If you’re a regular reader here at TORn, you know by now about composer and sound engineer Jordan Rannells’ immersive audio soundscape of music and ambient sounds, bringing to life Middle-earth. His soundscape is designed to be listened to whilst reading The Lord of the Rings – and in fact, is timed perfectly to fit with Andy Serkis’ recording of the books.
The Hobbit and The Silmarillion
Following the success of his Long-Expected Soundscape, Rannells is at it again! This time he’s tackling two more of Tolkien’s works, in epic scale. Read on below to find out what Rannells told us about his latest projects.
A new kind of Middle-earth experience for Hobbit Day
Jordan Rannells composed an original score, designed sound FX and recorded nature ambience to match all 60+ hours of Andy Serkis’ The Lord of the Rings audiobooks. Each moment is timed exactly so that when you hear Serkis describe Grond tearing through the gates of Minas Tirith, you hear it happening; when the eucatastrophe happens, we hear its theme; when the water of Wellinghall rains down around us, we hear it come and go. It is so simple to put the Soundscape together with the audiobooks, but you can also listen without them and just escape to Middle-earth any time you need to. Listen to the wind in the grass on your way to Edoras; hear the turmoil in the score as Boromir confronts Frodo; duck as the wings of the fell beast fly over you.
Rannells uses Dolby Atmos to achieve the highest level of 3D immersion possible, using the latest technology and sound design tools used in big franchises like Marvel, Game of Thrones and more.
Now, after spending a year and a half designing his first soundscape experience, An Unexpected Soundscape and A Soundscape of Eä are on the way. The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are next on Rannells’ journey, as he seeks to complete the Legendarium in this new immersive adaptation.
Listeners will be able to hear the dwarves as their barrels crash by; catch whispers of Gollum and the spiders of Mirkwood; witness the Coming of Tuor to Ulmo, and even the creation of Arda itself. New challenges present themselves in bringing the up-close-and-personal world of The Hobbit to your ears, such as recording movement and footsteps for each of the dwarves. Then, in the opposite direction, large scale and epic abstract sound design are required for moments in The Silmarillion.
Find out more about Rannells’ epic undertaking on his website. You can also experience the first chapter of the Long-Expected Soundscape on his YouTube channel. Celebrate those Baggins’ birthdays surrounded by the sounds of Middle-earth!
Tolkien Collector’s Guide has spotted something very interesting — a new and revised edition of Humphry Carpenter’s The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien is coming out this November (Nov 9 to be precise).
This revised edition is already available for pre-order on Amazon (30 quid for a hardcover book; 20 quid for a kindle version). Looks like it’s going to be a beast of a book, too: 700 pages versus the 463 of the 1981 edition.
In this revised and expanded edition of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, it has been possible to go back to the editors’ original typescripts and notes, restoring more than 150 letters that were excised purely to achieve what was then deemed a ‘publishable length’, and present the book as originally intended.
Enthusiasts for his writings will find much that is new, for the letters not only include fresh information about Middle-earth, such as Tolkien’s own plot summary of the entirety of The Lord of the Rings and a vision for publishing his ‘Tales of the Three Ages’, but also many insights into the man and his world. In addition, this new selection will entertain anyone who appreciates the art of letter-writing, of which J.R.R. Tolkien was a master.
Thanks to TimB and DurinDeathless on our Discord for the heads-up.
Now, The Towers Collection (for The Two Towers) is available – and we have some promo codes for TORn’s followers! Read on below to find out more…
The Long-expected Soundscape is designed to be listened to whilst reading Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (and is timed specifically to sync up with the Andy Serkis audiobook recording). It is created with Dolby Atmos for full 3D immersion in headphones, and includes an original score, ambient nature and environment sounds, and designed and recorded sound effects. The soundtrack is downloadable at https://jordanrannells.com/ – and can also be accessed very easily through all usual podcast apps.
Ways to listen
Rannells suggests various ways to enjoy his creation:
1. Simply experience the atmosphere alone, without the books
2. While reading Tolkien’s works (yes you might read a bit faster, but all you have to do is wait and enjoy the music and sound effects for a bit until you hear the next significant sound or cue, and then keep reading)
3. Synced up (perfectly!) with Andy Serkis’ audiobook so you can enjoy them together (step by step process on how to do that on Discord)
4. Just as background for DnD, Lotro and so on…
Exclusive promo codes
If you’d like to get your hands on this wonderful soundscape, you can use the code TORN25 (for a discount on the whole collection), or TORN10 (for a discount on an individual book). These promo codes are good only until June 10th, so don’t delay!
Once you’ve experienced this beautiful aural world, you’re definitely going to want more! So you’ll be glad to know that Rannells has plans for The Hobbit and The Silmarillion soundscapes! He’ll be launching a Kickstarter for these, this coming December; if you’re interested in getting involved, and perhaps even having a small voice or performance role on one of those projects, join the Long-expected Discord. Happy listening!
Many Middle-earth fans will be familiar with the spectacular work of artist Donato Giancola. His art has graced the covers of Tolkien editions as well as calendars, and last year saw a fabulous exhibition of his work at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Visitors there were lucky enough to see his massive new painting, ‘Beacons of Gondor’ – a breathtaking, gigantic rendering of sweeping scenery and drama.
If you live in the New York area, this Saturday you could see that painting – and more – for yourself. Giancola is holding an Open Studio in Brooklyn, 11am to 6pm, May 13. This is an incredible opportunity to meet the artist himself, as well as seeing many of his amazing pieces up close. Not only that, but the first 25 visitors will receive a fabulous gift – a signed copy of Giancola’s now out of print first edition art book ‘Middle-earth: Visions of a Modern Myth’. Copies will also be embossed with the sigil of the Kings of Gondor!
Giveaway for those unable to attend in person
Those visiting the open studio could WIN a Giancola original painting; AND there is even an online giveaway which can be entered by folks who can’t visit in person! So there’s something for everyone. Here’s all the info you need:
Donato Arts OPEN STUDIO
Saturday May 13, 2023
11am – 6pm
397 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
This May will see the return of the annual hosting of an Open Studio here at our place in Brooklyn. We will showcase an abundance of new oil paintings, drawings, and projects as well as scores of classics from my 30+ year career as an illustrator. Come eat, drink, and commingle with fellow artists, professionals, and fans of the genre as we plow our creative paths forward in these changing times.
The massive Middle-earth canvas The Beacons of Gondor will anchor the studio at 78″ x 114″. This is my largest work ever and was created for the exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama this past winter. I am excited to share this with the New York area audience.
Also back from traveling shows are a couple of my favorites, ‘I threw down my enemy’ of Gandalf defeating the Balrog on Zirak-zigil, and the intimate ‘Shadow of the Past’, as well as The Walls of Moria and the Fellowship in Hollin. There are also numerous pages around the home from David Wenzel’s graphic novel of The Hobbit!
A dedicated Wall of Magic displaying over thirty recent Magic: The Gathering oil paintings and preliminary sketches as well as a handful of my earliest works for Wizards of the Coast will be set up in the studio.
New fantasy works will be shown from the cover of Kristen Britain’s forthcoming novel The Spirit of the Wood to interior illustrations for the new novel King-Killing Queen by author Shawn Speakman of Grim Oak Press . The latest Empathetic Robot painting in now finished titled, Remembering, and Portfolios filled with large, preliminary drawings and studies will also be available to peruse through.
If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite Tolkien fan, you’ve come to the right place! The staff of TheOneRing.net have put together a list of our favorite items of the year, with price points for every budget. And while it’s nice to know that 2-day shipping exists (thanks, Amazon!), shipping delays around the holidays are inevitable, so we recommend starting your gift shopping now. Not to mention that the perfect item you’ve been looking for could sell out!
From our Fellowship to yours, TheOneRing.net would like to wish you all a peaceful and happy holiday season.
Mini Epics: Witch-King of the Unseen Lands Limited Edition by Weta Workshop: $44.99
I’ve been a fan of Weta Workshop’s Mini Epics line since they started releasing them, but this might be my favorite one so far. The attention to detail on these little guys is so…epic! And like all Weta collectibles, they were designed by the same artists that worked on the films. “Peeking through the mortal veil, we glimpsed the mighty Witch-king’s true visage, immortalized now for all to fear in Mini Epic form.”
Not only is this Witch-King fear-inducing , he’s also kind of cute! Click HERE to pre-order.
Realm of Middle-earth Moonlit Throw by Oscha: £96.00
It’s no secret that I’ve always been a huge fan of Scottish company Oscha’s Middle-earth range. Their designs are so beautiful; you can choose a throw, shawl, mug, or bag, if you’re not in the market for a baby sling or baby blanket. (Though I have to say, the baby blankets make great wall hangings!) This year I’m highlighting their ‘Realm of Middle-earth’ pattern, on the ‘moonlit’ colour scheme throw. Who doesn’t like a good map from Tolkien’s world? This would look beautiful on any sofa or bed. Do yourself a favour and check out Oscha’s entire collection; you’ll be glad you did! Click HERE to order.
Hobbit Mini Gandalf Hat by Stansborough: $79
It’s great to know that small, family run businesses creating sustainable and ethical products (such as Oscha, above) can thrive; and as one of the best, I’m thrilled that Stansborough in New Zealand are still going strong. They are the folks who made the magical Elven cloaks for The Lord of the Rings movies, as well as Gandalf’s scarf in The Hobbit movies, and further fabrics for The Rings of Power! Once again, they have fabulous scarfs, throws, caps, etc. – and even Gandalf’s hat! My choice for the gift list is the mini Gandalf hat; I already said this in another homepage post, but I think it would be an adorable tree topper. Own a little piece of genuine New Zealand goodness; check out Stansborough’s website. Their treasures aren’t cheap – but the standard is so high, they’re worth every penny! Click HERE to order.
Collectibles from NZ Post: prices vary
NZ Post continue their celebration of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy with 20th anniversary collectibles for The Two Towers. Their products are beautiful, and would be treasured by any collector. I particularly love the Limited Edition stamp presentation pack, and this stunning art print. The new range of pins would be wonderful stocking stuffers! There are three, all great designs and very attractive presentation; again, very collectible. Choose from Eye of Sauron, Gollum, or Mount Doom.
The Fall of Númenor: And Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth by J.R.R Tolkien and edited by Brian Sibley: $34.99
My ‘must have’ this year is “The Fall of Numenor” edited by Brian Sibley, who expertly weaves together all the Second Age story strands into one, cohesive timeline custom-made for the fans of Tolkien who want to dig deeper into the lore, but without having to scour numerous other volumes. Add to this the glorious new watercolor and pencil drawings from Alan Lee, and this book becomes the perfect Holiday gift for new and existing Tolkien fans. Click HERE to order.
The Lord of the Rings Jewelry Collection by Enso Rings: starting at $44.99
Enso has a collection of silicone rings inspired by The Lord of the Rings. The Shire Leaf ring is perfect for anyone who dreams of the simple life. This ring celebrates the idyllic, peaceful home of the Hobbits with a leaf etching on Distressed Ashy Green and Black Pearl. Click HERE to see other designs and to order.
The Silmarillion (Illustrated Edition): Illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien: $39.00
For the first time ever, a very special edition of the forerunner to The Lord of the Rings, illustrated throughout in color by J.R.R. Tolkien himself and with the complete text printed in two colors. The Silmarillion fills in the background which lies behind the more popular work, and gives the earlier history of Middle-earth, introducing some of the key characters. Click HERE to order.
The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring 2000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by Ravensburger: $44.99
Join the Fellowship in their quest through Middle Earth to rid the world of Sauron’s One Ring. Pursued by Ringwraiths, the Hobbits Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin are aided by the Wizard Gandalf, the Ranger Aragorn, Legolas the elf, Gimli the dwarf and Boromir. The Watcher nearly prevents their perilous trek through the Mines of Moria, where Gandalf confronts a Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Galadriel provides comfort, but Saruman’s Uruk-hai pursue. Will the Fellowship make it to Mordor? An immersive illustrated map of Middle Earth, this “The Fellowship of the Ring” puzzle is a Ravensburger exclusive, perfect for any Lord of the Rings fan! Click HERE to order the FotR puzzle, or HERE for their ‘Two Towers’ puzzle.
Wee Tanya recommends:
The Lord of the Rings Apparel and Accessories line by Her Universe: prices vary
I am a huge fan of costuming, but can’t always put on a full elf outfit at work. The brand Her Universe currently has a range of all-gender Lord of the Rings apparel, including cloaks, hoodies, leggings, t-shirts, and a fantastic blouse with Fellowship broach embroidery on the collar that can keep us Tolkiening along in a more subtle way. If you can’t find an specific item that you want, the Her Universe LOTR line is also sold at Hot Topic. Some of my favorite items include the Middle-earth map button-down in men’s sizes, the dress that is suitable for a Ren Faire or Hobbit dance party, and the Loungefly bag. Click HERE to order.
In response to a question on twitter, editor Brian Sibley has given a few more details about the contents of The Downfall of Númenor.
Sibley says the book will draw on Akallabêth and Of the Rings of Power (from The Silmarillion) plus material from The Peoples of Middle-earth (HOME Vol XII), Sauron Defeated (HOME Vol IX), The Lost Road and other Writings (HOME V), The Nature of Middle-earth, Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Lord of the Rings.
He makes no mention of new, previously unpublished material.
Previous promotional blurb has described that “J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Fall of Númenor collects all of Tolkien’s Second Age writings together, following the chronology of The Tale of Years.”
It also includes ten new color paintings by Alan Lee. The book is out in November.