Saturday, March 2, 2013

Heightened Drama of Departure

One event that I wrote about on Thursday was Húrin’s departure. I noticed that light is emphasized in many of the descriptions (i.e. “bright morning” and “the sun glittered on fifty blades”), but beneath the apparent glory of Húrin’s departure lies a foreboding undercurrent. The chapter closes with him passing out of sight of his house, perhaps never to see it again.

Can you think of any other instances where Tolkien weaves a somber line into an otherwise glorious or joyful scene? Do these lines tend to stand out, or do they subtly add to foreshadowing/drama?


Austin M. said...

I think it is more of a subtle undercurrent which aids in the development of the stage Tolkien is attempting to set and portray. So many times as readers, we are so dazzled by our perception of a scene (perhaps cinematically so?) that it is easy to forget about the power of Tolkien's prose. He was truly a master of his craft.

Lorin said...

I can't specifically recall sorrow in a scene of joy, but, to flip that on its head, there is definitely a sort of joy - or at least beauty - in many scenes of sorrow in Tolkien's works. The first one that comes to mind is the Rohirrim's arrival at the Pelennor Fields. But there are really countless moments of piercing beauty in the midst of sorrow, and vice versa, throughout Tolkien's works. I think the contrast between sorrow and joy in these sorts of moments is usually subtle enough that you don't notice it as much as you feel it.