The Sixteenth Roving Ranger


a warm welcome to this, the sixteenth Roving Ranger newsletter.


As I already mentioned, #Inktober is happening with many Tolkien-inspired artists delivering outstanding art. Jenny Dolfen is on fire right now with her Dormice series including Mousralt of Rivia, Shermouse Holmes, and Finmousegon!

Another artist is now offering a raffle until Oct 31st if you follow her on Twitter: @TinyWormm.

John D. Rateliff mentions the Nov 19 event of the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, David Lindsay’s A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS. Great to see Doug Anderson (of Annotated Hobbit fame, among quite a few things) is part of the celebration.

The Tolkien Society has announced the topic of its 2021 Seminar and issued a Call for Papers.

I would highly suggest to you to look up the International Tolkien Fellowship Facebook group for Tolkien-inspired events the world over.

Essays & Scholarship

John D. Rateliff posting the numbers from Dimitra Fimi’s snap poll on fantasy authors.

And again, John brings up a lovely article by Catherine McIlwaine, curator of the Oxford Tolkien exhibition, on Tolkien’s job choices after being demobilised.

Mythlore #137 has just been published. If you have not heard of Mythlore yet but are interested in digging deeper on all things Middle-earth why not consider becoming a member of the Mythopoeic Society?

Reviews and Book News

TIME magazine was brave enough to actually do another 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time list. Chaired by the panel consisting of N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and Marlon James you will get some great suggestions.

Adam Whitehead does a good write-up on this list’s bias and calmly shows its strength and weaknesses.

I personally find such lists always helpful. It is impossible, of course, to squeeze such a massive genre into one hundred books only and every list then has to have a bias – recency, overly ‘classic’ (these days often including the accusation of being uncritical towards subject matters and/or its authors), sub-genre tendentious – but I cannot spend all day with negativity. Every list will have good books to read I have never heard of before and that is something I very much appreciate. /rantover

October 20th does not only fall on a #TolkienTuesday (as it should be!) but it is also the day of publication to Farmer Giles (1949), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (1955), and War of the Jewels (1994.)

(Almost) World Exclusive Art by Forlath Grey for the Roving Ranger*

Other Stuff

Marita Arvaniti mentioned a LotR Poem Quiz a few days ago and I found it highly entertaining.

Receive your government-assigned Lord of the Rings poem here! This quiz doesn’t have any song lyric questions, but it does have poetry, which is probably worse. There are thirty-three (33) possible answers. No refunds.

Beyond Bree is offering Tolkien’s 1904 rebus letter to Father Morgan.

Oxford City Council has installed eight story stations in Headington including:

Bury Knowle Park, with its sculptures inspired by the work of more recent Headington residents CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

I have not had the time to hear it yet but I expect wonderful things from Diana Glyer who has written one of the best books on the Inklings out there: The Tolkien And Lewis Bromance: The Diana Glyer Interview.

Film franchise, merchandise and Amazon series

After the recent, highly provocative #FidelitytoTolkien stance had taken with its nudity discussion a number of petitions have been started. The most reasonable one I could find (and I highly suggest you do not look for the others) has garnered close to 5,000 signees so far. I am sharing this for information’s sake as the Tolkien community is so highly fragmented by now you cannot possibly see and hear everything that is out there – but it may have quite an impact more generally in the light of the upcoming Amazon series. TORn may have lost its ‘connection’ to the Middle-earth franchise (something they are obviously not used to) but they certainly have made an impact when a conservative publication like the Federalist can title an opinion piece: The Left Can’t Stand Tolkien’s Christian-Influenced ‘Lord Of The Rings,’ So Amazon Is Giving It A ‘Game Of Thrones’ Makeover. Or the other way around: Give Us the Horny Lord of the Rings Show We Deserve. The only appropriate comment for all this would probably be: *lesigh*.

And just in case you would like to look back at what people had to say about profanity et al. in 2003 TORn just re-released Tolkien is barrel-rolling.

Numskull Designs have added another quartet to their cosplay duckies: Aragorn, Galadriel, Gimli, and Lurtz.

Fun pitch meeting of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug from ScreenRant.

On Facebook you can get your Gandalf on for Rs499 at the Mordor Café in Islamabad. Yup. They also have “Bombadil” and “Death by Cheese” burgers. Yummy!

Hobbiton is suffering under the pandemic but Deer Heights is finally open again.

In other news

The Eagle & Child of Inklings fame is being renovated at the moment to include a hotel and due to the global pandemic it may remain closed until 2022.

If you have been asking yourself how being “true to the text” can look like why not have a look at The Witcher‘s author, Andrzej Sapkowski, and the Netflix series showrunner, Lauren Hissrich. Please note: Sapkowski uses the metaphor of not being willing to “judge the soup by its groceries.” Ring a bell, anyone? 🙂

The inaugural Ignyte Awards have taken place.

If you ever have the chance of looking at original manuscripts of any kind – but particularly Tolkien’s, of course – it would not go amiss to do a little palaeography before you do.

How quickly things can change can be shown by the café in which J.K. Rowling wrote large parts of the first HP book – it has been closed as a consequence to losses incurred by the global pandemic.

Reading through #281 of the Discworld Monthly Newsletter makes me incredibly sad as there is also the possibility for the Amazon series to be a major load of crap when see you what they are doing with #TheWatch. And yes, I do trust in Rhianna Pratchett to understand her father’s work better than anyone else and she is displaying very British politeness in writing:

Look, I think it’s fairly obvious that @TheWatch  shares no DNA with my father’s Watch. This is neither criticism nor support. It is what it is.

Better news: Someone seems to have come up with the first retractable plasma-based lightsaber. Let us all hope this is good news *grin*

The Blog Roll

These are blogs you really should be following if you’re interested in Tolkien …

Some of these, you may find, are not as active as one would hope; but even if they have not posted anything new for a long time they are repositories of great essays and research on all things Tolkienian and always worth your time. The blog roll – and this very newsletter! – has been inspired by Troels Forchammer’s Parma-kenta and his excellent Tolkien Transactions he did for seven years – they are still sorely missed!

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, ‘Too Many Books and Never Enough
Dimitra Fimi, ‘Dr. Dimitra Fimi
Jason Fisher, ‘Lingwë — Musings of a Fish
Douglas A. Anderson, ‘Tolkien and Fantasy’
John D. Rateliff — ‘Sacnoth’s Scriptorium
John Garth, ‘John Garth
David Bratman, ‘Kalimac’s Journal
Jenny Dolfen, ‘Jenny’s Sketchbook
Andrew Higgens, ‘Wotan’s Musings
Anna Smol, ‘A Single Leaf
Edmund Weiner, ‘Philoloblog
Robin Anne Reid, her blog
Annalisa Palmer, her blog
Various, The Mythopoeic Society
Various (Bradford Eden, ed.) Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR)
Various, The Tolkien Society (TS)
Southfarthing Mathom
Various, The Mythopoeic Society, ‘The Horn of Rohan Redux
Sue Bridgwater, ‘Skorn
Tom Hilman, ‘Alas, not me
Michael Martinez, ‘Middle-earth
Bruce Charlton, ‘Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers
Various, ‘Middle-earth News
Jeffrey R. Hawboldt, ‘Expressions of Substance
Ryszard Viajante Derdzinski, ‘Tolknięty
Stephen C. Winter, ‘Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings
Troels Forchhammer, ‘Parma-kenta
Marcel Aubron-Bülles, ‘The Tolkienist
Jeremy Edmonds, ‘Tolkien Collector’s Guide
Aubrey, ‘Diverse Tolkien
Elyanna, ‘itariilles

Picture credits: Story of Allatar and Palando by Forlath Grey. Please visit his Twitter account @ComicsByForlath. *This drawing is a correction done for this newsletter; as you can see the word “council” was wrongly used instead of “counsel” as in the version above. 

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Marcel R. Bülles

Marcel R. Bülles is the author of, a specialist blog centering on worldwide Tolkien fandom, geekdom and research. He works as a freelance translator, journalist and writer and is the founder of the German Tolkien Society as well as a co-founder to RingCon, Europe's formerly biggest fantasy film convention. You can find him in cafés all over the world sipping an espresso blogging, writing, reading. At one point he was married to an extremely lovely French lady by the nickname of Sauron. Yes, that Sauron. He is also active with the International Tolkien Fellowship on Facebook and the Tolkien Folk on Instagram.