Saturday, March 17, 2012

Middle Earth: Cities, Countries, Creatures, Costumes {Guest Post by Jemimah C.}

Many greetings! I'm Jemimah C., and you might remember me from the "Journeying through Middle Earth" guest post I made for Charity last month. Well, I'm back again to share with you two more posts. All three of my guest posts revolve around one certain topic which I love writing about. It's a favorite book series and movie trilogy of mine, entitled The Lord of the Rings. In my first post here, I wrote about some books and movies related to The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (the author), and Middle Earth. This time, I'm taking you on a journey deeper into Middle Earth—the fantasy world where the epic story of The Lord of the Rings takes place.

Middle Earth is a huge world that contains many lands and kingdoms. Within those lands and kingdoms reside various sorts of creatures. Men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, goblins, wizards, and so on. Each of those creatures, those races have different and distinct ways of life.

Now I want to take you to five particular places in Middle Earth. These five are some of the most famous and most mentioned lands in The Lord of the Rings, and personal favorites of mine. Why, it would be wonderful to "live" there for a day...a month...or even a year!

Not only will we see what these lands are, but we will discover who their inhabitants are, what they do, and what they wear. I have always been fascinated by the various fashions seen in films and described in books—the costumes worn by the characters. And now that The Lord of the Rings has been made into a movie trilogy, we can feast our eyes on the grand costumes from the films; and we can watch the world of Middle Earth come to life.

Ready to traverse these five lands of Middle Earth?

Land #1: The Shire

In the LOTR trilogy, we are introduced to the Shire near the very beginning of the story. After all, that's where the real action starts to take place. It's the beginning of the road to an epic adventure. The Shire is a beautiful, isolated country with lush green hills and breathtaking landscapes. The creatures who reside there and call it their home are the hobbits.

Hobbits are small creatures—almost like regular humans, but still a lot smaller. They tend to be stout, have huge, hairy feet and pointed ears. They live in cozy, little (or should I say exceedingly huge) houses built beneath the Shire hills which they fondly call hobbit holes. They are simple folks who can be pretty silly and frivolous sometimes. They aren't very keen with adventures, journeys, and anything that will throw them of course from their simple life. What their hearts truly love is peace. Oh, and parties too.

Because The Lord of the Rings has a seemingly substantial amount of medieval inspiration when it comes to the costumes (and even more than that), the creatures and the characters' clothing often reflect the styles of the medieval era. The Shire folk or the hobbits are dressed in simplistic costumes like that of the peasants. They're hardly seen wearing anything grand...unless by some chance they happen to stumble across a kingdom of elite elves...or something of that sort.

Some of the well-known Shire hobbits are the four cousins (yes, they're all somehow related): Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin. They are brave hobbits who dare to venture out and travel to the other lands of Middle Earth on an unimaginable quest that will change their lives forever. They even make unexpected visits to places like...

Land #2: Rivendell

Thus we come to another land in Middle Earth: Rivendell, one of the elf kingdoms. It appears many times in LOTR, for many of the characters travel to this magical land full of iridescent splendor. (It often reminds me of autumn.) Rivendell is a picture perfect place with exquisite halls, buildings, and palaces...made by the very talented elves, of course.

There are a good deal of elf groups who live in the different woods and forests spread throughout Middle Earth, such as the Rivendell elves. Elves are tall superhuman creatures with long hair, pointed ears, impressive agility, and immortal lifespans (and that's only a few of their many other abilities). They have airs of mystifying tranquility, yet they can be tough warriors when duty calls. However, in the LOTR trilogy, most of the Rivendell elves are sailing for the Undying Lands, so we only see few glimpses of them. There are some Rivendell elves who join the list of main characters, though.

The Rivendell elves are dressed in sublime, exquisitely fashioned clothing that reflects their elegant, sophisticated land. Flowing gowns, robes, and sleeves in the shades of autumn colors. Crowns encircled around their foreheads. Their costumes are similar to those of the royalty in the medieval days. They are no doubt one of the "best dressed" races.

Elrond is the wise ruler and king of Rivendell. He has fought many wars in his earlier (and by that, I mean very earlier) days, but now he often presides over counsels held in Rivendell.

Elrond's one and only daughter is Arwen. Lovely elf maiden, soft-spoken, and sweet as she is good. Initially, she only had a very small, almost insignificant role in the books (like, you only read about her in the appendixes). Thankfully, the movie trilogy gave her a share of the spotlight with a bigger role. Arwen is divided between leaving Rivendell with her people or staying behind to be with the man she loves. Arwen also wears some of the best costumes in the films, just like that gown above.

Land #3: Lothlorien

Another habitation for another group of elves is known as Lothlorien. In The Fellowship of the Ring, some characters seek temporary refuge in this elf-haven. Unlike Rivendell's bright autumn-like atmosphere, Lothlorien looks just the opposite with its entrancing light-filled, starry, midnight palaces built among large trees.

The elves of Lothlorien have their similarities to the Rivendell elves. They both have the same ethereal characteristics (hmm, it must run in their blood). Likewise, we don't get to see much of them in Lothlorien; but on certain occasions, such as the eve of a terrible battle, the Lothlorien elves come to aid their colleagues with their precise bow and arrow skills and their excellent swordsmanship.

All elves have certain prominent styles among themselves. The costumes of the Rivendell and Lothlorien elves resemble each other in many ways. Nevertheless, those worn in Lothlorien are mostly in the hues of blue, grey, and white.

There are only a few elves from Lothlorien who have rather large roles in The Lord of the Rings. One is Haldir, the captain and a scout of the Lothlorien elves.

Lady Galadriel is the queen of the Lothlorien elves. She rules the woods of Lothlorien together with her husband, Celeborn. Her son-in-law is Elrond, the ruler of Rivendell. She is wise and good, but also powerful.

Land #4: Rohan

We are introduced to the broad grassland country of Rohan in The Two Towers. Many significant events occur within its vast territories. Rohan is comprised of several villages spread throughout its large realm. Even a fortress by the name of Helm's Deep is also a part of Rohan. Atop one of the valley hills lies the main capital of Rohan, Edoras.

The inhabitants of Rohan are known as the Rohirrim. They are what we'd call "the race of men." In that case, they are one of the groups of human creatures who live in Middle Earth. And because they are men...well, they look just like regular people should. The Rohirrim reside in the many villages in the borders of Rohan. Most of the Rohirrim are peasants, farmers, and herdsmen. The term Rohirrim actually means horse-lords. A very befitting term, since Rohan is famous for its horses and riders.

As stated above, most of the Rohirrim are peasants, farmers, and herdsmen. These people live simple lives, therefore, we see them wearing only plain clothes that are usually in the dull shades of black, brown, or grey. But those who live in Rohan's capital, Edoras, seem to be off in a rather better state, in terms of clothing and the like (which is perhaps to be expected). Rohan has Anglo-Saxon origins, so the costumes, the army, the place...they all reflect the Viking days.

There are certain vital characters who help build up the story of LOTR along the way. King Theoden, the ruler of Rohan and the Rohirrim, is one of them. Long trapped under a terrible spell, Theoden is somehow freed from it, and he proves to be good leader to his people.

Eomer is a strong warrior and horseman of Rohan, as well as the nephew of King Theoden. In The Two Towers, he is banished from the realms of Rohan—and with him leave many other faithful warriors of Rohan.

Lady Eowyn is the sister of Eomer and the niece of King Theoden. As one of the women folk of Rohan, she is often required to stay behind with them. But Eowyn has the heart of a fighter, and she'll do anything just to be able to join in a battle. Eowyn has one of the few big feminine roles in LOTR. She is often seen wearing great, lovely costumes, too.

Land #5: Gondor

And now we finally come to the last land of Middle Earth that is to be discussed in this post. Here is the point in which we come to the great land of Gondor, the kingdom closest to their enemies' main dominion, which lies in the east of Gondor. Because of they live close to their enemies (the orcs), they often face the need to defend themselves from the attacks aimed at them. Gondor once had many little cities and smaller kingdoms, but a lot of them, such as Osgiliath, have been taken captive by the orcs. Their main citadel is Minas Tirith (as seen in the picture above), the home of many Gondorians.

The citizens of Gondor are called the Gondorians. They also belong to the race of men, although some certain men from Gondor have elvish blood flowing in them. Many of the Gondorians live in the main citadel, Minas Tirith. Because Gondor is often under attack by the orcs, many of the Gondorian men are soldiers. The symbol of Gondor is a white tree, which is seen on their shields and their armor.

The Gondorians are considerably an "urban" group of people. In a way, they are opposite to the rural Rohirrums of Rohan. The Gondorians are quite regal, and their costumes are fine and made of rich-looking material. Their clothes tend to be in the shades of grey, green, brown, violet, and so forth. They resemble the courtiers of the medieval ages.

Boromir is a loyal soldier of Gondor, and the son of Gondor's steward. Although he has his weaknesses, he also has great strengths...and one of them is his fighting skills.

Faramir is none other than Boromir's younger brother. He tends to be overshadowed by his older brother, who is also their father's favorite son. He is an excellent bowman and a captain in the Gondorian army.

Aragorn, one of the main, important characters in The Lord of the Rings, is also a Gondorian. But for some particular reason (which shall be concealed for those who have not read or watched LOTR), Aragorn chose the life of a ranger and to go by the name of Strider.

So now we've come to the end of this post. We've gone through five major lands in Middle Earth, but there are still many more lands that have not been elaborated here. The Shire, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Rohan, Gondor...those are just a few. There are more that need to be discovered, for there are certain characters in The Lord of the Rings who come from different places, each with different backgrounds. But together they make an outstanding friendship. A fellowship.

{Images via, Google Images, WeHeartIt}


About the writer: Lady Jemimah C. is a self-confessed elf maiden who resides in the polychromatic woods of Rivendell in Middle Earth. She delights in books and libraries, and is an avid fan of The Lord of the Rings. She is a fervent writer with a heart made of paper and iridescent ink-filled veins. Also a photography enthusiast, an aspiring thespian, an imaginative dreamer, a time traveler, an explorer. And foremost, she is a daughter of the King of kings and a servant of God. Her writer's corner, her "hobbit hole" is known to the world as Beautiful Blank Pages, her blog.


Alyianna said...


I love your guest post!!! :D I am definitely going to bookmark this (and I hardly ever bookmark things, so you can take this as a great honour ;P).

Just one far as I know, the Gamgees were in no what way related with the Sam would not be related at all to Frodo...?

- Alyianna

Liz R said...

Oooh!!! This is my kind of post. I may be one of the biggest Lord of the Rings nerds on the planet =) I asolutely love the elvish dress and cities!

Charity U said...

I love it! Thanks so much for coming by again, Jemimah. :)

Jemimah C. said...

Alyianna, I can't believe I made that mistake! Absolutely correct--Sam is not related to the three other hobbits. Please forgive my error!

Glad you all are enjoying the post!

The Mad Elvish Poet said...

*sigh* I love LOTR. I think that If I were in it, I would be some sort of elf/human hybrid who lives part time in Rohan with the horses and the rest of the time in Lothlorien 'cuz it's SOOO pretty!