01 March 2017

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Officially Announced

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is officially getting a sequel! Warner Bros. officially announced the upcoming Middle-earth: Shadow of War yesterday following a retailer leak.

As with Shadow of Mordor, Middle-earth: Shadow of War will focus on an original storyline set in Middle-earth, following the ranger Talion as he attempts to thwart Sauron and defend Middle-earth – this time with the help of a new ring of power. (Personally, I'm a bit skeptical of this bit, as it sounds to me like bad fanfiction; but Shadow of Mordor was loads of fun, so I'm reserving judgment until I've actually played.)

Shadow of War is slated for a North American release on 22 August (25th for Europe) and will be available on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and Windows 10. The first official gameplay trailer will be released on the 8th of March; for now, you can watch the official trailer:

23 January 2017

New LOTR Funko Pop! Vinyl Figures Revealed at London Toy Fair

At long last, we have word on new Funko Pop! vinyl figures featuring more characters from The Lord of the Rings (the original run was very light, and The Hobbit figures were discontinued almost immediately). A few months ago, my friends Myla, Lily, Josh, and I all came up with a wishlist of Funko Pop! vinyl figures we'd love to see released; and it was nice to see a few of them made the cut! I'm still hoping they will release even more figures, as these all seem to be from The Fellowship of the Ring; but in any case, this is a great addition to the Funko line!

Just announced are Frodo Baggins (three variations), Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf, Saruman,
a Nazgûl, and a Twilight Ringwraith, while the big 6-inch figure is the much-anticipated Balrog!

Additionally, there will be two Pocket Pop! keychains available: Frodo and Gandalf.

While a date has not been set for their release, they will be here sometime this year. Earlier reports had suggested this spring, so stay tuned for updated info! 

Which of these are your favourites, and which other characters were you hoping to see?

22 January 2017

Valentine's Day Shopping Guide

Christmas may be over, but there's one more major shopping holiday coming up -- you guessed it: Valentine's Day. Although not everyone is on board with the concept, it is a fun occasion to spoil yourself or a friend/spouse/significant other/etc. Like Christmas and birthdays, it's an opportunity for Tolkien collectors to give and receive something special. So regardless of how you feel about Valentine's Day, here are some gift-giving ideas for all types of recipients, whether you want to give an extravagant gift, something small, or a card with a message from the heart.


Cards are great for friends, family, and new relationships where you want to express your feelings but aren't sure what kind of gift to give.

Beckadoodles has some fun Hobbit Valentines on her Etsy shop; while you're there, take a look through Etsy, as there are lots of creative designs available this time of year!

You can also share some of these eCards made by a few of my Middle-earth News colleagues:


Who doesn't love Tolkien-themed jewellery? There are so many different items to choose from, so for this guide, I've narrowed it down to "his and hers" sets - so if you're looking for promise, engagement, or weddings rings with a Tolkien twist, look no further! (Then again, any ring can be whatever you want it to be; it's always up to personal taste.)

  • His and hers Nenya rings from Badali Jewelry - Get your officially licensed, book-inspired Elven rings of Power from Badali Jewelry! These rings are available in sterling silver, white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, and palladium white gold and with several different stone options. Prices range from $177 to $3,716. This set is as versatile as you want to make it and can be used as a promise, engagement, or wedding ring set. 

  • Elvish inspired engagement rings from Jens Hansen - Made by the same folks who crafted the original One Ring for Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. Custom engraving available on inside and out. Ring is available in white gold, platinum, palladium, red gold, and yellow gold and ranging in price from $629 to $2,859. 

  • Elvish inspired wedding rings from Jens Hansen - Made by the same folks who crafted the original One Ring for Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. Custom engraving available on inside and out. Ring is available in red gold ($3,589), yellow gold ($3,589), white gold/palladium/platinum ($4,219).


Maybe you want to be different and skip the cards and jewellery altogether. If you/your significant other aren't big on these, here are a few other gift ideas to consider:

  • The Tale of Beren and Luthien (pre-order) - Perhaps the greatest love story ever told. While you won't be able to read this book until its release on May 4th, you can at least pre-order it. 
  • Tolkien's Requiem: Concerning Beren and Luthien - you can download this title for Kindle and read up on the story of Beren and Luthien while you wait for the aforementioned book's release. 
  • Cooking for Halflings and Monsters - Why not treat your Valentine to a nice, home-cooked meal using one of the recipes in Astrid Winegar's new book? Or maybe you'd have more fun cooking some delicious meals and treats together? 
  • The Proverbs of Middle-earth - This is a fun read featuring many of the proverbs found in Tolkien's writings, through which we learn a lot about each culture and race in Middle-earth.

When in doubt, some good places to browse are Etsy for handmade/unique items, eBay for harder to find items and good deals, and AbeBooks for a wide variety of Tolkien books at great prices.

While places like HobbitShop and The Noble Collection do offer a wide range of merchandise and collectibles, when it comes to expensive items like jewellery, my personal recommendations are Badali Jewelry, Christie's Jewellery in NZ, and Jens Hansen jewellers. You will pay more money in some cases, but the quality of these three companies is far superior and definitely worth every penny.

Have some ideas of your own you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a comment below, Tweet me, or leave a comment on my Facebook page!

15 January 2017

Help Tolkien Fan Rúnar's Dream Come True

Rúnar Þór Njálsson is a 25 year old Tolkien fan from Iceland who was born with cerebral palsy. Although he has been confined to a wheelchair all his life, he hasn't let that get in the way of his dream to visit Middle-earth (aka New Zealand) and participate in the Red Carpet Tours. But travel is expensive, especially given the circumstances; which is why Rúnar has set up a GoFundMe page.

I’m a HUGE The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fan, not a day goes by without me doing something related to it and I live and breathe Middle-Earth as you can clearly see by looking at the pictures :) My ultimate dream/on the top of my bucket list, is to travel to New Zealand and to go on a 14 day tour, to travel across the country and visit all the locations that were used in the filming, meeting the people responsible for creating this masterpiece and getting a look behind the scenes and just being in NZ/Middle-Earth for real. Here is the tour I’m hopefully going on http://www.redcarpet-tours.com/lotr-tours/14-day-lord-of-the-rings-tour

I find it quite hard actually to describe just how much The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit means to me and my life. It’s much more than just movies or books to me. If I’m feeling down or just plainly having a bad day I can always lose myself within this magical world and forget all about my disability and troubles even if it’s just for a little while.

New Zealand is very far from Iceland and this will be a very expensive and difficult journey (flights, the tour and accommodations). I knew I could never afford this myself, being disabled and receiving disability pension which would never be enough to pay for this adventure. So I always thought that my dream would just stay a dream and I would never be able to see it coming true. That was until I stumbled on this site and saw all the amazing work gofundme and the people in this world were doing. Helping people in times of need and making distant dreams like mine, a reality. This filled me with great hope and here I am writing my campaign :)
For more information about Rúnar and his campaign, please visit his GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/2dj937ms. If you cannot donate, please share the link with your friends and networks and help spread the word!


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