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Posts Tagged ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’

One Ring to Rule Them All

April 3, 2013 | by

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One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Such is the object that starts Bilbo Baggins’s quest and, later, marks the glowing center of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. And some speculate that it was based on a real Roman ring, currently on display at a Hampshire mansion. 

Originally discovered by a farmer in the late eighteenth century in what the Guardian terms “one of the most enigmatic Roman sites in the country,” the ring was presumably sold to the family who owned the great house the Vyne.

It was a strikingly odd object, 12g of gold so large that it would only fit on a gloved thumb, ornamented with a peculiar spiky head wearing a diadem, and a Latin inscription reading: “Senicianus live well in God.” A few decades later and 100 miles away, more of the story turned up: at Lydney in Gloucestershire, a Roman site known locally as the Dwarfs Hill, a tablet with an inscribed curse was found. A Roman called Silvianus informs the god Nodens that his ring has been stolen. He knows the villain responsible, and he wants the god to sort them out: “Among those who bear the name of Senicianus to none grant health until he bring back the ring to the temple of Nodens.”

Here’s where Tolkien comes in. When archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler reexcavated Lydney in 1929, he consulted Professor Tolkien about the god’s unusual name; both men were apparently struck by the fact that the name appeared on both ring and curse.

Whether or not you believe this to be the inspiration for the One Ring, you can judge for yourself: it is on view, along with a copy of the curse and a first edition of The Hobbit, at the Vyne.

 

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There and Back Again

March 25, 2013 | by

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Since 2003, the Tolkien Society has celebrated Tolkien Reading Day on March 25. Why today, which is neither Tolkien’s birthday, nor Bilbo’s, nor Frodo’s? The answer will be obvious to regular observers of the holiday: March 25 marks the downfall of Sauron.

 

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Emoji Classics, and Other News

February 21, 2013 | by

Emojis

 

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Happy Birthday, J. R. R. Tolkien

January 3, 2013 | by

In honor of January 3, enjoy this illustrated Christmas letter that the author drew for his son: a twenty-year tradition in the Tolkien home.

[Via Letters of Note.]

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Scandal at the (Old) OED, and Other News

November 27, 2012 | by

  • “An eminent former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary covertly deleted thousands of words because of their foreign origins and bizarrely blamed previous editors, according to claims in a book published this week.”
  • It may be intended to kickstart NaNoWriMo, but we think this Random Line Generator could be put to all sorts of interesting social uses.
  • “They would have loved me to have written fantasy fiction because that would have been easier to sell from a Tolkien, but I wanted to write thrillers.” Simon Tolkien on his famous grandfather’s legacy.
  • “I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book. A book is a book is a book.” Maurice Sendak was characteristically wishy-washy on the subject of e-books.
  • Some less vitriolic takes on the state of print.
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    Stephen King: The Musical, and Other News

    November 21, 2012 | by

  • It’s a David and Goliath story, if David were also pretty tall: the Tolkien Estate is suing Warner Brothers for a cool eighty million dollars over online slot machines and other digital merch that they claim violates copyright.
  • In more literary retirement news: Hungarian Nobel laureate Imre Kertész is also calling it a day.
  • Jennifer Egan, Roxana Robinson, Philip Gourevitch, John Burnham Schwartz, Jane Green, Michael Cunningham, Nick Flynn, Mary Morris, and Darin Strauss all have a mammoth group cameo in Michael Maren’s forthcoming film, A Short History of Decay.
  • Because numerous bookstores are refusing to stock titles from the Amazon imprint, one of its authors claims that his book The 4-Hour Chef is “poised to be the most banned book in U.S. history.” Dubious.
  • Presented sans comment: “Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow will both be singing on the soundtrack of a ghostly musical written by Stephen King and John Mellencamp.”
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