Been a while since I did a Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread post! but since I was reminded I needed to continue doing a proper reread thanks to this post over on Tor.com about certain actions of Gandalf, here, let’s get back into this a bit with the French commentary for Chapter 2!
(Notably, the poster on Tor.com was writing about things Gandalf did that really rather made him out to be a jerk, and there’s interesting commentary in the comments about how the movies have influenced Tolkien fandom a lot in that regard. Certainly one of my things about Gandalf turns out to be exactly that, more movie-influenced than book-influenced. More on this to come!)
Finally, another post in the Bilingual Lord of the Rings Reread series! This post provides my commentary on the French edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, and specifically on Chapter 1.
As I get into the bilingual commentary on these chapters, I’m going to be following a similar format to what I’m doing in the Harry Potter Reread posts. So I’ll be borrowing many of the same headers I’m using on that series!
Welcome back to my reread of The Lord of the Rings! As I’ve posted in my previous post, this reread is now bilingual, since I’ve been regretting not doing that properly for a while. And since I do have French editions of this trilogy, though not German editions yet, so it’s bilingual instead of trilingual.
To refresh your all’s memories, my commentary post on the Prologue of Fellowship is here. To this, I will now add some commentary about what it says in the French edition! I’m going to do this similarly to how I’ve been doing the Harry Potter reread posts, limiting the lingual commentary a bit so that I can keep the length of the posts down to something manageable.
So here we go! This is mostly going to be a bunch of commentary about various worldbuilding terms, given that they’ll be important once we get into the story proper. Once I’m past the prologue I’ll kick into the format I want to use for these posts.
Y’all may have noticed that I’ve been dragging my feet on doing the Lord of the Rings reread posts. This is because I’ve also got the trilogy in French, and I’ve been vexed at myself for not doing a proper bilingual reread since I’ve got the French versions available!
So I’m waking these posts up again, but I’m going to do it moving forward with covering what I can pick up out of the French editions as well. I’m going to format the posts similarly to what I’m doing in the Trilingual Harry Potter Reread–i.e., limiting the lingual discussion to “five general things noted in the French edition” and “five worldbuilding things noted”. This will be in the interests of trying to keep the post lengths down to as reasonable a length as possible, and also to help me actually try to do them in a reasonable time frame.
My next post is going to be a catchup to get to the point where I left off in the English edition, which is to say, the hobbits are about to meet Tom Bombadil.
For the interested, my French edition of The Fellowship of the Ring is this one, or at least has this cover; the ISBN on my copy doesn’t match this one on Goodreads:
Now that I’ve completed another rewatch of the movies, though, I am now totally in the mood for this. So let’s do this, shall we? Next post is about to drop!
(And the only reason this isn’t a full Trilingual Reread, by the way, is that I don’t own copies of the trilogy in German. YET.)
It’s tough for me to review this novel properly. My French isn’t good enough yet to have truly understood the majority of what I read here–and it didn’t help either that certain aspects of Mme. Rochon’s style here made it difficult for me to follow the action.
One, I did at least figure out that the book’s divided into a section involving protagonist Laura Fraser as a young girl, and a section involving her as an older woman (post-menopausal? Again, my French isn’t that solid yet, so I wasn’t able to nail that down for sure). It baffled me that the book changed tenses between these two sections, from first person in the earlier part to third in the latter. That was a baffling decision, one beyond my meager French to properly understand; it may well have made much more sense to Quebecois SF/F readers, I don’t know.
Two, in both sections, there was a certain distinct detachment to the action. In the first part, Laura tells the reader a lot of her history, along the lines of “this happened to me” and “I felt such-and-such a way”, with very little of what was going on actually played out directly. The same held true in the second part, although at least there, there were a few more scenes of direct interaction between Laura and other characters, notably Valtar and Sirwala. This made it a lot harder for me to feel engaged by any of the characters.
Three, instead of getting much in the way of action and character dialogue played out directly, we get a lot of lengthy paragraphs of Laura being introspective about assorted things that trouble her as a girl (mostly “the French speakers think I’m weird because I have an English name, and the English speakers think I’m weird because I speak with a French accent, and I HATE ALL OF THEM and I’m going to go dream about being a spider now”), and later, assorted things that trouble her as an adult. Later, when she does actually have direct interaction with other characters (mostly Valtar), each paragraph of dialogue is likewise very long. On the one hand, I regret that my French was not up to the task of following much of this, because I’m certain I’d have engaged with Laura as a character much more if I could actually understand most of what the text was saying. On the other hand, even as an Anglophone reader who’s barely able to dip her toes into Quebecois SF/F so far, I kept feeling like the lengthy, expository nature of the dialogue was forced. I’d be really curious to know if it reads that way to Quebecois readers as well, or if this is just a matter of my being a beginner at French.
So far, the one other Quebecois SF/F novel I’ve successfully read was significantly different stylistically, and targeted for younger readers as well–so it was much easier for me to follow. This one, I’ll straight-up admit, was a hard slog. So for now I’m going to have to give it two stars. But I’ll want to try it again later, as my French improves, and see whether my reading experience is different.
(I just posted this to Facebook, where most of the Francophones I know are most likely to read me. But because I am a completist, and because I want to save this for later, I’m posting it here too!)
Aujourd’hui je veux pratiquer mon français! Attendez! Ce sera longue. ;)
Vous pouvez demander, mes amis d’Internet, pourquoi une femme américaine et anglophone, aime tellement la musique traditionnelle du Québec. J’écris beaucoup sur ça déjà en anglais, mais ça, c’est facile. Aujourd’hui je veux écrire sur ça en français!
La première chose: je pense qu’il est bon d’apprendre d’autres cultures. Les Américains, nous ne faisons pas souvent ça comme nous devrions. Les gens du Québec sont nos voisins, et ils partagent l’Amérique du Nord avec nous. C’est bon à connaître vos voisins. Et la musique et la langue sont deux voies merveilleuses à le faire.
En particulier, il a été mon honneur et mon plaisir à rencontrer plusieurs musiciens québécois. Ceci me donne les visages, les noms, et les gens vivants. Cela rend réel. Et je pense, ces gens, ils sont gens splendides. Je veux respecter et apprécier eux.
(Et c’est un signe de mon respect que je m’excuse à Olo et André et Éric quand mon français et poche. ;) Je ne peux pas m’exprimer en français parlé, pas encore. Je dois travailler de m’exprimer en français écrit. J’apprends encore!)
La deuxième chose: je suis un écrivain. J’aime des mots. J’aime des langues. Et une nouvelle langue entière–c’est un nouveaux voie de voir le monde. Il y a magique dans ça. Magique pour un lecteur comme moi-même, de voir le monde. Et pour un écrivain, de parler du monde.
Seriéusement, savez-vous comment mon cerveau s’éclaire quand je pense de tous les livres de SF québécois que je n’ai pas lu encore? Toutes les histoires que je pourrais dire si je maîtrise la langue? :D
Et la troisième chose, et véritablement, la chose plus importante–la musique? C’est magnifique. Elle parle à mon cœur. Elle parle à mes pieds et les incite à danser. Elle parle à mes mains et les incite à jouer les tounes. Et elle parle à ma voix et l’incite à chanter.
Pour ça, j’aime tellement la musique traditionnelle du Québéc. Oui, je suis américaine–mais pour cette musique, un part de moi devient française.
Merci pour ça, les gars. <3
And, finally, the Last Lonely House er, uh, chapter. In which Bilbo visits Rivendell once more, and learns the consequences of wandering off from the Shire for a year when one has greedy relations who’d just LOVE to move into Bag-end!
HOLY ILUVATAR, has it really been over a year since I originally drafted this post? Apparently! This is what happens when I’m so caught up in working on my own books, and then trying to finish up all the backlogged stuff that got shunted aside while I was writing the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy, that I wasn’t able to finish these Reread posts. But now with The Battle of the Five Armies having finally having come out and indeed now hitting digital home release, it’s about time I cleared my slate of the last of the Hobbit Reread posts!
It’s weird, after the longer chapters at the beginning of The Hobbit, to see how fast the final chapters go. Chapter 17 is not very long at all–and barely after the Battle of Five Armies has begun, you get into the aftermath, where Bilbo (and the reader through him) learns what he missed. And in which, finally, Thorin stands down from being an asshole.
I’m not going to get into comparing how this chapter ties into all the bits in the movie–because I talk about that in my movie reviewposts! But that said, there’s a lot here over which I must go *sniff*. This is the aftermath of the Battle of Five Armies, and it’s a hard aftermath for the survivors, with Bilbo front and center among them.
It has taken me ages to get through my edits for Victory of the Hawk, you guys. But now that the end is in sight, I’ve had some cycles free up finally. Which means I can get back to the last few bits of my Trilingual Hobbit Reread!
And Chapter 17 of The Hobbit, “The Clouds Burst”, is pretty much where the Battle of Five Armies gets down to Serious Business. Which is a good place to be, given the movie that’s about to come out next month, yes?
She comes up with this, is what! Because I figured that if I was going to whine about my mouth hurting from the dental adventures this past week (spoiler alert: sinus infections that spread over to your teeth are not fun), I could at least whine about it in French, and set it to lyrics.
The result? Une petite chanson qui s’appelle “Ma bouche est malheureuse”!
Ma bouche est malheureuse, oh guai! Ma bouche est malheurese! (bis)
Mon dentiste a travaillé et j’ai mal aux dents
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle deedle ow day
Mon dentiste a travaillé, oh guai! Mon dentiste a travaillé! (bis)
J’ai mal aux dents et j’n’peux pas jouer de la flûte
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle deedle en calisse! day
J’ai mal aux dents, oh guai! J’ai mal aux dents! (bis)
J’n’peux pas jouer de la flûte, le flûteau, la même chose!
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle osti day
J’n’peux pas jouer de la flûte, oh guai! J’n’peux pas jouer de la flûte! (bis)
Le flûteau, la même chose, et j’n’peux pas chanter les chansons
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle tabarnak!
J’n’peux pas chanter les chansons, oh guai! J’n’peux pas chanter les chansons! (bis)
J’n’peux pas boire le vin, j’n’peux pas avoir la bouteille
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle osti en calisse!
J’n’peux pas boire le vin, oh guai! J’n’peux pas boire le vin!
J’n’peux pas avoir la bouteille si mon dentiste dois travailler
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle char de marde!
Si mon dentiste dois travailler, oh guai! Si mon dentiste dois travailler (bis)
Donnez-moi le Vicodin et me réveille quand c’est fini
De deedle deedle dum deeda deedle deedle zzzzzzzzzzzz
I shall soon be following this up with “La fille joyeuse et son mammouth”. Because Jean-Claude requires a song. REQUIRES, I tell you.