On November 2009 Tolkien enthusiasts around the world welcomed a new, never before published work, “The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun”. In Greece the book was published, simultaniously with the rest of the world, by AEOLOS publishing, but there was no official launching event. Since the book had been translated by one of our most esteemed members, Mr. Thomas Mastakouris, our Society, after a proper waiting period, offered to step in and organize one. So, in cooperation with the bookstore-cafe ENASTRON, the official launcing was held on 13th June 2010.
Many friends gathered in the nicely appointed book-cafe, filling it with warm conversation and smiles. Our Frodo had checked all the technical details early on. At the appropriate moment, an eerie music made all talk stop and cups return to the tables. The president of our Society gave the introduction, explaining the academic stature and the scientific work of Professor Tolkien, a work that is not so widely known as his literary opus. Then, she went on to read the first two verses of the meeting of Sigurd and Brynhild, first in the original English and then in the Greek translation, in order emphasize the difference between the curt, almost violent power of the short nordic meter and the melodic, passionate force of the dekapentasyllavos. The whole fatal meeting and its romantic result were then recounted by Elanor and Cirdan with deep emotion and perfect enounciation, while behind them, on a big screen, were projected the corresponding scenes of Fritz Lang’s silent masterpiece “The death of Sigfrid”.
Afterwards, Mr Thomas Mastakouris, the translator, talked about the scientific basis of the book as well as about the obstacles of rendering an ancient nordic saga into a language so removed from the origianl as Greek is. He continued bt narrating the part in which Gudrun’s brothers Gunar and Hogni take revenge on the Huns. The scene was then performed in stentorian voices by Elanor, Cirdan and Alexius vo Reuenthal respectively. Again, on the screne behind them, the silent heroes of the film“The Revenge of Krimhild” prepared their attack. And just when the poem reached its culmination and our heroes shouted “Wake now, warriors, wielding glory! To wide Valhoell ways lie open” the music swelled in Wagner’s “Vakyrien”, the gates of the castle gave way and the armies of the avengers stormed the castle. This was the ideal ending of a well planned performance.
When the applause ended, Mr Mastakouris answered all the questions and accepted the praise with his well known modesty. Discussion continued till late in the evening. Finaly, after thanking Mrs Riza, the cafe’s owner, for her hospitality, we left feeling that once gain we had succeded in our endeavors.
We wish there will be more of the Professor’s work published in the future. We will be here…