Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Marathon Day XIV

Life Update

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I have (surprisingly) been doing things other than reading and blogging.

School started--high school, to be exact.  Let me say that all those people who told me high school was better than middle school were exactly right.  Almost everything about high school is better than middle school was.  Of course I miss a few teachers and classmates, but on the whole I would say that I have more new friends at my high school within the first two weeks than I gathered in two years of middle school.  That just goes to show how nice everyone at my high school is!

Image result for high school

I went to my first pep fest which was really exciting--everyone was like a big family.  As a freshman I feel a bit left out of all the school traditions but I'm sure I will learn about them soon enough.  Most upperclassmen are pretty accepting--though some aren't.  For example, during the pep fest we do a game where the football players try and hype us up for their game by yelling:

Freshmen, freshmen, don't be shy! 
Let us hear your battle cry!

And then we do the school cheer, then they call to the sophomores, etc.  The first time we as a freshmen class did the battle cry some of the seniors boo-ed us but then some other seniors drowned them out by yelling "we love freshmen!" and doing the freshmen chant.  It was all pretty exciting.

The other thing is that I feel so much more free in high school.  In seventh grade my district was arranged with a junior high (grades 7-9) and a senior high (grades 10-12) but in the middle of 7th grade they voted to switch to a middle school (grades 6-8) and a high school (grades 9-12).  I went to one year of junior high (7th grade) and then they switched to a middle school format (8th grade).  I went from the youngest class in the school to the oldest.  In junior high things were moderately free, but when we switched to middle school it felt like taking a giant step backwards.  The way middle school is structured makes everything seem so elementary.  But now I am free of the middle school set up and life is good.

Vita bona est.

Tennis is closing up this next week--the last match is Tuesday.  I'm hosting the team pasta party at my house on Sunday which should be really fun and I'm pretty excited.  Tennis has been great for making friends and just yesterday the team spirit wear came in from shipping so now well all have matching shirts which is pretty cool.

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Orchestra has been cool--a lot of my old friends are in orchestra since there is only one hour of 9th grade orchestra--but I've also made some new friends in orchestra (including the LOTR friends I mentioned yesterday).  The great thing about orchestra is that you are all together virtually every day for all four years of school and some close relationships can be formed.

Today I was supposed to film a "playing test" where you basically record yourself playing a couple measures of a song and send it in to the director so he can see how you are playing and decide where to seat you in the orchestra.  I forgot my violin at the school today however and so I was panicking because I was going to turn in my first orchestra assignment late (since I couldn't record without my violin).  What a bad first impression to make to the director!  Fortunately I was able to borrow a friend's violin this evening and go over and record my piece.  When I drove over there (I'm not kidding, this is totally true) it was pouring rain and lightening.  When I drove back, there was a double-rainbow and a sunset at the same time.

I think one of my new LOTR friends is going to be a guest on the Palantir podcast soon, so keep checking back for that.

Book Marathon

I finished the Fellowship today!

I noticed/remembered a couple things.

This is from a few days ago, but have you ever noticed how the dialogue in the first chapter is in italics instead of quotation marks?  Why is this?  Bilbo's speech, for instance, is all in italics while the rest of the dialogue throughout the book is in italics.  I couldn't find a grammatical reason for this, and I find it very odd.  Is this to make it look like Bilbo is speaking poetically?  Or perhaps the Hobbits as they wrote his words after the events of the War of the Ring were quite sure what he said and felt confident enough to preserve it in italics while the rest of the quotations are just approximations?  What do you think?

Image result for bilbo speech

Secondly, I want to share a quote from Haldir that is so wonderfully perfect:
"'Folly it may seem,' said Haldir.  'Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.  Yet so little faith and trust do we find now in the world beyond Lothlorien, unless maybe in Rivendell, that we dare not by our own trust endanger our land.  We live now upon an island amid many perils, and our hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp.'" (pg. 363)
Haldir makes a fantastic point here.  What good reason is there for going to war?  Saving your people?  Okay, as Faramir remarks later on, defending yourself against an evil being who "seeks to devour all" is fine, but the petty requirements and prejudices the Dwarves and Elves have are only dividing the alliance further.  I just love this quote.

Also, I noticed a typological parallel between Galadriel and Melian:
"'I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves.  And he gropes ever to see me and my thought.  But still the door is closed!'" (pg. 280)  
Galadriel learned from Melian in Doriath during the First Age, and I remember in The Silmarillion it says, "To her [Melian] often the thought of Morgoth reached out, and there was foiled."  The two powerful women seem to be playing similar roles here.

Image result for melian and galadriel


I'm happy to announce that Chaeli Borchers has once again won the title "A Merry Fellow" from the previous trivia question, since she answered it correctly first.

Fawnabelle Baggins also answered correctly afterwards, so she gets the honorary title "Not Dark but Beautiful".

Congratulations to you both!

The winner of today's trivia question wins the name: "A Lord of Wisdom" which is a title given to Gandalf in the mourning song sung in Lothlorien (if you haven't noticed, each of the titles are taken from somewhere in the books).

The question:

What are the wooden flets in Lothlorien called by the Elves?

Image result for lothlorien


  1. Cool! Glad you're enjoying high school so much. :) That's awesome that you already made LOTR friends!

    Uhhhhhhh.... absolutely no clue. :P I need to read more Tolkien... but there are so many other books on my book list!!!

    1. Thanks :)

      I have the same problem; so many books, so little time!

  2. The Elves of Lorien call flets 'talans'.

    One other thing about the connection between Melian and Galadriel is that Thingol and Melian wouldn't allow the Houses of Feanor or Fingolfin to enter Doriath because of their part in the Kinslaying at Alqualonde; however, they welcomed the House of Finarfin, which had nothing to do with it. So Galadriel spent a lot of time with Melian, probably learning much of her art - Lorien keeping people out is like the Girdle of Melian, and then like you said, Melian's mind was closed to Morgoth and Galadriel's to Sauron. Connections in Tolkien are epic!

    Highschool sounds fun! Sometimes I wish I went to school just for the community of it, football games and school cheers and the things you mention... but Ontarian public schools are awful (my best friend says she hasn't really retained anything she's learned since she switched from homeschooling to public high, and we're both in Grade 12). :D Your school, on the other hand, sounds awesome.

    1. Very good!!

      You're right, there are a lot of connections. I love that about The Sil and The Lord of the Rings and it's one of the main reasons I love to encourage people to read The Silmarillion. I think there is a lot in there that, when combined with LOTR, adds another layer of richness to the story.

      Aw, that's too bad about your friend. I am lucky to be in a very nice school district, but I definitely know that there are many public high schools that are not very effective education-wise. As for the social aspect, I'm definitely around a lot of new people which is awesome. What is the main way you get to know people your age as a homeschooler? I've always wondered what that would be like.

    2. The main way I've made friends is through homeschool group and a family catechism group (not just for homeschoolers) we do every other week during the school year. (The latter is pretty awesome and where I've made more friends.) My best friend Bridget, though, I met at church when I was five, and my other best friend Rachel is the daughter of close college friends of my parents so we've known each other all our lives.

      I've also done a few Catholic summer camps over the last few years and gleaned some dear friends from them!

    3. Close but no cigar. There is such Sindarin woemrd as talans. Talan is the singular word for flet. The plural of flet or talan is telain.

    4. That was me Elessar Telcontar with the telain remark regarding the plural of talan.

    5. Ah, that's very observant of you. I think I will grant Benita this one because she was so close. Thanks for offering your (impressive) knowledge of Sindarin, though!

    6. Ah, my bad +Elessar Telcontar! My knowledge of Quenya far surpasses my knowledge of Sindarin. In my defense, the plural form is never used in FOTR :)

  3. Have you never been homeschooled? That's seems amazing to me because most people who go to regular school aren't very well-read; they don't have as much time. If I may answer a question not directed to me (sorry... I guess that's kinda rude...), I usually meet people my age through church and also I have a couple of "outside" classes that have had up to 18 students. I have a friend who has only once gone to a class like that, so most of her friends are either from her church or she kind of "shares" friends with her older siblings, if that makes sense at all.

    1. Huh, that's interesting. I bet you can make friends of all ages then since you get close to your siblings' friends. That is just so different from what I've experienced, but it sounds pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!!