The Fall and Fellowship

The Fall and Fellowship

The final chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship," is broken into two parts: The first ends with Boromir falling to the temptation of the Ring while the second ends with Frodo and Sam heading out to Mordor as chaos rages behind them. These two passages lay out [...]

A Single Song from The Lord of the Rings Is Destroying Me

A Single Song from The Lord of the Rings Is Destroying Me

J.R.R. Tolkien was an academic with a vibrant interest in storytelling traditions and, because it was a lot easier for 13th century bards to remember rhyming stanzas than one long string of prose text, most of those traditions involve stories written in verse or performed as songs outright. Not content to merely translate and rewrite those existing verse [...]

Niche Periphery: Tolkien’s The Silmarillion

Niche Periphery: Tolkien’s The Silmarillion

Before reading The Silmarillion, there are some questions that you should probably ask yourself: Do you know the basic stories of Gil-Galad and Beren One-Hand? Do you recognize names like Barahir, Grond and Fëanor and want to know more about them? Have you figured out, through context alone, what (fictional) words like dagor and ithil [...]

A Far, Far Better Thing: Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

A Far, Far Better Thing: Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities

Though its opening line is among the most famous in all the Western canon, it's the closing lines of Charles Dickens' revolutionary classic A Tale of Two Cities that resonate with unshakable beauty. (For what it's worth, we don't even seem to know that opening line quite as well as we like to think because [...]