Today’s Conservatives rationalise everything by financial value. When I was still young, Mrs Thatcher toured St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and asked a girl what she studied. “Norse literature,” she said. “What a luxury,” replied the prime minister, anticipating the current government’s suspicion of humanities, but not anticipating the subsequent global financial value of the Lord of the Rings franchise. Fed by Tolkien’s study of Norse myth, the trilogy bled out of The Hobbit, which he originally wrote for a minority audience no bigger than that comprising his own bedtime children.

(Tolkien is, however, rumoured to have charged his offspring all their pocket money to hear the end of the tale, having already got them hooked. This “first hit’s for free” technique he learned dealing heroin to CS Lewis, who only began the Narnia chronicles in order to have a reason to meet his supplier every week in the Eagle and Child pub. Anyone who has ever tangoed with Sister Brown Eye will recognise immediately the safe warm feeling of falling into a wardrobe full of fur coats. And then having tea with a man with goat’s legs.)

2 years ago · 3 notes · Source