The concepts of hope and courage permeate the tales written by J. R. R. Tolkien through and through. They are vital and, I do not think it will be an exaggeration to say, central to his narratives. There are many examples of how hope and courage make a big difference, help characters achieve almost the impossible and thus influence the course of events dramatically. In this special reflection for Tolkien Reading Day 2021, whose main theme is Hope and Courage, I would like to look at how hope helped Sam Gamgee lead Frodo and himself through the perils of Mordor to the final destination of their deadly quest.
‘And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ (Fellowship of the Ring, p.495 ). The parting gift from Lady Galadriel to Frodo was a small crystal phial filled with the light of Eärendil’s star. Little did the Hobbit know then the potency and power of the gift and how helpful it would be to him and Sam on their dark road.
Some J. R. R. Tolkien’s stories contain unpleasant characters of different kinds, and in order to irritate a reader they do not even have to be at the forefront of the narrative. Sometimes it is enough for them to appear just a few times to leave a bitter aftertaste and a long-lasting impression. The millers of The Lord of the Rings firmly belong to this category.
Alongside common and rather familiar to us food J. R. R. Tolkien’s stories sometimes feature provisions not very typical of our world. Apart from being the means of nutrition, they also have potent powers, like, for instance, lembas. The waybread of the Elves is able to revive one’s powers even after a small bite. There is also a drink with similar qualities, and that is miruvor.
Autumn is the season which many deeply love. Good, dry autumn is, indeed, a magical time of year. The air is crisp, clear and the smells are rich, musky. Leaves change their colour so that the palette of red, yellow and golden is pleasing for the eye and senses. Autumn is yet another proof that nature is a gifted painter and that her choices of colour are always good. Read more
In the letter sent to Allen & Unwin in reply to a cat-breeder, who wished to use names from The Lord of the Rings to name her cats, Tolkien famously said: “I fear that to me Siamese cats belong to the fauna of Mordor….” (Letter 219). It is hard to tell whether the Professor’s comment referred only to the cats of this particular breed, or expressed his general attitude towards felines, but cats in Tolkien’s literary works are presented mostly in a negative light. Read more
The rider’s cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed. To Frodo it appeared that a white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if through a thin veil.
(Fellowship of the Ring, p. 275) Read more
In all my works I take the part of trees as against all their enemies.
(J. R. R. Tolkien, Letter № 339)
I love nature. For me nothing can beat a walk in a forest or a park as far from the noise of the big city as possible and preferably in the closet proximity of any body of water. Imagine my disappointment when on one of my visits to my country house I discovered that the forest surrounding our small settlement was being cut down. Looking at the huge mighty trees being felled I felt helpless, angry and wished for one thing only: I wanted the forest to strike back at its wrongdoers, just like it did in The Lord of the Rings.
In the Third Age there remained only a few Elvish realms around Middle-earth. They were the places of uttermost beauty and peace as well as among the safest places in the land. In The Lord of the Rings we see Frodo and the company stay a while at Rivendell and Lothlórien – the realms that, among many gifts, brought them spiritual and physical rest, peace of mind and comfort if only for a while.