Blog

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.

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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…)

September 2015

The Tolkienian month of September starts with the anniversary of Tolkien’s 1973 death on September 2nd. It’s a moment for reflection, but it also quickly gives way to the anticipation for the Tolkien Society Oxonmoot and the joint birthday of Bilbo and Frodo (not going into the discussion of proper calendric translation here) on what is becoming known as ‘Hobbit Day’. The celebration in Bri, the Copenhagen Tolkien Society, was already on the 13th, and together with my daughter I partook in a very fine seven-course medieval / renaissance dinner on that day.

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Having recently curated an exhibition of Tolkien-inspired art in Sheffield, South Yorkshire featuring a number of artists well-known to the society, and with many people unable to undertake the travel to see the show, I’ve put together this short video. It provides a general overview of the exhibition but also reveals something of the curation choices linked to the title Evil in the Shining Light by combining readings from Tolkien’s source text in combination with images of the exhibition.

It sometimes comes as a surprise to people online 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.

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, as the world comes together to celebrate Hobbit Day, here are some of the reasons why you should join the Tolkien Society today. (more…)

Next time you’re listening to the 1981 BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, with its music in the English classical tradition written by Stephen Oliver, contemplate the bizarre but interesting fact that the composer was the uncle of John Oliver, of Last Week Tonight.