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<   No. 47   2003-03-08   >

Comic #47

1 Kyros: Across the Bridge of Khazad-dûm! There lies the way out of the Mines of Moria! Make haste; the Balrog follows!
2 Mordekai: {gestures to large EXIT sign past the Bridge of Khazad-dûm}
2 Mordekai: If that Balrog can read, he'll follow us for sure.
3 Kyros: I'll handle the Balrog.
3 Kyros: I am a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Arnor, The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun.
4 Kyros: You! Shall not! Parse!

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Thanks to rain_man for the punchline.

Blame him.

2011-12-23 Rerun commentary: In the early days of the comic I acknowledged people who suggested gags for particular strips. The problem was that this encouraged people to send me stuff. It soon become too much to keep track of, let alone use it all. So I stopped including explicit acknowledgements of reader suggestions. Not out of ingratitude or a desire to specifically not acknowledge contributions, but simply to avoid encouraging people to send stuff and to keep the number of suggestions down to a level where it didn't actively interfere with making the comic.

Over the years I actually used only maybe 5% of all the reader suggestions I received. Most of them just ended up in my ever-growing ideas file, that continued to grow faster than I could use all the ideas within it. It ended up at almost 100 kilobytes of ASCII text.

Reader Max S. writes:
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf actually refers to himself as a 'wielder of the flame of Anor'. 'The flame of Anor' is not mentioned explicitly anywhere else in Tolkien's work, but it could refer to a number of things:
  1. Anor is an Elvish word meaning 'sun' *, thus 'the flame of Anor' = 'the light of the sun' (in opposition to the Balrog's darkness).
  2. Gandalf is referring to his Ring of Power Narya, 'the Ring of Fire'. Though given how he otherwise keeps his Ringbearer-ship a closely held secret, it would make little sense to suddenly announce it out loud to a Balrog and a couple hundred orcs with no prompting.
  3. Gandalf is referring to himself as a force for Good, a servant of Illúvatar and the Valar, who placed the 'secret fire' in the heart of the world.
(see Flame of Anor, on The One Wiki to Rule them all)

'Arnor', the word used in the comic, actually refers to the former Northern Kingdom of Men, fallen in the Third Age well before The Lord of the Rings but re-founded by Aragorn II Elessar after his coronation as King of the Reunited Kingdom (of Gondor and Arnor).

In addition, 'Udun' should more properly be spelt as 'Udûn', the Sindarin word for hell. It was an alternative name of Melkor's pre-First Age fortress of Utumno, as well as a valley in Mordor.

*Fun fact: Minas Tirith was once named Minas Anor, 'the Tower of the (Setting) Sun'. After its sister city on the opposite side of Ithilien - Minas Ithil, the Tower of the (Rising) Moon - fell to the Nazgûl (again, well before Sauron's public return) and became known as Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery, the people of Gondor abandoned their capital city of Osgiliath and set themselves up in its former Western outpost of Minas Anor - now renamed Minas Tirith, 'the Tower of the Guard'.

Well, what can I say, except that clearly Kyros was indeed referring to flame from the Northern Kingdom of Arnor. After all, being a northern kingdom, they have to have a lot of fires there to keep warm and cook their food and stuff. It's that flame Kyros is wielding!

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