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.

06 August 2015

My Tolkien Collection

I've been a Tolkien collector since 2000, and as much as I've posted about my collection across various social media platforms, I've never really shared the story behind my collection before. Invaluable.com asked me to share my story with them since they're running a project with collectors. This auction site has a variety of collectibles up for bid all the time, so there is bound to be something for everyone!

Collecting has always been in my nature, and I think it's something I picked up from my parents. Growing up, I remember my father had an impressive science fiction collection in our enormous family bookshelf, and my mother was constantly adding Stephen King and other crime novels to the mix. From a very early age, I was fond of reading. As I grew older, fondness evolved into obsession, and it was not at all unlike me to become interested in something and then go a bit overboard and completely absorb myself in it. 

My first copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

In the fifth grade, my obsession at the time was Brian Jacques' Redwall books. Once I had exhausted that series, my uncle suggested I try reading The Hobbit. Reluctantly, I agreed and borrowed his copy. I was so in love that I immediately wanted to read The Lord of the Rings. For my birthday that year, my parents surprised me with a one-volume edition (technically the first item in my collection!), which I could not put down. I wanted more. I started saving money and visiting local bookstores several times a month to try and build up my Tolkien library. After I had acquired the basics – The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, etc. – I decided that not only did I want every book by or about Tolkien, but I wanted every version of every book. There are so many different editions and translations available that my collection will probably never be complete. And that's something that truly excites me. 

Adding to my collection was a bit of a challenge at first, however. I was in middle school when I started collecting, and many of the items I wanted were well out of my price range. I often had to choose between items, which was always heartbreaking, as sometimes when I went back for the item(s) I'd passed on, they'd be out of stock. 

The first non-book item that I wanted in my collection was the One Ring. It took some time, but eventually I saved up enough birthday and Christmas money to purchase a gold-plated replica of the One Ring from MyPrecious Fantasy Webshop. I was so proud of myself for saving my money and not caving in to the temptations of buying more books that I wore that ring around my neck religiously for the remainder of middle and high school. When I realised how gratifying the big purchases could be – especially when I had paid for them myself – I continued to save up, and eventually added the Evenstar and the rings Nenya and Barahir to my collection.

The One Ring in sterling silver and gold-plating

I have collected a good deal of movie merchandise over the years, but books are my priority – especially used copies. I love purchasing a copy that may have been someone else's first trip to Middle-earth. It makes my heart soar knowing that someone truly enjoyed the books as much as I do; and yet at the same time, I couldn't imagine ever selling any of my books, so I feel just a slight tinge of sadness that someone would part with theirs. (Of course, if people didn't get rid of their copies, I wouldn't have some of mine!)

One of my favourite sets, illustrated by Barbara Remington

Meeting and befriending other collectors is an added bonus. There is a mentality between collectors, at least in my experience, that everyone sticks together and helps one another out, rather than try and turn collecting into a competition. There will always be someone who has more items, rarer items, or items in better condition; but at the end of the day, everyone is supportive of one another, and most of the time are more than willing to help one another add to their collections. I have many "benefactors", both on and off of the Internet, who have found books I either hadn't seen before or have had great difficulty finding myself. And in return, I try to do the same for them. Collecting is even more enjoyable when you can share the experience with others.

And one person who really shares my passion is my father, who has become a Tolkien collector by proxy. He has never read the books, but he is quite fond of the films. And like me, he is a collector at heart, so he has no problem accompanying me and picking out new items for my collection (and sometimes he even buys things for himself). That he and I can use Tolkien as a means of strengthening our father-daughter bond is what makes my Tolkien collection so special. Every item in my collection has a memory attached, and almost every memory is in some way connected to my father.

I have no intention of selling any items in my collection; and even if I did, the monetary value of my items is of little importance to me. The memories are what make them invaluable. 

My most recent acquisition: the unauthorised ACE editions!
What's the story behind your Tolkien Collection? Leave a comment below! 

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