But music turns her head like ale…

Seem like a strange title? It does actually pertain to the book.  It is a line from a song sung by Frodo in the inn of Bree, in an effort to take the attention of the room off of Pippen, who was about to reveal too much to the “big people” about a certain disappearence at a certain party. 

As you well know, The Fellowship of the Rings is full of songs.  The subject matter of these songs ranges from ancient heroes to trolls eating shin bones to drinking ale.  There is even an Elven song sung (Maybe more than one; I didn’t look through every page).  

The appearence of multiple songs in a book is a rather rare thing, yet Tolkien’s book is chocked full of them.  Why spend the time writing all of these poems and lyrics for a song that cannot even be heard?  This question, I believe, has two answers.  The first answer being that the songs enrich the world that Tolkien has created.  The epic songs are a sort of link to the past for the great quest that Frodo is on.  They show Tolkien’s genius; his created languages appear in many of the songs.  The second answer is that the songs seem to help set the mood.   It makes the characters seem more real.  Tolkien can paint a picture with words (so to speak), making you become lost in a world that doesn’t actually exist. With J.R.R Tolkien writing, you don’t read the story, you live the story.

-Jeff (Bluebaals)

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2 thoughts on “But music turns her head like ale…”

  1. I think you hit it. Tolkien adds these elements to deepen and enrich the experience. The nice thing is .. you can skip them if you don’t like them — but you might be missing some interesting atmospherics that also contribute to the tale.

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