It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered.
In October 1920 I went to Leeds as Reader in English Language, with a free commission to develop the linguistic side of a large and growing School of English Studies, in which no regular provision had as yet been made for the linguistic specialist.
Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt.
The original 'Hobbit' was never intended to have a sequel - Bilbo 'remained very happy to the end of his days and those were extraordinarily long': a sentence I find an almost insuperable obstacle to a satisfactory link.
The proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might be found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to.
And he sang to them, now in the Elven tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.
Those were happier days, when there was still close friendship at times between folk of different race, even between Dwarves and Elves.' It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship waned,' said Gimli. I have not heard that it was the fault of the Elves,' said Legolas. I have heard both,' said Gandalf[.]
When Summer lies upon the world, and in a noon of gold, Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold; When woodland halls are green and cool, and wind is in the West, Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is best!
I have never had much confidence in my own work, and even now when I am assured (still much to my grateful surprise) that it has value for other people, I feel diffident, reluctant as it were to expose my world of imagination to possibly contemptuous eyes and ears.
The eyes were hollow and the carven head was broken, but about the high, stern forehead there was a coronal of silver and gold. A trailing plant with flowers like white stars had bound itself across the brows as if in reverence for the fallen king, and in the crevices of his stony hair yellow stonecrop gleamed. "They cannot conquer for ever!" said Frodo.
Some sang too that Thror and Thrain would come back one day and gold would flow in rivers, through the mountain-gates, and all that land would be filled with new song and new laughter. But this pleasant legend did not much affect their daily business.
All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.
But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.
Fairy tale does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat...giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
But the only measure that he knows is desire desire for power and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this we shall put him out of reckoning.
Now I know what a piece of bacon feels like when it is suddenly picked out of the pan on a fork and put back on the shelf!" "No you don't!" he heard Dori answering, "because the bacon knows that it will get back in the pan sooner or later; and it is to be hoped we shan't. Also eagles aren't forks!
Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath.
Dwarves are not heroes, but a calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don't expect too much.
For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men, Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Gloin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and maybe beyond. For Men you shall have Aragorn son of Arathorn, for the Ring of Isildur concerns him closely
Elrond raised his eyes and looked at him, and Frodo felt his heart pierced by the sudden keenness of the glance. 'If I understand aright all that I have heard,' he said, 'I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will.
Elrond's house was perfect, whether you liked food or sleep or story-telling or singing (or reading), or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness. ... Evil things did not come into the secret valley of Rivendell.
I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun; and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a Shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.
And yet, Eomer, I say to you that she loves you more truly than me, for you she loves and knows; but in me she loves only a shadow and a thought: a hope of glory and great deeds, and lands far from the fields of Rohan. - Aragorn to Eomer, of Eowyn
As she stood before Aragorn she paused suddenly and looked upon him, and her eyes were shining. And he looked down upon her fair face and smiled; but as he took the cup, his hand met hers, and he knew that she trembled at the touch.
Then she fell on her knees, saying: 'I beg thee!' 'Nay, lady,' he said, and taking her by the hand he raised her. The he kissed her hand, and sprang into the saddle, and rode away, and did not look back; and only those who knew him well and were near to him saw the pain that he bore.
The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say
Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
It was just as the 1914 War burst on me that I made the discovery that 'legends' depend on the language to which they belong; but a living language depends equally on the 'legends' which it conveys by tradition. ... Volapuk, Esperanto, Ido, Novial, &c &c are dead, far deader than ancient unused languages, because their authors never invented any Esperanto legends...
Eastward the dawn rose, ridge behind ridge into the morning, and vanished out of eyesight into guess; it was no more than a glimmer blending with the hem of the sky, but it spoke to them, out of the memory and old tales, of the high and distant mountains.
Far more often [than asking the question 'Is it true?'] they [children] have asked me: 'Was he good? Was he wicked?' That is, they were far more concerned to get the Right side and the Wrong side clear. For that is a question equally important in History and in Faerie.
The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.
But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.
Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. 'My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?
There was some murmuring, but also some grins on the faces of the men looking on: the sight of their Captain sitting on the ground and eye to eye with a young hobbit, legs well apart, bristling with wrath, was one beyond their experience.
If you took this thing on yourself, unwilling, at others' asking, then you have pity and honour from me. And I marvel at you: to keep it hid and not to use it. You are a new people and a new world to me. Are all your kin of like sort? Your land must be a realm of peace and content, and there must gardners be in high hounour.
Then Frodo came forward and took the crown from Faramir and bore it to Gandalf; and Aragorn knelt, and Gandalf set the White Crown upon his head and said: Now come the days of the King, and may they be blessed while the thrones of the Valar endure!
You are a set of deceitful scoundrels! But bless you! I give in. I will take Gildor's advice. If the danger were not so dark, I should dance for joy. Even so, I cannot help feeling happy; happier than I have felt for a long time.
I am old, Gandalf. I don't look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something.
Sam, clinging to Frodo's arm, collapsed on a step in the black darkness. 'Poor old Bill!' he said in a choking voice. 'Poor old Bill! Wolves and snakes! But the snakes were too much for him. I had to choose, Mr. Frodo. I had to come with you.
How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep...that have taken hold.
I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. 'It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,' he used to say. 'You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!' Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.
No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.
If only that dratted wizard would leave young Frodo alone, perhaps he'll settle down and grow some hobbit-sense,' they said. And to all appearance the wizard did leave Frodo alone, and he did settle down, but the growth of hobbit-sense was not very noticable.
It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam," said Frodo, "and I could not have borne that." "Not as certain as being left behind," said Sam. "But I am going to Mordor." "I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.
I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be.
But you comfort me, Gimli, I'm glad to have you standing nigh with your stout legs and your hard axe. I wish there were more of your kin among us. But even more would I give for a hundred good archers of Mirkwood." - Legolas
The stars are far brighter Than gems without measure, The moon is far whiter Than silver in treasure; The fire is more shining On hearth in the gloaming Than gold won by mining, So why go a-roaming? O! Tra-la-la-lally Come back to the Valley.
The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.
Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.
He was kindhearted, in a way. You know the sort of kind heart: it made him uncomfortable more often than it made him do anything; and even when he did anything, it did not prevent him from grumbling, losing his temper and swearing (mostly to himself).
Clap! Snap! the black crack! Grip, grab! Pinch, nab! And down down to Goblin-town You go, my lad! Clash, crash! Crush, smash! Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs! Pound, pound, far underground! Ho, ho! my lad! Swish, smack! Whip crack! Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat! Work, work! Nor dare to shirk, While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh, Round and round far underground Below, my lad!
Smaug certainly looked asleep, almost dead and dark, with scarcely a snore more than a whiff of unseen steam, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out onto the floor when he caught a sudden thin ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug's left eye. He was only pretending to sleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance!
After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of 'truth', and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear.
Mercy!" cried Gandalf. "If the giving of knowledge is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more should you like to know?" "The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole history of Middle-Earth and Over-heave and of the Sundering Seas," laughed Pippin. "Of course! What less?
But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow in the waters that was soon lost in the West. There he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-Earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart.
He loved mountains, or he had loved the thought of them marching on the edge of stories brought from far away; but now he was borne down by the insupportable weight of Middle-earth. He longed to shut out the immensity in a quiet room by a fire.
We are being at once wisely aware of our own frivolity if we avoid hitting and whacking and prefer 'striking' and 'smiting'; talk and chat and prefer 'speech' and 'discourse'; well-bred, brilliant, or polite noblemen (visions of snobbery columns in the Press, and fat men on the Riviera) and prefer the 'worthy, brave and courteous men' of long ago.
The most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
Sleep! I feel the need of it, as never I thought any dwarf could , riding is tiring work. Yet my axe is restless in my hand. Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!
I am not a 'democrat' only because 'humility' and equality are spiritual principles corrupted by the attempt to mechanize and formalize them, with the result that we get not universal smallness and humility, but universal greatness and pride, till some Orc gets hold of a ring of power--and then we get and are getting slavery.
Much of the same sort of degraded and filthy talk can still be heard among the orc-minded; dreary and repetitive with hatred and contempt, too long removed from good to retain even verbal vigour, save in the ears of those to whom only the squalid sounds strong.
The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. If he would not rather have stayed there in peace. War will make corpses of us all.
Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.
Shadowfax tossed his head and cried aloud, as if a trumpet had summoned him to battle. Then he sprang forward. Fire flew from his feet; night rushed over him. As he fell slowly into sleep, Pippin had a strange feeling: he and Gandalf were still as stone, seated upon the statue of a running horse, while the world rolled away beneath his feet with a great noise of wind.
I wonder if people will ever say, "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring." And they'll say, "Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn't he, Dad?" "Yes, m'boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that's saying a lot.
And that's the way of a real tale. Take any one that you're fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don't know. And you don't want them to.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
I look East, West, North, South, and I do not see Sauron; but I see that Saruman has many descendants. We Hobbits have against them no magic weapons. Yet, my gentlehobbits, I give you this toast: To the Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees.
My own dear mother was a martyr indeed, and it is not to everybody that God grants so easy a way to his great gifts as he did to Hilary and myself, giving us a mother who killed herself with labour and trouble to ensure us keeping the faith.
I don't see why the likes o' thee Without axin' leave should go makin' free With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin; So hand the old bone over! Rover! Trover! Though dead he be, it belongs to he; So hand the old bnone over!
War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.
And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.
A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo's heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a flash of a second. He trembled. And then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped.
Supernatural is a dangerous and difficult word in any of its senses, looser or stricter. But to fairies it can hardly be applied, unless super is taken merely as a superlative prefix. For it is man who is, in contrast to fairies, supernatural; whereas they are natural, far more natural than he. Such is their doom.
That was Thorin's style. He was an important dwarf. If he had been allowed, he would probably have gone on like this until he was out of breath, without telling anyone there anything that was not known already. But he was rudely interrupted.
It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.
This of course is the way to talk to dragons, if you don't want to reveal your proper name which is wise, and don't want to infuriate them by a flat refusal which is also very wise. No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time to trying to understand it.
Criticism - however valid or intellectually engaging - tends to get in the way of a writer who has anything personal to say. A tightrope walker may require practice, but if he starts a theory of equilibrium he will lose grace (and probably fall off).
The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?
I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen, of meadow-flowers and butterflies in summers that have been; Of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were, with morning mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair.
Eomer said, 'How is a man to judge what to do in such times?' As he has ever judged,' said Aragorn. 'Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.
You renounce your friendship even in the hour of our need ' he said. 'Yet you were glad indeed to receive our aid when you came at last to these shores fainthearted loiterers and well-nigh emptyhanded. In huts on the beaches would you be dwelling still had not the Noldor carved out your haven and toiled upon your walls.
Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay small acts of kindness and love.
I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them.
Middle English is an exciting field - almost uncharted, I begin to think, because as soon as one turns detailed personal attention on to any little corner of it, the received notions and ideas seem to crumple up and fall to pieces - as far as language goes, at any rate.