Dirk Vander Ploeg, after reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy and seeing the movie adaptation was left with a question. J.R.R. Tolkien, whose books were based on mythology and folklore, stated that The Dominion of Men had arrived. Vander Ploeg wondered what had existed before it.
His research to find the answer required background reading. Not only reading, but going on a physical journey. His background research relies heavily on the writings of Zecharia Sitchin and Laurence Gardner. Authors with their own take on ancient and medieval history. However, Vander Ploeg's visits to Chichen Itza, Glastonbury, the Lock Ness, and a couple of megalithic monuments of the English country side provide an up close and personal impression of the physical environment where ancient history forms the backdrop for the mythology he believes forms the background story for the possible reality of the time before the coming of man. The time just before the divine kings - whose service was to mankind not to a pope or worldly ruler. Essentially, the tradition behind Aragon and the kingdom of Gondor recalled in Tolkien's last book in the trilogy The Return of the King.
Vander Ploeg attempts to define Middle Earth using ancient Summerian (ala Sitchin) texts, the Bible and early/Medieval European history. Throughout these sections of the book we get short history lessons from many different cultures. From Egypt to China to Central America. Just for good measure, Vander Ploeg takes issue with Tolkien's admission of the only similarity between The Lord of the Rings and the German folk tale of The Ring of the Nibelungs is that both tales involved round rings. However, Vander Ploeg sees 19 very exact parallels between the two tales.
As for the Eye of Sauron? Tolkien's tale anticipated the modern version. The satellite system now orbiting and covering the Earth. The technology allows the American, European, Russians and Chinese to view the entire planet at all times. The claim for the system is that it can focus from miles above the Earth to just a square mile. The newer technology can focus on the license plate of a vehicle or the hiding place of terrorists. If the Star Wars system is ever put into orbit it means the fiery, piercing Eye of Sauron will be able to cause damage to its target. Although Tolkien meant the Eye of Sauron to be only a metaphor for evil.
The most interesting sections of the book to me were Vander Ploeg's visit to Stonehenge and Rollright Stones. These monuments suggested to Vander Ploeg the legends of Merlin. A sure fire real life Gandalf. The tales of Merlin and Gandalf surely must have been on Tolkien's mind while writing The Lord of the Rings. Merlin is ascribed with similar abilities Tolkien gives to Gandalf. Yes, there is an exaggeration on Tolkien's part, but the basis for the folk hero of Middle-earth is there.
As for the favorite character of the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits? October 27, 2004, archeologists uncovered a new species of ancient tiny people and called them homo floresiensis. The excavators referred to the discovery of the new species as hobbits, and claimed they survived alongside homo sapiens for at least 30,000 years.
The basis for Tolkien's writings was the Kalevala, a Finish language group of folk tales which included mystical elements: shape-shifters, demons, magical plants and animals that could transform themselves into humans. But, the central theme of the Kalevala was the search for a sacred object of great power. The outcome of the search, when the sacred objects was found, it would convey its meaning and purpose. The central theme of The Lord of the Rings is the power of the Ring of Rings.
Did Vander Ploeg finally answer the question he had asked? The reader of the Quest will have to decide for themselves.
Ancient Mesopotamia reached from Syria to Uruk/Iraq and the goddess Ishtar ruled as "Lady of the Battlefield". Not much has changed, that area is constantly in the news today. It is diverting to learn of its history and to trace its mythology down through the ages to tales still repeated in modern times. No scholar writes in a vacuum and the best stories retell the history from the foundations of civilization. These mysterious occult secrets are often forbidden and can only be passed on through the symbolism of mythology, which is the origin of our fairy tales.
In "Quest for Middle Earth" Dirk Vander Ploeg traces these archetypal scenarios through the days before the Flood to the Mesopotamian Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Trojan, and Scandinavian Norse, Irish, Peruvian and Mexican traditions. The author has visited various ancient sites in these areas during his research and relates his first-hand impressions on-site.
Vander Ploeg details the influence of the Norse Finnish rune-singer sagas on the Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien. The royal bloodline from the heavens is the mythological path through history and through Tolkien. This drama continues today with "The DaVinci Code" controversy. The era when the bloodline lost their right to rule to a power play by the Holy Roman military strategists is covered in the book.
Get a refresher course in ancient world history and mythology. Follow the quest, which trails the celestial seed through the chain of time linking the golden rings of antediluvian prehistory to the present day cinematic rendering of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.