~ 17 May 2022 ~
Welcome to this week’s Tolkien Tuesday…Today we begin chapter 10, I muse on Middle-Earth inspired artwork, and make a little confession, before wrapping up with a creative-writing themed question of the week. Go and get a cuppa. I’ll wait… 🙂
The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts
This week we began Chapter 10: Strider.
The three hobbits return to their parlour and find Merry is not there. It is only then they noticed that Strider has followed them in. Introductions are made and Strider reminds them that Frodo promised to have a quiet talk with him, though he adds, what he has to share comes with a price. This raises their suspicions, but Strider tries to allay their fears by saying all he wants is to come along with them.
Naturally, Frodo isn’t keen on allowing a stranger to join them and this act of caution pleases Strider. He then proceeds to tell them what he knows: that he overheard them talking to Tom Bombadil and heard the name Baggins, and that he followed them into Bree and tried to get an audience with them at The Prancing Pony, but Barliman Butterbur would not grant it or give them a message.
Strider also reveals he knows what Frodo is carrying and that its secret means very much to his friends. He warns them of the danger they are in, that there are enemies even in Bree, and that tomorrow they must flee and he offers to guide them along hidden paths to their destination. Before more can be learned or revealed, they are interrupted by a knock at the door by the landlord.
Butterbur, a busy and forgetful man, has remembered (at last) he has a letter for Frodo from Gandalf from three months ago and forgot to send it on. He also warns them that people (including Strider) have been asking after the name “Baggins”.
One of my favourite lines in this chapter, though there are many, is when Butterbur, who seems to understand there is something dark going on but doesn’t actually know what it is, points out that the hobbit’s behaviour isn’t as low key as it should be: “…your party might be on a holiday!”
Next week we conclude Chapter 10: Strider.
Middle Earth Musings and Meditations
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about The Lord of the Rings / Middle Earth illustrations and artwork that I’ve come across over the years, and how interestingly, the majority of it always seems to resonate with me in some way. It’s not often (and I can’t actually recall a time), when I’ve seen something and thought, “No, that doesn’t look right at all!”
Perhaps there is an element of most post LOTR film trilogy artwork that I’ve seen, made by fans especially, to be influenced by the aesthetic of the film and the artists involved with them. But seeing as though I liked the aesthetic of the film, and the set design, character costumes, and pretty much everything visual resonated with me and brought to life the story more or less as I imagined it, it’s easy to see why.
Have you ever come across LOTR artwork that you just didn’t like?
Not much to report here this week. The only thing I read outside the first half of chapter 10 was the second half…yes, I was weak and had to read it all! 😉
The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:
From a creative writing viewpoint, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned from Tolkien?
World building. The more you know about the world your story is set in, the more realistic and believable the narrative will be. World building not only provides structure for a story but it adds dimension to it and reminds the reader how interconnected aspects of life are. Readers want to see what the character sees, to hear (snippets of) languages the people of that world use, to understand the laws of the land, to listen to its history, to understand the rules of magic and know what is – or isn’t – possible, because these things influence your plot and subplots.
This doesn’t mean that you have to know every little detail about the world. Of course, that wouldn’t be constructive for most authors, and (if I remember correctly) Tolkien deliberately left his Legendarium incomplete that others could later add to it. But having a working knowledge of a number of different aspects of that world will be beneficial to you and your story in the long run.