It’s March 25th today, which means it’s Tolkien Reading Day! 🙂 Here’s the description of what this day is all about:
Launched in 2003 Tolkien Reading Day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. 25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in The Lord of the Rings.
– more information about the event here
According to the Tolkien Society, the theme this year is ‘hope‘.
Hope is a big theme in many of Tolkien’s Middle Earth writings: hope for survival, hope for victory, hope for the future. Two particular moments spring to mind when I think of hope:
It starts at 3:00 and sadly it looks like the translation was not included but I love that they managed to insert the lines “I give my hope to men/I leave none for myself”. It was originally said by Aragorn’s mother, Gilraen, and serves as a double meaning as one of Aragorn’s names is “Estel” which means hope in Elvish.
Arwen becomes the embodiment of hope in the movie adaptation of the book; her father Elrond does not have much hope of victory against Sauron under the banner of men but Arwen always believes, always hopes for them.
I love that hope plays such a strong role in Tolkien’s works: it not only compels the characters onward, no matter how difficult the road is ahead, but also gives them something to hold on to, whatever it is that that particular person hopes to happen. Despair is associated with the dark forces in Middle Earth to which the characters often equip themselves with hope to counteract. It’d be interesting to revisit LOTR especially and keep a lookout for this theme of hope and how it defines the characters’ actions and motivations in particular.
I’m not sure exactly what book I want to read in honour of today: last year I said I’d read something out of The Silmarillion and that didn’t entirely pan out. I do hope to read it this year as part of a re-reading challenge, but of course that may change. Maybe I’ll read one of the stories out of it, one that has a lot more hope featured in it (“Of Beren and Luthien” perhaps? Or from ROTK, “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”?) 😉
What are you reading for Tolkien Reading Day? Or how will you be celebrating it? 🙂 As part of the celebration I did post up some entries yesterday about LOTR (both the books and the movies) and later this week I will be posting up some of my favourite scenes from the movies so stay tuned for that!