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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tolkien Week Day Two

Today's quote is from The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter Seven, The Mirror of Galadriel.

"Dark is the water of Kheled-zaram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nala, and fair were the many pillared halls of Khazad-dum in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone." She looked upon Gimli, who sat glowering and sad, and she smiled. And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer.

He rose clumsily and bowed in dwarf-fashion, saying, "Yet more fair is the living land of Lorien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all the jewels that lie beneath the earth."

Today's musical clip is the Song of the Eldar in Exile, from the album Starlit Jewel, by Broceliande.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tolkien Week Day One

Yesterday I learned that today marks the beginning of Tolkien Week. I thought in honor of the week I would post a favorite quote from one of the Professor's books and a piece of Tolkien related music each day of the week. If the idea of "spoiler" can be properly said to apply to works that have been in publication for more than a few decades, and if you are concerned they might give away important plot points that you have not yet encountered, don't read the quotes and just enjoy the linked musical selections.

Today's quote comes from The Hobbit, chapter 18, The Return Journey.

Bilbo knelt on one knee filled with sorrow. "Farewell, King under the Mountain!" he said. "This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils--that has been more than any Baggins deserves."

"No!" said Thorin. "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!!"

For music I link this version of Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold, performed by Peter Hollins.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wednesday Haiku Can Even Happen on Friday

This is based on an observation and suggestion by Donna Stevenson:

La Nina forebodes
A long, cold, snowy winter?!?
Boys, get yer shovels!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Wednesday Haiku - Thursday Edition

Alack! Another week wherein I forgot to post after a Wednesday night meeting. Moreover, I wrote this one about a month ago. I doesn't describe yesterday's rainy afternoon at all. On the other hand, it is a haiku posted in the middle of the week.

Rasping vibrates
Late afternoon oak shade.
Cicada praise band.