25 June 2015

Thrór's Key from Badali Jewelry

I have been a huge fan of Paul Badali's Tolkien products since I bought my first Lord of the Rings replica (the gold-plated One Ring) in 2004; last December, I purchased the silver version of the One Ring and fell in love all over again. Not long after receiving that ring, I made another purchase: Thrór's key – inspired by the book and not Peter Jackson's films. Personally, I love this interpretation so much more.

As you can see, the key fills the length of my palm and is amazingly detailed. The inscription is the same as what appears on Thrór's map: "Five Feet High the Door and Three May Walk Abreast. TH TH". I was completely awestruck when I received my purchase.

Thrór's map and key.
Wearing my favourite necklace!

Once again, I am itching to buy more! Next on my list is the Elfstone necklace – I'll be sure to post lots of pictures as well as a review when the time comes!

Be sure to visit BadaliJewelry.com and MyPrecious.us to view (and purchase) more Hobbit and Lord of the Rings themed products! And if you're attending San Diego Comic Con or GenCon, be sure to visit Badali booths #532 and #663, respectively.

Related Posts:

Merry Christmas to Me! (my review of the silver One ring)

12 June 2015

Tolkien's "The Story of Kullervo" to be Published by HarperCollins This August

In 1914, a 22-year old Tolkien began working on a fantasy tale he called The Story of Kullervo, inspired in part by a character of the same name featured in The Kalevala.
Brought up in the homestead of the dark magician Untamo, who killed his father, kidnapped his mother, and who tries three times to kill him when still a boy, Kullervo is alone save for the love of his twin sister, Wanona, and guarded by the magical powers of the black dog, Musti. When Kullervo is sold into slavery he swears revenge on the magician, but he will learn that even at the point of vengeance there is no escape from the cruellest of fates.
The author himself described it as "the germ of my attempt to write legends of my own" and "a major matter in the legends of the First Age". The story was deliberately left incomplete after a few thousand words, but later developed into the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar in The Silmarillion.

The manuscript was first published in Tolkien Studies: Volume 7 in 2010, and will now be published "for the first time with the author’s drafts, notes and lecture-essays on its source-work, the Kalevala" by HarperCollins on August 27, with an international edition available on October 13. (Amazon US / Amazon UK)

Peter Kenny's 'Dreams of Another Land' Now Available

Tolkien fan Peter Kenny – also known as "Australia's Biggest Tolkien Fan" – has published a book of poems inspired by Middle-earth., featuring illustrations by Sue Bradley. 

Peter Kenny is known worldwide as a passionate fan of JRR Tolkien and the world of fantasy. Using this love and his wide-ranging imagination, Mr. Kenny has produced (in the guise of “selecting” poems and stories by his “uncle,” Fortinbras Proudfoot, Esq.) Dreams of Another Land, a collection that explores the history and happenings of a faraway land that still feels very familiar to us. Small folk, dragons, warriors, ladies, and wizards and their adventures are described in rhythmic language that is enjoyable to read, either aloud or silently.

You can purchase a copy of Peter's book through Amazon (US/UK) or Oloris Publishing. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Peter's charity, the Fortinbras Proudfoot Esq. Foundation.

You can read more about Peter Kenny here.

08 June 2015

Tolkien Questionnaire

It's been awhile since I posted on this blog, and I've seen some of my friends at the Middle-earth News filling out this Tolkien questionnaire (created by Myla Malinalda), so I figured I might as well do the same! While it is mostly a LOTR-oriented questionnaire, I'm going to answer it more generally and include the Hobbit films and all of Tolkien's writings.

If you have a blog of your own, feel free to snag these questions; if not, you are more than welcome to post them in a comment here so I can learn more about you!

1. Books or movies?
Books, of course. They were the original material, and (in my opinion) it's much more fun to use your imagination than to let someone else do all of the work for you.

2. Which character do you connect with the most?
I feel like I connect with the Elves in general; I typically don't say much, but like the Elves of Rivendell and Mirkwood, I do enjoy some merriment from time to time.

3. What are your top 5 favorite tracks from the soundtracks?
"Concerning Hobbits"
"The Breaking of the Fellowship"
"Twilight and Shadow"
"The Grey Havens"

4. Which scene always makes you cry?
None of them make me cry, but two scenes which really get a reaction out of me are when Eomer is holding his sister's body (that expression on his face is heart-wrenching) and Sam's "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!" mini-speech. I just love how they paired that moment with the perfect bit of music. It was really inspiring.

5. Where would you live in Middle-earth?
There are a number of places I would enjoy calling my home in Middle-earth, but I think Lothlorien would be at the very top of my list.

6. Which race would you be?
Either an Elf or a Dwarf. Some days I feel like the former; other days, the latter.

7. Orcs or Uruk-hai?
Uruk-hai are much more intimidating.

8. Favorite character?

9. Which character do you look the most like?
 I've been told Arwen, and since there are so few movie females to pick from, it seems I'll have to agree!

10. Who is your favorite paring? (canon or non-canon)
 Beren and Luthien.

11. Who is your least favorite paring? (canon or non-canon)
 Tauriel and Kili (because I really can't get into non-canon pairings).

12. What unpopular opinion do you have for the movies?
 I strongly disliked the Hobbit films, and took particular issue with Tauriel and the love triangle between her, Kili, and Legolas. I felt both of these things were completely unnecessary and did nothing to enhance the story in any way.

13. If you could change anything about the movies, what would it be?
I think The Return of the King did have a few too many scenes which could have worked as endings; as a film, it kind of dragged on in the end. With The Hobbit films, I wish they had stuck closer to the original material and not added so many unnecessary characters/subplots. 

14. How do you think Tolkien would have felt about Peter Jackson’s adaptations?
 Tolkien did say that it would be easier to film The Odyssey than The Lord of the Rings; I cannot speak for the Professor, of course, but I can't imagine he'd be all that impressed with the films.

15. Whose wardrobe would you like to have?
 Arwen's and Eowyn's.

16. Rivendell or Lothlorien?

17. Least favorite character?
I didn't really like Alfrid in The Hobbit films.

18. Have you ever cosplayed as one of the characters? If not, who would you choose?
Yes - I typically cosplay as Arwen, but I put together a Frodo outfit one time as well (what's happened to it after all these years, I have no idea). I'd really like to cosplay as Luthien or Galadriel next.

19. What scene makes you laugh the most?
The drinking game between Legolas and Gimli.

20. If you could meet 3 of the actors, who would you choose?
Sir Christopher Lee, Sir Ian McKellen, and Cate Blanchett.

21. What are your top five favorite lines from the films?

  • "You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!"
  • "Three hundred lives of men I have walked this earth and now I have no time."
  • "Who am I, Gamling?"
  • "Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."
  • "I miss the Shire. I spent all my life pretending I was off somewhere else. Off with you, on one of your adventures. But my own adventure turned out to be quite different. I'm not like you, Bilbo."

22. What are your top five favorite lines from the book?
  • 'Elfstone, through darkness you have come to your hope, and how now all your desire. Use well the days!' 
  • 'In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still.'
  • 'But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.' 
  • 'There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was a light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.'
  • 'And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo, adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on, and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same; like old Mr Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?'  

23. Who do you think is the most underrated character?

24. Have you watched any of the animated films? If so, what are your opinions?
Yes and I absolutely love them! To this day, I still prefer the Bakshi and Rankin/Bass films over Peter Jackson's.

25. How has LOTR affected your life?
The Lord of the Rings (and Tolkien's writings in general) gave my life purpose. Because I discovered and fell in love with Middle-earth in my youth, I didn't really go through any awkward teenage phases, and I never felt like I was struggling to figure out my identity. I knew all along that I was passionate about Middle-earth (and fantasy in general), and most of the things I did from that point on were motivated by Tolkien: I aspired to one day become a well-known Tolkien scholar, so I spent most of my free time studying and writing academic papers; I also found great joy in collecting all sorts of Tolkien and movie-based memorabilia; then I took to social media to share my passions and wound up meeting so many wonderful and like-minded people, many of whom have become very good friends.

26. Which characters would you want in your Fellowship?
I'd take an entire army of Elves, please!

27. Weapon of choice?

28. Would you have volunteered to destroy the Ring?
I'm honestly not sure. Part of me thinks I would have jumped at the opportunity to make a difference, but I think part of me also knows I wouldn't make it very far!

29. Who do you think is the most attractive character?
In the films? Arwen and Faramir.

30. Do you own any LOTR merchandise? If so, what is your favorite item?
Yes - you can follow me on Instagram to see photos of my collection. My favourite item is my set of The Lord of the Rings illustrated by Barbara Remington. I wanted that set for so long because I love the unique artwork. I'm also very fond of my silver One Ring and Thror's key replica from Badali Jewelry.

31. Have you read the book?
Many, many times.

32. Have you ever had a LOTR marathon? Describe your perfect marathon.
Once or twice. If I were to have one again, it might be fun to combine it with a feast of Middle-earth inspired dishes.

33. When did you first watch the films and/or read the book?
I read the book when I was about nine years old and first saw The Fellowship of the Ring when I was eleven.

34. What is your favorite film/book?
Film: The Return of the King.
Book: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. 

35. Get drunk with/marry/fight to the death. (Pick three characters)
Get drunk with: Gimli
Marry: Faramir
Fight to the death: Alfrid

36. Which scene scares you the most?
None scared me as I was watching them, but I think if I had been sneaking past Minas Morgul when the Nazgul flew by on their fell beasts, I would have been quite shaken up!

37. Gondor or Rohan?
Such a tough question! I love the Rohirric lifestyle, but Minas Tirith is such a beautiful city. I'd probably have to choose the former.

38. Which character(s) would you want as your parent(s)?
 Elrond or Galadriel and Celeborn.

39. Which characters would you want as your best friends?
All of the Elves.

40. When was the last time you watched the films/read the book?
 I am currently re-reading The Lord of the Rings; I haven't sat down and fully watched the films in awhile. They were on TV a few weeks ago, but I only caught snippets here and there.

41. Favorite horse?

42. If you could spend a day in Middle-earth, what would you want to do?
Just one day? I would want to spend it with the Elves

43. Is there anything you would change about the books?

44. What do you think is the greatest lesson LOTR has to offer?
I think The Lord of the Rings teaches us that even when it seems like all of the odds are against you, and while you may feel (and maybe even appear) small and insignificant, you do have the power to make a difference in the world. Everyone has a purpose, whether or not they immediately recognise it.

45. What would your dream home in Middle-earth be like?
I would love to live atop a flet in Lothlorien. 

46. How would you describe what LOTR means to you in one word?

47. Which death makes you the most sad?
There are many deaths in Tolkien's writings which make me sad: Nienor Niniel, Beleg Strongbow... But in keeping with the LOTR/Hobbit theme, I'll have to choose Gollum. Even though his death was crucial in the destruction of the Ring, I always felt bad for the creature. He lived a wretched life, the latter of which was spent searching for his lost Precious; then he finally gets it back and falls to his death in the fires of Orodruin. It was a necessary end, but certainly a tragic one as well.

48. Favorite behind-the-scenes moments from the films?
The blooper reel is probably my favourite. 

49. If you could own any item from the films, what would it be?
Arwen's wardrobe.

50. If you had the opportunity to meet the Professor, what do you think you would say?
I would thank him, of course, but beyond that I would prefer to sit back and listen to all that he has to say.