The Seventeenth Roving Ranger


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


Atlas V is going to launch NROL-101 and it looks oddly familiar?

If you ever felt like investing serious money why not buy letters by J.R.R. Tolkien. In this instance you could have sold it for $35K+.

I never thought I would say it but there is a link between J.R.R. Tolkien and pizza pods. Sarehole Mill will tell you why 🙂 [P.S. This is not serious!]

It has been a year since the largest ever exhibition on J.R.R. Tolkien opened its doors in Paris. The official website is still online and offers you interesting insights into the program, the exhibited items etc. Thanks to the organisational talents of Jeremy Edmonds of I was able to help putting together a full item list and map of the exhibition.

Medievalists the world over were dismayed to find that both Kalamazoo and Leeds, two major conferences, have been cancelled and will be done online-only, John D. Rateliff notes.

Despite the global pandemic October 2020 was a great awards month; do browse Mike Glyer’s File 770 for Awards ranging from Galaxy to Andrew Carnegie Medals Longlists and the Asteroids.

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

Essays & Scholarship

An interview with eminent scholars Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond.

I feel a little bit proud that the leading scientist in an amazing team naming Aenigmachanna gollum is with the Senckenberg in Dresden, Germany. Silly, I know, but at least we can claim a Gollum, right? *g*

It may be a little older but this lovely article on Science’s Love Affair with The Lord of the Rings with The Atlantic does fit in right there. Funnily enough, in June I wrote The Mountains of Titan belong to Tolkien – and planitiae and labyrinthi to Dune.

Reviews and Book News

Jeffery Deaver mentions his comfort read in this Guardian article: ‘I can always find solace in Middle-earth and Tolkien’s imagination‘.

Other Stuff

The New York Times has published a special on one of the supposedly most evil companies in the world: Does Palantir See Too Much? I do not usually do the “Tolkien would have thought/ said/ done” thing but in this case I am fairly sure he is turning in his grave.

I always wanted to share this because the non-US Honda moped fans do not know that this particular one, the Honda PA50, was marketed as the Honda Hobbit in the US. Yes, the Honda Hobbit.

Meet Tolkien, the corn snake.

Did you know? The Audi A3 Manual is longer than The Lord of the Rings.

In Manchester they now have ‘hobbit’s chapels‘? Please don’t take this link too seriously.

A twitter poll with the hashtag #writersworldcup never got past the 100 participants’ mark – and then it pitched Tolkien against Gaiman, leading to over 3,000 votes and quite a few rather insensitive remarks on both sides of the fence. Excellent proof that divisiveness and provocation get more attention on social media than simply being nice – like Neil Gaiman who replied to the poll with: “Um… I don’t think I’d vote for me on this one.”
The best quote from the altercations around this poll was:

I don’t know about that. I mean, what has Tolkein written lately? The guy has been resting on his laurels for damn near half a century.

Film franchise, merchandise and Amazon series

Lord of the Rings: Online has just issued another expansion pack called War of the Three Peaks.

In New Zealand the global pandemic has left its mark, too. Lord of the Rings tour group lays off staff, uses $500,000 government money to pay management probably is not the headline the country is looking for, though. [The company has no links to Peter Jackson et al.]

One of the most hilarious pictures to ever come out of Twitter is called: “How LotR was made in 2003/ If LotR was made today” and basically paints the picture that Middle-earth had turned into the MCU.

For some hilarious entertainment: Uruk-hai with normal voices. There is more than one 😉
P.P.S. And never ever search for Teh Lurd of Teh Reings on Youtube. It would be devastating.

In other news

Yes, it is coming: The Willow sequel.

Harry Potter first editions to fetch a pretty penny – but please try not to rip off public libraries?

Stamp time for Star Trek fans.

I am not sure whether I should link a post like this but when people allegedly consider The Lord of the Rings a documentary I am at a loss.

There are many great reasons to visit Scotland but there is now a Ray Harryhausen exhibition on!

If you have a heart for Dragonlance and the duo Hickman/ Weis you will probably know that new books should be forthcoming – until WotC pulled the plug. Now the two are suing

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: More photos of the Atlas V launch (c) ULA with Flickr. 

According to German law I have to infom you all links to enterprises/ artists are [unpaid advertisements.]

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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.