LOTR--The Books This Time--Hauntings

I will now address Tolkien's poetry, specifically poetry about . . .
"All Shall Fade."


I must admit--I'm not a huge fan of Tolkien's poetry. In this last rereading, I allowed myself to skip most of it. However, in rewatching the movies, I realized how many times Jackson drew on Tolkien's poetry for the soundtrack. Pippin's haunting ballad to Lord Denethor is actually taken from The Fellowship of the Ring. It is a stanza from one of Bilbo's walking songs.

In the original context (which I provide below since many websites "misquote" Jackson's rendering as "Tolkien"), it is a far jollier song, but it has those elements that Jackson used so skillfully:
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We'll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed! (Fellowship, Book 1, Chapter 3)
In general, I find Tolkien's prose--rather than his poetry--far more evocative. Gandalf's quote about a green country, spoken so tenderly by Ian McKellan in the third film, comes from the prose beginning of Chapter 8 in Fellowship, a fact that I would have discovered only with great difficulty if not for Tolkien Geek.

What I remember most from the Tom Bombadil chapters is Chapter 7, Frodo's vision of Gandalf, and Tolkien's lovely descriptions of rainfall.

Tolkien utilizes clean, deceptively simple prose. It is especially haunting when he discusses the sea. However, my favorite line about a literal haunting comes from the end of Book 1, Chapter 2 in The Return of the King when Aragorn fetches the oathbreakers:
The Shadow Host pressed behind and fear went on before them . . . the township and the ford of Ciril they found deserted, for many men had gone away to war, and all that were left fled to the hills at the rumour of the coming of the King of the Dead. But the next day there came no dawn, and the Grey Company passed on into the darkness of the Storm of Mordor and were lost to mortal sight;  but the Dead followed them (my emphasis).
When I read this line, I remembered reading the book years earlier--that emotional memory came flooding back, including the shiver down the spine . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment