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Thread: Champion of Dol Guldur - plan

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I have never posted a work in progress before. I felt that it was more fair to readers to post the story only when I had written the final word of the final revision. But everybody else posts works in progress so I will give it a try, to see how it works, or if. On this thread I will keep my notes, outlines, ideas, character sketeches, time lines, and other responses to the muse. On the companion thread I will post the chapters of the stories as I write them. Feedback is very welcome at either thread.

I started this because I have been wanting to write a long story about Sauron, Saruman, and Rohan from the finding of the Ring through the beginning of the War. I actually published the last piece before writing the first piece. "Lady Love an Outlaw" is the last piece by the way.

Over at the HASA site, there was a Challenge to write a story that begins with Thranduil receiving a message from an unknown sender. This afforded me the right beginning place for my long story. I am writing it here. The main action of the first piece will be the battle of the White Council to oust the Necromancer. The year is 2941, when most of the story in The Hobbit takes place and Bilbo finds the One Ring. I plan to stick with the canon where it exists, and invent the rest.

Develop Sauron, Saruman, and Radagast.
Show Thranduil as a battle strategist.
Involve Legolas to the extent that the scant canon shows his relationship to Dol Guldur.
Define the members of the White Council.

Next step: Timeline and geography. - Chathol-linn February 23, 2005
Possible chapter names:
The Warlock.
An Unexpected Parley.
Change "Woody Paintbrush" to "Yavanna's Paintbrush."
Is 20 leagues from the Elf Path to Beorn's Keep supported by canon? Or at least, plausible?
Record the distances between other key locations.
Check The Hobbit timeline in Atlas of Middle-earth.
Change "late summer" to some specific date TBD after July 19. - Chathol-linn 2/23/05

Is 20 leagues from the Elf Path to Beorn's Keep supported by canon? Or at least, plausible?

I was just going to check this one for you, when I realised I was unsure which path you meant, and from where on it you were travelling. From the Old Ford on the Old Forest Road it is about 36 miles (12 leagues) as the crow flies to Beorn's manor.

From the end of the High Pass it is about 70 miles (23 leagues) to Beorn's manor as the crow flies, or 100 miles following the path. As this route would take Gandalf close to Rhosgobel, however, and that seems to be his destination, I think I might be looking at the wrong Elf Path.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this story, however.
Oh how wonderful Chathol-linn! Yes those challenges at HASA are quite good. I adopted one last night featuring Celeborn. I have absolutely no time to write it, but it is a very very nice plotbunny. Currently I am entering another Hobbit challenge so if it is appreciated, I can start a similar thread... or not. Smile Smilie Anyways, looking forward to your story progress!
Oooo I have to keep an eye on this story! Good to see you, CL! Big Smile Smilie
-Your fan Ama-
Thank you for your feedback! It is most appreciated. By all means start a similar thread, Rhapsody.

The Elf Path is the one that Bilbo and the Dwarves took through Mirkwood, until they strayed from it and got caught by spiders and the Elvenking. I had a chance to look through The Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad. Also, the map in the front of The Hobbit. I think the distance between the Elf Path / Forest Gate and Beorn's Keep is either 60 or 72 miles (20 or 24 leagues). No big deal at this point, but I'd like it to be accurate.

Distances are important in this story because timing is important.
Important Dates
- July 19, 2941 - Bilbo finds the Ring.
- August 23, September 21, and November 2 - Thranduil is in Mirkwood. Those are the dates that the Elvenking captures the Dwarves; Bilbo makes the escape, and the Elvenking learns of the death of Smaug and starts out with his army. Thranduil can be elsewhere at any other time, and The Hobbit does state that he went out. See Chapter 9, Barrels out of Bond.
- According to The Hobbit and The Atlas, Gandalf vanishes and is gone between the dates of July 25 and November 22. Gandalf leaves the company at the edge of Mirkwood on July 25, to return the ponies to Beorn. He doesn't show up again until the Battle of Five Armies.
- Per Unfinished Tales, in The Quest of Erebor, Gandalf states that he had to be with the White Council in August at the latest, or Saruman would have his way. Therefore, the White Council meeting must have taken place in August at the latest, and the purpose of this meeting must have been the planning of the battle against Dol Guldur.
-Midsummer - June 21 - Lithe - Elrond was in Rivendell per The Hobbit. Yet he is a member of the White Council, so how does he get to the meeting? Where is the meeting? Where is Saruman? Given the spread-out nature of the White Council members (Rivendell, Lothlorien, Isengard, Mithlond, and maybe Mirkwood) the August meeting must have been planned in advance, for a good while. Maybe Gandalf and Elrond talked of it when they met at Midsummer in Rivendell.

Whew - geography is going to be hard on this one. And timing. Since the canon is silent on exactly when the battle of Dol Guldur took place, except it had to be between July 25 and November 22 at the outside, when must I make it occur? Chathol-linn 2/25/05
May I give you a good tip to use?

Travel Routes and times in Middle-Earth by Horseback

I might start my own thread... need to think on it. Smile Smilie
Thank you. It is also a question of how does everyone have time to get to the right places, given what we know about their whereabouts. Gandalf for example is thought (by Fonstad and backed up by Unfinished Tales) to have left the Dwarves and Bilbo at Mirkwood's edge around late July. . He must have been a busy wizard after that. Did he go to a White Council planning meeting, or did he go straight to the staging place of battle? If Elrond was there, wherever "there" was, he must have left Rivendll nearly the same time Gandalf did.

And who engineered the meeting? Saruman? Still thinking this over. - Chathol-linn 2/26/05
Well as far as I know he was at the meeting of the White Council, the question is... where was it held? If it was in Lorien, then travelling would be not such a big deal for him; Orthanc though is a bit further away. Maybe you can find your answer in where Galadriel was. I have this feeling she hardly left Lorien. Bilbo was at the Lonely Mountain (the battle was there wasn't it?) as of October the 12th to November the 26th..

Interesting dates:
July 25yh Gandalf departs with ponies at the west edge of Mirkwood
Nov 15th: The joint forces reach Dale at Dusk (including Gandalf?) You know what is interesting, on the map of the battle of five armies (page 113 of the atlas), it involves eagles.
Nov 2nd: Goblins, Beorn, and Gandalf hear of Smaug's death (since the eagles observed the Lonely mountain, my guess is that the Eagles informed Gandalf and got him there).

Maybe this helps...
Rhapsody, your guess about the Eagles doing the informing and providing Gandalf transportation is undoubtedly correct; though I'm not sure if the Eagles had been monitoring the Lonely Mountain, (I don't believe Great Eagles were any match for a Firedrake.) More probable was that a little bird (one of Ro’c's relatives) told them that Smaug was dead and they passed it on. Still the Eagles had been watching the gathering of Orcs in the Misty and Grey Mountains, as Gandalf later recounted to Bilbo on the page following Thorin's death, so the Eagles knew when to show up at the Battle of Five Armies.
as to eagle transportation, didnt Gwaihir say to Gandalf in LotR that it was the second time he caried him, the first being away from orthanc, i only say this because gwaihir seems to perform alot of the "eagle-transportation-services" in LotR, it could have been a different eagle who could have carried Gandalf to the council/battle
Rhapsody, your guess about the Eagles doing the informing and providing Gandalf transportation is undoubtedly correct; though I'm not sure if the Eagles had been monitoring the Lonely Mountain, (I don't believe Great Eagles were any match for a Firedrake.

I am sorry Grondy, but The atlas (page 112) gives an exact quote from the Hobbit (and is therefore canon), read page 292, 293 and 302 of the Hobbit, chapter The return journey. My pocket edition said 266 and further.

The Eagles had long suspicion of the goblins'mustering; from their watchfulness the movements in the mountains could not all together be hid.

It doesn't say Misty mountains specificly, since Mirkwood has it's own mountains (with their own orcs/goblins), I together assume with the author of the atlas that they kept an eye on it nearby. They indeed gathered under the wing of the great eagle of the Misty Mountains, but that doesn't mean that the eagles didn't had their eyries elsewhere. Besides they have sharp eyes even from great heights. But the eagles did monitor Goblins where ever they were, they have been plaguig the mountains of Mirkwood for a long time, so they would not limit their watch to the Misty Mountains only.

Chathol-linn: maybe the chapter Fire and water of the Hobbit might be of use to you. It gives details of Thandruil's army and the men of Dale. And Bard has been sending out messengers...

More quotes on the eagles from the Hobbit:
Chapter 6 Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
"What's all this uproar in the forest tonight?" said the Lord of the Eagles. He was sitting, black in the moonlight, on the top of a lonely pinnacle of rock at the eastern edge of the mountains. "I hear wolves' voices! Are the goblins at mischief in the woods?"

He swept up into the air, and immediately two of his guards from the rocks at either hand leaped up to follow him. They circled up in the sky and looked down upon the ring of the Wargs, a tiny spot far far below. But eagles have keen eyes and can see small things at a great distance. The lord of the eagles of the Misty Mountains had eyes that could look at the sun unblinking, and could see a rabbit moving on the ground a mile below even in the moonlight. So though he could not see the people in the trees, he could make out the commotion among the wolves and see the tiny flashes of fire, and hear the howling and yelping come up faint from far beneath him. Also he could see the glint of the moon on goblin spears and helmets, as long lines of the wicked folk crept down the hillsides from their gate and wound into the wood.

Eagles are not kindly birds. Some are cowardly and cruel. But the ancient race of the northern mountains were the greatest of all birds; they were proud and strong and noble-hearted. They did not love goblins, or fear them. When they took any notice of them at all (which was seldom, for they did not eat such creatures ), they swooped on them and drove them shrieking back to their caves, and stopped whatever wickedness they were doing. The goblins hated the eagles and feared them, but could not reach their lofty seats, or drive them from the mountains.

Regarding Gandalf not being carried before by an eagle:

Then Gandalf climbed to the top of his tree. The sudden splendour flashed from his wand like lightning, as he got ready to spring down from on high right among the spears of the goblins. That would have been the end of him, though he would probably have killed many of them as he came hurtling down like a thunderbolt. But he never leaped.

Just at that moment the Lord of the Eagles swept down from above, seized him in his talons, and was gone.

The Lord of the Eagles also was there and was speaking to Gandalf.

It seemed that Bilbo was not going to be eaten after all. The wizard and the eagle-lord appeared to know one another slightly, and even to be on friendly terms. As a matter of fact Gandalf, who had often been in the mountains, had once rendered a service to the eagles and healed their lord from an arrow-wound. So you see 'prisoners' had meant 'prisoners rescued from the goblins' only, and not captives of the eagles. As Bilbo listened to the talk of Gandalf he realized that at last they were going to escape really and truly from the dreadful mountains. He was discussing plans with the Great Eagle for carrying the dwarves and himself and Bilbo far away and setting them down well on their journey across the plains below.
Hello. I’ve read with interest the suggestions about eagles providing transportation services. There are some advantages in using it and some disadvantages. The latter are that it seems to contradict some of the canon, and it is too easy an answer to make for a tense story.

Readers and movie-verse fans have often asked, why didn’t the eagles just pick Frodo up at Rivendell, take him to Mt. Doom, and let him drop it in? Or take it themselves? JRRT says, in ’Letters of JRR Tolkien’ Letter # 210 ’The Eagles are a dangerous ’machine.’ [and we know what the Professor thought of machines.]. I have used them sparingly and that is the absolute limit of their credibility or usefulness.’

And in RotK, ’The Field of Cormallen’ Gandalf says to Gwaihir the Windlord, ’Twice you have born me, Gwaihir my friend. Thrice shall pay for all if you are willing. You will not find me a burden much greater than when you bore me from Zirakzigil, where my old life burned away.’ [the other time was when the Windlord rescued Gandalf from Isengard and took him to Rohan].

Then comes a line that always brings tears to my eyes. Gwaihir says ’I would bear you whither you will, even were you made of stone.’ Now wouldn’t that great, powerful line be diluted and stale if Gandalf had ridden more than the absolute minimum?

Also I think it should be difficult for the Council members to get together, to heighten the sense of urgency..

Thanks for the feedback. Hey, and thanks for the suggestion on The Hobbit. Be assured that, canon freak that I am, The Hobbit is absolutely my first source material for every identifiable date and route in the story. But keep in mind ’ there are enormous gaps in what everyone was doing most of the time! Best regards ’ Chathol-linn
Note - the White Council's meeting cannot take place in Lothlorien. The logistics of getting everyone there are just too difficult, especially if Thranduil and Legolas are going to particpate. After all, Legolas says in FotR that he has never been to Lothlorien. The Council will meet at Radagast's place, and the name of Chapter One now becomes "An Unexpected Parley." Must change some of the last paragraphs. Also, what about adding an introduction where Gandalf and Elrond disucss the White Council during the visit of Bilbo and the dwarves? This could establish the planning for the White Council meeting, so that it is plausible for everyone to gather later at Rhosgobel. - Chathol-linn
How is this story going Cathol-Linn?