How well do you know your way around Middle-earth?

Our book clubbers have had an amazing journey since Bilbo and the party left Bag End. They went through the Ruhdaur and beneath the Misty Mountains before being taken by mythical beasts all the way to the Carrock. Then they crossed the darkest forest of the Rhovanion and reached Esgaroth, which lies just a few miles from Dale and dreaded Erebor itself.

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They went where?

If you’re wondering the same thing (as many people will most likely do), taking a look at this interactive map and timeline of Middle-earth by the LOTRProject.com will help you catch up with Bilbo and his associates. Hover your mouse over the events on the right side and get the location of our heroes’ adventures as they make their way to the Lonely Mountain. Go and have fun exploring Tolkien’s Middle-earth!

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17 May – “The Hobbit”

We began this book club by looking at the life and times of J.R.R. Tolkien and cultural influences that inspired his work. We looked at his background as a professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at Oxford, and heard the epic  poem Beowulf  recited in the original Anglo-Saxon language (together with a translation into modern English!)

We talked about works by other artists which may have had an influence on Tolkien, in particular the huge operatic cycle “The Ring of the Nibelungs” by the German composer Richard Wagner, and listened to  Siegfried’s Death and Funeral Music from the opera Gotterdammerung, the final of the four operas which make up the “Ring” cycle.

We also looked at Runes and the Runic alphabet ;  runes were an ancient Germanic writing system with which Tolkien was familiar, and incorporated into his works. Students read chapters 1, 2 and 3 for homework……An unexpected journey begins!

"Wotan visits Mime and offers him his help." Illustration to Richard Wagner's Siegfried by Arthur Rackham. 1911
“Wotan visits Mime and offers him his help.”
Illustration to Richard Wagner’s Siegfried by Arthur Rackham. 1911
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