View Single Post
Old 09-03-2021, 09:01 AM   #42
Banshee of Camelot
Guinevere's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 5,820
Guinevere is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post

It's interesting though that Tolkien seems to have inverted the traditional "time is different in Faerie" trope. Much more usual is that found in everything from Thomas the Rhymer to The King of Elfland's Daughter to Tolkien's own The Sea-Bell: a few days inside equals decades outside, and the poor wanderer emerges to find all his loved ones long in their graves.
In the same essay by Tolkien on SoWM from which I have quoted before, Tolkien continues:
In many Fairy Tales use is made of the idea that time passes quickly in Faery, so that a man who finds his way there may come out after what seems a brief episode to find that years, even centuries have passed. Except as a mere device to bring a man out of the past into contact with a (to him) future time - that is in a tale of which this is the real point, and Faery as such is not seriously considered - I have always felt this to be a mistake: a mistake in credibility, if Faery of any kind is taken seriously. It is true that the seeming time in Faery being immensely longer than it is felt to be is usually told of mortals that intrude into Faery. It is also true that in some actual experiences the time they take may seem short, and be found to be much longer when contact is made with ordinary affairs again.This occurs especially after absoption (mainly of intense interest and also usually pleasure) in some things as reading, seeing plays, revelry or meetings with friends. I have often said that this idea must have originated in inns: for nowhere does time "fly" so fast compared with daily experience as when sitting and drinking and conversing with dear friends in an inn. I am sure there is some truth in this. But there are other experiences. Notably that of dreams, in which a long (or full) experience may be found to have occupied a short time in the extramental world. "Narrative" is perhaps the only common measure. What takes a long time to relate adequately is long. (I mean: relate, if one wishes to, or has to, relate it. A diarist who enters against one day "nothing to relate " probably means nothing that interests me, or nothing of the kind that I usually record for future reference.) "O minutes great as years!" Dream is perhaps a better analogy for the purpose. But also this must be considered: the Faery of this tale is a particular one. If one accepts it, while "within" the tale, then clearly the Rulers of Faery - who are presented as interested in Men (not necessarily primarily) and beneficently - must be able to arrange that the experiences in Faery of favoured human persons may be enjoyed without dislocation of their normal human life. The time of their Faery must be different, even though it may be at points contiguous. For them human time is or may be also longer than that of Faery. The King dwells in Wootton for 58 years.
btw, in the Chronicles of Narnia, the passage of time in the different worlds is also different. Overall, time in Narnia goes by much faster. When the children return from there, only a few moments have passed in their own world.
Yes! "wish-fulfilment dreams" we spin to cheat
our timid hearts, and ugly Fact defeat!
Guinevere is offline   Reply With Quote