By Dimitris Kolovos
My love for fantasy novels started when I was still a kid. I always loved greek mythology and the legends of other civilizations. During my journey into the world of fantasy literature, I came across J.R.R. Tolkien and I decided to give his writings some attention. He soon became my favorite author and has remained so ever since. It was about the time that the movies came out. During that time fantasy and Tolkien in particular weren’t popular in Greece. Fantasy wasn’t amongst the favorite reading genres of the Greeks. Thus, I considered myself alone in the fantasy world. Fortunately, that was not true. The “Lord of the Rings” movies gave a huge boost to Tolkien’s popularity which also encouraged more and more Greek fans to dive into the world of fantasy.
In fact, in 2002 the Greek Tolkien Society, named “The Prancing Pony”, was born. The sole purpose of the newly founded society was to cultivate and spread readers’ love and respect for Tolkien’s work. Our Society is a member of the International Tolkien Fellowship and is in contact with several equivalent Societies around the globe.
Moreover, the need amongst fans to connect and share their ideas and enthusiasm about Tolkien’s world provided a great opportunity for creativity to emerge. Several events took place during the last years which included excursions in Greece and abroad, participation at fantasy festivals in several foreign countries but also the organization of local events such as the “ΦantastiCon”.
The latter, which took place last October for the first time in Athens, is the first fantasy festival in Greece and this October we will help to host it again and we hope to establish our newly founded tradition. The road to such big events opened 11 years ago, in 2007 when we decided to organize “CairAndros2007” which was a celebratory event for our 5th birthday.
The invited speakers were well-known people from the international tolkienian scene e.g. Marcel Aubron-Buelles and Caspar Reiff. Additionally, many of our friends from other European Societies joined us to share this great experience.
Our travels have taken us to many epic places. We have represented Greece in multiple international happenings concerning Tolkien’s work such as Oxonmoot in Oxford, the annual official literary memorial of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ring*Con in Germany and Brussels2004 which was a special presentation of Tolkien’s work in the European Parliament. Furthermore, we participated in “Tolkien2005”, the international celebration of the fifty years since the completion of the publication of “The Lord of the Rings”.
It took place in August 2005 at Aston University of Birmingham where we made a presentation regarding the connection between Tolkien’s epos and Greek mythology and performed a play which compared the life of the Greek King Oedipus with a tolkienian hero called Turin. Finally, we have attended several other meetings and festivities organized by other Tolkien Societies during the last ten years including the German, the Swedish and the Italian Tolkien Society.
Our monthly adventures include regular meetings which usually have a specific topic regarding Tolkien’s work. We enjoy analyzing his writings on literary level. Furthermore, we often have book presentations and we like to share and cultivate the fantasy culture. In July we had our last epic excursion, traveling to Tsagarada on Mt. Pilion invited by the local authorities to open their summer festival with epic stories, a presentation on J.R.R. Tolkien and a play that we had prepared.
The atmosphere was magical and astonishing and as our stage we had the big square of the village and its great plane tree. In my opinion, what made this visit such a great experience was the fact that I could share it with people that share the same love I have for Professor Tolkien’s work. Going on an adventure alone is interesting but going on quest with fellow tolkienians is fun and exciting and I hope that many more will come.
Fifteen years of existence has turned the Society into a “family” and more and more members join our ranks. We used to publish our small fanzine named as “News of Bree”. from 2004 until 2012.
Since then, our newspaper has taken a digital form (www.tolkien.gr). We are friends of the arts. We like to create. Therefore you can find articles, epic uniforms, poems, stories and other creations among our collection. Some of our members were happy to participate in the subtitling of the third “Lord of the Rings” movie (The Return of the King) and we have also contributed to the presentation of a documentary regarding “Lord of the Rings”. Finally, we are working towards the enrichment of the electronic Tolkien encyclopedia. We always love to meet and cooperate with friends not only of J.R.R. Tolkien but of fantasy in general. We’d be glad to welcome more members to our community.
You can reach us through our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/greektolkiensociety)
or send us an e-mail at [email protected] .