Pipe-Weed

Originating in Numenor, from whence it was brought to Middle Earth by the Numeroeans, Pipe-Weed is an analogue of tobacco. The flowering plant that it grows from is called Galenas, and was prized by the Numenoreans for the sweet scent of its flowers.

It was first cultivated and smoked by Hobbits, specifically one Tobold Hornblower from the Southfarthing of the Shire, and the best Pipe-Weed is still considered to come from that region.

From the Hobbits, the use of it for smoking spread among Men and Dwarves, and even Wizards, radiating out in particular from the crossroads of Bree, where traders from all those peoples regularly congregated. As such, other common names for Pipe-Weed include Westmansweed and Halfling’s Leaf.

Related drugs: Athelas, Ent-Draughts and Miruvóre.

Athelas

The herb known as Athelas in the Sindarin tongue is a powerful healing agent when correctly prepared, and a moderately effective one if less correctly prepared. It is common in Middle Earth, especially in those territories that form (or once formed) the kingdoms of Arnon and Gondor, having originally been carried there from Numenor.

For such a useful herb, its properties had been largely forgotten by all except the Dunedain Rangers of the northern wilderness by the end of the Third Age. It was the healing agent of choice for Aragorn, and no doubt was incorporated into the knowledge of Gondor, Rohan and their allies after his ascension to the throne as King Elessar.

In Westron (the tongue of men), its name is translated as Kingsfoil, while in the Elven Quenya language, it is called Asëa Aranion.

Related drugs: Ent-Draughts, Miruvóre and Pipe-Weed

The Lord of the Rings and True Blood

This one isn’t so much a crossover as an examination of the former through the lens of the latter. The two worlds are obviously very distinct, but still, I can’t help wondering: what if the vampires of Middle Earth decided to go public too?
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Horatio Hornblower and The Lord of the Rings

It might seem unlikely at first glance, but it appears that the Hornblowers of Merrie Olde England are in fact descendents of the Hornblowers of the even Merrier and Older Shire. (They would hardly be the only Hobbitish family to still be extant today – the Sackvilles are still around, for example.)

But how did Hobbits become Humans? I have a theory.
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Ent-Draughts

It’s somewhat unclear whether Ent-Draughts are some form of enchanted juice or some form of enchanted water. Certainly it is loved by Ents, as Treebeard keeps a supply laid in. But what is most attention-grabbing about this liquid the effect that it has on hobbits.

Even a single draught will cause feelings of extreme well-being and act as a restorative to good health and boundless energy.

In the cases of Merry and Pippin, it even caused them to grow a considerable amount, making them two of the tallest hobbits ever. Presumably, it would have analogous effects on humans, although thiis has never been tested – and the only species to drink Ent-Draughts are the Ents themselves. The effect it has on them is unclear, although it is implied to be a mild intoxicant.

Related drugs: Athelas, Miruvóre and Pipe-Weed

Miruvóre

The exact translation of Miruvor or Miruvóre, is not known, but “death-defeater” is a probable etymological meaning. It’s certainly an accurate description.

Appearing in The Fellowship of the Rings, miruvor is a warm and fragrant clear cordial made by and consumed by the Elves. They do not reveal how miruvor was made, but it is thought to come from the honey of the undying flowers in the gardens of Yavanna in Valinor. It’s possible that this drink holds the secret of Elven immortality, although if so, it has no such effect on humans, hobbits or dwarves.

The cordial gives the drinker renewed strength and vitality, and is used by the Elves at their festivals. Some party animals, those Elves, huh?

Related drugs: Athelas, Ent-Draughts and Pipe-Weed.

September 29, 4040 BCE — The Ringbearers take ship from the Grey Havens

At long last, weary of Middle Earth, the majority of the remaining Noldor Elves take ship for the Uttermost West. Their company includes the bearers of the three Elven Rings; Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf; and also the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, who carried the One Ring.

It is an occasion both of sadness and of the rewards of victory, as the peace of the West means forsaking Middle Earth and all there whom they love, forevermore. The departure is witnessed by Frodo’s three closest friends, Merry, Pippin and Sam Gamgee.

The Lord of the Rings and Unknown Armies

Well, Babylon 5 lost the toss, so this week it’s another crossover for the Lord of the Rings. (Don’t worry about B5 – I’m sure we’ll be back there one of these days.) This time around, Lord of the Rings meet Unknown Armies. High fantasy meets postmodern horror.

Next week, the Lord of the Rings moves off, and we follow the crossover chain through Unknown Armies. But for now, let’s get to it:

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Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings

Crossing Over is basically me playing with popular culture. What I intend to do here is build a big, big chain of crossovers, snaking here and there across popular culture – and even occasionally looping back through itself. I’ll understand if it doesn’t appeal to all of you as much as it does to me.

To start with, I’m crossing over Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings. This is an arbitrarily chosen starting point, and so I’ll be moving off from it in an equally arbitrary fashion: I’m going to toss a coin to see which of these two to cross over with some other source next week. After that, each successive week will follow the newer element into another crossover, while the older element will drop out.

But enough preamble. On with the show: Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings
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