May 23, 2018

Thoughts and Musing on Recent Tolkien News

While working on a draft or two for what I plan to write for my 'update post' (about me, primarily) there's been quite a few Tolkien announcements in a variety of fields, and medium. Considering this sort of a 'Tolkien re-cap' post, as well some speculation about various things on my end.


The oldest piece of news which I'll address here is the surprise publication of The Fall of Gondolin! This came literally out of the blue. It will follow the same approach in structure and layout that Beren and Luthien did.

Christopher Tolkien has put the book together, and it'll be illustrated throughout by Alan Lee. It will be out in hardback, special edition (slipcased hardback) and ebook formats all on publication day.

My thoughts: at last we get separate books for all three of 'The Three Great Tales!' The others being The Children of Hurin and Beren Luthien.

Will The Fall of Gondolin be the final Middle-earth book, not counting future deluxe editions, anniversary editions, or illustrated editions of what's already out??


It's yet to be officially confirmed as everything's still quite early, but it appears that the forthcoming Amazon Middle-earth series (the first season, anyway...) will focus on a younger Aragorn. To brush up on the tale of Aragorn, check out this entry in Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth. Or, his page on What I'll be doing to read up about everyone's favourite ranger, is check out Andrea P. Nicholl's book Aragorn. It's available as both paperback and ebook.

I'm quite looking forward to the Amazon series. Granted, it's still far ahead to form any kind of opinion. What I mean to say is, I'm looking forward to when the trailer launches, casting news, what the story for the show will be. Who will do the music? Will Peter Jackson be involved? (I'm not expecting him to be showrunner). Will there be merchandise exclusively available through Prime, or can anyone get the goodies?? So, I look forward to knowing more about this one.


Coming out in time for Hobbit Day 2018 is the special boxed set edition of The Hobbit facsimile by Harper Collins. If you're interested in this, be sure to get it from a source that sells the UK editions of the Tolkien books. As you may have seen my post earlier today, the contents (aside from the book itself) have been unveiled and we've gotten a small glimpse at them. I gotta say, I'm more interested in the extra content than I am the book itself. Not that I don't like The Hobbit or anything, but I'm referring to the package. I could care less about the original edition of the book, and am quite satisfied with Tolkien's 1951 revisions, as it ties into the great mythos of Middle-earth.

The extra goodies on the other hand are what I'm excited about. Now, I don't need another edition of the book known as The Hobbit, however in the box you get a special version of the map (moon-runes!), a CD of Tolkien reading from The Hobbit with extra readings on there (I'm expecting it to be somehow different than the Hobbit content found in the CD set called The Tolkien Audio Collection), a book about The Hobbit (which features extracts from Hammond + Scull's Tolkien Companion & Guide, as well as the expanded edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil - which can be found on its own as well in a set called 'The Tolkien Treasury.' It will also feature some extra content about dragons....) Oh, and of course you get a facsimile edition of the first printing of the book.

My thoughts: as much as I love the Harper Collins Tolkien publications, some things in the past few years have rubbed me the wrong way. I'm talking about printers goofs, delayed publication dates, lack of stock near publication time....I get that printing books has its kinks and flaws sometimes, but their QA really needs work. Does type of thing only happen with their Tolkien titles? I mean, it's not like the company is brand new...they've been printing and publishing books for decades now - so why the hiccups with Tolkien related materials? In fact, this Hobbit boxed set is what the facsimile set sometime ago was supposed to be - but a few months before publication, Harper Collins decided to publish just the book instead of this elaborate set which is now just coming out. I remember that the product description has change don some retailers sites, as well their own I believe. Despite the occasional shortcomings here and there, they've done a bang up job in presenting Tolkien's works. 


Last, but certainly not least, a few hours ago, The Two Towers soundtrack went up for pre-order on It'll replicate the original CD+ DVD Audio release, which will feature blue as the colour, as well the vinyls themselves will be blue (making The Return of the King green). Just like with The Fellowship of the Ring, it'll also be re-issued on CD (and most likely digitally, as well: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Sptify...) with a blu-ray audio disc replacing the DVD-audio disc from the original set. The vinyl will be 5 LPs, and the CD set will be 4 discs (3 CDs, and the blu-ray disc).

If this pattern holds, then expect The Return of the King to come out Oct or Nov. The vinyl will likely be 6 LPs, and the the CD set could still sit at 4 discs. I say this because blu-ray discs can hold a lot more content than DVDs can. Due to the size of the score for The Return of the King, the original CD release had a double-sided DVD-Audio disc. Will the blu-ray disc have enough room for everything, or would it be a double-sided blu-ray audio disc, or two instead of one, making it a 5 disc set?Wwe will have to see.... But anyway!

Once The Return of the King is out on vinyl LP, I'm very curious of a few things:

- will these soundtracks be available on regular black vinyl, and not limited, for much less after?
- will they put out the theatrical / original (not 'complete') soundtracks on vinyl? If yes, and not too pricey, and if not too limited, I may grab those as well. I consider the complete recordings (the edition that's out on vinyl, CD + B-R A etc to be the 'definitive' editions, much how the extended editions are seen as likewise for the films themselves. But the more Middle-earth music I can get the better ;)). It could be individual releases, or a box set with all three soundtracks in it. I'm expecting 2 LPs per film, maybe...?
- will The Hobbit soundtracks be released on vinyl? [even if they aren't, that's OK. I would get them if yes] It would be neat to have all the Middle-earth movie soundtracks on vinyl
- depending on how things go with the Amazon series, I wonder if those soundtracks will also be available on vinyl....  

So that basically sums up my thoughts on the Tolkien stuff that's been happening lately. Great time to be a Tolkien fan!   

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