Sunday, February 26, 2012

Timeline - Dwarvish History (1981-2941, 3rd Age)

Events relating to Durin's folk, the Longbeards.

1981, III - Dwarves mine Moria too deep and accidentally release a Balrog.
- King Durin VI and son Nain I are slain by Balrog.
- Most of the dwarves flee north, and settle in Grey Mountains.

1999, III - The next king in line, Thrain I, founds Erebor, the Lonely Mountain.
- Thrain I discovers the Arkenstone in Erebor.
- Thrain is suceeded by next-in-line, Thorin I (NB - not Thorin Oakenshield, that’s Thorin II).

2210, III - Thorin I departs Erebor for the Grey mountains, taking Arkenstone with him.

2463, III - White Council is created.

2463, III - Deagol finds The One Ring and is killed by Smeagol at Gladden Fields.

2470, III - Smeagol flees into the Misty Mountains.
2570, III - Dragons attack Grey Mountains.
2589, III - Dain I (great-great grandoson of Thorin I) slain by dragons.
2590, III - Dain I’s 2nd son Fror slain by dragons.
2590, III - Dwarves abandon Grey Mountains, some (including Dain I's successor, Thror) return to Erebor.
- Thror returns Arkenstone to Erebor.
- Some Dwarves settle in the Iron Hills (east of Erebor). Dain II Ironfoot is one of the decendents of this group.
- Meanwhile, dragons continue to multiply, and eventually Smaug descends upon Erebor.
2770, III - The town of Dale is destroyed by Smaug.
- For the third time, Dwarves abandon their homes.
- Thror, his son Thrain II, and his grandchildren (including Thorin II aka Thorin Oakenshield) wander middle-earth, taking with them the Map and Key to the secret back entrance to Erebor, as well as Thror's Dwarven Ring of Power.
- The other Dwarves flee to Iron Hills.
- Thror wanders off with a sole companion, Nar. He leaves the Dwarven Ring, the Key and the Map to Thrain II. Thrain II vows vengeance upon Smaug.
- Sauron learns about the Dwarven Ring of Power and its wearer, Thror.
- Thror is murdered in Moria by the Great Goblin, Azog.
- Nar reports Thror's death to Thrain II, who begins the War of the Dwarves and Goblins.
- The war’s final battle is fought at the East Gate of Moria (Battle of Nanduhirion). Thorin II loses his shield and wields an oaken branch instead (and becomes Thorin Oakenshield).
- After the battle, Dain II Ironfoot leads people back to Iron Hills and Thrain returns with his people to Dunland.
- Thrain II, with Dwarven Ring, Map and Key, with Balin and Dwalin, decide to head to Erebor.
2845, III - Sauron's agents capture Thrain II in Mirkwood, and take him to Dol Guldur.
- Balin and Dwalin find Thrain II gone after they wake up, and return home. Thorin Oakenshield is pronounced the Heir.
- Thrain II loses the Dwarven Ring to Sauron while captive. However, somehow he keeps the Key and Map.
2845, III - Gandalf hears of Thrain's loss, searches (in vain) for him in Moria.
2850, III - Gandalf goes spying in Dol Guldur, and discovers that The Necromancer is Sauron, and is collecting Rings of Power, and is searching for Isildur's Heirs.
- Gandalf finds Thrain II but does not recognise him. Thrain II has gone mad after losing the Dwarven Ring, repeating the words "last of the seven" over and over again. Thrain II gives Gandalf the Key and the Map, stating "For my son", then dies soon after.
- Gandalf keeps the Key and Map for almost 100 years, not realising its significance.
2879 III - Gimli, son of Gloin is born.
2890, III - Bilbo Baggins is born.
2931, III - Aragorn son of Arathorn is born.
2941, III - (March 15) Gandalf meets Thorin Oakenshield "by chance" in the Prancing Pony, and Gandalf forges his plans which will require a Burglar.

Welly-moot Theme - Dwarvish History

For our theme for the Welly-moot 1.1, we asked the question how Gandalf ended up with the Map and the Key that he gives to Thorin Oakenshield.

The upcoming Hobbit movie will in all likelihood start from that meeting, so it might be good background information for everyone.

For our Welly-moot, Kris had prepared some readings from Tolkien's Letters, as well as from the Unfinished Tales, and from the Appendices from ROTK. I'd also prepared some notes to help put it all into perspective.

To tie everything together, Mark Bednarowski from the Tolkien Society (UK) has very kindly given us permission to reprint two articles relating to this era of Middle-earth.

I will publish these here as separate entries so they can be linked to more easily.

The Timeline - Dwarvish History (1981-2941, 3rd Age)
Article 1 - Plight Of The Dwarves, by Mark Bednarowski
Article 2 - A Wizard For All Seasons, by Mark Bednarowski

What might also be quite useful is a map to Middle-earth. I found a nice one online that I used at the meeting. It's not the official Tolkien one but a good one to use anyway.

Click for larger map

Hymn of the Hobbits (by Jens Goetz)

At the February 2012 Welly-moot, we were visited by Jens Goetz from the German Tolkien Society. Jens started our meeting off with a song he wrote (reprinted here with his permission):

Hymn of the Hobbits
By Jens Goetz
Melody: We are the champions

We are the hobbits, my friend.
And we keep on eating, till the end,
We are the hobbits.
We are the hobbits.
No time for diets.
Cause we are the hobbits.
And eat till the end.

Thanks, Jens! It was a great way to kick off the meeting!

Welly-moot 1.1 (Feb 26, 2012)

The first official meeting of Welly-moot was a total success, as all who attended would agree.

Instead of As well as the usual chaotic, coffee-drinking, cake-eating, gossip-mongering sessions of 2011, we also managed to stick to the announced theme ("How Gandalf ended up with the Key and the Map").

Special Guests
Speaking of Gandalf - we had two Gandalfs present at the meeting! I had received word that Jens Goetz from the German Tolkien group Tolkien Stammtisch Rhein-Main would attend, however we were all amazed when he walked in to the meeting in full Gandalf the Grey costume! Well done and well met, Jens, and a pleasure meeting you!

Tolkien Societies reps - Mervi from Finland, Jens from Germany, and myself.

After introductions, Jens started the meeting off with a rousing singalong of 'Hymn Of The Hobbits' (sung to the tune of Queen's 'We Are The Champions'). The lyrics (reprinted here with Jens' permission):

Hymn of the Hobbits
By Jens Goetz
Melody: We are the champions

We are the hobbits, my friend.
And we keep on eating, till the end,
We are the hobbits.
We are the hobbits.
No time for diets.
Cause we are the hobbits.
And eat till the end.
Everyone joined in with the chorus with enthusiasm,

I mentioned TWO Gandalfs - I'm not sure how clear this was to everyone there, but also present at the meeting was Michael Elsworth, who doubled for Gandalf in the LOTR movies. According to his very brief page on IMDB, he was also the Gondorian Archivist who helps Gandalf get to the library in Minas Tirith in FOTR.
Careful with that torch in a library!

What isn't clear on his IMDB page is that he was also Cirdan the ship-building Elf who originally receives a Ring of Power from Sauron in the Prologue of FOTR. This means Michael was not only one of the first three people on screen - he was also the only person to wear a Ring of Power as two separate characters (since Cirdan eventually passes the Ring on to Gandalf)!

Unfortunately Michael had to leave the meeting slightly earlier than I expected, so I did not get a chance to properly introduce him to the group. Hopefully he will grace our meetings again, and I will correct my inadequacy!

The Theme
 Kris and I had planned to discuss the format and content of the meeting properly beforehand, but we have both been very busy lately and the discussion just hasn't eventuated.

Luckily, since Kris is a trained as a teacher, she didn't wait for me to begin. She started the discussion by handing out blank paper to anyone who wanted to take notes on the session. Kris had arrived to the meeting with a good sized bag full of Tolkien books. Among them were The Return Of The King, the Unfinished Tales,  and The Letters Of JRR Tolkien.

Kris on the left, reading, everyone else writing (from left, Rachel, Michael, Martyn, Viv, Charlene, Jenifer, Ryan, Mervi, Jens, and (the hands of) Jo and John

Using the Appendices of ROTK, Kris took us through the events leading up to the meeting between Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield, that fateful day in the Prancing Pony.

I had also prepared a few notes, and I had brought a small map of the relevant areas in Middle-earth, so Kris and I filled in each other's omissions. The complete timeline will be published here just as soon as Kris and I have a complete (and agreed upon!) version of it. Watch this space!

I've been in touch with the UK Tolkien Society about reprinting Mark Bednarowski's excellent articles on the subject, and Mark has gracefully granted this, so I will provide those here online as well.

Best moment of the afternoon - Kris finished her timeline off with "...and finally, Gandalf stands in front of the round green door in the Shire, and that..." (points at Jens in Gandalf costume) "... is where you come in!"

Jens immediately responds with "Yes - would you like to see a photo of that moment?"

Click for better detail

Jens's photos certainly brought home the reality of living in Middle-earth New Zealand.

All in all there was a really good turnout. Ryan and Jenifer brought little Hawk along (he's getting less little every meeting!). After a year of Facebook contact, and a month after her arrival in NZ, I finally met Charlene, and she'll be coming on a LOTR tour with me in the next week as well. My partner Alex had invited Viv, a friend of hers, from her current workplace. Martyn had brought Michael and Rachel.

Mervi from the Finnish Tolkien Society again managed to make it to Wellington from her NZ travels, and Ayako and Randall drove all the way from Palmerston North with their delightful daughter Rio and her friend Akari. It was nice to see Kumi again, but John and Jo I hadn't met before and I hope will join us again for the next moot.

And with Jens "Gandalf" Goetz from Germany, and Kris and myself, that made 20 Welly-mooters. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did - I'm looking forward to our next meeting, which will be on the 29th of April, 2012. I will announce the next meeting's theme in the next few weeks, as soon as Kris and I agree on it. We're taking suggestions!

  - Jack Machiela

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heads up people! Welly-moot this coming Sunday!

A quick reminder about the upcoming Welly-moot this weekend.

The meeting will be held on :

Sunday, February 26th, 2:00pm
upstairs at the Embassy Cinema

For the first "proper" meeting I'm proposing a subject to start the ball rolling with, however if we completely veer off that, then I'm more than happy with that as well. I gather a few things have been happening to a few of us in the meantime, so I'm sure there will be plenty to discuss (the studio's Non-Disclosure Agreement allowing, of course!)

With a look towards the Hobbit movie being filmed here in Wellington, I would like start the first meeting with a discussion about how it all began - how did Gandalf end up with the map and key that he passes on to Thorin in Bag End, on that fateful night as The Hobbit book begins.

Mark Bednarowski from the UK Tolkien Society has written on the subject on at least two occasions now, articles which were published in their magazine Amon Hen (for those who subscribe, they are in issues 228 and 233). I'll have those issues with me as well, if anyone wants to brush up!

Apart from all the regulars (odd though that sounds, for our first meeting!), I'm also expecting Jens Götz from the German Tolkien Society (Deutsche Tolkiengesellschaft) who is currently travelling through New Zealand. Jens contacted me a few days ago.

So, please tell a few people - send a link to this page to all your Tolkien-lovin friends, and see you all at the Embassy at 2:00pm this Sunday!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Upcoming trip

Due to my upcoming trip to Europe later this year, I have changed the date of the June moot from June 24th to July 1st. All other details will remain as they are. Please update your calendars.

While in Europe I hope to make contact with the Dutch and Belgian Tolkien Societies. Also I'm absolutely planning a visit to the Tolkien Shop in the Netherlands!

I'll be in the Netherlands and Belgium mainly, and possibly a quick trip to Germany if there's time.

We're not going to make it to the UK on this trip, unfortunately. A pint at the Eagle and Child will have to wait for another time.

Is there anything else I should add to my list? Leave me a comment here or email me!

  - Jack

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I see we've been added to the official list of Tolkien Smials on the Tolkien Society (UK)'s website.

We're RIGHT down the bottom! Which, geographically speaking, is exactly where we belong!