Illustration from Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas, from 1932. The images show Santa Claus flying over Oxford; the North Pole; Father Christmas and the North Polar Bear in the caves at the North Pole; a party at Father Christmas' home; and colourful lettering reading, 'A Merry Christmas'.

It’s the most wonderful time of year, when TheOneRing.net staff pick some of our favorite Tolkien inspired gifts for our 2021 Holiday Gift guide. From all of us, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday season.

Please note that all prices are in US currency and subject to change.

Well, we’re back – with Episode 2 of our collectibles themed podcast. (If you missed it, you can find Episode 1 here.) In this episode, we talk about the importance of having a clear concept of what you want your collection to be, what you want in that collection, and being open to when a special piece crosses your path. We think this topic is important when collecting, because it’s very easy to feel the need to have everything, and thus get overwhelmed and burned out. We hope you enjoy the podcast – and we’re already working on episode 3!

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious Podcast Episode 2: A Focused Collection”

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.

Harper Collins has just released a preview of its forthcoming Tolkien book The Nature of Middle-earth.

The Nature of Middle-earth reveals for the first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s final notes and essays, covering topics ranging from “the metaphysics of Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of Númenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor…” (according to the publisher blurb).

And a quick flip through shows that this is the case. I do wonder whether the information here about the nature of elves will come to supplant what’s in The History of Middle-earth‘s Law and Customs of the Eldar. Time will tell, I guess.

If you’ve read The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, or The History of Middle-earth, you’ll want to check this out. Just click the book cover image to head to the Harper Collins preview site.

The Nature of Middle-earth
The Nature of Middle-earth

Amazon will get an additional 5% from more New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant, Reuters reports today.

(Reuters) New Zealand said on Friday it has agreed to give Amazon (AMZN.O) extra rebates on its expenses for the filming of “The Lord of the Rings” TV series in the country, hoping to reap multi-year economic and tourism benefits.

Amazon will get an extra 5% from New Zealand’s Screen Production Grant in addition to the 20% grant the production already qualifies for, the government said in a statement.

Amazon is estimated to be spending about NZ$650 million ($465 million) filming the first season of the show, for broadcast on its Amazon Prime streaming platform, meaning it would be eligible for a rebate of about NZ$162 million ($116 million), the government said.

“The agreement with Amazon … generates local jobs and creates work for local businesses,” Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement. “It will enable a new wave of international tourism branding and promotion for this country.”

The first season entered production in Auckland last year with more than 1,200 people employed. Approximately 700 workers are indirectly employed by providing services to the production, the government said.

U.S.-based Amazon media officials weren’t immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

($1 = 1.3976 New Zealand dollars)

Just in time for Tolkien Reading Day: our friends at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have sent us exciting news! Later this year, a new edition of The Lord of the Rings will be published, featuring – for the first time since the original 1954 publication – artwork by the Professor himself.

The beautiful upcoming edition of The Lord of the Rings features Tolkien's own artwork. Here we see the cover, with the ring script around the eye of Sauron. The pages of the volume are red, with the ring script printed on them in white.

Here’s their full press release:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media will publish a brand-new edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien that, for the the first time since its publication in 1954, will feature paintings, drawings and sketches by the author, in the U.S. on October 19, 2021.

Deb Brody, HMH’s VP and Publisher, says: ‘Professor Tolkien is known the world over for his literary and academic achievements, most especially as author of The HobbitThe Silmarillion, and the critically acclaimed and worldwide bestselling The Lord of the Rings.

‘His charming and evocative illustrations that accompanied The Hobbit, particularly the now-iconic image that appears on its cover, have become as beloved as the story they accompany.” 

 ‘Yet the author himself was characteristically modest, dismissive of the obvious and rare artistic talent he possessed despite having had no formal training. This modesty meant that relatively little else of his artwork was known of or seen during his lifetime, and generally only in scholarly books afterwards.

‘This all changed in 2018, with the first of three record-breaking Tolkien exhibitions in Oxford, New York and Paris, at which hundreds of thousands of people were able to appreciate at first hand the extraordinary artistic achievement of a man known primarily for the written word. Among the exhibits was a selection of the paintings, drawings and sketches that Tolkien produced when writing The Lord of the Rings. Originally intended by him purely for his personal pleasure and reference, after such an overwhelmingly positive response by people to Tolkien the Artist it seemed fitting to finally reunite this art with the words it enhances, and we are delighted that in so doing it will allow people to enjoy this masterpiece anew.’

The Hobbit was first published in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 19545. Each has since gone on to become a beloved classic of literature and an international bestseller translated into more than 70 languages, collectively selling more than 150,000,000 copies worldwide.

The Lord of the Rings, illustrated by the author, will be published subsequently in translation around the world.