“Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold”.
J. R. R. Tolkien (On Fairy-Stories)
When it comes to Faërie, mortals must exercise great care in dealing with it. While the land of eternal life and plenty presents a desirable destination for many, it is not fit for earthly beings, save for a temporary abode or occasional visits, most likely for a special reason and with a seal of approval from Faërie inhabitants themselves. Read more
Tolkien readers, scholars and enthusiasts of today are incredibly fortunate as they have a unique collection of Professor’s writings available to them. Apart from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, some poems, short stories and academic papers, which appeared during Tolkien’s life, there are also posthumously published works, including early and transitional versions of the well-known stories, non-Middle-earth and academic writings. None of this would have been possible, though, had it not been for Tolkien’s son Christopher. Read more
Hobbits are incredibly interesting folk who, keeping in mind their absence from the public eye in the Elder Days, First and Second Ages, come to play a huge role in the events of the Third. After The Hobbit came out in 1937, readers were eager to learn more about Hobbits and this public interest called for the sequel. The Hobbits’ adventures in The Lord of the Rings are very different from those of Bilbo Baggins, but they still show them as remarkable folk who deserve our greatest attention. Let’s have a look at the collection of facts, some of which I shared as part of my 1 like = 1 Hobbit fact interactive on Twitter on October 25. It is by no means a full list, so I encourage you, my dear readers, to share your favourite Hobbit facts in the comments below. Read more
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.
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.