Library presentation explores the myth of J.R.R. Tolkien
By Jill Draper
Most people know the hugely popular “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy was adapted from books by J.R.R. Tolkien. An Englishman who survived trench warfare during World War I, he returned home to write a beloved series based on tales, poems, fictional histories and invented languages about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle Earth.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Red Bridge Library, Roberta Park will give a one-hour presentation on “Exploring the Mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien” with special emphasis on “The Silmarillion,” a lengthy manuscript published after his death that has been described as an atlas of nearly everything he conceived.
“A lot of people don’t realize the depth of the mythology that Tolkien created,” says Park, founding member and president of the local Tolkien Society chapter. She grew up reading his famous works like “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings,” but only later discovered “The Silmarillion.”
“It’s a great book—his masterpiece, I think. I find something new every time I read it,” says Park, who notes that compared to other world-building series, Tolkien’s works contain a healing balm. “His message is that people are fundamentally good. For me, literature is all about escape. I don’t want to escape to some place like “The Game of Thrones” or “Dark Tower” where everybody is being murdered.”
According to Park, Tolkien believed that England had its own language, culture and mythology before the Norman Conquest in 1066, but most evidence was destroyed by the invaders. “His linguistic studies and his research into the evolution of language, including the invention of several forms of Elvish, was a way to fill that void,” Park says.
Her lecture on Tolkien’s hierarchy of gods, demigods, demons and the creation of the universe will include a PowerPoint show with pictures and quotes, followed by a question-and-answer period. To make a reservation, go to mymcpl.org/events.