A look at the various Lord of the Rings and Hobbit DVD sets currently on store shelves.

'Ultimate Collector's Edition' set - the box, enclosed art work, and 31 discs (in a variety of colours) are shown, together with a description of the contents of the set: '31 Discs Include Theatrical and Extended Versions of all 6 Films on 4K, Newly Remastered Blu-ray and an Exclusive Special Features Blu-ray. Digital Code for All Films, 64-Page Booklet, 7 Travel Poster Art Cards'.

LATEST EDITION: The 2021 Remastered 31-disc 4K box set. $250

  • 3 Hobbit Theatricals 4K
  • 3 Hobbit Extended 4K
  • 3 LOTR Theatricals 4K
  • 6 LOTR Extended 4K
  • 3 Hobbit Theatricals 1080p
  • 3 Hobbit Extended 1080p w/ commentary
  • 3 LOTR Theatrical 1080p
  • 6 LOTR Extended 1080p w/ 4 commentaries
  • 1 Bonus Feature (NEW) – 3 cast reunions + Cannes 2001 preview

Head on over to The Digital Bits where they have a long, deep review of this new set worth reading. Remember, the new 4K looks stunning but requires a new 4K disc player + 4K TV.

Can an equivalent set be assembled piece by piece? Let’s shop:

LOTR 4K (2020) $75
Includes Theatrical & Extended in 4K
– 9 Discs

LOTR Extended Edition BluRay 1080p Remastered (2020) $45
Includes Extended in Remastered 1080p
– Commentaries
– Appendices
– Costa Bottes Documentary
– 15 discs

Hobbit 4K (2020) $70
Includes Theatrical & Extended in 4K
– 6 Discs

Hobbit Extended Edition Bluray 3D (2016) $60
Includes Extended Edition in 3D
– Extended in 1080p 2D
– Commentaries
– Appendices
– 15 discs

For $250 you can get the new 31-disc box set with some pretty postcards + Cannes reel + 30 minute reunions…

Or for the same price you can get all 45-discs INCLUDING all the Appendices + Remastered 4K editions + 3D Hobbits!

Is it worth buying a whole new set just for the Cannes footage? Watch our reunion of that momentous occasion as we assemble Producers, Press, and Fan Blogs to remember what Lord of the Rings at Cannes 2001 was like.

For all the completionists out there, fill out your Middle-earth collection with the other versions of Peter Jackson’s movies.

LOTR Theatrical BluRay 1080p Remasters 3-Disc Set (2020) $20

LOTR Bluray + Appendices + Costa Bottes Documentary GREEN TINT edition (2012) $65

6-film Hobbit & LOTR Bluray THEATRICAL Editions (2016) $40

6-film Hobbit & LOTR DVD Theatrical Editions (2016) $20

A final reminder that Peter Jackson has said on occasion that he wants to do a 25th anniversary “Unicorn Edition” with all the extra stuff that we haven’t seen yet – Frodo turning into Gollum, Faramir & Eowyn’s wedding, and a warts-n-all BTS documentary that goes even deeper into the drama of making these films. No announcements have been made that this is even in the works, but PJ is a billionaire now, so anything is possible!

Greetings Ringers – Today TheOneRing.net is proud to share a Tolkienian analysis from esteemed Y.A. author/editor Henry Herz who takes us closer to the Irish myths mined by Guillermo del Toro for Hellboy II and the remarkable connections to Fëanor himself.

Irish Influences

Astute observers of the film Hellboy II: The Golden Army will note multiple references to Irish mythology. The full name of Hellboy’s antagonist is Nuada Silverlance. The first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the gods of Irish mythology, was Nuada Airgetlám (silver hand/arm). The Irish Nuada lost his limb fighting against the Fir Bolg at the first Battle of Mag Tuired. It was subsequently replaced with a silver one made by Dian Cecht, the god of healing, and a smithing god, either Creidhne or Goibniu (sources vary). Balor of the Evil Eye, a giant one-eyed Formorian leader kills the silver-handed Nuada twenty years later at the second Battle of Mag Tuired. In Hellboy II, Nuada’s Gaelic-speaking father is King Balor of Bethmoora in Northern Ireland.

On the one hand…

A lost hand like Nuada Airgetlám’s occurs more than once in myths, ancient and modern. The Professor himself was no stranger to tales of the Irish gods…nor the Norse. After all, the ferocious fettered Fenris Wolf takes off the god Tyr’s hand. Tolkien’s giant wolf Carcharoth similarly bites off Beren’s hand, and with it one of Fëanor’s treasured Silmarils.

“Tyr and Fenrir” by John Bauer (1911)

Hellboy II features three characters with missing hands. The main character, Hellboy, possesses an oversized, red stone Right Hand of Doom, grafted in place by his demon father, Duke Azzael. Although the movie does not emphasize the matter, King Balor’s left arm appears to be made of wood, ending in a silver hand—a clear wink at Irish mythology. Speaking of wink, the cave troll Wink wields a mechanical right hand that can be launched like a projectile and retrieved via a heavy chain—quite a handy feature.

But is there a more subtle linkage in play here? Did movie writer Mike Mignola and/or director Guillermo Del Toro derive inspiration from a more contemporary model for Nuada than Irish mythology? Was their fierce and tragic elf inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s character from The Silmarillion, Fëanor? The parallels are numerous and striking.

Copyright © 2008 Universal Pictures / Dark Horse Entertainment

Family Lost

Fëanor is a prince of the Noldor (deep elves), eldest son of King Finwë. His mother, Míriel, passes away after delivering so powerful a progeny, “consumed in spirit and body.” Finwë remarries and fathers two more sons, Fingolfin and Finarfin. Their father is murdered by Morgoth, the spark that will eventually set all Middle-earth aflame.

Like Fëanor, Nuada is an elven prince, the only son of King Balor of Bethmoora. Hellboy II makes no references to Nuada’s mother in either the action or its expository prologue. Her absence is as notable as Míriel’s. Nuada’s father is slain by his son’s own hand. Thus, both princes begin the tragic arc of their lives without mothers and later violently robbed of their immortal fathers.

The mighty sons of Finwë: Fëanor (red), Fingolfin (blue), Finarfin (yellow). Artist unknown.

Skills and Crafts

Fëanor is the most gifted smith in all Middle-earth and Valinor. He devises the Tengwar script used to write the Elven tongues Quenya, Telerin, and Sindarin. He crafts the palantíri, crystal spheres used for communicating over long distances. Fëanor’s greatest accomplishment was creating the three Silmarils, imperishable sacred jewels that captured the light of the Two Trees that illuminated the world. He is also credited with forging fell swords and tall helms with plumes of red. It is probably a safe assumption, then, that his sword would be of the highest quality and likely magical in nature. His prodigious fighting skills can be deduced from the fact that he battles multiple Balrogs without being pounded into elf-paste.

Fëanor faces Gothmog”: with permission of Turkish artist, Çağlayan Kaya Göksoy

Like Fëanor, Nuada is a fierce fighter. His superb sword play and athleticism is on full display in Hellboy II, thanks to actor Luke Goss. He demonstrates great skill with both swords and spear. The latter is magical, capable of lengthening at Nuada’s command, and if the tip of it is broken off in an enemy, it works its way toward the victim’s heart. He also evidences skill as a smith. We see him constructing a device to hold the seed of a forest elemental. And as one might expect of an elven smith, he seems impervious to heat when he recovers a metal cylinder from flames with his bare hand.

Copyright © 2008 Universal Pictures / Dark Horse Entertainment

Strife and Exile

His heart poisoned by Morgoth’s deceptions, Fëanor accuses his half-brother Fingolfin of plotting to usurp him as Finwë’s heir. The Valar (the gods) exile Fëanor to Formenos as punishment for threatening his brother’s life. There he stores the Silmarils with other treasure, and there Finwë joins him.

Fëanor threatens Fingolfin”: with permission of German artist, Jenny Dolfen

In the Hellboy II backstory, greedy humans wage war against the elves, goblins, trolls, and other magical creatures. A goblin master blacksmith offers to build King Balor an unstoppable mechanical army that can be controlled with a magical Golden Crown. Nuada persuades his father to accept the weapon and unleash the Golden Army against humanity. After widespread slaughter, a truce is reached. The horrified King Balor breaks the crown into three pieces so this ultimate weapon will not be used again. Enraged by his father’s decision not to finish off humanity, Nuada goes into self-imposed exile.

Rage and Kinslaying

With the giant spider Ungoliant’s aid, Morgoth mortally wounds the Two Trees that illumine the world. When the Valar ask to use the light trapped within the Silmarils to restore the stricken Trees, Fëanor refuses. “It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if I must break them, I shall break my heart.” (Tolkien, 1977)

Morgoth murders Fëanor’s father at Formenos, steals the three priceless Silmarils, and flees to Middle-earth. Fëanor vows revenge, tinged with a racial element that Nuada echoes in Hellboy. “After Morgoth to the ends of the Earth! War shall he have and hatred undying. But when we have conquered and have regained the Silmarils that he stole, then behold! We, we alone, shall be the lords of the unsullied Light, and masters of the bliss and the beauty of Arda! No other race shall oust us!” (Tolkien, 1977)

Mad with grief and anger, Fëanor and his sons swear a terrible oath, leading many Noldor into exile from Valinor to pursue Morgoth and recover the Silmarils.

“They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Ilúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not…vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala, Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession.” (Tolkien, 1977)

Fëanor”: with permission of Ukrainian artist
Bella Bergolts

When the seafaring Teleri refuse to lend the Noldor their ships for the journey to Middle-earth, Fëanor orders the vessels taken by force. Many Elven lives are lost in what came to be called the Kinslaying at Alqualondë.

Raging at human greed and the destruction they bring to the earth, Nuada vows to annihilate his enemy. He breaks his father’s treaty, murdering some humans to take possession of one of the three pieces of the Golden Crown. Nuada appears at his father’s court, demanding the other crown pieces from his sister and his father so he can order the Golden Army to wipe out humanity, saving the earth thereby. “I have returned from exile to wage war and reclaim our land, our birthright! And for that I will call upon the help of all my people and they will answer.”

But King Balor refuses, and when Nuada will not be dissuaded from his violent plans, Balor reluctantly orders his son killed. Instead, Nuada slays the royal guard and his father in the greatest sword fight scene in cinematic history. His sister flees with the final piece of the Golden Crown.

Copyright © 2008 Universal Pictures / Dark Horse Entertainment

Doom

Tragedy leads to more tragedy. The Valar lay a horrible curse, the Doom of Mandos, upon Fëanor and his followers for the Kinslaying. The Noldor must have shuddered to hear it.

“Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.”

“Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death’s shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to die not in Eä, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you. And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken.” (Tolkien, 1977)

Shortly after arriving on the shores of Middle-earth, Fëanor’s army is assaulted by Morgoth’s. The Elves are triumphant, and still enraged, Fëanor presses on toward Morgoth’s fortress at Angbad. Ambushed by a force of Balrogs, Fëanor is mortally wounded. He is denied his vengeance and instead Elves, Humans, and Dwarves must endure centuries of death and destruction inflicted by Morgoth until he is finally overthrown by the Valar.

Like Fëanor, Nuada will stop at nothing to see his plan complete. In the end, even he recognizes the depths of his own madness. When Hellboy defeats Nuada for control of the Golden Army, Nuada responds, “Kill me. You must. For I will not stop. I cannot.” Hellboy will not murder the elf. When Nuada moves to strike Hellboy from behind, Nuada is slain by his selfless sister’s suicide, the twins being magically linked. Hellboy has Liz destroy the crown with fire, reminiscent of when another potent talisman, the One Ring, melts in the fires of Mt. Doom.

Copyright © 2008 Universal Pictures / Dark Horse Entertainment

Fading and Melancholy

In The Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition, Samwise Gamgee observes Elves departing Middle-earth for Valinor, never to return. “It makes me sad. I don’t know why.” The Bethmooran elves are fading as well, as symbolized by the incongruously falling leaves inside Balor’s throne room. Nuada proclaims in the end, “We die, and the world will be poorer for it.” Whether or not Mignola and Del Toro modeled their Nuada on Tolkien’s Fëanor, they forged an entertaining and poignant movie in which, just as in The Silmarillion, we lament the passing of magic.

Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!

From Namárië (Galadriel's Lament)

*Learn much more about Henry Herz’ Y.A. and Children’s books (and also the delightful works co-authored with his two sons) here at www.henryherz.com

References:
Tolkien, J.R.R., 1977. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, “Of the Flight of the Noldor”

Notes:
The John Bauer and Celtic knot images are public domain from Wikimedia Commons.

Our friends at Weta Workshop have unveiled their next amazing statue, representing the 20th Anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring. If you’re a fan of a certain White Wizard who ended up going bad, this one is for you! That’s right: fans will have until October 14th to place an order for Saruman the White on Throne. At midnight PST on the 14th the edition size of this collectible will be set. Saruman looks absolutely amazing, and will be a superb addition to anyone’s collection. The price for Saruman is $1,399 (US), with an expected shipping date in the third quarter of next year. This will give fans time to save up, if they decide not to use the payment plan system that the folks at Weta have available. If expanding your collection at a smaller price point is something you’re looking to do, fans can add these great options: Figures of Fandom Aragorn, Figures of Fandom Lurtz, Mini-Statue Gandalf the Grey, and Mini-Statue Gimli. All of these come in a price range of $99 for the Mini-Statues, to $119 for the Figures of Fandom.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop Saruman the White on Throne”

Over on Twitter, Fellowship of the Fans (FOTF) has posted some new rumours about LOTR on Prime’s series that are sure to provoke head-scratching and even more rampant theorising about the composition of the initial two episodes.

Warning: these are, potentially, spoilers. If that’s important to you, what are you even doing here? Run away!

Photo by Stewart Cook/Variety/Shutterstock (5813163v) Robert Aramayo Discovery’s ‘Harley and the Davidsons’ Party, TCA Summer Press Tour, Day 5, Los Angeles, USA – 01 Aug 2016

According to Fellowship of the Fans’ sources:

  1. Actor Robert Aramayo was on the production’s dwarven sets and filmed scenes with the dwarves.
  2. Actor Owain Arthur plays an important dwarven character in the same scenes.
  3. The dwarves wear “amazing dragon/dragon scale armour”.
  4. The dwarven king is said to look strikingly similar to Tormund from the HBO Game of Thrones telly series.
  5. Scenes in the first two episodes will show dwarves climbing a mountain, or ravine, and there is an “underground pub set piece”.

You can read the full run-down here.

However, dwarven sets? Is this cold water being tipped over the Year of the Trees brigade? Regardless, the Valinor image still exists and it seems beyond belief that the production would lead with an image like that purely as fan catnip.

Keep in mind, this is not confirmed, while the Valinor image is most certainly official.

But it may be that that segment is shorter than we want to believe. Maybe it’s a short PJ-style prologue per Fellowship of the Rings. Because dwarves do not belong in Aman (unless it’s in Aulë’s workshop, or your name is Gimli), and the most natural place for dwarves and elves to be seen together is Eregion and Khazad-dûm, during the Second Age.

If it is Second age, the dwarven king is likely to be Durin III. Owain Arthur might be Narvi. Narvi most famously had a close friendship with Celebrimbor, but I wonder whether Celeborn might fit in there somewhere too.

Food for thought.

The folks over on The Digital Bits have unearthed a breakdown of Warner Bros. forthcoming “Middle-earth 31-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition”. If you’re a collector, you’ll want to have a read of this before committing your hard-earned.

The Digital Bits says that Warner Bros. are close to an official announcement. They also report the set will include “the Theatrical and Extended versions of all six Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films on both 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray (including the remastered Lord of the Rings films on Blu-ray).”

But, here’s the kicker.

They says that the new content is expected to be one Blu-ray bonus disc containing the 26-minute presentation reel shown at Cannes in 2001, and the Alamo Drafthouse cast reunion.

Further, The Appendices will not be included in this new set.

All that will set you back a total of 196 quid. Release is slated for October 26.

Staff reactions to the report are a bit mixed. Personally, I’m much more stoked for the Evangelion box sets that TDB mentions in the same article, while Staffer Earl suggests that:

So after waiting 20 years, the “ultimate” edition ends up having just the Cannes reel and some newly filmed reunion footage hosted by Colbert (hope it’s not some late night show format with his jokes and display of Tolkien knowledge)? 

Uh oh!  I sincerely hope that ain’t all. 

To be honest, I’m inclined to think if this is it, then why bother with the 20th anniversary at all. But maybe this is great for truly hardcore fans who can afford to splurge on yet another version and can’t wait another 5 years.

Middle-earth 31-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition
Middle-earth 31-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition.

If you are keen, though, check out the full, detailed breakdown over on The Digital Bits.

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”