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Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby Courtenay » 01 Jun 2017, 08:51

Here's some news that caught my eye this morning: JRR Tolkien book Beren and Lúthien published after 100 years

A new book by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien is going on sale - 100 years after it was first conceived.

Beren and Lúthien has been described as a "very personal story" that the Oxford professor thought up after returning from the Battle of the Somme.

It was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and contains versions of a tale that became part of The Silmarillion.


So it's not a "new" story, but for those who've read it as published in The Silmarillion (I must admit I've never got around to that!!), it'd be interesting to see the original version and how it evolved as Tolkien's fantasy world and its history developed and grew. It's not clear from the article, but it does sound like this must have been one of the first pieces he wrote about what would become Middle-earth.

I thought these comments from a Tolkien expert were especially moving:

Tolkien specialist John Garth, who wrote Tolkien And The Great War, said the Hobbit author used his writing like an "exorcism" of the horrors he witnessed in World War One.

He said: "When he came back from the trenches, with trench fever, he spent the winter [of 1916-1917] convalescing.

"He'd lost two of his dearest friends on the Somme and you can imagine he must have been inside as much of a wreck as he was physically."

Mr Garth said on a walk in an East Yorkshire wood Tolkien's wife Edith danced in a glade filled with white flowers, which became the key scene in Beren and Lúthien.

He said: "Mr Tolkien felt the kind of joy he must have felt at times he would never feel again."

The names Beren and Lúthien are carved on the gravestone Tolkien and his wife share in Wolvercote cemetery in Oxford.
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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby floragord » 01 Jun 2017, 19:49

I didn't know until this week that JRRT's nostalgic depiction of The Shire was largely inspired by rural Wales. He named the hobbit settlement of Crickhollow after Crickhowell, and likewise the Buckland colony of hobbits was named after the Buckland Estate on the River Usk. Or that the Mabinogion, a collection of ancient Celtic myths, were woven into his work, learn something new every day!
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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby Katharine » 01 Jun 2017, 19:53

I saw some illustrations for the new book and thought they were lovely.
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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby Courtenay » 01 Jun 2017, 21:33

floragord wrote:I didn't know until this week that JRRT's nostalgic depiction of The Shire was largely inspired by rural Wales. He named the hobbit settlement of Crickhollow after Crickhowell, and likewise the Buckland colony of hobbits was named after the Buckland Estate on the River Usk. Or that the Mabinogion, a collection of ancient Celtic myths, were woven into his work, learn something new every day!


Oh, how about that! :D I always just assumed Tolkien was mainly inspired by Oxfordshire, where he lived most of his life. I had no idea he was into Celtic mythology as well! Must look into that.
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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby KEVP » 02 Jun 2017, 17:37

There are a LOT of influences on the Shire, but it is mostly the rural counties of England. A major inspiration is the village of Sarehole, which is now a suburb of Birmingham, and where Tolkien lived as a child. But people have found that Tolkien was influenced by many other places, including Kentucky in the USA.

And of course, Tolkien drew from lots of different European myths and legends, including the Mabinogion.

I suspect that floragord has been hearing from folks who are trying to emphasize Tolkien's connections with Wales, maybe to promote Welsh tourism?

I think the most important link between Tolkien and Wales is the fact that one of his Elvish languages, Sindarin, was inspired by Welsh (Not "based on" Welsh, but "inspired by")
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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby Courtenay » 02 Jun 2017, 18:07

Oh no, he was really inspired by New Zealand. I mean, just look at the Shire and all the rest of Middle-earth as portrayed in the films... :mrgreen: :wink:
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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby Rob Houghton » 08 Sep 2017, 13:02

Talking of Sarehole, this weekend is the annual 'Middle Earth festival' at Sarehole Mill (which appears in the books) - entrance to the mill (usually paid-for) is free throughout the weekend, and there are also 'Origins of Middle Earth' Tours around the local area and Moseley bog, showing the areas which inspired locations in the stories.

People dress up as their favourite characters from Tolkien's books and its a fun weekend, by all accounts. :-D

Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Road, Moseley, Birmingham from 11am - 5pm Saturday and Sunday. :-)

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'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

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Re: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Postby Lucky Star » 11 Sep 2017, 17:01

Looks great Rob. If I lived nearer and had known about it I would have attended. Though probably not in fancy dress. :lol:
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