24 March 2012

March 25th: Tolkien Reading Day

Tomorrow, March 25th, is celebrated worldwide the TOLKIEN READING DAY. This date was chose because according to the Tale of Years, the Chronology of the Westlands, appearing in Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings, March 25th is the day of the Downfall of Barad-dûr and the passing of Sauron.

The is the ninth year this special day was celebrated. It started in 2003, and it's purpose is "to invite everyone to discover and enjoy the books written by J.R.R. Tolkien through talking about them and through activities associated with them". The topic for this year is "75 years of The Hobbit". People gather themselves in libraries or reading groups, and read and discuss the works. Others read with their families,  others do it alone. The Tolkien Society webpage offers some educational resources, specially for children, like activity suggestions, walkthroughs to The Hobbit, or information about runes. For detailed information: http://www.tolkiensociety.org/ed/tolkienreadingday_2012.html. Also, the history of this day is explained in an article in the same webpage: http://www.tolkiensociety.org/ed/tolkienreadingday.html. The facebook event is this one, it has links to some activities around the world. Also don't forget to check your local Tolkien Society activities! http://www.facebook.com/events/347887218582891/

Besides, "mymiddle.earth.net" site is organizing a  photo-contest, in which if you submit a picture of yourself reading your favorite Tolkien books, you may win one of 5 The Hobbit kindle e-books! Go ahead and submit your photograph, I'm thinking about submitting one myself! The submissions I most like:

So, remember, March 25th, go ahead and have a great time reading Tolkien! Though probably, if you are reading this, you don't need a special day todo so. :)

EDIT: Two more submissions that are worth showing, now that the contest has finished (by some reason they did not publish the winners):

this last one is me  by the way!

17 March 2012

Some Middle-earth humour

I post some very funny (in my opinion) images relating to Middle-earth. They deal with several topics, but for some strange reason, Gandalf appears in most of them! :) I of course just gathered the images, I saw them on facebook on friend's posts, or facebook groups, or even from the Eluveitie forum! Thanks to all of the people who posted them! Probably when I know of more and I have enough, I'll post them too. There are a lot of gags abroad, but not all of them are good, tolkien-inspiration standard good!

It may be that the image is too slow so if you want you could right click on the image and open it in another window.

 regarding Megaupload (the image cannot be viewed correctly, so the link to it is http://imgur.com/gallery/4096B:

 when I correct again a physics exam, for sure I will have this:

This one is not funny, but it is the most beautiful dress ever made:


10 March 2012

The Hobbit Movie .... 35 years ago

All of us know that Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be released this year. Some people know that it will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the publishing of The Hobbit, but less people know that 35 years ago, in 1977, was released an animated movie titled The Hobbit!

This movie was produced by Ranking/Bass Productions, and it was created as a television movie, though it was pretty expensive: 3 million dollars! This movie is of course based on the Book, and of course, since it's running time is only 77 minutes, several parts of the Book are cut off, and some situations are changed, for example, there is no mention of Beorn whatsoever, or of the Arkenstone. Even Elrond becomes the first bearded Elf in Middle-earth! The site Tolkien Gateway has counted 36 differences with the Book itself, among them being that Sting always glows, and that the Dwarves don't find the orcs at the entrance of the tunnel: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/The_Hobbit_(1977_film). Also you can find more detailed information about the technical movie facts at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077687/.

The movie is not perfect, though it is enjoyable, specially for children. I think it would have been very nice if I had the chance to watch it when I was a little kid, though it would have totally spoiled the Book for me, so thinking it through, it was better I discovered its existence only some months ago. What would have been incredibly good was to have read The Hobbit 15 years ago! 

This site http://www.cedmagic.com/featured/tolkien/hobbit.html has screenshots of the characters appearing in the movie, I share some with you, so you can have a feeling of the atmosphere of this film, I must admit that the Orcs, the Trolls and especially the Wood-elves are indeed very horrible! It's interesting to notice the difference ideas they had for all these characters!


Elrond, the bearded Elf


 Gollum (who looks like a frog)

 The incredibly awful Elf-king


An Orc


So maybe as a preview for this year's most amazing movie, we should watch this first version, that happens  was released in 1977, one of the best years for all Tolkien fans, since it was the year The Silmarillion was first published!

03 March 2012

Geldrop – A Curious way of Tribute

Geldrop is a small town located in the south Netherlands, with 28000 inhabitants aproximately. It would seem a perfectly normal town, until you start noticing the names of the streets in one part of the city.

It may be that you first encounter the Laan von Tolkien, or Tolkien Avenue, going across the heart of the area. But then you start noticing some Middle-earth related names for streets, going from hobbits, to Elves, to Valier, to Dwarves, even to Ents, and a creature no one really knows what exatly he is! As you can see in the following picture, using google maps, you can appreciate better the diversity of Tolkien-inspired names! The map directly from google maps you can find here:

Even more outstanding, in my opinion, is the fact that characters that are somehow related have street names close to each other, for example: up to the north we have the Gondorian streets, which include Faramir, Boromir, Denethor, Aragorn, and even the Palantír, more to the left (it is actually pronounced palAntír, contrary to what I thought for many years.) Going left, we have Frodo, Elrond, Elanor and Glóin. And dangerously near we find Saruman street, a constant menace.

Proceeding left, we find the mightiest of the Valier, Varda and Yavanna, followed by the most misterious character of all, Mr. Tom Bombadil. Immediately below we find Fangorn, and then we come to the Dwarf section, all but one Dwarves appearing in The Hobbit: Bifur, Bofur, Bombur (which correctly is a larger street), Balin, Dwalin, Dori, Ori, Fíli, Kíli, Farin (grandfather of Balin and Dwalin, then Thórin, and below the Father of Dwarves, Dúrin. A bit below we find Erebor the Lonely Mountain, and Gimli and Pippin, with Peregrin nearby.

To the right of Fangorn we find two of the most beloved characters, Gandalf and Samwise, and then the Rohan section, with Eowyn, Éomer and Théoden. Apart from Merry Street, we are definitely in the Elven section of the city: Galadriel and Celeborn, Legolas, Lórien (also a Vala), Arwen and Nimrodel and Amroth.

Going up north, we finally find the Númenor folk, with Elros, Amandil, Silmariën, Elendil, his son Anárion, and Valandil. Also we find Cirion in this area.

And so we have characters from The Lord of the Rings, including the Nine Members of the Fellowship, characters from The Hobbit and from The Silmarillion as well! And just one more additional detail, we only have “good” characters, Saruman being the only exception. And Bilbo doesn't have a street! And the local kid's school is named..... De Hobbit!

I went into the town's homepage, but I could not find any information about why this part of town has these excellent names. Maybe the Mayor's name was Samwise, I don't know.

Finally, i found in flickrhivemind.net some pictures of the city, it seems a quite boring place to live in... except for the fact that you may live in Gandalf 4, or Dúrin 2!

Where The Lord of the Rings movies meet metal

What do you get when you put great metal music to scenes of the films of The Lord of the Rings? ABSOLUTE EPICNESS!!!!!!!!

Some days ago, and thanks to Indil, I discovered one the most incredible and fascinating channels in youtube: Darth Aphrodite's channel. She gets scenes of Peter Jackson's LotR films, and blends it with the best metal music that fits them! Isn't this just great? Each video is the product of hard work and dedication, and it's truly a feat to admire and praise!

First of all, let's watch these scenes with the completely matching song, Twilight Tavern, by one of my favorite bands, Ensiferum! It's outstanding how the images match the music: the battles, the warriors, the grief of death, the celebration of victory (Merry and Pippin have a really good time!) The song itself makes you want to yell out the chorus, but with these images.... aww, perfection! And as Darth Aphorite suggests... watch Gandalf at 3:39 …. ;)

Their warrior's souls forever rejoice
With our ancestors we raise our horns
Their warrior's swords forever shine on
Welcoming our brothers at the break of dawn!

Then we have one of the most merriest, most catchy songs: Korpiklaani's Vodka. It is impossible not to dance or drink or smile with this song, I mean, even old Gandalf dares to dance (0:51). It goes along perfectly with the cheerfulness of the Hobbits, and with the nice couple of Gimli and Legolas! You really feel awesome watching this video! And don't forget to watch the end of the video, after the song ends!

The next song is of a different kind: it is Haggard's Tales of Ithiria, but as Anna (the uploader) called the video, Tales of Middle-earth. A very beautiful song, matched with these beautiful images, produce a treasure. As the user “symphom” writes in the comments: You have created a homage for Haggard and for LotR”. Théoden unable to see, and wrapping his fingers around his sword Herugrim, Boromir's last battle, Aragorn's last words to Boromir, matching the piano, the violin, and the moving singing.... simply breathtaking! Magical song, with such a video! I went to a Haggard concert one week ago, they should of played this video in the background! EXCELLENT job! Really, the video with the matching of the lyrics is impressive.

Then we have once again Ensiferum and one of their best songs: From Afar. What else can I say: MAGNIFICENT! The Uruk-hai screaming, the ravens, the little creature speaking to Gandalf (in Quenya he is called Olórin, and “olor” means dream), the Ring's prophecy, ...Gandalf's mighty light...it would take forever to comment on the entire video. Again I must say: magnificent job, epic as nothing else is!

Finally, the band of bands, the Bards of Metal, Blind Guardian, with their song, Lord of the Rings. But this is not a normal video, it is not like the others, it is one of a kind... She gets the scenes from the movies, with Blind Guardian's majestic song, but she also adds live scenes from Blind Guardian's concert at the Blind Guardian Open Air Festival, published in their DVD Imaginations through the Looking Glass! I will not comment more about this video, just watch It, and behold perfection. There are just no words to describe what It conveys....just watch It, and thank Anna, with all your heart, for creating this and the above MASTERPIECES! Спасибо, AHHA!

So thus ends this entry, where The Lord of the Rings movies meet metal, with the best synchonization possible. And don't forget to visit Anna's channel, you can find other videos with Star Wars movies, with music from bands such as Nightwish, Epica, Gamma Ray, among others.

And thanks again, Anna, Arda is a better place because of you. Hantalë.

Battlelore - Metal sounds of Middle-earth

 “Horse lords of the men of Rohan, Allies of Gondor the land below, Green fields they guard with honour, Eastern terror, keep away!”... and “Guidance shown by the stars, The way whispered by the winds, To the land of legends, Land of Bow and Helm!” are just two examples of the lyrics of one the best Tolkien-metal bands of all: BATTLELORE!

Battlelore is a finnish symphonic epic metal band whose lyrics are completely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's works. They have released 6 full-length albums and 2 DVDs, plus 2 Demo cds, when the band was starting. Their music is dominated by fine feminine vocals, growls, guitars and keyboards and flutes.They create a pretty epic atmosphere indeed! Their current line-up is:   
  • Kaisa Jouhki (vocals)
  • Tomi Mykkänen (vocals)
  • Jussi Rautio (lead guitars)
  • Jyri Vahvanen (guitars)
  • Timo Honkanen (bass)
  • Maria Honkanen (Keyboards, flute)
  • Henri Vahvanen (drums)

Just by seeing the titles of the albums and their covers, you get a feeling of the Tolkien atmosphere and of what kind of music you can expect. Battlelore was founded in 1999, and after a couple of demos, they released their first album: Where the Shadows Lie” in 2001. The cover is a painting by Ted Nasmith called “Morgoth and the High King of the Noldor”. Just have a look at the tracklist and behold the Tolkien influence:

1) Swordmaster
2) The Grey Wizard
3) Raging Goblin
4) Journey to Undying Lands
5) Shadowgate
6) Fangorn
7) The Green Maid
8) Khazad-dûm Pt. 1 (Ages of Mithril)
9) Ride with the Dragons 
10) Feast For the Wanderer *



And best of all, as it's characteristic through all their albums, the lyrics are strongly Tolkien oriented (you can find the complete lyrics of all Battlelore albums here: http://www.darklyrics.com/b/battlelore.html ).

Their next album was called Sword's Song, released in 2003. This for some is the best Battlelore album, at least it's the album that made the band pretty famous, they even toured Europe after this cd. The cover again it's amazing, Ted Nasmith's "The Slaying of Glaurung". This was the last album with former male singer Patrik Mennander.

1) Sons of Riddermark
2) Sword's Song
3) The Mark of the Bear
4) Buccaneer's Inn
5) Attack the Orcs
6) Dragonslayer
7) Khazad-dûm Pt. 2 (Silent Caverns)
8) Horns of Gondor
9) The War of Wrath
10) Forked Height
11) Starlight Kingdom
12) The Curse of the Kings*

Here I give the link to a great performance of Sons of Riddermark at Tavastia Club in Helsinki in 2003, featuring in their 2004 DVD The Journey (I actually went to this club last year :D ). I really like their performance, with their impressive outfits and the weapons, plus Kaisa and Maria are stunningly beautiful!

The Journey includes live performances of Fangorn, Sons of Riddermark, Buccaneers Inn, The War of Wrath, The Mark of the Bear and Raging Goblin. Also 3 music videos, Behind the Scenes, Interviews, a Photogallery and a Bonus Audio CD. In my opinion, a huge higlight is the interview with Jyri, the founder and main composer of Battlelore. He speaks about how Battlelore was founded, and how he is a huge Tolkien fan, how his encounter with Master Tolkien's books was like “love at the first sight”, and how his works influence Battlelore! This really reaches the heart! Also, among other things, he speaks about why Battlelore's dresses up at concerts. Jyri: you are my idol!

Fortunately, someone has uploaded this interview to youtube, for all of us who are not able (yet) to buy this DVD, so I give you the interview with Jyri, founder of Battlelore:

I continue giving their next 3 albums cover and tracklists:

Third Age of the Sun (2005):

1) Usvainen Rhûn
2) Storm of the Blades
3) Ghân of the woods
4) Gwaith-i-mírdain
5) Trollshaws
6) Elves of Lúva
7) Valier - Queens of the Valar
8) Thousand Caves
9) Cloaked in her Unlight
10) Of Orcs and Elves
11) Touch of Green and Gold
12) Pallando - Forgotten Wizards I
13) Gollum's Cry
14) Alatar - Forgotten Wizards II*
15) Elessar's Call*
16) Dwimmerlaik*

Evernight (2007):

1) House of Heroes
2) Ocean's Elysium
3) Summon the Wolves
4) We are the Legions
5) Into the New World
6) Longing Horizon
7) Mask of Flies
8) The Cloak and the Dagger
9) Beneath the Waves
10) Doom and Oblivion
11) The Tale of the Downfall

Cover illustration: "Tol Brandir" by Ted Nasmith.

The Last Alliance (2008):

1) Third Immortal
2) Exile the Daystar
3) The Great Gathering
4) Guardians
5) The Voice of the Fallen
6) Daughter of the Sun
7) Green Daughter
8) Awakening
9) Epic Dreams
10) Moontower
11) The Star of High Hope

The limited edition digipack includes the show at Female Voices Festival , in Belgium, during 2007.

The official video for one of me favorite Battlelore songs, Third Immortal, is the following:

Finally, in 2011, Battlelore release their only concept album up to now. It is based entirely on the adventures of Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, foe of Glaurung, whose story is the saddest of all Arda, i think. The album is called Doombound, every fan who has read The Silmarillion will immediately get the connection between the story and the album. The album includes their only song completely in finnish, Kärmessurma.

1) Bloodstained
2) Iron of Death
3) Bow and Helm
4) Enchanted
5) Kärmessurma
6) Olden Gods
7) Fate of the betrayed
8) Men as Wolves
9) Last of the Lords
10) Doombound
11) Kielo

There exists a limited digipack DVD edition (which i possess), which includes two concerts, 4 music videos, Tour Videos and a photogallery. It is simply AWESOME!

The following is“Enchanted”, a song where Nienor laments what befell her and her brother. This song includes some lyrics in the beautiful finnish language:

Very unfortunately, in October 23rd of 2011, Battlelore announced an indefinite break, “to focus on other aspects of life and build up more creative energy for the future”. Let us indeed hope that it will be just a break, and not a termination! Battlelore is the finest and most loyal Tolkien metal band I know, and it would be a pity that they stop existing. Plus I have never seen them live, and honestly I cannot die until I do so.

I hope you get a feeling of the greatness of this finnish band, completely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's works. For more information, such as history, pictures, merch, band, samples, etc, please visit their official site: http://www.battlelore.net/ . The information regarding the band I got from this same website (History, Discography and Band section).

And if you like their music, go ahead and buy their albums, they totally deserve it.

Kiitos Battlelorelle!


Welcome to Tolkien-Inspiration, a place for all things Tolkien-inspired, whether they be music, literature, paintings, poems, needleworks, humour, websites, languages, videos, movies, curiousities, weird stuff, tattoos, and more! Anything whatsoever that was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, has a place in this blog. I really hope you enjoy it! Feel free to express your opinion; comments and suggestions are more than welcome.

Two friends will colaborate in this blog: thanks to Indil and Almië for their help, advice and creativity! And special thanks to Юля for helping decide the name of the blog.

Cover art: Eärendil the Mariner by Ted Nasmith

Nai Anar caluva tielyanna!

- Ligandil.