Weathertop Nazgul attacks FrodoThe following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on October 6:

  • Thorin requests supplies (1341)
  • Gandalf heads for Rivendell after escaping Weathertop (1418)
  • The camp under Weathertop attacked at night. Frodo is wounded (1418)
  • They cross the Ford of Bruinen; Frodo feels the first return of pain (1419)
  • Frodo is again ill (1420)
  • Samwise returns to Bag End (1421)
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Continue reading “Today in Middle-earth, October 6”

September 29 The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on September 29:

  • The company of Thorin recovers in Lake-town (1341)
  • Frodo reaches Bree at night (1418)
  • Gandalf visits the Gaffer (1418)
  • They come to the Grey Havens (1421)
  • Frodo and Bilbo depart over the Sea with the Three Keeper (1421)
  • The end of the Third age (1421)

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Baggins BirthdayThe following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on September 22:

  • Birth of Bilbo in the Shire (1290)
  • Bilbo and the barrels reach Lake-town just after sunset (S.R. 1341)
  • Birth of Frodo in the Shire (1368)
  • A long expected party!! (S.R. 1401)
  • Bilbo and Frodo’s birthdays (S.R. 1418)
  • The Black Riders reach Sarn Ford at evening (S.R. 1418)
  • Gandalf overtakes Shadowfax (S.R. 1418)
  • The hundred and twenty-ninth birthday of Bilbo and Frodo’s fifty-first birthday (S.R. 1419)
  • Sharkey in the Shire (S.R. 1419)
  • Bilbo’s hundred and thirtieth birthday. Frodo’s fifty-second birthday (S.R. 1420)
  • They meet the Last Riding of the Keepers of the Rings in Woody End (S.R. 1421)
  • Master Samwise rides out from Bag End (S.R. 1482) 

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Continue reading “Today in Middle-earth, September 22”

Bilbo’s Birthday Speech

Come join the Southern California TORn staff and Tolkien fans on Saturday, September 18, 2021, as we celebrate Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ shared birthday in Griffith Park. The party will kick off at Noon, and run until about 6 pm. The biggest difference this year will be NO POTLUCK. Please bring enough food and drink for yourself and the group you will be attending with. As always, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, and maybe a popup for shade are all good things to bring in order to stay comfortable. We are returning to the Mineral Wells section of Griffith Park, which is near the Harding Golf Course. Please head to the Baggins Birthday Bash Facebook event page for directions and a map. https://www.facebook.com/events/193623342558178/

While this event is scheduled for Saturday, September 18, the dual issues of COVID restrictions and/or Wildfires could become an issue this coming week. Should LA County trigger a restriction of large gatherings or a Wildfire trigger evacuations in the region of Griffith Park, we will post a Cancelation notice to the FB page first, and if there is time, post here on the main website as well.

As for COVID restrictions, the LA County guidelines recommend masking outdoors only in the case of a Mega Event, and that has only happened once. We are recommending everyone have a MASK with them, ready to wear near groups of people and remove when eating and drinking. The outdoor setting should afford us more than enough space to social distance if it makes you feel comfortable. We would PREFER if everyone attending was fully vaccinated, but none of us are qualified to verify the CDC card, so we won’t be asking.

Brian Sibley and Pauline Baynes are names which will be instantly familiar to many Tolkien fans. Author, broadcaster and screenwriter Sibley scripted a radio version of The Lord of the Rings for the BBC, and his wonderful book The Maps of Middle-earth was illustrated by John Howe. Sibley also wrote The Making of the Movie Trilogy for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, and the three ‘Official Guides’ for his Hobbit trilogy.

Photograph of writer Brian Sibley

Artist Pauline Baynes, who died in 2008, worked with Tolkien himself, creating maps and illustrations for his works. Many fans will have had her art work on their walls, as she illustrated Middle-earth posters in the early seventies. Her work adorned covers of various editions of the Professor’s works, and she first collaborated with Tolkien when she illustrated Farmer Giles of Ham back in 1949. She also illustrated all of C S Lewis’ Narnia books.

Photograph of artist Pauline Baynes

Baynes and Sibley were friends for many years, and together they created a tale of Osric the Extraordinary Owl. TORn’s good friend Jay Johnstone has finally been able to publish this wonderful work, in a limited edition of just 250 – with a foreword by none other than Tolkien scholar Wayne G. Hammond! Here’s what the official press release tell us:

Osric the Extraordinary Owl resulted from the collaboration of two friends: artist and illustrator Pauline Baynes and writer, dramatist and broadcaster Brian Sibley. It was a friendship spanning more than two-and-a-half decades, with many shared interests, among them the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis famously illustrated by Pauline and the subject of acclaimed dramatisations by Brian.

Sibley’s tale of a small grey owl in search of the courage to establish his individuality and ‘be himself’ (but which can be also be read as a ‘coming-out story’) was written in 1970 but had to wait until 2007 to find an artist at a time when Baynes was without any commissions and was wanting opportunities to keep drawing and painting. As a result she produced 22 delightful, double-page illustrations featuring not just Osric and his owl family but also an entire aviary of the most spectacular, colourful birds from black swans and peacocks to flamingos and toucans.

Baynes completed her pictures for Osric the year before her death in 2008 but ‘the extraordinary owl’ had to wait another decade to find a publisher. At the Tolkien Society’s 50th anniversary conference in 2019 noted Tolkien artist Jay Johnstone met Brian Sibley and another of Pauline’s friends, Wayne G. Hammond who, with his wife Christina Scull, is responsible for many key works of Tolkien scholarship and who, as Librarian of the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, has curatorship of the Pauline Baynes bequest of paintings, drawings. Out of that Tolkien encounter came the decision to finally get Osric’s saga into print.

After a delay, caused by the Covid pandemic, Jay Johnstone is now pleased to announce the publication of Osric the Extraordinary Owl. This collector’s edition hardback book is written by Brian Sibley and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, with a foreword by Wayne G. Hammond. It is designed and produced by Jay Johnstone and comes in a gilded presentation box. Each book is individually numbered and comes with signed book plates by Brian, Wayne and Jay.

Photograph showing the cover of 'Osric the Extraordinary Owl', with a lovely grey and white owl against a blue, starry sky. Also shown is a two page spread inside the book, with an illustration of many varied birds.

Fans of Bayne’s art and Sibley’s writing will not want to miss out on this very limited release. You can find out more by clicking here.