We’ve done it again! A little slower than last time, but here we are.
Welcome to the fifth incarnation of the Lounge For Bookworms!
Our beloved lounge is one of the most comfortable places here in TORC. It is much bigger than you may imagine. It is a large place with a garden the size of a decent park and a gothic hall of special magnificence. Adjoining the lounge itself you will find a kitchen and an ample larder not only for our Hobbit friends, and the latest addition, I believe, is a soundproof music room. As a way to pass my spare time I have been trying to make a sketch of the grounds, but have not quite succeeded as yet since the lounge is puzzling me – we seem to have shifting walls or something of the kind because otherwise I cannot quite explain how we manage to have as many walls and bookshelves as mentioned in the descriptions to follow! But the lounge is a magical place, situated both in Middle-earth and our world, so you never know what mysterious things may happen, and the strangest and most unlikely of them you will only find if you enter this refuge of ours for a time. Be sure to join us in our thrilling Halloween parties that take place every year in the gothic hall. Not all the monsters you see there are in costume!
People of all races are welcome, of course. We bookworms consist of Elves, Men, Hobbits and even a Dwarf. If you should wish to visit us regularly, the latter may even ask to make a sculpture of you for our almost life-size chessboard in the gothic hall. Please do not be offended by his gruff manner – he has lived alone in a mine for some time and is not used to company, which also explains his frequent absences. At heart he is a decent chap! But not all our friends live inside the lounge: the Entwife, who has been here since time out of mind, is now married and lives in our garden with her Ent and their Enting Everyn, a surprisingly quick little thing.
It is my honour to introduce you to the grounds, and to allow you to get acquainted with us I will now make way for the original descriptions written by our bookworms, some of whom no longer frequent our lounge, but who will be missed and are welcome to return any time:
For your orientation.
Our logo: The Lounge for Bookworms.
A Word Aside – A Lounge for Bookworms
Another Word Aside – A Lounge for Bookworms
A Third Word Aside – A Lounge for Bookworms
First of all, being bookworms, we need a lot of bookshelves, don't you think? Oak, I feel, or maybe rich mahogany, lovingly rubbed with oil over many generations to achieve a deep, warm glow. These bookshelves are vast, they take up two whole walls, surrounding the fireplace on both sides, and we need a lovely old library ladder on wheels to reach the books on the very top shelves. That's where we keep the volumes on Northern myth and Anglo Saxon history, Middle English and Philology. We've got rich pickings for all--books of verse and poesy, even The Blue Book of Fairy Stories by George MacDonald can be found; every edition of Tolkien's works ever published (of course!), and copies of works by the Inklings, some of them carrying original inscriptions from the authors. In the glassed-in section, in pride of place, 'Translations from the Elvish, by B. Baggins'. Yes, we have the Red Book of Westmarch under lock and key--only genuine believers can find the keyhole.
A couple of vast reading desks can be found, one under each of the four wide and gloriously high windows, which allow us to enjoy the last light of the westering sun and look out over a sea of golden green leaves in the parkland below us. Desk lamps, of course, of intricate Elvish design, for use when we draw the silvery woodland-hued drapes to keep out the chill at night. Though there are evenings when we throw open the windows to welcome the warm breaths of wind, redolent of green things and freshness. We breathe deep on those nights as we stand at our windowsills to glory in starlight and moonlight, enjoying the quiet companionship of our fellow bookworms.
In wintertime, our fireplace roars a warm welcome. It's large hearth is of natural stone, and its mantel is mahogany, topped by a mirror of crystal depths and rich wood with gilt carvings. Three comfortably squashy and well-stuffed old wingchairs, covered in damasked cream and wine-red velvet, are drawn close to the hearth, large enough each to fit two of us at a time. Yet there is also the sofa, covered in green-gold tapestried cloth which will comfortably seat at least 8 well-rounded hobbits. Three or four occasional tables stand nearby, oil-rubbed to a warm glow, with telltale rings of glasses, tankards and cups. Bowls of nuts and dried fruits are always full, next to trays of fine chocolates imported from the expert chocolatiers of the Ered Nimrais. Two occasional lamps lend a golden glow to the long discussions held around the flickering flames. Sometimes there are so many bookworms eager to join the talk that they sit on the thick, silky carpet, hand-woven with its intricate bird designs in exotic, spicy Far Harad.
Five or six more deep and comfy armchairs are grouped around a wide, low table at the other end of the room opposite the fireplace, within easy reach of the bookshelves there. Amongst the books on the table a manuscript can be seen: "The History of Pipeweed" by M. Brandybuck.
The eastern wall, through which our central entrance door lies, is whitewashed to reflect the light. A handsome old carved bureau holds decanters of fine liqueurs and brandies, crystal glasses, beer mugs and tankards, an antique silver tea set and a massive coffee urn, both of fine Dwarvish make. The walls display our artistic treasures; portraits of Frodo, Sam and Rosie with their smiling brood, a formal portrait of King Elessar with Queen Arwen Evenstar, whose beauty transcends the medium and radiates.
In a far corner is an alcove, through which can be glimpsed a handsome carved round door, painted a rich forest green, leading to the kitchen with its pantries full of Hobbitish goodies--pies, pastries, biscuits, cakes and on wintry nights there are also hearty soups and rabbit stews accompanied by crusty bread for those who arrive early enough.
Pride of place, above the carved bureau and covering much of the wall nearest the fireplace is a rich and intricate silken tapestry, whose fine needlework describes the Tale of Years, from the Two Trees to the bending of the seas, when Valinor was moved beyond the reach of mortals.
It's a comfortable place, this lounge. Despite its many riches it has been lived in enough to have a homey feel; the arms of sofa and chairs are slightly worn, the blotters on the desks are covered in happy scribble, books and notes and magazines lie on shelves and ledges; on the sofa near the fire someone has forgotten a cloak, and near the door, some mud encrusted boots lie next to the umbrella stand.
After its first opening, some glass doors were created in one of the walls and these give onto a wide and spacious terrace, with a stone balustrade, which has superb views. You can even make out the Misty Mountains if you try.
At the end of the terrace is a beautifully hand-built wooden staircase leading into the garden. Made with help from the elves, the staircase is cunningly put together from bits of branches that had been lying around outside. They have not been planed, sawed, or squared off. All that has been done to the natural timber is the removal of the layer of bark from its sinuous natural curves to reveal the gleaming reds and golds within. The knots and knotholes are still tangibly present on the balustrades and uprights. The stairs fit in beautifully with the delicate timber decorations of the terrace and blend perfectly into the garden beneath.
Beyond the terrace is a flower border filled with pink and white roses, tall cosmeas, and lavender. A tall hedge runs behind with an opening gateway cut into it. Here a metal arch alive with bougainvillea stands over a swing door from which a path lined with shady beeches leads down towards a little white mock-temple with wisteria climbing over it. There are benches along the path, invisible from the lounge because of the hedge, cool and shady in the summer. Guarding the temple is a giant lime tree, and often in summer its sweet scent wafts across the garden right into the library. To the side of this vista is a small rise covered in elanor and niphredil with a gorgeous young mallorn at the top.
Spreading out to either side of the terrace, carefully tended and arranged beds erupt with the most astounding flowers you’ve ever seen. A cutting taken from this garden would win at any flower show. There are endless varieties of tulips and daffodils. Any hobbit would lose herself for hours among the snowdrops, hyacinths, and crocuses. The irises, freesias, and anemones are enchanting. And you might occasionally run into Samwise Gamgee in the ranunculus and jonquils. Forget-me-nots abound in the shadier corners of the garden. Small trelliswork arbours covered with rambling rose, honeysuckle, or clematis stand at various places throughout the garden providing cover for benches or chairs and tables.
Towards the western end of the garden there is an exquisitely carved fountain depicting Yavanna Kementári singing while she sits upon the grass of Ezellohar. Nienna sits beside, and her tears flow slowly down into the reflecting pool which stretches to the south. Behind the hedge at the end of the pool is a small orchard of peach trees with a little ladder for easy access. A cheerful little stream runs through the eastern end of the garden past a line of twelve palm trees and a small grape arbour. Invitingly green lawns of short, soft grass run from the flowerbeds to the eaves of the forest wherein dwell an absolutely charming Entwife with her Ent. At their wedding every bookworm planted their favourite tree’s sapling in a special patch where, later, the Enting was discovered.
Looking back on the lounge from the garden, you can see Boston and English ivy climbing up the walls while night blooming jasmine rests under several of the windows giving its delicate aroma to those within. Lazy lawn furniture from deep arm-chairs to chaise lounges with down pillows can be found here and there about the garden in shady, secluded spots for those reclusive bookworms to curl up in.
Up against the wall of the lounge stands a large shed with croquette equipment and all the tools necessary for the upkeep and expansion of the garden. It’s the perfect place to kick off your shoes, grab a glass of lemonade and sit down to your favourite piece of summer reading.
The Gothic Hall
A magnificent staircase descends down into the body of the hall from the library. The hall is a huge rectangle, and the steps are in the centre of one long side. They are broad and grand, the sort of thing constructed for formal royal entrances. A red carpet covers its fifteen treads.
The hall itself is a large a lofty gothic chamber, all hammer beam roof (merging into the purple haze far above) and carved wood panelling. The place reeks of history and mystery, and the carving is all clever foliage with little faces peeking out. It is a room that would grace any castle, or might be converted to a medium-sized cathedral with little effort. It might be copied from the Hall of Fire at Rivendell.
The floor of the hall is a marble pavement of black and white squares laid chequer-board fashion. In its exact centre is a huge stone fireplace from which smoke spirals up to exit through a louvred vent in the roof.
Apart from the windows, the colour scheme of the hall is dark – aged, polished wood and faded but splendid, cunningly wrought tapestries along the walls under the high windows. Dull gold thread sparkles among the muted colours which all show scenes from the Silmarillion.
Above the woven hangings, the windows are miracles of the glassmaker’s art. The colours of the stained glass are jewel like, and along one wall, tell the story of Beren and Luthien, and down the other the story of Thingol and Melian. Light falls through them in long shafts of colour to mix and re-mix in kaleidoscopes of pure colour on the floor. In niches between the windows are statues of each person who has used the Bookworm’s lounge since its opening, each shown reading their favourite book; and in more ornate niches the statues of the Bookworm Adopters with their benevolent faces and welcoming gestures.
At one end of the room, a vast window shows the singing of the Music of the Ainur, with Melkor and Manwë at either side of the throne of the bearded and beneficent (though thunderous) Iluvatar. Beneath this window is a dais on which is set a table and throne like chairs, ready for a banquet. At the far end, the window in the other short wall shows the Last Battle. Beneath it is a space for the best parties ever thrown. Directly opposite the staircase in the other long wall is a nice, big door that opens onto the garden so the Ents can see in and participate.
The Music Room
In one of the walls in the lounge the bookshelves go around a door that opens into the music room. It’s not a very large room, but big enough to provide room for several musicians and a nice collection of instruments.
There are shelves on two of the walls as well, filled with scores and sheet music, as well as all the books that have to do with the theory and history of music. There are collections of songs from all parts of Middle-Earth, and volumes of information of how to perform them.
There’s a baby grand piano in the middle of the room, and a slender, delicate-looking harpsichord in the corner. The two remaining walls are filled with instruments hung there, like a guitar, violin, lute, and other strings, and cabinets for keeping flute, recorder, clarinet, and other winds. All are waiting to be played or simply tried out by curious loungers who have always wanted to get their hands on some of those, but have never had the opportunity.
Needless to say, the soundproofing here is nothing short of miraculous. So none of the noise produced here will disturb the peace in the library.
(now in chronological order too):
Carnimiriel ...............11th January
pretty galadriel..........7th March
Jude (the Dude)........,23rd June
Varda Elantari...........4th August