Discussion on J.R.R. Tolkien Continue

His retinas were fixed on maps. Languages flowed through his mind like recipes in an imaginative chef’s. I wonder what he thought of the Russians. Religion, economy, warfare, and drinking pints were crucial parts of Tolkien’s world, which is why, when you peruse the rivers, spelunk the deep caverns and pronounce your way to the highest peaks of his prose you’ll find all of the complexities within humanity from southern Chile to Auschwitz.

At this point, if you have any interest in what I’m writing you should stop reading me and start reading Tolkien. Read it all. It should only take you a month. Then come back and read the next few sentences. Tolkien is for you. It’s not a textbook. It won’t bore you like a paragraph on relative frequencies or preach at you. It isn’t the bible but it tells all about creation. It isn’t a science lab but it explains why we have light. It isn’t a sociology essay but it explains the differences in cultures and civilizations. Good and evil, well, if you haven’t figured that one out yet this stuff could be dangerous. Luckily wizards aren’t real.

A sample of the Sindarin Language, just one of many languages that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for good ol’ J.R.R.. Elves (I don’t know if you’ve heard) speak either Sindarin or Quenya…or they would if they were real. Dwarves have great languages too, but Tolkien didn’t write so many poems in those languages. You’ll have to read the books for those. This one’s free.

Tolkien was often scolded by literary critics through the decades following the publication of The Lord of The Rings for his imaginative freedoms. The writings were called childish, and even put under the label of “bad literature” by some who did not appreciate it even in light of it’s authors reputation as a renowned scholar in language and mythology. Also following their publication, the LOTR became a cult story across the english speaking world, and popularly within the hippy communities of the 1960’s. For some reason (which I do not appreciate) works that become cult classics often become stained for it and cast down from the higher tiers of reputable literature, film, etc. Luckily, Tolkien’s work is today looked at in high esteem and studied vigorously. A good friend of mine is actually taking a course at the University of Vermont called “introduction to Tolkien studies.” And I imagine there are many more American colleges offering Tolkien as an academic topic, as they should.

A painting by J.R.R. Tolkien of the Elven city, Rivendell
Painting by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien’s love of maps confirms even more my conviction that he and I are of the same tribe. My family takes pride in our awareness of place and direction, and that interest has kept me staring at maps and land charts to the point of memorization. I imagine Tolkien would have made a fine cartographer. The evidence lies inside his books because he created maps and drawings of every part of his world. Take for example the drawing below:

A classic illustration of the map of the Lonely Mountain from the Hobbit

That seems like enough for now. I’ll just throw some more images here…CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE FULL SIZE (worth it)

A map of Tolkien’s world through the three ages of the Silmarillion and The Lord of The Rings

The dark land of Angband, which is Sindarin for “Iron Prison, or “Hell of Iron”

I always wondered what kept the old lands from the Silmarillion (Beleriand, Doriath) so unreachable for those in Middle Earth during the Second and Third Ages. More reading to do, I guess.

Please note that I am not studying Tolkien formally. I’m just a geek. My sources- Google.


~ by evanlitsios on November 30, 2011.

2 Responses to “Discussion on J.R.R. Tolkien Continue”

  1. Nicely written page. I love the images you’ve chosen.
    I can answer your curiosity about Beleriand and Doriath in the 2nd and 3rd ages. During the War of Wrath, Beleriand and much of Doriath were destroyed and buried beneath the sea. Eriador is the farthest point west in the latter days; Erid Luin, and Lindon, to be specific.

    • Awesome! Thanks! Just for scholarly purposes would you be able to point to a description in the text? Is it just in there with the War of Wrath? It’s about time I dove back down that rabbit hole anyway. If I go over a year without nerding on Middle Earth I get a little itchy.

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