“Suddenly resolve hardened in him, and he seized a short sword that lay beside him, and kneeling he stooped low over the bodies of his companions. With what strength he had he hewed at the crawling arm near the wrist, and hand broke off; but at the same moment the sword splintered up to the hilt.”
Chapter 8

Fog on the Barrow-downs

Not much to say about this chapter. To be honest after reading it through once, I wasn’t totally clear on what exactly a barrow is or a wight or where Frodo and the others were trapped and what the arm was or where from, where their clothes went etc. etc…. an evil spirit of some kind, apparently… captures passers-by after sun-down; it either lures them with hidden wealth or takes it’s treasure from its victims or both. So, I have to concur with a friend I was talking to the other day who’s opinion of Tolkien was that he isn’t easy to read. I don’t think he’s always hard to read, but sometimes all his descriptions, references, and even his choice of vocabulary bog things down.

What I like about Tolkien, though, is that there’s always a story behind the story. I like that because it’s honest. It’s more like our own lives. There isn’t one story happening, but we all have stories. In my life I’m always curious about how we have all ended up wherever we are, our individual stories. So when Tom Bombadil takes a moment to remember the sad past of the one who wore the brooch, I found it particularly poignant.

till next time, keep thinking,


September 2000

Kanazawa, Japan