September 19, 2021

Alan Lee's Illustrated Edition of THE LORD OF THE RINGS Turns 30




Today marks a special occasion: it's now been 30 years since Alan Lee's illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings first appeared.
It proved so popular when it first appeared, that according to the documentary J.R.R. Tolkien: A Video Portrait, it sold out within minutes of hitting the bookshelves.

Often called 'the centenary edition' (due mostly to when it came out, though there are other Tolkien books that feature the centenary emblem published around this time, so 'centenary edition' isn't limited to The Lord of the Rings in this sense) it has been a favourite among Tolkien fans since it first appeared. Also, to movie-goers, many of his illustrations may look familiar; as he was a conceptual artist (along with John Howe) for the Peter Jackson films.


Aqua Regia — Battle of Hornburg - Illustration by Alan Lee ...

The original edition is an over-sized hardback, featuring a total of 50 illustrations. Since 1991, it has been published a few times in various formats. All editions illustrated by Lee contain the same images. I'll list all the ones by HarperCollins (taking other publishers into account would be a lengthy process). Not their ISBNs, just the various editions:

- The original 1991 single-volume hardback (oversized)
- A slipcased collector's edition of the single-volume edition, signed and numbered (oversized)
- The 1992 three-volume hardback boxed set (oversized)
- A slipcased collector's edition of the three-volume edition, signed and numbered (oversized)
- The 1996 three-volume paperback boxed set (oversized) (note: there has never been a single-volume illustrated edition in paperback. Likely because it would fall apart by the time you get to the middle; but still!)
- the 2002 three-volume hardback boxed set (oversized)
- the 2008 three-volume paperback boxed set (The Hobbit is also included in the box, bringing it to 4 books in total. I say three to identify that The Lord of the Rings is presented in three volumes) (regular Tolkien paperback size)
- the 2014 single-volume slipcased edition (in celebration of the 60th anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, and sometimes referred to as '60th Anniversary Edition') (oversized)
- the 2020 three-volume hardback boxed set
(The Hobbit is also included in the box, bringing it to 4 books in total. I say three to identify that The Lord of the Rings is presented in three volumes) (regular Tolkien hardback size)

Any and all of those are highly recommended, depending on your tastes. Special mention goes to the two most recent editions: the 2014 single-volume slipcased edition, and the 2020 boxed set. Not only because that they are currently in print; though they are quite well-designed and lovely, and most definitely readable. (You'd need to read any single-volume illustrated edition at a table or desk, though!)  


I can recommend any Alan Lee illustrated edition above without hesitation. He has also illustrated other Tolkien books, such as The Hobbit, Unfinished Tales (with Ted Nasmith and John Howe), The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, The Fall of Gondolin and Tales From the Perilous Realm. Outside of Tolkien, his notable work includes Faeries, Black Ships Before Troy, and The Wanderings of Odysseus. He has also illustrated the Folio Society's edition of The Wanderer (which is likely sold out by now, as it was a limited edition when it was published.) If Alan is finished illustrating Tolkien, then he has given us 30 years of amazing artwork, presented wonderfully in various editions by HarperCollins.    

September 2, 2021

THE LORD OF THE RINGS 70th Anniversary: Boxed Set Speculation

 



I'll begin by saying that for the 50th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings, there was the boxed set which presented the novel in three parts, with the accompanying Companion.

10 years later, there was a 60th anniversary boxed set which was aesthetically VERY close to the 50th one.

https://blackwells.co.uk/jacket/l/9780007581146.jpg
2024 will be the 70th anniversary. So, can we expect ANOTHER 3-part boxed set with the Companion to be issued? I think 'yes', and this is how I think it would happen.

This October, there will be a Tolkien-illustrated single-volume edition coming out (as a standard hardback, a collector's edition, and even as an eBook!). I believe that the 70th anniversary boxed set - which would come out about 3 years later, in 2024 - will take that edition, and all of its features (Tolkien's illustrations, red ink, ribbon-marker (if the Oct 2021 edition features one, that is!), the red sprayed page edging, etc) and divide it into 3. The dustjackets would feature the same artwork that was used for the 50th and 60th sets (and say 'illustrated by the author' under the titles, and possibly have his signature as the author credit); and the Companion would very likely closely resemble the 60th anniversary version. Perhaps the Companion could also have coloured ink, like the 3 Lord of the Rings books would, for consistency across the set? (and ribbon-marker, etc). The box would also have the iconic 'Ring and Eye' artwork stamped onto it; much like the previous 50th anniversary and 60th anniversary sets; though maybe slightly revised. The maps could also be tucked into the box somehow (from my understanding, the maps in the Oct 2021 edition will be 'detached' right off the bat, like how they were for illustrated collector's editions of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, going by the Mariner Books description of their edition), so I can see the box being slightly larger to accommodate the maps being tucked in alongside the 4 books.

Here are some product images of the Oct. 2021 single-volume edition, to give you an idea of what the 70th anniversary boxed set could include. The post ends after these next few photos, not with them, so keep scrolling! 


4888_611fbafbab5fc.jpg 1500X1500 px


4888_611fbb04372db.jpg 1500X1500 px


4888_611fbb1483442.jpg 1500X1500 px


4888_611fbb297f8d6.jpg 1500X1500 px


4888_611fbb61220d7.jpg 1500X1500 px

So what do you think? This thought randomly came to me, and I wanted to share it.

[PS: while I know that '75th' is typically more of a celebration (outside of Tolkien) than 70th, HarperCollins did more to celebrate The Hobbit's 70th anniversary than its 75th, so I'm going by that]


August 31, 2021

Middle-earth Ultimate Collector's Edition Reaction

 https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.6435-9/p843x403/240396124_4700522559965942_9109808802254954951_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=XbDUjwQq_ZAAX-UzsaU&_nc_ht=scontent-yyz1-1.xx&oh=f60bcdcb589ef8328fca59fcfc4fb14d&oe=615513F3

Before I begin typing out my post, here is the summary of what the 31-disc set will include:

LOTR Theatrical Editions - 3 BDs
LOTR Extended Editions - 6 BDs
LOTR 4K Both Versions - 9 4Ks (3 discs per film)
HOBBIT Theatrical Editions - 3 BDs
HOBBIT Extended Editions - 3 BDs
HOBBIT 4K Both Versions - 6 4Ks (2 discs per film)
BONUS DISC - 1 BD
TOTAL = 31 discs (No Appendices)


I knew that it would include different bonus material that isn't the appendices (be sweet if they came too, as it'd be 'all-encompassing'), as it's the 20th anniversary. But only ONE disc, with about 90-ish minutes of bonus content?? And, no WETA statue?? Yeah....no.


What happened to the days of old, when The Lord of the Rings had nice extended editions and gift set packages? No cheap 'cases'. No trailers or 'coming soon' at the start of those discs. I don't think there will be anything as nice, packaging design-wise, as The Lord of the Rings 12-disc DVD set (and the separate gift sets that included the WETA statues). This set, the previous 4K release, and the blu-ray sets are all proof of this.

If I want The Lord of the Rings in 4K, I'll either get it via iTunes, or the previous 4K set. Shame, really: as blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD are better than DVDs, yet their physical releases seem to be seen as an afterthought.

Also: if you're buying The Lord of the Rings on 4K, why the heck are they including blu-rays in here, too?!

To see what I mean, here is how the 12-disc DVD set from 2004 looked:


https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/A1cWjMjnsjL._AC_SX342_.jpg

A nice mix of simple, and elegant. So if (when?) I get The Lord of the Rings on 4K, it'll either be through iTunes (4K AND has the appendices), or the set previously released on 4K:


https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71VBUMpynzL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Really, I was expecting more from a 20th anniversary ultimate collector's set. If you're interested in seeing/owning these movies in 4K, I suggest either digitally for the extended editions (so you also get a discless-version of the appendices) or, if you're after physical media, the previous 4K set (in standard edition (pictured above), the Best Buy Steelbook set, or the Gift Set from Amazon that includes a Ring replica).

For the new 4K set, I was hoping for:
- extended and theatrical versions of each film
- 3 different sets: one that's just The Lord of the Rings, 1 that's just The Hobbit, and 1 that's both together
- For The Lord of the Rings, all of the appendices, the bonus content from the theatrical releases, and the Costa Boates material.
- the films NOT appearing on blu-rays in addition to 4K UHD dics. BD's are fine for supplementary material.
- a WETA statue (like the Gift Sets used to include)

I'm so disappointed with this new set, I won't even post any links to it. That is to say, that the contents aren't bad (transfers, etc) just disappointed that we waited so long for this

PS: The Hobbit films are also available on 4K separately. In hindsight, I am not overly fond of them, so I'm only really paying attention to the Lord of the Rings in this post. I likely wouldn't re-buy them in 4K. 


July 27, 2021

When Fantasy Movies Fail: ERAGON

 




Next up in this series of blog posts, we take a look at Eragon. Eragon is next in this series, because the Narnia series began in 2005 with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. So Eragon was to be the next fantasy series to start and be released. 

However, unlike Narnia, only 1 film got made. 

The film did not do well from the get-go. Not to look for good where there isn't any; but the film was not COMPLETELY terrible. It had some decent elements in it here and there....but definitely not enough to save it. 

The main issue is the source material. While it's commendable that the author was able to write and publish the first of four (it was meant to be a trilogy, though Book 3 got large enough to the point that 'Book 3 Part 1' and 'Book 3 Part 2' would be needed to avoid a final book 'squish') books at the age of 16; the plot is essentially a hodge-podge of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. There are lots of websites and articles that point out which elements were borrowed; though the very beginning of the film is the best of one such example: the princess gets stunned and captured by the bad guys. 

Sometimes, it can be tricky to make a good adaptation if the source material isn't good. The Eragon (or rather, Inheritance, as the series is called) is not bad, it just doesn't bring anything new or noteworthy to the table. Maybe that's the point, as the books feel like a love letter to the author's key interests. 

The casting and effects were pretty good. The effects may look dated by today's standard, though. Biggest nods to the cast and performances go to Ed Speelers as Eragon (he later appears as Stephen Bonnet in Outlander), Jeremy Irons as Brom, because Jeremy Irons; and Robert Carlyle as The Shade.

In short, Eragon kind of comes across as a B-Movie. Not a bad thing in of itself, though it was meant to be an A-Movie (many B-Movies are 'self aware' and as such are successful. Look at the Sharknado films, for instance). It's still enjoyable 'dumb fun', in the way that the Underworld and Resident Evil movies are bad....but good in their own ways. So too does Eragon join their ranks as B-Movie fantasy, as more titles in this series will fall into. Definitely 'kid approved' to throw on and entertain some youngsters, in the same way that I recommend Joss Whedon's version of Justice League to parents or for 'family viewing.'  

Parting note: since that Disney now owns Fox, they've 'inherited' Eragon - it's available to stream on Disney+. Because of this; the author is trying to get Disney to give his books another go (a 're-adaptation') under the social media handle, " #EragonRemake "if you feel inclined to join the following. I'd be willing to give this franchise another shot, if Disney makes some films or a series ('ongoing' or limited) out of it. It could be good, if done well. While I don't dislike neither the Hunger Games movies or books, I feel that they made pretty decent movies out of the books -they could've easily turned out to be bad. 

Eragon's 15th anniversary is on December 13 of this year.     

July 9, 2021

Can It Go Away, Please??

 First of all, I wish to state that this blog post (well, all, really) are my own personal opinion. I am not 'attacking' anybody's personal collections, just stating my disinterest in some of these following items.

There are some Tolkien items that I wish could be wiped from existence, or rather; never see or hear about again. They are as follows, as well was my reasoning. It's not unjustified dislike. 

Amazon.com: The Lord of the Rings Animated Dvd 1978 Widescreen: Movies & TV

Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings (Part 1 ONLY, that is) film

This film has many fans. Most of them, saw it close to its initial release, and was their first taste of Tolkien. That's all well and good, as we see things differently as children than we do as adults. (That's why I cannot watch the original Ninja Turtles cartoon NOW, and why I laughed the whole way through this movie; as I saw it when I was 17.) That being said: this is not a good movie. Take off the nostalgia goggles, it sucks.

Here are a few reasons why, taken from this article: http://flyingmoose.org/tolksarc/bakshi/bakshi.htm .

The Ring-inscription.
In Bag End, Gandalf asks Frodo if he sees any inscription on the Ring. Finding none, they throw it into the fire. After a moment. Gandalf pulls the Ring back out of the fire. Frodo comments with surprise that it is still quite cool. But they never bother to look for the Ring-inscription, which makes the whole business of throwing the Ring into the fire kind of pointless.

(S)Aruman.
They decided to rename "Saruman" to "Aruman" for the movie; evidently they were concerned that moviegoers would confuse the name "Saruman" with "Sauron". That's all well and good, I suppose... but they only call him "Aruman" half the time, and the rest of the time they go back to calling him "Saruman". So the guy has two names used interchangeably throughout the movie, which is even more confusing. Why bother doing this if you're not even going to be consistent about it?

Why Are We Going To Mount Doom?
"We cannot keep it, we cannot destroy it," Elrond says of the Ring. A moment later, he says: "We must send the Ring to the fire where it was made - to Mount Doom." Curiously, he doesn't say why it is necessary to do so. Those of us who have read the book know it's to destroy the Ring; but how is the rest of the audience supposed to know that? After all, he just finished saying that "we cannot destroy" the Ring, didn't he?...

Anduril.
Outside the gates of Moria, Aragorn draws his sword. It is no longer broken. The movie never bothers to explain this change, and so it comes off looking like a continuity error rather than the missing plot-element it actually is.

It's Pronounced "Keleborn", Not "Sell-a-born".
It's the first note in Appendix E, for God's sake. Didn't they research the pronunciation of names at all?
...But, of course, the filmmakers don't care about such details. They can't even decide whether the name of the Wizard at Isengard is Saruman or Aruman. Later on in the movie, we'll also learn that Gandalf and Aragorn don't even agree on the pronunciation of "Edoras".
Sadly, this kind of sloppiness and lack of attention to detail can be seen in all the other aspects of the film as well.

Treebeard.
It's hard to know what to say about Treebeard, since the movie ends before he really gets a chance to do anything. Since the Ents never get to attack Isengard, never see Gandalf, and never appear at Helm's Deep, their inclusion in the movie makes no sense. Treebeard just becomes another Tolkien's-Greatest-Hits element that gets gratuitously tossed in. Pity, really.
But here's another question: Why is it that Treebeard spits leaves whenever he talks?

he Bait-And-Switch.
Needless to say, when they first opened this movie it came forth with lots of pre-opening publicity and advertising. Many exciting facts about the movie were revealed in an effort to get people into the theatre.
Unfortunately, one of the exciting facts that was not revealed was that the movie was incomplete.
That's right: they publicised the movie as Tolkien's complete Lord of the Rings, giving no hint to anyone that it was, in fact, only Part One. It was even advertised that way. And they kept you on in that belief right up to the very moment when you had paid for the movie, sat through the whole thing, and were waiting to see how they were going to screw up the ending - my friends and I were actually looking forward to it in a perverse way, since a glance at our watches told us they'd have to tie up all the loose ends very quickly - when suddenly the narrator announces that Part One has just concluded and the credits begin to roll. The advertising for this movie was so brazenly deceptive I'm surprised there weren't any lawsuits.

On the other hand, I suppose I should be thankful that it stopped as soon as it did.

In fact, it might have been a better movie if they'd stopped Part One at, say, Weathertop. That, at least, could have been looked at as an act of mercy. :)

[end quotes]

I'd be completely fine if I don't ever see or hear about this abomination ever again. Worse yet, are those that think this is better than Peter Jackson's Rings films. I'd say the many faults of the animated attempt FAR outweigh the (few) faults of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films.


The Road Goes Ever On: Tolkien, J.R.R.: 9780007136551: Books - Amazon.ca

The Road Goes Ever On

I have no idea why this is so popular among collectors. What's the appeal? Is it because it's hard to find? So Tolkien liked Donald Swann.....OK, does that mean that since Tolkien smoked a pipe, all of his fans should??

I don't know about you, but I don't remember any pianos being in Middle-earth. Also, when I think of music from, or about, Middle-earth, piano music definitely isn't it. Now, if a church in Oxford performed Namarie, for instance, that would be fine.

However, we open a can of worms when we exam why some Tolkien rock songs (offerings by Led Zeppelin, Blind Guardian, etc) are fine, yet this doesn't sit well with me. It just.....doesn't.

In short: I'd rather this be set to orchestral music instead of piano music. It doesn't feel like it belongs in, or from, Middle-earth. 

The Lord of the Rings (Millennium Edition): Tolkien, J. R. R.:  9780618037667: Amazon.com: Books 

The Lord of the Rings Millennium Edition

Great idea in theory, and I understand the appeal/interest in this set. However, bad execution.

The Lord of the Rings
is one novel (not a series of them), consisting of six books, plus the appendices and index. Often times, you get it as one large book, or in three parts. This release, however, breaks them down, and gives each segment its own (physical) book. Even neater, is the fact that each has its own title. They are: The Ring Sets Out, The Ring Goes East (which is The Fellowship of the Ring), The Treason of Isengard, The Ring Goes East (which is The Two Towers), The War of the Ring and The End of the Third Age, then the appendices etc (which is The Return of the King.)

The problem is, the quality of printing and production. The hardback edition is quite frankly, quite shoddy in terms of quality. However, there are no production issues with paperback editions (from either Houghton Mifflin or HarperCollins). For the hardbacks, the problem is the quality of the print: the paper and font quality, as well as the binding.

So if this release interests you, track down the paperback edition instead. I believe HarperCollins re-issued their paperback one in 2011/2012 (forget which year), so that one may be more easily (and cheaply) obtained. A warning against spending more on this set than it's worth. 

Had this set been better produced, a similar five-part edition of The Silmarillion could've been neat, as well.


Delve into Tolkien's Middle-earth with this special collector's hardback  boxed set

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings
"Collector's" Editions


This one definitely annoys me. The Millennium Edition was more of a word of caution or to be be wary, but this set bugs me.

In a nutshell, all it has to offer are the nice covers and design aesthetics: the look on the outside (except for a goof: there are supposed to be seven stars with The White Tree, not nine). There, the attractiveness ends.

The fact that the publisher labels this as a collector's edition leads one to believe it's got some unique features or extra stuff in it, that other hardbacks don't. There's not. I suppose that's the part that really bugs me: the fact they've called it a collector's edition.

The Hobbit doesn't even feature colour artwork: it features the usual 8 black and white images only (not counting maps). The Lord of the Rings doesn't feature the red ink used in a few spots in The Fellowship of the Ring, or the Leaves From the Book of Mazarbul plate section. On top of that, the actual print quality isn't the greatest (font & paper quality, and binding, much like the Millennium Edition above.)

The fact that it's called a collector's edition would lead one to believe that it's supposed to be nicer than it really is. Worse yet, it's now out of print. As such, places like Amazon (marketplace) and eBay have boosted the price to ridiculous amounts. This is owing to: a) it being called "collector's edition" and b) it's no longer being produced.

Now, there's nothing wrong at all if you got this when it first came out for a reasonable price, as a gift, etc I just want to steer people away from paying a lot more than this set is actually worth. 

If you want a nice 'reading copy', I wholeheartedly recommend the illustrated set from 2020, and the 'classic' editions that come in a boxed set with Hammond & Scull's Reader's Companion (it doesn't include The Hobbit, though. The 2020 set does).



Tolkien Books by David Day

There are a few sources that point out why David Day is best avoided (it's honestly better to not read any of his books than it is to read them, seeking information) on places such as a Reddit, TolkienGateway, and the YouTube video, 'We Need to Talk About David Day' by Talking Tolkien. So I won't go into those exact reasons here.

So why do they sell so well? There's a few reasons.

1. They are under 'T' for 'Tolkien' in bookstores instead of under 'D' for 'Day.'

2. Like the 2013 "collector's" edition of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, they're pretty. The interior art isn't bad either. The problem is with the words, and, depending on the book, the 'lung' maps.

3. Most of the time these are gifts. Christmas/Birthday rolls around, and you know a big Tolkien fan. You, not being as big a Tolkien fan (or at all) see these titles and think "ohhh that'd be nice!". That and point 1 often go hand-in-hand (if they were under 'D' for 'Day', I'd bet they wouldn't sell).

In short, if you're contemplating buying a David Day book - for yourself or for a friend - don't.

So there you have it! If the above items got the E.T. video game landfill treatment, and they never get spoken of again, I'd be one happy camper. 

June 16, 2021

THE NATURE OF MIDDLE-EARTH Collector's Edition Revealed

 Nature of Middle-Earth Deluxe.JPG

The product image for the collector's edition of The Nature of Middle-earth has been revealed.

The ISBN is 9780008440572 , and you can pre-order it any time before publication date through the usual avenues for these releases. Some retailers may not have it up yet; so as long as you check one month until publication date, latest, you'll be fine.

Here's the official description:

This elegant slipcased edition presents for collectors the first ever publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s final writings on Middle-earth, covering a wide range of subjects. Stamped in gold foil, and printed on heavyweight acid-free paper, it includes a ribbon marker and is housed in a custom-built matching slipcase.

It is well known that J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1937 and The Lord of the Rings in 1954–5. What may be less known is that he continued to write about Middle-earth in the decades that followed, right up until the years before his death in 1973.

For him, Middle-earth was part of an entire world to be explored, and the writings in The Nature of Middle-earth reveal the journeys that he took as he sought to better understand his unique creation. From sweeping themes as complex and profound as the metaphysics of Elvish immortality and reincarnation, and the Powers of the Valar, to the more earth-bound subjects of the lands and beasts of NĂºmenor, the geography of the Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor, and even who had beards!

This new collection, which has been edited by Carl F Hostetter, one of the world’s leading Tolkien experts, is a veritable treasure-trove offering readers a chance to peer over Professor Tolkien’s shoulder at the very moment of discovery: and on every page, Middle-earth is once again brought to extraordinary life.

June 15, 2021

Harry Potter House Editions Boxed Sets Announced

 

In a not-so surprising yet surprising move, House Edition boxed sets of the Harry Potter series are on the way.

The reason why it's surprising:
- the publisher constantly stated that these House Editions (as in, the format style itself) would be limited....yet, here comes a boxed set. So if one went out of print - here it is again!
- there weren't any 'partial' boxed sets, as can happen with Harry Potter (ie, the illustrated editions)
- it's not being released the same day as the Deathly Hallows House Editions.

If you look at the product photos for the Slytherin hardback one, you'll notice that Philosopher's Stone has SILVER lettering on the dustjacket as opposed to GREEN lettering. Is it a glitch of the rendering? Or, are the first printing(s) of that title feature green lettering? Also, in the renders of the paperback sets, the colours match the hardbacks. As these came out, the opposite colour was used for paperback and hardback. For instance, with Philosopher's Stone, the hardback is black, and the paperback is the house colour. 

Why it's not surprising:
- as if the publisher would pass up the opportunity to create another release, therefore earning more money because it exists.

I'm not saying I'm regretting getting my House Editions, I just wish I knew that a boxed set would exist some day; so I would've waited for it. So if you're interested in these sets, and don't have any titles in this format yet (and are interested), hold out for the boxed sets to arrive.

What follows is product info of all 8 (4 in hardback, 4 in paperback; one for each house) including ISBNs for ordering, as well as the publisher's write up about the sets.

Whether you're Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw, you can now own a glorious box set themed around your house, available to pre-order in hardback and paperback. 

Each sumptuously foiled presentation case contain all seven novels from J.K. Rowling’s classic series in a spectacular alternating colour scheme, with cover artwork and illustrations by artistic wizard, Levi Pinfold.  The seven lovingly designed covers are individually decorated with enchanting details that capture favourite house themes from each novel. 

Each book contains a magical miscellany of exciting feature articles, quizzes and fascinating fact files packed with trivia about the history and alumni of the relevant house – ideal to dip into and enjoy time and time again. Each house set features twenty exclusive illustrations including portraits of favourite characters.

The hardback box sets come with an exclusive artwork print of the relevant house founder, the paperback box set with an exclusive bookmark featuring the relevant house ghost!



GRYFFINDOR SETS
- hardback: 9781526624529
- paperback: 9781526624512





HUFFLEPUFF SETS
- hardback: 9781526624567
- paperback: 9781526624550




SLYTHERIN SETS:
- hardback: 9781526624581
- paperback: 9781526624574




RAVENCLAW SETS
- Hardback: 9781526624543
- Paperback: 9781526624536


May 26, 2021

'What if...?' Editions

 The Lord of the Rings

One of my prized Tolkien items - due (in part) to the uniqueness of it - is The Lord of the Rings illustrated edition from 2014. It may not be the most 'practical' edition for reading, though it still remains quite nice. 

This one is unique, in that there is no matching Tolkien editions published around then that have a similar design style, size dimensions, as well as the transparent slipcase, and the publisher-supplied shipping box (though, the boxes have appeared for the limited editions of The Children of Hurin, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, and starting with the illustrated collector's edition of Unfinished Tales, all future collector's editions from that title forward will have a provided box.) The initial single-volume illustrated edition was a larger book than the other standard Tolkien hardbacks at the time.

As nice as the new illustrated editions of 2020 and 2021 are for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales are
(wholly recommend all of those, without question), I am going to brainstorm what the 'what if...' matching editions of The Hobbit and The Silmarillion could be like to match the 2014 illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings. Of course, because of the appearance of the newer style of illustrated editions from 2020 and 2021, that means that the chance of these similar editions existing would be quite low. 

THE HOBBIT

Alan Lee - Conversations with Smaug

First, up, of course, would be a matching edition of The Hobbit by Alan Lee. Here's how I can see it looking:

- it would be oversized (same dimensions as the 1997 edition)
- it would have a transparent slipcase (which would say 'J.R.R. TOLKIEN, THE HOBBIT, Illustrated by ALAN LEE')
- Smaug by Alan Lee (photo above) would be on the front cover of the book itself.
- Gandalf leaving the company at Mirkwood would be the image on the rear of the book.
- maps would be on the inside boards (Thror's at the front, Wilderland at the rear, as would be custom)
- Tolkien's depiction of Smaug would appear on the spine (the spine would be a dark, deep green, and be 'quarter-bound' just like Rings) and beneath it would read 'or, There and Back Again.' The spine would also have gold lettering, and be orientated in a similar fashion to Rings.
- it would feature a dark green ribbon-marker, matching the colour of the quarter-binding.

THE SILMARILLION



The Silmarillion would be very similar to my proposed Hobbit (and, it goes without saying, The Lord of the Rings).

-
it would be oversized (same dimensions as the 2004 edition)
-
it would have a transparent slipcase (which would say 'J.R.R. TOLKIEN, THE SILMARILLION, edited by CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN, Illustrated by TED NASMITH')
- Maglor by Ted Nasmith (photo above) would be on the front of the book itself.
- Beren and Luthien flown to safety would be the image on the rear of the book.
- The Beleriand map would be on both front and rear inside boards
- due to when this would have been hypothetically published (say 2018, latest), it would include the 1951 letter at the beginning, as well as all of the images that have appeared in the 2004 edition.
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Tolkien's image of Luthien's sigil would appear on the spine (the spine would be a dark, deep red, and be 'quarter-bound' just like Rings) which would also have gold lettering, and be orientated in a similar fashion to Rings. This would give all three books (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion) their own motifs stamped right onto the spine, which is why I've suggested it.  
- it would feature a dark red ribbon-marker,
matching the colour of the quarter-binding.

I enjoyed designing these 'what if...' editions, and picturing how they'd look, and compliment the 2014 illustrated slipcased edition of The Lord of the Rings.