November 26, 2019

Tolkien Christmas Ideas

With Christmas coming up, we often 'give' and 'receive' gifts.
With quite a few editions of each Tolkien book available, I wanted to showcase some - whether it's for you, or the giftee. There are a few other non-book items as well. I'm also providing links on where to get them:
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THE HOBBIT (paperback edition)



This copy is a great edition - whether you need a new one, don't have The Hobbit yet, or are looking to get someone you know into Tolkien. It's paperback, so yes, nothing special - however, it's size dimensions match the other HarperCollins paperbacks. Also, it includes chapter illustrations by David Wyatt, which can be presently found only in this edition.
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Online, the official product description may get messed up (some sites list this as an audio edition, others as an illustrated one) so here's the actual features: "This deluxe collector's edition of Tolkien's modern classic is boxed and bound in green leatherette with gold and red foil rune stamping on the spine and cover. The text pages are printed in black with green accents. It includes five full page illustrations in full color and many more in two colors, in addition to Thror's map -- all prepared by the author."
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Great if you want a nicer edition of The Hobbit to last for quite a while! Also worth mentioning, is that the design and style of the interior of the book itself is used for the Easton Press edition - minus the Michael Hague frontispiece. Great, alternative, and affordable way to own a special edition!
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"The Fellowship of the Ring, part one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, first reached these shores on October 21, 1954, arriving, as C. S. Lewis proclaimed, “like lightning from a clear sky.” Fifty years and nearly one hundred million American readers later comes a beautiful new one-volume collector’s edition befitting the stature of this crown jewel of our list. With a text fully corrected under the supervision of Christopher Tolkien to meet the author’s exacting wishes, two large-format fold-out maps, a ribbon placemarker, gilded page edges, a color insert depicting Tolkien's own paintings of the Book of Mazarbul and exceptionally elegant and sturdy overall packaging housed within an attractive slipcase, this edition is the finest we’ve ever produce."
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This would definitely be a treat for anyone that receives it! Also, it goes with The Hobbit collector's edition mentioned above quite well.
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THE LORD OF THE RINGS COMPLETE RECORDINGS





How many consider the extended editions to be the definitive version of the film trilogy, I consider these releases to be the definitive soundtrack. I've put the recently released CD+blu-ray sets (sorry, the vinyls are most likely well sold out by now, as they are limited edition) as it's nice owning something. However, depending on your tastes, the complete recordings also exists on digital music sources: Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, etc...
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I mentioned above that the complete recordings are the definitive editions of the soundtracks.....however, that doesn't mean that the standard editions aren't automatically 'not good' because of it. Many of us have listened to these versions music many, many times. I'm showcasing the vinyl edition (which collects all 3 soundtracks in one set) in case anyone missed out on the limited-edition complete recordings vinyl, they can still listen to The Lord of the Rings music on vinyl. Also, these editions exist on a number of formats: CD, and digital, such as Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, etc.
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This is a boxed set that contains matching hardback editions of The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin.
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THE TOLKIEN ILLUSTRATED COLLECTION







That's all I can think of to mention: some well-known items, and some lesser known ones. I'll close by saying that some other Tolkien books that haven't had that many 'versions' are:
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- The Silmarillion
- Unfinished Tales
- The History of Middle-earth (12-book series)
- Tales From the Perilous Realm (Alan Lee illustrated edition)
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In closing, here are some great works if you've enjoyed Tolkien:
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- THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis (first published book is THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE)
- HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman (THE GOLDEN COMPASS/NORTHERN LIGHTS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE and THE AMBER SPYGLASS)
- THE EARTHSEA CYCLE by Ursula K. LeGuin (A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, THE TOMBS OF ATUAN, THE FARTHEST SHORE, TEHANU, TALES FROM EARTHSEA and THE OTHER WIND)
- THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan (The first book in the 14-book series is THE EYE OF THE WORLD)
- STORMLIGHT by Brandon Sanderson (is expected to be 10 books. The first in the series is THE WAY OF KINGS)
- A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by George R.R. Martin (Is expected to be 7 books. The first book in the series is A GAME OF THRONES)
- THE LAST UNICORN by Peter S. Beagle
- works by Guy Gavriel Kay
- THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN by Lloyd Alexander (THE BOOK OF THREE, THE BLACK CAULDRON, THE CASTLE OF LLYR, TARAN WANDERER, THE HIGH KING, and THE FOUNDLING)

November 23, 2019

Worthy of Note: Hæstingas



I've always loved, and been inspired by various aspects of Tolkien's mythology: not only the in-universe lore itself, but how he came to create the tales. Even in the sense of 'prose' and 'verse.' I do not know much about epic poetry (beats? chanting?) I just enjoying reading them. I've always sort of been inspired to do my own Tolkien-esque poem...a 'lay' if you will.

Somebody else, did just that. They didn't steal my idea, but this is what I would have liked to have done, or something very similar.

The author is James Moffett. Many may know him best for his blog, "A Tolkienist's Perspective". This blog, my own, isn't a Tolkien specific one; however it's a key interest of mine so it gets lots of coverage. What follows is his blog post about the book, and the official description:

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Independently published (Nov. 2 2019) [as far as I'm aware, only available through Amazon]
Language: English
ISBN: 9781072916208

"Well folks, this is it.

The Lay of Leofwin project I briefly posted about over the last few months, has taken a life of its own and been transformed into a book. An actual, published book!

That is the primary reason behind my long absence from this blog.

Without going into too much “behind-the-scenes” detail, the writing process for what would eventually become known as “Hæstingas: A retelling of the valiant fall of England in verse” started almost 3 years ago, with a very rough idea of where I wanted the story to lead to.

Fast-track to today, that story combines three subjects dear to me: fantasy stories, poetry, and the Anglo-Saxon period. Plus, I won’t deny the huge influence Tolkien’s works have had on this too 😀

The synopsis of the book is as follows:

Dragons, mythical beasts, mighty warriors and perilous forests. This is England in 1066. The Anglo-Saxon king, Harold, is bound north to repel a strong force of Norsemen — unaware of the approaching threat upon the southern shores of his kingdom. Among his army of thousands, from noble thegns to battle-hardened housecarls and staunch fyrdmen, is the ambitious, loyal and proud Leofwin. Eager to defend his brother’s kingdom and carve his name in the annals of history, he battles in earnest against famed warriors, ravenous wolves and wicked sorcerers. However, his ambitions soon come to naught when his beloved wife’s life is in danger. His whole world and home are approaching an inevitable downfall.

I’m extremely proud of this work and really hope you get the chance of reading it."

I look forward to reading it. My reading pile is currently quite extensive: I'm working my way through Penguin's Legends from the Ancient North series, after which I'll take The Sagas of Icelanders, and then other sagas that aren't included in Penguin's Sagas. Following that, I will read The History of Middle-earth. My other Tolkien reading afterwards consists of The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, The Fall of Gondolin, Tales From the Perilous Realm, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, The Fall of Arthur, Beowulf, The Story of Kullervo and others afterwards.