Shadow and Flame: The Fear Factors in JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth - A Halloween Style Look at JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth

Ever feel a cold chill of anticipation go up and down your spine and then out of the corner of your eye you see a black gauntleted hand reaching out to rest upon your shoulder?

Okay, granted you probably would have to be a fantasy convention or it would need to be late October to have the above happen....but....hey, it's late October, Halloween night, in fact!

So, the scary elements of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth is forefront in my mind.   Just recently, I was having a conversation with a pal of mine, (who is also a Tolkien nut), where I was telling her how I've had about 4 or 5 Nazgul related nightmares in my life, post-Tolkien introduction, and about 3 Balrog related, horror movie genre, type dreams.

She simply asked me what I had been eating before going to bed.

I was stunned.

"You mean that you have never had a Middle Earth related or inspired nightmare?"

"No."

Just....no.

So, now I'm wondering, has anyone else had these nightmares? Or, am I horribly alone with this affliction? And, if so...why me?  Am I the only Tolkien fan in the world, who tonight, will probably really have a moment of genuine fear if a Nazgul shows up at her front door hissing, "Trickssss or treatsssss?"

I wondersss, I do precioussss...if anyone else gets the creeps when they see a Nazgul at a convention, or at Halloween? Do you take a step or two backwards when you see a 9 foot tall Sauron sauntering your way with a HUGE mace in his hand and the ONE RING blazing on his finger? Do you duck down the next aisle when you see three Uruk Hai orcses headed in your direction?  (All of the aforementioned happened at this past DragonCon!)

Can someone please tell me if  I'm  the only one who has this ingrained fear of nasty, evil orcses, Black Riders, Dark Lords, and Fire Demons?

I mean, my goodness people, you should have seen me drop my drink when the Balrog costume, COMPLETE WITH FOLDING AND UNFOLDING WINGS, stepped from the shadows at the LOTR Evening In Bree party at DragonCon! When we did our walkby, (I was a judge), you can bet your sweet Sam potato pie that I steered WELL clear of Mr. Balrog!

And the time that I was sitting down at a convention, minding my own Elfie business, when I sense this presence...and just as I look over my shoulder, a Nazgul gauntlet comes to rest on my shoulder!!! Yes, I nearly wet my...errr.....Elven tights.

So, here it is Halloween night. I sit here with the anticipation of the expectant knock upon the door and then the call of, "TRICK OR TREAT?!", and then my handing out gobs of Milk Duds and Three Musketeer bars, (I TRIED to find LOTR candy bars and failed; and Harry Potter candy is just too expensive! $3 Chocolate frogs? Not this Elf!)

As I hand out candy, I am also chatting with Ed Rodrigues, the GOTF President, and tell him that Big Bird just came to my door, (which he had in the form of about a 2 year old little boy who looked rather dazed and confused by all of the Halloween activity :). Ed responded, in true Tolkien fashion, "Big Bird??? Wraiths on wings???" I laughed, of course, but you know, that leads us back to Skeery Things of Middle Earth.

So, let's do one of those cutesey "advice" lists for Halloween based on Middle Earth's skeeriest critters, shall we?

1. If Riders in black appear in your neighborhood, or city, or state....heck, country....and begin inquiries that include your last name, LEAVE TOWN IMMEDIATELY. (hint: Don't wait for the wizard!)

2. If you take a walk in the woods and become lost and VERY sleepy, do NOT take a nap where any body part is touching a tree. Any type of tree. Especially Willow trees.

3. If you find yourself upon hilly ground and a dense fog is closing in rapidly, STAY PUT. DO NOT MOVE. SIT DOWN. And especially do NOT wander into any sort of dark, underground area.

4. If you happen to be in deep, Dwarven mines and hear the sound of drums, you're screwed. Bar the door, sit down, smoke a pipe of Longbottom Leaf, and try to relax. Note: If you have an Istari with you, change plan to RUN!

5. If a skinny, muttering creature offers to guide you through a dark, web filled mountain tunnel, just say no. Really. No. Trust us. Note: If you possess a Phial of Galadriel, proceed with EXTREME caution!

6. If you see a grove of dark trees that seem to have a voice of anger and, after a moment, appear to be moving......RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY.

7. If your friend puts on a plain, golden band and then vanishes into thin air, see #1.

8. If you happen upon a round, crystal ball and you have a weird, uncontrollable urge to grasp it and peer into it, even though you somehow know that it's wrong...have a Pint and/or a bit of Longbottom Leaf before you do. If you're a Hobbit, see #1 as well.

9. In general, all screeching, winged, smelly, flying critters should be avoided. Size does not matter.

10. If you stumble into a forest and are bound and blindfolded by a really rude, unshaven fellow with a white tree on his tunic, who apparently has a HUGE chip on his shoulder, and he threatens to shoot and kill your travel guide......wake up: it's just a nightmare :)

TRICK OR TREAT?!  Happy Halloween!

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