If you’re going to be at Comic-Con this year we have a couple of items you will want to add to your shopping list of exclusives. Our Comic-Con exclusive T-Shirt follows the War Effort we started last year with the our Tauriel poster.
This year Gandalf the Grey himself is asking you to join the Battle of the Five Armies! Gandalf is created by our friend and artist David Powell who as you know created Tauriel for us last year. You will be able to grab Gandalf on a T-Shirt as well as poster, and even be able to get both together for a special price. (more…)
Posted in Clothing, Clothing, Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, WETA Workshop
Nori the Dwarf recently arrived to join our collections and brings us to nine of the thirteen Dwarves in Thorin’s Company.
The character design for Nori is one of the most unqiue that Peter Jackson went with when creating these characters for The Hobbit Trilogy. Our friends at Weta Workshop have done a fantastic job of taking that look and turning it into a great 1:6th scale representation of the character played by Jed Brophy. Nori is a limited edition piece with an edition size of just 1000 pieces world wide and can be purchased right now for $250.
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Jed Brophy, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
I love Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. He’s just simply been so outstanding in the role of Bilbo Baggins that jumping on a few collectibles of him playing this character was a no-brainer. Today, I have for you a review of the Mini-Bust by Gentle Giant of Bilbo from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
For me, this is a case of the production piece showing improvement over the pictures on the box, as well as what we saw of the prototype. You can still get this bust from Gentle Giant’s website for just $70, and with an edition size of just a little over 500 pieces, it won’t last for long.
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Gentle Giant, Hobbit Movie, Martin Freeman, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
As you know, in May this year J R R Tolkien’s translation of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf was finally published. This beautiful volume, edited by Christopher Tolkien, also includes commentary on the poem and the task of translating it (taken from the Professor’s own lectures); J R R Tolkien’s own Old English poem, ‘Sellic Spell’ (in both the Anglo Saxon and modern English); and a poem ‘The Lay of Beowulf’, again written by the Professor.
As someone who studied Old English and Middle English at University, and having read both Beowulf and Tolkien’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I had long been curious about the Professor’s Beowulf translation. It’s been a long wait for this text to be published – and it doesn’t disappoint!
The first thing one notices about the book is what a lovely edition it is. A black hardback with gold lettering on the spine, the book has a paper jacket, which features three of Tolkien’s own illustrations – including on the front a beautiful green dragon, curled like knotwork and delicately coloured. This image and the lettering on the front and spine, in white and gold, are raised – a nice touch which adds to the luxurious feel of this book. (If you want to go REALLY luxurious, Harper Collins, Tolkien’s publishers in Europe, have a special slipcase edition. As I think this is a text to which I will want to refer again and again, I may start saving my pennies for that edition…)
As ever, Christopher Tolkien’s Preface and Notes are helpful and insightful. In the Preface, he addresses the issues of translation: how does one choose the right word to capture all the nuance and implication of a word in another language? There are always multiple options; which one gives the best ‘feel’ of the original? Judging from J R R Tolkien’s lectures, this was something he pondered – and changed his mind about! – over the years, and as such he came back to and edited his translation. Christopher has done his best to put together the ‘final’ version, but as he writes, the text is ‘in one sense complete, but at the same time evidently ‘unfinished”. The interesting notes provided illuminate any question marks over word choices.
Christopher also points out another of the inherent difficulties in preparing such a volume for publication. In the Preface, he quotes from one of his father’s letters to Rayner Unwin, with regard to the publication of the translation of Sir Gawain:
- ‘I am finding the selection of notes, and compressing them, and the introduction, difficult. Too much to say, and not sure of my target. The main target is, of course, the general reader of literary bent but with no knowledge of Middle English; but it cannot be doubted that the book will be ready by students, and by academic folk…’
This difficulty of target audience, however, turns out not to be an issue for the volume Christopher Tolkien has put together here; it is neatly arranged so as to be easy for the reader to take from it what he or she wishes. If you are only interested in reading Beowulf in modern English, so be it; if you are curious about Tolkien’s notes, they are there for you; if you want to see how J R R Tolkien crafted a poem in Anglo-Saxon, you can read his ‘Sellic Spell’ in Old English – but it’s there in modern English, too. Thus this volume can appeal to academics and ‘lay’ readers alike. (My only slight disappointment is that it does not include the AS Beowulf side by side with Tolkien’s translation; but that extra content would perhaps be superfluous, and certainly it would make the volume rather more weighty!)
The translation itself is in prose – but with an extraordinary sense of the rhythm and shape of the Anglo-Saxon verse. As Christopher writes (in the Introduction), ‘…my father, as it seems to me, determined to make a translation as close as he could to the exact meaning in detail of the Old English poem, far closer than could ever be attained by translation into ‘alliterative verse’, but nonetheless with some suggestion of the rhythm of the original.’ To my ear, Tolkien’s version has a strong feeling of the verse shapes; the two phrase pattern of Old English poetry seems very much to inform the structure of his sentences, and there is a beautiful musicality to the shape of the language. This occasionally means that the syntax is a little complicated, and one needs to read the line aloud to work out the exact meaning – but this is no bad thing. Beowulf is a poem which is meant to be spoken aloud – and I think this translation would be wonderful as a bedtime story!
(Tolkien’s detailed, prose translation is a great companion to Seamus Heaney’s verse translation; the two translations together shed much light on the scope, the energy and the feel of the original Anglo-Saxon poem.)
I haven’t yet read all of the other content of this publication. I’m excited to discover ‘Sellic Spell’: it is referred to on the book’s fly leaf as ‘a story written by Tolkien suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folktale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the “historical legends” of the northern kingdoms.’ This makes me wonder if it ties in to Tolkien’s desire to create a English mythology; perhaps this is his version of a specifically English (rather than Danish or Norse) telling of the tale of Grendel and his vanquisher.
‘The Lay of Beowulf’ consists of two poems in ballad form, telling the same stories of the monster and the hero. Tolkien himself had noted, of these texts, ‘Intended to be sung’ – and charmingly, Christopher writes that he remembers ‘his singing this ballad to me when I was seven or eight years old.’ What a delight – again, these poems would make excellent bedtime reading!
I have yet to discover fully all the joys of this publication, but so far it is proving to be a magical and enthralling read. You don’t have to be an Anglo-Saxon scholar to enjoy this book (though you won’t be disappointed by it if you are!): if you’re a fan of Tolkien; if you are fascinated by Old English; if you just enjoy a good tale of monsters and battles – you should get your hands on a copy.
[J R R Tolkien Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary is published in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and in Europe by Harper Collins. You can order it from Amazon - click here.]
Posted in Books, Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Shop, Tolkien
I’ve put together another video review for you all today, this time it’s of the second member of the Hot Dwarves duo, with Fili joining the previously released Kili in our collection. Fili, as has been the case with the other statues in this line, came out really well done with a superb overall paint/detail-work as well as a great likeness to Dean O’Gorman. Fili like most of the Dwarves is a limited edition piece with just 1000 pieces worldwide and comes in with a price tag of just $249. He is in-stock so you can get him right now if you’re looking to add another piece from The Hobbit Trilogy. Fili is the eighth Dwarf to be completed in this line of statues and ninth overall to be completed, which is not what I say in the video a couple of times. Nori the latest release is on his way and we should have a review of him up soon!
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Dean O'Gorman, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Weta Workshop has released the next Dwarf that fans can snag as The Hobbit Trilogy statue collection continues to grow. Joining the rest of Thorin’s Company is Nori the Dwarf. Nori is the tenth Dwarf released so far and like most of the other Dwarves he is a limited edition piece with an edition-size of only 1000 pieces world-wide. As you can see in the picture Nori comes in a fighting pose, which gives this statue a lot of presence in your collection. You can add Nori right now as he is in-stock with a price tag of $249. Don’t waste time and get Nori on order now before he disappears.
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Jed Brophy, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
We’ve got another video review for you today, of the one environment I’ve been waiting to get my hands on since I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in theaters. One of my favorite things about this particular environment was the front part of it that you could see standing outside the mountain, with that great Dwarven design, as well as those amazing Dwarven Guards. Finally, after a long wait we can now add at least this part of Erebor - with hopefully more to come, with something similar to the Moria Environment from The Lord of the Rings statue line. The Front Gate of Erebor comes in at $199 as well as being an open edition, so if you need to save a little you have some time. The size of this environment comes in at 10.6″ tall x 8.9″ wide x 5.7″ deep and weighs 6.9lbs.
Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop
Our friend, Artist Jerry Vanderstelt, has a brand new print ready for fans to add to their growing Middle-earth collections. If you’ve been wanting to own something Smaug specific, after seeing just how great he was in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, then today is your lucky day. You can now order an amazing print capturing Smaug the Terrible in this stunning portrait. This print gives incredible detail of the face of Smaug, with such great attention paid to the eyes, teeth, scales, fire, and even the gold being flung around by Smaug as he deals with Bilbo Baggins. As always Jerry offers this print in various sizes ranging from a 16×20 print for $35 to a Canvas Gallery Wrapped Giclee for $280. No matter which choice you go with you’ll be adding the best Smaug-centric piece on the market!
Posted in Artwork, Collectibles, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Posters Prints, Shop, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The long-awaited Tolkien translation of Beowulf is out now. So, if you haven’t pre-ordered, you should be able to wander into your favourite bookstore and grab yourself a copy (or just head to Amazon.
Edited by Christopher Tolkien, Beowulf includes the translation in prose plus an illuminating commentary, based on a series of lectures given by J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford in the 1930s. (more…)
Posted in Books, Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, Headlines, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Armitage, The Hobbit, Tolkien