This month,  J.W. Braun reviews the new fantasy book, Deep Into the Heart of a Rose, by G.T. Denny and gives away another prize. Also, he answers your questions (including a couple about the upcoming Hobbit movies) in his new mailbag section below.

J.W. Braun’s Mailbag

Are there plans for extended editions of The Hobbit films? – Mattie

If I were to take your question literally, my guess is the answer is no. Some years back, Peter Jackson mentioned that he couldn’t have planned the extended editions for The Lord of the Rings because it would have been maddeningly difficult to manage two scripts (and shoot two different versions) for each film. What happened, however, was that the natural process of preparing the films for the theater (where pacing and running times are critical issues) led to the possibility of alternate versions for home viewing (where momentum and time matter less, because the viewer has the option of using the pause or stop button on their remote control.)  So even if extended editions for The Hobbit aren’t in the works right now, it’s possible we could still see one sometime next year. – JW

Dear Mr. Braun:  In response to your recent post about the continuity problems: if memory serves, Sam is wearing the Ring when he throws himself at the doors which separate him from his master Frodo at the close of Book IV of LotR. At the beginning of Book VI, the next mention of a change
in the disposition of The Ring is when Sam puts it back on. No reference is made to Sam having taking the Ring off between the time he puts it on near the end of Book IV and
the time he puts it on near the beginning of Book VI.  – Bert

It ‘s true that Tolkien does not mention that either the Ring has slipped off Sam’s finger or has been taken off by Sam some time between the end of Book IV and when Sam puts it back on at the beginning of Book VI. While we can infer that this must have happened, it would have been better for Tolkien to have included in the story. Then again, Tolkien puts ten chapters between Books IV and VI, and so most people will never know the difference!  (Actually, on a sidenote, I have actually read The Lord of the Rings a few times by skipping Book IV at first, going straight from Book III to Book V – before then reading Books IV and Book VI one after another. It’s not something I’d ever recommend to a first time reader, because there’s a reason Tolkien wrote the story in the order he did; but if you’ve already read The Lord of the Rings, and you want to reread the books with a new twist, I’d give it a try.  It’s really interesting to read the story told in Books III and V without having the momentum broken in the middle, and the same is true of Books IV and VI.  Also, by reading Frodo and Sam’s adventures without breaking away to read about other characters, I feel I’m able to understand even more how they feel about their isolated journey.) – JW

JW, do you think the creatures in The Hobbit films will talk, unlike the trolls, eagles, and Shelob in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings? – Doug

(Spoiler Alert!) It’s a pretty good bet that Smaug will talk, and probably some goblins too! As for the spiders and eagles, no voice actors have been announced, and it could be that Peter Jackson has decided it would be more consistent with his Lord of the Rings films for these creatures to remain silent in the hobbit movies. Of course, if we’re talking about consistency, then the trolls in The Hobbit should be speaking, right? In the first Lord of the Rings film, Bilbo says the trolls “were all arguing amongst themselves about how they were going to cook us.” And as my TORN colleague Quickbeam has recently reported, that’s exactly what will happen in the first hobbit film! – 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

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