There is something irreplaceable about turning the pages of a ‘Lord of the rings’ book and deeply inhaling the heady, earthy, bookish scent of pulp in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fabled Middle Earth. As we readers traverse the space of wooded shires, orc-infested plains and 1aurora borealis-tinted skies, we are drawn into the expanse of this mythical realm, the land of heroes big or small, 2esoteric or mundane, stout-hearted or faint-hearted. At times, I would find myself sighing, as I muse that mere reading is insufficient. Personally, I would long to venture off the beaten path of being an armchair bookworm, and to leave my human imprints upon the paths trodden by the heroes, anti-heroes and villains of tolkien’s fantasy epic. I would above all long to visit Middle Earth.
If I were to be transported to the land of adventure on the flights of my imagination, I would probably find myself making a soft landing on an 3archaic burial ground, replete with 4boggy land and 5craggy outcrops of gothicised rock. Perhaps I would be right smack in the middle of witnessing aBoromir’s death rites, before he is cast adrift in his resting vessel to flow down the river Anduin. Long after the last mourner has gone, I would then tentatively move off to explore this alternate universe, steeped in mythos, religiosity and the very heartbeat of Mother Nature herself.
With light steps, I would tread lingeringly through the terrain of flowing hills, jagged ridges, plunging vales, wrinkled gullies and weathered rocks, and marvel as the horizon reddens with florid sunsets before deepening into darkest nothingness, penetrated only by shards of moonlight. the nocturnal smells of lime-scented grass and tangy breezes would gently assail my nostrils. I would be struck speechless by a newfound awareness of how integral a role trees, shrubs and fauna all play in tolkien’s mythology, and how his love of nature shines through in every lush description, every environmental interaction. in the midst of such seductive greenery, evil lurks too in a frowning distant cliff, the sudden onset of a translucent mist, the brooding colouration that unexpectedly spreads through an already-pale moon, or a slithering valley winding away ahead of me.
All these and more would fill me with a reverent fear for the characters who reside in this world, massively proportioned in relation to their physical sizes. this fear would also be steeped in questions, as I ponder their heroic quest – how can they ever survive within this wilderness of the unknown, with the inky and fiery realm of bMordor at journey’s end? the 6amorphous landscape stretching and shimmering all the way across endless infinity pools to the 7pristine mauve grandeur of the White Mountains would flash across the irises of my eyes, and almost make me fall to my knees at Mother Nature’s majesty, as embodied in Tolkien’s wonderland.
Squinting into the distance at the brown, crumpled humps of the Misty Mountains, I glimpse vibrant 8vistas as yet unrevealed in tolkien’s prose, and gawk anew at the 9Gaudi- esque trees in Fangorn Forest......and then reality bites! I am rudely summoned back to my world, squinting as the sunlight bounces off my windows in the glow of sunset. in this era where technological progress may be viewed as a destructive force against the simplicity of Nature, I know why I love the smell of tolkien’s landscapes in the morning or at dusk. Even as the outside world and technological progress cannot be shunned or ignored, I have the privilege of tapping into tolkien’s wellspring of creativity to escape into the unhurried cshires of the hobbits, those natural, quiet, restful 10oases that for a brief moment in time become a sanctuary for me to visit and inhabit.
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.
– Galadriel, The Lady of the Wood, in Lord of the Rings trilogy
DID YOU KNOW?
J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series of books, was born in the 19th century in South Africa, settling down in England when he was three? He had all
the signs of a talented writer from a very young age, reading at the tender age of four, and writing fluently soon after. He had a natural love for language and mostly enjoyed fantasy-related books from young. Not surprising how ingenious his writing and thoughts are, is it?
a. Boromir: a heroic character in Lord of the Rings trilogy
b. Mordor: place where Sauron, the main antagonist in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, lives
c. Shires: homeland of the Hobbits, characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
[ Word Bank ]
1. aurora borealis: Northern lights (reddish or greenish lights in the sky)
2. esoteric: intended for or likely to be understood by only a small group of people with specialised knowledge
3. archaic: very old
4. boggy: very wet and muddy
5. craggy: rocky
6. amorphous: with no clear shape or form
7. pristine: remaining in a pure state
8. vistas: panoramic views, especially those seen through a long, narrow opening.
9. Gaudi-esque: similar in style to that of Anton Gaudi, a late 20th century Spanish architect who developed a startling new architectural style
10. oases: pleasant places in the middle of unpleasant surroundings
Article extracted from iThink Issue 3 (pages 16-19)
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Written by: Mr Kelvin Yap from www.gptuitionmaestro.com