There’s no doubt that if you saw that simultaneously icy and ferocious performance of Cumberbatch’s on the big screen this past weekend, you saw something special. But if you haven’t yet heard him desperately hunting up and down a cabin full of passengers for an elusive lemon, or being tricked into delivering a cabin address in the world’s worst French accent, or saying things like “I carried the sheep for you. I climbed the tree. I rode the back of the truck. But now I have to X-ray these geese” … you’re missing out.
Breeze raised an eyebrow, then laid a hand on Yeden’s shoulder. “You should try not to talk so much, friend,” he suggested. “You’ll sound far less stupid that way.
He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil at heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace.
A deep silence fell. One by one the others fell asleep. Frodo was on guard. As if it were a breath that came in through unseen doors out of deep places, dread came over him. His hands were cold and his brow damp. He listened. All his mind was given to listening and nothing else for two slow hours; but he heard no sound, not even the imagined echo of a footfall.
His watch was nearly over, when, far off where he guessed that the western archway stood, he fancied that he could see two pale points of light, almost like luminous eyes. He started. His head had nodded. ‘I must have nearly fallen asleep on guard,’ he thought. ‘I was on the edge of a dream.’ He stood up and rubbed his eyes, and remained standing, peering into the dark, until he was relieved by Legolas.
When he lay down he quickly went to sleep, but it seemed to him that the dream went on: he heard whispers, and saw the two pale points of light approaching, slowly. He woke and found that the others were speaking softly near him, and that a dim light was falling on his face. High up above the eastern archway through a shaft near the roof came a long pale gleam; and across the hall through the northern arch light also glimmered faint and distantly.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; “A Journey in the Dark”
note: It’s interesting to note that this is Frodo’s first sight of Sméagol, and that he dreams about it (simultaneously/afterwards?). Whenever Tolkien mentions a dream Frodo has, it’s significant and usually prophetic. Add to that the fact that when he’s woken out of the dream he is greeted by the first sunlight he’s seen in days, and I think the whole episode is an echo of a foreshadowing of Frodo’s and Sméagol’s intertwined fates. I think that, more than the lexical and the syntactic style of the passage, is what makes it so oddly chilling and affecting.
“For on the eve of the sudden assault a dream came to my brother in a troubled sleep; and afterwards a like dream came oft to him again, and once to me. In that dream I thought the eastern sky grew dark and there was a growing thunder, but in the West a pale light lingered, and out of it I heard a voice, remote but clear.”
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find - if it’s a good novel - that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have changed a little… But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.
Those were the stories that stayed with you…that meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.
(Please view this on my blog here if it doesn’t work for you, it works fine on my tumblr but not on the dashboard…)
‘The road goes on for ever,’ said Pippin; ‘but I can’t without a rest. It is high time for lunch.’ He sat down on the bank at the side of the road and looked away east into the haze, beyond which lay the River, and the end of the Shire in which he had spent all his life. Sam stood by him. His round eyes were wide open— for he was looking across lands he had never seen to a new horizon.
‘Do Elves live in those woods?’ he asked.
‘Not that I ever heard,’ said Pippin. Frodo was silent. He too was gazing eastward along the road, as if he had never seen it before. Suddenly he spoke, aloud but as if to himself, saying slowly:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then, I cannot say.
‘That sounds like a bit of old Bilbo’s rhyming,’ said Pippin. ‘Or is it one of your imitations? It does not sound altogether encouraging.’
‘I don’t know,’ said Frodo. ‘It came to me then, as if I was making it up; but I may have heard it long ago.’
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; “Three is Company”
note (to be erased by rebloggers at their will): This is the first, but by far not the most comprehensive or clear, of many instances where Frodo has a strong feeling or a vision, that seems to come from outside himself, of what he will have to do and suffer in the ‘big picture.’ I think this could be a sort of gift; thus he has a kind of certainty to depend on, even if it is a dismal one, and can focus his energies on persevering rather than worrying about the fate at the end. At least, that’s how he eventually accepts it. Of course he’s nowhere near that now, and it may be that he misinterprets those feelings and visions sometimes. I’m really not sure whether they come from the Ring or from something better. They could be like other effects of the Ring; because of Frodo’s purpose in keeping it and his continual effort of resistance to it, in many ways he is purified where others would have been (and had been) corrupted.
something I find fascinating about this is that Bilbo does say almost the exact same poem. Except he says “pursuing it with eager feet”, and Frodo changes it unconsciously to “weary”
…they both turned and fled together; but even as they ran Frodo looked back and saw with terror that at once the eyes came leaping up behind. The stench of death was like a cloud about him.
‘Stand! Stand!’ he cried desperately. ‘Running is no use.’
Slowly the eyes crept nearer.
‘Galadriel!’ he called, and gathering his courage he lifted up the Phial once more. The eyes. halted. For a moment their regard relaxed, as though some hint of doubt troubled them. Then Frodo’s heart flamed within him, and without thinking what he did, whether it was folly or despair or courage, he took the Phial in his left hand, and with his right hand drew his sword. Sting flashed out, and the sharp elven-blade sparkled in the silver light, but at its edges a blue fire flicked. Then holding the star aloft and the bright sword advanced, Frodo, hobbit of the Shire, walked steadily down to meet the eyes.
They wavered. Doubt came into them as the light approached. One by one they dimmed, and slowly they drew back. No brightness so deadly had ever afflicted them before. From sun and moon and star they had been safe underground, but now a star had descended into the very earth. Still it approached, and the eyes began to quail. One by one they all went dark; they turned away, and a great bulk, beyond the light’s reach, heaved its huge shadow in between. They were gone.
‘Master, master!’ cried Sam. He was close behind, his own sword drawn and ready. ‘Stars and glory! But the Elves would make a song of that, if they ever heard of it! And may I live to tell them and hear them sing.’
It was an awkward and impossible romance, given that the object of my affection was wholly fictional and living somewhere in Nova Scotia around the turn of the century. I knew that Gilbert Blythe, he who taunted Anne of Green Gables with the nickname “carrots” and pulled on her braids, wasn’t real. And yet, I had to believe in the idea of Gilbert Blythe; I was in love with the sheer dream of a boy that falls for the smart outcast and then doesn’t give up.
But someday you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.
When public schools are judged by how much art and music they have, by how many science experiments their students perform, by how much time they leave for recess and play, and by how much food they grow rather than how many tests they administer, then I will be confident that we are preparing our students for a future where they will be creative participants and makers of history rather than obedient drones for the ruling economic elite.
Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in this country who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting, or sport; protection, or collection.
But I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from doing harm. I believe most of them agree that if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut. And that’s what these commonsense reforms are designed to do.
None of this will be easy. Already we’re seeing pundits, politicians, and special interest lobbyists warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty — not because it’s true, but because it gins up fear, or higher ratings, or more revenue for themselves.
The truth is, there’s only one voice powerful enough to make this happen: yours. If you think we’ve suffered too much pain to allow this to continue, put down the paper, turn off the computer, and get your Members of Congress on record. Ask them if they support universal background checks or renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if they say no, ask them why not. Ask them why getting an A-grade from the gun lobby is more important than giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade.
This is the land of the free, and it always will be. As Americans, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away from us. But we also recognize that along with those rights come responsibilities. Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same.
It’s time to do the right thing — for the 26 innocent children and devoted educators who lost their lives in Newtown, for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day, and for this country we love so much.
The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.
Terry Pratchett, Men At Arms (via idrabear)
This is one of the best breakdowns I’ve ever seen of how expensive it is to be poor.