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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Did Tolkien mention the Olympics in any of his writiings?


Jul 31 2012, 1:13am

Post #1 of 9 (757 views)
Did Tolkien mention the Olympics in any of his writiings? Can't Post

Does any TORnsib know how Tokien felt about the Olympics? I've tried googling the subject to no avail! HELP!


Jul 31 2012, 2:23am

Post #2 of 9 (424 views)
Possibly... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't recall anything in Tolkien's letters about the actual Olympics of the 20th century. In his fiction, the aristocracy of Gondor seems to have had martial skills competitions (the basis for the Olympic Games) or some medieval equivalent like jousting, to judge from this one obscure line in the appendices:
[King] Earnur...was a man of strong body and hot mood; but he would take no wife, for his only pleasure was in fighting, or in exercise of arms. His prowess was such that none in Gondor could stand against him in those weapon-sports in which he delighted, seeming rather a champion than a captain or king... (LotR, App. A.I.iv., "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion"; bold by squire)
You may remember that Boromir, of the Fellowship, was said to be like Earnur in this regard - but there is no mention then of any games, rather he delighted "chiefly in arms". Assuming that Tolkien was not just compressing the reference, possibly he means to imply that by the end of the Third Age there were no more "weapon-sports" because there was plenty of actual warfare for Boromir and the other captains!

Going further back, the athlete-god of the Valar in the Silmarillion is Tulkas. "He delights in wrestling and in contests of strength; and he rides no steed, for he can outrun all things that go on feet, and he is tireless." (Sil, Valaquenta) Since the Elves and Valar share so many cultural customs, one wonders if the Elves also indulged in such contests.

Now, as noted, it is not unusual for any warrior society to make intramural games out of practicing the skills needed in battle. What makes the Olympics distinctive, as far as I can tell, is the idea of a culture-wide (i.e., international) truce during the festival, so that the games begin to replace war as a means of settling national affairs of honor. There's no hint of that in the quotes offered above - so to be most accurate, Tolkien really doesn't "mention" Olympic-style Games in his writings.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Jul 31 2012, 2:57am

Post #3 of 9 (423 views)
Galadriel also competed in feats of strength [In reply to] Can't Post

when she was young, earning her the mother-name Nerwen. Nerwen is not one of my favorite Tolkien names, I must say, but better than the Telerin translation of Celeborn, Teleporno.


Jul 31 2012, 7:11am

Post #4 of 9 (472 views)
Yes.....um...Teleporno.....what the flip. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not very elegant and some very unfortunate significant negative modern connotations.

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jul 31 2012, 11:25pm

Post #5 of 9 (373 views)
Stone-giant football [In reply to] Can't Post

But I think team Misty Mountain are favourite to win that one. Though the Morgul Trolls look like providing tough competition this year. Also using Dwarves as footballs had been ruled definitely illegal by the meoc. Not a bad sport, all in all but I do wonder why the players feel the urge to hug each other after every point.


Aug 1 2012, 1:44am

Post #6 of 9 (366 views)
It was a more innocent time...// [In reply to] Can't Post



Aug 1 2012, 11:41am

Post #7 of 9 (346 views)
She was also known for the airing of grievances [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel = Frank Costanza?

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

Tol Eressea

Aug 2 2012, 7:49pm

Post #8 of 9 (305 views)
No. [In reply to] Can't Post

At least, not as far as I know. Tolkien wrote about 1, 9, 7 and 3 rings - but not 5 rings.

Incidentally; looking at those numbers - 3,7,9,1 - (in the order they're given in the Ring-verse) - if you reverse them, you get 1,9,7,3. Tolkien died in 1973. Coincidence?!

Well, yes, actually.



Aug 2 2012, 10:15pm

Post #9 of 9 (423 views)
Ha!// [In reply to] Can't Post



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