The Hobbit

5 Fantasy Series with Amazing Original Poetry

Many authors, particularly fantasy authors, add depth to their fictional universe by creating in-world songs and poetry. Some of it is honestly mind-blowing. 





1. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings



Tolkien has some of the most expansive world-building in literature, with many distinct species and several fully constructed original languages. His books are littered with countless poems; some of them are even composed in his made-up languages! ‘Tolkien Gateway’ has full lists of the poetry in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.



I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew:
Of wind I sang, a wind there came and in the branches blew.
Beyond the Sun, beyond the Moon, the foam was on the Sea,
And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.
Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,
In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.
There long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years,
While here beyond the Sundering Seas now fall the Elven-tears.
O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day;
The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away.
O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.
But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?





2. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter



Rowling has some lovely poems in her beloved children’s series. These include an ominous warning against thieves, snippets of magical songs on the radio, and, most notably, songs sung each year by the Hogwarts Sorting Hat. Its song in The Order of the Phoenix is especially impactful.



And never since the founders four
Were whittled down to three
Have the houses been united
As they once were meant to be.


And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into houses
Because that is what I’m for,


But this year I’ll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it’s wrong,


Though I must fulfil my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether Sorting
May not bring the end I fear.


Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes


And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you …
Let the Sorting now begin.





3. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire



The title of Martin’s series itself gives us a clue that we’ll find some songs here. An important element in the books is the role of singers and songs in shaping the narrative that will be remembered by history. For this epic, Martin has included everything from tavern-songs to religious hymns to commemorations of battles.



Oh, I am the last of the giants,
my people are gone from the earth.
The last of the great mountain giants,
who ruled all the world at my birth.
Oh the smallfolk have stolen my forests,
they’ve stolen my rivers and hills.
And the’ve built a great wall through my valleys,
and fished all the fish from my rills.
In stone halls they burn their great fires,
in stone halls they forge their sharp spears.
Whilst I walk alone in the mountains,
with no true companion but tears.
They hunt me with dogs in the daylight,
they hunt me with torches by night.
For these men who are small can never stand tall,
whilst giants still walk in the light.
Oh, I am the last of the giants,
so learn well the words of my song.
For when I am gone the singing will fade,
and the silence shall last long and long.



4. Brian Jacques’ Redwall 



The Redwall series has no shortage of songs and poems, a compilation is available here. While many depend on the in-world context to make much sense, others are beautiful entirely on their own.


“See the smoke curl from the chimney, 
An’ the mat beside the door, 
On the path there stands the family, 
Like you left ‘em long before. 
Home returning, home returning, 
Seasons gone an’ young uns grown, 
Home returning, home returning, 
Back to those I call my own!


There the fire burns and the ale brews, 
An’ the bread bakes soft an’ brown, 
While my friends wait with the good news, 
Bring my chair an’ sit me down. 
Home returning, home returning, 
Comes the warrior from the war, 
Home returning, home returning, 
Home to wander nevermore!” 





5. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass



Lewis Carroll’s work is eccentric and almost hallucinogenic, so it’s only fitting that it be filled with weird poetry to match. Of course, the well-loved and nonsensical Jabberwocky is his crowning jewel:



Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wade;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”




Feature Image Via Rolling Stone