Well, it has certainly been a while. But even I, busy as I am, couldn't resist the urge to throw my hat in the ring for one last kick at the MELO can before I slip permanently into my college dark age.
My entry is based on the song the Wood Elves sing in Chapter 9 of the The Hobbit, which is aptly titled Barrels out of Bond.
The first part of the poem/song, which was my primary reference, is in the introduction above. Here is the rest:
Down the swift dark stream you go
Back to lands you once did know!
Leave the halls and caverns deep,
Leave the northern mountains steep,
Where the forest wide and dim
Stoops in shadow grey and grim!
Float beyond the world of trees
Out into the whispering breeze,
Past the rushes, past the reeds,
Past the marsh's waving weeds,
Through the mist that riseth white
Up from mere and pool at night!
Follow, follow stars that leap
Up the heavens cold and steep;
Turn when dawn comes over land,
Over rapid, over sand,
South away! and South away!
Seek the sunlight and the day,
Back to pasture, back to mead,
Where the kine and oxen feed!
Back to gardens on the hills
Where the berry swells and fills
Under sunlight, under day!
South away! and South away!
Down the swift dark stream you go
Back to lands you once did know!
The dwarves had to get into the barrels first, of course!
Story time! From chapter 9 of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:
The evening meal had been taken to the prisoners. The guards were tramping away down the passages taking the torch-light with them and leaving everything in darkness. Then Bilbo heard the king's butler bidding the chief of the guards good-night.
"Now come with me," he said, "and taste the new wine that has just come in. I shall be hard at work tonight clearing the cellars of the empty wood, so let us have a drink first to help the labour."
"Very good," laughed the chief of the guards. "I'll taste with you, and see if it is fit for the king's table. There is a feast tonight and it would not do to send up poor stuff!"
When he heard this Bilbo was all in a flutter, for he saw that luck was with him and he had a chance at once to try his desperate plan. He followed the two elves, until they entered a small cellar and sat down at a table on which two large flagons were set. Soon they began to drink and laugh merrily. Luck of an unusual kind was with Bilbo then. It must be potent wine to make a wood-elf drowsy; but this wine, it would seem, was the heady vintage of the great gardens of Dorwinion, not meant for his soldiers or his servants, but for the king's feasts only, and for smaller bowls, not for the butler's great flagons.
Very soon the chief guard nodded his head, then he laid it on the table and fell fast asleep. The butler went on talking and laughing to himself for a while without seeming to notice, but soon his head too nodded to the table, and he fell asleep and snored beside his friend.
Then in crept the hobbit. Very soon the chief guard had no keys, but Bilbo was trotting as fast as he could along the passage towards the cells. The great bunch seemed very heavy to his arms, and his heart was often in his mouth, in spite of his ring, for he could not prevent the keys from making every now and then a loud clink and clank, which put him all in a tremble.
... Then off he went from door to door, until his following had grown to twelve-none of them any too nimble, what with the dark, and what with their long imprisonment. Bilbo's heart thumped every time one of them bumped into another, or grunted or whispered in the dark. "Drat this dwarvish racket!" he said to himself. But all went well, and they met no guards. As a matter of fact there was a great autumn feast in the woods that night, and in the halls above. Nearly all the king's folks were merrymaking. At last after much blundering they came to Thorin's dungeon, far down in a deep place and fortunately not far from the cellars.
"Upon my word!" said Thorin, when Bilbo whispered to him to come out and join his friends, "Gandalf spoke true, as usual. A pretty fine burglar you make, it seems, when the time comes. I am sure we are all for ever at your service, whatever happens after this. But what comes next?"
Bilbo saw that the time had come to explain his idea, as far as he could; but he did not feel at all sure bow the dwarves would take it. His fears were quite justified, for they did not like it a bit, and started grumbling loudly in spite of their danger.
"We shall be bruised and battered to pieces, and drowned too, for certain!" they muttered. "We thought you had got some sensible notion, when you managed to get hold of the keys. This is a mad idea!"
"Very well!" said Bilbo very downcast, and also rather annoyed. "Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there comfortably and think of a better plan-but I don't suppose I shall ever get hold of the keys again, even if I feel inclined to try.”
"That was too much for them, and they calmed down. In the end, of course, they had to do just what Bilbo suggested, because it was obviously impossible for them to try and find their way into the upper halls, or to fight their way out of gates that closed by magic; and it was no good grumbling in the passages until they were caught again. So following the hobbit, down into the lowest cellars they crept.
... A number of elves came laughing and talking into the cellars and singing snatches of song. They had left a merry feast in one of the halls and were bent on returning as soon as they could. "Where's old Galion, the butler?" said one. "I haven't seen him at the tables tonight. He ought to be here now to show us what is to be done."
"I shall be angry if the old slowcoach is late," said another. "I have no wish to waste time down here while the song is up!"
"Ha, ha!" came a cry. "Here's the old villain with his head on a jug! He's been having a little feast all to himself and his friend the captain."
"Shake him! Wake him!" shouted the others impatiently.
Gallion was not at all pleased at being shaken or wakened, and still less at being laughed at. "You're all late," he grumbled. "Here am I waiting and waiting down here, while you fellows drink and make merry and forget your tasks. Small wonder if I fall asleep from weariness!"
"Small wonder," said they, "when the explanation stands close at hand in a jug! Come give us a taste of your sleeping-draught before we fall to! No need to wake the turnkey yonder. He has had his share by the looks of it."
Then they drank once round and became mighty merry all of a sudden. But they did not quite lose their wits. "Save us, Galion!" cried some, "you began your feasting early and muddled your wits! You have stacked some full casks here instead of the empty ones, if there is anything in weight."
"Get on with the work!" growled the butler. "There is nothing in the feeling of weight in an idle toss-pot's arms. These are the ones to go and no others. Do as I say!"
"Very well, very well," they answered rolling the barrels to the opening. "On your head be it, if the king's full buttertubs and his best wine is pushed into the river for the Lake-men to feast on for nothing!"
roll-roll-rolling down the hole!
Heave ho! Splash plump !
Down they go, down they bump!
So they sang as first one barrel and then another rumbled to the dark opening and was pushed over into the cold water some feet below.
Some were barrels really empty, some were tubs neatly packed with a dwarf each; but down they all went, one after another, with many a clash and a bump, thudding on top of ones below, smacking into the water, jostling against the walls of the tunnel, knocking into one another, and bobbing away down the current.
It was just at this moment that Bilbo suddenly discovered the weak point in his plan. Most likely you saw it some time ago and have been laughing at him; but I don't suppose you would have done half as well yourselves in his place. Of course he was not in a barrel himself, nor was there anyone to pack him in, even if there had been a chance! It looked as if he would certainly lose his friends this time (nearly all of them had already disappeared through the dark trap-door), and get utterly left behind and have to stay lurking as a permanent burglar in the elf-caves for ever.
... Now the very last barrel was being rolled to the doors! In despair and not knowing what else to do, poor little Bilbo caught hold of it and was pushed over the edge with it. Down into the water he fell, splash! into the cold dark water with the barrel on top of him. He came up again spluttering and clinging to the wood like a rat, but for all his efforts he could not scramble on top. Every time he tried, the barrel rolled round and ducked him under again. It was really empty, and floated light as a cork. Though his ears were full of water, he could hear the elves still singing in the cellar above. Then suddenly the trapdoors fell to with a boom and their voices faded away. He was in the dark tunnel, floating in icy water, all alone-for you cannot count friends that are all packed up in barrels.
And the scene from the movie (not the book!) where the guards come rushing down to confront the incompetent butler and chief guard.
Bonus points if you got the Fili apple reference (from the next chapter) before this. :)
There you have it! If you are interested in seeing a few behind-the-scenes pics, please check out my Wip Journal.
Thank you very much for viewing, and thanks to the judges for their consideration!
You captured this part of the book perfectly! The two levels look incredible with all the detail you packed in! I really like the antlers on the wall, they are a nice touch. It's always great seeing a build from you!
Great seeing something from you again Mark! It certainly has been awhile (your last post was around the same time as my last one :P). But you definitely haven't lost any skill! Fabulous work here! I absolutely love all the details here. Like the shelves for the wine bottles... totally brilliant. I love the tree root/support beam things too. Overall a fantastic build. Best of luck mate!
The detail is amazing! I like how you thought out the technicalities for your build, like how a river needs to flow from SOMEWHERE. I am referencing the cavern that the water is flowing from. I really like the look. I'm not sure if you meant to build the cavern for technicality at all, but I really like it.
Amazing! So many details. Firstly, I love the fact you included the whole story along with pictures of each part. Here are just a few details that caught my eye: The elk antlers (look really cool), the wine spilling out of the glass, poor Bilbo trying to swim. Such nice work on the interior, the rocks, and the river. I doubt you'll need good luck in judging :)
MARK!!! I'm so glad to see an entry from you! This is really great! I love the story incorporated into the build! Only real Tolkien fans would know the Fili and the apple refrence! Great work on the curved stairway and the bottle shelf!