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Featuring posts from Tolkien fans, artists, scholars and more

what I’m not doing this weekend

This is the latest of several e-mails I’ve gotten from Symphony Silicon Valley:

After the breath-taking, sold-out presentation at Lincoln Center in New York City, Peter Jackson’s film trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic of Middle Earth and one small hobbit’s quest to destroy the Ring of Power comes to San Jose, with Howard Shore’s immortal score performed live by over 250 all-local musicians. Never before has an American orchestra attempted this monumental feat, and the results are stunning. This is not an event to miss.

You know I’m a lifelong Tolkien fan. (I even know how to spell his name.)

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Middle-earth: The Thing In Itself

It is simply complicatedIf you should ever wish to confuse and confound your friends (or enemies), challenge them to identify and explain the five main sub-plots in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”.  It’s a very complex movie that was widely criticized for being too simple.  Such is the way of fiction.

In order to be successful and popular every story, no matter how short, must include some complexity.  Complexity is a good word to describe what we cannot describe succinctly.  It is also a smokescreen word we use to hide our distaste for things.  A story is too complex if we don’t like it and it is not complex enough if we don’t like it. (more…)

Tolkien at the PCA

This was the second year that the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference has had a track in Tolkien Studies, now an official study area of the Association under the chairship of Robin Reid of Texas A&M-Commerce. This year’s conference was held at the Marriott Hotel on the edge of the colorful French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Tolkien track – just one set of items in a huge four-day conference with hundreds of presentations on all manner of pop culture topics – ran all day on Friday, April 3, in one small meeting room with a usual audience of about 20. Here’s my impressions of attending much of it, taken from my personal blog:

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Tolkien Transactions LVI

March 2015

Besides much else that has happened in March, I need also to somehow mark the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, or Pterry to many of his fans. Much has been posted about Pratchett in the weeks since he passed away, but as with Tolkien, he leaves his work behind.

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The unavoidable questions all Tolkien fans face

Telling friends, family and work colleagues that you’re “really into Tolkien” can provoke both amusement and bemusement. We’re used to this; we’re also used to being asked the same familiar questions again and again. I’ve pooled together a selection of the most-asked questions with a handy cheat-sheet of suggested answers. (more…)

Tolkien Transactions LV

February 2015

First, heartfelt congratulations to Dr Andrew Higgins upon receiving his Ph.D. for his thesis, The Genesis of Tolkien’s Mythology. Eglerio! A laita se!

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Middle-earth will return to our screens again

Frodo with Ring over Cracks of Doom

Recently, my colleague Daniel Helen argued that more films set in Middle-earth were highly unlikely. I disagree. And here’s why. (more…)

Tolkien and Quisling

Was Tolkien the first writer in English to use the word ‘quisling’?

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Nice but was it necessary? Review: Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition

The-Hobbit-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-Extended-Edition-19

The Extended Edition of 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released on Monday 3rd November. Tolkien film-aficionados have got used to the obligatory 11-month wait for the “proper” version of the film, but is the extra half-an-hour of “juicy” book-based shenanigans really worth it? Warning: spoilers ahead. (more…)

Tolkien Transactions LIV

January 2015

All the usual disclaimers apply about newness, completeness and relevance (or
any other implication of responsibility) :-)

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