TORn’s good friend Donato Giancola is no stranger to the realms of Middle-earth. His book Middle-earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend is filled with incredible art inspired by Tolkien, and at 2022’s exhibition of his work at the Huntsville Museum of Art, his giant ‘Beacons of Gondor’ painting took centre stage.

He now brings us word that he has completed his latest large-scale painting. This time the title is ‘Bridge of Khazad-dûm’. Here’s a video of the work:

If you’d love to have such a masterpiece hanging on your wall, the good news is that prints are available – in limited numbers! Find out how you can get your hands on a print – and other Middle-earth goodies – here. And feast your eyes on ‘Bridge of Khazad-dûm’ in all its glory:

‘Bridge of Khazad-dûm’ by Donato Giancola

Vanity Fair revealed earlier this week that Prime Video’s second season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power would have a very particular magic, with British actor Rory Kinnear taking on the iconic role of Tom Bombadil. We provided some speculation as to how Master Tom might contribute to the continuing Second Age saga here, and we are also feeling pretty good about our speculations last January around Tom’s potential appearance this coming season, which premiers on August 29.

Along with this article, VF and Prime Video also offered some early images of Middle-earth’s Eldest in an apparently dry and barren land of Rhûn. Fan reactions to the photos have been predictably mixed, from “perfect!” to (in kinder iterations) “huh?”. That’s nearly always the case whenever a favorite character gets distilled to a single look, costume, or actor (even with the initial Peter Jackson trilogy). Here at TheOneRing, we love some spirited debate, especially when we all remember to be kind.

We also love to take closer looks at these kinds of announcements, in this case, of the four photos included in the Vanity Fair article. There are some details which caught our attention!

Jolly Tom Sports Some Iconic Costuming

“So where are the yellow boots?” was one of the most widespread expectations, and reactions, to the Vanity Fair reveal. Many of VF’s photos involved strong backlighting and darker shadows, and it was challenging to nail the true hue of Tom’s footwear. We did get one exterior shot, though, which indeed displayed a dusty yellow tinge on those iconic boots: maybe not canary yellow, but certainly in the same spirit as the classic Hildebrandt Brothers illustration from their 1976 calendar.

We also got a blue jacket, though perhaps not as “bright” as Old Forest Tom sings about along the Withywindle. Remember, this is Second Age Tom, and perhaps he’ll acquire more than one coat for his closet. We’re not even sure whether he’s taken up residence yet on the border of the someday-Shire, nor met his lifelong love and likely fashion consultant Goldberry.

Interestingly, there are some costuming details which already hint at Bombadil’s deep connection to nature, including tree-like embroidery on his tunic, and a be-flowered belt, fashioned seemingly in the shape of stars. That resonates with the same stellar theme which drove Season One’s Stranger to travel eastward.

And then there’s Tom’s hat. Besides the fact that it sports a muted suggestion of a dark, and hardly flamboyantly placed feather (is it peacock – a notion which Tolkien abandoned – swan, “blue”, or something else entirely?), Second Age Tom’s hat seems strikingly wizard-like: wide-brimmed and fittingly pointy. Might we be seeing a further Gandalf-like embellishment, should Tom choose to offer his headgear as a gift to a certain visiting Stranger?

We See Some Curious Environmental Embellishments

It’s also worth taking a closer look at the location where we find this budding Council of the Wise. There are a few things that stand out:

The environment is largely bone-dry and desolate. The surrounding hills seem treeless, and even the cactus houseplants are withering. The interior floors are dusty enough to scream thirst. This is the anti-Old Forest, and about the most non-Bombadillian landscape one can imagine. That’s probably why Tom is looking pretty sober in these stills. It’s a situation demanding intervention, not celebration.

And yet, there are still hints of a potential oasis. Just as we saw the Stranger restore a fruit tree to life in Season One, perhaps Tom’s work has already begun here with the flourishing of flowers and a lemon tree in the exterior shot we’ve been given. Or maybe Tom is simply a limoncello fan. And perhaps as a nod to another refuge long in the future, or simply to fans of the Hobbit, we even see that Tom is a beekeeper! Plus his furniture looks like it would match well with the Beorn aesthetic.

It’s clear that Tom’s house in Rhûn has been lived in for a long time. The candles are melted down to near nubs, and the pottery and furnishings seem well-worn. This is not Tom’s first rodeo in Rhûn, even if he’s been wandering as far and wide around Middle-earth as your friendly Harfoots.

Probably most mysterious of all, there appear to be star and/or planetary maps embellishing the ceilings in the Second House of Tom Bombadil. These constellation symbols have been central to numerous story lines in Season One – for the Harfoots, the Stranger, and the Three Mystics seemingly banished in last season’s final episode. Perhaps Tom will shed a bit more light on exactly what these star signs mean.

It’s useful to remember that we’ve only seen these four pictures, and know precious little about the full extent for how and where Tom Bombadil will be integrated into the second season of the Rings of Power. We each bring personal expectations for this story line. For some, Tom has been somewhere between a complete mystery and an annoying speed bump in the larger LotR saga. For others, he looms large on our list of favorite characters, which increases the risk, of course, should he be mishandled. We’ll simply have to wait another 13 or so weeks for a the full Bombadil experience.

Hey dol! Merry dol! This will be a challenge!


For those that may have missed it, here’s the Bombadil-focused content from Prime Video’s press release on May 29. You can find the entire release here.

CULVER CITY, California—May 29, 2024 — Today, Prime Video revealed that Laurence Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear (James Bond films, The Imitation Game), who, as previously announced, joined the Season Two cast of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, will portray the fan-favorite J.R.R. Tolkien character Tom Bombadil. The second season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will premiere exclusively on Prime Video on August 29, 2024.

This announcement comes after much online speculation, as the timeless, mysterious, and jovial Tom Bombadil has been beloved by Tolkien fans for decades. Given his hand in so many key moments of the larger story, the character’s absence from other on-screen depictions of Middle-earth has often been the topic of robust conversation. The news was revealed through brand-new images from the series, and an interview in Vanity Fair that was released online earlier today.

The series’ showrunners J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay are excited to bring this new element to the story, and are thrilled that the gifted Kinnear is bringing this iconic character to life. “He’s whimsical and magical, and almost verging on silly. But also has the wisdom of the ages and the music of the spheres and deep emotional wells of ancient history and myth, and his conception and function are tied to Norse myths and have deep roots in European fairy tale,” McKay says. “So weirdly, he’s kind of the most Lord of the Rings thing in Lord of the Rings.” Payne adds, “Tom is sort of a curiosity within that structure because while it is darker, Tom Bombadil is singing and saying lines that could be nursery rhymes from children’s poems. So, he sort of defies the tonal shift of the rest of the season and is a real point of light amidst an otherwise sea of darkness.”

Kinnear embraced the opportunity to jump into the famed yellow boots, elaborating that while the description of Tom Bombadil was well-known to readers, he relished the opportunity to portray the voice and mannerisms of the enigmatic being for the first time in a filmed iteration of Tolkien’s work. “There’s this sense of huge experience, huge openness, huge empathy, and having gone through so much that he [Bombadil] knows it’s the small things that are important. That felt actually quite domestic, felt quite reachable in terms of my understanding of who he was.”

Character Description:

  • Rory Kinnear plays “Tom Bombadil” a figure of unknown origin in Tolkien’s works who projects a timeless wisdom, often propelling characters in a direction to see things more clearly and helping them better understand the wide world around them. In the lore, he claims to be as old as Middle-earth itself, possessing wisdom far beyond the reaches of others. Essential to the spirit of discovery and of the search for meaning, Bombadil is famously clad in yellow boots, blue jacket, and a feathered hat, and prone to enigmatic expressions in singsong verse.

Additionally, Chris Smith, Tolkien Publishing Director at HarperCollins, revealed in Vanity Fair that the book titled The Adventures of Tom Bombadil will be re-released in paperback by HarperCollins on August 20, 2024, just ahead of the streaming series’ return to Prime Video. Smith said, “It’s my hope that, with the introduction of Rory Kinnear’s portrayal of Tom Bombadil in The Rings of Power, audiences are inspired to learn more about this unique character beloved of generations of readers around the world, and will delight in sharing in his many adventures in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.”

The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on April 26th:

  • The unexpected party (1341)
  • TheOneRing.net is officially registered (1999)
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 10-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 15-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 20-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 25-year Anniversary.
  • [Join us on the Discussion Boards here!]

Continue reading “Today in Middle-earth, April 26”

On March 18 this year we began Middle-earth March Madness 2024: Magical Moments. TORn staffers had been working behind the scenes to choose and then vote on a plethora of happenings from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which could be considered magical events. We whittled that number down to 64, and created seeding based on the staffer votes, and back in March we opened the contest to YOUR votes.

Now, after six rounds and thousands of votes cast, we have a winner. Of all the moments when magical powers are used in Middle-earth, one has been chosen as the ‘most magical’. If you watched TORn Tuesday last night, you saw the winner revealed there. But if you’ve stayed ‘spoiler free’, we can now reveal the Middle-earth March Madness Champion for 2024 is…

Continue reading “Middle-earth March Madness 2024 – Revealing this year’s Champion”