The last known photograph taken of Tolkien is being auctioned off with a first impression of The Hobbit. Now while the book may be out of our league the photo is only valued at £400-600.
Now all one of you has to do is get a ticket for London. You have plenty of time. The auction isn’t until March 18. Make sure you bring a attache case of sterling with you, and presto.
I will gratefully accept the donation on behalf of the Knights of Lepanto, and of course the photo will be displayed in the Tower of Lepanto for all the professed knights to see. Thank you very much.
That was Tolkien’s favorite tree, by the way. Any tree chopping orc would have had to deal with that cane, I am sure.
I don’t know whether to hyperventilate or just stop breathing altogether.
Here is an explanation and transcript of the video from the Tolkien Library.
Here is another video down below on the Tolkien Library page:
An eccentric genius if ever there was one. I am taken back by his accent, diction and mannerisms.
Adam Tolkien, the authors grandson talks about the recent publication of The Children of Hurin, which is one my personal favorites of all JRRT’s tales. He puts his assessment plainly in a way I found humorous for some reason:
And it may or may not strike a chord. People may think it doesn’t have enough Hobbits in it, because there aren’t any.
Well there it is. I need to lie down.
I am not particularly eager to attend to Philip Pullman or his atheistic propaganda piece, His Dark Materials, but a few days ago I read something he said that makes my blood boil. In an interview, recently published in Intelligent Life Magazine, Pullman called Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings “trivial”:
Several times Pullman reminds me that a work of fiction is not an argument. Perhaps it’s safest to say that in “His Dark Materials” he has constructed his own imaginative world so as not to submit to anyone else’s. He likes to quote William Blake’s line: “I must create a system, or be enslav’d by another man’s.” His story is a rival to the narratives put forward by two earlier Oxford writers, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia”. Pullman loathes the way the children in Narnia are killed in a car-crash. “I dislike his Narnia books because of the solution he offers to the great questions of human life: is there a God, what is the purpose, all that stuff, which he really does engage with pretty deeply, unlike Tolkien who doesn’t touch it at all. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is essentially trivial. Narnia is essentially serious, though I don’t like the answer Lewis comes up with. If I was doing it at all, I was arguing with Narnia. Tolkien is not worth arguing with” [emphasis mine].
But you may smile at this news.
With all the work I am doing with the friars here in Australia, and with the men’s retreat I gave over the weekend, I have not been able to do much blogging, but I thought I would begin again with some reflections that I made during the retreat. The theme was “The Return of the Church Militant,” which of course is a play on Tolkien’s The Return of the King.
Fourteen men attended the retreat over the weekend. Unfortunately, we Yanks were not aware that there were national elections across Australia on Saturday, for which voting is mandatory by law, so the men had to work around their voting obligation to attend the retreat. All in all, it was very successful.
During the retreat, I mentioned something Chesterton had once written about, namely, that all of us are “kings in disguise.” The idea is that all of us have a kingly destiny through Baptism; however, we are fallen from that dignity and are fighting to recover it. I would seem that Tolkien may have been influenced by this notion in his development of Aragorn’s character. On Saturday night I gave a little talk on Tolkien and developed the following ideas. We then sat down and watched the extended version of Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King.
In The Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth finds itself in a time of great need. The shadow of Mordor lengthens. The elves are leaving Middle Earth for the Western Shores, and men have become weak and leaderless. Aragorn is one of the Dúnedain, a man of the West from the Northern Kingdom and the lost heir to the throne of Gondor. Few know his true identity, though. He is a ragged and grim wanderer, more a vagabond than a king, as far as the eye could discern. Continue reading
When I read Marc’s description of the Encampment Night Watch, I couldn’t help but think of the encounter of the hobbits and Strider on Weathertop in The Fellowship of the Ring. I am not sure whether there is more a comparison or contrast to be found. You decide.
Having experienced the encampment Night Watch, it is easy to understand how a “watchfire” is a mixed blessing for those who are near it. The light of the fire illuminates a large area around the fire itself, but the brightness of that near light makes it more difficult, not easier, to see into the darker distance. What is more, the watchmen’s long and deep shadows, cast by the fire, create large areas of vulnerability. In fact, Father Ignatius successfully “captured” the Night Watchmen by sneaking up on them right in their own shadows!
The situation seems to be different in The Lord of the Rings. When on Weathertop the danger of the approaching Black Riders was first perceived, Strider had the hobbits surround the fire and face outwards. With the approach of the Nazgûl, not much else was to be done. Fortunately for Strider and the Hobbits, they had two advantages over our Night Watchmen. First, they were able to sense the presence of the Riders by the sheer terror and dread that the nearness of the wraiths caused. Frodo felt a “cold dread [creep] over his heart,” before anyone of them had yet definitely spotted one of the enemy. Secondly, what they were looking for could not be illuminated by the light, but was perceived by its absence of any reflected light. The hobbits “saw” the approaching wraiths as black shapes in the form of men. “So black were they that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind them.” Continue reading