TODAY IS TOLKIEN READING DAY – MARCH 25th

March 25, 2018 – TOLKIEN READING DAY

Celebrated around the world on March 25, Tolkien Reading Day is a favorite among fans of the renowned author. When we were younger and drank more, it was also Fall of Sauron Day.

This day commemorates the dropping of the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom and the non-extinction of the human race. Sadly, I think Sauron is back.

Mount Doom

I don’t know if he-who-has-gone-to-Mordor (aka Florry-duh) or whether or not he has the one Ring of Power, but the extinction of the human race seems to be exactly his goal. If he can’t kill us by getting rid of our medical care, maybe he can wipe us out by destroying the planet. If that doesn’t get the job done, there’s always the nuclear option.

So perhaps this is the right day for celebration after all.

If we can remember a couple of hobbits and an insane mad creature named Gollum climbed through the darkness and horror of Mordor to get the ring into the fire, maybe we can get through this too.

J.R.R. Tolkien (Jan. 3, 1892 – Sept. 2, 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist and university professor. He was best known as the author of the classic works: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarrillion as well as Roverandom and Farmer Giles of Ham.

HOW TO OBSERVE THE DAY? 

Read some of Tolkien’s works and use #TolkienReadingDay to post on social media. As it happens, not only did I just finish reading the entire three book series, but Garry and I also watched the extended 3-movie extended version of “Lord of the Rings.”

HISTORY

This day was officially started in 2003 by the Tolkien Society to encourage the readings of J.R.R. Tolkien. March 25th was chosen as the date to honor the fall of Sauron in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Personally, from our point of view, they were very late to the party. We’d been joyously celebrating that day for years, from the late 1960s right through the 1970s. By the time the Tolkien Society made their pronouncement and declared it a special day, we had largely disbanded. I had gone to Israel, others moved to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Utah, and Massachusetts.

But we never forgot that day or the ceremony — which involved considerable drinking and a very short service, noticeably reminiscent of a Passover Seder. I  steal my material from wherever I can find it.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT “THE LORD OF THE RINGS”

The book is about good and evil. On the bad side, there’s Sauron, the greatest and most powerful of evils. Saruman, who would have become Sauron — given the chance. The horror of those who follow these worst of men.

The fear that engulfs the world as Sauron’s shadow began to cover it. The fearful hope that somehow, when power fails, that the determination and dedication of the least of them may yet win the day — and does win the day. It was definitely worth a party and it still is.

I bumped into this quote last night. I was tucked in for the night and I hoped I would remember it in the morning. I didn’t exactly recall it, but luckily for me “Lord of the Rings” is such a well-quoted book, I found it online:


Eomer said, “How is a man to judge what to do in such times?”

“As he has ever judged,” said Aragorn. “Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.”


In the great fabric of  life in which we are threads, good and evil are part of us. We are born knowing both. It’s in our DNA. When we see evil and allow ourselves to become part of it — when we live in evil times and excuse the evil around us– we become part of it. No spoon is long enough to keep you far enough away from the Devil.

A bad man and his wicked followers and adherents don’t have “a good side.”

And in the darkness bind them …

Happy Fall of Sauron Day. Read Tolkien. Watch the movies. They’re available on Netflix. Maybe elsewhere, too.

ROOT, TREE AND BRANCH

As I am now in the middle of “The Two Towers, ” deep in the syntax of J.R.R. Tolkien as the peoples of Middle Earth fight the encroaching darkness. 

Speaking of branches, the Ents have taken a stand against Saruman . This is one of my favorite parts of the books and as far as I am concerned, I live amongst my Ents. I often talk to my trees because if they are Entish, they are istening.

Gandalf

I’ve passed the battle of Helm’s Deep when Theoden asks Gandalf if they can get back to the life they knew before all this ugliness. Gandalf says no because evil leaves traces. You fight it. Even if you win, remnants remain.

“But what about the peoples of Middle Earth? Will we all vanish?”

Gandalf says “Perhaps. Sometimes that’s the price we pay.” This isn’t literally what they said, but close enough.

I’m sufficiently ill this morning to feel like one of the vanishing people of Middle Earth and I am off to the doctor. I think this is going to be a missing day for me. Between the doctor, pharmacy, and grocery (it’s supposed to snow tomorrow), I’m not going to be around most of the day.

Consider me one of the vanished people of Middle Earth — an Ent’s small, lost twig.

THE FABRIC OF GOOD AND EVIL – ARAGORN TO EOMER

I’m rereading for the umpteenth time, “The Lord of the Rings.” Essentially, the book is entirely about good and evil. The great evil that is Sauron, the lesser evil of his cohorts, the striving evil of Saruman … and the fear of all involved in the battle hoping they can see the  right way and remain woven in the fabric of good. When evil is everywhere, goodness is not a given.

I bumped into this quote last night. I was tucked in for the night and I hoped I would remember it in the morning. I didn’t exactly recall it, but luckily for me “Lord of the Rings” is such a well-quoted book, I found it quickly.


Eomer said, ‘How is a man to judge what to do in such times?’ As he has ever judged,’ said Aragorn. ‘Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.


In the great fabric of  life in which we are threads, good and evil are part of us. We are born knowing both. It is in our DNA, should we choose to recognize them. When we see evil and allow ourselves to become part of it — when we live in evil times and excuse evil — it become us too.

A bad man and his bad adherents never have “a good side” and lying about it changes nothing — except probably you. Because when you mouth evil, you absorb it and make it part of you.


Please note that when you read this book, you eventually wind up talking like this.

And in the darkness bind them …

SUDDENLY, MARCH

It will be spring this month, though in this climate, it won’t feel like spring for at least another month. Not usually, anyway. The climate has been so peculiar, you never really know for sure what you will get. But typically, March is really winter, with the Vernal Equinox showing up towards the end of the month.

I seem to forget that. My birthday is March 11th and for a variety of irrational reasons, I think of it as being a “spring” birthday. It isn’t. March is the end of winter and often, the wildest weather of the season as the warmer weather tries to upset the entrenched cold of winter. Still, we are closer. Much closer. With a little luck, maybe we are done with snow. Sunshine and a few early flowers would be very lovely.

Share Your World – February 26, 2018


What are you reading right now?

During the day, I’m finally reading Jack Finney’s “Time and Again.” It’s a book I’m surprised I haven’t read before. At night, I’m re-reading “Lord of the Rings.” Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merri along with Aragorn are shortly to arrive in Rivendell. They have just discovered that Gandolf has gone missing.

I’ve read LOTR half a dozen times — audio and as text — but it has been quite a while since I read it last. In between, I saw all the movies when they came out. I don’ t know why I decided to read it again. Maybe I just needed that beautiful writing and memories of Middle Earth.

What was your first adult job?

I was the continuity director for WHLI. At the time it was an AM-FM station doing a bit of new music, mostly older music. News. Advertisements. I kept the logs we had to turn into the FCC — on paper — because there weren’t any computers yet.

I also wrote the advertisements and it was here that I realized I had a bit of a flair for PR and advertising. Before this, I was sure I was going to write Great Novels. After this, I thought I might write Great Advertising. Or both. Who knew I was really going to write Great Technical Documentation?

 What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

It used to be oatmeal, but I don’t eat cereal anymore. I can’t even remember the last time I had any. It must be years.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I took Garry’s blood pressure and without any medication — it was NORMAL. That is very good news.

The Hobbit With BONUS Middle Earth Flowcharts

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Peter Jackson's liv...
Ian McKellen as Gandalf

Cate Blanchett portrays Galadriel in The Lord ...

Today I saw The Hobbit. I loved it. I’ve read a lot of complaints about it online and I’m more baffled after seeing it than I was before.

I don’t understand what the problem is. Too long? Too much detail? Really?

Do they really want a shorter movie with less detail? I’m willing to bet that if they got what they wanted, the same people would start bitching about how it’s too short and lacks detail.

There are too many people who aren’t satisfied unless they are complaining about something.

Ignore the whiners for whom nothing will ever be true enough to the book. They should not go to the movies and just reread the book. They don’t get the difference between literature and film as art forms. And don’t even bother to read professional critics. They never like anything really good anyhow. They are on a campaign to remove the fun from film and replace it with pretentious boring stuff that’s closer to torture than entertainment.

If you are a Tolkien fan, go see it. You won’t be disappointed. This recommendation comes from one of the people who invented Fall of Sauron Day and celebrated it faithfully for 20 years without thinking there was anything odd about it.

The Hobbit is a cool movie and you’ll enjoy  it. It’s faithful to the book, beautifully mounted, excellently performed, has some fine renditions of the old Tolkien songbook as well as a couple of new songs … and the magic of Peter Jackson to create a world we wish we could live in.

In the meanwhile, if the plot confuses you, this handy chart can help you understand the chain of events that led to the downfall of Sauron and the saving of (tada) the world.

Emil Johansson of the Lord of the Rings Project has created Gandalf Problem Solving, a humorous flowchart showing various options that Gandalf the wizard had for fixing problems during both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings film series.

You may also remember Emil’s great Dwarves Cheat Sheet. No? Well …