On the perils of Faërie.

“Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold”.

J. R. R. Tolkien (On Fairy-Stories)

When it comes to Faërie, mortals must exercise great care in dealing with it. While the land of eternal life and plenty presents a desirable destination for many, it is not fit for earthly beings, save for a temporary abode or occasional visits, most likely for a special reason and with a seal of approval from Faërie inhabitants themselves. Read more

Christopher Tolkien: the son’s literary feat.

Tolkien readers, scholars and enthusiasts of today are incredibly fortunate as they have a unique collection of Professor’s writings available to them. Apart from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, some poems, short stories and academic papers, which appeared during Tolkien’s life, there are also posthumously published works, including early and transitional versions of the well-known stories, non-Middle-earth and academic writings. None of this would have been possible, though, had it not been for Tolkien’s son Christopher. Read more

Escape to the book: J. R. R. Tolkien’s view on escapism from the realia of the Robot Age.

When we speak about fantasy or fairy-tales, the term “escapist literature” often goes hand in hand with them. However, it is not always used in a good sense: while some view escapism as good and harmless, others treat it with contempt and mistrust. Read more

On Hobbits.

Hobbits are incredibly interesting folk who, keeping in mind their absence from the public eye in the Elder Days, First and Second Ages, come to play a huge role in the events of the Third. After The Hobbit came out in 1937, readers were eager to learn more about Hobbits and this public interest called for the sequel. The Hobbits’ adventures in The Lord of the Rings are very different from those of Bilbo Baggins, but they still show them as remarkable folk who deserve our greatest attention. Let’s have a look at the collection of facts, some of which I shared as part of my 1 like = 1 Hobbit fact interactive on Twitter on October 25. It is by no means a full list, so I encourage you, my dear readers, to share your favourite Hobbit facts in the comments below. Read more

Harp the magical.

Music has always possessed the air of mystery around it. Enjoying a long history and a special charm of its own, the harp is, probably, the most enigmatic instrument ever played by people. The harp has often been ascribed magical qualities which are reflected in various myths, legends and tales featuring this ancient instrument. Though several races in Tolkien’s Middle-earth are mentioned as playing the harp, it is the Elves who are mostly associated with it: an otherworldly thing in its own right, the harp perfectly emphasises the Elves’ fairy nature. Let us begin the journey into the enchantment of the harp by looking into the tales and legends of old. Read more

Tolkien inspirations /// On autumn.

Autumn is the season which many deeply love. Good, dry autumn is, indeed, a magical time of year. The air is crisp, clear and the smells are rich, musky. Leaves change their colour so that the palette of red, yellow and golden is pleasing for the eye and senses. Autumn is yet another proof that nature is a gifted painter and that her choices of colour are always good. Read more

Feline fall from favour: cats turn villains in Tolkien’s stories.

In the letter sent to Allen & Unwin in reply to a cat-breeder, who wished to use names from The Lord of the Rings to name her cats, Tolkien famously said: “I fear that to me Siamese cats belong to the fauna of Mordor….” (Letter 219).  It is hard to tell whether the Professor’s comment referred only to the cats of this particular breed, or expressed his general attitude towards felines, but cats in Tolkien’s literary works are presented mostly in a negative light.  Read more

The wonder of Middle-earth.

Wonder surrounds us everywhere if we care to look carefully. It can be hidden in the smallest details which seem ordinary and which we tend to take for granted as time passes, but which are still wonderful in their own right. “Invoking Wonder” was the topic of Mythmoot IV held at the beginning of June by Mythgard Academy. Unfortunately, I was not present at the conference, but these invoked-wonder posts by Tom and Joe inspired me to do a similar essay.  Read more

The Oxford company.

Well, has nobody got anything to read us?

Those who write will agree that having an audience to read your works to is one of the key elements and among the most potent driving forces in keeping a writer going. Having a company of like-minded people is even essential for any person who decided to master the art of putting words into stories. After all, who if not those who share your beliefs, ideas and views will be able to provide the best criticism, feedback and encouragement when you feel stuck?

Read more