NEW YORK – Dimitri Bannikov traveled from Russia to be first in line at the New York City Barnes & Noble where copies of “The Children of Hurin” autographed by Christopher Tolkien and Alan Lee went on sale.

Welllllllllll, almost. Bannikov did travel from Russia to New York, but for vacation and it just happened that he was in “The City” for the Tolkien book event of the last 30 years. But, since he was in town, the hearty J.R.R. Tolkien fan was the first in line at 555 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and for that honor he had to show up at 4 a.m. New York native Yekaterina Shineleva was next in line, later replaced by her husband Mr. Yekaterina Shineleva (okay you got me, I forgot his name) and the Russians were pleased to be the first to get the signed books.

Shawn Lindsley, a few spots down, did fly in for the event and almost immediately flew back to Houston after it was over.

“The chances of getting something signed by him (Christopher Tolkien) are pretty . . . it’s cool,” he said while waiting in line for the noon sale to begin. “Tolkien is definitely a passion of mine. I love the beauty, depth, language, places . . .”

Lindsley delivered some entertainment as well, reciting the “Earendil” poem from “Lord of the Rings” from memory. The sidewalk mavens gathered around to hear the words and applaud while Thorongil checked him against the official text.

Collin Tanner traveled from Toronto by car, a measly nine-hour drive, bringing his daughter Shannon and her friend Laura Harris, but the two teens were more interested in shopping. Still, they managed to buy a few copies of the book. was on hand in the form of Long Island native Thorongil and yours truly. We were pleased to help entertain those in line with prizes, donuts, trivia and general frivolity and fellowship. Sideshow Collectibles was kind enough to donate $20 gift cards for each and every person who showed up for the line. Beyond that, a dozen trivia masters landed a “Crown of the King of the Dead” helm replica. Another dozen trivia hounds scored one of twelve try-out discs of “The Lord of the Rings Online: The Rise of the Witch King”. The super-duper lucky ducks won various t-shirts of various styles and sizes and before we knew it, we were allowed inside the three level B&N store.

The NYC rain was only very occasionally a minor factor in the days’ wait and as happy souls snaked through the line, nobody seemed to remember or mind a few drops of rain.

Scads of official TORn pictures exist but a connection problem has stranded them in a camera, for a few days at least. Sorry! We shall provide when we can.