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Guest Reviews by Hobbits
For the first of April, I’m lending my blog over to two guest reviewers. You may have heard of from the Red Book of Westmarch, or as it’s known to modern publishers, Lord of the Rings: the hobbits Pippin Took and Rosie Gamgee (nee Cotton)! They’ve got some things to say about a book they’ve been reading.
Pippin: Hey, folks! It's been a few years since we got back from the War of the Ring and scoured those ruffians out of the Shire, and I thought, why not read some books like the ones Frodo (and old Bilbo) were talking about? Or, well, maybe some ones not so much like those they're talking about?
Rosie: And Sam has told me so many stories about the people he met on his adventure, and the stories they told him. I've never left the Shire, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to soon - so I thought I'd read some books to get a broader view of things. Well, I'm not really sure where this particular book came from -
Pippin: Me neither. Did old Bilbo get it from the Elves?
Rosie: I asked Mr. Frodo once, and he shook his head and said he'd never seen it before he came back from his adventure. Maybe Sharkey brought it and left it here?
Pippin: But then where'd he get it? Who knows - maybe I'll ask Gandalf when he comes back. But that’s not the important point. In the meantime, it’s fun! Here, take a look at it!
Pippin: “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.” Four children of the Big People - Men - go through a magic door into a country ruled by an evil witch, and they and this lion overthrow her and become kings and queens!
Rosie: I liked the talking animals, and the feeling the book gives about how there’re wonders behind every tree and over every hill. It’s just like when you’re walking on a beautiful morning a little farther than you go normally. And then, they saw some of those wonders, and they had an adventure there.
Pippin: But also - they didn't do it all on their own. [Grin] In fact, they didn't do most of it.
Rosie: Aslan did it. He defeated the Witch; he crowned them.
Pippin: And that sounds familiar... Merry and I weren't the ones who saved the day. Even when he stabbed the Witch-King, he wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for Eowyn. They're singing about how Frodo killed the Dark Lord in his own Dark Tower -
Rosie: Oh no!
Pippin: But he couldn't have even done what he did if it wasn't for Sam.
Rosie: [blush] I wish Sam would realize that more. [pause] In this book - you don't really get that sense that the children are depending on each other.
Pippin: Yeah. You don’t really get much sense about them at all. I feel like I know them like we spent an afternoon at the Green Dragon together... but not like I know Merry and Frodo and Sam, or even Strider or poor Boromir, after we went on the Quest together.
Rosie: Or Gandalf?
Pippin: I don't think anyone really knows Gandalf. Not even Elrond.
Rosie: He just keeps showing up. [pause] Sort of like Aslan in the book?
Pippin: Yeah, and Gandalf keeps quietly orchestrating so many things... like Aslan, again. And he and Frodo were the ones who crowned the King.
Rosie: Sam said he was from across the Sea, in the beginning.
Pippin: But he never called himself a king.
Rosie: And for all they say Aslan is a king, he never acts like it, and he goes ahead and appoints these children to be kings and queens. [pause] Like Gandalf, maybe, but also like the Thain.
Pippin: Yeah, my father says he's glad to have the title, but glad to leave everything to the Mayor. Unless he has to fix things, I guess, like when Lotho Pimple was running things into the ground. [pause] In the book, Aslan didn't seem happy to have to come to Narnia himself, either.
Rosie: He seemed happy to come. Just not to have to fix things.
Pippin: Hmm. Maybe that's why Gandalf liked visiting us so much?
Rosie: Mama says it's like that with kids when they're older. She was always happy to watch us, but happiest when we were able to do things on our own. [pause] Which makes me wonder - why did Aslan choose these four children to rule Narnia?
Pippin: Well, they needed to be Big People.
Rosie: But why children?
Pippin: Maybe... well, children are more open to new things and less set in their daily life? Even among the Big People, I think.
Rosie: Well, I don't know much about kings and queens, but I'm pretty sure they need to be wise. I don't expect children to be wise.
Rosie: Were they the only Big People Aslan could find? But even so, couldn't he have just left the thrones vacant till he could find someone else? We've managed perfectly well without a king till now.
Pippin: Well, Narnia needed someone on the throne. And... The part about Narnia needing some Big People - some Men - to be kings and queens made me think about how Legolas was saying the time of Elves is gone.
Pippin: Yes, it'll all be the Big People now.
Rosie: Gone? Already?
Pippin: Not yet, but he seems to think they will be soon.
Rosie: And then the Elves will be gone. It'd be a shame. They're so much more beautiful than the Big People. And nicer, too. Why couldn't they stay?
Pippin: Legolas never said. Gandalf just said it's time.
Rosie: And why couldn't someone like nice Mr. and Mrs. Beaver be king and queen of Narnia?
Pippin: They said they shouldn't. Because they aren't humans.
Rosie: Well, maybe they have their reasons. Just like maybe the Elves have their reasons for leaving. And maybe Lobelia had her reasons for helping invite in Sharkey, at that!
Pippin: And Edmund had his reasons for betraying his brother and sisters - never said they were good reasons.
Rosie: Turkish Delight. I don’t know what it tastes like… I’ve had some great sweets, but I’d rather have that trout and marmalade roll they had with the Beavers.
Pippin: Oh yes. I had some trout once; it was delicious. I don’t know about Turkish Delight, but I know someone who did some bad things for mushrooms once…
Rosie: [chuckle] And then Mr. Frodo grew up, right? But it wasn’t as bad as what Edmund did.
Pippin: No, but Edmund did think better of it in the end, too.
Rosie: When it was too late. Well, no, it wasn't too late - he was King with the other three.
Pippin: And Lobelia did some good in the end too. She left Bag End back to Frodo.
Rosie: Yes, and you have to admire how she fought the ruffians when they caught her. 'Course, it's still hard to forgive her for bringing them here in the first place.
Pippin: I'm sure Gandalf would say to forgive her.
Rosie: Just like, in the book, Aslan forgave Edmund. It sounded so easy when we read it, but it's harder when I'm having to live it.
Pippin: Just like a lot of things in adventures. [shiver] It's easier to read about them... but I'm still glad I went on one adventure.
Rosie: Maybe Sam and I can go on a nice safe adventure at some point.
Rosie: I'm sure there's some safe trip. Maybe... you say the king is coming somewhere near here, right? Maybe we can go see him.
Pippin: It'd be great to see him again, yes! And in the meantime - there're a lot more books.
Rosie: Yes, more books.
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