“Death, Thranduil. The plains of Dagorlad will drown in it.”–King Oropher to Thranduil (Ch. VIII: Winds of War/Book II: The Saga of Thranduil)
I am a girl–in case I forgot to mention it. I know little of war, but much of fighting with swords and bows (my father made my first bow when I was about Thranduil’s age when he got his first bow) and learned fencing, but taught myself to use a broadsword and I learned the quarter staff while working on a production of “Macbeth”. I am proud to say I was the only girl allowed to have a weapon and was a quick study.
Actual war is different to be sure but I always did my high school history projects on battles because I had a thing for toy soldiers while other girls liked Barbie. But describe battle–any battle–from ground level would be difficult. Being in an imaginary world and studying every account written by Tolkien in third person and swinging it around to first person, I knew it had to be as authentic as possible.
The War of the Last Alliance (Last Part of the Second Age) was the first battle. It took six months and several hours of watching documentaries on ancient warfare to start. I ordered so many medieval toy soldiers, the company that sold them have become my best friend on Amazon. I need them to set up positions based on maps of Middle Earth. I studied for months for my first war with Sauron. When it was done, I didn’t want to look at it because it was sad. The Alliance of Men, Elves and beside the Dwarves of Khazâd-dûm led King Durin III and the Woodland Elves were led by King Oropher.
Elrond and Gil-galad led the last remaining Noldor fighting after coming out of exile while Elendil and Isildur led the men of Arnor and Isildur’s brother Anárion led the Men of Gondor. Out of the West came Círdan of the Falas. On the plains of Dagorlad just south of the Rhovanion and north of Mordor and Orodruin (Mt. Doom). The marched toward Barad-dûr before its dark gates. The first to fall was Oropher and the Woodland Elves as Oropher took his position in the direct path of the evil that came forth. With his death, Thranduil becomes King of Eryn Galen (takes a while to become Mirkwood when Sauron plants himself at Dol Guldur within the Southwestern border of the Rhovanion–Woodland Realm.) Lost in the war are Gil-galad and Elendil and his son Anárion. Círdan took flight to the Falas at Mithlond. Bearing one of the three elven rings, he gave the Narya to Mithrandir (Gandalf) when he came to port with two others (Curunír and Aiwendil–Saruman and Radagast). Just before his death, Gil-galad gave the Vilya to Elrond. Far from battle, Galadriel wore the Nenya.
Everyone should know the rest by now, so I will skip Isildur taking the One Ring and getting it lost so Sméagol could find it and turn into a creepy toad obsessed with shiny round things.
I have done two Battles thus far–this one and Thranduil’s version of the Battle of the Five Armies (which is about 32 pages long from the fall of Smaug to Thranduil’s return to Mirkwood–which it becomes in 1050 Third Age). Finding this is preparing me for what lies ahead–Battle in the North and the Fall of Dol Guldur. I like the every day things my characters do, but I love the challenge of strategic warfare. I can’t wait to get to Book I–lots of Battles during the First and Second Age (all to be told from the First Person Narrative).–J.
P.S.–Lots of editing still going through. It is tedious but necessary. It is hard to go through 360 pages but I love writing.