Beginning to Look Black

Excerpted from The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien, ©1954:

“But last night I told you of Sauron the Great, the Dark Lord. The rumours that you have heard are true: he has indeed arisen again and left his hold in Mirkwood and returned to his ancient fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor. That name even you hobbits have heard of, like a shadow on the borders of old stories. Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. And already, Frodo, our time is beginning to look black. The Enemy is fast becoming very strong. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening. We shall be hard put to it.”

I’m rereading Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time, and this short passage really resonated with me.

Darkness has certainly taken another shape and grown anew.  Facism, racism, homophobia, misogyny; they’re all back.  I fully expect America to dissolve into chaos, if not civil war, and we desperately need the hobbits to come through for us.


As an aside:  I’m kind of surprised that umpteenth is a real word.


  1. Oh, I totally agree! bring them on!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I noticed that passage too. We never want it in our time.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That passage chills me, too, whenever I reread it!


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