Tolkien Notes 3
We posted to our website this evening new addenda and corrigenda for J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Chronology and Reader’s Guide), The Lord of the Rings (50th anniversary edition), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, and Roverandom, thirteen web pages altogether.
Before Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring was released twelve years ago, we watched its trailers and read advance magazine and newspaper articles, and genuinely hoped it might be a good adaptation, or at least a good film. It was neither. Even so, we saw The Two Towers and The Return of the King as well, because as Tolkien scholars we felt that we might be asked to comment about them, and we were. Now the first of the Hobbit films is upon us, but this time we’re staying home. The many trailers and clips and podcasts for An Unexpected Journey made it clear enough, and most of the reviews have confirmed, that it’s a bloated, loud, violent indulgence by Jackson and co. For our readers who have seen An Unexpected Journey and liked it, we’re happy for you. For us, it would be certain discomfort and a waste of fifteen dollars (2D at matinee). So no, thank you.
Heaven knows why our book has become unavailable on Amazon U.S. this evening. It’s marked ‘item under review’: only temporarily, we hope. A while ago, its sales rank among books on Amazon U.S. was in the 500s – very satisfying. Some of Tolkien’s Hobbit pictures were included (with scenes from That Film) on a PBS NewsHour web page on 14 December; some have gone a little garish. The Art of The Hobbit has been noticed also in other media, including the Boston Globe on 12 December. We found a reference to the art of The Hobbit as well on the Oxford University website, on a page dated 13 December – not about our book, but referring to a podcast by Judith Priestman of the Bodleian Library, who is responsible for the Tolkien papers and who recorded her thoughts on Tolkien as an artist in connection with World Book Day in 2010. (There are now eight podcasts about Tolkien on the Oxford site.) We don’t know what’s become of our interview with Sirius/XM’s Kim Alexander, but will report any news that comes our way.
For all of our readers: our best wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, and fulfilling New Year.