Swordpoint LOC's: [Letter responding to Hoom #1, especially to articles by Frances (Jack) Scruby and Frank Denton, and discussing stories of intelligent trees]

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[page 26] HARRY WARNER, JR. 423 Summit Ave., Hagerstown, Md., 21740 I'd better confess at the outset that I am not an all-out, 110% Tolkien fan. I've read most of his fiction and enjoyed it very much, but I find in it some faults that would be heresy to mention in the inmost Tolkien circles. Fortunately, your first issue doesn't go so deep into the more esoteric aspects of Tolkioniana, and I enjoyed the LotR items in it more than some [page 27] more pretentious major items of Tolkien scholarship I've seen in other fanzines, for the simple reason that I understood the thoughts expressed in HOOM. One thing is certain: I haven't seen a Tolkien drawing as amusing as the takeoff on Whistler on your first numbered page. The item about beryl was quite interesting, particularly for the reference to Nero. I wonder if he might have used the emerald as people today put on sun glasses, to reduce the glare? Incidentally, I couldn't help thinking all through this article about the unintentional fanzine references. A Seattle fan of the 1950's, Gertrude M. Carr, published a fanzine called GEM TONES, and instead of designating each issue by volume and number, she referred to it by the name of a gem: the first half dozen were known as the topaz, rose quartz, turquoise, opal, agate, and chrysoberyl numbers. She did it partly as a sort of pun on her first two initials, partly just for the sake of being different. Frank Denton's article caused me to think, for no particular reason of old Scottish balladry. I suppose that someone has already investigated them for possible influence on Tolkien's fiction and poetry, and I can't think of any particular ballad that is really close to the courtship and subsequent life of Tom and Goldberry. Maybe I was struck by the fact that Bombadil has the same first name as the minstral Tom who encountered the queen of the fairies one day, and was reminded by that poem's musical setting by Loewe of another Loewe-composed ballad, Der Nöck, in which a water sprite is the central figure (but there's no Tom and the water sprite has the wrong sex for this purpose). The first story about an intelligent tree that occured to me, after I read Larry Paschelke's letter, was Mr. Sycamore. I can't remember the author's name, but it dates from the 1940's, I think, and I have the uneasiest sort of suspicion that it was a Broadway play rather than a novel, or maybe both. This started with a human who simply planted himself in the earth and turned into a tree. Of course, there's the Daphne legend, which turns up in new versions occassionally, and is best known to me through the Richard Strauss opera. Please forgive my failure to come up with learned statements about Tolkien inspired by the material in this issue. I hope HOOM will find a lot of other fans in much the same position as I am, anxious to read more about Tolkien and his fiction as long as I needn't possess an expert knowledge of the Elvish tongue or ability to rattle off a century-by-century chronology of pre-War events to comprehend what I'm reading. Yrs., &c., Barry Warner, Jr.

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