Arwen and Elessar The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on 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)
  • [Join us on the Discussion Boards here]

Continue reading “Today in Middle-earth, Midsummer’s Day [Mid-year’s Day]”

Become a Numenorean and sail to Middle-earth with us

After a successful Cruise to Middle-earth in November of 2008, and a sequel cruise in December 2012, it is time to complete the Trilogy. This Journey to Middle earth starts on January 2, 2023, in Sydney, Australia as you board the Celebrity Eclipse, and runs 12 nights long, ending in Auckland, New Zealand on January 14, 2023.  This is not a LOTR convention at Sea, but more of a Mobile Middle-earth Moot where we get to see the real-world Middle-earth while enjoying the benefits of a luxurious cruise ship.

The Celebrity Eclipse comes with a 1/2 acre of live grass called the Lawn Club

This 12-night cruise will take you to such filming locations as Hobbiton and Edoras, with the option to visit the WETA Workshop in Wellington on a private tour. Other ports visited will be Melbourne, Dunedin, and the Bay of Islands. And for those choosing to arrive in Sydney a few days early, you will be able to celebrate the New Year’s Celebration near the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge for fireworks (not included, but I can assist in securing a hotel and flights).

Departs Sydney on January 2, 2023 and ends in Auckland on January 14, 2023

Once the cruise is finished, there will be an optional 2-night post-cruise stay in Auckland so that we can experience WETA Unleashed, and have a farewell dinner in the restaurant at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, and have a private tour and dinner in Hobbiton. This allows folks to choose a Cultural or Geological tour option in the port of Tauranga (Rotorua) rather than Hobbiton from the ship, which will be rather short and bunched together with other cruise passengers that might not be as geeky as those in our group. If you choose this post-cruise tour, there will be an additional cost, and you will need to remain in New Zealand at least until January 16, 2023.

Garfeimao and Bella in front of Bagend in 2018

If you choose to arrive on the morning of the cruise, you will have to depart North America on December 31, 2022, to arrive by January 2, 2023, or you can depart earlier and spend a couple of days in Sydney. If you wish to be in Sydney for the actual New Year’s celebration, you will want to depart North America no later than December 29 for a December 31 arrival. For those interested parties in Europe or Down Under, the time difference will affect you differently.

I am arranging an exclusive day tour to visit with WETA in Wellington for us when the ship is in port, which will include a private workshop. There will be a motorcoach to pick us up just outside the port area in the morning and take us over to Miramar to tour the facility, taking in not just LOTR projects, but some of the many other film projects WETA has worked on over the years. This will be topped off with a hands-on workshop on crafting leather and chain maille armor before the motorcoach will take us back to the city center for a self-guided tour inside the Te Papa Museum. You will not want to miss Te Papa, besides it being a world-class museum, there is a Gallipoli exhibit created by WETA that must be seen to believe, and the museum is free. We will then make our own way back to the ship before it departs.  This tour can be purchased as a customized package not included in the cruise fare. A quote will be available shortly.  

The original 2008 Cruise to Middle-earth group, the 5-year-old in the center just finished his first year of college.

On the ship, there will be a few days at sea, with no port stops, so I’ll be planning a few group activities that you can choose to join or not, depending on whether you would prefer to go to the spa or partake in other Ship Hosted activities. There will be a Tolkien Toast on January 3, 2023, to commemorate the Professor’s birthday, and then there will be a few games and group discussions, and maybe singing along to some of Tolkien’s songs found in the books. And this cruise takes place just a couple of months after the Rings of Power airs, so lots to discuss and maybe an additional location or two to be seen. For those of you with Middle-earth costumes, feel free to bring them, especially if they are on the lighter side, for packing purposes. There will be a Costumed Cocktail reception, and for those without costumes, a geeky t-shirt will suffice. The bonus is that you can also wear the costume either in Edoras or Hobbiton or bring two costumes and do both.

Other cruises thought our group were performers and wanted to follow us to our show

The nitty-gritty information for this group is that it has been on sale for several months, so some room types are no longer available. The Cruise pricing fluctuates regularly, based on available discounts for persons who qualify (past passenger, Senior or military rate, etc.) and just what rooms are still open for booking. An interior room right now is starting at $2179 per person, a Balcony room starts at $2429 per person and a Concierge Balcony (more perks) starts at $2869 per person. The private tour to WETA during the ship’s port stop in Wellington will have its own price, to be finalized very soon, and the customized 2-night post-cruise tour in Auckland to Hobbiton and other activities is currently priced at $1170 per person, but that will go down with a few more people booked into the group. There is a small planning fee of $50 per person if booked by May 31, and then it goes up to $100 per person on June 1.

To make an inquiry, please contact me at Garfeimao@TheOneRing.net

 

The Haggerty Museum of Art and Raynor Memorial Libraries at Marquette University will be presenting a a lecture series in September in conjunction with the collaborative exhibition “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript.

The exhibition — which opens on August 19 — will feature original manuscripts created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and other works. It will consider Tolkien’s work through the lens of manuscripts, in terms of both the materials that he studied as a medieval philologist and the manuscripts that he created while developing his legendarium.

All lectures will be held at the Haggerty Museum of Art and are free to attend. They will also be streamed online for audiences who wish to attend virtually (great for people not in the USA!). The museum states that — due to limited capacity — reservations are required. You can reserve a place to attend the lectures here.

Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m.: “Editing the Tolkienian Manuscript,” presented by Carl Hostetter

Carl Hostetter is a computer scientist at NASA who has earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s invented languages. He is a key member of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, an elite group of four Tolkien scholars whom the Tolkien Estate has entrusted with special access to the author’s unpublished linguistic manuscripts. These linguists have published extensively on Tolkien’s invented languages, including in “Vinyar Tengwar,” a peer-reviewed journal that Hostetter edits.

Hostetter is one of the most experienced students of Tolkien’s manuscripts. His ability to read and interpret Tolkien’s notoriously difficult handwriting is second to none. Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020) entrusted Hostetter with editing his father’s last volume of published writings, released in 2021 under the title, “The Nature of Middle-earth.” Hostetter’s work is highly regarded by Tolkien scholars. His volume “Tolkien’s Legendarium”—co-edited with Verlyn Flieger—is considered one of the best collections of essays on the history of Tolkien’s secondary world.

Thursday, Oct. 13, 5 p.m.: “Tolkien’s Faith and the Foundations of Middle-earth,” presented by Holly Ordway

Holly Ordway is a rising star among Tolkien scholars. Her 2021 book “Tolkien’s Modern Reading” is a tour de force destined to become a classic in Tolkien studies. Ordway demonstrated that Tolkien, usually pigeonholed as a medievalist, was remarkably well read in modern literature.

Her work shows how many modern works affected Tolkien’s creative output. Currently on faculty at Houston Baptist University, Ordway has taught English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and MiraCosta College. She specializes in J.R.R. Tolkien and, more generally, in mythopoeic literature. Ordway’s current research project is a book-length treatment of Tolkien’s Catholicism, fitting for a Catholic, Jesuit university such as Marquette.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 5 p.m.: “Whispering Leaves: How Tolkien’s Manuscripts Reveal the Secrets of His Creativity,” presented by John Garth

Trained as a journalist, John Garth has gained an international reputation as a leading writer about J.R.R. Tolkien and a popular commentator on Tolkien’s works and life. His published works include the recent “The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien” (2020). His earlier masterpiece, “Tolkien and the Great War” (2003), is universally acknowledged as a classic in the field of Tolkien Studies.

Garth, who has made a special study of Tolkien’s manuscripts, will focus his lecture on a manuscript that is part of Marquette’s collection and has never previously been exhibited or published. He will demonstrate his renowned historical research skills by analyzing the manuscript and using it to tease out insights about Tolkien’s experiences during the Second World War.

Tickets for the “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” exhibition are on sale now. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizen and active military (with I.D.). Friends of the Haggerty Museum of Art members, K-12 educators, children aged 17 and under, and Marquette University students, faculty members, and staff members are free with advance reservations and a valid I.D. The exhibition will be open until 8 p.m. on the night of each lecture.

About the Haggerty Museum of Art

The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University is an innovative nexus of interdisciplinary learning where creativity, intellect and social justice intersect. Located in the heart of the Near West Side, adjacent to downtown Milwaukee, and open daily, the museum is one of the most accessible arts venues in the city.

“The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–1953
“The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–1953. Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. Credit: © The Tolkien Estate Limited 2022.

Since early childhood, artist Jackson Robinson has always wanted to do something artistically inspired by The Lord of the Rings. Recently, he’s finally been able to turn that dream into reality with a wildly successful Kickstarter project launching a deck of The Lord of the Rings-themed playing cards featuring his own hand-drawn art.

Over 6,400 people have backed his The Fellowship of the Ring deck of luxury playing cards in just under a month. It’s now 25 times more successful than its initial goal.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing card deck, standard edition (front side and rear side of pack). Source: Kings Wild Project.

“I knew it would succeed just from the love of the IP and my followers, but I had NO idea it was going to be as successful as it has been,” Jackson told TheOneRing.net.

Robinson says that he’s worked as a professional illustrator for more than 20 years on big brand names and franchises ranging from Star Wars and Marvel Comics to Disney and Coca-Cola, but he’s always loved The Lord of the Rings. His favorite artists working in Tolkien’s milieu includes John Howe and Alen Lee, but he also loves the work of Donato Giancola and the woodcuts of Tolkien Society best artwork category award-winner Tomas Hijo.

“Like many others, the richness of the story and characters within Professor Tolkien’s work drew me in. I also always found it fascinating that I could never seem to be at the bottom of the well of creativity in any of his works or worlds,” Jackson says.

He says that the first significant piece of Tolkien artwork he made was a map of Middle-earth.

“I did this over 20 years ago, during my undergraduate years at the University of North Texas. The map still hangs in my office today.”

A virtual tour of Jackson’s home art design studio. We are officially envious of his collection of swords from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

However, his interest in playing cards dates from around 2013. He says he only fell into it by accident while working in the videogame industry in Los Angeles.

“I did my first playing card Kickstarter to earn some extra money. It went viral, and I haven’t looked back. I was able to start designing playing cards full-time,” Jackson says. This was the basis for the company he founded — Kings Wild Project.

He says that ever since he started Kings Wild Project, a Lord of the Rings deck has been on his bucket list, and he immediately began researching the requirements for an official license from Middle-earth Enterprises. One of the prerequisites was that his business needed to have been operating in its industry sector for a minimum of five years.

Jackson says the day after Kings Wild Project reached the five-year-mark, he contacted Middle-earth Enterprise requesting to become a licensee to design The Lord of the Rings-themed playing card decks.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing card deck, legacy box edition. Source: Kings Wild Project.

He typically begins his creative process with a lot of reference gathering, looking for materials and art styles to draw inspiration from.

“Then I start sketching a character or court card. I usually start with the King of Spades. I will work on one court card or back design until I feel I ‘find it’, and continue the same process with the other characters and cards,” Jackson says. “So many things I deliberately DON’T plan… It is as if the story is being retold for the first time as each new character is revealed during the creative process.”

Frodo and Samwise cards from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing card deck
Frodo (left) and Samwise (right) cards from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing card deck. Source: Kings Wild Project.

Jackson says he typically doesn’t need to iterate designs very often.

“But I went through a massive restart with [the deck for] The Lord of the Rings. I had almost finished almost half the deck when I wanted to try something different. I ended up going with the new direction but, in the process, created two decks that have the same character lineup but are done in two very different styles.”

His favorite cards from his Fellowship deck are the Glorfindel card for the deck that’s now up on Kickstarter, and the Frodo card from his initial “scrapped” deck. He says he plans to return to that alternative deck at a later date.

Glorfindel and Legolas from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing card deck
Glorfindel (left) and Legolas (right) cards from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring playing card deck. Source: Kings Wild Project.

Plans don’t stop there. He also has a deck themed on The Two Towers tentatively expected to launch on Kickstarter in late Fall, and one for The Return of the King in early 2023. He hopes to produce a deck themed on The Hobbit in the Spring of 2023. He told TheOneRing.net that he was also recently granted a license to produce two-sided The Lord of the Rings jigsaw puzzles. Look out for a Fellowship of the Ring puzzle in time for the holiday season this year.

Readers can visit Kings Wild Project to find out more about his playing card projects, including his Fellowship of the Ring-themed deck. At the time of publishing, the Kickstarter for The Fellowship of the Ring deck has 50 hours before it closes. You can check it out here.