Tolkien Reading Day 2021

Tomorrow is Tolkien Reading Day!

"Thursday 25th March is Tolkien Reading Day 2021 and the theme is Hope and Courage. What will you be reading?

What is Tolkien Reading Day?

Tolkien Reading Day is held on the 25th of March each year. The date of the 25th of March was chosen as the date on which the Ring was destroyed, completing Frodo’s quest and vanquishing Sauron.

It has been organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. We particularly encourage schools, museums and libraries to host their own Tolkien Reading Day events.

March Events

For this year’s Tolkien Reading Day the Tolkien Society is extremely excited to be teaming up with the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow to host and celebrate the event.

We are working with the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic to create engaging and interactive social media throughout March. On the 25th March we will come together and you will be able to attend one of the three Zoom meetings that will be taking place throughout the day for readers around the world to share their favourite passages and react to the passages shared by others. Did we also mention that these events are free to attend?

How you can take part

There are a range of ways that you can join in throughout March:

Join the Tolkien Society on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and the Centre for the Fantastic on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Watch out for our posts between 1st and 25th March!

Share your stories (Facebook and Instagram), fleets (Twitter), comments, and photos on any social media platform and use the hashtag #TolkienReadingDay2021. Most of all, we’d love to see videos of you sharing what Tolkien means to you and how he inspires Hope and Courage!

If you want to attend one of the free Zoom sessions on March 25th then you’re in luck as we are running sessions in the morning (9-10am GMT), midday (1-2pm GMT), and evening (6-7pm GMT) with the hope that you can find a session that is comfortable for you. Please use the Eventbrite links below to register for your preferred session! (Please note that the times shown on the Eventbrite pages automatically sync to your time zone.)

Register for the Morning Session

Register for the Midday Session

Register for the Evening Session"

The Tolkien Society has posted authorized extracts from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. They've also shared short texts on certain days with the challenge to rewrite the text and contextualize it in today's world!

They've also been posting questions related to this event on various social media; I thought I'd collate all my answers here:

What is courage?
I’d say there’s two kinds: boldness in the face of a great fear, and also the day-to-day courage of remaining strong and hopeful.

What character of Tolkien’s work taught you about courage and how?
Sam, certainly, especially in his echoes of WWI. The courage to face fear and darkness for the sake of love.

Share with us a quote from Tolkien on courage that you really like.
"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."

I know this sounds like a quote about hope. But I think Sam's focus on light is where he draws his courage from.

What is hope?
Of course the lines I just quoted also apply to hope!
I also love these lines about Gandalf: “Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.”

Share with us a quote from Tolkien on hope that you really like.
Both of the snippets quoted above, or maybe the part where Frodo and Sam talk about storytelling, or the eucatastrophe moment when the ash is raining but in the distance appear the eagles (I've discussed the question of the eagles here and here)...

Can someone be courageous when they run out of hope?
Definitely. I seem to be citing Sam a lot, but there’s also Gimli on the Paths of the Dead, Merry and Eowyn facing up to the Black Rider, Haleth and Hurin and others who held on despite all the sorrow and troubles that came their way...

What is your favorite part of the books in which courage and hope are a vital part of the story or the characters?
Besides the parts I’ve already quoted, there’s Pippin when he plays up to Grishnakh, Faramir when he continues to go out against the enemy despite his personal worries, Aragorn's mother's last words, Bilbo at that moment when he gathers up his courage and leaps over Gollum, Galadriel fighting the long fight over centuries...

What are your hopes for the future and how will you be courageous about them?
My short answer to this question is that I'll keep rereading The Lord of the Rings every year. I've done it now for over 30 years!

These photos seemed appropriate to this post:
Springtime sunrise

A 1500-year-old tree in Switzerland!

Which books do you reread?
Which books do you read to bolster hope and courage?


Hi Deniz - enjoy your Tolkien day ... seems like they're well organised and I'm sure will have a good attendance. Fun photos - and a tree 1500 years old is some age. I just read whatever I'm feeling like ... lots of books on the go - stay safe - Hilary
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you, Hilary! Stay safe xx