Something Tookish Woke Up Inside Him
″...and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
It felt cliché to use the words of others as conduits for my own emotions, but somehow Tolkien managed to convey what I felt at that moment with hardly any effort at all. It was an innocent enough line in an innocent enough scene; perhaps it wasn’t even intended to strike readers as particularly consequential. But damn it if I didn’t feel that distinct, hollow pang in my chest when I first read it; that ache like the ghost of a bruise behind my ribs. It was reminiscent of a diagnosis, the way it simplified things. To have words for a feeling, even if they were exaggerated and taken out of context from a story about magic and dwarves, was simultaneously soothing and foreboding. It gave a name to that inherent subconscious desire to do something great—something different—in spite of inhibitions, fears, and an utter lack of spontaneity or personality.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking part is that, much like wizards and magic rings and good overcoming evil, embarking on uncharacteristically grand adventures is a concept that might only exist in fairytales.