the rags of lordship once he owned

Although now long estranged, Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed. Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned, and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned: Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light through whom is splintered from a single White to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes that move from mindContinue reading “the rags of lordship once he owned”

anything that was good or beautiful in his writing

George Sayer, in his essay “Recollections of J.R.R. Tolkien” from the book “Tolkien: A Celebration” (edited by Joseph Pearce): In the pew in front of us there were two or three children who were trying to follow the service in a simple picture-book missal. [Tolkien] seemed to be more interested in them than in eventsContinue reading “anything that was good or beautiful in his writing”

a good notion of the current market value

Dragons steal gold and jewels, you know, from men and elves and dwarves, wherever they can find them; and they guard their plunder as long as they live (which is practically forever, unless they are killed), and never enjoy a brass ring of it. Indeed they hardly know a good bit of work from aContinue reading “a good notion of the current market value”

he says your beer is always good

Some more favorites bits from reading Tolkien’s The Return of the King with the kids: Celeborn and Galadriel … had journeyed thus far by the west-ways, for they had much to speak of with Elrond and with Gandalf, and here they lingered still in converse with their friends. Often long after the hobbits were wrappedContinue reading “he says your beer is always good”

there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced himContinue reading “there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach”

to spring up again in times and places unlooked-for

Enjoying the grand sweep of Tolkien’s vision as I read aloud to my kids: “And doubtless the good stone-work is the older and was wrought in the first building,” said Gimli. “It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they failContinue reading “to spring up again in times and places unlooked-for”

airy abeles set on a flare

The magi would have understood this imperative to look at the stars. Abeles (or white poplars) are a Eurasian salicaceous tree (Populus alba) having palmately (“like a palm with fingers extended”) lobed leaves covered on the underside with dense silvery-white hairs. Flares are “a fire or blaze of light used especially to signal, illuminate, orContinue reading “airy abeles set on a flare”

no one ever did

From some reading with the kids yesterday in The Hobbit: [Bilbo] did not, or course, expect that any one would remember that it was he who discovered all by himself the dragon’s weak spot; and that was just as well, for no one ever did. (chapter 15, “The Gathering of the Clouds”) Tolkien describes aContinue reading “no one ever did”