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  • Writer's picturePaul Jameson

What Middle Earth Means to Me...

I tried reading the Silmarillion when I was about fourteen, after having finished (and falling in love with) The Lord of the Rings. I suppose it must have been 1983/1984. A time of the Tories under the evil that was Maggie Thatcher. There was the Miners Strike, National Front, Anarchy, Greenham Common, CND, great music and genre inspired fashion - Punks, New Romantics, Skinheads, Mods and Rockers haunting record shops and roaming streets - me hanging out at bus stops with friends and exploring the woods; discovering the world of Tolkien.

The Hobbit - Book Cover Artwork

I needed Tolkien.

Didn't know it at the time.

I needed the escapism of Middle Earth to flee harsh emotional, physical, and mental abuse that was pretty much a weekly, if not daily event, at home. I didn't know it was abuse. It was just life. It was my life - inescapable until I first ventured into Middle Earth. Then my mind was stirred to picture the beauty of elves, of Lothlorien, Misty Mountains, the shadows of Khazad-dûm. I saw stoic dwarfs, fun-loving hobbits, realised heroes were real, and pictured kingdoms, cities, peoples even Tolkien hadn't written about. JRR. A genius who stirred the embers and stoked the fires of fairy-tale belief in everyday folk. In t' shadows were orcs and goblins, adventures, and never again was a walk in the woods ever the same. Indeed, looking back, I realise Middle Earth gave me a place to escape to, even as I was being hit, shouted at, kicked and punched.

A sanctuary inside.

One I could visit whenever I needed.

Gandalf at Bag End - by Alan Lee

And so I fell in love with Middle Earth.

A kindly inclusive place that is to be loved and treasured, shared and explored.

Perhaps it even kept me alive.

And now, at the ripe old age of fifty-three, I'm reading the Silmarillion again. This time I understand it. Am ready for it. It tells me once more that Middle Earth is indeed a beautiful place. I wasn't wrong. An amazing, magical place. One of heroes and villains, darkness, light; where the wonder of magical races is ever present. Here is the beauty of a natural world alive, full of hope, and not so very different to the beauty of our own world; a place that needs protecting, at once different and familiar to anyone who visits. A safe, magical place in an oft confusing world, where once more we're faced with the cruelty of right wing, hate-fuelled politics in society, where greed trumps all - certainly in Britain, if not the world - and where corruption is rife. Social equality scorned. War embraced.

Sadly the world really hasn't changed that much.

A wheel that turns.

But so too is Middle Earth a constant.

A shifting constant, unique and wonderful to every individual it welcomes.

Somewhere to protect and share.

A sanctuary to all.


If there's a topic you'd like me to consider in a blog, a book you think I really need to read and review, or a TV Series you think I'd enjoy (and you'd like me to include it in my blog) drop me a line and let me know. I also don't apologise for sharing my political views. Finally. If you do buy my books. Thank you.

And do let me know what you think.


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