No Man of Woman Born

No Man of Woman Born

TV Tropes says—

“A character receives a prophecy or curse of the form “X cannot happen until Y,” where Y is seemingly impossible. X is frequently (but not always) the character’s death or defeat.
Y ends up happening somehow, usually through some trick of wording or a loophole, with X promptly following.”

Earlier this week, we watched Patrick Stewart in MacBeth. Intense of course, and pretty harrowing. I was just once again overwhelmed by the genius of Shakespeare. But Rich remembered that Tolkien was influenced by the play.
How? Well, the Weird Sisters tell Macbeth he can’t be defeated until Birnham Wood comes to the castle. His enemies, of course, cut down branches to use as camouflage. But apparently Tolkien was very disappointed by this. And so he invented Ents—-great sentient tree spirits that, if finally provoked, will move.
No man born of woman can kill Macbeth. Enter MacDuff—the product of an emergency C-section. This leads to Tolkien’s use, summarized by TV Tropes. “In The Lord of the Rings, the Witch-King of Angmar is the subject of a prophecy made by the Elf-lord Glorfindel, who foretold that he would not fall by the hand of man; naturally, he was slain by Éowyn, a woman who entered the battle in disguise, with the aid of Merry, a hobbit.”

So, what have I learned? That Tolkien was a genius. I might quibble with this or that staging of something, or have an opinion. But to create worlds and epics that do Shakespeare one better? That comes around only once every three or four centuries.

Monday Feature: Michaela Kahn on Memorizing Poetry

Poetry Memorization …

The first poem I remember having to memorize for school was for my 6th grade English class. We all got to pick our own and had to recite it in front of the class at the end of the week. I had a gorgeous anthology of poetry at home which I sadly can’t remember the name of now. It had a green cover with yellow flowers and lavish illustrations throughout – with poetry in English from the 18th century to the mid-20th. So for my memorization exercise I picked a Shakespeare “poem” which actually turned out to be one of the songs from “As You Like It” (as I discovered much later). To this day the words float into my head now and again – friendly, sort of comforting. A snippet of beauty from a period which tends to be hard for everybody (ah, Middle School). I still have the whole thing memorized … probably because in a way I’d cheated with a song that includes a refrain! I am curious what poems others had to memorize in school that gently haunt them (in a good way) to this day?

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun
And loves to lie i’ the sun,
Eating the food he eats,
And pleased with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.