A Cyberspace Kolbítar Club


Yesterday, I was thinking about the blockbuster movie, The Hobbit. Our son and his wife had just watched the first movie in the trilogy and I cannot wait to see it. We are all huge fans of that type of movie and book genre. Our Icelandic Online Club (IOC) had a “chat” yesterday in cyberspace. During and after the “chat,” I was musing about this idea: would J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis join this online club and discuss the sagas, runes, Vikings, and everything Icelandic? We would have enjoyed their stories and their wisdom.

Did you know that Tolkien had several Icelandic au pairs? His children loved to hear Icelandic stories about trolls and the hidden people from the domestic help that was hired in their home. A story in the Morganblaðið newspaper from 1999 states that Tolkien would often come to listen and that he took lots of ideas from these Icelandic folk stories along with the Icelandic Sagas.

In 1926, Tolkien started a club to read the Icelandic Sagas and called this club Kolbítar, which

means someone who sits so close to the fire in the winter that they bite the coal. The word Kolbítar also can be a character from the sagas who was an unlikely hero. This person starts out as a normal person or even someone that lives a frivolous and meaningless life. In the end, they rise up to become the hero in the story – sort of like the Hobbits! Many names and places in the fantasy stories by Tolkien and Lewis have their origins in the Icelandic Sagas.

We are so lucky to have access to the internet and the varied social media venues. The first computers for home use were minimally accessible in the late 1970s and the internet was really not useful for personal use until the 1990s!

The Hobbit by Tolkien was published in 1937 and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings came in 1954-1955. Lewis wrote the seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series between 1959 and 1954. Online chatting and sharing information in seconds between people all over the world was certainly not possible back in the days of the Kolbítar club.

Our Icelandic Online Club is very interesting and varied with authors, photographers, journalists, rune experts, and Icelandophiles of every sort. A famous author, Nancy Marie Brown, is one of our members and we love her blog posts and stories. There are people from Iceland, Canada, USA, France, and even Japan! Our President, Angel Johnson-Nelson lives in Texas and she keeps the club engaged online through Facebook and emails.

The IOC provides a unique club experience by utilizing current technology. ‘The Icelandic Online Club’ meets on a private Group page to share pictures, videos, and all things Icelandic. The club has group chats to share ideas and decide on club interests and activities, as well as video conferences for group projects, meetings, and video presentations. If you belong to the IOC, you are a full member of the Icelandic National League of North America and have access to the INLNA information, voting rights at the annual Convention, and inclusion in the INLNA projects.

Club membership is only $15. You can learn more HERE.

Join our own Kolbítar Club today!



Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

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