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Archive for the ‘Tolkien’ Category

From frustration to hope: moving beyond the new Blu-ray release

The recent announcement of the “Middle-earth Limited Collectors Edition Blu-ray Box Set” has stirred up quite a hornets’ nest not only in our message boards, but elsewhere, be it the comment fields of retail sites, or the blogs of people interested in Tolkien, or the home releases of cinematic material in general.

Many are concerned that the reported and rumored price of US$800 for the limited edition is too high, given there is no new cinematic or ‘behind-the-scenes’ material. Some compare the release unfavorably to Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection, which provided a bonus disk. Some point out that you could purchase the Blu-rays, a player and a small HDTV for the price of this set. Others point out that one could fly from North America to New Zealand for that amount.

So yes, one feeling is that ‘this is way too much money for nothing new but packaging.’ But for some, there’s more than just a sense of consumer rejection – there’s a sense of disappointment, outrage, frustration, and even sadness. Why? What drives that?

Some possibilities:

a) Some fans have been hoping for an ‘ultimate edition’ with bloopers, extra bonus material, and whatnot. This release is not that.

b) Some feel that “The Hobbit”, has not been handled properly from the beginning (too many films, or some other complaint). These fans feel this is yet another example of the studio “blowing it with the material, and with the fans.”

c) Some feel that they are being treated as fools. With no new cinematic material, how is it possible that the studio could think that a shelf, nice boxes, some small posters, a notebook, etc. come with such a high markup? Is the shelving made of wood from the white tree at the heart of Minas Tirith? After all, with the US$800 for this release, I could get the extended edition Blu-ray edition of all six films, hardcover copies of the books, along with The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the History of Middle Earth, a copy of Jens Hansen’s One Ring, a version of Arwen’s Evenstar pendant, Gandalf and Saruman salt and pepper shakers, and more, and still wonder what I will do with the rest of the money I have saved.

The list of possible causes of frustration goes ever on and on… we Tolkien fans are known to get easily excited!

But let’s take a collective deep breath and do two things.

First, let’s challenge ourselves – should we be so angry? Consider: in the non-Tolkien collecting world, similarly high-priced ‘collectibles’ exist. I can go to a local store and pay about $14 for the a copy of Scrabble, or I can go to a specialty retail store and pay $225 for ‘Premiere Edition Scrabble’. It’s the same game. There are no extra tiles, no new letters in the alphabet, no new special rules for the well-heeled logophile. It’s still good old Scrabble, just packaged a different way. Perhaps those premiere edition Scrabble game purchasers are fools – or maybe they just really like Scrabble and want a really cool looking set as a focal point of their family room to reflect their interest in the game. Similarly, the well-heeled and price-unconscious Tolkien fan can indeed decide to spend $800 on this set – and that doesn’t harm those who choose not to do the same. So perhaps anger over the high sticker price needs to be reduced.

Second, let’s see if there’s something deeper going on here. Perhaps the frustration we are expressing is really just a mask covering a deeper emotion. Let’s face it. Almost all of us sense that, at a global level, the heady cinematic, culture-impacting days of Middle-Earth are really, truly, over. We are sad. At the turn of the century, our dear Middle-earth was shown to the world, and they loved it. We felt everyone got ‘it’, and because of it, got us. Now things our different. Our favorite franchise, books that matter so much to us, seem to no longer matter to the world, or even to their film studio, as much as they did just a few short years ago.

But we knew this would happen one day – popular culture cannot stay focused on one thing for any length of time, or it won’t have room to take on anything new.

We’re sad because, instead of things ending with a bang and applause, like Bilbo’s Long-Expected Party, with the last film loved most of all, and a glorious home release acknowledging a track record of success, we just get a repackaging. No new material. The Middle-earth cinematic saga, the wide cultural exposure to all things Tolkien ends not with a bang, but a whimper.

We are sad – even angry – because we simply didn’t think it would end this way.

But perhaps we are wrong to feel that way. Perhaps it’s important to remember someone’s wise words, and paraphrase them to fit our current situation: “End? No the impact of Middle-earth doesn’t end here. The eventual loss of wide cultural exposure is just another path; one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of decades of niche-interest will roll back, and once again, Middle-earth will be on the silver screen. And then you’ll see it. White searchlights; and beyond, a premiere of a new generation of films, screening at night after a swift sunset.”

This is not the end – this is just the simple pause after a cycle of cultural interest, the end of one long inhalation and exhalation. One day, the world will breathe again. Tolkien fandom has been here before: at the end of a heady time in the 1960s and early 1970s, it went quiet for 25 years, until exploding open in 2001.

Therefore, I believe and hope that twenty years, fifty years, a century from now, our children, their children, and beyond, will continue to find hope and meaning in Middle-earth, and produce new interpretations of it for others to enjoy. On the screen, in plays, in forms and delivery mechanisms not imagined by us now, our offspring will be stirred by Theoden’s re-awakening, by Gandalf’s wisdom, by Sam’s loyalty, and by Frodo’s courage. These new interpretations will be worse than Peter Jackson’s vision in some ways, but also much better in others. For that is the way of such things. But whatever successes and flaws these new versions will have, a few things are certain: they will be amazing and inspiring. They will ignite in a new generation a sense of a nobler purpose in life, a joy of simpler living, and an appreciation of works of wonder, because behind all possible interpretations, supporting them, letting them breathe, will be the timeless, unchanging words of the good Professor.

Our job now, as lovers of Middle-earth, is to carry the hope and deeper messages of Tolkien’s work forward and ensure it is not lost and forgotten, so that one day, perhaps a day that I or you might not see, the world can re-experience the joy we have felt these past fifteen years.

Posted in Blu-Ray, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Tolkien, Uncategorized’s panel at San Diego Comic con is this Friday

SD comic-con-logo2If it’s July it must be San Diego Comic Con, and with that biggest of popular culture events you can bet is right in the middle of it all. No, there are no new Tolkien films on the horizon, but there are new collectibles, in a variety of styles, coming to fans bookshelves soon. There are also fan gatherings, at SDCC and beyond, and plenty of other tidbits of Tolkien news just waiting to be shared with one and all. And there will be a few Middle-earth alums attending the con this year, chiefly Elijah Wood and Graham McTavish. So keep a wary eye on for any and all Middle-earth news, rumors and cosplay. Oh, and don’t forget our panel, which is listed after the cut.  (more…)

Posted in Collectibles, ComicCon, ComicCon Rumos, Conventions, Elijah Wood, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Happy Hobbit, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Merchandise, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, TORn Book Club, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, WETA Workshop

Today in Middle-earth, July 19

Riddles in the Dark The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on July 19th:

  • Bilbo’s lost in the caves (1341)
  • Riddles in the dark (1341)
  • Bilbo finds the dwarves and the wizard (1341)
  • The Company is trapped in the trees (1341)
  • The funeral escort of King Théoden sets out (1419)


Posted in Calendar, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, The Hobbit, Today in Middle-earth

Tolkien poem to be republished after 70 years

GaladrielBOTFAPoster“The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun,” written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1930, and first published in 1945 in the literary journal The Welsh Review, is set to be re-released in November of this year after more than 70 years of being out of print. The 508 line poem tells of the childless couple Aotrou and Itroun (Breton: lord and lady), who are helped by a Korrigan, a Breton term for a fairy.  When Autrou refuses to pay the price of marrying the Korrigan, he dies three days later and his wife, Itroun, subsequently dies of grief, leaving the twins she bore them to grow up as orphans.

From nothing more than this short description, fans will immediately be reminded of Tolkien’s gift for writing about, and romanticizing, tragic circumstances. Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings knows of the sacrifices Frodo made, [big LOTR spoiler here]…


Posted in Books Publications, Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Two Towers, Tolkien

A chance to spend an evening in Middle-earth

The Dukes The HobbitBetween now and August 13, The Dukes theater in Lancashire, U.K.,  will be performing J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit as their summer season’s ‘walkabout’ outdoor show. The audience will literally follow along as Bilbo Baggins joins Gandalf, Thorin, and his company of dwarves on their mission, quest, thing, to regain their long-lost treasure from the dragon Smaug.  From the Westmorland Gazette:

Since 1987, The Dukes walkabout shows have transformed Williamson Park into Neverland, Oz, Ancient Greece and now Middle Earth.

“I feel like the park chose The Hobbit,” explained The Dukes artistic director, Joe Sumsion. “There are some shows – and this is one of them – where people’s instant reaction is to say that will be great in the park. It’s the natural environment for it. The strongest elements in the book are its humour and charm. We plan to capture this, offering an intimate experience where the audience can get really close to all these fascinating characters and creatures.”

According to the Gazette article, there’s also a Lord the The Rings and The Hobbit movie connection in that Andy Serkis began his professional acting career at The Dukes, performing in its first outdoor performance in 1987. Performances of The Hobbit are at 7:15 p.m. nightly except for Sundays. Visit The Dukes website for more information and to purchase tickets.


Posted in Events, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Other Events, Stage Productions, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Today in Middle-earth, Lithe [Midsummer’s Day]

Arwen and Elessar The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on Lithe,

Midsummer’s Day:

  • Gandalf, the Dwarves and their Burglar leave Rivendell for the Lonely Mountain (1341)
  • Aragorn and Arwen – A promise is born (1380)
  • Gandalf meets Radagast the Brown (1418)
  • The Wedding of Elessar and Arwen (1419)
  • Frodo resigns office of mayor, and Will Whitfoot is restored (1420)
  • The death of Mistress Rose, wife of Master Samwise, on Mid-year’s Day (1482)


Posted in Calendar, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, The Hobbit, Today in Middle-earth

The Great Hall of Poets

AragornReading_RevWelcome to The Great Hall of Poets, our regular monthly feature showcasing the talent of Middle-earth fans. Each month we will feature a small selection of the poems submitted, but we hope you will read all of the poems that we have received here in our Great Hall of Poets.

So come and join us by the hearth and enjoy!

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to  One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.


Posted in Creations, Fans, Green Books, Headlines, Poetry, Community, Tolkien

Tolkien’s annotated Middle-earth map on display at Bodleian

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

We reported earlier here that a map of Middle-earth, annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien while working with Pauline Baynes was to go on display at the Bodleian Libraries. Well, that day was today! However, it proved to be so popular that they added one more day and will also have it on display tomorrow, Friday, June 24. So, if you’re anywhere near the area, you still have a chance to catch it. According to the Bodleian website, the map was a working document that Tolkien and acclaimed illustrator Pauline Baynes both annotated in 1969 when Baynes was commissioned to produce a poster map of Middle-earth. The map will be on display from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Admission is free.

Posted in Events, Exhibits, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Tolkien

Today in Middle-earth, June 22nd

The following event took place in Middle-earth on June 22nd

Bag End Auction

  • Bilbo returns to the Shire with the Ring.
Posted in Calendar, Hobbit Book, The Hobbit, Community, Today in Middle-earth

Today in Middle-earth, May 30

Roast Mutton Trolls by Wenzel

The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on May 30th:

  • Gandalf keeps the trolls arguing until dawn (1341) (more…)
Posted in Calendar, Today in Middle-earth

Hobbits for Kids in Care

BTFtreeLogoReworkedHobbits for Kids in Care is an initiative of The Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship in Queensland Australia.

Their aim is to donate  Hobbit Books to  present as gifts to children who are in Foster and Statutory Care. They aim to achieve a target of 1500 Hobbit Books before October 15, 2016. The books will be presented at their Annual Dinner Dance to The Pyjama Foundation.


Posted in Events, Fans, Headlines, Hobbit Book, The Hobbit, Announcements, Community, Tolkien

Spanish Tolkien Society’s 12th annual AElfwine Awards

AELfwine Awards LogoOur friends at La Sociedad Tolkien Española (STE) have informed us that they are now taking submissions for their 12 annual Ælfwine Awards contest. Held every year to further the study of the works and life of J.R.R. Tolkien, the contest is open to anyone who has an interest in writing about Tolkien and/or his writings, from amateurs to professionals. Essays may be submitted in either Spanish or English and are due no later than October 1, 2016 to the following email address:

The winning essays will be published on their website in November, 2016. First prize includes 120 Euros and a year’s free membership in the Spanish Tolkien Society. Second prize is a year’s free membership in their Tolkien Society. Keep reading for the complete rules.


Posted in Contests, Creations, Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, LotR Books, Community