Down the Withywindle and into the Barrow: Seeking Answers to Mewlip Mayhem and Other Middle-earth Mysteries
After the opening “Introduction” chapter that explains my reasoning and goals for this collection, the subsequent chapter titles for this collection are the following: “In Memory of the House of Finrod and the Realm of Nargothrond: Gildor of (Near) Rivendell, The Reluctant Warrior,” “Goldberry, the River-Elf,” “‘Elf-friend’ and ‘elf-friend’: An Alternative to Some of Hammond and Scull’s Alterations to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” “The Third Order, Lesser Spirits of Middle-earth: Tom Bombadil, the Master Blue Sprite,” “Other Lesser, Third Order Spirits,” and “Addendum: An Earthly Inspiration for ‘The Mewlips’?” Within the work concerning Gildor, I theorize about the Elf’s identity, his motives, and his actions, as well as his relationship with Galadriel. Within the article regarding Goldberry, I mention theories about Goldberry’s heritage, the death of her father, and observe the evidence supporting Goldberry’s Elven ancestry in several of Tolkien’s works. The third article, meanwhile, questions Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull’s alteration of “Elf-friend” to “elf-friend” in their edition of LotR while arguing for the restoration of “elf-friend” (as well as “elf-country”) to Tolkien’s masterpiece. In the fourth article, I present theories regarding Bombadil’s rank among the Third Order Spirits and his position as a vassal spirit to one of the powerful Valar spirits while also noting how Bombadil’s position among the spirits relates to Goldberry’s heritage as well. This fourth article ends with my quibbling with past scholarship regarding the identities of Bombadil and Goldberry. In the fifth article, I include various theories regarding the identities of other lesser Middle-earth spirits—including the Mewlips and the lintips; this article also includes theories about the names of the Mewlips and the lintips and possible Middle-earth sources for “The Mewlips” poem as well. The collection ends with an “Addendum” detailing a theory concerning the notion that the Mendip region in England served as one of the earthly inspirations for Tolkien’s poem “The Mewlips.” While each of the aforementioned chapters could be read separately, I think that there is “something more” gained by reading the articles in the context of the other works.