Our theme for February and March is Stranger.
The most famous stranger to Frodo's mind might be Strider, booted and hooded, quietly puffing his long pipe in a corner of the Prancing Pony; watching most carefully and far from chance-met. Eomer, bristling, replied to Gimli, 'the stranger should declare himself first' for strangers (even three of them!) can spring up unexpectedly out of long grass. Dark days in the Third Age made Men wary, suspicious of prying eyes or chance slips of tongue, so that the Steward ordered no stranger, even a Rohirrim that fought with Gondor, could see the path to the Window on the West.
This uncertainty of those-we-do-not-know began when the world was new and young, when the Eldar, the Firstborn, met Men and came to understand that they die indeed-- calling them 'the Guests' and 'the Strangers'. Turgon, Lord of Gondolin, decreed that no stranger, be he Elf or Man, should ever depart the Hidden City. What might lead a Green-elf to let themself be seen to a Man of the House of Haleth? How would a young Elrond and Elros learn to trust the stranger who took them in? The Southrons were strangers to the Men of the West when at last peace was achieved in the Reunited Realms. How could a chance meeting help bridge a gulf of history and animosity?
In fiction, strangers can be catalysts, bad or good, juggling distance and proximity to provoke or open up possibilities to change. To be a stranger can be an escape, a chance to start anew, to walk to where your clothes, your voice and your songs, are unfamiliar to the world around. It can also be the state of being entirely unaccustomed to a feeling, an experience, or situation. Perhaps you'd like to explore more how the Dwarves felt about being in Rivendell? Or how a drunk Legolas adjusts to a new 'tingling in his fingers'? New parents certainly sometimes feel the little one in their arms is a stranger!
For this prompt you can write about stranger as an adjective. We say of someone 'he is no stranger to controversy'. Or 'truth is stranger than fiction'. A young hobbit might well feel so on reading the Red Book for the first time. Whatever aspect of 'Stranger' you choose, please do not be a Stranger and write by March 31st for this prompt!
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If you would like to illustrate it, you can take part in our special all-year-round artistic challenge!
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Happy reading!Your Teitho-moderators,