The Best of Kunochan from Periannath.com

As you can tell, I am no longer posting regularly to Periannath.com. Indeed, from this point forward I will only be posting the occasional feature article, such as a film review or a Tollkien 101; I’ll leave the day-to-day Tolkien news to TORn.

Here are some links to the Best of Periannath.com (so far).

Film Reviews:

UGLY ELVES & INFLATABLE ORCS: RANKIN/BASS’ 1977 ‘THE HOBBIT’ REVIEWED

ROTO-ORCS & INVINCIBLE DOORS: RALPH BAKSHI’S 1978 ‘JRR TOLKIEN’S THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ REVIEWED

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK HOBBITS & HOMOPHOBIC FRODOS: RANKIN BASS’ 1980 “THE RETURN OF THE KING” REVIEWED

Humor:

BILBO BAGGINS IMAGE MACROS

GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S ‘THE HOBBIT,’ COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF SCREENCAPS FROM ‘THE LORD OF THE RINGS’

IF TOM BOMBADIL HAD APPEARED IN PETER JACKSON’S ‘THE LORD OF THE RINGS’

IF GLORFINDEL HAD APPEARED IN PETER JACKSON’S ‘THE LORD OF THE RINGS’

IF LOTR HAD BEEN WRITTEN BY A GAME DEVELOPER

Also, here are all the installments of Tolkien 101.

And be sure to read Sauron’s Blog!

Ugly Elves & Inflatable Orcs: Rankin/Bass’ 1977 ‘The Hobbit’ Reviewed

On Periannath.com: a review of the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit.

hobbit-panel-18-470x353

Author JRR Tolkien believed that we each have a great sacrifice to make, for the betterment of all humanity. Frodo bore the Ring, for the sake of The Shire; Aragorn walked the Paths of the Dead, for the sake of the Free Peoples; and I watched Rankin/Bass Productions’ 1977 animated television production of The Hobbit, for you, my readers.

You’re welcome. Do I get to sail to Tol Eressëa now?

Read Ugly Elves & Inflatable Orcs: Rankin/Bass’ 1977 ‘The Hobbit’ Reviewed on Periannath.com.

I Am Now The JRR Tolkien Examiner on Examiner.com

As I mentioned in the title, I am now the official JRR Tolkien Examiner at Examiner.com.

I will continue working on Periannath.com, my personal Tolkien blog, as well. Any news stories from Examiner.com will also appear on Periannath.com.

At the request of my editor at Examiner.com, I am writing Tolkien 101, a series of articles explaining various concepts from Tolkien’s works for people new to the books.

Links: JRR Tolkien Examiner; Periannath.com.

‘Lord of the Rings Online’ — Kuno’s First Impressions

Originally posted 3/16/07 on Avataritoria.

Well, after paying the money to pre-order LOTRO, guess what? I got invited to the closed beta. I’m as happy as a little girl.

I may have mentioned this in another post, but I’m the original, unreconstructed Tolkien geek. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the third grade, and I couldn’t even guess how many times I’ve read them since. My favorite book of all time is The Silmarillion. Yes, I’ve read all those History of Middle Earth books, in which Tolkien’s son publishes his father’s old doodles and tax receipts. I’ve read his biography and his published letters. I can name all 13 dwarves and all seven sons of Fëanor. I even (occasionally) write Sauron’s Blog.

I loved the movies, although I can recite every single deviation from the novels, and explain every reference. I can explain to you the real reason Denethor went mad, where Gandalf went when he died and why he came back, and why it’s significant that Galadriel turned down the Ring. I can also tell you that Saruman didn’t die at Orthanc, the Galadhrim did not fight at Helm’s Deep (and never would have), and that Sauron is NOT an evil lighthouse.

So with my Tolkien bona fides firmly established, there should be no surprise that I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Lord of the Rings Online since it was announced in 2003 as Middle Earth Online.

It’s still in beta, and I imagine and hope that many of the small annoyances derive from that fact. For that reason, I’m only going to give general impressions at this time, and save any complaints for launch.

1.) I love that Elf characters start their storyline 600 years before the events of the game, and arrive in the present after the initial tutorial level. Immortality FTW!
2.) All the players with non-Tolkien names annoy the hell out of me. N00bs. My female Elf hunter is named Arthradha. Sindarin for “Beautiful Traveler,” it’s a name I researched for a Tolkien tabletop game a while back.
3.) The graphics look nice. But this is not the first new MMO I’ve seen with a metallic earth tone color palette. I guess giving everything copper highlights is supposed to add to realism, but it just looks strange to me. Myst Online is the worst offender in this regard, but games like Ran Online do it too.
4.) Some of the details are beautiful, and reveal the designers’ dedication to the Legendarium. Check out this screenshot:

At some time in the distant past, sunlight broke into this cave and turned this troll back into stone. Nice.
5.) When you get a quest, read every single word. Unlike in World of Warcraft, you won’t be able to just muddle your way through while ignoring the details. Pay attention to what the quest giver says. Seriously.
6.) Like the Battle for Middle-earth guys, the designers of LOTRO are eager to introduce new creatures not mentioned in the Legendarium (but that don’t conflict with it either). So far, all I’ve met are the Aurochs and the Cave-Claw Burrowers. An Auroch is a species of extinct cattle, and introducing extinct mammals fits well with Tolkien’s conception of Middle-earth as our Earth’s primordial past (as well as with the fascination Tolkien, an ardent Creationist, had with modern science and evolutionary theory, which he felt it was foolish to deny). That’s why I didn’t mind the mammoths-as-mûmakil in the movie. As for the Burrowers, I found them really annoying. I don’t find them believable, either as animals or as monsters.
7.) Thank Eru that LOTRO’s wargs are exactly what they’re supposed to be — giant, talking wolves. What the hell was Peter Jackson thinking?

I’ll keep playing, and letting you all know what I think. And when the game goes live, I’ll complain about any issues that still exist.

Nai Valaraukar tye-mátar!

If “The Lord of the Rings” Had Been Written By a Game Developer

Originally posted 11/26/06 on Furinkan High School Kendo Club.

If “The Lord of the Rings” Had Been Written By a Game Developer
By Erik Even

Frodo Baggins of the Shire stooped over in Farmer Maggot’s field and harvested another mushroom cap. As long as he moved slowly, and did not creep into their line of sight, the farmer’s mean old hounds, Grip, Fang and Wolf, would remain asleep under a nearby willow tree.

The hobbit stowed the newly-purloined mushroom cap and started off in search of another. He had been sneaking about for hours, collecting as many of the fungi as he could find. When he returned to Bag End, he would be able to trade the mushroom caps for another Vial of Galadriel.

Locating another mushroom cap near the same pond where Frodo once harvested Watcher in the Water Scales, the halfling attempted to put the tiny toadstool in his bag. But alas! His inventory was full, and there was no room!

Frodo pawed through his collection of rabbit skins, warg’s teeth, caskets of Longbottom Leaf, Lesser Elven Rings, Second Age Blades, Evenstar Necklaces, Balrog’s Claws and Gollum Dung, looking for something he could discard. But a noise drew the hobbit’s attention to the east.

Someone was coming over the ridge, from the direction of the Stock-brook. Frodo armed himself, brandishing Andúril in his own field of view, to the lower right. But the blade did not glow, for the newcomer was no enemy.

“Why, it’s old Gandalf,” Frodo said to himself. The hobbit had not seen the wizard for almost six months, since that night at Bag End when the wizened conjurer had revealed to Frodo the terrifying secret of his uncle’s Ring.

“Confound it, you miserable little creature!” the wizard yelled, advancing on Frodo with his gray robes billowing around him. “I have been across Eriador and back looking for you! When I could not find you at Rivendell, Glorfindel, Aragorn and I searched The Wild for months! When I heard you had never arrived at Crickhollow, I feared the worst!”

Leaning heavily on his old staff, the wizard peered, exasperated, down at the hobbit. “What are you doing still in the Shire?”

“Collecting mushroom caps and athelas leaves,” the hobbit replied. “If I collect enough athelas leaves, I can trade them in at Michel Delving for Mithril Vests. And then I turn in the Mithril Vests to the dwarf at the North Farthing Stone, and he —“

“Athelas leaves? Mithril Vests?” the wizard burst out, huffing and puffing. “What is this nonsense? Did you hear nothing I told you? Sauron seeks the One Ring! The Nine are abroad, searching for ‘Shire’ and ‘Baggins!’ We agreed that you would flee The Shire by September!”

“Yes, but I could not leave The Shire with nothing but the waistcoat on my back,” Frodo replied. “By training in the art of tanning and making leather breeches, I was able to earn enough gold to buy this excellent Dwarf Helm from Fatty Bolger —“

But Gandalf was no longer listening, his attention drawn to Frodo’s shining blade. “By the Holy Silmarils! Is that the blade of Isuldur reforged? How –?”

“Silmarils?” Frodo asked, rummaging through his sack. “I have four or five of those here. Barliman Butterbur trades them for Miruvor Vials when you go to the Prancing Pony to heal.”

“Frodo!” Gandalf cried, as the old man rose up suddenly proud and strong like an Elf king of old. “The armies of Mordor stand at the gates of Minas Tirith! Rohan has fallen, and Erebor is is besieged! The hour is late, and the Ring must be destr—is that really a Silmaril?”

The Halfling held aloft the holy jewel, which gave off the clear white light of a thousand stars.

“Sure,” Frodo said. “I’ll trade it for your staff.”