While Tolkien's (published) works contain few references to the Liturgy, there are a few gems if you look closely. I have already posted some of these; these latest are simply applicable. Rubricarius of The St Lawrence Press has, in his post for Palm Sunday, written a rightfully scathing, and honest, comparison between the Old Rite and the Extraordinary Form of the New Rite. Read it here. For the Tridentine praxis, which is ceremonially identical, see here. It's even worse than the usual story of omissions here, alterations there; practically the whole ceremony has been mutilated.
Reading about Palm Sunday rather put me in mind of a passage from The Lord of the Rings (which I have not read yet this year, no wonder I feel like I'm forgetting things). See if you can see where I'm coming from:
''At last, on the fifth morning since they took the road with Gollum, they halted once more. Before them dark in the dawn the great mountains reached up to roofs of smoke and cloud. Out from their feet were flung huge buttresses and broken hills that were now at the nearest scarce a dozen miles away. Frodo looked round in horror. Dreadful as the Dead Marshes had been, and the arid moors of the Noman-lands, more loathsome far was the country that the crawling day now slowly unveiled to his shrinking eyes. Even to the Mere of Dead Faces some haggard phantom of green spring would come; but here neither spring nor summer would ever come again. Here nothing lived, not even the leprous growths that feed on rottenness. The gasping pools were choked with ash and crawling muds, sickly white and grey, as if the mountains had vomited the filth of their entrails upon the lands about. High mounds of crushed and powdered rock, great cones of earth fire-blasted and poison-stained, stood like an obscene graveyard in endless rows, slowly revealed in the reluctant light.
''They had come to the desolation that lay before Mordor: the lasting monument to the dark labour of its slaves that should endure when all their purposes were made void; a land defiled, diseased beyond all healing - unless the Great Sea should enter in and wash it with oblivion. 'I feel sick,' said Sam. Frodo did not speak.'' (The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, Chapter II).
This next passage comes from The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, oddly enough, from the late 1950s. On 8th April 1958, Tolkien had written to Rayner Unwin, his publisher, about negotiations of the proposed film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's criticism is highly pertinent if you would like an idea of what he'd think of the Peter Jackson trilogy. He complains that ''Morton Grady Zimmerman'' [...I know...], the man who composed the synopsis and ''story-line'' (a term Tolkien didn't seem to understand) had not in fact read The Lord of the Rings and had composed a bad synopsis based upon confused memories, with few references to the original story, and with constant mistakes (getting names wrong - or even misplacing them: Radagast becomes an Eagle, for instance. I wonder if Mr Jackson suffered this slovenly malady when he was making his film trilogy, now almost a decade old? In one of the completely made-up scenes from The Two Towers, you see a village of Rohan being attacked by Orcs, or Wild-men from Dunland (I forget - it's probably Orcs since Jackson sometimes conveniently forgets the existence of evil Men), and a mother admonishing her son and daughter to ride to the king's courts at Edoras. The horse's name appears to be Gárulf, which is rather a strange name for an horse (it is Anglo-Saxon for ''spear-wolf''), and in the Book was a man of Éomer's éored, who was sent to intercept the company of Saruman's Orcs returning to Isengard...very strange). Anyway, in the next letter in this series of The Letters, Tolkien writes to Forrest J. Ackerman (the film company rep) and goes through Zimmerman's story-line bit by bit. Unfortunately, only a portion of the original survives into The Letters (I'd love to see the original), but even this is very interesting (and amusing - in the previous letter, Tolkien had promised to be reticent - if this is reticence, then I'm a Dwarf!).
The conclusion of this letter is most delightful. See what you think:
''Part III....is totally unacceptable to me, as a whole and in detail. If it is meant as notes only for a section of something like the pictorial length of I and II, then in the filling out it must be brought into relation with the book, and its gross alterations of that corrected. If it is meant to represent only a kind of short finale, then all I can say is: The Lord of the Rings cannot be garbled like that.'' (The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, no 210).