Tolkien Calendar: The Great Years

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October 1, TA 3018

1 October 2005 14:21:41
Categories: Tolkien Calendar

Gandalf leaves Bree.

'"Ass! Fool! Thrice worthy and beloved Barliman!" said I. "It's the best news I have had since mindsummer: it's worth a gold piece at the least. May your beer be laid under an enchantment of surpassing excellence for seven years!" said I. "Now I can take a night's rest, the first since I have forgotten when."'
"Blackriders" by Alan Lee
It's not until the Council of Elrond that we learn this charming bit of vintage Gandalf, whose joy and sleep were occasioned by the news that the hobbits were now in the care of Strider. But his sleep was not as restful as he had hoped: five Riders rode through Bree in the night after throwing down the gates. Gandalf rose at dawn to follow them.

Sleep, or the lack thereof, becomes something of a minor theme in The Lord of the Rings. Legolas seems to be able to sleep standing up. When was the last time I was in a proper bed?, the hobbits ask themselves. I wish I were back home in bed. Were these the thoughts of Tolkien and his companions as they slogged through the terrible battles of World War I? John Garth, in his groundbreaking Tolkien and the Great War, makes a strong case for The Lord of the Rings as a realistic soldier's memoire, similar in description to other WWI writers. Gandalf is an old campaigner here, enjoying the comforts of the Prancing Pony while he can, even with the enemy on all sides.

Calendar entry by Merry

Artwork: "Blackriders" by Alan Lee