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Outing #29: Written in the Runes

Middle Earth (via New Zealand)


Our second Fantasy Field Trip this week took us to Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

If you’re not familiar with the tales of Middle Earth, start with an introduction to the pivotal element of the story—the ring.

Then, visit the Morgan Library & Museum to learn about Tolkien himself and how he came to imagine Middle Earth.

Finally, get a glimpse of the real-life New Zealand landscapes that became Middle Earth in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies.


  • The ring promises the thing you want most. What would you want more than anything else?

  • Which species from Middle Earth do you connect with the most?

  • If you could visit a part of Middle Earth, where would you go?


We all love quizzes, right? Take this quiz to learn What Middle Earth species you would be (just ignore the ads crowding the post.)

In The Hobbit, the hero Bilbo gets himself out of a tricky situation with riddles. See if you can figure out Bilbo and his challenger's riddles, plus a few extra.

Tolkien borrowed many of his ideas from old English and Norse traditions. That includes the runic writing seen in The Hobbit. The alphabet is adapted from an English runic system called Elder Futhorc. Learn more about runes and write your own with the Tolkien Society. We had fun writing rune messages for each other in bars of soap with butter knives or knitting needles.

The Anglo-Saxon futhorc (abecedarium anguliscum) as presented in Codex Sangallensis 878 (9th century)


Post your rune messages and Middle Earth-inspired ponderings in the comments below, on Facebook, or via email.

Image credit (lower): By Unknown author - St. Gall Abbey library, scan from, Public Domain,

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