Happy Tolkien Reading Day! On March 25 every year – the date of the fall of Barad-dûr – Tolkien lovers worldwide celebrate by reading the Professor’s works aloud. The theme for 2017 is Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction, so Alan and Shawn read their favorite poems and songs from the legendarium, discuss the ways in which Tolkien used poetry to shape his world, and quite possibly make fools of themselves. Again.
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Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit (Mariner Books, paperback)
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books, paperback)
Tolkien, J. R. R. (Christopher Tolkien, ed.) The Book of Lost Tales Part Two (The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 2) (HarperCollins, paperback)
Tolkien, J. R. R. Tales from the Perilous Realm (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover)
I’ve probably admitted to this on the podcast at some point; if not, let this serve as my confession. Way back when I first started reading Tolkien as a teenager, I… uh… I often used to skip—or, at best, merely skim—the passages of verse.
Maybe this was my instinctual reaction to poetry as an uneducated youth; perhaps it was just my impatient teenage self anxious to just get on with the story. I don’t know; I can hardly remember those years anymore! In point of fact, it probably has something to do with my more prosy nature — though, like Mr. Baggins, I’m not quite as prosy as I like to believe.
As you’ll soon hear in our special Tolkien Reading Day episode next week, I’ve come a long way since then. And so, as we look forward to this year’s Reading Day theme of “Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction,” I thought it would be a good opportunity to take an extended look at one of the repeating verses found in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Continue reading