I feel appreciative of any truly beautiful thing, these days. I’m not talking about obviously beautiful things like orange and red leaves on a tree, a sunset, or a new baby, or whatever.
No, no. I’m clearly talking about Lord of the Rings.
I read all the books before the third movie (Return of the King) came out, which the internet tells me was in 2003.
I consider the books and movies to be works of art, truly beautiful things. Tolkien created an entire world in Middle Earth. He authored an engaging story, but the extra touches made it one of the most creative works of art I have ever come across. I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the nerds who wanted to learn elvish, though I was.
One of my favorite parts in the books are the poems and songs that he wrote. Each of the races (dwarves, men, elves, hobbits) had their own songs and poems. I just started re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and came across a hobbit song that really struck me.
Hobbits, as I’m sure you all know, are prone to singing songs as they go about their day. This particular song is their “walking song” that they might be heard singing on their way home from work.
Peter Jackson did his homework. He featured it in the third movie, Return of the King. It might seem out of place to take a hobbit song from the first book and put it in the third movie. But it was a creative move, something truly beautiful.
Here is the text of the song from the first book. Imagine a happy hobbit, without a care in the world, singing his walking-song on his way home.
Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Apple, thorn, and nut, and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!
And now, a clip of the song from the third movie. Everything is falling apart. War is being waged. The hobbits are separated and far from home. Hope is hard to hold onto. A hobbit is asked to sing a song to entertain someone. And what song does he think of? The song he used to sing when he was happy, without a care in the world. His song about home.
Art, I tell you. Truly beautiful.