Blog

As the festive season approaches, some people are looking for Tolkien-inspired gifts to give their friends and families this year (or perhaps buying a little Christmas gift for themselves!) It sometimes comes as a surprise that the Tolkien Society isn’t just a Twitter account and a Facebook group, but a real charity you can join and support just like the National Trust or the Boy Scouts. We even offer gift membership you can give people as a Christmas present.

The Tolkien Society has well over 1,000 members in over 30 different countries, many of whom play a full and active role in the Society. So, here are some of the reasons why you should buy your loved-ones the gift of membership today. (more…)

I can’t possibly read all the defenses of Tolkien’s works against racism.  Too many people have been drawn into this neverending story of racist bias in The Lord of the Rings.  The accusations of racism resonate strongly with all of us, and I have even read a scholarly paper that attempts to break down the pro and con views into categories or types.  So I apologize to those of you who have raised the anti-Nordicist defense but I blame Google for making it impossible to find such arguments.

Nordicism is one of those words I only rarely stumble across.  I have no sympathies with people who think in terms of “race” and “purity” and other primitive rules of distinction.  I will have to teach myself to use words like Nordic, Nordicism, and Nordicist because these are terms that you can easily find in accusations made against Tolkien, or discussions of the accusations made against him. (more…)

You’ve seen Stephen Colbert on The Late Show criticizing the scientist who named a species of spider after Sméagol? It should have been Gollum, Colbert says, or better yet, how about Shelob? “This is sad,” Colbert concludes. It is, but the problem lies more with him.

(more…)

This year’s Oxonmoot, held 10–13 September at St Antony’s College Oxford, was a great success. If you missed it, or you simply want to relive part of the experience, here are a few videos to whet your appetite.

(more…)

October 2015

October has been a busy month, and November isn’t shaping up to be much better, so my commentary is a bit reduced – and in some cases links to interesting articles are just given without commentary.

These transactions are posted on my blog, Parma-kenta (Enquiry into the books) and on the Tolkien Society web-site.

(more…)

Years ago when the first attempt to launch a licensed massively multiplayer game based on Middle-earth was still in process there was much debate among waiting players about whether they should be permitted to play Noldorin warriors.  Some people wanted the ability to swashbuckle their way across the landscape of Middle-earth and others feared the Player-versus-Player advantages that a “real” Noldo would have against, say, a Silvan Elf or a Dwarf.

The idea that you could play a Noldorin warrior capable of matching the great warriors of the First Age was both a tempting and fearful prospect, and yet now many games have come and gone and people routinely play god-like characters (or even gods in Smite!) without worrying about whether one character is too powerful for the game.  The engineering of the game is supposed to ensure there is balance. (more…)