On Lúthien’s power of singing.

The fairest of all Children of Ilúvatar, Lúthien is not an ordinary character. Being the daughter of an Elf and a Maia, she inherited various traits of both kindreds. Among many of her gifts and skills singing was one of the most exceptional. However, when it comes to talking about Lúthien’s singing, we should bear in mind that hers was not renowned just for being done in a beautiful voice. Lúthien’s songs possessed special power.

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Who wants to live forever?

The topic of death is one of the most important pillars that Tolkien’s mythology is supported by. He used different approaches to explore death in his writings, careful to show various aspects of this delicate topic. Escape from death as a notion was one of the most important purposes of fantasy and fairy-tales in Tolkien’s view. He calls it the Great Escape in On Fairy-Stories. “Fairy-stories provide many examples and modes of this—which might be called the genuine escapist, or (I would say) fugitive spirit” (1), Tolkien writes. But this perspective, this need for the Great Escape, is human. What if we walk in Elvish shoes for a while and look at death from their point of view?

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Eala Ēarendel!

Eala Earendel engla beorhtast

Ofer middangeard monnum sended

How very often we can be inspired by a small thing only — small, yet significant in a way that we could never have fathomed. Small things have a way of hiding a vast background behind them which comes alive only under certain circumstances. Looking now at the great world sub-created by J. R. R. Tolkien it can be hard to believe that it was only one world that ignited his imagination and set him on the path of forming it. It was earendel. Read more

On Aulë’s humility.

Being the person who sub-created a vast and detailed literary world, J. R. R. Tolkien felt sympathetic with those who made things, too, whether the results were the creations of their hands or minds. However, as a sub-creator Tolkien was very well aware of the pitfalls of being one, the worst of them — becoming unhealthy attached to one’s work. The Professor clearly shows in his books that remaining humble is one of the key aspects of not falling victim to the work of one’s hands or mind. A perfect example of such an attitude is Aulë. Read more

His sharp tongue or Fëanor’s talent to insult.

Fëanor the Spirit of Fire was the most gifted of all the Elves in linguistic lore. He could use language so well that his speeches affected those who heard them and inspired them to do different, though not always sensible, things. Thus, being gifted with words and able to use them potently, Finwë’s eldest son was also exceptionally good at insulting others.  Read more

On the songs of power.

Among many powerful notions in the world of Arda few are more potent than music and language. Music is the essential element of Arda, its heart and soul, as the world was created and shaped by the majestic Music of the Ainur. And it was the word of Ilúvatar — Eä! — that brought the created vision to life. Read more

Like dwellers, like land.

There are various places around Middle-earth, and very often we see that the dwellers of a certain land and the land itself are a good match for each other. There can be observed a particular interdependence between an area and its inhabitants, but is it the land that shapes the dwellers or vice versa? Read more

Harp the magical.

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