1272: Shadowfacts

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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'Look to my coming on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the east.' 'And look to the west to see our shadows!'"
Title text: 'Look to my coming on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the east.' 'And look to the west to see our shadows!'"


The name of the horse, Shadowfacts, is a pun on Shadowfax, who is the horse whom Gandalf rides in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. As its name suggests, this horse volunteers facts about shadows. There is a possible deeper level to the pun, referring to the BBC's Ceefax system.

The three parts of a shadow are the umbra, penumbra and antumbra.

In the title text, Gandalf continues to speak, and is interrupted again by the horse with another fact about shadows. "Look to my coming on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the east." is what Gandalf said before the battle of Helm's Deep when he went to get reinforcements.


[Gandalf is sitting on a white horse in front of three Hobbits.]
Gandalf: This is Shadowfacts, lord of all horses, and he -
Shadowfacts: The outer part of the shadow is called the penumbra!
Gandalf: Shut up.

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Reminds me of the Cat Facts meme. --Rael (talk) 05:11, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Wow, a talking horse! That puts poor old Bill The Pony in the shade... 08:32, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Ok, I'm done with the internet for today. I don't think anything else is going to match this pun. 14:38, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Is this the same horse from Correct Horse Battery Staple?

That battery staple casts a shadow. --Rael (talk) 16:41, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Hang on, hobbits? I know they look short, but when is this supposed to happen? Wouldn't Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas be more likely choices, given the chronology? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yeah but they're clearly not as differentiated as Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas would be, and if they were human/elf height then Gandalf and Shadowfacts would be enormous. -Pennpenn 01:10, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Is that a LEGO Gandalf? Porkypine (talk) 17:49, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Shoulda had a LEGO Legolas in there tooDiszy (talk) 14:22, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Nitpicking: changed "trilogy" to "novel". Trilogy is a set of three novels with a common theme or characters and each novel from the set can be read separately without knowing the other ones. The Lord of the Rings is a single novel (divided into six books, by the way) that just happened to be published in three volumes originally. The tradition is often maintained, but often not. You can hardly understand what's going on in The Two Towers (the second volume) without reading The Fellowship of the Ring first. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

If we're being picky, Tolkien said LOTR was "not a novel, but an heroic romance, a much older and quite different variety of literature". [Letter 329] 18:01, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

I removed this line about BBC Ceefax: "It is possibly related to the BBC's Ceefax system, but this is not as likely". I can't see any link between the comic and Ceefax. If anyone disagrees, reinstate it, but please explain how it is relevant. --Pudder (talk) 12:13, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

I suppose it could be relevant to mention the etymology of the original name. Shadowfax is a phonetic adaptation of Old English Sceadufæx "shadow-(colored) mane/coat" (though in the movies his hair is very much white). LOTR typically uses Old English to represent the language of the Rohirrim. 18:05, 9 October 2015 (UTC)