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January 13, 2016

It’s Quiet in the Shire
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:43 PM * 31 comments

So Avram and I were going back and forth on Twitter last night, playing with Hamilton and Lord of the Rings. After a day’s steeping, this is what I typed out instead of doing what I should be doing right now. (Original here.)

There are prices that the stories don’t count,
There is suffering too terrible for songs.
You bear the Ring as long as you can.
The aftermath is unimaginable.
That moment at the end of things
It feels easier to fall into the fire.

The hobbits return to the Shire
And learn to live with the unimaginable.

I spend hours in the garden
And sit and smoke by the door.
And it’s quiet in town;
I never liked the quiet before.

When I walk the woods in summer
A longing that I can’t ignore
I miss home.
That never used to happen before.

If you see him in the woods
Walking by himself
Singing to himself
Have pity.

Gollum, you would like it in the Shire
There is fishing in the Shire.

He is working through the unimaginable

His skin is so pale.
His hands are so frail.
They say he haunts the woods like a spirit.

And every year, I fall apart.

Can you imagine?

Look at where I am.
Look at me and Sam.
I know we’re only mortals, just hobbits.
But hear me out. That would be enough.

If I could leave this world,
If I could flee from Middle-Earth,
I’d be on the road right now
And I’d forget, and that would be enough.
I don’t pretend to know
The weight of what we carried.
I know the damage buried in my flesh.

And you go West.
But I’m not alone.
I walk with your people.
Just let me walk you to the shore.
That would be enough.

If you meet him on the road,
Walking through the Shire,
Longing for the sea,
Have pity.

Samwise, do you like it in the Shire?
It’s quiet in the Shire.

They are trying to bear the unimaginable.

See them standing on the ship,
Ready for the trip.
Ready for the journey to the Havens.

Is it you? Is it you, young Frodo?

It is time to leave the unimaginable.

There are journeys that the Ring can’t shape.
There is a home too far away to leave.
We sail away from what we never cease to love
To leave behind the unimaginable.
They are standing by the mainmast,
Bilbo Baggins by his nephew’s side.
He lights his pipe.

It’s quiet on board.

The Grey Havens. Can you imagine?
The Grey Havens. Can you imagine?

If you see Sam at the shore
Waiting for the ship,
Watching for the ship,
Have pity.
He’s the last to bear the unimaginable.

Comments on It's Quiet in the Shire:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2016, 05:20 PM:

I started fiddling around with “Ten Duel Commandments” as something about forming a Fellowship and going through Moria, but it started to turn into a generic D&D thing. (“Time to get some weapons and a cleric on site / It’s best if he’s of Good and Lawful predilection / Make sure he’s high level and can handle resurrection.”)

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2016, 05:25 PM:

Avram @1:

it started to turn into a generic D&D thing.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Bring it.

#3 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2016, 06:08 PM:

I saw some of this go by on Twitter last night. Seeing the whole thing alongside the inspiration was just lovely.

Thank you for sharing it here.

#4 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2016, 06:40 PM:

Abi @2, nowhere near finished.

#5 ::: Ingrid ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2016, 07:15 PM:

That is really lovely. Heart-stoppingly so.

#6 ::: Naomi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2016, 08:30 PM:

Thank you, I really needed to be crying in two fandoms at once.

That was beautifully done.

#7 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 01:19 PM:

This is excellent.

#8 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 02:33 PM:

The lyrics are beautiful, though I can't imagine Galadriel rapping. I hear it sung in some kind of Elvish tradition, almost operatic, with gentle strings and woodwinds and high, perfect voices drifting through the trees, casting a net of comfort that would drift over the land and through the woods to fall on Frodo's shoulders like tiny silken strands.

I've sometimes thought about what Frodo's inner life would be like after carrying the ring, losing his finger, and coming so very close to losing his soul. I've thought about what a very kind person might do about Frodo's condition, and the best I could come up with was a woman who was very, very, very kind everyplace else and very cruel in the bedroom, but it seemed so inadequate to the burden of carrying The Ring.

Has it occurred to anyone that we're all carrying the The Ring now, in one way or another? There's not much innocence left.

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 02:37 PM:

Alex R @8:

"It's Quiet Uptown" isn't rap. It is, in fact, delicate, gentle and melodic, full of sadness. I think that's why I thought of elves as the chorus.

And I think that the Ring is something that all adults carry or have carried. I look at my kids and see that there are still unshadowed hearts in the world.

#10 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 03:24 PM:

Abi, I've never heard "It's Quiet Uptown," I'll give it a youtube.

#11 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 03:28 PM:

Oh. Nice.

#13 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 04:36 PM:

Thank you, abi.

I should be packing for a trip to London tomorrow, but instead I got thinking about other points of crossover and then this happened.


You say -
The price of my power's not a price you're willing to pay.
You cry -
In your tea and you hide in a tree when you see them ride by.
Why so shrill?
Remember my little refinement when I made the rings:
They're bound to my will,
And though I've been radio silent,
I'm here still …

You'll be mine.
Soon you'll see
How much better you could be with me.
You'll be mine:
Time will tell -
Sheer persistence always served me well.
Oceans rise. Empires bow.
Ask the Dúnedain where they are now!
And when you think
The coast is clear,
I will send the nine who stand behind you
To remind you
I'm still here.

You say the ring is draining and you can't go on?
You'd be the one complaining if it were gone.
And no, don’t change the subject!
One day you’ll be my subject!
My sweet, submissive subject,
My numbered, undead subject -
For ever. And ever. And ever and ever and ever ...

You'll be mine.
Like before,
I will fight the fight and win the war.
For your heart. For your soul.
Try to fight it and you’ll pay the toll.
If it’s gone - soon you’ll rot.
So don’t throw away this ring you’ve got!
And when you think
You're in the clear -
I will kill your sworn companions
To remind you
I'm still here.

#14 ::: Bernard Yeh ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 04:53 PM:

Craft @13:
That is so absolutely awesome.

(see here for the original.)

#15 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2016, 04:55 PM:

Craft (Alchemy) @13:

Woohoo! That's fantastic.

#16 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2016, 12:41 PM:

NICE, Craft (Alchemy) #13! Mofo-ing brilliant.

And Abi, so well done. Congrats!

I may have to tackle one of these at some point... only 46 songs left to go...

#17 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2016, 07:29 PM:

Thank you, Bernard, abi, Greg. I'm glad you enjoyed it - I had a lot of fun putting it together.

I've been working on another on the train today. This has definitely sparked something (thank you for starting it, abi, and for setting the bar so high.) I had a moment earlier where trying to Hamiltonise a LotR episode gave me an unexpected new perspective on the original version, that wonderful thing transformative works can do sometimes.

#18 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2016, 11:14 AM:

I look at my kids and see that there are still unshadowed hearts in the world.

That's the hardest part of being a parent, isn't it? Watching them gradually lose their innocence as they encounter the real world. Going back to Tolkien, it's easy to make LOTR into a metaphor for growing up - but that's the nature of a classic, supporting so many interpretations - and Tolkein's journey into manhood was worse than most.

#19 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2016, 02:22 PM:

Anyone whose youth involved the trenches of Flanders had a hard journey into full adulthood.

#20 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2016, 08:06 PM:

I found the lyrics affecting without knowledge of the original. That's powerful stuff.

And it holds, albeit with a very different mood, for Craft(alchemy)'s contribution.

#21 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2016, 10:47 AM:

Oh, very nice!

#22 ::: Lindsay ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2016, 04:18 PM:

I needed this today. Thank you, Abi. The Dark Riders weren't sleeping. They were only resting their eyes.

#24 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2016, 05:02 AM:

I was suddenly reminded of a few little parody mash-up things I wrote somewhere around ten years ago. The Blues Hobbits sequence. It seems the whole thing started by idle comments on an IRC channel, spurring writing the first (of mostly historical interest) bit.

It also shows that I may have seen The Blues Brothers too many times.

#25 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2016, 04:25 PM:

Umm, yeah, I've had another sorrynotsorry thing happen. (See this for the other half of the fusion.)

One and two and three and four:

It's the orbit mechanics.
It's the orbit mechanics.

Number one!
The space ship: it goes round the station.
Unless you're docking there's no need to match rotation.

Number two!
Now the moon, that's a focus of the ellipse
That the station falls in accompanied by its free ships.

Number three!
A rock ain't a moon if it's stranded
Motionless in space
Not in motion round a planet.
It orbits farther out: a moon can't get too near
Planets 'cause they have atmosphere.

Number four!
The planet orbits too; it all goes around
The sun, that's the source, where the power is found.
So massive that there's fusion deep within its core bit
Its pull balances velocity keeping things in orbit!

#26 ::: Ericka ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2016, 05:24 PM:

Oh, dear. Now I'm lying here crying for beauty and pain and I'm never going to get that mirror painted. Thank you so much for both Abi (and all).

#27 ::: Ericka ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2016, 05:25 PM:

Oh, dear. Now I'm lying here crying for beauty and pain and I'm never going to get that mirror painted. Thank you so much for both Abi (and all).

#28 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2016, 09:54 PM:

Audra McDonald sings "Say No To This" in her best Billie Holiday impression, and LMM has the reaction we're all feeling:

#29 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2016, 08:25 PM:

Elliott Mason #28: Hmm. My reaction was that I could barely hear her singing over the instruments in the foreground. :-( This is not a problem I've ever had with Aretha Franklin. ;-)

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2016, 05:07 PM:

I really need to stop doing this. It's like an addiction.

This time it's @leeflower's fault for looping me into a Twitter conversation about Babylon 5. Because she's currently got her name as Analees Mulligan, and, well...earworm gotta earworm.

It's the B-A B-Y L-O N
Station reconciliation
Aliens, of every race,
Come together in one place.
You ask us what we want,
What we are, what we're meant to be.
All we want is to live independently
We know that we're sharing our dependency
But when PsiCorps agents are incend'ry
And Earth allies with an entity
That wants to kill
Wants space to be filled
With its dominance and will
We'll unite to fight, to do what's right
We'll occupy the space between dark and light
Cause without our might we'll be out of sight
All alone in the night.

#Ham4Bab5, home of "Ivanova, Delenn, and Na'Toth..."

#31 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 11:40 PM:

Hamilton got a Grammy!

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