Hobbit folklore is a very curious layer of their culture, giving an insight into the race’s beliefs, views of the world, fears and ways of storytelling. Among the usually light-hearted, simple tales, there can be found some truly creepy oddities, which is rather peculiar for the quiet hobbit folk most of whom will not come within gunshot of anyone smelling even faintly of adventure. Despite looking like spooky tales to give hobbit children nightmares and keep them clean of any unwholesome, disreputable (in the hobbits’ opinion) spots after dark, they may as well be based on real places or creatures inhabiting Middle-earth, albeit largely unseen by the general public. One of such tales is about the Mewlips. Written in verse form, it is one of the creepiest stories of hobbit folklore.
During the course of his life J. R. R. Tolkien composed a lot of poems. He tried his hand at various styles, applying them successfully to show where the poem belonged, what inspired it or which culture it could be related to. One of the most interesting examples of Tolkien’s verse is The Hoard.
Reading books where characters go on a quest or an adventure usually have a great appeal to most readers. It is not surprising: travelling to different places, whether in your imagination by means of a book or physically in reality, has always been especially thrilling.
The significance of songs in Middle-earth has long been established. By including poetry and verse into his books, Tolkien assigned different roles to them: transmission of historical information, telling of tales, giving messages. There are a lot of songs that give a sense of continuity and connect the events in Middle-earth throughout the times, linking the Ages of Arda together and showing how interdependent they are. A special place is given to the songs of challenge. Read more
Elvish poetry occupies a special place in Tolkien’s Legendarium. It is always instantly recognisable and different from the verse of other peoples in Middle-earth. Varied in style and tone, focus and subject matter, Elvish songs and poems always give a lot of food for thought. Their poems in The Lord of the Rings present a story of their own.
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.
Don’t the great tales never end?
(Two Towers, p.400)
Readers of Tolkien are very well aware of how many songs and poems the Professor included into his books. Varying in length and tone, form and function, these verse pieces play a very important role in the general world-building.