Roverandom

roverandom-new-cover

Cover of the 2013 Harper Collins edition of Roverandom.

Inspired by the time one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s son lost his toy dog, the tale of Rover, a young dog that will have lots of adventures after upsetting a wizard.

Rover, a young dog who lives at a farm in the country, upsets a passing wizard who turns him into a toy dog. As a toy, Rover is sold to a mum who give the toy to one of her sons. Rover think of him as “Little boy two”. He is able to escape (because he can move slighly when not seen) at the beach by the ocean. The boy is upset and looks for Rover. In the meanwhile, Rover has met Psamathos Psamathides who could magic off part of the wizard’s spell. Now Rover can move completely, only, he is still tiny as a toy dog.

In order to get help from a strong magician he travels with the seagull Mew to the moon to seek help from the Man in the Moon. Together with the moondog Rover (who rename the main character to Roverandom, because there can not be two Rovers) he has a lot of adventures on the moon, one which includes a dragon! Also, he meets the Little Boy Two, who in his dreams is present at the moon. Roverrandom realises he wants to get back to the boy as a real sized dog.

It becomes clear that Roverandom has to seek out the wizard who put the original spell on him. He seeks out Psamathos when getting back to the Cove and is sent to under the Sea, where the wizard now lives after having married a mermaid. Roverandom is taken to under the Sea by the old whale Uin. Here he has lots of adventures with a seadog, also called Rover. The wizard is later banished from the sea (because he didn’t do a great job as an under sea magician), Roverandom joins him back to the land. Eventually the magician lifts his spell and Roverandom is free to seek out the family of Little Boy Two. He eventually finds his original home at in the country. His original owner just happens to be the grandmother of the boy, so in the end they are reunited!

Characters to note

  • Rover /Roverandom – The main character, a young dog of the name Rover. Is later renamed Roverandom when meeting another dog called Rover.
  • Artaxerxes – A wizard who gets annoyed at Rover and turns the dog into a small toydog.
  • Little Boy Two – A boy who gets a toy dog from his mum (arguably one of the Tolkien brothers)
  • Psamathos Psamathides – Chief of the Psamathists who spends most of the days under the sand in the cove where he lives, only appearing when something amusing is going on.
  • Mew – A gull that carries messages to the man in the moon.
  • The Man in the Moon – The greatest magician who lives on the moon.
  • Rover the Moondog – A winged dog who lives on the moon with the Man in the Moon.
  • Uin – A great whale, the oldest of his race (compare with Unfinished Tales).
  • Mrs. Artaxerxes – A Mermaid that marries the wizard.
  • Rover the Seadog – A Seadog who lives with the mermaids and mermen under the sea. Is some thousand years old, previously owned by a Viking/Northlander when he was an ordinary dog.

Features & Places to note

  • The Isle of Dogs – A place where lost dogs go, where they can do whatever they want.
  • The Moon – At the moon the greatest magician lives, also there are spiders and a dragon and other features.
  • The Cove – By the sea, Psamathos lives there.
  • The Sea – The mermen and mermaids lives here, for a while Artaxerxes is PAM (Pacific and Atlantic Magician) here. Also the great sea serpent lives here (reminicient of Jörmundgandr/Midgárðsormr)

Comments

This is a very quaint and cute story. With many small references to ideas that seems to have a foundation in the world building of Middle Earth, it was a great joy to read! It also references various tales and mythological characters and features. It is easy to tell that there is a lot of heart in this story, perfect for young children. The whole story is told from the perspective of the dog, an individual who has little control of himself, which gives rise to a lot of troublesome situations! The story is so typically Tolkien, because he does add so much of his imagination and it could easily be expanded to a bigger tale.

Have you read this story? Please comment and tell us what you think of the story of Roverandom!

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