Exploring The Lord of the Rings

Starting in January 2017, Dr. Corey Olsen – the Tolkien Professor himself – is starting a free, weekly seminar exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s seminal fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings.

The new seminar, “Exploring The Lord of the Rings,” is the conceptual heir to Dr. Olsen’s book Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, in which he walks through the development of The Hobbit and examines themes from the story chapter by chapter. In “Exploring The Lord of the Rings,” Dr. Olsen will take a similar approach to Tolkien’s trilogy, using an interactive online format.

This a great opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted an opportunity to dig deeper into The Lord of the Rings. Sessions will take place on Tuesday evenings at 9:30 pm Eastern Time* starting January 3, 2017.


Exploring Tolkien’s World, in Middle-earth

The opportunity to closely study The Lord of the Rings is exciting by itself. Add to this that the classes are actually located in the Middle-earth of The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO).  The developers at Standing Stone Games have created a brand new Lore Hall in Bree, built specifically with these new sessions in mind.

Dr. Olsen will conduct his sessions as Narnion the Gondorian Loremaster. and each weekly session will be in two parts:

  • A close reading and discussion of the portion of the trilogy being covered in that session; and
  • A “field trip” to one or more sites in LOTRO that relate to the subject matter.

During the field trip Dr. Olsen will discuss how Standing Stone has adapted Tolkien’s work.


Those who play LOTRO will be able to join Narnion live within the game and take part in the discussion via the SignumU Lore Hall Discord channel. In order to include all players who are interested in the course and in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, Dr. Olsen will rotate from server to server each week.

Directions to the Lore Hall in Bree

A discussion board dedicated to this seminar is available for participant interaction. It also includes the schedule of server locations as they become available.


While Dr. Olsen will be using LOTRO as the discussion space, “Exploring The Lord of the Rings” is designed to be accessible to anyone who wants to participate. Attendees will be able to listen and interact with Dr. Olsen just as they do during Mythgard Academy seminars, with one difference: Live sessions will be streamed using the Signum University Twitch channel. Like Mythgard Academy seminars, session recordings will be available on YouTube and iTunes U shortly after each class.


Explore With Us!

We are excited about this new and innovative way to explore J.R.R. Tolkien’s work. There is so much  to see and talk about, and we look forward to sharing the adventure with you!