Nightjar
  • Paul 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 please let me know what you think. Get in touch on Twitter too. I'm always there (I'm a writer, you see).


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