Have you ever wished you had like-minded friends who love Tolkien’s books as much as you do to discuss them with? A place exists right here on TORn where that’s possible. Over the 17 years TORn has been around, we’ve discussed The Lord of the Rings from beginning to end a total of 6 1/2 times, including the current discussion which is on Book VI Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol.
The way it works is that volunteers take a chapter and do a number of posts over the course of a week presenting their thoughts and posing questions about the chapter content. How, you might ask, can we possibly find new things to talk about the 5th, 6th and 7th time through? It’s surprisingly easy! New people joining the discussions bring new perspectives and new ideas for their chapter presentations. People use quotes, pictures, historical background from other works by Tolkien, even current events, and combine them to raise interesting, fun, and often challenging questions. Of course, leading a chapter discussion isn’t required. You can simply follow along with each chapter, reading people’s replies, or even better, reply with your own thoughts.
“But, I’m not a Tolkien scholar, I just love reading his books” you might say. No worries! While there are some pretty knowledgeable folks who participate, the discussions are friendly and informal. Having participated in a number of the discussions, I can vouch for how interesting it is to read other people’s perspectives of the same words you’ve read. Sometimes they can be surprisingly different. For example, I thought I knew exactly who killed the Witch King (Eowyn, of course), and was 100% sure Balrogs had wings. Needless to say, I was astounded at the number of people who interpreted the exact same passages of the story entirely differently than I did! To say those questions prompted some lively discussion is an understatement!
Over the years, in addition to discussing The Lord of the Rings, we’ve discussed The Hobbit and Unfinished Tales three times, The Silmarillion four times, and had a full ten discussions of Tolkien’s other works such as The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and even Letters from Father Christmas!
If following along and/or participating in the current discussion is something that’s of interest, do give the Reading Room a look! You can find the current discussion schedule here (a few chapters are still open for volunteers). You don’t need to register for the forums if you just want to check it out or follow along. Just bookmark this link to the Reading Room. If, after you start reading some of the discussion, you can’t resist joining in, you can register for the boards here.
As we like to say in the Reading Room: pull up a comfy chair, relax, and enjoy!