Frodo, meet Prof. Harold Hill. Harold, Frodo.

By Brenda Clough

When the first Lord of the Rings movie came out in 2001, it generated a huge number of parodies, fan posts, and general fluff.  I wrote this at that time.  I ran across it recently, and cannot resist sharing it again.

Lotr[The setting is the Last Homely House east of the Sea, where Elrond Half-Elven has convened the Council.]

GANDALF rises to address the Free Peoples of Middle Earth.  He looks like Ian McKellan but sounds like Robert Preston:

Well, either you are closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of a Ring in Middle Earth.
Well, ya got trouble, my friends.
Right here, I say trouble, right here in Middle Earth.
Why sure I’m a wizard, certainly mighty proud to say it.
I consider the hours I spent with a wand in my hand are golden!
Help you cultivate horse sense, and a cool hand, and a keen eye.
Did you ever take and try and give a hot-foot
To trolls in a three-way attack?
But just as I say, it takes judgment, brains and maturity to score in an orc raid
I say that any boob can take and shove a Ring in his pocket
And I call that reckless!
The first big step on the road to the depths of degrada —
I say, first miruvor from a teaspoon, then ale from a pint tankard,
And the next thing you know your hobbit is toting a Ring in a mithril coat!
Listenin’ to some black-clad Rider, hearin’ him tell about winged beasts —
Not a wholesome riding steed, no
But a beast with bat-wings and a bad overbite!
Like to see some stuck-up Rohirrim sitting on it?
Makes your blood boil, well I should say!

Now, dwarves, let me show you what I mean.
You got one, two, three four, six, seven Rings for the dwarf lords.
Rings that mark the difference between a dwarf and a slave
With a capital S and that’s after R and that stands for Ring!

And all during the Third Age Elrond, your youth’ll be frittering away,
I say your young Elves will be fritterin’,
Fritterin’ away their daylight, moonlight, starlight too.
Get the Ring in the pocket!
Never mind gettin’ the lembas baked or the hithlain spun or the armor polished.
Till your elders are caught without a ship at the Grey Havens!
And that’s trouble, oh you got lots and lots of trouble
I’m thinkin’ of the Elves in Lorien an’ Mirkwood
Young ones, borrowin’ Dad’s Ring after school!

Ya got trouble, Elves, right here in Rivendell
With a capital T and that’s after R and that stands for Ring!

Now I know all you hobbits got no truck with Sauron.
I’m gonna be perfectly frank.
Would you like to know what kind ‘o conversation goes on
While they’re loafing with these Ringwraiths?
They’ll be tryin’ on black cloaks, tryin’ out Morgul blades
Braggin’ all about how they’re gonna help track down the One by sniffin’!
Now one fine night they leave the Shire,
Headin’ for a showdown at Osgiliath
Libertine orcs and blastin’ fire and batterin’ rams
Shameless aggression that’ll grab Gondor and Rohan
Send ’em into a spiral of destruction!
Friends, the idle hobbit is the devil’s playground!

Oh, we got trouble!

Right here in Middle Earth!

Right here in Middle Earth!

With a capital T and that’s after R which stands for Ring!

It’s that One Ring!

We surely got trouble!

We surely got trouble!

Right here in Middle Earth!

Right here!

Gotta figure out a way to keep the Swertings in Harad!

Our children’s children gonna have trouble!

Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble!

Free Folk of Middle Earth! Heed the warning before it’s too late!
Watch for the tell-tale sign of corruption! The moment that hobbit leaves the Shire,
Does he buckle his sword below the weskit? Is there a nicotine stain on his index finger?
A Palantir hidden in the saddle bag? Is he starting to memorize verse from the Red Book of Westmarch?
Are certain words creeping into his conversation? Words like ‘Grey Havens’ And ‘Lothlorien’?
Well, if so my friends,
Ya got trouble,
Right here in Middle Earth! With a capital “T”
And that’s after R
And that stands for Ring!

We’ve surely got trouble! Right here in Rivendell!

Remember the Maiar, Elendil and the Furthest West!

Our children’s children gonna have trouble!

Oh, we’ve got trouble. We’re in terrible, terrible trouble.
That Ring with the glowing words is a devil’s tool!
Oh yes we got trouble, trouble, trouble!

Trouble, trouble trouble!

GANDALF (winding up for the finale):
With a capital T!

With a capital T!

And that’s after R!

And that’s after R!

(Everyone suddenly falls silent except for FRODO, who finds himself singing solo):
And that stands for Ring!

ELROND (speaking without missing a beat):
If I understand aright all I have heard, I think this task is appointed for you, Frodo.


My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Frodo, meet Prof. Harold Hill. Harold, Frodo. — 4 Comments

  1. Of course, for those who don’t remember The Music Man, this is Gandalf as his enemies would paint him (especially if he had modern political-type enemies). Which is to say, Harold Hill was a con man.