Mark Reads ‘The Two Towers’: Chapter 1

In the first chapter of The Two Towers, THIS IS HOW YOU START A BOOK? If you’re intrigued by that, then it’s time for Mark to read The Lord of the Rings.


You tricked me, chapter title. YOU TRICKED ME.

I know that this is only split into a trilogy for publishing reasons, and I know that Tolkien intended this to be one full novel. Still, I’m impressed so far how well this works as a separate book just from the first chapter. THIS IS HOW THIS STARTS!!! WHAT IS GOING ON EVERYONE????

There’s no narrative break from the scene that ends The Fellowship of the Ring, and we pick up at the moment that Aragorn realizes that something is wrong. Unfortunately, he can’t really ascertain what it is that’s going awry. I don’t like a panicked Aragorn, y’all. I don’t. He is supposed to be my constant, my dependable hero, and he is freaking the fuck out. Should I panic, too? I suppose I’d feel validated for panicking if Aragorn was losing his cool.

When the horn of Boromir rang out, I expected that we’d open The Two Towers with a glorious battle between the six remaining members of the Company and a host of orcs. I should just stop expecting anything anymore, shouldn’t I?

A mile, maybe, from Parth Galen in a little glade not far from the lake he found Boromir. He was sitting with his back to a great tree, as if he was resting. But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilt; his horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.





‘I tried to take the Ring from Frodo,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I have paid.’ His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. ‘They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.’


‘You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!’

Boromir smiled.

‘Which way did they go? Was Frodo there?’ said Aragorn.

But Boromir did not speak again.

I just can’t. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENS ON LIKE THE SECOND GODDAMN PAGE. Oh, was breaking up the Fellowship not enough for all of us? Nope. Tolkien had to tease us with a chapter title that I thought referred to Boromir breaking off from the group to go be awesome in Minas Tirith. BUT NO. TOLKIEN KILLS HIM OFF.

fuck. FUCK!!!!!! I AM SERIOUSLY SO UPSET! I know y’all know this by now, but I love morally ambiguous or questionable characters like white people love The Help and THIS IS HURTING ME! I WANT MORE BOROMIR. Also, I am realizing that I am essentially yelling into an empty room because not a word of this is going to change or affect a single thing anywhere. Well, that just made me a whole lot sadder.

He knelt for a while, bent with weeping, still clasping Boromir’s hand.

Done. I’m done. Just bury me right here on the Internet with my laptop and my LEGO sets and just be done with it. Don’t even have a funeral. Just stack some rocks and make my headstone say, “Dear J.R.R. Tolkien, You killed me and I will haunt you in the afterlife even if it’s not possible, you deserve everything awful (only you don’t because oh my god i love you so much but it’s that “hateful” kind of love), and may you be seated on a bed of thumbtacks or something moderately irritating.” Yes, that.

Then Gimli and Legolas arrive and Sad Boromir Party just continues on and on. I can’t get over this. I refuse to get over this. This is the first chapter. If you can open your book this way, what on earth are you going to do after this?

Even if Boromir wasn’t as “important” to the narrative as Gandalf, and even though all of these characters didn’t know him for very long, their grief is scattered all over the pages of this chapter. Again, it’s such an amazing thing to read because you can pick up so many small things that point to the unraveling of the Company even further. They’re all very methodical about determining what to do with Boromir’s body. As they pick the corpses of the Orcs for weapons, finding definite signs that Sam and Frodo were taken (and I assume Merry and Pippin too?), they are both confused and energized by the events that have split them up. While Aragorn and Legolas are eager to set out, they have a sober realization of what they’re up against. On top of that, it seems pretty apparent that Saruman has sent his own team of Orcs upon them, confirming Gandalf’s story about the famed wizard.

But the most depressing (and well-written) scene in all of chapter one is when it comes time to send Boromir down the River in one of the boats. They all take such care to arrange his belongings and weapons about his body. I seriously started to tear up when I read about them combing his hair onto his shoulders. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t know him well; he was their friend, and he was a part of the Company. It is interesting to me that Aragorn is choosing to keep Boromir’s final words a secret, and I kind of respect him for that. In this moment, they don’t really matter, at least not yet. The man is dead, and they’re going to pay him the proper respects. I imagine they’ll have to discuss it eventually, since his actions are what got the hobbits captured. For now, though, Aragorn and Legolas trade off singing songs about Boromir the Tall, the Fair, and the Bold.

my creys, y’all. MY CREYS.

But the real breaking of the Fellowship is at the end of this chapter. Even though Aragorn guesses what’s happened, he makes an important decision here: the Company has done what it can. He will not pursue Frodo into Mordor. It’s a sensible choice, especially since going after them would only make things worse, but it’s still such an upsetting thing to read. But since they have chosen to follow the Orcs to learn what exactly they are, I’m interested to see how Tolkien deals with a narrative split between multiple places. I’m still not sure if Merry and Pippin are also split from the group, or if they managed to find a way to catch up with Sam and Frodo. Is it selfish to be excited about this because it means that I’ll get to see more of Middle-earth? WHATEVER, I’M EXCITED.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

382 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Two Towers’: Chapter 1

  1. Becky_J_ says:

    Hahahaha. Oh Mark. Do you know how long we’ve been waiting for you to get to this chapter?? SINCE WE MET BOROMIR. Soooo much of the rot13 has been dedicated to this. I mean, let’s face it, you are ALWAYS unprepared, but I think that this may be THE most unprepared you have ever been, at least this far. (NOTE: I was going to make a line graph to express the height of your unpreparedness, but I figure you know already, and also it wouldn’t fit on the graph because it is so extreme, so I’ll let it be).Tolkien was apparently unaware of the fact that you don’t kill a major character off in the first chapter of a novel. Or, far more likely, HE JUST DIDN’T GIVE A FUCK.

    And then, to top it all off, Sebqb naq Fnz unir eha njnl sebz ubzr, Cvccva naq Zreel ner bss cynlvat xrrc njnl jvgu gur Bepf, naq Nentbea, Yrtbynf, naq Tvzyv ner orpbzvat gur Guerr Zhfxrgrref! Oh, Tolkien, you little mastermind, you, OUR PLOT IS INSTANTLY A MILLION TIMES MORE COMPLEX.

    On Boromir: his character always makes me sad. I mean, I always get really really angry at him for scaring away Frodo and trying to take the Ring, but he’s not a bad person, I am FIRMLY convinced of that. Especially in this chapter, I think we can see the regret come out, right before he dies. It just shows how the Ring can bend the hearts of even the strongest men, and it can twist even the smallest desire into what it wants.

    “The River had taken Boromir son of Denethor, and he was not seen again in Minas Tirith, standing as he used to stand upon the White Tower in the morning. But in Gondor in after-days it long was said that the elven-boat rode the falls and the foaming pool, and bore him down through Osgiliath, and past the many mouths of Anduin, out into the Great Sea at night under the stars.”

    Oh, DAMN you Tolkien. You are making me cry for a character that I spend an entire post hating on last chapter! Also, HELLO BEAUTIFUL IMAGERY, how are you???

    Movie spoilers: Bu zna, guvf fprar va gur zbivr vf nobhg N GEVYYVBA GVZRF ORGGRE guna gur obbx. Va gur obbx, vg’f yvxr, “Jryy, ybbx, vg’f Obebzve, naq ur’f orpbzr gnetrg cenpgvpr sbe fbzr Bepf, naq bu lrnu, ZREEL NAQ CVCCVA NER TBAR, naq bu, ybbx, abj Obebzve’f qrnq!”

    Va gur zbivr, jr npghnyyl frr ubj Obebzve gevrf gb cebgrpg gur uboovgf naq V NZ FNQ SBERIRE naq gura Zreel naq Cvccva gel gb svtug gb fnir uvz naq gurl qba’g rira GBHPU gur Bepf naq jura Nentbea svaqf uvz vg vf fb zhpu zber gbhpuvat naq crefbany guna gur fprar va gur obbx. Trggvat gb frr nyy gung unccraf juvyr Fnz naq Sebqb ner yrnivat vf xrl, V guvax.

    Naq, nf jr unir qvfphffrq orsber, gur snpg gung Nentbea yrgf Sebqb tb vafgrnq bs qvfpbirevat vg naq gelvat gb svaq uvz vf FB ZHPU ZBER CBJRESHY. “V jbhyq unir sbyybjrq lbh gb gur raq, gb gur irel sverf bs Zbeqbe.” TNU. Fb jbaqreshy naq cresrpg naq nznmvat. V pna’g jnvg gb frr Znex’f ernpgvba gb gur raq bs SBGE!

    • I've always loved Boromir's character… he always seemed like someone easy to relate to, even if you didn't agree with his actions or his reasoning. And what the Ring does to him is so heartbreaking because it takes all his virtues, such as his love of his city, his desire to help the Fellowship, and even his protecting of the hobbits and twists all of that against him. Still, I love that he was able to overcome it in the end and that he was able to die reasonably at peace. Gah, poor Boromir. :'(

    • flootzavut says:

      V YBIR gur jnl gur zbivr qvq gung. V nyfb guvax vg urycf oevat bhg gung bgure fvqr gb Obebzve, gung vf gurer va gur obbxf ohg pbhyq rnfvyl or bireybbxrqbe zvffrq. Snve cynl, Frna Orna anvyrq vg.

    • egao-gakari says:

      BGE jnf gur svefg zbivr V fnj va gurngref nsgre fgehttyvat sbe znal bs zl puvyqubbq lrnef jvgu nakvrgl va pybfrq, qnex fcnprf (abg shyy-ba pynhfgebcubovn, ohg V jbhyq unir n cnavp nggnpx gur zvahgr V tbg va nal xvaq bs pebjq bs crbcyr/gurngre xvaq bs frggvat), naq V bayl jrag orpnhfr zl zbz jnf yvxr, "guvf vf gur terngrfg frevrf bs obbxf rire jevggra naq V jnag gb tb frr gur zbivr naq V pna'g svaq n onol fvggre, fb lbh'er pbzvat gbb."

      Vg jnf nyfb gur zbfg vagrafr zbivr V'q rire frra gb gung cbvag (V jnf gjryir). V pyhgpurq zl zbz'f unaq guebhtu gur jubyr guvat naq pevrq ba ure fubhyqre jura Tnaqnys qvrq, naq ol gur gvzr jr tbg gb guvf fprar V unq hfrq hc zl ragver fhccyl bs grnef naq pbhyq bayl fvg gurer jvgu zl rlrf yvxr fnhpref. V qvqa'g gnyx sbe yvxr na ubhe nsgre gur zbivr raqrq, naq gura V fgnegrq gnyxvat nobhg vg naq V pbhyqa'g fgbc, naq gura V gbbx bhg NYY gur obbxf sebz gur yvoenel naq ernq gurz fgenvtug guebhtu naq V unir orra ahgf nobhg gur jubyr guvat rire fvapr. Frrvat guvf zbivr va gur gurngre vf bar bs zl orfg zrzbevrf- V jnf fb cebhq bs zlfrys sbe trggvat guebhtu vg!

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      V nterr, gung'f bar bs gur fgeratguf bs gur zbivrf. Gurl ner noyr gb ivfvg gubfr fprarf gung ner cnffrq bire naq yrsg zbfgyl harkcynvarq va gur obbxf. Jr tbg gb frr Tnaqnys'f pncgvivgl ba Begunap, naq abj jr trg gb ernyyl frr ubj Obebzve sbhtug fb inyvnagyl gb fnir gur uboovgf. Gur ybbxf ba Zreel'f & Cvccva'f snprf jvyy arire abg znxr zr fnq, cnverq jvgu gur ybbx bs snvyher va Obebzve'f snpr. *nyy gur grnef*

    • notemily says:

      "The River had taken Boromir son of Denethor, and he was not seen again in Minas Tirith, standing as he used to stand upon the White Tower in the morning. But in Gondor in after-days it long was said that the elven-boat rode the falls and the foaming pool, and bore him down through Osgiliath, and past the many mouths of Anduin, out into the Great Sea at night under the stars."

      This is so gorgeous.

      [V qb nterr gung gur zbivr qbrf vg orggre jvgu npghnyyl fubjvat Obebzve'f svtug. Ohvyqf hc zber fhfcrafr gbb.]

    • bradycardia says:

      It just shows how the Ring can bend the hearts of even the strongest men, and it can twist even the smallest desire into what it wants.

      Exactly! Boromir was a good man but the ring brings out the evil in everyone. It just shows how strong and good Frodo naq Fnz ner for being able to resist. Even Galadriel went a bit funny!

  2. Thank you, Internet, for already having made the best and most obvious response to this chapter.

    <img src=""&gt;

    And because Mark is a Skyrim fan, I offer you more gems from the Internet:

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    • JustMalyn says:

      Ahahahahaha. Awful and yet so HILARIOUS!

    • Shadowmarauder says:

      One day, Sean Bean will be in a fantasy series where he doesn't die.

      • JustMalyn says:


      • One of the main reasons people didn't mention who played Boromir was because that would be a spoiler.

        Poor Sean Bean. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan. And Michelle Rodriguez. And Rory Pond…

      • Patrick721 says:

        He didn't die in National Treasure, and that's sort of fantasy. Does that count? (Yeah, he went to jail, but he didn't die.)

      • eregyrn says:

        Somebody needs to post the GingerHaze "Sean Bean with kittens and ice cream" cartoon… (if I can figure out how to do it, I will…)

        Actually, Sean Bean has NOW been in a fantasy… movie, in which he does not die. Ur cynlf Mrhf va gur Crepl Wnpxfba: Yvtugavat Guvrs svyz, ybbxf fcrpgnphyneyl frkl juvyr qbvat vg, naq pregnvayl qbrfa'g qvr ng gur raq. Hasbeghangryl Mrhf vf xvaq bs n wrex, naq gur svyz ernyyl vfa'g gung terng, ohg… grpuavpnyyl!

        Nyfb, qbrf Gebl pbhag? Ur'f gur bayl bar jub QBRFA'G qvr va gung. Tenagrq, gung jnf n irel "ybj snagnfl" irefvba bs gur Gebwna Jne yrtraqf, ohg vg jnf fgvyy onfrq ba zlgubybtl, naq gung'f snagnfl, evtug? Envfr lbhe unaqf vs lbh jvfurq jvgu nyy lbhe zvtug gung gurl jbhyq znxr na Bqlffrl frdhry fgneevat uvz…

    • Zoli says:

      So, as someone who hasn't played Skyrim, I gotta ask: what's with the arrow to the knee thing? I see it appearing everywhere. Is there some weird computer thing that arrows only hit you in the knee? I am confused. ):

      (I did TRY to play Skyrim, but I have been unable to find anywhere to rent it. It is le sad.)

    • ljrTR says:

      Sean Bean was fantastic in the movie. Just superb.

    • Moderator Note

      This post is not a spoiler. Per the FAQ:

      1) Can I post images from the movie?

      Yes, provided that they are ONLY from scenes that I have come across in the books. On that note, I’d rather you not unless it’s of a character. Like, don’t show me GIF’d images of entire sequences, but if you post a photo of Legolas, you’re not spoiling me.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:



      • In the movie, he actually exclaims, "OW! My skin!"

        True story.

        Okay, that's a lie. He actually exclaims, "OW! Skin of Boromir son of Denethor!"

      • sporkaganza93 says:

        I was a hardcore Homestar Runner fan in my tween days, so it's always wonderful to see a reference. Especially to Teen Girl Squad, which has pretty much only gotten funnier as I've gotten older.

    • Juliana Moreli says:

      And now we can finally show him and his awesome memes!!! The "arrow in the knee" thing is pure lol!

      I got really sad when he dies both in movie and book, because he was such a brave man! And then you get to see a Game of thrones and he dies like that…

    • Maya says:

      Somewhere there's a video of all of Sean Bean's death scenes. It's absurdly long.

    • flootzavut says:

      Can I just saw, all amusement aside, Sean Bean looks SO HOT in that last gif *drool*

      • stefb4 says:

        UM DOESN'T HE?!!!

        When I first saw it I was like "HELLO SEAN BEAN YOU ARE RUGGEDLY HANDSOME"

        • flootzavut says:

          I know, right? I mean, it's not like he's not easy on the eye generally, he's a goodlooking guy. But that pic? WOAH ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  3. MidnightLurker says:

    Two down. Seven left.


    • Jenny_M says:

      Mreb. Mreb zber gb tb, yby. Ng yrnfg va gur frafr bs qlvat qhevat gur dhrfg.

      • @owldragon says:

        Jbhyq gur erghea bs Tnaqnys znxr vg artngvir bar gb tb?

        • Jenny_M says:

          V guvax fb. Onfvpnyyl: fhpxf gb or lbh, Obebzve byq ohqql.

        • eregyrn says:

          That's what I was thinking. Whfg jura Znex guvaxf ur'f tbg Gbyxvra svtherq bhg – XVYYVAT BSS PUNENPGREF EVTUG NAQ YRSG! — ur'f tbvat gb or fb fhecevfrq jura Gbyxvra npghnyyl tvirf bar ONPX.

          • flootzavut says:

            … naq qbrfa'g xvyy nal bgure Sryybjfuvc zrzoref. Zna, ur vf FB hacercnerq. V xabj jr xrrc fnlvat vg, ohg V xrrc orvat erzvaqrq bs nyy gur ybbcf Gbyxvra guebjf bhg naq vg'f whfg ornhgvshy :Q

    • redheadedgirl says:

      This post is like the Onion headline after George Harrison died: "RINGO'S NEXT."

      (I'm SUCH a bad person.)

    • eyelessgame says:

      One of my strongest memories from being seven and reading this trilogy for the first time was that exact thought, right as Two Towers began…

  4. Ryan Lohner says:

    "svaqvat qrsvavgr fvtaf gung Fnz naq Sebqb jrer gnxra"

    Fb ur'f nyernql gung qrfcrengr gb unir na vqrn bs jung'f unccravat jvgu Sebqb naq Fnz. Naq fb vg ortvaf…

  5. Geolojazz says:

    Mark, thanks for making me excited to get up early on a monday morning.

  6. rabidsamfan says:

    New Banner! (And It's nice too.)

    Yes, this chapter, oh, this chapter. I had to put the book down and cry after this chapter. And then I went and studied for my other classes and told myself that I was all sniffly because I was coming down with a cold. But oh, it took courage to pick up the book and read on, because I was sure that there were a lot more tears ahead.

  7. blossomingpeach says:

    "Ohg fvapr gurl unir pubfra gb sbyybj gur Bepf gb yrnea jung rknpgyl gurl ner, V’z vagrerfgrq gb frr ubj Gbyxvra qrnyf jvgu n aneengvir fcyvg orgjrra zhygvcyr cynprf."

    Unununununun. Buuu lbh whfg jnvg.

  8. V gubhtug Fnz naq Sebqb rfpncrq ba n obng

    Oh my, this book is going to be fun to watch…

  9. Mandy says:

    OH GOD, I was waiting for this chapter!

  10. unefeeverte says:

    The song they sing about Boromir is probably my favourite in the entire series. <3

    Also: Mark, you really should have guessed. He was played by SEAN BEAN, ffs. (I don't know if you knew that, but still.)

  11. PewPewPew says:

    "but I love morally ambiguous or questionable characters like white people love The Help"

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA x 3000, I just laughed so outrageously loud that the other folks on this bus are now shooting me uncomfortable glances. PERFECTION.

    Yo I love this chapter endlessly.

    • Kudz says:

      Yeah, that was the EXACT line I was going to quote too. ILU FOREVER MARK

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Thank you both. I'm rather proud of that line.

        • PewPewPew says:

          It's been done a couple dozen times now, I suspect, but I would LOVE to read a MarkReads The Help. Melissa Harris-Perry already did the livetweet of the movie, alas, so maybe a MarkWatches would be silly. BUT SHE NEGLECTED TO USE GIFS, YO.

    • ljrTR says:

      I think having Boromir fall to the temtation of the Ring was such a good choice by Tolkien. A good, strong person corrupted – you see how evil the things is.

    • feminerdist says:

      I did too. My colleague actually stuck his head in my office because I cackled so loudly at that quote.

  12. Becky_J_ says:

    On an entirely different note, I spent Friday night watching Fellowship of the Ring with my roommates. We bought a bunch of champagne (Andres, the drink of CHAMPIONS….champions….champagne….GET IT LOL I'm so funny) and then we decided we were going to make a drinking game to the movie.

    Here is a list of some of the rules we came up with (the non-spoilery ones, some of the others were a bit spoilery):
    1. Drink every time Gandalf smokes his pipe or says something wise and wizardly
    2. Drink every time Merry or Pippin does something foolish
    3. Drink every time Legolas states something obvious or uses his elvish sass
    4. Drink every time Gimli insults elves
    5. Drink every time someone says Mordor

    Those were only some of the rules (as I said earlier, some were too spoilery to mention here) and let me just tell you…

    DON'T EVER DO A DRINKING GAME TO LOTR. It is a bad idea. I had the single worst hangover I have ever had, and I don't even remember the end of the movie. Maybe we should have chosen fewer rules….

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      My head hurts just reading that list.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I'm surprised #3 didn't result in alcohol poisoning tbh

        • hansfish says:


          • Ryan Lohner says:

            Gubhtu gung bar jnf npghnyyl whfgvsvrq va gur obbx, nf gurer jnf fgvyy gur dhrfgvba bs jurgure gur Bepf jrer frag sebz Fnehzna be Fnheba.

          • nan says:

            this is the first time I understood AN ENTIRE SENTENCE in rot13 without having to decipher it. LOL

          • Zetal says:

            Ubjrire vg erirnyf Yrtbynf nf na vqvbg. Vfratneq vf va gur fbhgujrfg pbeare bs Ebuna; gurl jrer punfvat gur Bepf npebff Ebuna; evtug orsber gung Yrtbynf fnlf gur Bepf ghea ABEGU. Gurl ghea gur jebat jnl gb trg gb Vfratneq, naq fbzrubj Yrtbynf nyy bs n fhqqra svtherf bhg gung gung'f jurer gurl'er tbvat? Uhu?

            Gura ntnva va gur zbivrf, Snatbea Sberfg vf, yvxr, guerr srrg njnl sebz Vfratneq. Fb znlor Crgre Wnpxfba zbirq Vfratneq abegu naq qvqa'g gryy nalbar.

          • JustMalyn says:

            AHAHAHAHA YES ๐Ÿ˜€

        • blossomingpeach says:

          I knew what that said without ciphering it….Ha ha.

      • Becky_J_ says:

        N ERQ FHA EVFRF.

        V fjrne, guvf ehyr jnf nyzbfg gur qrngu bs zr. V'z fbzrjung pbaivaprq gung Yrtbynf rkvfgf va gur zbivr cheryl gb fgngr gur boivbhf.

      • feminerdist says:

        RIGHT?! Jesus.

      • thimbledore says:

        Unun, qhqr. Unir lbh rire frra gur zbivrf jvgu pnfg pbzzragnel? Vg znxrf zr guvax gung gur jubyr TRR, GUNAXF, PNCGNVA BOIVBHF nfcrpg bs Yrtbynf' punenpgre jnf cbgragvnyyl… jryy, zber qhr gb Beynaqb Oybbz'f vasyhrapr guna fgevpgyl gur fpevcg.

        "Bu, guvf fubbg jnf ernyyl ornhgvshy. Gung jnf gur orfg sverjbex qvfcynl va gur jbeyq. Bu, ybbx, gurer'f Xngvr naq Ovyyl. Gur Oynpx Evqref jrer whfg fb fpnel! Ybbx, gurl'er fgnoovat gur gur cvyybjf!"

        Bu, Beynaqb Oybbz. Fuuuuuuhfuhfuhfuhfu. Lbh whfg fvg gurer naq or cerpvbhf. Znlor fzbxr yrff cvcrjrrq.

    • Suzannezibar says:

      God, that's even worse than my Twilight drinking game (drink every time there's shirtlessness, sparkliness, and when Kristen Stewart bites her lower lip).

      Seriously, though, the combination of all five of those ALONE…I can't even imagine adding spoilery ones!

    • knut_knut says:

      Andre will forever remind me of college (especially peach Andre). I’m surprised you’re not still hungover or drunk xD Worst movie drinking game ever has to go to one I found for Titanic. It was drink every time Rose says Jack or Jack says Rose. Do you know how many times they say those names in the movie?? ALL THE TIME. (I think it’s around 150-ish)

    • flootzavut says:

      How's about giving us the other rules in ROT13?? Though I would've thought even the ones you've quoted would be pretty dangerous ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Becky_J_ says:

        Haha as you wish!

        Gur bgure ovg-zber-fcbvyl ehyrf jrer…

        1. Rirel gvzr Tbyyhz fnlf ‘cerpvbhf’

        2. Rirel gvzr Tvzyv pebjf va rkpvgrzrag

        3. Rirel gvzr jr frr gur Rlr

        4. Rirel gvzr Fnz fnlf Ze. Sebqb

        5. Rirel gvzr Obebzve trgf uvg jvgu na neebj

        I’m surprised I’m alive, seriously.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Wow, with those spoilery rules added, it makes me wonder if anyone even made it near the end of the movie!

          • Becky_J_ says:

            I made it through the entire movie, although three of my four friends fell asleep before that. I thought I was doing really well, until the next day when I realized that I didn't remember anything from Moria on, and the only reason I had any recollection of it is because I've seen the movies so many times. I'm pretty sure I stopped following the rules at about midway through. haha.

            • AmandaNekesa says:

              Hehe, yeah, that's farther than I would have lasted! Nyy bs gubfr "Ze. Sebqb" yvarf jbhyq unir orra gur raq bs zr.

        • flootzavut says:

          ๐Ÿ˜ฎ you must have an iron liver! LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

        • feminerdist says:

          Good lord. How are you not dead?

        • sudden_eyes says:

          Dear God. Could you take a sip or did you have to actually finish the drink?

          • Becky_J_ says:

            The technical rule we came up with was “a large swallow.” I’m pretty sure we all started cheating when we realized how screwed we were ๐Ÿ˜€

        • SisterCoyote says:

          …I am also surprised you are alive. Seems like your organs would have pickled themselves in self-defense about halfway through FotR.

        • flootzavut says:

          PS avpr Gur Cevaprff Oevqr ersrerapr ๐Ÿ˜‰ :c :Q

    • Zoli says:

      Sounds like our drinking game of The Last Airbender. D:

    • shadydave says:

      We had 1. Drink every time Sebqb snyyf bire. Best worst idea ever.

      (Rot-13 for movie, but not actually spoilery.)

      • Becky_J_ says:

        HAHAHA. Oh. Oh man. That's a great one! There is one that was suggested that we ended up not doing… it was to drink every time Frodo trgf n snenjnl, nsenvq, rlrf-nf-ebhaq-nf-cyngrf ybbx ba uvf snpr.We decided we didn't want alcohol poisoning.

      • Tilly says:

        We usually have that rule too. ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. Stephen_M says:

    Umm, while I know these reviews are written in advance… boy oh boy Mark, you should re-read this chapter. Not saying why just.. hmm, yes.

    Fbzrbar purpx zr ba guvf nf V qba'g unir zl pbcl gb unaq (pheeragyl va jbex) ohg gur Uboovg guvat vf irel pyrneyl ynvq bhg vfa'g vg? Nf va jr xabj (naq Nentbea xabjf) gung Sebqb naq Fnz jrag bss ol evire naq gung gur unysyvatf jrer gnxra ol gur bepf juvpu zhfg, ol n cebprff bs ryvzvangvba, or Zreel naq Cvccva.

    It's a fantastic way to start the book, a real kick in the gut and a reminder that no-one is safe in Middle Earth. I've always liked that we don't see the battle where Boromir falls, just the aftermath and even that shows he didn't go down easily. The ending is also a great moment, specificaly Aragorn's whole Three Hunters speech:

    "With hope or without hope we will follow the trail of our enemies. And woe to them, if we prove the swifter! We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!""

    Just fantastic and really gets the rest of the book setup with an energy and pace that's extremely hard to achieve with just a short opening chapter.

    • Waffles says:

      Lrc, gur obbx frrzf irel pyrne gb zr ba gung. Sebqb naq Fnz ner bss ba gur rnfgrea fvqr bs gur evire, naq Zreel naq Cvccva (ol ryvzvangvba) ner pncgvirf bs gur bepf ba gur jrfg fvqr bs vg.

      • flootzavut says:

        V guvax Znex znl unir tbg pbashfrq va nyy gur rkpvgrzrag/tevrs. Ur hfhnyyl cvpxf hc ba fghss ohg vs zl zrzbel freirf, vg jbhyqa'g or gur svefg gvzr gung va n cnegvphyneyl grafr/rkpvgvat zbzrag ur zvffrq fbzrguvat yvxr gung ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Waffles says:

          Yeah, I did just read the chapter this morning, but it's also not my first time through these books. I imagine that many things seem more obvious/clear to me than to a first time reader.

        • AmandaNekesa says:

          Lrnu V guvax Znex whfg tbg pnhtug hc va gur fhqqraarff bs Obebzve'f qrngu, naq qvqa'g abgvpr jung ur bgurejvfr jbhyq unir erpbtavmrq nf n irel pyrne cebprff bs ryvzvangvba. V guvax ur'yy svther vg bhg va gur arkg puncgre, rfcrpvnyyl vs gurl fcrpvsvpnyyl gnyx nobhg svaqvat Zreel & Cvccva, ohg abg Sebqb naq Fnz.

      • eregyrn says:

        V'z jbaqrevat vs gur jnl gur obbx bayl gryyf nobhg Obebzve'f qrngu va aneengvba (engure gura frrvat vg nf vg unccraf) znqr Znex whzc gb gur pbapyhfvba gung fvapr Obebzve jnf gur ynfg gb frr Sebqb (nfvqr sebz Fnz), gung nsgre gur ernqre ynfg fnj Sebqb, Obebzve pbhyq unir frra bgure bepf ba gur bgure fvqr bs gur evire teno Sebqb naq Fnz?

        V qhaab. V zrna, boivbhfyl, lbh'er evtug, ur'f pbashfrq. V whfg qba'g, ng guvf cbvag, erzrzore ubj pyrne vg vf va gur grkg vgfrys. Gur zbivr'f pynevgl unf fcbvyrq zr.

    • ljrTR says:

      Love your whole comment & I'm sure Mark will figure things out soon enough

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      Va gur zbivr, gung fcrrpu genafyngrf gb "Yrg'f uhag fbzr bep." Abj gung'f xvatyl rybdhrapr! (V qba'g pner, V jvyy ybir gung yvar gvyy gur raq bs gvzr naljnl.)

    • Alice says:

      V jnf fhecevfrq gbb gung ur zvffrq guvf boivbhf guvat.Bu,jryy…ur vf hacercnerq nsgre nyy :p

  14. Dreamflower says:

    Your reaction was very much my own reaction to this chapter 44 years ago. It doesn't really change a thing, does it? I was totally gob-smacked by Boromir's death.

    Also: this is the very first time I ever memorized the first sentence of a book: Aragorn sped on up the hill. Not too hard; I now have memorized the one from FotR, as well as from RotK and The Hobbit.

    And Mark, you are making me pay more attention to detail to this story than I have in years. How is it that I never really understood that Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli were singing their elegy while accompanying Boromir's funeral boat into the River in their OWN boat? All these years I have thought they were standing on the bank wasting time singing, when they were actually in the boat, and they weren't wasting time at all!

    I think I am enjoying this re-read the most since 2004! (I had deliberately refrained from re-reading from 2000 to 2003, in order to better appreciate the films. In the meantime, I re-read The Hobbit and actually managed to finish the Silm for the first time.)

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Ooh, my all-time favorite opening line is from The Pillars of the Earth: "The children came early to the hanging." Especially with the clever way it's reused near the end.

      • Skyweir says:


        Best opening line: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel". Sets up the theme of Neuromancer perfectly and it's pretty damn distrubing as well.

      • Patrick721 says:

        My favorite opening line…it's tied between two.

        "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." From Blood Rites by Jim Butcher.
        "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed." From The Gunslinger.

        • gonzoron says:

          My fave:
          "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun." [i]Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy[/i]

        • UnstrungZero says:

          "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed." From The Gunslinger.

          is one of the only opening lines I have memorised. It's just so perfect.

      • flootzavut says:

        Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

        – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

      • sixth_queen says:

        "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 1984. Not a fantasy, but IMO the best book ever written. What better way to set the mood for a society than a cold spring day, with military time, on an unlucky number. You just KNEW the whole book was going to be bad new all around.

        • JustMalyn says:

          This was the book that made me deathly afraid of rats. George Orwell, I still haven't forgiven you for that >:(

    • Nomie says:

      There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

      • Katarina says:

        That's an excellent one (and quite harsh coming from Clive Staples), but I'm partial to:

        Before you fairly start this story I should like to give you just a word of warning. If you imagine you are going to read of model children, with perhaps; a naughtily inclined one to point a moral, you had better lay down the book immediately and betake yourself to 'Sandford and Merton' or similar standard juvenile works. Not one of the seven is really good, for the very excellent reason that Australian children never are.

        …Okay, so technically those are three opening lines. (And the beginning of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, also excellent, is even longer, counting lines.)

    • eregyrn says:

      Is it too trite to mention: "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit"? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Ab yvr, jura gung yvar jnf qbar ng gur raq bs CW'f svefg iybt sebz gur svyzvat, ernq ol Znegva Serrzna, V pubxrq hc. (ebg13'vat whfg va pnfr, V thrff.)

      • arctic_hare says:

        Not at all, it's my favorite too! ๐Ÿ˜€ And me too @ your rot13.

      • notemily says:

        I love that line not only because it's the opening line of The Hobbit, but also because IT'S THE FIRST LINE TOLKIEN EVER WROTE ABOUT HOBBITS. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings would not exist if not for that line.

        • Dreamflower says:

          I KNOW! I cannot imagine a world without hobbits! One moment, they did not exist, and the next, they did!

          I think the scariest fanfic I ever read was a Tolkien RPF AU, in which he is killed in a foxhole at the Battle of the Somme…terrifying! Utterly nightmare making!

    • notemily says:

      "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." It's a classic, and also pretty hilarious.

      My favorite though is probably "The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!"

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      All right, technically mine is two lines, but "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know." – Albert Camus, The Stranger.

    • Erik says:

      I have to toss in one from my favorite author:

      “Snow, tenderly caught by eddying breezes, swirled and spun into and out of bright, lustrous shapes that gleamed against the emerald-blazoned black drape of sky and sparkled there for a moment, hanging, before settling gently to the soft, green-tufted plain with all the sickly sweetness of an over-written sentence.” –Steven Brust, _To Reign In Hell_

    • marie says:

      Wait, has nobody else mentioned I Capture the Castle's "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink"? I'm surprised!

    • Kiryn says:

      The only opening lines that I remember are these: "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long passed, a wind rose [insert place here]. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was *a* beginning."

      And the only reason that I remember that opening paragraph is because a) EVERY BOOK IN THE SERIES STARTS THAT WAY, and b) I am a nerd who rereads books or something. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. knut_knut says:

    BOROMIR!! :’( :’( :’(

    Way to start your book, Tolkien. Everything is going to be terrible from here on out, right? I love how the book starts RIGHT where we left off- no recap, nothing. AND THEN DEATH.

    Obebzve’f qrngu va gur zbivr- NYY GUR GRNEF!! V ybir ubj Nentbea gnxrf Obebzve’f tybirf. Whfg tbvat gb guebj guvf va zl ebg13 frpgvba, ohg V ybir ubj Znex guvaxf Fnz naq Sebqb jrer gnxra ol gur bepf gbb. URU URU URU

  16. @MeagenImage says:

    Mark, Tolkien was just trying to help. You could never keep track of which member of the company was which, so he split them up into manageable chunks and removed one altogether to make it easier.

    • msw188 says:

      Hahaha, this is terrible and awesome at the same time

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Your black humour…

      I like it… *blushes* ๐Ÿ˜€

      • @MeagenImage says:

        I blame Zreel naq Cvccva pnfhnyyl qvfphffvat gurve bja pncgvivgl evtug nsgre gurl rfpncr. V guvax gung znqr zr nccebnpu gur jubyr obbx va n fvzvyne jnl naq ernyyl qhyyrq gur ubeebe bs vg sbe zr.

        I keep reading everyone's comments about this part or that part being HORRIFYING to them as a child, and I don't really remember any lasting horror from any of it! Even though usually horror stuff deeply affects me (in a way I hate).

        Lnl sbe uboovg-erfvyvrapr?

    • flootzavut says:

      *falls off sofa*

      *all the upvotes*

  17. Alice says:

    :'( I really liked Boromir too.Also when I read this chapter my reaction was something like “whaaaaaat???what are you doing tolkien????” ๐Ÿ˜€
    Cool banner btw , ohg vf vg abg n yvggyr fcbvyrel,jvgu gur anmthyf naq fghss?Qhaab…
    And here is some wonderful art,ahh…how I waited for you to get to this chapter! Your reaction was exactly how I imagined it will be.

    1.two images of boromir by john howe



    2. and by ted nasmith




    ….yeah,ignore their faces


  18. ADB says:

    I have a question….

    Vf gur snpg gung Znex jnf evtug gur svefg gvzr (Fnz naq Sebqb qvq yrnir naq jrer abg, va snpg, gnxra) ERNYYL n fcbvyre? Vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V ernq gur obbxf, ohg V qba'g erpnyy Gbyxvra uvagvat gung Fnz naq Sebqb jrer gnxra jvgu Zreel naq Cvccva, naq V jnag gb nffhntr uvz.

    Be vf vg yvxr gur boivbhf Tbyyhz zvff?

    • Jenny_M says:

      V unir ab vqrn. V zrna, V gubhtug guvf puncgre znqr vg ernyyl qnza boivbhf gung Nentbea haqrefgbbq gung Sebqb naq Fnz unq tbar gurve bja jnl, naq ur naq Y/T jrer znxvat gur pubvpr gb tb ybbxvat sbe Zreel naq Cvccva vafgrnq.

    • floppus says:

      My instinct would be to say that it is a spoiler and we should leave Mark to figure it out on his own.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      V'z guvaxvat gung ur fubhyq svther vg bhg jvguva gur arkg srj puncgref. Vg'f cbffvoyr Znex zvtug cvpx vg hc sebz guvf yvar va gur arkg puncgre: "Jvgu [Sebqb] yvrf gur gehr Dhrfg. Bhef vf ohg n fznyy znggre va gur terng qrrqf bs guvf gvzr." Vg'f fznyy, ohg nf sne nf V pna gryy vg'f gur bayl guvat va gur arkg puncgre gung cbvagf gb gur snpg gung Sebqb vfa'g bar bs gur pncgvirf bs gur bepf. Gur dhrfg bs Nentbea, Tvzyv, naq Yrtbynf jbhyq bs pbhefr or zhpu zber vzcbegnag, vs gur Evatornere jrer orvat pneevrq bss ol gur rarzl. Vs abg gbzbeebj'f puncgre gubhtu, gur arkg bar, va gur crefcrpgvir bs Zreel & Cvccva, fubhyq erfbyir uvf pbashfvba.

      V'z abg fher gubhtu vs Znex jbhyq jnag hf gb pbeerpg uvz orsber gura. V oryvrir ur'f npghnyyl nyernql ernq guvf jrrx'f puncgref gbb, fb V'z guvaxvat jr'yy frr ubj ur ernpgrq gb gur puncgref. Ubcrshyyl vg qbrfa'g ynfg gbb ybat!

  19. monkeybutter says:

    And that's how you start a book, everyone.

    <img src=""&gt;
    Poor Boromir. V ernyyl yvxr ubj guvf frdhrapr jnf unaqyrq va gur zbivr. Obebzve'f bafperra qrngu srryf zber urebvp, naq V yvxr ubj SBGE unf gur pbzcyrgr qvffbyhgvba bs gur sryybjfuvc. Vg jbexf orggre qenzngvpnyyl sbe gur svyz. Sbe gur obbxf, ubjrire, V yvxr gung gur sbphf vf ba Sebqb naq Fnz qrcnegvat sbe gurve cneg bs gur wbhearl ng gur raq bs bar obbx, naq rirelbar ryfr qrpvqrf hcba gurve cngu (be vf xvqanccrq) ng gur ortvaavat bs gur arkg. Fb, rira gubhtu guvf vf Bar Obbx, zl svefg vzcerffvba vf gung gur fcyvg jnf qbar ng n tbbq cbvag.

    Wouldn't it be more appropriate to let you float off into the San Francisco Bay, surrounded by your laptop and lego creations? We can get you a Ravenclaw scarf in place of your fancy belt, if you like.

  20. JustMalyn says:

    THE SONGS. That was what got me during this chapter. I wasn't crying until then. Seriously, funeral ballads are lovely and depressing and TOLKIEN I love you and hate you.

  21. Marie the Bookwyrm says:

    The new banner is so cool! I love the stormy looking clouds.

    And, hey Mark, you did predict that Boromir would repent of trying to steal the ring (after the group arrived at Minis Tirith). So I'd say that counts as half a prediction right. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. ljrTR says:

    Boromit's last words – so sad. "I have paid". Aragorn reassuring him that Minas Tirith will not fall. Sigh.
    and yeah seeing Aragorn at a loss, not knowing what to do = Scary. but it makes the character so much more human, more real.
    And Mark – Yay for seeing more of Middle Earth!! (Haqrefgngrzrag)
    V ybirq "ubj Gbyxvra qrnyf jvgu n aneengvir fcyvg orgjrra zhygvcyr cynprf.". Jbaqre ubj Znex jvyy yvxr vg!?
    Qvq Znex abg svther bhg gung Zreel & Cvccva jrer gnxra pncgvir? Bu zl.

  23. Tauriel_ says:

    No Linguistic Corner from me today (no new names or Elvish phrases in this chapter), but a lot of mourning. ๐Ÿ™

    Oh, Voromírë, Voromírë! :'( :'( :'( (I love the Quenya version of Boromir's name, so there!)

    Aragorn is right – he has conquered, he overcame the temptation of the Ring, he realised his error and regretted his actions towards Frodo, and what's more, he sacrificed his own life in order to protect Merry and Pippin (even though they were still taken captive, from what he said).

    And it's possible that Frodo needed that impulse from Boromir in order to leave the Company and continue to Mordor alone (well, with Sam). Like Aragorn said, the Fellowship has served its purpose, now it's up to Frodo alone.

    I love the dirge Aragorn and Legolas sing for Boromir, it's so sad and beautiful. <3 The people of Middle-earth seem to be generally pretty good songwriters – they often come up with quite elaborate songs on the spot. ๐Ÿ˜€

    We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves. Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!

    Fuck yeah! B-) Yrg'f uhag fbzr Bep! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Shannon says:

      I always told myself that a lot of the songs–especially this one–already existed, and that they were just customizing it, by substituting Boromir's name and locations that were important to his life.

      • Hecubot says:

        It was common in the bardic tradition to make up songs on the spot. Just like rappers freestyling, or talking blues you had certain tropes to fall back on, repeated phrases and suchlike to build a new song from pre-existing parts.

    • ljrTR says:

      don't you feel for Aragorn – such a big decision to let Frodo go. Then he has to put off going to Minas Tirith to rescue his friends. And no way for him to know if those were the right decisions.

    • flootzavut says:

      LOL I know some people hate that line but it cracks me up every time LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Tauriel_ says:

        V qb svaq vg n ovg gbb zbqrea (yvxr Yrtbynf' "Tnzr bire" va GGG RR… *fuhqqre*). Gurl fubhyq'ir xrcg Gbyxvra'f yvarf – gurl'er cresrpg, naq jvgu gur evtug qryvirel cerggl onqnff rira ol gbqnl'f fgnaqneqf.

        • flootzavut says:

          Yeah, I know… it still makes me laugh though (sorry!) :$ ๐Ÿ˜€

        • notemily says:

          "Tnzr bire" vf nabgure tbbq bar, naq nyfb "zrng'f onpx ba gur zrah oblf!" V zrna… jung?

          • sporkaganza93 says:

            Gung jubyr bep fprar va Gjb Gbjref vf jnl gbb Crgre Wnpxfba, ubarfgyl. V ybir gur thl naq lbh pbhyqa'g unir znqr gur zbivrf jvgubhg uvz, ohg jura lbh unir gur qhqr jub qvq fghss yvxr Oenvaqrnq nf lbhe qverpgbe, fbzrgvzrf fghss gung qbrfa'g svg va gbanyyl ng nyy jvyy farnx va.

          • UnstrungZero says:

            V ybir gur zvavqvfphffvba gurl unir nobhg "zrng'f onpx ba gur zrah" va gur pbzzragnel bs SbgE. V sbetrg juvpu pbzzragnel vg vf, ohg vg unq zr tvttyvat gung gur perngbef rira xarj gung vg jnf fvyyl! *tvttyrf*

    • Becky_J_ says:

      YBY ng gung yvar. V ybir gur sver va Yrtbynf' rlrf jura Nentbea gryyf gurz gung gurl jba'g nonaqba Zreel naq Cvccva gb gbegher naq qrngu. GURL TRG FB QNZA RKPVGRQ. Naq gura Tvzyv ebnef va rkpvgrzrag (nf Tvzyv vf jbag gb qb) naq YRG'F UHAG FBZR BEP

  24. Jenny_M says:

    I can't believe I had to miss this post going up for a damned dentist's appointment. No cavities, but ALL THE SAD.

    "Zl oebgure, zl pncgnva, zl xvat…

    MY CREYS!!!"

  25. Tauriel_ says:

    V’z vagrerfgrq gb frr ubj Gbyxvra qrnyf jvgu n aneengvir fcyvg orgjrra zhygvcyr cynprf.

    *snigger* Va gur jbefg jnl vzntvanoyr, bs pbhefr! ๐Ÿ˜€ Qrne Znex, fb abg cercnerq sbe abg xabjvat nalguvat nobhg Sebqb naq Fnz hagvy obbx sbhe! ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. Suzannezibar says:

    Love the new banner!!

    BOROMIR D: D: D: D: D: it's the songs that get me every time.

  27. baruchan says:

    You hear that noise? That was me, bawling in a corner.

    V jbhyq unir sbyybjrq lbh zl oebgure…zl pncgnva…zl xvat.

  28. Ryan Lohner says:

    One more thing to look forward to: Znex fgehttyvat gb svther bhg jung gur gvgyr zrnaf, juvpu abg rira Gbyxvra uvzfrys znl unir rira xabja. Crefbanyyl, V yvxr gb guvax gur gjb gbjref ner Begunap naq Pvevgu Hatby, rnpu orvat n znwbe gbjre va vgf bja unys bs gur obbx.

  29. fantasy_fan says:

    V ybir zbenyyl nzovthbhf be dhrfgvbanoyr punenpgref

    Ohg V’z abg fher Gbyxvra qbrf. Uvf jbeyq unf znal srjre funqrf bs terl guna bhef qbrf. Urebvp punenpgref ner urebvp, naq ivyynvaf ner gubebhtuyl onq, sbe gur zbfg cneg. Naq bnguoernxvat unf irel frevbhf pbafrdhraprf. Lrf, nyy gubfr ivyynvaf trg gurve punapr sbe erqrzcgvba, nf Obebzve qbrf urer orsber ur qvrf, naq fbzr bs gurz trg zhygvcyr punaprf, ohg irel srj bs gurz gnxr vg. Ernyyl V pna guvax bs bayl bar zber, be cbgragvnyyl gjb. Cneg bs guvf zvtug or gur fgehpgher bs uvtu zlgu Gbyxvra jnf nggrzcgvat gb rzhyngr, cneg bs vg jnf uvf bja jbeyqivrj, VZB.

    Fnehzna vf tvira znal punaprf,naq fcheaf gurz nyy. Qrargube vf erohxrq ol Tnaqnys, ohg vf gbb cebhq gb yvfgra. Va onpxfgbel, Fnheba naq rira Zryxbe unir orra fubja gur reebe bs gurve jnlf naq ershfrq gb ersbez gurz. Yboryvn Fnpxivyyr-Onttvaf vf gur abgnoyr rkprcgvba, jub va ure tevrs erpbtavmrf ure phycnovyvgl naq gevrf gb znxr nzraqf. Tnynqevry pbhyq or pbafvqrerq nabgure, nf fur zhfg cnff gur grfg bs ershfvat zber cbjre gb or nyybjrq gb tb onpx gb gur jrfg (nygubhtu V pna’g erzrzore vs fur jnf rire sbeznyyl onaarq sebz ergheavat, be vs vg jnf frys-vzcbfrq rkvyr, ntnva bhg bs cevqr). Bepf, bs pbhefr, arire trg gung punapr, ohg V guvax Gbyxvra erterggrq gung. .

    • baruchan says:

      V pna'g erzrzore vs fur jnf rire sbeznyyl onaarq sebz ergheavat, be vs vg jnf frys-vzcbfrq rkvyr, ntnva bhg bs cevqr

      V qba'g unir zl pbcl bs Gur Fvyznevyyvba jvgu zr evtug abj, ohg V fbeg bs erzrzore gung fur naq ure oebguref jrer onaarq sebz ergheavat gb Inyvabe rira gubhtu gurl jrera'g Xvafynlref. Ohg gung ona jnf fvapr yvsgrq nsgre gur raq bs gur Svefg Ntr, fb fur pbhyq unir tbar onpx ubzr nal gvzr nsgre gung, fur whfg pubfr abg gb.

    • You Are Not Alone says:

      Gur uhtr gjvfg ng gur irel raq jvgu Sebqb naq evat fubhyq or cebbs rabhtu gung Gbyxvra inyhrq vzcresrpg urebrf?
      Naq Fzrntby/Tbyyhz vf gerngrq jvgu n ybg bs flzcngul naq cvgl qrfcvgr gur rivy guvatf ur unq qbar.

      • ljrTR says:

        very good points

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Lrnu V jnf guvaxvat bs gubfr fnzr guvatf. Gur snpg gung Sebqb snvyf, gnxrf gur evat sbe uvf bja, lrg gur evat vf qrfgeblrq vf n cbjreshy cbvag fubjvat gung abg nyy "tbbq" punenpgref znxr "tbbq" pubvprf. Nf jryy, V guvax Tbyyhz vf snveyl guerr-qvzrafvbany va gur jnl gung ur'f abg qbvat nyy bs gurfr guvatf arprffnevyl orpnhfr ur'f whfg cher rivy, ohg orpnhfr gur Evat unf cbvfbarq naq pbeehcgrq uvz fb zhpu, ur'f ybfg uvf serr jvyy, va n ybg bs jnlf.

    • monkeybutter says:

      rot13'd for expectation spoilers

  30. Tauriel_ says:

    Gah! My art post got eaten!

    In memory of Boromir the Brave, some gorgeous art from Karina Chmiel (I think it’s pretty obvious now that he’s one of her favourite characters to draw… ๐Ÿ˜€ ):

    Parth Galen

    Parth Galen II

    Parth Galen – the last talk (sketch)

    Aragorn guarding the bier

    Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight?
    I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey

    The captain of Gondor

    Some not-quite-canonical, but non-spoilery pics from Boromir’s childhood and youth:

    His first sword

    Boromir and Denethor

    Denethor’s heir

    And a little something for ye fangirls… <3 :p


    The bath

  31. Depths_of_Sea says:

    Boromir will have a change of heart regarding the Ring, but not until after the other part of the Company gets to Minas Tirith.

    You would not believe how hard I was cackling at this prediction, Mark. OH YOU WERE SO NAIVE.

    Movie Spoilers: V ybir gung jr tbg gb frr Obebzve'f onggyr va gur Sryybjufuvc svyz, naq V NQBER ubj vg jnf qbar, jvgu Zreel naq Cvccva trggvat pbearerq naq ybbxvat sevtugrarq n zbzrag NAQ GURA OBEBZVE PBZRF PUNETVAT VA YVXR N OVT QNZA UREB naq whfg cvyrf gur pbecfrf nyy nebhaq uvz naq trgf fubg jvgu neebjf naq gura trgf hc ntnva gjvpr. Vg'f whfg irel rcvp naq njrfbzr.

    • Dreamflower says:

      Bu, lrf! Gur rkcerffvba ba gurve snprf nf gurl jngpu uvz phg qbja! Naq Obebzve vf fb njrfbzr nf ur onggyrf ba naq ba!

      Gur svefg gvzr V fnj gur fprar va gur gurngref, V yrsg svatreanvy znexf ba gur cnyz bs zl uhfonaq'f unaq, V fdhrrmrq fb uneq. Oyrff uvz, ur arire fnvq n jbeq! Naq vg fgvyy zbirf zr gb grne hc jura V frr vg.

      Naq vg jnf na vzntr va zl zvaq bs Cvccva gelvat gb gryy bs guvf gb uvf cneragf gung vafcverq zl irel svefg snasvp frira lrnef ntb.

      • rabidsamfan says:

        Va n irel erny frafr, gur zbivrf tnir zr Obebzve. (Nyfb Gurbqra, ohg gung jnf yngre.) V qba'g yvxr jung gur fpevcg qvq gb Nentbea, be Fnz, be Snenzve, be rira Tnaqnys, ohg V ybir jung vg qbrf gb znxr Obebzve n punenpgre V pna ybir naq flzcnguvmr jvgu.

        • eregyrn says:

          Zr gbb. Obebzve jnf gur zbfg eriryngbel cbegenlny va gur zbivrf, sbe zr, naq gur bar gung punatrq zl srryvatf nobhg n punenpgre gur zbfg.

          • notemily says:

            V erzrzore ernqvat fbzr negvpyr jura gur zbivrf pnzr bhg nobhg gur zbivr snaqbz, naq gur nhgube bs gur negvpyr jrag gb n YBGE pbairagvba gb zrrg snaf naq fnvq ur zrg n tvey jrnevat n g-fuveg gung fnvq "OBEBZVE = PUNENPGRE NFFNFFVANGVBA." V jnf yvxr "Hu… fheryl gur fuveg fnvq Snenzve?" Gung fgvyy pbashfrf zr.

            • AmandaNekesa says:

              Really? Gung qbrfa'g dhvgr nqq hc, gur jubyr Obebzvev=punenpgre nffnffvangvba guvat. V guvax gur obbxf urycrq punenpgrevmr Obebzve zber cbfvgviryl guna va gur obbxf, fvapr vg tnir hf n jvqre ivrj bs ubj ur unaqyrq uvzfrys nsgre uvf grzcgngvba jvgu gur Evat.

    • ljrTR says:

      yep – love that part in the movie

    • Becky_J_ says:

      Zl snibevgr cneg vf jura ur trgf fubg jvgu gur svefg be gur frpbaq neebj, vf qbja ba uvf xarrf, fgnevat fgenvtug nurnq, naq gura ur frrf gur uboovgf naq ur fgnaqf hc jvgu nyy gur fgeratgu ur unf yrsg naq xrrcf svtugvat.


    • eregyrn says:

      Nyy bs gur wbxrf nobhg "Frna Orna qvrf nyy gur gvzr va uvf svyzf" nfvqr (naq bs pbhefr, ur qbrfa'g, vs lbh pbhag gur znal Oevgvfu svyzf va juvpu uvf punenpgre yvirf), V jnag gb abzvangr SBGE/Obebzve nf gur ORFG QRNGU ur unf rire unq ba svyz. Gur zbfg urebvp naq svyyrq jvgu ntrapl, V zrna.

      Gur cbbe thl cynlf erny ivyynvaf fb bsgra, naq unf vtabzvavbhf qrnguf; be urycyrff qrnguf. Ohg Obebzve'f qrngu vf gur nofbyhgryl zbfg onqnff jnl ur'f rire tbar bhg.

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Agreed. Vg'f fhpu n irel urebvp qrngu fprar. Gur ybbxf ba gur uboovgf naq Obebzve, gura gur rkpunatr orgjrra Nentbea naq Obebzve vf fb gbhpuvat naq fnq. Vg'f fb cresrpgyl rkrphgrq va gur zbivr. <3

  32. flootzavut says:

    Panicking Aragorn is definitely scary.

    "This is the first chapter. If you can open your book this way, what on earth are you going to do after this?"

    Well at least you know that shit WILL get (more) real. Though – you still are most definitely not prepared. At ALL…

  33. Delta1212 says:

    "I know y’all know this by now, but I love morally ambiguous or questionable characters like white people love The Help and THIS IS HURTING ME! I WANT MORE BOROMIR."

    Yeah, Boromir was always the least interesting character to me. Then Fellowship of the Ring was on TV a few months ago, and I spent the entire movie (well, after they arrive in Rivendell) going "Wow, Boromir is by far the most interesting, believable character in this movie."

    I stand by that assessment but admit that Game of Thrones made me a Sean Bean fan which may or may not have had an impact on that revised opinion.

    • eregyrn says:

      Being a Sean Bean fan definitely had an impact on my revised opinion of Boromir after the movies. I was predisposed to like him, although to be honest — I've seen him play enough reprehensible villains, and I didn't "like" those just because it was him, so… a great deal of credit has to be given to decisions made by PJ (as both adapter and director) and Sean for the WAY they chose to depict Boromir.

      It may seem odd to say, but though I have been enough of a Tolkien fan, from a very young age, to have been the sort to compile Elvish dictionaries and learn to write in various types of runes… I never felt the urge to really read fanfic. I guess the story was complete enough for me, I didn't need to seek out anything further.

      …Until after the movies. When I experienced SUCH an urge for AU "Boromir lives" fanfic. >_> His exit from the story never bothered me, before. Now… yeah.

  34. floppus says:

    The Spoiler-Free Map of Middle-Earth looks pretty much the same today as it did for the last chapter, but here it is for completeness (or if you've forgotten where we are): normal or blurred.

  35. settledforhistory says:

    Ok, now I feel like a complete a***.
    In the last chapter of Fellowship I was so angry at Boromir for trying to steal the Ring from Frodo.
    I even called him "nasty little Man" in my last comment, so yea, I was so wrong.
    Not only does he defend the hobbits, he takes several Orc-arrows to the chest (and practically everywhere else I guess) and he uses is last breath to apologize Wow, what a BAMF!
    I should really wait with my judgment of characters until the end of the book, after all they could always die in the most heroic way possible.

    The funeral song is so beautiful. I love that people in Middle-earth seem to have a song for every occasion. Why can't we still do that? I would love to welcome the start of spring with a song or two! Or sing a about a legend when ever I leave home. There are too few spontaneous songs in real life.

    Now I fear for the rest of the characters. Will any of them even be alive by the start of the last book?
    This is unbelievably sad, but I love it!

  36. BetB says:

    I think answering this is kind of a spoiler….

    V qba'g guvax jr fubhyq fcryy guvf nafjre bhg sbe Znex. Va gurfr obbxf, n ybg bs guvatf ner fgngrq, gura qbhogf ner nyybjrq gb frrc vagb gur ernqre'f zvaq. Gurer ner znal vafgnaprf bs guvf va gur obbxf gung ohvyq grafvba naq hapregnvagl. Vg'f n ornhgvshy guvat gb rkcrevrapr naq V jnag gb jngpu Znex fhssre! (Rivy Pnpxyvat)

  37. Segreant says:

    Is anyone else sort of entertained at how gur fpurqhyvat sbe Ernqf/Jngpurf fubbx bhg? Orpnhfr urer ba Ernqf jr unir Obebzve’f qrngu… naq ba gur Ohssl raq, gbqnl jr unir Cnffvba. (ROT13’d because I’m not sure whether he’s watched it yet.)

    Suffice to say, I spent most of the weekend gleefully awaiting today. Glorious convergence! This place really makes you into a sadist.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  38. AmandaNekesa says:

    Aragorn says about the hobbits: "Well, now, if they still live, our friends are weaponless. I will take these things, hoping against hope, to give them back." Aragorn, I <3 you for your hope. Even though the Fellowship is broken and scattered, he's going to keep pressing on, with a desperate hope that he will find the hobbits again. There's so much uncertainty right now, and it's good to see that not all hope is lost in the remaining Company, even if it's a faint hope.

    I love what Gimli says about choosing their course: "Maybe there is no right choice". I couldn't imagine being in that position to choose the course they must take, given the stakes.

    The River had taken Boromir son of Denethor, and he was not seen again in Minas Tirith, standing as he used to stand upon the White Tower in the morning. But in Gondor in after-days it long was said that the elven-boat rode the falls and the foaming pool, and bore him down through Osgiliath, and past the many mouths of Anduin, out into the Great Sea at night under the stars.

    That image of Boromir is so beautiful. I love these little bits that Tolkien adds about the past and future. We get to see a small glimpse of Boromir before joining the Quest, standing in his city in the morning light, and we also get a glimpse of how his legend was carried on after his death. It's a beautiful thing. Here's some beautiful Ted Nasmith artwork:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    We can really sense the grief and fear of Aragorn over what has happened to Boromir, and the Company as a whole: "They will look for him from the White Tower"…"but he will not return from mountain or from sea."

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • Tauriel_ says:

      That Sherlock GIF is soooo appropriate… <3

      • AmandaNekesa says:

        I started watching Sherlock for the first time this week, and holy crap that show is great! I finished watching The Reichenbach Fall a little bit ago, and I have to say:

        OH, my poor heart… :'(

    • JustMalyn says:


      • AmandaNekesa says:

        Yeah, I just finished watching the last episode of Season 2 today! <3 As I'm watching it, I just keep thinking: why didn't I watch this show before? <3 Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are really brilliant in their roles…I can't wait to see more! (though it's probably going to be at least, what…a year before we see season 3?)

        • JustMalyn says:

          I've only seen a few episodes of Season 1 thus far, but I agree. It's witty and intelligent and does a lovely job moving the stories to the present ๐Ÿ™‚ And as tormenting as that is, it'll give me time to catch up haha ๐Ÿ™‚

          • AmandaNekesa says:

            ๐Ÿ™‚ I've been going back and checking out Mark's reviews after each episode, which definitely adds to it all. Well…I dare not go on too much more, for fear of spoiling you – enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. knut_knut says:

    When is Colin Firth NOT sexy? I never found Mr. Darcy attractive until I saw Colin Firth as him. Suddenly, everything made sense. That Matrix one sounds like a disaster (the second one had all the doorways, right?), but it probably made the movie waaaaay more entertaining.

    For some reason, my school was all about the disgustingly sweet flavored Andre, so you’d have a terrible hangover AND that gross oh-my-god-my-teeth-are-going-to-fall-out feeling. I’ll die happy if I never have to see another bottle of Andre again. Or a can of Keystone.

    • cait0716 says:

      I'd be happy to live the rest of my life without Andres. Of course, every time I get together with my college friends we have to buy a few bottles "for old times sake". My boyfriend seems to think that we will never, ever grow out of this tradition. At least we didn't get the really sweet stuff. That sounds awful

      • Becky_J_ says:

        I tell myself that someday I will be CLASSY and drink finer champagne than Andres. For now, however, YOU CAN'T BEAT $5 A BOTTLE. Also, yes, WORST HANGOVER EVER. I thought wine was bad…..

        • knut_knut says:

          Apparently boxed wine is making a comeback, so you can be cheap AND classy! Well, maybe not classy, but on trend.

          • Becky_J_ says:

            Haha. Not gonna lie, we have that in our fridge. FRANZIA for the win! We also drink a lot of New Age wine…. SUPER delicious, and $10: A bit classier! lol.

  40. Joseph says:

    "I love morally ambiguous or questionable characters like white people love The Help "


  41. stellaaaaakris says:

    Did you all read the synopsis at the beginning of this book? I mean, really, I know it's mostly a summary of FotR and the rest is stuff you can guess and is pretty general, but come on. If I was the sort of person who read synopses and introductions, I would be so annoyed at that last paragraph. (I only know about it because it was also in the audiobook so I have less options about skipping ahead.)

    I was spoiled for Boromir's death and the hobbits' capture. Yeah, I know I read it about half a century after it was originally published but, still. I wasn't surprised or taken aback like I would have preferred to be. And then, when I actually got to the scene, it was so…anticlimactic. Really, that's it? COME ON, TOLKIEN, GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH. Basically Boromir's last moments can be summarized like this: I was an ass and tried to take Frodo's ring; Oh no, some orcs! Better fight them or they'll capture some halflings. Too many of them – must blow horn! *shot by arrow* *shot by another arrow* *shot by more and more arrows* Goodbye, little hobbits. Goodbye, Aragorn. And thus, with a smile, I die. *dead* But we don't even get to see most of this.

    It's like when Suzanne Collins just dropped the tidbit that Cinna was most likely dead. And that was it, nothing else. I wanted a REAL DEATH SCENE. I want to mourn and say goodbye to the characters, like I could with Rue or even Gandalf. But noooooooooo. Boromir's all well and good at the end of the last book although feeling some massive guilt, and less than two pages into the next book and he's dead. YOU BETTER MAKE THIS UP TO ME, TOLKIEN, BECAUSE I AM PISSED.

    Also, I still really hate all the songs and such. When it said, "Then Aragorn sang again:" I honestly said out loud, "Shut up, Aragorn." And then I got annoyed on Gimili's behalf that he wasn't allowed to sing. Aragorn, you are GREEDY FOR SONG VERSES. DIDN'T YOU EVER LEARN THAT SHARING IS CARING?

    Basically, Tolkien, you are not off to a good start with winning me over. The only thing I appreciated was that the remaining three FINALLY decided to go after Merry and Pippin. Took them long enough. *hmph*

  42. hpfish13 says:

    This chapter is so very sad.

    The art for this chapter from the Tolkien calendar is one of my favorites though,
    <img src=""&gt;

  43. Hans says:

    Aragorn in anguish over a decision – but he took it. Yes, and what else could he do?

  44. manybelldown says:

    The voice acting/dialogue is the one place they skimped. There's probably a dozen voice actors in the whole thing, and I swear the only direction they gave the daedra is "Here's some scenery. Please CHEW IT."

  45. stefb4 says:

    Way to take up two song verses, Aragorn. Sooo greedy. And leaving the East Wind to Gimli. You probably knew he wouldn't sing about it.

    For some reason Legolas's verse was my favorite. I figure he has more practice making up dirges.

    Also, I have as much interest in seeing The Help than I did for The Blind Side (which is to say, none at all). This lady at my work was going on about how all she wanted for Christmas was The Help on dvd. And then how she got it. Over and over. Towards the end in my head I was like "OKAY SHARON YOU LIKE THE HELP SHUT UP NOW AND STOP FOISTING YOUR WORK ON OTHER PEOPLE THANKS"

    • arctic_hare says:

      Ditto, neither of those movies appeal to me at all. Which probably factors into why I laughed so hard at that line in this review, because it is otherwise true (my sister is one of those people).

    • knut_knut says:

      I’m reading The Help now and…I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting…I’m only 10 pages in too. It’s making me uncomfortable in a way I don’t think the author intended.

    • rabidsamfan says:

      The movie of The Blind Side was kind of annoying and I skipped lots but the book is worth reading. If there was ever a clearer argument for pouring resources into stuff like Head Start, to give kids more experiences, then I haven't seen it.

  46. MidnightLurker says:

    When I first read this book when I was a little hippie-offspring, I'd try to hum Boromir's lament to the tune of The Men Behind The Guns. It never really scanned but I kept trying.

  47. Eira says:

    Yay! Finally the two towers! Nice header too!

    I find it really frustrating that my copy of LotR is packed away due to lack of space, because I really don't remember much of this book. The beginning and end always stick somehow, but the middle part is tricky. But on the contrary it will be more exciting to read your reviews.

    On the death of Boromir I found it sad, but still kind og necessary to have him killed. I'm pretty sure that's a blasfemist thing to say, especially since it REALLY is sad, but for me, he always were the weakest link, and it makes kind of sense (unlike the death of Gandalf which I am sure still will continue to surprise Tolkien fans for ages ahead).

  48. notemily says:

    I'm reading the Companion and while most of us already know that LOTR was conceived and written as one book and only divided by the publisher, I was not aware that there was so much ~drama~ surrounding its publication. The publisher of The Hobbit, Allen & Unwin, had declined to publish the Silmarillion, which made Tolkien resentful towards them and disinclined to let them publish Rings, especially when they said they would have to split it up.

    Tolkien was very hurt by the fact that Rayner Unwin (the kid who had reviewed The Hobbit at age ten, now an adult) thought that the Silmarillion didn't need to be published by itself and would be better served by taking the most relevant parts of the Sil and incorporating them into LOTR. (Rayner never intended to say this TO Tolkien–he wrote it in a letter to his father Stanley Unwin, who then showed it to Tolkien. Bad form, Stanley.) So Tolkien was basically like "fuck y'all and this popsicle stand," and intended to go to another publisher who would publish both the Sil and LOTR, but that publisher ALSO wanted to split the books up, so Tolkien was left at square one. Paper costs were up after WW2 and nobody wanted to publish his thousand-plus-page epic all in one book, without knowing if it would sell.

    It was a couple of years before Tolkien realized that it was better to have LOTR published in some form than in no form at all, and wrote an apologetic letter to Stanley Unwin saying as much. Fortunately Unwin was still willing to publish it, even after all the ~drama~, and they just had to settle on names for the three parts. More on that later.

    The Departure of Boromir:

    This is the first chapter where it was REALLY hard for me to not read the next one right away. They decide to go try to rescue Merry and Pippin, set off, and… end of chapter! You mean I have to wait until the next chapter to find out what happens?? I can hear the suspense-music in my head! AND I'VE READ THIS BOOK BEFORE. I KNOW what happens, but I'm still dying to turn the page. Good job Tolkien.

    I really wish I knew who made this, because it's gorgeous, but I just keep seeing it around tumblr with no attribution:

    <img src=""&gt;

    How sad is it that they have to give Boromir a "water burial" because there's just no other option? I mean they do the best they can, but… he'll never get back to Minas Tirith now, not even for his own funeral ๐Ÿ™ And his family back at home has no idea! It's not like Aragorn could send them a telegram.

    I'm kind of confused when Legolas finds "not a few" arrows. This means "many," right? Or does it mean "not EVEN a few"? Language, why you gotta be so ambiguous?

    Speaking of ambiguous language, when I read that the larger orcs had an "S-rune" on their helmets, I tried to look in the back to see which rune that was… and I was utterly confused because there are like four runes that can mean S. Anyone more familiar with Tengwar care to enlighten me as to which of them it might be? (Also, if "Sauron does not use the elf-runes," why is that what's written on the inside of the Ring? Is there a separate alphabet for the Black Speech? Does Sauron just hate literacy?)

    Way to make up perfectly composed songs on the spot, guys. I can see why someone turned this book into a musical.

    Aragorn keeps Boromir's betrayal a secret because he's just that awesome.

    ["Sbegu gur Guerr Uhagref" vf n jnl orggre enyylvat pel guna "Yrg'f uhag fbzr Bep," ogj. V NZ WHFG FNLVAT. Bu zbivrf, V ybir lbh, ohg lbh qb unir fbzr zbzragf bs hggre snvy.]

    [Gbzbeebj: Ebuna!]

    • MasterGhandalf says:

      The words on the Ring are in the Tengwar, which is Elvish *script*. The runes that Saruman (and Gandalf) use for initials are from the Cirth, a different alphabet designed by the Elves and used by Elves and Dwarves. Tengwar, so far as I know, is never described as being composed of runes. It's somewhat unusual that Sauron would use one elven form of writing and not another, though presumably the Tengwar was the most efficient way of scribing the ring-spell- I don't believe he's shown to use it anywhere else.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Tolkien was very hurt by the fact that Rayner Unwin (the kid who had reviewed The Hobbit at age ten, now an adult) thought that the Silmarillion didn't need to be published by itself and would be better served by taking the most relevant parts of the Sil and incorporating them into LOTR.

      As someone who is currently reading and loving The Silmarillion, I side-eye that guy because that is clearly WRONG. I'm so glad it got published eventually.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      I totally agree with your rot13'd part. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Is there a separate alphabet for the Black Speech? Does Sauron just hate literacy?

      See, that's an odd thing – he DID use Tengwar, the Elvish script, for the inscription on the One Ring (even though it was in Black Speech). But maybe the Mordor Orcs are so, I dunno, allergic to all things Elvish that they won't even use the Elvish script? Hard to say.

      As for which rune is for S – I'm not quite sure myself. There are two tengwar used for S – súlë, which was originally thúlë, but the sound changed later; and silma. So the choice of the proper tengwa would depend on the word – if the original stem of the word had "th" in it, then súlë would be used; if the stem was with "s", then silma would be used.

      I myself prefer to go the easier way and write everything with silma – this is not wholly incorrect, as even Tolkien did this: as evidenced by this analysis of Namárië written in Tengwar by Tolkien himself. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • monkeybutter says:

      I was curious because I like that drawing, too, so I googled it and found it here by a guy named John Amor.

      And yeah, "not a few" means many. I've always liked the understatement of it.

    • JustMalyn says:

      EBUNA!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • floppus says:

      Interesting question about the letters. To start off with, when Tolkien says "runes", he's talking about the Cirth, not the Tengwar.

      Presumably Saruman would have used the Elvish letter values (and those are the ones Aragorn and Legolas would have been familiar with), so it would either have been #34 (the rune that looks like a greater-than sign) or #35 (the one that looks like a less-than sign.) 35 was the original form; 34 was added later, as part of the Angerthas Daeron (the revised version of the Cirth, inspired by the Tengwar) and Tolkien tells us that the two runes were used interchangeably, at least in writing Sindarin.

      The second form, I guess, was added for "compatibility" with the Tengwar, which also include two letters that are conventionally used for s (silme and silme nuquerna.) As far as I know, the two were always used interchangeably when writing Quenya, but in other languages there may have been a distinction.

  49. Zeynep says:

    The South Wind stanza always breaks my heart the worst:
    ‘Ask not of me where he doth dwell — so many bones there lie
    On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky;
    So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea;
    Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me.’

    The imagery—so many dead floating down the river to the shores, carried by the river, “sent” by the North Wind… the sense of an unquiet history and weight of the past and Boromir going to join them floating through his own land… Twists every heart string I have.

    And when you think of the history of the lands Anduin flows through—I won’t cite examples because spoilers, but just those four lines in the poem points to how deeply Tolkien was aware of the breadth and completeness of the history he was creating, I think.

    • Zeynep says:

      Gah—sorry about the mess I made with the name of the river. My fault for not copy-pasting. Can someone edit that if necessary?

  50. arctic_hare says:

    Boromir. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ Yeah, this was commented on in the spoiler blog, Mark: the title of chapter one was going to mislead you into thinking Boromir would strike off on his own, but… no. :'( Endless sadness. AND THE HOBBITS GOT CAPTURED, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

    Poor Gimli not being able to sing anything, though. Why you gotta hog verses, Aragorn?

    Guvf vf bar bs gur cnegf jurer V guvax vg jnf orggre va gur zbivr. Fgenatr nf vg znl fbhaq, V ybir Obebzve'f qrngu fprar va gur zbivr. Vg'f fb ornhgvshyyl jevggra naq npgrq, naq irel zbivat. Bar bs zl bgure rknzcyrf bs, nf jnf zragvbarq va gur Oevqtr bs Xunmnq-Qhz puncgre, "Beynaqb Oybbz vf n orggre npgbe guna znal crbcyr tvir uvz perqvg sbe" vf jura ur pbzrf hc naq frrf jung'f unccrarq naq whfg – gur fnqarff ba uvf snpr. Naq bs pbhefr Ivttb naq Frna ner whfg cresrpg urer gbb, gurve pbairefngvba vf terng naq jura Nentbea fgnaqf hc naq lbh frr gur grnef ba uvf snpr vg vf NYY GUR FNQF. (Va n zbeovq fvqrabgr, V tbggn tvir cebcf gb gur znxrhc qrcnegzrag sbe znxvat Obebzve fb qrnguyl terl gurer.)

    Nyfb, trggvat gb npghnyyl FRR jung orsryy vf nyy fbegf bs urnegjerapuvat. Abg whfg sbe gur ivbyrapr bs vg naq Frna Orna'f cresbeznapr, ohg Zreel naq Cvccva'f ernpgvbaf gb vg. Qbz naq Ovyyl'f SNPRF, bzt. Naq gura gurl trg pneevrq bss naljnl qrfcvgr uvf inyvnag rssbegf. Ntu.

    Zrnajuvyr, Znex pbagvahrf uvf cebhq naq ybynevbhf genqvgvba bs zvffvat gur boivbhf. YBY VYH, Znex. <3 Arire punatr. V jbaqre jung gur ernpgvbaf jvyy or sebz urer ba bhg nf ur yrneaf abguvat bs Sebqb naq Fnz sbe frireny puncgref naq jr frr bayl Zreel naq Cvccva pncgherq ol Bepf…


    • eregyrn says:

      Fcrnxvat abg bs znxr-hc ohg bs cebcf: vg znl fbhaq jrveq gb fnl, ohg zl snibevgr cneg bs gur YBGE geniryyvat rkuvovg jnf gung ng gur irel raq, gurl unq GUR SHARENY OBNG, jvgu na rkgerzryl… jryy, "yvsryvxr" vf gur jebat jbeq, ohg irel jryy qbar znaardhva bs Qrnq!Obebzve va vg. Jbj.

    • AmandaNekesa says:

      "Nyfb, trggvat gb npghnyyl FRR jung orsryy vf nyy fbegf bs urnegjerapuvat. Abg whfg sbe gur ivbyrapr bs vg naq Frna Orna'f cresbeznapr, ohg Zreel naq Cvccva'f ernpgvbaf gb vg. Qbz naq Ovyyl'f SNPRF, bzt. Naq gura gurl trg pneevrq bss naljnl qrfcvgr uvf inyvnag rssbegf. Ntu. "

      LRF gb nyy bs guvf! Vg'f fbzrguvat gurl qb fb rkpryyragyl jryy va gur zbivrf – gurl'er noyr gb pbairl gur vzcnpg bs riragf yvxr Obebzve'f qrngu va na rira zber fgevxvat jnl, ol fubjvat hf zber nobhg jung yrnq gb gung fprar. BZT Zreel & Cvccva'f snprf, ybbxvat ng Obebzve, jub unf rffragvnyyl snyyra gb fnir gurz, naq gura Obebzve'f rkcerffvba bs fubpx naq snvyher…jryy qbar, Frna Orna, Ovyyl Oblq, Qbz Zbantuna, naq bs pbhefr CW!

      V'yy nyfb whfg pbagvahr pnpxyvat rivyyl gb zlfrys sbe Znex'f hacercnerqarff nobhg gur Sebqb/Fnz fgbel yvar.

    • notemily says:

      Cyhf, va gur zbivr ur trgf gb fnl "Zl oebgure… zl pncgnva… zl xvat." *perlf*

    • stefb4 says:

      V ybir gur qrngu fprar va gur zbivr gbb. Sean Bean has perfected the Art of Dying.

    • Alice says:

      You guys were lucky,trust me, with the misleading chapter title.I was spoiled from the begining because in my language the chapter title was "THE DEATH OF BOROMIR".So…yeah!!:@ Congrats translator for ruining for me…but actually I was naive enough to think that maybe it wasn't true.

    • Gung fprar va gur zbivr vf bar zl snibevgrf. Jura zl sevraq naq V jrer jngpuvat vg sbe gur svefg gvzr, obgu bs hf jrer irel boivbhfyl pelvat naq qbvat n irel onq wbo bs uvqvat vg. V guvax jr jrer nsenvq gung vs jr npghnyyl npxabjyrqtrq rnpu bgure pelvat jr'q ohefg vagb fbof. Vg'f fhpu n ornhgvshy fprar, obgu va frggvat naq va npgvat.

    • thimbledore says:

      Nhtu, gur Uboovgf' ernpgvbaf! ;_; Ovyyl Oblq unf gur fjrrgrfg snpr naq jurarire ur ybbxf fnq bafperra, zl ragver obql gheaf gb grnef. Vg'f uryy jevatvat zlfrys bhg bs gur pbhpu phfuvbaf, V gryy ln jung.

  51. AmandaNekesa says:

    YES! I can't wait either! ๐Ÿ˜€

  52. MidnightLurker says:

    The guards do have a bunch of random lines, but they all have the SAME bunch of random lines.


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    I always thought this was an awesome way to start off the book, but I have problems anyway ;D

  54. Deckmaster says:

    I always thought that it would have been better to end the first book on this chapter as opposed to the last one since at the end of the last one everything feels a bit resolved and at the end of this one everything is uncertain.

    Ohg V haqrefgnaq jul vg fgnegf urer: guvf vf jurer gur aneengvir fcyvgf hc naq gur fgehpgher bs gur erfg bs gur obbx vf cvpxrq hc, jvgu frireny puncgref sbphfvat ba Nentbea naq gur erfg naq gura frireny puncgref nobhg Sebqb naq Fnz. Ol gur jnl, ubj ybat qb lbh guvax vg jvyy or orsber Znex fgnegf jbaqrevat jura Gbyxvra'f tbvat gb trg onpx gb gubfr gjb? V erzrzore fxvzzvat nurnq gelvat gb svaq bhg jura gung unccrarq; V pna'g jnvg gb frr ubj Znex unaqyrf vg.

  55. @_Weaver says:

    Vf nalbar ryfr HAORYVRINOYL RKPVGRQ sbe Znex gb zrrg Rbjla? Yvxr. Bzt. Ur'f orra jnvgvat naq jnvgvat sbe n fgebat srznyr punenpgre naq V whfg. V YBIR RBJLA BXNL

  56. teaspooncapacity says:


    <img src=""&gt;

    It doesn't matter that I knew this part was coming, it's still sad.

  57. notemily says:

    Ahahaha I love that idea. The audience would be like "oh, he's going to die… no? Okay, NOW he's going to die… wait, he's NOT dying? What is this movie?"

  58. flootzavut says:

    YES PLEASE DO THAT. That would be frakking funny.

  59. Hotaru_hime says:

    Farewell Boromir! At least you had a glorious, warrior's end. Somehow I don't think Boromir would have been satisfied if he had died as a sick old man. But then you think of the men of Gondor and their eventual grief when they realize the loss of their captain. It's very hard and very sad. Boromir wasn't evil- he was only a man.
    We lose the second member of our Fellowship and the remaining members are sundered! Now the real action starts!
    I don't know if this would be a spoiler, but V gubhtug vg jnf cerggl boivbhf gung Zreel naq Cvccra jrer gur barf gung jrer gnxra ol Bepf, fvapr Sebqb naq Fnz yrsg ol gur evire naq jrer abg rira arne nal bepf.

  60. UnstrungZero says:

    YES, THIS. I would actually go pay money at a theater for that. EITHER OF THOSE.

  61. Dreamflower says:

    OK, this I did not know about when I made this comment this morning:

    Story prompts for this year's "Back to Middle-earth Month" challenge…

    Imagine my surprise when my co-mod showed me the first set of prompts this evening!

  62. Saint Mercy says:

    Mark, does it make me a bad person for enjoying your unpreparedness? I guess not because, if it did then there are a whole lot of bad people reading your blog.

    Boromir's death gets me every time! Even more so than Gandalf. You expected Gandalf to sacrifice himself for others but not Boromir. He was on this journey to benefit himself/Gondor anyway he could even if it meant fighting evil with evil. He's death is his redemption for being tempted by the Ring.

  63. eyelessgame says:

    Movie spoiler.

    Bar bs zl srj qvfnccbvagzragf jvgu gur zbivr vf gung Nentbea qbrfa'g fcryy bhg – juvpu ur pbhyq unir qbar whfg orsber uvf greevsvp "yrg hf uhag fbzr bep" yvar – gung vg'f npghnyyl *pevgvpny* gb sbyybj gur bepf naq erfphr Zreel naq Cvccva:

    Gur Qnex Ybeq naq Fnehzna *qb abg xabj* gung gur Evat vf tbvat gb Zbeqbe gb or qrfgeblrq. Gung'f nofbyhgryl rffragvny gb gur jubyr cybg: gur tbbq thlf ner zvfqverpgvat gur onq thlf. Vg'f znqr rkcyvpvg jura Cvccva ybbxf va gur Cnynagve va nabgure qbmra puncgref.

    *Lbh pnaabg yrg gur bepf oevat yvir pncgvirf gb Fnehzna. Gur arjf jvyy ernpu Zbeqbe, naq gur jubyr cyna tbrf xrefcybbrl.*

  64. bradycardia says:

    Bonus points for use of the word defenestration!

  65. Smurphy says:

    Officially 2 chapters behind!!!! Um. Yes. You are not prepared… but you probably already know that.

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