Meredith reads Lord of the Rings: THE APPENDICES

So I promised a follow up to this post once I had read the appendices. Here are my thoughts on those, in no particular order.

  • Aragorn is such a DramaStorm. Like, 20 year old Aragorn sees Arwen and is like “that is it for me, I am in loooovvveeeee” and his mum is like “Estel, honey, that’s the immortal daughter of our host you are aiming a bit high” and Aragorn is like “IF I CANNOT BE WITH HER I SHALL JUST BE ALONE FOREVER”
  • Elrond is not the best potential dad-in-law. He summons Aragorn and is like “you are a puny mortal, how dare you, you are nothing to my daughter, get out of Rivendell”
  • Aragorn spends the next thirty years out in Middle Earth doing shit like assisting Gondor against invasion while calling himself really subtle names that mean things like “the eagle of Gondor”. Young Denethor is the only one who thinks there is a possibility this might be the king returning. Everyone else is like “what a nice man. Lovely name. Shame we have no idea who he is or where he’s from.”
  • Eventually Aragorn goes to Lothlorien, where Galadriel, who is Elrond’s mum-in-law, sees an opportunity to Stir Some Shit. She gets Aragorn all prettied up and sends him off for a nice relaxing walk in the woods where Arwen just happens to be. They spend the season walking about together holding hands and stuff. Galadriel totally sends Elrond a message like “hah, bitch, my granddaughter totally fancies a mortal, I set them up, aren’t they cute?” I imagine Elrond exploded with outrage.
  • When Aragorn goes back to Rivendell Elrond is like “If my daughter is going to marry a mortal, she shall marry no less a man than the king of Gondor and Arionskgjnfdhjb (I can’t remember the name of the other kingdom) reunited. So you have to save Middle Earth before marriage” Aragorn, being who he is, is like “Okay, cool, I’ll try”
  • Arwen’s opinion on this is apparently irrelevant. She just makes a banner representing her hope.
  • Aragorn’s mum also randomly dies. Which, I mean, Tolkien, you do know women do things other than giving birth and dying, yes?
  • We also get the entire history of the line of Durin, which reads like a tragedy. Everyone dies, fights orcs, dies, goes gold mad, dies…. Apparently Sauron was cross with them because the magic ring he gave them didn’t work well, Dwarves being stubborn buggers, so he just sent people after them all the time.
  • ONLY A THIRD OF DWARVES ARE WOMEN! And not even all of them have babies because they might be disinterested, in love with a bloke who doesn’t love them back, or I dunno, gay. The bloke Dwarves don’t mind because a lot of the  are just really focused on making stuff. I can’t… Like, what? Tolkien how does this work? I prefer the fan theories that Dwarves’ concept of gender is just very different.
  • LOTR is so depressing, it’s just centuries of everyone decaying and being less than the people who came before and thinking about The Good Old Days (which as far as I can tell weren’t that good) and then being eaten by orcs.
  • The layout of the appendices is really confusing, we get like a detailed history of Durin, a history of Rohan, a history of Gondor, then an overall combined history so like, confusion? But also lots of detail. I like the big overall timeline because it has all this drama and people dying and conquering and then things like “Birth of Gerontius Took, the oldest hobbit” which is great. The Shire is clearly the place to be.
  • In other news, NUMENOR HAD RULING QUEENS! WHY DON’T WE GET THEIR STORIES? I WANT THEIR STORIES.
  • There were only three. The first one declared that all firtsborns were the ruler regardless and then apparently everyone just had sons…. I don’t believe that for a minute. And Mr Evil King of Numenor who caused it to sink by trying to go to the Undying Lands usurped his niece who would have been the fourth ruling queen of Numenor. Presumably she died? Later there’s a lady who’s descended from the ruling line of Numenor married to another dude and they try to convince Gondor of their ruling claim when the last king of Gondor dies, but the Steward is like: “nope, we don’t recognise this claim because one of you is a woman and one of you is from the wrong ruling line of Numenor, so we’ll make this captain king instead” and thus started the reign of the Stewards.
  • Sauron is described as seducing everyone, which made me laugh.
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  • Oh, NOW YOU GIVE ME  A PRONOUNCIATION GUIDE DO YOU? This is when I find out I’ve been saying all the made up words wrong.
  • And the names.
  • And damn, there’s a whole bloody ALPHABET Tolkien you big NERD.
  • I say that, but I read all the language stuff because it was interesting.
  • Also, Legolas and Gimli are just very good friends who built a Dwarf/Elf city and hung about in Middle Earth until Aragorn died before building a boat and going West together. I repeat, Arwen is not allowed go West because she loved a human and gave her spot in the West to Frodo. Legolas goes “fuck this shit, I’m bringing my best friend(“Legolas, we’ve been together a century can ye not say that we’re banging?” Legolas *sarcastic* “But Gimli, are you saying we’re not friends?” *Gimli stares into the camera*) builds a boat himself and sneaks Gimli in with him. Somewhere, Galadriel is cackling.
  • In the story, Arwen’s whole “give Frodo my West grace” thing makes sense, but in the appendices it’s revealed that Bilbo also goes West. And Sam does too eventually (after having a happy life with his family and being Mayor for ages) so like, it makes less sense now (sings *seeeexxiiissssmmmmmm*).
  • Also Aragorn is still a drama storm when he dies, just if anyone was wondering. He and Arwen have a son and two daughters. All we know about the daughters is that they exist.
  • I’m really pissed about Arwen, okay? Like, Aragorn dies and she goes to Lothlorien which is empty and dies alone and sad and THERE WAS NO REASON THAT HAD TO HAPPEN. There were still Elves in some places, just less noble elves. She could have got in Legolas’ boat. She could have stayed in Gondor and hung out with her kids. UGH!
  • We hear nothing about Eowyn. I therefore presume that she continued kicking arse and taking names and that Faramir followed her around handing her weaponry and fetching drinks and being in love.
  • And apparently none of the Hobbits’ names were their actual names because Tolkien translated them from Hobbitish…
  • Also he has a whole section on the different calendars and how they worked. Like, excellent worldbuilding, top marks Tolkien, love that you thought through these things. I empathise with the hobbits, who decided “fuck it, we’re having the weekdays arranged in such a way that the same date is always the same day of the week too” Made me laugh. Everyone else is worrying about leap days and stuff, and the hobbits are like “getting a new diary every year is inconvenient, let’s fix that”
  • Everyone is only ever good at things cause they were descended from someone else who was better.
  • Except Samwise Gamgee, the true hero of this entire tale, who is awesome and replants the Shire and look, I love him okay?
  • I want to hear more about the random ice people in the history. They sound fun.
  • Aragorn is 87 years old in the main bit of the book, BTW.
  • I don’t know if I will ever get through this there is so much information.
  • But I want to finish it.
  • I’ve actually got less than 10 pages left, I can totally do this.
  • Oh why do the Dunlendings hate the Rohirrim and the Dunedain? Is it because they just wandered into Dunland and declared it was theirs on account of “we’re better people?” hmmmm my goodness what a bloody mystery.
  • More lore about the Dwarves, who have secret languages and secret names and are generally groovy.
  • So the will of Sauron is a thing, like, he can compel people to do his bidding. Which is interesting, how many people were serving him willingly? How many orcs would have cut and run? How many trolls? etc etc
  • And the Hobbits’ names are not the Hobbits’ names…. Merry is actually called Kalimac, or Kali for short. Kali meant “joy” hence the “translation” Merry. Sam was called Banazir (Ban for short). Smeagol was actually called Trahald… Tolkien, Tolkien whyyyyyyyyyyy
  • (His explanations are pretty cool though)(I can’t find Frodo or Pippin’s real names in here, but I bet they’re somewhere.
  • Westron had a deferential and a familiar “you” and the Hobbits don’t use the deferential anymore so everyone in Gondor thought Pippin was a Hobbit prince because he used the familiar “you” with Denethor.
  • I finished the appendices! Hah! I win.

So mainly I read the appendices out of stubborn, but they were quite interesting. I’m now done with Lord of the Rings, and can move onto more relaxing reading. That’s a joke, I’m reading The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson at the moment!


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Poem: You are in my Head by Meredith Debonnaire

This one was aired (for the first time) at Piranha Poetry last night, and so it comes to the blog now.

You are in my head as a story shaped like a train,
overgrown with greenery and careening endlessly along a track through deep green hills.
You are in my head,
running through dappled woodland on tall slender legs.
You are in my head with your fingers wrapped around my fists,
urging me forward.
You are in my head as an old beech tree with roots in the soil of my soil.
You are taking me somewhere.
I lie awake at night,
streaked orange by the streetlight outside,
pacing the boundaries of my thoughts and trying to find you,
but you are in my head.
I have found that there is a silent sound inside me,
breathing,
and when I walk the soft circling paths of river and canal I can rest inside it.
You are in my head as a recurring dream I have,
in which I visit a small boat in the centre of still sea:
it is nighttime, and the stars reflect on the water.
An ancient woman is fishing from the boat,
her face lined with age.
She is boiling tea,
and she believes I am a ghost and will not name me,
because naming ghosts is dangerous.
You are in my head as a wild green laughter that I hear sometimes.
I think I would like to eat you up.
You are in my head as a historical record of the exact amount of fingernails clipped from the fingers of witches,
and I am not afraid of following you down through the footnotes.

Understand,
I am not chasing you in order to capture you.
I want to understand the paths you have walked and where you are coming from,
where you might go.
I am trying to find a context that I can exist in,
a context in which I can put down messy roots and turn my face to the sun –
I do not want the old woman on the boat in the star-flecked sea to always believe I am a ghost.
I want to be someone.
And in my head,
deep in the grey tissue squidged in my skull,
you are waiting.
You are inviting me home.
I want to go walking at midnight.
I want to look up at the dark cauldron above me and take the time to feel the space,
the arching sky of your body.
I have always understood the world through stories.
I have always believed that the landscape has motives,
although they may not make any sense at all to me…

There is a story about a princess who slept for years,
and woke up giving birth –
we have retold this story to hide the assault upon her,
and vanished the entire ending in which her mother-in-law tries to boil her alive.
There is a story about an apple tree,
calling for help from beneath the weight of its apples,
and two girls falling down a well.
There is a story about a giant sleeping,
about giant becoming hill and I don’t quite know where I’m going with this,
except that there are shapes to stories,
and shapes to the things missing from them.
I am sitting in a garden looking at a yew tree,
thinking about stories.
About trees.
About the shape that you make in my mind.
I think of this yew tree hitching up her legs and walking,
striding across the Five Valleys and poking her curious face into shops,
staring into people’s windows,
picking up children with her gentle hands.
I think about how fiercely I love this landscape,
and how helpless I feel to protect it.
About tides of plastic sweeping down in a tsunami to scour the soil from the earth,
to wipe away life.
Of how little I understand the ecosystem I exist in.
There is a story about a kingdom built in land reclaimed from the sea,
with two princes overlooking the great tidal wall,
and one prince who was lazy,
and did not do his work so that the entire kingdom except two people drowned when the sea came to take the land back.
All because of one careless man.

You are in my head.
You are watching me from the edge of your luminous galaxy eyes,
daring me to move.
Daring me to do my best.
You are always in my head as hot sparks sinking through me,
burning all the way down.
As the sharp edge of the cliff that I am balancing on.
You are in my head telling me stories and beckoning me,
always,
deeper into the ocean.
I will follow you all the way home.


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I actually realise that, as I was reading from a scribbly handwritten copy, there’s a small section of this that got skipped at Piranha, so I guess that technically makes this the first full debut.

Professional Proofreading Services

A break from my usual content to let you know that I offer professional proofreading services. I have a Basic Proofreading Qualification from the PQB (a subsidiary of the Publishing Training Centre) in which I achieved a merit, and have previously proofread novels, a parenting book, and a mixture of leaflets, advert copy, and some catalogues.

For more information, including rates and a contact form, check out this page: https://meredithdebonnaire.wordpress.com/professional-proofreading-services/

I’ve been a bit busy with some job upheaval recently, hence the lack of posts, but I’m hoping to be up and running normally soon. There should be a poem up in the next few days, as I went to Piranha Poetry on monday so will be sharing the poems that I performed there, and I’m hoping to be back on track with semi-regular book reviews soon.

Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Cover shows a feather blue at the top and dripping into gold at the bottom on a dark background and has title Tempests and Slaugher across it, with author name Tamora Pierce above in shiny writing

Arram Draper hung on the rail of the great arena, hoisting himself until his belly was bent over the polished stone.

May I just start by saying AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE so excited!!!!!!!

This is hard to review because, for me, I’m reading this book in the context of 17 other Tortall books of which this is the latest. Chronologically, it happens alongside the Song of the Lionness quartet (Alanna would be about two years off completing her knight training at the beginning of this book, and is Champion by the end). In publication order it is the furthest away from the Song of the Lionness quartet.

I’m very aware that, despite this series being probably my top favourite longrunning fantasy world and holding a very special place in my heart, I’ve never reviewed any of them on this blog before. I’ve been considering doing a readalong (as I dropped the Discworld one, just wasn’t in the right mood for it). But anyway, I’m going to do my best with this review; there just might be context missing.

Despite being in the Tortall series, this book takes place in Carthak rather than Tortall. For those totally new to this series, the Tortall universe is I guess a sort of swords and sorcery world but with better research and more women and less stupid. So, yes the era is roughly feudal but that’s approached realistically, the politics are complicated, the magic has rules (although they evolve and different people do things differently depending on how they were trained), deities turn up in people’s lives, horses are animals not car-equivalents, armour is worn sensibly (no chainmail bikinis) and if you read from Song of the Lionness through in publication order you get to watch it go from a world in which a noblewoman is pretending to be a boy in order to be a knight (and her first period is indeed mentioned) to a world where they are trying to figure out state-funded education, women are allowed in certain bits of the army, being a handmaiden to the Queen involves being able to shoot a crossbow from a horse as a requirement, and the second lady knight is seriously pissed on behalf of basically every non-noble person she meets. Just to give you a rough overview so you’re not totally lost in this review.

For me, we’re in prequel territory. Numair Salmalin is one of the greatest mages in, well, ever. We meet him in the Immortals quartet as a young man and the teacher of the main character, Daine. We got some information about his backstory: we know he angered the heir to the Carthaki throne somehow, and had to run away and change his name.  In this new book, we get to meet him as Arram Draper, young and at MAAGEEE SCHOOOOLLLL *ahem* the Imperial University of Carthak before everything went horribly wrong (I spent a lot of this book going “noooooo baby Numair, you’re going to have such a hard time”. Also there is a hysterical running theme of deities meeting Arram and being like “oh this one will cause trouble” which is hilarious in the context of having read the other books because you know exactly what this little shit is going to do and why, but he is young and innocent and has no idea and really it’s just excellent). This also means we meet baby Ozorne (creepy, he’s a major baddie later!) and baby Varice (interesting. I’d still like to get more about her in her own words, because so far we only see her from Arram POV and he fancies her, and Daine POV in The Immortals and she is not a fan).

This book has a really different feel from the other Tortall books, and actually bears more similarity to Tamora Pierce’s other longrunning world The Circle books. There were things about the style that threw me, but I also enjoyed it. Unlike other Tortall books where it feels like we get right into the action, Tempests and Slaughter actually felt a bit slower. No less absorbing, just took me a little while to get into it. It’s also the first Tortall book with a male POV character, so that was also an adjustment to make. Personally, I probably wouldn’t recommend this as a starting place for the overall series, just because it has a very different feeling from the rest of the series and you might then feel weird about the rest of the books.

Having said all that I really enjoyed this. A lot of thought went into the structure of it, it was exciting to read as a prequel, I liked getting to know a completely different education style – other main characters are often knights or have a more random education, and the Imperial University of Carthak is mentioned previously as one of the greatest centres of magic in the known world (the City of Gods being another) so I was interested to see what that looked like from the inside. Also, I’m always happy to read new Tamora Pierce because I feel like she is always trying to improve? Like, the Song of the Lionness books came out in the 80s I think, and they are in many ways great but there are no canon queers and the attitude to POC culture is, I think, trying to be good but not always succeeding. And as she’s gone on I feel that she’s just trying harder. There was a trans character in the Beka Cooper series who was treated (I thought) respectfully. There are implied lesbians and actual gays in the Protector of the Small series and married gays in Tempests and Slaughter. And the anti-slavery anti-racist sentiment is only ever getting stronger through the series (although I had really mixed feelings about the Alianne duology and I would need to re-read those two and go talk to people with a better perspective than me, but I was like “I think this is a bit white saviour fantasy? Like, I’m not sure if that’s what’s exactly going on cause it’s made clear that the majority of the revolution is being led by POC but in this story about them taking back their land the main character is white? Although it’s all being orchestrated by their god, but I just feel like, I’m ignorant here and not sure. So, yeeeaaaahhh I dunno about that?”). I spent a lot of Tempests and Slaughter feeling deeply uncomfortable because Carthak is a nation that does slavery in a big way and Tamora Pierce was not interested in making this comfortable or looking away. Arram Draper is from Tyra, which is not a slave country, and through him we get this deeply uncomfortable perspective on slavery, on what it does to families and people, and his realisation that it doesn’t bother his friends and him trying to figure out if he can live with that, if he can handle staying in Carthak, and being in the uncomfortable position of being friends with a member of the royal family.

Also the double standards in magic education where certain types and ways of doing magic are considered superior to others was really interesting, and explains a lot of how Numair approaches magic later. As well as pleasing my Tamora Pierce-nerding heart, which has been watching how magic and politics works in this world since I was nine.

There’s also like, all the intrigue about WTF is happening with the heirs to the Carthaki throne and Master Chioke, but I mean, I’m trying to not spoiler you all here. I’m really trying. You should read this book.

Rating: Just read all the Tortall books and then come here. Don’t mess with the crocodile god, for he is large and wants to sleep.



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The Tentacle Reviews… — The Passing Place

A review of Tales from Tantamount, and in very exciting company too! Such an accurate description of Tales from Tantamount is a complete joy. And it is, we’ll have you know, very idyllic. Just not necessarily for the people… xD

 

In my hands there rests a thing of wonder, a thing of joy, a thing of imaginative splendour and chilling, spine-tingling, mind-bending weirdness… Actually, that’s a lie, it’s not in my hands, and it’s not an it, it’s a they… A they that currently in a pile on my bedside table waiting to find a […]

via The Tentacle Reviews… — The Passing Place

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Tales from Tantamount – a review — Druid Life

A review from the wonderful Nimue, aptly capturing the essence of Tales From Tantamount.

Tales from Tantamount started life on Meredith Debonnaire’s blog. It’s now available (with extras) as both an ebook and paperback. Tantamount is a small, inherently unstable town somewhere in the vicinity of the Severn River. Where exactly it is, varies. History does not quite work the same way here either. History in Tantamount is a […]

via Tales from Tantamount – a review — Druid Life

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Meredith reads Lord of the Rings

So recently I decided to re-read Lord of the Rings. For some background, I was given a copy back when I was about twelve, and although I was what you might call a voracious reader, I struggled with LOTR. I had also been given a special edition, which was in seven little books for each letter of Tolkien’s name. The N is just appendices. It looks like this:

image shows an edition of lord of the rings divided into seven small books, one for each letter of Tolkien

So, twelve year old me slogged through it while feeling absolutely baffled and not really following what anyone was doing or why, and then read the I and the E the wrong way round… So I got to orcs kidnapping Frodo and Sam falling over and went on to E, which starts with Sam lying in a corridor and then getting up. Made sense, followed on directly, right?

Nope, it was wrong. And I was so angry and demoralised by this that I just stopped reading and refused to go back and so never actually finished the damn thing.

Fifteen years later, inspired by my sister’s enthusiasm for LOTR which she was currently reading, I decided to have another go. And I’m not gonna do a review, because LOTR does not need it. I’m just going to give you sort of my running commentary (a bit out of order as I wrote it down afterwards) of what I thought while reading it. Enjoy!

  • Frodo Baggins can’t keep a secret to save his life. He spends all summer wandering about saying things under his breath like “will I ever see this valley again?” so Merry and Pippin and Sam and Frodo’s other mate Fredegar all know what’s going on. I like to imagine they’ve been covering for him with the other hobbits like:  “oh, he means will he ever see that valley again this year. Bit dramatic, is our Frodo, but he is a Baggins.”
  • Merry and Pippin, incidentally, are way more interesting characters than I remembered.
  • Where are the women?
  • Strider is still sexy. I remember being of this opinion aged twelve, and I’m still of this opinion.
  • Everyone is much more calm and respectful than in the films. It’s all a bit “well yes, I suppose I am suspicious of you and your motives however let us repair to another room to discuss this politely”.
  • Most of these books are just people walking through very well described landscapes and apparently never needing to pooh. The battles are actually minimal.
  • Seriously, a lot of the action happens off page or while someone is unconscious or has to be relayed in dialogue by a character. In Moria it’s implied that Gandalf has a big magic fight before meeting the Balrog (and this is why the Balrog gets him, cause he’s tired) but that happens off the page and we just get him running down the stairs to catch up with the Fellowship looking tired.
  • I forgot about the cheerful elves who pass through the Shire! Yay!
  • Also, serious classism in the Shire. Boo!
  • Where are all the women?
  • Galadriel is fab, 100% I would love her and despair. I want a whole book about all the awesome stuff that Galadriel is implied to have done. I think she legit fought the Valar…?
  • Boromir! He’s such a tragic character! I understand him way more this time round. Like, he’s been trying to hold back the Darkness for years and he gets to this meeting and everyone’s like “well should we even fight?” and he’s so angry and frustrated and he’s deeply flawed but he just Does The Things because they Have To Be Done, and tries.
  • Overheard orc conversations are hilarious. And make me feel weird about the killing of them… Like, okay they do horrible things, so do people, and the orcs are obviously people.
  • The orcs need a union.
  • Caradhras just hates people. I can relate sometimes. Just sitting there, being a big, people-hating mountain.
  • Women. Where.
  • Seriously, Arwen is barely mentioned in the books.
  • Arwen isn’t even a speaking part in the books.
  • Helms Deep lasts one night and most of that is “things happened in the dark and nobody knew what was going on, and then in the morning trees” xD
  • I love ents. But I’m sad about the Entwives. Gonna have to find fanfic about the Entwives.
  • Also! The Fellowship all just have really Big Feelings all the time. I like that. These are meant to be the Bestest Mens (gender not race) in middle Earth, and like, Legolas sings all the time and Frodo writes poetry and Aragorn probably does too and they all talk about their feelings, which is nice, and sometimes just have a big cry. Also, none of them actually want to go to war. They have complicated feelings about it, and mainly are just Doing The Thing That Needs To Be Done. It’s an interesting attitude. Also the kindness.
  • WOMEN! Come on Tolkien. We’ve had TWO TALKING WOMEN, and one of them was just hanging out in a pond (I do like Goldberry).
  • More people walking through landscapes.
  • Sauron calls Pippin a “dainty”….???
  • Frodo and Sam wander about forever, boring everyone (me).
  • Simultaneously no-one has ever heard of hobbits, but also the Rangers have been secretly protecting the Shire for years and they share a language base with the Rohirrim…
  • Never look in Palantir. Bad plan.
  • Unless you are Strider Aragorn. Then Sauron gets scared and loses his shit.
  • Bloke called Wormtongue is Definitely A Good Bloke
  • I felt like Eowyn was treated with more respect in the book than the film somehow, though I couldn’t put my finger on why, up until she beats the Witch King and then everyone is really weird about her and the in text descriptions are all about how she is an icy fragile maiden who needs to melt or something and I’m like “dudes are just jealous that they couldn’t beat the witch king nazgul dude, aren’t they?”
  • She totally has a secret life as a badarse while married to Faramir. I do not accept that she just totally stepped back into being growing things wifey wife. Not that I think people shouldn’t be able to back off from fighting at the end of the war and have some rest, I just don’t believe Eowyn’s character would be able to put up with that for long. She has some really set ideas about honour and glory.
  • I love how heavy the landscape is with history. It’s like “and they walked along, and Merry saw a pebble which was the pebble that the great King Elbulblurghle stepped on when he was on his way to battle the Darkness and it  spoke to him and revealed a plan and thus he triumphed over Shadow and since then it has lain here were the great armies fell, noticed only by the secretive elder race who inhabited this landscape, but of them the Fellowship heard nothing but their strange singing.”
  • Women.
  • Where?
  • Possibly living in a secret enclave with the Entwives.
  • Also, POC. Where are they?
  • Although actually, I’m pretty sure Samwise Gamgee THE REAL HERO OF THIS TALE was described as having brown skin. Would have to go back and check. Not clear if Tolkien was saying he’s tanned from gardening all the time or that he’s just brown skinned. Would need to re-read. But if he was, it’s still a bit uncomfortable in that he’s very much a servant.
  • And also that there’s a bit in the first part Concerning Hobbits that seems to imply at least a third of them are dark skinned and curly haired.
  • But then there’s also some pretty racist descriptions of the Haradrim (I think it was them, or the Corsairs). Very uncomfortable and cringy and ugh.
  • Also very uncomfortable with this running idea that certain races of Men are inherently more noble and honourable and better than others…
  • I like Tolkien’s individual characterisation of people, and the idea that the best of people are inherently kind, and the individuals are compelling, but “We’re better cause we’re Numenorean and you aren’t” is a Not Good Kinda Racist notion, actually.
  • Elves don’t have pointy ears. It’s never mentioned. They are ethereal and graceful and merry and glow and very tall (maybe just to a hobbit, but I’m almost hobbit sized), but no pointy ears ever mentioned.
  • WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE SARUMAN ALIVE? That’s just asking for trouble it really is.
  • Okay, but what percentage of all these armies and stuff would have been women in trousers, trans people, queer people… Like, statistically that would have been a thing. I do not have the figures to back me up right here, but I bet I could find them.
  • Poor Faramir. He tries so hard, and his dad is just a Class A Dick.
  • I mean, Denethor has also been fighting Sauron in the palantir for years and being slowly poisoned, which is less his fault, but his parenting decisions are definitely his fault and I do not forgive him.
  • Legolas and Gimli are just Very Good friends who ride around middle earth on the same horse and plan post war dates.
  • Totally.
  • SAM SAM SAM he is the TRUE HERO he is legit tempted by Sauron and wears the ring IN MORDOR and the ring is all “you could overthrow Sauron and drive out the evil and build here the most glorious garden.” and Sam is like: “hmm, this seems unrealistic and not like something I’d enjoy, nope”.
  • He and Frodo are also Very Good Friends
  • Sam marries and has children and moves in with Frodo.
  • Just sayin.
  • The voice of Sauron is all “bitch bitch bitch, you will be our slaves, this is it, it’s all we’re offering” and then Aragorn is like *very stern glare* and the voice of Sauron is like “I am an ambassador you cannot threaten me in this manner!” which honestly made me laugh so much.
  • Also, the army marching to confront Mordor takes the time to fix some statues on the way. Why not?
  • Still no women. Eowyn is conveniently deathly injured now and can’t go anywhere.
  • Oh! There’s Ioreth, but I think we’re meant to think she’s stupid because she talks a lot and clearly is talking a lot cause damn, that’s the King of Gondor in her healing house! Her healing house, King of Gondor, asking her questions! I’d babble in that situation. Also, the implication I get is that kingsfoil/athelas is only really useful if Aragorn gropes it a bit, so obviously Ioreth wouldn’t think it’s helpful.
  • Oh Pippin, Pippin, you shouldn’t have to deal with these crazy people.
  • Nazgul are actually scary in the book.
  • Frodo losing all hope but keeping going anyway is weirdly touching?
  • SAMMMMMMMMMM
  • He carried Frodo up the damn mountain!
  • And then it’s over.
  • Oh wait no, lots of book left.
  • Everyone is chilling out and reuniting now.
  • It’s nice.
  • Oh, so Arwen gets a WHOLE ENTIRE sentence, does she? About how she won’t be immortal anymore. Right.
  • *headdesk* writing women is not that hard.
  • WHO’S SURPRISED THAT SARUMAN ESCAPED? NOT ME!
  • All the elves are leaving, for it is the Age of Men.
  • One can only assume that later it will be the Age of Women (of all kinds) and that the secret entwife enclave will bring forth the rightful queen of Middle Earth.
  • I like the calming journey back. And seeing Bilbo again.
  • Gimli and Legolas ride off into the sunset (Fangorn) together.
  • SHIT THE SHIRE SHIT SHIT
  • That was so emotional!
  • That was the most emotional bit of the whole book! To go through all that, and come home, and your home is all screwed up! It was so horrible. I cried. Damnit Tolkien!
  • SARUMAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!
  • Merry and Pippin being Absolute Badarses is pretty awesome.
  • The moral of this story is probably “nobody expects the Hobbits”
  • Okay, okay now it’s the end. Wow. That was quite a journey. I just want to hug Sam.
  • Except the appendices. I have not read them yet, they get their own post.

Overall, I am glad to have re-read it and I finally understand why it is so beloved, but I also feel like a lot of the copycat work/stuff hanging out in Tolkien’s shadow/things that have grown around it are really missing the point. Because to me it felt like what Tolkien was trying to say (and his success in this was flawed by lack of women and a lot of racist bits etc) was that A) no act of good or kindness, however small, is wasted B) No-one is too small to make a difference B) the best people are kind.  C) Nobody decent wants to go to war, because it is horrendous, but the best people will stand up and Do The Things when necessary, and only when necessary.

Or that’s what I took away, anyway.

Now I can finally read other books again! Wooo


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