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Home > Movies > The Worst Jobs In The Multiverse #1: Gondorian Beacon Keeper

The Worst Jobs In The Multiverse #1: Gondorian Beacon Keeper

March 7th, 2013

You may loathe your job and despise your coworkers, but take solace in this: no matter what you do for a paycheck, somewhere out there in the infinity of worlds someone has it far, far worse.

Consider, if you will, the work of the beacon keepers of Gondor, one of the medieval-esque nations dotting Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

The entire point of the beacons–at least, as depicted in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film adaptations–is to summon help from the nation of Rohan. Telegraphs haven’t been invented, and you can’t depend on the eagles to show up and carry your message, so the only recourse for sending a quick S.O.S. to the horsemen of the Golden Hall is to construct a series of bonfires set many miles apart. And since they need to be seen from a long way off, the best places to put them are on mountaintops.

So, your job as Gondorian beacon keeper is to sit on a mountain and watch a pile of sticks. They need to be lit at a moment’s notice, so you’d better keep them dry. You’ll only know that it’s time to light them up when you see the next beacon in the chain aflame. And that other pile of sticks is on a distant peak, so you’d best keep an eye on the horizon.

Now, bear in mind that they are only to be lit in an emergency. (Important: do not set your torch too close to the beacon.) And, according to the Encylopedia of Arda, the only recorded incident of their use since they were constructed in year 2510 of the Third Age occurred on March 8, 3019…509 years later. So, odds are good that they’ll never be needed in your lifetime. Or in your father’s lifetime. Or your son’s lifetime. (You can pretty much bet that this is a job that gets passed down familial lines, same as male-pattern baldness.)

But when they’re needed, they’re needed NOW. So keep your torch lit, and keep watching that mountain waaaaaay over there.

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