A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!

So we stood on the quay with Sam and Merry and Pippen and watched Frodo and Bilbo sail away with Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel, at the end of The Return of the King. For my son’s second time and my thirteenth or fourteenth.

And when I reached the last sentence and the trilogy we’d been using for bedtime stories for most of his seventh year was over, Mr. B. said he wanted to start all over again with The Hobbit. I said I needed a break of a day or two. Much as I love Tolkien’s melodic prose, particularly his descriptions of the landscape in the turn of the seasons, reading him aloud takes some work.

But there’s a definite payoff. I finally got the names down to where I could pronounce them as J. R. R. intended. And it’s undeniable that Mr. B.  got a certain far-away dreamy look listening to these adventures that he didn’t even with Narnia and Treasure Island. Then there is the reward of his admission, a few days ago, that despite enjoying the LoTR movies, which he had watched over and over again, he’d decided that he really preferred the books.

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