We are storied creatures; we naturally love stories because our lives are filled with tension and resolution, and at any given moment there is likely to be more tension than resolution. So we identify with this character or that, with this moment or that, with this or that twist of the plot . . . and we are hooked. We want to know what happens, how it works out.
So we live within the world of the narrative as creatures in search of an ending, in search of happiness, on the quest for to teleion, “the complete.”
N.T. Wright from “After You Believe”
Monthly Archives: September 2012
Chapter two in The Hobbit read-along. Sample some roast mutton and some Troll humor! Enjoy!
An Unexpected Party
(In which I tell you things I thought while reading the first chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit.)
You can nearly hear it: the squirming under the blankets, the excited whispers from little voices, the occasional giggle or outright laughter, and, perhaps, the interrupting questions which are bound to pepper any evening spent telling a good story to children. And you, the teller, the reader-out-loud, love these sounds, because they feed the energy of your growing tale and remind you that, whatever else you have planned, your story absolutely must entertain.
If you are lucky enough to be actually reading The Hobbit aloud to children, all the better. If you find yourself alone, no matter; for me, at least, Tolkien’s prose—more carefree and warm than the tone he would later adopt for The Lord of the Rings—had the effect of making me feel as…
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I remember a letter that Lewis wrote to someone who read the newspapers and he said “if you must read newspapers and magazines at least give yourself a mouthwash with The Lord of the Rings.” I think we all read newspapers and magazines and see this horrid modern language, and we’re used to shoddy writing and shoddy imagining, and I think we all need one great book to have a mouthwash with, once a year. It’s absolutely required.
– Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis’s personal secretary, from “Tolkien: A Celebration”