💎 Tolkien Treasures #013: January 2024
What News from the Mark, New History of Middle-earth, the Fellowship as Penguins, and more
Namárië! Hello all! It’s time again to again share my roundup of the month’s Tolkien Treasures. But first: some humorous takes on recent headlines. It’s time again for
What News from the Mark?
Earlier this month Ron DeSantis dropped out of the 2024 Presidential race. His campaign didn’t so much flame out à la Denethor’s rule as steward so much as never catch fire in the first place. It’s starting to look like no man can kill Trump’s aspirations to be the Republican nominee: will Nikki Haley cry “I am no man!” and defeat him? (Hint: it’s not looking good) Or will Trump cover all the lands in a second darkness?
The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will face off in a few weeks in this year’s Super Bowl. I don’t know about you all, but it’s hard to believe that people care so much about who ends up being crowned as victors and winning a precious Ring. Just not all that relatable to me I guess. If only there were some analogy to something I cared about to a similar degree that could help me understand… *thinks for 5 seconds*
Nope! Nothing’s coming to mind.
All eyes on Super Bowl Sunday will doubtless be on the ethereal Elven royalty and rugged, bearded mortal chieftain in attendance at the Big Game. No, not Arwen and Aragorn (or even Legolas and Gimli): I’m talking about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, of course.
1. Four New History of Middle-earth Boxed Sets
In the practical guide to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien that I wrote earlier this month, I mentioned the 12-volume History of Middle-earth which collects and analyzes a vast library of Tolkien’s Middle-earth related drafts, notes, essays, and works.
To celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Christopher Tolkien’s birthday, publisher Harper Collins is releasing a new edition of the History of Middle-earth in 2024. Collected in four separate boxed sets, this edition will have reversible dust jackets and include not just the twelve volumes of HoMe but also The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and an Index to HoMe.
Box Set #1 — including The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The Book of Lost Tales Parts 1 and 2 — is already available in the UK and available for preorder in the US. The remaining three will be released over the course of this year in May, July, and September, respectively.
Preorder them here: Set #2, Set #3, and Set#4.
2. Riders of Rohan on Hurdy Gurdy
3. The Nine Waddlers
Illustrator MGCoco put an amazing amount of thought and detail into this adorable picture of the Fellowship as Penguins. Read about why each type of penguin was chosen for each member of the Fellowship (e.g. Aragorn being a King Penguin) in this Twitter thread and shop prints of the design on MGCoco’s Redbubble.
“The brains behind Narnia and Middle Earth were close friends and fellow dons at Oxford University. Their previously unpublished correspondence is among an archive belonging to the estate of the literary adviser Walter Hooper that is being donated…to the Bodleian Library and the Story Museum, Oxford.”
Even now there’s still no separating Jack and Tollers. Wonderful to see these items go on display!
What Jokien with Tolkien: Extended Edition Members Got This Month
Last week Extended Edition Members got an essay exploring the connections between the Lord’s Prayer and The Return of the King:
Extended Edition members also got a behind-the-scenes look at this month’s “Tolkien vs Lewis” humor piece and a monthly discussion post here on Substack in which to participate.
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There we have it, my Tolkien Treasures for January. Farewell, friends. Go towards goodness!
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Coming this Thursday: another humorous entry in the LOLs of the Rings. This month Pippin, Merry, and Treebeard take center stage!
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Hurdy Gurdy: a medieval string instrument that produces sound by a hand-crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings.