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Tolkien Transactions XXXVI

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Troels Forchhammer

May 1, 2013, 6:10:52 PM5/1/13
April 2013

May it is -- and on the first of May I noticed a green tinge to the
forest of brown deciderous trees I drive through on my way to work.
It is also the first anniversary of Oloris Publishing, for which
congratulations are in order -- but don't spend too much time in
celebration: it is better spent getting that book of Jenny Dolfen's
art out to us! ;-)

This month it has suited my purposes to sort the contents under the
following headlines:
1: News
2: Essays and Scholarship
3: Commentary
4: Reviews and Book News
5: Interviews
6: Tolkienian Artwork
7: Other Stuff
8: The Roman Ring on exhibition at the Vyne
9: In Print
10: Web Sites
11: Sources

= = = = News = = = =

Graham Young, _Birmingham Mail_, Friday, 29 March 2013, "Sarehole
Mill makes bread for the first time in a century"
In the rush to finish things last month, I seem to have forgotten
this piece of news about the restoration of Sarehole Mill -- a part
of the inspiration for Tolkien's Shire. Now that the mill has been
restored, we can go there for a trip to the _real_ Middle-earth.

Bodleian Library, Tuesday, 3 April 2013, "EXHIBITION: Magical Books
- From the Middle Ages to Middle-Earth"
About the summer exhibition at the Bodleian Library where visitors
can see a number of manuscripts, illustrations and other artefacts
relating to the so-called 'Oxford School' of authors of children's
literature, besides Tolkien also C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Alan
Garner, and Philip Pullman. The events associated with the
exhibition are also highly interesting -- not least with Tolkien's
_The Fall of Arthur_ coming out shortly.

University of St. Andrews, Friday, 12 April 2013, "600 trees for 600
The six hundreth anniversary of St. Andrews, where Tolkien gave his
seminal Andrew Lang lecture 'On Fairy-stories' on 8 March 1939, this
year celebrates its six-hundredth anniversary, which is celebrated,
among other things, by planting 600 trees, on the last of which is a
plaque with a Tolkien quotation. Tolkien would, I am sure, have
approved of this way of celebrating the University and appreciated
the use of the two lines from Bilbo's poem about the Dúnadan.

Mythopoeic Society, Thursday, 18 April 2013, "Mythcon 44 Progress
Report 2 Available"
Various information about the 44th Mythcon, including the intriguing
titles of some of the items on the programme: "A Linguistic
Exploration through Tolkien's Earliest Landscapes," "Westmansweed to
Old Toby: The Economic and Cultural Herblore of Pipe-weed in
Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings," "Children Rolling on a Hill with a
Lion: A New Look at the Origin of Aslan," "The Musical Heart of the
Lands of Narnia and Middle-earth," and "Witches in the Wild: Old
Women on the Boundaries." I would look forward to these if I could
attend ...

David Powell, _Daily Post_, Friday, 19 April 2013, "Teacher had rare
access to the private papers of author JRR Tolkien"
Is it very ungrateful of me to wish that the journalist had spent
more space describing the actual contents of the thesis of Dr. Sara
Brown beyond the title, "From Abjection to Alchemy: Tolkien's Middle
Earth Legendarium" and the fact that she is "particularly interested
in issues of gender in the books"? It is, of course, interesting
enough that she was allowed access to the Tolkien papers at the
Bodleian (showing that the Tolkien Estate isn't quite as restrictive
as some would have it), though it would be nice to know what she
found there (besides a nearly illegible note on Gandalf), but it is
less interesting that she (or perhaps rather the journalist?)
falsely attributes a quotation about dreams to Tolkien.

Paul Cole, _Birmingham Mail_, Saturday, 27 April 2013, "Tolkien's
Hobbit to be first book on library shelf"
The Brummies have a wonderful new library, and the very first book
to be shelved there will be _The Hobbit_ -- so chosen by the readers
in an internet vote.

= = = = Essays and Scholarship = = = =

Terri Windling, 2002, "On Tolkien and Fairy Stories"
An old essay about fairy stories -- about Tolkien and his fairy
stories and about the author and her story and her fairy stories.
Very much worth reading if you haven't come across it before.

MB, Saturday, 6 April 2013, "'Little by little, one travels far' is
not a J.R.R. Tolkien quote."
Let us just repeat that with some emphasis: 'Little by little, one
travels far' is _NOT_ a J.R.R. Tolkien quotation! It is a
TThnsdwohatdw -- Things (J.R.R.) Tolkien has never said, done,
written or had anything to do with.

JDR, Sunday, 7 April 2013, "Tolkien and the Elephant"
A nice little anecdote (possibly apocryphal, though see Wayne
Hammond & Christina Scull's comment) about Tolkien's methods in
raising his children. At the very least it is (at least in my
opinion) far better than the references to small starving children
in Africa that were prevalent in my childhood -- better a scare that
isn't really scaring than an attempt to make your children feel
guilty for things completely outside their control.

James Doig, Wormwoodiana, Monday, 15 April 2013, "Dreams, Ghosts and
A very interesting article: a copy of a 1923 article in "The
Bookman" about ghost stories (and, mostly by association,
fairy-stories and dream-stories). While I do not know if he could
have seen this article, nor if he read any of the works mentioned or
authors cited, I still think that this article presents a fairly
good view of contemporary literary views on these stories of the
fantastic -- a part of the 'leaf-mould' in the sense of portraying
the views in the society surrounding Tolkien in the period when he
was working on the poetic version of his mythology that we know from
"The Lays of Beleriand".
Notice particularly Miss Marie Corelli's answer to quetion 2: I
cannot help but think that there are certain aspects of her position
that find some echoes in Tolkien's later (1939) lecture 'On
Fairy-stories', such as the idea of the 'escape from the humdrum
surroundings of everyday living', but also I think that there are
some parallels between her (here undeveloped) idea of the Unseen and
Tolkien's far more elaborate and considered ideas of Faërie.

MB, Wednesday, 24 April 2013, "Not a Tolkien quote: "A single dream
is more powerful than a thousand realities.""
In his on-going series about "Things Tolkien never said, done,
written or had anything to do with" Marcel has reached the invention
of a clever copywriter who was NOT J.R.R. Tolkien!

= = = = Commentary = = = =

HR, April 2013, "Teaching Tolkien"
It would appear that I, last month, included some of the progress
for the first week of April when saying how far the class had
reached -- the viewing of the first hour of Peter Jackson's _The
Fellowship of the King_ was actually in April. Early April also saw
class reacting to the internet following that they are gaining:
The Tolkien community has always been very interested in hearing
about first encounters -- people sharing their thoughts about their
first reading of Tolkien's books (and particularly _The Lord of the
Rings_) will always find an eager audience, and here we have not
only a crowd of them, but a young crowd whose reactions are mediated
by a committed teacher (and promoted by Jason Fisher, a leading
Tolkienist): no wonder that they attract a large crowd of eager
readers, and it is richly deserved!
The journey continues through Bree (inspiring thoughts on what makes
a hero / heroine), and the students faces challenges as school
prepares for the mandatory tests as they move on to Rivendell and
book 2 (now getting to think about what makes a villain), and in the
final days to the close of the Council of Elrond on a 'Perfect
The journey also encompasses other activities than reading _The Lord
of the Rings_ -- one such activity this month was musical in nature
and allowed the student a different kind of outlet for their
reactions to Tolkien's powerful story: the magic of words cannot be

HG, Wednesday, 3 April 2013, "Tolkien in Cromer"
Henry Gee, resident of Cromer in Norfolk, has been encouraged by
Marcel Aubron-Bülles to come up with a theory for what it was about
Cromer that inspired Tolkien. The background is that the _J.R.R.
Tolkien Companion and Guide: Chronology_ by Wayne Hammond and
Christina Scull for "later in 1914" mentions that Tolkien visited
Cromer in Norfolk combined with a running joke that any place that
Tolkien can be documented to have been within 20 miles of will make
a claim to have inspired something essential. The post is an
ironical comment to the many spurious claims to a connection to
Tolkien's sub-creation that we encounter on a regular basis -- just
remember to be VERY sceptical: it is not up to you or me to DISprove
anything; it is up to the claimant to prove their claims beyond
reasonable doubt.

H&S, Friday, 19 April 2013, "Tolkien Notes 6"
The sixth in the series of notes on Tolkien subjects by Christina
Scull and Wayne Hammond. This time with a note about a musical
adaptation of _Farmer Giles of Ham_; about the first publication of
Tolkien's poems _Tinfang Warble_ and _The Grey Bridge of Tavrobel_;
about further addenda and corrigenda to the _J.R.R. Tolkien
Companion and Guide_ (dated 19 April); about one Ernest Rasdall; and
with a cautionary review of the _3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien_.

BC, Tuesday, 23 April 2013, "Words versus pictures - Tolkien versus
A very interesting idea concerning the different mental origins of
the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis respectively. Charlton
suggests that Tolkien's stories were founded in words -- and perhaps
particularly word history -- while Lewis' stories were founded more
in mental pictures, stills or tableaux that Lewis then tried to
connect in narrative. A presentation at the length of a (shortish)
blog entry will inevitably look at the principal lines, the zeroeth
order effects, ignoring the exceptions and various other 'first- and
second-order' effects, but I think it is an idea that it might be
worth looking into in some more detail (insofar as that is at all
possible with the present body of evidence).

Arman J. Partamian, Tuesday, 23 April 2013, "J.R.R. Tolkien and the
Catholic Imagination"
In addition to recognizing that 'Tolkien was a genius' (which
obviously predisposes me favourably to him), the author of this blog
entry acknowledges that 'was a big factor in [his] conversion to
Catholicism,' which may account for the air of allegorical reading
that is the only thing I think really mars this piece (e.g. writing
that 'Frodo and Sam's spiritual journey is fundamentally a Christian
pilgrimage' is putting it just that little bit stronger and more
allegorically than I think is justified). Ignoring the allegorical
definitives, however, I think there is something interesting to
gather from this -- not least the acknowledgement that Tolkien made
a work which can be enjoyed fully regardless of the reader's
religious creed.

BC, Wednesday, 24 April 2013, "What is communicating in dreams?
Self, divine, demonic?"
I'll admit that I have some problems accepting the basic premises of
this discussion, mainly the idea that the dream-process described in
_The Notion Club Papers_ was autobiographical (at least to the
extent suggested by Charlton). If, however, we ignore that issue and
think only of dreams within Tolkien's literary work, I think that
the question of the sources of these dreams is quite interesting.

"Demosthenes", Thursday, 25 April 2013, "Why inconsistency in
Tolkien's canon is actually a good thing"
While I agree with the author here that complete consistency within
Tolkien writings (even when we limit ourselves only to the
legendarium -- a subset of the Tolkien canon), and I can concede
that the layering of inconsistent versions can in some cases add to
the verisimilitude, I still think the author is not quite right.
First I think he misses the worst effect of the whole search for
consistency: that it is advocating a misrepresentation of Tolkien's
actual conception. Secondly there is the problem that Tolkien
actually seems to have desired such consistency, even if it would
appear that he was fundamentally incapable of ever reaching it (even
if you look only within LotR). All in all I think the author fails
to understand or respect (or possibly both) Tolkien's relation to
his legendarium, and because of this he still propounds a view of
the legendarium that misrepresents Tolkien's own conception.

Sara M. Harvey, Friday, 26 April 2013, "The Missing Literary Link:
Tolkien, Language, and Forgotten Myths"
I had an internal debate about whether or not to add this. It is one
of these pieces that mainly sets out to inform, and which gets its
facts _almost_ right -- but just almost (the Rohirrim, for instance,
aren't exactly Mercians with horses, but they do speak something
close to Old Mercian ... almost), and sometimes, by missing by
hair's breadth, goes flying wide. Going through this piece and
correcting all the minor errors would take a bit of effort, and I
shan't do that, so if you do read it, please don't accept anything
that you cannot verify elsewhere (and _not_ on the internet except
on the site of a respected Tolkien scholar -- Scull & Hammond,
Garth, Rateliff, Fisher ...).

Il, Saturday, 27 April 2013, "Reading The Hobbit: Barrels out of
Bond or Parenting Dwarves"
Ilverai is back at reading _The Hobbit_, this month putting Dwarves
into barrels and seeing them arrive in Lake Town. Seeing Bilbo's
protection and saving of the Dwarves as a parenting act allows
Ilverai to comment intelligently on what quickly becomes a clever
little play with roles between the narrator, the child audience, and
their primary identification figure, Bilbo.

JF, Monday, 29 April 2013, "Another analog to the Doors of Durin"
Jason Fisher has found another example of artwork that has some
resemblance to Tolkien's drawing of the west-door of Moria, this
time on the cover of a 1930 book by Charles Williams (albeit printed
in only 300 copies). While lacking trees, anvil, stars, and
inscription, this version does sport a crown, and it is of course
quite close to home. Fisher doesn't suggest that the image is a
source for Tolkien's envisioning / drawing, and I think the main
problem in such a claim would rather be to rule out all other
possible sources of similar likelihood.

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

John Garth, "JRR Tolkien Encyclopedia and JRR Tolkien Companion and
Guide reviewed by John Garth"
In essence a copy of John Garth's December 2006 reviews for the
_Times Literary Supplement_ of the _J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia_ by
Michael Drout (ed) and _The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide_ by
Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond, but updated and put together.
Putting these two books together highlights their individual natures
and how they complement each other rather than trying to cover the
same (though there is necessarily some overlap).

John Garth, _Oxford Today_, Monday, 25 march 2013, "Book of the
week: _There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of The
Mark Atherton's book on the sources of _The Hobbit_, _There and Back
Again_, was reviewed in March by John Garth, but somehow this failed
to appear on my radar until April. Garth is overall very positive
about Atherton's book (while not blind to its loose ends), which
only makes me more eager to return to that particular journey (which
is sitting on my bookshelf as I write, only begun, but with a
promising beginning).

John Garth, Saturday, 6 April 2013, "Review: _The Ring of Words:
Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary_"
John Garth has put on his own web-site his, now otherwise
hard-to-find, review of Gilliver, Marshall and Weiner's _The Ring of
Words_. Garth lays out the contents of the book, and though he might
have preferred something a little longer at some points, he is
nonetheless positive towards it.

Oloris Publishing, Sunday, 7 April 2013, "Medium Rare and Back
Again: Oloris Publishing and Heath Dill embark on a culinary journey
to Middle-earth"
If Denmark is anything to judge by, there seems to be a large market
for themed cookbooks, so it would seem that Heath Dill and Oloris
Publishing are on to something here with a book of recipes inspired
by Tolkien's Middle-earth ... and of the fandom surrounding this as
with the 'Smoky Shadow and Flame Wings'.

MB, Tuesday, 9 April 2013, "Calls for Paper: Baptism of Fire: The
Birth of Modern British Fantasy in World War I/ Women in the Works
of J.R.R. Tolkien"
If you feel that you have a paper waiting to get out on either 'The
Birth of Modern British Fantasy in World War I' or about 'Women in
the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien' now is the chance to write up an
abstract and send it in for possible publication in one of these
books, both to be edited by Janet Brennan Croft (Tolkienist and
editor of _Mythlore_, the more academic journal of the Mythopoeic
Society), the latter in colaboration with Leslie Donovan (also one
of the officers of the Mythopoeic Society).

Oloris Publishing, Thursday, 11 April 2013, "Announcing David Rowe's
'The Proverbs of Middle-earth'"
David Rowe has, for the last couple of years (at least) been
tweeting proverbs (and phrases have the 'ring' of a proverb)
gathered from Tolkien's writings from his Twitter account
@TolkienProverbs, and he has also a website dedicated to this topic
(see under websites). Now there is a book coming out from Oloris
Publishing, which promises 'an in-depth exploration of the wisdom
traditions of Middle-earth, investigating the degree to which
Tolkien's proverbs not only delight and instruct, but also bring
revelatory "inner reality" to his created world.'

Walking Tree Publishers, Tuesday, 16 April 2013, "Call for papers
'Humour in and around the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien'"
If you have anything to say about the use of humour 'in and around'
Tolkien's works, this may be your chance. The book is planned to be
published in 2014 (edited, I guess, by Tolkien scholars Thomas
Honegger and Maureen Mann), and will be the first book-length
investigation of the topic of humour in relation to Tolkien. Though
the call invites papers also on fan-fiction, parodies and other
works that relate explicitly to Tolkien's work, I hope the main
focus will be on Tolkien's own use of humour.

Aniruddha, Friday, 19 April 2013, "The Bengali (DUI MINAR):
Illustrated translation of Tolkien's 'The Two Towers'"
On the publication of the illustrated Bengali translation of _Two

MT, Monday, 22 April 2013, "Father Francis Morgan, Tolkien, and
Morgan Thomsen reviews _La Conexión Española de J.R.R. Tolkien: El
"Tío Curro"_ by José Manuel Ferrández Bru -- a book focusing on
Father Francis Morgan, the guardian of the brothers Hilary and
J.R.R. Tolkien after the death of their mother, Mabel, and how
Tolkien, through Fr. Francis, is connected to Spain. I very much
share Morgan Thomsen's hope that the book will soon translated into
English and thus made available to a larger audience (I have even
considered buying the Spanish edition and using it to re-aquaint
myself with Spanish, but I fear that it will prove too
time-consuming to be practical).

Tolkienseminariet, Tuesday, 23 April 2013, "7 mars 2013 --
In Swedish. A report from the 7 March meeting of the Tolkien seminar
in Stockholm. The three participants used the evening to look
through a 'record large hill of books', mostly from 2012. The
minutes mostly consist of a list of the books with some brief review
notes, not unlike the well-known ''The Year's Work in Tolkien
Studies' overview articles in _Tolkien Studies_. Highly
recommendable for anyone with enough command of the Scandinavian
tongues to read it.

= = = = Interviews = = = =

PC, Thursday, 11 April 2013, "Interview with Mark Atherton, author
of There and Back Again: J R R Tolkien and the Origins of The
Pieter Collier has interviewed Mark Atherton about his recent book,
about Tolkien in general, and about his background. It is very
interesting to read about some of Atherton's thoughts that lie
behind his choices in the book. I have still myself to finish
Atherton's book, but I've read the first couple of chapters and
these are very good.

Steve "Rifflo" Fitch, Tuesday, 16 April 2013, "EXCLUSIVE: From
Middle-Earth With John Howe"
A long and interesting interview with John Howe talking about his
inspirations, how he came to work with Tolkien's works, his
colaboration (and friendship) with Alan Lee, and of course his work
on the Peter Jackson films.

Afternoon show, Wednesday, 17 April 2013, "Peter Kenny - Australia's
biggest Tolkien fan"
An interview with Peter Kenny, also known by his hobbit name,
Fortinbras Proudfoot, Esq., particularly about his participation at
the Supernova Pop Culture Expo, where he, with Fortinbras Proudfoot
Esquire Foundation, was in the Artists' Alley just next to the
Doctor Who Club of Australia.

= = = = Tolkienian Artwork = = = =

A couple of artists doing Tolkien-inspired art:

Abe Papakhian:
And his "LOTR" gallery:
Papakhian's pictures are kept in quite realistic style, but I think
that there is, at times, something slightly odd about the
proportions. This kind of artistic line also, in my opinion, invites
a comparison with the text -- I know one shouldn't do that, but I
cannot help myself, in particular with artists striving for a
realistic portrayal, but I will refrain from pointing out Abe
Papakhian's errors (the careful attention to the details of the text
is one of the things that make me like Jenny Dolfen's art very, very
much). I do very much like his portrayal of Gríma Wormtongue,

Ulla Thynell:
And her "Middle-earth" gallery:
A set of charming pictures in a less realistic style than the above,
but also, at least in my opinion, more appropriate as illustrations
of Tolkien's text as distinguished from pieces of art inspired by
Tolkien's text -- the two do not necessarily accompany each other,
and the former also requires a greater attention to the details of
the text.

Various, April 2013, "The Fortunate Isles"
The theme this month on John Howe's fan art pages is 'The Fortunate
Isles'. There is a couple of pictures of Tol Galen, and a couple
more (_Champs Élysées_ and _Hy Breasail_) that one might
imaginatively connect with Tolkien's work, but nothing else that
connects to Tolkien's work. I admit that seeing the theme, I had
hoped for envisionings of Númenórë in its glory under the early
kings -- the most fortunate of all mortal isles, or of Tol Eressëa,
the Lonely Isle (possibly using the imaginary setting of _The Book
of Lost Tales_ to link it to Britain).

Brian Sibley, Saturday, 20 April 2013, "Drawn to the Rings"
About the art of Eric Fraser, and particularly about Eric Fraser's
Tolkien-related cover art for 7 March 1981 issue _The Radio Times_,
the original of which Sibley managed to secure for himself.

JD, Friday, 26 April 2013, "Print Sale!"
Special (cheap) price on all prints of Dolfen's work. If you haven't
bought a print yet, you might want to consider doing so!

Brian Sibley, Sunday, 28 April 2013, "The Return of the Ring"
No, not about Sibley's appearance at the Tolkien Society conference
last summer, but about the drawing of Frodo that Robin Jacques made
for _The Radio Times_ of Frodo examining the Master Ring, the
original of which Brian Sibley also managed to buy (and also
introducing a few other drawings by Robin Jacques).

= = = = Other Stuff = = = =

talelmarhazad, Tuesday, 9 April 2013, "When Elrond Was Kinder Than
The Grey Havens group have had a visit by Kris Swank (who gave a
presentation on the relationships between _The Hobbit_ and the
letters from Father Christmas at the recent conference in
Valparaiso) who spoke about Tolkien's _Letters From Father

badgaladriel, Wednesday, 10 April 2013, "The Professor and the
Doctor: The Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who as Mythology"
Some comments on _The Lord of the Rings_ and _Doctor Who_ as seen as
mythology. Though I cannot walk the whole nine yards with the
author, she has none the less some interesting points to make.

MM, Monday, 15 April 2013, "The End of Our Fellowship in
Michael Martinez has, for almost two years, been reproducing old
essays on his blog every Monday while filling up the other days with
shorter answers to various queries by readers. Having reached the
end of the list of essays, he appears to find it too time-consuming
to continue blogging on Tolkien-related matters. Though I haven't
been reporting them all, I have generally enjoyed Michael's essays
-- one is likely to learn more and develop more from reading
something that is not just a repetition of things one already knows
or holds as true. Michael Martinez has in many ways meant a lot to
my own development as a Tolkienist, for which I am grateful to him.

Lynn Maudlin, Mythopoeic Society, Monday, 15 April 2013, "Why Join
the Society?"
Highlighting the publications, the conferences, the awards, the
community and the cause, this is an excellent list of the reasons to
join the Mythopoeic Society. Though I have still to be able to come
to the U.S. for a MythCon, it is my dream to one day be able to do
Since the two societies are not really competing, but rather often
collaborate, I feel justified in also mentioning the Tolkien
Society, which has the advantage of conferences that are usually
more accessible for someone in Europe:
In both cases I would stress the community of amiable and
intelligent Tolkienists as the first benefit and the journals as the
second -- and I would say that it is a good thing to have access to
both communities and both sets of journals, so feel free to join
both societies.

Clara Finley, Friday, 12 April 2013, "The Morrisian Interview
Series, #2: John J. Walsdorf"
Amid a longish interview about the collecting of (non-Tolkienian)
books is a charming anecdote of a young man, working in the Oxford
City Library on exchange from the U.S., sending his copy of _The
Hobbit_ to Tolkien for inscription, and getting it hand-delivered
back to him by the author with a letter of appreciation. The
anecdote is given fairly early on in the interview.

Multiple, _The Vermont Cynic_, Thursday, 18 April 2013, "Gratitude
for Tolkien"
A letter of appreciation of Chris Vaccaro's work in organizing the
annual 'Tolkien at the University of Vermont' conference.

MB, Friday, 26 April 2013, "International Tolkien Seminar this
weekend in Aachen, Germany"
Advocating this event, held by the German Tolkien Society in
cooperation with Walking Tree Publishers and the English & Romance
Studies Department of RWTH Aachen University. See also the
university's event description:

= = = = The Roman Ring = = = =

National Trust, The Vyne, April 2013, "Curse, legend and inspiration
at the Vyne"
and Wednesday, 3 April 2013, "Tolkien inspiration at The Vyne"
The display, at The Vyne, of a Roman gold ring probably connected to
the curse tablets found at the Roman temple in Lydney Park (through
a reapparing name) has sparked a flood of articles. The mention of a
name both on this ring and on a curse tablet found in the temple
makes archaeologists believe that this is the very ring that whose
thief is cursed on the tablet. Tolkien wrote his article "On the
Name Nodens" for the archaeologist R.E.M. Wheeler's report on the
Lydney dig site, and the ring is not mentioned at all in the report,
nor in any of Tolkien's writings on this. The connection between the
ring on display and the evil Master Ring of Tolkien's LotR is thus
only made by a flimsy web of guesswork and extrapolations. Still,
this has not stopped the press from writing about it ...
For a little background on Tolkien and the Lydney Park site, you
might want to read this:
BBC, January 2004, "Tolkien's tales from Lydney Park"

And then for more recent comments inspired by news on the exhibition
at The Vyne. First, however, to set things straight, I'll give the
word to Christina Scull & Wayne G. Hammond, Tuesday, 9 April 2013,
"Tolkien and Nodens in the news this morning"
So, before we continue to all the misinformation, you need to keep
in mind that despite the presentation, it is very unlikely that
Tolkien ever visited Lydney Park excavations, and there is no reason
(no rational reason, at least) to believe that this Roman ring
inspired _anything_ in _The Hobbit_ or _The Lord of the Rings_.

First a couple of blog posts by historians on this topic:
Mathew Lyons, Wednesday, 3 April 2013, "History and myth: JRR
Tolkien, a Roman temple and a ring"
Note that Lyon alleges that Tolkien visited the Lydney site, a claim
which the evidence does _not_ support -- the evidence rather
suggests that Tolkien did _not_ visit the site at all and that all
his dealings with Wheeler were formal and professional rather than
The History Blog, Wednesday, 3 April 2013, "The Roman Preciousss on
display at The Vyne"

and then on to a few of the news-stories this has produced ...
_The Guardian_, 2 April, "The Hobbit ring that may have inspired
Tolkien put on show"
_International Business Times_, 2 April, "Lord of the Rings:
'Cursed' Roman Ring that Inspired Tolkien's Hobbit Books Discovered
in 16th Century Country House"
Yahoo Movies, 2 April, "Is this the ring that inspired Tolkien and
The Hobbit?"
_Metro_, 2 April, "Was this cursed Roman ring JRR Tolkien's
inspiration for The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings?"
_Sky News_, 2 April, "Tolkien 'Inspiration' Ring Goes On Display"
_The Telegraph_, 2 April, "The Hobbit: ring that inspired Tolkien
goes on display"
_The Express_, 2 April, "Ring that 'inspired' JRR Tolkien to write
The Hobbit goes on display"
_Fox News_, 2 April, "Ring that may have inspired Tolkien goes on
_Los Angeles Times_, 2 April, "'Cursed' Roman ring may be Tolkien's
'ring to rule them all'"
CBS News, 2 April, "Roman ring that "inspired Tolkien" goes on
_Albany Times Union_, 2 April, "Ring that 'inspired Tolkien' goes on
_The Mirror_, 3 April, "JRR Tolkien: Ancient gold ring believed to
have inspired The Hobbit goes on show"
UPI, 3 April, "Gold ring linked to Tolkien on display"
_National Post_, 3 April, "Did this ring inspire J.R.R. Tolkien's
'precious'? 'Cursed' gold ring goes on display in U.K"
MSN, 3 April, "Is this J.R.R. Tolkien's real-life 'one ring to rule
them all'?"
_Lancashire Evening Post_, 3 April, "Odd stories - Exhibition of JRR
Tolkien 'Hobbit' ring"
_The Register_, 3 April, "ANCIENT CURSED RING known to TOLKIEN goes
on display"
_TheOneRing.Net_, 3 April, "Ancient gold ring which may have
inspired Tolkien" (Yes, evenn TORN jumps on this regrettable
band-wagon ... <sigh!>)
_Huffington Post_, 4 April, "JRR Tolkien 'One Ring' Inspiration For
'Lord Of The Rings' Goes On Display At The Vyne"
3 News, 5 April, "Ancient ring believed to be Tolkien's
_Anglotopia_, 5 April, "Ancient Roman Ring That May Have Inspired
Tolkien On Display Now in Hampshire"
_Big Pond News_, 5 April, "Roman ring leads to Tolkien's trilogy"
(Honestly! I find this headline more distressing than most.)
NPR, 8 April, "J.R.R. Tolkien's Ring On Display At Estate's

= = = = In Print = = = =

_Beyond Bree_, April 2013
In addition to the usual columns, lists, letters, poems, and news
articles, this issue of BB sports interesting pieces on the artist
Mary Fairburn by Daniel Smith and by Jim Allan on Ohlmark's comments
(and Tolkien's reaction) in the Swedish translation (though I think
that Allan would have benefitted from working with someone with the
Swedish original rather than trusting exclusively to Tolkien's
translation). Sultana Raza has an, in my frank opinion rather odd,
piece on Tolkien and trees, while Nancy Martsch writes with usual
insight about the Finnish 9-episode of _The Lord of the Rings_, and
both John Rateliff and Rev. John Houghton contributes reports from
the Tolkien conference in Valparaiso (for Rateliff's blog-reports,
see the transactions for last month).

_Amon Hen_ no.240, March 2013
The Tolkien Society announces its AGM (held in April) and the
Seminar in July (topic: Tolkien's Landscapes -- a call for papers is
included). For the AGM there was only one person standing for each
position, and so we can welcome and congratulate the new Committee
(many of whom are re-elected), and of course especially the new
Chairman, Shaun Gunner. Shaun was also at the gala premiere for the
Hobbit film, which he enjoyed and reports from in _Amon Hen_, just
as Alex Lewis reports from his participation in the Czech
TolkienCon. Obituaries for Keith Bridges and Dinah Hazell follow,
after which there is a piece by Christopher Powell, which, in my
opinion, falls flat: a lack of depth of perception is instead
propped up by commonplaces and platitudes. There is more meat on
Alex Lewis' letter in reaction to Jim Allan's letter in AH239 about
copyright -- while I do not agree with Lewis' interpretation of
Tolkien's comment about 'other hands and minds', there are certainly
aspects of his comments on copyright that are worth noting. Reviews
follow of Robert Blackham's _The JRR Tolkien Miscellany_ and Colin
Duriez' _J.R.R. Tolkien_. The issue is rounded off by Christopher
Kreuzer's clippings from the media (with a coverage of the British
paper-borne news).

= = = = Web Sites = = = =

Proverbs of Middle-earth
About -- you guessed it! -- the proverbs and proverbiality found in
Tolkien's writings.

Burren Tolkien Society
The Burren Tolkien Society, along with their Tolkien Festival, has
recently received a some justified criticism for their completely
spurious claims that features of the Irish Burren inspired anything
in either _The Hobbit_ or _The Lord of the Rings_, and also for the
display of dragon-sickness in requiring people to donate €50.- to be
able to even bid at a (rather worn) first edition copy of _Tree and
Leaf_ with a _printed_ autograph. I think it is very sad that they
have chosen to antagonize many serious Tolkienists by their
ludicrous claims and practices, as there is a lot of sound research
that has been buried by this silliness. So, do not believe any claim
that Tolkien's visits to Ireland (starting in the summer of 1949,
when _The Lord of the Rings_ had been finished in draft for a year)
inspired anything in _The Hobbit_ or _The Lord of the Rings_, but
enjoy the biographical information concerning Tolkien's other links
to this area of Ireland.

= = = = Sources = = = =

See <>

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

Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
- Niels Bohr, to a young physicist

Steve Morrison

May 5, 2013, 3:11:34 PM5/5/13
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> MB, Saturday, 6 April 2013, "'Little by little, one travels far'� is
> not a J.R.R. Tolkien quote."
> <>
> <>
> Let us just repeat that with some emphasis: 'Little by little, one
> travels far' is _NOT_ a J.R.R. Tolkien quotation! It is a
> TThnsdwohatdw -- Things (J.R.R.) Tolkien has never said, done,
> written or had anything to do with.

I'm very glad to see this series on The Tolkienist; I've wished many
times lately for some central place to debunk spurious Tolkien quotes
and apocryphal anecdotes, a sort of specialized Snopes. I hope he
goes on to deal with the "quote" I posted on last year, "we were all
orcs in the Great War", and perhaps on the one you see about why
the Eagles didn't fly the Ring/Ringbearer to Mordor; I'm thinking of
the one where JRRT supposedly said the Eagles were not a taxi
service, and besides that way there would have been no story!

Igenlode Wordsmith

Jun 10, 2013, 6:44:46 PM6/10/13
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message <XnsA1B41D7E...@>


> Proverbs of Middle-earth
> <>
> About -- you guessed it! -- the proverbs and proverbiality found in
> Tolkien's writings.

Loved this site (and his observation that Gandalf appears to speak
almost entirely in proverbs!)
A lavish number of illustrations, all of them unfortunately uncredited.
I was particularly struck by Aragorn
(a stylised rendition that manages to evoke the shabby Ranger and the
lost King both at once -- most artists go for either one or the other)
and Denethor
(the top image, again somewhat stylised in tone -- although the
watercolour underneath looks familiar in style if not subject; I suspect
that one is from an artist I've praised in this context before)

Edit: Ah yes -- a little detective work:
(and I'm frankly *amazed* that I managed to track down that last one
starting from only a filename of "Denethor"!)

Igenlode Visit the Ivory Tower

But we must not be hasty; for it is easier to shout 'stop!' than to do it.

Troels Forchhammer

Jul 17, 2013, 3:17:27 PM7/17/13
In message <>
Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]>
spoke these staves:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
> <XnsA1B41D7E...@>
>> Proverbs of Middle-earth
>> <> About -- you
>> guessed it! -- the proverbs and proverbiality found in Tolkien's
>> writings.
> Loved this site (and his observation that Gandalf appears to speak
> almost entirely in proverbs!)

I am very happy to hear that my reference has been of help. You have
hopefully also noticed that Oloris Publishing will be publishing (doh!)
a book by David Rowe, who is behind the site.

> A lavish number of illustrations, all of them unfortunately
> uncredited.

That is unfortunately all too common. Most artists are happy if you
just credit them and provide a URL to their site -- actually asking
them for permission is likely to cause some kind of delirium ;-)

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

It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal
- Frodo Baggins, /The Return of the King/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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