Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

The Tolkien Reader Discussion Questions: The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth

I am rereading The Tolkien Reader and will be posting discussion questions each Friday until I work my way through it. Next week I will post discussion questions for Tolkien’s famous essay On Fairy-Stories. Today’s reading is The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth.

1) According to the fragment of the poem now called The Battle of Maldon, what were the last words of Beorhtwold, Beorhtnoth’s old retainer? What are their significance?

2) Why does Beorhtwold’s station make the principle he states more pure, clear, and profound? How can this have influenced Tolkien’s use of hobbits as heroic characters in The Lord of the Rings?

3) In Tolkien’s opinion, what other line is key to understanding the full force of the poem? How does this influence the “northern heroic ideal” and how does it impact the depiction of heroism in his works?

4) Compare and contrast Beorhtnoth’s death with the death of Thorin.

5) How did Theoden embody the “northern heroic ideal”?

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5 responses to “The Tolkien Reader Discussion Questions: The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth

  1. RogerBW January 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Was this perhaps intended to go to a different blog?

    (Not that I object.)

    • jeffro January 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      Heh. In my thinking, Appendix N is fair game on any gaming bog. In Michael Curtis’s case, spinning off a separate blog for a narrow topic wasn’t the best move as he’s recently admitted. At any rate… forgive me if I’m muddying the waters here temporarily. (There is a tangiental connection to CAR WARS in that I met Earlburt at a Tolkien discussion group and figured out he was a gamer based on the hints he dropped there.)

  2. Old School Gamer Dad January 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    How delightful. I am going through this book for the first time presently.

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