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Tolkien's World at the British Library

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Nov 16, 10:12pm

Post #1 of 3 (373 views)
Tolkien's World at the British Library Can't Post

I've just got back from a talk at the British Library, along with Frogmella (late of these boards), which nominally tied in with their current exhibition on the Anglo-Saxons. They brought together John Garth, who wrote Tolkien and the Great War, Oxford lecturer in English Mark Atherton, and Alan Lee (who needs no introduction) to try and tie together Tolkien's world with the Anglo-Saxon world. They largely succeeded; Garth gave us an overview of Tolkien's life and the genesis of his works, which I suspect most of us knew but it was presented in a fresh way. Atherton was arguably the most interesting, taking us through some of the things in the exhibition and tying that into Tolkien - eg Earendel, the origins of names like Beorn and the phrase 'Elf-friend', and the deliberate echoing of Anglo-Saxon in Rohirric. That was particularly effective when he read the opening lines of Beowulf and followed up with Legolas on what the Rohirric tongue sounds like (from 'The King of the Golden Hall' in TTT).

Alan Lee comes across on stage in the same rather endearingly shy way as he does in the extras to the films, and his talk was a bit rambly but accompanied by tons of his gorgeous illustrations from the LOTR books, sketches for the films, and his work for the three most recently-published books culminating in the Fall of Gondolin. He also showed us some lovely work done for a folio edition of some Old English poetry.

It was a very interesting evening. We didn't stay for the book signing bit afterwards.

Storm clouds


Nov 29, 12:04pm

Post #2 of 3 (221 views)
Oh Man! I wish I could have been there! [In reply to] Can't Post

What a wonderful gathering. To hear their perspective of Anglo-Saxons' on Tolkien's works would have been so fascinating. But to see and hear Alan Lee must have been so fascinating and heart-warming. His talent and peacefulness is so perfect in displaying Tolkien's world. I wish I could have been there with you :) Thank you for this! Now I'm going to run and read the opening lines of Beowulf (one of my g'son's nickname) and Legolas' reading. :)


We have been there and back again.

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Nov 29, 12:36pm

Post #3 of 3 (220 views)
That was nice :) [In reply to] Can't Post

A variation of the opening line of Beowulf:

Lo! We, of the Spear Danes in days of yore, of those great kings,
of their power heard, how those princes deeds of valour accomplished.

Legolas contemplates the sound of the Rohirric tongue:

From The King of the Golden Hall

[Aragorn speaks as the Hunters approach Meduseld and pass the seven mounds on the left and nine on the right] "'...the raising of this house is but a memory of song, and the years before are lost in the mist of time. Now they call this land their home, their own, and their speech is sundered from their northern kin.' Then he began to chant softly in a slow tongue unknown to the Elf and Dwarf; yet they listened, for there was a strong music in it.
'That, I guess, is the language of the Rohirrim,' said Legolas; 'for it is like to this land itself; rich and rolling in part, and else hard and stern as the mountains. But I cannot guess what it means, save that it is laden with the sadness of Mortal Men.'


We have been there and back again.

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