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The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings
At the Cracks of Doom © Ted Nasmith

OK, so we’ve seen the movies, bought the DVDs and played the board games, but how many of you have actually read this famous trilogy? (If you’re not put off by the length, you may well find them compulsive reading, and a lot more detailed than the movies.)

J. R. R. Tolkien invented the whole mythology of “Middle-earth”, complete with languages, history and distinct cultures; but in some ways he was re-inventing England, the stories of our ancient past that were lost in the centuries of invasion beginning with the Romans.


The term “Middle-earth” is related to the name “middan-geard”, which was the name for the earth itself in old English poetry and was the battleground between the forces of good and evil.


Tolkien himself was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at Oxford University where he learned and taught the ancient languages of northern Europe (Old Norse, Finnish, Welsh, Anglo-Saxon). He used elements of all of these when constructing the place and character names as well as the languages in the book.


But what would he have thought of the fact that his world of the hobbits, elves and dwarves has now truly become a world-famous part of English culture, an icon of England.



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