world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and those
who are going to read it."
- The London Times in their original review of the Rings novels
"If you don't think
that Tolkien is the greatest writer there ever was when you are 13 then
there's something wrong with you."
- Terry Pratchett
The road goes ever on, out from the door where it began...
Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings (Cinematic Version)
Quotes About Tolkien and his Works
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Three Rings for the
Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
"I am a servant of
the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass! The dark
fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot
- Gandalf, on the bridge in Moria
"Do not meddle in the
affairs of Wizards...for they are subtle and quick to anger."
"A star shines on the
hour of our meeting."
- Elvish greeting
"Alas through him the
Enemy has learned that the One has been found again. He knows where Isildur
fell. He knows where Gollum found his ring. He knows that it is a Great
Ring, for it gave long life. He knows that it is not one of the Three,
for they have never been lost, and they endure no evil. He knows that it
is not one of the Seven, or the Nine, for they are accounted for. He knows
that it is the One. And he has at last heard, I think, of _hobbits_ and
the _Shire._ 'The Shire – he may be seeking for it now, if he has not already
found out where it lies. Indeed, Frodo, I fear that he may even think that
the long- unnoticed name of _Baggins_ has become important."
"Pity? It was Pity
that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And
he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from
the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the
Ring so. With Pity."
"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."
- Gandalf and Frodo
"They come from Mordor...From
Mordor, Barliman, if that means anything to you!"
- Strider, in Bree
With his last failing
senses Frodo heard cries, and it seemed to him that he saw, beyond the
Riders that hesitated on the shore, a shining figure of white light; and
behind it ran small shadowy forms waving flames, that flared red in the
grey mist that was falling over the world.
"There are many powers
in the world, for good or for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against
some I have not yet been measured. But my time is coming."
"But there are few
left in Middle-earth like Aragorn son of Arathorn. The race of the Kings
from over the Sea is nearly at an end. It may be that this War of the Ring
will be their last adventure"
"Do you really mean that Strider is one of the people of the old Kings? I thought they had all vanished long ago. I thought he was only a Ranger."
"Only a Ranger! My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West."
- Gandalf and Frodo
"The Elves may fear
the Dark Lord, and they may fly before him, but never again will they listen
to him or serve him. And here in Rivendell there live still some of his
chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest
seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the
Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and
the Unseen they have great power."
"I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?"
"Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes. Indeed there is a power in Rivendell to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while: and elsewhere other powers still dwell. There is power, too, of another kind in the Shire. But all such places will soon become islands under siege, if things go on as they are going. The Dark Lord is putting forth all his strength."
- Gandalf and Frodo
"Lonely men are we,
Rangers of the wild, hunters - but hunters ever of the servants of the
Enemy; for they are found in many places, not in Mordor only. If Gondor,
Boromir, has been a stalwart tower, we have played another part. Many evil
things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay.
You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do
you say? The North would have known them little but for us. Fear would
have destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless hills,
or creep from sunless woods, they fly from us. What roads would any dare
to tread, what safety would there be in quiet lands, or in the homes of
simple men at night, if the Dúnedain were asleep, or were all gone
into the grave?"
"I don't know half
of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you
half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins
"The wolf that one
hears is worse than the orc that one fears."
"But do not despise
the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that
old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the
wise to know."
- Celeborn, to Boromir
All that is gold does
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by frost.
THE TWO TOWERS
"Ours is but a small
matter in the great deeds of this time."
"They are proud and
wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but
not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs,
after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years."
- Aragorn describes the people of Rohan
"These are indeed strange
days. Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass."
"I am not going to
tell you my name, not yet at any rate... my name is like a story. Real
names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language."
"Maybe you have heard
of Trolls? They are mighty strong. But Trolls are only counterfeits, made
by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, in mockery of Ents, as Orcs were of
Elves. We are stronger than Trolls. We are made of the bones of the earth."
- Treebeard describes the Ents
"Gandalf, yes, that
was the name. I was Gandalf."
- Gandalf the White
"No blame to you, and
no harm done to me. Indeed my friends, none of you have any weapon that
could hurt me. Be merry! We meet again. At the turn of the tide. The great
storm is coming, but the tide has turned."
- Gandalf the White
"I am white now. Indeed
I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been."
- Gandalf the White
"Dangerous? And so
am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet,
unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn
is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli
son of Gloin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion. "
"In two ways may a
man come with evil tidings. He may be a worker of evil; or he may be such
as leaves well alone, and comes only to bring aid in time of need."
"The wise speak only
of what they know."
"You have been deluded
by Saruman. Many of you have got death as the reward of your trust in him;
but had you conquered, little better would your wages have been."
- Erkenbrand, to the men of Dunland
"We will have peace,
when you and all your works have perished - and the works of your dark
master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter
of men's hearts... Even if your war on me was just - as it was not, for
were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine
for your own profit as you desired - even so what will you say if your
torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there?"
- Theoden, King of Rohan
"What have you to say
that you did not say at our last meeting? Or perhaps, you have things to
- Gandalf to Saruman
"The treacherous are
- Gandalf to Saruman
"Behold, I am not Gandalf
the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from
death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the
- Gandalf , to Saruman
"Don't forget Gildor's
saying - the one Sam used to quote: 'Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards,
for they are subtle and quick to anger."
"But our whole life for months has been one long meddling in the affairs of Wizards."
- Merry & Pippin
"Patience! Do not speak
before your master, whose wit is greater than yours."
- Faramir, to Sam
"Many are my names
in many countries. Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkun to the Dwarves;
Olorin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Icanus,
in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not."
- Faramir quotes Gandalf
"We are become Middle
Men, of the Twilight, but with memory of other things. For as the Rohirrim
do, we now love war and valour as things good in themselves, both a sport
and an end; and though we still hold that a warrior should have more skills
and knowledge than only the craft of weapons and slaying, we esteem a warrior,
nonetheless, above men of other crafts. Such is the need of our days."
"I do not love the
bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the
warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend."
"You have an air too,
sir, that reminds me of, of - well, Gandalf, of wizards."
"Maybe, maybe you discern from far away the air of Numenor. Good night!"
- Sam and Faramir
"War must be, while
we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all."
"It strikes me that
folk takes their peril with them into Lorien, and finds it there because
they've brought it."
"This Mithrandir was,
I now guess, more than a lore-master: a great mover of the deeds that are
done in our time."
THE RETURN OF THE KING
"You come with tidings
of grief and danger, as is your wont, they say."
"Because I come seldom but when my help is needed."
- Ingold and Gandalf
"Theoden is a kindly
old man. Denethor is of another sort, proud and subtle, a man of far greater
lineage and power, though he is not called a king."
"He is not as other
men of this time."
- Gandalf, on Denethor
He turned his dark
eyes on Gandalf, and now Pippin saw a likeness between the two, and he
felt the strain between them, almost as if he saw a line of smouldering
fire, drawn from eye to eye, that might suddenly burst into flame. Denethor
looked indeed much more like a great wizard than Gandalf did, more kingly,
beautiful, and powerful; and older. Yet by a sense other than sight Pippin
perceived that Gandalf had the greater power and the deeper wisdom, and
a majesty that was veiled. And he was older, far older.
"The days now are short.
Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I
have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!"
- Arwen's message to Aragorn
"Do not spoil the wonder
with haste! I have given you my word to return hither with you, if a day
of peace and freedom comes again."
- Legolas makes a promise to Gimli
"He knows not to what
end he rides, yet if he knew, he still would go on."
- Aragorn describes Merry
"A time may come soon
when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown,
for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defence of
- Aragorn, to Eowyn
"Is Faramir come?"
"No, but he still lived when I left him. Yet his is resolved to stay with the rearguard, lest the retreat become a rout. He may, perhaps, hold his men together long enough, but I dount it. He is pitted against a foe too great. For one has come that I feared."
- Denethor and Gandalf
"He will not come save
only to triumph over me when all is won. He uses others as his weapons.
So do all great lords, if they are wise, Master Halfling. Or why should
I sit here in my tower and think, and watch, and wait, spending even my
- Denethor to Pippin
"Yet now under the
Lord of Barad-dûr the most fell of all his captains is already master
of your outer walls, King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord
of the Nazgûl, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of
"You think, as is your
wont, my lord, of Gondor only. Yet there are other men and other lives
and time still to be... the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor
nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril
as the world now stands, those are my care. I am also a steward. Did you
- Gandalf, to Denethor
"What was Gandalf?
In what far time and place did he come into the world, and when would he
"Courage will now be
the best defence against the storm that is at hand."
"I fear treachery...
Yet, a traitor may betray himself, and do good that he does not intend."
"I am wise enough to
know that there are some perils from which a man must flee."
"Today we may make
the Enemy pay ten times our loss at the passage and yet rue the exchange.
For he can afford to lose a host better than we to lose a company."
"Do not throw your
life away rashly or in bitterness. You will be needed here, for other things
than war. Your father loves you, Faramir, and will remember it ere the
"Now all realms shall
be put to the test, to stand, or fall - under the Shadow. We have this
honour: ever we bear the brunt of the chief hatred of the Dark Lord. Here
will the hammer-stroke fall hardest. If we fall, who shall stand?"
- Beregond of Gondor
"You cannot enter here.
Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness
that awaits you and your Master. Go!"
- Gandalf, holding the gate of Minas Tirith against the Witch-King
At that very moment,
away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear
he crowed, reckoning nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning
that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
- Closing Narration to "The Siege of Gondor"
"Wild men are wild,
free, but not children. I am great headman, Ghan-buri-Ghan. I count many
things: stars in sky, leaves on trees, men in the dark. You have a score
of scores counted ten times and five. They have more. Big fights, and who
will win? And many more walk round walls of Stone-houses."
- Ghan-buri-Ghan of Druadan Forest
"To me! To me! Up Eorlingas,
fear no darkness!"
- King Theoden of Rohan
"She should not die,
so young and beautiful. At least, she should not die alone."
- Merry, at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields
"Once more lust of
battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he
was king: the lord of a fell people."
- Eomer, on the field of Pelennor
In that hour the great
Battle of the field of Gondor was over; and not one living foe was left
within the circuit of the Rammas. All were slain save those who fled to
die, or to drown in the red foam of the River. Few ever came eastward to
Morgul or Mordor; and to the land of the Haradrim came only a tale from
far off: a rumour of the wrath and terror of Gondor.
- Narration, from "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
"She was pitted against
a foe beyond the strength of her mind or body. And those who will take
a weapon to such an enemy must be sterner than steel, if the very shock
shall not destroy them. it was an evil doom that set her in his path. For
she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens."
- Aragorn describing Eowyn
"My friend, you had
horses and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body
of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she
was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch
him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage."
- Gandalf, to Eomer
"He was a gentle heart
and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to
a last fair morning."
- Gandalf eulogises Theoden to Merry
"Seldom do they fail
of their seed. And that will lie in the dust and rot to spring up again
in times and places unlooked-for. The deeds of Men will outlast us, Gimli."
"Look! Gulls! They
are flying far inland. A wonder they are to me and a trouble to my heart.
Never in all my life had I met them, until we came to Pelargir, and there
I heard them crying in the air as we rode to the battle of the ships. Then
I stood still, forgetting war in Middle-earth; for their wailing voices
spoke to me of the Sea. The Sea! Alas! I have not yet beheld it. But deep
in the hearts of all my kindred lies the sea-longing, which it is perilous
to stir. Alas! for the gulls. No peace shall I have again under beech or
"I will tell you enough
for your peace; for I felt not the horror, and I feared not the shadows
of Men, powerless and frail as I deemed them."
- Legolas tells of the Paths of the Dead
"Other evils there
are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. It
is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is
in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the
evil in the fields we know, so that those who live after may have clean
earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."
"There are names among
us that are worth more than a thousand mail-clad knights apiece."
"It needs but one foe
to breed a war, not two, Master Warden. And those who have not swords can
still die upon them. Would you have the folk of Gondor gather you herbs
only, when the Dark Lord gather armies? ...nor is it always evil to die
in battle, even in bitter pain."
"No longer do I desire
to be a queen."
"That is well, for I am not a king."
- Eowyn and Faramir
"This is your realm,
and the heart of the greater realm that shall be. The Third Age of the
world is ended, and the new age is begun; and it is your task to order
its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. For though much has
been saved, much must now pass away; and the power of the Three Rings is
also ended. And all the lands that you see, and those that lie round about
them, shall be dwellings of Men, and the Eldar Kindred shall fade or depart."
"I know it well, dear friend, but I would still have your counsel."
"Not for long now. The Third Age was my age. I was the Enemy of Sauron; and my work is finished. I shall go soon. The burden must lie now upon you and your kindred."
- Gandalf and Aragorn
"A gift I will give
you. For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him now when
he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Luthien, and as she
so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter. But in my stead you shall
go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it."
- Arwen to Frodo
"Now I will put Queen
Arwen Evenstar first, and I am ready to do battle on my own part with any
who deny me. Shall I call for my sword?"
"Nay, you are excused for my part, lord. You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning."
- Eomer and Gimli praise the beauty of Arwen and Galadriel
"I am not coming to
the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have
been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no
longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so."
- Gandalf to Merry & Pippin
"Do not kill him even
now... He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise
our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would
still spare him, in the hope that he may find it."
- Frodo, defending Saruman
"I have been deeply
hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for
me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to
give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them."
"Keep alive the memory
of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger
and so love their beloved land all the more."
- Frodo to Sam
"The grey rain-curtain
turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores
and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."
- Narration as Frodo passes into the West
CINEMATIC VERSION OF 'THE LORD OF THE RINGS'
"The world is changed.
I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.
Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. It began
with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Elves: immortal,
wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven to the Dwarf-lords: great miners
and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And nine, nine were gifted to the
race of Men, who above all else, desire power. For within these rings was
bound much of the strength and will to govern each race. But they were
all of them deceived, for another ring was made.
In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret a Master Ring to control all others. And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One Ring to rule them all. One by one, the Free Lands of Middle-earth fell to the power of the Ring.
But there were some who resisted. A Last Alliance of Men and Elves marched against the armies of Mordor. And on the slopes of Mount Doom, they fought for the freedom of Middle-earth."
- Prologue to 'Fellowship', spoken by Galadriel
"The 22nd day of September,
in the year 1400, by Shire-reckoning. Bag End, Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, West
Farthing, the Shire, Middle-earth. The Third Age of this world.
'There and Back Again: a Hobbit's Tale' by Bilbo Baggins. Chapter One: Concerning Hobbits.
Hobbits have been living and farming in the four Farthings of the Shire for many hundreds of years, quite content to ignore and be ignored by the world of the Big Folk. Middle-earth being, after all, full of strange creatures beyond count, Hobbits must seem of little importance, being neither renowned as great warriors, or counted among the very wise.
In fact, it has been remarked by some that Hobbits only real passion is for food. A rather unfair observation, as we have also developed a keen interest in the brewing of ales, and the smoking of pipe-weed. But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and good-tilled earth. For all Hobbits share a love of things that grow.
And yes, no doubt to others, our ways seem quaint. But today of all days, it is brought home to me: It is not bad thing to celebrate a simple life."
- Introduction to Hobbits, spoken\written by Bilbo (Special Edition, "Concerning Hobbits")
"Confound it all, Samwise
Gamgee! Have you been eavesdropping?"
"I ain't been dropping no eaves! Honest."
- Gandalf catches Sam, "The Shadow of the Past"
"What did you hear?
"Nothing important! That is, I heard a good deal about a ring, a Dark Lord and something about the end of the world."
- Gandalf questions Sam, "The Shadow of the Past"
"Are you frightened?"
"Not nearly frightened enough."
- Strider and Frodo, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
"Be on your guard.
There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world."
- Gandalf, at the entance to Moria
[From the proposed
John Boorman 1970s adaptation]
"I am the snake about to strike!"
"I am the staff that crushes the snake!"
"I am the fire that burns the staff to ashes!"
"I am the cloudburst that quenches the fire!"
"I am the well that traps the waters!"
- Gandalf and Saruman engage in a 'word duel'
In a hole in the ground
there lived a hobbit.
- Opening Line
"What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"
- Bilbo Baggins & Gandalf
"There was Eru, the
One, who in Arda is called Illuvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the
Holy Ones, that were offspring of his thought, and they were with him before
aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of
music; and they sang before him, and he was glad."
- Opening Narration
"The Valar mourned
not more for the death of the Trees than for the marring of Feanor: of
the works of Melkor one of the most evil. For Feanor was made the mightiest
in all parts of body and mind, in valour, in endurance, in beauty, in understanding,
in skill, in strength and in subtlety alike, of all the Children of Illuvatar,
and a bright flame was in him."
- Narration, "Of the Sun and the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
"In those days Elves
and Men were of like stature and strength of body, but the Elves had greater
wisdom, and skill, and beauty; and those who had dwelt in Valinor and looked
upon the Powers as much surpassed the Dark Elves in these things as they
in turn surpassed the people of mortal race.
Immortal were the Elves, and their wisdom waxed from age to age, and no sickness nor pestilence brought death to them. Their bodies indeed were of the stuff of Earth, and could be destroyed; and in those days they were more like to the bodies of Men, since they had not so long been inhabited by the fire of their spirit, which consumes them from within in the course of time. But Men were more frail, more easily slain by weapons or mischance, and less easily healed; subject to sickness and many ills; and they grew old and died."
- Narration, "Of Men"
"For Manwe to whom
all birds are dear, and to whom they bring news upon Taniquetil from Middle-earth,
had sent forth the race of Eagles, commanding them to dwell in the crags
of the North, and to keep watch upon Morgoth; for Manwe still had pity
for the exiled Elves."
- Narration, "Of the Return of the Noldor"
"Feanor they have slain,
and many another, as I guess; but first of all the deaths they have brought
and yet shall bring was Finwe your friend."
- Melian warns Thingol of the doom that lies upon the Silmarils
"It seems that you
would deceive me; unless indeed you yourself have been deceived."
- Curufin, to Eol
"I acknowledge not
your law. No right have you or any of your kin in this land to seize realms
or set bounds, either here or there. This is the land of the Teleri, to
which you bring war and all unquiet, dealing ever proudly and unjustly..."
"I will not debate with you, Dark Elf. By the swords of the Noldor alone are your sunless woods defended. Your freedom to wander there wild you owe to my kin; and but for them long since you would have laboured in thraldom in the pits of Angband. And here I am King; and whether you will it or not, my doom is law."
- Eol and Turgon, in the realm of Gondolin
"We took long roads,
desiring to escape the perils of Middle-earth and the dark things that
dwell there; for we heard that there was Light in the West. But now we
learn that the Light is beyond the Sea. Thither we cannot come where the
Gods dwell in bliss. Save one; for the Lord of the Dark is here before
us, and the Eldar, wise but fell, who make endless war upon him."
- Bereg & Amlach, voicing the discontent of Men, "Of the Coming of Men into the West"
"Neither rock nor steel,
nor the fires of Morgoth, nor all the powers of the Elf-kingdoms, shall
keep from me the treasure that I desire. For Luthien your daughter is the
fairest of all the Children of the World."
- Beren, to King Thingol, "Of Beren and Luthien"
"It is not fitting
that the Elder Children of Illuvatar should wed with the Younger; nor is
it wise, for they are brief, and soon pass, to leave us in widowhood while
the world lasts."
- Gwindor to Finduilas, "Of Turin Turambar"
"Then Dior arose, and
about his neck he clasped the Nauglamir; and now he appeared as the fairest
of all the children of the world, of threefold race; of the Edain, and
of the Eldar, and of the Maiar of the Blessed Realm."
- Narration, "Of the Ruin of Doriath"
"In this matter the
power of doom is given to me. The peril that he ventured for love of the
Two Kindreds shall not fall upon Earendil, nor shall it fall upon Elwing
his wife, who entered in peril for love of him; but they shall not walk
again ever among Elves or Men in the Outer Lands. And this is my decree
concerning them; to Earendil and Elwing, and to their sons, shall be given
leave each to choose freely to which kindred their fates shall be joined,
and under which kindred they shall be judged."
- Manwe judges Earendil and Elwing, "Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath"
"The Balrogs were destroyed,
save some few that fled and hid themselves in caverns inaccessible at the
roots of the earth; and the uncounted legions of the Orcs perished like
straw in a great fire. Few remained to trouble the world for long years
- Narration, "Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath"
"Thus in after days,
what by the voyages of ships, what by lore and star-craft, the kings of
Men knew that the world was indeed made round, and yet the Eldar were permitted
still to depart and to come to the Ancient West and to Avallone, if they
would. Therefore the loremasters of Men said that a Straight Road must
still be, for those that were permitted to find it. And they taught that,
while the new world fell away, the old road and the path of the memory
of the West still went on, as it were a mighty bridge invisible that passed
through the air of breath and of flight (which were bent now as the world
- Narration, "Akallabeth"
"The Nazgul they were;
the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terribly servants; darkness went with
them and they cried with the voices of death."
- Narration, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
"I savour a new language
the way some savour a new wine."
- JRR Tolkien
Letter to Stanley Unwin
(1938); Tolkien's German publishers had written to ask him whether he was
of "Aryan" origin:
I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by 'arisch'. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. ... But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. ... I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.
Letter to his son Michael
during World War Two (1941):
I have in this War a burning private grudge — which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler (for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that it in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature: it chiefly affects the mere will). Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.
"I cannot stress this
strongly enough: do not see this movie. If you do, it will ruin you for
everything else. Films you've seen before, films you're waiting to see,
films you have on DVD... it doesn't matter. All will pale by comparison
after you finally lay eyes on Peter Jackson's visionary masterpiece."
- Moriarty, AintItCoolNews.Com
"Perhaps it is because
these are, in their way, more real than reality. They touch a chord. They
go to the deep things - life and death, good and evil, struggle, heroism.
They are, in one word, exciting. But they would not be exciting if their
authors, JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling had not possessed marvellous talents:
wealth of imagination, the ability to create their own worlds, and make
Into their worlds they invite the young in age and those whose spirits have not aged. Their books, and the films based on them, are not mere cults. They are food for the mind. Once, 'wizard', simply meant a wise man. These are the work of a wise man and a wise woman."
- Irish Independent editorial, praising film releases of Potter & Rings
"In the mythical world
of Middle Earth, where the forces of good and evil are as boldly demarcated
as on the Fox News network, an intrepid hobbit (Elijah Wood) has inherited
a gold ring that his older cousin (Ian Holm) found on his travels decades
- TheOnion.Com AV Guide
"I've read Lord of
the Rings at least 24 times and I like thinking about questions such as,
why don't the eagles get more involved?"
- Ken Chaij, Pittsburgh, Number 1 Tolkien fan in the world.
"The true weirdness
of the English is that behind their plodding, diligent conformity and studied,
grey, small-time predictability, they hide extraordinary secret worlds.
There are two Englands: the rather dull one that tourists come to see,
and the other secret one that perfectly ordinary Englishmen have rocking
around their ids, populated by the denizens of Blake, Lewis, Tolkien and
Nigella, set to music by Elgar."
- AA Gill, The London Times
"Defence policy in
Middle-Earth is strictly Arthurian."
- Simon Jenkins, The London Times
The crew-served weapon
usually gets a name of its own: The MOBATS (Mobile Artillery) of a British
infantry battalion in the late 1970s bore the stencilled names Glamdring,
Sting, Orcrist, Herugrim, Anglachel and Anduril — all swords in Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings.
- Richard Holmes, "Acts of War"
"As a moral proposition
I'm as against genocide as the next guy, but I do hold out the caveat that
if mankind is attacked by 99.5-percent pure-evil Orcs, or, say, skyscraper-sized
dung beetles, I might change my views."
- Jonah Goldberg, dismissing allegations of racism against Tolkien, "National Review Online"
it may be, was to reintroduce a heroic world view, drawn from the ancient
texts he taught as a professor, to a world gone ironic. And this world
view was put across not only by the obviously heroic figures such as Aragorn
and Faramir and King Theoden, but by the hobbits - and, most of all, by
the very structure of the story. In this story, all the characters find
themselves, literally as well as figuratively, bewildered: their bearings
lost, not sure what's for the best, but slogging on regardless. The most
important ones, moreover, the hobbits Frodo and Sam, think they're on their
own. All the time, their friends are risking everything to distract the
Eye of Sauron from them, but they don't know that. They go on anyway."
- Tom Shippey, "Take Courage", The Daily Telegraph
"I rarely remember
a book about which I have had such violent arguments. Nobody seems to have
a moderate opinion: either, like myself, people find it a masterpiece of
its genre or they cannot abide it.
...Evil has every advantage but one; it is inferior in imagination. Good can imagine the possibility of becoming evil-hence the refusal of Gandalf and Aragorn to use the Ring; but Evil, defiantly chosen, can no longer imagine anything but itself. Sauron cannot imagine any motives except lust for domination and fear so that, when he has learned that his enemies have the Ring, the thought that they might try to destroy it never enters his head, and his eye is kept toward Gondor and away from Mordor and the Mount of Doom."
- W.H. Auden, reviewing "The Lord of the Rings" for "The New York Times" in 1956
The Lord Of The Rings
is in the strict sense a Catholic novel. Frodo loses his faith (i.e. instead
of destroying the fatal Ring he seeks to usurp its ownership, thus falling
prey to the sin of Pride), but, because of his good deeds — specifically
in sparing Gollum when he might have killed him as a reasonable measure
of self-protection — the Ring is destroyed and Frodo is saved. This follows
the late medieval tradition of the Everyman plays. Luther insisted on justification
— i.e. salvation — by faith alone. Ti to put it another way, Frodo's love
is greater than self-love, and he forgives his intended murderer.
- Owen Dudley Edwards, "British Children's Fiction in the Second World War"
If Tolkien was apt
to re-use ancient epic motifs - the dragon, the separated twins, the reforged
sword - he also had an imagination that could invent motifs of similar
mythical force. I can't think of any precedent for the terrifying framing
device of this narrative: Húrin is captured by the Dark Lord, Sauron's
boss, and set upon a chair on a mountain top to watch everything that follows
in the lives of his children. Some of Tolkien's most striking and modern
inventions, such as the seeing stones in The Lord of the Rings, concern
surveillance - a topic that has become of greater interest over the years.
When Húrin is released from captivity, and makes his way to his
children's graves to meet, one last time, his wife, the result is a coda
more moving than I'd have thought Tolkien capable of creating. There are
plenty of things to be said against Tolkien, but there seems little point
now in denying the fact that he is, simply, part of English literature.
The Children of Húrin has been rammed together without a lot of
scholarly explanation; it provides, however, along with a great deal of
absurdity, a glimpse of the sheer mythical power that is turning him into
a long-term object of interest.
- Philip Hensher, reviewing "The Children of Hurin", "The Telegraph"
I knew the story before
I picked it up, but I read it nevertheless with enormous and unexpected
pleasure. It commanded my full attention and it generated the emotional
charge of a much longer novel. It is a tragedy, not in the Aristotelian
sense (for there is precious little catharsis here) but in the northern-European
sense of humans encountering an overwhelming fate with defiance. And that
is at the heart of Tolkien's conception of heroism; precisely not achievement,
but a particular and noble-hearted encounter with failure; not how you
triumph, but the spirit with which you resist the fate you know to be unavoidable.
- Adam Roberts, reviewing "The Children of Húrin" on "Strange Horizons"
In our hearts every
one of us would like to create a new world, less terrible than this one,
a world where there is at least a possibility that things may work out
right. The greatest writers are able to do this. In The Lord Of The Rings,
Professor Tolkien has created a world that is entirely new and if the book
ends in haunting sadness Frodo and Sam do at least throw the run in the
fire; if it had been in this world that they embarked on their terrible
journey they would have died half-way up the mountain. And so, evern with
lesser writers, a story is a groping attempt to make a new world.
- Elizabeth Goudge, "The Joy of the Snow" (1976)
David Gemmell found
inspiration in classic tales. "If you look at any ancient civilization,
they've all used fantasy stories to train the young," he told Britain's
Independent newspaper a decade ago. Gemmell bemoaned the modern compulsion
to tear down larger-than-life heroes and expose them as small-minded and
self-interested. He certainly wouldn't have cared for the recent movie
version of "Beowulf," in which the Anglo-Saxon warrior is transformed from
the old poem's monster-slaying gallant into a lying adulterer who swaps
sex for power.
The fantasy genre provides a refuge from such harmful deconstruction. "Societies need heroes," Gemmell once said, according to an obituary in London's Daily Telegraph. "So we travel to places where the revisionists cannot dismantle the great."
When Gemmell was a boy, a teacher read "The Hobbit" to his class, turning Gemmell into a lifelong fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, whose characters became his role models. On a train platform one evening, Gemmell -- a big-and-tall fellow who once worked as a bouncer -- saw three men beating up a fourth. As he told the Independent, "A voice inside my head said, 'What would Boromir do?'" He jumped into the fray and fought off the assailants.
- John J Miller, looking back at the life of David Gemmell, "Wall Street Journal"
"It is a big ponderous
book. A very useful object for dropping on any winter rodent which has
invaded your space. So if you really want to buy it, you could bring it
along to the cinema. Not of cource to compare the prose with the images
but to put on your seat and thus give you the necessary elevation to see
over thr big galoot (or big Gandalf) who forever arrives late and plonks
himself down in front of your seat."
- Declan McCormack, "Bored of the Rings", The Irish Independent.
HARVARD LAMPOON: BORED OF THE RINGS
This book is predominantly concerned with making money, and from its pages a reader may learn much about the character and literary integrity of the authors.
"Verily and forsooth,"
replied Goodgulf darkly. "In the past year strange and fearful wonders
I have seen. Fields sown with barley reap crabgrass and fungus, and even
small gardens reject their artichoke hearts. There has been a hot day in
December and a blue moon. Calendars are made with a month of Sundays and
a blue-ribbon Holstein bore alive two insurance salesmen. The earth splits
and the entrails of a goat were found tied in square knots. The face of
the sun blackens and the skies have rained down soggy potato chips."
"But what do all these things mean?" gasped Frito.
"Beats me," said Goodgulf with a shrug, "but I thought it made good copy."
"I am afraid that you
must alter your plans for them. You cannot use extermination as a method
for settling your petty grugdes with the townspeople."
- Goodgulf and Dildo plan a party, "Bored of the Rings"
"And what is this ring?"
said Frito, eyeing the possible exits from the hole.
"Cease thy eyeing of possible exits and I will tell thee," Goodgulf reprimanded the frightened boggie.
As with most mythical creatures who live in enchanted forests with no visible means of support, the elves ate rather frugally.
Then just over their heads they saw a passing flash of color. There in the sky they saw a giant eagle, full-feathered and painted shocking pink. On its side were the words DEUS EX MACHINA AIRLINES in metallic gold.
Frito walked directly to his cozy fire and slumped in the chair. He began to muse upon the years of delicious boredom that lay ahead. Perhaps he would take up Scrabble.
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