I don’t usually do book tags, but I’m sitting at home, sick, waiting for the results of my COVID test to come back and Peat Long posted a book tag for J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday which was on Sunday. Who knows – it’s a new year – maybe it’s the year I start doing book tags. So without further ado, here is the Fellowship of the Books:
The Frodo Book – The Book About Giving of Yourself to Help Others
I chose a book that used the same symbolism of self-sacrifice that was described in The Golden Bough: that of a dying and reviving king whose death and resurrection is necessary for the health of the kingdom. In The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, King Ailell is reluctant to offer himself to relieve a drought and Paul takes his place to hang on the Summer Tree for 3 days.
The Samwise Book – The Book About Perfect Loyalty
I had to choose Gilgamesh for this book. In Gilgamesh, Enkidu is loyal to Gilgamesh in all his adventures, eventually leading to his own death. This then highlight’s Gilgamesh’s loyalty to Enkidu, who goes to the end of the world and back to dry and find a cure for death.
The Pippin Book –The Book About Being a Total Fool and Somehow Succeeding
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold fits here well. Bujold’s books are full of people coming out on top of tough situations through a combination of wit and luck. Unlike his hyper-competent cousin Miles Vorkosigan, you could be forgiven for thinking Ivan Vorpatril’s true name was “Ivan-you-idiot.” He gets his own time to shine in this book.
The Merry Book – The Book About Impulsive Helpful Courage
I had a hard time thinking of a book to put in this spot because every time a character started to pop into my head that I felt exemplified courage… it was a Lord of the Rings character. I settled on The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker because of the bravery shown by the two friends to help each other at the end of the book.
The Aragorn Book – The Book About Unexpected Burdens
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar is a perfect fit for this. Jevick is just excited to travel to Olondria for the first time and ends up bound to a quest to put the soul of a dead girl to rest.
The Boromir Book – The Book About Making Real Bad Decisions
This has to be Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Victor Frankenstein fails to take responsibility time and time again for his actions and multiple lives are ruined as a result.
The Legolas Book – The Book About Being Too Damn Happy
It turns out I don’t read too many cheerful books. Like in Pete’s original post, I am going to name Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The end of the world has never been so delightful.
The Gimli Book – The Book About Gruff Exteriors and Golden Interiors
I am excited to name Uprooted by Naomi Novik for this one! Uprooted is a fascinating book which I loved because it feels like a fairytale, but in some ways is much more unexpected. The wizard Sarkan, Agnieszka’s friend Kasia, and the Wood itself are all more complex and more beautiful than initially perceived.
The Gandalf Book – The Book About Swift Anger and Deep Compassion
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is the book I felt exemplified swift anger and deep compassion the most. Bishop Myriel shows deep compassion for all people. It is because of his compassion that Jean Valjean lives a good life, despite the anger and persecution from Police Inspector Javert who fanatically tracks Javert for stealing a loaf of bread decades before.
And that’s my first book tag!