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Old Joe Sauron?

Dear supporters,

I’ve just returned from delivering the Annual Tolkien Lecture at the University of Birmingham. I chose to talk about ‘The Houses of Healing: Tolkien, Fantasy, and the Road to Recovery’. That’s because the university campus once served as the First Southern General Hospital, where Tolkien spent three weeks in November–December 1916 upon arriving in Britain from the Battle of the Somme. The university plans to post the talk on its YouTube channel in due course; I’ll keep you posted.

This was my first visit, and it allowed me to make my own on-the-spot assessment of popular claims that ‘Old Joe’, the campus tower, inspired Barad-dûr. Exclusively for my Steady supporters, I made a video with my first thoughts.

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Topic Places of inspiration

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