Quite a few Tolkien societies have a Facebook page and/or group to promote their volunteer work on J.R.R. Tolkien and, of course, to have a bit of fun on the ‘interwebs.’ Nowadays, nerds, geeks and fans in general have a lot to share and talk about, questions are asked and answered in a short amount of time with a lot of expertise flying around from all corners of the globe. Now, one of those societies is the Tolkien Society Unquendor (TSU), a most wonderful place to join, particularly if you are from the Netherlands or fairly close to it Now, a couple of days ago, Frank Wasmus, who is responsible for public relations at TSU asked a pretty simple but also very important question in the Facebook group of TSU: What would be a good reason to join our society? Many members of the FB group are not actually registered members of TSU so how could you convince them join? A very lively discussion with many wonderful ideas ensued and out of those reasons mentioned Frank chose the 33 best – yes, in true Hobbit style Enjoy!
33 Reasons for joining Tolkien Society Unquendor in the Netherlands (and Tolkien Societies in general)!
Kindly provided by Unquendoreans and friends
(in no particular order)
Lembas and Lembas Extra
Lembas and Lembas Extra are Unquendor’s two central magazines. Lembas is published five times a year and filled with articles, reports, announcements, recipes, poems, reviews, new publications and more. Lembas Extra provides more food for thought and includes more scholarly orientated articles, mostly by Unquendoreans.
Throughout the Netherlands, Unquendoreans open their doors for friend and kin. Smials (or Inns) we call those meetings. Small, cozy meetings. Recommended!
December is a merry month, but can be even merrier because of our annual Yulefeast: an afternoon and evening immerged in Tolkienean atmospheres.
Who doesn’t want to indulge him- or herself in a weekend full of Tolkien and festivities? Each year Unquendor organizes a 3-day event with lectures, re-enactment, parodies, quizzes, music, a banket and much, much more. Evenings…no nights are spent at a campfire till the first beams of the sun appear. Luckily we don’t turn into stone!
End of the Society year feast (Slotfeest)
You get to visit England, Sweden or other Tolkien-minded centers
Every year Tolkien Societies around the globe organize meetings, feasts and other activities. Members of Unquendor join together to travel to these activities and celebrate Tolkien internationally.
Have delicious dinners with Tolkienfans
Not only is the food at smials, feasts and events delicious and abundant…we even have our own food-orientated Smial called ‘In the Sweet Orc’ and celebrate Tolkien’s birthday with a dinner each year.
We do not only organise literary activities, but also cycling tours, boat tours, stage-plays, operas, castle-orgies (don’t ask…) and trips to amusement parks
Because Unquendoreans are often acquainted or befriended with each other, they enjoy doing more activities together than talking about Tolkien’s books.
If hobbits had had bikes they would have gone on tour, too
Have an Annual Meeting…with entertainment and dinner!
Annual Meetings…they’re known to be boring. But not at Unquendor! Although we do discuss the ins and outs, this is done with much entertainment (overview of the past year, the Side-Issues of Middle-earth, an auction) and it is open to all suggestions. And a typical ‘Unquendor dinner’ to finish it all off is unavoidable!
Join members of the society on promotional events (such as the Elf Fantasy Fair)
The Elf Fantasy Fair is the largest fantasy event in Europe. Around 25.000 people from all over Europe come together to celebrate fantasy in its broadest sense, from Star Wars, Anime and Reenactment to Witchcraft and Mythology. Each year, Unquendor has a promotional stall, displaying books and other items, providing information about Tolkien and Unquendor to visitors, people can participate in a quiz, follow lectures and more. It hardly gets any better than that.
Acting like you’re an inhabitant of Middle-earth. Members (and non-members) of Unquendor have united themselves under the name Ennorandirrim (Wanderers of Middle-earth) and take their encampment everywhere – promotional events, feasts and even to activities in other countries. Arise, Riders of Théoden!
Talks & Discussions
A Nazgûl of Mordor. Ennorandirrim – Middle-earth Reenactment
Talking face-to-face about Tolkien – way better than waiting for answers on a forum
F5. Refresh. Pff…still no reply. What’s better than talking Tolkien live, bookcase at hand and a much livelier discussion? Well, not the F5 button for sure!
Watching 'The Hobbit' in cinema together
Where else can you go to ‘The Hobbit’ with over 60 people you know?!
…says the German owner of this site! (Editor’s note: I did! :))
The chance of learning to write in Tengwar…correctly
Guides on the internet are abundant, but most of them contain errors of all sorts. Some Unquendoreans can write in Tengwar flawlessly and are up-to-date with the lastest publications by the Omentielva. And what’s even better…they’re gladly willing to share their knowledge!
The Side-issues of Middle-earth
Each year one of our members adresses the Side-issues of Middle-earth at our Annual Meeting. Fun and (playfully) educative.
Learning more about non-mainstream publications of Tolkien or thing about/based on Tolkien’s life and work
We can all find information on big publications, such as the new ‘Fall of Arthur’ and other major Tolkien publications by HarperCollins. But in the shadow of these big issues, many smaller gems are published by small companies and various Tolkien Societies. By joining Unquendor, the chance to get to know these publications is way bigger!
Not only blind admiration of Tolkien, but critical points of view as well. There is more than Tolkien!
Ok, we all love Tolkien and admire his works, but everyone has flaws – even Tolkien. By looking at his work from a critical point of view, you get a much broader perception of the Professor and his legacy. Acting like groupies won’t bring us anywhere..!
Find out that there’s more to Tolkien than meets the eye and that a Tolkien Society is the perfect place to start doing Tolkien-inspired things you normally wouldn’t come around doing, such as stage plays, reenacting, singing etc.
There’s book, and movies, and illustrations. It that where it ends? For some…but members of Unquendor often get eye-openers when they join our society. They acquire new hobbies, things they wouldn’t have done without Tolkien’s work and fellow members. In the period 2006-2009 about 20 members of Unquendor joined forces and made a stageplay based on ‘The Children of Húrin’, played in a real theater for an audience of about 90 people. A great success, even though none really had any experience in the stage play field!
… or visiting a hobbit hole in the Netherlands :)
Be appreciated by other Tolkienfans and participate in a serious way in discussions about Tolkien of fantasy in general
We all know that ‘in real life’ fantasy and Tolkien is not always taken seriously. People find it awkward that folk can indulge themselves in such a hobby. Don’t worry. At Unquendor you can talk about all fantasy you like – without looking like a nutcase!
Friendship and Merrymaking
Unquendor is more than dry Tolkien-Talk. One of the society’s central objectives is to be a centre of merrymaking and hospitality. Many of it’s members who only started meeting because they’re Tolkien fans, now share long years of friendship. And new members are accepted as if they have been there forever. Very important to keep a society alive and running!
For the young…and old!
Because Unquendor has such a diverse view on Tolkien (from obscure books to the film franchise etc.), members of every age are present. It keeps things fresh and brings in many new views and ideas!
An easy accessible way to learn more about Tolkien and Tolkien fandom
When you visit our activities or read our magazine Lembas, you get to know so much more about Tolkien and fandom than one would expect…and you often don’t even have to ask for it!
Where else can you discuss about Tolkien at 1 a.m. in the morning, standing at a merry campfire with a glass of mead in your hand?
What else can we say? This is the good life, right?
… or raise a glass to the Professor at noon!
Meeting Tolkien fans from all over the world – face-to-face
Unquendor’s bigger events are visited by people from all around the globe. Our last Lustrum had over 120 visitors from 12 different countries! We are also working together closely with people from the German Tolkien Society.
Unquendoreans are laid-back, open-minded and interesting people
Come and experience for yourself…we dare you!
You can do your best in a fun, serious, active, leading, organizing, smialing, niggling, drawing, collecting, relaxing, joking, promoting or playful way for a society
Every member can contribute to the society in his or her way, from helping in promotional events and organizing feasts to writing articles and joining the executive committee.
… like hitting ‘em over the head! Thanks to Slovenian Tolkien Society Gil-galad
Find out that dressed-up nerds aren’t crazy or really think they’re elves, hobbits or dwarves. And that a costume is a 'secret vice.'
Even though dressing-up isn’t one of the central activities of Unquendor (except with Ennorandirrim reenactment), some people love to express themselves in clothing they don’t wear to work. Don’t worry. At Unquendor you can dress-up like a dwarf, orc, hobbit or wizard – without looking like a nutcase! Except when you go as Radagast, of course. (Editor’s note: What? I’ll hunt you with my rabbits!)
Enthusiasm is more important than expertise
You don’t have to know every single sentence in all Tolkien books to enjoy Unquendor’s activities or to gain ‘status’ within the society. Participation and enthusiasm is just as important.
Contribute to Tolkien in the Netherlands
This can be done in many ways, for example by promoting Tolkien’s work in exhibitions, writing a book about Tolkien in Dutch, be active with the press and many other things.
Earn the Golden Pin of Merit
A select few, those who have contributed exceptionally much to Tolkien in the Netherlands and to Unquendor, have been awarded Unquendor’s Golden Pin of Merit. A true honour.
Party in an affordable way (cost price/non-profit)
Most, if not all, Tolkien Societies are not there to make money, but to bring enthusiasts together. Unquendor always tries to keep the prices of its activities as low as possible so that all can enjoy the wonderful events.
Every now and then you get to meet, dine and/or party with famous people from the ‘Tolkien world’, ranging from artists such as Cor Blok, Alan Lee and Ted Nasmith to scholars like Tom Shippey and Verlyn Flieger.
Yes, they are famous, but not unreachable. Many of them are members of Tolkien Societies and therefore visit their events. And when you get to meet them, they turn out to be just like the rest!
We all need a fellowship on the road that goes ever on and on!
Remember what Bilbo used to say? “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Oh well, there are worse places to be swept off to than Tolkien Society Unquendor!
All pictures (c) Frank Wasmus or respective owners. A big thank you to all who participated in the discussion on the TSU’s facebook group. For more information on Tolkien Society Unquendor in the Netherlands please visit their website: http://www.unquendor.nl. Your next opportunity to meet the Unquendorians is next week in Germany with the Tolkien Tag from May, 25-26, 2013. Have a look at their offical website: http://www.hobbit-jahr.de (in German/ Dutch.) This event is organised in cooperation between TSU and GTS so you will also find information on this Slotfeest via Facebook.
Frank Wasmus (26, The Netherlands) became known with Tolkien’s work in 2000 when he read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which his mother had bought back in the 70′s. During the release of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, he became an active member of the biggest Lord of the Rings community in the Netherlands, called TheFellowship. In the course of years, various members of Unquendor pointed him to their society, which he joined in late 2005. Frank has been an active PR-member from the very start, joining the Activity Committee immediately, dedicated to promoting Unquendor and Tolkien to the public at various festivals. In 2009, Frank became an executive committee member responsible for the PR of Unquendor. He has given various lectures and interviews about Tolkien and his work, edited ‘Midden-aarde in Vogelvlucht’ (a 40+ page brochure about Tolkien) and his article ‘A survey among graves – burial rites in Middle-earth’ was published in Lembas Extra 2012. In daily life he studied Prehistoric Archaeology of North-West Europe & Heritage Management in Leiden, in which he has obtained his Master’s degree.