Blog: December 2016

November 2016

I will start this month with a post that I felt that I could have written myself, except for the details of the neglects
Brenton Dickieson, Tuesday, 22 November 2016, ‘Battling a Mountain of Neglects with J.R.R. Tolkien
The fact that it is (at the point of writing this) less than a week until Christmas is, I suppose, telling of my own situation. I have often enough thought of Tolkien’s letters when writing these introductions, and Dickieson’s clever use of Tolkien’s phrase, and his elegant weaving together of his own situation and Tolkien’s struck me as particularly apt.
For this reason, you will probably find that more of the links are given without comment than I usually do – even in months when I have been busy, but I hope you will nontheless find them interesting. This month I have also re-used a few of the best pieces of art-work that I have been permitted by the artists to use this year.

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Imagine a bas-relief like this from the Arch of Marcus Aurelius for the Fellowship of the Ring.  Would it use a religious motif or simply a martial one?
Imagine a bas-relief like this from the Arch of Marcus Aurelius for the Fellowship of the Ring. Would it use a religious motif or simply a martial one?

It is such a little thing, the word “fellowship”, that one might not expect it to elicit so much commentary from so many learned and wise (or to draw administrative admonishment to be polite).  A while, Jeffrey Ryan was walking down the yellow brick road and he stopped to ask on the Tolkien Society Facebook page about … well, here are his words: “So one thing I’ve been wondering, and I don’t think I’ve asked the group about this, why the books use the term ‘Company’ while the films use ‘fellowship’ to describe the Ring-bearer and his companions.”  No one seems to have thought to ask Peter Jackson and his fellow writers to answer the question.

But the discourse about “company” versus “fellowship” drew my attention and got me to thinking about the uniqueness of the word “fellowship” in Tolkien’s Middle-earth fiction.  You have various companies in The Silmarillion and you have Thorin and Company in The Hobbit and you even have the Venturers Guild in “The Mariner’s Wife” but nowhere do you find Tolkien using “fellowship” to refer to a group of companions except in The Lord of the Rings, and there he only uses it of the Company of the Ring. (more…)