potent they are compared to the others is never fully explained.
The Council of Elrond wrote:‘“The Three were not made by Sauron, nor did he ever touch them. But of them it is not permitted to speak. So much only in this hour of doubt I may now say. They are not idle. But they were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained.”’
Further explanation about the role of the Elven Rings, and gives some contrast to the powers of the Seven and Nine.
Lothlórien wrote:‘As soon as he set foot upon the far bank of Silverlode a strange feeling had come upon him, and it deepened as he walked into the Naith: it seemed to him that he had stepped over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days and was now walking in a world that was no more. In Rivendell there was memory of ancient things; in Lórien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world. Evil had been seen and heard there, sorrow had been known; the Elves feared and distrusted the world outside: wolves were howling on the wood’s borders: but on the land of Lórien no shadow lay.’
Lothlórien wrote:‘“It’s sunlight and bright day, right enough,” he said. “I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.”

Haldir looked at them, and he seemed indeed to take the meaning of both thought and word. He smiled. “You feel the power of the Lady of the Galadhrim,” he said.’
How Frodo and the others perceive being within the field of effect for Galadriel's ring.
The Mirror of Galadriel wrote:‘“I know what it is that you saw last,” she said; “for that is also in my mind. Do not be afraid! But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!”

She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the finger of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.

“Yes,” she said, divining his thoughts, “it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.”’
Interestingly, wearing one of the Three while the One is not being used allows the wearer to read Sauron's mind, or at least a part of it, while preventing the same from being done from the other end. Of course, if Sauron ever got the One back then it's no contest, but such intelligence would prove useful for fighting against him in the mean time.
The Mirror of Galadriel wrote:‘“I would ask one thing before we go,” said Frodo, “a thing which I often meant to ask Gandalf in Rivendell. I am permitted to wear the One Ring: why cannot I see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them?”

“You have not tried,” she said. “Only thrice have you set the Ring upon your finger since you knew what you possessed. Do not try! It would destroy you. Did not Gandalf tell you that the rings give power according to the measure of each possessor? Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others. Yet even so, as Ring-bearer and as one that has borne it on finger and seen that which is hidden, your sight is grown keener. You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise. You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine. And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?” she asked turning again to Sam.

“No, Lady,” he answered. “To tell you the truth, I wondered what you were talking about. I saw a star through your fingers.”
A bit more on how the Rings of Power work, as well as showing that they can be made invisible to others' perceptions, even while the rest of you is visible.
The Grey Havens wrote:‘There was Gildor and many fair Elven folk; and there to Sam’s wonder rode Elrond and Galadriel. Elrond wore a mantle of grey and had a star upon his forehead, and a silver harp was in his hands, and upon his finger was a ring of gold with a great blue stone, Vilya, mightiest of the Three.’
Self-apparent, Vilya is the most powerful Elven ring.
Appendix B wrote:‘Three times Lórien had been assailed from Dol Guldur, but besides the valour of the elven people of that land, the power that dwelt there was too great for any to overcome, unless Sauron had come there himself. Though grievous harm was done to the fair woods on the borders, the assaults were driven back; and when the Shadow passed, Celeborn came forth and led the host of Lórien over Anduin in many boats. They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed.’
Suggests that the Ring actually created a barrier around Lórien, one that couldn't be penetrated by anyone of less power than Sauron at least. Such a barrier would have to be all-encompassing, considering how many flying things the bad guys command, least of all the Fell Beasts. A barrier like this is not without precedent; Melian created one around the realm of Doriath, where anyone who tried to enter it without permission became lost and turned around within the wooden borders.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

User avatar
Harbinger of Doom
Harbinger of Doom
Posts: 27180
Joined: 2002-07-07 06:30am
Location: The Lost City

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by NecronLord » 2009-10-10 10:33am

Tolkien gives an explanation of telepathy (primarily Maiar and Elvish, but all Incarnates have it) in an essay called Osanwe-Kenta. According to that, distance is not necesserily a factor. Similarly, no one, even the Valar, could actually violate a mind against its own unwill. The host controls who has access to his thoughts, or what he might send out. It's by this means that Pippin could actually resist Sauron, instead of having his thoughts plundered immediately. Of course, torture (both physical and in Pippin's case, magical) could loosen such things as easily as it could tongues.

Addording to Osanwe-Kenta, distance is irrelvant, the key factors are 'Urgency, Affinity, and Authority.' Authority being the authority of someone to issue orders, or their perception to recieve them. Additionally, disembodied spirits are better than incarnates. Obviously, though, they talk more in proximity than they do over distance, much as we, despite having capacity to talk across the world, talk more when we're with someone.

It's quite interesting and well thought out.
Superior Moderator - BotB - HAB [Drill Instructor]-Writer-'s resident Star-God.
"We believe in the systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation, argument and debate and most of all freedom of will." ~ Stargate: The Ark of Truth

User avatar
The Dark
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7378
Joined: 2002-10-31 10:28pm
Location: Promoting ornithological awareness

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by The Dark » 2010-06-02 05:32pm

If anyone would be interested in non-canonical additions to the lore, I recently picked up a fair number of the old Iron Crown Enterprises books for MERP. There's a fair bit that may be of interest, even if not canon (such as the histories of the Ulairi); much as with the EU, any contradiction with Tolkien's writings, either published or unpublished during his lifetime, should be resolved in favor of Tolkien's work.
Stanley Hauerwas wrote:[W]hy is it that no one is angry at the inequality of income in this country? I mean, the inequality of income is unbelievable. Unbelievable. Why isn’t that ever an issue of politics? Because you don’t live in a democracy. You live in a plutocracy. Money rules.
BattleTech for SilCore

User avatar
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2258
Joined: 2002-12-29 09:29pm
Location: Fortress of Angband

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by Balrog » 2010-06-08 01:09pm

Yes, I've been meaning to come back to this eventually, update a few entries and get started on some new ones.

I appreciate the help Dark, but I would prefer this to be a collection of Tolkien's work. Otherwise we could get some crazy shit going on (don't get me started about Games Workshop's take on LotR); perhaps a separate thread would be more appropriate.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

User avatar
Posts: 12
Joined: 2011-04-14 09:09am

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by Lokwar » 2011-05-03 08:35am

Excellent post, OP.

Posts: 76
Joined: 2016-01-02 12:18am

Re: Bestiary of Middle-Earth

Post by JamesStaley » 2016-02-20 08:58pm

My take/comment/thoughts on the Giant Eagles are, "WHY THE HELL WHERE THEY(ALWAYS) SO LATE GETTING INTO THE FIGHT????!!!"

The Bad Guys had an air force...."Wraiths on wings" and they always seemed to be there
when Sauron's ground forces where in need of some air support.
The Good Guys had an air force...the "Giant Eagles" and they were never there when they
were really needed or showed up late when the good guys could really have used some air
cover. :cry:

Post Reply