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Featuring posts from Tolkien fans, artists, scholars and more

oh, Stephen!

So last fall I wrote about TV host Stephen Colbert, his Tolkien trivia mastery, and the pitfalls thereof. Though I came to critique, Colbert’s show persona is clear: nobody bests him at Tolkien trivia.

Well, I’ve now seen somebody stumping Colbert, but they may have had to cheat to do it. It was actor Ryan Gosling with a question from his mom designed for the purpose. It went like this:
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International Museum Day – a museum for Tolkien?

Today, 18th May, is recognised worldwide as Internation Museum Day which aims to promote museums and educate the public about the challenges museums face. But one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “Why isn’t there a museum to J.R.R. Tolkien?(more…)

Tolkien’s Tinúviel: A Postscript

All Nightingale photos (c) 2016 Michael FlowersNgalesingingcrop

When writing my recent piece on Nightingales in Tolkien’s writings, I compiled a list of places in Arda which were, or could have been, associated with the species.  This was originally intended as another appendix to the essay, however, as the tone was so different, I decided against including it with the main essay.  Despite this, I am including this now as a more light-hearted piece, which I trust will be taken in that spirit, and possibly a point of discussion.

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Tolkien’s Tinúviel: The Nightingale in Tolkien’s Writings

A Nightingale at rest in Lincolnshire

A Nightingale at rest in Lincolnshire (c) 2009 Michael Flowers

In late-April Nightingales are still returning to southern Britain, so this seems an appropriate time to recall Tolkien’s treatment of this exquisite songster.  Tolkien refers to nightingales (mainly in passing) in a surprisingly high number of his works, but I’m not going to refer to them all here.  Instead, I list all the titles of his books in which I’ve been able to locate an allusion to this species in the almost obligatory appendix. (I tried to time this blog post to coincide with the arrival of this species in the UK, so apologies for any rushed elements).

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18 reasons to read “A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages”

A-Secret-Vice-Preview

In the 18 days leading up to the publication of A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages yesterday, co-editors Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins tweeted sneak previews from the book. Here are just some of the reason why you should read the new critical edition of one of Tolkien’s most important essays.

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Tolkien Transactions LXVIII

March 2016

Oh, what a month! I had a good, long Easter holiday, getting rested up and re-energized, and on Tolkien Reading Day there was less than a handful of Tolkien-related stories that I hadn’t already dealt with, so I thought I was in good time. Then something happened, and what a great week that was. The amount of great stuff that came out over the last week of March was impressive! So if you haven’t caught up yet (and I won’t blame you, if you haven’t), you certainly have something to look forward to.

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Tolkien Transactions LXVII

February 2016

February was a month where I tried something new for the very first time in my life! Our oldest moved out, leaving us to reorganise the house, which has included setting up a nice office space, where I have been able to gather my Tolkien matters right next to my desk. Being quite satisfied with the set-up, I share a few pictures of my new ‘Troels den’ below.

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Mythmaking in the Golden Age of Tolkien

If Middle-earth were Troy we would have a thousand stories to tell.Some years ago I was presented with the opportunity to participate in a special project in which someone wanted me to translate a number of texts into Elvish, a task for which I am singularly unqualified.  Visions of con artists streamed through my head as I thought what it would take to do the work required.  I had known people in my youth whose philosophy was, “How much does it pay?”  These were the kinds of people who, if you asked them, “Does your software do [X]?” they would reply with, “It CAN.”

Instead I passed on the opportunity and submitted to my erstwhile benefactors and business partners a list of four names of people I felt were singularly qualified to do the deed.  I cautioned them I did not get on very well with candidate number four but he had the chops and belonged on the list more than I did. (more…)

So that’s where our copy was hiding!

You’ve all seen the articles like the one in the Guardian proclaiming “Unseen JRR Tolkien poems found in school magazine.”

As a news item, this story is a curious thing.

What’s just now been discovered is the school’s copy of the magazine with the poems in it. As the article makes clear, when Wayne G. Hammond inquired about the magazine, having found a reference elsewhere to Tolkien poetry being in it, the school could not find a copy of that issue and passed Wayne on to the archives of the Sisters of Mercy, the controlling order.

They had one, so that’s when the poems were found, some three years ago, and one of them has since been reprinted. But perhaps the school personnel did not know any of that, and now they’ve found it too. Good for them, but the only actual news here is, “So that’s where our copy was hiding!”

Daniel Helen has the whole story, with links to Wayne’s blog posts with more details.

Tolkien Transactions LXVI

January 2016

Another busy month …
I have said often enough that the two primary criteria for something to make it to these transactions is 1) that I actually see it, and 2) that I find it interesting or relevant or otherwise worthy enough to spend time on sharing it with you.
I am sure that many things that would meet the second criterion never makes the first, but the reverse is also true: I see a lot of stuff that fails to meet the second criterion – this month including, among other things, spurious and foolish claims about that chimney and folly in Birmingham, the possible auditioning of an acclaimed musician (however much I like his music) in connection with the Jackson films (the Beatles’ bid for a The Lord of the Rings film is more interesting in a Tolkienian context), and what appears to be violations of the copyrights of the Tolkien Estate. You will find no trace of any of these below.

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