This has been a year of challenges and loss. Our collective experience of a global pandemic was peppered with losses in our intimate Tolkien community as well.
Today, on this last day of the year, we wish to take a moment to remember just a few of those in our community who left this earthly realm, and have found a far green country under a swift sunrise. Whether it was the patriarch of the entirety of Tolkien’s legacy, or the artist who created infamous cover art, they will all be missed – along with so many others who sailed into the West this year. We honour them all. Fare thee well!
Artistic Tolkien fans united on twitter this year for #Tolkientober to share new illustrations and representations of Middle-earth. Both fun and personal, the charge was led by Molly Ostertag who here pulls a small sample of the 1000’s of outstanding drawings.
EDITORS NOTE: Guest author Molly Knox Ostertag was invited to showcase the great artistic work done by fans worldwide for #Tolkientober. She is one of 2020’s Forbes 30 Under 30 media professionals, a NYTimes best-selling author and a leading illustrator for Disney animation.
A common theme of 2020 (besides mounting existential dread and the strange feeling that it’s lasted several centuries) has been people finding comfort in a return to their teenage passions. This is my sole excuse for why I have become as obsessed with Lord of the Rings this year as I was when I was 12 and would literally lie on the floor with giant speakers on either side of my head, playing the Return of the King soundtrack and crying about the Grey Havens.
I’ve been having fun drawing and writing and indulging this obsession, but there’s a limit to how much hobbit fanart a bored lesbian in lockdown can produce. Craving more content in much the same way Thorin & Co crave their ancestral treasure, I started a drawing challenge for October called #Tolkientober (I couldn’t think of a better name; please let me know if you come up with one). Each day had a theme, sometimes obvious things like ‘a dwarf’ and sometimes more interpretative, like ‘a guardian’. With weekends off, of course – no one better than Tolkien understood the importance of having periods of rest and healing in between efforts.
National Geographic reports scientists have discovered a new family of eel-like fish, named dragon snakeheads, living in subterranean waters in India. As you will see, there is already one member of the species named after a Tolkien character. We suggest the name ‘Smaug’ for this new worm-like dragon.
This family includes only two species, one of which is named the Gollum snakehead, after the subterranean __Lord of the Rings character.
These strange, long-bodied fish, which dwell in aquifers of porous rock, are rarely seen, only coming to the surface after flooding from heavy rains. Britz says the family’s common name is fitting because “everyone who sees a photo of the fish is somehow reminded of a dragon.”
Here are 3 questions to be answered in 3 minutes or less as part of The Tolkien Fandom Oral History Project; an inspired quest spearheaded by William Fliss, Archivist in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives of the Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.