Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for mortal men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
JUST A TINY TRIBUTE TO J.R.R. TOLKIEN by Richard Karsmakers
Lo and behold, mortal computer freak: My heart rejoices to
pronounce to you the fact that this issue of ST NEWS (Volume 3
Issue 5 - but I suppose you already knew that) is dedicated to
the memory of the master of Middle Earth and mythlore; unbeaten
writer of fantasy fiction, the late J.R.R. Tolkien. Since both
Stefan and myself greatly adore this Great Man's writing, we
decided that just about nothing was more just than to dedicate
this issue to him. Again, this article is hardly fit to be
published in a computer magazine, but I hope you won't be
bothered by it.
Before starting with this, I'd like to extend my sincere
gratitude to Unwin Paperbacks, for supplying relevant information
and for allowing me to use phrases of "The Lord of the Rings".
Hail thee! Special thanks go to The Tolkien Society.
The day came like fire and smoke. Low in the East there were
black bars of cloud like the fumes of a great burning. The rising
sun lit them from beneath with flames of murky red; but soon it
climbed above them into a clear sky. The summit of Tol Brandir
was tipped with gold. Frodo looked out eastward and gazed at the
tall island. Its sides sprang sheer out of the running water.
High up above the tall cliffs were steep slopes upon which trees
climbed, mounting one head above another; and above them again
were grey faces of inaccessible rock, crowned by a great spire of
stone. Many birds were circling about it, but no sign of other
living things could be seen.
When they had eaten, Aragorn called the Company together. 'The
day has come at last,' he said; 'the day of choice we have long
delayed. What shall now become of our Company that has travelled
so far in fellowship? Shall we turn west with Boromir and go to
the wars of Gondor; or turn east to the Fear and Shadow; or shall
we break our fellowship and go this way and that as each may
choose? Whatever we do must be done soon. We cannot long halt
here. The enemy is on the eastern shore, we know; but I fear that
the Orcs may already be on this side of the water.'
There was a long silence in which no one spoke or moved.
'Well, Frodo,' said Aragorn at last. 'I fear that the burden is
laid upon you. You are the Bearer appointed by the Council. Your
own way you alone can choose. In this matter I cannot advise you.
I am not Gandalf, and though I have tried to bear his part, I do
not know what design or hope he had for this hour, if indeed he
had any. Most likely it seems that, if he were here now the
choice would still wait on you. Such is your fate.'
Frodo did not answer at once. Then he spoke slowly. 'I know that
haste is needed, yet I cannot choose. The burden is heavy. Give
me an hour longer, and I will speak. Let me be alone!'
Aragorn looked at him with kindly pity. 'Very well Frodo son of
Drogo,' he said. 'You shall have an hour, and you shall be alone.
We will stay here for a while. But do not stray far or out of
Frodo sat for a moment with his head bowed. Sam, who had been
watching his master with great concern, shook his head and
muttered: 'Plain as a pikestaff it is, but it's no good Sam
Gamgee putting in his spoke just now.'
Presently Frodo got up and walked away, and Sam saw that while
the others restrained themselves and did not stare at him the
eyes of Boromir followed Frodo intently, until he passed out of
sight in the trees at the foot of Amon Hen.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born January 3, 1891, in
Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, in what is now South Africa. His
father, Arthur Reuel Tolkien, was a bank teller and died suddenly
three years after. With the death of his mother Mable (Suffield)
Tolkien), Ronald was left an orphan. He attended King Edward VII
School in Birmingham, and later obtained his B.A. and M.A. at
Exeter College, Oxford University. Tolkien was Rawlingson and
Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925-1945, and
Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to
his retirement in 1959. Tolkien married Edith Mary Bratt on March
22, 1916 (she died in 1971); they had four children: John Francis
Joseph Reuel (born 1917), Michael Hilary Reuel (born 1921),
Christopher John Reuel (born 1924) and Priscilla Mary Reuel (born
1929). He died in Bournemouth, England, while visiting friends on
September 2, 1973.
Wandering aimlessly at first in the wood, Frodo found that his
feet were leading him up towards the slopes of the hill. He came
to a path, the dwindling ruins of a road of long ago. In steep
places stairs of stone had been hewn, but now they were cracked
and worn, and split by the roots of trees. For some while he
climbed, not caring which way he went, until he came to a grassy
place. Rowan-trees grew about it, and in the midst was a wide
flat stone. The little upland lawn was open upon the east and was
filled now with the early sunlight. Frodo halted and looked out
over the River, far below him, to Tol Brandir and the birds
wheeling in the great gulf of air between him and the untrodden
isle. The voice of Rauros was a mighty roaring mingled with a
deep throbbing boom.
He sat down upon the stone and cupped his chin in his hands,
staring eastward but seeing little with his eyes. All that had
happened since Bilbo left the Shire was passing through his mind,
and he recalled and pondered everything that he could remember of
Gandalf's words. Time went on, and still he was no nearer to a
Suddenly he awoke from his thoughts: A strange feeling came to
him that something was behind him, that unfriendly eyes were upon
him. He sprang up and turned; but all that he saw to his surprise
was Boromir, and his face was smiling and kind.
In "The Lord of the Rings", Tolkien tells the tale of a Company
dwelling on a quest through the fantastic lands of Middle Earth -
a land occupied by Wizards, Elves, Dark Lords, Trolls, Orcs,
Wargs, Dwarves and Hobbits. In the 'prologue' to "The Lord of the
Rings", a book called "The Hobbit", we read the story of the
Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Lured into a quest to retrieve an enormous
treasure from Smaug the Dragon in the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo
experiences all kinds of adventures and thus also (by
coincidence?) finds a ring that formerly belonged to a miserable
creature called Gollum (also known as Smeagol).
In "The Lord of the Rings", Gandalf the Wizard finds out that
this particular ring was the One Ring, wrought of old, Isildur's
Bane, a ring that had gained the attention of Sauron the Dark
Lord. To prevent Sauron from taking over power in Middle Earth,
there is only one possible solution. The ring has to be cast into
the same fire it was made in: The eternal fire in the cracks of
Mount Doom, now in the middle of the Dark Lands of Mordor whither
the One whose name shall not be mentioned now lives. When
departing from the Shire (the place where the Hobbits or
Halflings live), Bilbo leaves the ring with his nephew Frodo
Baggins who is appointed by Elrond (a high-Elf) to be the Bearer
in a Company also consisting Gandalf (or Mithrandir) the Wizard,
Aragorn (or Strider) the Ranger, Boromir, Gimli the Dwarf (son of
Gloin, whom we met in "The Hobbit"), Legolas the Elf, Sam Gamgee,
Peregrin Took (Pippin) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry) - the
latter three being Hobbits - a folk that would turn out not
merely to be smaller than men, but brave and valiant too.
'I was afraid for you, Frodo,' he said, coming forward. 'If
Aragorn is right and Orcs are near, then none of us should wander
alone, and you least of all: So much depends on you. And my heart
too is heavy. May I stay now and talk for a while, since I have
found you? It would comfort me. Where there are so many, all
speech becomes a debate without end. But two together may perhaps
'You are kind,' answered Frodo. 'But I do not think that any
speech will help me. For I know what I should do, but I am afraid
of doing it, Boromir: Afraid.'
Boromir stood silent. Rauros roared endlessly on. The wind
murmured in the branches of the trees. Frodo shivered.
Suddenly Boromir came and sat beside him. 'Are you sure that you
do not suffer needlessly?' he said. 'I wish to help you. You need
counsel in your hard choice. Will you not take mine?'
'I think I know already what counsel you would give, Boromir.'
said Frodo. 'And it would seem like wisdom but for the warning of
'Warning? Warning against what?' said Boromir sharply.
'Against delay. Against the way that seems easier. Against
refusal of the burden that is laid upon me. Against - well, if it
must be said, against trust in the strength and truth of men.
'Yet that strength had long protected you far away in your
little country, though you knew it not.
'I do not doubt the valour of your people. But the world is
changing. The walls of Minas Tirith may be strong, but they are
not strong enough. If they fail, what then?'
'We shall fall in battle valiantly. Yet there is still hope that
they will not fail.'
'No hope while the Ring lasts,' said Frodo.
'Ah! The Ring!' said Boromir, his eyes lighting. 'The Ring! Is
it not a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and
doubt for so small a thing? So small a thing! And I have seen it
only for an instant in the house of Elrond. Could I not have a
sight of it again?'
Frodo looked up. His heart went suddenly cold. He caught the
strange gleam in Boromir's eyes, yet his face was still kind and
friendly. 'It is best that it should lie hidden,' he answered.
Tolkien succeeds in carrying the reader on, enthralled, for page
after page. Every aspect of the story is richly ornamented with
ancient Middle Earth history, myth-lore and attention to detail
one can hardly imagine. Not only does he faithfully reproduce
emotions and feelings, but also the scenery where the Company
strides in all its beauty or ugliness. The reader is carried
through the Shire (where the Hobbits live), the Old Forest where
the trees seem to threaten, the last homely house of Elrond, the
dark Mines of Moria, beautiful Lorien (whither the lady Galadriel
walks amidst the Elves of old), the journey of Aragorn through
the Paths of the Dead, the siege of Gondor, Shelob's Lair and the
dark and desolate land of Mordor. Each chapter is a masterpiece
of narrative artwork, each character authentic and realistic, and
this all covered with a layer of legends and faerytales.
'As you wish. I care not,' said Boromir. 'Yet may I not even
speak of it? For you seem ever to think only of its power in the
hands of the Enemy: Of its evil uses not of its good. The world
is changing, you say. Minas Tirith will fall, if the Ring lasts.
But why? Certainly, if the Ring were with the Enemy. But why, if
it were with us?'
'Were you not at the council?' answered Frodo. 'Because we
cannot use it, and what is done with it turns to evil.
Boromir got up and walked about impatiently. 'So you go on,' he
cried. 'Gandalf, Elrond - all these folk have taught you to say
so. For themselves they may be right. These elves and half-elves
and wizards, they would come to grief perhaps. Yet often I doubt
if they are wise and not merely timid. But each to his own kind.
True-harted Men, they will not be corrupted. We of Minas Tirith
have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire
the power of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves,
strength in a just cause. And behold! in our need chance brings
to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the
foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the
Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will
achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a
great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why
not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would
drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!'
Boromir strode up an down, speaking ever more loudly. Almost he
seemed to have forgotten Frodo, while his talk dwelt on walls and
weapons, and the mustering of man; and he drew plans for great
alliances and glorious victories to be; and he cast down Mordor,
and became himself a mighty king, benevolent and wise. Suddenly
he stopped and waved his arms.
'And they tell us to throw it away!' he cried. 'I do not say
destroy it. That might be well, if reason could show any hope of
doing so. It does not. The only plan that is proposed to us is
that a halfling should walk blindly into Mordor and offer the
Enemy every chance of recapturing it for himself. Folly!'
'Surely you see it, my friend?' he said, turning now suddenly to
Frodo. 'You say that you are afraid. If it is so, the boldest
should pardon you. But is it not really your good sense that
'No, I am afraid,' said Frodo. 'Simply afraid. But I am glad to
have heard you speak so fully. My mind is clearer now.'
'Then you will come to Minas Tirith?' cried Boromir. His eyes
were shining and his face eager.
'You misunderstand me,' said Frodo.
On his journey through all those countries of Middle Earth, each
of them littered with peril as the Evil Eye reaches further,
Frodo meets just about every possible sort of danger - not only
the Nine Evil Ringwraiths, Wargs, Trolls and all kinds of Orcs,
but also the treacherous effect that the Ring turns out to have
one some people that used to be on HIS side instead of the Dark
Lord's. Friends unexpectedly turn for the worst, starting Saruman
the White - the only wizard higher than Gandalf the grey. Before
this man eventually gets overthrown at Isengard, Boromir starts
acting real queer. The One Ring gets hold of him...
'But you will come, at least for a while?' Boromir persisted.
'My city is not far now; and it is little further from there to
Mordor than from here. We have been long in the wilderness, and
you need news of what the Enemy is doing before you make a move.
Come with me, Frodo,' he said. 'You need rest before your
venture, if go you must.' He laid his hand on the Hobbit's
shoulder in friendly fashion; but Frodo felt the hand trembling
with suppressed excitement. He stepped quickly away, and eyed
with alarm the tall Man, nearly twice his height and many times
his match in strength.
'Why are you so unfriendly?' said Boromir. 'I am a true man,
neither thief nor tracker. I need your Ring: That you know now;
but I give you my word that I do not desire to keep it. Will you
not at least let me make trial of my plan? Lend me the Ring!'
'No! No!' cried Frodo. 'The Council laid it upon me to bear it.'
'It is by our own folly that the Enemy will defeat us,' cried
Boromir. 'How it angers me! Fool! Obstinate fool! Running
wilfully to death and ruining our cause. If any mortals have
claim to the Ring, it is the men of Nmenor, and not Halflings.
It is not yours save by unhappy chance. It might have been mine.
It should be mine. Give it to me!'
Just after Boromir's 'treason' (which he succeeds in making up -
although he gets killed while doing that), the Company splits.
Merry and Pippin get captured by foul Orcs, Sam and Frodo decide
to go to Mordor themselves and the rest (save Gandalf, who was
thought to be killed in the mines of Moria while fighting the
vicious Balrog) starts searching for the two kidnapped Hobbits.
All adventures in "The Lord of the Rings" are written in such a
realistic fashion that the reader would almost start believing
that Middle Earth REALLY exists, that there truly are elves and
dwarves. It's the reality and beauty of the book that makes it
astounding. If you ask me, "The Lord of the Rings" is the best
book ever written in all languages ever conceived.
Frodo did not answer, but moved away till the great flat stone
stood between them. 'Come, come, my friend!' said Boromir in a
softer voice. 'Why not get rid of it? Why not be free of your
doubt and fear? You can lay the blame on me, if you will. You can
say that I was too strong and took it by force. For I am too
strong for you, Halfling,' he cried; and suddenly he sprang over
the stone and leapt at Frodo. His fair and pleasant face was
hideously changed; a raging fire was in his eyes.
Frodo dodged aside and again put the stone between them. There
was only one thing he could do: Trembling he pulled out the Ring
upon its chain and quickly slipped it on his finger, even as
Boromir sprang at him again. The Man gasped, stared for a moment
amazed, and then ran wildly about, seeking here and there among
the rocks and trees.
'Miserable trickster!' he shouted. 'Let me get my hands on you!
Now I see your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron and sell us
all. You have only waited your chance to leave is in the lurch.
Curse you and all Halflings to death and darkness!' Then,
catching his foot on a stone, he fell sprawling and lay upon his
face. For a while he was as still as if his own curse had struck
him down; then suddenly he wept.
He rose and passed a hand over his eyes, dashing away the tears.
'What have I said?' he cried. 'What have I done? Frodo, Frodo!'
he called. 'Come back! A madness took me but it has passed. Come
This was an excerpt of 'The Breaking of the Fellowship' chapter
of the first part of "The Lord of the Rings": "The Fellowship of
the Ring". All that is left for me to say is that, if you're
interested in Tolkien and if you want to read his books, you
should contact Unwin Paperbacks, 40 Museum Road, London WC1A 1LU,
England. "The Lord of the Rings" costs 7.95 there (so that
shouldn't stop you from becoming Tolkien-ish....), and is a
perfect way to read some sensible literature and to become hooked
to Tolkien's Great Style Of Writing. I wish I could more clearly
specify WHY I think "The Lord of the Rings" is such a damn good
book, but I am afraid I can't (after just having read the book
again, feelings of inferiority creep upon me that almost withhold
me from writing at all). Best way is to read it yourself.
The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1937
Farmer Giles of Ham.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1949
The Fellowship of the Ring.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1954
[Lord of the Rings #1]
The Two Towers.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1954
[Lord of the Rings #2]
The Return of the King.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1955
[Lord of the Rings #3]
Tree and Leaf.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964
The Tolkien Reader.
Ballantine, New York, 1966
The Road Goes Ever On; a Song Cycle.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1967
[Music by Donald Swann]
Smith of Wootton Major.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1967
The Lord of the Rings.
George Allen & Unwin, London, 1968
[The first edition in one Volume]
Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1977
[Edited by Christopher Tolkien]
(All published by Unwin Paperbacks)
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
by Humphrey Carpenter
[Very advisable to buy, at George Allen & Unwin it costs 4.95]
by Humphrey Carpenter
The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth
by Robert Foster
Journeys of Frodo
by Barbara Strachey
Map of Beleriand
Map of Middle-Earth
Map of Wilderland
Bilbo's Last Song
The Tolkien Calendar 1989
The Tolkien Society
Founded in London in 1969, The Tolkien Society is an
international literary and fan society dedicated to promoting the
study and appreciation of the works of the late Professor J.R.R.
Tolkien, particularly his great fantasy, The Lord of the Rings.
The Tolkien Society has members all over the world, and is in
contact with many allied Societies interested in Tolkien and
related fields of literature. In 1972, Professor Tolkien agreed
to become our Honorary President, offering any help he was able
to give. Since his death he remains their President 'in
perpetuo', at the suggestion of his family. The Society is
registered in the UK as an educational charity.
Members are kept in touch through their publications: The
Society bulletin, Amon Hen, usually appears bi-monthly, with
articles and artwork, book news and poetry, Society announcements
and letters. Mallorn, their journal, normally comes out twice a
year, and carries more substantial articles, poetry, fiction, and
artwork. They organise two general meetings in the UK, the
AGM/Dinner in the Spring and Oxonmoot, held in Oxford in late
September, where Miss Priscilla Tolkien has often been their
guest and hostess. In some areas, there are local groups or
'smials' which hold their own meetings.
The Society has a reference archive, and a lending library of
fantasy fiction in the UK. The Secretary and Bibliographer can
assist with queries about the Professor's life and work (see
below for address to contact). A stamp or an International Reply
Coupon for reply is much appreciated.
Please send subscriptions to The Membership Secretary,
Christopher Oakey, Flat 5, 357 High Street, Cheltenham,
Gloucestershire GL50 3HT, England, making all cheques, money
orders etc. payable to The Tolkien Society. UK members paying
income tax can assist the Society by covenanting their
subscriptions for four years. The Membership Secretary will
supply details on request.
Subscription Rates (From June 1st 1988) 1988-1989
United Kingdom 10.50
Surface (Including Europe) 11.50
Europe Airmail 13.00
USA/Canada Airmail 16.00
Australia Airmail 17.00
Associate Membership (no magazines) 5.25
Please remember to add four pounds for all payments not in
General enquiries should be sent to: Anne Howard, 35 Amesbury
Cres, Hove, East Sussex BN3 5RD, England.
In Holland, a separate Tolkien-society exists. It is called
"Unquendor", publishes an own magazine (called "Lembas", which
appears five times a year) and has several local meetings about
once a month. I am a member myself, and enjoy it very much (and
not only for the fact that you can buy Tolkien and Tolkien-
related literature at cheaper prices). For info, one should write
to Jan Gerritsen, Postbus 6566, 6503 GB Nijmegen, The
Netherlands. Telephone: 080-773325. A membership costs 35,-- a