Tag Archives: J. R. R. Tolkien

Mythological Beasts and Spirits: Dryad

Dignified, the ancient giants, from their homes of bark and wood, Hearkened to the forest maiden, in the fog before her stood. From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III
Dignified, the ancient giants, from their homes of bark and wood,
Hearkened to the forest maiden, in the fog before her stood.
From: The Staff in the Tree by Robert Lambert Jones III

Dryads are among my favorite characters from mythology and folklore. From Greek mythology to modern times, their interpretations in art and literature are varied. They are tree spirits, certain versions of which can emerge from their arboreal homes as human beings. Most of the representations I have found are female.

The Dryad by Evelyn De Morgan
The Dryad by Evelyn De Morgan
The Dryad by Henry John Stock.
The Dryad by Henry John Stock.

In other versions, they are so bound to their homes that they die if their trees are cut down. I wish I could credit the following painting, but I could find no information on the artist. If anyone knows and can tell me, I will gladly update this post (artist: Emile Jean-Baptiste Philippe Bin – many thanks to Colin Smith for the information). I was intrigued by the idea of a dryad emerging to prevent a woodsman from cutting down her tree. The painting implies a story.


In this painting by Edward Burne-Jones, the female figure is not a Dryad proper, but rather a woman temporarily transformed into a tree. She transforms back when the lover who neglected her repents of his actions. Though I haven not yet read the story, I think it comes from The Metamorphoses by Ovid. Still, the painting is reminiscent of the original concept of tree spirits.

The Tree of Forgiveness by Edward Burne-Jones
The Tree of Forgiveness by Edward Burne-Jones

They are sometimes portrayed as males. For  The Staff in the Tree, I envisioned them as giant warriors, spirits that can emerge from their trees and take on solid form. This gave me good imagery around which to work some verses. In the story, the Dryads are forest guardians who are shrewd, severe, and entirely not to be messed with. I must cop to being influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien’s portrayal of the Ents in his Ring trilogy.

Juvenile though my drawing at the top of this entry may seem, it was a hard one for me to make with my limited technique. It certainly pales against the other images I have shown. I will end with a painting relevant to this post and last week’s as well.

Dryads and Naiads by Walter Crane.
Dryads and Naiads by Walter Crane.

Liebster Award Nomination

I need to insert this between posts for my Modern Pantheon series so that I may thank Kgothatjo Magolego (KG’s MOVIE RANTS) for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I understand that this is an honor, and I am happy to play along. Here is the information he sent me:


Liebster Award Nomination


I’d like to thank Hammy Reviews for nominating me for this award, please do check out his blog by clicking here. I’d see blogs I was following, writing about receiving these awards and wondering if I’d ever get one. So this is really a honour. I’d also like to thank everyone who reads my blog and chimes in with a comment or a like. I might forget to reply to a comment once and a while but I appreciate your presence.

The Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers (decided to keep it strictly WordPress blogs cause I can’t tell how many followers bloggers on other servers have).
  5. Let the blogs know you have nominated them.
  6. Give them 11 questions to answer

*See above for my acknowledgement of KG’s Movie Rants.

Here are my answers to Kgothatjo’s questions:

Your most embarrassing moment?

I think that would have to be high school basketball practice when I guarded a teammate. Everyone in the gym was laughing, and there was no way to hide or get out of it.

Favourite movie and why?

This is impossible for me to answer. I’m suffering from choice anxiety here, so I’ll narrow it down to my favorite monster movie: The Water Horse. It’s a charming location and period piece, and I thought the child characters were adorable. Plus, the special effects were convincingly good.

Marry, kill, sleep with: Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Tom Hiddleston?

I’ll have to be a bit of a buzz kill. I wouldn’t marry any of them because I am already married to my wife of 36 years, and she is the love of my life. I would not kill any of them, either, since I’m a Christian, and – well – that’s just plain bad. I’m also afraid sleeping with any of them is out of the question since I’m a dedicated heterosexual and have promised my wife that I will never sleep with anyone but her. I would like to have a conversation with Tom Hiddleston. My son-in-law, Michael Greenholt, helped animate Tinker Bell: The Pirate Fairy, for which Tom provided some vocal work. Mike said that this excellent actor is an interesting, gracious, and pleasantly mannered gentleman, so even Loki can’t be all bad.

Last thing that made you laugh uncontrollably?

This happens fairly often, so I can’t pin down a specific memory. I’m sure, however, that it would have been at an extended family gathering. My brothers are hilarious, and this generally happens late at night when things seem funnier.

Favourite childhood memory?

There have been so many, that it’s difficult to pick just one. One that just came to mind is when my grandfather took one of my brothers and I fishing on a permanent pier in Lake Michigan. He fell asleep on the pier, and my father took a picture of us with our unconscious Doccie. I still have that photograph framed and hanging on the wall, and it is a treasured possession.

Favourite song at the moment?

This is another hard one. It depends on the mood, so right now I’ll say Dock of the Bay as sung by Otis Redding. I play the electric bass for a hobby, and Duck Dunn’s elegant countermelody on that song might be one of the best ever recorded in popular music.

If you could be any fictional character who would it be and why?

I’m more comfortable inventing characters than pretending to be one, but I’ll pick Innocent Smith from Man Alive by G. K. Chesterton.  He reminds me of another one of my brothers, and I responded to his off-the-wall spontaneity. He enlivened the other characters around him and improved their lives. I’d like to do that, too. Favorite quote by this character: “The puppy struggles.” Read this odd story for yourselves to get the context.

Do you have any unusual talents?

I’m not completely sure. I have a very active imagination, and I have been fairly good (but not great) at a number of things throughout my life. I’ve had my athletic phase, my musical phase, and my scientific phase. I am currently in my teaching phase, and I hope to enter more fully into my writing phase when I retire.

What’s your blogging process?

Creativity is a deep well that nobody truly understands. Things in which I am interested reach critical mass until I feel compelled to write about them. That’s all I can think of to say. My mind abhors a vacuum.

Do you put your ketchup over your fries or on the side?

I used to put it on the side and dip my fries. I am now much too health-conscious to eat that kind of food. My father died prematurely of a heart attack, and it is my sincere desire not to follow in his steps.

What’s your vision for your blog?

  1. I snore, but that’s okay because so does my wife. She’s awesome.
  2. My favorite color as a child was forest green.
  3. I always had German chocolate cake for my birthday when I was growing up. My mother baked it for me.
  4. I love well-made monster movies, and I own several. It has to be realistic, doggone it.
  5. I am a fanciful personality who had to learn to be disciplined, thorough, and logical.
  6. If my teachers hadn’t forced me to read, I would have missed out on a lifetime pleasure, and I wouldn’t have developed a passion for writing. My days of skimming and faking the book report are over.
  7. I was an excellent crammer in college. This, of course, is not the same thing as learning.
  8. My favorite authors are G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck, and Thorton Wilder.
  9. My favorite book by Wilder is Theophilus North, which was written very near to the end of his life. The main character is a good smart aleck.
  10. I am drawn to a good smart aleck.
  11. I speak fluent jackass. My wife will attest to this.

I would like to nominate these bloggers for a Liebster Award:

  1. The Animated Life
  2. Gabbing Geek
  3. Enette’s World
  4. Kinnerstern
  5. Wyrmflight

*Please see the rules of acceptance near the top of this post.

Here are my 11 questions for you to answer:

  1. What do you find yourself thinking about when you don’t have to?
  2. What do you love even when you fail at it?
  3. What do you hate even when you succeed at it?
  4. In your perfect universe, who are you, and what are you doing?
  5. What do you prefer to write about and why?
  6. Invent a motto for living. You needn’t be serious.
  7. You have to spend three months vacationing by yourself. How would you best use that time?
  8. The world would be a better place if everyone would just…
  9. What is a creative project for which you wish you had enough time?
  10. If you had an income of a million dollars a year, how much would you need to live on, and what would you do with the rest?
  11. Of all the announced releases for future movies, which one do you look forward to seeing the most?