Every writer making a secondary world wishes in some measure to be a real maker, or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar quality of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from Reality, or are flowing into it.
And here he was, a little halfling from the Shire, a simple hobbit of the quiet countryside, expected to find a way where the great ones could not go, or dared not go. It was an evil fate.
Any corner of that county (however fair or squalid) is in an indefinable way 'home' to me, as no other part of the world is. There was a willow hanging over the mill-pool and I learned to climb it. It belonged to a butcher on the Stratford Road, I think. One day they cut it down. They didn't do anything with it: the log just lay there. I never forgot that.
And in that very moment, away behind in some far corner of the city, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed reckoning nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And, Legolas, when the torches are kindled and men walk on the sandy floors under the echoing domes, ah! Then, Legolas, gems and crystals and veins of precious ore glint in the polished walls; and the light glows through folded marbles, shell-like, translucent as the living hands of Queen Galadriel. There are columns of white and saffron and dawn-rose, Legolas, fluted and twisted into dreamlike forms; they spring up from many-colored floors to meet the glistening pendants of the roof: wings, ropes, curtains fine as frozen clouds; spears, banners, pinnacles of suspended palaces! Still lakes mirror them: a glimmering world looks up from dark pools covered with clear glass; cities, such as the mind of Durin could scarce have imagined in his sleep, stretch on through avenues and pillared courts, on into the dark recesses where no light can come, And plink! A silver drop falls, and the round wrinkles in the glass make all the towers bend and waver like weeds and corals in a grotto of the sea. Then evening comes: they fade and twinkle out; the torches pass on into another chamber and another dream. There is chamber after chamber, Legolas; hall opening out of hall, dome after dome, stair beyond stair; and still the winding paths lead on into the mountains? heart. Caves! The Caverns of Helm?s Deep! Happy was the chance that drove me there! It makes me weep to leave them.
It was an evil doom that set her in his path. For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel.
I wonder if people will ever say, Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring. And they'll say, Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn't he, Dad? Yes, m'boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that's saying a lot.
In those days of our tale, there were still some people who had both elves and heroes of the North for ancestors and Elrond, the master of the house, was their chief. He was as noble and as fair in face as an elf lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves and as kind as summer.
If I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject?which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.
If you want to know what cram is, I can only say that I don?t know the recipe; but it is biscuitish, keeps good indefinitely, is supposed to be sustaining, and is certainly not entertaining, being in fact very uninteresting except as a chewing exercise.
If thou hadst thy will what wouldst thou reserve? said Manwe. Of all thy realm what dost thou hold dearest? All have their worth, said Yavanna, and each contributes to the worth of the others. But the kelvar can flee or defend themselves, whereas the olvar that grow cannot. And among these I hold trees dear. Long in the growing, swift shall they be in the felling, and unless they pay toll with fruit upon their bough little mourned in their passing. So I see in my thought, would that the trees might speak on behalf of all things that have roots, and punish those that wrong them!