Happy Tolkien Reading Day! (2021 Edition)

Happy Tolkien Reading Day, everyone!

Each year, the holiday looks a little different for me. One year (before kids), I read The Hobbit in one day. It satisfied my soul, though my eyes certainly complained the next day. Last year, it was a beacon in a dark season. It reminded me that, like Easter, darkness can’t hold back the coming dawn.

This year, my focus is cultivating a love of Tolkien into my children so that they become third generation Tolkien fans. Between Lord of the Rings Little People, the Unexpected Party from The Hobbit film, and Middle-earth-inspired food, we’ve already had an adventurous day and there’s more to come after naptime.

Obviously, I want them to like the same fandoms that my husband and I do. (I converted him not long after we got married.) But more than that, I want them to understand some of the most important things that I’ve learned from the lore of Middle-earth. Heroism. Sacrifice. Courage. Friendship. Contentment. The beauty of becoming immersed in a magical world that is unlike our own yet shares truth that they can hold onto.

As I enjoy these last few minutes of quiet before naptime ends and the Chelsea buns are ready to be rolled out, I reflect on how grateful I am for inspiring stories, like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They have shaped my life, and I hope that they shape my girls’ lives for the better too.

My kids’ new favorite Little People…

Are you celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? What are your favorite ways to celebrate?

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year: Tolkien Reading Day!

Part of me regrets not spending every spare moment of the week on a Lord of the Rings marathon, but part of me feels that what I’ve been doing with my free time is just as appropriate.

It’s been hard to peel myself away from Breath of the Wild. Whenever I have a spare moment (and my husband isn’t playing it), I’ve been exploring the vast landscape and basically doing all I can to save the world one quest at a time. (Fortunately, the times when my husband is playing mean that my writing doesn’t completely suffer.)

However, such fantasy would never exist without Tolkien’s influence. I happened across a Newsweek article that said as much. (Check out “How J.R.R. Tolkien Redefined Fantasy Stories” here.) Tolkien didn’t invent fantasy, but his works defined the genre. It simply wouldn’t be what it is today without him. Which means that the game that I’m playing would be nothing like it is without him.

As usual, though, I’ll give pause to read my favorite passage (and likely more than that when it’s all said and done). There’s something so beautiful about the climax in The Return of the King, Book VI, in the last part of chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4. After everything that the characters have endured, this is the moment that changes Middle-earth forever. (And for anyone who’s read The Silmarillion, you know just how long this conflict with Sauron has been going on.)

The Fall of Sauron
One of the best parts : )

So here’s to this year’s Tolkien Reading Day, the anniversary of the Fall of Sauron, and Tolkien’s lasting influence on our world.

The Silmarillion Recap: Welcome to Middle-earth (or Isildur and Co. Finally Arrive)

Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.

Last week, Sauron gave out more Rings to some new friends. This week, a new threat arrives in Middle-earth

“Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age” part 4

Now we’re caught back up to the end of “Akallabêth.” After several years (known as the “Black Years”) of fighting with Gil-galad and his friends, Sauron leaves Middle-earth, causes the demise of Númenor, and then starts his trip back to Middle-earth.

Another group is on their way to Middle-earth, though: Elendil, his sons Isildur and Anárion, and their households. After boarding ships with all of their belongings, they find themselves in Middle-earth – a place the Dúnedain had been visiting for a while.

However, the three ships are separated in the chaos of Númenor’s destruction.

Elendil ends up more in the north, near Gil-galad’s territory. They become fast friends, and Elendil establishes the kingdom of Arnor. (Remember Amon Sûl from The Fellowship of the Ring? It’s part of this kingdom.)

Isildur and Anárion end up in the same place: south near Mordor. They establish the famous kingdom known as Gondor (and the major cities found in The Lord of the Rings). There are three major cities that anyone would need to know about. The first is Osgiliath, the chief city of Gondor. Basically, the two brothers rule from here. Next is Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Rising Moon. This city and its impressive tower were built with the sole purpose of intimidating Sauron in Mordor. The third is Minas Anor, the Tower of the Setting Sun. This was built as protection against the Men who lived in the area and threatened them. (After all, most of them are under Sauron’s influence to some degree.)

It’s also worth mentioning that one other renowned city and town was built in this era: Isengard, also known as Orthanc. The Dúnedain establish it as well, making their mark on the land that their forefathers left so long ago.

Next week, Sauron isn’t too happy about his defeat in Númenor, so he comes up with a new plan…