A Conversation for JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Peer Review: A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 1

Bluebottle

Entry: JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters' - A87901851
Author: Bluebottle - U43530

Ho Ho Ho! It is almost Valentine's Day smiley - love, so what could be more festive than an entry on smiley - santa?

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A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 2

minorvogonpoet

I hadn't heard about these letters before. They do suggest another side to Tolkien -a playful and loving father.smiley - smiley

I can also recognise themes and characters that resemble those in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

There are a few sentences that are a bit awkward.
The sentence beginning 'Father Christmas relates that...' It might be better if you took the second ' when' out and broke the sentence after 'get it'.

In the sentence beginning 'Unfortunately the Snow Man', you need a 'he' before 'breaks'.

I would break the sentence beginning 'The Chief Hall' after 'doors'.


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 3

minorvogonpoet

Come to think of it, you haven't said if it's possible to get hold of copies of the letters. Are they still available?


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 4

Bluebottle

Thanks for the read-through, I've changed all those sentences as suggested. smiley - biggrin

I did a quick book search for 'father Christmas letters Tolkien' in Amazon (other online retailers are available) and looking on the front page brought up editions published in 1990, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2009, Kindle and Audio editions as well as editions in German, French and Chinese so it seems fairly easy to get hold of.

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A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 5

minorvogonpoet

smiley - ok


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 6

Gnomon - time to move on

Hi Bluebottle! This is interesting. I've never read any of the Father Christmas Letters, so this filled me in on some of the details.

smiley - ok

I have lots of minor tweaks to keep you busy.

Content:

Perhaps a footnote on 1453 - Coincidentally the date of the fall of the Byzantium Empire and considered by historians to be the start of the Modern Period.

You speculate that Father CHristmas must make a second trip to deliver presents to other parts of Europe. Is it possible that children in southern Europe didn't get presents from Father Christmas in 1923? I know that in Spain, the presents are delivered by the Three Kings on the 6th of January.

-------------------------------------
Punctuation:

JRR Tolkien died in 1973 and, in 1976, his children published his letters for the first time -- the punctuation on this doesn't really work. When you've a clause like "in 1976" surrounded by two commas, you should be able to leave it out without affecting the sense, but this gives:

JRR Tolkien died in 1973 and his children published his letters for the first time

I suggest you leave out the commas. This will make it read better:

JRR Tolkien died in 1973 and in 1976 his children published his letters for the first time

the ultimate in boys' toys; a model railway set -- change the semicolon to a colon as the section after it does not form a full sentence on its own.

Soon after goblins riding bats -- I think you mean:

Soon after, goblins riding bats

which means a completely different thing.

'a very queer sort of dwarf 'dachshund' horse creature'

When putting a quote inside a quote, use double quote characters for the inner quote:

'a very queer sort of dwarf "dachshund" horse creature'

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe -->
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

("and" and "the" are not capitalised in book titles except at the start of the title).
-------------------------------------
Word Choice and Order:

He writes that what he calls the Rory Bory Aylis fireworks, the aurora borealis or Northern Lights, are fireworks that he creates -- this doesn't quite work as it stands. You say that the fireworks are actually fireworks. I suggest:

He writes that the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are actually fireworks that he creates and called the 'Rory Bory Aylis fireworks'.

However it is this 1927 letter that sets the standard for all that follow. -- there's no reason for the word "However" at the start of this. It is not contradicting or contrasting anything that has come before it. Remove it.

find himself lost -- an odd phrase. I'd say "become lost", but it is up to you.

The goblins had decorated their caves with black magic runes -- this sentence looks a bit lost where it is. Perhaps reword it as: "The Goblin caverns are an eerie place, decorated with Black Magic runes" or something like that.

an aversion of the colour green --> an aversion to the colour green

the coming in of winter --> the coming of winter

The Great Polar Bear's nephews, their names mean 'fat' and 'white-hair' and came to visit their uncle. -- the word order is wrong here. You say that their names came to visit their uncle. Reword it as:

The Great Polar Bear's nephews come to visit their uncle. Their names mean 'fat' and 'white-hair'.

with his birthday Christmas Day --> with his birthday on Christmas Day

7-pair of reindeer -- Should this be "seven pairs of reindeer" ?

He likes writing poems to good children, however cannot think of -- don't use "however" to join sentences together. Use "but":

He likes writing poems to good children, but cannot think of ...

when in Bree's pub, the Prancing Pony --> at the Prancing Pony inn in Bree

devised by North Polar Bear -- I think this should be: devised by the North Polar Bear
-------------------------------------
Spelling:

You have Arktik in one place and Arctic in another as the name of the language.

away from the moo --> away from the moon

used to ride of drasils --> used to ride on drasils

-------------------------------------
Formatting:

There's something odd about the formatting of the Characters section. It looks bad in Pliny. It might be OK once the entry becomes edited; I'm not sure.

The problem is the use of the BR/ tag - this is rarely a good idea.

I'm going to use square brackets here rather than angle brackets here to allow it to be seen in all skins.

I suggest that you put p and /p tags around the items in the lists.

Instead of

[LI]Father Christmas[/LI]

you should put

[LI][P]Father Christmas[/P][/LI]

(Not really needed but good for consistency).

Instead of:

[LI]North Polar Bear[BR/]
Mischievous or clumsy assistant, who does much of the packing of presents. He tends to inadvertently cause mischief, by breaking the North Pole, setting off all the fireworks in one go or falling on top of presents after falling down the stairs. In 1929 he reveals his name is Karhu[/LI]

you should put

[LI]
[P]North Polar Bear[/P]
[P]Mischievous or clumsy assistant, who does much of the packing of presents. He tends to inadvertently cause mischief, by breaking the North Pole, setting off all the fireworks in one go or falling on top of presents after falling down the stairs. In 1929 he reveals his name is Karhu[/P]
[/LI]

I think this will look better in all skins. Try it.

-------------------------------------


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 7

SashaQ - happysad - Editor

Yes, I read this a while ago and see I didn't comment, but did enjoy the Entry as it shows a lot about the character of JRR Tolkien smiley - biggrin

I agree about putting p tags inside li tags, as they do make lists with lots of information in much easier to read, rather than the text being densely packed.

I think the Sub-editor would probably put the character names in bold and then put a " - " to link to the description. br/ definitely tends not to be used in the main body of Entries apart from in blockquotes.

smiley - ok


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 8

Bluebottle

Thanks Gnomon for the thorough read-through smiley - smiley I'm surprised there's an area of Tolkein's writing you're not familiar with. I've made most of the changes that you've suggested.

That's a good point about Spain and the Three Kings (except for Catalonian areas where smiley - gift are pooed out the Tió de Nadal), however Father Christmas must make another trip as he delivers to the United States and Canada .

Word Choice and Order:

I've made most of the tweaks you've suggested, but there are some that I will first check what Tolkien himself used. Any phrases he used I'll keep in the text, ones he didn't I'll change as you've suggested.

These are:
'the coming in of winter'
'7-pair of reindeer'
Language name both Arktik and Arctic - I'm fairly certain he uses both spellings (after all, these were letters he gave to his children. He probably may not have had the earlier letters in front of him when he wrote the later ones and so was probably relying on his memory. So the spelling 'Arktik' would have been in a letter in 1929 but spelling 'Arctic' would have been in or after 1936 when Ilbereth was created.) But I'll double check and add a note if necessary.

So I'll leave them in for now but may change them later.

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A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 9

Bluebottle

I've checked and can confirm:
smiley - biroTolkien did indeed write 'the coming in of winter' in his 1929 letter. As he wrote that Snow-Elves celebrate 'the coming in of winter' I'm going to keep it like that rather than rename their celebration.
Though 'coming in of winter' is indeed an odd phrase, everyone's favourite 13th Century pop song's lyrics are:
smiley - whistlesmiley - musicalnote'Sumer Is Icumen In, Lhude sing cuccu'
smiley - whistlesmiley - musicalnote(Summer is a-coming in, loudly sing cuckoo).
If summer can be coming in, I see no reason why winter can't be coming in too.smiley - shrug

smiley - reindeerIn his 1932 letter, Tolkien wrote 'I am coming from the north, and note, NOT with 12 pair of deer, as you will see in some books. I usually use 7 pair (14 is such a nice a nice number), and at Christmas, especially if I am in a hurry, I add my 2 special white ones in front.'
This letter contains an illustration showing the sleigh pulled by 16 reindeer, two white, 14 in black ink.
While again I agree with you that writing 'seven pairs of reindeer' makes more sense, as Tolkien uses the words '7 pair' and I'm writing about his letters, I shall use Tolkien's choice.

I've added a footnote to explain the Arctic so hopefully that much at least is clearersmiley - ok

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A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 10

Gnomon - time to move on

So you’ll change 7-pair to 7 pair ?


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 11

Gnomon - time to move on

By the way, “sumer is icumen in” means summer has come in.


A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

Post 12

Bluebottle

Yes, I should have said I changed it to '7 pair' yesterdaysmiley - ok

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Post 13

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Post 14

Gnomon - time to move on

smiley - applause


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Peer Review: A87901851 - JRR Tolkien's 'Father Christmas Letters'

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