April 02, 2003

In the Uttermost West...

A cooperative project, so far limited to me and the Nine-Year-Old. Come help us out at http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/cgi-bin/wiki.cgi?IntheUttermostWest.

Revised and updated...

Place: The Uttermost West, Before the Thrones of the Valar, in the Timeless Halls

Time: Between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers.


Maia 1: Olorin! How have you been! Seems like I haven't seen you for most of an age! What have you been doing?

Olorin: For thirty lives of men I have walked the roads of Middle-Earth till the bleeding cracks on my feet had bleeding cracks on them...

Maia 2: Oh, I remember. The mission. Coordinating the elves and men in that mopping-up operation against what's-his-name, that lieutenant of Morgoth, Gorthaur...

Olorin: He calls himself Sauron now...

Maia 1: What's it like? Living on Middle-Earth? Being incarnated in a mortal, killable fleshly body? Having only a dim shadow of your native powers, intelligence, and memory?

Olorin: I bitterly longed for this place desperately, yet my memory was so fogged that I could not really see what I yearned for in my mind's eye.

Maia 1: You couldn't even be known by your own name...

Olorin: Gandalf, they called me. Mithrandir...

Maia 2: But it's over now. Your task is done! You can kick back and relax. Wait until you see what Yavanna has just finished!

Maia 1: And Earendil has done the most amazing things with comets!

Olorin: Ummm...

Maia 2: Silence! They come.

(Enter Manwe, Varda, and Mandos. They seat themselves on their thrones.)

Varda: Olorin! It is good to see you! I did not expect you back for another year and a half.

Mandos: Indeed, he returns before his fated time.

Varda: But this is good news, no? You have succeeded. Unexpectedly and prematurely. After all, our Eldar King's plan was fated to work, right?

Olorin: Ummm...

Varda: And it was a well thought-out and clever plan plan. The careful breeding and evolution of a race of hnau--Hobbits--unusually resistant to the Ring's evil to serve as Ringbearers without falling into the trap of Isildur. The Blue Wizards to rally the Easterlings and the Haradrim against Mordor. Radagast to teach and summon all of animal and vegetable creation to the fight. You--as Gandalf--to reunite the Dunedain. The armies of the West, East, and South, assisted by the rest of Creation, all coordinated by Saruman the White as Head of the White Council, to converge on Mordor and protect the Hobbit-Ringbearers as the carried the Ring to Mount Doom. It was a well thought-out plan. I am only surprised that it has been accomplished so early. But why are you alone back? Surely Saruman, the first of wizards, should have pride of place in reporting this victory. You, after all, are only third in the hierarchy of the Istari...

Mandos: Not the third...

Olorin: Ummm...I don't quite know how to put this . . .

Eonwe: Oh, by Iluvatar! Something's gone wrong! You should have sent me again! I could have cleaned up this Sauron very very quickly! Why, when Ancalagon the Black emerged...

Varda: Eonwe! Quiet. Olorin has something to tell us!

Manwe: You were saying, Olorin?

Olorin: Ummm...

Varda: Yes?

Olorin: Ummm...

Mandos: Remember: what Olorin is about to tell us has been willed where what is willed must be...

Olorin: Ummm...

Manwe: Spit it out, Olorin. What has gone wrong?

Varda: Are you saying that the ring is not destroyed?

Olorin: Not exactly. Or, rather, not yet.

Varda: WHERE IS THE RING!

Olorin: Right now, I think it is in Lorien.

Eonwe: In the hands of Galadriel? That stuck-up traitoress Elven b...

Varda: No barracks language in the Timeless Hall, please, Eonwe.

Maia #1: Galadriel is going to claim the ring? Become a new Dark Lord? A Dark Queen, terrible as the dawn?

Mandos: That is not her fate. Galadriel has passed the test. She will return to us.

Varda: OLORIN. WHY ARE YOU HERE! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR WIZARD BODY! IT WAS A GOOD, TOUGH BODY! WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING IT!

Olorin: I had an accident?

Manwe: What sort of accident? What did you run into?

Olorin: Ummm...

Manwe: WHAT DID YOU RUN INTO!!

Olorin: In the Mines of Moria. I ran into a Balrog.

Manwe: And you lost to a Balrog?

Olorin: I didn't have my full strength. Remember, I was incarnated into a body without most of my powers. That was YOUR idea, remember? And I didn't lose. It was a draw.

Varda: Eonwe?

Eonwe: Yes?

Varda: At the end of the First Age, you said that all the Balrogs had been captured and destroyed. I saw your report...

Eonwe: Ummm... well, you see, uh, in a manner of speaking, all the Balrogs were captured and destroyed. At least, that's what Olorin told me!

Olorin: Hey, wait a second!

Varda: Water under the bridge. Eonwe, I want you to restart the Balrog Subcommittee. If there's one, there may be others as well. Olorin, I want you to get over to Mandos's Halls to be measured for another body pronto. And somebody needs to try to contact Saruman the White to get his take on things. It should be easy. Our last message from him... was it 200 years ago?... said that he had recovered a Palantir...

Olorin: Ummm... I don't think that contacting Saruman via Palantir would be the greatest idea..

Varda: Why not? It can't be broken, and we know that he has one of the most powerful Palantirs. Look, I have our Palantir right here, let me just...

Olorin: I really wouldn't...

Varda: [a flash of lightning] Ouch! That stung! A giant eye... lidless... wreathed in flame. [Pause] Back when he used to play the harp at my feet, back when the Two Trees were in flower, he was a lot more handsome...

Mandos: His Doom...

Olorin: Saruman...

Mandos: Saruman's Doom hangs like a knife...

Manwe: You cannot mean...

Mandos: Saruman has Fallen. But he may still get up...

Varda: You mean that no Palantir can see anything except the Eye of Sauron?

Mandos: There is one to whom Iluvatar has given strength...

Manwe: This is getting us nowhere. Olorin: MAKE YOUR REPORT. WHAT HAS HAPPENED? WHERE ARE THE UNITED ARMIES OF LIGHT? WHO IS PROTECTING THE RINGBEARER? HOW HAS SARUMAN FALLEN?

Olorin: Ummm... I guess it started when I took too much of the Halflings' leaf, and it clouded my mind...

Maia #1: Yes?

Olorin: You see, the Great Ring was under my nose all the time, for sixty years. And I did not detect that Saruman had tried to look into the Palantir, and been daunted by the Eye of Sauron...

Varda: That is an uncommonly ugly shape...

Olorin: Nor did I understand that Saruman was breeding a great army of half-orcs and half-men--an army that could stand daylight, cover a great distance at speed, and attack the ringbearer...

Varda: And?

Olorin: And?

Varda: What happened when Saruman's army of half-orcs half-men attacked the ringbearer?

Olorin: I don't know...

Eonwe: You don't know?!

Olorin: I got killed--the balrog, remember? The one you said "didn't exist"?

Eonwe: I did my best. I...

Manwe: ENOUGH!!

Varda: So the ring might be in Saruman's hands right now?

Olorin: Ummm...

Varda: And he might be putting it on?

Olorin: Ummm...

Varda: Combining his own powers as one of the first of the Maiar with all of Sauron's strength, cruelty, and malice that he put into the One Ring?

Olorin: Ummm...

Varda: You have to go back! Now!

Olorin: No.

Varda: No?

Eonwe: No?

Manwe: No?

Olorin: I was not strong enough to face Saruman myself, remember? I was just the third of the wizards. And if he has and is using the ring, he'll turn me into...

Eonwe: Mincemeat?

Maiar #1: Shreds and gobbets, and then eat the gobbets?

Olorin: Exactly...

Varda: Ok. There. (Gestures.) Now you are first of the Istari, first of the wizards, strong enough to compel Saruman, and break his staff. Satisfied?

Olorin: No.

Varda: No?

Eonwe: No?

Manwe: No?

Olorin: Don't send me back!! You don't know what it's like out there!!

Mandos: Too bad. Back you shall go.

Varda: Better think up a plan--a way for you, with few and weak allies, to defeat Saruman, recover the ring, find a suitable ringbearer, and somehow get the ring past the armies of Sauron and into the fires of Mt. Doom.

Olorin: But...

Eonwe: Anyone want to bet? I'll give you two-to-one odds: 1500 quatloos says he's mincemeat within thirty days...

Varda: Eonwe?

Eonwe: Yes?

Varda: You are not helping. Posted by DeLong at April 2, 2003 02:49 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Lovely! But you need a closing italics tag at the end of this; it's messing up the rest of your blog.

Posted by: Canadian Reader on March 9, 2003 03:25 PM

I'm trying to read through the Silmarillion these days from time to time. At first the stylistic issues and seemingly random organization slowed me down, but then I got into it... but now I have trouble finding the time to read it.

Oh well. I'll get through it eventually.

Posted by: Julian Elson on March 9, 2003 06:22 PM

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Posted by: Zack Lynch on March 9, 2003 06:43 PM

But surely there's another solution than destroying Barad-Dur. We could disarm Dark Lord Sauron peacefully, all we need is more Istari inspectors sent into Mordor.

Posted by: Dysgraphics Anonymous on March 9, 2003 11:24 PM

Varda : Eonwe, I want you to restart the Balrog Subcommittee. Olorin, I want you measured for another body. Mandos, may you please try to contact Saruman the White, to get his take on things. Everyone else, I'm calling a brainstorming session for 4.15 sharp.

Posted by: Ian Whitchurch on March 10, 2003 12:40 AM

Snort. Anyone with the fatalism of Mandos would get his ass fired from the corporate ladder very fast indeed. And it took no less than three long-term projects to clean up Middle Earth in a satisfactory manner (maybe more, if Tolkien had finished his LOTR sequel). They should have sat back, remembered the subsidiarity principle, and let somebody who had good knowledge of the locals (e.g., Tom Bombadil or Treebeard) direct the cleanup. Authoritarian absentee owners can be so inefficient...

Posted by: andres on March 10, 2003 07:37 AM

"Mandos, may you please try to contact Saruman the White, to get his take on things."

Nope, by this time, Saurman's treason would have been clear--remember, Gandalf was Saruman's prisoner before formation of the Fellowship in Rivendell, not to mention his incovenient encounter with the Balrog in Moria . . .

Posted by: rea on March 10, 2003 01:49 PM

>>Nope, by this time, Saurman's treason would have been clear--remember, Gandalf was Saruman's prisoner before formation of the Fellowship in Rivendell, not to mention his incovenient encounter with the Balrog in Moria . . . <<

I suspect that anyone who looks into a Palantir at this point in time sees only the Eye of Sauron... That there is only one being who has the Iluvatar-given strength to turn it away from that horrible sight...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 10, 2003 06:44 PM

Oops, nitpicky time. Tolkien is not consistent in the use of those newfangled crystal balls. The only Palantir in Sauron's possession at this time was in Minas Morgul, not the Barad Dur--Pippin had a pleasant chat with the Witch King, not with Sauron himself. Too bad--he would have been much less irritating to Gandalf and the readers if he had seen the Eye and gone bonkers. Also, Denethor would probably have gone mad too, but he actually saw Sauron's armies assembling in M. Morgul, not Sauron himself. Of course, this was enough to drive him into suicidal depression.

And yet when Aragorn uses the Palantir, he is able to connect with Sauron himself and to throw down the gauntlet. Maybe the Eye could be seen all the way from M. Morgul's highest tower, or maybe the Palantirs had a switchboard system. Oh well.

Posted by: andres on March 10, 2003 09:44 PM

Andres:
"The only Palantir in Sauron's possession at this time was in Minas Morgul, not the Barad Dur..."

No, Sauron had (presumably) taken that stone back to Barad-dr:

"But one at least Sauron must have obtained and mastered to his purposes. I guess that it was the Ithil-stone, for he took Minas Ithil long ago and turned it into an evil place: Minas Morgul, it has become. ... How long, I wonder, has [Saruman] been constrained to come often to his glass for inspection and instruction, and the Orthanc-stone so bent towards Barad-dr ..."

Posted by: Bill Woods on March 11, 2003 09:24 AM

The business about too much of the halflings' leaf is, I believe from the movie only--I think Tolkien was fairly clear that the leaf was tobacco, not marijuana.

Posted by: rea on April 3, 2003 09:40 AM

If the halfling's leaf wasn't quite tobacco though, it would help explain why the hobbit peasantry hadn't risen up in revolt against the landed gentry. As well as account for the innate ability of the halflings to resist the evil temptations of the One Ring itself. Frodo was just strung out by the time he made it to Mount Doom...

Posted by: David Wilford on April 4, 2003 08:35 AM

Looks like Eonwe is about to get a chance to spend some more time with his family no ?

Posted by: Robert on April 5, 2003 04:48 PM
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