So I’ve been thinking for a while about the Discworld books, and how they can be divided up into three rough thematic phases; not based around the focal characters, but rather what the story is about.
The first wave, which begins with The Colour of Magic and I would say ends with Guards, Guards! or Faust Eric. These books are parodies of existing fantasy, and thematically spend a lot of time exploring the conventions of these stories, both mocking them and codifying them as fact for the Disc. We get a lot of witches and Rincewind books here.
Having set up the status quo, the stage is then set for the second wave to enter, starting with Moving Pictures. This is when Pratchett starts to branch out in terms out his parodies, and moves from fantasy parodies to other areas of society and culture, from the movies in Moving Pictures to shopping centres in that weird Reaper Man subplot, to guns in Men at Arms. Notably, all of these are based around external forces disrupting the status quo, and having to be set right. My favourite example of this is probably Jingo, where the external force disappears by itself when the island sinks back into the sea. Hogfather, Carpe Jugulum and Thief of Time all fit into this wave, which has kind of a fuzzy boundary with the third wave.
Fantasy has always, as an overall genre, had a problem with the idea of growth and change. The idea of “Setting right what went wrong” and protecting the existing status quo has always been a major element in a lot of fantasy stories. “Restoring the true king” is a popular one which is lampooned by the character of Captain Carrot, but Discworld itself has, up to around 1996, had a problem with this itself (notably, the point of the Carrot subplot in Men at Arms is that he is the true king but delibrately chooses not to reveal himself in order to defend the status quo) Its plots, while often having some changes for individual characters, rarely allowed the setting itself to change, and the change that occurs is put right by the end.
The first book to sort of challenge this is probably the fantastic Feet of Clay, one of my favourites, where the role of the Golems is examined and by the end, the concept of a Golem owning itself is introduced. This is a major change for golems in the setting, but it isn’t really played with much here. The two books that really kick off the third wave come, fittingly, at the turn of the Millenium; 1999′s The Fifth Elephant, which examines dwarf politics, and the 25th Discworld novel, 2000′s The Truth, which is the first time we really see a persistant technological change in the setting. The newspaper set up by de Worde is a major factor in all the later books, and notably it is the protagonist of The Truth that is trying to disrupt the status quo with the creation of the newspaper. It isn’t films or rock music, which are eldritch abominations that must be stopped, but an organic and important change in the setting. This is the main theme of the third wave: the Disc is changed and shaped in lasting ways by the actions of the main characters, particularly on the wider social level. Cherry Littlebottom helps to change dwarf gender norms, goblins and orcs are introduced to society at large (admittedly in rather easy ways), and the biggest change of all is the introduction of everyone’s favourite conman, Moist Von Lipwig, who progressively creates or helps create the postal system, paper currency, and the first train network. In the Tiffany Aching books, we see both changes in the social structure that were made far earlier and then ignored (the female wizard Eskarina Smith in I shall Wear Midnight), and a double whammy in the death of Granny Weatherwax and appointment of Gregory as the new witch for her old area in The Shepard’s Crown. In the three waves, we go from stasis, to active defence of the status quo, to challenging and changing it.
Obviously this isn’t a perfect model. While I think the switch between waves one and two is fairly clear, as I noted above waves two and three are far more fuzzy in their boundary. Most notably, while I said that The Truth was the first major wave three book, between it and Monstrous Regiment and Going Postal, we have the second wave’s last hurrah; Nightwatch.
Nightwatch is entirely build around the idea that nothing changes. Carcer’s actions threaten to change history, and Vimes has to put it back, while on the other side of the thematic coin, the revolution that the past characters, including young Vimes, are fighting for explicitly just results in more of the same, putting Mad Lord Snapchase in charge.
Except that…even here, we know that this is not true. Vetinari is in charge of Ankh Morpork in the modern day. Vimes has risen through the ranks to become the commander of the watch and a lord himself, a far cry from his humble, improvished beginnings.
The world will change, and sometimes those changes must be fought, but often we need to fight for those changes ourselves.
Pew! It looks like Nebby escaped the bag again, and came straight for our blog! Today we have the pleasure of examining everyone’s favorite bag-defying rebel, Nebby Cosmog. Cosmog is the “Nebula Pokémon”, so naturally we should talk about nebulas.
The word “nebula” comes from the Latin word for “cloud”, which is a pretty good description of what a nebula is. A nebula is cloud in space: but instead of being made of water like clouds in Earth’s atmosphere, they’re made of stuff like hydrogen, helium, ionized gas, and dust. There are four main types of nebulae, so if we want to learn about Cosmog we first need to figure out which kind of nebula it is.
Planetary nebula are sometimes formed when a star dies, gently puffing out its outer layers until all that’s left is the core of the star, which usually becomes a white dwarf star itself (which you can see as the central dot in all of these images). The central star pumps light energy into the nebula, which causes it to glow the bright colors.
Supernova Remnants, on the other hand, are formed when a star dies violently. When a massive star runs out of fuel to burn, it will explode in a supernova, tearing itself apart at speeds of over 30,000 m/s. A neutron star or black hole is left in the center, and what is left of the star in the explosion becomes the nebula.
The third kind of nebula is called a Dark Nebula or an Absorption Nebula, obecause it “absorbs” and blocks out light behind it. They’re made of molecules, such as molecular hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide – which is why they’re also called molecular clouds. These are the coldest, and most dense clouds in space. In fact, they are the only nebula dense enough to collapse into stars, forming new baby stars as they collapse.
The last of nebula is called an HII region. HII is astronomy jargon for ionized hydrogen–in other words, just a proton. These clouds are made of mostly protons. HII regions are typically larger than the other nebulas we’ve talked about, and often just had a lot of recent star formation in them: they were molecular clouds, but since they just formed new baby stars, they’re full of new energy. The baby stars add so much heat and light into the nebula that the molecules are ripped apart once again, leaving mostly protons.
Cosmog, of course, is much smaller than actual nebula. But, we know Cosmog evolves into Cosmoem, the “Protostar Pokémon”, which means that Cosmog must be closest to a star-forming nebula, or a molecular cloud. You can even see the little glowing spots in Cosmog’s arm where it’s starting to form stars.
Cosmog is a dark nebula made up of molecular hydrogen and other molecules, collapsing to form new stars.
peter jackson: I love all of the dwarves in battle of the five armies. thorin, fili, kili, dwalin, balin [looks at smudged writing on hand] oil, gloria, doily, norway, omi, bitter, boozer, and bumbler. oh and legolas.
Wadda hell is dwarf fortress, I thought it was an rts, is it not?
no, it generates a fantasy plane based on custom parameters and simulates the actions of historical figures and civilizations through the passage of time. you can play in “dwarf fortress” mode, which is comparable to sims, minecraft, and rts, in which you give orders to dwarves on a set plot of land and try to survive as long as possible, or “adventurer” mode, which is a roguelike in which you can explore the whole plane, recruit people, take quests, etc. once these sessions are finished, they are treated by the game like any other settlement or historical figure in the region.
the immediate area of the game simulates physics, temperature, gravity, biology, etc. on an unprecedented level, and individuals have varying degrees of personal traits like family history, values, preferences, traumas, aspirations, etc.
it’s been in development for about 15-20(?) years, and is projected to hit version 1.0 in 2042. it’s currently in version 0.43, which indicates that the developers consider themselves 43% done with their vision for the game.
as crazy as this sounds, my favorite place is outer space. even though i’ve never been there, but in a sense, i have. my mind has traveled there time and time again as i dream about running away into the vast unknown, tripping over clusters of stars, messing with the planets so they align perfectly, painted the way the nebulae look, picking out the colors for each galaxy and which parts of space as blue-green and which parts are purple-red and which red dwarfs go where and how long it takes before a star turns into a supernova, befriending aliens, and simply being free. no need to worry in space.
my favorite planet to go to is saturn. it’s cold and nothing else lives there because it’s so cold and it’s made of gas so nothing can land on it. but dream-me can. i’m not effected by the cold the i can walk on the planet as though it was earth. i lay on saturn and stare at titan, saturn’s largest moon, for hours and examine the stars. that’s why i’m so excited for june 14th, because earth, the sun, and saturn will all be aligned so if i stay up late enough, i can sit outside and see my favorite planet in the sky!
Recently Overwatch released a new character, citing complaintsof a lack of ‘body diversity’. Now, Idon’t like the character but that’s for a variety of reasons and that’ll becoming at a later date. No, what really botheredme was this argument and the implications for a common trend in representation
of women in video games.
To add some context, I’m a gay woman and I want to be a game
dev. I’ve loved video games and been a
gamer for close to 15 years. And I
really feel there are pressing issues with the arguments for ‘representation of
women in video games’. I’ve made similar
rants about this general topic before and you can find my most successful one
If you’re concerned with women, body types, representation,
etc, I suggest you give me a fair shake and read all the way to the end. More under the break.
The days passed slowly. Two Dwarves who had died during the Battle of Five Armies (as they were now calling it) bowed to Thorin upon meeting him, and at least another six punched him square in the face. His grandfather patted his shoulder consolingly.
“You should have seen this place after Azanulbizar,” was all he said.
Can’t blame either group of dwarves, really.
In Erebor, there was a funeral. Thorin watched as they laid the Arkenstone on his cold, dead breast, wrapped his parchment-white and stiffened fingers around the hilt of Orcrist, and sealed his body and those of his nephews in the tomb.
Bilbo cried bitterly the whole time.
As the white stone passed over Fíli’s rent and rigid corpse, Thorin covered his mouth with his hands, pressing them so fiercely against his bloodless lips that he could feel the shape of his teeth beneath. With a savage curse he closed his eyes and fled that sight.
I feel bad for Thorin during this, for many reasons. One of them, though, is because it must be extremely weird, watching your own funeral. And, of course, he blames himself for Fíli and Kíli’s deaths and so watching their funerals was almost impossible for him. No wonder he goes to see Gimli next.
Work was proceeding apace on the Mountain. Everywhere he looked Thorin could see the devastation caused by the dragon and the echoes of his folly. Even as the Kingdom slowly began to rise from mourning, Thorin could barely look at his living companions without seeing the light of the gold-sickness that had once danced in their eyes. No-one had been as thoroughly lost as Thorin himself, of course, but he had dragged them all behind him into his madness nevertheless.
To see the guilt and grief in their faces made his own grow until it felt like a stone chained around his neck.
Thorin’s guilt issues, let me show them to you. With how much he’s blaming himself here, is it any wonder that it takes him decades to finally start accepting that not everything that goes wrong is his fault?
Ori was out of his sickbed as soon as Óin gave him permission, though a racking cough continued to plague him. He immediately began to help Nori with relearning to walk. The former thief was sullen as he clattered about their rooms. With each of his arms looped over the shoulders of his brothers, he winced and cursed with every rattling step until finally he roared with anger and resentment. Ori stood his ground, all his shyness and uncertainty burned away in the fires of battle. He faced his brother’s rage calmly until Nori had exhausted himself, and then helped him back to his chair. Dori made pot of tea after pot of tea, lips white and stiff, before carefully plaiting the drained and silent Nori’s red-brown hair back into its elaborate braids. Then the Brothers Ri held onto Nori’s hands tightly until he felt able to cry.
The brothers Ri are some of of my favorite dwarves in the company (only Bifur beats them out) and this paragraph illustrates why I love them so much. Nori is stubborn, trying to get back to normal as soon as possible and not really dealing with his feelings about the injury, nearly in denial, really. Then, he moves onto the anger stage, ranting at Ori and Ori just takes it, lets his brother get it all out because he knows it’s what Nori needs. Dori is there in the background, making tea and taking care of Nori’s hair, and then he and Ori are there for Nori when he finally accepts it and mourns his loss. No matter what, they’re there for each other, and I love that about them.
“Hobbit,” said Dwalin, and cleared his throat loudly. “Not sure if anyone’s said this t’ you at all.” Then he bowed before the astonished Hobbit and said, with all sincerity;
“Aye.” – “Thank you, laddie.” – “We can never thank you enough.” The rest of the company also bowed low. Bilbo looked upset and flustered.
“No, you mustn’t,” he said, and he wrung his little hands. “No, please, my friends…”
Balin rose and winked at Bilbo. “Khazâd-bâhel.”
“Oh, for goodness’ sake,” Bilbo snapped, and mopped at his eyes with one of his new handkerchiefs. “Dwarves! Overdramatic, the lot of you! Oh, I am going to miss you all dreadfully.”
Goodbyes are always hard. This is both tear-jerking and a bit amusing, with Bilbo trying to call the dwarves dreadful and overdramatic and everything else, but unable to hide that he’s going to miss them so much. He didn’t expect this when he set out on his adventure, he didn’t know what to expect really, and now he’s leaving and he’ll miss his friends. (And Thorin.)
“I’ll be through in a year or two,” Glóin promised. “I’ll be travelling back to Ered Luin to collect my family. Bombur too. We’ll stop by. Don’t forget!”
With a leg-up from Dori, Bilbo crawled astride his pony. “I’ll lock up my dishes specially,” he laughed. “Farewell, my friends! Write as often as you can!”
Oh, Bilbo, don’t you want to see dwarves tossing your dishes around your kitchen again? I’d have thought you’d enjoy it a second time. I enjoyed it the first time, but maybe that’s because it wasn’t my dishes they were tossing around :)
“Kill a goblin or two for me!” said Bombur.
“Oh, but don’t get too close!”
“Aye, and watch out for Trolls!”
Out of all the things that Bilbo’s supposed to watch out for, elves are hands down the funniest. Not sure which dwarf said it (there are a few different options for which one it could be), but it’s hilarious nonetheless.
Thorin took a last look at their brave little Burglar to whom he owed so much. “Farewell, Bilbo Baggins, respectable gentlehobbit of Bag End,” he said half to himself. “Farewell, wise and kindly child of the West.” He drank in the sight of the curly head, the bold bare little chin, the small leaf-like ears, the shrewd eyes and sharp tongue, clever hands and large furry feet. “I am sorry,” he added, his voice nearly a whisper.
Bilbo abruptly stopped and faced the Mountain, and his eyes were bright with unshed tears. “Farewell, Thorin Oakenshield,” he said, his face lifting. “And Fíli and Kíli! May your memory never fade!”
They’re both talking to each other, and each thinks the other can’t hear them. And they’re both a bit wrong and it’s just…ugh, the feels.
Fíli nervously tugged at a moustache braid. “Frerin told me something.”
Thorin sighed. “Do I need to hit him?”
Fíli scowled. “Very hard. Repeatedly.”
I can get where Fíli and Kíli are coming from, it’d be hard to remember to refer to someone younger than you (in years lived anyway, he’s got them beat in years existing) ‘Uncle’, but I can see where Frerin is coming from too. If he hadn’t died, he likely would have been as close to Fíli and Kíli as Thorin is, and they likely would have called him 'Uncle’ sometimes too. Now, he’s got the chance to have that, and he still can’t, because Fíli and Kíli are technically older than him and don’t feel right calling him that…I feel a bit sorry for Frerin, but it’s amusing too, seeing how good he is at annoying Fíli and Kíli. I can’t really blame Thorin for placing a bet, I’d have been doing the same thing.
“Why did Mahal give you this gift?” Fíli said. “A gift that doesn’t even work?”
“I think perhaps it is because I shouted at him,” Thorin said thoughtfully, and a short bark of laughter escaped Fíli.
“You yelled at our Maker,” he said, and shook his head against Thorin’s shoulder. “You’re unbelievable sometimes.”
Only Thorin could yell at Mahal and get a gift out of it. I swear, Thorin’s one of his favorites.
“Hmm,” Fíli said, and pulled back to frown up at his uncle. “Who hears you?”
“Dáin does, now and then. Occasionally Balin, Dori and Glóin as well, and Dwalin quite frequently. And Gimli most of all.”
“Gimli?” Fíli’s mouth dropped open. “Our little cousin Gimli?”
“He’s not so little anymore,” Thorin said, raising his eyebrows. “The lad has more beard than Bofur, is broader than Nori and is most certainly taller than you, though not as tall as Kíli. I judge he’s over four foot six and has further still to grow.”
“I know, I know, but he’ll always be little Gimli with the terrible temper to me,” Fíli said, shaking his head. “Gimli hears you! Well, that is a shock.”
Okay, but imagine Gimli, when he’s finally old enough to pass on, and hearing Fíli call him 'little Gimli with the terrible temper’ and simultaneously crying (because he missed them so much) and being a bit embarrassed (I’m a dwarf lord! I helped save all of Arda! I’m taller than you are! You can’t call me 'little’ anymore). And Fíli just saying 'watch me’.
“I know that look,” Thorin said suspiciously. “That is not a reassuring look.”
That is a dwarf who helped raise these two and knows exactly how much trouble Kíli and Fíli can get into.
“Ah, Náli!” Gimli growled, and brought the handle of his own weapon up before his face. The clash was deafening. “You will have to do better than that! Dwalin would have had me defeated and mopping out the barracks by now!”
I have a feeling that, no matter how old Gimli gets, he’ll think of Dwalin as the greatest axeman he knew, even if he skill does someday surpass Dwalin’s.
“Aye, and rivers will run backward and Elves will live underground and Dwarves will roost in trees, Laín’s son,” Gimli retorted, rather rudely. Fíli and Kíli immediately broke out into snickers, and Thorin smiled despite himself.
Best insult ever! If more people in my life cared about the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I would use this insult all the time.
Also, Náli was pretty fair. Yeah, Lóni was the one who attacked when Gimli’s back was turned, after the fight was over, but Gimli also didn’t need to hit him in the nose. Lóni was already stopped because of the ale in his face, he should’ve let the teacher handle it from there.
“Hold that to your nose, I have to clean up all this ale.” Gimli eyed the mess and grabbed another cloth before hunkering down on his knees and beginning to soak up the spilled ale. “I’m not going to apologise for being good,” he said as he scrubbed, blowing a lock of fiery hair out of his eyes. “Neither am I going to feel sorry for a Dwarf who tried to axe me in the back! But a training partner with more strength and reach than me – now, that is of interest. You can get the recognition you crave so badly when you knock me on my back fair and square. What do you say?”
I gotta say, Gimli’s more forgiving than I am. I probably wouldn’t have forgiven someone trying to axe me in the back this easily. He’s got a point about Lóni being a good training partner, though.
“Is old Borin’s tavern still running then?” Kíli wondered, and then quailed at Thorin’s sudden dark look. Fíli gave a weak little laugh and hushed Kíli with a hand over his mouth.
“Just… an academic interest, Thorin.”
“Yes, never stepped foot in it ourselves,” Kíli said, muffled by Fíli’s palm.
“Or broke a table.”
“Or a lamp.”
“Or Borin’s teeth.”
“Lies and conjecture.”
“Must have been two other Dwarves that looked like us.”
“Yes, and with the same names. Imposters, no doubt.”
Thorin rolled his eyes to the ceiling and prayed for patience.
Fíli and Kíli trying to cover up for each other when they reveal something that they didn’t want Thorin to know is hilarious, as is Thorin’s reaction to it.
Gimli blinked, and then he shook his head sharply. “Surely I can’t get drunk from a few fumes,” he said to himself, and Kíli snorted.
“You’re not drunk, lad,” Thorin said, and shook his own head in disbelief. “We’re here.”
Gimli squinted, peering straight past Thorin. “Must be imagining things. I can’t be drunk and I do not think I am mad…”
Fíli smacked his forehead with his palm.
Thorin resisted the urge to do the same. “Not mad either, cousin. Mahal grants us this, that we can see you from beyond the mists. To me he gave a greater gift. Some may hear me.”
“I’m of Durin’s line,” Gimli continued, his brow creasing with worry. “I could be mad. I’m too young for it, though.”
“Steady,” Fíli said quietly, putting a hand on Thorin’s shoulder as he shook with anger and shame.
“You are not mad,” he said shortly. “Only very, very dense.”
This is hilarious. A bit sad for Thorin, because of the mad bit, but mostly hilarious. Anyone’s reaction would probably be similar if they thought dead people were talking to them, though, so I can’t really blame him.
“He was her brother,” Gimli whispered, and then he pulled at his vibrant hair. “Oh, I am such a fool! Of course my conscience would not let me rest until I had seen her. I lost my cousins, but she lost all she had left in the world. Not drunk, not mad, not tricked, but surely a blind and selfish fool!”
“He… he thinks you’re his conscience,” said Fíli blankly.
Thorin looked at him helplessly.
I laughed a bit here too, imagining Thorin with a little button that says 'Conscience’ and standing on Gimli’s shoulder like Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio.
“How’d a boulder-faced shrub like Glóin end up with a Dwarrowdam like that?” Fíli said, eyes wide.
“He was kind, honest and respectful,” Thorin said. “And he made her laugh.”
I’ve said it before, but I kind of imagine it as a Roger and Jessica Rabbit situation. Everyone was chasing after Mizim because of her looks, but Glóin loved her for who she was and won her over by making her laugh.
“I’m in love,” Kíli declared fervently.
“I saw her first,” Fíli snarled.
Thorin gritted his teeth. “You are both dead.”
Kíli gave him a wounded look. “That was uncalled for.”
What I really want to know is that, if Gimli played with Fíli and Kíli as often as they say, how did they never see Mizim or Gimrís before? Did Gimli just always go over to their place? Or did they just never visit each others’ homes? Honestly, I don’t care though, because this piece of dialogue and the previous one I talked about are more than worth it.
“Brother,” the lass growled. “I hope you have your axe on you, because after waking me you are going to need it.”
Me, whenever my brother’s loud early in the morning when I had a late shift the night before.
“Aye, and I called her 'Aunt’ and she bounced me on her knee, I remember,” Gimli said, and splashed water over his face. “If she does not wish to see me, then I will try again another time. She has been left alone all this time and so she must feel that she is alone. She should know that we think of her and that she is still cared for as a Dwarf, not just as the Regent of Thorin’s Hall. I am not her son or her brother, but I am family and I care. And I loved them too.”
Reason #10000 why I love Gimli. A lot of the other reasons are from this story, although many of them are from canon too.
“You’re a good boy, my son.”
He squirmed away, batting at her with wet hands. “Mum, I am sixty-three soon! I am not a boy!”
She snorted. “You are such a boy, Gimli. I’ll find your clasps. I hope you still fit your engraved boots.”
I laughed a bit because I did this when I was a kid. Everyone would say I was a little girl, and I’d say, indignantly, that I was [insert age here] and so I was /not/ a little girl. Never thought I’d related so well to a sixty-three year old dwarf, but that’s part of the magic of this story. The characters are dangerously relatable, both canon and OC.
“You must have been fighting a thornbush. And those trousers don’t suit that tunic either. You won’t be able to wear it much longer, you know. Your shoulders are about to come through the seams.”
“Not my fault,” Gimli said defensively. “I grew too fast.”
“You ate too much, you mean,” she said, and he sent an elbow back into her stomach.
“I had to eat, I was growing!”
This is only a snippet of it, but I love all of Gimli and Gimrís’ bickering. Gimrís uses loving insults as a way to let her brother know she cares about him, and Gimli knows what she’s doing and goes back and forth with her and it’s just adorable, really.
“Where are we?” Thorin hissed, following closely behind. “I do not recognise this part of the Halls.”
“Don’t tell me you’re lost!” said Kíli.
Someone needs to make Thorin a map.
“Mining?” Thorin frowned. “His father is a Lord. He does not need to mine for a living.”
“Thorin, everyone worked, even you. You took on blacksmithing, I was a jeweller like Mum, and Kíli was a bowyer. No doubt Óin took Gimli into the mines; I know he still treats the miners now and then for their injuries.”
Thorin, dear, did you forget how much smithing you did over the years between Erebor’s fall and Erebor being reclaimed?
“Gimli, son of Glóin,” Gimli said with a polite bow. “I am here to see the Lady Dís, if she will.”
“The Lady sees no-one,” the Dwarf said shortly, and began to close the door. It stopped on Gimli’s heavy engraved boot, and the younger Dwarf gave the guard a pleasant smile.
“Announce me,” he suggested. “Perhaps she will make an exception.”
“Are you deaf, boy? The Lady sees no-one,” the guard with impatience, and kicked Gimli’s foot away.
“Perhaps I should make myself clearer,” Gimli said, still smiling. “Gimli of the Line of Durin, here to see his cousin, if she will.”
The guard’s sneer dropped like a stone. “I’ll announce you.”
“You do that.”
“All right,” Thorin said. “Now I believe the boy is related to me.”
If that didn’t make it clear, Thorin, I don’t know what would.
“She’ll see you,” he said. “But don’t expect her to be pleasant.”
“I don’t expect her to be anything other than as she is,” said Gimli with admirable calmness.
I love Gimli.
To the three children of Thráin, they had said, Mahal gave one a voice of golden thunder, one a voice of silver bells, but the third – the third had a voice of mithril and diamonds, more lovely than the voices of Elves and as pure as the snowmelt from the peak of the Mountain.
Another thing I love about this story? Sentences like this. It’s so marvelously descriptive, and it fits with the one voice we have heard (Thorin), and gives you a basis for how his siblings might sound.
Gimli blinked, and then he looked down at his hands. “You’re not my Aunt,” he said slowly. “You’re my cousin. And we… we lost some of our family. There’s just me and Gimrís and you, because everyone else…”
“Is dead,” Dís croaked, and finally looked up from the fire. “Everyone is dead. My whole family, but for cousins like you. My sons, my last brother, my One, my father… we were so proud, so strong. Well, Mahal has punished us for our pride, at least.”
“No!” Gimli blurted, and he took another couple of quick steps towards her. “Not everyone is dead!”
“You?” Dís laughed. It was utterly unbearable to hear. “Your sister? Balin, Dwalin, your father and uncle? You are not my family. We are relatives, no more than that. No, my family is dead and gone. The line of Thrór is ended.”
“They’re not all dead,” Gimli repeated, and he lifted his eyes to hers. “There’s you.”
She froze, and then sagged. “Me.”
Oh Dís! She’s so alone, and Gimli’s trying to make her see that she /isn’t/ alone, not completely, and that there are still people left who love her for who she is, not because she’s the princess, and who mourn Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli for who they were, rather than just the king and princes.
Gimli snorted. “Oh, Kíli’s hair.”
To Thorin’s amazement, she laughed – rusty and unused, but a true laugh. “Kíli’s damned hair. I used to struggle with him every morning to at least get most of it out of his eyes. Mahal only knows how he ever aimed at a target through that curtain.”
“I feel I should be offended,” Kíli said.
Fíli gave him a sad half-grin. “The truth offends no-one but you, brother.”
“Don’t look at me,” Thorin added. “I remember the fits you had when your mother brought out a comb.”
Just everything about this. I love it. I’m with Kíli, though, I never have patience to do more than just brush my hair, and to pull it up into a ponytail on days I have to work.
“Gladly.” Gimli settled at her feet and launched into a tale of three Dwarflings and a hammer 'borrowed’ from Dwalin. Dís listened closely, and laughed at the terrible predicament the three found themselves in; at the clever plots put into practice that only compounded the problem tenfold; at Dwalin’s outrage when the hammer was finally recovered and the terrible injustice of the punishment (polishing every weapon he owned until it gleamed). Her eyes were glossy, but she no longer wept. Her hand remained on Gimli’s vibrant hair, and every now and then she stroked it absently.
I wonder if Dwalin remembers this story, if he ever teased Gimli about it when he got older (like when Legolas is around?).
“Gimrís said she would come with me next time. Would you like that?”
She blinked as though coming awake, and then she smiled. It was still tinged with her fathomless sorrow, but she no longer looked or sounded more dead than alive. “That would be lovely. How old is your sister now?”
“Fifty-four,” Gimli said with a shudder.
“Ah, the fifties. I feel for your poor mother, with two Dwarrows under the age of seventy in her home.”
“I am very mature!” Gimli protested, and Dís laughed softly.
“Indeed you are. Bring Gimrís, and I will tell you of the time my brothers and I stole Dwalin’s favourite toy Oliphaunt.”
Gimli choked on his breath, and then laughed loudly and merrily. “Aye, that sounds like a tale not to be missed!”
Everything about this, but especially little Dwalin having a toy Oliphaunt that Dís and her brothers stole.
But what if after the ring is destroyed, Legolas and Gimli stay friends. Of course they would, after everything they’ve been through together.
Maybe a decade or so goes by, and they notice it first in Aragorn. His hair getting whiter, his face looking older, his step a little heavier.
Arwen is ageing with him, and although they’re happy for them, it makes Legolas feel a little uncomfortable, seeing an elf he knew look old. He’s not rude about it, but he can’t help it.
And then of course it starts happening to Gimli. A silver strand crops up here or there, and his poor eyesight can no longer be attributed to simply being that of a dwarf’s. He has to stop sooner too when they run, and take longer rests.
Sometimes this all comes toppling down on Legolas all at once, and he can’t take it. He wishes he could have had a choice like Arwen, wishes that he had gone West when the ring was destroyed so that he might have spent the rest of his time with only memories of all his friends fit and young. Mostly though, he wishes that he didn’t have to have these feelings.
Feelings for Gimli, that bubbled up sometime during their quest, that he knows he can never admit. Not only would his friend never return such a sentiment, but something that can only be temporary and would surely end in the worst kind of pain would break his heart to confess.
Scared and upset, the not-so-little leafling confides in his Father, and slowly, begins to slip out of the world. I don’t know the details of this part but, let’s say that somehow, several decades now pass in which Legolas does not see his old companions and his redheaded dwarf, which he tells himself is for the best.
Perhaps Gimli understands, or claims to, but he is selfish. There comes a day when he realises he hasn’t got much time left, (less than a year by his reckoning,) and so he sends word to Legolas.
He doesn’t mention in the letter that he feels his time is near, only asking to see him again, and explaining where he will find him. He sends it with not much hope.
When Legolas arrives before the month’s end, Gimli is all kinds of emotion. Seeing each other again only confirmed that what they’d felt was real. Alone together they cry, and confess, and laugh through tears, and they kiss for the first time.
Just as Legolas is hating himself for seeing how old Gimli is now and all the years he foolishly missed, the dwarf explains his true reasons for requesting the elf’s visit. Legolas is silent, for a long long time. There is a sort of heavy numbness, and everything feels muffled. They hold each other and Legolas doesn’t realise his cries have turned to haggard sobs until he has to gasp for air.
The deepest infrared image of the Orion Nebula has uncovered a bonanza of previously unknown low-mass stars and – quite possibly – free floating planets. The picturesque nebula is best known in visible light where it shows a many bright stars and bright glowing gas. Catalogued as M42, the Orion Nebula at a distance of 1300 light years is the closest major star forming region to Earth. One can peer into Orion’s pervasive dust in infrared light, as was done again recently with the sophisticated HAWK-I camera attached to one of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescopes in the high mountains of Chile. High resolution versions of the featured infrared deep image show many points of light, many of which are surely brown dwarf stars but some of which are best fit by an unexpectedly high abundance of free-floating planets. Understanding how these low mass objects formed is important to understanding star formation generally and may even help humanity to better understand the early years of our Solar System.