Calling all Valkyries to Middle Earth! The Beacons of Gondor have been lit, and we must answer its call, whether we creatures of darkness, light, or somewhere in between. It’s July, which means it’s time for THE LORD OF THE READATHON CHALLENGE ⚔️ 👑🐉
Ever since I took a class two quarters ago called Tolkien: A Mythology For England, I’ve been slowly dipping my toes back into his works and the classical stories that inspired his Middle Earth. In truth, I took a break because my university liked to rehash the same old books–Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Shakespeare–without ever really having a refreshing, meaningful discussion about them, and I never really had an attention space for repetitive anythings.
BUT this is a talk for another day. All that matters is this class totally reminded me why I loved Tolkien in the first place, as does this awesome readathon hosted by Corinne over at The Discerning Reader. Before we draw lines in the sand (or straddle the fence between good and evil), let’s lay out the basic details of this challenge. #Lordofthereadathon:
- Is a three-month long reading challenge running from July to September.
- Throughout this time, you’ll receive challenges and prompts from Lord Elrond of Rivendell for the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth and/or Saruman the Wizard for Sauron’s forces, depending on which side you join.
- It is NOT required to join a side explicitely; you can join the Fellowship one month or nibble cookies with the Dark-side the next, but you must stick with the reading prompts of whatever side you chose that month.
- It’s open to anyone, whether they be a book blogger, story fiend, or anyone looking for a literary adventure.
- It’s perfectly for fans of the films and the books, BUT it’s very much open to anyone who wants to join, even if they’d never done seen or read anything of Tolkien!
🖤If you’re interested in joining this readathon, please check out all the details on Corinne’s blog, The Discerning Reader, where she lays out all the prompts for July 🖤
JOIN THE FELLOWSHIP OR DANCE WITH THE DARK SIDE?
First off, this readathon looks kickass. When Corinne told me about it, I knew instantly which side I was going to join and began plotting books to read for each prompt this month. I haven’t revealed it yet because A) I’ve been traveling across the country for a week straight from Seattle to Tennessee and B) I really wanted to take time to carefully pick stories I haven’t read before, but feel particularly inspired to pick up. So…this took a hot minute. Can you guess which side I chose?
Although I am a little Hobbit at heart, I’ve decided to join …the Dark side.
They have second breakfast there, too, right? RIGHT? My love for the Shire and all things food aside, I absolutely loved Sauron’s July prompts for this readathon, which played a huge part in persuading me. The heart of Mordor is not just about evil, evil, evil, but the journey into the most chaotic, entangled, and shadowed parts of ourselves. And everything in Middle Earth, in one way or another, is connected to Mordor. This dark and poetic heart of mine just couldn’t exist.
So, what must one do this month to UNITE THE FORCES OF EVIL? The prompts for July are:
- SAURON: A faceless eye on the cover (alternatively, a face on the cover works fine, too)
- SARUMAN: A book with a white cover
- WITCH-KING: An anti-hero protagonist who is corrupted by some kind of power
- BALROG: A book with fire on the cover or “fire” in the title
- GOTHMOG: A book that intimidates you
- GOBLINS: The most popular book on your TBR
- RINGWRAITHS: A book with the number 9 in the title
- HARADRIM: A Book with a cardinal direction in the title
- MOUTH OF SAURON: A book about books
- REINFORCEMENTS FROM CORSAIR: The Hobbit
WHICH BOOKS WILL I USE TO WAGE WAR IN MIDDLE EARTH?
I’m not going to lie, Valkyries. Rummaging through my TBR pile for books to match up with the prompts is has been a mashup of WE HAPPY FEW and DANTE’S INFERNO, only with moments of excited “ohhh, this one” in between groans. Okay, okay. I’m totally exaggerating. It’s actually funny to see how I’ve read a ton a books about books but couldn’t easily find a story with a white cover. BUT MORDOR PREVAILS, MY SWEET FIENDS.
Though my list isn’t 100% complete or set in stone, I finally settled on a few to kick off this readathon. So here they are:
- NINETEEN-EIGHTY-FOUR by George Orwell (Sauron)
- THE SILVER WITCH by Paula Brackston (Saruman)
- DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Page (Witch-King)
- WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G Wells (Balrog)
- A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess (Gothmog)
- THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS by Laura E. Weymouth (Goblins)
- NINE HORSES by Billy Collins (Ringwraiths)
- FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury (Mouth of Sauron)
I’ve already started reading 1984 and War of the Worlds, mostly because both are relatively short. I just read The Hobbit in my Tolkien class, so I might just count it as a preemptive read. I also couldn’t figure out a book featuring a cardinal direction in the title, so recommendations are welcome! Realistically, I probably won’t be able to read all of these, but damned if I’m not going to try ⚔️ 👑🐉
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BOOKS I PICKED? HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THEM?
Drop a comment to let me know!