This is the very far-out newsletter of the Far Westfarthing Smial. --David Lenander


A few Tolkien points that might add to our Friday banter coming this Friday. Charter member John Armbruster will once again, we hope, recite the first lines of Chaucer's 'General Prologue' in Middle English from memory; a year ago in my late lamented JRRT class he got the first two dozen lines without faltering. Armbruster is sixtysomething and generally was seen to ideal as the aged Aragorn [edging longtime perennial nominee Paul Newman] when we played Tolkien Casting Couch game in class.

Its legacy, the Far Westfarthing -smial- will celebrate its first anniversary on Decemberís First Friday. My class is gone, but this alumni association lives on. No tests or papers for them to write or me to grade; just, instead, rural Germantownís best fissshhh & chipssss and Corona if not Whitbread or Watneyís Red Barrel, thus leisurely two-hour pub lunches. Old Speckled Hen now available here in pressurized cans; sometimes the global economy seems to work.

We in our -smial- have spent past year re-reading Unfinished Tales back to front. Last month one Bob Killion noted resemblance of the account of the Battle for the Fords of Isen to the push that led to the Battle of the Bulge; my Dad was supply sergeant who loaded airdrops to the Battered Bastards Of Bastogne. I think Killion may be on to something there.

Any thoughts on that?

Of The Istarií pub-talk last summer led me to the conclusion Iíve long found inevitable and evidentiary; the wizards are archangels. Of course, Tolkien both said and wrote that such was so, but read on to see if you follow my further argument.

Gandalf is, of course, St. Michael--díyou recall or did you ever know the RC prayer to him? Iíll bet a pint Tolkien recited it often in the trenches--and Saruman, Lucifer. The other three are harder but I'm working out the possibilities and actually think I have it or darned close to it; there are five archangels named in Bible but Radagast rather bollixes it by being more St. Francis of Assisi. I'll get to this paper right after 'Ringo & Samwise: Paradigms' is well under weigh for Mythcon XXX/Bree Moot 4 next year.

Anyway, a year ago Matt Logan, student in what sadly seems to be last Tolkien class ever & charter member of FWS, pointed out Gollum only loves cold fish.

'Darkness' I added. And of course hobbits love warmth, sunlight, meat so oxymoronic aspect of Gollum vs. hobbits reinforced.

Thoughts on that, anyone?

Logan '97 again: Faramir disobeys Denethor--as Eomer Theoden--by not bringing the Ring to his father.

Thus Sarmumannishness of Den. is likewise reinforced. Comments, embelliishments, anyone?

Pleasant memories of our various meetings and messages of summer past remain. Lynn, I hope Patty McGrady sent you a snap of you in your Devil get up. Scared the Devil out of this sinner boy, I know.

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