In 1937, a professor at Oxford University had published a book based in Norse mythology which touched on the classic Norse myth of a magic ring called Draupnir. Of course, this professor didn’t call his ring Draupnir nor did his story rest on the shoulders of Norse mythology alone. This professor, named J.R.R. Tolkien, had created a rich world of his own called Middle Earth and little creatures of his own called Hobbits.
In the following years, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote three other books besides The Hobbit called The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. And, as I’m sure almost everyone reading this blog post knows, these books have found their way into the hearts of millions of readers and have been turned into movies that millions around the world get to enjoy.
While the creation of these movies certainly contribute to J.R.R. Tolkien’s legacy, I feel that the actual phrases and ideas embodied in the text itself speaks volumes to the philosophy of the man and what he wanted his readers to carry with them always.
So, to pay homage to this great author, I would like to share some of my favorite quotes from his novels with the wishes that they touch you in the same ways they have touched me throughout reading and enjoying his works.
“Where there’s life there’s hope.”
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.”
“You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
“Don’t tell us about dreams – dream dinners aren’t any good and we can’t share them.”
“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.”
“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.
‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'”
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
“Short cuts make long delays.”
“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.”
“Advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.”
“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
“Fair speech may hide a foul heart.”
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
“I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to.”
“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”
“The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.”
“I have spoken words of hope. But only of hope. Hope is not victory.”
“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.”
“In this hour, I do not believe that any darkness will endure.”
“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”
“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.”
“His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.”
“Courage will now be your best defense against the storm that is at hand-—that and such hope as I bring.”
“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take.”
Happy birthday Bilbo and Frodo and may Tolkien’s words carry his legacy far into the future.