The Thirty-Eighth Roving Ranger


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


Bookings are now open with the J.R. Tolkien, one of two sailing ships now in the north of Germany as they cannot sail due to the pandemic. However, new local regulations seem to make short stays on the ship in harbour possible, emphasising the bar on board.

The German Tolkien Days at Geldern-Pont are trying for a hybrid event, including in-person attendance spread over ten days/ five weekends as well as an online representation. If you take an interest in these events/this event please do support their online venture with a donation. [German only.]

Dr Anna Smol has put together the Tolkien Conference Season, May-July 2021.

Essays & Scholarship

As I received a link to this for the first time via my news channels I would like to make special note that the Tolkien Society is making its publications such as Mallorn more widely available. All editions are now open access, except for the issues of the last two years, which are available to you if you are a member of the TS.

It is just a short blog post but is with the Book View Café and it mentions hobbits and mushrooms so I am all in.

xkcd has published another piece gone viral, and yes, you will find Types of Scientific Paper adapted to all things literary and Tolkien.

Bruce Charlton asks the perennial question: What is the unique quality of Lord of the Rings that so powerfully affected me from age 14 and for decades since?…

David Bratman weighs in on the question Did you read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings first, as a reaction to Sherwood Smith asking for reading experiences.

Franchise, merchandise and Amazon series

The New Zealand deal Amazon Prime struck with officials continues to be under close scrutiny: The Detail: Government’s golden handshake to secure Amazon Lord of the Rings series. And please note: “They could be filming here for a decade.”

If you take an interest in how films and series are made from a technology point of view this short explanatory post on Apple’s recent announcements will give you the basics: What is High Frame Rate and what does it mean for your television? As the Hobbit film trilogy was the first major production shot in HFR it does get its fair share of mentions.

If you are on Instagram and would love to follow the LotR film trilogy actors and actresses here is a Top Ten list.

If you happen to be in London in August Abbey Road Studios are doing a very unique Open House for a week. So from The Beatles to the LotR film trilogy scores, this is a place of massive historical importance to music and films alike.

The Pop Culture Happy Hour has a special edition for May the Fourth on film merchandise. I thought I should be including at least one link to Star Wars as all of modern media merchandise harkens back to the first SW film trilogy – yes, it is George Lucas’ fault.

Other stuff

TIME and many other outlets have come to appreciate fantasy and science fiction as success stories well worth their content time. The list may not be to all likings but here’s a quick overview: These Are the Best Fantasy TV Show Adaptations to Watch Now. I mean, even the BBC notes the first table read of an upcoming GoT spinoff. P.S. The only adaptation I can personally recommend is The Witcher on Netflix.

I am seriously happy to note that I am part of a demographic that could easily be enticed to play the slotmachine Cave of Fortune:

Cave of Fortune is a true adventure featuring a creature searching for the most precious gem in the heart of a treasure cave. The main character is a crossbreed between a goblin and a dwarf and his nature was inspired by Terry Pratchett novels and ‘The Hobbit’ by Tolkien [my emphasis]. He has inherited features from both races which help him to be successful in his search for treasure.

The Harry Potter universe will, of course, be expanded upon and one of the more recent rumours seems to be a Severus Snape-based prequel. Good luck to the actor trying to step into Alan Rickman’s shoes.

If you feel like doing fantasy maps you may have heard of the Campaign Cartographer but there is also WONDERDRAFT. Feel like diving into this particular niche, then do a quick search.

If you are interested in all things Tolkien, are not utterly against Discord, and you either speak German or would love to improve on it, I am now one of three gentlemen doing the Small Tolk Discord-cast every Saturday at 8 p.m., CET, for at least the duration of the pandemic.

In other news

Channel 4 has commissioned an animated Christmas special based on one of Terry Pratchett’s stories.

Hadrian’s Wall in the UK is getting a massive capital injection to turn it into a huge tourist destination – at least, that is the plan, and the headline certainly mirrors the plans: £30m for Hadrian’s ‘wall of ice’ [paywall]. If I trust the Sun then series’ fans managed to seriously damage a historic monument that has stood there for about 2,000 years, and since 2019 the local tourist boards have already been trying to boost income via the series.

The latest Ansible has been published, a monthly newsletter with a gazillion pieces of news, all fantasy & science fiction.

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: Lord Magritte by Pawel Hudeczek/ DaObiwan, inspired by the film trilogy’s Sauron and René Magritte’s The Son of Man. Please visit his Artstation or Instagram.

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:
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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.