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.”

Our good friends at Volante Opera have been in touch with very exciting news! You may remember, in 2022 and 2023 we brought you news of their work with composer Paul Corfield Godfrey, to bring to life his operas of stories from The Silmarillion.

Godfrey had for many years been working on operatic excerpts from The Lord of the Rings – and during lockdown, he and the Volante Opera folks had even begun recording excerpts, ‘just in case’; but the Tolkien Estate had not granted permission for those works to be released.

We can now exclusively reveal that Godfrey and Volante Opera Productions have been granted permission to release recordings and scores of these works.

There are thirty ‘chapters’, intended to be performed over six evenings. The text is (of course) abridged, but uses as closely as possible Tolkien’s own words; and fans can even look forward to an appearance by that most elusive of characters in adaptations, Tom Bombadil!

The fifteen CD set should be available in 2025. Meanwhile, you can enjoy Volante’s previous recordings of Godfrey’s Silmarillion settings, available to purchase on their website; and here’s a trailer, with aural ‘glimpses’ of what treats we have in store.

Here’s the official press release from Volante Opera:

AT LAST – AN OPERATIC TREATMENT OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS

For many years the Tolkien Estate has refused to allow any musical treatment of the works of the author which employed his own words. Now they have agreed to make a concession in respect of the music of Paul Corfield Godfrey, whose cycle of “epic scenes from The Silmarillion” was finally completed in 2023 with the issue of a ten-CD series of recordings from Volante Opera and Prima Facie Records.

Ever since the 1960s the composer has been working on sketches, fragments and episodes of what was envisaged as a cycle of musical works based upon The Lord of the Rings. Following on from the success of the recordings of The Silmarillion Paul was persuaded to go back to these beginnings and fully explore, expand and complete the work which has now evolved as “musical chapters from The Lord of the Rings”. This fully operatic setting has now become a companion work on the same scale as The Silmarillion. This adaptation takes place over thirty “chapters” designed to be performed over six evenings – over fifteen hours of music.

This work is currently in the process of recording by Volante Opera and it is anticipated that Prima Facie will release a demo recording of the complete cycle, in the same manner as their Silmarillion recordings, in 2025.

Cast

The professional singers, some thirty in number, come mainly from Welsh National Opera. Returning artists from The Silmarillion include: Simon Crosby Buttle as Frodo, Julian Boyce as Sam, Philip Lloyd-Evans as Gandalf, Stephen Wells as Aragorn, Michael Clifton-Thompson as Gollum, Helen Jarmany as Éowyn, Huw Llywelyn as Bilbo, Emma Mary Llewellyn as Arwen, Laurence Cole as Boromir/Denethor, Martin Lloyd as Treebeard/Herb Master, Helen Greenaway as Lobelia/Ioreth, Rosie Hay as Gwaihir, Sophie Yelland as the Barrow-wight, Louise Ratcliffe as Lindir, with George Newton-Fitzgerald and Jasey Hall taking on a plethora of roles. Angharad Morgan will also be reprising her role as Galadriel from The Silmarillion. Our new cast members and their characters will be introduced as the recording process continues.

Those who have enjoyed the composer’s large-scale setting of The Silmarillion will be pleased to discover that the music inhabits the same musical world as before, with many ideas and themes continued and expanded into The Lord of the Rings. The “musical chapters” also incorporate other works by the composer such as his earlier Tolkien songs (already available on CD) which now assume greater significance in the course of the whole structure.

Although the text is inevitably abridged, it adheres without any but the most minor alterations to the author’s original words, and the original plot development remains unchanged – including such elements as Tom Bombadil, the Barrow-wight and the ‘scouring of the Shire’. And some other passages, such as the coronation and wedding of Aragorn, are given expanded musical treatment.

Further tales from Tolkien in music

Also coming early 2025, a complete recording of Paul Corfield Godfrey’s solo piano works played by renowned British concert pianist Duncan Honeybourne. This will include, amongst other works, the epic piano rondo Akallabêth, a solo piano version of the Wedding March from The Fall of Gondolin, and a new work composed specifically for Duncan and this album – ‘The Passing of Arwen’.

For more information about the work please visit: www.paulcorfieldgodfrey.co.uk
For more information about the recording by Volante Opera Productions please visit: www.volanteopera.wales
Updates about the recording process will be posted to our social media feeds:
DISCORD: https://discord.gg/J6bQFHygr7
FACEBOOK: Volante Opera Productions, The Music of Paul Corfield Godfrey
INSTAGRAM/THREADS: @volanteopera
TWITTER/X: @OperaVolante, @TheCorfield
Recordings and scores of Epic Scenes from The Silmarillion and Akallabêth and other Tolkien Works are available from Volante Opera Productions’ website.

Check out Volante’s website for lots more information, including more details on casting/characters, chapter breakdown, and synopsis. So much to look forward to; we can’t wait to hear these pieces in full. Now we hope they may be brought to the stage one day… Meanwhile here’s Godfrey’s ‘Lament for Boromir’ – enjoy!

Texts by J.R.R. Tolkien from The Lord of the Rings and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by permission of the Estate of the author, HarperCollins Publishers and Middle-earth Enterprises.

Publisher HarperCollins is set to release a new Tolkien book, The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien, this September. The three-volume book will gather together much of J.R.R. Tolkien’s published verse, as well as somewhere in the vicinity of 77 (see below for the editors’ explanation about the inherent difficulties of being precise) previously unreleased poems from his archives.

Editors Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond note that it’s a Collected Poems work, not a Complete Poems work, due to “economies of production”. However, the book will still include “most of the verses Tolkien is known to have written, and for most of these, multiple versions which show their evolution.”

Writing on their blog, the pair explain that:

There are at least 240 discrete poems, depending on how one distinguishes titles and versions, presented in 195 entries and five appendices.

When possible, we have used manuscripts and typescripts in the Bodleian Library, at Marquette University, and at the University of Leeds.

We have chosen not to include all of the one hundred or so poems contained in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but have made a representative selection – surely, no one who reads the Collected Poems will not already have at least one copy of Tolkien’s two most popular works.

They further explain that “discrete poems” depends on one’s definition.

Some of the poems morph in their evolution so much that one could either count a work as a single entity in a variety of forms, or as a variety of separate poems that are closely related. Hence our vagueness about the number: we didn’t want to overhype it.

There’s a similar issue with counting which poems have been published and which haven’t. The best we can say is that among the poems we include, 77 have not been published before in any form, or only a few lines from them have appeared, e.g. in Carpenter’s biography.

TolkienGateway has a list of known yet unpublished works if you’re curious.

The HarperCollins press release notes that poetry was the first way in which Tolkien expressed himself creatively and through it the seeds of his literary ambition would be sown. The character Eärendil emerged from one of his earliest poems The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star in 1914. And from Eärendil we have world of The Silmarillion, and subsequently The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, each which is enriched with many poems.

Charged, at first, by Christopher Tolkien to review only his early poems, Hammond and Scull soon saw the benefits of examining his entire poetic opus across six decades and showing its evolution with comments in the manner of Christopher’s magisterial History of Middle-earth series.

Collected Poems will provide the stories behind, and analysis of, each poem, as well as revealing the extraordinary amount of work that Tolkien invested in them.

Not long before his death, Hammond and Scull were able to send Christopher Tolkien a portion of the book, which he praised as “remarkable and immensely desirable”.

They state that the 1,500-plus-page book (the numbers listed on Amazon’s description are apparently outdated and not correct) will also include “a long introduction to Tolkien as a poet, a brief chronology of his poetry, and a glossary of archaic, unusual, or unfamiliar words he used in his verse.”

According to Hammond and Scull, there are currently no plans for a deluxe edition; the aim is for an elegant trade release (hardcover). As yet there is no announcement of a U.S. edition. It looks as though like Amazon will carry a (Kindle) e-book as well.

The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien will be released on September 12.

The Collected Poems of JRR Tolkien cover page.

Sources: Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond blog, Tolkien Collector’s Guide, Amazon UK

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 OVER INFRINGING 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.” 

First published in 1981 and now expanded with more than 150 new letters, excerpts and additional notes, this new edition of the oft-cited book, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, gives fans and scholars a deeper insight into the man behind The Lord of the Rings.

Get the new updated edition at your favourite bookstore or online (Amazon).

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, first edited by Humphrey Carpenter with assistance from Christopher Tolkien, is the definitive source of Tolkien’s personal writings. If you have ever seen a quotation cited from “Letter 131” it’s a reference to the numbering of this book. Some call it a biblical bibliography of Tolkien. In this new edition the numbering remains the same, with additional content added in context via a “203a… 203b…” system. Several letters have expanded, with the 8+ page Letter 131 now 40% longer from its originally edited form.

We learned on the podcast this week how these letters continue to be discovered, with some fetching over $100,000 at auction in recent years. Tolkien was prolific in his communications to fans and family over his lifetime. In one series of letters, he talks about the wonderful quality of storyboards presented in a film pitch meeting – drawings by Ron Cobb who went on to design Star Wars, Alien and Back to the Future.

The following is extracted from a much longer (and more collector-focused) review at TolkienGuide.com which also includes a PDF tracking all the changes big and small in this new 2023 edition.

From The Tolkien Collector’s Guide Review

Review by onthetrail, Mr. Underhill, Urulókë and Trotter

This edition will give fans of J.R.R. Tolkien a greater understanding of his family life, his work, and his secondary world.

We see the first change come in the June 1925 letter to the “Electors of the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon, University of Oxford” but it is not until January 1934 in a letter to his son John, at that time a 16-year-old pupil of the Oratory School in Berkshire, that we see the first new letter.

We notice very quickly that early letters are sadly not found here and Humphrey Carpenter in his introduction to the original edition says that “among the omissions is the very large body of letters he wrote between 1913 and 1918 to Edith Bratt, who was his fiancee and then his wife; these are highly personal in character, and from them I have chosen only a few passages which refer to writings in which Tolkien was engaged at the time” so omitting those early, private letters shouldn’t be too surprising, and that attitude still holds.

This new edition allows us to see the editorship of Humphrey Carpenter, with Christopher Tolkien’s assistance, in a brand-new light. Originally, the book was far more general, and generous with the inclusion of many excerpts which show J.R.R. Tolkien’s love and concern toward his sons who were either engaged in battle or training to be during WW2. With enlightening passages to Christopher Tolkien, we witness J.R.R. Tolkien talking openly about the horrors of war, and the impact on those involved. The published edition was cut down, as said already, but only with this new edition do we see how Humphrey Carpenter did not simply reduce it for size, but also for thematic purposes. If the original edition is a letters volume which focuses mostly on J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagined writing, this new edition gives us the filling, it shows us the backdrop to it all and offers more on J.R.R. Tolkien’s routines around his working and home life. We see J.R.R. Tolkien exchanging with his sons now at school and what comes across is more of the concerned father, it exemplifies (if one needed any such confirmation) the relationship he shared with his boys and the concern for their education, life choices, financial matters, and love. With open and honest assessments of the relationships his sons were beginning to experience, J.R.R. Tolkien’s role as a father is brought into sharper focus.

The more astute reader among us will read some newly published excerpts and know that they have read portions or all of the quotes previously in The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, and this is true, not every new passage found here is truly new, but they are reunited with topically connected letters and offer us yet more glimpses into J.R.R. Tolkien’s life. There are of course still treasures to be found among the details found in The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, and readers should use the two books side-by-side to explore further.

We learn more of the work that J.R.R. Tolkien put into The Hobbit through his letters to his publisher and being able to read what J.R.R. Tolkien was sending to George Allen & Unwin. But we also see some stories about his family life, and how his children were very much his children. For example, you will learn that Priscilla Tolkien could “take any amount of dragon, and a reasonable dose of goblin; but we recently had to change all the handles on the chest-of-drawers in her room, because the former handles ‘grinned at her’, even in the dark.”

In November 1937 we get the first bulky new letter – sent to his friend E. V. Gordon. We learn more about Gordon’s Pearl and Tolkien’s role in the creation of this book, which would not be published until long after E.V. Gordon’s untimely death.

The revisions and additions in this new edition gives a greater insight into J.R.R. Tolkien’s life and allows us to find out more about the mind and thinking of the Professor. These letters are of great use to general readers and J.R.R. Tolkien researchers when looking for answers in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works.

During the late 1930s and through the war years of the early to mid 1940s, Tolkien wrote to his sons a lot, and this volume has a healthy group of excerpts, mostly to Christopher Tolkien and we witness the closeness of the two. That Christopher Tolkien became his father’s literary executor is no accident. These letters demonstrate further how essential Christopher Tolkien was to his father’s creative endeavors.

Our first glimpse of 1951 is where the new edition really pays off. J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous letter #131 to Milton Waldman (of Collins) has always been a favorite among readers, but now, we see just how potent this letter is. The original was always known to be longer, and the portion which dealt with The Lord of the Rings was wisely not included. Now the two pieces are reunited, as we now know was Humphrey Carpenter’s original intent. But there is more! A portion which we do not believe to have been known is included at the conclusion and it is J.R.R. Tolkien’s “proposed for publication” list which is a wonderful gift to those interested in how Tolkien saw his writing, and what he believed was important for publication.

After that we learn more on proofs of The Lord of the Rings, the artwork for it and the pressures of Tolkien’s life at that time. Still a busy academic, he now faced increased demands from those interested in adapting his work and the new selections provided highlight that fact further.

For the next decade of his life, J.R.R. Tolkien would spend his time on revisions, dealing with piracy and how he will enlist fans’ help in informing people of its harm to his financial welfare, adaptations, translated editions of his work, academia, and all manner of other responsibilities which would keep him from completing his epic work on The Silmarillion. We can understand through these letters more than ever just how much J.R.R. Tolkien had on his plate. But also we can deduce that J.R.R. Tolkien would flit from one project to another. He would decide that Sir Gawain must be dealt with, only for him to delay it to complete the Silmarillion. J.R.R. Tolkien was nothing if not an expert excuse maker and those who love his excuses need not worry, there are plenty of new additions here to keep fans happy.

From Letter 131, which is 40 per cent longer in the new edition. Previously edited for space.

And this carries us through the book to its end. It gives us new details on a myriad of subjects. We learn more about J.R.R. Tolkien’s professional relationships and his family, his losses, and his achievements which make him a house-hold name. This edition shows more keenly the shifting of time and with it we see both his and Edith Tolkien’s health decline far more closely than in the original edition.

The Index at the back of the book, compiled and revised for this edition by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, is comprehensive and does allow for easy retrieval of a letter based on subject. 

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Revised and Expanded edition is a welcome addition to Tolkien studies, for both readers and researchers and it is to Humphrey Carpenter’s credit that this volume can stand on its own as a monumental work, but it also makes the original a more impressive read because we can now see how the editor shaped and crafted it into an absorbing work.

A volume like this can be a curse and a wonderful gift all at the same time, and it delivers both in equal measure, especially for those who hold J.R.R. Tolkien, Edith Tolkien, and their family in their hearts. We meet these people again through this expanded selection of letters, and it is brought home to this reader that they have all passed into the West and we are given these new memories to remember them by. The new book is an essential addition to your Tolkien library, as it supersedes the earlier edition.

Read the entire collector-focused review over at the Tolkien Guide.

More Context and Perspectives

TolkienGuide.com joined TORn Tuesday show for a 2-hour deep dive on the biggest changes and most enlightening additions to the book.

Famed pub The Eagle and Child, frequented by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the Inklings group, closed three years ago during the pandemic; but a new investment group plans to bring it back to life.

Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle Systems based in California, has purchased the long-empty pub from Oxford’s St. John’s College.

The Ellison Institute of Technology plans to renovate and reopen the famed pub, nicknamed The Bird & Baby, with a new restaurant, meeting rooms, and a new study area for students and faculty. According to Oxford Mail, the rebirth of the Eagle and Child will modernise the space and secure its long-term economic viability, while also honouring its proud past.

Serving Oxford since the 17th century, the plan is to modernize the entire area while still keeping The Eagle and Child – and most importantly the Inklings corner – intact. No date has yet been set for reopening.

TheOneRing.net staffers greendragon, K.M. Rice and Justin visited the closed pub in 2022 thanks to Amazon Studios Rings of Power “London 30” event.