Bilbo at open door-TEASER

Happy Late Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo....

I have said this is a new poem, but technically it is not. Jan-u-wine wrote "Birthday" late last fall, too late to post in the 2013 Baggins Birthday entry. I considered posting it during the intervening months, but the poem really is best suited to the day after September 22.

"Birthday" is about Bilbo, but it is just as much about Frodo, from whose point of view it is written. From that vantage point, we can enter into Frodo's thoughts and feelings, marveling as much at the beauty of his soul as that of the beloved hobbit he both mourns and celebrates.

A blessed birthday to you, Bilbo and Frodo, and may we meet beyond the Circles of the World.

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Bilbo in kitchen-TEASER

Happy Birthday, Bagginses!

I didn't want to miss offering my favourite hobbits salutations on September 22, but the real birthday post will appear tomorrow. This is because jan-u-ine's poem, "Birthday", is set the day after the birthday has passed. Frodo, for the first time, has forgotten Bilbo's birthday. Join us tomorrow to read this beautiful piece.

* Detail from an illustration by Alan Lee appearing in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, 1997.

~ detail from a manip by Bandwench.

It was marked on my kitchen calendar. March 25: "Fall of Sauron". The destruction of the Ring and the Tower of Barad-dûr, the rescue of Frodo and Sam, the 'eucatastrophe' from which the hopes of the Free Peoples rose out of the smoke and ash of the Dark Lord's ruin. Of course I would have to celebrate it. Jan-u-wine agreed. But I'd screencapped every bit of the film scenes. In image and verse we'd pored over the destruction and fall and the rescue by the Eagles and the recovery in Ithilien.

It was another, quieter but no less pivotal event that captured my imagination this year, jan-u-wine's too . Re-reading the draft of a letter Tolkien wrote in 1963 to Mrs. Eileen Elgar (who had questions about whether Frodo failed or not), the matter of Arwen's gift of the jewel and her passage to the Undying Lands caught my attention. I sent it on and it provided the catalyst for a new and beautiful piece of jan-u-wine poetry.

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The primary illustration for this piece is a manip Bandwench made several years ago, which she called "Prince Elijah". Although the source image was a photo of Elijah Wood, to my mind it was an image of Frodo, but Frodo no longer living in the Shire. To me it was Frodo as imagined across the Sea, dressed in foreign clothes (the Gaffer, surely, would not approve), yet clothes appropriate to one whom Gandalf called Bronwe athan Harthad, who was the King's friend, sung by minstrels, and hailed by armies. Bandwench had made the manip in an array of colour effects, but the one she did in 'gray scale' had the most magic for me, with its soft diffuse glow, revealing a bit of the inner light Gandalf had seen in Frodo as he recovered in Rivendell. I showed it to jan-u-wine and she, too, thought it was stunning, worthy of a poem.

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In this second Sea-related prose piece, jan-u-wine shows Frodo after the War. Rosie and Sam and Elanor are living in Bag End, which Frodo enjoys and appreciates, but he's thinking of the Sea and everything the Sea stands for. I have chosen paintings to complement the piece, as well as excerpts from Tolkien's writings.

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~ Detail from ‘Frodo’s Meeting With Gildor’ by Alan Lee.

I have a favour to ask...

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