Tolkien Calendar: The Great Years

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September 21, TA 3019

Categories: Tolkien Calendar

They return to Rivendell

Our story begins to come full circle. It is almost exactly one year ago that the Black Riders first appeared on the borders of the Shire. Look as what has happened, what has been won, and what has been lost in the span of this one eventful year.

So it is today that the Hobbits, Elrond, and Gandalf return the Rivendell...

    "At last one evening they came over the high moors, suddenly as to travellers it always seemed, to the brink of the deep valley of Rivendell and saw far below the lamps shining in Elrond's house. And they went down and crossed the bridge and came to the doors, and all the house was filled with light and song for joy at Elrond's homecoming."

The Last Homely Home.

Images © "Rivendell" by Alan Lee.

October 6, TA 3019

Categories: Tolkien Calendar

They cross the Ford of Bruinen; Frodo feels the return of pain.

At the outset of their ride home to the Shire, the four hobbits and Gandalf pass out of Rivendell over the Ford of Bruinen on the anniversary of the Nazgul attack that wounded Frodo there on his outward journey. Gandalf notices Frodo seems distant and reluctant to cross, and inquires if he is in pain. Frodo's response is one of the most poignant passages in The Lord of the Rings, for in his words we see that for him, nothing will ever be whole again. He has paid a terrible, albeit willing, price to save Middle Earth.
    Alas! There are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured, said Gandalf

    I fear it may be so with mine, said Frodo. There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?

    Gandalf did not answer.

Frodo had once said that he could go on as long as he knew the Shire was somewhere behind him. It seems sad and unfair that he will never be able to completely enjoy what he paid so much to save, yet we must remember that his sacrifice was necessary, and also freely made. There is a terrible beauty in that, and a great love.

Images © "Fellowship Journey" by Alan Lee.

October 28, TA 3019

Categories: Tolkien Calendar

They reach Bree at nightfall.

    Gandalf has gone away on his errand, and as Merry states, "Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together. We have left the rest behind, one after another."

    The hobbits soon discover that things are not as they should be in Bree, and indeed, in the Shire as a whole. On this cold and rainy night, they meet an old adversary in Bill ferny and send him on his way with a final farewell nudge from Bill the pony.

    After all the terror that Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry have faced over the past year, they are not much put off by the ruffians they find in Bree. They can hear enough to know that things do not go well in the Shire, but neither are these the same four young frivolous hobbits from months past. They settle in for a night's rest at Bree, and tomorrow they will set out for home and whatever else lies ahead.

Images © "Fellowship Journey" by Alan Lee.

November 2, TA 3019

Categories: Tolkien Calendar

They come to Bywater and rouse the Shire-folk.

"The Scouring of the Shire" by Alan Lee
After the comical arrest, Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin have a rather more serious encounter with the human ruffians who work for Sharkey. When one of them mocks Frodo, Merry and Pippin run several off with a show of swords and firm anger. But they know their seeming victory is a temporary one, and the ruffians will be back in force once they recover from the shock of seeing hobbits actually interested in fighting back, and are able to add to their numbers. Merry and Pippin are sure that they can persuade other hobbits to join a rebellion if they just have some leadership - "They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire." Merry says. He sets off with the horn of Rohan to raise the old alarm of "Fear, Fire, and Foes." Sam goes to the Cotton farm to enlist their help and Pippin rides off to "bring back an army of Tooks in the morning." The stage is set for the battle of Bywater,

But in the midst of all the martial preparations, Frodo reminds his fellows of the lessons of mercy he has learned from his Quest, even mercy for Lotho, whose greed and power-hunger paved the way for Sharkey's takeover. He says, "But remember, there is to be no slaying of hobbits, not even if they have gone over to the other side. Really gone over, I mean, and not just obeying ruffian's orders because they are frightened. No hobbit has ever killed another on purpose in the Shire, and it is not to begin now. And nobody it to be killed at all if it can be helped."

November 3, TA 3019

Categories: Tolkien Calendar

Battle of Bywater, and Passing of Saruman. End of the War of the Ring.

"Bilbo at His Door" by Alan Lee
Only just a year after their month spent in Rivendell before setting out on the quest to destroy the One Ring, the four now greatly changed and matured hobbits finally put an end to The War of the Ring at the Battle of Bywater. The ruffians are routed and the devastated Shire returned to the care of the hobbits themselves.

More importantly, and significantly comes the death of Saruman at the hand of Wormtongue who slits his throat and then himself is killed by hobbit arrows.
To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. for a moment it wavered, looking to the West, but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.
All of the battles have been fought and it is now time for peace and restoration for there is much to restore. 'I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess,' said Sam gloomily. 'And that'll take a lot of time and work.'

But now there is time aplenty.

Images © "Bilbo at His Door" by Alan Lee.

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Last edited: 3 July 2022 14:29:05