The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on April 26th:

  • The unexpected party (1341)
  • is officially registered (1999)
  • celebrates its 10-year Anniversary.
  • celebrates its 15-year Anniversary.
  • celebrates its 20-year Anniversary.
  • [Join us on the Discussion Boards here!]

Continue reading “Today in Middle-earth, April 26”

In 1953, J.R.R. Tolkien visited the University of Glasgow, to give a lecture on the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Later this month, the university’s Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic will celebrate the anniversary of the event – and you can join them, in person or online!

With an illustrious panel of speakers, chaired by Dr Dimtra Fimi, the event includes a pop-up exhibition featuring a handwritten letter from the Professor.

Here’s what the University’s official press release tells us:


A event to mark Tolkien's visit to University of Glasgow - the image shows some of Tolkien's books

A selection of books by JRR Tolkien including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (above)

Today he is remembered as the “father” of modern fantasy literature and the author of two of the best-loved and biggest-selling books of all time.

When JRR Tolkien visited the University of Glasgow 70 years ago, he had written The Hobbit to great acclaim and was on the cusp of publishing the 1st volume of The Lord of the Rings.

In 1953, Tolkien, then Oxford University Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, was in Scotland to give a lecture on late 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – a key text in the Arthurian tradition featuring young King Arthur himself, the knight Sir Gawain, a mysterious green knight, and the sorceress Morgan le Fay. The poem is itself a source text for modern fantasy and was an inspiration for Tolkien in his Middle-earth mythology.

But it was obvious Tolkien’s popularity as a fantasy writer was on the rise in 1953, as the ticketed WP Ker Memorial Lecture was at its capacity with 300 people in attendance.

Now academics at the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic are celebrating Tolkien’s Glasgow connection with a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of Tolkien’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight lecture.

Dr Dimitra Fimi, Senior Lecturer in Fantasy and Children’s Literature at the University of Glasgow and the Co-Director of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, said: “It was a thrill to discover more about Tolkien’s lecture at Glasgow and this fascinating connection to the city, including the venue it was held, and the handwritten letter by Tolkien in our archives.

“Today 70 years later at the University of Glasgow, Tolkien’s own work is on the curriculum of our Fantasy MLitt programme, and we have various PhD students working on Tolkien.”

Dr Andoni Cossio, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, said:  “As a schoolboy, Tolkien had a great affection for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight poem, which even led to occasional recitations of certain passages for his friends.

“By the time of the Glasgow lecture, Tolkien had a deep knowledge of the poem that he put to good use in his university teaching, supervision and lectures. Tolkien had also prepared and published an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in 1925 (together with his colleague EV Gordon), which is remains today an important textbook for students studying the poem and helped establish it as a canonical text in medieval studies.

“During his 1953 W. P. Ker lecture, Tolkien quoted from his own Sir Gawain translation, which was later broadcast by the BBC. The University of Glasgow lecture was only accessible much later to a wider audience when it was published in 1983. 

The Tolkien Sir Gawain lecture 70th anniversary event is hybrid – both in person at the University of Glasgow and online. For those attending on-campus, there will be an opportunity to see a pop-up exhibition with documentation related to Tolkien’s appointment as the 1953 WP Ker Memorial Lecturer (including a hand-written letter by Tolkien), in collaboration with Archives & Special Collections, University of Glasgow.

Tolkien and Glasgow

On 15 April 1953, Tolkien delivered the WP Ker Memorial Lecture, on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to an audience of 300 at the University of Glasgow. The essay was published posthumously, in 1983, in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

Join us at Glasgow on Thursday 27 April 2023, 5-6:30pm, on-campus (Joseph Black Building) or online, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the lecture and its significance, Tolkien’s links to Glasgow, and the importance of the Sir Gawain poem in Tolkien’s creativity.

Our panel of speakers will feature:

  • Professor Jeremy Smith, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow      
  • Dr Lydia Zeldenrust, Lecturer in Middle English Literature, University of Glasgow        
  • Dr Andoni Cossio, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic         
  • Chair: Dr Dimitra Fimi, Senior Lecturer in Fantasy and Children’s Literature, and Co-Director of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic

It’s free to attend this event – either in person or online – but you do need to book via Eventbrite.

Update to our story of April 7th – such has been demand for tickets to screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, that new dates have been added. The folks at Fathom tell us:

Due to overwhelming fan demand, Fathom Events and Warner Bros., along with Legion M and Lost Odyssey, are adding more dates to celebrate 20 years of “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King” featuring special screenings of the film’s acclaimed extended edition. 

In addition to the sold-out dates of Thursday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 19 in the U.S., as well as a screening set for Thursday, April 20 in Canada where tickets are still available, new dates include:

  • Friday, April 14
  • Saturday, April 15
  • Sunday, April 16
  • Monday, April 17
  • Tuesday, April 18
  • Thursday, April 20 

Tickets for the 20th Anniversary of “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King” can be purchased at Fathom Events or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theater locations are subject to change).

These are the special screenings of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Edition, to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary, presented by Fathom Events. Originally on April 13th and 19th – April 20th for fans in Canada, and now with all these extra US dates added – Ringers can gather together to bask in the glory of Middle-earth on the big screen once more.

Any opportunity to see part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy in cinemas is a cause for celebration. To make these screenings even more special, they will also include a recorded introduction from the Ring-bearer himself, Elijah Wood! He’ll be sharing his insights and reflections on the movie’s legacy, in a special message made possible by Legion M and Lost Odyssey.

From the official press release:

Prior to each screening, attendees will be treated to a special introduction by franchise star Elijah Wood, as he discusses the lasting impact of the “Lord Of The Rings” universe and the rich worlds and beloved characters that keep viewers coming back for more. Fans will also be treated to exclusive coverage of the new “Lord Of The Rings” tabletop game, as a celebrity panel embarks on their own adventure into Middle-Earth to raise support for Extra Life For Kids, in conjunction with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

(Fans may be interested to know about the Extra Life Charity Marketplace with eBay, where games and collectibles can be bought and sold to raise money for charity!)

And don’t forget – Fathom Events have given TORn pairs of tickets to either of the USA screenings, to give away to some lucky fans! To enter the giveaway and be in with a chance to win tickets to a theatre near you, simply click below:

You have until 5pm EDT TODAY to enter! If you don’t want to rely on luck, you can purchase tickets to screenings near you here. Gathering with fellow fans, watching The Return of the King on the big screen, with special messages and previews? It’s like it’s 2003 all over again. My friends, this will be a night to remember