Maybe you’re not a lover of playing cards, but one must recognize playing cards are the most famous and common card game there is out there and it’s been around for a long time now. There are countless regional variants of different games, different ways to play them with different amount of cards, but from Alaska to New Zealand, from Vladivostok to Easter Island people know and play Poker which is worldwidely spread, analyzed and written about. Recently I bought some well adorned playing cards from the Bicycle Alchemy 77 & Anne Strokes collection and by mere chance I stumbled upon a creation of Gerwell which introduces the Valar & Maiar to the Poker game.
Gerwell’s playing cards art (shown below) is lovely, giving the Valar & others an unique style. If you collect playing cards, play them a lot and love the game, this is an interesting item to acquire (printing or something like that). I’ll consider that eventually!
The only detail I would change in this set of playing cards is…..Tengwar! (Of course…you know, it’s me!) It wouldn’t be practical but it’d be damn cool to have Poker cards with number written in Quenya and perhaps custom tengwar for the JQK cards. I can’t think of custom Tolkien-related suits but it must not be hard to come up with some. Silmarilli could be used instead of Diamonds, Two Trees instead of Clubs…wait! It seems I can think of some custom suits!
Anyway here the images which Gerwell used to create the Valar Poker cards:
Praise belongs to Gerwell! If you want more info about this Valar Poker cards, check his Tumblr!!!
This is the end, my final friend, the end. Ainulindalë Quenyanna is officially finished. I took some prolonged vacations (too much time to be honest) of this project of mine, but now, here it is….THE end.
I thank everyone who is with me since its beginning, who is enjoying the ride and who liked the images, the text, the audio, it’s all there for you!
I’m happy and sad now. It’s fantastic to end such a complex project. It was tough and tiring sometimes. We all know how modern life sucks in any time we might have. I’m happy to have this mission accomplished (I didn’t know when I started if I could make it till the end) but it’s sad to know that this baby is never gonna be nurtured anymore. It’s already grown up! It’s gone! (Yes, my brain is weird sometimes….to quote Almárë at her Tumblr)
So, stay tuned at Ainulindalë section as there are a couple of paragraphs still to be written down and their audio to be released.
…and here is the final page of Ainulindalë Quenyanna…
Here comes another chapter of the series of several mysteries that Professor Tolkien, all throughout his work, left unexplained. Now we are to discuss whether Balrogs have wings, as lots have done before us.
As always, there’s no definite answer to the question, and that the reason we can discuss about it, isn’t it? One thing is certain: Balrogs look much more scary if the do have wings! Peter Jackson put wings on them, and it looked pretty awesome. But, as we can’t base a conclusion in the scariness of them, further discussion is needed. Let us begin.
First of all, lets take a look at the relevant quotes from The Lord of the Rings that originated all this:
His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. (LOTR, Book II, Chapter 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dûm)
Here we clearly see, by the use of the word ‘like’, that the mention of wings is merely figurative. But the problem arises with the following phrase, very close to the previous one in the same chapter:
…suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall… (LOTR, Book II, Chapter 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dûm)
Similarly, though it is in a non-published draft of the Silmarillion, there is this phrase regarding Morgoth’s Balrogs in Beleriand:
Swiftly they arose, and they passed with winged speed over Hithlum, and they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire. (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. X: Morgoth’s Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Rape of the Silmarils)
In favor of wings
There’s not much to tell about why so many support the pro-wings theory. ‘Its wings were spread from wall’ and ‘with winged speed’ arguments are the core of it. Simply take the above phrases literally, specially the 2nd and 3rd, and you have your case built.
The good thing of these arguments is their simplicity. Short, concise and clear, with not much complication, and that’s it.
The bad thing, this only works if you previously assume that Balrogs have wings, and are seeking for evidence that supports your assumption. In that case, the two arguments work perfectly. But should we have to assume that? Not necessarily…
In favor of no wings
This side argues that these phrases shouldn’t be taken literally, and that the wings in the 2nd phrase refer to the figurative ones mentioned in the 1st one. They stand over the fact that many other phrases in LOTR can’t be seen literally. For instance, in that very same chapter we read that ‘Gandalf came flying down the steps and fell to the ground in the midst of the Company’, and it is certain that Gandalf does not fly.
Indeed, in the Prophecy of Malbeth, in the Return of the King, we see that the very same word ‘wings’ is used as metaphor:
Over the land there lies a long shadow, westward reaching wings of darkness.
More strong argument is the fact that, if ‘its wings were spread from wall to wall’ is literal, the body of the Balrog would be too big to be true. The room where the bridge of Khazad-dûm is located was between 23 and 30 meters wide, then the wingspan of the Balrog must be near that size, almost as much as a big plane!
To carry such wings, a HUGE body would be needed, near the size of a house! And what’s the issue with that? Well, the fact that the Balrog was able to enter the Chamber of Mazarbul through the same door in which the orcs clustered during the battle there. So this door must be a fairly narrow opening, through which such gigantic Balrog would never be able to pass.
Another objection claimed is that its not likely that Balrogs have wings if they don’t fly. Their inability to fly is clear enough. If they did, it wouldn’t have fallen with Gandalf into the abyss nor from the top of Celebdil to its death; nor the one that fell in a fight with Glorfindel from a high pinnacle, as told in the Silmarillion. They don’t even fly in battles when it would be a huge advantage for them. So, if they fly they have wings; but as they probably don’t fly, we cannot say the have.
Remember that the anti-wing theory does not assume the presence of wings, but the contrary: by default, the races of Middle-earth don’t have wings unless specified explicitly. If not, Elves may have had wings, because Tolkien never said ‘they don’t have’.
Much more is talked than what I told you here. But to sum up, nothing is certain. It would seem that anti-wings have a larger number of arguments, but recall that sometimes the smaller army may win the battle. I leave it for you to judge which ones are stronger, and express your opinion in the poll and comments. I’m really interested in what you think of this matter!
‘Pro-wings’ vs. ‘Anti-wings’… let the game begin!
If you wanna read more extensive analysis of both theories, check this article (under the heading ‘… And Whether Balrogs Have Wings’)
It is known that I did not like The Hobbit (book), but that it almost ruined Tolkien’s magic for me, it is not much known.
In the middle of a discussion of the reason I do not like to celebrate, for example, Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday on September 22th, the idea to explain the reason it happened came out.
At first, my story with Tolkien. I started reading The Lord of the Rings, in Portuguese, when I was 8 or 9 years old. It took me almost two years to read it all, including the appendix. When I was 10 or 11 years old, I started playing with Angerthas Moria and I knew a bit of how the Shire’s calendar worked.
The deepness of the book, the fact that there was something behind this story, it always made me wonder. In some point right after this, I read The Hobbit in its illustrated version. I remember I liked it, but not so much, and started the Silmarillion right away, when I was… 12 years old(?) I read it whole and loved it.
The Tolkiendilli languages always intrigued me. I remember to write a lot on my notebook in Cirth and of being crazy to learn Sindarin (that I still don’t know and I’m not as curious as I was).
In some point, I read The Lord of the Rings for the second time and, when I was good enough to read books heavier than Harry Potter in English, I read it for the third time. Then, Unfinished Tales. I was about 16 years old when I started it and I decided it was time to learn Quenya. I met Erunno on twitter in some point and I started studying deeper this marvelous language. Right after that, I read The Children of Húrin and, until now, I can’t find a better book. A friend of mine gifted me The Silmarillion (the first time I read it, I borrowed it from my aunt) and I read it for the second time, knowing a bit of Quenya. There’s no such feeling as reading the Ainulindalë.
I always wanted to read the History of Middle-Earth series, but it took me too long to find them. When I finally did, I bought The Book of Lost Tales 1 and 2 right away. It took me a semester to read both and, needless to say, I got enchanted.
I stopped with Tolkien for a while, and after a year or more reading different things, I finally started The Hobbit, before the movie. All my Tolkiendilli friends commented so much, and bugged the hell out of me to read it!
And then…. where is it? Where’s the deepness? Where are the well-constructed characters with their marvelous and fantastic stories? What the hell are these elves? Beorn?!?!? I think I got so used to First Age and the War of the Ring that a very short and not so dense story such as The Hobbit disappointed me (yes, I know it was meant for children).
In the last chapters, I read the Annotated version. Then things got a little better, as it showed some details left by Tolkien, and also from where some things did come. But even then, I got disappointed. Some of the “Tolkien magic” ended, all the deepness and contextualization that always enchanted and impressed me, was gone. There’s almost nothing of it on the whole book, except for the Ring, the Gondolin swords and a little of the history of the dwarves, but even then it is not fully explained (something fixed in the movie!). And not to mention that the linguistic part of it is basically the runes on the map….
In the end, I missed almost everything that made me love Tolkien. Some of the magic of his work is lost. Maybe if I had read the Annotated version from the beginning it would have been different. But there’s still hope! The next book in line is Morgoth’s Ring. High, high, hiiiiiiiigh expectations. I hope I won’t get disappointed again!
Something Ondo will find out in Morgoth’s Ring…..(or not)
In this great day, I joyously announce the commendable tattooS of this Amazonian guy to the whole world to gaze upon in awe for his well-executed idea and be mesmerized by his own tribute to Father Tolkien and the Genesis of all elves, Ainulindalë. Let us sing the song of creation:
Minë né tumna ar palla’r vanya, mal’enca’r quanta únótima nyérëo, yallo vanesserya túlë ambë.
I exë sí enétie’rderya; mal nes róma, ar lusta, ar oialavë vorima; ar haryanes titta rainë
When Peter Jackson makes a new movie, and we get out of the theater after watching it, most of us think “damn, I want more!”. The fact is he does a great job in taking Tolkien work to the big screen (for some more, for some less). And, looking it from the economical side, The Lord of the Rings is a very lucrative franchise.
So… what will come when The Hobbit ends? Our Master, Helge Fauskanger, has an answer, and I like it a lot! Some time after the movie trilogy ended (back in 2003), he published in Ardalambion a draft for another possible prequel: Westernesse or the story of Númenor.
Its an amazing story, which you may remember from the Akallabêth, the second to last part of The Silmarillion. It tells the tale of the civilization formed by the Men who fought Morgoth in the War of Wrath. For their help, the Valar gifted them with longer life, and an island as close to Valinor as men where allowed to be. Elros, who is Elrond’s brother (that choose mortal life), was the first King of Númenor. When Sauron messes with these men, the downfall begins, leading to them migrating to Middle-earth and establishing the realm of Gondor. As you may see, from the line of these Kings comes the Kings of Gondor, and in the end comes Aragorn.
There are certainly some characters that would be well known to the audience: take Sauron, for instance; and Elrond could also be there (with his brother Elros). In the end, the whole story is about Aragorn’s ancestors, isn’t it? Remember the battle of the Last Alliance, the one in the “prologue” of The Fellowship of the Ring movie? Well, this new movie could end with the very same battle, making the link with the Trilogy.
The only problem is that there is not much canonical material available on this subject, but surely Peter Jackson can manage that, can’t he?