Thursday, March 28, 2013
The Cats of Queen Berúthiel
One cool side-story that we didn't get a chance to talk about in class is "The Cats of Queen Berúthiel". Christopher Tolkien put it in note 7 of the Istari chapter on page 419. I don't know about you guys, but I was really excited to see this note. Tolkien mentions the story somewhere (of course now I can't remember where) in The Lord of the Rings, but not a whole lot of information is given about it. Anyway, I found it interesting because Tolkien hardly ever talks about cats. There are a few dogs (Huan and Garm) and plenty of horses but no cats. Queen Berúthiel is portrayed negatively in the story and her cats are basically spies for her. I wonder if this suggests that Tolkien hated cats. He probably wasn't a cat person (and neither am I). What sort of attributes do cats have that make them unlikable in Tolkien's world? The only thing I can think of is that dogs are very loyal (which is a good trait to have) whereas cats are more aloof. What do you guys think?