Wales

Tolkien festival to recreate Middle Earth in mid Wales

The Great Goblin by Paul Raymond Gregory
Image caption The three-day Festival in the Shire includes an exhibition of Tolkien-inspired art (Image: The Great Goblin by Paul Raymond Gregory)

A three-day celebration of the life and works of JRR Tolkien aims to turn a part of mid Wales into Middle Earth.

The Festival in the Shire will include re-enactments, games, and storytelling on a Tolkien theme.

It will analyse The Lord of the Rings author, looking at Welsh influences on his work, and welcome fans.

The event, at the Pavilion in Pontrhydfendigaid, Ceredigion, in August, also includes an exhibition of Tolkien-inspired art.

Organiser Mark Faith said: "There is a huge following for Tolkien."

Mr Faith, who runs an art and book dealership in Dinas Mawddwy, Gwynedd, said the festival on 13-15 August was a "three-in-one event" combining an academic conference, the art exhibition and a general festival for fans.

Image caption JRR Tolkien created an elf language based on Welsh, experts say

He said the conference was for those with a scholarly academic interest.

"Professor Tolkien created his Middle Earth for academic reasons rather than for today's commercial reasons," he said.

"The fan element straddles the academic work as well as the general interest in him.

"The fans know what they call 'the Tolkien lore', they are enthusiasts but they have a certain amount of knowledge as fans and expect to have an event that caters to their interest.

"The general festival is really for general fantasy and the ideal for that is a dragon. That fits in perfectly with Wales and Welsh culture and history, and the Celtic and Gaelic roots of Tolkien's work.

"That is what inspired him to become a philologist, and his interest in languages."

Welsh grammar

Mr Faith said the language created by Tolkien, Sindarin (the language of the grey elves of Middle Earth), was based on Welsh phonology and grammar.

"His interest was in reviving old languages and languages that had not been written down."

Mr Faith said Tolkien's interest in pre-Christian mythology and legends played an important role in his books.

He said: "For him fantasy was a way to bring an old language alive. He created Middle Earth as a way to structure it."

Mr Faith said Tolkien, as a boy, was fascinated with the Welsh place names he saw on a train journey from Birmingham to Aberystwyth.

The festival plans a bus shuttle to Pontrhydfendigaid from Aberystwyth which is some 13.5 miles (22 km) away.

He said: "It wasn't an accident that I chose this part of Wales for the festival."

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