Friday, March 26, 2010

Yesterday was TOLKIEN Day!

March 25...which was yesterday...but oh well I'm doing this today!

March 25 is the day associated with the fall of SAURON in Lord of the Rings!!

That's right, padawans! Today is Tolkien Day! This holiday was launched by the Tolkien Society in 2003; the day celebrates the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and their uses in educational and library groups.

And as a fellow "Ringer" (apparently there's a term for people who fan about Lord of the Rings) or "Tolkienite" (haha I like this one!) I had to blog to about my favorite author and his appreciation day!

I was looking on wiki and the extensiveness of Tolkien fandom is really awesome, and incredibly nerdy. There are actual "Tolkienologists" who study Tolkien linguistics and all the histories of the people of Middle Earth. I'll readily admit: that's not me! It was all I could do in school to get through Hebrew and Latin - nevermind Quenya and Sindarin!

So in honor of Tolkien Day (yesterday), I thought I'd talk just a little about this amazing series :)
- The books were published in the 1950s (around the same time as Tolkien's pal Lewis started publishing the Narnia books)

- The books even had an impact on the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. That's right, apparently young people embraced the series and sparked its popularity, and phrases "Frodo Lives!" and "Gandalf for President" became common. Hey, I'm with the hippies: Gandalf would have made an awesome president!

- Anyone like Veggie Tales? Apparently they did a parody of LOTR called Lord of the Beans. OMG!!!! *runs to netflix*

- And of course, the amazing job fellow Ringer Peter Jackson did with the film versions. Thanks, Pete! Those movies are surprisingly faithful to the books, and I actually watched the movies first then went back and read the books...because the books are a little...umm...heavy. :)

- as of now, LOTR is the #1 bestselling series of all time, and ranks after A Tale of Two Cities as the bestselling fiction story, with 150 million copies

Not only did Tolkien write an amazing series full of memorable (and inspiring) characters, but the magnitude of detail in his works is astounding and will probably never be replicated fully. For goodness sake, this man created languages - several of them! His Middle Earth is full of vast cultural exploration and historical facts that further exemplify his brilliance. I'm fangirling out now, I know it, but THIS is the type of author to inspire to.
Now only was Tolkien a great author, he was a great person, and I have read 2 of his biographies to date and was inspired by his personal life: he was a fighter in WWI, an educator, a family man, a religious man... One of my favorite Tolkien stories is not fictional at all - it's the story of his courtship and marriage to Edith Bratt, his wife. Now THAT is a cute story! :)

My favorite LOTR quote:

"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." (The Two Towers)

- I have this quote on my bulletin board, and it really helps me when I write a fight/battle scene. I think he hit the nail on the head with this one!

"We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil."

And this, to me, could easily be the Fantasy Writer's Creed:
"Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!"

Yeah! I like realism sometimes, but when I read, I want to escape reality, and so fantasy is my greatest outlet. Thanks, Tolkien!
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