Here’s what Vanity Fair’s article reveals (or confirms, or in some cases, suggests…) about those 23 character posters we saw last week. (All quotations are from VF’s ‘First Look’ article.)

This is Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV, ‘prince of the bustling subterranean realm of Khazad-dûm’. As we noted, his hammer hilt reads ‘Awake Sleeping Stone’.

Dwarf princess Disa, played by Sophia Nomvete. Durin’s wife?

Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark, and described in Vanity Fair as ‘Commander of the Northern Armies’. There had been rumours of short hair for Galadriel – the Vanity Fair images show us otherwise! We also see an eight pointed, Feanorian star on her chest. Significant…?

Elrond, played by Robert Aramayo. Vanity Fair describes him as, ‘a politically ambitious young elven leader’ – and he does have short(ish) hair.

This is silvan elf Arondir, a newly created character, who is played by Ismael Cruz Cordova. His closely cropped hair is the shortest of the lot; his earthy, rugged attire sets him apart from the other elves we have seen. Clearly silvan elves are not quite like their high elven kin…

This is Bronwyn, a created human character, and Arondir’s ‘forbidden love’. She is described as a ‘single mother and healer’ – we see her apothecary’s sickle in this image. She’s played by Nazanin Boniadi.

The Rings of Power includes ‘Two lovable, curious harfoots, played by Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh’. The two character posters above seem most likely to be them.

As we already knew, ‘Brit of Jamaican descent, Sir Lenny Henry, plays a harfoot elder’. Could this image show him? Perhaps the clutched scroll is an indication of his elder wisdom?

From VF: ‘Another story line will follow a sailor named Isildur (Maxim Baldry) years before he becomes a warrior and cuts the soul-corrupting ring off Sauron’s hand, then falls victim to its powers himself.’ Could the rope here suggest a sailor?

The Rings of Power will feature ‘the elven smith Celebrimbor ([played by] Charles Edwards)’. Could either of these seemingly elvish characters be Celebrimbor? Most likely not the one all in gold; this is rumoured to be Gil-galad, and certainly he seems kingly. So do we see Celebrimbor in red?

(My original thinking was this – but see below for an update!)

This one is total guesswork… VF says we encounter, in the ‘Sundering Seas … a mortal castaway named Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), who is a new character introduced in the show. Galadriel is fighting for the future; Halbrand is running from the past. ‘ There aren’t many of the character posters which look like they might be from the world of men. Could THIS be Halbrand? Could the evil looking, broken blade be part of the past from which he is running? (We do see a wooden chest on the raft, when he and Galadriel meet at sea – so it’s possible he bears with him artefacts from his past…)

UPDATE – VF reached out to let us know that this image in fact shows Bronwyn’s (seen above with sickle) son, and the hilt he is holding is hers. But WHY would she have such a sinister looking object…? Some interesting backstory to come there, methinks, about this ‘broken heirloom’…

Finally, VF tells us that our two Harfoots ‘encounter a mysterious lost man whose origin promises to be one of the show’s most enticing enigmas’. Of all the character posters, this to me is the most enigmatic. So I’m putting my money on this dishevelled, grubby character being our mysterious being…

Don’t forget to join us to watch and discuss the trailer this Sunday!

Middle-earth fans will not want to miss this amazing book from artist Jay JohnstoneTolkienography: Isildur’s Bane & Iconic Interpretations (with commentary by Thomas Honegger).

The cover and an inside glimpse of Jay Johnstone's beautiful book, showing Tolkien characters painted in the style of iconography. Also shown is the black (with gold logo) slip cover the book comes in.

It’s an amazing volume, filled with rich, luminous artwork. It was reviewed in the latest edition of the Journal of Inkling Studies (Volume 10, issue 2); here’s a little of what writer Lance A. Green had to say:

Tolkienography invites a deep immersion in Tolkien’s myth through the artwork of Jay Johnstone, who has been painting Tolkien-themed illustrations for about thirty years. Together with Thomas Honegger’s commentary, Tolkienography offers a novel artistic rendering of Tolkien’s sub-creation, provoking new interpretations of its characters and essential themes. Printed with colourful clarity, the styles and techniques of Johnstone’s pieces are different enough to avoid any redundancy for the viewer. Colours, spacing, and characters are varied with each turn of the page, as are the painting techniques, which range from more contemporary styles to those mirroring medieval forms, including frescos and Byzantine iconography. Johnstone’s oils and charcoal works certainly capture the imagination: the charcoal and chalk of the Council of Elrond (25), the oil on canvas of Isildur’s death in the river Anduin (35, 39), and the binding of Melkor (41) all wonderfully convey character and scene. An immense oil and gold-leaf rendering of Gandalf atop Shadowfax riding into Helm’s Deep (49–50) is one of the most striking paintings in the book, afforded two full pages in order to capture its immensity. Yet the artwork that crowns and guides Tolkienography is the Byzantine-styled iconographic paintings of Tolkien’s characters.

Lance A. Green, Journal of Inkling Studies Vol 10 Issue 2
An inside image from the book, showing an icon painting of Elessar in armour, with Anduril in his hands

The Journal is published by Edinburgh University Press; you can find more of the article here. If you’d like your own copy of Johnstone’s beautiful book, don’t delay – it’s a limited print of 500 copies! At only £45 – and signed by the artist! – it really is a steal for such a spectacular book. You can order it – and see more art from Johnstone – at his website, here.

Jay Johnstone's wonderful icon image of Gandalf, displayed in a gold frame.

For the past 20 years our friends at Weta Workshop have been creating intricate collectibles from Middle-earth. Starting this week they’ve started auctioning off the number 1 of each pieces edition size. These amazing pieces range from environments like the Prancing Pony to the Master Collection Gollum. Each week when the auctions start they will run for 72 hours. Week one has come to a close but week two starts next Monday and will end on May 21st.

In support of their local community, Weta is going to donate 100% of the proceeds from one statue per week to the Neonatal Trust. This wonderful charity, of which co-founders Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger are patrons, provide support to families of premature or sick babies on their journey through neonatal care towards health and home.

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s No. 1 Auctions and Mini Saruman”

The second figure review of 2018 comes from The Lord of the Rings and covers one of the most important characters in Middle-earth. Our friends at Weta Workshop absolutely nailed the statue of Isildur with some of the best detailing and paint you will see. It also features the new resin technique that Weta has started to use on their statues.

Isildur is in low stock so you can count on what’s left of this 750-piece limited edition to be gone in the not to distant future. Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Isildur Statue Review”

Weta has been on one heck of a roll since SDCC 2017, and they keep things going this October with tonight’s surprise pre-order: yet another piece fans have been hoping would get made, and one that is near the top of this collectors list. Our friends at Weta Workshop have unleashed the stunning Isildur statue! Isildur looks amazing holding The One Ring, but that’s not the only wonderful bit about this statue – you also get the helm of the fallen Sauron at Isuldur’s feet. Limited to 750 pieces, Isildur comes in at $399. I wouldn’t wait very long to place your order, with the new payment plan system now available.

The Battle of the Last Alliance sequence at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is one of the coolest moments in cinema. One of the many cool moments within that sequence is when you get that chain of Elves swiping to kill the orcs as they charge. Our friends at Weta Workshop have captured this perfectly with the Elven Warrior statue. The Elven Warrior was quite limited as well, with only 750 pieces worldwide, and is now sold out via Weta Workshop’s site. So if you’re looking to add this to your collection I’d suggest beginning that search now, before this one reaches grail status among The Lord of the Rings statue line.
Continue reading “Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s Elven Warrior Statue Review”