|Sometimes I am asked where in Tolkien's Middle-earth,|
or any Fantasy world for that matter, I would like live.
Naturally barring worlds of my own creation,
I think the answer would be Dol Amroth in southern Gondor.
This is the world we live in at the moment and, housebound, we all must find a way to deal with the crisis. How do I do so? Well, a few days ago I posted this to Facebook and Twitter: "Pandemic quarantines do have one silver lining: lots of time to read." Indeed, that is why I finished Winter's Heart when I did. But this post is more than about me, it is about how this crisis illuminates the glory of the Fantastic for, in the immortal words of J.R.R. Tolkien, "Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?...If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!" And has not the Coronavirus been called (and is) the enemy?
|Menaphos, also known as the Golden City, |
is a city located far south in the Kharidian Desert.
"I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which “Escape” is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter." – J.R.R. Tolkien
“Stories of the sort I am describing…they cool us…hence the uneasiness which they arouse in those who, for whatever reason, wish to keep us wholly imprisoned in the immediate conflict. That perhaps is why people are so ready with the charge of 'escape'. I never wholly understood it until my friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, "What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and hostile to, the idea of escape?" and gave the obvious answer: jailers.” – C.S. Lewis