Probably the Most Awesome Middle-Earth Thing I’ve Ever Learned

Remember back in October when I was pondering the importance of Men in Middle-Earth and wondered if the Incarnation was supposed to have happened since Middle-Earth was supposed to be an older version of our world? Well, I found my answer.

It was. It totally was going to happen.

In the tenth volume of The History of Middle-Earth, titled Morgoth’s Ring, there’s a section called “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”; it’s a conversation between the Elven king Finrod Fegalund and the human lore master Andreth on the differences between Elves and Men (mainly immortality vs. death). During the course of the conversation, Andreth mentioned a prophecy passed down among the humans that Eru (the Middle-Earth name for God) would enter Ea (one of their names for Earth) to save his Children. This was the first time Finrod had heard of this prophecy, and both he and Andreth were confused as to how Eru could enter Ea in the first place.

But did you see that part? Eru was going to enter Ea and save his children. The Incarnation was totally going to happen, folks. Of course, there are more questions now–was He still going to be human? (Probably yes, since Men were the first ones to learn about it.) Would the effects of the Redemption (however it would be achieved here) apply to Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits, too, or only to Men? Are we going to shoehorn Ents in here, too? Is it possible that one of the tasks of the Blue Wizards, in addition to battling Sauron in the Eastern countries, was to prepare those countries for Eru’s coming? Could I overthink this any more?

As far as I know, Tolkien never got as far as actually writing the Incarnation into the rest of the Middle-Earth legendarium, but just the fact that it was slated to be in there is, in my completely unimportant nerdy Catholic fangirl opinion, pretty awesome.

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Two-for-One Nerd Update: “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Force Awakens”

It seems that a lot has been going on in geeky realms while I have been busy with other, less-exciting aspects of life, but now that I have some free time again, I am determined to summarize some of what I’ve learned about the two movies I am getting really excited to see, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Wow, that was a long sentence.

Beauty and the Beast

I may have been disappointed about my dream cast not coming through, but this little bit of casting news almost completely makes up for it–Ian McKellan is going to be in it! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Magneto/Gandalf/elderly Sherlock Holmes has joined the cast of Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth. That’s not necessarily a role I would have associated with him, but, hey, it’s Ian McKellan. He’ll be awesome.

They’ve also cast Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Martha’s sister Tish from Doctor Who‘s third season) as Plumette (Lumiere’s feather duster girlfriend), and Audra McDonald as Madame de la Grande Bouche (Belle’s wardrobe). Yep, this is shaping up to be a pretty exciting movie.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

So…this happened yesterday.

I can feel my skepticism melting away each time I watch this trailer, which is not necessarily a good thing. Return of the Jedi was a good way to end the series; I’m still not sure The Force Awakens is a necessary addition. But…I watch the ships and the battles and the light sabers, and I can’t muster enough energy to care that it will likely end badly like another franchise I could name (coughHobbitTrilogycough). My younger, more pathetically nerdy self is just excited that Star Wars is returning to the big screen.

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Easter 2015

And we’re back to Easter! Lent is over; Christ has triumphed over death, and man is able to enter Heaven again! For today’s post I wanted to share with you a recording of O Filii et Filiae, one of my favorite Easter hymns.

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Good Friday 2015

Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Savior of the World.

On this Good Friday, let us never forget that Christ died for our sins. We are just as guilty as those who cried out for His Crucifixion and those who nailed Him to the Cross. It’s so easy to point to the sins of others and say, “Christ had to die to atone for such a horrible sin!” But all sin is horrible; all sin separates us from God. We all nailed Him to the Cross today.

The good news is that He forgives us and loves us anyway, and that should motivate us to change the way we live our lives. He died for us, and the best way to thank Him is to live our lives so that they please Him.

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Holy Thursday 2015

Is it just me, or did this Lent feel as though it passed really quickly this year? No matter; since it’s Holy Thursday once again, I thought it apropos to bring this back to everyone’s attention. It’s a little presentation on the connections among the Passover sacrifice of the Old Testament, Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, and the Mass as we know it today. It was written by a man who was raised Jewish but converted to Catholicism, so hearing his research on something I’ve known since I was little is really fascinating.

http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/SaintPaulMinistries-734333-bible-study-mark-14-22-25-the-fourth-cup/

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The Courage of Mary

Today (apart from being the date of the Destruction of the Ring of Power), is the Feast of the Annunciation, the day when the angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin and announced that God had chosen her to be the Mother of His Son. It was a huge announcement for someone from a humble background like Mary (yes, she was a descendant of King David, but her family sure wasn’t living like royalty!), and it took a lot of courage to say yes.

Why courage? You always hear about obedience and humility in relation to Mary, but that obedience and humility had their roots in courage. She knew about the prophecies concerning the Messiah; she knew He wouldn’t have an easy life, and she knew that as His Mother, her life would not be easy, either. There was also Joseph, her fiancé, to consider–they weren’t married yet, so who knew how he would react to finding out Mary was pregnant!

She knew there would be judgement and scrutiny, but she agreed anyway because she trusted that God would help her through the trials and hardships, and that great trust gave rise to great courage.

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The LotR Sequel That Never Was

The other day I happened to be perusing the comments section of an article discussing the very scant facts about the Eastern countries of Middle-Earth when one particular comment caught my eye. Someone mentioned that Tolkien had begun writing a sequel to The Lord of the Rings but had abandoned the story when he felt it wasn’t going to be the same quality as LotR.

This was the first time I had ever heard anything about a Lord of the Rings sequel, which was itself a sequel to The Hobbit. So off to Google I went in search of more information for this abandoned Middle-Earth tale. It was titled The New Shadow and was set in Gondor during the reign of Aragorn and Arwen’s son Eldarion. After the defeat of Sauron and the extra battles Aragorn and Eomer fought to make sure all of the evil had been purged, Gondor was a peaceful and prosperous realm…but, as Gandalf cautioned in The Lord of the Rings, after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow always takes a new shape. This time it took the shape of a cult that worshiped Melkor and Sauron, the Dark Lords of old, along with Orcs, which no longer exist and are now considered creatures of legend.

The premise certainly sounds interesting, so why did Tolkien abandon it after just thirteen pages? The answer best comes from the man himself in one of his letters:

I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall, but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow — but it would have been just that. Not worth doing.

It’s worth noting that The New Shadow did eventually see the light of day in The History of Middle-Earth, Volume 12: The Peoples of Middle-Earth. The people who have read it have agreed with Tolkien; it is much darker and more depressing than The Lord of the Rings, and it certainly would have provided a unique look at a Middle-Earth where Men were the most powerful people.

You can find some of this information at the Tolkien Gateway, and other info was just found by randomly searching. I certainly encourage you to see what you can learn about this abandoned sequel.

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