The Tolkien Blog Party

 

Tolkien Party Hobbit Hole 2018

I’m joining my writing Kindred Spirit over at The Edge of the Precipice Blog in celebrating all that is Tolkien. (Hope over there for instructions on how to join in.) Today is Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday, and yesterday was the 81st Anniversary of the publication of the Hobbit. It seems a good time to celebrate. So pack that pipe, grab a beer, and put those furry feet up on a table as I talk about Tolkien.

Tolkien Tag 2018

1.  What’s your favorite Middle-earth story/book?

My favorite of all the Middle Earth books is Lord of the Rings. I probably love the Fellowship the best, but that’s a bit hard for me to say, since they’re all beautiful. The Silmarillion would have to be my second favorite, followed by the Hobbit.

2.  Do you have a favorite subplot?

Legolas and Gimli’s friendship is my favorite subplot. I love how it crosses cultures, ages, and even endures beyond the end of the world. I love the friendships in Lord of the Rings. Take Sam and Frodo. Their friendship carries them to the very end. Has there ever been a character as beautiful as Sam?

3.  What’s your favorite theme in Tolkien’s books?  (Can be in one specific story, or overall.)

My favorite theme is one stated by Sam near the beginning of the book: “…so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were.” Sam is talking about meeting the elves for the first time, but I believe it is an undercurrent to all of Lord of the Rings. It is the sense I walk away with: the story is happy and yet so sad, young, yet so very old.

My other most favorite theme is eucatastrophe. Tolkien loved eucatastrophe. The idea of the turning point of grace. Lord of the Rings has several moments like that, where things change just when they’re all about to go so bad.

I also love the theme of the powerless-ness of the ring. Now wait, hear me out. I love that there are a tiny handful of characters that never really give into it. Bilbo gives it up in the end. Sam gives it back to Frodo. Faramir isn’t drawn to it. I love these little people who are able to resist it’s power. That is hope, hope right there.

4.  Do you have a favorite weapon from Middle-earth?

I’m partial to Aragorn’s sword Anduril, what a history. I’m also rather fond of Gil-galad’s spear Aiglos, which means snow-point. Even as a child I was fond of the idea, the image, of Gil-Galad and his spear.

5.  Would you like to be a hobbit?

I am a hobbit.

6.  Do you have a favorite romance/couple?

I always loved Arwen…mostly because she loves Aragorn. But, I do love the beauty, the sadness, and the almost distance of their romance, like it doesn’t play a huge part in the story.

I love Sam and Rosie. (Sam is kinda my favorite.)

But my favorite romance is Beren and Tinuviel. Their story is rich, heart-breaking, filled with pain, and ultimately brings about one of the greatest family lines in all of Middle Earth. It doesn’t hurt that my husband started calling me Tinuviel Undomiel when he finally read Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillon.

Faramir and Eyown are another favorite because Faramir brings Eyown so much hope.


7.  What’s your favorite Middle-earth creature?  (Can be “real” or “imaginary.”)

I really do love elves. I love so much about elves that I feel like Sam most of the time, kind of in awe of them. But in my heart of heart, I love hobbits the best.

8.  What character do you look the most like?

Probably Rosie if she had brown hair.

9.  Are there any books about Middle-earth or Professor Tolkien (but not written by him) you recommend?

Right now I’m reading A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18. It’s amazing. The more I learn about WW1 the better I understand Tolkien. 

10.  List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the Middle-earth books and/or movies.

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

 

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”

 

I’m going to stop there, because there are more lines in the Lord of the Rings that I love than I can every ever quote. You should see the mark ups I have in some of my copies.

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This is why it's important to read good books!

Why Brave?

 

This is why it's important to read good books!
Image from Pixabay. Edits by me.

 

This is one of my favorite lines.

I’m sure we’ve all heard some variation of this line from different sources. I first heard it from my Mom. It is the reason I write Children’s Stories, MG Stories, and YA Stories. It’s the reason books intended for a young audience are some of my favorites.

Life is hard. Life is often scary.

Children can’t be protected from everything. It’s impossible to keep evil influences and harm from your children. You are only one human being. You can’t be there when nightmares come. You can’t be there when they make stupid decisions that put them in dark places. You can’t be there every waking moment.  And, you shouldn’t be. Children don’t grow up by being protected.

But!!!!

Children can be armed.

Children can be trained. Children can be groomed for the fight that is this life.

Stories are a great way to prepare kids for the things they will face as they go out in the world.

 

Why Fairy Tales are important.
Image from Pixabay. Edits by me.

 

I’m not really into Issue Driven fiction. I wasn’t as a kid, and I don’t write it. I read and write Fantasy. Why? How does that help Children be Brave?

Fantasy gives kids and young adults something fun to read that they can hold onto while also escaping the hardships or humdrum around them. As a pre-teen, I had no interest in reading about kids struggling with drugs. I did want to read every Hardy Boys I could get my hands on. I didn’t want to read about someone’s sparkly boyfriend, but I did want to read about Sam and Frodo’s struggles through Mordor.

Then I grew up. I grew up and found out I wasn’t going to solve crimes, or be asked to go on some epic adventure. I was going to get married, co-own a business with my husband, struggle in my marriage, struggle with infertility, sell our business, learn to manage my home, have health issues, and then stand shoulder to shoulder with my husband as he took on a pastorate. None of that is as thrilling as journeying through Moria, or fighting the great and evil General Woundwort, or sailing with Fin Button.

But it is all hard.

What has encouraged me, outside of Scripture? What has the Lord used during dark days?

Stories.

 

Favorite Quotes
Image from Pixabay. Edits by me.

 

When things are dark and hard, I am reminded of all my heroes who carried on. I’m reminded of all the warriors I’ve read of, big and small, strong and weak. I’m reminded of Sam, my favorite hero, only a gardener far from home. I’m reminded of Bigwig who followed Hazel faithfully, even though he was stronger than Hazel. I’m reminded of Jane Eyre, who did what was right when it hurt.  I recall story after story after story that my Mom read to me, handed to me, recommend to me, where the heroes didn’t stop. They kept moving forward. They kept pushing. They endured to the end.

Darkness is a passing thing.
Image from Pixabay. Edits by me.

This is the gift I want to give to others. I want other children, pre-teens, and teens to be able to read Jonah’s story, and then look at their normal, ordinary struggles and carry on. I want my faerie stories to be encouraged them to keep fighting even when it hurts. I want them to have heroes who defeat the dragons…or in my case the clowns. 😉

I want to write stories that help kids be brave before they have to be, because they will have to be some day, probably sooner rather than later.

What influences your writing?

Emily, over at Living In Heaven’s Shadow, did a post about the top 7 influencers of her writing. I thought this was a great idea and decided to put my own little list together.

As a writer, I have been influenced by:

  1. J. R. R. Tolkien’s world-building, descriptions, and beautiful friendships
  2. Pastor Jarrett Down’s spiritual descriptions used in his sermons
  3. The pain, suffering, and bonding of Band of Brothers
  4. The Viking mythology found in Amon Amarth
  5. The beauty of the warriorhood of Watership Down
  6. The pain of losing someone while you’re talking to them in 3000 Degrees by Sean Flynn
  7. Lone Survivors‘ heartache, brotherhood, and “never out of the fight” mentality

Runners up are:

-Mumford and Sons’ first two albums: I could build stories out of every one of their songs

-Firefly: gotta have a crew

-The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson: stories that feel like coming home

-Mindhunter by John Douglas: creating the best and creepiest villians

-The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin Jr.: there is nothing I don’t love about this book

-Stories of the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son: myths are part of who we are

-Dracula by Bram Stoker: monsters can be hunted by Christians


What are your top 7 influences…and runners up? Comment below, or tag this post so I can see your list.