Eleventy-six!

I can’t let Saturday, January 3rd, come to a close without shouting,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, J.R.R. TOLKIEN!!

He’s 116 today.

I think I’ll read some more of The Children of Hurin tonight. Which (pulling foot from mouth) is actually pretty good.

What, in your opinion, is the moment in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings that deserves more attention or appreciation than it gets? Put a spotlight on it for us.

Me? I love this, from Chapter 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring:

Just over the top of the hill they came on the patch of fir-wood. Leaving the road they went into the deep resin-scented darkness of the trees…. Soon they had a merry crackle of flame at the foot of a large fir-tree and they sat round it for a while, until they began to nod. Then, each in an angle of the great tree’s roots, they curled up in their cloaks and blankets, and were soon fast asleep. They set no watch; even Frodo feared no danger yet, for they were still in the heart of the Shire. A few creatures came and looked at them when the fire had died away. A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed.

‘Hobbits!’ he thought. ‘Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There’s something mighty queer behind this.’

Little touches like that give us a sense of a grander, richer world in which even the animals have lives and thoughts of their own. That’s why this is one of my favorite passages in the series.

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  • http://www.truffin.com Todd

    I don’t have time to dig up my favorite small bit at the moment, but I think that the entire Bombadil sequence is sadly overlooked. PJ obviously slashed it, but even the most excellent BBC production also cut the sequence. There’s something very powerful about the image of Bombadil holding the ring and looking through it without the Ring having any effect at all. Tolkien reminds us that there are things in this world that are far above our own, even serious, concerns.

  • http://theeternalwhy.blogspot.com/ Dobbin

    Some of my favorites:
    When Gimli and Legalos each go into the other’s favorite place. Gimli to Fangorn and Legolas to the Glittering Caves, when Gimli asks for a strand of Galadriel’s hair, and this quote:
    “Do you feel any need to leave the Shire now-now that your wish to see them has come true already?” he asked.
    “Yes, sir. I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want-I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me.” The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien.
    Those three are some of my favorites out of my favorite book.

  • Adam Hildebrandt

    “Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

    This passage has always stuck out to me. The depth of the wisdom in it surpassed most in the fantasy genre.

    Also a part in the Children of Hurin that inpressed me( I can not quote it as my copy is lent out. But there is a part where Turin kills Saeros(could be before or after, not sure) and an elf says a comment with jealousy, and spite and he is corrected by another elf (Mablung?), who calls it “orc talk”. I liked that sin was called sin even if it was just a negative comment.

  • Jacques

    Jeffrey, thank u for a glimpse into one of your favs… that is lovely indeed and thank u for the reminder. Myself i hold fast and cherish the following.

    “There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
    — (The Lord of the Rings – Return of the King) p.901 in the LOTR -Hougton Mifflin Co. edition 1987,1994


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