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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wolf Riders, Werewolves, and other “Magical” Animals

Shawn Daysleeper 
Puma Kawanishi    
Lihan Taifun           
Pyrus Soulstar        
Squeak Barzane      

We presume it is the smaller orcs (“goblins”) who ride wolves. Perhaps riding is a way for a smaller orc soldier to gain status, or just to keep up with the group.

The Dwarves in The Hobbit rode ponies, though Dwarves don't seem to have used ponies routinely. It would probably be theoretically possible for a Dwarf, an Elf, a Human, or a large Hobbit to ride a wolf. If you can imagine a motivation to do so.

Tolkien's werewolves were not shapeshifters. They may have been bipeds, although the descriptions are sparse. They were certainly highly intelligent. Were they (or were the first werewolves) Maiar? We don't know.

Huan, the Hound of Valimar, is another being of uncertain status. He is much more powerful and intelligent than an ordinary dog, and, until he came to Middle Earth with Celegorm, immortal. But the comment that Oromë gave Huan to Celegorm doesn't sound like the way a Vala would treat a Maia.

Oromë's horse Nahar is another animal we don't really understand. Shadowfax, and all the race of the Mearas, were mortal horses, but have some special qualities not well explained. Was Nahar a distant ancestor of the Mearas?

Balrogs were certainly Maiar. (Arien and the Balrogs were both fire-spirits, but we aren't ready to classify Arien as a Balrog.)

Squeak Barzane:       Qood evening. elen sila and all that. What is the topic tonight?
Lihan Taifun:            Wolf Riders, as soon as we get the chairs set up
Pyrus Soulstar:         who would ride a wolf? they are so tiny
Lihan Taifun:            good point. someone small, I would guess
Squeak Barzane:       Compared to an elf, but they are much bigger than dogs.
Lihan Taifun:            yes, but who rides dogs?
Squeak Barzane:       Forochel, if you allow sleds.

Lihan Taifun:            well, shall we start? I did find some references to the wolf riders. they seem to be a recurring theme
Squeak Barzane:       Thank you. Is the Education Center.
Shawn Daysleeper:  we started with size, who/what could ride a wolf?
Lihan Taifun:            I bet a hobbit wouldn't want to
Squeak Barzane:       Thinking about the wolf i met, at a street fair in Tucson, not only a halfling, but a small Khazad.
Lihan Taifun:            both at once?
Squeak Barzane:       Nah!
Lihan Taifun:            well, either are the right size. Small goblins, apparently
Shawn Daysleeper:  nods
Lihan Taifun:            it's hard to imagine a large orc riding a wolf, unles the wolf was a lot bigger than I am imagining
Puma Kawanishi:     well, the Wargs were big, yes?
Squeak Barzane:       The Wargs were of uncommon size.
Puma Kawanishi nods
Squeak Barzane:       (ROUS,HEEHEE!)
Lihan Taifun:            WOUS?
Squeak Barzane:       indeed. Also, lesser orcs were smallish.
Shawn Daysleeper:  I noticed Tolkein chose to call the enemy in The Hobbit goblins rather than orcs, and the goblins were apparently small enough to ride wolves
Puma Kawanishi:     I think goblins were a 'lesser' variety of orcs
Lihan Taifun:            I thought so, too. although possibly in The Hobbit, they were all called "goblin"
Squeak Barzane:       A way to gain stature. Tank drivers in WW2 in the old Soviet Union were selected for their small size.
Lihan Taifun:            makes sense. and maybe the smaller goblins had a harder time keeping up with the rest of the army
Shawn Daysleeper:  ya
Squeak Barzane:       Not mounted.

Lihan Taifun:            ok, small riders. what else did we find out? anyone else need a copy of what I looked up? (1, 2)
Lihan Taifun:            (give people time to read)
Lihan Taifun:            Zryon was the one who asked for this topic, and he's sleeping through the whole thing
Puma Kawanishi:     lol
Shawn Daysleeper:  lol
Puma Kawanishi:     Wake up!
Squeak Barzane:       Shhhh.
Puma Kawanishi throws a pebble at his nose
Lihan Taifun:            since Squeak is done reading, she can look at   too. archives

Squeak Barzane:       One other thing: In Sauron's dungeons at Tol Sirion, i recall, Drauglin's kin ate elves and men.
Lihan Taifun:            oh, true
Squeak Barzane:       They wouldn't try to ride werewolves.
Lihan Taifun:            but that isn't unusual for wolves, is it?
Squeak Barzane:       Perhaps they would find orcs distasteful.
Lihan Taifun:            wonder how many orcs they tried, before they gave up. or maybe I just don't understand wolf-training
Squeak Barzane:       Be glad, Lihan.
Lihan Taifun:            :P yeah
Squeak Barzane:       Could the Khazad ride them? In general they didn't do well with horses; Fellowship set aside. Aside: did Thorin? Ride a horse?
Lihan Taifun:            weren't they riding horses, or ponies, or something at the very beginning of the Hobbit?
Shawn Daysleeper:  I believe so. they lost them in the goblin caves
Squeak Barzane:       G. was, and ponies were pack animals.
Puma Kawanishi nods
Lihan Taifun:            Bilbo and the dwarves were riding, too
Puma Kawanishi:     that's what I thought
Squeak Barzane:       Dwarves could, then.
Lihan Taifun:            "They had not been riding very long, when up came Gandalf very splendid on a white horse."
Lihan Taifun:            although Dain and his army marched, on foot, all the way to the Battle of Five Armies. I'm not picturing dwarves raising horses. can't keep them underground
Squeak Barzane:       Men, Elves, Dwarves, hobbits if they were big enough.
Lihan Taifun:            was it Bullroarer Took who actually rode a horse?
Zryonotralionxus:    True and Greetings All
Lihan Taifun:            Zryon!
Shawn Daysleeper:  I remember a famous hobbit rode a horse
Puma Kawanishi:     greetings
Shawn Daysleeper:  hello Zry :)
Zryonotralionxus:    Sorry, IRL thing took a bit longer than expected, seems I got pebbles growing in my nose though!
Lihan Taifun:            don't sneeze this way
Puma Kawanishi looks around innocently
Pyrus Soulstar chuckles
Shawn Daysleeper:  hehe
Lihan Taifun:            did you find anything about wolf-riders, Zryon?
Zryonotralionxus:    Uhm, a few things in the Silarillion, much info about wolves in other forms as well
Lihan Taifun:            "other forms"? other forms of wolves, or other forms of information?
Zryonotralionxus:    other forms of wolves, such as the were wolves
Lihan Taifun:            ah, what did you find? the werewolves didn't seem to be explained much
Pyrus Soulstar:         i gtg to sleep, has already crashed on the keyboard twice
Lihan Taifun:            someone already mentioned that it would be a very bad idea to try to ride a werewolf
Puma Kawanishi:     do werewolves even run on all fours?
Shawn Daysleeper:  I thought they were bipeds
Lihan Taifun:            did it ever say?
Shawn Daysleeper:  plus I think they see everyone as an enemy in werewolf form. Did tolkein's werewolves change in the full moon? or were they always in wolf form?
Lihan Taifun:            no, no evidence they were shapeshifters at all
Shawn Daysleeper:  ah ok
Lihan Taifun:            just highly intelligent wolves
Zryonotralionxus:    Wolves there were, or creatures that walked in wolf-shapes. that seems to suggest a biped form
Lihan Taifun:            hmmm
Squeak Barzane:       Thx, Shawn.
Puma Kawanishi:     yes, I agree
Lihan Taifun:            where is that from?
Zryonotralionxus:    Silmarillion, page 43, 4th para
Lihan Taifun:            wow, ok
Shawn Daysleeper:  nods
Lihan Taifun:            the werewolves seem to be more powerful than ordinary earthly wolves, but don't really sound like Maia creatures, either
Puma Kawanishi:     they could be, tho, don't you think?
Shawn Daysleeper:  no they do not seem like maia to me either
Zryonotralionxus:    Sauron did take a werewolf form
Puma Kawanishi:     hmm

Lihan Taifun:            he did, but that doesn't necessarily mean werewolves usually were
Squeak Barzane:       Children of Drauglin. How D. was twisted into being, i have no idea.
Puma Kawanishi:     ...and there were many Maia who aligned with Melkor.... where did they all go?
Lihan Taifun:            maybe some rather lower grade Maiar?
Puma Kawanishi:     ...some were Balrogs.....
Puma Kawanishi:     but what other creatures did they become?
Lihan Taifun:            not the same quality as the first dragons? ;)
Puma Kawanishi nods
Lihan Taifun:            some were balrogs, and we speculate that some were the original dragons
Squeak Barzane:       Not many. 3-7, per History of M.E. (earlier there were a thousand, but JRRT changed his mind.
Puma Kawanishi:     that makes sense
Lihan Taifun:            3-7 of what?
Squeak Barzane:       3-7 balrogs.
Lihan Taifun:            ah
Squeak Barzane:       An unfallen balrog drives the sun from dawn to dusk.
Lihan Taifun:            rofl, don't call Arien a balrog to her face!
Squeak Barzane:       Her gaze was so piercing even a Valar couldn't look her in the eye.
Zryonotralionxus:    fell creatures is mentioned often as well, perhaps these being the creatures of Melkor or ones being maia before hand
Lihan Taifun:            doesn't "fell" just mean "evil"?
Squeak Barzane:       Sometimes means pelt.
Zryonotralionxus:    could be, but it seems Melkor is the one who brought them on into the world
Puma Kawanishi:     but getting back to Arien... I don't think she was ever considered a balrog
Lihan Taifun:            she and the balrogs were both fire-spirits, certainly related
Puma Kawanishi:     She was a spirit of fire... but that is different than a balrog, imho. Puma Kawanishi blushes
Squeak Barzane:       No. She was of the order that became Balrog when corrupted. She was not redeemed, she never was lost.
Lihan Taifun:            and Huan, would he be the same mysterious sort of being as the werewolves?
Zryonotralionxus:    I think it refers to him as being more of a hound
Lihan Taifun:            well, yes, a hound rather than a wolf, but ... the same category of being
Squeak Barzane:       A wolfhound of Valinor.
Zryonotralionxus:    chief of the wolf hounds that followed Celegorm was named Huan
Lihan Taifun:            but was he a maia? or some kind of magical immortal animal?
Squeak Barzane:       Immortal,
Zryonotralionxus:    He was not born in Middle-earth, but came from the Blessed Realm; for Oromë had given him to Celegorm long ago in Valinor, and there he had followed the horn of his master, before evil came
Puma Kawanishi: maia?
Squeak Barzane:       Given to Celegorm in Valinor, and followd his master into exile.
Puma Kawanishi:     maybe not Maia... but Ainu
Zryonotralionxus:    So given seems to signal he was a creation not of maia?
Lihan Taifun:            because Orome wouldn't "give" a maia?
Puma Kawanishi:     well...there were many 'lesser' Ainu.....we've used that to explain fairies, and other spirits...
Squeak Barzane:       Perhaps of the same order as the creature that was Nahar, Oromee's steed.
Lihan Taifun:            another mysterious animal, Nahar
Zryonotralionxus:    Seems to give something would be along lines of owner ship. I would not think maia or other ainur would be owned
Puma Kawanishi:     but they could be servants to higher status Ainur the Maiar were to the Valar
Squeak Barzane:       Servanthood was essential to being maia. The only good left to Sauron was that he served another.
Zryonotralionxus:    yes, servants I seen them stated, or in service to
Lihan Taifun:            yes, but I see Zryon's point, the way it speaks of Huan does sound like "ownership" rather than "service"
Puma Kawanishi:     yes, I see the point. Puma Kawanishi nods his head
Zryonotralionxus:    the Maia seemed free willed to be in service to whom they wish, not seeming likely to be given against will
Puma Kawanishi:     but as I said...there were many levels of Ainur.... and there were no "non-immortals" in the Undying Lands
Squeak Barzane:       Olorin served at least 3 Valar. i cannot imagine him being 'given'
Puma Kawanishi nods
Lihan Taifun:            right. Puma, do you think the animals in the Undying lands were immortal?
Puma Kawanishi:     yes, don't ask me to find you a reference tho, lol
Lihan Taifun:            lol
Zryonotralionxus:    but animals seemed to be along those lines as being given up as beasts of burden
Squeak Barzane:       Shadowfax chose whether he would carry you or not.
Zryonotralionxus:    it seems Huan was immortal before going into exile. Huan followed Celegorm into exile, and was faithful; and thus he too came under the doom of woe set upon the Noldor, and it was decreed that he should meet death, but not until he encountered the
mightiest wolf that would ever walk the world.
Lihan Taifun:            yes, and Shadowfax was an earthly horse, no matter how exceptional
Lihan Taifun:            yes, that implies he was immortal until then
Squeak Barzane:       Of Nahar's line.
Lihan Taifun:            do we know he was of Nahar's line?
Squeak Barzane:       i think the mearas were. Don't ask me for a reference either!
Puma Kawanishi:     lol Puma Kawanishi smiles
Lihan Taifun:            it would make some sense though
Lihan Taifun:            (assuming Nahar played around with earthly mares) (assuming he met earthly mares)
Squeak Barzane:       The foals would have Elrond's choice, perhaps.
Puma Kawanishi:     hmmm.... interesting idea
Zryonotralionxus:    Also seeming, with Huan, that he might have been set forth knowing he would meet up with Wolf-Sauron, like a prophecy
Squeak Barzane:       What you quoted earlier says as much, i think, Sir.
Lihan Taifun:            so what would that say about Huan?
Zryonotralionxus:    Hmm, almost like he would be immortal till after meeting up with Sauron.

Squeak Barzane:       (i'm not really crunchy, or good with ketchup)
Lihan Taifun:            (I think Arador dragons are forbidden to actually eat anyone. So I've been told ...)
Zryonotralionxus:    Yes, and I do not fancy nothing other than fish =P So unless your Koi, your safe ;)
Squeak Barzane gives large sigh of relief
Puma Kawanishi smiles
Squeak Barzane:       Please excuse me, i'm new here, and dragons take a bit of getting used to.
Zryonotralionxus:    And trully, mawling is technically not eating as long as there is no swallowing
Puma Kawanishi:     eep
Shawn Daysleeper:  ummm
Lihan Taifun:            yeeeees, I've also heard Arador dragons split hairs like that
Puma Kawanishi:     lol
Zryonotralionxus:    It is a catch 22 issue ;)
Squeak Barzane:       Claws are sharp, but hairsplitting? Squeak Barzane takes back the sigh of relief.

Lihan Taifun:            heh heh, so did we have any more to say on wolf riders? werewolves? Huan?
Lihan Taifun:            (is that a "no"?)
Puma Kawanishi:     :)
Lihan Taifun:            topic for next week?
Squeak Barzane:       i have a question you all may have ideas on: Could orcs be redeemed?
Lihan Taifun:            lol, that was already discussed
Squeak Barzane:       and?
Lihan Taifun:            and the consensus was yes, although it would be very difficult. what was your opinion?
Squeak Barzane:       Yes, but it would be beyond any skill of the elves, so they had a 'license to kill.'
Lihan Taifun:            yes, quite beyond the skill of elves. we were thinking "difficult for the Valar"
Squeak Barzane:       Wow!
Shawn Daysleeper:  nods
Lihan Taifun:            past requests ... I think it was Kell who wanted to talk about drow, and he hasn't been here lately
Squeak Barzane:       How do drow meet the legendarium?
Puma Kawanishi:     drow would be interesting.... Didn't we once talk about the possibility the their Spider deity was really Ungoliant?
Lihan Taifun:            we did, and there seems to be enough blank spaces in the history that there is room for other cultures of elves to have developed
Squeak Barzane:       What about the Arkenstone?
Lihan Taifun:            ah, what about it?
Zryonotralionxus:    or Ringwriaths
Squeak Barzane:       Was it natural or made How special was it? How was it special?
Lihan Taifun:            interesting questions
Puma Kawanishi:     yes
Lihan Taifun:            could any answers be found, or would it be 100% speculation? (not that we are shy about speculation, just asking)
Puma Kawanishi:     :D
Zryonotralionxus:    I been trying to trace the Teleri myself
Lihan Taifun:            trace them?
Squeak Barzane:       Remember, dear, no swallowing.
Zryonotralionxus:    yeah, seems many of them wandered and ended up becoming another type or name
Lihan Taifun:            ah, I see
Puma Kawanishi:     yes, many stayed in ME with Thingol.....
Lihan Taifun:            did you have a preference for next week?
Shawn Daysleeper:  nope,has anything else been suggested ?
Puma Kawanishi:     the Arkenstone?
Lihan Taifun:            drow, Arkenstone, Teleri of Middle Earth
Zryonotralionxus:    I am not picky as I enjoy any topic really!
Shawn Daysleeper:  how about Teleri of middle earth?
Lihan Taifun:            well, "Teleri of Middle Earth" would work, and we can put Arkenstone on the list of future topics