A Reminder to Hope

I’m deep towards the end of Lord of the Rings on audiobook right now and at last, this oft-quoted here reminder that light prevails.

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. 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. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

I’ve been struck this time at how Sam and Frodo fit together – Frodo has the unasked-for, crushing burden with which he doggedly carries on, not knowing the end; Sam just as doggedly keeps hope for both of them. Hope that they will come out of this and there will be an afterwards, and that the world will survive, because light and goodness are forever above the passing evil.

Last light

A Reminder to Hope

Happy Birthday J.R.R.

Yes it’s that time again to remember the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien and to be strengthened by those he wrote of, who may have seemed small and weak but managed in time of need to be strong enough to do what had to be done, even if they didn’t know what that was beforehand.

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. 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. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

The Tales of Middle Earth

Those tales are drawing to a close as our small party have just arrived back in Bree on their journey home.

Tonight a group of us went to see the new Star Wars film, Solo, and I think we all enjoyed that tale too. Much in the Star Wars of hero’s journey, travels bent by trust, trouble and luck, it had a few surprises at the end. Before the movie, my co-worker Rich and I were talking about things LotR and I mentioned this quote from Treebeard aka Fangorn, the Ent.

‘Will you really break the doors of Isengard?’ asked Merry.
‘Ho, hm, well, we could, you know! You do not know, perhaps, how strong we are. Maybe you have heard of Trolls? They are mighty and strong. But Trolls are only counterfeits, made by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, in mockery of Ents, as Orcs were of Elves. We are stronger than Trolls. We are made of the bones of the earth. We can split stone like the roots of trees, only quicker, far quicker, if our minds are roused! If we are not hewn down, or destroyed by fire or blast of sorcery, we could split Isengard to splinters and crack its walls into rubble.’
From: The Two Towers, Chapter Four “Treebeard” by J.R.R. Tolkien

So there you have it, as also told in the Silmarillion, of how Evil tries to overcome the Light by copying its strengths, but it never succeeds because its purpose is not whole and good. So darkness and anger taint and distort and weakens all it touches, and the goals, which is only to pull down what it is most jealous of, fail and fail every time.

Keeping Up the Fight

‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.’

‘At least for a while,’ said Elrond. ‘The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings)

Please note that I’m deep into the audio version of Fellowship of the Ring at the moment. I wonder if I’ll ever stop weeping when Gandalf falls into the depths with the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm. Although I am not of this level of readers, I love that there are such people in the world as these, who discuss many things.

Day Twenty-nine, NaPoWriMo

I can tell I’ve been listening to the lays of Bilbo.

Here, small works,
the labor of the world,
are known, that day by day
we hurry through
both chores and song
and lightly running
pass down one path
then next and next
penultimate unknown
a day is reached
and then the last
how many paths til
that rest place found
Neither knowing nor telling
the days lead on.
Sit! Stay then,
telling tales and singing
here where life lies
and sweet work of living
guessing what may be
past the hill’s edge
there where the clouds fly

This morning Mom and I went to visit the Cohoes Falls and then breakfast and then some pokemoning.

Happy Birthday J.R.R – and Happy New Year to Us All!

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. 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. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a Tolkien kid and have the shaper of Middle Earth read you a bedtime story? This Brain Pickings Tolkien post has two separate recordings of JRR reading aloud!

Someday

Someday, my friends, I will apologize for having filled my social media with scary news stories, abominations of the current world and calls to action, but today is not that day.