On Sunday, thanks to a ‘busy dwarves’ decorated big chocolate box brought for me from the West by a friend, I realized Christmas was coming near and rushed to the cupboard in my house where I have stored away all the various Christmas ornaments we displayed at the Kitchen last year. The whole morning I worked there, alone but happy, doing my best to create the festive but sweet and childlike atmosphere required for the occasion.
That was the last of my physical strength, it seems, for since then I have not been feeling really well and energetic. I was dragging my feet today, trying to cope with the endless phone calls, emails and knocks at the door from people wanting to stay in our beach huts, especially between Christmas and January 1st. My best friend still in France, no close ones around me with whom to share the problems and the joys of this soon ending year… I felt tired, a bit sad and lonely, but didn’t want to admit it, trying my best to remain the ‘ideal me’ who doesn’t cry.
And then in the end of the morning I got an unexpected email from a beloved young niece in France, who knows and shares my love for ‘The Lord of the Rings’: she had just watched the first trailer for ‘The Hobbit’, and was sending the link to me!… It is the original trailer in English, but with French sub-titles, so the French-speaking persons visiting this blog will get that treat in a form accessible to them too:
une petite pensée pour toi quand j’ai vu cette nouvelle bande annonce de “the hobbit”, apparemment la suite (au début) du seigneur des anneaux.
Plein de bisous, je t’écrirai plus longuement bientôt.
Tout va bien pour moi, j’espère pour toi aussi.
Thrilled, I watched it at once, and then kept watching it again and again and again with total awe and delight.
What a wonderful Christmas gift! What an unbelievable joy to be suddenly back in Middle-earth after all those years of hard exile, to meet again those dear old friends the main characters (and the actors who played them) had become, and to have on top of it the surprise of being swept almost right away into the world of the Dwarves, through the beautiful, powerful, nostalgic, haunting song their deep voices one after the other join to sing, while at Bilbo’s house in the night…
Hearing them sing that song is what did it for Bilbo: forgetting he was but a cautious Hobbit, he identified with them so strongly that for a moment he almost longed to have an adventure too!
Well, the same thing happened to me today in a way: Howard Shore, the Music Wizard of Middle-earth that Tolkien I think would have loved to meet, has again been inspired with exactly the right musical theme, this time for the Dwarves. It expresses so well what they deeply are, listening to it one is drawn into the very collective soul of that species and finds oneself experiencing what it is to be an ancient, mighty Dwarf. In the Lord of the Rings story, which comes actually later, Gimli is the only Dwarf through whom we come to know them, and only inside the abandoned Mines of Moria do we get a glimpse of their past greatness, to a music already quite majestic and evocative of that greatness; but in this previous adventure of Bilbo with them, ‘The Hobbit’, I had never realized they are actually, together with Bilbo, the main protagonists. More than that: I had never really cared for them. To my utter stupefaction, in this trailer they suddenly truly came alive for me, and the whole story as well.
But with whom to share the exhilaration from seeing that trailer, and the deep emotions it had produced in me?…
With the hundreds and thousands of other Tolkien fans at The One Ring.net, of course!
I spent the afternoon with them all, celebrating, commenting, discussing, laughing, crying… and all the while listening to the Song of the Dwarves, already converted into mp3 format by one of them, to my complete delight and gratitude.
Many people expressed the same special appreciation I too felt for that song; several compared it to the ancient Song that Aragorn chants for his coronation at the end of ‘The Return of the King’, last part of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. I would say there is indeed quite a similitude. The situation of Thorin Oakenshield, chief of that Company of Dwarves, is in many ways comparable to that of Aragorn’s, heir of an almost totally disappeared lineage, and responsible for its successful continuation in spite of all odds. To renew the inner link with that holier past is the only way to resurrect its true sovereignty. Chanting those Songs is a way to reestablish that inner link.
That music kept reminding me of another kind of music I love too, which has somehow a sacred feeling to it, but I couldn’t quite say what it was; now as I am writing this, I know: it is Gregorian Chanting, or ‘plain-chant’, or whatever it is called. It brings in a beautiful atmosphere, in this case together with a slow paced rhythm expressing to perfection the strength and power of the Dwarves, their deep grief at having lost their realm and past glory, and their ardent will to reconquer them…
This entire so inspiring story of Middle-earth is proving once again the right influence in my life to reawaken in me the energy I tend to lack for facing the difficulties of day to day existence, in this crucial period of terrestrial evolution when we too, like the heroes of Tolkien, are part of the same continuing Great Story, with our own forgotten divine lineage and the vaster Victory now to be won for ‘Middle-earth’ as a whole…