The Thirty-Fourth Roving Ranger


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


On a personal note: Tolkien Reading Day 2021 has come and gone and this year’s topic, hope & courage, certainly resonated with many fans the world over. I can only say that the three events I participated in as guest speaker, organiser, and reader were all amazing and quite inspirational but cost me a lot of energy – one of the reasons for the short break in Roving Ranger newsletters.

Verlyn Flieger is Annual Guest Speaker with the Tolkien Society on April 10, 2021.

Fans of the film trilogies might think about visiting the Fan Expo in Dallas – the four hobbits are there.

The Tolkien Society Awards are being voted for.

Please consider becoming a part of the Fan Oral History project at Marquette Universtiy.

Essays & Scholarship

Tom Hillman has a lovely piece on Tolkien Reading Day 2021 [one of my favourite libraries online, Orkney, had quite a fun pictorial pun; please also have a look at my Twitter thread.]

Gandalf’s Garden makes an appearance in frieze.

A great piece on one of the greatest text adventures of all times: The Hobbit (1982.)

Reviews and Book News

A very special one volume edition of The Lord of the Rings will be coming out in October – and “for the very first time, thirty colour illustrations, maps and sketches drawn by Tolkien himself.”

A merger of publishing houses may spell out some changes – maybe even improvements – for Tolkien fans: NewsCorp is planning on buying HMH. HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the Tolkien publishers in the UK and the US would be under one roof, then.

Franchise, merchandise and Amazon series

Tom Budge, one of the original cast members to the series, has left the production. He informed fans via his Instagram account. Rumours abound but no reliable information has come forth; quite a few fans made the connection to Stuart Townsend who was set to play Aragorn in the film trilogy but replaced by Viggo Mortensen; also, let’s not forget that leading scholar Tom Shippey – possibly used as a fig leaf in early production stages to appease fan concerns – is no longer involved with the production, either.

An Escape Room Board Game will be published, inspired by The Lord of the Rings.

Lord of the Rings: Gollum has shown early impressions of its gameplay.

Fans joked on Twitter that LotROnPrime had finally found its lost password again – just in time for Tolkien Reading Day.

Extensive article on the making of the Balrog for the film.

Peter Jackson received the VES Lifetime Achievement Award award; also, the SAG Awards were given out.

Other stuff

Probably the best link for marketing reasons to Tolkien in recent weeks is this:

With the Dark Tower of Sauron, the capital of Gondor and many more, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is full of fortified citadels and imposing fortresses. Hundreds of years ago, a region in the central Himalayas might have resembled Tolkien’s fictional realm.

The ‘lost’ Russian TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings has finally turned up on YT.

Quite an amazing Star Wars poster from a Chinese artist.

As I do like ‘Little Free Libraries’ I certainly wanted to share this cute hobbit hole.

Also cute, the film trilogies certainly were a boost to bakers.

A longer essay talks informatively about the future of the Harry Potter franchise.

In other news

I missed it two years ago when it was first presented so there is a certain chance you have not heard from it, either: The Library 100 List by OCLC, the non-profit running WorldCat, the largest online library catalogue. Glad to see The Hobbit and two of the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings are on the list – but where are The Two Towers hiding? 😅

Seriously, the odd things GRRM does on a regular basis astound me. Last year it was announced he and other investors bought a defunct railroad close to Santa Fe to get it up and running again and recently he shared these videos. Planned opening is 2022. But let’s face it, with the money from the massive HBO deal he is sure to buy even more trains.

Project Northmoor has failed.

Leonard Nimoy will be honoured in his birthplace, Boston, with a statue of the Vulcan salute.

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 Hillman, ‘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 credit: Farmer Giles and Chrysophylax by Lorenza Pigliamosche. Please visit her Artstation or Instagram account.

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.