March 2018 archive

Tolkien March, Concluded

Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-Earth. Go in Peace! I will not say: Do not weep; for not all tears are an evil. It’s been fun a fun month here in Cobaltland, delving into all things Middle Earth. I’ve found out …

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Sauron, Melkor, and the Ho-yay

Tolkien March is drawing to a close. As it ends, I want to touch on the fanfic and fanart… and the slash… bursting onto the scene after the release of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, and gathering steam through the next two releases and then Hobbit trilogy that wrapped in 2014. Not …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/28/18: The Lord of the Things, Part IV

The great shadow descended like a falling cloud. And behold! It was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older …

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Tolkien in Bengali

A Bengali edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, published in the Indian subcontinent. (Hindi and English are the official languages government-wise, but there are many, many others including Tamil, Urdu, and Punjabi.) The artwork looks to be a crib from the 2001 movie, done in the style of Bollywood cinema posters. Look closely at …

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The Worm Ouroboros
[Reading Challenge 2018]

The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison Ballantine Books, New York, 1967 [Challenge # 48: A high fantasy] The Worm Ouroboros is one of the great granddaddies of fantasy, sandwiched between Lord Dunsany, who was an influence, and J.R.R. Tolkien, who received its influence. As such, it’s a kind of a bridge, but one that …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/21/18: The Lord of the Things, Part III

One of the important differences between Lord of the Rings and earlier fantasies is in Tolkien’s protagonists. Frodo, Merry, Pippin, and Sam are not high-powered warriors like those in Germanic and Norse legend, exemplified by Lord Juss and Brandoch Daha in E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros, which I’m reading now. Neither do they fit the …

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In Praise of Oliphaunts

Grey as a mouse, Big as a house, Nose like a snake, I make the earth shake, As I tramp through the grass; Trees crack as I pass. J.R.R. Tolkien, “Oliphaunt” Oliphaunts, or mumakil as Tolkien also called them, are one of the mythical creatures most identified with the trilogy. It’s clear they are based …

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Three Editions Through Time

Three editions of the trilogy over the years. The top one is the first, unauthorized paperback version. Note that the Nazgul on the cover of The Two Towers is a pegasus and not the reptilian creature that was actually in the book. The artist got other details right, like the black-robed, faceless Nazgul, and others …

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Plagiarism, Hobbit Style

Looking through my Pinterest feed for Tolkien images, I found this cover for a French edition of The Hobbit. It looked awfully familiar to me. Then I figured out where I had seen it before. Now, I wish the artist had been just a little more creative and not cribbed what is obvious, particularly as …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/14/18: The Lord of the Things, Part II

Here we are moving on to more characters in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with more variations. So hypothetical Freudno Buffins of Buff End can have brave-hearted companions like Gjori the Dwarf and Laegolach the Elf. There are other Tolkien name generators, of course. Most of them, to my eyes at least, work on …

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