The Hobbit

Filming of the movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has officially started (three cheers!).

Part one (of two) will open in theaters on December 19, 2012 (in 3D). Until then, director Peter Jackson plans to keep us in the loop as the filming progresses in New Zealand. On April 14 he posted on his Facebook page the first in a promised series of update videos. The 10-minute video provides fans with a nice look at the beginning stages of what will be a lengthy filming process.

You can watch it here:


Keller on Tolkien

In a recent interview Timothy Keller said the following about J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings:

Tolkien has helped my imagination. He was a devout Catholic — and I am not. However, because he brought his faith to bear into narrative, fiction, and literature, his Christianity — which was pretty ‘mere Christianity’ (understanding of human sin, need for grace, need for redemption) — fleshed out in fiction, has been an inspiration to me.

What I mean by inspiration is this: he gives me a way of grasping glory that would otherwise be hard for me to appreciate. Glory, weightiness, beauty, excellence, brilliance, virtue — he shows them to you in some of his characters.

When people ask: how often have you read Lord of the Rings?, the answer is: I actually never stop. I’m always in it.

As an aside, if you’d like to purchase a copy of LOTR, an edition that will withstand repeated use, Westminster Books now carries a gorgeously illustrated box set. I bought two sets last week and was really impressed with the quality. Find details here.

Tolkien at Westminster

I avoid buying books from Amazon unless I absolutely must (which is too frequent). A high percentage of Amazon books that arrive on my doorstep have been smudged, bumped, scratched, and otherwise wounded. I once received a dirtied book that almost certainly fell face down on a warehouse floor. The pages in the middle of the book were all smudged with dirt and bent like it was paper that had been origami in a previous life.

As much as possible I buy my books from online stores that take great care to ensure that books are properly coddled, Westminster Books being one of the very best (along with Monergism and Banner of Truth). So I am a bit jazzed to see that Westminster Books now carries J. R. R. Tolkien’s works, including:

Thanks Westminster Books!

And in related news, John Piper’s great book, Don’t Waste Your Life, is now available in Elvish.*

* Okay, that last sentence is a spoof. Follow the link to my choice for the funniest Tweet of the year. Touché.

Hobbit Day 2010

“Bilbo and Frodo happened to have the same birthday, September 22nd,” wrote Tolkien. And since 1978, September 22 (Wednesday) has become the annual date that LOTR fans celebrate Hobbit Day by dressing in costume, eating themselves silly, drinking a bit, singing songs, watching the movies, shooting fireworks, and walking barefoot.

This year we will be joining the fellowship of the nerds. This will require a trip to the grocery store and, in our case, since I don’t hunt, I’ll be driving across town for coney. But it’s worth it. After we finish our sixth meal of the day we’ll read some passages from the LOTR trilogy or from The Hobbit.

Stephanie is one blogger who cooked up a Hobbit Day feast back in 2007. Here’s her menu:

  • First Breakfast: omelet, mushrooms, bacon (cooked in the fireplace), and coffee
  • Second Breakfast: whipped cream and berries, seedcakes
  • Elevensies: bread, cheese, fruits. This is when the ale started.
  • Luncheon: leek and mushroom-stuffed puff pastry boxes, cold chicken
  • Afternoon Tea: seedcakes, banana bread and Keemun tea
  • Dinner: coney (rabbit) stew with red wine, onions, garlic, carrots and herbs, cooked in the fireplace for about 6 hours
  • Supper: we were going to have a selection green salads, but could only muster up enough hunger for a few sprigs of watercress

Be creative—and enjoy!

The Ring and the Cross

From Peter Kreeft, The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings (Ignatius, 2005), page 224:

“The most fundamental Christian symbol is the Cross. This also is perfectly opposite to the Ring. The Cross gives life; the Ring takes it. The Cross gives you death, not power; the Ring gives you power even over death. The Ring squeezes everything into its inner emptiness; the Cross expands in all four directions, gives itself to the emptiness, filling it with its blood, its life. The Ring is Dracula’s tooth. The Cross is God’s sword, held at the hilt by the hand of Heaven and plunged into the world not to take our blood but to give us His. The Cross is Christ’s hypodermic; the Ring is Dracula’s bite. The Cross saves other wills; the Ring dominates other wills. The Cross liberates; the Ring enslaves.”