"I want to go back to the Shire."
That's a comment that has been said a few times this week in our home... and a thought that has played in my head a number of times too.
It all started with us cracking our red book again last Saturday, and getting sucked into Bilbo Baggins eleventy-first birthday party... and you know the rest of course.
Why is it that Tolkein's story is so hypnotic, so deeply compelling, so wonderfully satisfying - even though we know that at the end Frodo will be setting out for the Grey Havens?
We had our weekend dose tonight, after Yohan was in bed, the 4 of us lying down and being transported to the gradual unwrapping of wonder, and the delicious joy of living out another journey of daring and deep-love-friendship and the mercy-shot audacity of good being able to triumph seed-like over the dark tsunami of evil that crashes over Tolkein's middle earth.
Tonight we managed to sneak with the hobbits into Buckland on the border of the Shire, despite the sniffling black riders. Will we have to wait till next weekend to escape out into the grey world beyond?
We have read through the whole book already as a family - aloud - spending many wonderful hours together with this tale. But as Asha said this evening: "I don't remember those parts at all!"
I think back to when I first read this magical tale - using my flashlight under the blankets while in boarding school, well past lights out. The only homework I ever did past bed time - we actually had it as a 'text book' for a class called 'Modern Myth' in the Woodstock School of the late 1980s - I wonder if such a class exists in the Woodstock of today?
But here I am with this magnificent tale in my hands (thanks to James Barrett for the handsome 1 volume tome), and the whole household sound asleep... Should I read ahead, just a little bit?