And so the stage is set. We have Elves, whose story this has been primarily for the last 150 some odd pages. We have the Dwarves, who dwell primarily in the mountains in the East. And now, we have Men added to the mix. Let’s not forget the common threat in the far North, Morgoth and his armies of Orcs, Balrogs, and fire-drakes.
To be honest, this chapter didn’t strike me as particularly interesting aside from the general introduction of Men to the story. We get a feel for how the Eldar relate to Men and vice-versa. Some notable men are mentioned that we will hear more about later.
The most interesting part of the chapter came at the end (that happens a lot, huh?) when Beor dies of old age. We’re reminded just how foreign the concept of death is to the Elves. Tolkien does a good job emphasizing how short Men’s lives are in comparison to Elves who don’t die of natural causes. This brings to mind that Tolkien is doing something with Elves that most authors can’t do. Tell an epic history that spans thousands and thousands of years with some of the same characters throughout the whole thing. If Tolkien is the father of the modern Fantasy genre, it makes me wonder why this kind of story-telling hasn’t caught on. These days, the only way to tell a story about a person who is even just hundreds of years old is to utilize the “Vampire” plot device. On the other hand, maybe I haven’t read enough Fantasy; maybe an undying species is more common than I’m familiar with. Have any of you come across this in other books or series? Just wondering.
Till next time, keep thinking,