The New Year is the perfect time to learn something new. Why not a deep dive into one of the most popular pieces of fantasy ever written? 

In this session of Documentaries for Teens, we will celebrate JRR Tolkein’s 132nd birthday (January 3rd) by watching The Real Middle Earth, which revisits Tolkein’s favorite places that inspired the world that we love so much. So without further ado, let’s go There and back again (get it?).

This documentary is perfect for fans of Tolkien’s work, for those who have England on their bucket list to visit, or who are learning something new, as it checks all of those boxes. The places we visit throughout the documentary, such as spots in the countryside, make you want to buy plane tickets to visit. The towns and colleges we see are pedicured, and the countryside is just so lush and green; how cool would it be to walk where Tolkien did and understand by experience what inspired him to write such cool worlds? 

The documentary does a great job breaking apart what locations inspired what scenes and passages. The most interesting one I thought was learning that the Dead Marshes, a melancholy place that Frodo, Sam, and Gollum pass through on the way to Mordor, was inspired by Tolkien’s involvement with the Battle of the Somme during WWI as well as how Tolkien was against industrialism, as it threatened human beings’ relationship with nature, which is a prolific theme throughout his works. After all, this man did create the idea of Ents! 

What will be your favorite part of this documentary? 

To watch it, click the link here, and enjoy your journey through The Real Middle Earth.