Friday, August 30, 2013
Beorn To Be Alive
There seems to be a little controversy about Peter Jackson's portrayal of Tolkien's ursine skinchanger in the forthcoming movie, The Desolation of Smaug. That last picture is a blurry reveal, and what has most people grumbling is what has been referred to as a "mohawk/mullet" or "Sonic the Hedgehog hairstyle."
Update!! Revealed at last! Beorn from the 2014 calendar!
Posted by Brer at 7:15 AM 1 comment:
Labels: beorn, brothers hildebrandt, david wenzel, illustration, j. r. r. Tolkien, john howe, michael hague, rankin/bass, ted naismith, the hobbit movie
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Old Adam, the Carrion Crow
Old Adam, the carrion crow,
The old crow of Cairo;
He sat in the shower, and let it flow
Under his tail and over his crest;
And through every feather
Leak'd the wet weather;
And the bough swung under his nest;
For his beak it was heavy with marrow.
Is that the wind dying? O no;
It's only two devils, that blow,
Through a murderer's bones, to and fro,
In the ghosts' moonshine.
Ho! Eve, my grey carrion wife,
When we have supped on king's marrow,
Where shall we drink and make merry our life?
Our nest it is queen Cleopatra's skull,
'Tis cloven and crack'd,
And batter'd and hack'd,
But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo!
Is that the wind dying? O no;
It's only two devils, that blow
Through a murderer's bones, to and fro,
In the ghosts' moonshine.
Thomas Lovell Beddoes
Posted by Brer at 6:17 AM 2 comments:
Monday, August 26, 2013
Mappa Monday: Thror's Map
Posted by Brer at 9:44 AM No comments:
Labels: j. r. r. Tolkien, maps, thror's map
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Time and Space: Something From Chapter Thirteen
--C. S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, Ch. 13.
"The opposite mode of thought which he had often mocked and called in mockery The Empirical Bogey, came surging into his mind — the great myth of our century with its gases and galaxies, its light years and evolutions, its nightmare perspectives of simple arithmetic in which everything that can possibly hold significance for the mind becomes the mere by-product of essential disorder. Always till now he had belittled it, had treated with a certain disdain its flat superlatives, its clownish amazement that different things should be of different sizes, its glib munificence of ciphers. Even now, his reason was not quite subdued, though his heart would not listen to his reason. Part of him still knew that the size of a thing is its least important characteristic, that the material universe derived from the comparing and mythopœic power within him that very majesty before which he was now asked to abase himself, and that mere numbers could not over-awe us unless we lent them, from our own resources, that awfulness which they themselves could no more supply than a banker’s ledger."
— C.S. Lewis, Perelandra, ch. 13
Posted by Brer at 7:20 AM No comments:
Labels: c. s. lewis, chronological snobbery, mythopoeic power, quotations, space
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Satyrday: Sorcery, by Walter de la Mare
"What voice is that I hear
Crying across the pool?"
"It is the voice of Pan you hear,
Crying his sorceries shrill and clear,
In the twilight dim and cool."
"What song is it he sings,
Echoing from afar;
While the sweet swallow bends her wings,
Filling the air with twitterings,
Beneath the brightening star?"
The woodman answered me,
His faggot on his back:--
"Seek not the face of Pan to see;
Flee from his clear note summoning thee
To darkness deep and black!"
"He dwells in thickest shade,
Piping his notes forlorn
Of sorrow never to be allayed;
Turn from his coverts sad
Of twilight unto morn!"
The woodman passed away
Along the forest path;
His ax shone keen and grey
In the last beams of day:
And all was still as death:--
Only Pan singing sweet
Out of Earth's fragrant shade;
I dreamed his eyes to meet,
And found but shadow laid
Before my tired feet.
Comes no more dawn to me,
Nor bird of open skies.
Only his woods' deep gloom I see
Till, at the end of all, shall rise,
Afar and tranquilly,
Death's stretching sea.
Posted by Brer at 5:59 PM No comments:
Thursday, August 22, 2013
A Few Pictures Squirreled Away
Posted by Brer at 9:45 PM 1 comment:
Labels: illustration, squirrel
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Greek Paganism, Six Centuries Before The Birth Of Jesus Christ
"The work which Aeschylus set himself to perform, as a moral teacher, was to reconcile the popular religion with the more advanced conceptions of his time, by purifying its grossness and harmonizing its various inconsistencies. In this attempt he was more successful than might have been expected. The primitive legends, remodelled and reilluminated by his genius, acquire ... an unwonted grandeur and impressiveness. But the task was one of insuperable difficulty. The old Greek mythology, with its medley of beauties and monstrosities, and of graceful fancies and coarse brutalities, hardly admitted of being systemized into a perfect whole. It was impossible, therefore, that Aeschylus, in endeavouring to accomplish this result, should avoid occasional incongruities, or that the scheme expounded in his writings should be complete and symmetrical in all its parts. Few, however, will deny that in his hands the religion of the Greeks has been raised to a higher level of moral dignity than it ever attained either before or since.
"The first point to be noticed, in regard to his religious views, is the sublime conception of Zeus as the supreme ruler of the universe. The other deities are represented as merely the ministers of his will, and though still possessing their usual characteristics, stand in subordinate rank. The language applied to Zeus is monotheistic in tone, and his praises are chanted in strains of the loftiest exaltation. He is "king of kings, most blessed of the blessed, most mighty of rulers." His power "knows no superior, nor is any one enthroned above him; swifter than speech is the accomplishment of his purpose." He "holds for ever the balance of the scales: nothing comes to mortal man but by the will of Zeus." "Zeus is sky, and earth, and heaven; Zeus is all things, yea, greater than all things." His power, though invisible, is omnipotent and omnipresent. "Dark and shadowy," it is said, "are the pathways of his counsels, and difficult to see. From their high-towering hopes he hurleth down to destruction the race of men. Yet setteth he no forces in array, all his works are effortless. Seated on holiest throne, from thence, unknown to us, he bringeth his will to pass."
"This noble conception of Zeus, it cannot be denied, is scarcely consistent with the character which he bears in Greek mythology, or with the actions which he sometimes performs even in Aeschylus himself...
"Zeus, then, in the conception of Aeschylus, is the ruler of all created things. But he is not a capricious monarch, swayed by casual passions, like the Zeus of Homer. To act with injustice is impossible to him; he is "constrained" never to assist transgressors. There is a universal law of justice, a moral ordinance governing the whole world, to which even he must submit. This law is called by different names -- Fate, Destiny, Justice, Necessity; but under these various terms the same all-embracing rule is denoted, as many passages will prove. Thus Fate is said to "whet the blade of Justice"; Destiny "forges for Justice her sword"; the Fates "guide the helm of Necessity." The special instruments by which, in the case of the more heinous offences, this law of strict justice is enforced are the Furies, the daughters of the Night. These dread goddesses of the underworld, in whom the spirit of vengeance is personified, derive their functions from Fate; whence they are called, in mythical fashion, the sisters of the Fates. Their mission is to pursue criminals, and crush them with misery and misfortune. Their aspect is loathsome and horrible, so as to strike terror into the guilty soul."
--from The Tragic Drama of the Greeks. A.E. Haigh. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896. pp. 86-96.
The entire essay is online, and well worth a read.
Posted by Brer at 10:51 PM No comments:
Labels: a. e. haigh, mythology, philosophy, religion, the tragic drama of the greeks, zeus
Minority Interest To Mainstream Popularity
---Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles, p. 370.
I know I felt this way after the Lord of the Rings films came out, if the vast fandom Tolkien had before can be considered a "minority" compared to the widespread awareness it now enjoys. Still have twinges of that annoyance now and then.
Posted by Brer at 7:09 PM No comments:
The Conversion of Iceland
Þorgeir Þorkelsson Ljósvetningagoði (born ca. 940) was an Icelandic lawspeaker in Iceland's Althing from 985 to 1001.
In the year 999 or 1000, Iceland's legislative assembly was debating which religion they should practice: Norse paganism or Christianity. Þorgeir, himself a pagan priest and chieftain (a goði), decided in favour of Christianity after a day and a night of silent meditation under a fur blanket, thus averting potentially disastrous civil conflict. Under the compromise, pagans could still practise their religion in private and several of the old customs were retained. After his decision, Þorgeir himself converted to Christianity. Upon returning to his farm Ljósavatn, he is said to have thrown the idols of his gods into a nearby waterfall, for which it is now known in Icelandic as Goðafoss, the "waterfall of the gods".
Þorgeir's story is preserved in Ari Þorgilsson's Íslendingabók.
Posted by Brer at 7:00 AM No comments:
Labels: conversion of iceland, thorgeir
Sunday, August 18, 2013
A Fairy Hunt, by Francis Ledwidge
Who would hear the fairy horn
Calling all the hounds of Finn
Must be in a lark's nest born
When the moon is very thin.
I who have the gift can hear
Hounds and horn and tally ho,
And the tongue of Bran as clear
As Christmas bells across the snow.
And beside my secret place
Hurries by the fairy fox,
With the moonrise on his face,
Up and down the mossy rocks.
Then the music of a horn
And the flash of scarlet men,
Thick as poppies in the corn
All across the dusky glen.
Oh! the mad delight of chase!
Oh ! the shouting and the cheer !
Many an owl doth leave his place
In the dusty tree to hear.
Posted by Brer at 6:08 AM No comments:
Labels: fairy hunt, francis ledwidge, poem
Friday, August 16, 2013
A Skulk of Foxes
Posted by Brer at 10:05 PM No comments:
Labels: fox, illustration
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