A Toast to the Professor | Celebrating with Favorite LOTR Moments

Today is Tolkien’s 126th Birthday! Every year on January 3rd, we fans raise a toast! (According to The Tolkien Society, it’s at 9:00 p.m. your local time.) Here’s the official way from their website :):

All you need to do is stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words “The Professor” before taking a sip (or swig, if that’s more appropriate for your drink). Sit and enjoy the rest of your drink.

Current office decor

So tonight I’ll raise a glass, but thought it would be fun to share a few favorite quotes from the book and scenes from the LOTR movies!

1. “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” The Fellowship of the Ring

2. “Courage is found in unlikely places…be of good hope!” (Gildor to Frodo in The Fellowship of The Ring)

3. “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

4. Samwise being Samwise

5. “Where there’s life there’s hope.” Sam’s Gaffer (The Two Towers)

6. “But that’s not the way of it with tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folks seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.” Samwise Gamgee

7. Éowyn being awesome:

8. “He (Faramir) looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her (Éowyn) loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.” I love this because it shows the romantic Tolkien was (Return of the King)

9. “For Frodo.” Gets me every time.

I couldn’t resist, I had to sneak one in from The Hobbit:
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (Thorin to Bilbo as he was dying)

What are some of your favorite scenes?


The Friendship of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (Plus It’s International Inklings Day!!)

(If you’re new, welcome to Inklings Week 2016! I don’t want you to miss any of the posts this week, so be sure to check them out here!) 

I miss you Oxford!

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.” Cicero

Today is officially International Inklings Day!!!! On this day 90 years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were gathered for English tea with Oxford English faculty at Merton College and met for the first time. This would begin a 40 year friendship and this friendship would inspire generations to come and also help to produce some of literature’s greatest masterpieces.

Yet, truth be told, it wasn’t friendship at first sight. After that first meeting, Lewis commented (I believe jokingly!) about Tolkien: “No harm in him: only needs a smack or so.” He thought him rather opinionated, but this was more due to the fact that at the time Lewis was an atheist and Tolkien was a strong Roman Catholic. As Diana Pavlac Glyer explained in Bandersnatch (which really is an excellent book and you should all read it!)

“It got worse. As Lewis and Tolkien got to know each other, it became clear that they had a number of serious disagreements. They had different interests and personalities. They came from different religious traditions. And they had different academic specialties. Lewis was an expert in literature and philosophy; Tolkien was a philologist, an expert in languages. He loved Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon. Lewis said that meeting Tolkien triggered two of his childhood prejudices. He explains, “At my first coming into the world I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a [Catholic], and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both.

Soon after the faculty disagreed on required courses for English students and Lewis and Tolkien found themselves on opposite sides of the debate. So Tolkien decided that in order to win people over to his curriculum, he would gather the faculty together to bring about love for mythology and ancient languages. This turned out to be a genius move. Once again, I’ll quote Bandersnatch:

Lewis and Tolkien discovered they had significant common ground. They gravitated towards each other because they shared an interest in what they called “northernness,” the vast skies, icy landscapes, and heroic tempers of the ancient Vikings. As they talked together, Lewis was slowly won over to Tolkien’s view of the English curriculum. And as they worked side by side, they forged a solid friendship. E. L. Edmonds, a student at Oxford, remembers, “It was very obvious that [Lewis and Tolkien] were great friends—indeed, they were like two young bear cubs sometimes, just happily quipping with one another.”

Tolkien would go on to play a significant role in Lewis’ conversion to Christianity (especially on the night of September 19, 1931, where, along with Hugo Dyson, the three men spent hours discussing life and faith and Lewis later said this was his final push for Christianity) and Lewis would be Tolkien’s biggest supporter and encourager in finishing Lord of the Rings and other works. Their friendship was a staple in each other’s lives and, while, in later years the friendship did change, it never lost it’s meaning.

In Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of a Friendship by Colin Duriez, we see that “with C.S. Lewis’ death, it was a “wound [Tolkien] knew he would not lose, as one loses a falling lead.” Even years after Lewis’ death Tolkien wrote about Lewis: “The unpayable debt that I owe to him was not ‘influence’ as it is ordinarily understood, but sheer encouragement. He was for long my only audience. Only from him [did I] ever get the idea that my ‘stuff’ could be more than a private hobby.”

I’ll leave with a few fun facts because I’m all about fun facts.

  • Lewis’ character, Elwin Random, in Out of the Silent Planet, resembles Tolkien quite a bit. Elwin means “elf-friend” and the character is a Cambridge philologist who has a love for languages.
  • The Professor in Narnia was also inspired by Tolkien.
  • Treebeard was inspired by C.S. Lewis.
  • They each have rad names: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and Clive Staples Lewis
  • They both lost their moms at a young age
  • Tolkien’s dad died when he was a toddler and Lewis’ Dad withdrew and sent Lewis to a boarding school after his mother’s death.
  • They both fought in WWI.
  • In 1961, Lewis nominated Tolkien for the Nobel Peace Prize in literature (which he totally should have won)
  • Both Humphrey Carpenter (Tolkien’s official biographer) and Edith Tolkien (when she told scholar Clyde S. Kilby) stated that C.S. Lewis actually wrote Tolkien’s obituary, which was published the day after his death (9/2/73) in The Times.

“My happiest hours are spent with three or four old friends and old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs – or else sitting up till the small hours in someone’s college rooms talking nonsense, poetry, theology, metaphysics over beer tea and pipes.”

I hope y’all enjoyed this brief look at Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship! Who has greatly encouraged and inspired you in your life?


The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien | Inklings Series Discussion

Here’s the thing about reading The Return of the King….EMOTIONS. I had to keep it together with many parts, but do y’all blame me? Between Sam, Gandalf, Aragorn and all of my Middle Earth people, I felt so much of their anguish, sorrow, pain and then joy and happiness.

I’m really going to try and keep this post short, but how is one to pick just a few highlights? This is a near impossible task. For the sake of the Inklings, I will try!

Let’s kick it off with some highlights. I love that Tolkien was such the romantic. Like Faramir and Éowyn’s story? I mean stop.

“He (Faramir) looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her (Éowyn) loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.”

One of the reasons I love reading Tolkien’s work, is his ability to completely draw you into the characters and feeling what they were feeling. When the Mouth of Sauron showed garments of Sam to Aragorn, Gandalf and crew, I felt their utter despair. That’s how Tolkien writes. He completely engages you and your emotions. Same with Frodo and Sam’s walk through Mordor. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And I needed a cup of water. I love how he shows, through his characters, you don’t know how much you have into until you’re put to the test.

I thought a lot about Tolkien’s war experiences while reading this one. I’m not sure why specifically in this book, but he was able to show what evil looks like. Sauron is creepy and evil enough, but He didn’t stop there – between Shelob and the Nazgûl, that’s the stuff of nightmares.

“For yet another weapon, swifter than hunger, the Lord of the Dark Tower had: dread and despair.

The Nazgûl came again, and as their Dark Lord now grew and put forth his strength, so their voices, which uttered only his will and his malice, were filled with evil and horror. Ever they circle above the City, like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men’s flesh. Out of sight and shot they flew, and yet were ever present, and their deadly voices rent the air. More unbearable they became, not less, at each new cry. At length even the stout-hearted would fling themselves to the ground as the hidden menace passed over them, or they would stand, letting their weapons fall from nerveless hands while into their minds a blackness came, and they thought no more of war; but only of hiding and of crawling, and of death.”

Also the Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr – “His name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it…”

Then there’s some many incredible characters (both good and bad):

  • As we all know, Denethor is not only a jerk, but creepy and Tolkien describes him perfectly as an “old patient spider.” It’s so fitting and I wish the movie would have shown why he was how he was at the end – because of one of the Seven Seeing Stones. As Gandalf explained: “The knowledge which he obtained was, doubtless, often of service to him; yet the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind.”
  • Théoden charging into battle? Dang son!

Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

  • Èowyn – she is such a strong character and the movie didn’t nearly do enough justice to her character.
  • Where do I even start with Gandalf?
  • Finally I have to talk about Samwise again. He always put Frodo above himself. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Sam and Frodo’s friendship reminds me of David and Jonathan. LOVE HIM.
    “In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped him most to hold firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere chat to betray him.”

Okay, now onto the changes. There were some I can understand, like the story behind going to the oath breakers. That would have added at least an hour. But others? Mmmhmm..

  • The Dú love
  • Again, Faramir deserved more respect: “He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he (Pippin) would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings.”
  • Pippin and Merry. I forgot how different they were in the book. They weren’t just goofy, they were far braver before the final battle. I love Pippin’s thoughts when waiting for battle:
    “No, my heart will not yet despair. Gandalf fell and has yet returned and is with us. We may stand, if only on one leg, or at least be left still upon our knees.”
  • I liked how Aragorn met Èomer from the ship. Bonds of brotherhood! “And last of all Aragorn greeted Éomer of Rohan, and they embraced, and Aragorn said: ‘Between us there can be no word of giving or taking, nor of reward; for we are brethren.”
  • Where was the love for Beregond – another example of such loyalty (and saving Faramir)?
    “But think, you servants of the Lord, blind in your obedience, that but for the treason of Beregond Faramir, Captain of the White Tower, would now also be burned.” Gandalf
  • Oh and Aragorn and his epic healing powers? Dónde está?

I’ll stop now.

Sorry friends! I tried to keep it short!! So let’s end with some discussion questions – feel free to chat about any, all or add your own thoughts!

1. What did you think of “The Scouring of the Shire?”
I liked it. I thought it showed how much the Hobbits had grown and that even the Shire wasn’t safe from Sauron’s evil.

2. What’s something you wished the movie didn’t change?

3. Who are some of your favorite character(s) in this book?

4. What about some favorite quotes?
Obviously many, but I’ll add one more! I love the appreciation Hobbits have of food. I understand them. “Pippin looked ruefully at the small loaf and (he thought) very inadequate pat of butter which was set out for him, beside a cup of thin milk.”

Thanks for joining in!!

“Oft hope is born, when all is forlorn.”


My (Current) Top 6 Books Written by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

Welcome to the final post of Inklings Week! You can find all the posts here. Thank you for joining in – it’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to next year (which will actually be by International Inklings Day, May 11th)! Think there’s something that should be added for next year? Please share!

Whenever I create any type of “favorites” list, I don’t include books written by Tolkien or Lewis. It wouldn’t be fair to the competition. But since it’s Inklings Week, I wanted to share my current favorites of the boys.

If you’re new to either Tolkien or Lewis, then this post is especially for you, but only because I get the honor of introducing you to some of the best books ever written. It’s a list of my favorites and ones I recommend to folks who are interested reading one of their books for the first time. (If I’ve read it for this blog, then it’s linked up, so you can hear me gush and discuss on those posts.)

Let’s start with Professor Tolkien. How can one adequately put into words just how amazing the creation of Middle Earth is? Before this turns into a gush fest, here’s my current top 3.

  • The Hobbit
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King (Stop by next Wed. for this discussion!)

C.S. Lewis is a bit more difficult. From Narnia to Mere Christianity, how’s a girl to choose? Well, I’m going with the following three. Ask me next month and the list will probably change, but no matter, because these are all excellent ones to start with.

  • The Screwtape Letters
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • The Great Divorce

I’m glad we can all agree that they were geniuses and I look forward to reading more from them!

What are some of your favorite works by Tolkien and/or Lewis?


Welcome to Inklings Week (and Why I Love Their Books)!

Ready for a bit of summer fun?! It’s the first ever Inklings Week! I thought of doing a Inklings Week earlier this year around International Inklings Day (it’s not a thing yet, but it shall be!) in May, but the idea popped in my head two days before. All kinds of planning time right? I also didn’t want to wait until 2016, so I figured July was the perfect month! (For all the posts from this year, just go here!)

First, things first – a (hopefully) fun announcement. You’ve already heard this if you subscribe to my quarterly newsletter (which you should totally sign up if you haven’t! It’s all kinds of bookish fun and there’s giveaways. You can here), but if not…there’s an Inklings podcast coming! I’m working on the details (like how I even get this up on iTunes) and material (I’m hoping it won’t be just me talking!) and I’m really excited about it. So if you’re into podcasts, I hope you’ll join in the fun!

There’s plenty of reasons people love the works of Tolkien and Lewis and I’d love to hear why you do! For me? Where to begin right? Their books have shown me what it means to be brave, what it means to be a true and loyal friend until the very end, what it means to love, what it means to fight for good against all odds, and what it means to embrace what you were meant to do.

Their books have also helped me realize it’s okay to wrestle with faith, to understand God’s character in ways I didn’t see before, how to hope in the most dire of circumstances and that there’s always a chance to turn back.

They wrote more than just books. They left a legacy (of their lives and their stories) that will continue to impact generations to come.

I love knowing I can always come back to them and be amazed. Sigh…I just love them.

So please, fellow fans, share below! Why do you enjoy reading Tolkien and Lewis?


The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

“Do not dare not to dare.” Aslan to Bree

Isn’t Narnia the best? I fall more and more in love with this world every time I re-read any book in the series. For Narnia and the North!

I especially love this story because its about a journey. Not only for Shasta, but Aravis, Hwin and Bree. A journey of discovering who they are meant to be and realizing that not everything is exactly as it seems. Plus, this book also has one of my favorite quotes from Narnia as well.

Alright, let’s talk about the bad guys for a moment.
Oh Rabadash…I almost felt sorry for the guy. So blinded and calling what is good a demon. I also thought the way Lewis’ described their thoughts on the “sorcery” of Narnia was rather telling.

“And this change, O most learned Prince, has doubtless been brought to pass by the powerful incantations of those wicked persons who now call themselves kings and queens of Narnia.”

“I am rather of the opinion,” said Rabadash, “that it has come about by the alteration of the stars and the operation of natural causes.”

“All this,” said the Tisroc, “is a question for the disputations of learned men. I will never believe that so great an alteration, and the killing of the old enchantress, were effected without the aid of strong magic. And such things are to be expected in that land, which is chiefly inhabited by demons in the shape of beasts that talk like men, and monsters that are half man and half beast. It is commonly reported that the High King of Narnia (whom may the gods utterly reject) is supported by a demon of hideous aspect and irresistible maleficence who appears in the shape of a Lion.”


Another reason this one is one of my favorite of the Chronicles is because of how much it shows the character of Aslan. I mean…CAN I LOVE A CAT ANYMORE? Here’s just a few of my favorites about Aslan:

“Who are you?” asked Shasta.

“Myself,” said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself,” loud and clear and gay: and then the third time “Myself,” whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.

Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.

“It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.”

“But after one glance at the Lion’s face he (Shasta) slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything.”

And probably one of my favorites is when the narrator (toward the end) causally says:

“[Aslan] seems to be at the back of all the stories.”

Ain’t that the truth?

Alright! If you want to join in the discussion, here’s a few prompts! Of course feel free to answer any, all or include other thoughts.
1. Which character do you think went through the most change?
I want to say all of them, but I’ll go with Aravis and Bree. I think it’s because the stuff that they needed to change was a bit harder and different from the changes Shasta experienced.

2. Did you have a favorite action of Aslan in this one?
I love Aslan, especially in the tombs. From the comforting cat to his roar scaring away creatures. He’s always exactly who we need.

3. If you have any quotes you especially loved, please share!

4. Any other thoughts?
I was reading up on reviews and came across many reviews who claimed C.S. Lewis was racist because of this book. Say wha? I don’t think you can truly know Lewis’ works and life and say something like that. I’ll just leave it at that. Have you heard this claims?

It was also fun to see the first relationship and marriage in the series (Cor and Aravis). Yay for love!

Thanks for reading and joining in! Until next month when we head over to Middle Earth.


If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath | Inklings Series Discussion

If you are looking for an introduction to C.S. Lewis, this book is a great place to start. Not only because you get some facts about Lewis’ life, but also an overview of his thoughts on faith, life and why he wrote many of the books he did. There’s also discussion on what Lewis’ writings mean for us today. I really enjoyed it and now I really can’t wait to get more of his books!

“Lewis does not try to prove the existence of God on purely rational grounds. His approach is much more interesting. Instead of launching an argument for the existence of God, Lewis invites us to see how what we observe in the world around us and experience within us fits into the Christian way of seeing things. Lewis’s genius as an apologist…lay in his ability to show how a Christian viewpoint was able to offer a more satisfactory explanation of common human experience than its rivals, especially the atheism he had once himself so enthusiastically advocated.”

I really enjoyed reading how all of Lewis’ experiences shaped the stories he wrote, his faith and how he shared his faith with the world. Have I mentioned he was a genius?

Lewis’ writings have shaped me in so many ways, so it was nice to read from someone who could articulate why Lewis and his writings are so amazing.

“One of the reasons Lewis embraced Christianity is that it helped him to discern meaning in life. Life is about more than just understanding things: it is about being able to cope with ambiguity and bewilderment, and about finding something worthwhile to give us direction and meaning.”

Okay, one more quote about his writing: “His approach could be described as enabling the believer to hear the harmonics of the cosmos, and to realise that it fits together aesthetically.”

The two chapters on Narnia were some of my favorite, because, as McGrath points out, through the stories of Narnia, Lewis shows truths instead of just telling us. I knew my love for Narnia was legit! ; ).

“These evocative stories affirm that it is possible for the weak and foolish to have a noble calling in a dark world…that there is indeed something beautiful and wonderful at the heart of the universe; and that this may be found, embraced, and adored.”

Can Narnia be real? PLEASE INTERNET!

Alright! Here’s a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all, and of course include your own thoughts!

1. After reading this, is there a book of Lewis you really want to read?
For sure I am excited to read The Weight of Glory. I’m also interested in The Abolition of Man, since he was so fired up about the topic.

2. Did you have a favorite “lunch” (chapter)?
I enjoyed the first chapter about Narnia – I thought it profound that Narnia was written when Lewis’ life was at an all-time low. Plus I loved hearing Lewis’ response about Narnia: “Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia, and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.”

“One of Lewis’s great achievements in Narnia is to help us understand that we live in a world of competing narratives. In the end, we have to decide for ourselves which is right. And having made that decision, we then need to inhabit the story we trust. Lewis help us deal with both questions.”

3. Any other thoughts?
I will forever be sad about the direction of Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship. Sigh….

I’ll end with this beauty of a quote:
“Perhaps one of the lessons that we can learn from Lewis is that apologetics is at its best when it makes people wish that Christianity is true – by showing them its power to excited the imagination, to make sense of things, and to bring stability, security, and meaning to life.”


The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien | Inklings Series Discussion

This is my 1965 edition of The Two Towers. Sadly, I don’t remember who gave it to me or where I got it, but I love having an older edition!

Tolkien never fails to entertain. I love his writing, I love his creativity and this book was yet another reminder of his brilliance. Did anyone else keep noticing the differences in the books from the movies? Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the movies and watch them all the time, but I have questions Peter Jackson! I’d forgotten so much from the books and some of the changes I don’t get the reasoning. Like the fact the sword was remade long before in the book. I love that it was too. Just read this quote when Aragorn and crew first encounter the Rohirrim:

“Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. ‘Elendil!’ he cried. ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!’

Gimli and Legolas looked at their companion in amazement, for they had not seen him in this mood before. He seemed to have grown in stature while Èomer had shrunk; and in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed in the eyes of Legolas that a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown.”

Y’all – dang.

Or even how much it meant for Èomer to let the three travel freely in Rohan. Or that scouts never threw Aragorn over the cliff on the way to Helm’s Deep. Or the key character-revealing fact that Faramir never forced Frodo and crew to go to Minas Tirith. How about Pippin “tricking” Treebeard and the Ents to see Isengard since they had decided not to join the fight in the movie? Oh and Frodo snapping at Sam on Stairs of Cirith Ungol? Didn’t happen. Plus them going through Shelob’s Lair together further showed their bond of friendship. I promise I still like the movies, but since it’s been over 10 years since I’ve read the books, I found the changes rather surprising (and often unnecessary). Maybe that’s just me though!

I need to take a few moments to talk about the Ents. I liked Treebeard so much more in the book (not that I disliked the movie version), but there were just some things that couldn’t be portrayed in the movie. Like this description by Pippin of Treebeard’s eyes:

“One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them, filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present; like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know, but it felt as if something that grew in the ground – asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between root-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years.”

I feel like the movies made them Tree Eeyores… But they much deeper and awesome. The fact that Trolls were made in mockery of Ents (and Orcs of Elves) by the Enemy in the Great Darkness, proves they are legit. I’m also going to try to bring this into everyday vernacular: “By root and twig, but it is strange business.”

“There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men bad enough for such treachery. Down with Saruman!”

I really love the friendship between Gimli and Legolas as well – watching it play out in the book made me laugh and appreciate friendship, much like the movie. Okay. So….Helm’s Deep. Can I also share a few words about this as well? Èomer and Aragorn fighting together = awesome. Again, Aragorn having Andúril was way better. He’s the king I tell you! Then there was the wild men who fought, the conversations Aragorn had with them right before dawn and the fact that oh, you know, Legolas was the only elf there. Why must you change the Tolkien awesomeness?! Kay, I’m done with Helm’s Deep.

Then there’s good ol Saruman. I think my favorite reaction to Saruman’s final persuasive attempts was Gandalf:

“Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke.
‘Saruman, Saruman!’ Said Gandalf still laughing. ‘Saruman, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors…I fear I am beyond your comprehension.”

That’s called Gandalf dropping the mic.

I still think one of the best characters created in literature is Gollum. (He’s portrayed so well in the movies too!) His split personality, wanting to refer to himself as “Lord Sméagol” or “Gollum the Great,” to how readers really do pity the creature, to his sly remarks…I love it.

Have I mentioned how much I love Sam?

“Where there’s life there’s hope.” Sam’s Gaffer

As always here’s some questions, feel free to answer any or all!

1. Did you notice the differences as much as I did? Is there something you would have liked to stay the same as the books?

2. Favorite character(s) or ones you wish were in the movie?
Sam. He’ll be one of my favorites in Return of the King too. He’s the perfect character. Like when he was ready to take on Faramir?? Love him.

Faramir. Such injustice done in the movies! He may not be the eldest, but he’s commanding in his own right.

I wish Quickbeam the Ent has a more prominent role in the movie. He’s funny and passionate! Such a missed opportunity.

3. Any favorite quotes?
“But that’s not the way of it with tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in mind. Folks seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.” Samwise Gamgee

4. What do you think happened with Shelob?
First off, I’m pretty sure Tolkien’s description of Shelob shall haunt my dreams until forever and then some. Personally I think she crawled back in her hole and died a miserable and slow death. No less than she deserved, as Bilbo would say.

5. As always, any other random thoughts are appreciated and welcomed!


The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

Whenever reading Lewis’ nonfiction, I can’t help but think of his life experiences up until that point. This book, written a few years before he passed away, had plenty of experience to base his study on. It never fails to captivate me. I admit, I felt like I was googling some reference Lewis made every other page. There were also a few “I’m going to have to re-read that page because I’m not quite sure what I just read” moments.

This is one of those books though, you could read 100 times and still discover something new with each read. Can we are take a moment to appreciate that Lewis referred to himself as an “oldster” and used Jane Austen as examples? Alright, now onto a discussion which I hope won’t just turn into 97,000 quotes…. : )

I thought the “Likings and Loves for the sub-human” was an interesting section on the other things we humans can “love.” From his discussion of the dangers of patriotism (no doubt from his experience and living through two World Wars) to his thoughts of nature, especially this one:

“Nature never taught me that there exists a God of Glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me. I still do not know where else I could have found one. I do not see how the “fear” of God could have ever meant to me anything but the lowest prudential efforts to be safe, if I had never seen certain ominous ravines and unapproachable crags. And if nature had never awakened certain longings in me, huge areas of what I can now mean by the “love” of God would never, so far as I can see, existed.”

How easy it is for humans to turn something good into an idol? “We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. Then they become gods: then they become demons….Love becomes a demon when it becomes a god.”

He’s been bringing it since 1898.

So this doesn’t once again turn into dissertation status, here’s a couple thoughts and quotes from each of the Four Loves:


I took this one to be the easiest to come by and basic, but not in a “not as important as the others” way either. Each of the other loves has Affection as a part of them as well.

“Affection is the humblest love.”

“Affection opens our eyes to goodness we could not have seen, or should not have appreciated without it.”


This will be hard to keep short. I don’t think it was by mistake the section on Friendship is the longest. This too can also be a part of the other loves and is so vital for life. (Sidenote: Did anyone else need to look up his examples of friendship? Folks like Pylades & Orestes, Roland and Oliver, Amis and Amile? Wiki and I hung out a lot reading this book).

Some of my favorite Lewis quotes come from this section as well:

“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”

“I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like are, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

His description and discussion of friendship was insightful (i.e. how friendship can be used for evil when it involves folks who are criminals) and so thought-provoking.

Then this. Way to make me get teary-eyed Jack. “But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work…The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others….they are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by His through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as revealing. At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us now reckon without our Host.”


This section didn’t hit me as much as Friendship, but I think Lewis was spot on, on so many levels. It’s about the other person. That’s what makes Eros so beautiful and vulnerable.

“Eros wants the Beloved.”

“Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.”

Lewis doesn’t hold back on the dangers of idolising Eros either, while also recognizing its “grandeur and terror.”

“We must not give unconditional obedience to the voice of Eros when he speaks most like a god. Neither must we ignore or attempt to deny the god-like quality. This love is really and truly like Love Himself.”


Well. This section has one of my all-time favorite quotes…EVER:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”


THIS. “Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as He way in which they should break, so be it.”

He was also a fan of keeping the truth simple:

“God is love.” Amen Jack. Amen!

Discussion time! Keeping it pretty simple, so please feel free to answer any or all.

1. Was there one discussion that stuck out to you more (of the Four Loves)?
As I mentioned, for me it was definitely the section of Friendship, but there were also several tidbits that packed a punch in the Charity chapter.

2. I always love reading the quotes that spoke to people, so please feel free to share any that hit home for you. I admit, I have at least another page of quotes, but I’ll save them for another day : ).

3. Please include any other thoughts or insight!
I don’t know if this was his intent, but Lewis had me chuckling quite a bit. Especially with some of his descriptions of people, like referring to one of his students as a “not so nice Rodent.” Or the time he compared humans to donkeys? “Ass is exquisitely right because no one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey.” Then there was also his warning about his closing thoughts on Charity: “Take it as one man’s reverie, almost one man’s myth: If anything in it is useful to you, use it; if anything is not, never give it a second thought.”

Looking forward to hearing from y’all!


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

How and where do I start with this brilliant piece of work? Whether Lewis had me laughing or yearning for things beyond this world, I love this book and I just need to let the world wide web know that the world of Narnia is pure genius.

I laughed a bunch in this book. Lucy and Mr. Tumnus’ early interaction was a favorite. His take on where she came from? Genius.

“Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”

I want to have tea with you Mr. Tumnus!!

Reading The Chronicles of Narnia is numinous. That might be a strange way to describe it, but I see God’s story in every page and some of the ways Lewis discussed and described Aslan gave me the chills (in a good way!). Throughout the pages, we see humanity gone wrong, yet humanity restored. I saw bravery and love in the most beautiful sense.

Like the way we learn about Aslan’s character through people’s reactions. Check this passage:

“They say Aslan is on the move – perhaps has already landed.

And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different.”

It’s that joy (even if you don’t see it at first) of knowing you will be restored & redeemed.

Now how do I not just unleash of all things Aslan right now?

First there’s this song:
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

Then there’s this:
“People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.”

Aslan is simply awesome. I know, a terribly inadequate description, but he is!

“Safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Alright – discussion time! Here’s some questions for discussion. As always, please feel free to answer any or all and include any additional thoughts!

1. Which of the siblings (or parts of their personality) do you connect with?
Before I answer, I want to add how I thought Lewis’ description of how each sibling felt when they first heard the name of Aslan very telling (and how that carries over into real life reactions)
Edmund: “A sensation of mysterious horror.”
Peter: “Brave and adventurous.”
Susan: “As if some delicious smell of some delightful strain of music had just floated by her.”
Lucy: “The feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”

I think I would have Lucy’s reaction to Narnia, pretty much running around saying “this is the greatest thing ever!!” And maybe a touch of Peter.

2. Do you have a favorite character?
Aslan! Since he’s probably a favorite for many readers, I’ll also add Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. I love that they didn’t doubt when they knew (without seeing) and felt that Aslan was on the move. Then they were all in, not matter the dangers that surely awaited them. I really like Edmund’s change too.

3. What were some of your favorite lines or quotes?
When the girls were watching Aslan as he sacrificed himself, well the whole scene was beautiful, but especially this line during his moment of “weakness”, when the White Witch thought she had won and disgraced Aslan by shaving him: “…for now that the first shock was over the shorn face of Aslan looked to her braver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever.” Sigh. Have I mentioned I love C.S. Lewis?

4. What’s one part of the story you connected with?
Another theme I really loved seeing played out was the one of bravery. For example, when Maugrim (captain of the Witch’s guard) is trying to get Susan and Peter is her only hope: “Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.” That seems to be a recent theme in my life. Sometimes you don’t feel all that brave until a situation that requires bravery, is thrust upon you.

“…though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know…that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

Excited to discuss with y’all!!