Monday, July 16, 2012

A Song to Mithrandir in the Healing Lands of Lothlórien

J.R.R.Tolkien
Music and mythology are two of the strongest forces in the human experience, and today's blog post has both of these elements - especially if you are a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Myth can give us a powerful connection to our humanity and the story of life to which we all belong. Joseph Campbell was a wonderful communicator of the meaning of myth in such books as The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Myths to Live By, and of course his famous interviews by Bill Moyers in that widely viewed PBS series, The Power of Myth. Campbell was so well-versed in myths from all sectors of humanity that he could easily and eloquently convey the meaning and wonder of those tales from the soul of humanity.

J.R.R. Tolkien was another one who dedicated much of his career as a scholar to the study of ancient myths, especially the old Norse mythology and other myths of Northern Europe.  Tolkien was professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University. He was also quite skilled in linguistics. His expertise was in Old English and Middle English, and he was a rigorous scholar. Tolkien saw no reason to offer modern English literature in university course work because anyone can read modern literature on their own (modern English literature included Geoffrey Chaucer and everything since). He apparently found his native English myths lacking compared to those of Nordic realms. He was able to draw from his knowledge of myth when he created his tale of Middle Earth told in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Indeed, his tale of Hobbits, rings of power, and mortal combat between good and evil has captured the imaginations of many, first in the popularity of his books, then in cinematic presentations of the story, most notably in Peter Jackson's movie trilogy of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003).

Odin, the Wanderer (1886)
 by Georg von Rosen 
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Prior to Jackson's popular cinematic production, there was a 1978 movie version of the Tolkien classic directed by Ralph Bakshi. That initial movie version only covered the first half of the story and used a combination of animation and live action. For me, one of the best scenes in that 1978 film was the one in the Elven realm of Lothlórien. The scene took place after Gandalf had fallen while attempting to hold back the Balrog to protect the others within the Fellowship of the Ring. The company of travelers find rest and healing  in the elven land and were given gifts from Lady Galadriel. During that scene in Lothlórien, a song was sung by the elves in remembrance of Gandalf, known to the elves as Mithrandir. After seeing the movie in the theater, I bought the soundtrack album solely because I had to have the song, "Mithrandir." the music was lovely and enchanting, the words conveying some of that beauty and power of myth:

                            Mithrandir though you're hidden
                            We're still guided by your light
                            You're walking beside us
                            A friend in the night


Thanks to You Tube I can share that delight from Bakshi's film. The lyrics are by Mark Fleischer and the music by Leonard Rosenmen.




Mithrandir
by Mark Fleischer

Let the night never cease to call you
Let the day nevermore be the same
Though you've gone where we cannot find you
In each heart you have set your name

Mithrandir far you wander
And long may your name be sung
Through kingdoms of starlight
And realms of the sun
Mithrandir though you're hidden
We're still guided by your light
You're walking beside us
A friend in the night

We were lost when the dark descended
And the light gathered into a storm
You appeared like a sunlit morning
At the winds of a world at war

Mithrandir far you wander
And long may your name be sung
Through kingdoms of starlight
And realms of the sun
Mithrandir though you're hidden
We're still guided by your light
You're walking beside us
A friend in the night

Mithrandir rising through the shadow
Like a star shining deep in its home
You will dwell in our hearts forever
Nevermore will we stand alone



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4 comments:

  1. I have been listening to the trilogy on disc in my car over the past couple of weeks. This is the third time I've listened to it. Even more so than reading, to listen is to experience the slowing down of the pace of life that I think Tolkien must have intended as he described at length the lands journeyed through, and the events of each day of each journey, even when the days were relatively uneventful. As long as I am listening a little each day, I feel as though the people around me are buzzing like bees as I move deliberately through my days.

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  2. Hi Charles! I apologize if this is out of place but I didn't see how else to contact you. Mike Morrell and I really appreciate your blog, and think you'd be an excellent candidate for our Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it's free to join. Sign up here, if you'd like: http://thespeakeasy.info

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    Replies
    1. Phillip,

      Thank you for visiting my blog! I will give this some serious thought.

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