A Week With Words (6)

This week my reading routine went out the window as I went on holiday to Devon. The sunny weather and beautiful countryside did not stop me from finishing three books. They were The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh, Wheels Across The Desert by Andrew Goudie and Abducting a General by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Reviews of these and Easier to Run (see last week’s post) will follow over the next few days.


The Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien

The books mentioned above represent the near sum of what I read last week. The only other one to get much of a look in was The Lord of the Rings on the train home.

As my train raced past green fields and grey bricks, Frodo and co. met the mysterious Strider in The Prancing Pony. On the night they hid in the dell at the foot of Weathertop, London came into view.

And then, there they were – shadows darker than night! Frodo was stabbed and only avoided being killed by crying out O Elbereth Gilthoniel!

In Tolkien’s mythology, Elbereth set the stars in their place. For this, she is called their Queen. I have seen Frodo’s cry referred to as ‘… the Middle Earth version of a Catholic Hail Mary.’ (here). Perhaps it is, although insofar as Elbereth is one of the Ainur – and therefore a spirit – she is quite different to the human Blessed Virgin Mary.

Still, the end effect is the same. Catholics ask Mary to help them, and she does; Frodo instinctively asks Elbereth for her assistance and – Tolkien leaves it open for his readers to believe that she does the same for him.


This entry was posted in J R R Tolkien, Twentieth Century Literature, Twenty First Century Biography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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