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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:24 am 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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This has been on my mind of late. Might be the wrong thread, so if so, please move it. I wonder where Middle Earth is for each of us? For me parts like in the hills of the East Bay (Bay Area), Sunol, Tilden Park, the mountains of Santa Cruz, etc. where I grew up and where the Shire, the Gray Havens exit. There are parts of the Sierra Nevada where I spent the summers of teen years backpacking) that remind me of the Misty Mountains as do of course parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina where I lived for a time. The Rocky Mountains here in Utah also serve for Lothlórien, the falls on the Anduin, the valley of Dale etc. I guess I want to post some pictures to show different parts of Middle Earth, and where they are for me. I will start with the Shire and will invite others to do the same. I'll do that on Friday as tomorrow is a busy day.

I think that is one of the wonders of Tolkien, that we can take his world and import to our world and connect with his places with our places in our lives.

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1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:54 am 
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Great, AJ. I look forward to your pictures.

For myself, I always associate the redwood forests here in the Santa Cruz Mountains where I live with Lothlórien. And when I look out across Monterey Bay, the glimpse of land peaking through the fog always makes me think of the Lonely Isle.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:34 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Mount Errigal in Donegal Ireland always makes me think of Erebor and the Long Lake

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The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:08 pm 
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Throw me a rope.
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Al, that absolutely evokes Erebor!

From the time I was a young teen, the Tidal River valley at Wilsons Promontory in Victoria has always brought to mind the Fellowship's journey down the Anduin. When I finally got a kayak and was able to paddle up and down the river myself (which I still do every year when we camp at the Prom and I can't imagine ever tiring of it) the magic of it, the solitude, the rustling of the reeds along the bank, the mysterious quiet plops that sound unexpectedly, the occasional floating log - I could swear I am partaking of their journey by boat.

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Last edited by Impenitent on Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:45 am 
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Wonderful. Both of you.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:17 pm 
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Wrong within normal parameters
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Well; in a few short months, I will again find myself living just down the street from the Helcaraxë.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:32 am 
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Wow! Amazing place!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Well we used to live near by the river Windrush, not so far from the Wychwood in West Oxfordshire, we once looked at taking a house in the Village of Coombe.

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Since 1410 most Welsh people most of the time have abandoned any idea of independence as unthinkable. But since 1410 most Welsh people, at some time or another, if only in some secret corner of the mind, have been "out with Owain and his barefoot scrubs." For the Welsh mind is still haunted by it's lightning-flash vision of a people that was free.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:37 am 
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These pictures are gorgeous!

I've always thought LotR might have been able to be filmed in Oregon, if New Zealand had not been an option. The geology is similar here, and we have deep forests and wild coastlines and broad plains and volcanoes. Parts of the Willamette Valley look like the Shire, if you get far enough from Interstate 5.

In any case I think Oregon is my Middle-earth, even though I never lived here until I was in my late 20s. It is and always will be my home, however far I wander. And I have seen Middle-earth here many times. (For Mordor, how about an ancient lava flow consisting of pure obsidian, black volcanic glass? The trail through it is basically broken glass.)

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:21 pm 
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Great thread which allows me to write one of my over-long posts. If you have the time, enjoy reading it.

As someone hailing from a mountainous country but living in the eastern flat portion of said land, I tend to associate my surroundings with the mountains of Middle-earth. Two summits in particular make me think of Mindolluin, the Schneeberg and the Ötscher.

The Schneeberg, which translates to "snow mountain", is the easternmost mountain in the Alps to exceed two-thousand meters, or 6,560 feet. It provides the drinking water for Vienna and on a clear day the mountain can actually be seen from this former imperial city; albeit it has to be said that Schneeberg is 40 miles away from Vienna, which does not really compare with Minas Tirith and Mindolluin.

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The Schneeberg is the tall vague summit in the center-back.

Standing at 6,211 feet, the Ötscher is slightly smaller than the Schneeberg and lies twenty-eight miles to the northwest. It still belongs to the tallest easternmost summits of the Alps. One of my grandmothers grew up in a town below the prominent peak of the Ötscher. I associate this mountain with Middle-earth for several reasons: The Danube, Europe's longest river (excluding the Volga), and arguably an important model for the Anduin, lies only twenty-miles north of the summit. If you travel down the Danube by boat, you can clearly see the Ötscher rising to your south.

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The Ötscher seen from Ybbs on the Danube

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The Ötscher seen from my grandmother's hometown.

Another aspect about the Ötscher is his name. Most mountains have a male article in German and for this summit it surely makes sense: Anyone familiar with a Slavic language might have recognized the word "father" in the name of the mountain (for example оте́ц in Russian or otec in Czech). When the Slavs began to settle this area in the late sixth century, they named the summit otьčanъ which can be translated as "godfather". These alpine Slavs probably believed that the god of thunder and rain resided upon the mountain. Two centuries later, Bavarians from the west started to settle in the area, which, among many other things, led to the modern German name of the summit. The multilingual history of the area is reflected by small town Loich which lies just twelve miles northeast of the Ötscher. The name is of Celtic origin and can be translated as "white". I am not sure how familiar people on this forum are with Celtic history but before the Roman conquests of the late republic and the early empire, the Celtic world stretched as far east as modern Budapest. Personally I think Tolkien would have liked the complex linguistic history of this region, bringing together the Celtic, Roman, Slavic and German(ic) world.

As a child, my father gave me a historical novel to read which was called "Life on the River". It has long gone out of print and if you google the author, it will take a long time to find her. That said, the book tells the story of a fictional Romano-Celtic family living under the slopes of the Ötscher in the middle of the fifth century. It captures some aspects of these tumultuous times: the slow breakdown of Roman institutions, the uneasy relationship between the Roman provincial population and Germanic warrior-settlers, and the actions of Christian holy men. The book ends with the youngest main character deciding to abandon the area and accompanying Odoacer on his way to Italy. In 476, Odoacer deposed the last Roman Emperor in the West, thereby ending the separate Western Roman Empire. In my opinion, while much smaller in scope, touches open several aspects which are central in Tolkien's writings too and most certainly is set in a time which greatly influenced Middle-earth.

Whereas the Schneeberg and the Ötscher remind me of Mindolluin, the Untersberg in some ways resembles the Lonely Mountain. You might recognize it from the "Sound of Music". While the Untersberg is not as lonely as Erebor, it still stands right next to the Salzburg Basin and the Salzach Valley. My parents are both from Salzburg and whenever I visit(ed) my grandparents and looked out of a window, I could see the prominent peak of the Untersberg. Its name, which could be mistranslated by a contemporary German speaker as "Under-mountain" actually means "Noon mountain". As such it shares a similarity with Erebor, as the Sun also bears an important role for the Lonely Mountain. In the early and late Middle Ages, the wealth of Salzburg was not in gold...or jewels (alas, no mithril either) but salt. The name of the city literally means "Salt Castle" (compare to Hornburg). As such both Salzburg and the Lonely Mountain traced their wealth to local mineral resources. What makes the Untersberg even more interesting is that several legends surround the mountain. According to one of them, Charlemagne rests inside the mountain. During his sleep, dwarf-like creatures take care of the Emperor. Every hundred years he awakes. If the ravens still fly around the mountain, he goes back to sleep. But if the ravens have left the mountain, the Emperor leaves the mountain and the Final Battle commences. So there is literally a legend about a King under the mountain and his ravens surrounding Untersberg.

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View of Hohenwerfen Castle and the Untersberg

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Charlesmagne and his raven

One final area which I like to mention are the Dolomites in South Tyrol, Italy. The mountains which I mentioned before all lie at the outskirts of the Alps and hardly or barely exceed 6560 feet. And while Tolkien's Misty Mountains were explicitly modeled after the tall summits of the Western Alps, which lie in France, Italy, and Switzerland, the Dolomites of the Eastern Alps also reach heights of up to 10,960 feet. Several years ago, still as a teenager, I traveled there for a week with my parents in the summer. On one of our trips, my brother and I got up early and went for a day-long hike. It certainly had a fellowship feeling to it.

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Picture of the trail which we took together.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:39 pm 
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Great post, and beautiful pictures!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:42 pm 
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Gorgeous, Beutlin! Thank you for sharing them!

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:33 pm 
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Excellent choices, and beautiful photos.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:44 pm 
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And tales and rumours arose along the shores of the sea concerning mariners and men forlorn upon the water who, by some fate or grace or favour of the Valar, had entered in upon the Straight Way and seen the face of the world sink below them, and so had come to the lamplit quays of Avallónë.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:33 pm 
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Judging from one of your previous posts, I assume this is Monterey Bay. From which side?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Yes, it is looking across Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz (at the top of the Bay) to Monterey, at the bottom.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:30 pm 
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Aagragaah
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I am told that stall workers at the Santa Cruz boardwalk are routinely asked if that's Hawaii. They tell the tourists that it's actually Japan, Hawaii is further South.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:46 am 
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Lán de Grás
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I should get a job there and tell everyone it's Tol Eressëa. :whistle:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:42 pm 
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You could sing to them about it. "They are sailing, sailing, over the sea. . . ."

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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