The Thirty-Sixth Roving Ranger


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


MythCon 51 will be all online, news on this and next year’s MythCon.

Essays & Scholarship

John D. Rateliff tackles the question “Who Is ‘the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth’?

It is often unfortunate that many fans do not know that Tolkien was not an author as we understand the term today, but first and foremost a scholar. The Wanderer is an essential story to better understand his inspirations.

Stephen C. Winter has: “This I Will Have as Weregild for My Father, and my Brother”. Elrond Speaks of How Isildur Took The Ring From the Hand of Sauron.

Tolkien has inspired a lot of people – and is continuing to do so – in many ways, often quite odd ones. Middle-earth in Mendocino certainly falls into the latter category.

In memoriam

Cor Blok, an outstanding Dutch artist Tolkien appreciated a lot – he owned art of him – has passed away. His oeuvre has been published in 2011 as A Tolkien Tapestry: Pictures to accompany The Lord of the Rings (unfortunately out of print.) The Dutch Tolkien Society Unquendor informed the wider public. A thread appreciating his work can be found here; examples of his art on LotR here.

I had the honour and pleasure of meeting him several times; the first time, though, was by his art. I was at the Tolkien family’s home in Oxford and saw an original in the house and asked myself who this unusual artist was. An outstanding and kind man and an exceptional teacher – he will be sorely missed.

The Mûmak of Harad (c) Cor Blok

Franchise, merchandise and Amazon series

Hollywood Reporter published a post that quickly went big – on the finances behind the series. Please keep in mind that one of the persons actually responsible for the series to happen called this fake news. What is certainly as reported by reliable sources is that New Zealand, again, is financially supporting the film, tv, and streaming business – it will pay off in the long run if you see the tourism numbers.

In an ever increasingly capitalist world gearing towards even more aggressive monopolies, the success story of French gaming company Asmodee is one of the prime examples. Why should you worry about this? Because creativity suffers when shareholders value is more important than quality – and yes, Asmodee now owns much of the Lord of the Rings inspired producers such as Fantasy Flight Games.

Things certainly seem to be gearing up – probably as planned – for the upcoming series and books by Tolkien have reentered the Amazon most sold books list.

Orcs to the front: Jed Brophy, Stephen Ure, and Nathaniel Lees do a great interview, including Meat’s back on the menu, boys!

This week’s best link for marketing reasons comes via a US ice cream enterprise.

People ask me what my favorite business book is. I often say, “The Lord of the Rings movies,” because I do think about work like that. It’s a fellowship, right?

I was recently thinking of starting LotRO (again) but for realz now (Landroval, finally!) – and headlines like this make me incredibly proud of gamers who have Middle-earth as a source of inspiration: Meet Cookingwithsim of Evernight – the hobbit who leveled to 130 from 8 months of just cooking pies!

According to a Bloomberg report the Amazon-led MMO based on Tolkien’s worlds has been cancelled, citing differences with the developer [paywall.] A summary can be found here.

Happily enough, fans do have a great game which has just published The Further Adventures of Bilbo Baggins. You can redeem this for free until early May so check out your LotRO account or get one if you don’t have one.

Fans in China are getting to re-watch the first film trilogy and seem to be looking forward to it. Unfortunately, actually showing it seemed to have been a major problem.

Other stuff

The way the world works it often seems the best idea to go to the source and not waste your time on the gazillions of media hype publications, print or online. So if I want to know more from GRRM I go to Not a Blog where he recently published a very personal post.

I am well aware that this often does not work the way one would wish – so if you are excited for Shadow & Bone Forbes has a piece on it.

An interesting write-up with Variety on what is happening in media production: From ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’: How Big IP Is Driving the Streaming Wars. A certain series gets a mention.

In other news

Yes, football is not coming home in one of my pieces over on Patreon: Operation Gandalf: Uber-greed in European football leagues.

Star Trek does get another feature film – seven years after the last of the reboots.

With amusement parks to reopen Disney had something special offer – their version of a ‘functioning’ lightsaber (certainly less dangerous than THIS thing.)

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.]

If you are interested in my other Tolkien-related work please have a look:
Facebook : Twitter : Instagram : Patreon : Tolkien-Discord [de/en]

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.