In our September Hobbit Club meeting, we drank Dragon Eye Red Ale beer that Greg and I brewed, we had birthday cupcakes for Frodo and Bilbo, and we laughed until our sides hurt. It was a party for Hobbits!
The reading for this month was the Joseph Pearce commentary, Frodo’s Journey. At this point in the club we expect that all members have either read the books, seen the movies, or don’t mind spoilers. While we tried to avoid talking about the books for their own sake, we couldn’t avoid talking about the story as we discussed Pearce’s thoughts. It is our hope that in the same way that Bilbo’s Journey helped us to see more in The Hobbit, Frodo’s Journey will give us eyes to see the spiritual subtext of The Lord of the Rings.
As I was preparing for the September club, I was also previewing Hilda van Stockum’s The Borrowed House (published by Purple House Press) as a spring read with my teen book club. In that WWII-themed teen book, the characters make regular references to Hitler’s favorite legend, the Volsunga Saga which was the foundation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I could not escape the sense that this Nordic myth had to have an influence on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. After doing a little digging, I found several interesting things:
Ring Cycle Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgzZ_nLOJJE
And this: https://amzn.to/2yjphgs
Our group watched the video during our meeting and we loved comparing it to Middle Earth.
Joseph Pearce has a beautiful chapter on Tom Bombadil. Some of our group members are only familiar with the movies, however, so they did not know who Tom was. As a consolation, we offered this hilarious video:
Lego Tom Bombadil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxhP7F1CftE
Then, someone said, “You know, this would make a really great musical!” Another member chimed in, “It is!” And so we had to check this out too:
And, because why not, we had fun passing around a collection of my new book-inspired candles by Frostbeard:
Frostbeard Candles: https://www.frostbeardstudio.com/collections/book-lovers-soy-candles
Finally, we talked about Pearce and his other works that might be fun to read together when we are done with Middle Earth:
Joseph Pearce’s The Quest for Shakespeare – I reviewed this interesting book here: http://plumfieldandpaideia.com/the-quest-for-shakespeare/
Joseph Pearce’s Wisdom and Innocence – I reviewed this beautiful Chesterton biography here http://plumfieldandpaideia.com/wisdom-and-innocence/
Joseph Pearce’s Man and Myth – I reviewed this Tolkien biography here: http://plumfieldandpaideia.com/tolkien-man-and-myth/
And… because if you are reading for book club, you are probably taking notes. A journal is a must…. The Tolkien Journal.