On Aulë’s humility.

Being the person who sub-created a vast and detailed literary world, J. R. R. Tolkien felt sympathetic with those who made things, too, whether the results were the creations of their hands or minds. However, as a sub-creator Tolkien was very well aware of the pitfalls of being one, the worst of them — becoming unhealthy attached to one’s work. The Professor clearly shows in his books that remaining humble is one of the key aspects of not falling victim to the work of one’s hands or mind. A perfect example of such an attitude is Aulë. Read more

His sharp tongue or Fëanor’s talent to insult.

Fëanor the Spirit of Fire was the most gifted of all the Elves in linguistic lore. He could use language so well that his speeches affected those who heard them and inspired them to do different, though not always sensible, things. Thus, being gifted with words and able to use them potently, Finwë’s eldest son was also exceptionally good at insulting others.  Read more

On the songs of power.

Among many powerful notions in the world of Arda few are more potent than music and language. Music is the essential element of Arda, its heart and soul, as the world was created and shaped by the majestic Music of the Ainur. And it was the word of Ilúvatar — Eä! — that brought the created vision to life. 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

When the Nine are abroad.

Following the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien was asked to write the sequel to it: the publisher and the public wanted more adventures of the Hobbits. As the Professor began working on the follow-up to his story, the new tale, which eventually became The Lord of the Rings, was slowly diverging from the light tone of The Hobbit and the area of children’s literature into the darker and more sinister realm. One of the chief contributors to the darkness of the new tale were the Black Riders. 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