Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 11 years ago, in 2012, on the World Wide Web.
I just spent a couple hours on Facebook arguing about the relationships amongst Sauron and the Balrogs over the course of the First and Third Ages. This convinces me that it is time for a nerd contest. The contest for to-day is favorite Tolkien passages. So, what’s your favorite passage from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien? (Favorite in whatever sense you like.) Post it in the comments or on your own blog.
Note 1. Any work from the hand of J.R.R. Tolkien will do.
Note 2. It is perfectly O.K. to have more than one favorite. I sure do.
Note 3. Feel free to post it with, or without, anything you might want to say about why it’s your favorite.
Note 4. If you hate Tolkien, or just don’t care about Tolkien, or just aren’t feeling it today, post your favorite passage from something else at least equally nerdy.
Here’s one of mine. I’ll probably have more to post in the comments, but The Silmarillion is what was ready at hand, so there is this.
But H?@c3;ba;rin did not look at the stone, for he knew what was written there; and his eyes had seen that he was not alone. Sitting in the shadow of the stone there was a woman, bent over her knees; and as H?@c3;ba;rin stood there silent she cast back her tattered hood and lifted her face. Grey she was and old, but suddenly her eyes looked into his, and he knew her; for though they were wild and full of fear, that light still gleamed in them that long ago had earned her the name Eledhwen, proudest and most beautiful of mortal women in the days of old.
You come at last,she said.I have waited too long.
It was a dark road. I have come as I could,he answered.
But you are too late,said Morwen.They are lost.
I know it,he said.But you are not.
But Morwen said,Almost. I am spent. I shall go with the sun. Now little time is left: if you know, tell me! How did she find him?
But H?@c3;ba;rin did not answer, and they sat beside the stone, and did not speak again; and when the sun went down Morwen sighed and clasped his hand, and was still; and H?@c3;ba;rin knew that she had died.
–J.R.R. Tolkien (1977/1999), The Silmarillion, Ch. 22 Of the Ruin of Doriath, p. 229.
- Including the ones that were redacted by Christopher Tolkien; whether canonical, deuterocanonical, or apocryphal.↩
Rad Geek /#
This is pure Style Time, in a deep lingering horror sort of way.
Crosbie Fitch /#
Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “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 to us.”
“Thus the bliss of Westernesse became diminished; but still its might and splendour increased. For the kings and their people had not yet abandoned wisdom, and if they loved the Valar no longer at least they still feared them. They did not dare openly to break the Ban or to sail beyond the limits that had been appointed. Eastwards still they steered their tall ships. But the fear of death grew ever darker upon them, and they delayed it by all means that they could; and they began to build great houses for their dead, while their wise men laboured unceasingly to discover if they might the secret of recalling life, or at the least of the prolonging of Men’s days. Yet they achieved only the art of preserving incorrupt the dead flesh of Men, and they filled all the land with silent tombs in which the thought of death was enshrined in the darkness.”
As an aside what was the gist of the discussion you were having about Sauron and the Balrogs? Was this about how Sauron was an Ainu and so were the Balrogs, or something else entirely?
Rad Geek /#
Nice! The Akallabêth as a whole is a special favorite of mine. (Also actually a really nice, incisive treatment ofimperialism, war and the desire for dominion. Notice how the growth of the darkness in N?@c3;ba;menor is consistently accompanied by the growth in the pomp and ceremony of their state, and the might and violence of their empire — but also how much of this began in supposedly noble and beneficent missions — taking care for Middle-earth, and especially trying to resist evils by conquering them — e.g. to fight against Sauron and bring military aid to Gil-Galad, etc. But whatever the mission, it inevitably led to a quest for power, and the quest for power took on a life its own.) There’s some really interesting and thoughtful development of this also in some of the related material — esp. the story of Aldarion and Erendis in Unfinished Tales.
Rad Geek /#
Sauron and the Balrogs were definitely both Ainur, but the discussion about Sauron and the Balrogs was about political relations among them. The Facebook thread started with a joke image:
Andrew Tarant?@c3;b8; replied:
Thanks for the reply. I never got the sense that the Balrog in Moria was under Sauron’s control either. As far as Sauron’s minions in the First Age, and I might be mistaken on this, he had authority over vampires and werewolves (I think this comes from the story of Beren and Luthien).
I also like the way that the story of Numenor tracks with Tolkien’s consistent theme of the corrupting influence of power. I hadn’t ever thought of the growth of the ceremonial and symbolic trappings of the state in the story, which is odd because that is something I have been interested in for a while now in the real world (TSA screenings, sobriety checkpoints, five gajillion references to “our brave men and women” at every sporting event). Good catch!
I really enjoyed the Unfinished Tales because of stories like Aldarion and Erendis, well that and little bits of insight into things like the Istari.
Rad Geek /#
A couple passages from Chapter 24 of the Quenta Silmarillion. (The material on E?@c3;a4;rendil is some of the stuff that Tolkien got the least chance to work and rework, and what he did get down always leaves me wishing that he’d had world enough and time to do even more.