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J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth—The Second Age

Are you curious about the upcoming Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power TV show and want to know more about the background texts they are using to form the show’s plot? If so, this is the course for you!

J.R.R. Tolkien fans are currently abuzz with curiosity and skepticism surrounding the show, which debuts in September 2022 and takes place during The Second Age of Middle earth, which is thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Supposedly the television show is only drawing from the appendices found at the end of The Return of King, but so many integral events happen during this time period: the rings of power are forged, Sauron gains prominence, the island of Númenor rises and falls, and much happens to the beloved peoples and characters we later encounter in The Lord of the Rings.

This summer reading club will give you a solid understanding of Tolkien’s writings on The Second Age, so—whether you decide you love or hate the TV show—you will at least know what parts of it are accurate, what parts are newly created, and what parts don’t exactly line up with the source material. We will be reading from the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and a small section of The Silmarillion.


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Course Materials:

  • The Return of the King -or any collected volume of The Lord of the Rings (We will be reading primarily from the appendices). Please note: having read The Lord of the Rings is not a prerequisite for this course, though it is assumed students will have a general knowledge of the plot and characters from those books, as it will come up in some of our discussions.
  • Unfinished Tales
  • The Silmarillion

    Optional Texts (these are not required but will be a handy resource):

  • The Lost Road and Sauron Defeated (volumes 5 and 9 of The History of Middle Earth)
  • The Complete Guide to Middle Earth by Robert Foster
  • The Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad



Chris Marchand (pronounced mar-shan) is a music pastor and priest within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), serving in Peoria, Illinois. He holds a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Arts in Music Ministry from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and was trained as a hospital chaplain in a residency program at Saint Francis Hospital. A former headmaster and teacher at Aletheia Classical Christian School, he has taught humanities, history, science, and government courses. He is married to Elisa and they have four children. The author of Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas: a guide for churches and families, he also produces podcasts, composes music, and loves to discuss anything related the arts and his favorite sport



Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.



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