It has come to light on the Tolkien Collector’s Guide that Harper Collins and Houghton Mifflin have plans to publish a new book titled The Nature of Middle-earth in 2021 containing previously unpublished writings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The book has been edited by Tolkien expert Carl F. Hostetter who heads the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship. The materials on which the book is based were sent to Hostetter in photocopy by Christopher Tolkien, before his passing, for potential publication.
The details were first released in a catalogue for the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019. The description, excerpted from the catalogue (page 64), follows.
The first ever publication of J. R. R. Tolkien’s final writings on Middle-earth, covering a wide-range of subjects, and the perfect next read for those who have enjoyed Unfinished Tales and the History of Middle-earth series and are hungry for more.
The Nature of Middle-earth will comprise numerous late (c. 1959-73) and previously unpublished writings by J.R.R. Tolkien on the “nature” of Middle-earth, in both chief senses of that word: both metaphysical and natural/historical.
For Tolkien fans, readers, and scholars interested in learning more about Tolkien’s own views on Middle-earth. It will appeal in particular to those readers who enjoyed Unfinished Tales, and some of the later volumes of the History of Middle-earth. Indeed, many of the texts to be included are closely associated with materials published in those places, and were sent to Hostetter, specifically, in photocopy by Christopher Tolkien for potential publication.
Much as Unfinished Tales forms an unofficial thirteenth volume of the History of Middle-earth, this new book will sit very nicely alongside as an unofficial 14th volume. Of particular note, given the impending Amazon series, are several texts detailing the lands, flora, and fauna of Númenor, and the lives of Númenóreans.
Harper Collins Publishers, Frankfurt BookFair 2019, Fiction Translation Rights
It is with a heavy heart that I write this news. Christopher Tolkien has passed away. He was 95 years old.
Christopher was the third son of our beloved author Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, and had spent much of his life honoring his father’s legacy and bringing us so many of the Professor’s works posthumously. He edited and published such monumental works as The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, The Book of Lost Tales, The History of Middle-earth and, in recent years, the individually released tales of The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and The Fall of Gondolin.
Late last week, Amazon Prime began taking us on an intriguing journey though a version of Middle-earth where, presumably, their upcoming TV series will take place. Providing clues in the form of names of regions familiar to fans of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” books and movies, along with quotes from Tolkien’s Ring Verse, they’ve sparked internet-wide speculation about what the clues mean. Following is a recap of the hints so far, along with the top theories and takeaways from each.
The journey begins – Wednesday, February 13
On Wednesday, February 13, when Amazon posted a quote on various ‘lotronprime’ internet sites from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letter 144: “I wisely started with a map.” The full quote is: “I wisely started with a map and made the story fit. ” In that spirit, Amazon began feeding us a series of hints about how their story will fit into the map of Middle-earth. What regions, towns and cities will be involved? What people, animals and other creatures? We believe we’ll get the answers to many of these questions soon. Until then, Amazon seems to be taking another quote to heart from the same letter: “As a story, I think it is good that there should be a lot of things unexplained (especially if an explanation actually exists)!”
Top theories and takeaways:
• One rumor is that this is part of a 10-day marketing reveal. If that’s true, it would be wrapping up this weekend, or sometime next week, depending on when you start counting. Regardless of the exact timetable, it’s clear that Amazon will be posting more hints over time.
• Another rumor stems from a coincidence that after the first verse quoted, “Three rings for the Elven kings,” the next clue appeared three days later. Using that logic, the next quote, ‘Seven for the Dwarf Lords,” means the next clue will appear this Monday, February 25.
• Many fans are encouraged by the fact that Amazon is using quotes directly from J.R.R. Tolkien and his works out-of-the-gate, so-to-speak.
• Using the maps and Ring Verse to do their reveal is clever and imaginative, and great fun for fans!
Map 1 and the first line of the Ring Verse (Friday, February 15)
Two days after the first post appeared, a map of Middle-earth appeared along with the first line of Tolkien’s Ring Verse poem: Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky,”. The map itself was blank, but that didn’t stop speculation from one end of the internet to the other.
Top theories and takeaways:
• The mountains on the far east of the map are not on any maps drawn by either J.R.R. Tolkien or his son Christopher, but do appear on a version of a map from The Hobbit movies, and on a map included in Karen Wynn Fonstad’s “The Atlas of Middle-earth.” In the Atlas, they are labeled, “Orocarni (Mountains of the East).” From various sources, we know that “Orocarni” translates to “Red Mountains,” and that Tokien’s references to these mountains appear in “The History of Middle-earth” compiled by Christopher. We don’t know much about them except they were close to the location the Elves awoke.
• The map is definitely from either the 2nd or 3rd Age, as the lands from “The Silmarillion” that existed in the 1st Age are not on the map. This makes sense, because while we don’t know exactly what film rights Amazon prime has, it is believed they don’t have rights to material from “The Silmarillion.” Further, many fans believe the map has to be from the 3rd Age because it seems to reflect the severe deforestation that occurred in the 2nd Age when the Numenoreans harvested trees from Middle-earth to build their ships.
• The compass rose was taken from Fonstad’s “The Atlas of Middle-earth.” The compass points contain some inadvertent errors noticed by keen-eyed Tolkien geeks, explained in-depth on the Tolkien Guide website. However, the takeaway is that Amazon again is making an effort to reference Tolkien and Tolkien-related scholarship. Bravo!
• The ring verse line about the three rings contained a comma at the end, indicating more clues were on the way, and sure enough, they were.
Map 2 and the second line of the Ring Verse (Monday, February 18)
Three days after the appearance of Map 1, a new version of the map appeared with the second line of the Ring Verse (again with a comma at the end): “Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,”. This time, a number of regions names appeared on the map. All of the regions align with Tolkien’s stories and maps, but some names, such as Gondor and Eregion, are missing. Will they appear on future maps? Will the names of cities such as Rivendell and Minas Tirith appear? We don’t know, but it’s a safe bet that the answer is yes.
Top theories and takeaways:
• Many fans immediately noticed that the region widely known as Rohan is designated as Calenardhon. That name was used before Eorl the Young came to the aid of Gondor in the year 2510 of the 3rd Age. For his help, Eorl was awarded most of the area by Cirion, Steward of Gondor, and the Rohirrim renamed it Mark of the Riders, or Rohan. This could indicate that the TV series will take place prior to the region being renamed, not that it narrows things down much, as just short of 6,000 years of history occurred between the start of the 2nd Age and the year 2510 of the 3rd Age.
• If the above theory is correct, it could dash previous rumors that the series will follow a young Aragorn, as Aragorn wasn’t born until the year 2929 T.A., over 400 years after the region was renamed.
• Despite the appearance of the forests on the map looking like they’re from the 3rd Age, the continued use of the Ring Verse in the clues could indicate the story-line will center on the making of the Rings of Power themselves. The Rings of Power were forged by the Elves of Eregion starting around 1500 S.A., culminating with Sauron making the One Ring in the year 1600 S.A.. This theory could be solidified (or not) if Eregion appears on future versions of Amazon’s map.
There you have it! All of the major takeaways, theories and rumors from the clues we have from Amazon so far. Have you heard any other rumors? Let us know!
We recommend staying tuned here and on our facebook page for more up-to-the-minute news and analysis. We also highly recommend tuning in to TORn Tuesdays, where Cliff ‘Quickbeam’ Broadway and sidekick Justin gave an in-depth analysis of the map this past Tuesday, and will continue to bring everyone updates in the future.
Signum University and the Mythgard Institute are proud to announce LAMoot, the first annual Southern California symposium dedicated to the exploration of speculative fiction, mythology, and medieval literature and languages.
This one-day event will investigate the challenges of adapting literature to other media, including art, film, television, video games, and music. LAMoot will feature a keynote address by Signum President Corey Olsen (The Tolkien Professor), a panel of invited guests, discussion panels, and time for fellowship with like-minded professionals, academics, and enthusiasts.
LAMoot is an inclusive creative space uniting scholarship with creativity. We invite you to participate and are seeking proposals for presentations involving the adaptation of everything from science fiction to fairy tales to Norse mythology. Please visit our website for the call for proposals.
LAMoot will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the Westwood Gateway at Santa Monica and 405 in the Elite Conference Room located in Suite 150 at 11100 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Visit our Website for more information
TheOneRing.net will be on hand to discuss recent past Adaptations and what we anticipate for the new Amazon series.
Just a reminder that the incredible Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition is still on at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. You have until October 28th to see this astonishing collection of manuscripts and artefacts from Tolkien’s work and life. American fans will then have the opportunity to see most of the exhibition, together with some new additions, at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, from January 2019; and from October 2019 to February 2020, an even bigger collection (which will include some of this current display) will be on show at the Bibliotheque nationale de France. (This will be the first time that the French national library has ever curated an exhibition about a non-French author, and will include items from their own collection, setting Tolkien’s works in the wider context of fantasy literature.)
Earlier this summer, TORn staffer greendragon had the opportunity to sit down with the Bodleian’s Tolkien archivist, Catherine McIlwaine, to find out some more about the behind-the-scenes work which went into creating this exhibition. McIlwaine was already a big fan of Middle-earth herself, so it has been the perfect job for her; as she put it herself, she was in the right place at the right time! Originally hired to create a detailed catalogue of the library’s Tolkien collection – a job which she thought would last for a couple of years – McIlwaine never expected to find herself, fifteen years later, curating such an extensive exposition of the Professor’s life and work.
The Bodleian owns a very large collection of material relating to J.R.R. Tolkien, totaling approximately 500 boxes of manuscript items! Much was donated by the Tolkien family in 1979; though manuscripts for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and Farmer Giles of Ham had been sold to Marquette University by Tolkien himself in the late 1950s, the rest of his manuscripts, academic and personal papers reside with the Bodleian. The current display features over 200 items, roughly half of which have never been seen by the public before; fascinating doodles on the back of completed crossword puzzles, and scribblings such as the opening lines of Beowulf written in tengwar, are amongst the treasures.
Staffer greendragon with exhibition curator Catherine McIlwaine (left)
Marquette University have been very supportive of the exposition, and have allowed many items from their collection to be included; McIlwaine said that the highlight of planning the exhibition, for her, was the opportunity to travel to Milwaukee twice, and to get to know the staff at Marquette. The ‘Maker of Middle-earth’ show sees some of Tolkien’s manuscripts and original art works being reunited for the first time since the 1950s!
Also featured in the current display are Tolkien’s own writing desk, chair, and some of his pipes, exclusively loaned by the Tolkien family, who have been very supportive of the endeavour. Christopher, Tolkien’s son and the editor of many of his works, was unfortunately not able to travel to visit the show, but his wife attended, and was delighted by it.
This enormous exposition (which still only reveals about three-quarters of the Bodleian’s current Tolkien archive – which is still growing!) was five years in the planning, with 18 months of full-time work in the run up to opening. The release of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies was the chief impetus, prompting the Bodleian to think that the time was ripe for such a showing; and the Tolkien Trust were eager to support it, to give something back to the fans. (Tickets to the exhibition are free!) Much of the content on display is usually only available to researchers – and access is closely restricted. Here, fans have the opportunity (in many cases, for the first time) to peer closely at Tolkien’s tengwar scrawl on an academic paper; and to gain an insight, through personal letters, into his family relationships.
For me (greendragon), highlights of the exhibition included Tolkien’s letters from his mother. I had no idea that she had taught him his beautiful calligraphy – I always assumed it was something he dreamed up himself. When you see the letters from his mother, however, it is very clear whence that unique script originated. Another family touch I loved were the sketches Tolkien created for his son Michael, to help him deal with nightmares. There was a recurring ‘monster’ which tormented Michael, and following his description, his father drew the beast – now named ‘Owlamoo’ – to help Michael confront and defeat his fears. I love the rather cross-looking owl-creature; and this display of fatherly affection is very touching.
Throughout the run of the exhibition, there have been various lectures and events in Oxford. A self-guided walking tour of ‘Tolkien’s Oxford‘ has been very popular, and many of the evening lectures have been sold out. Some exhibition tickets, however, have deliberately been held back for each day, so that there are always some available.
For anyone who can’t make it over to Oxford, I heartily recommend the exhibition catalogue. It is the biggest catalogue the Bodleian has ever produced, and it even includes archival items not seen in the display! As the exhibition website states, the book ‘brings together the largest collection of original Tolkien material ever assembled in a single volume. Drawing on the archives of the Tolkien collections at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and Marquette University, Milwaukee, as well as private collections, this exquisitely produced catalogue draws together the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien – scholarly, literary, creative and domestic – offering a rich and detailed understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary author.’ Worth every penny; visit the exhibition shop to see some of the other goodies on offer.
“The Fall of Gondolin” by J.R.R. Tolkien Photo: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
“The Fall of Gondolin,” — the third part of the J.R.R. Tolkien great trilogy of tales of the Elder Days — is now available in bookstores.
This simple sentence should be a great delight to Tolkien readers the world over. Newly published Tolkien material in 2018, from The Professor, who died in September, 1972, is astounding. Adding to the astonishing treasure is that son Christopher Tolkien, wrote just a year ago in “Beren and Luthien” that:
“In my ninety-third year this is (presumptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.”
Readers and fans may feel gratitude that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote enough and kept enough notes to continue to supply content close to fifty years after his death and that his son continues to have the will and ability in his elder years to collect, prepare and produce further content.
I wish I could thank him in person. We are living in the decade when Tolkien’s writings are more prolific, available and recognized than ever before.
It was published simultaneously in several languages by numerous Tolkien publishers worldwide, in the U.S. by long-time Tolkien publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“The Fall of Gondolin” takes readers back in Middle-earth’s history considerably before the most commonly known events in “The Lord of the Rings,” and “The Hobbit,” to an era when Sauron wasn’t the great power of evil in the world; his predecessor Morgoth and his fortress of Angband were.
Opposing him is Ulmo, a heavyweight Valar, the group who shaped and ruled the earth. Ulmo secretly supported the Elves.
Gondolin, the city of Noldorin Elves, was magnificent and undiscoverable by Morgoth’s forces and therefore untouchable by him. It isn’t a spoiler to say that the “Fall of Gondolin” is about the betrayal and discovery of the city and the war from Morgoth’s armies in Middle-earth’s First Age.
The content isn’t completely new. There are chapters about these events in “The Book of Lost Tales Part Two” as part of the History of Middle-earth books and parts titled “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin” in “The Silmarillion.”
Tuor, is aided by Ulmo, who even appears to him from the sea — a moment that is famously the subject of notable artwork.
It is Tuor and Idril who are some of the few to escape, with a young Eärendel, who eventually had two sons, Elros and the familiar Elrond, giving the tale a tie to “The Lord of the Rings.”
The book is published to fit the look and style of the others in the great trilogy of stories. It is edited by Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee.
it is also worth noting that this is one of the earliest tales J.R.R. Tolkien wrote. He called it, “the first real story of this imaginary world.”
It may be the last published.
The book is $30.00 in hardcover and is available as an e-book.
Newsweek: J.R.R. Tolkien – Celebrating the Professor’s Greatest Creations[Media Lab Publishing] is on newsstands and store check-out lanes now.
This is a beautiful, high-quality, glossy 100-page issue full of articles, information on both books and films, and many full-page photos. A wonderful collectible opening with an introduction by Shaun Gunner, Chair of the Tolkien Society.
It’s official…”The Fall of Gondolin” by J.R.R Tolkien, edited by Christoper Tolkien, and illustrated by Alan Lee, is indeed being published. It will be released on August 30, 2018. While rumored, the release still comes as a very welcome surprise given that many expected “Beren and Lúthien” to be Christoper Tolkien’s final release. “The Fall of Gondolin” will be available in hardback, deluxe hardback, large print and e-book worldwide as well as a companion Tolkien Calendar. The Guardian has a wealth of interesting background on the story. Further details as well as reaction can also be found at The Tolkien Society.
From the HarperCollins Press Release:
In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.
Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.
Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.
At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Tuor and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.
Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.
J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt, soon to be Tolkien
Tolkien fandom finds itself with an embarrassment of riches in 2018. The Tolkien Biopic has wrapped principal photography and is currently in post-production. There will be a new book out featuring Gondolin, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The most recent update about the Amazon Studios’ TV series is now confirmed to be a 5 season commitment. And then word starts to filter through that there are current negotiations for an actual Middle-earth Theme Park.(more…)
It turns out a “Lord of the Rings” TV series isn’t the biggest Tolkien news of the week or the month or the year.
Christopher Tolkien, son and literary heir of J.R.R. Tolkien, resigned from the Tolkien Estate. And his departure changes everything.
Christopher is 93 and just this year edited and published one of his father’s works “Beren and Luthien,” which as even casual Tolkienites know, refers to his parents with the names of those characters adorning their tombstones.
In the preface of the book he writes, “this is (preemptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” It seems he was planning to retire already. Personally, learning the greatest Tolkien scholar, and a man who has honored his father in an exemplary way, has left the care of his father’s legacy to others feels like reading the end of LOTR where Galadriel, Elrond and the other great elves leave Middle-earth. There is a keen sadness, but admiration and beauty as well.
But even if you aren’t sentimental, he deserves any Tolkien fan’s deep respect. But it bears repeating, this changes everything.
He understood perfectly that Christopher R. Tolkien’s departure signals the end of an era.
“With Christopher’s departure as an officer of the Tolkien Estate (which was incorporated in 2011), the long-awaited “rights frenzy” for Tolkien properties may soon begin,” he wrote.
Yes, and it seemingly has already happened. This is a definite piece of the puzzle of the recent news of the Amazon Video deal. I had heard through rock solid, but not reportable sources several years ago that other members of the estate were much more willing to negotiate J.R.R. Tolkien’s properties while Christopher was far more interested in preserving legacy than money.
The settlement between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate settled an $80 million lawsuit July 3. Part of the statement the studio released at the time was unusually upbeat for an entity that just paid out big money:
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”
The future mentioned in that statement is this week and beyond, and it was obviously in the works then. According to a U.K. government website, Christopher resigned on Aug. 31. One would expect formal resignations of this nature take time to manage legally, so it also was in the works for some time I suspect. What I wouldn’t give to have been in the room for that passing of the torch.
So in quick fashion, after the seismic change, the estate has sold the television rights for book “The Lord of the Rings.” Warners paid the court dispute so there would be a relationship moving forward and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rewarded both entities handsomely.
Another important thing to note here, and another piece of the puzzle, is that the television rights to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were NOT sold when J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights in 1969. Those rights were for motion pictures. TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson informed our staff about this. She has first-hand documentation and as author of “The Frodo Franchise,” knows this stuff as well as anybody. And obviously you can and should buy her book on Amazon.com. I believe another TORn news article is expected on just this point.
This explains why the estate was so involved in the Amazon deal; they were selling something. It also explains why Middle-earth Enterprises was absent from the latest news. (Correction: This originally said Tolkien Enterprises, a name previously used that is not correct. The story has been updated.)
But the bigger ramifications of all this are far greater than a multi-season Amazon series. The new leadership of the estate seem much more willing to deal Tolkien properties than Christopher was and this confirms my well placed sources.
This opens up Tolkien and Middle-earth as possible franchises in the same way that Harry Potter’s world is a place you can visit at Universal Studios or that Disney will soon have a Star Wars area. There are few properties in the world that can be talked about in the same way as Middle-earth. Warner Bros. see the value and so does Amazon.
That doesn’t mean the Tolkien Estate will move toward making the rights to “Beren And Luthien” available but it does mean my wish to produce “The Silmarillion” as HBO series is slightly less impossible than it was before. That is what has changed really. Things once impossible are now possible.
The estate may elect to only allow more content based solely on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Or they may carefully cultivate the entire library.
Because of the depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, there is a virtually endless fountain of material. As Martinez points out in his blog, what will be produced is essentially fan fiction. As Disney has expanded the Galaxy far-far away, and HBO is planning its growth of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros world, so too could Amazon and Warner Bros expand Middle-earth.
Much of that possibility rests with the estate but just Appendix A in “The Lord of the Rings” offers a wealth of content. The imagination soars with possibilities.
This will no doubt anger many fans and delight many others, as the Amazon deal already has. Some don’t want to see the compromise of the author’s vision. Funny enough, this also seems to have a whole new batch of fans upset because they don’t want Amazon’s product to compromise Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s vision.
The officers of the Tolkien Estate still count among their numbers Tolkien’s youngest child Priscilla Tolkien and other grandchildren in the family.
This is over-long already but a final word on Christopher Tolkien’s departure. Here is a man who is a treasure, and who carries in his heart and mind the voice and essence of his father. The significance of his departure cannot be over stated.
I close with another poignant passage he wrote about his father in the preface of his final contribution to the Tolkien legacy, “Beren and Luthien.”
“In a letter to me on the subject of my mother, written in the year after her death, which was also the year before his own, he wrote of his overwhelming sense of bereavement, and of his wish to have Luthien inscribed beneath her name on the grave. He returned in that letter … to the origin of the tale of Beren and Luthien in a small woodland glade filled with hemlock flowers near Roos in Yorkshire, where she danced; and he said: ‘But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.’
Thank you Christopher Tolkien. We are going to miss you and your strength and determination to contribute to and preserve the legacy of your father.
Fans who are waiting to hear further news about a possible Lord of the Rings television series can keep themselves busy for a while with a new publication of Tolkien’s poem, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun. Although this work was released by UK publishers Harper Collins last year, it is available today from American publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Here’s what they tell us about the book:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is proud to announce the publication on November 7, 2017 of THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Verlyn Flieger. Unavailable for more than 70 years, this early but important work is published for the first time with Tolkien’s ‘Corrigan’ poems and other supporting material, including a prefatory note by Christopher Tolkien.
Set ‘In Britain’s land beyond the seas’ during the Age of Chivalry, THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the ‘Aotrou’ and ‘Itroun’ of the title) and the tragedy that befalls them when Aotrou seeks to remedy their situation with the aid of a magic potion obtained from a corrigan, or malevolent fairy. When the potion succeeds and Itroun bears twins, the corrigan returns seeking her fee, and Aotrou is forced to choose between betraying his marriage and losing his life.
Coming from the darker side of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination, THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN, together with the two shorter ‘Corrigan’ poems that lead up to it and which are also included, was the outcome of a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien’s life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic, and particularly Breton, myth and legend.
Originally written in 1930 and long out of print, this early but seminal work is an important addition to the non-Middle-earth portion of his canon and should be set alongside Tolkien’s other retellings of myth and legend, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, The Fall of Arthur and The Story of Kullervo. Like these works, it belongs to a small but important corpus of his ventures into ‘real-world’ mythologies, each of which in its own way would be a formative influence on his own legendarium.
We have FIVE copies to give away to lucky fans in the US! To enter, simply complete the entry form, and answer the following question:
Who is the editor of this new edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun?
Complete the entry form by 5pm EST on Monday 13th November. [Enter Here] Five winners will then be chosen at random, and a copy of the latest Tolkien publication will be mailed to them. Good luck! (Sorry, this competition is only available to fans living in the United States.)
For those who don’t win, you can buy the book here; and it is also available as an e-book.
UPDATE: Many thanks to all who entered our competition. The winners have been notified by email, and their books are on the way to them!
TORn will be doing a panel at San Diego Comic Con on Friday, July 21 at 5pm at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel in the Grand Ballrooms 1 & 2. The Grand Ballroom is located to the right of the main Lobby as you enter from outside, we are in sections 1 & 2.
Our panel is titled “Still Tolkien about it: 80 years of Middle-earth” and will include discussion about how Professor Tolkien is still influencing pop culture, especially in Art, Literature, music, cosplay, gaming and collectibles. And as always, there will be singing.
The panel will end just before 6pm, and then everyone who wants to gather together can do so at the Marina Kitchen restaurant, also on the Lobby level but down left, at the far end of the Southern building, closest to the Convention Center.
The Hotel has not replied to us about trying to pre-book space, so like I said, we are just going to flash mob it, Middle-earth style.
For anyone showing up in Tolkien cosplay, we will grab a group photo in the Hotel lobby area by the restaurant, before heading inside, or maybe just as we hang out waiting to get into the restaurant.
Like with the Ice Cream social a few years back, this will be an informal gathering, stealth Ranger style. We are going to descend upon the restaurant and see if they will just seat everyone near each other, hopefully. There is a bar/lounge area just before entering the restaurant, so that may be where the bulk of everyone ends up. But those who want food, I highly recommend this place, even if it’s just to share some appetizers.
Our panel ends before the main hall closes next door at the Convention Center, so there should be fewer people to compete with than after 7pm. Anyhow, looking to arrive at the Marina Kitchen restaurant between 6:15pm and 6:30pm or so and staying until 8pm or beyond, allowing people to then hit up any of the other parties, screenings, and late night activities you want.
Please only RSVP attending if you will be at either the panel (which requires an SDCC badge) or at the Moot at the Marina Kitchen restaurant within the Marriott Marquis (no badge required for this one).
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