Tetelestai, for now

David Russell Mosley


Ordinary Time
30 May 2015
The Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve finally submitted my thesis, titled: Being Deified: Poetry and Fantasy on the Path to God. It’s gone off to my examiners who will read it and then I will have to go back to the UK to defend it on 20 July. I can’t believe I’m almost done. Whatever happens at my viva, I will be done with my PhD within the next 12 months. I can’t believe it, I really cannot. In honour of my finished thesis, I thought I would put up my old posts on writing this beast. It’s gone through many iterations, permutations, and transfigurations, but now, it’s almost done.

A Brief Theology of Poetry and Fantasy: A Thesis Extract

Moving Countries, Cancer, Thesis Updates, and New Letters

It Is Finished: A Thesis Draft Done on Good Friday

Creativity as Deifying: An Extract from My Thesis Part I

Creativity as Deifying: On Fairy Stories, Part II

Thesis Extracts: Why We Need a Deifier

Thesis Extract: ‘The Role of Humanity in Creation’

Thesis Extract: ‘Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways as Evidence of Deification’

Thesis Extract: ‘The Four Aspects of Deification’

The Evolution of the Thesis: Why It’s Alright to Change Your Topic

Shifting Thesis Topics (Again)

Deification: A Brief Explanation of My Topic of Study

What am I Doing? Deification, John Cassian, and My Path to a PhD

Sincerely yours,

The Beauty of Rosie Cotton Is in Her Eyes

David Russell Mosley


5 May 2015
On the Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Friends and Family,

I just finished my annual reread of The Lord of the Rings, and I was struck by something I’ve never noticed before. In the penultimate chapter, ‘The Scouring of the Shire’, we meet Sam’s sweetheart, Rosie Cotton. The film version of sweet Rosie introduces her to us at the beginning, making her a barmaid at The Green Dragon Inn, perhaps even landlady the way she sees all the customers out. Book Rosie is certainly different. We don’t learn about her existence until The Return of the King, she certainly isn’t a barmaid or landlady, or at least we’re given no indication that she is. All we really know about her is that Sam seems to have loved her for some time and she is one of the many children of Farmer and Mrs Cotton. Yet I think there’s something more to Rosie Cotton.

Sam sees Rosie for the first time since he and Mr Frodo left the Shire and she’s gives him something of a hard time. This is, perhaps, excusable since she was under the impression that Sam meant to propose and hadn’t yet. ‘”Hullo, Sam!” said Rosie. “Where’ve you been? They said you were dead; but I’ve been expecting you since the spring. You haven’t hurried have you?” The first dozen or more times I read this line, I assumed Rosie was like most of the other hobbits, completely unconcerned with the great deeds Sam and Frodo and Merry and Pippin had been about. And while the rest of what I want to look at makes it clear this isn’t the case, this line gives the first indication. Just as the people of Hobbiton had thought Bilbo dead when he left, so did the people of Hobbiton believe Sam and Frodo (and Merry and Pippin) dead as well. And why not? Life was dangerous outside the Shire for hobbits (excluding the Breelanders). Some even thought they had died in the Old Forest, before they had gotten very far indeed from the Shire. Yet Rosie is not among them. But, perhaps you’ll say that this is just the feeling a lover has for her beloved, that he can’t be dead for our love is not complete. Well, let’s look further.

Sam, having been somewhat abused by his beloved, is taking leave of her to go and help the other companions root out the ruffians from the Shire. As he’s leaving Rosie calls after him “‘I think you look fine, Sam,” she said. “Go on now! But take care of yourself, and come straight back as soon as you have settled the ruffians!”‘ Rosie seems fully confident that Sam, Sam the Gardener, Sam the Servant, will be able to save the Shire. Not by himself, of course, but that this is a challenge which Sam is up to. She sees Sam. Of all the Shire hobbits, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry excluded, she is the first to truly see him. She knows his worth and his ability, better even than Sam would have done before his adventures. For the others, perhaps, it took Sam’s adventures and his new clothes to render him strange enough to be seen for his true value (they go on to make him mayor after all of his work restoring Hobbiton and the Shire to their proper beauty, and seemingly accept him as the new resident of Bag End, a residency that comes with some distinction).

Sam has always been one of my favourite characters. One could easily argue that he is the hero of The Lord of the Rings. And yet I always thought his wife a bit beneath him, unaware of his worth because she was unaware of what he had done. But it is before Frodo tells Sam’s father, ‘”Indeed, if you will believe it, he’s now one of the most people in all the lands, and they are making songs about his deeds from here to the Sea and beyond the Great River,”‘ that she says her piece about Sam’s ability to deal with the ruffians and come back to marry her. Not that she isn’t pleased to find her favourite as great as she believed him. But she didn’t need this information to properly value her beloved, she already knew his worth. She had eyes to see.

So, to Rosie Cotton (or Rosie Gamgee I should say) I offer my sincerest apologies. You are a far worthier mate for Samwise Gamgee than I had ever realised. I’m only glad I’ve found my own Rosie.

Sincerely yours,
David Russell Mosley