Well, you didn’t do anything (that I am aware of) unless of course you released and particularly large chatty fire-breathing dragon that sounds eerily like Benedict Cumberbatch out of the bowels of Erebor to unleash his revenge on the helpless people of Lake-Town because you made him take a shower in some melted gold shaped like dwarf king.
No, I did it. I have discussions every week about my little old book and I decided to make a drastic change that my “beta reader” loves: I dissolved Book III: To Eryn Lasgalen because it was too short and added those chapters to Book II: The Saga of Thranduil and made it 34 chapters instead of 21. So now, I’m on Chapter 25 of Book II: The Saga of Thranduil but to keep from making the popular blogs crash and burn, I just kept Book III there anyhow. Now the new third book is actually Book III: The Last Tale of Legolas Lasgalen, Prince of Mirkwood. (In keeping with Tolkien tradition of having “the” be the first word of everything) The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring. The Two Towers. The Return of the King. The Silmarillion. The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm…you got it.
Work in Progress: Need to add some “the’s” to some titles.
Well that was painless–somewhat. It was done because it would be easier to annotate and footnote this book for the Appendix where the Bibliography is located. Two weeks ago I spent a few hours on a Saturday properly documenting every Tolkien book in my crate that needs wheels to pull now. Now (for Tolkien readers/experts) image all those books being cross-referenced and end-noted in a fan fiction about the Elvenking of Mirkwood that I somehow managed to turn his life into what was 360 pages into what currently is 417 pages (473 if you count the alternate ending)? Why would I do that?
To be different than any other fan fiction on the planet because I actually read those books so Thranduil isn’t living in a Peter Jackson film (really, he did more in the book) but in Middle-Earth where he is supposed to be (though Lee Pace actually inspired me to reread The Hobbit because for some reason that wasn’t the Elvenking I remembered as a kid. No, that was Gollum’s second cousin twice removed from that animated television version).
You know how many people are upset that Kíli didn’t have a girlfriend that was a cute red-headed Silvan elf warrior? What, PJ couldn’t get Fíli a date, too? He managed to have an undocumented love triangle going on between two elves that weren’t in the book–one fathered by the Arda’s Next Top Model and the youngest son of Thorin Oakenshield‘s sister, Dís.
Well, PJ created a scenario unnecessarily explaining why Thranduil was in a foul mood and why Legolas was motherless by having this mysterious elven maiden die a place introduced by Legolas to the red-haired elf warrior named Tauriel for some reason that did nothing to move any plot in a direction–to a place that looked suspiciously like Barad-dûr. I wondered why an elf maiden would be hanging out with her husband over there? The same reason Legolas left home because he realized the girl he liked was obsessed over a now-dead dwarf so he wants to run away and his father conveniently sends him on a quest to find Strider who is living in Rivendell as an 11 year old kid named Estel.
As it was, if Legolas was 200 years older than Arwen, he would have been born during the first part of the Third Age and the last time anyone was way down in Mordor land letting his glamhoth go was during the War of the Last Alliance at the Battle of Dagorlad during the Second Age. Chilling on the Battlefield with Gil-galad, Elrond, Cirdan, Durin III and Isildur–not to mention Elendil, Oropher and Thranduil. (No, I didn’t forget Isildur’s brother Anárion in Gondor), I didn’t read anything about ladies on that road trip, though I could be mistaken. But if she died there, how could Legolas be conceived? Semantics, I suppose.
My thing is, if it wasn’t there find out the most plausible reason why it wasn’t. Legolas wasn’t in Dale during the first Battle of Dale because as heir to the throne, shouldn’t he be protecting the realm while his father is away and be prepared to take the throne if something happened to him? That works, and you won’t have to add a brand-new unreasonable plot point to make the next generation of wanna-be Tolkien book readers confused as to why Legolas is not in the book. Heck, when the company stopped off in Rivendell you could have had an 11 year old extra looking peculiarly like a human kid that was actually there and not disturb the plot of the story.
As I was writing The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm, I thought, why not explain where I got this idea and why did I detail that in this way so that it seems like it may actually have taken place in Tolkien’s universe without a lot of recreating outside the Halls of Mandos. Sure there a slew of new characters–from elves to humans to dwarves to horses to a Maiar and an Orc. But they pretty much have a reason to be there. Of course I studied Tolkien’s Elvish to be accurate and gave Thranduil a mother (who leaves for the Undying Lands because of the death of Oropher (UT) but stays until after Legolas is born). New plausible workable story line working with the story instead of against it and after all, Thranduil had to be born if he has a father and he can’t become a king unless this father dies.
Oropher’s queen and Thranduil’s mother is Nimeithel (inspired by all this vigorous springing going around) Eithel is Spring (water). Ethuil is Spring (season). So, you have wonder at which spring is he being vigorous? I’m going to go with the similar looking season. Nim is white. So her name means White Spring. Also what started out as a nod to the Amroth and Nimrodel legend somehow ends up in my story because Amdir, King of Lórien somehow managed to get himself killed at Dagorlad and not long after his son Amroth (who was at Dagorlad as well) drowns waiting for Nimrodel to come to him so they can be wed but she never comes. With him dead, Lothlórien falls to the care of Celeborn and Galadriel. Sadly, I didn’t make any of that up. I just sorted it out–hence the reason for annotation.
So, annotation it is for the preservation of Tolkien’s world and realistic possibilities and imagining what the genius himself would have done if he had remained to fill in the blanks. I started this 16 months ago. To have close to 500 pages already sounds unimaginable, but I suppose Tolkien got the best of me and my imagination got the rest. Doesn’t hurt to have Master’s Degree in History–after all, this is a History like any other; it has a story in its name. Then it’s off to be read by the experts to see how bad I messed up or to see if I made stayed true to Tolkien’s view of Middle Earth.–J.
Image (Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins): ©2013. Warner Brothers Pictures. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. All Rights Reserved.
“Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle Earth” by J.R.R. Tolkien. ed. by Christopher Tolkien. ©1980 J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust. All rights Reserved.
“The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy” by J.M. Miller. That’s me! I did it! I did it! No, it’s not on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble. I just started this a year and 4 month ago and proud of it, but the roads go ever on..
Roads go ever on
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wander have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the Halls of Stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills
They long have known.–J.R.R. Tolkien