Tuesday, April 08, 2008
I have a complaint to lodge against my favorite author, Tolkien, who held the highest place in my affections long before the [blighted] movies were released and remained there despite them. After many years of reading random passages from The Silmarillion every now and again, in fits and starts as it were, I finally sat down this year with the intention of reading the book from start to finish. How cruel I find Tolkien! With prose so lucid and stirring that one imagines some divine inspiration at work in it, he depicts a world of glorious promise...only to introduce the sorrows that befall it, sorrows whose magnitude and number seem to multiply almost exponentially as the story progresses. Sheesh. I feel as one raised into celestial regions where the view was, admittedly, of surpassing splendor only to be summarily dropped into the lower regions of Dante's Inferno without so much as a gin and tonic to fortify me on the way. I hope a little compassion crept into his art somewhere in the final chapters.