March 25 is an international holiday. Okay, not really, but it is a very important day. Can anyone guess what March 25 celebrates? It’s the day that Frodo destroyed the Ring and Sauron was defeated. It’s the day that ushers in the new year in the Gondorian calendar. But for those of us not in Middle Earth, it’s what we celebrate as Tolkien Reading Day. As I wrote in an earlier post, I am HUGE Tolkien fan, so obviously this day excites me. In the past, I’ve done various questionably sane things to celebrate Tolkien and his work, from learning trying to learn Elvish to running around in a hobbit cape. Obviously, I am a wealth of knowledge when it comes to celebrating the one and only John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, so here are some ideas for how you might celebrate Tolkien Reading Day 2014.
I love decorating cakes and I love Lord of the Rings, so I have made many a LOTR themed cake in my day. Some have featured a cozy little hobbit hole while others have featured the fires of Mt. Doom. But if you’re not into baking cakes, try making lembas bread. Or google other “Lord of the Rings” recipes to make and eat throughout the day.
Reread your favorite parts of Tolkien’s books. Read his poems out loud. Read your favorite scenes with your friends. Tolkien’s incredible story is only topped by his remarkable way with words. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.” (see ‘Bake’ above)
“Never laugh at live dragons.” –The Hobbit
“I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun; and behold! The Shadow has departed! I will be a Shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.” –Eowyn, The Return of the King
“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you yourself keep it. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the ring. We are horribly afraid–but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.” –Merry, The Fellowship of the Ring
One of my favorite things to do when I have the time is watch Peter Jackson’s trilogy. I understand that Tolkien purists may not be as fond of the movies as I am, but for me the extended editions of the film trilogy are great ways to experience Tolkien’s story when I don’t have time to reread the books at the time. During my more hardcore phases I watch all three extended editions in a row. Yes, it takes all day, but like I said, I can be hardcore. But if you don’t have 12 hours to spare and you can only free up 4, take the time to watch one of the movies.
And lastly, take some time to appreciate the creator of the myth we all love so much. Tolkien was an English citizen born in South Africa, an orphan who took a keen interest in languages, a man knew what it meant to be in love, a soldier who survived a world war, a professor, and a writer. Today is a day to celebrate the man that J.R.R. Tolkien was, as well as the legacy of the work he left behind for us grateful readers. So on this the day of the defeat of Sauron and the beginning of the Fourth Age, I say:
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” –The Two Towers
P.S. This summer Emily and I will be reading through The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, so remember to tune in if you are interested in joining us!