Finally, a character I can relate to in a Tolkien-based movie! Although Tolkien created a few strong female characters, in general, women’s roles were sparse. Since I first started reading Tolkien, I have wondered where someone like me would fit into a story like that, and now I know. Tauriel is not a high-born elf, but a Captain of the Guard, a working-class elf, and with a sharp tongue and a snappy comeback too! More importantly, with a sense of morality that Legolas and his father are lacking in the era of Bilbo’s adventures, she reminds Thranduil that driving the orcs from his realm is merely handing off the problem to those in other lands. Unfortunately, the Woodland King proves unconcerned about those outside his border. Tauriel is loyal and does her duty, but her sense of compassion ultimately sends her to Esgaroth to save Kili. It’s too bad that Peter Jackson had to take some liberties with Tolkien to bring to life a vibrant female character, but it’s also an encouraging sign of the changing times that Jackson felt it necessary.
Arriving at “The Grey Havens,” we come to the end of our two-year journey. The Grey Havens Group has been reading and discussing The Lord of the Rings and we have reached the final chapter. We started meeting once a month two years ago, then increased to twice a month (plus one Sunday a month to discuss the Inklings – Inkingsiana), and finally decided to meet once a week as our membership grew and we all had so much to say, so many ideas to share.
I feel a little sad that the story is over, but I know that this Fellowship will not be broken. We will continue to meet to discuss the Appendices, The Hobbit, and hopefully someday The Silmarillion. Because we know that the friendships we have made while discussing fantasy are very real, and for the Grey Havens Group the “the road goes ever on.”
On the eve of the fall of Sauron, after setting up activity tables and seating at Barbed Wire Books for Tolkien Reading Day, Grey Havens adjourned to dinner at The Dickens. There Courtney and Charles told the story of our banner. Charles was inspired by Courtney’s Tolkien-themed scarf, and asked her to create a banner for Grey Havens. He consulted with Kelly, who immediately suggested the swan ship as our group symbol, and Courtney proceeded to create this beautiful work of art! The Grey Havens Group banner stands as a wonderful symbol of how we work together in friendship to create our communal mythology. Our banner makes its debut appearance at today’s Tolkien Reading Day festivities.