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Old 07-17-2021, 10:38 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
Princess of Skwerlz
 
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: where the Sea is eastwards (WtR: 6060 miles)
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Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!
Silmaril Minor Works -- 3 - Smith of Wootton Major

Like "Leaf", this tale definitely has autobiographical aspects, "translated" into a story of Faery. It was, however, written late in Tolkien's life, and has a completely different focus. It was published, with Pauline Baynes' delightful illustrations, in 1967.

The story of a human who received a star as his "passport" to the land of Faery was the last story that JRRT wrote and the last work to be published during his lifetime. I have two different editions: in Tales from the Perilous Realm, and a hardback, extended edition volume, edited and commented by Verlyn Flieger. I am using the latter as my primary reference for this introduction to the discussion.

The tale had an unexpected origin, typical for Tolkien! He was writing an introduction for a story by George MacDonald, explaining the true meaning of "fairy" by illustrating it with the outline of a story. Soon the story itself interested him more than the introduction (which was never finished or published).

Flieger very aptly calls this tale "the imaginal realization of the theoretical concept he put forward in his 1939 lecture-essay "On Fairy-Stories"." He shows the realm of Faery to be a perilous place for mortals.

The opening lines of the story are wonderful: "There was a village once, not very long ago for those with long memories, nor very far away for those with long legs."

What does this story evoke in you when you read it? Which are your favourite characters? Which aspects are, in Tolkien's terms, "applicable", not "allegorical"? Do you see any personal applicability to your own life? I look forward to your contributions to the discussion!
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'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
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