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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Another sad bit of news


Dec 14 2019, 5:23pm

Post #1 of 12 (1741 views)
Another sad bit of news Can't Post

Aunt Dora Baggins has posted in the Facebook page for TheOneRing.net that long-time Reading Room regular a.s., formerly posting as an seileachan, passed away from brain cancer this past week.

As I noted there, I'll repeat here:
a.s. was one of those folk on TORn whose every post was worth reading. I regarded her as a friend, and I never met her. She started as an seleichan - no, sorry, an seileachan, I could never learn to spell it, which was endearing in itself - but joined the new boards in 2007 in the new and far more spellable guise of a.s

Her Catholic faith was often a mainstay in our Reading Room discussions, as she got things about Tolkien in that regard that many others of us missed. One of her favorite subjects was the role of Free Will in his works, paralleling her fascination with its workings in God's real world.

Here are a couple, of the dozens easily found by searching for the phrase in her posts:

2007: it always---ALWAYS---comes back to free will!!

2008: free will, you said? - she was well aware of her reputation, and lightly made fun of it at times, before diving into the topic yet again.

Also 2008: if they cannot go to Hell, they do not have free will - part of a really extensive RR discussion on the subject started unwarily by VisualWeasel!

2010: Free will without faith

Well, she could go on and on. But do notice the light-hearted and friendly tone with which she debated deeply held opinions about theology. Nor was she a one-trick pony - this topic was simply her favorite. But she loved Tolkien's work deeply and pitched in on all kinds of subjects and discussions, with the same cheerful and enjoyable voice and spirit.

Here is an example where she explains how to read the passage in the Field of Cormallen which ends:
"...they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."
2008: I don't mean no one else understands that kind of metaphor

In her original post (see lead-in to her question 5) that led to the reply linked above, she remembered that she had enlightened me in an earlier discussion of the same chapter, one which is now lost to the old boards. I've never forgotten that exchange of ours, which has informed my reading of that passage ever since.

One last thing I can't resist: her avatar, or whatever we call it, won my heart practically the first time I saw it. Its return around 2016 after several years of absence was such a thrill: she's back! And yes, she's still on her tummy, waving her legs around, with her nose deeply buried in The Lord of the Rings!

As I imagine she is, even now, only on a cloud instead of the living room rug. Farewell for now, a.s. We'll all see you again soon enough.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Dec 14 2019, 7:31pm

Post #2 of 12 (1659 views)
How sad! [In reply to] Can't Post

My condolences to her friends and family.

She was always one of my favourites in the Reading Room - whenever she posted anything, it was worth reading.

Thank you for letting us know.

Thinking about things I don't understand


Dec 14 2019, 8:01pm

Post #3 of 12 (1650 views)
Oh no [In reply to] Can't Post

Very sad news indeed :(

My Low-Magic Fantasy Novel on eBook/hardback: The Huntsman and the She-Wolf

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Tol Eressea

Dec 14 2019, 8:08pm

Post #4 of 12 (1653 views)
I hate seeing these posts [In reply to] Can't Post

not because it wasn't beautiful Squire, but because it means yet another Tornsib has sailed West Frown

What a thoughtful tribute you have given her. Thank you Heart

My writing and novels:

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You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!

Forum Admin / Moderator

Dec 14 2019, 10:06pm

Post #5 of 12 (1646 views)
Thank you for this lovely tribute, Squire. [In reply to] Can't Post

Aunt Dora also posted about this on Off Topic, to ensure more people would see it.

Mary was a very special person. I have an image of her walking, strong and healthy, in that far green country. That hasn't stopped me from crying much of this morning. But now I'm smiling at the thought of her in her avatar's pose on a fluffy white cloud, understanding all that wisdom we can only glimpse dimly in our current state.

The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View

Aunt Dora Baggins

Dec 15 2019, 3:29pm

Post #6 of 12 (1583 views)
Thank you for your beautiful tribute, Squire. [In reply to] Can't Post

I never met a.s. in real life, though I talked to her on the phone once after her last surgery, when she expressed a wish for visits and phone calls. I always enjoyed her thoughtful posts, but it was on facebook that I felt I was getting to know her better. From her TORn posts I had no idea of her fierce political views, for example. She did talk frequently on TORn about her daughter Emily, and that was also true on facebook.

When I talked to her on the phone she had some brain damage from her surgery, and it was difficult for her to talk, but she mentioned TORn. She said it reminded her of the Jane Austen days when someone in the village would get a letter from a friend, and share it with everyone, so people would feel like they knew this person they may never have met. She said it was amazing to be able to connect with so many people from around the world.

Emily died in November from respiratory problems. Her family waited until they were together at Thanksgiving to tell a.s., who had been drifting in and out of consciousness. It's not clear how much she understood of what they told her.

GNU Terry Pratchett
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com

uncle Iorlas

Dec 16 2019, 6:21pm

Post #7 of 12 (1510 views)
Condolences. [In reply to] Can't Post

I got a chance to go back through those old posts. I'm sorry I missed here, and sorry you all have to miss her now.


Dec 18 2019, 5:19pm

Post #8 of 12 (1161 views)
Sad news indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

I would always be happy to see that "a.s." had contributed to a thread - she would so often have an insight or idea to enjoy.

The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


Dec 19 2019, 12:28am

Post #9 of 12 (1144 views)
A star has fallen from the firmament... [In reply to] Can't Post

And the light has lessened in the sky. She was adroit, funny and always a worthwhile read. And her avatar was the best.

Slán agus beannacht mhaith, an seileachan. The willow weeps.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.


Dec 19 2019, 8:31am

Post #10 of 12 (1108 views)
She was incredibly brave. [In reply to] Can't Post

During her illness and lengthy treatment for brain cancer she kept a blog which I followed, and contributed to from time to time. Her courage never flagged. She seemed for a while to have recovered, but it was not to be.

I echo others here regarding her posts, which were always insightful and eloquent. She was among my favorite posters when I was more active here. I know she will be missed by many.


Dec 19 2019, 7:29pm

Post #11 of 12 (1070 views)
I'm so sorry to hear that [In reply to] Can't Post

I did not have the opportunity to interact with her in her original days posting here, but I greatly enjoyed reading her posts when she returned in around 2016, and always got a warm feeling when of anticipation when I saw that lovely avatar.

May she rest in peace. Heart

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

N.E. Brigand

Dec 29 2019, 3:41am

Post #12 of 12 (664 views)
Very sad indeed. [In reply to] Can't Post

I first met Mary and more than another dozen members at the Tolkien conference in 2004 in Milwaukee. I met her again a few days before I first met you: she came to Mythsoc in New Britain, and I was able to give her a ride from the airport. In light of your first link to one of her old comments, it's especially amusing that this was one of her posts from Mythcon, just two months later:

It was fated that I would survive Mythcon!

Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.

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