Montag, 1. Januar 2018

Yule day 2942 T. A.: Happy new year at Beorn's

On a late depiction at the Carrock, Beorn was postumously
represented both in man- and in bear-shape
On this night, in 2942 T.A., there was a great feast and merrymaking to celebrate the Yule days and the coming of a new year without the peril of the dragon, Smaug.

Beorn's hall was as far west as Gandalf and Bilbo could get in this season of the year, having to wait until the passes of the Misty Mountains would be free of snow and ice again. Bilbo Baggins has preferred to stay silent about his voyage along the northern edge of Mirkwood, probably drawing even within sight of Mount Gundabad, and he did not dare to give a description. Beorn fortunately was hospitable enough to bear his guests for such a prolonged stay, and not only that: Bilbo records that his formerly isolated dwelling was visited by the Woodmen, and there was quite a party going on - reasonable enough, since they themselves were now relieved of the pressing threat of Dol Guldur further south, whose significance Bilbo failed to consider until many years later.

Gandalf may have done his part to emphasise Beorn's contribution to the Battle of Five Armies, so that he was held in awe by the Woodmen and they accepted him as leader and future founding father of the Beornings.  

Mittwoch, 22. November 2017

Monday, 22 November 2941 T. A.: Farewell to Erebor, never to come back

"Farewell Thorin Oakenshield! And Fili and
Kili! May your memory never fade!"
(E. Whymper: The Ascent of the Matterhorn, 1880)
I have just seen the setting crescent of the moon, so the second month of this dwarvish year has begun, as far as I am concerned.

About this time, though we cannot pinpoint it any more precisely, Bilbo Baggins finally left Erebor behind and began the long journey home. Some time after Thórins death, there had been a great funeral for the King under the Mountain, and the diplomatic arrangements between Thranduil, Dain and Bard certainly took their time, though Gandalf's presence may have, hopefully, speeded them up to reasonable progress. At any rate, Gandalf went with Bilbo, as did Beorn, and the Wood-elves provided them company to the edge of Mirkwood.

Despite the misgivings of John Rateliff expressed in "The History of the Hobbit", there was plenty of time left to go the long way around Mirkwood in the north and arrive back at Beorn's Hall on time. Karen Fonstad, in "The Atlas of Middle-earth" assumed the date of departure as 27 November 2941 T. A., which is as good a guess as anyone's. Alas, there was no phase of the moon recorded that would have allowed for a more precise identification of the calendar date.

Samstag, 18. November 2017

Thursday, 18 November 2941 T. A.: The king is dead, long live the king

Thórin son of Thrain on his deathbed
(Excerpt from "Macbeth murdering Duncan" by Robert Dudley)
On this day, in 2941 T. A., which was also the 27th day of the first month of the dwarvish new year, died Thórin II son of Thrain son of Thrór, Oakenshield, King under the Mountain, from the wounds received the previous day in the Battle of Five Armies.

Bilbo Baggins came to himself long after sunrise beneath a clear sky and had just enough time to bid farewell to Thórin in his tent in ruined Dale. And he wept long and sorrowful.

There was a new moon the night after, as the Dwarves probably honoured their fallen lord. We do not know anything about their rites, alas.