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As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m re-reading Lord of the Rings which I have not done in around ten years. It’s amazing how differently it reads in that intervening time in which I’ve been exposed to so much other stuff.

It’s interesting how much more subtle Tolkien is than most modern authors. There are some quite sharp barbs in there that I just did not pick up on when I last read it. Take, for instance, this quote from the Return of the King when the Fellowship returns to Rivendell, having destroyed the One Ring.

“I have nothing much to give you young fellows,” [Bilbo] said to Merry and Pippin, “except good advice.” And when he had given them a fair sample of this, he added a last item in Shire-fashion: “Don’t let your heads get too big for your hats!”

Its wonderful how Tolkien gives the impression of a crotchety old Bilbo giving a ‘fair sample’ of ‘good advice’ to the young hobbits (presumably at great length). Beautiful.

I think that this quote could easily be said of Tolkien himself:

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger


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