Happy birthday, Professor Tolkien

While I’m happy that Goodreads sent me an email this morning, as part of their daily quote thingy, to remind me that it’s Tolkien’s birthday today (b. January 3, 1892) … I am not happy that the quote they chose for the email was part of the smarmy speech from Peter Jackson’s … misguided version of The Two Towers. I went alone to the theatre to see the very first showing, because the first film had some wonderful moments and I was optimistic. And then things went wonky. Suddenly Frodo and Sam and Faramir were in Osgiliath (?!), and I was sitting there muttering “But…”, and then Sam gave … that speech. Now, I know a lot of people love it. As I sat there I heard people sniffling with emotion all around me. Me? I was livid. I was seething. I wanted to get my hands on Peter Jackson and leave him whimpering – because that speech was such a corruption of Tolkien’s words, in a scene that was a complete mess, in a departure from the book’s storyline that was offensive … Anyway. Ill done, Goodreads. Google is your friend. Use it, next time.

I have loved Tolkien since I was twelve. He has had a tremendous impact on the way I think, and the way I write (my faults are not to be ascribed to him in any way), and the way I read. And for several years I belonged to a Tolkien message board about which I will only say … it sparked my creativity. And I wrote a lot of what we called parody, which others call filk.

Like this.

(I don’t know if this is a better way to celebrate The Professor’s birthday than a Peter Jackson quote, but at least it’s heartfelt.)

He Didn’t Mean To Adventure
– The story of The Hobbit, singable to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

Bilbo is respectable in Bag End Under Hill
Till “Gandalf tea Wednesday”and a rune scratched on his door.
Fili Kili Ori Óin, Dori Nori Bombur Glóin
Bifur, Dwalin, Bofur, Balin – are there any more?!
Yes: Thorin especially; Gandalf makes fourteen
An Unexpected Party, and a burglar with no choice.
Green Dragon, Bywater, Trolls consider slaughter:
Bert, Tom, and William – Gandalf throws his voice.

Bilbo:
I didn’t mean to adventure
Minding my own business,
Then all things went amiss
I didn’t mean to adventure
Taken from my doorstep
Now with Gandalf I schlep

Heading on to Rivendell, Elrond’s House where elves yet dwell
Moon runes, Elf tunes, but it’s not long before:
Thunderstorms, giants swarm, misery is uniform
Captured by the Goblins, but Gandalf comes through once more
Goblin King, a missing Ring(!), Bilbo makes good use of Sting
A game of Riddles in the Dark, Gollum’s bite’s worse than his bark
Balin is sharp-sighted, the party’s reunited,
Bilbo appears, Dwarves cheer, Gandalf is delighted.

Bilbo:
I didn’t mean to adventure
Wish that singing was my kettle
Not Elves in fine fettle
I didn’t mean to adventure
Almost served like mutton
Then lost all my buttons

From the frying pan of Goblin fray to Wargs and wolves, ya harri hey
An eye-opener and no mistake, racket keeps Eagles awake
A night spent in an eyrie, Beorn’s house is more cheery
Ponies serve up honey-cake, with dogs and rams – no chops or steak
Beorn gives good advice (maybe should’ve told ‘em twice)
Black squirrels and butterflies, cobwebs and insect eyes
White hart frustrates, Bombur is a dead weight
Vanishing feast agonize, all lose their heads (no real surprise)

Bilbo:
I didn’t mean to adventure
I don’t think I’m an asset –
Are we nearly there yet?
I didn’t mean to adventure
The Road goes ever on
That’s why I’m woebegone

Bilbo’s nearly caught in webs : courage peaks as daylight ebbs
Attercop, Attercop, monster spiders nearly get the drop
Thorin caught by Woodelves, the rest made prisoners themselves –
Butler and guard drink till they drop; barrels float, Bilbo atop
Bilbo starts to cough and sneeze; Fili says No apples, please!
Desolation of the Dragon, now it’s all up to Burglar Baggins!

Bilbo:
I didn’t mean to adventure
Hope I come in useful
Not look too much a fool
I didn’t mean to adventure
Once I blew smokerings
Now I’ve got this joke Ring”

Bilbo ‘thags you very buch’ old black snail-cracking thrush
Smaug rises in fire, off to Laketown venting ire
But now the dragon’s Not At Home, I’ll just take that Arkenstone
Goblets they found there for themselves, and harps of gold where once they delved
Mithril vest, did Smaug go west? Lake Town is put to the test
Grim-voiced Bard, black arrow last, a little bird speaks as Smaug flies past
Smaug goes down in clouds of steam – Bard should be king, the Dale folk deem
Dalemen and Elf array marching northward straightaway

Bilbo:
I didn’t mean to adventure
I miss my good old arm-chair
Once back I won’t leave there
I didn’t mean to adventure
Don’t care how much gold’s strewn
Can I be going home soon?

Old Roäc, son of Carc, reports Bard’s arrow hit its mark –
That’s the good news; bad remains – Thorin sends him off to Dain
Dueling ballads, Elves and Dwarves – Thorin’ll sit on gold and starve
The Clouds Burst, Bilbo’s cursed, after Dain comes the worst –
Goblins led by Azog’s son – wolves and Wargs behind them run
Disagreements disappear – so does Bilbo, thinking clear
Goblins offer no reprieve, then Thorin turns the tide at eve
And Bilbo sees a welcome sight – Eagles are coming! To join the fight

Bilbo:
I didn’t mean to adventure
I’ve a helm and hard skull
Of adventure chock-full
I didn’t mean to adventure
Didn’t expect warfare
Eagles, Dwarves, Wargs, Elves, bear

Bilbo comes to once more – Thorin’s passing grieves him sore
And Fili and Kili, body and shield, defending Thorin died before
Under the Mountain Dain’s now King, Even dragons have their ending
Chest of silver, chest of gold, Yule-tide with Gandalf in Beorn’s hold
Bilbo’s Took blood grows more tired the closer he comes to the Shire
Rivendell – the first of May, and Elves’ lullabyes at break of day
Auction ended, SB’s offended, reputation gone and won’t be mended
Thus ends the tale, how beyond all ken, Bilbo journeyed There and Back Again.

They didn’t start the story
There’s this certain round thing
Which became a “found”thing
They didn’t start the story
Isildur took the Ring and
Part of Sauron’s right hand

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