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The Lay Of Leithi Tolkien's Epic Fairy Tale

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The Lay of Leithian: Tolkien’s Epic Fairy Tale Audry Hepburn once said, “If I’m honest I have to tell you I still read fairy-tales, and I like them best of all.” Often, a child’s first introduction to literature begins with fairy tales and which tends to resonate with them years later. Fairy tales then become a story that is inspiring for children and nostalgic for adults. The fairy tale story varies in definition between critics, yet it is always a form of fantasy. J.R.R Tolkien’s fantasy novels The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion follow clear structural patterns common among fairy tales. One story in particular, “Of Beren and Lúthien” found within The Silmarillion, was originally to be Tolkien’s epic poem titled The Lay…show more content…
While the Victorian era saw fairies as diminutive creatures and fantastical worlds or adventures, Tolkien’s emphasis was on the mortal man. He writes in his essay, “Faerie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons: It holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all the things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted “(On Fairy Stories 4). Tolkien thus believed that a fairy tale consisted of the entire world through an enchanted perspective, that even mortal men are enchanted in a fairy tale. Within “Of Beren and Lúthien,” the protagonist is Beren who is a man in love with Lúthien. Lúthien is the daughter of an Elf and a Maiar and is thus connected with the Valar, the “angels” of Middle Earth and based off of Germanic and Greek/Roman Gods. Their love is thus enchanted and Beren’s quest to make Lúthien his is Heroic and full of enchantment. Tolkien also writes, “Stories that are actually concerned primarily with “faries,” that is with creatures that might also in modern English be called “elves,” are relatively rare, and as a rule not very interesting. Most good “fairy stories” are about the adventures of men in the Perilous Realm or upon its shadowy marches” (On Fairy Stories 4). Thus he stresses the importance of a fairy tale to emphasize the adventures of men and not focus completely on the lives of elves or fairies. As well, the journey through the “Perilous Realm” then becomes more enchanting and fantastical when completed by a
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