Witches and werewolves and vampires, oh, my! J.R.R. Tolkien was not one to shy away from creatures of the night. Just the opposite–he seemed to relish writing horror stories.

When we think of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”, Elves, Wizards, Hobbits, and quests come first to mind. But the Professor’s long quest to create an encompassing mythology for Britain led him to conjure stories within stories. Middle-earth feels real because Tolkien fleshed out its history in-depth. Though they are often only hinted at in the main stories, Tolkien wrote many of these historical references in detail.

In honor of the best holiday of the year (subjectively), let’s explore a few tales of terror written by Tolkien fit for All Hallows’ Eve. These are by no means the only ones. The Silmarillion is filled with stories that invoke a sense of horror in us, such as the story of Húrin and his family. Just thinking about Frodo and Sam’s encounter with Shelob in her lair is enough to make skin crawl. Dig deep, and you’ll find bones aplenty in Tolkien’s work.

Continue reading “Yes, Tolkien Wrote Horror stories”

Milwaukee magazine has a great little background story on how an enormous cache of J.R.R. Tolkien’s personal notes and papers ended up at Marquette University in Wisconsin.

It started with Marquette’s Library Director William Ready (1914-81), who actively sought out Catholic authors. Ready approached Tolkien through an intermediary in 1956 and negotiated the purchase of his manuscripts for The Hobbit and the three volumes of his magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings (as well as lesser-known works), just a year after the last of those books were published. 

“Ready was in the right place at the right time and had the good sense to pursue those manuscripts,” says William Fliss, an archivist in the department of special collections at Marquette

It’s timely because Marquette tomorrow (August 19) opens a new brand-new exhibit titled “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” at the Haggerty Museum of Art.

The exhibit will feature original manuscripts created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and other works. It will consider Tolkien’s work through the lens of manuscripts, in terms of both the materials that he studied as a medieval philologist and the manuscripts that he created while developing his legendarium.

The museum will also be hosting three seminars by prominent Tolkien scholars. are free to attend. In-person tickets are already all sold. However, the presentations will also be streamed for audiences who wish to attend virtually (great for people not in the USA!).

You can reserve a place to attend the lectures here.

Special Note: even if you only want to attend virtually, you must still pre-register your interest through the Eventbrite.

Watch a walkthrough of the exhibit courtesy of Die Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft e.V.

Can’t make it to Milwaukee? Me neither. Watch this 30-minute walkthrough that Die Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft e.V. has put together. It’s great!

The speical lecture schedule

Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m.: “Editing the Tolkienian Manuscript,” presented by Carl Hostetter

Carl Hostetter is a computer scientist at NASA who has earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s invented languages. He is a key member of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, an elite group of four Tolkien scholars whom the Tolkien Estate has entrusted with special access to the author’s unpublished linguistic manuscripts. These linguists have published extensively on Tolkien’s invented languages, including in “Vinyar Tengwar,” a peer-reviewed journal that Hostetter edits.

Hostetter is one of the most experienced students of Tolkien’s manuscripts. His ability to read and interpret Tolkien’s notoriously difficult handwriting is second to none. Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020) entrusted Hostetter with editing his father’s last volume of published writings, released in 2021 under the title, “The Nature of Middle-earth.” Hostetter’s work is highly regarded by Tolkien scholars. His volume “Tolkien’s Legendarium”—co-edited with Verlyn Flieger—is considered one of the best collections of essays on the history of Tolkien’s secondary world.

Thursday, Oct. 13, 5 p.m.: “Tolkien’s Faith and the Foundations of Middle-earth,” presented by Holly Ordway

Holly Ordway is a rising star among Tolkien scholars. Her 2021 book “Tolkien’s Modern Reading” is a tour de force destined to become a classic in Tolkien studies. Ordway demonstrated that Tolkien, usually pigeonholed as a medievalist, was remarkably well read in modern literature.

Her work shows how many modern works affected Tolkien’s creative output. Currently on faculty at Houston Baptist University, Ordway has taught English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and MiraCosta College. She specializes in J.R.R. Tolkien and, more generally, in mythopoeic literature. Ordway’s current research project is a book-length treatment of Tolkien’s Catholicism, fitting for a Catholic, Jesuit university such as Marquette.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 5 p.m.: “Whispering Leaves: How Tolkien’s Manuscripts Reveal the Secrets of His Creativity,” presented by John Garth

Trained as a journalist, John Garth has gained an international reputation as a leading writer about J.R.R. Tolkien and a popular commentator on Tolkien’s works and life. His published works include the recent “The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien” (2020). His earlier masterpiece, “Tolkien and the Great War” (2003), is universally acknowledged as a classic in the field of Tolkien Studies.

Garth, who has made a special study of Tolkien’s manuscripts, will focus his lecture on a manuscript that is part of Marquette’s collection and has never previously been exhibited or published. He will demonstrate his renowned historical research skills by analyzing the manuscript and using it to tease out insights about Tolkien’s experiences during the Second World War.

Tickets for the “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” exhibition are on sale now. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizen and active military (with I.D.). Friends of the Haggerty Museum of Art members, K-12 educators, children aged 17 and under, and Marquette University students, faculty members, and staff members are free with advance reservations and a valid I.D. The exhibition will be open until 8 p.m. on the night of each lecture.

About the Haggerty Museum of Art

The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University is an innovative nexus of interdisciplinary learning where creativity, intellect and social justice intersect. Located in the heart of the Near West Side, adjacent to downtown Milwaukee, and open daily, the museum is one of the most accessible arts venues in the city.

“The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–1953
“The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–1953. Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. Credit: © The Tolkien Estate Limited 2022.

The Haggerty Museum of Art and Raynor Memorial Libraries at Marquette University will be presenting a a lecture series in September in conjunction with the collaborative exhibition “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript.

The exhibition — which opens on August 19 — will feature original manuscripts created by J.R.R. Tolkien for his The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and other works. It will consider Tolkien’s work through the lens of manuscripts, in terms of both the materials that he studied as a medieval philologist and the manuscripts that he created while developing his legendarium.

All lectures will be held at the Haggerty Museum of Art and are free to attend. They will also be streamed online for audiences who wish to attend virtually (great for people not in the USA!). The museum states that — due to limited capacity — reservations are required. You can reserve a place to attend the lectures here.

Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m.: “Editing the Tolkienian Manuscript,” presented by Carl Hostetter

Carl Hostetter is a computer scientist at NASA who has earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s invented languages. He is a key member of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, an elite group of four Tolkien scholars whom the Tolkien Estate has entrusted with special access to the author’s unpublished linguistic manuscripts. These linguists have published extensively on Tolkien’s invented languages, including in “Vinyar Tengwar,” a peer-reviewed journal that Hostetter edits.

Hostetter is one of the most experienced students of Tolkien’s manuscripts. His ability to read and interpret Tolkien’s notoriously difficult handwriting is second to none. Christopher Tolkien (1924-2020) entrusted Hostetter with editing his father’s last volume of published writings, released in 2021 under the title, “The Nature of Middle-earth.” Hostetter’s work is highly regarded by Tolkien scholars. His volume “Tolkien’s Legendarium”—co-edited with Verlyn Flieger—is considered one of the best collections of essays on the history of Tolkien’s secondary world.

Thursday, Oct. 13, 5 p.m.: “Tolkien’s Faith and the Foundations of Middle-earth,” presented by Holly Ordway

Holly Ordway is a rising star among Tolkien scholars. Her 2021 book “Tolkien’s Modern Reading” is a tour de force destined to become a classic in Tolkien studies. Ordway demonstrated that Tolkien, usually pigeonholed as a medievalist, was remarkably well read in modern literature.

Her work shows how many modern works affected Tolkien’s creative output. Currently on faculty at Houston Baptist University, Ordway has taught English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and MiraCosta College. She specializes in J.R.R. Tolkien and, more generally, in mythopoeic literature. Ordway’s current research project is a book-length treatment of Tolkien’s Catholicism, fitting for a Catholic, Jesuit university such as Marquette.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 5 p.m.: “Whispering Leaves: How Tolkien’s Manuscripts Reveal the Secrets of His Creativity,” presented by John Garth

Trained as a journalist, John Garth has gained an international reputation as a leading writer about J.R.R. Tolkien and a popular commentator on Tolkien’s works and life. His published works include the recent “The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien” (2020). His earlier masterpiece, “Tolkien and the Great War” (2003), is universally acknowledged as a classic in the field of Tolkien Studies.

Garth, who has made a special study of Tolkien’s manuscripts, will focus his lecture on a manuscript that is part of Marquette’s collection and has never previously been exhibited or published. He will demonstrate his renowned historical research skills by analyzing the manuscript and using it to tease out insights about Tolkien’s experiences during the Second World War.

Tickets for the “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” exhibition are on sale now. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for senior citizen and active military (with I.D.). Friends of the Haggerty Museum of Art members, K-12 educators, children aged 17 and under, and Marquette University students, faculty members, and staff members are free with advance reservations and a valid I.D. The exhibition will be open until 8 p.m. on the night of each lecture.

About the Haggerty Museum of Art

The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University is an innovative nexus of interdisciplinary learning where creativity, intellect and social justice intersect. Located in the heart of the Near West Side, adjacent to downtown Milwaukee, and open daily, the museum is one of the most accessible arts venues in the city.

“The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–1953
“The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–1953. Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. Credit: © The Tolkien Estate Limited 2022.

Over on Wraith Land, Thomas Kelley has just published the first part of an extended interview with noted Tolkien artist Jay Johnstone.

Jay’s artwork employs techniques from religious manuscripts, icon and fresco illustrations from the medieval period, and uses a variety of mediums — oils, watercolors, acrylics, egg tempera with gold powder and leaf. Striking detail and traditional techniques give the impression of artwork that could have been produced in the real Middle-earth.

Kelley delves into the goals underpinning Johnstone’s unique approach, and some of the insights into Tolkien’s worksthat Johnstone himself has gained out of it. If the interesection of Tolkien, art, psychology and spirituality is your thing, you’ll find this a very interesting read indeed.

An excerpt:

Johnstone dreams in Tolkien. And through him and his artwork we can perceive anew what it would mean to live in Middle-earth and to create art inside it. While Tolkien himself made “sub-creation” the purview of his own characters, from the creation of the Silmarils by Fëanor to the writing of the Red Book of Westmarch by the hobbits, Johnstone imagines what it would be like to be a painter inside Tolkien’s world, and then paints that world and its history. Reminiscent of the religious medieval icon paintings by Duccio di Buoninsegna and Fra Angelico, Johnstone’s paintings work not just like time portals but dream portals.

Visit Wraith Land to read the feature in full.

Tolkienography: Isildur’s Bane & Iconic Interpretations by Jay Johnstone
Tolkienography: Isildur’s Bane & Iconic Interpretations by Jay Johnstone.

Got Tolkien news? Email us at spymaster@theonering.net.

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.

Tolkien art meets with the very latest technology! Spiderwebart and Greg Hildebrandt have been in touch to let us know that the painting ‘The Ring of Galadriel’ (1975) is for sale now, as an NFT. (Purchase would also include the original acrylic paint on board.) This is a rare chance to own a unique and famed piece of Middle-earth art, which also inspired George Lucas. Here’s an official statement about the painting:

The Ring of Galadriel was originally created in 1975 by master fantasy painters Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. First appearing in Ballantine Books’ 1976 Tolkien Calendar as the month of May, the design of this painting was based on classic imagery. The Brothers Hildebrandt derived inspiration from great works such as The Madonna, Botticelli’s Angels, along with Maxfield Parrish’s lighting and statuesque figure style. Researching medieval attire, they chose to use long draped sleeves to add a graceful majesty to our heroine. There is also a nod to the great English Academy artists in the rendering of her hair. Galadriel has an attitude of beauty, power, and strength as she is the Elf Queen who possesses one of the greatest powers in Middle Earth.
The purchase of this NFT also entitles the buyer to the original acrylic paint on board 36×36 inches, framed, signed

The Tolkien art of the Brothers Hildebrandt helped establish the genre of fantasy art and made their names world-renowned. After responding to an open call for artists, Tim and Greg Hildebrandt were chosen to create 43 paintings for Ballantine Books’ J.R.R Tolkien calendars over a period of three years in the late ’70s. 

During this same time, a young filmmaker by the name of George Lucas was in need of a striking movie poster to help sell his latest film. He had taken notice of the first two Lord of the Rings calendars and sought the brothers out to create a painting that would help sell it. The brothers created what became one of the most recognizable movie posters in cinematic history for the film Star Wars.

Over the years both Greg and Tim have created several iconic pieces for books and movies including work for companies like Marvel, Lucasarts, and Universal. Now an octogenarian, Greg Hildebrandt still sits at his table each day, busy as ever.

You can find the sale of this amazing piece here.

The wonderful painting by the Brothers Hildebrandt, of Galadriel holding Nenya aloft. The ring shines on her hand with a light of its own. It is night, and the dark blue sky behind her is full of stars - which are echoed in the white flowers around her feet. In front of her stand the dish and ewer which serve as her mirror, on a tree shaped pedestal.
The Ring of Galadriel, by the Brothers Hildebrandt

“A palace with a thousand and one entrances, J.R.R. Tolkien’s world can be explored through a thousand and one doorways … doors and corridors leading into often unexplored aspects of his universe.” – tolkienestate.com

The home page of tolkienestate.com
TolkienEstate.com Home Page

If you’ve never visited the Tolkien Estate website, you’re in for a wonderful treat – one of seemingly endless discovery and learning about everything Tolkien. If you’re one of the lucky ones who have already discovered this gem of a site, it’s time to revisit it!

Continue reading “The Joy of Discovering (or Rediscovering) the Tolkien Estate Website”