On Salon today, a review by Andrew O’Hehir of Arika Okrent’s book In the Land of Invented Languages. The book seems very entertaining, but O’Hehir points out a bizarre flaw — it barely mentions Tolkien.
Although Tolkien’s fantasy novels are tales told by Hobbits, and tell the adventures of Hobbits, a case can be made that the real protagonist of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is the wizard Gandalf. Except for Elrond Half-elven, Gandalf is the only character who plays a key part in the events of both those novels and The Silmarillion.
The Mythopoeic Society has announced its 2009 finalists for the The Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies. The award is given to books on J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or Charles Williams that make significant contributions to Inklings scholarship. The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group at the University of Oxford in the 1930s and 40s.
Bilbo Baggins is the title character of 1937’s The Hobbit, Tolkien’s first published novel that takes place in Middle Earth. The story is told from Bilbo’s perspective; in fact, although this is not indicated in the novel itself, it was Tolkien’s intention that Bilbo himself was the author of The Hobbit and the story’s narrator, with Tolkien himself only acting as the “translator” of an ancient document.
Harvard University, America’s Best College if you believe US News & World Report, will host a Tolkien-based course this Summer. The class, entitled “Tolkien as Translator: Language, Culture & Society in Middle Earth,” will be taught by Anthropology Lecturer Dr. Marc Zender of the University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Trivia question: Who is the only member of the Lord of the Rings movie cast who actually met author JRR Tolkien? The answer is Christopher Lee, who portrayed Saruman. And today, May 27th, is Lee’s 87th birthday.
At next month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will debut Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, its new youth- and family-oriented Lord of the Rings video game. Aragorn’s Quest is the first Tolkien game to be announced since Electronic Arts lost its franchise license in 2008.
I have been hired on as the official Tolkien expert on Examiner.com, a news site based in Denver, Colorado that allows local citizen journalists to share their knowledge on a blog-like platform, in over 60 cities in the United States. I will post my articles from Examiner.com here on Periannath.com as well; and anything I write that is not acceptable for them (i.e., too “bloggy”) I will publish here.