That is to say, he imagines
that he has re-awakened. And likewise, he also believes that he is alone. But these things are difficult to tell,
sometimes – after all, he had also thought that he was alone right up until the
moment he had died, as the bandits who beset him were quite good, for men, at
covering their approach.
This, though, is slightly more of a surprise. For he has
regained his sight and his mind from a most formal position – laid out upon his
back upon a hard stone plinth, his hands clasped about a tarnished silver harp that
is lain across his chest. And when he puts the harp aside and sits, he finds
that he is clothed in a penitent’s raiment: not for him any longer the scarlet
of his house and the gold of its ornaments, but instead a coarse grey weave and
plain sandals without any adornment whatsoever.
And when he raises his head to look about himself, he finds
that the famed Halls of Mandos are empty all about him.
(that is – from their size
and their atmosphere, and his previous disposition, being dead and all – he thinks
that these are the Halls of Mandos. and
here again with the narrative uncertainty – who ever heard of a bard who could
not control his own tale? regardless of his own impotency, though, where else
but the Halls could boast such impossible architecture – such fanciful columns,
so controlled a darkness beneath so invisible a roof? where but the Halls would
one see such tendrils of mist, curling tame about the edges of floors and the
curves of walls, their movements dictated by aesthetic judgement rather than
And yet. And yet! Makalaurë stands, with some difficulty –
his legs know/remember/protest that they are dead, and all but collapse beneath
him – and makes his way to the wall nearest the plinth.
No, it is solid.
But something else (he
knows not what) is not.
It is more than just that the Halls appear empty – more than
just that his footfalls echo oddly loud upon the stone, more sound than should
be made by simple leather and sole.
It is, it is…
Signs of disrepair, Makalaurë thinks.
For a closer look reveals that there are cracks winding
about the bases of the pillars.
Cracks in the structure, a slight musty smell to the plinth
upon which he was lain, and ephemeral cobwebs, empty and ragged, swaying in the
(and what creatures
might spin such things, here and now? best not to really think)
His dead (is it dead,
though? and is he not spirit here, rent and disembodied? funny, these clothes
and that harp do feel solid enough) heart does not beat, and so it cannot
race, cannot pound, at the discovery, but – Makalaurë feels something odd.
(this is not the
afterlife he had imagined he’d have – a chance to make his pitiable amends to
those slain gone before him, which he would do in any wretched way left to him,
and with such humility and goodwill that they would be grudgingly forced to acclaim
him a changed creature)
And so he leaves that place.
Turns about, his back to the plinth, and walks away.
No one stops him.
And then, when days later (or decades, or Ages, or hours), Makalaurë’s feet lead him to a
cracked doorway, and his (dead) heart
(or his conscience maybe? his pride, or
his fear?) urges him to walk through it, to follow that weak and watery
beam of sunlight piercing the gloom of the Halls –
and Makalaurë does –
He is not obstructed. He is not waylaid.
He simply walks out of the Halls.
And there, spread out beneath him, Valinor lies empty. Faded
green, faded light, and its roads and dwellings all silent and spare.
If this is his own version of hell, then it is painfully
And if it is not, then…
No, Makalaurë decides with a sinking (dead) heart, he prefers – it is better – to believe that this is
The other option – that all has faded, after all, and he is as
alone here as he was in the east – is far worse.
Time for one of my favourite things to do! Definitely will be making this a tradition from now on :)
Since I had four months of summer with the university timeline, I’ve read a total of 40 books this summer, whoop whooop but I am very tired. Anyways, here is the list of my favourite books:
10. The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney - This was probably the best mystery/thriller book I read this year, part of what made it so attractive to me was its incorporation of architecture. Who knew minimalism and streamlined technology could be made into a nightmare… hahaha
9. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus - Personal favourite YA contemporary novel. This was another mystery/thriller which tbh wasn’t exactly very “thrilling” for me. The ending was predictable and not exactly a plot twist, but the characters and their stories were so well done I couldn’t help but fall in love with this!
8. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Laneby Lisa See - AHHH I love this so much! A historical fiction novel with a dual perspective (one in the past, one in the present) that incorporates the extremely interesting oh my lord i want to take a class on this culture of an ethnic minority within China. First of all, I love tea so learning about the production, history, and selling of tea was so cool. The story itself gets dark at times and had some heartbreaking moments but there was a happy ending and overall, it was a well crafted work!
7. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Honestly, this book is kinda ridiculous and if you feel like you don’t understand the point of what most of the people is saying, that’s ok! I think this book captured the excessive, thoughtless extravagance of the culture during this time so well! It wasn’t just a society that valued physical materialism but also superfluous political ideas. To me, this book became almost profound when you thought about how quickly ideas change, and how even the most influential revolutions are only a recurring trend in the grand scheme of themes. Highly recommend this book for a read now and probably years in the future as well!
6. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - what would this post be without a WWI/WWII novel eh? This one is about…. wait for it… a female spy (!!!) who was recruited to the Alice Network (which was real) in WWI and a pregnant (scandalous!) American who is determined to find her lost cousin following the destruction of WWII. I don’t want to reveal too much about the characters and who is who, but their relationships are woven cleverly into the storyline and the whole plot captivated me from the very first! An amazing piece of historical fiction <3
5. Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy - I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS A TRAGEDY GOING IN AND I WAS VERY SAD FOR MUCH OF THIS BOOK. let me just say: poor Tess, she was just going through so much crap and I was much annoyed with the men in her life for much of this novel. Thank God for sexual education and increasing awareness of gender equality <3<3<3. But this was well written and was a hella fast-paced classic so if you’re into that, check this one out!
4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik - Dragons, wizards, magic, mysterious castles and isolated towers, dark woods and darker magic. Intrigued? READ THIS BOOK!!!
3. Monsters of Verity Duology by Victoria Schwab - This is technically two books but I am including it because I read both within a week and holy was it a ride. V. Schwab always amazes me with her unique storylines (a world of monsters v. human??!?!), the level of complexity and growth of her characters, and how she beautifully hands out words thAT END UP COMPLETELY DESTROYING ME! this book also raised some cool ideas about what is human? a monster? etc. etc. and it made me cry, so I recommend this
2. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence - I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe some nuns with knives in the dark and who knew how to kill a man. Which I guess kinda was what this book was about… but like not.
“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.”
SO yeah, it was darker, the main character who enters the convent was a lot younger which added a whole other level of dark sinister bad-assery into this story and I WAS LIVING FOR IT. anxiously awaiting the second book as we speak…
1. Beartown by Fredrik Backman - I thought I would hate this book because it describes itself as a story about a community that loves hockey and a) I don’t care much for family/community dramas and b) I don’t like sports. But this book blew me away. I found it easy to keep up and sympathize, if not love, each character within this story and all the events/characters were handled with such elegance, respect, dignity, and eloquence. HOLY LORD this book just made me so emotional and I WANT TO HONOUR IT ON MY GRAVE.
I think this book is so important to read in this time and age, so here is one of my favourite quotes/excerpts to hopefully hook you in ;)
“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe - comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.”
If you’re still here thanks for sticking around to the end! I won’t be reading as much in this next year but I’d love to know what your favourite books of 2017 are so far!
Last night: “Ohohohoho we’re gonna partyyyy ohohoo it’s gonna be a fun night of ‘sleep’ amirite ohohoho whooop whoop”
This morning: “Ohohohoho look at your bright eyed faces ooooooh did anyone get ANY sleep last night haha”
…you’re all middle aged schoolteachers who drank a little bit of vodka and then talked about kids and taxes until 2 am. I’m a social recluse who went to sleep at eleven cuz I was fucking tired. Ohohohoho what a night, wheee.
The RFA +Unknown finding out you don't eat often. Not like in an anorexic way but your just really bad at taking care of yourself and forget to eat sometimes
ooh thats me tho lol, i literally forget to eat at all sometimes, like its not that i dont want to, i just forget.
-he already has a personal uuh dietist/cook, so he cant understand how you just
forget to eat? especially when the cook brings the food to you??
-he’ll try to make you set alarms to rememeber, but you always just snooze them and forget again (me lmfao)
-he takes a break every 2 hours or so, to call you and make sure you eat
-will stay on the phone with you until you’re actually chewing on something
-as an actor he has to keep his schedule, so he’s super attentive of when to eat and drink.
-he just suddenly realizes there isn’t any dirty dishes whenever you’ve been home alone, and asks yoi about it
-“whoops??……whoops?!! princess, you have to eat, please remember your health is important to me!!!! i’ll help!”
-by “help” he means putting sticky notes everywhere so you get reminded to eat every 3 seconds
-this boy loves playing, and if theres 1 thing i know about that, it is that you get so caught up in games that you forget the outside world, so he knows you don’t mean to forget, it just happens.
-after discovering how rarely you eat tho, he’ll cook all of your meals for you. every single one
-always cooks for 10 people, jesus christ yoosung, chill
-she has given up on her own health a long time ago, but gods be damned if she will ever let you do the same
-as her work schedule isn’t super organised she will send you lots of text troughout the day, reminding you to eat and drink, like
-“remember the sandwich i made for you”
-“oh i also cooled down a big bottle of water, please have it at your side at all times and take a sip every 5 minutes
-lol same?? honestly both of you have terrible eating habits, when you actually eat its mostly junkfood.
-sometimes both of you will set out to start a new healthy lifestyle, which you do….but only for a few weeks, until you fell back on your old habits
-seven will make sandwiches for you to eat tho, but you cant really live on only sandwiches
-its a wonder neither of you haven’t collapsed yet
-will tease you about your bad habit of forgetting to eat
-“are you completely detached from your physical needs?! i know you aren’t. you’re very needy on other needs…but you have to eat….you know things are really bad when I have to remind you to take care of yourself”
-is the type to place food in front of you and refuse to let you do anything until you’ve eaten up