20 December 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Items Under $20

Shopping/collecting on a budget? No worries! Tolkien memorabilia comes in a variety of price ranges! This week, I'm narrowing it down to items under $20, which can be found at most online and chain retailers.

Nazgul print signed by artist Fian Arroyo, $20 (Etsy

Funko Pop! Vinyl Sauron, $19.95 (HobbitShop)

17 December 2015

Live Like a Hobbit in Green Mountain Homes' Eco-Friendly Micro-Houses

If you've ever wanted to live in your very own hobbit hole, now may be your chance! Florida-based Green Mountain Homes create eco-friendly micro-houses which, being covered in grass and soil to exist as part of the surrounding nature, are reminiscent of Tolkien's hobbit holes.

Green Magic Homes
The company states that these eco-friendly homes can be built in extreme climates, including desert or snow, and are designed to fit an individual's needs or preferences. Depending on the size of the home, assembly can take about three to six days and costs $34.74 per square foot (plus shipping). Additionally, the company will ship to anywhere in the world, making these hobbit homes accessible to every Tolkien fan.

This is something I personally would love to live in; I've always relished the idea of living somewhat minimally, but also living fully immersed in the nature around me. As soon as I can afford some decent land with a beautiful view of New Hampshire's White Mountains, you can bet I'll be looking at getting my own little hobbit-hole from Green Mountain Homes!

Green Magic Homes
For more information and pictures, visit the company's website at Green Magic Homes.

13 December 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Tolkien Books

This week, I'm focusing on books – with an emphasis on those "must-haves" for either your own collection or that of a loved one who really enjoys Tolkien and deserves a nice edition (or several!).

The Hobbit, illustrated by Jemima Catlin (Barnes & Noble

06 December 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Middle-earth Jewellery

This week's theme is my favourite: jewellery! There are so many unique and incredible film replicas and pieces inspired by the books that will excite the male or female Tolkien fan in your life.

Rings of power (and more!) from Badali Jewelry

02 December 2015

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - Initial Impressions

I'm ashamed to say it's taken me so long to try out Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor; but such is life sometimes. I purchased the PC version through Steam last year after receiving a gift card for Christmas, but my laptop has neither the space nor the capability of handling newer games like that. (I'm still surprised it can even handle LOTRO, at this point.)

Thankfully, my boyfriend purchased a PlayStation 4 about a week or so ago, followed by a massive ultra-HD TV. Needless to say, I immediately purchased the Game of the Year edition. Below is a quick test video of me learning the controls. I never played the Assassin's Creed games, and it's been years since I played on a console (I'm more of a PC person), so pardon any goofs!

While I do plan on writing a more in-depth blog post concerning my initial reaction to the game, I wanted to share my impression so far. I've only had about twenty minutes of gameplay, but I think that was all I needed to come to a conclusion about this game.

Obviously, canon is going to be somewhat of an issue here; but the initial story has been so compelling that I am very willing to overlook whatever deviations may arise. I already knew the premise of the game, but watching it play out in front of me was a surprisingly emotional experience. I was immediately hooked.

The gameplay is phenomenal, and not too difficult. As you can see in the video above, I'm still learning some of the controls and combos. My favourite part so far has been sneaking up behind enemies and taking them out when they least expect it.

I'm hoping to post more gameplay videos once I get more comfortable (and better!) at the game; follow my YouTube to keep up with my latest updates!

29 November 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Tolkien Tech

This week's theme is Tolkien tech!

Lord of the Rings and Hobbit phone cases for iPhone and Galaxy (HobbitShop)

22 November 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Food and Drink

This week, I tried to narrow my finds down to fit a specific theme: food and drink!

 Lord of the Rings-inspired teas (Adagio Teas)

15 November 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Housing Decorations

This week, I found even more unique Tolkien-related items; Etsy, which I have only recently started using, is a treasure-trove of goodies! You can find a wide variety of items priced for any budget. Several of my friends and family members have given me gifts purchased from Etsy, and I have been impressed with all of them, so that tends to be my go-to source when I'm looking for something new and interesting.

This week's theme is housing decorations. Each week I'll try to come up with a different theme of Tolkien-inspired finds!

60th Anniversary Lord of the Rings Wood Clock (Etsy)

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: The Exhibition (August–October 2004)

Back in 2004, the Boston Museum of Science hosted a Lord of the Rings prop/costume exhibition. I had the pleasure of seeing it twice (the second time was in October and coincided with Sean Astin's There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale book tour).

I just found the write-up on an old LiveJournal of mine, so I thought even though it's now ten years since that trip (I'm starting to feel old now...), it's still worth a post! I've just copied + pasted the original post, which you can read below the page break. (Keep in mind I was only 14 years old when I wrote it!)

14 November 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition (Review)

Contains spoilers!!

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was my favourite film in the Hobbit trilogy – of the three, it had the least amount of deviations from the source material, and was also the most exciting to watch. (You can read my initial review here.) The extended cut, with its additional twenty minutes of footage, tied up many of the loose ends which had driven me crazy in the theatrical cut. Although not every little subplot had a resolution, I enjoyed this film so much that I really can't complain. 

Despite there not being many additional moments with Bard, re-watching the film gave me a greater appreciation for Luke Evans' portrayal of the dragon-slaying bowman. His performance is one of my favourites, and it's a shame he didn't get just a little more screen time (seeing him crowned King of Dale would have been nice!). 

My favourite extended scene was the attack on Dol Guldur; it is revealed that Sauron has not only resurfaced, but he is also seeking the Elven rings of power worn by Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond – an appropriate way to introduce the White Council into the scene and further connect The Hobbit films to The Lord of the Rings. In particular, I really enjoyed Cate Blanchett's additional screen time as Galadriel. "I come for Mithrandir," she announces upon arriving at Dol Guldur, "and I will leave with him." If only Tauriel had been written out and her screen time given to Galadriel: she is the heroine that female audiences deserved. 

The battle featured far more violence (the R-rating seems appropriate), but was kept rather light-hearted thanks to little sprinklings of humour (such as Bifur getting his head-axe stuck in the head of an enemy Orc) and sass from both Thranduil and Dáin Ironfoot; it's not very Tolkien-esque, but I laughed nonetheless. The battle scenes alone further highlighted Jackson's skill as a filmmaker. He could have turned The Battle of the Five Armies into its own 9-hour film trilogy and there would never have been a dull moment. 

Thankfully, the film offered some of the closure I was looking for: Alfrid met a demise as ridiculous as himself; Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli were all given their proper on-screen burials, and it was every bit as beautiful and saddening as I had hoped. However, one thing still missing from the extended cut was the fate of Tauriel. Did she die of a broken heart? Was her banishment from Mirkwood upheld, forcing her to roam Middle-earth alone? Why didn't she just go with Legolas to Rivendell? After taking the time and effort to write in a new character, leaving her fate unknown was anti-climactic and a bit of a letdown to those who may have looked to her character as a role model and hoped for a meaningful ending. 

In the end, I gained more of an appreciation for this film after seeing the extended cut. Naturally, it's impossible to fit everything into one cut, so to get the most out of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth, you really have to watch the extended versions. As I said in my last review: if you enjoyed The Hobbit films, you will love the extended cut; and even if you didn't, you may be pleasantly surprised with this one.

 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday, November 17.


A HUGE thank-you to Warner Bros. for allowing me to review all of The Hobbit films and their extended editions.  

08 November 2015

Collecting Tolkien: Weekly Roundup, November 2-8

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to start looking for the perfect gift for your Tolkien-loving friend or family member! Each Sunday, I'll be posting a roundup of items I've found throughout the week.

If you find anything unique that you'd like to share, please feel free to e-mail me or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter!

Wooden Hadhafang replica (Etsy)

 Handmade custom Middle-earth map clutch (Etsy)

LOTR One Ring 6' scarf (ThinkGeek)

 Tolkien's World: A Colouring Book (Amazon)

'Greetings from the Lonely Mountain' tee (eBay)

07 November 2015

Today's Tolkien Haul

I went to a wedding this weekend, and on my way back passed through Salem, MA to visit one of my favourite shops, Bewitched in Salem. I had previously bought some Hobbit tarot cards there, and this is also the shop where my ring of the Witch-king and my Witch-king statue came from. This time, I picked up the Lord of the Rings tarot set; and, down the street just a bit, is Harrison's Comics and Collectibles, where I found a deck of Frank Frazetta playing cards. I am a huge fan of his artwork, and there happened to be at least one Tolkien-related card in the deck!

05 November 2015

Tolkien Collecting: Tips for Beginners

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "How did you get into Tolkien collecting and where do you find stuff?" Collecting Tolkien memorabilia – book or film-related – can seem overwhelming at first, given that there's so much out there and the options are seemingly endless. My general advice to the new collector is to hone in on one aspect in particular – artwork, jewellery, books, etc. – and use that as the foundation for your collection.

While every collection is different (that's the beauty of it!), there are a few items I would recommend to someone who is just getting started. 

  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings 
  • The Silmarillion – If you enjoyed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and want to know more about the creation and history of Middle-earth, The Silmarillion is a must-read. 
  • The Complete Tolkien Companion The Silmarillion and many of Tolkien's other works are chock full of names and places. Sometimes keeping track of them all can be difficult; that's why I'd recommend J.E.A. Tyler's The Complete Tolkien Companion, which is essentially a glossary of all the people, places, objects, etc. found in Tolkien's writings.

Movie Memorabilia
  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings DVDs and soundtracks
  • Your own replica of The One Ring – you can find various versions of the One Ring at a variety of price ranges, at places such as The Noble Collection, Badali Jewelry, and even Etsy.
  • A map of Middle-earth

Where to Look
  • Chain and used bookstores – used bookstores are becoming increasingly popular and contain treasure-troves of books; but if you're in the market for a new copy, stores like Barnes & Noble can get you started.
  • The Internet – you can find a lot of neat books on Etsy, eBay, and other online retailers. I've had a lot of success with AbeBooks.com, where I look whenever I'm in the market for a very specific copy of a book.
  • Tolkien-specific shops – such as the official online Tolkien Book Shop and TolkienShop.com
  • Comic book stores – perfect for books, action figures, and other collectibles.

Ultimately, collecting is about having fun and doing what makes you happy. Don't feel you have to buy something just for the sake of adding it to your collection. And don't compare your collection to someone else's or let anyone tell you what to collect.

What items do you consider "must-haves" for the beginner collector? Share your suggestions and links in the comments below! And follow me on Instagram to see more photos of my Tolkien Collection!

25 October 2015

Recently Discovered: Tolkien's Annotated Map of Middle-earth

A map of Middle-earth, featuring annotations from Professor Tolkien himself, was recently discovered in an old copy of The Lord of the Rings once belonging to illustrator Pauline Baynes.

Photo: Blackwell's Rare Books

Notations include that Hobbiton is the same latitude as Oxford, England, and that the city of Minas Tirith was likely inspired by Ravenna in Italy.

Blackwell's Rare Books in the UK is selling the map for £60,000 ($121,000) with a representative for the company calling it "the finest piece of Tolkien ephemera to emerge in the last 20 years at least."

More details can be found over at The Guardian

06 October 2015

Guest Post: ‘‘Where Shall I Find Rest?”: “The Sea-Bell” and the Post-Traumatic Stress of Frodo Baggins

‘‘Where Shall I Find Rest?”: “The Sea-Bell” and the Post-Traumatic Stress of Frodo Baggins 
by Anne Marie Gazzolo

Janet Brennan Croft states, “One of the grimmest lessons The Lord of the Rings teaches about war is that some of the mental wounds it causes never heal in this world. Frodo is Tolkien’s prime example of the heartbreaking effects of war on certain minds” (War and Works of J. R. R. Tolkien 133). Verlyn Flieger observes:
The peace won for Middle-earth through his efforts is not his to enjoy, and he gets no recognition of his achievement on his return to the Shire he saved. Worst of all, he has lost the Ring he carried for so long and that has left its indelible mark on him… Its loss cannot be made up, and Frodo is bereft of more than a finger. He is like the thousands of returning servicemen…who come back to a world that has no way to understand where they have been or what they have been through. In 1916 they called it shell shock… Now we call it post-traumatic stress disorder. (Interrupted Music 142)
The remarkable poem “The Sea-Bell” provides evidence of the Ring-bearer’s PTSD, if viewed through the lens of its subtitle, Frodos Dreme. Tolkien noted that the hobbit likely did not write the poem himself but that one can observe within it the “dark and despairing dreams which visited him in March and October during his last three years” (Tolkien Reader, “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil” [“ATB”] 9). 

While on the Quest to destroy the Ring, Frodo receives several physical wounds, but the relentless mental traumas cause the deepest harm. From any one of them, he likely could have used the “amazing power of recovery” that Gandalf notes hobbits have (LotR III.11.580). But the Ring-bearer receives little time to do this. Even before he reaches Bree, he faces threats from the Black Rider and the barrow-wight. The Morgul-wound he receives on Weathertop places him in deadly peril until Elrond heals him.

More traumas follow from the Watcher in the Water, witnessing Gandalf’s fall in Moria, and the shadowy but real danger of Gollum’s pursuit of the Company. Frodo knows someone follows them, but he does not know if or when he will face betrayal and capture by Orcs or Ringwraiths. Lothlórien offers a respite, but Galadriel’s Mirror also reveals the Eye of Sauron that actively seeks him.

The damage to Frodo continues to mount after the Company leaves the Golden Wood. The threats to his life include the Orc attack on the River Anduin; Boromir’s fall to the lure of the Ring, the terrible struggle on Amon Hen, the search of the Nazgûl for him, the intense sense of vulnerability and naked exposure to the ever-present Eye, the stress of not knowing at first whether Faramir is trustworthy, the “deadly regard” (IV.9.704) and sting of Shelob, the capture by Orcs and whippings in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, the unwitting re-capture on the way to Mount Doom, and the loss of his finger in the Sammath Naur. These multiple traumas meet Criteria A for PTSD, which the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM] defines as “[e]xposure to actual or threatened death [or] serious injury” either by “directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) [and/or] witnessing, in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others” (271).

25 September 2015

Tolkien's World: A Colouring Book

Available in paperback form on 12 November, 2015:

This mystical colouring book presents an abundance of famous scenes and characters inspired by Tolkien's Middle-earth. From Gandalf the Grey to the humble Hobbits, take time off from the busy pace of life and indulge your imagination while exploring the enthralling world of The Lord of the Rings and other tales. There's something new on every page as you discover the intricate elvish designs, fearsome characters and breath-taking landscapes - perfect to satisfy Tolkien fans and beyond. This book is unofficial and is not authorised by the Tolkien Estate or HarperCollins Publishers.

You can pre-order this book on Amazon for $10.30.

24 September 2015

2016 'Beyond Bree' Calendar

Beyond Bree, the newsletter of the Tolkien Special Interest Group of American Mensa, celebrates its 35th anniversary with the debut of a 2016 calendar featuring artwork from around the world.
Art by Jian Guo
According to a flyer posted on its website:
Come delight to the works of your favorite artists such as Anke Eissmann, Octo Kwan, Ruth Lacon, Jef Murray, Gordon Palmer, Ted Nasmith, and Colin Williams. Thrill as we introduce new artists Joe Gilronan and Glenn Hernandez. And help us welcome our special guest artist Jian Guo, cover illustrator of Wen Jing Publishing’s Chinese language edition of Lord of the Rings (pictured above) as we travel through the landscapes of JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth!

The colour and black & white calendar will measure 11x 8 ½ inches, opening to 11 x 17 inches. Pricing: $20 plus shipping, USA $2.00, the rest of the World $5.00. Please inquire for larger orders. For PayPal orders please add $1.00. Send PayPal payments (in US dollars) to: beyondbree@yahoo.com Send check or postal money order (in US dollars, drawn on a US bank) payable to: Nancy Martsch, PO Box 55372, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413, USA. You may send currency, at your own risk, in a sturdy envelope. For more information, please e-mail: beyondbree@yahoo.com

28 August 2015

Tolkien Gifts - August 2015

Have I ever mentioned how awesome my friends are? Recently, I have received numerous books from my friends Myla, Lily, and Valdís. 
From Valdis!
Gold 50th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit from Myla!

26 August 2015

Tolkien Haul – August 24

I spent the past weekend up in Maine, and while there, I stumbled upon another fantastic bookstore to add to my "religiously re-visit" list. The Maine Bookhouse in Oxford, Maine is open daily year-round and boasts an inventory of "over 13,000 new, used, and out-of-print books"; so naturally I suspected there would be some Tolkien books somewhere in the mix.

And I wasn't wrong! I immediately found four must-haves, plus a movie tie-in cover that I hemmed and hawed over for quite a bit before ultimately adding it to my pile. They also had the 1995 Quality Paperback Bookclub The Return of the King, which I have yet to see in any other stores, but as I already had it, I had to pass.

In addition to the great selection (I could have spent all day in there, if I'd had more time) and the fair prices, the owner was very friendly and even threw in a small easel to prop up one of my books with. I also had my first opportunity to hand out one of my newly printed business cards.

I left there with The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King – thus completing another set of The Lord of the Rings – a movie tie-in of The Fellowship of the Ring featuring Frodo on the cover; and two first American editions of The Silmarillion (6th and 10th printings).

A ways down the road was Route 26 Antiques & Books, which had an amazing selection of books. Unfortunately, there was not much in the way of Tolkien (and most of what they did have I already owned as well); but I did find another movie tie-in cover and the 50th anniversary edition of the 1980s The Fellowship of the Ring.

Press Release: WBHE Announces "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition"

Burbank, CA, August 25, 2015 – The adventures of Bilbo Baggins come to an epic conclusion when “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” from Academy Award®-winning* filmmaker Peter Jackson, is released as an Extended Edition on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.  A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), the extended cut of the final film in The Hobbit Trilogy includes 20 minutes of extra footage and more than 9 hours of bonus features that will complete every Hobbit fan’s collection. The film, the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 17 and will be available early on Digital HD on October 20.

In addition, The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition will also be available, featuring the extended editions of all three films in The Hobbit Trilogy – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

In “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Stephen Fry and Ryan Cage. The film also stars Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Adam Brown, John Bell, Manu Bennett and John Tui.  

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition will be available as a 3-disc Blu-ray set ($35.99 SRP); and a 5-disc DVD set ($34.99 SRP). The Blu-ray and DVD include a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” via purchase from digital retailers.

The nine plus hours of new special features boasts audio commentary with Peter Jackson, the film’s director/producer/screenwriter, and Philippa Boyens, co-producer/screenwriter, as well as The Appendices, a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy.

The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition will be available as a 9-disc Blu-ray set ($99.98 SRP); and a 15-disc DVD set ($78.92 SRP). The Blu-ray and DVD Trilogy sets include digital versions of the movies on Digital HD with UltraViolet. Fans can also own The Hobbit Trilogy Extended Edition via purchase from digital retailers.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and the Company of Dwarves. The Dwarves of Erebor have reclaimed the vast wealth of their homeland, but now must face the consequences of having unleashed the terrifying Dragon, Smaug, upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.  

As he succumbs to dragon-sickness, the King Under the Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield, sacrifices friendship and honor in search for the legendary Arkenstone. Unable to help Thorin see reason, Bilbo is driven to make a desperate and dangerous choice, not knowing that even greater perils lie ahead. An ancient enemy has returned to Middle-earth. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain.  

As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends as five great armies go to war. 

  • Commentary with Peter Jackson, Director/Producer/Screenwriter and Philippa Boyens, Co-Producer/Screenwriter
  • The Appendices – The Appendices Parts XI and XII showcase a chronological history of the filming of The Battle of the Five Armies, documenting the work done on set chronologically through the three shooting blocks and in the world of its digital effects.
  • New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth – Part 3

22 August 2015

Tolkien Haul - August 22

Earlier today, I found myself at Double Midnight Comics (these are the same folks who put together Granite State Comic Con each year). They had a bunch of Lord of the Rings card game expansions, but today I opted to buy The Lord of the Rings: Nazgul heroclix game and two mystery figures from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (I just wanted the Mirkwood Elves; I ended up with a Mirkwood warrior and a Lake-town sentry).

Then, I noticed there was a Newbury Comics nearby, so I checked that out as well. And to my surprise, I found a neat (but kind of creepy) Gollum "Scalers" figurine and a cheap used copy of Aragorn's Quest, which I've always wanted to play. Again, I generally try to avoid movie memorabilia, but games and unique items are always must-haves...not to mention the prices were too good to pass up!

21 August 2015

Impromptu Sauron Cosplay

I recently got it in my head that I wanted to do some Sauron-inspired makeup. I ended up picking up a palette of applicable colours at my local drugstore: "Brown Eyed Girl" from Jesse's Girl cosmetics. I don't have a lot of experience with eyeshadow, so my attempt was pretty rushed. After I did the eyes, I remembered I had a red wig...so behold! A very quick Sauron cosplay.

I would love to do a serious Sauron cosplay at some point, though I'd much rather come up with my own interpretation based on The Silmarillion. Soon, I hope!

"Now the Elves made many rings; but secretly Sauron made One Ring to rule all the others, and their power was bound up with it, to be subject wholly to it and to last only so long as it too should last. And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven-rings was very great, and that which should govern them must be a thing of surpassing potency; and Sauron forged it in the Mountain of Fire in the Land of Shadow. And while he wore the One Ring he could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wore them." -The Silmarillion

17 August 2015

Tolkien Haul - August 15 and 16

I spent this past weekend travelling around my state, and I stumbled upon two treasure-troves of Tolkien books!

The first bookstore, The Local BOOKie in Conway, New Hampshire, had a huge Tolkien selection. Unfortunately, I already had most of the vintage books available, and at the time I couldn't remember which movie covers I needed; but I ended up with a ton of great new books! The owner, Karen, couldn't have been more friendly and helpful; you can bet I'll be a frequent customer here!

The second bookstore, Sheafe Street Books in downtown Portsmouth, is a go-to spot for the more experienced collector. The owner, Ken, has many unique and even signed copies of popular books. I could have spent the entire day there. Again, most of what he had (that I could afford, mind you!) I already owned, but I found a few books I needed to complete some sets, and I had a lovely conversation in the process. He's got a copy of The Hobbit that I really want, so I'll be visiting Sheafe Street Books again real soon!

All in all, I'd say it was a very successful weekend!

12 August 2015

What Became of Thorin and Company Following the Quest of Erebor?

Of the thirteen Dwarves who set out to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor, only ten of them survived the Battle of the Five Armies. The leader of the Company, Thorin Oakenshield, was slain in battle, along with his nephews Fíli and Kíli, who died defending him.  

Following the Battle of the Five Armies, the Dwarves settled in Erebor, which was ruled by Thorin's successor, Dáin Ironfoot. The Dwarves Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur remained in the Lonely Mountain, presumably for the remainder of their lives; the only two whose deaths are specifically mentioned by Tolkien are Glóin, who attended the Council of Elrond with his son Gimli in TA 3018 and later perished in FO 15 at the age of 253; and Dwalin, who died in FO 91 at the age of 340. 

About 50 years after the Battle of the Five Armies, Balin led a company of Dwarves (among them Óri and Óin) to reclaim the Dwarven kingdom of Moria. Balin became the Lord of Moria and for five years the Dwarves prospered there until being overrun by Orcs and other foul creatures. Óin was taken by the Watcher in the Water as they were forced by Orcs through the West Gate; Balin was slain by an Orc archer while venturing alone to look in the Mirrormere; and Óri famously recalled the Dwarves' last moments in the Bookof Mazarbul before being himself slain by Orcs.