Thursday, January 16, 2020

Namárië, Christopher Tolkien

"As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the
world he (my father) created.
For me, the cities of The Silmarillion
are more real than Babylon."
RIP Christopher Tolkien. Namárië, as the Noldor might say ("farewell" in Quenya, though the word can be analyzed as na + márië, being a blessing and meaning literally "to goodness.")

We owe this man so much: The Silmarillion, The Book of Unfinished Tales, Beren And Lúthien, and much else, all of which amount to releasing to the world the vast and vastly complex history of Middle-earth of which The Lord of the Rings is only the tip of the iceberg. Though I did not not agree with him on everything, namely his disparagement of Peter Jackson's LOTR movies, Christopher Tolkien embodied the selfless drive and unrelenting moral dignity that is the heart of his father's work. Imagine dedicating your life to another's work, and to protecting others for as his father served in the trenches of World War I, Christopher Tolkien served in the Royal Air Force in World War II. He will be missed, for all the above reasons and for his steady presence at the vanguard of all things Middle-earth.

The Guardian: “Christopher Tolkien has died at the age of 95. The Tolkien Society sends its deepest condolences to Baillie, Simon, Adam, Rachel and the whole Tolkien family. Tolkien, who was born in Leeds in 1924, was the third and youngest son of the revered fantasy author and his wife Edith. He grew up listening to his fathers tales of Bilbo Baggins, which later became the children’s fantasy novel, The Hobbit. He drew many of the original maps detailing the world of Middle Earth for his father’s The Lord of the Rings when the series was first published between 1954 and 55. He also edited much of his father’s posthumously published work following his death in 1973. Since 1975 he had lived in France with Baillie."

Namárië, and rest well in the Halls of Mandos.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Terciel and Elinor

Because we did not already know that the universe is mocking me. BECAUSE THE OLD BOOK SERIES' REFUSE TO END!!

About a year ago I wrote:
"I think the Universe is mocking me. I finally start The Wheel of Time thinking that I have the time to read it without other series I love dogging my heels. And why should I not? Christopher Paolini was writing a sci-fi series and thus was not going to return to the world of Alagaësia anytime soon; I had completed John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years (and he had confirmed that there would be no follow-up to book #12 of the main Ranger's Apprentice series); I finished Pullman's The Book of Dust, Nix's Goldenhand sequel to the Abhorsen series; and most of the other one-volume works in my possession.
Plenty of time to read The Wheel of Time, right...?
Well, once again I see why getting to the new Fantasy books that have long graced my shelves is proving so difficult... IT IS BECAUSE THE OLD BOOK SERIES' REFUSE TO END!! On 10/10/2018 Paolini announces The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm out of nowhere. And today I go to the bookstore and find The Red Fox Clan, book #2 of the new Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger which is nothing less that an entire sequel series follow-up to the now-old book #12 (called The Royal Ranger) of the main Ranger's Apprentice series.

My reaction: YAY!! HELP!! AUGH!! (all at once). 
Seriously, the minute I finally begin moving through Robert Jordan's heavyweight what happens? All the my careful planning goes out the window as two of my dearest other series leap out like the unexpected ghosts of departed and beloved friends returned to life and calling to me."

Then a few days later I wrote:
"Edith Pattou has written a sequel to East, a girl and her white bear now becoming a girl and her white snake in a book entitled West. Of course I am not overly upset because it will be wonderful to see Rose again, but, by the Flames of Anor and Tar Valon, at this rate I will never read anything new (once I finish The Wheel of Time)."

Well, now it is 2020 and I am over halfway through the great journey that is The Wheel of Time. And Garth Nix has just announced another book in classic Abhorsen Series is coming out next year. Titled Terciel and Elinor, Nix describes his delight in returning "to the storied land of the Old Kingdom to tell another tale of love, deep myth, necromancy and Charter magic.” Though this time, unlike Goldenhand, it will be a prequel as Terciel is the name of Sabriel's father (the 52nd Abhorsen). I am assuming that Elinor is the name of Sabriel's currently unnamed mother.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Not alone

 “Old friend,' said Cadvan, filling another glass for himself
and sniffing its rich smell. 'If we do not trust one another,
we are already defeated.”
I think that among the most vital lessons Fantasy literature has to offer is the value of friendship. Think about it – the protagonist, if indeed there is only one, always relies on her/his friends and allies for support on both a personal and military level. The lesson being that, in the immortals words of Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender, that "there is nothing wrong with letting people who love you help you." In short, friendship and the ability to make friends is more valuable than any magic sword.

Friday, January 3, 2020

To the Professor!

Today is J.R.R. Tolkien's twelfty-eighth (128th) birthday! As Frodo did for Bilbo, the Tolkien Society continues to celebrate Tolkien's birthday in his absence. Their tradition: at 9pm your time raise a glass and toast "The Professor!"

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year's Eve

As 2019 rolls away I think it is only fitting to look back on this year's accomplishments:
  • Six books of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series (The Great Hunt through The Crown of Swords).
  •  Winter Rose and its sequel Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip
  •  Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
  •  Something Rich and Strange by Patricia A. McKillip
  • The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman
  • The Grey King and Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper
  • The Revenge of Samuel Stokes by Penelope Lively
  • Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell
  • Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip
(I guess I was wrong last year about my reading The Wheel of Time shortening the New Year's Eve list. Still, the real question is next year as Dad and I are basically out of McKillip books.)

Thursday, December 26, 2019

I have just started The Path of Daggers

The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just started The Path of Daggers, Volume #8 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
At last the Borderlands stir, those who know Trollocs as more than myth and fight the Shadow at every turn. Yet suspicion is rife on the winds and the Dragon Reborn must prove himself to those bound together by ties of blood and battle and oaths stronger than Power-made steel. Furthermore, Verin Mathwin continues to very quietly prove herself to be what I always thought, one of the most dangerous Aes Sedai alive. Yet as the returned Seachan say, "on the heights, all paths are paved with daggers." As the Prophecies of the Dragon say, "Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm, wearer of a crown of swords, spinner out of fate. Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time, may learn the truth too late."

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.