Twelve Days of Tolkien

On the first day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: One Ring to Rule them all

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

On the second day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Two Glorfindels and a Ring to Rule them all

Not only Fantasy Flight’s LCG, but Tolkien himself had two Glorfindels in his work – the first was the Captain of Gondolin who killed a Balrog during the fall of the city, buying enough time for Tuor, Idril and Elendil to escape. His body was born away by Thorondor, lord of the eagles, and buried. Yet by the time of the Battle of Fornost (3rd Age 1975) Glorfindel was again on hand to see the overthrow of the Witch King of Angmar, and prophesy that his ultimate downfall would not come at the hands of a man. This Glorfindel was also the rider who rescues Frodo and brings him safely to the Bruinen (No, it wasn’t Arwen). Given that Tolkien stated that Elven names are unique, this has caused a great deal of confusion as to whether the first figure in fact returned to Middle Earth from the Halls of Mandos. Either way, it seems only reasonable to be still allowed to play Glorfindel in campaign mode after having him die once…

On the third day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

The jewels wrought by Feanor in Valinor contained the light of the Trees, from before the rising of the Sun and the Moon, and drive most of the major plot elements of the Silmarillion. Eӓrendil the mariner bears a Silmaril on his brow as he sails the heavens as a star, whose light was bottled in the phial of Galadriel, and given to Frodo.

On the Fourth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

Obviously there were many more Hobbits than four, and this number does leave out The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins himself, but The Fellowship of the Ring contained just the four.

On the Fifth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

Watching the latest film instalment, we were struggling to work out exactly which five this was – Men of the Lake, Elves of Mirkwood, Dwarves of the Iron Hills, Orcs of Gundabad and the Eagles? (this somewhat ignores Thorin’s company, Beorn, and the Dol Guldur Orcs)

On the Sixth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

During the first age, Beleriand was repeatedly the site of many conflicts between the forces of Morgoth and the armies of Elves and Men. However, six battles stand above the others as the “Great” battles of the Age – stretching from the first struggle of the Sindar and the Laiquendi against Morgoth, before the coming of the Noldor, all the way down to the Sixth battle, during the War of Wrath, which saw the Valar return to Middle Earth, to smite down Morgoth and destroy Beleriand entirely.

On the Seventh day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Seven Dwarves-a-mining, Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

It always amuses me that there are Seven Dwarf families in Tolkien’s work. In case anyone is interested, Snow-White would be “Lossëa” in Quenya, although I’m not aware of a character by this name…

On the Eighth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Eight Aratar-a-ruling, Seven Dwarves-a-mining, Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

The Aratar were the greatest of the Valar: Manwë, Varda, Ulmo, Yavanna, Aulë, Mandos, Nienna, and Oromë.

On the Ninth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Nine Riders Riding, Eight Aratar-a-ruling, Seven Dwarves-a-mining, Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

Known simply as “The Nine” who else could it be for this day?

On the Tenth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Ten Black Cats of Beruthiel, Nine Riders Riding, Eight Aratar-a-ruling, Seven Dwarves-a-mining, Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

Beruthiel was a Queen of Gondor in the middle of the Third Age, a Black Numenorian who spied on the people of Gondor by means of her cats, until she was eventually exiled from the kingdom and set sail past Umbar. Without spoiling with too much detail, the Against the Shadow Cycle of quests allude to various aspects of the legacy of the Black Numenorians.

On the Eleventh day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Eleven Jackson Oscars, Ten Black Cats of Beruthiel, Nine Riders Riding, Eight Aratar-a-ruling, Seven Dwarves-a-mining, Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

Return of the King won an incredible 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. I doubt that The Battle of Five Armies will be troubling the judges to the same extent…

On the Twelfth day of Christmas, Tolkien gave to me: Twelve Tarn Aeluin Outlaws, Eleven Jackson Oscars, Ten Black Cats of Beruthiel, Nine Riders Riding, Eight Aratar-a-ruling, Seven Dwarves-a-mining, Six Beleriand Battles, Five Armies. Four Shirelings, Three Silmarils, Two Glorfindels, and a Ring to Rule them all

Many remember Beren as the first mortal man to wed one of the elder children, but he could not have had so high a Doom had his father, Barahir, not survived in the wilds as an outlaw, along with his eleven companions.

Merry Christmas from Dor Cuarthol!

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