The relationship between Luthien and Beren is thought to be the greatest romance of the Elder Days -- but were they Earthlings or Middle-earthlings?
Tolkien can be trickier to understand than you’d think. Though Luthien and Beren lived in “The Lord of the Rings” universe, J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife Edith also referred to themselves by these names and had them engraved on their headstones. It was a match made on Earth and in Middle-earth.
In the midst of an exhausting trilogy of adventure, who would find the Three Cups Hotel a great spot for inspiration?
The Three Cups Hotel hosts overnight stays for Earthlings like J.R.R. Tolkien. This famous hotel is located in Lyme Regis, and the surrounding countryside is said to have inspired the setting of “The Lord of the Rings.” This is where Tolkien plotted out much of his mythology.
In this world, powerful men can change the future with statements like, “If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes.”
This could be a quote from Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” but it’s actually from a passage in Chapter 1 of “The Hobbit,” in which Gandalf makes this announcement to the dwarves to ease their fears of having the hobbit Bilbo Baggins join them on their quest.
Anni-Frid, Björn, Benny and Agnetha all hail from an ancient land and make magical music. Are they Earthlings or Middle-earthlings?
This foursome may sound like a group of merrymaking dwarves, but in truth they are all members of the popular Swedish band ABBA from the 1970s.
In this land, when you ask someone to follow you on a quest, you say, “He mihi nui hoki ki nga tangata whenua o Aotearoa. Ma rangi raua ko papa tatou e manaaki, e tiaki hei nga tau e tu mai nei.”
This is Earthling speak! In the closing credits of the film “The Fellowship of the Ring,” the filmmakers thanked the people of New Zealand in their native language of Maori. New Zealand was the filming location of all three movies that chronicled the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Which people consider mushrooms an excellent addition to meals (especially when cooked with bacon)?
Mushrooms aren’t just a modern day pizza topping! Hobbits are fond of this tasty fungus, and Frodo Baggins once got caught stealing mushrooms from his neighbor, Farmer Maggot. When he passed through Farmer Maggot’s land again years later, Mrs. Maggot fed him a meal of mushrooms and bacon. Isn’t that what you had in your brunch omelet last weekend?
Which natives frolic in Moseley Bog?
Moseley Bog is a nature preserve in Birmingham, England, that dates back to the Bronze Age and is said to have inspired the Old Forest in Tolkien’s books.
The Battle of Belleau Wood was part of the Kaiserschlacht -- in which world?
It may sound like a mystical Tolkien locale, but this battle took place in France during WWI in March 1918. Belleau Wood is near the Marne river, northeast of Paris.
The Seven-Branched Sword was a weapon that was very valuable -- to which people?
The Seven-Branched Sword was an Earthling creation. This ceremonial sword was forged by the Baekje Dynasty in Korea during the 4th century and is now housed in a shrine in Japan. Still, if there were goblins about we'd prefer to have Bilbo Baggins’ sword, Sting.
These folks are quite fond of smoking pipes.
Pipes are popular on Earth and in Middle-earth -- J.R.R. Tolkien himself was a huge fan of pipe smoking. He passed his habit along to the hobbits, dwarves and wizards in his stories. These days, Earthlings can buy replicas of hobbit pipes for their own enjoyment.
Augustus Fitzroy was a great leader -- in which land?
Augustus was all Earthling -- he ruled as England’s Prime Minister from 1768 to 1770. But with a name like Fitzroy, he would have fit right in with the hobbit families. Maybe one day they’ll find a Frodo Fitzroy at a family reunion.
You can visit The Green Dragon inn in this place.
The Green Dragon is a popular inn where Thorin Oakenshield goes to await Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit." But it’s also the name of an inn in Hereford, U.K. Both offer weary travelers a warm place for a cold drink, though the largest glass available at Tolkien’s Green Dragon is a half pint. If you were less than 4 feet (2 meters) tall, you'd be a lightweight, too.
“The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late” is a popular drinking song with this crowd.
It sounds like something you would hear in an English pub, but “The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late” is actually a song sung by Frodo in “The Fellowship of the Ring” while he entertained patrons at the Inn at Bree.
These people eat Cram to keep them fueled on a long journey.
Long-distance runners on Earth have sports gels; Middle-earthlings have waybreads like Cram, which is a sort of biscuit made by the Men of Dale and Lake-town. It’s eaten on long treks because it lasts indefinitely, though it’s not very tasty and is hard to chew.
Where would you live if you had experienced the Falls of Rauros?
The Falls of Rauros was initially a Tolkien-created waterfall located at the southern end of Nen Hithoel. But in 2005, an American heavy metal band borrowed the name for their group and rocked out a unique blend of music they call “North Appalachian Heathen Black Folk Metal.” So technically it belongs to both worlds, though Mr. Tolkien might have given someone an earful if he’d found out.
The person who said "little by little, one travels far" hails from from this land.
This is a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien himself.
You can be a member of the Apolausticks if you reside here.
The Apolausticks was a club created by J.R.R. Tolkien while he was an undergraduate student at Oxford. They were committed to papers, discussions and debates, and they fed Tolkien’s need for social involvement.
Someone wise once said, “I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” Was it an Earthling or a Middle-earthling?
Might this be a quote from Tolkien’s fellow writer and friend C.S. Lewis? No, it’s from the wise wizard Gandalf, who only existed in Tolkien’s imagination.
Fili and Kili are twin brothers who love music. Which are they?
These guys sound like they should appear on a new TV show about a teen pop band, but they are actually dwarf brothers from “The Hobbit.” After landing their share of Smaug’s gold stash, they decided they would rather play golden harps than dig for treasure.
In this reality, the tiny and timid can become huge heroes.
On Earth and in Middle-earth, all beings have the ability to explore, learn and grow. This is one the major themes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing and a great lesson for us all to remember.
You may be a fan of second breakfast or know enough Elvish to make your way around Rivendell, but do you really know what it takes to be the Lord of the Rings? Test your Tolkien knowledge and decide whether the following are fictions or realities.
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