December 22, 2015

Happy Yuletide!



I wanted to wish my readers a Happy Yuletide! (first day of winter until the 12th day of Christmas).

Thanks for keeping up with the blog, even though I don't as often as I should. Life happens, and I'm not a 'full time' writer, sadly.

I'll do up another post after Yuletide ends.

Hope you're enjoying the posts, and keep watching. The blog is not going anywhere....unless I say it is.

The image used is by J.R.R. Tolkien, as the original cover of "Letters From Father Christmas" [but back then it had a different title if I'm not mistaken]


December 4, 2015

Tolkien Christmas

Well, it’s that time of year again! I generally like to assume that no one follows my blog. By that, I mean, when I write a post, I think that is the first entry that someone may read.

So, as is my custom, I’m going to be spotlighting a few books around Yuletide. This entry will focus on Tolkien. This year, there is no Hobbit film coming out, so fans of the series (or newcomers) may be keeping an eye out for themselves, or for gifting to those they think may be interested. I will provide the ISBNs for the best paperback, hardback, and deluxe editions. (Since The Lord of the Rings is often sold in a box set, I’ll provide that ISB as well)

The ‘essentials’:






 
THE HOBBIT

Paperback: 9780261103344 

Hardback: 9780261103283
Deluxe: 9780007118359


"Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services – as a burglar – on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo’s life is never to be the same again"




 
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: PART 1)

Paperback:
9780261103573 

Hardback: 9780007203543


 

THE TWO TOWERS (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: PART 2)



Paperback: 9780261103580
Hardback: 9780007203550





THE RETURN OF THE KING (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: PART 3)

Paperback: 9780261103597
Hardback:
9780007203567
Deluxe (single volume) : 9780007182367


Box sets. Includes the three books.

Paperback box set ( also includes
The Hobbit) : 9780261103566

Hardback box set ( also includes Reader's Companion) : 9780007581146

 "Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.


In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose."









THE SILMARILLION

Paperback: 9780007523221
Hardback: 9780261102422
Deluxe:
9780007264896

"The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.


Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great  island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.





UNFINISHED TALES

Paperback: 9780261102163
Hardback: 9780261102156

Deluxe: 9780007542925

"Unfinished Tales is a collection of narratives ranging in time from the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the end of the War of the Ring, and provides those who have read The Lord of the Rings with a whole collection of background and new stories from the twentieth century’s most acclaimed popular author.

The book concentrates on the realm of Middle-earth and comprises such elements as Gandalf’s lively account of how it was that he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand, and an exact description of the military organization of the Riders of Rohan.

Unfinished Tales also contains the only story about the long ages of Numenor before its downfall, and all that is known about such matters as the Five Wizards, the Palantiri and the legend of Amroth. The tales were collated and edited by JRR Tolkien’s son and literary heir, Christopher Tolkien, who provides a short commentary on each story, helping the reader to fill in the gaps and put each story into the context of the rest of his father’s writings."







Other:

THE CHILDREN OF HURIN

Paperback: 9780007252268
Hardback:
9780007246229
Deluxe: 9780007252237

"It is a legendary time long before The Lord of the Rings, and Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwells in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and within the shadow of the fear of Angband, and the war waged by Morgoth against the Elves, the fates of Túrin and his sister Niënor will be tragically entwined.


Their brief and passionate lives are dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bears them as the children of Húrin, the man who dared to defy him to his face. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire, in an attempt to fulfil the curse of Morgoth, and destroy the children of Húrin.


Begun by J.R.R. Tolkien at the end of the First World War, The Children of Húrin became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention."









THE LEGEND OF SIGURD AND GUDRUN

Paperback: 9780007317240
Hardback: 9780007317233
Deluxe:
9780007317257


Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún.


“In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness.


“In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrún his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd at the hands of his blood-brothers, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrún. In the Lay of Gudrún her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers the Niflung lords, and her hideous revenge.


“Deriving his version primarily from his close study of the ancient poetry of Norway and Iceland known as the Poetic Edda (and where no old poetry exists, from the later prose work the Völsunga Saga), J.R.R. Tolkien employed a verse-form of short stanzas whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.”

Christopher Tolkien







THE FALL OF ARTHUR


Paperback: 9780007557301

Hardback: 9780007489947
Deluxe: 9780007489893

"The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skilful achievement in the use of the Old English alliterative metre, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, of the great sea-battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.

Unhappily, The Fall of Arthur was one of several long narrative poems that he abandoned in that period. In this case he evidently began it in the earlier nineteen-thirties, and it was sufficiently advanced for him to send it to a very perceptive friend who read it with great enthusiasm at the end of 1934 and urgently pressed him ‘You simply must finish it!’ But in vain: he abandoned it, at some date unknown, though there is some evidence that it may have been in 1937, the year of the publication of The Hobbit and the first stirrings of The Lord of the Rings. Years later, in a letter of 1955, he said that ‘he hoped to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur’; but that day never came.
Associated with the text of the poem, however, are many manuscript pages: a great quantity of drafting and experimentation in verse, in which the strange evolution of the poem’s structure is revealed, together with narrative synopses and very significant if tantalising notes. In these latter can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written.



BEOWULF

Paperback: 9780007590094

Hardback: 9780007590063 
Deluxe: 9780007590070


"This edition is twofold, for there exists an illuminating commentary on the text of the poem by the translator himself, in the written form of a series of lectures given at Oxford in the 1930s; and from these lectures a substantial selection has been made, to form also a commentary on the translation in this book.

From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel’s terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot.

But the commentary in this book includes also much from those lectures in which, while always anchored in the text, he expressed his wider perceptions. He looks closely at the dragon that would slay Beowulf ‘snuffling in baffled rage and injured greed when he discovers the theft of the cup’; but he rebuts the notion that this is ‘a mere treasure story’, ‘just another dragon tale’. He turns to the lines that tell of the burying of the golden things long ago, and observes that it is ‘the feeling for the treasure itself, this sad history’ that raises it to another level. ‘The whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real. The “treasure” is not just some lucky wealth that will enable the finder to have a good time, or marry the princess. It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.’

Sellic Spell, a ‘marvellous tale’, is a story written by Tolkien suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folk-tale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the ‘historical legends’ of the Northern kingdoms." 







So if you’re getting these for yourself, or someone else I’m sure you / they will enjoy. Harper Collins usually does a magnificent job publishing Tolkien books. These are the editions I personally recommend and are generally pretty 'uniform'. To find them, I suggest: tolkien.co.uk, amazon.co.uk, bookdepository.com, blackwells, waterstones, and abebooks & alibris if an edition may be trickier to find. No matter which editions you get (for yourself or someone else) - enjoy!


December 2, 2015

"The Story of Kullervo" Deluxe Edition



At long last, Harper Collins will be publishing a deluxe edition (slipcased, of course) of The Story of Kullervo!

Usually, a deluxe edition of a Tolkien book published by Harper Collins is published on the exact same day as the hardback (and ebook) editions. Because Harper Collins hasn’t officially released the description of the deluxe edition contents, or a cover image, I’ll only provide the ISBN (a direct ‘link’ to that edition) and publication date:

The ISBN is :
9780008166724
Publication date: Oct 20, 2016

It should cost you about the same price as other deluxe editions, so bear that in mind. I have a feeling that Tolkien’s image, ‘The Land of Pohja’, will be featured as a facsimile frontispiece illustration fold out sheet. Perhaps the emblem will be also on the slip-case and the book itself, as well.

Either way, this is sure to be great news for collectors of the Harper Collins deluxe Tolkien books. [I’ll do another post about this once it’s been ‘officially annoucned’. It could be in 2016 sometime though]

December 1, 2015

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (HD)




This was announced not long ago, but I hadn’t got around to posting about it. I apologize if anyone here was wanting a pre-order, and is not able to due to ‘limited pre-orders’…those amiibo / amiibo bundles sure do sell quick! Do keep your eyes peeled on Amazon and Best Buy in case more pre-orders open up. Then again, there’s always the game itself, and the amiibo shortly after launch (hopefully…)

Anyway, so in their latest Direct, Nintendo announced The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (HD) for the wii u. It will be released March 4, 2016.

Nintendo stated that the amiibo that comes with the bundle (which will also include the soundtrack) will be able to function with the Zelda title they are developing for the wii u. Most likely, other Zelda-themed amiibo as well. [This and Wind Waker came out on the Gamecube but have been upgraded visually, and perhaps more, for the wii u.]. If I remember correctly, you can also use Zelda amiibo with Twilight Princess [Link, Toon Link, Zelda and Sheirk…again, if I remember.] More details about that isn’t known yet.

I am especially glad because the game itself is great, but there are some things that Nintendo can smooth out. Glitches, minor gameplay adjustments, graphics…. I understand they may not be re-designing the game from the ground up, but a ‘patched, upgraded, port’ would be awesome, so this game can be enjoyed the best way possible. I believe that this is to tide Zelda fans over for “The Legend of Zelda U”, which I strongly believe will come out November 20-something, 2016.

For those that missed out on the amiibo bundle / pre-order, fear not as I believe the Midna + Wolf Link will be sold separately at some point after the game launches. Side note : I forsee a Skyward Sword remaster coming on Nintendo’s next console, or even the N3DS…..

·         Return to the land of a visually remastered Hyrule in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (HD) for Nintendo Wii U. Lead Link to the Twilight Realm, where his transformation into a powerful divine wolf pairs him with a mysterious Midna creature. Together, they must save Hyrule from an encroaching evil darkness.

Enjoy a visually remastered remake of the critically acclaimed game Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
·         Guide legendary hero Link on a journey to the Twilight Realm, where transforms into a wolf and teams up with the mysterious Midna
·         Solve puzzles, navigate dungeons, and fight fierce creatures in an epic journey to save Hyrule from a shroud of evil darkness
·         Includes detailed amiibo figure modeled after Wolf Link and Midna character