Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Churchill’s good earth

Jerry Stratton, April 10, 2014

In Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King, Aragorn makes a speech at the end, to rally the troops at the Black Gates of Mordor. This speech isn’t in the book; in Tolkien’s telling, “Little time was left to Aragorn for the ordering of his battle.” In Tolkien’s telling it is left to the hobbit Pippin to grant himself courage.

I was reading through Cigar Aficionado’s web page a while back, and ran across an article on Winston Churchill and his cigars. In it, Churchill says about food, “Whatever the Good Earth offers, I am willing to take.” I wondered if this was a phrase that Churchill ever used during the war. He did, during his hush over Europe speech:

They are defending the soil, the good earth, that has been theirs since the dawn of time against cruel and unprovoked aggression.

So this may be another case of Jackson pulling from Churchill for his movie; but it could also be just a standard phrase in the British Commonwealth. Interestingly, Churchill’s “they” were the Chinese; he may have in that particular speech been referencing Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, a novel that, at the time, was only about eight years old. She had just won the Nobel Prize in Literature for her “rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China”. If it sounds odd that he’d quote an American author, remember that this speech was meant to convince America to aid them.

In response to The battle for Helm’s Deep has begun: I’m obviously not the first person to note the connections between World War II and The Lord of the Rings. But this was striking.