Samstag, 8. Juli 2017

Friday, 06 July 2941 T.A.: A full moon rising over the Misty Mountains

On this day, in 2941 T. A., the moon was full again and rising over the Misty Mountains at dusk, as the computations published in "The Moon in 'The Hobbit'" show. It was about the time when Bilbo looked back "over the lands they had left, laid out behind them far below" (Hobbit, chap. 4), feeling exposed to the unpleasant colds of high altitude.

It is a widespread assumption that the ascent of Gandalf, Bilbo and Thorin's Company was inspired by young Tolkien's voyage to the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland. Indeed, there is a distinct similarity of its setting to his description and at least one of his illustrations of Rivendell. Particular attention might this painting deserve that Swiss artist Jacob Küchlin produced in 1875. It shows a part of the Lauterbrunnen Valley with the Staubach Fall to the right, beneath the full moon (or is it a mist-enshrouded sun?) that we record for today. Compare this scene with Tolkien's description:

Lauterbrunnen Valley, signed Jaques Küchlin, 1875
"On they all went, leading their ponies, till they were brought to a good path and so at last to the very brink of the river. It was flowing fast and noisily, as mountain-streams do of a summer evening, when sun has been all day on the snow far up above. There was only a narrow bridge of stone without a parapet, as narrow as a pony could well walk on; and over that they had to go, slow and careful, one by one, each leading his pony by the bridle."