In Other News, How Can I Meet This Met?

Filed under:Heh,Need a Good Editor?,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on May 9, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

A Mets pitcher, specifically, who named one of his bats … Orcrist.

Then the NYT apparently managed to screw up the origin of the name, but they apologized, so all good.

Never Mind the Russian and the Log Houses–

Filed under:Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on April 24, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

on this Russian map of The Hobbit–stuff is in the wrong place and rivers are running the wrong way. And what’s with all the castles? You can decipher what everything is supposed to be–there’s the lake, there’s Mirkwood, there’s Rivendell, there are the Misty Mountains, even the Carrock is there–but it’s like they didn’t even look at the orientation or detail of the original. A cruise through the other foreign-language maps is interesting–many of them have things in the right place, but not all. Since I can’t read Russian, I can’t tell from the compass rose if up is north. If up is actually east, that would be a bit better (because Mirkwood, the mountains, and the Shire are all to the far west of the Lonely Mountain), but it still wouldn’t be correct.

What’s the big deal? you’re thinking if you’re not a Tolkien fan. But it makes a difference to the commonality between readers–i.e. if you imagine Bilbo’s (or Frodo’s) journey so differently from how I imagine it that he’s even going in a different direction, that makes a difference not only to how we interpret the books but also in how we will view the forthcoming movies. Maybe a small thing, but interesting.

Also, of course, it makes a huge difference in that it’s a deviation from how Tolkien devised it. And he’s the boss.

I’d Move

Filed under:Tolkien — posted by Anwyn @ 7:48 pm

Wouldn’t you?

On the other hand, I know some people who are probably going to go out and get that window installed in their door.


Filed under:Cool,Movies,Television,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on April 14, 2011 @ 10:27 am

This has to be the ultimate (and, probably, only) crossover between Firefly and The Lord of the Rings. As a bonus, it’s a Jayne shirt.

Why is it a crossover? The Chinese says “Fighting Elves.”

Via Whedonesque.

Maurice Sendak & The Hobbit

Filed under:Need a Good Editor?,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on March 27, 2011 @ 9:27 am

An American edition of The Hobbit, marking its 30th anniversary, was proposed to contain drawings by Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame. Tolkien requested samples, and Sendak provided two. But “the editor,” whoever was the liaison between Tolkien and Sendak, mislabeled the drawings, calling Sendak’s wood-elves hobbits.

This blunder nettled Tolkien. His reply was that Sendak had not read the book closely and did not know what a hobbit was. Consequently, Tolkien did not approve the drawings. Sendak was furious.

In hopes that all could be smoothed over between the two, the publisher arranged for a meeting in Oxford while Sendak was in England touring for the U.K. release of “Wild Things.” The day before their meeting, Sendak suffered his first major heart attack. He was 39. Sendak spent several weeks recovering in a hospital in Birmingham. He never met with Tolkien, and the project was abandoned.

I find this tale of the ignorant “editor” a little far-fetched; the article doesn’t name the publisher, but just says “the American publisher,” which is presumably Houghton Mifflin. Either the “editor” who labeled the drawings wasn’t familiar with the book (unlikely), or looked at Sendak’s drawings and thought they were of hobbits rather than elves and didn’t bother to check (a bit more likely). It also seems reasonable to think it might have been some random person at the company or Sendak himself who mislabeled the drawings.

In any case, I’m not sorry the project didn’t go through. In the sample drawing at the article, Bilbo looks OK, but Gandalf looks about as tall as Bilbo and a bit too Wild-Thingy for me. As my seven-year-old son might say, “That’s boring to my taste.” Gandalf supplies the drama, the not-your-usual-afternoon-tea part of the pastoral Hobbiton scene. If he looks like a dwarf in a long cloak, where’s the adventure in that?

Via Neatorama.

John Casey Goes All Samwise Gamgee on a Shoplifter’s A…pple

Filed under:Heh,Television,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on October 8, 2008 @ 8:24 am


Via Whedonesque.

No *Time*?

Filed under:Good Grief,Movies,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on August 20, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

Apparently Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens will reprise their writing duties from Lord of the Rings for the two Hobbit movies. Good for the consistency of the films–consistency that’s been worrying me, given that they’re going to have to swap out actors for primary characters; bad for the general writing quality, which I was willing to largely forgive during Rings for the stunning visuals. Notably, though, I have not felt any urge to go back and re-watch them since the last time I wrote about them. This is a laugh, though:

While looking for another writer, however, Jackson and Del Toro found openings in their schdules, realized how much they loved the material, and decided there was no time to bring in someone unfamiliar with Middle Earth.

Wow. They realized, after Jackson had previously made three gazillion-dollar movies off it, that they love the material? Does anybody really believe that anybody on that production was seriously considering bringing in a writer unfamiliar with Middle-earth, no matter how much time was or was not available? If that really was the case I’d have to say taking it on themselves dodged them a few bullets, cornball writing or no.

Move Over, Hobbits

Filed under:Food,Heh,Sports,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on August 13, 2008 @ 10:52 am

Wow. Twelve thousand calories a day. And what calories! I think even Pippin would have turned his nose up at pizza.

Via Hot Air.

The White Tree

Filed under:Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on March 10, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

Gondor evoked in West Virginia.

Did New Line Bother to Pay *Anyone?*

Filed under:Movies,Not Cool,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on February 11, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

First Peter Jackson sues for his cut of Lord of the Rings, now the (!) Tolkien Estate.

“The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court,” Steven Maier, an attorney for the Tolkien estate based in Britain, said in a statement. “New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures.”

Maier also claims the film studio has blocked the Tolkien estate and the other plaintiffs from auditing the receipts of the last two films.

… Swallow It, and Hack It Up in My Next Hairball for Any Ol’ Wraith to Find. Because I Do Not Care

Filed under:Heh,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on September 21, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

… though I do know the way. Of course.

Let It Go

Filed under:Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on September 5, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

It’s just a house, and not even the house where he wrote, at that. Although this is just rude:

James Dean, director of Cranbrook Homes said he was not aware of the building’s history.

He said: “It’s going to be replaced with two superb contemporary houses. In the light of what you’ve just told me, perhaps one of them should be called Tolkien.”

According to the article, the house in question that will be demolished is where Tolkien and his wife moved after his retirement and lived until her death, whereupon he moved back to Oxford–about four years later. Let’s get a grip, people: This isn’t the Kilns, quirky and unusual home of C.S. Lewis. This is not Tolkien’s Headington house that W.H. Auden presumed to call “hideous.”

A few commenters in the linked article have it right: If it hasn’t been a “pilgrimage” site up till now, why should it be preserved in case anybody suddenly wants to make it so? There are only so many of his presumably rather ordinary houses I can look at when I finally travel to England.

WWTD? He was continuously angry at scenes of his personal history being pulled down and/or modernized, and personally I think he tended toward “overboard” in his preservationist tendencies. But in his preferences, he seemed largely interested in unique or old or natural scenes and buildings. I can’t imagine even he would think it worthwhile to fuss over the replacement of one modernish suburban house with two more modern others, other than a grumble at being too crowded, which is a separate issue. Let it go.


Whenever Tolkien: Sunrise, Sunset

Filed under:Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on August 14, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

Here’s a little nibble for discussion. In Tolkien, everything good flows from (or to) the West. Mankind’s doomed Atlantis, Numenor, was there. Elvenhome, Valinor, remains there. One associates West, in Tolkien, with the home of the gods, as Valar and Maiar dwelt and visited there.

In Lewis, everything good flows from (or to) the East. The castle of Cair Paravel sits on the eastern seashore looking to the sunrise. Anybody who seeks Aslan’s Country sails east, as it is always from the East that the great Lion appears. One associates East, in Lewis, with the home of God.

Tolkien wrote his works slowly, with many revisions and much “niggling.” Lewis wrote his quickly and shipped them off to press. Tolkien was dismayed by his own tendency to procrastinate by playing solitaire. Lewis was the social center of their group of friends, always with a quip, anecdote, or new writing to read to the group. Tolkien was quieter and more serious–in fact disliked Lewis’s Narnia stories for their tendency to what he considered hodgepodge and inconsistency.

I submit the difference between their personalities is very strongly observed in the directional preferences of each. Tolkien looked forward to sunset, to rest, while Lewis preferred sunrise as renewal. Tolkien tended towards depressive, while Lewis may have been more continuously on the “up.”

It may be a minor point but is worth looking at–and could even partially explain the cooling of their friendship in later years. There’s only so long that “down”-westward-rest can tolerate “up”-eastward-new day dawning.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace