11 February 2022
I know, it really should read “Tolkien Friday” but I don’t have a banner for that…Sigh. It’s been one of those weeks…A good week but a busy week, and what better way to thankfully acknowledge the arrival of the weekend than to talk Tolkien…
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week I started Chapter 3, Three is Company.
And, I started reading from another edition of the book:
This time it is a copy of The Lord of the Rings published by Book Club Associates in 1971. The front cover illustration is by Pauline Baynes.
Frodo has finally left home. I’m always amazed about how these opening sequences are so heavily condensed, time-wise, in the film, without losing very much of the narrative. A testament to a great production, methinks.
The atmosphere of the story changes to one of a darker suspense before even Frodo leaves Bag End. This serves to show us two things: that the Shire, which we had believed up until this point, is safe and beyond danger (even if Story and Rumour of other things have reached it) is neither of those things, and that the peril Gandalf has told Frodo he is in, is very real and close at hand. Combine this with the missing wizard, and the journey before them suddenly feels very ominous. And we’ve not even had our first encounter with a black rider yet…
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
Procrastination, and putting off things which must be done, was my takeaway from this week’s section of the book.
Frodo makes his decision to leave almost immediately, yet puts off the date by which he plans to leave for months. That’s not surprising in a way. His home is his source of comfort and represents his place in the world up until this point in his life. And Frodo feels an immediate loss on leaving Bag End, and as I read I could sense the power of this homesickness, and his desire, his yearning, to return.
The Welsh have a very beautiful word for this sentiment: hiraeth – a perfectly-sounding Elvish word if ever I have heard one!
I’ve been watching a BBC documentary from 1968: “Tolkien in Oxford”, available to watch online, via their archives. It was made 5 years before his death in 1973.
If you do have a watch of it, let me know what you think. My favourite parts include the idea that Hobbits are bourgeois and watching Tolkien write in Elvish.
Just a note: if you have yet to read / watch The Lord of the Rings but plan to do so, you might not want to watch the interview as it does contain a few minor spoilers!
February’s Reading Schedule
A note on the reading schedule: I can, if others wish it, pause my reading for a week or two, after the conclusion of Chapter 3 to allow others who might wish to, to catch up. Let me know in the comments. And before anyone thinks this would be an imposition, I promise you, it isn’t! I’m so enjoying the conversations we’re having in the comments 🙂
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
The Ivy Bush and The Green Dragon. The two pubs / inns we are told are in the vicinity of Hobbiton. Out of the two, where are you most likely to be found sipping your favourite drink?
My answer depends on my mood…
I always think the Ivy Bush, being on the Bywater road sounds likes it is a good place to hear the news from beyond the Shire. So if I want to hear about giants and trolls and dwarves, etc., or listen to a storyteller regaling an audience with tales from the past, that would be a very good place to go.
Yet, The Green Dragon always conjures up images of a cosy pub, where you could sit quietly in a corner, perhaps next to an open fire, whether alone or in company, and just spend a little time (or a long time) in a place that exudes homeliness.
And I happen to place a premium on being cosy, so The Green Dragon it is…unless I what to hear stories of far off places, which, I suppose is equally possible…