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Happy Tolkien Reading Day

Stephen Colbert celebrates the day the ring was destroyed with a special video:

I’m game.

My favorite Tolkien book: That’s a tough one. I love The Lord of the Rings because the plot lines are engrossing and the characters grow so much. But I also love the Silmarillion because Tolkien reaches back to classics and, dare I say, ancient religions, to construct a theology as inspiring as anything you’ll find in modern religions. My favorite Vala are Varda, Ulmo and Nienna because they stand for things I value the most: enlightenment, helpfulness and music, and compassion.

My favorite character: Despite the conventional wisdom, Tolkien writes some kick ass female characters who are strong, wise, courageous and flawed all at the same time. Eowyn is my favorite character.

My favorite chapters in LOTR: I’m a sucker for the battle chapters. Helm’s Deep and The Battle of Pelanor fields are pretty high up there. But oddly enough, I find the chapters where Pippin is an agent of change to be some of the most interesting because we don’t typically think of Pippin as a particularly heroic character. Maybe I like him because he’s so relatable. He’s foolish, curious, quick thinking, loyal and finally, he finds his courage. And probably second breakfast.

Like Stephen says, the chapters where the hobbits walk through the shire and old forest to be rescued by Tom Bombadil and Goldberry are idyllic and lovely, and foreshadow the dangers that lie ahead of them. The nights they spend in the Tom’s house where he tells them tales, the rain falls on the eaves, and Goldberry tells them to fear nothing when they wake up in the middle of the night are so serene. I’d almost prefer Tom’s house to Rivendell.

I never get tired of Tolkien and I’m amazed at the sheer volume of his works. I can’t imagine how he taught classes at Oxford and raised four kids while he was carrying around all those characters, scenery, plots and philosophy in his head. New Tolkien writings are released all the time. His son Christopher did a lot of the cleanup work on the Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin, and Beren and Luthien. But there is so much more that most of us Tolkien fans knew nothing about until recently, like all of his letters and even more tales that went unfinished. Its a Tolkien glutton’s paradise.

So Happy Tolkien Reading Day. If you aren’t familiar with the Lord of the Rings, the audio version can be found on YouTube under many different channel names. Also see The Tolkien Professor, The Red Book, In Deep Geek, and Nerd of the Rings for more insight and analysis of Tolkien’s works.

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks”


3 Responses

  1. Sauron could not be reached for comment:

    • You know, I’d go see that musical. Tom Bombadil existed before the Lord of the Rings. He has his own set of stories. That would be just the sort of thing that would be very family friendly. Even Rhonda Santis would approve.
      Wait. Goldberry was a river spirit and rain conjuror. Definitely not Christian. And it’s never exactly spelled out if Tom and Goldberry are married or just living in sin. So, the touring company will probably have to skip Florida.

      • Whenever I hear the phrase “family friendly” I think of Disney changing the ending of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

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