Stairway to Heaven

I was camping this weekend and Ramble On came on the iPod we were listening to. Ramble On, as you may know, has references to The Lord of the Rings:

“In the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair, but Gollum and the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her.”

There are other references to The Lord of the Rings in the Led Zeppelin songs “The Battle of Evermore” and “Misty Mountain Hop” and some people believe “Stairway to Heaven” is also about LotR, but I read somewhere that the band denied that.

Even if the band wasn’t purposefully referencing The Lord of the Rings, listening to “Stairway to Heaven” always makes me think about Tolkien’s world.

“In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings…”

This line alone would not make me think of LotR, but taken with the others I interpret this to be about Tom Bombadil. Tom is the songbird because he sings everything, and the “tree” is Old Man Willow because that is where the hobbits first encounter Tom.

“In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees…”

Smoke rings, as far as I know, don’t occur naturally. Bilbo and Gandalf smoke their pipe weed and blow smoke rings together in times of peace. This line sounds like some character longing for those relaxing days.

“…and the forests will echo with laughter.”

Makes me think of the Ents, but they don’t laugh much. Not that strong of an argument for this one.

“There’s a feeling I get when I look to the West, and my spirit is crying for leaving.”

In Tolkien’s mythology/history of Middle-Earth, the elves awoke in the east and traveling west, toward Valinor where the gods lived. The elves that remained in Middle-Earth, and those that traveled back from Valinor, have a spiritual urge to return. Around the time of The Lord of the Rings the time of elves is fading and the era of man is beginning. Indeed, in both the books and the movies we have scenes showing the mass exodus of Middle-Earth by the elves.

1 comment:

Andrew Hall said...

I think fantasy readers break down into two camps: Lord of the Rings fans and Harry Potter fans. Sure, you can like both but you're going to like one a lot better than the other.
Me? I'll take LotR andy day of the week.

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