Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Redemption of the Feanorians: Essay, Part 1

The dawn of the Fourth Age in Middle-earth sees the departure of Gandalf and many of the Eldar; the renewal of the Numenorean kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor; and the end of the realm of Sauron. But though Sauron and the Nazgul are utterly vanquished, yet still the memory of Darkness troubles the lands. The fate of Urzahil of Umbar -- the Mouth of Sauron -- remains unknown. Horrors still walk the halls of Khazad-dum. The Goblin-king of Gundabad still holds the Angmar Plateau and the Gundalok Shelf under his sway. Evil spirits haunt the Tyrn Gorthad, the Barrow-downs, as they have for over fifteen hundred years. And Dragons still lodge in the Grey Mountains, and tryst upon the Withered Heath.

The Age of Men is beginning; but what power can mortal Men bring to bear against these ancient evils, legacies of Sauron and Morgoth? Gandalf is gone and the strength of the Three is but a memory. The remaining Wizard in the West, Radagast, is increasingly tied to his little home of Rhosgobel nigh the eaves of Greenwood the Great. Of the other Istari, Alatar and Pallando -- the Ithryn Luin, or Blue Wizards -- little more is known than a rumour of power and terror in the East of East. The remaining Eldarin lords -- among them Celeborn, Cirdan the Shipwright, and the sons of Elrond -- are more concerned with their own shrinking realms in these mortal lands. And the Valar... well, who beyond the Bent Seas can know the mind of Manwe?

But the thought of Manwe upon Taniquetil has not forsaken Middle-earth. Indeed his thought dwells ever upon it; and the more so after the return of Galadriel to the Undying Lands. And even as Elrond Half-elven walks the streets of Valinor with his kin, Olorin who was Gandalf, Mithrandir the Grey Pilgrim, comes to that high place, and there holds counsel with the King and Queen of Arda.

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Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"