Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tolkien Week Day Seven

The quote for day seven of Tolkien Week comes from the conclusion of Tolkien's 1938 lecture, "On Fairy Stories" (here from p.389 of Tales from the Perilous Realm).

"But in God's Kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small. Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still go on, and should go on. The Evangelium [Gospel message]has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the 'happy ending'. The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed. So great is the bounty with which he has been treated that he may now, perhaps fairly dare to guess that in Fantasy he may actually assist in the effoliation and multiple enrichment of creation. All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.

Today's musical selection is Annie Lennox singing "Into the West" from Howard Shore's soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tolkien Week Day Six

The quote for day six of Tolkien Week comes the story "Smith of Wootton Major" (in this case from pp. 257-258 of the collection Tales from the Perilous Realm).

"In Faery at first he walked for the most part quietly among the lesser Folk and gentler creatures in the woods and meads of fair valleys and by the bright waters in which at night strange stars shone and at dawn the gleaming peaks of far mountains were mirrored. Some of his briefer visits he spent looking only at one tree or one flower; but later in longer journeys he had seen things of both beauty and terror that he could not clearly remember nor report to his friends, though he knew that they dwelt deep in his heart. But some things he did not forget, and they remained in his mind as wonders and mysteries that he often recalled."

Tolkien wrote "Smith of Wootton Major" in 1965 and 1966 and it was published in 1967, about six years before his death. In many ways it is a bookend to "Leaf by Niggle" as a fictional exploration of Tolkien's imaginative life, but where Niggle focuses on the frustration and futility of work here redeemed by its consummation in Heaven, Smith focuses on the goodness and wonder of the imagination, and the entering into another world in this life, and on its inevitable fading and receding before time and a new generation. Smith is a deep, sad, and joyful tale and is probably my favorite of Tolkien's non-Middle Earth works.

Today's musical selection is "As I Walked Tiredly Toward the West"  from The Middle Earth Album by Glass Hammer.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday Haiku Tolkien Week Edition

A winding road stretched
Out before the eager feet,
One man's fertile mind.

Elf and Dwarf passing
As one through cavern and wood,
Friends beyond the Sea.

Tolkien Week Day Four

From The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter One, "Minas Tirith".

"Yet in [Gandalf's] face [Pippin] saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy; a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth."

We have two audio clips today. The first is a recording of the Professor reading excerpts from the Lord of the Rings. He was recorded by George Sayer in 1952.

The second is today's musical selection, Lighting the Beacons, from Howard Shore's soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tolkien Week Day Three

Our quote for today comes from The Two Towers, book three, chapter seven, "Helm's Deep".

"Behold the White Rider!" cried Aragorn. "Gandalf is come again!"
"Mithrandir, Mithrandir!" said Legolas, "This is wizardry indeed! Come! I would look on this forest, ere the spell changes."
The hosts of Isengard roared, swaying this way and that, turning from fear to fear. Again the horn sounded from the tower. Down through the breach of the Dike charged the king's company. Down from the hills leaped Erkenbrand, lord of Westfold. Down leaped Shadowfax, like a deer that runs surefooted in the mountains. The White Rider was upon them, and the terror of his coming filled the enemy with madness. The wild men fell on their faces before him. The Orcs reeled and screamed and cast aside both sword and spear. Like a black smoke driven by a mounting wind they fled. Wailing they passed under the waiting shadow of the trees; and from that shadow none ever came again.

Today's musical selection is Treebeard's Song, performed by Christopher Lee with The Tolkien Ensemble from the album At Dawn in Rivendell.