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25th March is Tolkien Reading Day!

March 18, 2011 at 11:11 am by xoanon  - 

Tolkien Reading Day was set up to encourage people to get together and explore some of Tolkien’s stories at school, university, in reading groups, or as a family; the theme for 2011 is “Tolkien’s Trees”.

This year’s theme, “Tolkien’s Trees”, is allied with the “International Year of Forests” and encourages families and library reading groups to enjoy exploring the dark confines of Tolkien’s many forests as well as focusing on individual trees.

Readers might venture into Mirkwood in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”; into the Old Forest on the borders of the Shire, and the Golden Wood of Lothlorien, or meet the Ents of Fangorn. Or why not read about and discuss the importance of trees and their meanings in “Leaf By Niggle”, or the ‘Two Trees’ beloved of the Elves in “The Silmarillion”, where there are more great forests and woods to discover.

If reading time is short, then the malice of Old Man Willow, or the symbolism of White Tree of Gondor offer plenty to think about and discuss.

Ideas for exploring Tolkien’s books together are available online

J.R.R. Tolkien’s books appeal to all ages and readers worldwide find pleasure, entertainment and deep significance in his work. Reading together is fun, for both children and adults, and reading on a theme stimulates good conversation and vocabulary development. There is much more to Tolkien than “The Lord of the Rings” though as the list above shows.

Families or library reading groups can enjoy these stories and poems or for the younger readers there are the travels and travails of the dog “Roverandom”.

Schools & libraries can contact the Society for education packs, bookmarks and posters.

Members of the public, libraries, or reading groups wishing to hold an event near to rather than on the 25th can contact the Society for free posters to help with publicising their event.

e-mail publicity AT tolkiensociety DOT org

Launched in 2003 the reading day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. This release is thus being circulated to the media, educational press and county library services.

25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in “The Lord of the Rings.”

Posted in Events, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien on March 18, 2011 by

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4 responses to “25th March is Tolkien Reading Day!”

  1. Bluraven says:

    I am well acquainted with the joyous feeling that comes with reading Tolkien aloud to others. It is something I would have everyone experience!

  2. David Doerr says:

    In Appendix A, III (“Durin’s Folk”) of THE RETURN OF THE KING, on page 447 in my book, the date March 25, 2941 is given for the meeting at Bree that begins the story of THE HOBBIT. Though written after the publication of THE HOBBIT, yet this section relates an event regarding Gandalf’s concern about how Sauron might design to use the Dragon (Smaug) for his evil plans. Thorin arrives at Bree and the anger against the dragon is brought to the surface when he sees the wizened Gandalf there. Thorin seeks the counsel of the wizard, and from this conversation the first plans of the Quest of the Lonely Mountain are set in motion.

  3. David Doerr says:

    In the current issue of the Tolkien Society’s publication, “Amon Hen”, there is a brief article that I wrote that reviews the reason why March 25th was important to Professor Tolkien. This research is presented in Professor Tom
    Shippey’s fine book, J.R.R. TOLKIEN AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY. This latter scholar explains that March 25th is the traditional date of the Fall of Adam and Eve; it is the old traditional date of the Annunciation and conception of Christ – exactly nine months before his birth on December 25th; it is the tradional date of the first Good Friday; it is the date of the fall of Sauron in the Tolkien epic of THE LORD OF THE RINGS; it was, for some centuries, the date upon which the New Year began in England. Additionally, it was upon that date when Gandalf met with Thorin Oakenshield at Bree, (in 2941), thus setting into motion the events that led to the Quest of Mt. Erebor.
    Tolkien’s legendarium is, at its heart, a theological dissertation. Recently, my wife and I watched the three Peter Jackson films again, one after another, during the same evening/night. These are, of course, master works of art, and deserved the mountain of praise that was heaped upon their creative team. However, there are points of theology that the films seem rather to have glossed over.
    In the novels, the character of Gandalf is not precisely what we think of as human. He is a spiritual being – one of the Ainur – the “Holy Ones”. Since March 25th represented much that is spiritual to Professor Tolkien’s literature, I wish to clarify what Professor Tolkien exactly meant with his presentation of the image of his character Gandalf.
    At times, and in defense of his friends, Gandalf slew goblins; he made an end of the trolls; he set afire wolves with colorful burning pine cones; he slew the Balrog that menaced the Fellowship in Moria. Yet, toward the end of THE HOBBIT, during the Battle of the Five Armies, we don’t read of the wizard actually slaying. (Though his arm is in a sling.) After his death and resurrection, Gandalf the White is empowered even more. Those who respect Professor Tolkein’s literature ought to review the scenes in the novels that are superior to their counter-parts in the movies, where Gandalf lectures Grima Wormtongue in Theoden’s Golden Hall, about lightning (followed by a crash of lightning!) – no fighting there, though; and where Gandalf arrives at dawn to help rescue the people of Rohan, at Helm’s Deep – and again, Gandalf needs to wield no sword; where Gandalf confronts the Lord fo the Nazgul at the Gate of Minas Tirith, when everyone else had fled in terror – and again, Gandalf doens’t need to rely on Glamdring; and finally, at the Field of Cormallen, victory is achieved without the wizard ever having to brandish Glamdring. “Upon the hill-top stood Gandalf, and he was white and cold and no shadow fell on him.” Professor Tolkien had seen war first-hand, and knew its horrors. He sought to instill in humans a greater awareness of how we ought to seek for the Blessed Realm. Gandalf is our guide, and the path requires a keen vision to find it.

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