Saturday, November 07, 2015

NaBloPoMo -- Favourite Book

The prompt for today is:
NaBloPoMo day 7: Post the opening sentence of your favorite book. How long has this book been in your life?

When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton

This of course is the opening sentecne of Chapter 1, "A Long-Expeccted Party", of The Lord of the Rings. LOTR has been my favourite book for about 35 years.  But given my druthers I would say that this is a much better first line:
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit
Which of course is the opening sentence of Chapter 1 , "An Unexpected Party", of The Hobbit.  It is an oddly slow opening, but it does make you wonder what a hobbit is. It piques the curiosity.

I was first introduced to the world of Middle Earth in Grade 4.  Our teacher that year took the first 30-45 minutes after lunch every Friday to read to us.  The first book he read was The Hobbit.  At that point in my life I was a rather voracious reader and, since I was quite enjoying the book and there was a copy at home I read it (passing where we were in class and finishing well before).  Then I continued on to start reading LOTR, in fact being well into it before Mr. Davies finished reading The Hobbit.  [This same reading program is what first introduced me to the land of Narnia as one of the other books which was read was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.]

If memory serves I finished the full three volumes by the end of Grade 5.  And then have read it at least 20 times in the intervening years.  So I was quite excited when the movies were being made.  And then quite disappointed in them when they were done.  Mind you nothing really replaces the mind's eye for putting a great novel into pictures (plus all the ways they changed the story and the characters).

I did use LOTR as the basis for my English 30 major paper in Grade 12 (looking at symbolism in the book) and for a paper in my first year New Testament class in seminary (looking at Christology in the book)

As a way to drive all the people in my house crazy I can also cite from memory two pieces of poetry from the book (one of which is quoted in a Big Bang Theory episode, thus leading to accusations that I resemble Sheldon)  Some day I hoe to work the second one into an Advent sermon:
Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky
Seven for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone
Nine for mortal men doomed to die
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

All that is gold does not glitter
Not all those who wander are lost
The old that is strong does not wither
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.

Oh and for the record the last line of the book (working from memory this time -- I pulled out the books for the first lines) is given to Sam Gamgee:
Well I'm home

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