My name is Corey Olsen, known online as The Tolkien Professor. You might have heard of my podcast of that name, or maybe seen my Hobbit book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I am also the President of Signum University, home of what might be the coolest Master’s Degree program on earth (Exhibit A: http://signumuniversity.org/departme…lkien-studies/). For several years, I’ve been doing fun open courses and programs that everyone is invited to join in: the Mythgard Academy series (in-depth of discussions of books elected by my viewers), the Silmarillion Film Project (a detailed discussion for hardcore geeks of a totally theoretical TV adaptation of Tolkien’s Silmarillion), and more recently my adventures in LOTRO streaming on Twitch (my weekly Gryfflet streams on Fridays at 1:00 PM EST on LOTROStream, as well as various streams on our own channel, www.Twitch.tv/signumu).
Anyway, this January, I am launching a major new program which I am really excited about. It is called Exploring the Lord of the Rings, and in it I plan to conduct a chapter-by-chapter detailed discussion of the Lord of the Rings. The discussions will take place on Tuesday evenings, 9:30 PM server time, starting on Tolkien’s 125th birthday: January 3, 2017. In each session, I will spend an hour or so (okay, probably 90 minutes) discussing the book chapter and its themes, reading passages and doing some close reading so that we can really get into the story as it unfolds. I will broadcast the class sessions on the SignumU Twitch channel, and the discussion will be highly interactive; everyone attending will be able to participate in the discussion. I will also be in-game throughout the class. For the book-discussion portion of class, my character won’t be doing much, though you are welcome to join me in our lecture hall (location TBA). For the last 30 minutes or so of the session, however, we will be taking a weekly field trip in game. We will go visit places in the game connected with the part of the text we were just discussing, and we will examine both the visual representation and the related quest and story lines. So in the end, we will be both studying the Lord of the Rings and also thinking about the adaptation of the story that the Turbine folks have done (which I think is brilliant).
So, if you’ve ever wanted to study the Lord of the Rings in depth and would be interested in joining me on this long and fun journey of lore, join me on twitch.tv/signumu at 9:30 PM EST on January 3. For those whose time zones make this inconvenient (my apologies to the good people of Europe!), recordings of the sessions will be posted promptly on the Signum YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUx…4uXhEfqgI6GtIg).
Oh, and one more thing! In order to give people across different servers an opportunity to participate (I’ve always played on Landroval, myself), I will be rotating the class sessions from one server to another. I’ll publish the schedule soon. If you are in a kinship that might be interested in joining one of these class sessions as a kin event and coming along with me on that week’s field trip, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). I look forward to getting to meet lots of Tolkien fans across LOTRO’s servers.
I am greatly looking forward to this new adventure!
– Corey Olsen
The Tolkien Professor