"No, indeed," said Elrond, turning towards him with a smile. "You at least shall go with him. It is hardly possible to separate you from him, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not."
Sam sat down, blushing and muttering. "A nice pickle we've landed ourselves in, Mr. Frodo," he said, shaking his head.
Wherein Morgoth spreads the misery though puppetry. Releasing Húrin to the world after years of captivity, he aims to increase strife among Men and Elves. His reception is varied, with his own people shunning him as in league with Morgoth. Even the Eagles state that "Húrin Thalion has surrendered to the will of Morgoth." This reception makes me think of Gandalf speaking of how to treat Gollum, and the importance of mercy. I wonder how this story would have changed if people had shown him kindness and acceptance, while acknowledging that Morgoth had his plans for Húrin still. But again, that is often the beauty of the "curses" Tolkien lays against his characters, their fated doom often not of divine or infernal end, but the result of deliberate action and self-fulfilling prophesy.
We some of what could have been, when Melian speaks kindness in face of his twisted perceptions and grief, but it leaves Húrin bereft of purpose and so he passes away. It also happens to late, for a great treasure of the Dwarves is still given unto Thingol, who has the Dwarves set within it the Silmaril. As we have seen so far, nothing involving the Silmarils goes well, with all those who see it desiring to possess it. Those that wished it laid claim, and Thingol responded in anger, provoking the Dwarves to rise against him. Pursuit was given, but two escaped back to their people and reported that they were unfairly slain by order of the Elvenking.
Melian's power was withdrawn from the full realm, which allowed the Dwarves to move forward unheeded until they met the Elven host. They win their way in and take for themselves the Silmaril they coveted, among other plunder. They meet on their leaving Beren, his son Dior, and many Green Elves, and those that fled met the Ents, who we know from The Lord of the Rings can be quite viscous when provoked. The Silmaril is reclaimed and given to Lúthien, Thingol's daughter, and her son, Dior, takes on the mantel of King of Doriath where he rules until the Necklace of the Dwarves with the Silmaril set within is passed onto him upon his parents death. While Lúthien was unassailable, her son had no such protection, and Celegorm and Curufin again raise strife, assaulting Doriath and Dior, losing their own lives, ending those of Dior, Dior's wife, and his sons, and destroying Doriath.
The Sons of Fëanor and their followers fail to claim the Silmaril, secreted away by Dior's daughter and a few survivors of Doriath.
I am not sorry to see the end of Celegorm and Curufin, who again and again have acted as villains in self-interest and in following an oath made to regain the Silmarils. As for the Silmarils, there is not so much a curse upon them as a depressing reminder of the power of avarice and greed, and that seems in line with the type of message and story Tolkien tells again and again in this saga.
'Well, here we are, just the four of us that started out together,' said Merry. 'We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.'
'Not to me,' said Frodo. 'To me it feels more like falling asleep again.'
Tolkien disliked allegory, favoring instead applicability. The War of the Ring is not WWII, Sauron is not Hitler, and the Nazgul and orcs are not Nazis. This story survives because anyone, at any point in time, can pick it up and find something in it that speaks to them, to their times and to their concerns and hopes. Undoubtedly, WWI and WWII influenced Tolkien. How could they not, when he started writing about Middle-Earth in the trenches while fighting in WWI? He writes about war, the battles, the people, and the destruction it brings unlike any other author I've read. He went to war with all his friends and came home alone. He then had to watch his sons go to war, and wait, and hope and fear, to find out if they would ever come home to him or be lost to him as his friends were long ago. And when he sons returned, it was to find their home ripped apart and devastated. So too Frodo and his friends return to the Shire to find their battles are not yet done.
This book easily has some of Tolkien's best writing in the entire series. The emotions and stakes are high throughout. He knows when to let our heroes have little moments of peace and small victories among the constant barrage of violence and hopelessness.
And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardy or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
The onslaught and oppression of the Dark Lord is relentless. He took the day away! He unleashes his armies against the West and he nearly wins. Our heroes battle on, not because they're Big Damn Heroes (although they are) but because if they don't fight they will definitely lose. They continue without hope, they willingly sacrifice themselves again and again, because if they give up, there is no one else to carry on the fight. The longer they can keep fighting, the longer they can hold off defeat - and the longer a certain hobbit has to reach Mt. Doom. In the onslaught of seemingly insurmountable odds, they keep putting one foot in front of the other - and they accumulate a lot of kickass moments while they're at it.
'Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!'
Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. 'But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.'
From ruin, destruction and grief, comes healing, joy and love. Tolkien coined the phrase "eucatastrophe" to describe that moment in a story where the hero doesn't meet a terrible end - everything turns and victory is achieved. But that doesn't mean that losses don't still happen, or that everything bad is undone. But against all odds, that one moment of horror doesn't happen. We see it time and again throughout this book, the greatest being after Frodo fails in his quest but the Ring is destroyed anyway. Joy and sorrow, together, but joy is the greater.
And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.
Tolkien uses the concepts of dark and light to great effect throughout the book, from the day without dawn to the glittering veil of the Undying Lands, he shows again and again how even the darkest days cannot extinguish all light, that no matter how bad things are and how hopeless things may seem, that to give up, to give in to despair, is the worst thing any of our heroes could do. Despair is the greatest sin, for by despairing you are assuming you already know how things are going to end - and end horribly - and if any of our heroes had done that, things would have gone very differently. Each time it seems our heroes might be about to despair, they're given a sign to keep going.
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 a light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
Yet no matter how much light may shine upon you, sometimes you've just seen too much evil. That is Frodo's reality after the War, and so the Shire was saved, but not for him - just as many veterans feel when returning home. They don't fit anymore, those they left behind can't understand what they've seen or done, or lost within themselves. No amount of explaining, if you can bring yourself to do so, will help them understand. You're forever changed, and there is no going home again. Tolkien understood it well, and it flows from the pages in the last few chapters. Yet even for Frodo, healing may still be found.
Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell.
Anyway, I can continue to rain praises on this book, but let's get to the movie pros and cons:
~Frodo would never tell Sam to leave and Sam would never go! (Yes, I covered this in the book review for TTT, but it bears repeating. This is the single change that pisses me off the most about the movies.)
~Yet more fakeout falls to non-deaths *sigh*
~Pippin in Gondor, Merry in Rohan - amazing!
~Denethor *sigh* Way to take a complex character and turn him into a one-note villain.
~Faramir doesn't fare much better here than he did in TTT either.
~The destruction of the Ring and Mordor were spot on, and the Eagles were great.
~That ridiculous nonsense about Arwen's life force being magically tied to the Ring's destruction is ridiculous. It makes no sense and how the hell did Elrond even get to Dunharrow?
~Everyone bowing to the hobbits was pretty spectacular, though I do love Aragorn sitting Frodo and Sam on his throne and bowing to them just as much.
~Éowyn and Faramir's epic whirlwind romance got reduced to a single look - and yet still somehow works. :D
~And I do like that Merry got to go to the Black Gate with Pippin. They weren't separated yet again. Yay!
~The Scouring of the Shire is, in my opinion, the most important chapter in the series. It's a culmination of everything the hobbits learned while on their quest, and now they use those skills to free their own people and their own lands. It also reinforces Frodo's PTSD and sense of failure. 'I set out to save the Shire, and it has been saved.' Note he doesn't say 'and I have saved it.' Saruman's words to him on the steps of Bag End are the cruelest words he could have spoken, and his voice proves to still be weapon enough, for even though Frodo recognizes his lies when speaking to the other hobbits assembled he still finds what Saruman says to be too close to his own thoughts.
And it's what soldiers returning home after WWI and WWII would have encountered. No land was left untouched. They came back from fighting for their homes, families and freedoms to find those very things yanked away from them still. They had to rebuild, and say goodbye to many they loved, and roust out the spies in their midst. And so too do the hobbits.
All that being said, for the movie that PJ was making, the Scouring wouldn't have made sense. And it would have added another half-hour easily to the already long running time. I actually love all the stuff that happens when they get home in the movie - unrealistic though it may be - and I don't miss the Scouring at all. I can always come to the books and read it when I want to.
~Mordor was just as screwed up and gloomy as I expected.
~The Paths of the Dead and the Dead Army - someone was watching too much Scooby Doo before they made those scenes. I just can't take them seriously, and using the Dead Army at the Pelennor is ridiculous. They look like scrubbing bubbles! Also, it makes the deaths of Théoden and everyone else fighting at the Pelennor feel like a stalling tactic and cheapens their sacrifices.
~More oliphaunts!! <3
~Legolas's physics- and gravity-defying antics *sigh*
~The Witch-King crumbling up like a witch forced to take a bath is a bit on the nose, especially after they made Minas Morgul the Evil Emerald City. (I do love the visuals for Minas Morgul, it looks so creepy!)
~The Grey Havens are beautiful.
~"Well, I'm back." <3
And now, I'm done. Until the next reread. ;)
Jedes Jahr trafen für Tolkiens Kinder wundersame Briefe mit wunderschönen farbigen Zeichnungen oder Skizzen vom Weihnachtsmann ein. In seinen Briefen erzählt der Weihnachtsmann unterhaltsame Geschichten von seinem Leben am Nordpol und wie ihn sein Freund der etwas tollpatschige Polarbär nicht immer eine große Hilfe ist, sondern ganz schön auf Trab hält.
“Briefe vom Weihnachtsmann” ist eine Sammlung aller Weihnachtsbriefe von J. R. R. Tolkien an seine Kinder. In diesen Briefen schlüpft Tolkien in die Rolle des Weihnachtsmanns und begeistert schon nach wenigen Zeilen mit seinen phantasievollen Geschichten rund um den Weihnachtsmann, seinen Freund den Polarbären und die harte Arbeit, die dahinter steckt wenn man so viele Kinder an einem einzigen Tag im Jahr glücklich machen möchte.
Schon der Inhalt enthält persönliches, so erfährt man z. B. was Tolkiens Kinder in ihrem Weihnachtsstrumpf vorfinden werden. Dadurch das neben der übersetzten Variante auch noch die Originalbriefe abgedruckt sind erhält das Buch noch eine viel persönlichere und vor allem sehr charmante Note. J. R. R. Tolkien hat wirklich sehr viel Herzblut in seine Briefe gesteckt und diese nicht nur mit prachtvollen Zeichnungen und Skizzen angereichert, sondern auch noch die Schrift selbst wunderschön kalligraphiert. Passend zum kalten Lebensraum und dem hohen Alter des Weihnachtsmanns ist seine Handschrift ganz schön krakelig und zitterig.
“Briefe vom Weihnachtsmann” ist einfach die perfekte Lektüre für einen entspannten Abend vor dem Kamin mit duftendem Tee und einer kuscheligen Decke. Außerdem eignen sich die Briefe auch sehr gut zum Vorlesen. Den älteren Leser wird vor allem Tolkiens Detailverliebtheit eine Freude bereiten. Also legt euch am besten schon jetzt die Lektüre für das nächste Weihnachtsfest zurecht.
Das perfekte Buch zur Einstimmung in die winterliche Vorweihnachtszeit.