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Is it possible to have a favorite horse in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion? And other Tolkien works? Shadowfax, of course, stands so high that he even got taken back to the Undying Lands by his grateful friend and rider Gandalf. But there are others, so many. Any thoughts?

Bill the pony, sturdiness and dependability can be over looked by strength and regalness but are just as important.

Of course my fav is the ever magnificent Shadowfax in book and film. The Gandalf whistle scene in the film brings a tear of love to my eye eveytime.

For those who have seen the making of special in the special addition " horses of Middle Earth " will know, there were some amazing people and horses involved in the films. There were two Shadow Faxs. One for wide stunt shots and one for close ups with Sir Ian, this one was quiet and friendly, the other a bit more stallion like.

Vigo Mortenson actually bought Brego from his owner and took him back to the States and he also bought Arwen's Stallion and gave it to Liv Tyler's lady double and stunt rider as she simply fell in love with him. I've forgotten his name. The 9 black geldings used for the Nazgul's mounts apparently fell in love with him. He is another fav of mine.

I'm a horsey person and love to ride occasionally myself. Also how horrible was the Mouth of Sauron's mount. Awful but wonderful. By the way a lot of the Rohirim were women in beards!

Yes Shadowfax of course... and Asfaloth stands out for me too, although in general names have something to do with it I'm sure, and I particularly love this name among many.

As a young reader I found 'elf-horse' a bit mysterious and intriguing. Still do!

I agree with Rho, Bill the pony. It is the perfect match for Sam, as nobody finds a pony so brave as a horse, and Sam was a secondary character in LOTR but played a great role.

Anyway, the horses are brave, warrior, sometimes hard to manage, etc. They are a symbol of freedom and loyalty. In Tolkien work Arda's folks are always menaced by Mordor; so for me the horses appearance are not simply by "transportation" use, also for the beautiful symbol of the animal itself.

By the way, nice thread Marghana. Letting the main characters aside to focus on animals. Wonderful!

Brego wrote: '(...) There were two Shadow Faxs. One for wide stunt shots and one for close ups with Sir Ian,...'

 

By the way, as you mainly responded about the films rather than the books here, I'll just add that Shadowfax in the film was what I would call 'white', while Shadowfax is described as grey in the books (or shining like silver).

 Incidentally

Of course Bill the pony, Rho.  I especially love the observation that in spite of the hardships of the wild, the Midgewater Marshes and the long walking days and so on, Bill actually got healthier and happier as days went by, away from Bill Ferny who for sure treated him badly.  As Aragorn so aptly puts it, what horse   in his right mind would escape and run back to Bill Ferny?

And Asfaloth, Brego, what can I say.  I really wish there were a story about his origin.  Do you think maybe Glorfindel brought him with him from Aman?  And if so, maybe also took him back... supposing that elf-horses had the same immortality as the elf-people.  

Then there are the horses of the Dúnedain, like their riders, strong, shaggy, silent, fearless.  Didn't they just follow their riders into the Mountain of the Dead without a second thought?  And then galloping day and night, then going on ships, then jumping off and into the battlefield: not just anyone would...  

The union of humans and horses has always signified a great leap for the humans, as we can see in countless examples throughout history of cultures that flourish after obtaining horses.  Our very own and dear Rohirrim are the clearest example of a horse culture; as Boromir says, "They love their horses next to their kin, and not without reason..."  And great among the steeds of Rohan, the original Felaróf, great ancestor of Shadowfax himself.  And yes, Galin, you are right.  Shadowfax was grey, not white; in fact, his name in Spanish is Sombragris, which means Grey Shadow.  By day he was silvery, and by night a shadow that flitted by unseen.

Yes Galin, you've harped on about white versus grey before.  As the two Stallions used for Shadowfax were Andalusian, they are actually very light great to white in colour.

Maybe someday someone will invent a computer program that can make a 'very light grey to white' horse grey.

Or can 'they' do that nowadays?

Perhaps you could write the story of Asfaloths beginnings for us Marghana, I would love to read it.

I really wish there were a story about his origin. Do you think maybe Glorfindel brought him with him from Aman? And if so, maybe also took him back... supposing that elf-horses had the same immortality as the elf-people. 

 

Speaking of colour, when Glorfindel faced the Witch-king he (Glorfindel) was noted as riding a 'white' horse, although we can't know this was Asfaloth specifically, considering the obvious.

If Asfaloth had been confirmed here then the horse would be at least 1,000 years old by the time Frodo needed a swift escape in The Lord of the Rings. In any case the Mearas were said to live as long as a Man, and according to legend, the sire of the mearas was brought to Middle-earth by Orome.

 

There is a text called Aman in Morgoth's Ring which notes that a beast transported to Aman, or brought into being there, would live one Valian Year for each year of its natural span in Middle-earth. The Valian Year in this text (at least) is equal to 144 Sun Years; so, say a given kind of 'regular' horse lives 30 years, that's 30 Valian Years in Aman or 30 x 144 Sun Years.

That would be a long time in Sun Years! but even if this text were to hold true for Tolkien's World, I don't know what that might mean for an Amanish horse subsequently transported to Middle-earth however, and I haven't looked into the matter myself to see if there are any clues in the texts.
 
Anyway, if I were an Elf sent back to Middle-earth (as Glorfindel was) I would want a horse, especially a long-lived one. Walking is nice but for a longish trip where haste might be needed...

I have a soft spot in my heart for Arod and Hasufel because their masters were murdered by the orcs, and they were rather lost with sorrow, and yet they willingly and glady accepted new masters , Aragorn and Legolas in order to chase the orcs down that had taken captive the hobbits Merry and Pippin.

Just one note: Shadowfax is called Sombragris in Spanish (grey shadow as Marghana says) but I think maybe the translation is not very clear as in Spanish sometimes we also call grey to something which is silver. So when silver shines is pale, clear white and that's maybe the reason of the colour of this horse.

I know it's silly to discuss about this but as I am Spanish I wanted to make clear that grey and silver sometimes are the same for us.

I take thee at thy word, Rho!  Give me a few days and I will deliver a first, no, second draft.  And I welcome all comers to put what they want in the pot, see what comes out...

Galin, thanks for the antecedents.  Let me tell you that most of the HoME has yet to come to my hands, mainly because I live very far off the beaten track, in a little country almost unknown in the Tolkien universe (and yet here we are...) where these treasured tomes come slowly and rarely to our bookstores.  I have read The Book of Lost Tales I and II, a valued gift from a sympathizer, and it fills me with joy to think that there are still eight --or is it ten?-- volumes ahead for me to absorb someday.

Regarding what you say about elven horses' ages, doing the Valinorean math I would say maybe it really was Asfaloth at the Battle of Fornost, but there is another possible scenario as well: we humans, and probably also the Elves, seek to create dynasties of our beloved animal companions, so it could be that Glorfindel kept a line of great white horses descending from his original Aman-horse.  After all, it is well-known to us how marvelously well horses do in Rivendell.

And Leelee, you are spot-on about Arod and Hasufel.  Of course they were heartbroken about losing their riders.  In fact, you can be sure that if they hadn't been led away they would have stayed there, nuzzling their dead friends to make them get up.  Eventually, of course, they would have been taken in hand by Shadowfax, who was with Gandalf on the lookout, but at that time we couldn't know and neither could they.  They did well with Aragorn and Legolas (and Gimli, in his own way), to the extent that I believe Legolas kept Arod for a longer time although Aragorn returned Hasufel with his thanks once the Dúnedain arrived with Roheryn.

So, anyway, I will welcome all and any ideas about Asfaloth, to put together in a story dedicated to Rho, in the first place for the asking, and to all Tolkienian horse-lovers... including, surely, the Professor himself.

Namarië for now! 

For the record I actually don't care that much if the horse in the film is something I might call 'white' -- I mean it wouldn't even make my long list of the problems I have with Jackson's films.

And Tolkien certainly used both silver and grey to refer to Shadowfax, so I find the Spanish detail very interesting! Thanks!

See, good things might come from harping on

 

JRRT seems to have reserved 'white' for other horses (Asfaloth, Snowmane). In Arthur Rackham's illustrated Wagner's Ring, the Horse 'Grane', otherwise known as Grani in the Sigurd legend, is a light grey for example [I think his name might even mean 'Grey one'], even silvery but not really what I would call white.

I think Arthur Rackham got 'Shadowfax' right enough.

The Hildebrandt brothers made Shadowfax a bit darker grey, at least in one painting I'm thinking of, but anyway both artists seem to be giving weight to grey.

Tolkien's great love and respect for horses really shines through in his writings. His skill in breaking horses in for war during the 1stWW may have weighed heavily on him and I believe his guilt in knowing that most of these noble victims of war would never return home is made up for somewhat in his respect for them in Arda. A number of times he states that bad or misguided people treat them badly. Bills original owner, Ferny, is given a swift kick by the newly recovered and looked after pony. Beren stole Curufin's mount after his great leap and rescue of Luthien. He stated that the horses life would be better without his ex master. Has anyone seen War Horse? Good examples here of what our beloved professor and his charges had to go through.

I have read The Book of Lost Tales I and II, a valued gift from a sympathizer, and it fills me with joy to think that there are still eight --or is it ten?-- volumes ahead for me to absorb someday.

Yes twelve in all Marghana, with a fair chunk of that dedicated to the draft texts of The Lord of the Rings.

Regarding what you say about elven horses' ages, doing the Valinorean math I would say maybe it really was Asfaloth at the Battle of Fornost, but there is another possible scenario as well: we humans, and probably also the Elves, seek to create dynasties of our beloved animal companions, so it could be that Glorfindel kept a line of great white horses descending from his original Aman-horse. After all, it is well-known to us how marvelously well horses do in Rivendell.

Yes the story of Asfaloth would be quite open I think. If Glorfindel is to be a notable part of your tale however, we can glean a few more things about him from The History of Middle-Earth series, volume twelve...

... in any case I would get that bookstore to order more HME volumes for you right quick

Or if you don't mind spoilers, there's probably a thread or three about Glorfindel around here somewhere.

 Yre

I,like many of you, and our Professor it seems, have a great love for horses. Such beautiful majestic beasts. This, I believe, is one of the reason the culture of Rohan so enchants me. The admiration I have for Rohan and it's steeds matches my love of Rivendell and it's songs and stories.

Indeed I did wonder about the words 'elven horse.' Do these creatures have a wisdom and immortality such as that of the elves? Or were they simply of  swift, powerful and noble descent? Asfaloth cetainly was a noble steed, but was he really immortal? So interesting a topic.

Those who touch me the most are Arod and Hasufel. Such brave beasts. The proud courage and stout loyalty of the horses of Rohan stand so far out to me, as do many other things in Rohan that just seem to touch me in a different, sort of, I guess a more real way. I feel so much for these horses, these warriors, who lost their masters and companions, yet still served a great purpose. Where would Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli be without these two? Perhaps they would have made it anyway. Perhaps they would have never seen the end. But whatever would have become, whatever if could be, they carried their new masters with pride and purpose.

  And one other thing, that just makes me feel all warm and happy, is that, in all Middle-Earth, even in the time of war, fear, darkness and brokenness, there was one perfect friend and companion for Samwise Gamgee in Bill the pony. No other Samwise was there in all of Arda, and neither was there any other Bill. They each are one of a kind, and they are two kindred spirits. They make me smile

Beautiful words Rukain, lovely to read, your obviously a gentle soul. Thank you.

I agree, Bill the Pony was such a great companion for Sam. As silly as it may sound I think Bill was like the hobbits in the book - you wouldn't expect Bill to be able to participate in such a dangerous journey, it's not like he was one of the noble, brave horses you see in Rohan. Just a little pony, yet very brave and loyal. 

Having his as a companion in this journey was for Sam like bringing a piece of home.

Yeah, Bill the pony and Samwise were the perfect match. Both humble and loyal to their masters, companions, folk, etc. It is something I love of Tolkien books. This way of showing every sort of honour, pride, call it whatever. From the greatest to the smallest being can become part of the history and change the rules of the game. I know this thread is about horses, but what about Gandalf's moth or eagle? Even those helped!

Dear friends and fellow planetarians,

Some days ago I said I would start a story about the origin of Asfaloth, the great white horse of Glorfindel (ridden by Arwen in the film, whatever...)

I also said that input would be welcome, so please feel free.  If not, I'll go adding to it as days go by.  For starters, here goes the first page as a journal entry.  

See you there! 

Wonderful Marghana!  Everyone should read Marghana's story, simply marvelous!

Hi Marghana, I haven't time lately to read the whole story but the beginning is good and make me hungry for the rest of it. I will read it in brief and tell you my opinion.

You know? I love those threads about stories and poems, these kind of things make me know you all a bit more.

Hi everyone! Marghana, I did read your story and as I told you I find it is pretty well composed. We almost can feel the wind in our faces imagining that we ride the horse and cross Middle Earth with its only company. Congratulations!

When will you post the 2nd part? hehehehe.

Hello, fellow planetarians!  I'm back, with installment 2 of Asfaloth, Across the Sundering Seas.  I'm about to post it now in the Journals, I would like to have it all in one place but I'm not sure how to do this.

Please come and visit.  It goes on and on for several installments more, but it's still in the making.  Any input is welcome, and I will do my best to include it.  If not, I'll do it anyway... but it's more fun sharing.

Namarië!

In the words of Sherlock Holmes:
"They're dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle."

 

Well done again Marghana. Lovely keep it coming. I loved Orome's hail to the beloved steed. Wonderful

Nice touch with Laurefindil incidentally. 

Which made me wonder about a Quenya form for Asfaloth, so off I go... wondering

The movies scene, despite being totally altered from the book, featuring Arwen on Asfaloth is one of the best horse chase scenes in cinema ( in my opinion ). The 9 hideous black creations of terror reaching out to grab Frodo is remarkably tenuous and creepy. Anyhow the reason I'm mentioning it is I'd like to know what Arwen actually says to Asfaloth during the chase. Does anyone know? Whispering or talking softly to horses is a tried an proven way to Instill trust in your friend. I believe that Tolkien may have been the original Horse Whisperer during his duties in WW1. He was a horse breaker ( terrible word ) Getting horses ready for duty and war. How awful to have to work with mans second best friend in such horrid conditions, knowing that the poor souls would never return home. The play and now film, War horse deals with such horror. One reason that I can't watch it.

Anyhow the reason I'm mentioning it is I'd like to know what Arwen actually says to Asfaloth during the chase. Does anyone know? 

 

I don't remember this scene well enough, or know if Liv speaks to her horse in an extended scene maybe (if there is one here), but anyway I found a website which notes that at one point Liv Rundgren Tyler says 'Noro lim Asfaloth' to her horse. If so (PE17 notes)...

Noro is the imperative form of the stem nor- 'run', used in reference to men and animals using legs, not fluids for example. 

Lim is an adjective 'quick, swift'. JRRT notes that the adjectival form is used when the quality of the action applies to the subject of the verb immediately preceding, or to the subject expressed, as by a name (and some have theorized that this word might connect to the name Limlight).

In the book Glorfindel says 'Ride on!' and then in a loud and clear voice he calls 'Noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth! '

That's it. Thanks Galin. The scene is in the released version. She repeats it a couple of times as the Nazgul gain on her.

Greetings, brothers and sisters in this Tolkien family.

I have just posted in the Journals the complete Asfaloth story, if it is at all accurate to say that an origin story is complete.  I hope you read it and enjoy, and I hope these days are kind to all of us.

Are we all counting the days till our next plunge into Middle-Earth?  You know, 3-D and such...

Blessings for all, namarië. 

Im holding back my excitement, dear Marghana........ I have read your beautiful Journal for the second time. Just wonderful. You captured the Valar perfectly Marghana. Fantastic! Loved it. Thank you