Tolkien Transactions XXXV

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Troels Forchhammer

Apr 7, 2013, 9:00:34 AM4/7/13
March 2013

Finally! I am very sorry that it has taken me this long to finish
the March summary, but once more events relating to my off-line life
(mainly family, scouting and work) have conspired to keep me
exceedingly busy for the past two to three weeks, preventing me from
working on these transactions until this weekend (6th-7th April).
So, with no further ado, here it is.

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
following headlines:
1: Tolkien Reading Day
2: Conferences
3: News
4: Essays and Scholarship
5: Commentary
6: Reviews and Book News
7: Interviews
8: Tolkienian Artwork
9: Other Stuff
10: Rewarding Discussions
11: In Print
12: Web Sites
13: Sources

= = = = Tolkien Reading Day = = = =
The international Tolkien Reading Day falls every year on the
(non-adjusted) anniversary of the destruction of the Master Ring in
the fires of Mount Doom. This year the topic for the reading day was
Tolkien's landscapes. I joined my fellows in Bri, the Copenhagen
Tolkien Society, for a reading in a "Bog & Ide" book shop in the
large Copenhagen mall, Fields, where I read from chapter six of _The
Hobbit_. Elsewhere, Tolkien Reading Day was celebrated in many other

MB, Monday, 25 March 2013, "Tolkien Reading Day"
Marcel does an internet reading day, quoting some of the fantastic
landscape descriptions from Tolkien's books and telling more
generally about Tolkien Reading Day.

Ilverai, Monday, 25 March 2013, "Wishing you a Happy Tolkien Reading
Well, thank you Ilverai, and I hope you had a good one too.

Other coverage:

Garfeimao, Friday, 22 March 2013, "Tolkien Reading Day is 10 years
Telling (one version of) the history of Tolkien Reading Day.

Sean Kirst, Friday, 22 March 2013, "Saturday in Syracuse, books,
movies and landscapes: Tolkien Reading Day, 2013"
On the slightly off-time celebration of Tolkien Reading Day in
Syracuse, NY on Saturday 23rd.

Stephanie Katz, _Bradenton Herald_, Sunday, 24 March 2013, "Speaking
Volumes: Explore the world of J.R.R. Tolkien"
That is, I presume that Tolkien Reading Day is the occasion for this
invitation to explore the world and life of Tolkien written by a
Manatee County Public Library System staff member.

_The Express_, Monday, 25 March 2013, "Top 10 facts about J.R.R

_The Guardian_, Monday, 25 March 2013, "Tolkien Day: how well do you
know the lands of Lord of the Rings?"
A nice quiz focused on this year's theme: Tolkien's landscapes. Need
I say that got them all correct (without looking up anything)? :-)

_Delaware County News Network_, Monday, 25 March 2013, "Today is
Tolkien Reading Day"

_The Chronicle-Journal_, Wednesday, 27 March 2013, "Day of
activities held to celebrate Tolkien"

= = = = Conferences = = = =

JDR, Friday, 1 March 2013, "Valparaiso, day one"
Reporting from arrival day at the Tolkien conference in Valparaiso,
mostly about meeting up with known faces, but also visiting the
See also Tuesday, 5 March 2013, "Valparaiso, Day Two"
about the second day at the conference, here with reports on a
number of papers (several of which I hope will appear in print) by
e.g. Verlyn Flieger (apparently along the same lines as her plenary
talk at The Return of the Ring), Judy Ann Ford, David Bratman.
And , Tuesday, 12 March 2013, "Valparaiso, Day Three"
about the last day at the conference, on which Rateliff gave his own
talk, "In the Company of Dwarves: _The Hobbit_'s Influence on _The
Silmarillion_", of which we will hopefully hear more at some later

DB, Thursday, 7 March 2013, "celebrating The Hobbit in the snow"
David Bratman's report from the Valparaiso conference -- praising
John Rateliff's talk, and offering some very brief, almost
kaleidoscopic, comments on other events of the conference.
See also the following posts, on Friday, 8 March 2013, "more posts
about music and food"
about the music (two concerts) at the conference -- and the food.

JF, Friday, 15 March 2013, "The C.S. Lewis and Inklings Society
Jason Fisher, about a week before the conference, gave the schedule
for the conference, which he would attend -- having (for the fourth
time) won the first price for the best scholar essay.

MB, Saturday, 23 March 2013, "Why Easter is your chance to meet some
dwarves, Radagast, Jay Johnstone, LotRProject and the Tolkienist --
at HobbitCon!"
HobbitCon sounds like a good place to spend Easter ... (though
perhaps a little too much emphasis on Jackson's world for my

= = = = News = = = =

Exeter College, March 2013, "Exeter's Library - Tolkien's creative
While the story is really about securing money for a refurbishment
of Exeter College's library, they link it to Tolkien. While the
story of the Finnish grammar is correct, the claim that Tolkien
'began to invent both a language and a world for it to describe' in
the library of Exeter College is clearly wrong -- that part came

Scott Thil, _Morphizm_, Monday, 4 March 2013, "Bilbo the
Billionaire: A Short History of J.R.R. Tolkien's Greed Wars"
A rather thorough commentary (and walk-through) of the legal battles
surrounding Tolkien's legacy. I just wish that Mr. Thil (and many
other commenters) would understand that the Tolkien Estate and
Tolkien Trust are not concerned with the money at all -- if they
wanted more money, they could get them in the heaps by clever
licensing deals for e.g. the stories of T�rin Turambar and Beren &
L�thien, but they don't.

Ben Child, _The Guardian_, Thursday, 14 March 2013, "Hobbit gambling
rights: Warner Bros countersues JRR Tolkien estate"
One of the Tolkien-related news-stories this month has been the
countersuit filed by Warner and the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC)
against the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins. I, for one, am
perfectly willing to testify in court how the licensing practices by
Warner and SZC have caused me emotional distress -- and I wouldn't
be lying. As it is, however, I suppose that the best I can do is to
merely cheer the Estate and their publishers and hope they will be
able to curb the rights that the SZC and accomplishes are trying to
assert. The point that some reporters seem to miss is that the
Estate gives tosh about the money -- their concern is to protect
Tolkien's name from the sullying (if they wanted more money, they
could easily license parts of _The Silmarillion_ to e.g. Peter
Jackson ...).
See also the following:
Daisy Bowie-Sell, _The Telegraph_, Friday, 15 March 2013, "Warner
Bros file counter law suit in Tolkien Trust's battle to stop Hobbit
appearing on slot machines"
Mr. Holznagel, Thursday, 28 March 2013, "J.R.R. Tolkien is Spinning
in His Grave (and Coming Up 7-7-7)"
Eriq Gardner, _The Hollywood Reporter_, Friday, 29 March 2013,
"Tolkien Estate Challenges Warner Bros.' 'Patently Absurd' 'Hobbit'

_Henley Standard_, Monday, 18 March 2013, "Bishop delivers first
Tolkien lecture"
'The Bishop of Portsmouth delivered the first J.R.R. Tolkien
Memorial Lecture at the Oratory School in Woodcote.' Well, of course
the Birmingham Oratory School will have to have a Tolkien Memorial
Lecture -- but at least they are on solid grounds here. From the
death of his mother, Tolkien's guardian was Father Francis, one of
the Oratory priests, at at an earlier point Tolkien had even gone to
the Oratory School (before going back to King Edward's School).
This, however, was of course prior to Tolkien going up to Oxford in
1911 -- quite a bit earlier than the dates mentioned here.

MB, Wednesday, 20 March 2013, "Now even the Pope is a Tolkien fan?"
About a message written by the new Pope, then Cardinal Bergoglio, in
2008, and touching also on other famous Tolkien fans (and some
Jackson fans). In the comments is my best attempt at providing a
translation of the paragraph that mentions Tolkien.

Nuala McCann, Thursday, 21 March 2013, "Did Gollum get his name from
a cave in the Irish Burren?"
The answer, quite clearly, is NO! Tolkien did not visit Ireland
until 1949 after finishing _The Lord of the Rings_ (in draft), and
then only as an Extern Examiner for the National University (leaving
him little time to go sight-seeing). It was not until the fifties
that Tolkien went there on holiday and had time for sight-seeing.
Being based solely on the old, pre-philological habit of grasping at
vague similarites (which would have infuriated Tolkien), these
spurious claims need to be rejected forcefully.
See also _Irish Independent_, Wednesday, 20 March 2013, "How the
Burren inspired Tolkien's 'Misty Mountains'"
Given the dates involved, the suggestion in this headline is of
course even more absurd.
Also see Aoife Finneran, _The Irish Sun_, Sunday, 24 March 2013,
"Riddle Earth! Is Burren inspiration for land of the hobbits?"
No riddle -- just NO! The sad thing is that it is so incredibly
easy for an unscroupled person to make such foolish claims, and they
have a way of sticking in popular memory despite all that more
conscientious Tolkienists put in of work to refute the claims.

Selin Ildokuz, Sunday, 24 March 2013, "South Orange Middle School
Club Delves Into Tolkien's World"
It is enheartening to hear about this kind of school activities --
here about the Middle Earth Club at South Orange Middle School who
are celebrating Middle-earth with various activities.

Justin Page, Monday, 25 March 2013, "LEGO Smaug, Inspired by J. R.
R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'"
Amazing Lego dragon!

Unknown, Friday, 29 March 2013, "I Wager Movie"
Just for fun! Though, is any of the First Age stuff actually in the
Jackson/New Line films?

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Paul Vigor, Saturday, 2 March 2013, "Walking Through Wilderland: An
English archaeological landscape investigation"
This latest post in the Tolkienist's series '75 reasons why you
should read "The Hobbit" before watching the films' (if you were not
convinced by the compelling argument Peter Jackson gave us in
December) sends us walking through the real heartland of
Middle-earth: the English Midlands -- or the ancient kingdoms of
Hwicce and Mercia. Vigor argues convincingly that the land itself,
and in particular the land as experienced through _walking_ it is an
important 'source' to Tolkien's work.

Paul Greatrix, Friday, 15 March 2013, "Hobbit talk"
A copy of the oration given by Professor E. J. W. Barrington when
Tolkien was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by
the University of Nottingham in 1970. It is quite a lovely oration
and it shows that Barrington had actually read Tolkien's works.

MT, Sunday, 17 March 2013, "Vinyar Tengwar 50 Index & Some Notes"
Morgan Thomsen has now indexed also the latest issue of _Vinyar
Tengwar_ (see also elsewhere). His Tolkien Index is becoming a
valuable resource that I can highly recommend!

Ruth Lacon, Wednesday, 20 March 2013, "On _The Fall of Arthur_:
Pre-Publication Speculation By a Longtime Student"
In this interesting article, Ruth Lacon sets out a number of her and
her husband, Alex Lewis', ideas and theories about Tolkien's
soon-to-be-published alliterative poem, _The Fall of Arthur_. Long
time students of both Tolkien and Arthuriana, their guesses are
certainly very much worth listening to (though possibly their
combined interests adds a confirmation bias). At the Return of the
Ring, Alex Lewis said that one should view any influence of
Arthurian legend on Tolkien's work through the lens of his _Fall of
Arthur_, just as we should view the influence of the _V�lsungasaga_
through _The Legend of Sigurd and Gudr�n_ and the influence of the
_Kalevala_ through his retelling of that. This, I think, is at the
heart of Lewis & Lacon's interest in _The Fall of Arthur_ and
informs the guesses put forth in this article.

= = = = Commentary = = = =

HR, day, March 2013, Teaching Tolkien -- March 2013
This month Holly Rodgers and her 13 ELLs have read their way through
the first six chapters of _The Lord of the Rings_ (and seen the
first hour of the homonymous film by Peter Jackson). I continue to
be impressed by the young readers and their teacher -- both by their
perceptiveness and their persistence. I very much enjoy reading both
the children's comments and Ms. Rodgers' explanations of her
teaching approach -- two of my own children are avid readers (and
fantasy fans -- who would have guessed it), but the other two do not
read quite so much, and I could have wished for teachers who were
better at getting them to explore the joy of reading: Holly Rodgers
appears to be a teacher who does this.

BC, Sunday, 3 March 2013, "Why is it important to recognize that
Tolkien was not exactly a niggler?"
Well, what can I say -- Tom Shippey has expressed agreement with my
position, what higher honour? The praise of the praiseworthy is
indeed above all reward! I still do not agree with Charlton's
assessment of Tolkien's personality -- by all accounts Tolkien spent
much more than his allotted hours on his work, taking the time from
other projects that were dear to his heart such as his mythology.

Karl E.H. Seigfried, Wednesday, 6 March 2013, "Tolkien's Heathen
Feminist, Part Two"
The second part of an article, with the first part appearing in
February. Here we are taken by the route of the portrayal of
Brynhild (Br�nhilde) in the _V�lsungasaga_ and in the
_Niebelungenlied_ and back to �owyn, who is, again, "Tolkien's
heathen feminist".

DS, Saturday, 9 March 2013, "The serendipity of error"
On the second-person pronominal forms in "Salonian Neo-Khuzdul".
Salo's blog on the new languages that have developed inspired by
Tolkien's languages can at times become rather technical, but this
one isn't too bad and it also has an excellent explanation of the
differences between the use of the formal and the familiar second
person singular pronouns (_thou_ and _ye_ in older English) which is
retained in many other modern languagues (German, Spanish, Danish,

DB, Thursday, 14 March 2013, "authors getting away with it"
Bratman expands upon a comment he made at the Valparaiso conference
about the actual beginning of _The Hobbit_, 'By some curious chance
one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, ...', which occurs
only after a long exposition (which starts with the famous hole in
the ground sentence). Bratman had noted that authors would not today
get away with starting a book with a long exposition before getting
the plot actually going, and here he explains what he meant by that
comment. I think Bratman is right when he says that the narrative
style in many modern books is heavily influenced by the narrative
style of cinema blockbusters -- and I, for one, deplore this (and,
frankly, I don't find that this narrative choice works very well on
film, either -- it's OK for light and quickly forgotten
entertainment, but it doesn't work if you want your story to be more
than that, _regardless_ of the medium).

BC, Monday, 18 March 2013, "Mapping the Notion Club onto the
Inklings -- a parodic melange featuring in-jokes and running jokes"
Personally I don't believe that the game of matching up members of
the Inklings to members of the Notion Club is particularly relevant
to the understanding of this story -- I am more inclined to think
that focusing too much on those parts of the origin of the story
that are a parody of the Inklings may get in the way of seeing the
fiction for what it is. However, it can be a funny game, and I know
of no-one who is better at playing it than Bruce Charlton.

MM, Tuesday, 19 March 2013, "Why Did Tolkien Leave Out the Second
Prophecy of Mandos?"
The Second Prophecy of Mandos refers to a text that has Mandos
foresee a final battle at which Melkor would again enter Arda only
to be killed by T�rin and his black sword. Michael Martinez traces
the history of this interesting idea throughout the evolution of
Tolkien's mythology from _The Book of Lost Tales_ to his latest

Gabriel Smy, Friday, 22 March 2013, "Tautology, or how to write
better than Tolkien"
It has often been commented how Tolkien breaks many -- if not most
-- of the 'rules' and 'conventions' that are so liberally applied to
modern fiction, and here was have another one: Tolkien often repeats
himself in other words -- i.e. he uses tautological constructions
;-) What I fail to grasp is how such a marked stylistic choice by a
hugely popular author can be slighted as an error? Who sets up
these 'rules' for good writing? And how come that they fail to
realize that truly great writing becomes so by knowing when to break
the rules and then doing so liberally?

Doug TenNapel, Sunday, 24 March 2013, "Tolkien on Women and
There are some interesting ideas and thoughts to be found here, but
unfortunately also some errors that mars the piece somewhat. I do
wonder to what extend this is inspired also by the androgyny often
found in visualisations of Tolkien's Elves -- not least in the
Jackson films that Mr. TenNapel is clearly basing parts of his
information on.

H&S, Tuesday, 26 March 2013, "Tolkien Notes 5"
On _Roverandom_ (new edition including Hammond & Scull's comments to
be released), possible inspirations for Weathertop and/or the Hill,
and new addenda and corrigenda.

MM, Wednesday, 27 March 2013, "How Closely Do Tolkien's Dwarves
Resemble the Dvergar of Norse Mythology?"
Though I think more can (and already has been) said on this subject,
I think Martinez' discussion here is quite interesting. His
reference to the 'circular relationship between Middle-earth's
creatures and mythology' builds on Tom Shippey's ideas about
Tolkien's mythology as an asterisk-mythology for the later English

= = = = Reviews and Book News = = = =

JDR, Sunday, 17 March 2013, "The New Arrival (VT.50)"
Review of number 50 of _Vinyar Tengwar_, the journal of the Elvish
Linguistic Fellowship. Number 50 contains a presentation and
thorough analysis of the 'T�rin wrapper' -- a wrapper used to hold
some texts relating to the _Narn i-Ch�n H�rin_, but upon which
Tolkien had made some notes in Sindarin. As Rateliff notes, the
analysis is 'a tough read for any non-linguist', but on the other
hand any serious Tolkienist must necessarily make her- or himself
enough of a linguist to get through works like this.

BC, Saturday, 16 March 2013, "The best book which, otherwise than my
recommending it, you would be unlikely to buy"
Though I don't know how 'unlikely' any Tolkienist (of the critical /
literary bend) would be to buy a book of essays by Tom Shippey, I
fully agree with Charlton that the collection, _Roots and Branches_
is highly recommendable.

Kacy Faulconer, Friday, 22 March 2013, "Book Report: Tolkien and CS
Lewis -- The Gift of Friendship"
Kacy Faulconer is quite fond of Colin Duriez' book, _Tolkien and
C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship_, and she admits that this
biography of a friendship brought tears to her eyes,though she calls
the two authors 'pretentious elitists' and is slightly disappointed
at their friendship, wishing that they 'were a bit more chummy,
loyal, and devoted to each other.'
See also Faulconer's summary of her review, Sunday, 24 March 2013,
"What JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis Taught Me About Friendship"

Juanito, Monday, 25 March 2013, "A biography of Fr. Francis is
On the publication of _La Conexion Espa�ola de J.R.R. Tolkien_ by
Jos� Manuel Ferr�ndez Bru. The book is mainly a biography of Fr.
Francis, the guardian of the two Tolkien boys, Hilary and Ronald,
after the death of their mother.
For more see the author's web-page:
Also see JDR, Saturday, 30 March 2013, "New Biography of Father
I am seriously considering to buy this book as a chance to brush up
on my _very_ rusty Spanish.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

MB, Wednesday, 6 March 2013, "Mythopoeic Society & Social Media:
Interview with Eleanor Farrell."
Interview with Eleanor Farrell, newly apointed 'Social Media
Butterfly' of the Mythopoeic Society.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

Christina Scull, Saturday, 2 March 2013, "The Art of Paul Raymond
About the art-book, _Beyond Time and Place: The Art of Paul Raymond
Gregory_, which features a Tolkien section with 49 pictures by Paul
Raymond Gregory and with comments by Alex Lewis. Scull comments on
both the pictures themselves and on Lewis' comments to them.

JDR, Friday, 22 March 2013, "Thoughts on viewing the HOBBIT dvd"
Sometimes I think that John Rateliff and I are in completely
incommensurable paradigms with respect to how to assess (and access)
the Jackson films. It is not that I disagree with the basic facts,
but I see them in a wholly different way than he does. This is not
to disparage Rateliff's views on the films, but I think it is more
fair if I refrain from commenting further.
See also his posts Saturday, 23 March 2013, "Guardians of
Middle-earth (computer game)"
and Sunday, 31 March 2013, "Radagast Is Not Jar-Jar"

Oloris Publishing, Thursday, 28 March 2013, "Enter worlds of
fantasy, myth and legend in a new title to be released this summer
by Oloris Publishing: Songs of Sorrow and Hope -- The Art of Jenny
A book of artwork by Jenny Dolfen is being published by Oloris
Publishing ... and I'm buying ;-)

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

EJ, Tuesday, 12 March 2012, "Character mentions in the Hobbit"
Have you been dreaming of having a poster with some kind of
statistics from Tolkien's works hanging on your wall? Well, now is
perhaps the chance -- a number of the analyses up on Emil
Johansson's LotRProject site are now available as posters.

AW, Thursday, 21 March 2013, "Tolkien slept here"
This time Tolkien 'slept' in the Irish Burren . . . or, rather, he

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

"What did Sauron think Aragorn thought he was doing?"
As predicted last month, this thread has proven to be very
interesting indeed.

= = = = In Print = = = =

_Beyond Bree_, March 2013
Of particular interest in this issue of _Beyond Bree_, I found a
more or less speculative article, 'Patriach: The Old Took', by David
Cofield, and Dainis Bisenieks' (even more speculative) 'Rivendell
Considered as a Hostel'. Lars Walker writes about 'A Speculation on
the Origins of the Character Gollum' (based on an article in the
_Bulletin of the New York CS Lewis Society_), and Mark Hooker asks
'Would a "Hobbit" by Any Other Name be as Godlike' in which Lord
Dunsany is mentioned with Hobith, one of 'the gods of the hearth' in
_The Gods of Pegana_. The death of Dinah Hazell, winner of a 2012
Beyond Bree Award, is marked by an obituary by Ruth McLauchlan. Mark
Hooker also contributes an article on thrush stones and the diet of
thrushes in 'When the Thrush Knocks', and reports on an upcoming,
privately published, book by one Steve Ponty about further ties
between Tolkien and Wales. The issue is rounded off by a list of
'Tolkien at Kalamazoo' events as well as the usual letters, columns,
and lists.

_Amon Hen_ no.239, January 2013
Though the issue for January, it did not arrive here in Denmark
until March. In addition to the normal columns (the editorial, Lynn
Forest-Hill's 'Hall of Fire', Ian Spittlehouse's 'All Br�n' and
Christopher Kreuzer's 'Christopher's Clippings'), I was is in this
issue interested to read an obituary for Maggie Burns (by Vivienne
Wilkes), a report on the restoration work on Sarehole Mill (by Bob
Blackham), a report from an event of the Bolgeri Smial (in Milan,
Italy), an article on 'Tolkien and Copyright' by Jim Allen, and
reviews of Elizabeth Stephen's _Hobbit to Hero: The Making of
Tolkien's King_ (by Murray Smith), and _Beyond Time and Place: The
Art of Paul Raymond Gregory_ (by Ruth Lacon).

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Paul Raymond Gregory: Gallery
A gallery of Paul Raymond Gregory's Tolkien-inspired pictures.

Jos� Manuel Ferr�ndez Bru
The web-site of the pre-eminent scholar on Father Francis morgan and
through him Tolkien's connections to Spain. I high-light it here
again due to the publication of Se�or Ferr�ndez Bru's book, _La
Conexion Espa�ola de J.R.R. Tolkien: El T�o "Curro"_

Tolkien Index
Also Morgan Thomsen's Tolkien Index deserves to be brought out again
and knowledge of it circulated more widely. Morgan Thomsen has now
indexed many issues of _Vinyar Tengwar_, _Parma Eldalamberon_, and
_Qettar_, the three main journals on Tolkienian linguistics.

= = = = Sources = = = =

See <>

Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

Taking fun
as simply fun
and earnestness
in earnest
shows how thouroughly
thou none
of the two
- Piet Hein, /The Eternal Twins/
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