Within a hand-drawn wooden frame carven with leaves and vines is a piece of parchment bearing the title Exploring the Lord of the Rings Volume I and at the bottom the name of our author, Corey Olsen. Between title and name is another beautifully drawn scene all in wood colors: on a bit of oaken table, behind a small thick mat, a round picture is posed on its edge. The picture itself has a circular frame, rubbed smooth with a bit of crasftsman-style trapezoid carving at the top and each side. The frame seems to be oak as well, but the picture within is drawn as though it is a hundred, two hundred intricate inlays of ebony, birch, pine, maple, mahogany, just a painstaking masterpiece made with love. This picture is of the road leading away, drawing us ever onward, first past lovely flowers in a meadow, then through rolling fields, past an ancient willow tree, over a bridge, past mounded hobbit holes—or are they barrows? The terrain becomes rougher in the distance, and after a pass between two light, old, rounded mountains, the ranges in the distance are black, jagged, and foreboding. The sky is dark except at the horizon, and shows a handful of scattered stars and a crescent moon that looks new. But wait! the curve of the moon is upward to the right, yet there are stars in that direction, not sun; this could only be a moment of lunar eclipse, a time of possibility and wonder.

It took 17 years after The Hobbit for Tolkien to publish The Lord of the Rings. It has taken the Tolkien Professor a decade to begin his sequel series.

Join Dr. Corey Olsen (The Tolkien Professor) as he explores the themes, characters, development, and other aspects of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy classic.

Exploring The Lord of the Rings will be published in six volumes, aligning with the six Books of The Lord of the Rings. Volume I started arriving in 2023, and chapters are being released monthly. Those who pre-purchase or subscribe will receive each installment as it is created.

Dr. Corey Olsen is the President of Signum University and Mythgard Institute. In addition to teaching classes on J.R.R. Tolkien, Chaucer, and modern fantasy literature for Signum, Dr. Olsen has extended the concept of the digital classroom to include non-traditional outlets. On his teaching website, The Tolkien Professor, Dr. Olsen brings his scholarship on Tolkien to the public, seeking to engage a wide and diverse audience in serious intellectual and literary conversation.