The Queen of Light took her bow,
And then she turned to go,
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom,
And walked the night alone.
"Now, this is an interesting one."
Dafydd Illian switches off the computer monitor and turns to the camera. "This song, The Battle of Evermore, isn't a strict retelling of historical events. It's more 'inspired by' The Lord of the Rings, and specifically the battle of the Pelennor. The title even half-rhymes."
He waves at the computer. "Take those opening lines: they could be talking about Eowyn and Aragorn parting in Dunharrow - or they could be referencing the decline of the Eldar in the person of Galadriel, and Frodo's journey into the dark."
The dark Lord rides in force tonight,
And time will tell us all.
"There just isn't enough information." Dafydd shrugs. "And that's actually all right. We had plenty of non-literal songs back home. It just feels odd to have a mortal doing that about Middle-earth."
I hear the horses' thunder down in the valley below,
I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon, waiting for the eastern glow.
"I mean, take that line. Avalon? Does he mean Avallonë? Should we expect the Lonely Isle to march on Mordor?" Dafydd smiles. "No, surely not. It's a reference to modern mythology, and the 'Avalon' name - 'Isle of Apples' - is referenced a few more times in the next lines."
The apples turn to brown and black,
The tyrant's face is red.
"Yes, like that." Dafydd nods appreciatively to the computer. "Did they grow apples in the Pelennor? I don't know, I never visited. But the line conveys the idea of the farmlands being overrun by orcs, while calling back to the 'Avalon' name."
He chuckles. "It's quite clever, really, mixing the old with the new, Arda with Arthur. More songs could stand to be written like this."
Oh, well, the night is long
The beats of time pass slow,
Tired eyes on the sunrise
Waiting for the eastern glow.
"It's a balancing act, though," the elf admits, looking thoughtful. "You have to be sure to give enough specifics that people know what you're actually talking about - the Dawnless Day in this section, for instance - but also be vague enough that they can interpret." He cocks his head. "Wait for it…"
The drums will shake the castle wall,
The Ringwraiths ride in black…
Dafydd nods. "That's a literal reference to the breaking of the gates of Minas Tirith. No real room for argument there: the Lord of the Nazgul riding in black to the sound of the drums, as fake!Grond shakes the walls. Whereas this next passage…"
Oh dance in the dark of night,
Sing to the morning light.
The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back.
Bring it back.
"The first part is clear enough - the morning brings relief from the battle, and from the oppressive darkness. But the magic runes? Are they the inscription on the One Ring - in gold, but not designed to bring balance? Or are they written on Merry's blade - not gold, but forged of old to destroy the Witch King?"
Dafydd smiles and holds out his hand, palm upwards. "Ultimately? It doesn't matter. That's the beauty of a song like this: it can mean whatever you choose it to mean." He chuckles. "Provided you don't choose something stupid, obviously. This has been Ardolindi, I'm Dafydd Illian, see you next time."
At last the sun is shining,
The clouds of blue roll by,
With flames from the dragon of darkness,
The sunlight blinds his eyes…
"This should interest you."
Constance tapped the computer screen. "ICEP message from Steve. He's just run into a new recruit from Tol Eressëa."
Dafydd cocked his head. "I'm… not sure why that would be interesting to me, Connie," he said carefully. "Eressëa was empty when I lived in Aman, and I don't think any of my family have moved there."
Constance rolled her eyes. "At least you're disguising your patronising reminders of Middle-earth history a bit better these days… my love."
Dafydd snorted. "I shouldn't have to give them at all," he said. "I don't forget your world's historical events, do I?"
Constance pursed her lips. "There was that time you were convinced the USA was founded by Vikings…"
"And it was." Dafydd leant back in his chair. "It's hardly my fault you come from a less interesting universe than the one I studied."
"You. That. You. Ugh." Constance turned back to the computer. "Fine. You don't want to know, I won't tell you."
"Fine." Dafydd picked up his pen and drew a few more graceful notes on the sheet of paper in front of him. Then he frowned, sighed, and looked up at his wife. "... okay, I-"
"No, I can't do it." Constance swivelled her chair back round. "You- oh, you were saying?"
"... nothing. Go on."
Constance eyed him suspiciously, then shrugged. "Okay, so I said she's from Tol Eressëa, yes? But what I didn't get round to telling you is that she used to live in the Cottage of Lost Play."
Dafydd looked puzzled for a moment, but then his eyes widened. "She's… from the Book of Lost Tales?"
"Mm-hmm." Constance smirked. "You can see why I thought you'd be interested."
"Moderately," Dafydd admitted. "I've never met anyone from the ancillary canon before."
"You still haven't," Constance noted. "Also: ancillary canon? I thought it was just an incomplete form of yours."
"Most of the historical stories are," Dafydd said. "BoLT is a special case, though; it's a nearly-complete world in itself, which varies dramatically from mine." He frowned and looked towards the bookshelf. "I wonder if she's… you said she's elvish, right?"
"I didn't, and I don't know," Constance said. "Her name's Norlossë, though, so I'm guessing she is. Steve says she's quite short."
"She would be." Dafydd hopped off the settee and grabbed the first volume of the History of Middle-earth. "I wonder if…?" Flicking the book open, he started to read, still standing in the middle of the room.
Constance watched him for a moment, then chuckled. "Right," she said,more to herself than to her oblivious husband. "I'll come back when you're done, then…"
Disclaimer: The Battle of Evermore belongs to Led Zeppelin. Middle-earth and everything in it was created by J.R.R. Tolkien. The PPC is the work of Jay and Acacia. Dafydd and his family belong to me and Kaitlyn.
Author's Note: I first encountered this song in an entirely different canon, as the soundtrack to a Doctor Who fan-video of the end of the Last Great Time War. That video is long gone, and rendered wildly inaccurate by more recent episodes of the show, but the song stuck with me.
It's a good song. ^_^