I can’t let Saturday, January 3rd, come to a close without shouting,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, J.R.R. TOLKIEN!!

He’s 116 today.

I think I’ll read some more of The Children of Hurin tonight. Which (pulling foot from mouth) is actually pretty good.

What, in your opinion, is the moment in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings that deserves more attention or appreciation than it gets? Put a spotlight on it for us.

Me? I love this, from Chapter 3 of The Fellowship of the Ring:

Just over the top of the hill they came on the patch of fir-wood. Leaving the road they went into the deep resin-scented darkness of the trees…. Soon they had a merry crackle of flame at the foot of a large fir-tree and they sat round it for a while, until they began to nod. Then, each in an angle of the great tree’s roots, they curled up in their cloaks and blankets, and were soon fast asleep. They set no watch; even Frodo feared no danger yet, for they were still in the heart of the Shire. A few creatures came and looked at them when the fire had died away. A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed.

‘Hobbits!’ he thought. ‘Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There’s something mighty queer behind this.’

Little touches like that give us a sense of a grander, richer world in which even the animals have lives and thoughts of their own. That’s why this is one of my favorite passages in the series.

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