Last-Minute Tips For Making Hobbit Day Memorable!

Hobbit Day comes but once a year, so why not make it a party of special magnificence by adding some book-related frivolity to the festivities?

For those of you who don’t know: Hobbit Day is on September 22 each year, and is the observation of Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday party! Tolkien fans around the world gather together in large parties or small groups to celebrate the joyous occasion! (It is also the day after the original publication date of The Hobbit!)

Now, on to the Tolkien-themed silliness!

You can try greeting each other using this simple formula from The Hobbit!

Greeter: _[Greeter’s name]_, at your service!

Respondent: __[Respondent’s name]__, at yours and your family’s.

As the host or hostess, you can always excuse the tardiness of a meal (or course) by reassuring your guest with a quick paraphrase of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings (*a word of caution, this one might not go over as well if you are around book purists!*):

“[food that the group is waiting on] is never late, Frodo Baggins! Nor is it early, it arrives precisely when it means to”

Don’t forget to make some memorable toasts!

  • The easiest one is the simple “May the hair on [your/his/her/their] toes never fall out!” from The Hobbit.alcoholic-beverage-ale-beer-1464825
  • If anyone is feeling particularly verbose, they can give Bilbo’s birthday toast from the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings! This could be especially entertaining if someone has a party popper for just the right moment, or if it leads to murmuring about what is meant by the compliment “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
  • On a more somber tone, you could use Thorin’s final words from The Hobbit: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Although, this might cause more introspection than you want at your Middle-earth themed party!

Whatever you do, don’t upset your host by performing your own rendition of “Chip the Glasses and Crack the Plates!”

I would recommend, even if you don’t want to do all of the silliness above, that at some point when everyone has a glass of their favorite beverage, just take a moment to raise a glass with the simple toast “The Professor!” It is a nice way to honor the memory of the creator whose work brings us all together!

If you want to make it a really memorable day, you could take it in turns to share the story of how you came to Middle-earth, and maybe something about what you have found there. I would be elated if anyone used my basic questions from the Tolkien Experience Project to get to know their fellow celebrants better! After all, that is the whole point of the project!

However you celebrate, and whoever you do it with, just know that there are many others celebrating with you on this day! May it be a joyous occasion indeed!

Tolkien 2019 Announcement

Hello friends, I wanted to share some exciting news with you.

I will be attending the Tolkien 2019 conference in Birmingham, England this August!Tolkien-2019-logo

I will be presenting a paper entitled “The Lord of the Rings, Young Readers, and Questions of Genre”. I would love for anyone interested in my research to attend!

I am very much looking forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues, as well as participating in the largest event ever hosted by the Tolkien Society!

If you would like more information, the event staff have posted a full schedule of events!

Happy Birthday to!

Hello everyone!

This website has just passed the one-year mark, and I just wanted to write a post to celebrate the past year..and what a year!

I have been absolutely blow away by the support and interaction with readers and contributors! I wanted to share a few of the milestones with you all, as I try to stay as transparent as possible:

In the first year, the website has seen:

  • 114 published posts (more than 66,000 words!)
  • 62 contributors
  • nearly 15,000 visitors
  • over 20,000 views
  • almost a comment per post on average
  • more than one ‘like’ per post on average
  • a nomination for the Tolkien Society Awards 2019

None of these things would have been possible without the support and contributions of readers and fans. I rely on readers and contributors much more than a typical blog because of the design and aim of the Tolkien Experience Project! So I thank each and every one of you for your support in making this website a success! Keep spreading the word and we can make the Tolkien Experience Project an excellent repository for fan experience!

I also wanted to share with you that the URL now forwards to my website! So feel free to share that with friends if it is easier to remember!

The Tolkien Birthday Toast–A Reflection on Reflection

For a few years now, I have followed the tradition of the Tolkien Birthday Toast that I was first introduced to through the Tolkien Society.

You can visit the Tolkien Society’s page explaining the toast for more information or for the basic procedures.

Today I wanted to take a moment to laud the simple traditions that fandom inspires. It is easy to look at something like the Tolkien Birthday Toast from the outside and assume it is nothing more than an exercise performed by a group of over-enthusiastic nerds.

I think there is something a bit more, though.


At this point, the toast is a shared, communal tradition that lends itself to something that our everyday lives increasingly push out: reflection.

I call it a communal experience because, whether one celebrates it alone or in the company of others, there is an understanding that this act is something shared. Different fans and groups of fans across the world will do this same act, and participating in something that large gives a sense of unity and belonging.

It is more than that, though. This sense of community is nice, but what is the community about? Why does it matter?

Having the toast focus on the author rather than a specific text or event makes this activity a very special kind of reflection. It is a moment to pause and appreciate the achievements of an author and the life he lived. Tolkien was not a writer by trade, he was an academic. While many people were drawn to him because of his creative endeavors, those are only part of Tolkien’s influence. The toast allows people with varying degrees and experiences with Tolkien and his work to participate, and this is important!

This is the point that intersects the most with my interests as a researcher into the reception of Tolkien’s writings: The Toast invariably calls participants to reflect on the ways that Tolkien’s writings have produced meaning in their lives.

Often, participants will share stories of how they first read Tolkien or how Tolkien changed the way they saw the world. These stories are the kind of reflection that are increasingly pushed aside in a fast-paced culture.

A tradition that practices taking a moment and recalling these stories of connection and inspiration is well worth participating in! So tonight, at 9pm, consider raising a glass to The Professor!

Baymoot Approaches

As many of you already know, I have been responsible for organizing Baymoot for Signum University this year.

The event takes place at Mills College in Oakland, California on Saturday, August 18, 2018. The theme is “breaking boundaries and crossing borders.” It is a one-day literature symposium. It is $40 to attend, and a light breakfast and lunch are provided.

I am very excited about the schedule we have been able to pull together, including our plenary speaker: Corey Olsen, a.k.a The Tolkien Professor!

The Baymoot organizational team has already been an invaluable help in making sure the event runs smoothly!

I just wanted to post here that there is only one week left to register for the event, where you can meet me and the other excellent speakers and share your ideas with other Tolkien and speculative fiction fans!

For more information about the event, and to register, see the Signum page for the event!

Kalamazoo Report (2018)

I have recently returned from the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, where I attended several wonderful paper presentations and had the opportunity to network and promote my PhD Research!


There were so many great papers and resources shared that I do not have enough time or space to recount them all, so here are a few that are easier to share quickly:

Tolkien fellowship at dinner

I was fortunate enough to have great company each evening at dinner. Here is a picture of one such gathering:

Pictured (left to right): Kris Swank, Diedre Dawson, me, John Rateliff, Andrew Higgins, Jane Chance, Yoko Hemmi, and my PhD chair Dimitra Fimi. Photo taken by Douglas Anderson.

Tolkien Art Index

Erik Mueller-Harder shared this phenomenal resource that he has been working diligently to compile. It is a standardized list of Tolkien’s images. The usefulness and descriptiveness of the index makes it practical and influential. It should become the standard reference for Tolkien’s images.

Find the index here:

Tales After Tolkien Society

I was elected a Vice-President of the society, an honor that I hope to live up to!

Many Meeting

I had several meaningful interactions and can’t wait to get to work on some of the ideas I brought home from the conference! The encouragement and insight of scholars whose work I admire is truly one of the greatest assets of a conference like this. I hope everyone made it home safe!





2018 Summer Activities, Presentations, and Workshops

May 9-13

Paper for the Tolkien Symposium: “Eomer Gets Poetic: Tolkien’s Alliterative Versecraft” and attending International Congress on Medieval Studies

June 21-24

Paper for MythMoot V: “Tolkien’s Young Readers”

July 20-23

Workshop for Mythcon: “Young Readers’ Receptions of Tolkien: An Interactive Session with Survey and Interview”

August 18

Organizing BayMoot, a one-day symposium on speculative fiction in Oakland, CA.