Tolkien fans may have been aware of an odd case going through the courts. In 2022, a writer named Demetrious Polychron self-published a book called The Fellowship of the King, claiming it was the ‘pitch-perfect sequel to The Lord of the Rings‘.
In April of this year, Polychron attempted to sue the Tolkien Estate and Amazon (for $250 million!), claiming that The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power TV series infringed copyright on his book. (This court document reveals letters Polychron wrote to Simon Tolkien – it makes for fascinating reading.) This case was dismissed by a judge – but Polychron had been unwise to draw such attention to his writing. The Tolkien Estate in turn filed a lawsuit to prevent distribution of Polychron’s derivative book, and the six sequels he had planned. Here’s what the Estate’s official press release tells us, about the conclusion of this extraordinary tale:
TOLKIEN ESTATE SUCCESSFUL IN COPYRIGHT CLAIMS OVERINFRINGING LORD OF THE RINGS ‘SEQUEL’
The Estate of JRR Tolkien has been successful in two lawsuits concerning a book named The Fellowship of the King by US-based author Demetrious Polychron.
Polychron published and commercially promoted the book, which he claimed to be “the pitch-perfect sequel to The Lord of the Rings.”
Polychron then commenced a lawsuit against the Tolkien Estate and Amazon in April of this year, claiming that Amazon’s TV series The Rings of Power infringed the copyright in his book. The US District Court summarily dismissed that case, finding that Polychron’s own book was infringing and could not be used as the basis for a claim.
The Tolkien Estate filed a separate lawsuit against Polychron for an injunction to prevent The Fellowship of the King from being further distributed.
In Judgments issued by Judge Steven V. Wilson on December 14, the Court awarded the Tolkien Estate summary judgment on its claim, granting a permanent injunction which prevents Polychron from ever distributing any further copies of The Fellowship of the King, his planned sequels to that book, or any other derivative work based on the books of JRR Tolkien. He is also required to destroy all physical and electronic copies of his book and to file a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that he has complied.
The Court also awarded attorney’s fees totalling $134,000 to the Tolkien Estate and Amazon in connection with Polychron’s lawsuit, which the Court found to have been frivolously and unreasonably filed.
Lance Koonce and Gili Karev of Klaris Law, New York, represented the Tolkien Estate.
The Estate’s UK solicitor, Steven Maier of Maier Blackburn, commented: “This is an important success for the Tolkien Estate, which will not permit unauthorized authors and publishers to monetize JRR Tolkien’s much-loved works in this way. This case involved a serious infringement of The Lord of the Rings copyright, undertaken on a commercial basis, and the Estate hopes that the award of a permanent injunction and attorneys’ fees will be sufficient to dissuade others who may have similar intentions.”
Late last year we brought you news of the incredible artistic feat which is composer Paul Corfield Godfrey’s series of operas, telling tales from The Silmarillion. Already available at that time were Fëanor, Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin and The Fall of Gondolin. Last week, the fifth and final part, The War of Wrath, was released.
These stunning and suitably epic operas all use text taken directly from Tolkien’s writing (with full permission from the Tolkien Estate). You can order your copies from Volante Opera’s website. Check out this video (really way more than a trailer!) to give you a taste of this labour of love:
Two handwritten letters, from J.R.R. Tolkien to the British Council, have been uncovered by a volunteer at the National Archives in Kew.
In a recently published blog, we are told: ‘The correspondence centres on Tolkien’s research collaboration with Simonne d’Ardenne, a former student of his at Oxford, who shared his academic interest in historical languages.’
It’s always exciting to uncover new items related to the Professor – and especially to see that familiar and unique handwriting. The letters will remain at the National Archives, added to the previously catalogued Tolkien correspondence in their collection. You can read more about this unearthed treasure here.
Staffer greendragon recently had the pleasure of sitting down with composer Paul Corfield Godfrey and tenor Simon Crosby Buttle to find out more about these epic works, which are finally being made available for us all to enjoy. It’s been a suitably (in a Tolkien-esque sort of way!) long quest, which has included copious correspondence between Godfrey and folks such as Rayner Unwin and Christopher Tolkien – and has even featured an appearance by one of the Tolkien family in a performance! Find out all the fascinating details in our zoom chat:
Good news for all the fans out there who are disappointed that we have yet to see tales from The Silmarillion performed on stage or screen: composer Paul Corfield Godfrey’s suitably epic opera of First Age stories is now available, in a recording made by singers from Welsh National Opera. We may not yet be seeing these tales; but at least you can listen to them!
There are four parts to this mammoth labour of love, all using text taken directly from Tolkien’s writing (with full permission from the Tolkien Estate). Fëanor, Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin and The Fall of Gondolin are available now; and they will be joined in 2023 by a fifth and final part, The War of Wrath. Here are details from the official press release:
Due to some technical issues, there has been some realignment to the programming schedule at LACC and TheOneRing.net has a slight change in our programming slot.
Our ‘Dispatches from Middle-earth: The return to Middle-earth’ panel is still in room 303 AB on Saturday, December 3, but now our start time is at 5:30 PM and ending at 7:00 PM, giving us nearly a full 90-minute panel. Join us as we talk about all things Tolkien, past, present, and future. And remember, we love seeing Middle-earth themed cosplay, and this is the weekend to really bring it.
But wait, there’s more Middle-earth goodness to be had. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin will be on the Main Stage on Saturday, December 3 from 3:00 PM to 3:50 PM. Both will be doing autographs and photo ops on Saturday as well, check the L.A. ComicCon App for details.
There is one more surprise coming tomorrow for cool, geeky Middle-earth-themed fun happening at LACC, so check back tomorrow morning.