Dear Eä Tolkien Society President,
Here are the notes of the November meeting.
14 November 2015 @ the home of Hawke Robinson
Attended: Hawke (HR), Chris (CK), Noah (NH), Richard (RB), Brian (BH), Corey (CO), and Jeremiah (JB) online
1. HR opened the meeting with greetings.
2. BH read the notes from the October meeting.
3. Discussion related to the notes...
- the annotated map of Middle-Earth recently discovered
- Answer found about the question if Valinor was the reason that Quenya left and right hand names correspond to south and north respectively... see Return of the King Appendix E, toward the end.
- Elvish languages written in Tengwar
- JB mentioned kickstarter project about Elvish language book
4. HR read Vinyar Tengwar introduction letter from 1988 (volume 1), since we have finished the diagram of the Elvish body vocabulary. Interested scholars can see more about this old project here
5. Our smial started our group reading of JRR Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham.
- Giles is like a hobbit
- Many references to the British countryside, of which JRRT was fond; similar to the Shire
- Did Tolkien view hobbits' lives as idyllic?
- JB thought not, quoting the elf Gildor from Fellowship of the Ring: "But it is not your own Shire. Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
- Further themes from Farmer Giles: the status quo vs. adventure
- "Garm", the farmer's hound's name, refers to a Norse dog of the Underworld, as one of the Eddas describes:
- The best of trees | must Yggdrasil be,
- Skíðblaðnir best of boats;
- Of all the gods | is Óðinn the greatest,
- And Sleipnir the best of steeds;
- Bifröst of bridges, | Bragi of skalds,
- Hábrók of hawks, | and Garm of hounds.
- The giant in Farmer Giles is one of the few Tolkien employs in all his legendarium, alongside those seen by Bilbo & dwarves in the Misty Mountains (Ch. 4), and of course the tree-giants, the Ents. CK mentioned Chesterton's essay on giants as being worth reading.
- Farmer Giles of Ham has a light-hearted tone, revealing Tolkien was capable of jolliness as well as epic writing. Other examples include the scene with the trolls in the Hobbit, and some of the hobbits' poetry "The Oliphaunt" and "The Man in the Moon".
- Another theme: private property & "gun rights"? (if Giles' blunderbuss is considered). More fun here, in the caricature of the English farmer defending his land.
- Enter Chrysophylax Dives the dragon as he hears good reports from the giant of livestock to plunder with no knights to protect the realm. A lovely quote: "So knights are mythical!" said one of the dragons.
- JB found Chrysophylax = Greek for "Gold-guarded"; Dives = Latin for "Rich". A worthy name for a dragon.
- We ended the story this month at the introduction of the king's sword-gift to Farmer Giles, also called "Tailbiter".
6. After closing comments, we decided to meet next on Saturday, Dec. 12th, at 1 pm, at the same location, when we will try to finish our reading of Farmer Giles (also called The Rise and Wonderful Adventures of Farmer Giles, Lord of Tame, Count of Worminghall and King of the Little Kingdom).