A gentle rain has been falling all day. I don’t mind; it makes for an easy excuse to lie about and read Tolkien. The amount of thought he put into Middle Earth dazzles me sometimes. He created several languages, thousands of years of history, the genealogies of many houses, geographies of myriad lands, and magical beings and artifacts. He crafted the prototype for all fantasy novels that followed.
My brother Jim suggested I check out the Encyclopedia of Arda. When I was younger I owned several encyclopï¿½dia of Middle Earth, a detailed atlas, and a sketchbook of various characters. I suspect these tomes are all buried in my brother’s basement with the few goods that remain in Missouri, abiding till my return. This online compendium contains all these things and more. Editorials about the nature of Tom Bombadil or the true appearance of balrogs demonstrate a deep mastery of Tolkien’s world and his incidental writings. Tolkien’s world was a gift to all the geeks of the world, something for them to obsess over endlessly. Middle Earth was first and foremost, before the Simpsons or Star Wars.