Review: A Tolkien Miscellany

A Tolkien Miscellany
A Tolkien Miscellany by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from this volume, not the whole book.

This is Tolkien's translation of a medieval and anonymous text.

It has a strong meter, about 12 beats per line, and heavy alliteration - 2-4 words in every line begin with the same letter/sound.
"When the seige and the assault had ceased at Troy,
and the fortress fell in flame to firebrands and ashes..."

But the real beauty here is the story. A lesser known classic, yet everyone should read this. It's about staying true to your word, confessing the truth when you don't, and the mercy that should follow.

"It was torment to tell the truth:
in his face the blood did flame;
he groaned for grief and ruth
when he showed it, to his shame." (verse 100)

Gawain resists falling into temptation, but does commit a small cowardly and deceptive act. He freely tells the knights of the round table of his fault when he gets back. "A man may cover his blemish, but unbind it he cannot" (101). But five lines later there is a wonderful event of mercy and grace from the covenant community round table. This is a great meditation on how to repent and extend forgiveness.

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed" - James 5:16.

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