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#1
Old 04-05-2011, 11:18 AM
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Some Fellowship of the Ring questions from someone who is more familiar with the movies

I was watching Fellowship for the gazillionth time over the weekend and was reminded of a couple of questions I had. Since I've only read LotR once, I wasn't sure if if there are answers to my questions in the books.

1. It seems Gandalf knows about what happened in Moria. When Frodo believes it is the safer route and decides the Fellowship should go that way, why doesn't Gandalf warn everyone?

2. Gimli wants to go through Moria and says his cousin (Balin?) will welcome them as honored guests. Why was Gimli not aware of what happened in Moria? Had it been a while since he'd last seen his cousin or the dwarf mail service doesn't work so well?

3. This is a more general questions about the wizards in Middle Earth. In any of his writings on the wizards, does Tolkien give them any of the powers we now associate with wizards in fantasy settings: tossing fireballs, teleporting, summoning elementals, etc.?
#2
Old 04-05-2011, 11:21 AM
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1. Because the other options were not much better, he does know what happened but he thought they could sneak through. Which they might have done if it wasn't for that fool of a Took.

2. The Moria expedition had been going ok for a few years, which is probably how long they go without communicating. There is no regular mail or anything like that, any visit to catch up is basically a very long trek lasting several months.

3. Off camera, he fought of the Ring Wraiths, he killed the Balrog. I would imagine there was a lot of standard Wizard stuff going on during those battles.

Last edited by DigitalC; 04-05-2011 at 11:21 AM.
#3
Old 04-05-2011, 11:32 AM
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How did Gimili get to Rivendell in the first place? Did he come alone and go over or under the mountains? Or did he come up from the south along with Boromir? How were they all summoned there?
#4
Old 04-05-2011, 11:38 AM
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Gandalf does throw some fireballs, or something of the sort, in The Hobbit.
#5
Old 04-05-2011, 11:43 AM
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He talks to birds and is a master of fireworks. Other than that, a charlatan, fit only for use as a battering ram.
#6
Old 04-05-2011, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
How did Gimili get to Rivendell in the first place? Did he come alone and go over or under the mountains? Or did he come up from the south along with Boromir? How were they all summoned there?
Gimli came to Rivendell from Erebor, to the northeast, probably through Mirkwood and then the mountain pass now held by the Beornings. His purpose was to bring news of threats to his people and the Bardings, concern about the loss of word from Moria, and a warning to Bilbo that the name "Baggins" was known to the agents of Mordor.

Last edited by Peremensoe; 04-05-2011 at 11:46 AM.
#7
Old 04-05-2011, 11:49 AM
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Dwarf mail.

I want a D-Mail account!
#8
Old 04-05-2011, 11:55 AM
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Gimli, as was noted above, came from the north and east to Rivendell.
I don't think Gandalf was positive about what happened in Moria anymore than anyone else. He had a bad feeling about it, and was more realistic in his hopes than the dwarves were.
In the book Frodo doesn't make the choice to go there. Gandalf does, and Aragorn warns it will be his doom.
Tolkien's wizards are NOT the wizards of other fantasy books. They are powerful but in other ways - and their amount of interference in the free peoples of Middle Earth was supposed to be limited.

All I have time for now.
#9
Old 04-05-2011, 11:57 AM
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1. In the book, Gandalf doesn't know for sure what happened to Balin, but he's not very optimistic. Gandalf does think that the fellowship can sneak through, since both he and Aragorn had done it before.
In the book, it's basically Gandalf and Aragorn making the decision. Aragorn doesn't like it, but finally accepts that there's no real alternative.

2. Wireless reception is crappy in Moria, and the Moria Free Delivery mail service has not been running since the long-ago abandonment of Moria. There may have been a messenger or two saying 'Hey, we made it inside, starting to look around' but by the end, Balin's crew were trapped, so couldn't send a final 'Help!' message.

3. Tolkien is usually very vague about magic, and describes it ambiguously, using phrases like "he stood stock-still, as if bewildered" that could mean he had a spell cast on him, or could mean he was just non-magically astounded for a moment. For instance, in the book, it's not clear whether Theoden is just old and tired and convinced by Grima's words, or is under some malevolent magical influence from Saruman. Gandalf gets Theoden moving, but it could be by purely natural persuasion.

IIRC, Gandalf does do some overt magic: adding to the flood near Rivendell, doing some fire magic against Wargs, lighting a fire in the blizzard, making light with his staff, magically locking a door, breaking a stone bridge, and some flashy light-rays that drive away the flying Nazgul for a moment. Oh, and I guess the fireworks for Bilbo's party. Mostly the overt stuff is fire tricks.
#10
Old 04-05-2011, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
1. It seems Gandalf knows about what happened in Moria. When Frodo believes it is the safer route and decides the Fellowship should go that way, why doesn't Gandalf warn everyone?

2. Gimli wants to go through Moria and says his cousin (Balin?) will welcome them as honored guests. Why was Gimli not aware of what happened in Moria? Had it been a while since he'd last seen his cousin or the dwarf mail service doesn't work so well?
The films are different from the books. Balin's expedition to Moria was discussed at the council of Elrond, there had been no messengers from Moria for some years. When discussing Moria as a possible route under the mountains, they were unsure what to expect. Orcs maybe, but "most of the orcs of the misty mountains were destroyed in the Battle of Five Armies.". They thought there was a chance Balin might still be alive, but they were not suprised to find his tomb. Gandalf was not aware there was a Balrog in Moria.

Last edited by Alka Seltzer; 04-05-2011 at 11:58 AM.
#11
Old 04-05-2011, 12:11 PM
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Gandalf wears the Elven Ring Narya, Ring of Fire, and his powers are all fire-related (I mean his physical powers aside from his immense wisdom and knowledge). He got the ring from Cirdan the Shipwright (briefly seen in the last scenes of "Return of the King") who judged him the most wise. (Apparently shipbuilding and the power to summon fire don't go together real well). I am not sure what, if any, physical powers Gandalf the Grey had without Narya.

Gandalf can speak with animals to some degree, however there is another wizard more associated with animals and the natural world, Radegast, who never appears in the movie and only passingly in the books.
#12
Old 04-05-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
Gimli came to Rivendell from Erebor, to the northeast, probably through Mirkwood and then the mountain pass now held by the Beornings. His purpose was to bring news of threats to his people and the Bardings, concern about the loss of word from Moria, and a warning to Bilbo that the name "Baggins" was known to the agents of Mordor.
In the book Gimli didn't travel alone. His father Gloin led the trip to Rivendell - he's mentioned by name - and probably other dwarves came as well.
#13
Old 04-05-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
How did Gimili get to Rivendell in the first place? Did he come alone and go over or under the mountains? Or did he come up from the south along with Boromir? How were they all summoned there?
In the book no one is summoned, they simply all arrive. Dwarfs from Erebor (Gimili, Gloin and company) to ask for advice and warn Bilbo Mordor is looking for him. Elves from Mirkwood to tell people Gollum escaped and Boromir from Gondor asking for help unraveling a riddle.
#14
Old 04-05-2011, 12:46 PM
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Gandalf knows there is something in Moria that killed Durin and drove out the dwarves and they call it Durin's Bane. Gandalf does not know it is a flame of Udun, aka Balrog.
#15
Old 04-05-2011, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Grey View Post
In the book no one is summoned, they simply all arrive.
Elrond puts it this way,

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You have done well to come. You will hear today all that you need in order to understand the purposes of the Enemy.
...
The Ring! What shall we do with the Ring, the least of rings, the trifle that Sauron fancies? That is the doom that we must deem. That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world.
#16
Old 04-05-2011, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grey View Post
In the book no one is summoned, they simply all arrive. Dwarfs from Erebor (Gimili, Gloin and company) to ask for advice and warn Bilbo Mordor is looking for him. Elves from Mirkwood to tell people Gollum escaped and Boromir from Gondor asking for help unraveling a riddle.
What riddle?
#17
Old 04-05-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by zoid View Post
What riddle?
Not so much a ridle as a prophetic dream he had - can't remember how much of this was in the movie:

"In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand."
#18
Old 04-05-2011, 02:14 PM
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I thought it was:

"Five-eleven's your height;
one-ninety your weight.
You cash in your chips
around page eighty-eight."
#19
Old 04-05-2011, 04:51 PM
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oh how I love Straight Dope LOTR threads. they are always such fun, as well as informative.
#20
Old 04-05-2011, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Scud View Post
I thought it was:

"Five-eleven's your height;
one-ninety your weight.
You cash in your chips
around page eighty-eight."
I hate you.



You thought of it way before I did.
#21
Old 04-05-2011, 05:02 PM
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Coming quite late into the thread...

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Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
I was watching Fellowship for the gazillionth time over the weekend and was reminded of a couple of questions I had. Since I've only read LotR once, I wasn't sure if if there are answers to my questions in the books.

1. It seems Gandalf knows about what happened in Moria. When Frodo believes it is the safer route and decides the Fellowship should go that way, why doesn't Gandalf warn everyone?
Gandalf didn't know what had happened in Moria. He was afraid of what might have happened. I know what Saruman says that Gandalf knew what the Dwarves had awakened (the Balrog), but I'd say that's bullshit. Rather, it's that he, Gandalf, knew that the Balrog might be awake.

Then again, it might not. And certainly he didn't know about the Watcher (the horrific octopus thing that tried to eat Frodo).

Quote:
2. Gimli wants to go through Moria and says his cousin (Balin?) will welcome them as honored guests. Why was Gimli not aware of what happened in Moria? Had it been a while since he'd last seen his cousin or the dwarf mail service doesn't work so well?
Try not thinking in modern terms. The story's set in a time of medieval technology, at best, for most people. There was no email, text messages, newspapers, etc; there isn't even what we'd consider much mail service. It's not going to be uncommon for people to be out of contact with friends & relatives for long periods of time if they move away.


Quote:
3. This is a more general questions about the wizards in Middle Earth. In any of his writings on the wizards, does Tolkien give them any of the powers we now associate with wizards in fantasy settings: tossing fireballs, teleporting, summoning elementals, etc.?
I'm sure others have already touched on this, but there's no teleporting in Tolkien at all. I can't recall any summoning of elementals either. And Gandalf and Saruman were required to cast off much of their native power & knowledge to come to Middle-earth. In their proper forms, they'd have been much more powerful, though I still doubt they could have teleported the Fellowship anywhere.

Teleporting's a horrible storytelling device anyway. It introduces more plot problems than it solves unless it is very tightly restricted.

Last edited by Skald the Rhymer; 04-05-2011 at 05:02 PM.
#22
Old 04-05-2011, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Wireless reception is crappy in Moria, and the Moria Free Delivery mail service has not been running since the long-ago abandonment of Moria. There may have been a messenger or two saying 'Hey, we made it inside, starting to look around' but by the end, Balin's crew were trapped, so couldn't send a final 'Help!' message.
*HEAVY SIGH*

This has been explained many times before... of course if you hold your staff in the middle, as if it were a regular old walking stick, you're gonna block out the signal! You need to grip it at the top and bottom; then you'll see your signal improve quite a bit.
#23
Old 04-05-2011, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Not so much a ridle as a prophetic dream he had - can't remember how much of this was in the movie:

"In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear, crying:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand."
Which you can sing to the tune of The Yellow Rose Of Texas.
#24
Old 04-05-2011, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Scissorjack View Post
Which you can sing to the tune of The Yellow Rose Of Texas.
Now I will be unable to read it any other way. I hate you.
#25
Old 04-05-2011, 05:47 PM
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Now I will be unable to read it any other way. I hate you.
Wait till you start hearing "Gil-Galad was an Elven king" to Camptown Races.
#26
Old 04-05-2011, 05:58 PM
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Wait till you start hearing "Gil-Galad was an Elven king" to Camptown Races.
Do-dah! Do-dah!


Gaaaah!
#27
Old 04-05-2011, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Scissorjack View Post
Which you can sing to the tune of The Yellow Rose Of Texas.
arghhhh! you swine! That is seared into my brain now.

Actually, much as I loved the films and books I reckon there is mileage in redoing it as a musical.

Or.........bloody hell, how about a blaxploitation version? "The Brotherhood of the Bling"
Morgan Freeman as Gandalf? Samuel L. Jackson as Saruman? Prince as Gollum?

"I'm gonna git 2nd age on your ass"
"I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my pimp"

come on! this thing writes itself.

My god I'm a genius. Where's Michael Bay's number?
#28
Old 04-05-2011, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
2. Gimli wants to go through Moria and says his cousin (Balin?) will welcome them as honored guests. Why was Gimli not aware of what happened in Moria? Had it been a while since he'd last seen his cousin or the dwarf mail service doesn't work so well?
It's worse than you think. According to scholars more obsessive than I, the dwarves of Balin's expedition had actually been out of touch (because they were all dead) for more than twenty years at the time of the Council of Elrond.

Some relevant dates in the Third Age of Middle-earth:

1980. Dwarven mithril-mining operations awaken the Balrog which slays King Durin VI (hence "Durin's Bane") and others.

1981. Following further battles with the Balrog and the slaying of another king, the remaining dwarves flee. Later Moria becomes populated by orcs and trolls who worship and follow the Balrog.

2799. Battle between dwarves and orcs in the Dimrill Dale outside the East-gate, but the Balrog is seen at the gate and the dwarves do not attempt to enter.

2941. Events of The Hobbit.

2989. Balin's expedition enters Moria (a thousand years after the abandonment!) and takes control of some areas.

2994. Balin and his followers are wiped out.

3018. Beginning of the central events of The Lord of the Rings ("The Shadow of the Past"). The Council of Elrond.

3019. The Fellowship passes through Moria. Gandalf battles the Balrog. End of the central events of The Lord of the Rings ("The Scouring of the Shire").

Tolkien's timelines are long.
#29
Old 04-05-2011, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by shantih View Post
Do-dah! Do-dah!


Gaaaah!
Of him the harpers sadly sing, O dee doo dah day!
#30
Old 04-05-2011, 06:40 PM
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The one that gets me is "O Elbereth Gilthoniel" to "O come o come Emmanuel".

Quote:
I'm sure others have already touched on this, but there's no teleporting in Tolkien at all. I can't recall any summoning of elementals either.
Well, you might argue that the water-horses in the flood at the Ford were elementals, I suppose. And the Maia associated with particular elements (the Balrogs for fire, for instance) might also be called elementals, though you wouldn't summon those.
#31
Old 04-05-2011, 06:40 PM
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Which you can sing to the tune of The Yellow Rose Of Texas.
The Lord of the Rings was ghost written by Emily Dickinson?
#32
Old 04-05-2011, 06:41 PM
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1 ring 2 rule them all, damn [does a little jittery James Brownrog foot work thang]
#33
Old 04-05-2011, 06:48 PM
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Why does Gandalf fight the Balrog while standing on the precarious stone bridge?
#34
Old 04-05-2011, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gangster Octopus View Post
Why does Gandalf fight the Balrog while standing on the precarious stone bridge?
Seriously? The entire goal of Gandalf's actions were to keep the Balrog from advancing, and his strategy was to lure the Balrog to a point where he could use gravity as a weapon.
#35
Old 04-05-2011, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
Seriously? The entire goal of Gandalf's actions were to keep the Balrog from advancing, and his strategy was to lure the Balrog to a point where he could use gravity as a weapon.
But why did Gandalf stop on the bridge? Couldn't he lure the Balrog onto the bridge from the other side?
#36
Old 04-05-2011, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
arghhhh! you swine! That is seared into my brain now.

Actually, much as I loved the films and books I reckon there is mileage in redoing it as a musical.

Or.........bloody hell, how about a blaxploitation version? "The Brotherhood of the Bling"
Morgan Freeman as Gandalf? Samuel L. Jackson as Saruman? Prince as Gollum?

"I'm gonna git 2nd age on your ass"
"I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my pimp"

come on! this thing writes itself.

My god I'm a genius. Where's Michael Bay's number?
Were you around for the "If LOTR had been written by somebody else" thread? About 80 pages of literary parody, much of it brilliant. Worth a search.
#37
Old 04-05-2011, 07:05 PM
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But why did Gandalf stop on the bridge? Couldn't he lure the Balrog onto the bridge from the other side?
You're acting like he had planned this out in advance. He hadn't. He wasn't Batman, than Zeus.
#38
Old 04-05-2011, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
You're acting like he had planned this out in advance. He hadn't. He wasn't Batman, than Zeus.
Better question, why was the bridge a narrow piece of rock? You'd think in the untold thousands of years in which the dwarves held Moria, they would have built a bigger, more sturdier bridge
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Better question, why was the bridge a narrow piece of rock? You'd think in the untold thousands of years in which the dwarves held Moria, they would have built a bigger, more sturdier bridge
IIRC, the narrowness and fragility was the point. It was a defensive tactic at the entrance to the caves; an invading army would have had to cross one by one.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:43 PM
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Were you around for the "If LOTR had been written by somebody else" thread? About 80 pages of literary parody, much of it brilliant. Worth a search.
excellent, that's 3 hours of my life soon to disappear.
#41
Old 04-05-2011, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The one that gets me is "O Elbereth Gilthoniel" to "O come o come Emmanuel".

Well, you might argue that the water-horses in the flood at the Ford were elementals, I suppose. And the Maia associated with particular elements (the Balrogs for fire, for instance) might also be called elementals, though you wouldn't summon those.
I noticed as a teen that one of Galadriel's songs in the books can be sung to Greensleeves. ("I sang of leaves...")
#42
Old 04-05-2011, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
Tolkien's timelines are long.
You can say that again. One of the things I didn't like about the movie was the compression of scale, timewise. Someone who hadn't read the book would get the impression that the span between Bilbo's party disappearance and Frodo's (along with Sam) being shoved out the door of Bagend by Gandalf was, oh, a couple months. Nope. More like twenty years. Frodo was, in fact almost exactly the age Bilbo was when he was given a push to start his adventure by the selfsame Gandalf.
#43
Old 04-05-2011, 10:37 PM
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Novelty Bobble - Here's the link you need
http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...hreadid=138905
and it will take more than 3 hours of your time
#44
Old 04-05-2011, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Jenaroph View Post
IIRC, the narrowness and fragility was the point. It was a defensive tactic at the entrance to the caves; an invading army would have had to cross one by one.
And dwarves didn't believe in curbs or guard-rails, either. Kind of ironic, given that dwarves weren't particularly known for grace or dexterity.
#45
Old 04-05-2011, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Or.........bloody hell, how about a blaxploitation version? "The Brotherhood of the Bling"
Morgan Freeman as Gandalf? Samuel L. Jackson as Saruman? Prince as Gollum?

"I'm gonna git 2nd age on your ass"
"I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my pimp"

come on! this thing writes itself.

My god I'm a genius. Where's Michael Bay's number?
A rather tardy genius. Years ago MAD TV did "Lord of the Bling". Gandalf played by Bill Cosby! Putting on the Ring turns you WHITE!
#46
Old 04-06-2011, 01:06 AM
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Middle Earth Wizards courtesy of wikipedia.
#47
Old 04-06-2011, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jenaroph View Post
IIRC, the narrowness and fragility was the point. It was a defensive tactic at the entrance to the caves; an invading army would have had to cross one by one.
The dwarves feared elves that much? It was Lothlorien on that side wasn't it?
#48
Old 04-06-2011, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Astroboy14 View Post
*HEAVY SIGH*
This has been explained many times before... of course if you hold your staff in the middle, as if it were a regular old walking stick, you're gonna block out the signal! You need to grip it at the top and bottom; then you'll see your signal improve quite a bit.
Nah, it wasn't the signal strength. It was a problem with the mailer daemon.

Last edited by Balance; 04-06-2011 at 01:54 PM.
#49
Old 04-06-2011, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
The dwarves feared elves that much? It was Lothlorien on that side wasn't it?
Depends on when it was built. Gimli calls it "the ancient defence of our people". We know that Khazad-dm was inhabited at least by the 1st age and more than likely after the elves "awoke". That places the foundation of Khazad-dm during the period where Melkor was making Middle Earth an unpleasant place.
#50
Old 04-06-2011, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Grey View Post
during the period where Melkor was making Middle Earth an unpleasant place.
You mean like, Narcs and Democrats?
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