Winter 2017 Now Available!

MiddleEarthRangers.org has graciously provided this space for the Middle Earth Reenactment Society for purposes of archiving/presenting their newsletter, and to keep our community informed on Society-specific happenings.

Moderator: Greg

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Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Greg » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:03 am

Greetings!

The editorial staff and members of the Middle-earth Reenactment Society are pleased to present this year's winter edition of Edge of the Wild, with its focus on the Third Age Dúnedain in the fallen North Kingdom. Being members of this particular forum, the content should be right on point with your interests.

Feel free to share, and don't forget to email us at middleearthreenactmentsociety@gmail.com with your email address if you'd like to subscribe!

Winter 2017-18 Edition
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Harper » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:20 am

---

My compliments to the editorial staff and members of the Middle-earth Reenactment Society for putting out such a fine edition.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Elleth » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:29 am

Oh my goodness....

... I think this is the best one yet. Very well done!
Gosh, even aside from the article awesomeness it's just visually stunning!

SO WORTH THE WAIT THANK YOU!
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Taurinor » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:01 pm

Awesome! Well done, guys!

Elleth wrote:Gosh, even aside from the article awesomeness it's just visually stunning!


Totally agree - it reminds me of exhibit guides I've gotten from museums, with pictures of artifacts and scenes depicting their use.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Iodo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:51 pm

Amazing articles, I enjoyed reading it, espeshaly about small objects with storys, that's given me ideas, I think I will be getting some of them :mrgreen:

Why so spesificly no 'Dwarven rangers' ? Not that I ever have any intention of joining anyway, a kit that good is a bit beyond my level of dedication/current amount of spear cash :lol: I'm just interested
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Taurinor » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:03 pm

Iodo wrote:Why so spesificly no 'Dwarven rangers' ? Not that I ever have any intention of joining anyway, a kit that good is a bit beyond my level of dedication/current amount of spear cash :lol: I'm just interested


I think that was just the example that was chosen at random - it could have just as easily have said "no hobbit Rangers", "no Rohirrim Rangers", etc.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Kortoso » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:33 pm

Perhaps this is a matter that may be discussed on a separate thread, but...

I spent some years in a historical reenactment group, based originally in the UK, where specific displays were put on for English Heritage. The impressions had to be museum quality, since specific events at specific time periods were being presented to the public.

Now it was being "ported" to the United States, where there was no English Heritage, no specific events or cultures for any tourists. Questions arose, such as "can we represent non-British cultures of this time period?" and "can a person who is not racially Anglo-Saxon play along as well?"

I would imagine a fantasy-based group would have a little more latitude. In my group I have people who are ethnically from India and China. How can they represent a Ranger persona? Of course, Tolkien says that the Dunedain are tall, dark-haired and grey eyed. What can a short, blonde, brown-eyed person do? Can a woman portray a Ranger? It's not mentioned in the books.
There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Elleth » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:50 pm

First - the MERS standards are NOT AT ALL a requirement for participating on the site, for being part of our community here, or anything like that. We all do this for fun, not to staff a museum. If all you want to do is cruise the ren faire in a polyester Halloween Aragorn costume then come back here to chat - HAVE AT IT. This is a hobby for having fun, and no one's getting booted off the forum for their tastes. I know we've some members who arrived here specifically because they tired of stitch counting in historical reenactment, and I hope no one feels the same pressure here.

That said, the standards are just for those members of MERS who want to up their own game. (MERS overlaps membership w/ MERF, but it's not the same entity)
The standards you see are derived from long experience in various historical groups, faire, etc - and knowing the kinds of time-and-money-wasting rabbit trails newbies tend to end up on without a road map to follow.

Iodo - Taurinor is absolutely correct - that was by no means aimed at you (or Dwarves) personally. It's more a general caution against treating the various cultures as a buffet to pick favorite pieces from. Think of that particular caution as speaking to the "Trekkies with tricorders at the Ren Faire" phenomenon. It might be fun for one, but exotic combinations sabotage the gestalt impression. "Common" is the watchword in this context.

Anyhow, I'm as guilty as anyone - my own stuff needs purging of most of its elven-inspired elements, and frankly for MERS purposes I should be ditching my woods trousers for a gown.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Elleth » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:20 pm

Oh - also Iodo, I'd say don't get too caught up on labels.

Are there Dwarven Rangers in Tolkien's Middle-earth? No. The Rangers are Dunedain.

Are there Dwarves with cloaks and bows and swords and spears who patrol the wastes to hunt the enemy? Who any lover of generic fantasy would call "ranger" to look at them?
Surely - Erebor must have such guards, whatever name they have for them. Likewise the dwarven traders on the Great East Road almost certainly have outriders looking after their security.

So even keeping to the Khazad, you're not at all out of luck. :mrgreen:
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Taurinor » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:11 pm

Kortoso wrote:I would imagine a fantasy-based group would have a little more latitude. In my group I have people who are ethnically from India and China. How can they represent a Ranger persona? Of course, Tolkien says that the Dunedain are tall, dark-haired and grey eyed. What can a short, blonde, brown-eyed person do? Can a woman portray a Ranger? It's not mentioned in the books.

I'd like to echo Elleth's statement that the standards are there for those who are interested in them, and folks who aren't interested should feel free to ignore them! MERS =/= MERF, as Elleth said.

With regards to your specific questions, Rangers are described thusly in "The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 9: At the Sign of The Prancing Pony" -
But in the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin. They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree and were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the languages of beasts and birds. They roamed at will southwards, and eastwards even as far as the Misty Mountains; but they were now few and rarely seen.

The men of Bree are specifically described as short, so it could be that even middling height folks would fit that description, and an argument could be made that the folks in your group of Indian and Chinese descent would make MORE accurate Rangers than folks of Western European descent, not less! Butterbur also describes Aragorn as "one of the wandering folk -Rangers we call them." Wandering folk, not men - there's room for women in "folk".

In any case, the standards do not assign specific genders or skin-tones or the like to different impressions. If a short, fair woman wants to portray a Ranger, nothing in the standards prevents her from doing just that! Not allowing hybrid personas helps with that as well - if someone is wearing "rusty green and brown" garments decorated with Numenorian motifs, carrying a sword and a bedroll, and smoking a pipe, they are definitely a Ranger!
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Iodo » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:50 pm

Amazing information guy's :P don't wory, I think the news letter's brilliant, I'm not offended and have read most posts on this forum and seen examples of a huge range of different kits. I am just going to carry on making stuff like I have been, its what I like. Only hand sowing isn't my style, although I can and have made whole tunics by hand before I had a machine, knowing that I can is good enough for me.
My charictor isn't really a ranger by the middle earth definition and I have given that some thought, really I guess I'm closer to a dawarven equivalent of a bounder, after all, someone has to keep an eye on the land around the lonely mountain.
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Aragorn: It's the beards.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Elleth » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:24 pm

Really I guess I'm closer to a dawarven equivalent of a bounder, after all, someone has to keep an eye on the land around the lonely mountain.


That is an awesome jumping off point for a persona. :)

Taurinor - I'm going to respectfully disagree with you in part (I think), but I want to clarify it's my own personal opinion and not any policy of MERS.
(I don't even know if I'm officially a member - I don't think I am :? )

Anyhow, I think good reenactment is somewhere on the continuum between make-believe and central casting.

On the one hand, ANYONE can dress in green and brown and play ranger. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that and it's awesome. This is a great hobby, and I get a giggle seeing pictures of five-foot-nothin' Japanese girls dressed up playing Aragorn. I am delighted to see anyone playing and having fun in this world. It can be bleak enough as it is - who am I to stop people from having whatever fun they like?

On the other, I think there's no sin in saying some people are just born to look a particular part more than others. I've seen mumbldy-mumble too many years and eaten too many pies to make a good elfmaid, not matter now fun I'd find the role. I think absent the VERY rare (probably disguised) exception, Rangers - as professional warriors in a medieval context using swords and bows and great upper body strength - are universally men. Fit rugged men, at that.

Dunedain "civilian" is a much looser standard, but to do that perfectly I'd have to break out the hair dye or say I'm part Rhudaran native.

None of that means I can't take a bow into the woods myself and play orc-hunt all I want - just that I'd not present myself at a formal reenactment as a Ranger any more than I'd show up at a VietNam reenactment and say I'm a Green Beret.
Just because I don't fit a particular ideal doesn't mean I wish to redefine it to include myself.

Can an Indian woman portray a Dunedain Ranger? ABSOLUTELY HAVE FUN.
Will she be more convincing as a trader's daughter from Far Harad, perhaps trapped in Belfalas by corsairs? Yeah. She would.

It's up to each of how "real" we want to make our own impressions. A judgement call between what's fun and what we can pull off.
And of course, all of us being merely human rather than actually dwarves or elves or whatever, we've extra constraints.

Ultimately though it's a game. It's for fun.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Taurinor » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:49 pm

Elleth wrote:Taurinor - I'm going to respectfully disagree with you in part (I think), but I want to clarify it's my own personal opinion and not any policy of MERS.


Haha, no, your personal opinion is very similar to my personal opinion in a lot of respects! I think the Professor is more vague about skin-tone than your examples imply, which I am willing to take full advantage of in the name of inclusivity, but given when and where he lived, I can hazard a guess as to what he had in mind.

When I found this forum, I was super-psyched to portray a Ranger! I started assembling my kit, but something was bothering me - no matter how book-accurate I made my kit, it wouldn't change the fact that I am 5'2" and incredibly near-sighted (double digit prescription). I'm also not terribly rugged or martially inclined (although I'm well on my way to be being able to pull my 105# warbow back to full draw - hoping to build up the strength this winter to shoot it properly in the spring). That's why I decided to pursue a Breelander persona instead - better casting, as you put it. I wanted to be as book accurate as possible, for me, not to fit anyone else's expectations, and that meant changing my plans. I was disappointed about it at first, but now I really enjoy portraying a Breelander, I think more than I would have enjoyed portraying a Ranger.

HOWEVER, if someone had told me I couldn't be a Ranger because I was too short and blind as a bat, I probably would have abandoned ME reenacting entirely and missed out on connecting with some really great folks! I think that's why the standards focus on kit accuracy and persona research, rather than dictating who can play what.
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Elleth » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:27 am

HOWEVER, if someone had told me I couldn't be a Ranger because I was too short and blind as a bat, I probably would have abandoned ME reenacting entirely and missed out on connecting with some really great folks! I think that's why the standards focus on kit accuracy and persona research, rather than dictating who can play what.


Oh, absolutely agreed! And I'm so glad you stuck around.

:)
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Re: Winter 2017 Now Available!

Postby Greg » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:32 am

Yes, as Elleth and Taurinor have summarized, Middle-earth Reenacting is for everyone. I also want to make it abundantly clear that this forum has not and will not be adopting any form of standards for dress, construction, materials, or otherwise 'requirements' for Middle-earth kit re-creation.

The Middle-earth Reenactment Society is a separate entity whose members enjoy this forum as a happy home to discuss these pursuits in. The standards shown in the newsletter are specific to Society events, but do not necessarily even cover the infrequent 'moots' that a few of us hold in the Midwest. The society standards are set in place to demonstrate a certain level of commitment to authenticity along the lines of what we have deemed to be accurate to the text. This means that there can easily be another person out there who believes that they have created a 100% authentic Ranger kit that is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like my own. While such differences would be excellent material to launch into a friendly discussion over different interpretations, that is still all that they would be: interpretations.

The reason that the society has chosen to publish these standards are to show would-be interested persons as well as educated Tolkien Scholars just what exactly our commitment to the text looks like, so people can:
a) decide if they are wanting to pursue membership themselves
b) decide if they would like us to attend and/or present at their event
...and other useful tasks that having a kit based on a set standard would allow. The standards also allow us, the society, to carefully monitor the material that we allow to be published in our newsletter, so that everything stays cohesive and doesn't stray in any direction too far from our central interpretation of Middle-earth.

In the past (a long, long time ago) standards were discussed on this forum, and were wholly rejected on the premise that this forum is for everyone, and not in any way meant to be exclusive.
Hear this now: nothing has changed.

Thank you all so much for the kind words in regards to this season's edition. We had a blast putting it together. Now get out there and get some snow under your soles.
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.

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