Since 1973, The Tolkien Society have hosted a gathering to celebrate the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and this weekend they’re doing it again – for the 50th time. This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Professor’s death, on September 2nd. Fans are gathering in Oxford from around the world for this special event; here’s what the society’s press release tells us:
350 Tolkien fans from around 25 different countries are meeting in Oxford next weekend to celebrate the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
The event, taking place at St Anne’s College, Oxford from Thursday 31st August to Sunday 3rd September, has sold out due to the increasing popularity of Tolkien’s works. The event follows the recent publication of The Fall of Númenor and the release of the Amazon TV-series The Rings of Power set in the Second Age of Middle-earth.
The event itself will include talks from leading Tolkien scholars – including Brian Sibley, editor of The Fall of Númenor, screenwriter of The Lord of the Rings radio series and biographer of Peter Jackson – quizzes, workshops, an art exhibition, a masquerade, a Hobbit bake-off, a party and even theatrical performances. The weekend concludes, as always, with Enyalie, a ceremony of remembrance at Tolkien’s grave in Wolvercote Cemetery on Sunday afternoon. With attendees from 25 different countries, this year’s Oxonmoot takes place following the publication of the Sunday Times bestseller, The Fall of Númenor, proving the continuing popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien as author relevant in the 21st Century. Tolkien’s best-known work was The Lord of the Rings, which has been translated into over 50 languages and estimates put sales at over 150 million copies worldwide.
Founded in 1969 by Vera Chapman, The Tolkien Society is an educational charity and literary society with the aim of promoting the life and works with J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien himself supported the organisation and gave it his seal of approval by agreeing to become The Tolkien Society’s President. On Tolkien’s death the family recommended he stay as President, so, to this day, he remains The Tolkien Society’s Honorary President in perpetuo. The Society has 4,000 members and hosts events up and down the country every week.
Shaun Gunner, Chair of The Tolkien Society, said: “Tolkien is as popular as ever as we’ve packed out St Anne’s College to have a celebratory weekend like no other! Not only will we be joined by Brian Sibley, but Bear McCreary – composer of the score of The Rings of Power – and other Tolkien scholars are joining us. People are coming over from 5 continents to share their love for Tolkien and their passion for his works. Oxonmoot has been going for 50 years and provides an excellent opportunity for hundreds of fans from around the world to come together for a weekend of fun and fellowship in Oxford, a location so important to Tolkien.” He added, “This year’s Oxonmoot is particularly special: the world’s longest-running Tolkien event reaches its 50th anniversary, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of Tolkien’s death.“
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Oxonmoot, an annual event hosted by The Tolkien Society in Oxford, UK. The event will be available to stream live from Thursday, August 31 through Sunday, September 3.
Bear McCreary will join Oxonmoot for an exclusive chat on Friday, September 1st at 4:40pm UK-time (8:40am PDT / 11:40am EDT / 5:40pm CET), and the session will be available live to online attendees.
McCreary, a lifelong Tolkien fan, composed the 37 tracks that make up the score for Prime’s Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power. His work for the show received acclaim from fans and critics alike. The gorgeous themes he developed for the show were completely new yet still reflective of the scores that Howard Shore composed for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. McCreary is also know for his work on Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, and Outlander, among other television series. McCreary is articulate in speaking about his methodology, and he is just plain fun in an interview.
Brian Sibley will also be a guest at Oxonmoot. His session is called “‘The Fall of Númenor’: An Editor’s Journey.” As the name of the event implies, Mr. Sibley edited the volume of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings titled The Fall of Númenor: And Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth, which was illustrated by Alan Lee. Sibley will speak about the “pleasures and pitfalls” in editing the book.
Sibley has written extensively for radio dramas such as BBC Radio 4’s adaptation of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. He is well known for authoring many “making of” books about films, including those for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as the Harry Potter series. He is incredibly knowledgeable about Tolkien and fascinating to listen to.
If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite Tolkien fan, you’ve come to the right place! The staff of TheOneRing.net have put together a list of our favorite items of the year, with price points for every budget. And while it’s nice to know that 2-day shipping exists (thanks, Amazon!), shipping delays around the holidays are inevitable, so we recommend starting your gift shopping now. Not to mention that the perfect item you’ve been looking for could sell out!
From our Fellowship to yours, TheOneRing.net would like to wish you all a peaceful and happy holiday season.
Mini Epics: Witch-King of the Unseen Lands Limited Edition by Weta Workshop: $44.99
I’ve been a fan of Weta Workshop’s Mini Epics line since they started releasing them, but this might be my favorite one so far. The attention to detail on these little guys is so…epic! And like all Weta collectibles, they were designed by the same artists that worked on the films. “Peeking through the mortal veil, we glimpsed the mighty Witch-king’s true visage, immortalized now for all to fear in Mini Epic form.”
Not only is this Witch-King fear-inducing , he’s also kind of cute! Click HERE to pre-order.
Realm of Middle-earth Moonlit Throw by Oscha: £96.00
It’s no secret that I’ve always been a huge fan of Scottish company Oscha’s Middle-earth range. Their designs are so beautiful; you can choose a throw, shawl, mug, or bag, if you’re not in the market for a baby sling or baby blanket. (Though I have to say, the baby blankets make great wall hangings!) This year I’m highlighting their ‘Realm of Middle-earth’ pattern, on the ‘moonlit’ colour scheme throw. Who doesn’t like a good map from Tolkien’s world? This would look beautiful on any sofa or bed. Do yourself a favour and check out Oscha’s entire collection; you’ll be glad you did! Click HERE to order.
Hobbit Mini Gandalf Hat by Stansborough: $79
It’s great to know that small, family run businesses creating sustainable and ethical products (such as Oscha, above) can thrive; and as one of the best, I’m thrilled that Stansborough in New Zealand are still going strong. They are the folks who made the magical Elven cloaks for The Lord of the Rings movies, as well as Gandalf’s scarf in The Hobbit movies, and further fabrics for The Rings of Power! Once again, they have fabulous scarfs, throws, caps, etc. – and even Gandalf’s hat! My choice for the gift list is the mini Gandalf hat; I already said this in another homepage post, but I think it would be an adorable tree topper. Own a little piece of genuine New Zealand goodness; check out Stansborough’s website. Their treasures aren’t cheap – but the standard is so high, they’re worth every penny! Click HERE to order.
Collectibles from NZ Post: prices vary
NZ Post continue their celebration of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy with 20th anniversary collectibles for The Two Towers. Their products are beautiful, and would be treasured by any collector. I particularly love the Limited Edition stamp presentation pack, and this stunning art print. The new range of pins would be wonderful stocking stuffers! There are three, all great designs and very attractive presentation; again, very collectible. Choose from Eye of Sauron, Gollum, or Mount Doom.
The Fall of Númenor: And Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth by J.R.R Tolkien and edited by Brian Sibley: $34.99
My ‘must have’ this year is “The Fall of Numenor” edited by Brian Sibley, who expertly weaves together all the Second Age story strands into one, cohesive timeline custom-made for the fans of Tolkien who want to dig deeper into the lore, but without having to scour numerous other volumes. Add to this the glorious new watercolor and pencil drawings from Alan Lee, and this book becomes the perfect Holiday gift for new and existing Tolkien fans. Click HERE to order.
The Lord of the Rings Jewelry Collection by Enso Rings: starting at $44.99
Enso has a collection of silicone rings inspired by The Lord of the Rings. The Shire Leaf ring is perfect for anyone who dreams of the simple life. This ring celebrates the idyllic, peaceful home of the Hobbits with a leaf etching on Distressed Ashy Green and Black Pearl. Click HERE to see other designs and to order.
The Silmarillion (Illustrated Edition): Illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien: $39.00
For the first time ever, a very special edition of the forerunner to The Lord of the Rings, illustrated throughout in color by J.R.R. Tolkien himself and with the complete text printed in two colors. The Silmarillion fills in the background which lies behind the more popular work, and gives the earlier history of Middle-earth, introducing some of the key characters. Click HERE to order.
The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring 2000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by Ravensburger: $44.99
Join the Fellowship in their quest through Middle Earth to rid the world of Sauron’s One Ring. Pursued by Ringwraiths, the Hobbits Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin are aided by the Wizard Gandalf, the Ranger Aragorn, Legolas the elf, Gimli the dwarf and Boromir. The Watcher nearly prevents their perilous trek through the Mines of Moria, where Gandalf confronts a Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Galadriel provides comfort, but Saruman’s Uruk-hai pursue. Will the Fellowship make it to Mordor? An immersive illustrated map of Middle Earth, this “The Fellowship of the Ring” puzzle is a Ravensburger exclusive, perfect for any Lord of the Rings fan! Click HERE to order the FotR puzzle, or HERE for their ‘Two Towers’ puzzle.
Wee Tanya recommends:
The Lord of the Rings Apparel and Accessories line by Her Universe: prices vary
I am a huge fan of costuming, but can’t always put on a full elf outfit at work. The brand Her Universe currently has a range of all-gender Lord of the Rings apparel, including cloaks, hoodies, leggings, t-shirts, and a fantastic blouse with Fellowship broach embroidery on the collar that can keep us Tolkiening along in a more subtle way. If you can’t find an specific item that you want, the Her Universe LOTR line is also sold at Hot Topic. Some of my favorite items include the Middle-earth map button-down in men’s sizes, the dress that is suitable for a Ren Faire or Hobbit dance party, and the Loungefly bag. Click HERE to order.
In response to a question on twitter, editor Brian Sibley has given a few more details about the contents of The Downfall of Númenor.
Sibley says the book will draw on Akallabêth and Of the Rings of Power (from The Silmarillion) plus material from The Peoples of Middle-earth (HOME Vol XII), Sauron Defeated (HOME Vol IX), The Lost Road and other Writings (HOME V), The Nature of Middle-earth, Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Lord of the Rings.
He makes no mention of new, previously unpublished material.
Previous promotional blurb has described that “J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Fall of Númenor collects all of Tolkien’s Second Age writings together, following the chronology of The Tale of Years.”
It also includes ten new color paintings by Alan Lee. The book is out in November.
Timed perfectly to coincide with Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, Harper Collins have announced their next Tolkien publication. The Fall of Númenor, edited by Brian Sibley, brings together the key tales of the Second Age, in chronological order. Sure to be the perfect handbook for those who want to see exactly what Tolkien did write about this earlier period of his legendarium, it will not contain any previously unpublished text; but it does feature new art by beloved artist Alan Lee. It will be released in hardback and deluxe editions November 10th 2022, two months after the debut of The Rings of Power.
You can read comments Brian Sibley made exclusively to our friends at The Tolkien Society on their website. Further details can be found in the official press release from HarperCollins, below:
HarperCollins is proud to announce the publication in November 2022 of THE FALL OF NÚMENOR by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by writer and Tolkien expert, Brian Sibley, and illustrated by acclaimed artist, Alan Lee. The book will be published globally by HarperCollinsPublishers and in other languages by numerous Tolkien publishers worldwide.
Presenting for the first time in one volume the events of the Second Age as written by J.R.R. Tolkien and originally and masterfully edited for publication by Christopher Tolkien, this new volume will include pencil drawings and colour paintings by Alan Lee, who also illustrated The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and went on to win an Academy Award for his work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
J.R.R. Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a ‘dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told’. And for many years readers would need to be content with the tantalizing glimpses of it found within the pages of The Lord of the Rings and its appendices.
It was not until Christopher Tolkien presented The Silmarillion for publication in 1977 that a fuller story could be told for, though much of its content concerned the First Age of Middle-earth, there were at its close two key works that revealed the tumultuous events concerning the rise and fall of the island-kingdom of Númenor, the Forging of the Rings of Power, the building of the Barad-dûr and the rise of Sauron, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
Christopher Tolkien provided even greater insight into the Second Age in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth in 1980, and expanded upon this in his magisterial 12-volume History of Middle-earth, in which he presented and discussed a wealth of further tales written by his father, many in draft form.
Now, using ‘The Tale of Years’ in The Lord of the Rings as a starting point, Brian Sibley has assembled from the various published texts in a way that tells for the very first time in one volume the tale of the Second Age of Middle-earth, whose events would ultimately lead to the Third Age, and the War of the Ring, as told in The Lord of the Rings.
The Hobbit was first published in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. Each has since gone on to become a beloved classic of literature and an international bestseller translated into more than 70 languages, collectively selling more than 150,000,000 copies worldwide. Published in 1977, The Silmarillion sold more than one million copies in its first year of publication and has gone on to be translated into almost 40 languages.
Brian Sibley says: ‘Since the first publication of The Silmarillion forty-five years ago, I have passionately followed Christopher Tolkien’s meticulous curation and scholarship in publishing a formidable history of his father’s writings on Middle-earth. I am honoured to be adding to that authoritative library with The Fall of Númenor. I hope that, in drawing together many of the threads from the tales of the Second Age into a single work, readers will discover – or rediscover – the rich tapestry of characters and events that are a prelude to the drama of the War of the Ring as is told in The Lord of the Rings.
Alan Lee says: ‘It is a pleasure to be able to explore the Second Age in more detail, and learn more about those shadowy and ancient events, alliances and disasters that eventually led to the Third Age stories we are more familiar with. Wherever I had the opportunity when working on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I tried to imbue pictures and designs with an appropriate antiquity, an overlayering of history and of echoes of those older stories, and The Fall of Númenor has proved a perfect opportunity to dig a little deeper into the rich history of Middle-earth.’
The Fall of Númenor will be published by HarperCollins with a simultaneous global publication date of November 2022, and subsequently in translation around the world.
Brian Sibley and Pauline Baynes are names which will be instantly familiar to many Tolkien fans. Author, broadcaster and screenwriter Sibley scripted a radio version of The Lord of the Rings for the BBC, and his wonderful book The Maps of Middle-earth was illustrated by John Howe. Sibley also wrote The Making of the Movie Trilogy for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, and the three ‘Official Guides’ for his Hobbit trilogy.
Artist Pauline Baynes, who died in 2008, worked with Tolkien himself, creating maps and illustrations for his works. Many fans will have had her art work on their walls, as she illustrated Middle-earth posters in the early seventies. Her work adorned covers of various editions of the Professor’s works, and she first collaborated with Tolkien when she illustrated Farmer Giles of Ham back in 1949. She also illustrated all of C S Lewis’ Narnia books.
Baynes and Sibley were friends for many years, and together they created a tale of Osric the Extraordinary Owl. TORn’s good friend Jay Johnstone has finally been able to publish this wonderful work, in a limited edition of just 250 – with a foreword by none other than Tolkien scholar Wayne G. Hammond! Here’s what the official press release tell us:
Osric the Extraordinary Owl resulted from the collaboration of two friends: artist and illustrator Pauline Baynes and writer, dramatist and broadcaster Brian Sibley. It was a friendship spanning more than two-and-a-half decades, with many shared interests, among them the work of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis famously illustrated by Pauline and the subject of acclaimed dramatisations by Brian.
Sibley’s tale of a small grey owl in search of the courage to establish his individuality and ‘be himself’ (but which can be also be read as a ‘coming-out story’) was written in 1970 but had to wait until 2007 to find an artist at a time when Baynes was without any commissions and was wanting opportunities to keep drawing and painting. As a result she produced 22 delightful, double-page illustrations featuring not just Osric and his owl family but also an entire aviary of the most spectacular, colourful birds from black swans and peacocks to flamingos and toucans.
Baynes completed her pictures for Osric the year before her death in 2008 but ‘the extraordinary owl’ had to wait another decade to find a publisher. At the Tolkien Society’s 50th anniversary conference in 2019 noted Tolkien artist Jay Johnstone met Brian Sibley and another of Pauline’s friends, Wayne G. Hammond who, with his wife Christina Scull, is responsible for many key works of Tolkien scholarship and who, as Librarian of the Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, has curatorship of the Pauline Baynes bequest of paintings, drawings. Out of that Tolkien encounter came the decision to finally get Osric’s saga into print.
After a delay, caused by the Covid pandemic, Jay Johnstone is now pleased to announce the publication of Osric the Extraordinary Owl. This collector’s edition hardback book is written by Brian Sibley and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, with a foreword by Wayne G. Hammond. It is designed and produced by Jay Johnstone and comes in a gilded presentation box. Each book is individually numbered and comes with signed book plates by Brian, Wayne and Jay.
Fans of Bayne’s art and Sibley’s writing will not want to miss out on this very limited release. You can find out more by clicking here.