Donnerstag, 10. August 2017

Wednesday, 9 August 2941 T.A.: Feasting Elves and feasting spiders

A Mirkwood spider and its prey
illustration by Horus Weber, 1957
In the Calendar of Imladris, 9 August 2941 T. A. marks the last day of summer (laer). This can be inferred by calibrating the Elvish New Year to the Shire Reckoning, which had been the point at which this timetable started. 

This is also the latest possible date at which the Necromancer may have been driven out of Dol Guldur, said to have happened "in late summer". The relevant time span is even shorter, however, if the seasons are reckoned according to the early editions of "The Hobbit", with autumn beginning on 1 August, as was the English/Irish tradition of old that Tolkien adhered to in writing "The Hobbit" (a fact that John Rateliff, the American, overlooked, causing him to spend many a page on discussions of Tolkien's seeming confusion in the timetables, though, once this fact is observed, the entire timetable of the second half of 2941 falls into place).

In Mirkwood, that day started in dreary rain. With the final provisions gone, the situation of the Company aggravated seriously. On the positive side, Bombur awoke at last from exactly seven days of enchanted sleep and was able to walk on his own again. 

In the late afternoon or early evening, they saw the Elven lights for the first time, causing them to stray from the path in search of food. The feast was very probably intended to celebrate the eve of autumn (iavas), suggested by Thranduil (or was it Legolas? Could Bilbo really distinguish a king from a prince?) wearing a crown of leaves on the occasion. This plausible assumption helped to date all the events back to the crossing of the Enchanted Stream.

That night also saw, after the third failed attempt to get food from the celebrating Quendi, the fierce encounter with the Mirkwood spiders while Thorin was dragged off into Thranduil's underground dwelling that constituted a crude imitation of Menegroth in First-Age Doriath.