Friday, 2 November 2007

The Dance

"It is told that Beren came into Doriath grey and bowed by many years of woe,
but wandering into summer woods, he came upon Luthien,
at a time of evening under moon rise,
as she danced in the glade...
Then all the memory of pain departed from him".

JRR Tolkien - The Silmarillion.

I was recently watching a documentary on the special edition of The Return of the King, through which I discovered that much of the inspiration for what would become that very famous epic, The Lord of the Rings, sprang from the moment when Tolkien asked the lady who would become his wife to dance for him amidst the woods. The moment so touched him that he went on to produce a masterpiece.

In photography, I've often encountered such moments of astounding charm, and one of my favourite scenes of fictional beauty comes in C S Lewis' masterful tale, Perelandra, when Ransom, the hero, first encounters the queen of that world:
"Never had he seen a creature so calm, so unearthly, despite the humanity of every feature...
Now he realized that word human truly referred to something more than our bodily form or rational mind.."
The 'dance' which ensues in this tale is equally as fascinating as that which enchanted Tolkien.

These thoughts have come to the fore this evening after seeing a trailer for the adaptation of Bill Pullman's 'The Golden Compass', released for Christmas. Pullman makes no attempt to mask his rejection of the theo-centric suppositional story-telling of the likes of Lewis and Tolkien, and whilst some of his critique of institutionalized religion (defined in the books as 'the establishment') is certainly justified, one wonders what kind of dreams these tales, which evoke a 'death' of God, will create in children?

Hell, someone noted, is a realm locked from the inside by its residents.

There is a voice, a song, that calls to each of us, that we might glimpse what is truly human.

She is before you, in the street,
entreating you amidst all the rogue traders,
longing for your ears to quell the noise of nonsense,
and recognize her call...

'Can you really continue to reside in such stupidity?
How long will dwell in such parody, and turn from truth?
When wholeness is at your very door!'

Wisdom stands, with arms open wide.
Will you heed her call?

Based on Proverbs chapter 2.

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