Tolkien Transactions XXIII

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Troels Forchhammer

Apr 1, 2012, 8:03:26 AM4/1/12
March 2012

So, March has come and gone, and we are hopefully a bit wiser for
the experience. As the size of this post bear witness to, it has
been a rather hectic Tolkien month on the 'net, but fortunately it
hasn't been quite as busy in the discussion fora -- otherwise I
don't know how I would've found time to compile this :)

This time, you will find the links sorted into the following

1: Tolkien Reading Day
2: What's in a name? -- And what if the name is 'The Hobbit'?
3: News
4: Essays and Scholarship
5: Book News
6: Interviews
7: Other Stuff
8: Rewarding Discussions
9: In Print
10: Web Sites
11: Sources

As usual, I reject any implication of responsibility and apply the
costumary disclaimers about newness, completeness and relevance :-)

= = = = Tolkien Reading Day = = = =

It is tradition! On the 25th of March each year, it is Tolkien
Reading Day, and like the professor's birthday toast, this has a
habit of getting into the news.

Tolkien Reading Day:
The Tolkien Reading Day page from the Tolkien Society.

MrCere, _TheOneRing.net_, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, "A Royal Tolkien
reading in Denmark"
This happened to be quite close to where I live, and of course I
went. Unfortunately they did not, as I had hoped, have Her Majesty's
illustrations for _The Lord of the Rings_ on display, but there were
a rather nice watercolour series titled 'Lost Legends' where I am
fairly sure that I detected several Tolkien-inspired pieces. The
series was dated 1976-78 and I am convinced that I saw both Lúthien
and Beren as well as Niënor Níniel in some of these pictures.
We also, of course, had a reading of the Danish translation of
chapters 1 and 14 of _The Hobbit_ (I had forgotten how funny chapter
1 actually is).

Altaira, Saturday, 10 March 2012, "Celebrating International Tolkien
Reading day in Longmont, CO!"
Here announcing another Tolkien Reading Day event. It will, of
course, be too late to attend by the time that this is posted, but
many of these events are recurring, so you might want to find some
reviews of the events near you -- so as to be prepared for next

PC, Sunday, 11 March 2012, "Tolkien Reading Day on 25th March will
be celebrating 75 years of The Hobbit"
Following up on the Tolkien Society's announcement that the theme
this year is _The Hobbit_.

Josh Vogt, _Examiner_, Monday, 12 March 2012, "The Tolkien Society
prepares for 2012 Tolkien Reading Day"
More general information about the Tolkien Reading Day, spreading
the happy message to an even broader audience.

Emma McKinney, _Birmingham Mail_, Saturday, 24 March 2012, "Special
day planned to encourage Brummies to read in memory of famous author
J R R Tolkien"
I very much like that this is found in 'top stories' ;)

Josh Vogt, _Examiner_, Sunday, 25 March 2012, "This year's Tolkien
Reading Day focuses on The Hobbit"
More reporting . . .

_The Chronicle Journal_, Monday, 26 March 2012, "Here's to Tolkien"
A report from a Tolkien Reading Day event in Thunder Bay -- albeit
with a little more than just ordinary reading, as the two
sword-wielding women in the picture suggest :-)

= = = = What's in a name? = = = =

One of the most prominent pieces of news this month has been the
story about the big bad Hollywood company (expertly played by Saul
Zaentz' Middle-earth Enterprises (owned by the Saul Zaentz Company))
that tried to bully the small, independent British pub, 'The

Bethan Philips, _Southern Daily Echo_, Tuesday, 13 March 2012,
"Southampton pub The Hobbit in battle with Hollywood studio"
This is the earliest entry when I do a date-sorting on the news
results from a Google search for this story.

Other early coverage includes the following

BBC, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, "Hobbit pub in Southampton threatened
with legal action"

Robert Nemeti, _The Sun_, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, "Film firm's
threat to call time on The Hobbit pub"

Emma Reynolds, _Daily Mail_, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, "The battle of
Middle Earth (Enterprises): British pub called The Hobbit for 20
years is sued by Hollywood giant over use of name"

Later in the day actor Stephen Fry weighed in on Twitter which of
course just added momentum to the story

BBC, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, "Southampton Hobbit pub campaigner on
'legal threat'"

_Manawatu Standard_, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, "Fry weighs in on
Hobbit pub row"

BBC, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, "Stephen Fry backs Hobbit pub in
Southampton over legal action"

And then they found out that the Southampton pub was not the only
business that was threatened

BBC, Thursday, 15 March 2012, "Birmingham's Hobbit cafe may change
name over legal row"

Perhaps not all is lost -- Saul Zaentz apparently is still able to
see when he has an extremely bad case of bad publicity

BBC, Thursday, 15 March 2012, "Hobbit pub row: Hollywood producer
makes offer"

The problem is of course that this allows Zaentz to just take the
name without a legal battle to see if he is actually entitled to do

The next development (at least in my timeline of the events) was
that Ian McKellen joined the fray on the side of the pub

_Belfast Telegraph_, Thursday, 15 March 2012, "McKellen backs Hobbit
pub in row"

_Radio New Zealand_, Friday, 16 March 2012, "Actors support pub over
Hobbit name fight"

Martin Halfpenny, _AAP_, Friday, 16 March 2012, "Rings star backs
Hobbit pub in row"

The annual license fee is suddenly set to $100.- -- one wonders how
long it will stay that low?

_New York Post_, Saturday, 17 March 2012, "Pub keeps its Tolkien

Seemingly everybody are happy, but I am still not sure about the
outcome, and what about that Birmingham cafe? Do they, too, have the
international star actors fighting for them (and, as we shall see in
a few posts, covering their license fee)? I would have preferred to
have it decided in court whether Middle-earth Enterprises really has
the right to do this, or whether they are actually just trying to
bully small businesses to accept their claims. Finally I am
concerned for the pubs that the license fee will not stay at the
current rather low level -- if it is suddenly raised to a thousand
dollars or more, then they will perhaps be sorry that they didn't
have the claim tried in court.

Julian Robinson, _Southern Daily Echo_, Monday, 19 March 2012,
"Stars to pay for The Hobbit pub licence fee"

Cory Doctorow, _Boingboing_, Thursday, 22 March 2012, "Stephen Fry
and Ian McKellen pay to save The Hobbit pub from trademark trolls"
Saul Zaentz -- one of the little known Olog TM . . . ;)

In the meantime Middle-earth Enterprises and/or the Saul Zaentz
Company has filed for trademark rights to "the Shire" and fans are
once more gathering to fight the evil Olog TM

Middle-earth Network, Wednesday, 21 March 2012, "Save the Shire"

This time it looks as though the fight is aiming not at keeping a
local business alive, but at preventing the company from registering
the trademark.

. . . and now this campaign ("Save the Shire") has stepped in to
help the Birmingham Cafe, _The Hungry Hobbit_, mentioned above,
albeit the sought-after deal is still the nominal license fee that
has no guarantees against raises in a couple of years (or perhaps in
five years when the flood of money from the upcoming Hobbit films is
dwindling down -- one does tend to grow accustomed to having a lot
of money).
Laura Payne, _Solihull Observer_, Thursday, 29 March 2012, "Hobbit
cafe gets support in name fight"

= = = = News = = = =

James H. Burnett III, _The Boston Globe_, Monday, 5 March 2012,
"Actor Viggo Mortensen honored at the Coolidge Corner Theatre"
It speaks to Mortensens' advantage that he can still speak a bit of
Quenya . . . 'Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar
Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!'
A more in-depth treatment of the same news:
Michela Smith, _The Daily Free Press_, Thursday, 8 March 2012, "'All
we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to
us': The Profundity of Viggo Mortensen"
If Mortensen is as humble as it is stated here he would have to feel
raher uncomfortable with the praise heaped upon him in this article

_Rokokoposten_, Saturday, 10 March 2012, "Indere åbner første
takeaway i Middle-earth"
The original is in Danish, unfortunately. The title translates as
"Indians open first take-away in Middle-earth" and the Google
translation is reasonably OK -- good enough, at least for you to be
able to get the joke ;) (tinyurl pointing to Google translation)

Marie-Noëlle Biemer, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, "European Union funds
cross-border co-operation between Tolkien societies"
This is the news that the European Union, through the Interreg IV
programme, is supporting a collaboration between the German
('Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft' and Duch ('Unquendor') Tolkien
Societies in celebration of the 75th anniversary of _The Hobbit_.
Congratulations to our Germanic sisters and brothers -- I am very
pleased to see that at least some of the EU money are put to good

JF, Friday, 23 March 2012, "Leo Con 2012 -- April 14, 2012"
It seems the conference season is beginning -- I will only be
attending _The Return of the Ring_ in Loughborough in August, but
Jason Fisher here presents an interesting opportunity in Texas
already in April.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

JM, Thursday, 1 March 2012, "Tolkien's angels and Descartes's
McIntosh continues his series of posts that relate to the nature of
the Ainur, and in particular their relation to their assumed bodies
(with a special focus on the Istari). In this post it is precisely
the interplay between mind and body that is discussed, and the
different relation of these for the Ainur and the Eruhíni.

JM, Friday, 2 March 2012, "Body and soul: Tolkien and Thomas's
hylomorphic anthropology"
Following up on the discussions of the relation between body and
soul, Jonathan McIntosh here moves the focus on to the Children of
Ilúvatar, the Men and the Elves with a comparison of Tolkien's
position regarding the _hröa_/_fëa_ duality to the position
expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas in his _Summa Theologiae_. This line
of inquiry is followed up in posts on the 3rd ("'Yearn for your
bodies': Tolkien and Thomas's rejection of Platonic dualism"), the
4th ("Elvish immortality: a matter of 'mind over matter'" -- focus
here shifting to Elves specifically), the 5th ("From Reincarnation
to Resurrection"), the 9th ("Aquinas on whether the resurrected body
is a 'recycled' body"), the 10th ("The body as the 'art' of the

MD, Tuesday, 6 March 2012, "Can Grendel Talk? Does he have
Can Balrogs fly? Do they wear pink slippers? OK, so the last bit is
-- for inscrutable reasons -- not mentioned anywhere, but I found
Drout's blog posting about _Beowulf_ studies to be both interesting
and in some ways relieving: here is a top-notch scholar discussing a
very much story-internal question that is not terribly much
different from some of the long-standing story-internal debates
about Tolkien's works.

BC, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, "The mythic Oxford symbolism of Smith
of Wootton Major"
Bruce Charlton argues in this post that Wooton Major offers a
symbolic representation of Oxford. Ultimately I remain unconvinced,
but the idea is interesting nonetheless, and not being convinced by
the argumentation, I am compelled to think more closely on the role
of the village in the story about Smith.

JM, Thursday, 8 March 2012, "On angelic language, miracles, and
Some further comparisons of Tolkien's Ainur to St. Thomas'
'angelology' -- in this case on the topics detailed in the title.

MD, Thursday, 8 March 2012, "How big was the dragon's head,
Some further musings about oddities in the _Beowulf_ poem -- this
time the question regards the size of the dragon in _Beowulf_ and
possibly the poet's understanding of what he wrote.

BC, SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2012, "Torturing Gollum"
Actually this is just a link to a post from May 2012 on Bruce
Charlton's other blog, 'Bruce Charlton's Miscellany', where he
discusses the incidents of torture of Gollum. While I don't agree
with the premise that Tolkien's position is necessarily right (in
this case I think Tolkien has his characters do things that are
morally questionable), I think the ensuing discussion is very much
worth reading.

JM, Monday, 12 March 2012, "Tolkien's metaphysics of evil"
Subtitled 'Part 1' Jonathan McIntosh introduces the discussion in
this post, referring both to attempts to compare Tolkien with modern
philosophers' attempts to explain evil, but ultimately reaching back
to the classic two positions described by Shippey as 'Boëthian' and
'Manichaean'. McIntosh promises to do a series of posts in which he
'propose to compare the respective ponerologies (the branch of
theology dealing with evil, from the Greek word _poneros_, meaning
_evil_) of Tolkien and St. Thomas.' The next parts are posted as
Part 2: 14 March, "Tolkien on evil: the Platonic context"
Part 3: 16 March, "Tolkien on evil: the Plotinian context"
Part 4: 18 March, "Tolkien on evil: the Manichean context"
Part 5: 19 March, "Tolkien on Evil: the Augustinian context"
Part 6: 21 March, "Some early observations on Tolkien's Augustinian doctrine of evil"
Part 7: 23 March, "Tom Shippey's dualistic reading of Tolkien"
Part 8: 25 March, "Other dualistic readings of Tolkien"
Part 9: 27 March, "Rejoinders to Shippey's dualistic reading of Tolkien"
Part 10: 29 March, "Tolkien on evil: the Thomistic context"
Part 11: 31 March, "Can something good be the cause evil? Aquinas on "per se" vs. "accidental" causality"
This series of posts gives first an introduction to some of the
relevant medieval philosophical theories of evil, and then moves on
to summarize (briefly) what has been said by some of the commenters
on Tolkien's work. I am thoroughly enjoying this whole series and
looking forward to -- or hoping for -- further instalments.

JF, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, "The already-dead, the not-quite-dead,
and those who have clearly overstayed their welcome"
Inspired by the discussion thread for the torturing Gollum post by
Bruce Charlton discussed above, Jason Fisher has posted about the
nature of the Ringwraiths: the concept of being neither dead nor
living does cause for some headache at times ;)

JM, Tuesday, 13 March 2012, "Atheism in Middle-earth: 'The Sea has
no shore. There is no Light in the West.'"
Starting with the false Amlach's words at the 'great council and
assembly of Men' that was called (_The Silmarillion_ ch. 17 'Of the
Coming of Men into the West'), this post investigates Tolkien's
answer to this kind of philosophical atheism / reductionism (and
here reductionism evidently means something different from what it
does in science).

Jim DeVona, Thursday, 15 March 2012, "Thinking Critically About
A rather nice write-up of a couple of critical viewpoints on Tolkien
from China Miéville and David Brin.

Jonathan Massullo, Thursday, 22 March 2012, "Middle Earth from
Middle Europe: Medieval Manuscripts and an Inspiration for Tolkien"
This is an undergraduate art history paper, which can, I suppose,
excuse some mistakes (though not really misspelling 'Middle-earth'
in the title -- or is that just me being arrogant?). The paper looks
into medieval illustrations of various monsters and compare to
Tolkien's descriptions, and though it isn't exactly error free
(medieval 'dragons can always fly'? -- haven't you heard of Fafnir?)
there are still some interesting points worth considering.

MT, Thursday, 22 March 2012, "Hans Künzel Discovered The Lord of the
Some notes on the history of the Swedish edition of _The Lord of the
Rings_ . . .

JM, Thursday, 22 March 2012, "Tolkien's use of parataxis"
Amidst all the philosophical stuff, a brief post about Tolkien's
stylistic choices; particularly his use of parataxis, which McIntosh
defines as the 'literary technique of using short, simple sentences
joined by coordinating conjunctions.' My understanding is that the
coordinating conjunctions are not necessary in themselves, though
the construction needs to be coordinate rather than subordinate.
Tolkien does, however, often use coordinating conjunctions as is
shown by the examples Jonathan McIntosh gives.

TF, Friday, 23 March 2012, "The Artist Doth Protest Too Much,
A response to Ruth Lacon's essay, 'To Illustrate or Not to
Illustrate? That is the Question...' at the Tolkien Library site
(see _Transactions XXI_ for January 2012). Most of this piece has
also been published in _Mythprint_ no. 355, but here I elaborate a
bit on my views. I mostly agree with Ruth Lacon's views, and in
many cases I think she hits the nail exactly on the head, but while
I applaud her overall conclusions, I think her specific criticism of
Tolkien's position regarding illustrations misses the point and,
possibly because of this, comes to read as an attempt to discredit
Tolkien's ideas about illustrations.

MT, Monday, 26 March 2012, "The History of Middle-earth Index
Corrigenda to the index (vol. 13) of _The History of Middle-earth_

JM, Wednesday, 28 March 2012, "'I am the Servant of the Secret
Fire' : On Gandalf's Hobbit hobby"
Jonathan McIntosh calls these some "underdeveloped notes" and I'd
like to see a more developed version. As it is, I am not convinced
that Tolkien equivalating the Secret Fire with the Holy Ghost, and
Gandalf's statement that he is a servant of the Secret Fire can bear
all of the superstructre that McIntosh here attempts to build on
them. It is interesting and thought-provoking, and I think there is
a promise of a very interesting argument, but it needs some more
work to connect all the dots in a convincing manner.

JM, Friday, 30 March 2012, "'Make me a present of the pains I have
caused': Tolkien's theology of forgiveness"
The subject of Tolkien's "theology of forgiveness" is here
introduced by way of his remarks in a 1948 letter to C.S. Lewis,
where Tolkien apologizes for some remarks about one of Lewis' works
(_Letters_ no. 113). McIntosh particularly notes Tolkien's
distinction between offending and causing pain, which seems to lead
on to the promised continuation.

= = = = Book News = = = =

PC, Thursday, 1 March 2012, "Hobbit Place-names: A Linguistic
Excursion through the Shire by Rainer Nagel"
Information about a new book by Rainer Nagel: _Hobbit Place-names: A
Linguistic Excursion through the Shire_ that focuses on the
etymology, real-world as well as story-internal, of the place-names
of the Shire, with coverage also of German translations of these

JDR, Monday, 5 March 2012, "The New Arrival: GREEN SUNS"
John Rateliff has also received the new collection of essays from
Verlyn Flieger's hand, _Green Suns and Faërie_. He here lists the
contents (which is also about as far as I have been able to reach in
my own copy).

Ruth Lacon, Monday, 5 March 2012, "The 2012 Tolkien Calendar by Cor
Blok - a review by Ruth Lacon"
Ruth Lacon again shows a remarkable ability to enable me to connect
to the art of Cor Blok by explaining both strengths and weaknesses
of the pieces for the 2012 Tolkien Calendar. When Lacon, however,
speaks of the effect of the metafiction of the Red Book, I am not
sure that I can follow her arguments, and I wonder if not her views
are too narrowly those of an artist seeking inspiration in the text?
In any case I'll warmly recommend reading Lacon's reviews of the
two Cor Blok Tolkien Calendars before one finally decides not to buy
them -- there is a point to the artwork that goes beyond matters of
taste when it succeeds (or nearly succeeds).

JDR, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, "The Wobbit"
A review of a parody of _The Hobbit_ -- since I am not really very
interested in parodies, I'll just point to it in the case you're

Éanna ó Caollaí , _The Irish Times_, Monday, 12 March 2012,
"Adventures of Biolbó Baigín set out as Gaeilge in 'An Hobad'"
In addition to the story that _The Hobbit_ is being published in
Irish, the article also speaks of Tolkien's fondness for Ireland and
its people, but aesthetic dislike but philological interest for the
Irish language.

JDR, Thursday, 29 March 2012, "THE HOBBIT on Antiques Roadshow"
The story about a first edition _Hobbit_ with a well-preserved
dust-jacket and Tolkien's signature that turned up at one of these
antiques appraisal TV series. The appraiser, Ian Ehling from
Christies in New York, estimates the book at 80,000 - 120,000
dollars: but it truly is a fantastically well-preserved copy.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

Svanur Gísli Þorkelsson, Thursday, 10 June 2010, "An interview with
Tolkien's Icelandic au-pair"
The English text is a paraphrase of what Arndís 'Adda'
Þorbjarnardóttir tells in the interview in Icelandic (link available
from the English retelling). Adda, as she is consistently called in
the English version, was one of the series of Icelandic au pairs
that stayed with the Tolkien's in the late twenties and the thirties
and she arrived in Oxford in 1930 when she was 20. In the interview
she relates her recollections of the Tolkien domestic life as it
appeared to a young foreign girl. Edith Tolkien is presented in a
less positive light (e.g. getting jealous when Arndís and John
Ronald Tolkien were speaking Icelandic), while the professor is
described as 'a really lovely man, very easy and comfortable to be
around' and who 'loved nature, trees and everything that grew.'
Quite an interesting insight.

Lars Gustafsson and Morgan Thomsen, Sunday, 12 February 2012, "An
Interview with R R Tolkien from OXFORD June 1961"
There is little new in this interview, unless it be Tolkien's
response to why he couldn't write a sequel to _The Lord of the
Rings_, "It became so dark that it frightened me." This is slightly
different from the "Not worth doing" from 1964 (_Letters_ #256). The
interview is, however, still interesting as a further illumination
of some of Tolkien's thoughts: a new wording and a slightly
different focus. Still, I do hope that there is more to the
interview translation that has been submitted to _Tolkien Studies_.

Morgan Sweeney, _The Hillsdale Collegian_, Thursday, 15 March 2012,
"Q&A Tom Shippey"
Shippey is always good -- e.g. when he points out that "Every time
there was a reader's poll of the most popular book of the century,
Tolkien always won. Except once, when actually you were allowed to
nominate the Bible. So he got beaten by the Bible. Well, fair
enough." Well, I think Tolkien would have felt that was entirely
appropriate also ;-)

Josh Vogt, _Examiner_, Tuesday, 6 March 2012, "An interview with Dr.
Michael Stanton, Tolkien scholar"
Pointing out an interview with the Tolkien scholar Michael Stanton,
who shares some interesting thoughts. The whole interview is found

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

Keith McDuffee, _Cliqueclack_, Monday, 5 March 2012, "The Hobbit --
At what point in the story will the movie split?"
Well . . . ignoring it won't make it go away, will it ;-)
Apparently the question of where in the plot the split will be made
between the two films that are currently being made of _The Hobbit_
is a 'hot topic' on the message boards, we've even seen it discussed
in the normally film-indifferent surroundings of the Tolkien
newsgroups. I shan't say if the musings here are any more relevant
than those elsewhere (if I was really interested in the subject, I
think I'd follow the discussions on, but here goes.

_Letters of Note_, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, "I have no ancestors of
that gifted people"
Sometimes it is curious what makes it into the blogosphere -- this
time it is Tolkien's letter in response to the German publishers in
1938 asking to his racial status that has been doing the rounds.
Still, it is a very welcome relief from the otherwise persistent
accusations of racism. This story was taken up by other bloggers,
such as
David Mills, Friday, 9 March 2012, "Tolkien Against the Germans"
Cyriaque Lamar, Monday, 12 March 2012, "What's classier than J.R.R.
Tolkien telling off Nazis? Absolutely nothing."
and even
JDR, Sunday, 18 March 2012, "Tolkien vs. the Nazis"

TF, Saturday, 10 March 2012, "Scouting and Tolkien"
We have seen many teachers writing or speaking about how they teach
Tolkien to their students, and I thought it was time to take a look
at incorporating Tolkien into the non-formal education of my choice:

JM, Saturday, 10 March 2012, "'Morgoth's Ring': Tolkien's
In effect an advertisement and a (rather favourable) review of
_Morgoth's Ring_ -- I can only add my own whole-hearted
recommendations to these: if you haven't yet read _Morgoth's Ring_,
now is the time to be gone from the internet and read it!

John, Wednesday, 14 March 2012, "Letter to a Friend: Coleridge
Through Newman to Tolkien?"
About Cardinal Newman, the founder of the Birmingham Oratory were
the Tolkien brothers lived with their guardian, Fr. Francis Morgan,
after the death of their mother, and about the Cardinal's possible
(posthumous) influence on Tolkien.

AW, Saturday, 17 March 2012, "More Tolkien and fantasy links"
Some more good links from the Wellinghall . . . Is there any way to
avoid the pun when I want to say that the Wellinghall is the source
of many good links here? ;)

AW, Saturday, 17 March 2012, "Tolkien slept here"
Whenever I see one of these "Tolkien slept here" posts at the
Wellinghall, I always think of the story of the Swedish king, Gustav
Vasa, who in 1520 fled the troops of Christian II (of Denmark,
Sweden and Norway) through Dalarna. Besides having given rise to an
annual ski race, Vasaloppet, every second farm in the area from
before 1800 now claims that Gustav Vasa spent a night there -- had
he done so, he would soon have been caught up with.
In this post, however, we get three links to posts about areas that
claim a special importance to Tolkien and being the specific
inspiration for some aspect of his world. Usually there is a link to
Tolkien (however tenuous), and occasionally the story is actually
credible . . .

Tom Hogan, _The Irish Times_, Saturday, 17 March 2012, "Tolkien's
time in 'Erin'"
A letter to _The Irish Times_ from the son of one of Tolkien's
colleagues at the University College in Dublin with whom Tolkien
stayed during some of his visits in Ireland as external examinator.
Dr. Tom Hogan speaks of having several letters from Tolkien in which
Tolkien speaks of his pleasure in visiting Ireland.

MT, Tuesday, 20 March 2012, "Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson about
The Hobbit"
From a biography of Tove Jansson, Morgan has found some little known
facts about Tove Jansson's work with the illustrations for the
second Swedish edition of _The Hobbit_. Also very interesting is
Astrid Lindgren's assessment that "it is evident that [The Hobbit]
will be the children's book of the century, which will continue to
live a long time after we are dead and buried." Curiously,
considered as children's books, I would hold some of Lindgren's own
(particularly _Bröderna Lejonhjärta_ and _Ronja Rövardotter_) to be
of higher quality than Tolkien's: "the praise of the praiseworthy is
above all rewards"!

BC, Saturday, 24 March 2012, "The 'meaning of life' according to
While I think the title is going perhaps a bit too far, this
quotation from Tolkien's reflections on his 'Smith of Wooton Major'
is quite interesting, and the perspectives that Bruce Charlton
brings out add to the interest.

Richard Scott Nokes, Monday, 26 March 2012, "Lego Battle of Maldon"
Second only to a rendition of _Beowulf_ in a similar manner (though
I agree with prof. Nokes that Old English narration and modern
English subtitles would be preferable) -- that is, there might also
be some legends of the Scyldingas that would sit well with me (did I
mention that I live about 25 km by bike from Lejre).

= = = = Rewarding Discussions = = = =

"Kingship: Visual and Communicative Iconography"
An old thread from 2011 that got a revival in March with new
postings. Based on the idea of looking at the iconography of
kingship that Tolkien sets out (inevitably also touching on related
aspects of kingship), the thread is an investigation of the kingly
symbols and icons that are associated with Aragorn on his journey
from Strider to Elessar.

"Why did Saruman bit fear reribution for his treachery?" [sic]
One sub-thread veers off into a discussion of liberalism, but the
actual question of the thread, why Saruman did not fear retribution
from the Valar and Eru for his actions (including clearly
overstepping the limitations placed on his mission) turns into an
interesting discussion of the beliefs and attitudes of both Saruman
and Sauron.

"A Creative Triumvirate"
Strictly speaking this is not much of a discussion -- at least in
the sense of an exchange of opposing viewpoints and arguments ;-)
this is nonetheless still a rewarding investigation / discussion of
similarities and relations between Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis and
J.R.R. Tolkien as authors of children's books.

= = = = In Print = = = =

_Amon Hen 234_, March 2012
Here you can find an invitation for the Middle-earth Beer Festival
2012 (Thursday 12th -- Sunday 15th April):
<>. Also there are various
reviews of _A Short History of Story_ (a TV programme presented by
Noah Richler), the 2012 Tolkien Calendar with pictures by Cor Blok
(by Ruth Lacon, but also see her review on the Tolkien Library site
referenced above), of _Tolkien and Wales_, a couple of music
releases, and a more review-ish review of Jason Fisher's _Tolkien
and the Study of his Sources_.

_Beyond Bree_, March 2012
Here are some further comments on Adam Gopnik's review of the
_Eragon_ and _Twilight_ series (see the _Transactions_ for December
2011), an appeal from Nancy Martsch to show greater respect for
those who only know _The Lord of the Rings_ through the films (sorry
Nancy, but however great, Peter Jackson's work isn't Tolkien's and
_Tolkien_ specifically can only be found in the books), an attempt
to link Tolkien's Ages to zodiacal ages as well as various items of
news including a list of the papers to be read at the Tolkien
section of the 2012 Kalamazoo.

_Mythprint_, Vol.49 no.3, March 2012, whole no.356
This issue of _Mythprint_ contains a favourable review of Verlyn
Flieger's own fantastic fiction, as well as a, similarly quite
favourable, review by Mark Hooker of Rainer Nagel's _Hobbit
Place-names: A Linguistic Excursion through the Shire_.

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

I have previously praised the Tolkien Index site (or, to be honest,
its purpose), and here we see an associated blog from Morgan
Thomsen, the man behind the Tolkien Index. Already in the first
month, there are some interesting entries noted above. I have chosen
not to include entries that refer to additions to the Tolkien Index,
but such are also noted on the blog.

New Advent: "The Catholic Encyclopedia"
This is a site that I find myself returning to more and more often
as I try to understand the possible influences of Tolkien's faith on
his writings. Published originally in 1917 after several years'
work, this encyclopedia gives a description of Catholic concepts and
ideas that is contemporary with Tolkien's youth, which makes it a
very valuable resource for me, as someone not raised in (or
belonging to) the Catholic faith, in understanding how Tolkien might
have understood various concepts.

= = = = Sources = = = =

John D. Rateliff (JDR) -- "Sacnoth's Scriptorium"

Jason Fisher (JF) -- "Lingwë -- Musings of a Fish"

Michael Drout (MD) -- "Wormtalk and Slugspeak"

Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (H&S) -- "Too Many Books and
Never Enough"

Pieter Collier (PC) -- "The Tolkien Library"

Douglas A. Anderson (DAA) et Al. -- "Wormwoodiana"

Corey Olsen (CO), "The Tolkien Professor"

David Bratman (DB), "Kalimac"
and the old home:

Larry Swain (LS), "The Ruminate"

Andrew Wells (AW), "Musings of an Aging Fan"

Various, 'The Northeast Tolkien Society' (NETS), "Heren Istarion"

Bruce Charlton (BC), "Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers"

Andrew Higgins (AH), "Wotan's Musings"

Various, The Mythopoeic Society

Henry Gee (HG) 'cromercrox', "The End of the Pier Show"

Jonathan S. McIntosh (JM), "The Flame Imperishable"

Morgan Thomsen (MT), "Mythoi"

John Howe (JH)

David Simmons (DS), "Aiya Ilúvatar"

Michael Martinez (MM), "Tolkien Studies Blog"

Michael Martinez (MM), "Middle-earth"

Troels Forchhammer (TF), "Parmar-kenta"

_Mythprint_ -- 'The Monthly Bulletin of the Mythopoeic Society'

_Amon Hen_ -- the Bulletin of the Tolkien Society

_Beyond Bree_ -- the newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest
Group of the Americal Mensa

- and others

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

To make a name for learning
when other roads are barred,
take something very easy
and make it very hard.
- Piet Hein, /Wide Road/
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