Beyond Bree

Nancy Martsch, editor

October, 2021

13 October 2021

In this issue: 2 articles, 2 notes, 2 reviews.


Hidden faces III: Horrible faces

Denis Bridoux, p. 1

Going through the catalogue of the Paris exhibition [Tolkien: Voyage en Terre du Milieu] for Tolkien Studies vol. XVII invited me to take a closer look at some pieces I had not studied for some time, now reproduced in a high-quality format. In particular, I looked at the Gate of Minas Morgul” (TAI #159), which looks like a face with a gaping open maw, complete with an impression of upper teeth given by the raised portcullis, and of eyes that actually look sick, presumably because of all the poisons which the citadel is so infamous for.…

A woc in Erewhon

Mark T. Hooker, p. 6

A correspondent wrote that my identification of Tolkien’s use of drow‑s (words spoken or spelled backward) to expand his Elvish vocabulary would be more believable if there was documentation of a similar linguistic process in English with an academic pedigree. This is, in hindsight, a reasonable request from someone whose specialty is not the history of language. I had taken it for a given.

Drow‑s are a part of the rich fabric of English. There is academic linguistic research on the oral variety, as well as examples of the written kind in literature. Drow‑s are a part of the oral cant of costermongers (street-venders).…


True Villainy

Scott Warner, p. 3

Ten years ago, I wrote an article for the InterdiMensional Journal [a now-defunct Mensa SF journal] proposing a new definition for classic villains in science fiction and fantasy literature. Most villains are transparently antagonistic from the beginning. However true villains disguise their intentions while plotting the demise of their opponents. The deceitful betrayals of Brutus and Iago are good examples of this quality. Uriah Heep, Steerpike and Bill Hayden also qualify. This premise leads to several surprising conclusions.…

Can Sméagol be saved?

David Doerr, p. 6

A Tolkien-themed article titled Wantons and Werewolves” by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson appeared in The Catholic World Report, August 5, 2021. The topic is pity that is meted out to Sméagol, a.k.a. Gollum. The eldest daughter of the article’s author, who is making her first trip through a reading of The Lord of the Rings, asks the question, Mommy, can Sméagol be saved?” The girl’s parents become somewhat consumed while attempting to give their best responses.…


Switzerland in Tolkien’s Middle-earth: In the footsteps of his adventurous summer journey in 1911, with hiking suggestions by Martin S Monsch

Todd Jensen, p. 4

This is an enjoyable book, covering Tolkien’s travels through Switzerland in 1911 (reconstructing them not only through his memories in his letters, but also through the memoir of Colin Brookes-Smith, one of his companions on the journey), and their likely influence on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien had already revealed in his letters that his account of Bilbo crossing the Misty Mountains (particularly the thunder-battle” scene and the steep rocky hillside which Thorin and Company climbed down early in Chapter Six of The Hobbit) was drawn from his visit to Switzerland; Monsch argues that the Switzerland journey may have inspired or influenced even more of Tolkien’s story, not only through what he saw and experienced there, but also the local legends and history.…

permalink 🔗︁
date recorded 📅2021-12-31
scribe 🖋worblehat