May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
Dafydd Illian raises a hand in greeting. "Welcome back to Ardolindi," he says, "which is the title I'm going to keep on using even though NTV don't want me to. Today we're going to be listening to a song many of you may recognise; in fact, it was probably your very first exposure to the musical heritage of Middle-earth."
You walk a lonely road
Oh, how far you are from home
He pauses, cocking his head. "Assuming you don't count the instrumentals in the rest of the song," he clarifies. "Or Bilbo's Walking Song. Or the various other songs on the soundtrack of the Fellowship of the Ring movie…" He purses his lips. "But if I was going to be that picky, I'd be treating Artanis' opening monologue as a very slow rap song and talking about that. I'd really rather not."
May it be Shadow's call
Will fly away
May it be you journey on
To light the day
Dafydd nods at the camera. "May It Be is a song for Frodo Baggins, of whom you may have heard. I've always imagined it being sung by Artanis - that's Galadriel to you, of course. It has some of her signature themes in it - quite a few of them, in fact." He starts ticking points off on his fingers. "The 'evening star' is Eärendil, whose light she gave to him; it's also a reference to that strange decision they made in the movies to have Arwen Undómiel - Galadriel's granddaughter, the Evenstar - somehow pass on her… immortality? Magic? I don't even know what they were aiming for, to be honest."
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun
The elf raises another finger. "The lines about Frodo's heart being true, and the lonely road, reflect that little talk Galadriel gave about the quest being on a knife-edge." A third finger goes up. "The use of Quenya is a big clue - Galadriel is the only elf in the trilogy to use Quenya at any length." Dafydd sniffs. "Which says volumes about Miss High-and-Noble in and of itself, but you don't want to hear any of that family drama." He smiles at the camera, but there is something cold about the expression.
Believe and you will find your way
A promise lives within you now
"Fourthly and finally, the title itself." Dafydd folds his arms, tugging his cloak around himself in what looks like an unconscious gesture. "The closing line of Galadriel's Quenya song, which was also sung to Frodo, reads 'Nai hiruvalyё Valimar' - 'may it be that thou shalt find Valimar'." He smiles again, and all trace of the previous chill is gone. "This song wasn't written by Artanis, or any of the Eldar. But… it could have been, I think." Now his smile curls upwards into a grin that is almost a smirk. "I mean, not by me, or any of the other greats… but it is elvish enough. And in this modern age, from a mortal, that is high praise indeed."
A promise lives within you now...
Constance opened the front door, and was met by a glare from her husband.
"Can't you see I'm filming here?"
Constance waved to the camera. "I can now. What's this about, more of that Nutmeg stuff?"
Dafydd clicked the camcorder off. "The opening titles they slapped on Ardolindi-"
"Songs of Arda," Constance put in helpfully, earning herself another glare.
"-on Ardolindi were abysmal. They had the wrong name for the show, for one."
Constance did her best to hide her smile. "I think you've lost that argument, love."
"Sorry, have you read my family history? We don't know how to lose an argument." Dafydd waved his hand through the air. "But even ignoring the title for the moment… what was the rest of it all about?"
Constance thought back to the airing of the first episode of Dafydd's series on NTV. "I think it was supposed to be a flyover of Middle-earth," she said. "I don't know why they didn't use actual footage, but the animation was okay, I thought."
"Connie, they had lions and emus wandering in Beleriand. They had… I don't even know what that tree with the pink bulbs was supposed to be." Dafydd brushed an errant lock of hair away from his face with his wrist. "It was blindingly obvious that the 'artist' has not only never been to Arda, but had also never seen a living plant."
This time Constance couldn't contain her laughter. "Oh, sweet Nienna, look at you! You look like you're about to burst into tears!"
Dafydd folded his arms and scowled. "It's not funny."
"Yes, it is." Constance shut the door behind her and walked over to her husband. "So you're working up your own version?"
"Yes." Dafydd waved at their intricately-carved front doors. "I thought I'd start with a wide view of the doorway, then zoom in on Smaug there in the middle."
"Who I see you've polished up for the occasion."
"Right. Then the doors open, revealing-"
"A pigsty of a living room." Constance shook her head. "Dafydd, if you're going to show off our house, at least try to tidy up first!"
"Can I finish?" Dafydd nodded at the doors. "I'm going to use the computer to put a map of Arda 'behind' the doors, with the title overlaid on it. You see? No tidying needed."
"Hrm." Constance glanced sidelong at him. "The title… Songs of Arda, right?"
Dafydd's lips stretched in a lazy smile. "Now, why would you think that?"
Disclaimer: May It Be belongs to Enya. 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: Artanis is one of the names of Galadriel - and probably the one Maglor knew her best by. I don't know if anyone else has speculated about Galadriel being the singer of May It Be, but I think it makes a lot of sense. And I agree with Dafydd that it's a very Eldarin song.
Nutmeg TV have clearly been taking their cues from the cover of the first American edition of The Hobbit, of which J.R.R. Tolkien said:
"I must ask this about the vignette: what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs?"
As for the Illian house's front doors, those were traded from Agent Supernumerary in exchange for a clutch of fire lizard eggs.