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New to Tolkien? Get a 4-minute video crash course in Middle-earth mythology

Contributed by
Feb 12, 2019, 1:00 PM EST (Updated)

This week marks the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, quite possibly the last J.R.R. Tolkien-based movie we'll see for a very long time, so nerds everywhere have Middle-earth on the brain. Thanks to the Hobbit trilogy and its predecessor, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, millions of new fans have flocked to Tolkien's world and fallen totally in love with hobbits, elves and wizards, whether they've read the books or not. But what if you want to go deeper than the events of those films and the books they're based on? What if you want to know where all the beings walking around Middle-earth came from in the first place?

Tolkien wrote thousands upon thousands of pages explaining the complex mythology of Middle-earth, including who created each of the races in the world, why evil exists and what exactly wizards like Gandalf are. Unfortunately, if you're not a devoted and/or seasoned fan of Tolkien's particular writing style, those texts can be a bit difficult to dig into, and you may find yourself reading them several times before it all really clicks together. There's no substitute for going to the source, of course, but if you want to understand the basic mythological framework on which The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit hang, YouTube user and Internet explainer CGP Grey has to come to the rescue. 

In a new video released this week, Grey gives you a basic understanding of Middle-earth mythology in about four minutes, beginning with why the wizards aren't just guys with beards and spells, and continuing on through how each race came to be, where Sauron came from and why Gandalf could go toe to toe with a Balrog. If you're new to this stuff, it's an effective primer, but even if you're a longtime Tolkien fan, it's a nice referesher.

Check out the video below:

(Via CGP Grey)

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