Tolkien fans turn up like Hobbits

Lafayette Hall was taken over by creatures of Middle-earth this weekend.

The 12th annual Tolkien in Vermont Conference, put on by UVM’s Tolkien Club, filled Lafayette April 10-12. The three-day gathering gave students, professors, Tolkien enthusiasts and anyone else a chance to be immersed in the fantasy world created by Tolkien.

The focus of the conference changes each year, allowing the club to explore a wide variety of themes within Tolkien’s works. This year the conference was centered on medieval verse narratives. The first day kicked off with some fireside readings. Attendees recited their favorite passages or poems and sang songs. It really felt as though you were in Middle-earth. 

The conference also featured a group of panelists made up of students, professors and lecturers from various colleges and universities. Panelists read from their very own written papers on topics they’ve chosen that deal with the theme of medieval verse narratives.

Panelists such as junior Anika Gillwald explored their different perspectives on the themes of the series.  “I’m going to speak on the empowerment of the female characters within the ‘Lord of The Rings’ book trilogy and also speak on the recently released ‘Hobbit’ films,” Gillwald said.

The final day is called the Springle-Ring.  It was a chance to party like the hobbits, complete with food and drink (though there was no ale, as it is an on-campus event). The conference wasn’t limited to Tolkien know-it-alls, however. “I just came here so I can learn more about all this because I honestly know nothing at all,” sophomore Bradley Dopp said.

The Tolkien festival was definitely one for the record books.