A compilation of my favorite Tolkienisms to celebrate September 22nd, otherwise known as Bilbo and Frodo’s shared birthday, otherwise known as Hobbit Day. Fair warning, there’s a good dose of Aragorn and Faramir–because all the L.R. fans pick favorites!
“Bilbo was sadly reflecting that adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine.” -The Hobbit, pg. 36
“‘War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” -The Two Towers, pg. 656
“It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two. . . And those who have not swords can still die upon them.” -The Return of the King, pg. 937
“Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that come down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death a light that endures.” -The Silmarillion, pg. 162
“‘There go three that I love, and the smallest not the least,’ he said. ‘He knows not to what end he rides; yet if he knew, he still would go on.'” -The Return of the King, pg. 762
“‘Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them.'” -The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 413
“‘Too often have I heard of duty. . . I have waited on faltering feet long enough. Since they falter no longer, it seems, may I not now spend my life as I will?’
‘Few may do that with honour,’ he answered.”
-The Return of the King, pg. 767
“‘But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.'” -The Return of the King, pg. 851
“‘Good morning!’ said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass the was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.
‘What do you mean?’ he said. ‘Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?’
‘All of them at once,’ said Bilbo.”
-The Hobbit, pg. 13
“This of course is the way to talk to dragons, if you don’t want to reveal your proper name (which is wise), and don’t want to infuriate them by a flat refusal (which is also very wise). No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it.” -The Hobbit, pg. 191
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not whither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
-The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 193
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for the moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him.” -The Return of the King, pg. 901
“He walked in the deserted ways of Tirion, and the dust upon his raiment and his shoes was a dust of diamonds, and he shone and glistened as he climbed the long white stairs. And he called aloud in many tongues, both of Elves and Men, but there were none to answer him.” -The Silmarillion, pg. 248
“‘In this high place you may see the two powers that are opposed one to another; and ever they strive now in thought, but whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered. Not yet.'” -The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 395
“‘Then you would have us retreat to Minas Tirith, or Dol Amroth, or to Dunharrow, and there sit like children on sand-castles when the tide is flowing?’ said Imrahil.
‘That would be no new counsel,’ said Gandalf. ‘Have you not done this and little more in all the days of Denethor? But no! I said this would be prudent. I do not counsel prudence.'”
-The Return of the King, pg. 860
“‘Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart!'” -The Return of the King, pg. 943
“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.
‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'”
-The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 55
“He rose and looked long at Gandalf. The others gazed at them in silence as they stood there facing one another. The grey figure of the Man, Aragorn son of Arathorn, was tall, and stern as stone, his hand upon the hilt of his sword; he looked as if some king out of the mists of the sea had stepped upon the shores of lesser men. Before him stooped the old figure, white, shining now as if with some light kindled within, bent, laden with years, but holding a power beyond the strength of kings.” -The Two Towers, pg. 489
“‘The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf walk in company in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?’
‘As he has ever judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'”
-The Two Towers, pg. 428
“And a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out mingling in the air.” -The Return of the King, pg. 941
“‘Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!’ said Bilbo.
‘Of course!’ said Gandalf. ‘And why should not they prove true? Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!'”
-The Hobbit, pg. 255
I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.
I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.
For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.
I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.
-The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 313