18 December 2012

The Wayward Harper

Nadia Turner is an artist from Australia, whose blog Wayward Harper is definitely worth checking out. It is all sorts of elvish, magical, and wonderful. If you don't already know, I love foxes, and Nadia's painting of a fox and princess (or she could be a fortune teller or magical woman) is wonderful.

Click image to visit post and full size image.

So what could be more amazing than her amazing art? How about her amazing art decorating a harp!

Crane Harp. 
Click image to visit post and see more images.

The Journeywoman Harp.
Click image to visit post and see more images.

I think either of these magnificent harps would be welcome in the Halls of the Elvenking, or in Erebor, the Lonely Mountain. Somehow, the Crane Harp seems more in keeping with the dwarves, and the Journeywoman Harp (with its sunshine and trees) seems far more likely to be an elvish instrument. But they are definitely magical, and remind me of one of my favorite poems:

"Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
They lay there long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves."

14 December 2012

Durin's Day: 14th December

Hello and well-met, fellow traveler, and happy Durin's Day!

I predict that Friday, the fourteenth of December, is the first day of the dwarves' new year ~ being the first day of the last moon in Autumn, just before winter. Dwarves call their new year's day, "Durin's Day" if the sun and moon are in the sky together. By happy circumstance, the moon will rise on Friday around 8:30 in the morning, and not set until after dark - nearly 7:00 in the evening!

Huzzah, hooray! Ring in the (dwarves') new year!

07 November 2012

Fairy-Tale Illustrator:
Johanna Öst

"Monsters, left" by Johanna Öst

It's been almost two years since the last "Fairy-Tale Illustrator" post, which also turns out to have been the first of the planned "Fairy-Tale Illustrator" posts. Well, good ideas are rather like a good lunch. They should savored and not hurried, so I hope you forgive the delay it took me to find a worthy illustrator to follow after Ivan Bilibin.

Johanna Öst is a Swedish artist whose watercolors and sketches are light, stylish, and reflect (to my eye, anyway) the best of Tolkien's own watercolors, as well as the mood and whimsy of the 1970's animated Hobbit. And they're marvelous on their own, of course!

What would The Hobbit look like if illustrated by Öst? Let's take a peek at Chapter VIII, "Flies and Spiders" - the Öst version...

Chapter Frontispiece

An Elf of Mirkwood

A Legend of Mirkwood

You can check out Johanna Ost's website here. Enjoy!

06 November 2012

Autumn's Welcome Mat

"On a withered branch 
a crow has settled-- 
autumn nightfall."
  --Matsuo Basho

Ah, delightful autumn has arrived, cold nights, chill morning fog that lingers almost to noon -- then an unexpected (yet welcome!) sunny afternoon. It shall be winter soon enough - I shall enjoy the fruits and pleasures that autumn has to offer, and consider them the fairest of the year.

Reflection seems appropriate for autumn, so please enjoy the new welcome mat for Autumn 2012.

19 June 2011

The Troll Hunter

I had the great fortune to watch this film the other day; it is a wonderful inversion of "The Hobbit", in that three rather hobbit-y film students (they must be Tooks...) chase after Hans, a real-life Gandalf and troll hunter. Hans eventually, grudgingly allows them into his world of Ringlefitches and Mountain Kings, as he tries to discover why the local trolls are leaving their territories and causing havoc.

It is a wonderful, enthralling film, and I highly recommend it. Please note: it is rated PG-13, more for general "scariness" than language or nudity, but I agree that it might be too intense for little hobbits.

If you get a chance to see this film, do so!

Link: Official Site

Summer's Welcome Mat

Oh my, what a wonderful view! I could sit there all summer, eating fresh-baked bread with honey and strawberries, drinking tea in the morning and mead in the afternoon, and not feel a whit of guilt.

Welcome, summer!

14 June 2011

Watch It Now!
Wild Balkans

Mrs. Meadows and I watched an interesting program on PBS this morning: "Wild Balkans", which is part of the Nature series. It is a documentary of (mostly) untouched wilderness areas - places where humans either cannot go, or live in harmony with the land.

So how is this at all Hobbit related? Well, according to the official description, "ancient forests and vast wetlands harbor pristine wilderness, and sheer cliff walls and desolate plateaus preserve a seemingly unchanged past. Surveying these striking and stark landscapes, one might think they’ve ventured into the Middle-earth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings."

The program is narrated with Tolkien's work in mind, with comments on how wood elves would live near the Adriatic Sea, and hobbits would live in the Steppes. It was a fun, and beautiful program. And perhaps best of all, you can watch the entire show for free! Click here to visit the official site.

02 April 2011

English Russia:
Russian Illustrations for The Hobbit

English Russia has posted some wonderful, homey illustrations from a Soviet-era copy of The Hobbit. I especially love this quote from the site:

They say that later, nowadays, when they wanted to publish a new edition of the Lord of the Rings in Russian they asked one of the notable illustrators to make new sketches to go with the book but he refused telling them: “I can’t beat the class of that old Soviet artist whose works were so enchanting to any Soviet kid”.

Related Post:
Fairy-Tale Illustrator: Ivan Bilibin

19 March 2011

New Welcome Mat


What, is it Spring already? Well, here's the new Welcome Mat:

Welcome, Spring!

21 November 2010

Early Winter!

Well, fair autumn seems to have given way to early winter, at least in my part of the Shire.

Please enjoy our new welcome mat, and break out the tea!

11 November 2010

Fairy-Tale Illustrator:
Ivan Bilibin


Oh, how I wish Ivan Bilibin had illustrated that most wonderful of books, The Hobbit! Add a grey robe and peaked hat to the figure above, and we see a wizard riding to the rescue of his friends (captured by trolls, no doubt). Or change that horse into a snarling warg, and we can imagine a wicked goblin warrior off to battle!

Ivan Bilibin was a Russian illustrator during the early 20th century, and his work is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau style.

What would The Hobbit have looked like if illustrated by Bilibin? Let's take a peek at Chapter IX, "Barrels Out of Bond" - the Bilibin version...

The Elves of Mirkwood

Barrels on the River


Nova Akropola has a very nice gallery of Bilibin's work. (Note: the site is in Russian.)


04 November 2010

Welcome Mat for Autumn 2010

Welcome back, friends!

According to Hob's Calendar, it is now quellë, late autumn, the time when cold weather arrives... and yet, I'm just not ready to change the welcome mat to something cold. I'm not quite ready for tea!

So our current welcome mat is something a bit more warm, a reminder of gentle, golden days. We'll be in the arms of winter all too soon!

22 September 2008

22nd September: Bilbo's Birthday!


"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Excellent Hobbit birthday site

21 September 2008


"It must be potent wine to make a wood-elf drowsy; but this wine, it would seem, was the heady vintage of the great gardens of Dorwinion, not meant for his soldiers or his servants, but for the king's feasts only, and for smaller bowls not for the butler's great flagons."

Douglas A. Anderson, in the excellent Annotated Hobbit, explains:
"The name Dorwinion is clearly of Elvish origin, and it appears in Tolkien's earlier writings. In "The Lay of the Children of Húrin", a long unfinished alliterative poem written in the early to mid-1920s, the especially potent wine of Dor-Winion [sic] is described as coming from the burning South, which implies that Dor-Winion is located in Beleriand. [...]
Dorwinion also appears in a text probably dating from the mid-1930s, just before Tolkien began writing The Lord of the Rings in December 1937. This text is the conclusion to the Quenya Silmarillion (published in volume five of the History, The Lost Road), and "the undying flowers in the meads of Dorwinion" are mentioned in the final paragraph, implying that Dorwinion is overseas in Tol Eressëa.
Finally, on Pauline bayne's Map of Middle Earth (1970), which was compiled with Tolkien's assistance, Dorwinion is placed on the northwest shores of the inland Sea of Rhûn, far down the banks of the River Running in the East. The placement here certainly accords with the mentions of Dorwinion in The Hobbit but does not account for the appearance of the name in earlier texts."

Well, that's good to know. But what about the wine?

I would like to nominate one of my favorite wines to the rank of "Wines from Dorwinion":

HoneyRun Winery's Blackberry Honeywine
This is a double whammy - without a doubt the best blackberry wine I have ever tasted, as well as the best mead (there was some homebrew mead that Mrs. Meadows and I were given many, many years ago, but that's a different story, kids!)
Because of various laws, this product is sadly not available everywhere, but if you are in one of the "allowed" states, you can order it here: HoneyRun Winery.
If you can get your hands on a bottle (keep it over 21, folks!), I highly recommend and encourage you to do so.

Elf Socks!

While these marvelous socks are touted as a "Rivendell" sock pattern, I think they would be well-received and quite at home among the elves in Mirkwood.

You can buy the pattern as a pdf file by clicking here.

Related Post:
Hobbit Socks

Roaming About Mirkwood

"Companies of the Wood-elves, sometimes with the king at their head, would from time to time ride out to hunt, or to other business in the woods and in the lands to the East."

"He could not keep up with the hunting elves all the time they were out, so he never discovered the ways out of the wood, and was lef tto wander miserably in the forest, terrified of losing himself, until a chance came of returning."

01 September 2008

The Elvenking


In the Dungeons of the Elvenking!

"Inside the passages were lit with red torch-light, and the elf-guards sang as they marched along the twisting, crossing, and echoing paths."

"These were not like those of the goblin-cities; they were smaller, less deep underground, and filled with cleaner air."

"In a great hall with pillars hewn out of the living stone sat the Elvenking on a chair of carven wood."


30 August 2008

Welcome Mat for Autumn

Well! What's happened to me?! I feel as if I cracked my head on a low-hanging rock, whilst being carried at full run through an underground passage on the back of a dear dwarvish friend!

Yes, nearly a month of Autumn (which started for us on 10th August), and no word from your friend Hob Meadows since June! The best I can offer is a sincere apology and a promise to get back to work!

The new welcome mat, for early Autumn 2008, is "Autumn colors", uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons by Fir0002 on 30th June, 2005.

22 June 2008

20th June:
Midsummer's Eve

The moon was shining in a broad silver crescent. He held up the map and the white light shone through it. "What is this?" she said. "There are moon-letters here, beside the plain runes which say 'five feet high the door and three may walk abreast.' "

"Moon-letters are rune-letters, but you cannot see them," said Elrond, "not when you look straight at them. They can only be seen when the moon shines behind them, and what is more, with the most cunning sort it must be a moon of the same shape and season as the day when they were written. The dwarves invented them and wrote them with silver pens, as your friends could tell you. These must have been written on a midsummer's eve in a cresent moon, a long while ago."

Related posts:
Rune Generator

Now it is a strange thing...

"Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to" - how true! I hope you've been having a merry June; Mrs. Meadows and I have been! And as Mr. Tolkien says, our happy adventures would not be much to listen to.

07 June 2008

Music in Rivendell

Music is such an essential part of The Hobbit -- and such a highly personal part of reading and enjoying The Hobbit. I feel I would be remiss if I didn't share some of my favorite music.

Judith Pintar is an amazing harpist - her album Changes Like the Moon is one of my all-time favorites. Very appropriate for Rivendell (in Hob's esteemed opinion).


05 June 2008

4th June:
O! Where Are You Going?


O! What are you doing,
And where are you going?
Your ponies need shoeing!
The river is flowing!
O! tra-la-la-lally
here down in the valley!

O! Where are you going
With beards all a-wagging?
No knowing, no knowing
What brings Mister Baggins,
And Balin and Dwalin
down into the valley
in June
ha! ha!

O! Will you be staying,
Or will you be flying?
Your ponies are straying!
The daylight is dying!

To fly would be folly,
To stay would be jolly
And listen and hark
Till the end of the dark
to our tune
ha! ha!

On 4th June, the Company finally reaches Rivendell! A time for rest, healing, music, song, stories, good company, friendship, and all things pleasant!


29 May 2008

English Folk Song
"The Fox Went Out"


So I obviously couldn't let it rest.

Here's a great resource page for "The Fox Went Out", which includes complete lyrics and a 33 second clip of the song in performance.

Nice! (But not at all how I've been singing it!)

30th May:
The Stone Trolls

Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim.
As should be a-lyin' in the graveyard.
Caveyard! Paveyard!
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in the graveyard.

'For a couple o' pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!
I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Hee now! See now!
I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;
I've a mind to dine on thee now.'

But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.
Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind
And gave him the boot to larn him.
Warn him! Darn him!
A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,
Would be the way to larn him.

© Alan Lee
But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.
As well set your boot to the mountain's root,
For the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Peel it! Heal it!
Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,
And he knew his toes could feel it.

One of my favorite Tolkien poems when I was a kid (you can read the whole thing here). I don't think I've ever heard the song to which this is supposed to be sung: the traditional English folk song "The Fox Went Out", according to The Annotated Hobbit. In my mind, it is a fast-paced, thumping tune (somewhat similar to - although faster than - the pub song Merry and Pippin sing in Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring - you know, "There's a mug of beer inside this Took!")

Anyway, how nice that the trolls turn to stone on the first day of summer!

(My apologies to other Hobbit purists for quoting from LOTR. It was appropriate, I think.)