The Twenty-Fourth Roving Ranger


a warm welcome to this, the twenty-fourth Roving Ranger newsletter.

PLEASE NOTE: The next Roving Ranger will be sent out on January 3rd, 2021!

🎄 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you 🎄


The Lord of the Rings Online Beacon is an excellent newsletter for this particular MMO – including an in-game January 3rd, 2021, celebration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday.

Do not forget – the Tolkien Birthday Toast on Jan 3rd, 2021, is coming up!

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

IN MEMORIAM: Richard C. West and Walter Hooper

These two outstanding scholars passed away recently, a huge loss to the Tolkien and C.S. Lewis communities. I wanted to make a special mention with this list of obituraries.

Richard C. West, 1944–2020. Tolkien Notes 19, Wayne Hammond & Christina Scull.
Richard C. West, 1944-2020. David Bratman.
Richard C. West (1944-2020). File770.
Richard C. West (1944-2020). TolkienGuide.
In Praise of Walter Hooper. John D. Rateliff.
Walter Hooper, Who Gave His Life to C.S. Lewis’s Legacy.
Walter Hooper dedicated life to preserving legacy of Narnia author CS Lewis.
Walter Hooper – an appreciation.

Essays & Scholarship

Tom Hillman has some interesting observations on the ‘sentience’ of the One Ring; Joe Hoffman of the Idiosophy blog weighed in as well.

John Garth has a piece with this publisher, Princeton University Press: The mountain memories that fuelled Tolkien’s epic tales.

Stephen C. Winter puts Kierkegaard in connection with Tolkien: “Only a Ranger!” Gandalf Puts Frodo Right About Strider.

Reviews and Book News

A rather decent write-up on the editions of the Letters from Father Christmas with TORn.

Kristine A. Swank has the review on Poetry and Song in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien (2018), ed. by Anna Milon  and Matthew Dickerson the review on Tolkien’s Cosmology: Divine Beings and Middle-earth (2020) by Sam McBride.

Franchise, merchandise and Amazon series

This Week in Genre History: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ended an age (not just the elves’).

When I recently tweeted a question on Christopher Tolkien – absurd claim! – being involved with an Electronic Arts (EA) video game some very clever chap told me a question mark in a headline always means no: Could a new Dungeons & Dragons movie repeat the magic of The Lord of the Rings?

By the way – I am quite convinced by now the EA nitwits misunderstood the Silmarillion for the LotR appendices and Christopher Tolkien with someone else. 😉

It is rather impressive what people come up with as headlines. Makes for a fun read, though, in this case: The Greatest Christmas Movie Is The Lord of the Rings.

The Twitter account of Middle-earth Enterprises, the company with the filming et al. rights on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has been doing #25daysoftolkien advertising official licensees ahead of Christmas. It really is utter coincidence I did “Shut up and take my money, Gandalf”: Lord of the Merchandise. The Wilde Hunt through the list of current licensees of Middle-earth Enterprises for my patrons over on Patreon and the wider community!

Other stuff

Well, it does not sound quite that surprising: George Lucas Expected Disney to Give Him ‘a Little Bit More Say’ in ‘Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy.

I had the absolute pleasure of finally meeting Una McCormack at the Tolkien 2019 Conference in Birmingham and not only is she a wonderful human being she also recently penned The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway: The History of the Captain Who Went Further Than Any Had Before, something I am looking forward to reading soon. Have a look: From fanfiction to official Star Trek captain autobiographer: An interview with Una McCormack.

The Award for Oddest Metaphor using J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works will probably have to go to the AlbuquerqueJournal‘s To skeptics: How a vaccine beats infection, starting off with:

The components of the immune system can be framed as a “Lord of the Rings” sequel. Once the outer walls or gates – skin or orifices – are breached (…)
A (more or less) final note on Project Northmoor: Although the head of the project, Julia Golding, went for an evening with Youtube channel Nerd of the Rings and did a reddit AMA no actual answers were given on the criticism surrounding this real estate capitalism on speed greed venture (imho.) Not much of a surprise, she worked with the diplomatic service. You are free to give your money wherever you please, of course, but with the link given above you may make more of an informed decision.

In other news

A kindergarten in Germany is getting a ‘hobbit wain.’ You know, to have fun and do silly things 🙂 Looks fantastic! P.S. I am not quite sure about the term ‘wain’ but it certainly looks a lot like it!

Peter Jackson just offered a sneak peek at another documentary he is working on: “The Beatles: Get back.

Netflix just released the second part to the Witcher’s Bestiarum.

The 2020 Mythopoeic Awards Finalists have been announced.

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: Spirit of Fire and Shire Bridge by Soni Alcorn-Hender, the Bohemian Weasel. Please visit her Redbubble.

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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.