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!