J.R.R. Tolkien discussion

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Members' Area > Who's the Biggest Tolkien-Fan?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Come on, guys: this is Tolkien's group! Let's have some unashamed vying for the rank of #1 fanatic! I'm curious: who's here because he's got a mental obsession with Tolkien? and who's here because he read the books in College, liked the movies, and thought it might be fun?


message 2: by Moon (new)

Moon | 20 comments What qualifications are necessary for that top spot? Unless we name our children after the residents of Middle-earth, how much more can we do beyond reading the books and viewing the movies? *lol*


message 3: by Amy (last edited Aug 10, 2010 10:56PM) (new)

Amy What more? What more!?

What about literally dreaming of Arda? What about mortifying/confusing your family by accidentally cursing in Sindarin or Khazdul? What about spending hours searching through Tolkien's articles because you have a vague remembering of some fact about elves, but can't remember the details? What about taking up horsemanship, archery, swordplay, sewing, and hiking simply because you admire the skills of a Ranger and wish you could be one? What about getting into a heated argument with a random acquaintance about the translation of some obscure character's name and then performing a happy dance when you are able to pull out your books and show that your translation was correct? Is your obsession so widely known that out-of-state relatives will call you up if they find a book by Tolkien that they think you might be interested in? Would you cry if Tolkien came back to life and said that Glorfindel of Gondolin wasn't reborn, he just decided to reuse the name? Or would you deny that such a thing was even possible, because Tolkien himself already said in an article you once read that Glorfindel of Imladris and Glorfindel of Gondolin were one and the same?

(For that matter, do Balrogs have wings? *evil grin*)

What more, indeed, and I'm just an apprentice Tolkienite. Anybody care to take me on?


message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael | 297 comments Mod
I'm not the biggest Tolkein fan as I'm only 4'2" - that makes me too tall for a Hobbit, but maybe a Dwarf? ;-D


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Gentry (AuthorJenniferGentry) | 9 comments I wouldn't even qualify anywhere near Amy's category of fan. :-)

I'm definitely more of a fan than your average read-the-books-in-college-and-saw-the-films fan would be, but not by much.

I *will* say that I read "The Hobbit" at age 8 1/2 (which impressed my teachers, especially considering most of the other girls were reading the Ramona Quimby type books) and it quickly became a favorite.

It is to my shame, however, to say that I'd never read LOTR until a few months before "Fellowship of the Ring" came out, as I deemed it necessary to actually read the whole trilogy before watching any of the movies. I now read it once a year, typically in September (which nicely coincides with Frodo's and Bilbo's birthdays).

But aside from many, many views of the movies, almost 10 readings of the the trilogy (with many more than that of "The Hobbit"), and a couple reads of a few of the other books, I have nothing else with which to boast.

A hard-core fan I am not and we can all agree that title should pass to someone else. :-)


message 6: by Moon (new)

Moon | 20 comments I dream of a lot of stuff that I read and/or see but I won't use that as a basis for being mentally obsessed with it. ^_~

Although a friend asked me if I got to play Sauron as a man or the eye in the Tactics video game, but I had to give a brief lesson about the problem with that statement. Perhaps I'm not obsessed to the point of Japanese-like otaku behavior, but I don't really want to be either. I guess that's what we're aiming for here with biggest Tolkien fan label? *shrugs*


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

(For that matter, do Balrogs have wings? *evil grin*)

The Balrog in Moria had wings, so you tell me.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

It's difficult to properly define the biggest fan. For example, I read The Hobbit at six, The Lord of the Rings between seven and eight, and I invented my own language. I also read The Lord of the Rings thrice a year. But am I a fan, or just a nut?

My birthday is also the day before (the day before! come on!) Bilbo's and Frodo's, so I guess I can't be a real fan: I can only get one step away.


message 9: by Amy (last edited Aug 12, 2010 11:28AM) (new)

Amy Logan wrote: "The Balrog in Moria had wings, so you tell me."

Actually, the first mention of balrog "wings" in FotR is in this passage from Chapter 5, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm". I quote, "His (Gandalf's) enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out LIKE two vast wings." A paragraph later, Tolkien said that "its wings were spread from wall to wall". I think they are figurative wings (Balrogs seem to have a thing for falling to their deaths,) but the jury is still out, IMHO.

It is hard to define the biggest fan. I'm not dangerously obsessive... I have multiple hobbies, friends, a job, and attend school. And, to be perfectly honest, a lot of my more "Middle-Earth" style skills were gained through a secondary interest in historical reenactment. I see it as killing two birds with one hand-crafted leather sling. :)


message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Gentry (AuthorJenniferGentry) | 9 comments Amy wrote: "Logan wrote: "The Balrog in Moria had wings, so you tell me."

Actually, the first mention of balrog "wings" in FotR is in this passage from Chapter 5, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm". I quote, "His ..."


The first does seem to indicate a description only. But I tend to think the second shows the Balrog actually had wings. Perhaps they were so big and heavy that they made flight impossible. I would think the tendency to burst into flame would make flight a challenge, to say the least...

I have a hard time picturing some of the worlds and beings created by Tolkien. So, I can appreciate (but not always rely on) artists' renditions (or actors' portrayals) of these things. For example, I always imagined Elrond as an elf who's age is impossible to tell. He's ancient both in the sense of his wisdom and in his years on Middle Earth. Yet he's also young, timeless. These are qualities that are pretty impossible for mortal actors to portray. And no matter how many times I had read the description of The White City, it just wouldn't stick in my mind until I saw it depicted on film. Now I can have that image in mind when I read. And for better or worse, I've seen the movies enough now that every time I read the books, I picture the actors from the movie (which is another reason I would've loved to see Tom Bombadil in LOTR! How would they have made him look, I wonder?).


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Jenny wrote: "Amy wrote: "Logan wrote: "The Balrog in Moria had wings, so you tell me."

Actually, the first mention of balrog "wings" in FotR is in this passage from Chapter 5, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm". I qu..."


I like to think he didn't have wings, 'cause I always found it a trifle hard to believe he fell to his death (unless, of course, the chasm were very narrow). But Tolkien probably means them to have wings. I don't know, are they described in any detail in The Silmarillion, or just mentioned in passing a few times?


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

See, I had such a clear vision of everything (places from my childhood, various composite persons, and creatures from my knowledge of animals and dinosaurs), that I can't see the films as Middle-earth. Even the landscapes were a little too dramatic for me. And Mordor was about as far away from scary or the way I had imagined as one could get and still call it Mordor. But I shouldn't harsh the movies so much, as I get a surprising amount of flack for it here (in a group devoted to Tolkien, oddly!).


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "Logan wrote: "The Balrog in Moria had wings, so you tell me."

Actually, the first mention of balrog "wings" in FotR is in this passage from Chapter 5, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm". I quote, "His ..."


I credit so much of who I have become to Tolkien, but most of it indirectly. My entire childhood was consumed by Tolkien, but he eventually lead me to theatre, literature, classics, and the dozen languages I study (as well as introduced me to myself: my thoughts on philosophy, and the themes propounded in The Lord of the Rings); I think that makes a good fan: someone who has been profoundly or significantly modified by his reading Tolkien.


message 14: by Amy (last edited Aug 12, 2010 07:21PM) (new)

Amy Logan, I don't remember the balrogs being described in the Silmarillion, though I could easily be wrong.

There are certain things about the movies that just jar me, mostly those places where the storyline differs from the books. However, I'm the type of person who easily pulls movies/stories apart, takes what they like (plots, characters, images) and ignores the rest, so I can enjoy the movies. Tolkien's writing is literally the only thing I haven't "mentally edited". I stick to canon as much as is possible.

I'm right with you on the philosophy, languages, etc, Logan, but probably not to the same depth. I've only been a fan for about six years. In that time, however, reading Tolkien's works has driven me to become a much better writer and artist. The sheer magnitude of his knowledge base just blows me away. His writing skills were phenomenal, of course, but the linguistics ALONE in his works, well, I don't know what to say, which is ironic! I'm in awe.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

The films as an whole are enjoyable enough, and I do have fun watching them; but so much of why I love Tolkien so much is lost in them, filtered by Hollywood (as well as Peter Jackson's need to make horror-films), that I can't enjoy them as Tolkien. I can enjoy them as objects for criticism, or for a cinematic experience. A while back, I watched all three films in one day (extended edition) with some friends, which took eleven hours all told; but, I must say, I enjoyed them a little more all together for some reason.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, the Balrogs appear in a few chapters, briefly, if I remember rightly.


message 17: by Michael (last edited Aug 14, 2010 03:14PM) (new)

Michael | 297 comments Mod
According to The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth, Balrogs, "...were spirits of fire and bore whips of flame, but they were also cloaked in darkness." No mention of wings, but admittedly this is a secondary source.

In this edition of The Silmarillion, Balrogs are descibed at page 47, much as in the Guide, but no mention of wings. Quite a few other mentions in the Silmarillion, but no further description.

So, Tolkien's description is rather ambiguous and it is left to the imagination of the reader to give flesh to the spirit of the Balrog.

Personally, I think the cloak/wings of shadow are a used as a threat display, a means of instilling fear. There appears to be no canonical reference to Balrogs in flight.

This is all rather off topic for this thread - maybe somebody should start a Balrog thread if further discussion is wanted.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Michael wrote: "According to The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth, Balrogs, "...were spirits of fire and bore whips of flame, but they were also cloaked in darkness." No mention of wings, but admitted..."

O, don't worry: the fun of discussion is to see where it takes you. These threads shouldn't properly be called 'discussions', but, probably, 'conversations' would be better.

Anyway, I don't think there's any explicit evidence for the Balrogs being flightless but winged, but that that is the most probable interpretation, based on lack of clear description. The fact that Tolkien says like in one sentence to described wings, and then soon after clearly attributes wings to the Balrog seems to mean one of two things:

1) Tolkien lost track of himself when he wrote and rewrote this, and forgot that he had used simile with wings, and didn't omit it.

2) Tolkien meant just what he said: that the shadow of the Balrog was like wings when it filled the cavern, and that, later, he actually spread a pair of wings.

Remember, Tolkien was an excellent writer, love detail, rewrote The Lord of the Rings extensively, published several new, revised editions in his lifetime; also, remember that a Balrog with wings is pretty awesome.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Michael wrote: "According to The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth, Balrogs, "...were spirits of fire and bore whips of flame, but they were also cloaked in darkness." No mention of wings, but admitted..."

O.K., Mike, you may be right. I seem to have killed the thread. Anyhow, for anyone who cares, I think I'm the biggest fan in this group: I've commented almost twice as much as the most prolific commenters. (Also, influence, previously-mentioned love of the stories, yadah-yadah-yadah.)


message 20: by Terence (new)

Terence (Spocksbro) | 19 comments If age vouchsafes someone a degree of fanaticism then I've been a Tolkienista for 30+ years :-)

But to get back to this discussion of description - If you notice, Tolkien is very vague in describing the physical characteristics of mosts of his characters. Nowhere, I believe, does Tolkien give Elves pointed ears yet that's become the norm. At most, he gives them piercing eyes (especially the Calaquendi), melodious voices and greater stature than humans (Numenoreans excepted).

And if Frodo and Sam can pass themselves off as Orcs, how different are they from Men and Elves after all?

And, should anyone care, I'm in the camp that prefers to think of the Balrog's "wings" as metaphorical :-)


message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (ElizabethNovak) Amy wrote: "What more? What more!?

What about literally dreaming of Arda? What about mortifying/confusing your family by accidentally cursing in Sindarin or Khazdul? What about spending hours searching t..."


Lol, that's a great description of a Tolkien fan. I laughed out loud cause most of that is true of me too. Except I couldn't write it so well.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Terence wrote: "If age vouchsafes someone a degree of fanaticism then I've been a Tolkienista for 30+ years :-)

But to get back to this discussion of description - If you notice, Tolkien is very vague in descri..."


Tolkien doesn't much care for character-description, but he loves historical, geological, geographical, and architectural detail. This way of writing has become an hallmark of fantasy-style.


message 23: by Zachary (new)

Zachary Baird | 1 comments If any of you have read the third edition of the "Silmarillion", then you would recall a letter from Tolkien to a friend at another university. Tolkien's reasons for writing the book was to fill a gap that he saw in myths at that time. He believed there was a certain element missing from the story, and he also believed every story is about a "fall". He says the "Silmarillion" is a story about the fall of the Elves from their grace. I do think that he mentions the Balrogs are winged demons in his letter, but I'd have to check again.


message 24: by Michael (new)

Michael | 297 comments Mod
Please do check, Zachary, and post back as I'd be interested to know just what he says.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Lovely. I'd like to know as well.


message 26: by Gundula (last edited Jan 16, 2011 08:23AM) (new)

Gundula Logan wrote: "Terence wrote: "If age vouchsafes someone a degree of fanaticism then I've been a Tolkienista for 30+ years :-)

But to get back to this discussion of description - If you notice, Tolkien is very v..."


That's because his work is basically very much like the old epics of Europe. If you read the "Nibelungenlied" "Parsifal" "Tristan" and other epics, you will notice that plot and descriptive detail are often much more important than character development and character description (and this is the case in LOTR as well). Nevertheless, I find that one gets enough information from and of the characters to imagine them, and I certainly have never missed this, in fact, I love the fact that story and plot are so essential in epic literature, it is one of the reasons I love LOTR so much, just like I love reading the epic fantasies of Europe.


message 27: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Nelson | 3 comments Well, let's see, I read the Hobbit at 6, LOTR shortly after that, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales around middle school, and the Children of Hurin freshman year of college. I have seen the movies (extended) several times, I creep my friends out by impersonating Gollum's voice (which is freaky how well I can do it, too, lol). Back in middle school, I taught myself how to read Dwarvish runes and I would pass notes in class using these runes so that the teacher would have no idea what I was saying if caught. I used to know elvish, roleplay with some friends of mine in middle school, as well as wear the One Ring on a silver chain around my neck at school. I've seen all the LOTR Easter Eggs, extras, bloopers, what say you (see what I did there? ;). I used to watch nonstop The Hobbit animated movie. I passed every "How Well do You Know Tolkien" quizzes with flying colors. Wow, this list is getting crazy.

These are just a few things ;)


message 28: by Allison (new)

Allison | 8 comments Amy wrote: "What more? What more!?

What about literally dreaming of Arda? What about mortifying/confusing your family by accidentally cursing in Sindarin or Khazdul? What about spending hours searching thr..."


Ha! Good point. I think I am with you on some of those, and only aspiring for the rest. Good for you! Fun!


message 29: by Paolo (new)

Paolo | 17 comments Well I probably lost full fan status a while back, since I've been too busy to keep up that level of geekery, but I have pretty much everything that Tolkien ever wrote. I've been the owner of 5 copies of LOTR, only 3 of which still survive because the others fell apart through over-use. I have two copies of the Silmarillion, a second edition hardback that was my 21st birthday present and a copy that I can put in my back pocket to read. I have hard and softback versions of the first four Histories of Middle Earth for similar reasons (not that you can put them in a pocket unless you're wearing combats).

20 years ago I started to teach myself Eldarin and Sindarin - plus the written form tengwar, but had to stop when I went to University and my workload became too great (the trouble with studying science). Since then I have probably forgotten most of what I knew, but there is still plenty bubbling away in the back of my head - like the fact that Glorfindel returned to Middle Earth from the Halls of Mandos after he was slain whilst defeating a Balrog during the fall of Gondor.


message 30: by Stefan (new)

Stefan Yates (Stefan31) | 119 comments Mod
@Paolo Ok, ok, you win!


message 31: by Paolo (new)

Paolo | 17 comments Stefan wrote: "@Paolo Ok, ok, you win!"

Lol! Yet I'm sure there will be someone with a better claim.


message 32: by Paolo (new)

Paolo | 17 comments I just remembered that I called my first geological hammer 'Gondring' which means 'stone hammer' in Sindarin. Funny the things that stay in one's head!


message 33: by Michael (new)

Michael | 297 comments Mod
Paolo wrote: "I just remembered that I called my first geological hammer 'Gondring' which means 'stone hammer' in Sindarin. Funny the things that stay in one's head!"

That is a level of geekery beyond the call of duty and I salute you, Sir! :-D


message 34: by Paolo (new)

Paolo | 17 comments Michael wrote: "Paolo wrote: "That is a level of geekery beyond the call of duty and I salute you, Sir! :-D "

It gets worse, I also had a billhook that I called 'Tawarcrist' which means 'wood cleaver'. It's a good job my wife and I don't want kids, I dread to think how the name 'Glamchên' (meaning noisy child) would go down...


message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael | 297 comments Mod
My wife refused my suggestions of Gandalf and Bilbo for our boys!


message 36: by Allison (new)

Allison | 8 comments Paolo wrote: "Well I probably lost full fan status a while back, since I've been too busy to keep up that level of geekery, but I have pretty much everything that Tolkien ever wrote. I've been the owner of 5 cop..."

Any tips on how to teach yourself? I'm very interested in beginning to do this so any guidance or thoughts will be helpful! And, you definitely deserve a salute!


message 37: by Paolo (new)

Paolo | 17 comments When I was working it out I was using the appendices of the Silmarillion and trawling the index of Unfinished Tales for examples of usage and alteration. I kept notes, but this was in the days before the internet and home computing as a common thing so they were on paper. I probably threw them.

However, the web is a wonderful thing and someone with far more academic attention to detail than I has made their work available online:
http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/sindarin.htm

There is also a handy dictionary out there:
http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/elvish/...

There are even some resources for tengwar out there:
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tengw...

I hope that helps!


message 38: by Allison (new)

Allison | 8 comments These are wonderful. Thank you. I was planning on using your method, so glad to know that works!


message 39: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 115 comments I am sure that there are many indaviduals who are just as mesmirised by this indavidual as i am, but for myself i can honestly say that he is my favourite writer ever.

* I not only love writing in this genre (a genre that always seems to be linked to the foundations upon which JRR Tolkien gave his creation to the world.) but often end up writing in a similar style/ frame of mind when constructing worlds or names ect.

* Watched the films, exdended editions and acompanying film books, CD's extra which are just fantastic representations of his work. (cannot wait until 'the hobbit')

* Read his work since a child and continue to do so now, with new volumes and digging deeper into the history of his creation and Middle-Earth

* A member of 'The Tolkien Society' that is based in Oxford UK. Reading newsletters, pieces of writing based on his work, meetings, entmoot ect...it is fantastic to be surrounded by other indaviduals who all apreciate and love this man who changed history.


message 40: by Andy (new)

Andy Bird | 13 comments Does collecting Tolkien memorabilia count? I have quite a big collection which takes up a large part of my house.


message 41: by Michael (new)

Michael | 297 comments Mod
I'd say that counts, Andy - in fact you probably get extra points for it!!

What memorabilia have you got?


message 42: by Andy (new)

Andy Bird | 13 comments Calendars, Board Games, Computer Games, Stamps, Action Figures, Clothes, Puzzles, Records, Card Games, Toys, Ornaments, Magazines, Gaming Figures, Film Promotionals, the list is endless.

Oh and quite a few books (at least 50 copies of LOTR!).

It was quit a small hobby until the films came out.


message 43: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 115 comments (I love all the different covers of the 'Lord of the Rings' with the book as one single volume & the three seperate volumes. It is probably the book that i have most copies of, out of all of his works.)


message 44: by Norbert (last edited Aug 19, 2012 09:02AM) (new)

Norbert (norbertbook) | 11 comments Amy wrote: "What about spending hours searching through Tolkien's articles because you have a vague remembering of some fact about elves, but can't remember the details?"

That's me!

I ordered, for no good reason, the new trasltion _in_latin_ o f the Hobbit (Hobbitus Ille)
I have created some tables if errors in the italian translation of LotR, Silmarillion and such.

I have read Hobbit/LotR/Silmarillion (in italian and english) tens of times and I can pick lotR, open it randomly and start reading, knowing qhat has happened and what is going to happen.

I'm really a fan(athic) of Tolkien's books and I have a t-shirt saying so (in Italian)
http://www.soronel.it/Maglietta.html

The caption reads: "The Lord of the Rings? I don't care about the movie. I'm a fan of the book"

A frend of mine devised the whole, but the phrase is mine -and I'm proud of it.

I attend meetings about tolkien-lore, when I can. And I am so extremely happy to have a chance to meet prof. Tom Shippey and prof. Verlyn Flieger in Bologna (Italy) in may 2010

I foundend a group of Tolkien fan (all sorts - from the 'learned loremaster' to the 'liked the movie, read the book' type) in Rome in 2001. We still meet mounthly to chat and drink.

Am I enought fan(athic)?
:-D

Cheers

PS
of course I have read all of the the HoME (except book 3), the Letters, nd others Tolkien's essays and book plus some book about Tolkien's works, such as "Splintered Lights" and "The road to Middle Earth)


message 45: by SSirppi (last edited Aug 19, 2012 10:53PM) (new)

SSirppi | 9 comments I'm afraid I lose to most of you but let's see.

My parents read me LoTR and the Hobbit before I started school and I think I read Hobbit myself first time in second grade.

I have read the Finnish version of the Hobbit about ten times and english twice (note that I'm only 18), lotr I have read probably four times, twice in English.

I have read Silmarillion and Children Of Hurin in Finnish, going trough Unfinished tales in English atm. I have also read most of the Encyclopedia of Arda.

I started quoting Tolkien in random conversations when I was in the third grade (9 years old).

I remember the rhyme about the rings in both English and Finnish by heart.

I play Lord of the Rings Online and everytime I see someone famous I go "OMG I just talked to Theodred omg omg omg".

I have seen the movies probably around 7 times and even though I like them I always go "this wasn't in the book" and "this has been changed".

I don't let my younger brother watch the movies because he is still middle of the Two Towers.

I have a bookshelf dedicated to Tolkien it includes my Finnish and English copies of LoTR and the Hobbit, Finnish Silmarillion and English Unfinished tales, old tickets to Tampere Philharmony's Fellowship of the Ring concert and the booklet of the concert.

I'd like to have foal and/or puppies so that I could name them after LoTR characters. I also have lots of fun in riding competitions finding horses named from Tolkien's work. (One of our best known eventing riders has a horse named Gandalf, there is also a show jumping horse named Gildor just to point out a few)

That's it I guess :) Oh and I also want a LotR tattoo.

EDIT: For those who care I belong to the group that sees Balrog's wings as methaporical.


Christa - Ron Paul 2016 (Christa-RonPaul2012) I guess I am not ahge contendent but one day I will know more about Tolkien than anyone else if only because I started reading about him so younge.

I did learn how to sword fight and shoot a bow (that I made myself) so I could become a ranger, though most of the time I prefered knife throwing. All my fmaily live in the same state so I cannot sya out of state relative know I love Tolkien but ll my friends do :D

I have three names picked out from Tolkiens charter that I will be naming my children and I read the hobbit about three times a year. I love that book! I could read it all the time if there wern't so many other books I am also trying to read. So I may not be fan number 1 but maybe 32?


message 47: by SSirppi (new)

SSirppi | 9 comments I ran across this and immediately thought of this thread: TheOneRing.net is looking for the Ultimate Tolkien fan and I think some people in here would well qualify for an entry. See more http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/...


message 48: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 115 comments Sounds very interesting SSirppi, thanks for the link!! x


Christa - Ron Paul 2016 (Christa-RonPaul2012) One day this will hang in my kitchen.

http://cheezburger.com/6530396672


message 50: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 10 comments haha I want one


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth (other topics)
The Silmarillion (other topics)
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (other topics)