Exploring Lord of the Rings: A New Tolkien Learning Experience


Return to The Shire

And we begin at the beginning:

Chapter 1: A Long Expected Party (Part 1)

A great deal of interest was shown by the LOTRO community when it was announced that an interactive lecture series was going to commence on the 3rd Jan 2017. I have been in awe of Professor Corey Olsen’s “gift-of-the-gab” since I first heard him talk a few years ago.

Here some of us are, standing idly in-game. I have many crowd screenshots and will endeavour to make a slide show to post on YouTube in future. It’s a little fuzzy because Lilicait, my Mythgard Hobbit decided to take a dram of Old Cider to warm the heels.

This post is a special effort to welcome the Course to all that is Buggins, as well as informing folks who may be interest in attending what to expect. You can participate in-game but it is not essential. You can visit all the places mentioned, included in the field trip after the event.

Announcement: My usual weekly followup to the class will include one or two screenshots and probably some commentary on what I found notable about the class. As a long time repeat reader it is nice to find some little nook or edge of the text one had not considered in a certain light before.

For beginners this is a pure Tolkienfest goldmine, I could not recommend this course highly enough if you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings and LOTRO.

So we begin by the door of what is believed to be the new Lore Hall, a gift from those at Standing Stone Games to all of us.

I didn’t know to expect my grumpy looking cousin Maevenn though and who told her to nip into my wardrobe and pinch my spare dress? If you are having trouble telling us apart I am the one with green flowers in my circlet 😉

I digress too much, lets go back to The Shire and consider Hobbit culture.

It is to be noted that when we discuss the text in FOTR we do try and keep within the information the reader is actually told or the knowledge the characters are aware of at that particular stage of the tale. The class is also very detailed so my briefing will just be a taste of whats to be expected. Please click the link below to enjoy the full lesson.

Hobbits – A class society

We read in chapter 1 of various Hobbits and hobbit families. Some like the Brandybucks are well to do others like the Gamgees are more working class in their nature. The more affluent Hobbits seem to have mastered the art of keeping a well stocked larder and have time for other things, such as wandering, reading and a little lazy paddling in The Water.

We looked at the generous nature of Bilbo and other notable Hobbits. Comparing this to Ted Sandyman’s unwelcome suggestions in Tthe Ivy Bush that Frodo’s parents deaths were somehow non-accidental. We looked at the nature of the Gaffer and Daddy Twofoot and how Hobbits seemed to love telling and hearing stories, (encouraged by a cup of something no doubt).

Other aspects of Hobbit nature is discussed, pointing out that The Shire is not actually as idyllic as some more modern readers/players have taken to be the norm. Hobbits are full characters with a range of emotions and behaviour. Generally it can be taken for granted that one aspect of their characters is that they are suspicious of outsiders and folks who come from beyond the bounds.

The (not-so-white) Gate at the entrance of the party field is discussed (and visited). We note that Bilbo didn’t build a gate to beef security but as a welcoming point for his Eleventy First party.

Another aspect of this chapter we discussed was the items Bilbo left for others to take. The ones with the comments on the labels that were intended as a dry witty retort. The Professor was looking into the tone of the comments and discussing how light-hearted they are.

I have my own take on this particular part of the first chapter. As we read, we note (if we are re-reading) that there is a huge amount of laying ground-work for the rest of the tale. As Bilbo’s notelets are read and offence is taken or not, it strikes me a little strange that Bilbo, a hobbit of generous good nature is being a little snarky.. To be the tone of the notes does come across as a little strong. It’s as if all these little instances and mannerisms have finally found in Bilbo a need for venting. Maybe something is a teeny bit off with our Birthday Hobbit Sn.

My favourite aspect of this talk had to be, when Pf Olsen helped me see through the text and characters described an entire life cycle of the Hobbit or Hobbit-lass. From the small children running behind “Grand!” Gandalf, to the Dancing Tweens on the tables to the old Gaffers (feet on the table included). This visual I think was the most satisfying for me of the entire lesson and is an example of how even the more knowledgeable of us can still benefit from taking part or listening to this most worthy Class.

I look forward to next weeks discussions and will report back here anything I found that was new, exciting or just something I had not considered before.


Next week the live in game class is on Crickhollow and will be sponsored by The Second Breakfast Kinship.





Lilicait decided to adpot one of the Cat Lady’s many felines.


Leave a Reply