Monday 31 October 2011

An ode to a trusted companion

For the past few months, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, (hereafter TLOTR) had been my faithful companion, never leaving my side except for the time I spent at the University and few hours on food, sleep, conversation and other things. Now that I have completed the trilogy, I sense a vaccum. For long, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Peppin and others filled my time and I laughed as they laughed and was sad when something was amiss with them. When the fellowship of the ring was broken, I was quite anxious that the party should get together again. Well, let me stop gushing and continue with the post.

A book (both fiction and non-fiction, but in this case, fiction) provides an assortment of emotional vagaries within us. Not only we are transported into the time frame of the book but we also integrate the lives of the characters within our own. Their quest becomes ours, their thoughts colour ours, and sometimes their anguish becomes ours. And if the book is like TLOTR, one spends a considerable time with the book which has three parts, with each part consisting of few hundred pages. The characters no longer belong to the book alone but are very much part of my waking time.

Not the characters alone, but one tends to imbibe the language and vocabulary present in the book. The evil characters in TLOTR, are Sauron, Saruman and the Orcs. At the time of reading the book, any student who gets on my nerves is an Orc and any person whose intentions are crooked and vile is Saruman. I don't know whether you notice but metaphors and similes are largely from the book which is being read. Ah, and how did I forget Mr. Gollum! Gollum-like is my favourite phrase now!

In more than one way, the book becomes one's companion, leading one through strange lands, people, language and experience. Now that I have parted with Sam, Frodo, and others, I am restless for laying my hands on other works of J. R. R. Tolkein's. And some works fill us with wisdom that comes in handy during unexpected times.

Before I end, let me leave you with a quote from Part I of TLOTR.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring 

Now, what do books mean to you, dear readers?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet
Image 3: Internet


  1. Love the poem! I most read books that I learn something from, such as business books.

  2. I see our trusted speedy Gonzales made it here too...I enjoyed reading the series as well the Narnia Chronicles... but helas I did not pick up the english...
    Take Care

  3. I read that book a couple of years back and I was fascinated by Tolkien's imagination. I saw the trilogies after I read him.

  4. Love the quote! Sorry, haven't read TLOTR but I've seen the first film. I guess I'm more a Narnia person. But who knows? Maybe this will inspire me to get the hang of reading the voluminous series.

    Reminds me when I first discovered Shakespeare in college. I spake in Shakespearean English with my fake British accent, hahaha! Talk about imbibing the language and vocabulary.

    Gollum-like...reminds me, again, for our cute little tarsiers. :)

    Projecting joy back at ya, Mrs. Sus!

  5. Good morning dear Susan, what a lovely post about books.;) I do own the trilogy, but am ashamed to admit that I never read it.;) You know why? The beginning of the book deals with hobbits and all they do for several pages are eat! I always got hungry and never managed to stick with the reading, hihi.
    Anyway, I love books too, I have many fond memories of books that I literally devoured, staying up late at nights, totally oblivious to time and space, getting lost in fictional worlds...
    Books have been my companions since childhood and even though I read significantly less than I used to, I still prefer reading a real book to any electronic script.;)
    Have a great Monday,

  6. nice...i read this many times over the is a fascinating story...the companionship as well through the trials as well...yeah...i want that...

  7. I read books that I can help myself and in turn help others...I want more knowledge...As always...XOXOXO

  8. It has been quite a while since I read fiction. A few years ago, I would get addicted to to a book I was reading and the characters of the book would even find their ways into my dreams at night. I would not do anything meaningful until I finished the book. Because of my working life today, I get scared at the thought of picking an interesting lest it distract me from work. Wonderful post

  9. That poem has been my all time favorite too - I am not very fond of the TLOTR series - some how fantasy writing doesn't catch my fantasy :)
    happy reading - and then u must also watch the film series - it's neatly packaged tho ofcourse no movie can do justice to a book entirely!

  10. You know you dont have to let go of the world of Middle-Earth so soon. I became so obsessed with it that I tore through The Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin and The Unfinished Tales. I havent read The Hobbit yet but really havent heard good stuff about it. I think Tolkien is incredible for 'having created singlehandedly the equivalent of the mythology of an entire civilization.'

    And you know, a lot of the modern day fantasy fiction is directly inspired or derived from LOTR. Like The Dark Lord from Harry Potter is a direct reference to Sauron from LOTR. And the Urgals from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance cycle are like the Orcs.

    I suppose there is no escaping the shadow of such a great master of fantasy fiction but I dont think anybody really manages to achieve the depth that Tolkien could so easily muster for his characters and their worlds. I love this poem that Bilbo recites.

    I sit beside the fire and think
    of all that I have seen,
    of meadow-flowers and butterflies
    In summers that have been;

    Of yellow leaves and gossamer
    in autumns that there were,
    with morning mist and silver sun
    and wind upon my hair.

    I sit beside the fire and think
    of how the world will be
    when winter comes without a spring
    that I shall ever see.

    For still there are so many things
    that I have never seen:
    in every wood in every spring
    there is a different green.

    I sit beside the fire and think
    of people long ago,
    and people who will see a world
    that I shall never know.

    But all the while I sit and think
    of times there were before,
    I listen for returning feet
    and voices at the door."

    Quite wistful and lovely, isnt it? :) Cheers to you, Susan. You wrote a post about a topic I could go on for hours about! :D

    P.S. This is the strangest of coincidences but my word for verification for this comment is 'eviles'! :D

  11. And of course, Aragorn is so so luscious! But then, maybe I'm thinking of Viggo Mortensen! :D

  12. Susan, Loved the poem and as to your question about what books mean to me...everything. I can't imagine a life without them.

  13. The Lord of the Rings is my all-time favorite! I read it for the third time several summers ago and remember feeling just how you described here.
    And, even though I KNEW the ending, as I read it, I cried like a baby, mourning the loss of my friends.
    Wonderful post, Susan!


  14. Greetings,

    Any book has the potential to become part of ones life or even change ones life. There is truly power in the written word.

    When I was a child an American Indian planted a seed, an idea and over the years it grew. It was not until a certain book, a short story of all things, brought the tree to bear fruit.

    The book you have read will stay with you for life and resurface from time to time in the little things we do each day.

    Wishing you all the best,

  15. One of the challenges I have w/reading is that once I finish a book such as LOTR, I have a difficult time concentrating on my new book because such books as LOTR come around so infrequently. I have difficulty finding anything that compares.

    Books like this quench an intellectual and emotional need and it can be a long time before I feel that way again. I love to read. I can sometimes read two or three books in a week. I'm in the perfect place as my day job is at my public library. Couldn't ask for a better job.

    My favorite part of being there is I have built a reputation where people know I read everything and I have so many people wo seek me out for book advice. The best part for me is when someone comes to me for the first time and later returns and tells me the loved the recommendation I gave them. Invariably, they ask how did you know I'd like the book. It's why I love my job!

  16. I'm not much of a reader, never seem to find enough time without distractions to enjoy it. But, when I have read a series in the past, I find that I get so involved in the book that their life becomes mine for the time I'm reading that particular series. I guess that is when you know you have found a great author :)

  17. My life would be immensely different without books.

    I love this trilogy too. I remember that while reading the first one, (I read it a long time ago), I really got into food. If I remember correctly Frodo, really liked to eat and for me that made food so much more enticing and delicious.

  18. Hi Susan :)

    I am in LOVE with TLOTR and in the lucid way you have expressed how you feel about the storyline and the characters.

    As for Books, for me these are the bestest friends I could ever have. Cannot imagine a world without them :)
    Books and music have helped and encouraged me through sad times and bolstered my spirits in the happy times! So here's for these wordy friends ...a big Cheers! :)

    Lots of love,

  19. Cathy:

    Welcome here and thanks for the love. Business books bore me but my sister is fond of them.



    I am yet to read Narnia. Wonder where it will lead me to.

  20. Rimly:

    I am yet to see the trilogies. Books are just lovely!


    Age, you are the transcendental tourist and I bet you will enjoy the landscapes of Tolkien. I so thought of your post whenever Gollum arrived!

    Joy and more joy, Age.

  21. Zuzana:

    Ah, sad that you haven't read that. You should when you find the time. And yes, hobbits have a hearty appetite.
    And like you, I always like to read a real book and not the electronic one.

    Hope your weekend is coming on well.


    Many times? How many? Companionship and trials are a deadly combination, isn't it?

  22. Bongo:

    Helping is lovely, Bongo and you are a lovely one for that. xoxoxo.


    I allow myself to get distracted for one cannot escape that. We are all sponges, you see and we easily get involved.

  23. Yuvika:

    I absolutely forgot that it was fantasy. Blame me for ignoring all that. Or maybe its like that. I am yet to watch the series (without any disturbance!).


    I had always imagined which characters and actors would match. I must say that I couldn't think of anyone for Aragorn except for Depp maybe. Mortensen fits the bill well. And I also would have liked someone else for Frodo. Sam, Merry, Peppin, Legolas, Gimli and Gollum are aptly played by the respective actors. Ah, I could go on. I am still to watch the film in its entirety.

    "For still there are so many things
    that I have never seen."

    Thanks for this lovely comment dear Karishma.

    Joy always to you, my dearest.

  24. Sulekkha:

    Ditto for me.


    Several summers ago. How lovely! I should get back to it someday. Your comment inspires me to read the books all over again.

  25. Egmont:

    How lovely to read a comment from you, dear Egmont. The book's wisdom definitely stays with us and surfaces when we need them the most.

    Thanks for coming by dear Egmont. Your comment means a lot to me.

  26. Chris:

    Quite true, Chris. Other books pale in comparison. TLOTR is a masterpiece.

    I wish I had met a librarian as you and I sure envy your position :)


    The introduction to a great author is the best gift to an active reader.

  27. Myrna:

    All hobbits love food and it is so funny that even in the most difficult of situations, they find time and thought for food. Quite focused!!!


    Ah, Ruchi, how happy I am to see a comment from you. Glad and happy.

    And I'm so happy that you share my thoughts as well.

    Wishing you the best always :)

  28. Susan, I think I agree with you about Elijah Wood being badly cast as Frodo. He always looks very fragile and tired for some reason. He doesn't have the spirit that Frodo from the book does. I rather love Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. He is quite perfect. Johnny Depp I feel is an admirable talent but he's become quite more inclined to affectation than acting recently.

    I think his only recent good movies have been Public Enemies and The Rum Diary. I wish he'd do more stuff like Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood.

  29. Susie, i'm not a big fan of fantasy writing and my only exception to this rule has been all the books from the Harry Porter series. I know, what a shame huh. and maybe i am missing out on a lot. HP was a happy accident. i was sick and in bed for over a month with nothin else to do but read and listen to music. So in a lot of ways, Harry, Ron, Hermione et al became such good companions, i could'nt stop (as did Lobo and The Foreigner! :P) i do intend to read the TLOTR some day. soon, i hope (tho i hope i do not have to wait to fall sick for that!) :)

  30. Kajal:

    I sincerely wish that you don't fall sick and I also wish that being a lit student, you should start reading books.

    Joy always :)

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