Freitag, 14. Juli 2017

Thursday, 12 July 2941 T. A.: Aquila ex machina

Fleeing from the wargs.
Horus Weber, 1957.
On this day, in 2941 T.A., Bilbo finally escapes from the hollow depths of Middle-earth and rejoins his companions at daytime. Alas, their escape comes to a preliminary end in a tree as the goblins catch up with them. (It is not surprising that they did but that it took them two days to catch up with their prey!) They are in a most remarkable manner saved by an airborne rescue team: the Great Eagles, who, alas, fail to drop the Hobbit with the Ruling Ring into eternal oblivion somewhere. Perhaps, as Horus Weber's 1957 illustration shows, the poor Eagle had no other choice.

The lunar phases observed are very interesting: It was first predicted that ‘there will be a bit of  moon’, and later that night, ‘the moon was up and was shining into the clearing’. This moon was waning and had risen just after midnight. The eagles thus had sufficient time to save the Company and Bilbo could sleep ‘all night’. This observation of the lunar phase is why Karen Fonstad's timetable who dated the Eagle rescue one week later, on 19 July, has to be rejected. On that date, the moon was two days before new and would have been seen as a very faint crescent rising near dawn and lost in sunlight. This phase was irreconcilable with Tolkien's description.
"My legs! My legs!"
Horus Weber, 1957