Category Archives: Tolkien

Say “Friend” and Enter

I have always been amused and challenged by the passage in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Rings where Gandalf and his pilgrims are stymied by the door into the mines of Moria. They discovered the door and even the instructions, “Speak, … Continue reading

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Above All Jewels

My favorite passage from The Fellowship of the Ring is probably the scene where Gimli meets Galadriel. For several centuries elves and dwarves had distrusted each other, and Gimli had been blind-folded when brought into this enchanted land of the … Continue reading

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True Grit

Today we think of duty as dull, so it may surprise us that duty plays such an important role in the high adventure of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It is, in fact, the hobbits’ commitment … Continue reading

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Doors Flung Wide

After misery and some close calls with cave trolls, Bilbo and the dwarves descend into the beautiful valley of Rivendell. There, Tolkien tells us, “they all came to the Last Homely House and found its doors flung wide.” Tolkien, a … Continue reading

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Plain Quiet Folk

Tolkien’s The Hobbit begins with one dwarf after another arriving at Bilbo Baggins’ cozy home under the Hill. Earlier Gandalf had told Bilbo that he was looking for someone to share in an adventure.  Bilbo replies, “We are plain quiet … Continue reading

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Tom Bombadil and Goldberry: A Single Dance

Few pictures of joy and marriage capture my heart as perfectly as J. R. R. Tolkien’s description of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry setting the table for Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Sam: Then Tom and Goldberry set the table; and the … Continue reading

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I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.–Bilbo

(The following is a meditation on a couple passages from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Rings, a work or movie with which many readers may be familiar.) In his fight with the Ringwraiths on Weathertop, Frodo is wounded and begins … Continue reading

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Tom Bombadil, Evolution, and Useless Knowledge

In a letter answering a number of questions by Peter Hastings, Tolkien explains why he included Tom Bombadil in his Lord of the Rings. The story of Tom is delightful, but Tom is an enigma—not a wizard, elf, or man. … Continue reading

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Hobbits in Burma

In eastern Burma a group called the Free Burma Rangers brings food and medical help to the thousands of Karen refugees who  are displaced by the brutal oppression of the Burmese Army and dictatorship. The FBR is a mix of missionaries, relief workers, … Continue reading

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