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  1. #1
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    Favorite passage from Tolkien's works?

    What's your favorite passage from any of Tolkien's works, including his notes in History of Middle Earth, if you wish.

    Mine is in the Silmarillion, bear with me, it's a long one:

    "Last of all the eastern force to stand firm were the Dwarves of Belegost, and thus they won renown. For the Naugrim withstood fire more hardily than either Elves or Men, and it was their custom moreover to wear great masks in battle hideous to look upon; and those that stood them in good stead against the dragons. And but for them Glaurung and his brood would have withered all that was left of the Noldor. But the Naugrim made a circle about him when he assailed them, and even his mighty armour was not full proof against the blows of their great axes; and when in his rage Glaurung turned and struck down Azaghâl, Lord of Belegost, and crawled over him, with his last stroke Azaghâl drove a knife into his belly, and so wounded him that he fled the field, and the beasts of Angband in dismay followed after him. Then the Dwarves raised up the body of Azaghâl and bore it away; and with slow steps they walked behind singing a dirge in deep voices, as it were a funeral pomp in their country, and gave no heed more to their foes; and none dared to stay them."

  2. #2
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    I don't have my copy of LOTR with me, so I can't quote it, but it's when Tolkien described Shelob's history when Frodo first entered her lair. Tolkien made your typical nameless side story villian into an actual character that you thought of as an actual entity with a history.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
    [I][FONT=comic sans ms][COLOR=#ffff00]Continuing the never ending battle to keep Lobelia Sackville-Baggins in check[/COLOR][/FONT][/I]

  3. #3
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    The problem with selecting a favorite passage is deciding upon only one! I love the confrontation of Gandalf and the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. I would swear that I can hear the beating of the drums! I also love the scene in The Silmarillion where Finrod Felagund sacrifices himself for Beren in the dungeons on Tol-in-Gaurhoth, especially the final line of the passage:

    But Finrod walks with Finarfin his father beneath the trees in Eldamar.
    However, if I had to choose only one, it would probably be the confrontation between Éowyn and the Lord of the Nazgûl during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The language Tolkien uses in this scene is especially marvelous.

    The emotion is palpable: a young woman stands against an unbeatable foe, preferring to suffer some unspeakable horror herself rather than permit her uncle and king, the man who became a father to her when her own father died, to be defiled by this nightmarish creature and its allies.

    Meriadoc Brandybuck, a companion of the Ringbearer and the king’s esquire, witnesses the scene. The heroism of Éowyn, whose true identity is revealed mid-scene, inspires Merry to cast off his own fear for the sake of his Master who had been a father figure to him, also, if only for a very brief time. Together they miraculously triumph over the former Witchking of Angmar in fulfillment of Glorfindel's prophecy that no man could defeat the Witchking. Much to the Nazgûl own surprise, he is defeated by a woman and a hobbit.

    Of all the scenes in The Lord of the Rings this is the one I most looked forward to seeing on the big screen. Unfortunately, Jackson broke it into two parts, interjecting other action in the middle of it, thus robbing it of much of its emotional intensity. He further trivialized it by giving the Lord of the Nazgûl a ridiculously large weapon, as if a physical object was the Nazgûl’s greatest weapon.

    Lacking Tolkien’s imagination, Jackson essentially dispenses with Éowyn’s guise on the grounds that she could not have convincingly carried it off. Merry knows all along that Dernhelm is Éowyn. This robs the moment that the shieldmaiden removes her helm of much of its drama.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    The problem with selecting a favorite passage is deciding upon only one!
    to say the least....there are so many to choose from. Mine would be the moment when the Lord of the Nazgul confronts Gandalf and the horns of Rohan are heard. Also Bilbo and Thorin's farewell. The moment just before the Nirnaeth Arnoediad when the forces of Gondolin arrived unexpectedly.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS]"You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81


    [/FONT]

  5. #5
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    It's really hard to choose! But one of my all-time favorites is from the poem, "The Horns of Ylmir."

    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/The_Horns_of_Ylmir

    Thus murmurous slumber took me mid those far-off eldest things
    (In a lonely twilit region down whose old chaotic ways
    I heard no sound of men's voices, in those eldest of the days
    When the world reeled in the tumult as the Great Gods tore the Earth
    In the darkness, in the tempest of the cycles ere our birth),
    Till the tides went out, and the Wind died, and did all sea music's cease
    And I woke to silent caverns and empty sands and peace.
    Then the magic drifted from me and that music loosed its bands—
    Far, far-off, conches calling—lo! I stood in the sweet lands,
    And the meadows were about me where the weeping willows grew,
    Where the long grass stirred beside me, and my feet were drenched with dew.
    Only the reeds were rustling, but a mist lay on the streams
    Like a sea-roke drawn far inland, like a shred of salt sea-dreams.
    'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th' unfathomed breath
    Of the Horns of Ylmir calling—and shall hear them till my death.
    Galadhloth, Hunter 100, Glirithil, Mini 100, Calanor, LM 100, plus lots and lots of alts
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    ~~~~ Imladris in the Forgotten West ~~~~

  6. #6
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    "You're a wizard, Frodo."
    -- Gandalf, Wolves of the Calla, Dune Series


    Still sends chills up my spine.

  7. #7
    Of the terse prose in the Silmarillion, my favorite passages are also from the battle of Unnumbered Tears. The self-sacrifice of Huor and Hurin is a seminal point in the mythology, as it cements the bond between Elf and Man that forms one branch of the Half-Elven that will give rise to Numenor (much like oldbadgerbrocks's citation of Finrod's sacrifice for Beren which forms the other branch). The simple sentences and language convey the grim, unyielding emotion of that moment:

    But the brothers drew the remnant of the Men of the House of Hador about them, and foot by foot they withdrew, until they came behind the Fen of Serech and had the stream of Rivil before them. There they stood and gave way no more.
    Later:

    Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time he slew Hurin cried: 'Aure Entuluva! Day shall come again!'
    Note: This is taken from the Silmarillion. The text in the published Children of Hurin is slightly altered.

    And indeed day would come again quite literally in the Ride of the Rohirrim at Tolkien's finest moment of eucatastrophe in prose. In the pre-dawn, Merry comes close to despair, envsioning Theoden quailing and slinking away. However, as we know, morning would arrive with some of Tolkien's most stirring, evocative writing:

    Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, a white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. Eomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first eored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Theoden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Orome in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered and lo! it shone like an image of the sun and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them.
    Even though Peter Jackson rightly recognized this moment as crucial, his film barely touched upon the power, depth and beauty of what Tolkien wrote. Perhaps it is an unjust comparison of book to film, but I strongly agree with Christopher Tolkien in characterizing the film trilogy as merely action/adventure especially in light of such prose.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up


    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    The problem with selecting a favorite passage is deciding upon only one!
    This.

  9. #9
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    I think my favorite passage, was the passage of the one ring; from its creation to its destruction. There were so many. The passage of the ride of the Rohirrim was another favorite. The passage through the paths of the dead. (what was behind the door) Too many to really choose from.

  10. #10
    "There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth, and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea."

  11. #11
    yes, so many favorites, but ...


    A favorite section of the book _ When Theoden, Gandalf and company meet "the door-wardens of Isengard", one of the funniest parts in the book.

    A favorite passage that always makes my eyes mist over - during the Battle of the Pelenor Fields, the tide has changed many time, hope has come and gone, but finally things turn once again against the Rohirrim and Eomer. Eomer gathers his remaining men on one mound to make one final defense and die on this mound, his last bit of hope failing as he sees the Black Ships arriving. he holds up his sword in defiance, and then there is his joy as he sees the Banner of the King of Gondor unfurl on the lead ship.

    A favorite line of prose -at the Field of Cormallen - "And he sang to them, now in the Silvan tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness." - I think an example of why Tolkien is so dear to some of us, and others really don't like his writing.

  12. #12
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    So many to choose from, but here are a few that spring to mind:

    Yavanna spoke before the Valar, saying: "The Light of the Trees has passed away, and lives now only in the
    Silmarils of Fëanor. Foresighted was he! Even for those who are mightiest under Ilúvatar there is some work that they
    may accomplish once, and once only. The Light of the Trees I brought into being, and within Eä I can do so never
    again. Yet had I but a little of that light I could recall life to the Trees, ere their roots decay; and then our hurt should be
    healed, and the malice of Melkor be confounded.'
    Then Manwë spoke and said: 'Hearest thou, Fëanor son of Finwë, the words of Yavanna? Wilt thou grant what
    she would ask?'
    There was long silence, but Fëanor answered no word. Then Tulkas cried: 'Speak, O Noldo, yea or nay! But who
    shall deny Yavanna? And did not the light of the Silmarils come from her work in the beginning?'
    But Aulë the Maker said: 'Be not hasty! We ask a greater thing than thou knowest. Let him have peace yet
    awhile.'
    But Fëanor spoke then, and cried bitterly: 'For the less even as for the greater there is some deed that he may
    accomplish but once only; and in that deed his heart shall rest. It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again
    shall I make their like; and if I must break them, I shall break my heart, and I shall be slain; first of all the Eldar in
    Aman.'
    'Not the first,' said Mandos, but they did not understand his word; and again there was silence, while Fëanor
    brooded in the dark.

    (We/they find out a few sentences later that Morgorth has already killed Finwë, Fëanor's father; hence Mandos' words.)

    Or:

    Then he fled from them like the wind, and they were amazed, wondering what madness had seized him; and they
    followed after him. But Túrin far out-ran them; and he came to Cabed-en-Aras, and heard the roaring of the water, and
    saw that all the leaves fell sere from the trees, as though winter had come. There he drew forth his sword, that now
    alone remained to him of all his possessions, and he said: 'Hail Gurthang! No lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the
    hand that wieldeth thee. From no blood wilt thou shrink. Wilt thou therefore take Túrin Turambar, wilt thou slay me
    swiftly?'
    And from the blade rang a cold voice in answer: 'Yea, I will drink thy blood gladly, that so I may forget the
    blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly.'
    Then Túrin set the hilts upon the ground, and cast himself upon the point of Gurthang, and the black blade took
    his life.

    Too long to include here: The battle between Fingolfin and Morgoth; and "He chanted a song of wizardry..."
    Last edited by angryhands; Mar 04 2013 at 05:33 AM.

  13. #13
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    Faramir in the Return of the King:

    "Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back."
    "If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be kept secret to keep them so."

  14. #14
    "I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil." Really, that whole last chapter of The Return of the King is profoundly moving for me.

    "Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme / Of things not found within recorded time." ~ Tolkien's poem "Mythopoeia"

  15. #15
    “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
    But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
    mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”

    or

    “But I have been too 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.”

    I always found that one particularly poignant to have been written by someone who lost nearly all his friends in a war.
    Last edited by Pheriain; Mar 07 2013 at 02:29 AM.

  16. #16
    When I first read LOTR as a 13 year old or so, one of the passages that stuck in my mind was the scene of Eomer at the Battle of the Fields of Pelennor, after Theoden had fallen:
    Stern now was Eomer’s mood, and his mind clear again. He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark. So he rode to a green hillock and there set his banner, and the White Horse ran rippling in the wind.

    Out of doubt, out of dark to the day’s rising
    I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
    To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking:
    Now for wrath, now for ruin and red nightfall!


    These staves he spoke, yet he laughed as he said them. For once more the lust of battle was on him; and he was young, and he was still unscathed, and he was king, lord of a fell people. But even as he laughed at despair he looked out again at the black ships and lifted his sword to defy them.
    - ROTK by JRRT
    I loved the passion and zest contained in that passage.

    Now, being a few years older, I recently re-read LOTR, and obviously found it a different experience. One of the passages that stood out to me this time was the one I have included in my sig:
    War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but 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 – Faramir in TTT by JRRT
    Obviously quite a different selection!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyndos View Post
    "I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil." Really, that whole last chapter of The Return of the King is profoundly moving for me.
    You would probably greatly enjoy Tolkien's poem entitled 'Bilbo's Last Song'.

    Day is ended, dim my eyes,
    But journey long before me lies.
    Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
    The ship's beside the stony wall.
    Foam is white and waves are grey;
    beyond the sunset leads my way.
    Foam is salt, the wind is free;
    I hear the rising of the sea.

    Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
    the wind is east, the moorings fret.
    Shadows long before me lie,
    beneath the ever-bending sky,
    but islands lie behind the Sun
    that I shall raise ere all is done;
    lands there are to west of West,
    where night is quiet and sleep is rest.

    Guided by the Lonely Star,
    beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
    I'll find the heavens fair and free,
    and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
    Ship my ship! I seek the West,
    and fields and mountains ever blest.
    Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
    I see the star above my mast!



    Donald Swann beautifully set it to music:



    (Swann's explanation that Tolkien believed he was of "Danish Viking extraction" is in error. Tolkien, at least on his mother's side, was Anglo-Saxon and very proud of his status as an Englishman.)

    This poem was also set by Stephen Oliver for the BBC dramatization of LOTR by Brian Sibley and Michael Bakewell.


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evelwyn View Post
    Being female, I like the extra part after the story ends. The part about Aragorn and Arwen and what became of them. I forget the last line but it was something like – and there shall her grave lie until the earth is overturned.
    Quote Originally Posted by Galadh View Post
    "There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth, and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea."
    Evelwyn refers, of course, to the extract of ‘The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen’ found in Appendix A. As I am sure you all know, the couple pledged their troth upon Cerin Amroth. One of my favorite passages is Aragorn’s recollection of this troth pledging in the chapter ‘Lothlórien’ in The Fellowship of the Ring:

    At the hill’s foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes. He was wrapped in some fair memory: and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld things as they once had been in this same place. For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. Arwen vanimelda, namarië! he said, and then he drew breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.

    ‘Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,’ he said, ‘and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must travel, you and I. Come with me!’ And taking Frodo’s hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man.

  19. #19
    Tricky to pick just one, as others have said.... But i think mine would have to be (quote will come later) when Sam believes Frodo to be dead after being poisoned by Shelob. It always makes me feel sad but slightly warm inside to think ofhis devotion and deication to his master, and the internal struggle he faces over carrying the one ring..... In fact, most passages which involve Sam are moving to me!

  20. #20
    This one was my favorite since I first read the book oh so many summers ago:

    In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under
    the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face. All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen. 'You cannot enter here,' said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. 'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!' The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter. 'Old fool!' he said. 'Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!' And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade. Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a &&&& crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking 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.



    And I totally agree with a poster above me that Jackson ruined the final scene of Eowyn and the Witch King. And whenever I watch the movie and the Witch King implodes with the goofiest sound of all three movies I just wait for him to take off like a child's ballon suddenly left lose...

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Dooraa View Post
    Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
    One of my favorites as well.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS]"You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81


    [/FONT]

 

 

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