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J.W. Braun’s Bookshelf – April

April 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm by celedor  - 

This month,  J.W. Braun expands his bookshelf segment to include a giveaway, as well as a new written feature where he answers your questions. For this month, Braun reviews “The Magical Worlds of The Lord of the Rings: The Amazing Myths, Legends, and Facts Behind the Masterpiece” by David Colbert and gives away a Sean Astin audiobook. The new mailbag feature can be found below.

J.W’s Mailbag:

Question: Have any of the LOTR actors besides Sean Astin written a memoir?
– Jim from Oregon

Answer: Andy Serkis wrote a memoir called Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, which was published in 2003 by Houghton Mifflin. Serkis writes about what it was like to bring Gollum to life and even weighs in on the controversy about whether actors behind CGI characters should be eligible for Academy Awards. You might also be interested in Brian Sibley’s Peter Jackson: A Film-Maker’s Journey, published in 2006 by HarperCollins. While not written by PJ himself, Sibley worked directly with Jackson for this publication, and there’s a lot of interesting info about the making of The Lord of the Rings, not to mention many fun stories. – JW

Question: I found this image from the trading card game:  Does this mean Fatty Bolger supposed to be in the films and cut out?
– malickfan of Bree

Answer: The Fatty Bolger Decipher card was part of a set that included characters from the books who didn’t make it into the movies. In 2004, when The Return of the King was finishing its run at theaters, Decipher worked with Weta to dress up and photograph people (usually Weta staff members) portraying these excluded characters as if they had been in the films. (Actually, the Radagast card has an interesting backstory. Originally, Radagast was going to appear in The Fellowship of the Ring at the Council of Elrond, and an actor – Weta’s John Harding – was cast and a costume made. Then that plan changed, and Radagast was not shot for this scene. But in 2004, when Decipher was working on the special set of cards for excluded characters, that same actor was dressed up in the Radagast costume made for him, and he was photographed for the trading card. ) The odd thing about Fatty’s inclusion for this project was that he’s actually in the films. If you watch the opening birthday party closely, you’ll notice that Ian Holm heartily greets one of the attendees by exclaiming, “Fatty Bolger, lovely to see you!” – JW

Question: Gimli kills several Orcs at Amon Hen at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. But in The Two Towers at Edoras (in the book), he complains that his axe has touched nothing but firewood since Moria. Can you explain this?
– Jen of Florida

Answer: There are two possible explanations:

A: At Edoras, Gimli has simply forgotten about the battle at Amon Hen. (Considering he remembers each Orc he has killed by number, most would probably agree this isn’t likely.)

B: When writing the Edoras part of the story, Tolkien forgot about Amon Hen. Certainly any author of a story as detailed and sprawling as The Lord of the Rings is going to make a few mistakes, though fortunately there are only a few that are notable. One that you probably haven’t noticed is a line of Aragorn’s in The Two Towers regarding Pippin’s footprints: “Yes, they are quote plain: a hobbit’s footprints. Pippin’s, I think. He is smaller than the other.” Christopher Tolkien, son of the author, believes his father meant to write, “He is smaller than the others,” with the word “others” referring to Merry, Sam, and Frodo. It seems that J.R.R. Tolkien mistakenly left the “s” off when typing this word, making Aragorn seem somewhat callous, referring to Merry in an offhand way usually reserved for the Professor and Mary Ann in the original Gilligan’s Island theme. The line has been corrected in the 50th anniversary edition, released in 2004. (The Gimli line, however, remains.) Interestingly, the writers of The Lord of the Rings movies decided to take the line about “the other” and use it, in modified form, for the film’s hunt for Merry and Pippin. Instead of discussing footprints, Aragorn says, “A hobbit lay here. And the other”. In this context, the line is fine, and it will never be listed as a movie mistake. But that said, the line is still notable for likely being the only line in The Lord of the Rings movies that comes from – and includes – what was originally a J.R.R. Tolkien typo! – JW

J.W. Braun is a Tolkien scholar and author of The Lord of the Films, published by ECW Press in 2009. If you have a question for him, simply drop him a line at

You can find out more about J.W. at

Posted in Books Publications on April 10, 2012 by
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