The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing
Here’s a snippet from chapter four of book three of The Lord of the Rings:
“Yes,” said Pippin; “I’m afraid this is only a passing gleam, and it will all go grey again. What a pity! This shaggy old forest looked so different in the sunlight. I almost felt I liked the place.”
“Almost felt you liked the Forest! That’s good! That’s uncommonly kind of you,” said a strange voice. “Turn round and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty. Turn round!”
It wasn’t until last night that I realised what Treebeard is doing here, deliberately repeating Pippin’s phrasing but with the opposite emotion. A simple thing, and obvious, but at the same time setting up Treebeard’s character quite nicely — his humour, his motto, his... self-confidence is the wrong word, but I can’t think of a better.
It’s nice that I know parts of the book well enough that such things as the above can occur to me without having to be reading the text. Of course it’s always good to do so, since in looking at it and the surrounding passages today, I’ve noticed that the word “queer” gets used several times in the Treebeard chapter, describing the Ent’s eyes as well as Lothlórien, and the word “strange” of his voice and of the whole adventure the Hobbits are involved in. Why is this interesting? Tolkien uses “strange” an awful lot, but (from my less than thorough examination) almost solely when the subject is, roughly, Faërie, rather than anything unusual or unknown. And now it seems that “queer” may be used for a similar purpose, though I cannot recall other uses of it to support or disprove this theory. Oh for a decent (which is to say electronic) concordance!
Posted by jamie on May 14, 2005 10:55+12:00