Discover more from Jokien with Tolkien
💎 Tolkien Treasures #003: January 2023
Plus Some Fave Tweets and a Thank You to YOU, Reader
January Tolkien Treasures
Here are a few things that I’ve been enjoying this month:
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien—I received this volume as a Christmas present and have been taking it slowly, reading a letter or two a day in a spare moment here or there instead of scrolling my phone for the eleventy-first time that day.
re are 354 of Tolkien’s letters collected here, so I’m on the perfect pace to read it in a year. I haven’t read them before and am absolutely loving the way that the function both as a window into Tolkien’s life but also as the equivalent “director’s commentary” of sorts for the writing and publishing of his works. You can find it on Amazon or Blackwell’s (where it’s on sale!).
Day Planner from Anecdote—as we all know, having a successful year depends on having the correct planner to organize our lives, so you can understand my despair when the yearly planner I had just found last year and absolutely loved announced they wouldn’t have a 2023 edition.
Thankfully I found a replacement! I’ve been enjoying the first few weeks using the Day Planner from Anecdote.
It has a few pages for yearly goals, a 2022-2023 Dated Yearly Calendar, & a 12 Month Non-Dated Calendar (you fill in the dates on the 12 Month Calendar). Then there is a daily planner section that has 26 weeks (6 months) of a day-by-day layout where you again fill in the dates. I like this approach because while you COULD use the planner like I have, starting at the beginning of the year, you technically could start it during any week you want to begin using it. So it’s not too late to check it out if you wanted a planner but never got around to one!
I enjoyed this lovely newsletter on January and winter in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight inso much that it inspired me to dig out my copy of Tolkien’s translation and reread the poem this past weekend!
Gawain’s quest takes him far from the court of Camelot and asks him to endure dangers both fantastic and familiar as he is caught between the rules of courtly love and the virtues of Christianity. As he faces the harsh winter weather and the hidden snares of a lord and lady’s castle en route to his ultimate confrontation with the Green Knight, what he learns about himself through his triumphs and failures reveal a refreshingly fallible and believable character. Highly enjoyed reading this poem again.
I loved reading each and every story that about your introductions to Middle-earth that you shared in the replies here on substack and on twitter! Thank you to all who shared about how you first encountered Tolkien and his works. (And if you’d like to still but didn’t yet, it’s not too late! Jump in the comments or replies and let me know! I’d love to hear it.)
Speaking of sharing your introduction to Middle-earth, one reader (who writes here on Substack atand ) alerted me to the existence of THE J.R.R. TOLKIEN FANDOM ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION. “The Department of Special Collections at Marquette’s Raynor Memorial Library is building a collection of brief testimonials from Tolkien fans,” the department shares on their website. “The goal is 6,000 audio interviews, one for each of the Riders of Rohan that Théoden mustered and led to the aid of Gondor.”
[S]ix thousand spears to Sunlending,
Mundburg the mighty under Mindolluin,
Sea-kings' city in the South-kingdom
The Lord of the Rings, bk. V, ch. III
The structure is simple:
Each fan is given up to three (3) minutes to respond to the following three questions:
When did you first encounter the works of J. R. R. Tolkien?
Why are you a Tolkien fan?
What has he meant to you?
Three questions in three minutes.
What a wonderful idea! If you’d like to join the muster of the Rohirrim and contribute an interview, head to their scheduling page to set one up. I know I intend to do so!
What is something you’ve been enjoying this month?
Are you a Jokien with Tolkien Paid Subscriber? Why Not?
It’s only $5 a month (or $36 annually—that’s 40% off!), you get an exclusive monthly essay and access to the monthly paid subscribers discussion, and it goes to a good cause (the continued existence of this newsletter). Hit the button below to find out more!
The Memes of Power
A few weeks ago Ismael Cruz Cordova, who many know as Arondir from The Rings of Power…
but others might know as Armando from Sesame Street…
t a rather cryptic tweet:
This is way past covfefe territory, folks, firmly in the Here Be Dragons, Lady Gaga corners of the map.
Ismael clarified later that he had butt-tweeted it, but not before the memes rolled in. Here’s a few of my favorites:
Ismael was a good sport when he discovered his mistake and the resulting memes, even sharing some of them and replying to others. “The past is with us all, whether we like it or not,” Arondir reminds us in The Rings of Power. I guess that includes butt-tweets.
There are a thousand of you subscribed now! I feel a bit like Bilbo (don’t worry though, I’m not about to disappear on you):
Thank you so much for subscribing and for reading, commenting, and sharing!