How come in TFOTR there is a talking fox. Since when did foxes talk, even in Tolkien?
The fox didn't actually speak in the book if I recall correctly, but the storyteller delves into what it's thinking... a nice enough device among tale-tellers, I think.
Generally there are speaking beasts in Tolkien's Subcreated World of course, but that's a different matter.
To me, on the one hand, it seems rather absurd to include talking animals into such a powerful and harsh world as it were, a world like ours with dreadful realities where life comes and goes as quickly and violently as any world war we have ever known as mortals here on earth. On the other hand, the time period lends itself to the ages of strange and wierd happenings, such as alchemy and shape shifting and other dark or occultic things known on this earth. I keep changing my mind as to what I feel abot it.
Unless my memory has completely abandoned me, the fox didn't actually speak. It was just his mental thought written in spoken form (i.e. quotes).
However, there are many instances of speaking animals other than those already mentioned. The bird at the lonely mountain for instance (Roac I think?), indeed the crebain and the other bird-spies must have been able to communicate somehow also. In fact, isn't one of the abilities of Radagast to speak with most living things?
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