The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien; the story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but developed into a much larger work. Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels written, with over 150 million copies sold; the title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: the Men, Aragorn, a Ranger of the North, Boromir, a Captain of Gondor.
The work was intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, the other to be The Silmarillion, but this idea was dismissed by his publisher. For economic reasons, The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955; the three volumes were titled The Fellowship of The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Structurally, the novel is divided internally into six books, two per volume, with several appendices of background material included at the end; some editions combine the entire work into a single volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been translated into 38 languages. Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I.
The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy. The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works, the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works; the Lord of the Rings has inspired, continues to inspire, music and television, video games, board games, subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio and film. In 2003, it was named Britain's best novel of all time in the BBC's The Big Read. Thousands of years before the events of the novel, the Dark Lord Sauron had forged the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power and corrupt those who wore them: three for Elves, seven for Dwarves, nine for Men. Sauron was defeated by an alliance of Men led by Gil-galad and Elendil, respectively. In the final battle, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron's finger, causing Sauron to lose his physical form.
Isildur claimed the Ring as an heirloom for his line, but when he was ambushed and killed by the Orcs, the Ring was lost in the River Anduin. Over two thousand years the Ring was found by one of the river-folk called Déagol, his friend Sméagol fell under strangled Déagol to acquire it. Sméagol was hid under the Misty Mountains; the Ring gave him long life and changed him over hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Gollum lost the Ring, his "precious", as told in The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins found it. Meanwhile, Sauron took back his old realm of Mordor; when Gollum set out in search of the Ring, he was tortured by Sauron. Sauron learned from Gollum. Gollum was set loose. Sauron, who needed the Ring to regain his full power, sent forth his powerful servants, the Nazgûl, to seize it; the story begins in the Shire, where the hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo Baggins, his cousin and guardian. Neither hobbit is aware of the Ring's nature, but Gandalf the Grey, a wizard and an old friend of Bilbo, suspects it to be Sauron's Ring.
Seventeen years after Gandalf confirms his guess, he tells Frodo the history of the Ring and counsels him to take it away from the Shire. Frodo sets out, accompanied by his gardener and friend, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, two cousins, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, they are nearly caught by the Black Riders, but shake off their pursuers by cutting through the Old Forest. There they are aided by Tom Bombadil, a strange and merry fellow who lives with his wife Goldberry in the forest; the hobbits reach the town of Bree, where they encounter a Ranger named Strider, whom Gandalf had mentioned in a letter. Strider persuades the hobbits to take him on as their protector. Together, they leave Bree after another close escape from the Black Riders. On the hill of Weathertop, they are again attacked by the Black Riders, who wound Frodo with a cursed blade. Strider leads the hobbits towards the Elven refuge of Rivendell. Frodo falls deathly ill from the wound; the Black Riders nearly capture him at the Ford of Bruinen, but flood waters summoned by Elrond, master of Rivendell, rise up and overwhelm them.
Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales, its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton. Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills, the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park, large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. There is evidence of human occupation from Paleolithic times, of subsequent settlement by the Celts and Anglo-Saxons; the county played a significant part in Alfred the Great's rise to power, the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion. The city of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Somerset's name derives from Old English Sumorsǣte, short for Sumortūnsǣte, meaning "the people living at or dependent on Sumortūn"; the first known use of Somersæte is in the law code of King Ine, the Saxon King of Wessex from 688 to 726, making Somerset along with Hampshire and Dorset one of the oldest extant units of local government in the world.
An alternative suggestion is the name derives from Seo-mere-saetan meaning "settlers by the sea lakes". The Old English name is used in the motto of the county, Sumorsǣte ealle, meaning "all the people of Somerset". Adopted as the motto in 1911, the phrase is taken from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Somerset was a part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, the phrase refers to the wholehearted support the people of Somerset gave to King Alfred in his struggle to save Wessex from Viking invaders. Somerset settlement names are Anglo-Saxon in origin, but numerous place names include Brittonic Celtic elements, such as the rivers Frome and Avon, names of hills. For example, an Anglo-Saxon charter of 682 refers to Creechborough Hill as "the hill the British call Cructan and the Anglo-Saxons call Crychbeorh"; some modern names are Brythonic in origin, such as Tarnock, while others have both Saxon and Brythonic elements, such as Pen Hill. The caves of the Mendip Hills were settled during the Palaeolithic period, contain extensive archaeological sites such as those at Cheddar Gorge.
Bones from Gough's Cave have been dated to 12,000 BC, a complete skeleton, known as Cheddar Man, dates from 7150 BC. Examples of cave art have been found in Aveline's Hole; some caves continued to be occupied until modern times, including Wookey Hole. The Somerset Levels—specifically dry points at Glastonbury and Brent Knoll— have a long history of settlement, are known to have been settled by Mesolithic hunters. Travel in the area was facilitated by the construction of one of the world's oldest known engineered roadways, the Sweet Track, which dates from 3807 BC or 3806 BC; the exact age of the henge monument at Stanton Drew stone circles is unknown, but it is believed to be Neolithic. There are numerous Iron Age hill forts, some of which, like Cadbury Castle and Ham Hill, were reoccupied in the Early Middle Ages. On the authority of the future emperor Vespasian, as part of the ongoing expansion of the Roman presence in Britain, the Second Legion Augusta invaded Somerset from the south-east in AD 47.
The county remained part of the Roman Empire until around AD 409, when the Roman occupation of Britain came to an end. A variety of Roman remains have been found, including Pagans Hill Roman temple in Chew Stoke,Low Ham Roman Villa and the Roman Baths that gave their name to the city of Bath. After the Romans left, Britain was invaded by Anglo-Saxon peoples. By AD 600 they had established control over much of what is now England, but Somerset was still in native British hands; the British held back Saxon advance into the south-west for some time longer, but by the early eighth century King Ine of Wessex had pushed the boundaries of the West Saxon kingdom far enough west to include Somerset. The Saxon royal palace in Cheddar was used several times in the 10th century to host the Witenagemot. After the Norman Conquest, the county was divided into 700 fiefs, large areas were owned by the crown, with fortifications such as Dunster Castle used for control and defence. Somerset contains HM Prison Shepton Mallet, England's oldest prison still in use prior to its closure in 2013, having opened in 1610.
In the English Civil War Somerset was Parliamentarian, with key engagements being the Sieges of Taunton and the Battle of Langport. In 1685 the Monmouth Rebellion was played out in neighbouring Dorset; the rebels landed at Lyme Regis and travelled north, hoping to capture Bristol and Bath, but they were defeated in the Battle of Sedgemoor at Westonzoyland, the last pitched battle fought in England. Arthur Wellesley took Duke of Wellington from the town of Wellington; the Industrial Revolution in the Midlands and Northern England spelled the end for most of Somerset's cottage industries. Farming continued to flourish and the Bath and West of England Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Arts and Commerce was founded in 1777 to improve farming methods. Despite this, 20 years John Billingsley conducted a survey of the county's agriculture in 1795 and found that agricultural methods could still be improved. Coal mining was an important industry in north Somerset during the 18th and 19th centuries, by 1800 it was prominent in Radstock.
The Somerset Coalfield reached its peak production by the 1920s, but all the pits have now been closed, the last in 1973. Most of the surface
Théoden is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings; the King and Lord of the Mark of Rohan, he appears as a major supporting character in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. When first introduced, Théoden is weak with age and sorrow and the machinations of his top advisor, Grima Wormtongue, he does nothing as his kingdom is crumbling. Once roused by Gandalf, however, he becomes an instrumental ally in the war against Saruman and Sauron. Théoden is introduced in The Two Towers, the second volume of The Lord of the Rings, as the King of Rohan. By the time of the War of the Ring, Théoden had grown weak with age, was controlled by his chief advisor Gríma, secretly in the employ of the corrupt wizard Saruman. In Unfinished Tales, it is implied that the failure of the king's health was "...induced or increased by subtle poisons, administered by Gríma". As Théoden sat powerless, Rohan was troubled by Orcs and Dunlendings, who operated under the will of Saruman, ruling from Isengard.
When his son Théodred was mortally wounded at a battle at the Fords of Isen, Théoden's nephew Éomer became his heir. However, Éomer was out of favour with Wormtongue, who had him arrested; when Gandalf the White and Aragorn, along with Legolas and Gimli, appeared before him in The Two Towers, Théoden rebuffed the wizard's advice to oppose Saruman. When Gandalf revealed Wormtongue for what he was, however, Théoden returned to his senses, he restored his nephew, took up his sword Herugrim, in spite of his age, led the Riders of Rohan into the Battle of the Hornburg. After this he became known as the Renewed. In The Return of the King, Théoden led the Rohirrim to the aid of Gondor at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. In that battle he routed the Harad cavalry killing their chieftain and banner-bearer in the process, he challenged the Witch-king of Angmar, the leader of the Nazgûl, was mortally wounded when his horse Snowmane fell upon him. He was avenged by his niece Éowyn and the hobbit Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck, who had ridden to war in secret.
Before mustering the Rohirrim to ride to Gondor's aid, Théoden enlisted Merry into his army, but did not let the hobbit ride into battle at Pelennor. In his last moments, he appointed Éomer the next king. Théoden's body lay in Minas Tirith, he was the last of the Second Line of the kings, judging from direct descent from Eorl the Young. The appendices of The Return of the King explain that Théoden was the only son of King Thengel and Morwen of Lossarnach, he was the second-born of five children, the only boy. Théoden was closest to Théodwyn, he was born in Gondor. Théoden became king after the death of his father. Théodwyn lived with him in Edoras, he married Elfhild. After Théodwyn and her husband, Éomund died, he adopted their children, Éomer and Éowyn. In his prime, Théoden was a strong and vital king respected by his subjects; as with other Men of the Riddermark, Théoden was a skilled horseman. He acted as the First Marshal of the Mark after the death of Éomund, his sword was called Herugrim. In the etymology of Middle-earth, the name Théoden is a translation of Rohirric Tûrac, an old word for King.
Some scholars relate Théoden to the Old English word þēoden, meaning "leader of a people". As with other descriptive names in his legendarium, Tolkien uses this name to create the impression that the text is "'historical','real' or'archaic'"; the character of Théoden was inspired by a concept of courage as found in Norse mythology in the Beowulf epos: the protagonist of a story shows perseverance while knowing that he is going to be defeated and killed. This is reflected in Théoden's decision to ride against Sauron's far superior army in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. There are repeated references by Tolkien to a historic account of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields by Jordanes. Both battles take place between civilizations of the "East" and "West", like Jordanes, Tolkien describes his battle as one of legendary fame that lasted for several generations. Another apparent similarity is the death of king Theodoric I on the Catalaunian Fields and that of Théoden on the Pelennor. Jordanes reports that Theodoric was thrown off by his horse and trampled to death by his own men who charged forward.
Théoden rallies his men shortly before he falls and is crushed by his horse. And like Theodoric, Théoden is carried from the battlefield with his knights weeping and singing for him while the battle still goes on. In one of Tolkien's early drafts, Théoden had a daughter by the name of Idis, but she was removed when her character was eclipsed by that of Éowyn. In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, the voice of Théoden was provided by Philip Stone. Théoden appears in Rankin/Bass's attempt to complete the story left unfinished by Bakshi in their television adaptation of The Return of the King, though he speaks little, is voiced by Don Messick, his death is narrated by Gandalf. In the 1981 BBC Radio 4 version of The Lord of the Rings, Théoden's death is described in song rather than dramatized conventionally. In this adaptation he is voiced by Jack May. Théoden is an important character in Peter Jackson's film adaption of the Lord o
Sir Peter Robert Jackson is a New Zealand film director and film producer. He is best known as the director and producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy, both of which are adapted from the novels of the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. Other films include the critically lauded drama Heavenly Creatures, the mockumentary film Forgotten Silver, the horror comedy The Frighteners, the epic monster remake film King Kong, the supernatural drama film The Lovely Bones, the World War I documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old, he produced District 9, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, West of Memphis, Mortal Engines. Jackson began his career with the "splatstick" horror comedy Bad Taste and the black comedy Meet the Feebles before filming the zombie comedy Braindead, he shared a nomination for Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with his partner Fran Walsh for Heavenly Creatures, which brought him to mainstream prominence in the film industry. Jackson has been awarded three Academy Awards for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, including the award for Best Director.
His other awards include four Saturn Awards and three BAFTAs amongst others. His production company is Wingnut Films, his most regular collaborators are co-writers and producers Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Jackson was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002, he was knighted by Anand Satyanand, the Governor-General of New Zealand, at a ceremony in Wellington in April 2010. In December 2014, Jackson was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jackson was born on 31 October 1961 in Wellington and was raised at the nearby coastal town of Pukerua Bay, his parents—Joan, a factory worker and housewife, William "Bill" Jackson, a wages clerk—were emigrants from England. As a child, Jackson was a keen film fan, growing up on Ray Harryhausen films, as well as finding inspiration in the television series Thunderbirds and Monty Python's Flying Circus. After a family friend gave the Jacksons a Super 8 cine-camera with Peter in mind, he began making short films with his friends. Jackson has long cited King Kong as his favourite film, around the age of nine he attempted to remake it using his own stop-motion models.
As a child Jackson made a WWII epic called "The Dwarf Patrol" seen on the Bad Taste bonus disc which featured his first special effect of poking pinholes in the film for gun shots, a James Bond spoof named Coldfinger. Most notable though was a 20-minute short called The Valley, which won him a special prize because of the shots he used. In school, Jackson expressed no interest in sports, his classmates remember him wearing a duffle coat with "an obsession verging on religious". He had no formal training in film-making, but learned about editing, special effects and make-up through his own trial and error; as a young adult, Jackson discovered the work of author J. R. R. Tolkien after watching The Lord of the Rings, an animated film by Ralph Bakshi, a part-adaptation of Tolkien's fantasy trilogy; when he was 16 years old, Jackson left school and began working full-time as a photo-engraver for a Wellington newspaper, The Evening Post. For the seven years he worked there, Jackson lived at home with his parents so he could save as much money as possible to spend on film equipment.
After two years of work Jackson bought a 16 mm camera, began shooting a film that became Bad Taste. Jackson has long cited several films as influences, it is well known that Jackson has a passion for King Kong citing it as his favourite film and as the film that inspired him early in his life. Jackson recalls attempting to remake King Kong when he was 12. At the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International, while being interviewed alongside Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron, Jackson said certain films gave him a "kick", he mentioned Martin Scorsese's crime films Goodfellas and Casino, remarking on "something about those particular movies and the way Martin Scorsese just fearlessly rockets his camera around and has shot those films that I can watch those movies and feel inspired." Jackson said. Other influences include Sam Raimi. Jackson's first feature was Bad Taste, a haphazard fashion splatter comedy, which included many of Jackson's friends acting and working on it for free. Shooting was done in the weekends since Jackson was working full-time.
Bad Taste is about aliens. Jackson had two acting roles including a famous scene; the film was completed thanks to a late injection of finance from the New Zealand Film Commission, after Jim Booth, the body's executive director, became convinced of Jackson's talent. In May 1987, Bad Taste was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival, where rights to the film sold to twelve countries. Around this time, Jackson began working on writing a number of film scripts, in varied collaborative groupings with playwright Stephen Sinclair, writer Fran Walsh and writer/actor Danny Mulheron. Walsh would become his life partner; some of the scripts from this period, including a sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street, have never been made into movies. Jackson's next film to see release was Meet the Feebles, co-written with Sinclair and Mulheron. An ensemble musical comedy starring Muppet-styl
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson and based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, it is the second instalment in The Lord of the Rings film series, preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring and concluding with The Return of the King. Continuing the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring, the film intercuts three storylines. Frodo and Sam continue their journey towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring and joined by Gollum, the ring's former owner. Aragorn and Gimli come to the war-torn nation of Rohan and are reunited with the resurrected Gandalf, before fighting at the Battle of Helm's Deep. Merry and Pippin escape capture, meet Treebeard the Ent, help to plan an attack on Isengard. Meeting high critical acclaim, the film was an enormous box-office success, earning over US$926 million worldwide, is the highest-grossing film of 2002; the film won numerous accolades and was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, won Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing.
Awakening from a dream of Gandalf the Grey battling the Balrog, Frodo Baggins and his friend Samwise Gamgee find themselves lost in the Emyn Muil near Mordor and soon become aware that they are being stalked by Gollum, the former owner of the One Ring. After capturing him, a sympathetic Frodo decides to use Gollum as a guide to Mordor, despite Sam's objections. Meanwhile, Aragorn and Gimli pursue the Uruk-hai to save their companions Merry and Pippin; the Uruk-hai are ambushed by the Rohirrim, the exiled army of Rohan, while the two Hobbits escape into Fangorn Forest and encounter the Ent Treebeard. Aragorn's group meets the Rohirrim and their leader Éomer, who reveals that their king Théoden is being manipulated by Saruman's servant Gríma Wormtongue into turning a blind eye to Saruman's forces running rampant in Rohan. While tracking down the Hobbits in Fangorn, Aragorn's group encounters Gandalf, after succumbing to his injuries while killing the Balrog in Moria, has been resurrected as Gandalf the White to help save Middle-earth.
Aragorn's group travels to Rohan's capital city Edoras, where Gandalf releases Théoden from Saruman's influence and Wormtongue is banished. After learning about Saruman's plans to wipe out Rohan with his Uruk-hai army, Théoden decides to move his citizens to Helm's Deep, an ancient fortress that has provided refuge to Rohan's people in times past, while Gandalf departs to acquire the aid of the Rohirrim. Aragorn builds a friendship with Théoden's niece, Éowyn, who becomes infatuated with him; when the exodus comes under attack by Warg-riding Orcs, Aragorn falls off a cliff into a river and is presumed dead. However, he is taken to Helm's Deep; the Uruk-hai army arrives at Helm's Deep that night, finding a makeshift army of civilians and Elves from Lothlórien waiting for them as a night-long battle follows. Using gunpowder-like explosives on a sewer drain that Wormtongue told Saruman about, the Uruk-hai breach the outer wall and force the remaining defenders to retreat into the inner castle. At Fangorn and Pippin, having met Gandalf in the forest and convincing Treebeard they were allies, are brought to an Ent Council where the Ents decide not to assist in the war.
Pippin tells Treebeard to take them to a route passing Isengard, where they witness the devastation caused to the forest by Saruman's war efforts. An enraged Treebeard summons the Ents and they storm Isengard, drowning the orcs by breaking their river dam and stranding Saruman in Orthanc. At Helm's Deep, Aragorn convinces a despairing Theoden to ride out and meet the Uruks in one last charge. Gandalf and the Rohirrim arrive at sunrise, turning the tide of the battle and decimating the Uruk-hai while those remaining flee and are slaughtered. Despite this victory, Gandalf warns that Sauron's retaliation will be swift. Meanwhile, becoming loyal to Frodo after taking him and Sam through the Dead Marshes, Gollum convinces the Hobbits of another entrance besides the Black Gate. Frodo and Sam are captured by the Rangers of Ithilien led by Faramir, brother of the late Boromir. After torturing Gollum while inadvertently instilling in him the notion that he has been betrayed when Frodo saves him from being killed, Faramir learns of the One Ring and takes his captives with him to Gondor to win his father's respect.
While passing through the besieged Gondorian city of Osgiliath, Sam reveals that Boromir's death was because he was driven mad by and tried to take the Ring. An attacking Nazgûl nearly captures Frodo, who momentarily attacks Sam before coming to his senses, forcing Sam to remind him that they are fighting for the good still left in Middle-earth. Faramir releases them along with Gollum. While leading the hobbits once more, Gollum decides to take revenge on Frodo and reclaim the ring by leading the group to "Her" upon arriving at Cirith Ungol. Like the other films in the series, The Two Towers has an ensemble cast, the cast and their respective characters include: Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins: a young hobbit sent on a quest to destroy the One Ring, the burden of, becoming heavier. Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee: Frodo's loyal hobbit gardener and companion. Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn: the heir-in-exile to Gondor's throne who has come to Rohan's defence. Ian McKellen as Gandalf: an Istari wizard who fell fighting a Balrog and has now returned, more powerful than to finish his task.
Billy Boyd as Peregrin Took: a hobbit mistakenly captured by the Uruk-hai. Dominic Monaghan as Meriadoc Brandybuck: a distant cousin of Frodo's, mistakenly captured along with Pippin by th
Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar, England. The gorge is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, Cheddar Man, estimated to be over 9,000 years old, was found in 1903. Older remains from the Upper Late Palaeolithic era have been found; the caves, produced by the activity of an underground river, contain stalagmites. The gorge is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest called Cheddar Complex. Cheddar Gorge, including the caves and other attractions, has become a tourist destination. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, following its appearance on the 2005 television programme Seven Natural Wonders, Cheddar Gorge was named as the second greatest natural wonder in Britain, surpassed only by Dan yr Ogof caves; the gorge attracts about 500,000 visitors per year. Cheddar is a gorge lying on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills; the maximum depth of the gorge is 137 m, with a near-vertical cliff-face to the south, steep grassy slopes to the north.
The B3135 road runs along the bottom of the gorge. The area is underlain by Black Rock slate, Burrington Oolite and Clifton Down Limestone of the Carboniferous Limestone Series, which contain ooliths and fossil debris, on top of Old Red Sandstone and by Dolomitic Conglomerate of the Keuper. Evidence for Variscan orogeny is seen in cleaved shales. In many places weathering of these strata has resulted in the formation of immature calcareous soils; the gorge was formed by meltwater floods during the cold periglacial periods which have occurred over the last 1.2 million years. During the ice ages permafrost blocked the caves with ice and frozen mud and made the limestone impermeable; when this melted during the summers, water was forced to flow on the surface, carved out the gorge. During warmer periods the water flowed underground through the permeable limestone, creating the caves and leaving the gorge dry, so that today much of the gorge has no river until the underground Cheddar Yeo river emerges in the lower part from Gough's Cave.
The river is used by Bristol Water, who maintain a series of dams and ponds which supply the nearby Cheddar Reservoir, via a 137-centimetre diameter pipe that takes water just upstream of the Rotary Club Sensory Garden, a public park in the gorge opposite Jacob's Ladder. The gorge is susceptible to flooding. In the Chew Stoke flood of 1968 the flow of water washed large boulders down the gorge, damaging the cafe and entrance to Gough's Cave and washing away cars. In the cave itself the flooding lasted for three days. In 2012 the B3135, the road through the gorge, was closed for several weeks following damage to the road surface during extensive flooding; the south side of the gorge is administered by the Marquess of Bath's Longleat Estate. The cliffs on the north side of the gorge are owned by The National Trust; every year both of the gorge's owners contribute funds towards the clearance of scrub bush and trees from the area. Most of the commercial visitor activity in the gorge is on the Longleat-owned south side, including access to the two main commercial show caves and the visitor centre, operated by Longleat-owned company Cheddar Gorge and Caves Ltd under director Hugh Cornwell.
Due to the fact that tourist numbers have dropped through the show caves from 400,000 a year in the 1980s to 150,000, in 2013 Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth who runs the Longleat estate on behalf of the family trust, proposed installation of a 600 metres 18-gondola cable car estimated to cost £10M, taking visitors from the entrance area to the caves directly to the top of the southside cliffs. The National Trust have opposed the proposed development, stating that it will spoil the view and cheapen the experience, creating a "fairground ride" that will make the area feel more like an amusement park. Planning permission was planned in Spring 2014, which would have meant that operations would start in Spring 2016. In 2015 the financial feasibility was still being investigated. Notable species at the gorge include dormice, yellow-necked mice and adders and the rare large blue butterfly, small pearl-bordered fritillary. A wide variety of wild birds may be seen in Cheddar Gorge including peregrine falcons, kestrels and the grasshopper warbler.
The flora include chalk grassland-loving species such as wild thyme. The Cheddar pink, Dianthus gratianopolitanus known as firewitch, only grows in the wild in the gorge, it declined after being picked by collectors. It is home to unique species of whitebeam; the nationally rare little robin geranium, Cheddar bedstraw and the nationally scarce species include slender tare, dwarf mouse-ear and rock stonecrop occur in the gorge. It is one of the few areas in southern Britain where the lichens Solorina saccata, Squamaria cartilaginea and Caloplaca cirrochroa can be found; the gorge is an important site for whitebeams and in 2009 a survey was carried out by botanists from the Welsh National Herbarium as part of a nationwide survey of whitebeams. Among the eight species identified were three new species unknown to science. Nineteen specimens with oval-shaped leaves, were named the "Cheddar whitebeam", Sorbus cheddarensis, fifteen specimens with roundish leaves and greyish brown bark were named the "Twin Cliffs whitebeam", Sorbus eminentoides, thirteen with long, narrow leaves were named "Gough’s Rock whitebeam", Sorbus rupicoloides.
The Cheddar whitebeam, which has evolved as a cross between the common whitebeam and
In the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Dwarves are a race inhabiting Middle-earth, the central continent of Earth in an imagined mythological past, they are based on the dwarfs of Germanic myths: small humanoids that dwell in mountains, are associated with mining, metallurgy and jewellery. They appear in his books The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the posthumously published The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth series, the last three edited by his son and literary executor Christopher Tolkien. In The Book of Lost Tales the few Dwarves who appear are portrayed as evil beings, employers of Orc mercenaries and in conflict with the Elves—who are the imagined "authors" of the myths, are therefore biased against Dwarves. Tolkien was inspired by the dwarves of Norse myths and dwarves of Germanic folklore, from whom his Dwarves take their characteristic affinity with mining, metalworking and avarice; the representation of Dwarves as evil changed with The Hobbit. Here the Dwarves became comedic and bumbling, but seen as honourable, serious-minded, but still portraying some negative characteristics such as being gold-hungry proud and officious.
Tolkien was now influenced by his own selective reading of medieval texts regarding the Jewish people and their history. The dwarves' characteristics of being dispossessed of their homeland, living among other groups whilst retaining their own culture are all derived from the medieval image of Jews, whilst their warlike nature stems from accounts in the Hebrew Bible. Medieval views of Jews saw them as having a propensity for making well-crafted and beautiful things, a trait shared with Norse dwarves. For The Hobbit all dwarf-names are taken from the Dvergatal or "Catalogue of the Dwarves", found in the Poetic Edda. However, more than just supplying names, the "Catalogue of the Dwarves" appears to have inspired Tolkien to supply meaning and context to the list of names—that they travelled together, this in turn became the quest told of in The Hobbit; the Dwarves' written language is represented in illustrations by Anglo-Saxon Runes. The Dwarf calendar invented; the dwarves taking Bilbo out of his complacent existence has been seen as an eloquent metaphor for the "impoverishment of Western society without Jews".
When writing The Lord of the Rings Tolkien continued many of the themes he had set up in The Hobbit. When giving Dwarves their own language Tolkien decided to create an analogue of a Semitic language influenced by Hebrew phonology. Like medieval Jewish groups, the Dwarves use their own language only amongst themselves, adopted the languages of those they live amongst for the most part, for example taking public names from the cultures they lived within, whilst keeping their "true-names" and true language a secret. Along with a few words in Khuzdul, Tolkien developed runes of his own invention, said to have been invented by Elves and adopted by the Dwarves. Tolkien further underlines the diaspora of the Dwarves with the lost stronghold of the Mines of Moria. In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien uses the main dwarf character Gimli to reconcile the conflict between Elves and Dwarves through showing great courtesy to Galadriel and forming a deep friendship with Legolas, seen as Tolkien's reply toward "Gentile anti-Semitism and Jewish exclusiveness".
Tolkien elaborated on Jewish influence on his Dwarves in a letter: "I do think of the'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue..." After preparing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien returned again to the matter of the Silmarillion, in which he gave the Dwarves a creation myth. The most Dwarf-centric story from The Book of Lost Tales, "The Nauglafring", was not redrafted to fit with the positive portrayal of the dwarves from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, nor other events in the Silmarillion, leading Christopher Tolkien to rewrite it with input from Guy Gavriel Kay in preparation for publication. Sometime before 1969 Tolkien wrote the essay Of Dwarves and Men, in which detailed consideration was given to the Dwarves' use of language, that the names given in the stories were of Northern Mannish origin, Khuzdul being their own secret tongue and the naming of the Seven Houses of the Dwarves.
The essay represents the last of Tolkien's writing regarding the Dwarves and was published in volume 12 of The History of Middle-earth in 1996. In the last interview before his death, after discussing the nature of Elves says of his Dwarves: "The dwarves of course are quite wouldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic constructed to be Semitic." The original editor of The Hobbit "corrected" Tolkien's plural dwarves to dwarfs, as did the editor of the Puffin paperback edition of The Hobbit. According to Tolkien, the "real ` historical"' plural of dwarf is dwerrows, he referred to dwarves as "a piece of private bad grammar". In Appendix F of The Lord of the Rings it is explained that if we still spoke of dwarves English might have retained a special plural for the word dwarf as with goose—geese. Despite Tolkien's fondness for it, the form dwarrow only appears in his writing as Dwarrowdelf, a name for Moria. Tolkien used Dwarves, which corresponds with Elf and Elves.
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