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The Ninety-sixth Roving Ranger

Welcome to 2024

I hope you have made it safe and sound into the new year - all the best for 2024. This edition of the Roving Ranger is fairly long so, without further ado...

Life and Works

A rather lovely piece of news: Tolkien and CS Lewis manuscripts among treasures made available to public in 2023 (Opens in a new window).
For rather more information see the Arts Council report (Opens in a new window) on this; the material seems to be from the Walter Hooper Estate.

On another note: Carl F. Hostetter has provided a list of Nature of Middle-earth errata (Opens in a new window) (download as PDF.)

Events & Shows

Not directly Tolkien-related but when the Wade Center (Opens in a new window) announces a George MacDonald conference (Opens in a new window) on his bicentennial this will certainly be interesting (Opens in a new window).

If metalheads can do it, we can do it, too: The Inklings Cruise (Opens in a new window).

OzMoot (Opens in a new window) is on soon in Sydney.

MythCon 53 is happening in August (Opens in a new window).

The Queen of Denmark has announced her abdication and the funniest line I have read about this was “Tolkien illustrator quits job” (h/t Andrew Wells). Tolkien Ensemble founder Caspar Reiff wrote about this on Facebook (Opens in a new window); for more on her connection to Tolkien see Tolkien Gateway (Opens in a new window) and the Danish Royal website (Opens in a new window).

The Austrian Tolkien Society is preparing for its Mar Vanwa Tyálieva (Opens in a new window) (a weekend of gaming and all things Tolkien) at the end of January.

Prague will be seeing TolkienCon (Opens in a new window) again in January as well (I will have to do a Tolkien MeMe of my one-time visit to this outrageously glorious event).

Ongoing John Howe (Opens in a new window) | Tolkien exhibition in Rome (Opens in a new window) | British Library (Opens in a new window).

Scholarship and Fandom

It is lovely to see the Pope quoted Tolkien in a homily on December 24th (Opens in a new window), but we have known him to be a fan for many years (P.S. Yes, I need to update that post, quite obviously. 😅) (Opens in a new window)

Do note issues of the Journal for Inklings Studies (Opens in a new window) are free to download.

The lawsuit that made a lot of people very nervous: A ‘pitch-perfect sequel’? The fine line between fan fiction and an ugly lawsuit (Opens in a new window). [Sydney Morning Herald]

From the possibly southernmost Tolkien Society in the world (Sociedad Tolkien Magallanes (Opens in a new window)) there is an article on the new year (Opens in a new window) for the different species in Middle-earth.

Brenton Dickieson lists his most popular Tolkien posts (Opens in a new window) for #TolkienBirthdayToast [A Pilgrim in Narnia].

For those of you who have not yet heard of #TolkienTrewsday on Xitter do have a look at its ‘official’ (Opens in a new window) page - a weekly themed get-together by the community that will also be present with BlueSky (Opens in a new window) and the Tolkien Society’s Facebook group (Opens in a new window).

John Garth has written about Goblin caves, ancient scripts and Tolkien’s gift for invention (Opens in a new window). [Steady]

Stephen C. Winter has some thoughts on Sméagol: “All You Wish is to See It and Touch It, If You Can, Though You Know It Would Drive You Mad.” Gollum Swears To Serve The Master of The Ring (Opens in a new window).

Some Tolkienian new year’s resolutions (Opens in a new window). [Miriam Ellis Art]

Putri Prihatini has a new post with Queen of Earth, Giver of Fruits: from Middle-earth to Merapi (Opens in a new window).

Interestingly enough Leeds Libraries did not know about the connection between E.V. Gordon, this has now been remedied (Opens in a new window). More interesting is their Traces of Tolkien in Leeds (Opens in a new window) blog post.

Digital Tolkien Project’s James Tauber (Opens in a new window) has shared a look back at 2023 and what is to come. [Youtube]

I love LotRO a lot even though I have not played it seriously yet: fans gathered for #TolkienBirthdayToast in-game (Opens in a new window).

Before I invite you to visit a recent post on mapping Middle-earth I would love to link to the (Opens in a new window) website - it has been on hiatus for many years now with Emil Johansson becoming a specialist in 3d printing techniques and co-founder to a huge startup (Opens in a new window) - as it still offers material for people to summarise (Opens in a new window) in 2024. Having said this, the Strange Maps (Opens in a new window) category is rather interesting![Big Think]

Tolkien et l’antiquité (Opens in a new window) - the proceedings to last year’s conference - are being published. [TCG]

Love the fact that the editor to Tolkien’s Battle of Maldon visited Maldon Books (Opens in a new window) in Maldon recently (Opens in a new window).

Franchise and Merchandise

Did you know the legal copyright to The Lord of the Rings has expired in New Zealand (Opens in a new window)? Let’s see what the Kiwis will do with that.

And on that note - please do get your reporting right: Lord of the Wings (Opens in a new window) was challenged by Middle-earth Enterprises (Opens in a new window) (now with Embracer Group (Opens in a new window)), the film and merchandise rights’ owners to the Third Age, not the Tolkien family. sigh [NZ Herald]

The assumption that the lack of success for RoP is the reason for the Amazon Prime price hike (Opens in a new window) is way too hilarious. [Trusted Reviews] Maybe it has more to do with a move of a former Disney employee to Prime (Opens in a new window). [Marketing Dive]

The plagiarism software’s - wrongly titled A.I. - learning mechanism needed a lot of Hugo winners (Opens in a new window). [File 770]

For more than twenty years rumours of a Middle-earth themed amusement park have been making the rounds. Given today’s status of Middle-earth as a full-blown IP it seems only a matter of time - and Inside the Magic (Opens in a new window) has a few suggestions.

It is quite fascinating to see that writing about writing systems would include the Tengwar as well (Opens in a new window). [The Collector]

The film trilogies continue to inspire to this day - even if it is to render Gollum in 3d (Opens in a new window). Also check out WetaFX’ recent post (Opens in a new window) on their work. [Youtube]

If you want EA to remake its old LotR titles - the petition (Opens in a new window) has been gathering steam (again) lately. (Opens in a new window)

With the New York TimesGreat Adaptations (Opens in a new window) quiz I seriously wanted to press another button (including ASoIaF, RoP, WoT).

Inter alia & Back in the day

An excellent article on the Hobbit adventure game (Opens in a new window) for the Spectrum (and later on the C64) and how the Tolkien Estate (?) dealt with such ventures fourty years ago.

The so-called ‘AI’ technology and its abuses: New York Times sues Microsoft and OpenAI for 'billions' (Opens in a new window). [BBC]
[P.S. Please use the correct term - plagiarism software.]

If you happen to be interested in the literary genre of science fiction this blog post is worth your time: An Anti-Defense of Science Fiction (Opens in a new window). [Ancillary Review of Books]

C.S. Lewis was also a profilic letter writer and John D. Rateliff has some news on the latest project (Opens in a new window).

Ansible 438 (Opens in a new window) has been published.

Warhammer legend Bryan Ansell (Opens in a new window) has died. [Wertzone]

[Ansell] sculpted his first miniature - a guardsman of Gondor - in 1966 after reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

I cannot believe that people in San Jose voted Shai-hulud (Opens in a new window) as the name for a boring machine - when they could have had Boring McBoringFace!

Google has been screwing over so many people - and now Usenet (Opens in a new window) is (slowly but surely) meeting its end. [P.S. Yes, I know, Usenet isn’t quite 2024 but still…]

I love how Star Trek predictions are inspiring people: Star Trek’s prediction of Irish unification in 2024 is upon us, but the full scene muddies the water. (Opens in a new window) [Irish Times] And yes, Patrick Stewart might continue doing Trek in his 80s (Opens in a new window).

If you need a post looking back at history with a rather biased look at history do go for: The Aragorn Option (Opens in a new window). [European Conservative]

I might be able to watch Labyrinth (Opens in a new window) again soon as its distribution rights have found a new home. [Animation Magazine]

GRRM lauding Blue Eye Samurai (Opens in a new window) and casually mentioning (Opens in a new window) some of his stories will move to animation. [Not a Blog & Netflix]

All criticism aside - Hogwarts: Legacy was one of the highest-selling games (Opens in a new window) the world over, proving that fantasy games can now even (almost) beat CoD or FIFA.

By the way - the brand ‘Tolkien/ LotR’ is now such a global phenomen it will give you Being a Hobbit in 2024 (Opens in a new window) (US politics), Fascists twist Tolkien into Lord of the Right Wing (Opens in a new window) (Italian politics), My plan to topple the Tory dark lords in 2024 (Opens in a new window) (UK politics), Tolkien’s Warning (Opens in a new window) (US Christianity, doom and gloom).

And with those links it might be time to remind you of the audition video Willie Nelson (Opens in a new window) did for the PJ Hobbit trilogy.

Memes making the rounds

I am adding the occasional column to this newsletter with RR: Mematro. 😁

Let me start out in saying that recurring memes from all fandoms usually are spread via sources that have a huge following because they have no issues in simply stealing stuff from others and/or with failing to credit artists in question.

Kirsten’s MyFunkyCamelot book thigh holster has been making the rounds because this guy mentioned it (Opens in a new window) on Xitter. Kirsten is a long-standing nerd like many of us, making costumes, accessories and the like and you can check her out on Instagram (Opens in a new window) and TikTok.

P.S. It should really be a thigh holster for the one vol. edition, if you ask me! (Opens in a new window)

According to German law I have to infom you all links to enterprises, artists, products etc. are [unpaid advertisements.] Some purchase links may earn me a small commission from Blackwell's, the bookshop of my personal trust.

If you are interested in my other Tolkien-related work please have a look:
The Tolkienist Blog (Opens in a new window) : Facebook (Opens in a new window) : Bluesky (Opens in a new window) : Instagram (Opens in a new window) : Mastodon (Opens in a new window) : Xitter (Opens in a new window)
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