So who triumphed in the Elite Eight? This was a nail biting round; this very post was drafted with certain costumes as winners, but then there was a late surge in voting and a couple of outfits made a comeback!
Beginning with the Humans and Maiar, a fully armoured Eomer was taking on Aragorn in ranger garb. This duel had the widest margin in the Quarter Final, with just under 60% of the vote going to Aragorn’s outfit. He’ll meet the Witchking in the Semi Final; in the Villains region, the Balrog was finally defeated, with the epic helm and long robes of the Witchking claiming about 10% more votes.
Guest writer Matthew Bossons brings us this fascinating look at how Tolkien fandom has made its way to China; and he reflects on whether Amazon’s upcoming Middle-earth series is likely to find fans there.
Panjiayuan is Beijing’s biggest and best-known antique market, regularly attracting orc-like hordes of tourists and locals alike to wander the warren of booths and stalls, both indoor and outside. All manner of old and made-to-look-old items are on offer here: jade carvings, stone Buddha statues, ancient coins, Chinese Communist Party pins and propaganda posters, replica Korean war medals and mounds of books.
On a brisk October day, while standing at a hawker stand specializing in old Chinese books – mostly Chairman Mao’s iconic ‘Little Red Book’ – I came across a curious title: The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, in English-language and hardcover form. The book, a collection of sketches and maps made by Tolkien, was published in 2015 and compiled by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull – both well-known scholars of the ‘father of high fantasy.’
Let’s take a look at the Round Three results; starting with the Villains this time. The Mouth of Sauron was no match for the Balrog, only managing to muster a third of the vote; and the regular Witchking took 70%, to crush his Twilight self. This means we’ll see the ruler from Angmar taking on the demon of the ancient world in the Quarter Final; and just to prove that there are Balrog cosplays, here’s a brilliant one from a TORn staffer:
So, what happened in Round Two? Let’s begin this time with the Elves. Galadriel’s Lorien gown beat Arwen’s dress when on the bridge with Aragorn; but now she has to take on her granddaughter again, as Galadriel meets Arwen’s blue and red dress in Round Three. Here’s a certain TORn founder looking very fetching in that gown:
Let’s take a look at some of the battles of Round One. In the Human/Maiar category, the easiest win went to Aragorn’s ‘hero’ Strider costume, which defeated Beorn with 88% of the vote – fellow fan Pavel will be pleased with this victory, as he has a wonderful Strider cosplay (see below). That one is perhaps not surprising; but there are some astonishing results in this region. Four of Eowyn’s costumes started in this region; but only her coronation gown has made it through, defeating Gandalf the Grey’s robe in a very tight battle (51% to 49%). And in one of the biggest upsets of the first round, 16th seed Theoden triumphed over number one seed Saruman; the white wizard could only muster 39% of the vote! The King of Rohan finds himself up against his nephew Eomer in Round Two; show us your Rohan cosplays!
It is time … time to vote in Round One of the Battle of the Best Dressed in Middle-earth!
Following our initial bracket reveal on last week’s TORn Tuesday, our Wild Card round at the end of last week saw Bard replace the Dwarf Women for a spot in the contest. So now we begin the match ups! Will Theoden’s splendid armour overcome Faramir’s coronation robes? Can the Haradrim defeat the Easterlings? And in an epic confrontation of elvish beauty, which will triumph: Galadriel’s dress in An Unexpected Journey, or Arwen’s gown on the bridge with Aragorn? Here’s how the bracket looks, for Round One of our contest:
We’ve been encouraging you to rally the vote for your favourite costumes, by showing us your cosplays for some of these characters. Let’s take a look at some we’ve received thus far! Voting begins below as well!