Monday, September 19, 2016

The Lord of the Rings

Book: The Lord of the Rings
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Edition:eBook from Fresno County Library
Read:Many Times
1,911 pages on eBook including the many appendixes
Genre:  Fiction, Fantasy
Rated: 5  out of 5

Six parts to this story, plus numerous appendixes, how to sum it up? One ring which evil regains will make Sauron almost indestructible. A lowly hobbit's task is to destroy it. The only way to destroy it is in Mt Doom, in the midst of Sauron's empire. Frodo, the hobbit has 8 companions to accomplish this task, including his faithful servant Sam.

These are only a few of the thoughts. I am sure when I re-read this again-for the who knows how many times, I will be adding more. This is not only a good fiction book, but one which causes me to ponder one's place in the battle of good and evil.

Another thought which I was having is that Tolkien was a Christian of the Catholic flavor. I wonder how this book would have been written if he did not have that loaming as an undertone to his thought. Would it have been more like The Worm Ouroboros by  E.R. Eddison-a very good book, but maybe lacking the conflict which we can identify with?

Tolkien describes the place of the Christian in God's arms: The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Book II, Chp 3: The Ring Goes South

...never before had he been so suddenly and so keenly aware of the feel and texture of a tree's skin and of the life within it. He felt delight in wood and the touch of it, neither as forester nor as carpenter; it was the delight of the living tree itself. Book II, Chp 6, Lothlorien  Tolkien gets to the heart of the matter in these two sentences. Do we appreciate something for what it can do for us or what it is? This is both when we are doing with human or non-human life. Ultimately it reflects back on how we understand something got here.

One of the things about the hobbits, particularly Frodo and Sam, is how inadequate they feel for the task of destroying the Ring. you haven't put yourself forward; you've been put forward.  Book IV, Chp 10, The Choices of Master Samwise That realization that Sam is chosen, not one who has advanced himself gives strength. It is not about him, but the task. Ultimately Sam makes the decision that he will take up the burden and complete the task. It is a major part of the story talking about inadequate people taking on a huge task, struggling and accomplishing that task. Just by reading this, it inspires readers to take on tasks for good, even if they are too small for it.

Part of understanding this we are not the story, but only a part of the story. The story continues on even after we end. This relieves us of the burden of being responsible for the whole story; we are responsible only for ourselves.

We also wonder as we go through our lives, what story have we landed in. Usually this is the darkest parts of our story. Those in the story do not know the outcome as they are going through it. It is only at the end, do they realize what the story is. That is the struggle of the character and that is struggle of our lives also-understanding our part in the story and playing that part-whether great or small.  Book VI, Chp 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol

He has a mind of metal and wheels; and he does not care for growing things, except as far as they serve him for the moment. While this is a description of Saruman, it is also a description of modern man and capitalism. How can something serve to make money. Anything else should not be considered. This is not the Christian thought of being stewards of the earth until God comes back. What will He find when he returns? An Earth torn up and corrupted. Where is the garden he left us to tend?

Doom may not be brought only by the mighty. The mightest man may be slain by one arrow, ... Book V, Chp 1, Minas Tirith. Plans can go astray due to a pebble in the road. Appeal to God to guide us and make our way sure.

His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom. Book V, Chp 8,  The Houses of Healing. Memory to instruct and guide us not only knowledge, but understanding and gentleness.

Contentment in the small things saves Sam from using the Ring for his own power. The one small garden of a free gardener was all he need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command. Book V, Chp 1, Minas Tirith, Something to learn-to be content with my plot in life.

All destruction has its source in evil. Some routes to find evil may be less straight than others. It is a lesson to learn what evil looks like and avoid it.

filled with a sadness that was yet blessed and without bitterness. Book VI, Chp 9, The Grey Havens. That is something to ponder. Hard to achieve. Not resignation, but a deepening.

Faramir is the most likable person in this whole book, full of characters which you just want to meet off the pages of the book. he is grave, wise, able to keep and give counsel, aide to those who are trustworthy, a man of peace having to defend Gondor. He has a balance where he loves his country and is called to defend it, but prefers to have the sword sheathed than drawn.

Sam upon seeing his first battle decides he does not like war much. Movies glorify war or at least I have never seen or felt the pain, the ugliness which is the result of war. This is what Sam saw.

Do not mistake the sweetness of Frodo for being blind to the evil lurking around him.

being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed. Book IV, Chp 3, The Black Gate Is Closed  hope will win out over despair, it puts rays of light in gloom. But we must also cling to that hope.

Sauron is the master of evil in this story. But there are others such as Sauruman, Tolkien notes that Sauron enjoys the evil imitations until it is his time to crush them, it is a form of flattery. But Tolkien hints in places that there is something even deeper than Sauron. That Sauron is only the current holder of evil.

I am a true believer. This is not the first time I have read LOTR, nor the second, nor the third. To me, the less said the better it is. Tolkien has written the best book I have read. Lets just leave it at that.

New Words:
  • bole: the trunk of a tree
  • mere: in English refers to a lake that is broad in relation to its depth, e.g. Martin Mere. A significant effect of its shallow depth is that for all or most of the time, it has no thermocline.
  • hythe: A small haven.
  • puissant: having great power or influence

Good Quotes:
  • First Line: When Mr Biblo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
  • Last Line: 'Well, I'm back' he said.
  • 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. Book I, Chp 2, The Shadow of the Past
  • Advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.  Book I, Chp 3, Three is Company
  •  Courage is found in unlikely places. Book I, Chp 3, Three is Company
  • Short cuts makes long delays. Book I, Chp 4, A Short Cut to Mushrooms
  • He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom. Book II, Chp 2, The Council of Elrond
  • It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish. Book II, Chp 7, The Mirror of Galadriel
  • I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Book II, Chp 8, Farewell to Lorien
  • we must guess the riddles, if we are to choose our course rightly. Book III, Chapter 1, The Departure of Boromir
  • It is best to love first what you are fitted to love.  Book V, Chp 8, The Houses of Healing
  • it is nor our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to til. Book V, Chp 9, The Last Debate
  • It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two. Book VI, Chp 5, The Window on the West
  • Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart. Book VI, Chp 5, The Window on the West
  • It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing. Book VI, Chp 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
  • when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. Book VI, Chp 9, Shelob's Lair
  • Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil. Book VI, Chp 9, Shelob's Lair
  • The treacherous are ever distrustful. Book III, Chp 10 - The Voice of Saruman
  • One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters. Book III, 9 - Flotsam and Jetsam
Table of Contents:
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS                        
    CHRONOLOGIES, CALENDARS, AND MOONS                              
    THE MAPS OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS                               
    I       A Long-expected Party                                                   
    II      The Shadow of the Past                                                  
    III     Three Is Company                                                        
    IV      A Short Cut to Mushrooms                                                
    V       A Conspiracy Unmasked                                           
    VI      The Old Forest                                                          
    VII     In the House of Tom Bombadil                                            
    VIII    Fog on the Barrow-downs                                         
    IX      At the Sign of The Prancing Pony                                        
    X       Strider                                                                 
    XI      A Knife in the Dark                                                     
    XII     Flight to the Ford                                                      
    I       Many Meetings                                                           
    II      The Council of Elrond                                                   
    III     The Ring Goes South                                                     
    IV      A Journey in the Dark                                                   
    V       The Bridge of Khazad-d-m                                                
    VI      Lothl¢rien                                                              
    VII     The Mirror of Galadriel                                                 
    VIII    Farewell to L¢rien                                                      
    IX      The Great River                                                         
    X       The Breaking of the Fellowship                                  
    I       The Departure of Boromir                                                
    II      The Riders of Rohan                                                     
    III     The Uruk-hai                                                            
    IV      Treebeard                                                               
    V       The White Rider                                                 
    VI      The King of the Golden Hall                                             
    VII     Helm's Deep                                                             
    VIII    The Road to Isengard                                                    
    IX      Flotsam and Jetsam                                                      
    X       The Voice of Saruman                                                    
    XI      The Palant¡r                                                            
    I       The Taming of Sm¿agol                                           
    II      The Passage of the Marshes                                              
    III     The Black Gate Is Closed                                                
    IV      Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit                                              
    V       The Window on the West                                          
    VI      The Forbidden Pool                                                      
    VII     Journey to the Cross-roads                                              
    VIII    The Stairs of Cirith Ungol                                              
    IX      Shelob's Lair                                                           
    X       The Choices of Master Samwise                                   
    I       Minas Tirith                                                            
    II      The Passing of the Grey Company                                 
    III     The Muster of Rohan                                                     
    IV      The Siege of Gondor                                                     
    V       The Ride of the Rohirrim                                                
    VI      The Battle of the Pelennor Fields                                       
    VII     The Pyre of Denethor                                                    
    VIII    The Houses of Healing                                                   
    IX      The Last Debate                                                         
    X       The Black Gate Opens                                                    
    I       The Tower of Cirith Ungol                                               
    II      The Land of Shadow                                                      
    III     Mount Doom                                                              
    IV      The Field of Cormallen                                                  
    V       The Steward and the King                                                
    VI      Many Partings                                                           
    VII     Homeward Bound                                                  
    VIII    The Scouring of the Shire                                               
    IX      The Grey Havens                                                 
    A       ANNALS OF THE KINGS AND RULERS                          
    B       THE TALE OF YEARS                                               
    C       FAMILY TREES                                                    
    D       CALENDARS                                                               
    E       WRITING AND SPELLING                                            
    F       The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age; On Translation      
    WALDMAN, ?LATE 1951, ON THE LORD OF THE RINGS                   
    CHANGES TO THE EDITIONS OF 2004-5                               
    LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED                                         


No comments: