Debating Tolkien’s Magnum Opus

The Silmarillion_4

Stephen King has The Dark Tower series. George Orwell has 1984. Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is the author’s own unparalleled piece of writing.

“Magnum Opus” (translated from Latin as “masterpiece”) is a term that can be applied to virtually any piece of art or literature that has somehow had a significant impact upon those who experience it, and was brought about by a sophisticated, high standard and excellent creative impulse on the part of its creator. Continue reading

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The Gates of Morning and the Door of Night, Eä and the Void

Banner (Cosmology Arda)

[Highly complex illustration follows below]

The Silmarillion contains two obscure references to places or “structures” that seem to be the opposite of each other. Both are fascinating concepts but difficult to grasp given how little information we have access to. Continue reading

Was Gwaihir the “Great Eagle” in The Hobbit?

Eagles

On my first few readings of The Hobbit I paid no attention to the possible connection between the Lord of the Eagles, who rescues the Hobbit and the Dwarves from a fiery forest, and Gwaihir, the Eagle who saves Gandalf three times in The Lord of the Rings.

Yet, the more I read the books, the more I found it unquestionable that the creature was one and the same in both stories. Continue reading

Snow-Trolls and Stone-Giants in Middle-earth

La dix-neuvième Caravane des Dominicains d'Arcueil. [With a deThe evidence for the existence of both snow-rolls and stone-giants haunting the deep, shadowy passes of Middle-earth is, at best, poor.

To begin with, we have a stronger argument in favour of giants. Continue reading

From Gondolin to Trollshaws: Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting

sting

© Warner Bros. & MGM Studios

Three Elven swords were forged in Gondolin during the First Age, and presumably lost after the fall of this city as recounted in The Silmarillion. Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting make their proper appearance in The Hobbit in the lair of the three trolls, some 6,462 years later and just under 1,900 miles away from their original place of forging.

How and when could these swords have been carried such a long distance through three ages of wars, plunder and cataclysmic events? Continue reading

Northern Courage, Ofermōde and Thorin Oakenshield’s last stand

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Northern Courage

Tolkien was fascinated by the concept he called “the theory of courage”, which exemplified one of the highest qualities in the literary Northern hero: that of unflinching courage, steadfast resolve and sheer determination of will in the face of impossible odds. Continue reading

Explained: Dragon-talk and Dragon-sickness

Smaug

I thought it would be a good idea to spend just a few minutes understanding the concept of “dragon-talk” and “dragon-sickness”. I have always found that many people confuse the two as being one and the same. Moreover, with the advent of the film trilogy, this distinction between them seems to have disappeared completely.

So, whilst I claim to be no Tolkien expert, here’s my take on the issue.

Continue reading