Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tolkien Reading, ongoing

I am still working my way very slowly through The History of Middle Earth. Even though I skip over most of the commentary, it is still slow going. I find myself looking up words that I can't quite place - the most recent was "puissance" (yay for the internet). But I am mesmermized by the intensity of the turmoil and multiple tragedies depicted even in these incomplete sketches. The substance they convey amazes me despite the brevity of passages that imply a pregancy of many chapters just bursting to spill forth from the author's mind.

And then a precise, well-thought gem such as this will spring out from the pages and strike you with the simple beauty of the moral conveyed - speaking of evil Morgoth's shock at his enemies' coming together to overthrow him despite the huge success of the seeds of lies and treachery he had successfully sown many ages past: "For heart that is pitiless counteth not the power that pity hath, of which stern anger may be forged and a lightning kindled before which mountains fall." - from section 17 of The Quenta, HoME IV

Although friends may fight, brothers may disagree and feud, when a common enemy is found out and the friends and brothers reunite and forgive and turn their anger, the wrath that comes down upon that enemy is unmatched. Justice comes to the tale-bearers, the whisperers.

So much pain and anguish for so many, and the promise of triumph tainted by so many tragedies past that could have been thwarted if not for moral weakness. Bittersweet.
Ah, Tolkien weaves a powerful fable into a legendary story spanning millienia. It's beautiful as it is, although painfully incomplete, the promise of 'so much more to tell' just leaps from the page. Again I find myself wishing he could have lived a hundred lifetimes to flesh out these sketches into his full dream of an entire mythology.

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