Title: Learning Tolkien
"Leonard, you would be more understandable if you were not speaking
into the pillow."
"It's my pillow. I'll talk into it if I want to. Besides, you hog
the covers. Can't I have a single pillow?"
"Leonard, you are barely understandable as it is. And we are not
discussing property issues."
(groan) "What?" McCoy lifted his head--his heavy, heavy head--
up. "What is it?" His gaze, by bad luck, hit upon the
chrono. "HOLY GOD! Do you know what time it is?"
Spock waited before replying, just to demonstrate how idiotic that
question was. "Leonard, *I* am the one with timesense."
"You're also the one who doesn't have to sleep more than one hour out
of twelve." McCoy groaned aloud. "What is it?"
"About the song..."
"Not hobbits again!"
"I performed a search in the computer banks while you slept. There
appears to be an inordinately large variety of material upon hobbits."
"Spock." McCoy said slowly and carefully.
"Are you SURE your mother is human?"
Spock gave McCoy another one of his delayed answers. "Leonard, as my
physician, and privy to my cellular level, YOU would know the answer
to that better than I."
"Spock, you were RAISED by Amanda, were you not? She DID have some
small part in your upbringing?"
"You keep asking my variations of this question. You have met my
"My point is, how can you not know about Tolkien? He's required
English reading on Earth, right after the Mabinogion, The Song of
Amergin, Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Edgar Allen Poe."
"Poe is an American writer. Up till then, your list was of Great
"Quit splitting the daggone hairs. MY POINT IS: He's required
English reading. Your mother teaches languages. Didn't you ever
hear about him? Somewhere after George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis?"
"You are...discussing...fantasy writers."
"Uh, oh--did I just use a bad word? I'm sorry. What I really meant
to say, was, "political and social observation, disguised in
Spock was tapping his collection of wafers together. "Light reading
is considered mentally healthy, doctor, but optional."
"Of course. You always did out-herod the Herods. Or in your case,
Spock sighed. "I did have a question about Tolkien."
"Ask away." McCoy replaced the pillow with an arm flopped over his
eyes. "I'm listening.
"There is a film on the literature. I finished viewing it before
"That's why you were so quiet, huh? And here I thought you were
trying to breathe around my stir fry."
"It WAS potent."
"It was a proven point. I was showing Sulu that the Amish did know
what to do with hot peppers. I just wish you hadn't made such a fuss
over the name."
"Leonard, when you said I was eating "Amish Chicken Hearts," I had no
idea that was the name of the pepper. You are an omnivore. My
conclusion was logical, but not correct."
"That's because human logic is different from Vulcan logic. A point
I've been trying to hammer through your skull for years. You never
did say if you liked it or not."
"The dinner was...piquant."
"You make it sound like a needlework project. Like one of those pink
"*...Leonard, if you could, please keep to the subject."
"I'm having no trouble keeping to the subject. You're the one who
keeps getting lost in the linguistic wilderness."
"I believe you are behaving in less than a forthright manner as a way
of juvenile revenge."
"Redundant grammer. Revenge is juvenile."
"I was asking about Tolkien's film."
"What'd you think of it."
"After reading the trilogy, I have to say the film is not as
"So what's your point?"
"That was my point."
McCoy sat up, and pointedly, yanked some of the covers back. "Spock,
the filmmakers have only finite resources in which to tell the
story. Besides, if they made it JUST like the books, no one would
read the books. They'd just watch the film. They'd ignore the
deeper breadth of literature Tolkien had--they wouldn't even read A
TOLKIEN READER, which in my opinion, should be mandatory reading."
Spock looked upset. "Compromise and sacrifice was made for
"Humans AREN'T Vulcans, Spock. They won't stalk off in the desert
and starve to death in defiance over copyright laws."
"The Irish commit hunger strikes on a regular basis."
"Yeah, well, I like to eat, I'm SCOT-Irish, and a huge portion of
Miscellaneous thrown in. Anyway, Sacrifice was made in the very
beginning. Tolkien actually had FIVE books, but they were bound in a
trilogy to save printing costs. That's what made it affordable to
"No, you don't. You're just being polite."
"I am doing no such thing."
"Yes, you are. You've been doing this ever since Jim decided to
teach you the finer arts of diplomacy--rules that should work, I
might add, as long as we don't run into any more computers. The
Mechanized Sentient Species refuse to have anything to do with him.
Give me that blanket!"
"I was not holding it from you."
"You were sitting on it! Same difference!"
"You critiqued me "redundant grammar" allow me to point out yours is
"Occeam's Razor, trimmed down and made simple. Are you DONE with
asking me about Tolkien?"
"No. I am trying to understand why the telling of this story seemed
so very important."
"It's simple. Tolkien lived through WW2, and was aware much of the
old customs and folkways were dying out through the Industrial
Revolution. He always said he didn't "create" Middle Earth, he "re-
discovered it...Middle Earth, actually, was the cosmology of most of
Europe before the Roman Church moved in."
"He was...re-creating mythology?"
"Very good." McCoy flopped back down on the bed, pillow back where
it should be, over his face. "You pass."