J. R. R. Tolkien was a great lover of words. It showed both — in his extensive vocabulary and talent to choose words with great precision to make his texts come alive with various shades of lexical meanings. One of the most special traits of Tolkien’s writing was a mastery usage of archaic style. A particularly interesting example of obsolete vocabulary can be found in The Hobbit.
Music has always possessed the air of mystery around it. Enjoying a long history and a special charm of its own, the harp is, probably, the most enigmatic instrument ever played by people. The harp has often been ascribed magical qualities which are reflected in various myths, legends and tales featuring this ancient instrument. Though several races in Tolkien’s Middle-earth are mentioned as playing the harp, it is the Elves who are mostly associated with it: an otherworldly thing in its own right, the harp perfectly emphasises the Elves’ fairy nature. Let us begin the journey into the enchantment of the harp by looking into the tales and legends of old. Read more
When The Hobbit came out on September 21, 1937, it caused a great interest among readers and critics alike. Among all the reviews published in the time following the release of the book, there were favourable alongside a few unfavourable ones. Some reviewers simply described the story while others had a lot more to say about Mr Bilbo Baggins and his adventures. Let us have a look at the selection from the latter category. Read more
In September 2017 The Hobbit celebrates its 80th birthday. Since being released in 1937 the book has been enchanting readers all over the world – both children and grown-ups, and has joined the ranks of world classics. As it happens with many books that are in for a legendary fate, The Hobbit did not seem to be especially planned for writing or publication. The written-down story began on the spur of the moment as Tolkien was marking examination papers and, turning over one of them and finding a blank page there, he wrote: In the hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Upon many occasions later the Professor admitted that he did not know or remember clearly why he wrote this line, but these ten words began the life of what would later became one of the most favourite and best books in literature. Read more
There is one stream there, I know, black and strong which crosses the path. That you should neither drink of, nor bathe in; for I have heard that it carries enchantment and a great drowsiness and forgetfulness.
(Hobbit, p. 155) Read more
In my essay dedicated to poetry in Tolkien’s books I have spoken about the importance of verse in Arda. Spanning a significant period in the Third Age, The Hobbit is no exception, and its many poems and songs scattered all over the book are very representative of the peoples who sing them. In the present essay I will look into the Elvish poetry in The Hobbit and see what it tells us about the fair folk.
Magical animals play a significant role in various legends and mythologies. Signalling proximity to the borders of Faërie, these beasts always appear for a reason and are a sign for those characters encountering them. Read more
Forests have long been significant in literature. Dark, enchanted, haunted woods carry a special meaning and signify an important stage in any journey. They both – add up to the atmosphere of a story by making striking landscape features, and can help us understand characters and their doings better. Read more