Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tolkien Spotting (Aaronovitch)

So, I've just started reading the latest in Ben Aaronovitch's THE RIVERS OF LONDON books, and was amused to find a Tolkien reference in the first chapter. The main character is speaking, giving his opinion about various prominent London buildings:

"Now, I have . . . views about architecture. 
But there's modern stuff I like. The Gherkin, 
the Lloyd's building, even the Shard -- 
despite the nagging feeling I get that Nazgul 
should be roosting at the top"

This is pretty straightforward and unambiguous; another good example of Tolkien's ubiquity in our culture.

Oddly enough, I'd come across another possible but much less certain example earlier the same day. In a Talking Points Memo post about Trump aid Mike Flynn, TPM founder Josh Marshall wrote

"Flynn already appears to be in the process 
of getting wraithed"*

This struck me as an odd usage, not just Tolkienesque 
but positively Shippeyian. 
I'm curious: has anyone else come across this word 
lately so applied 
(i.e. as Tolkien used it)?

--John R.


UPDATE: Thanks to the comment by Clive Shergold I've corrected the author's name, which I'd gotten wrong in the initial post.  Thanks Clive.
--John R., 2/2-17.


Clive Shergold said...

Ben Aaronovitch.
The series is littered with literary references (many of which, I am sure, I fail to recognise or even notice) and I would say, off hand, that Tolkien has been referenced elsewhere in the books, though I cannot give any examples off the top of my head.

Oh bother! Now I'll have to read them again.

N.E. Brigand said...

I feel like Marshall has been using the phrase "dignity wraith" at least since last summer to describe what happens to people who interact with Trump. A quick search shows that Marshall referred to Mitt Romney that way when the former Massachusetts governor was being considered for Secretary of State, because Romney had been so critical of Trump during the campaign and now seemed to be acting obsequiously. Probably the first person so described was New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie.

Clive Shergold said...

Re-reading Moon over Soho, I find Peter cast ashore after an unplanned swim, thinking thus:

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, I thought, for they are soggy and hard to light.

No attribution is given for the (half) quote.