people of middle earth

5

They were clothed in the bodies of old men, restricting their powers so that they would only assist to the peoples of Middle-earth and not seek domination like Sauron, who was also a Maia. By inhabiting the bodies of Men they were ordered by the Valar to assist the people of Middle-earth through persuasion and encouragement, not force or fear. Being clothed in the bodies of Men they also became susceptible to all the weaknesses of a physical body, they felt hunger, pain, greed, sorrow, joy, and all other emotions and pains of Men.

Nobody’s going to deny that, as it’s conventionally depicted, Middle-Earth - the setting of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - is awfully monochrome. In art, basically everybody is drawn as white, and all major depictions in film have used white actors.

When this state of affairs is questioned, the defences typically revolve around “accuracy”, which can mean one of two things: fidelity to the source material, and the internal consistency of the setting. Being concerned primarily with languages and mythology, Tolkien left few clear descriptions of what the peoples of Middle-Earth actually look like, so in this case, arguments in favour of the status quo more often rest on setting consistency.

Of course, we need hold ourselves neither to fidelity nor to consistency - the author’s dead, and we can do what we want. However, what if I told you that there’s a reasonable argument to be made from that very standpoint of setting consistency that Aragorn - the one character you’d most expect to be depicted as a white dude - really ought to be portrayed as Middle Eastern and/or North African?

First, consider the framing device of Tolkien’s work. The central conceit of The Lord of the Rings - one retroactively extended to The Hobbit, and thereafter to later works - is that Tolkien himself is not the story’s author, but a mere translator of writings left behind by Bilbo, Frodo and other major characters. Similarly, Middle-Earth itself is positioned not as a fictional realm, but as the actual prehistory of our own world. As such, the languages and mythologies that Tolkien created were intended not merely to resemble their modern counterparts, but to stand as plausible ancestors for them.

Now, Aragorn is the king of a tribe or nation of people called the Dúnedain. Let’s take a closer look at them in the context of that prehistoric connection.

If the Dúnedain were meant to be the forebears of Western Europeans, we’d expect their language, Adûnaic, to exhibit signs of Germanic (or possibly Italic) derivation - but that’s not what we actually see. Instead, both the phonology and the general word-structure of Adûnaic seem to be of primarily Semitic derivation, i.e., the predominant language family throughout the Middle East and much of North Africa. Indeed, while relatively little Adûnaic vocabulary is present in Tolkien’s extant writings, some of the words we do know seem to be borrowed directly from classical Hebrew - a curious choice if the “men of the West” were intended to represent the ancestors of the Germanic peoples.

Additionally, the Dúnedain are descended from the survivors of the lost island of Númenor, which Tolkien had intended as an explicit analogue of Atlantis. Alone, this doesn’t give us much to go on - unless one happens to know that, in the legendarium from which Tolkien drew his inspirations, the Kingdoms of Egypt were alleged to be remnant colonies of Atlantis. This connection is explicitly reflected in the strong Egyptian influence upon Tolkien’s descriptions of Númenorean funereal customs. We thus have both linguistic and cultural/mythological ties linking the survivors of Númenor to North Africa.

Now, I’m not going to claim that Tolkien actually envisioned the Dúnedain as North African; he was almost certainly picturing white folks. However, when modern fans argue that Aragorn and his kin must be depicted as white as a matter of setting consistency, rather than one of mere authorial preference, strong arguments can be made that this need not be the case; i.e., that depicting the Dúnedain in a manner that would be racialised as Middle Eastern and/or North African by modern standards is, in fact, entirely consistent with the source material, ethnolinguistically speaking. Furthermore, whether they agreed with these arguments or not, any serious Tolkien scholar would at least be aware of them.

In other words, if some dude claims that obviously everyone in Tolkien is white and acts like the very notion of depicting them otherwise is some outlandish novelty, you’ve got yourself a fake geek boy.

(As an aside, if we turn our consideration to the Easterlings, the human allies of Sauron who have traditionally been depicted in art as Middle Eastern on no stronger evidence than the fact that they’re baddies from the East, a similar process of analysis suggests that they’d more reasonably be racialised as Slavic in modern terms. Taken together with the preceding discussion, an argument can be made that not only is the conventional racialisation of Tolkien’s human nations in contemporary art unsupported by the source material, we may well have it precisely backwards!)

While a young Elros usually keeps his hair short due his fascination with men, he originally got the hairstyle from Maedhros. He was the only elf Elros had ever seen who had kept his hair short, like men. And since he was a child, Elros had been taken aback by it.  

When he was little and asked Maedhros why he’d worn it like that, he simply told him that because he was  the only redhead elf in all of Middle Earth, people often tried to steal his hair, and he cut it to preserve it.

It’s when Elros gets older that he realizes that Maedhros started cutting it short after his time in Angband, when it was repeatedly  pulled by the orcs. Not only that, but Fingon’s death played a role in it.

Elros wears the style with more reverence after learning that.

2

The Lord of the Rings Meme  29. the beginning

“It all began with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Elves; immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven, to the Dwarf Lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And nine, nine rings were gifted to the race of Men, who above all else desire power. For within these rings was bound the strength and the will to govern over each race. But they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made. In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret, a master ring, to control all others. And into this ring he poured all his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One ring to rule them all. One by one, the free peoples of Middle Earth fell to the power of the Ring. But there were some who resisted. A last alliance of men and elves marched against the armies of Mordor, and on the very slopes of Mount Doom, they fought for the freedom of Middle-Earth. Victory was near, but the power of the ring could not be undone. It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Isildur, son of the king, took up his father’s sword. And Sauron, enemy of the free peoples of Middle-Earth, was defeated. The Ring passed to Isildur, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever, but the hearts of men are easily corrupted. And the ring of power has a will of its own. It betrayed Isildur, to his death. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, the ring ensnared a new bearer. The ring came to the creature Gollum, who took it deep into the tunnels under the Misty Mountains, and there it consumed him. The ring gave to Gollum unnatural long life. For five hundred years it poisoned his mind; and in the gloom of Gollum’s cave, it waited. Darkness crept back into the forests of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in the East, whispers of a nameless fear, and the Ring of Power perceived. Its time had now come. It abandoned Gollum. But then something happened that the Ring did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable. A Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, of the Shire. For the time will soon come when Hobbits will shape the fortunes of all…“

Religion isn’t a hateful thing. It never once was. Nice, tolerant Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Muslim people can live in peace and all know that, essentially, it’s the same God and let’s be fine and content and live accordingly with each other. The problem is the sociopaths who jumped on religion and thinks it gives them an excuse to do violent shit.

You sad, dimwitted, retarded pricks. You ruined World Peace.

We all know what you did.  What you’ve done to the world. 

Welcome to my SU AU(actually I don’t know if anybody did this yet)

Meet Bilbo. Guess what his gem is.

Here we have Bilbo defending Thorins gem. Thorin got poofed by Azog.

My poor baby’s gem got cracked when he got chased by Smaug.

Personal headcanons:

-all the people in Middle Earth have gems. They still have their own names and being called by your gem is rude(at least concerning hobbits) and considered classicist

-hobbits usually cover their gems. that is why you don’t see bilbos gem(it’s also very convenient for him since they’re LOOKING FOR THAT FRIGGIN GEM IN HIS CHEST!!!)

-bilbos summoned weapon is sting(surprise!), thorins is his shield(his gem is on his forearm)

-after the first run-in with azog everyone is worried that thorins gem got damaged. but bilbo got there in time :D cue thorins regeneration on the carrock

-orcs, goblins and the other creatures of morgoth are artificial and corrupted gem. Corruption can manifest differently in this verse (they can still be intelligent and stuff, hence azog and shit)

-Bilbos gem/the Arkenstone(there, I said it) only starts corrupting the people in his vicinity AFTER it got cracked. That’s why Thorin fell so fast ( jep, goldmadness is corruption here). Also why the shire isn’t full of corrupted gems.

BILBO DIES ENDING: Bilbo get’s shattered. Yes, sorry, just ignore this part if you want. He gets shattered by Azog when he distracts him to save Thorin. With the Arkenstone shattered Thorin and co.’s corruption disappears.

EVERYBODY LIVES ENDING: Bilbo only get’s poofed. Thorin shatters Azog and pulls a Rose Quartz/Rapunzel on Bilbo’s gem. BOOM. CORRUPTING GEM CORRUPTS NO LONGER; EVERYONE GETS DE-CORRUPTED AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, GOOD NIGHT, THE END. also imagine the awesome fusions. BAGGINSHiELD FUSION!!! OH GOD!!

2

                             
Galadriel  was  chosen  by  Artanis  (‘noble  woman’)  to   be  her Sindarin  name;  for it  was the  most beautiful  of her  names, and,though  as  an  epesse, had  been given  to her  by her  lover, Teleporno  of  the  Teleri,  whom  she  wedded  later  in Beleriand.(46) As he  gave it  in Telerin form it  was Alatariel(le).  The Quenyarized form  appears  as  Altariel,  though  its true  form would  have been Naltariel.   It was euphoniously and   correctly   rendered  in Sindarin   Galadriel. The   name  was derived  from  the  Common Eldarin   stem   NAL  'shine   by  reflection’;  *nalata 'radiance,glittering  reflection’ (from  jewels, glass  or polished  metals, or water)  >  Quenya  nalta,  Telerin  alata,  Sindarin  galad,   +  the Common  Eldarin  stem  RIG  'twine,  wreathe’,  *riga  'wreath,  garland’;  Quenya,  Telerin  ria, Sindarin  ri, Quenya,  Telerin rielle,-riel  'a  maiden  crowned  with  a festival  garland’. The  whole, 'maiden  crowned  with  a  garland  of  bright  radiance’,  was given in reference to  Galadriel’s hair.  Galad occurs  also in  the epesse of  Ereinion ('scion  of  kings’)  by  which  he was  chiefly remembered in legend, Gil-galad 'star of radiance’: he  was the  last king of the  Eldar  in  Middle-earth,  and  the  last  male  descendant of Finwe (47) except  Elrond  the  Half-elven.  The  epesse  was  given to him because his helm and mail, and his shield overlaid with silver and set with a device of white stars, shone from  afar like a star in sunlight or moonlight and could be  seen by  Elvish eyes at a great distance if he stood upon a height.

(The Peoples of Middle-earth)             

Thoughts on Legolas

“In Sauron’s final overthrow, Elves were not effectively concerned at the point of action. Legolas probably achieved least of the Nine Walkers.” Unfinished Tales, JRR Tolkien.

I have always found this passage troubling.


I understand Legolas was a late addition to the narrative and as such is a bit of an enigma as far as his origins. It makes sense that Tolkien needed an Elf as part of the Fellowship–the members were to represent the free peoples of Middle Earth and the Elves were the first of these peoples. It also makes a great deal of sense that Tolkien did not choose Glorfindel or Elrond’s sons as members. Sauron was not going to be defeated by strength of arms in outright battle. That had failed with mighty Elven warriors in the past. Obviously skilled warriors were necessary to provide protection for the members of the Fellowship–Frodo in particular–but their success was not to be in battle prowess. It also makes sense for Aragorn’s narrative arc to leave Glorfindel and the twins out–he would have a natural tendency to defer to them, consciously or unconsciously, and this was his time to lead and fulfill his ultimate potential–he could not do that as effectively with great Elf lords in his company, in my opinion.

Legolas is a formidable presence as described by Tolkien:
“He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, #2)

Legolas’ achievements are many in LOTR. They may not be as profound as Frodo’s or Aragorn’s but I do not feel his achievements are so minimal as the initial quote supposes.
He remains an integral part of the Fellowship–the ultimate goals would not have been achieved if he were not part of the quest.

He is not a direct catalyst like Merry and Pippin (with the rousing of the Ents). His actions are perhaps less epic in scale than Frodo’s–or Sam’s for that matter. But time and again his simple actions (scouting, shooting, sensing) keep the Fellowship from greater harm. His companionship and support for Aragorn is invaluable. In Legolas Aragorn has a comrade who is his equal and treats him as such–he respects Aragorn’s leadership, supports his decisions, provides a sounding board and is a confidant, and he gives Aragorn his trust and his loyalty–all things that assist Aragorn in his progress from Ranger to King.

Legolas’ demeanor throughout most of LOTR is upbeat, cheerful and supportive–despite the almost constant state of warfare against the Shadow he must have lived through in Mirkwood. He has lived under that Shadow and engaged in battle against it his whole life but he has not let it overtake him–he has kept intact his joy in the world around him far more than many of the other Elves we encounter. He is the member of the Fellowship who keeps the most positive attitude, who lifts their spirits with his songs, his smile, his stories. This is especially important for the hobbits and is what keeps them going at times. He is unflagging and devoted, as we see during the chase of the orcs across Rohan.
His bravery is unquestioned. He may have faltered at the sight of the Balrog but few would not have–he is not an Elf of the first age, who had witnessed such horrors first hand before.
I think his bravery is even more apparent after he receives Galadriel’s message from Gandalf:

“Legolas Greenleaf, long under tree, In joy thou hast lived. Beware of the Sea! If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore, Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.” The Return of the King, JRR Tolkien.

This passage has multiple interpretations but even Legolas himself initially interprets this as referring to his death.

“Gandalf fell silent and shut his eyes.
‘Then she sent me no message?’ said Gimli and bent his head.
‘Dark are her words,’ said Legolas, ‘and little do they mean to those that receive them.’
‘That is no comfort,’ said Gimli.
‘What then?’ said Legolas. ‘Would you have her speak openly to you of your death?’
‘Yes, if she had naught else to say.’” The Two Towers, JRR Tolkien.

His decision to go on, even though he knows there is a certain risk of a momentous change (sea-longing, death) that could be detrimental specifically to him, is perhaps one of his bravest moments. His loyalty to his friends outweighs the risk to himself. He does not falter. When he does eventually fall under the sea-longing his loyalty to his friends and love of them still triumphs, as he puts off the call of the sea for many years to stay by their side.

But to me Legolas’ greatest achievement will be his unprecedented and utterly devoted friendship with Gimli. It defies race, defies custom, defies convention, defies even the Valar. For when the ultimate test of friendship comes, the sundering of their relationship due to Gimli’s mortal nature and Legolas’ long standing sea-longing, Legolas shines through with a loyalty and bravery that is unprecedented. The last ships may have sailed but that’s no matter–despite no previous instruction or skill he will build his own ship to sail. Despite the fact that the West is exclusively for Valar, Maiar, Elves, and the two Ring bearers, he defies convention and takes his best friend with him, unwilling to be parted. How is that not a worthy achievement? It is at the heart of Tolkien’s story–friendship and love can overcome even the most daunting of obstacles. We see that over and over in the narrative and this most certainly embodies that.
His contributions and achievements may not have been as momentous as some of the others in the Fellowship but they should not be counted as the least. He may not have had a moment where the focus was all on him and he did something spectacular. He was consistent. He stood by his companions. He was loyal, brave and most importantly of all, open to new experiences and people. They couldn’t have done it without him.