lindahoyland (lindahoyland) wrote,

Spotted this in the paper ...

In many ways, then, the new king(George VI) was not such a bad figurehead for a society that preferred the reassurance of the familiar to the intoxication of change. From his love of golf to his painstakingly assembled medal collection (a successor to his father's famous stamp albums), George was a domestic-minded, insular, introverted man, never happier than when cloistered with his wife and daughters. In an odd way, he was not so different from another idealised Englishman who made his first appearance in a book published a few months after his coronation.

Shy and retiring, a respectable, conservative, middle-class homeowner, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than curling up with his wooden pipe, a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Like thousands of Tolkien's readers, Bilbo tries to ignore the storm clouds gathering abroad. "We are plain quiet folk and I have no use for adventures," he says. "Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them!"

Still, Bilbo goes on his adventure eventually, just as George, despite floods of tears, reluctantly accepted the crown after his brother's abdication. Like his countrymen, he dreaded the thought of another war so soon after the slaughter of the first world war trenches; like his countrymen, however, this nervous, sickly, stammering man forced himself to confront the inevitable.

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