Friday, October 24, 2014


From left, actors Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Sean Astin in a scene from New Line Cinema's "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring." (The Associated Press)
It's Tolkien Reading Day – here are 5 nerdy ways to celebrate
Posted on March 25, 2014 at 11:35 a.m.

1. Explore Middle Earth

If Lord of the Rings readers learned anything from the books, it's this: Making your way across Middle Earth takes a heck of a long time. Fortunately, the Internet has created an experience that can take you from Rivendell to the Misty Mountains faster than Shadowfax.

Late last year, Google and Warner Brothers teamed up to create a virtual map of Middle Earth. The map, which allows users to visit towns and landmarks from the Hobbit, includes information about the story, shots from the latest films and interactive games.

Even though the map was really just a clever marketing ploy for The Desolation of Smaug, it's a fun site to check out. Word on the street is more locations and activities will be revealed as the third Hobbit movie's release date gets closer. 

2. Test your Tolkien trivia knowledge

You know what Kingsfoil is used for. You know what Balrog is. You also get really, really annoyed when people confuse Sauron and Saruman. 

You're an expert in Tolkien trivia – here's your chance to prove it.

If you want to test your knowledge, check out the Christian Science Monitor's Lord of the Rings quiz and one made by the Lord of the Rings Fanatic Site. They're great ways to brush up on your Tolkien glossary and reminisce about the stories.

3. Learn some Elvish

Let's face it – Elves are cooler than humans. They're practically immortal, really good looking and they don't even have to sleep. Also, they have a magical language that has graced the tongues of super-nerds around the globe.

To start getting in touch with your Elvish side, learn how to write your name in the language. If that's not enough for you, check out the Elvish course called Quenya101. The site's tutorials will teach you the Elvish alphabet, phonetics, grammar and more. 

4. Listen to the songs you've been reading

It was always a little frustrating reading through the songs in the Lord of the Rings series – they're beautifully written and inevitably leave readers wondering what they'd sound like.

Now, renditions of some of them can be found on the Internet.

Middle-earth Music is a website based on an academic text about the significance of music in J.R.R. Tolkien's work. While the other information on the site is worth a read, its best feature is its section where visitors can listen to versions of Tolkien's songs from the Lord of the Rings series

These renditions aren't 100 percent true to the stories – as the website points out, there's no way Gimli was accompanied by an 80 piece symphony when he sang the Song of Durin. However, it's a fun way to experience the music from the books.

5. Read some Tolkien

Even though Tolkien is best known for the Lord of the Rings series, he published a slew of other novels, essays, short stories and poems. 

If you'd like to look around for some of Tolkien's other writings, check out this chronological bibliography of his work. It includes letters, illustrations, manuscript pages and more.

So in honor of Tolkien Reading Day, get out there are read some Tolkien.