THE END OF MIDDLE EARTH – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t know how many times I’ve read these books. I know the first time was in 1967. I read it in the hospital after my spine was fused and after I decided not to die. I was in the hospital for five months and not allowed out of bed at all for any reason. That is a lot of time in bed and after getting home, it was a very long recovery.

It was more than a year before all the plaster and braces were removed and months more before I could stand upright for more than a few minutes at a time. But I was young and after a while, I was as normal as I would ever get. I had always been a voracious reader, but I had never read any science fiction. By the time I got out of the hospital, I had read every sci-fi book anyone could find for me, as well as Lord of the Rings. Twice. You have to read it twice. It takes that long to absorb it. Really, it takes even more readings than that. There’s so much to it. Moreover, each time you read it, it means something different than it did the time before.

I had crates of books to take home with me. I think I left most of them with the hospital. TV wasn’t very good back then and a lot of people needed something to read.

As I am now in the middle of “The Two Towers, ” deep in the syntax of J.R.R. Tolkien as the peoples of Middle Earth fight the encroaching darkness.

Speaking of branches, the Ents have taken a stand against Saruman. This is one of my favorite parts of the books and as far as I am concerned, I live amongst my Ents. I often talk to my trees because if they are Entish, they are listening.


I’ve passed the battle of Helm’s Deep when Theoden asks Gandalf if they can get back to the life they knew before all this ugliness. Gandalf says no because evil leaves traces. You fight it, but even if you win, remnants of that evil are always with you.

“But what about the peoples of Middle Earth? Will we all vanish?”

Gandalf says “Perhaps. Sometimes that’s the price we pay.” This isn’t literally what they said, but close enough.

These days, I wonder if all the people of modern earth will vanish too and that will be the price we pay. I can’t say we don’t deserve it. As a species, we’ve done terrible things to our earth.  We have a long, hard road ahead to fix it, which I sure do hope we do soon.

Will the evil of these days cause us to vanish? I have to admit, I never imagined I was living in evil times. I knew there were bad people — far too many bad people — but I thought most of us were basically decent people, good people. That our government would always stand up for us ahead of their personal agendas. And yet, here we are.

I still hope it somehow gets better and I really hope that Australia stops burning and the sea recovers. That Autumn returns and the seasons take their rightful place as the world rolls around the sun.

Categories: Books, Health, Marilyn Armstrong

Tags: , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. I was about your age when the first American paperback edition came out, and once I had read the The Hobbit, I knew I had to read the rest of them. And I do, about every three or four years, and like you, every time I find Im focusing on something different each time. Not unlike Terry Pratchett, there’s always more to discover. I wore out the paperbacks years ago and splurged on the full boxed set, just because. One nice thing about Bilbo, he went to the Grey Lands with his friends, the Elves. There is that.

    Interesting, Tolkien wrote those books in the middle of the turmoil in mid-30s Europe, and you have to wonder how much of that he incorporated into his books. Quite a lot, I’d say.


    • This is one of the areas that are always worth discussing. Most of us believe he incorporated both wars into this book. How could he help it? He denied it, but writing is such a subconscious process. How can you take three decades through two world wars — one in which you actually fought — and NOT incorporate them into your book, even if unintentionally?

      I have moved on from Tolkien and am back rereading Terry Pratchett. I think somehow I never read this one. Night Guards? It’s got to be his darkest book, too. No laugh lines in it. Torture, war, prisons, murder. A LOT of killing and some time travel to make it happen. I have all his books except the two they haven’t released for audio in my audio library. I listen to them at bedtime. Usually, they are lighter weight, but not this one.

      I think I may work my way through Jim Butcher’s series next. He actually has a NEW BOOK (Harry Dresden!) coming out in the summer. FINALLY.


  2. Sadly (and in my opinion) Sauran is at the gate and nobody is there to halt his vile progress. I often wish I were Bilbo Baggins, who having held The Ring for so long became a bit twisted because of the radiating evil/power of that One Ring. Because even though he was mad (insane), he had the option of going ‘away’. Disappearing. One can’t even do that today, living off grid is difficult and more work than I can admittedly manage. I wish I had begun to when it was a more easily obtainable way of life. The end of middle earth is here. And there are no heroes to stem the coming tide.


    • it does feel like the Orcs have taken over. Usually, reading the book is soothing. Not so much right now. More like in our case, there IS no ring and no one is marching to the cracks of doom to save our asses.


  3. When I first opened up your post on my iPhone, the title at the top showed up as “The End of Middle Ear.” Considering that I just had middle ear surgery last week, I was intrigued. But I wasn’t disappointed when I found out your post was about Middle Earth and not middle ear, since I’m a big fan of Tolkien. 😉


    • I can imagine your concern. Did you think your doctor was writing to you? We just got back from a very long morning at the eye doctor and Garry does indeed have glaucoma. Not so surprising since his mother also had it, but she had it much younger and much worse. So far, it’s just eye drops. And getting old. If they can rebuild GARRY’s ear, I’m sure they can fix yours too. You do have a second opinion from somewhere, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I do have a second opinion and it concurs with the first. My wife also has glaucoma and she, too, is using drops.


        • At least they can treat it now. My best friend also has it and her grandfather had it. Garry has been complaining about his eyes for a while. It just took us a few months to get the test and doctor’s visit lined up. He wants Garry back for another test in March, but as soon as he realized Garry’s mother had it and one of his brothers, he put him on medication. I think his eyes are feeling better or at least what he says. I’m just glad it’s so treatable. My friend Cherrie has had it for years and she takes the drops — I think she has to use more than one kind of drops these days — but she can see at least as well as I do. Audiobooks are a real blessing.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Five months in bed, would they do that today? It seems to me even after the most radical surgery they juice you up on meds and get you moving.


    • Probably. But I was also very sick for a long time. For the first six weeks, I was delirious — my spine infected and I was really helpless. If I’d gone to a more modern hospital, I think that i’d have been done faster and probably not gotten as sick. I was very nearly dead before I finally pulled out of it. At 19, you survive better!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The problem with that extensive bedrest is the potential for pneumonia and thrombosis.


        • It was just “old fashioned” surgery. They were doing a more modern version at Columbia Presbyterian and I would have been out of bed in days, not months. That was the first, but sadly not the last time I chose a doctor for the convenience of my mate rather than the health of my body. I have learned from this. The hard way I grant you, but still learned.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I was very young which really helped. It did take a long time to fully recover. And it was a very painful surgery and almost more painful recovery. Being only 19 made a huge difference. If I’d been older, it would have been much worse.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. One of my favourites… and still relevant, no matter how many times you read it. I must be about due for a re-read myself…


    • I used to do it annually, but now, it’s every couple of years. It leaves me enough time to forget parts and relearn them again. I’ve been looking for my scripts. I thought they were downstairs in the big box of stuff I wrote, but even with the basement cleaned out, the box isn’t there. Possibly in the attic? Or it’s stored in one of the desks? It’s infuriating because someone else should have a copy, even if I don’t. But this was pre-computer, so it was never put on a drive — so either we find the papers or it’s gone. I hope it ISN’T gone. it was a fun ceremony. Lots of mushrooms and barley!


      • Same here.. though I tend not to forget, just notice new details.
        I would love to see the scripts… I do hope you find them. I am busily trying to get some of mu mother’s writings typed up so they don’t just disappear.


        • When Owen got a company to clear out the basement, I was SURE they would pop up. But the box I thought was there wasn’t. Which means I moved them at some point. But where? I move things to “safe places” which is another way of saying “lost forever.” Usually, it isn’t forever, but it can be years before I find the missing paperwork. I finally found the title to the house. THAT took years.


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