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December 27, 2001

What’s the Elvish for “Click image to enter”?
Posted by Teresa at 12:00 AM *

The movie of The Fellowship of the Ring isn’t absolutely perfect, but it is magnificent. Like the books, it leaves you with an urge to look up the fine points of the back story.

Start with the obvious: the official movie website, which is not half bad. TheOneRing.net (“Serving Middle Earth Since the First Age”) is probably the best of the massive all-inclusive fan websites. The Encyclopedia of Arda is the place to go if you want to look up some arcane point without having to wade through a lot of webfoo. Ian McKellen’s weblog, The Grey Book, contains much of interest. The Cabed-en-Aras site is good for resources, from movie trailers and audio files of Tolkien reading, to Tolkien-related art, active desktops, desktop themes, fonts, icons, ICQ skins, mIRC scripts, Nokia mobilephone logos, programs, game scenarios, screensavers, WinAmp skins…you get the picture. RingZone is all movie, all the time: moviemoviemoviemoviemovie. The main page of The Grey Havens is mostly just press releases, but the menu at its left is a well-organized collection of short fan commentaries on questions like where do orcs come from, and do female dwarves have beards. The Electronic Tolkien Encyclopedia Project is a more self-consciously serconnish site, and also has its own encyclopedia under construction, though it’s not a match for the Encyclopedia of Arda.

For the real inside baseball, there’s The Sindarin Dictionary Project, but the site is also fun for the light-minded. You can laboriously and probably quite ungrammatically construct statements like presto fennas-taith a minno, “click on image to enter.” (Literally, that’s “disturb the gateway-mark and enter” — the language is short on verbs, and has almost no computer-related terminology.) And you find out that “athwart” is in the vocabulary, which will prove useful if anyone ever tries to translate Gingrich & Forstchen’s 1945 into Sindarin.

(The reason Sindarin lacks computer terminology is that the Elves outsourced everything to the Rohirrim. For an extensive glossary of the computer-speak of Rohan, a.k.a. Graydon Saunders’ native language, see the Circolwyrde Wordhord, source of terms like wyrmbeslean (debugging), hundcu (dogcow), pinnpricelisc bewritere (dot-matrix printer), nathwaet (foo), sixtynelic (hexadecimal), gleosticca (joystick), musgad (insertion point), oferleornere (nerd), oftgeacsunde (frequently asked questions), spearcascyld (surge protector), weorcstede (work station), and many more besides. Great joy. Just remember that “sc” is pronounced “sh” and “y” is almost a long “e”, their “-lic” is our adverbial “-ly”, the funny-looking letters are pronounced “th”, and it’ll all come clearer if you say it out loud.)

The Barrow Downs is yet another massive all-inclusive fan website. So is Rolozo Tolkien, only it’s Italian. Rolozo Tolkien is deeply devoted to collecting everything Tolkien on the web, so you can find there a list of all the Danbury Mint collectible Tolkien plates — and worse, the Danbury Mint collectible mugs. If you don’t fancy the Danbury Mint mugs, the Lord of the Rings Merchandise Shop will sell you “6 inch ceramic pint glasses” (good trick, that), ostensibly from the Prancing Pony and the Green Dragon, though they look like you could get them for a plainchant at the Sign of the Goode Eats.

It’s at moments like this that the Brass Rat poster hack starts looking good. Or you can take refuge at The Flying Moose of Nargothrond, with its Tolkien Sarcasm Page. There you can Test Your Knowledge of Middle-earth

12. And if, as is likely, a bacterium had landed on the inner surface of the Ring, would the Ring corrupt it into an evil bacterium? Would it be invisible to other bacteria? Would its life stretch out and become an unending weariness? Would it use its increased strength and stature to rule over other bacteria? Would it fight to keep other bacteria from adhering to the Ring? Would it still evolve genetically, or would it instead become a Bacteria-wraith?
— or read one of Saruman’s speeches from Shakespeare’s lost play, The Tragedie of Frodo Baggins:
This bodes well for my hopes of conquest.
But a plague on that villain Ugluk
That thus delays my promised prize
Of captive halflings, taken close by Amon Hen!
One may possess the Token that I need
To topple Sauron from his throne
And take upon myself the rule of Middle-earth
To bring the order that I alone may provide
And I am louted by a traitor villain!
If he miscarry, farewell wars in Mordor!
If the desire of your heart is to see the entirety of The Lord of the Rings enacted by Legos, you may rejoice in the knowledge that that project is underway. (What is it about Legos?)

And if all else fails, Bored of the Rings is still in print.

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