In a move that’s bound to bring up images of a young, powerless Hobbit facing down the might of Mordor, an upstart Tolkien organization—The Society of Tolkien—has announced a free alternative to the Tolkien Society’s July 3 “diversity” seminar.
As the Daily Wire recently reported, the Tolkien Society was founded in 1969 and once counted J.R.R. Tolkien himself as its president. But its educational focus has taken quite a turn this year with a “diversity and inclusion” seminar that will feature lectures on topics like “Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings,” “The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” “Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack,” and “Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien.”
This mangling of the Oxford professor’s work and vision didn’t sit well with the founder of a new Tolkien organization. His group has now scheduled a separate event on the same date to offer scholarly explorations more clearly tied to the great fantasy author’s work.
Among the topics at the newly announced seminar: “Solving Gollum’s Riddles: An Ode to Tolkien and Old English,” “Mapping Middle-earth,” and “Tolkien is Timeless, Tinseltown is Trite.”
In a standard that seems to offer a rebuke to its older rival, the Society of Tolkien said it will not accept lectures on “concepts not included in Tolkien’s writing.”
Keith Casey, who founded the Society of Tolkien, describes himself as a software developer, entrepreneur, startup founder, parent, and a voracious reader of all things. He confirmed to the Daily Wire that he launched his group as a direct response to the Tolkien Society and their “nonsense.”
“For an organization ‘devoted to the study and promotion of the life and works of the author and academic J.R.R. Tolkien’ – I question how their own bizarre viewpoint, which reads like fan fiction, took center stage,” Casey told us. “Tolkien’s works are wonderful and should be cherished and understood as he wrote them instead of twisted to fit current social fads.”
Casey admits he’s not an academic but doesn’t see why that should be an obstacle to taking a stand to protect his favorite author’s reputation. “[I] can appreciate a great story with strong characters and key lessons,” he said. His organization’s goal is simply to help attendees learn more about what Tolkien, who was a committed Catholic, created, how he created it, and how every word was chosen for a purpose. It’s a lesson he says he’s been teaching to his own children.
The three key points he’s shown them from The Lord of the Rings: “First, we always keep our word. Second, we always help our friends. Third, we always fight the orcs.”
That third item — fighting the orcs — is what the Society of Tolkien’s seminar is all about.
Casey said he hopes the main conclusion others will take from the Society of Tolkien is “that we have to step up to protect and celebrate the things we love or they will be destroyed. The Tolkien Webinar is my way of celebrating Tolkien’s works.”
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