There is a small village in the heart of Ohio — I don’t know its name — but it has a connection to J.R.R. Tolkien and it was, in fact, the complete inspiration for Middle-earth. Don’t believe me? Just wait — one day that village will have a Tolkien festival, local taverns will name themselves for Tolkien place-names, and the county tour books will mention that Tolkien once mailed a letter that was received by a friend of a friend who had a connection to someone in or near Ohio sometime in the late 1950s.
After twenty years of participating in online discussions about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, I feel no need for a retrospective. I rather feel like a traveler on Bilbo’s ever on-going road. Nearly every day I receive new questions from people who reveal a deep delight in Tolkien’s work that goes beyond “I loved this story” and “this book is so cool”. The journey of discovery extends beyond discovering a lost street map for Tharbad or a name list for the Maiaric warriors of the Host of Valinor. These things in themselves matter little to most people but are precious shiny objects for a dedicated few who immerse themselves in a corner of Middle-earth.
I was very pleased and honored to be asked by our esteemed leader to contribute to The Tolkien Society’s brilliant new website with what I hope will be a weekly blog posting about my current activities as a part time Post-Graduate research student at Cardiff Metropolitan University working on a thesis called ‘The Genesis of Tolkien’s Mythology (1906-1920).’
It will surely not come as a surprise to any regular reader of these transactions that the last five months have been rather busy for me — editions have been delayed and shortened. This has in part been due to my starting in a new job in September, being busy getting to know my responsibilities and learn to perform them well, and partly because of my being extra busy in Scouting. Now, however, things do seem to be lightening (and just in the right time for some highly welcome and interesting Tolkien publications!), so now I just hope that this will last.
Welcome! It’s been a long time coming, but I’m pleased to say that the Tolkien Society has a brand new website. I hope that this website will be a useful resource for fans of the books and films and introduce everyone to the Tolkien Society and its aims and projects.