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 ‘friendship in Tolkien’s works‘:
The theme of friendship was chosen for this year’s Reading Day to help celebrate the deep friendships that Tolkien developed in his own life and in his work. It is also on this date, 25 March, that Frodo and Sam’s friendship triumphed in Mordor with the destruction of the One Ring.
I guess it’s easy to start with the big friendship in Tolkien’s work, that between Frodo and Sam. For where would Frodo be without Sam? How far would he have been able to go without Sam beside him to support him and keep him grounded as the One Ring continued to worm his way in and burden him greatly. Frodo obviously doesn’t want to burden his friends, especially Sam, but Sam is committed to stay by Frodo’s side regardless of the dangers ahead.
There were a lot of great scenes between them but this I think is just the pinnacle scene for them, Sam carrying Frodo to his destination in Mount Doom. Well, there’s this scene and the other scene…before this one, I believe, where Sam gives him the last of his water, and Frodo asks what about for the return trip and Sam tells him that there won’t be one. I thought that was a powerful scene too because all this time Sam has been talking about how they would return home afterwards and to come to this point where he finally accepts/acknowledges that there won’t be a return trip back and is focusing their remaining resources and energies to getting Frodo to Mount Doom was just heartbreaking and powerful.
There are of course many other wonderful friendships that populate Tolkien’s works: Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli, Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn and Eomer, Merry and Pippin, Bilbo and Balin, and more going back into The Silmarillion. The bonds they shared, the experiences they had together, and the care they had for each other through such difficult times is quite amazing to behold.
So what about you, how will you be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? What are your favourite friendships in Tolkien’s works?
Oh, and I know I said this last year and the year before but I have indeed started re-reading The Silmarillion some time ago 😛 Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out on my blog later today as my focus for this month’s So You Want To Read… feature is indeed on J.R.R. Tolkien’s works 😉