Dragonlance Re-Read: Dragons Of Autumn Twilight — Part 4

The action heats up substantially in Dragons of Autumn Twilight as my re-read reaches Xak Tsaroth and chapters 13 through 16 and we finally encounter dragons. Not only is there a noticeable increase in action, but Hickman and Weis also manage to increase the emotional payload as well. "I left Goldmoon. I returned to find Chieftain's Daughter" The Story So Far The Heroes of the Lance are camped not far from the ruins of Goldmoon and Riverwind's tribe. They're somewhat shell shocked by the death and destruction they have witnessed, but determine that they must push on and attempt to reach Xak Tsaroth by the deadline. Goldmoon and Riverwind's relationship …Read more  »

Book Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

This is the first book in a trilogy called The First Lawand I should stress that it is not in itself a complete story. In fact, in many ways it reads more like a  prologue. A coming together of the cast and setting the stage before the story itself gets going.That’s being a little harsh perhaps, but I didn’t find it a satisfying experience to read just this book so it’s worth noting. Be prepared to invest in all three books. And it is probably worth your time reading all three because this one has a lot to recommend it.Now right before reading The Blade Itself I had just finished a re-read of The …Read more  »

Middle-Earth Fan Art — The Seaport of Umbar

While Tolkien fleshed out the north western corner of Middle-Earth in meticulous detail, he had much less to say about the south and east.  We get a few references here and there from characters in The Lord of the Rings and they are references in the Appendices. We learn a little bit more in The Silmarillion but they are a fairly blank slate. One of the locations that is mentioned though is the port city of Umbar which is where the Corsairs sail from to attack Minas Tirith. With such scant material to work from, artists are mostly left up to their own imaginations when it comes to this part …Read more  »

This Gandalf Tattoo Is All Kinds of Wonderful

First of all... it's a Gandalf tattoo and let's face it Gandalf is just ridiculously cool. But also I really like the style of the artwork here. It has an old fashioned look to it that's just appropriate for Tolkien's work. Also that ribbon of smoke coming from the pipe and winding around Gandalf looks great. Although... I am a bit creeped out by the lack of iris or pupils in his eyes. Source: FYeahTattoos.com

Alternate Smaug Designs From WETA

So, as is common in the movie industry, WETA considered a variety of different designs for Smaug before settling on what we got to see in The Hobbit movies. And designer Andrew Baker has posted a big batch of those designs on his blog under the heading Smaug Fails. Looking at what he has posted, I think it's safe to say that he's being self-deprecating on this one. Not all of the designs would have fit the style of the movie certainly. And some wouldn't have captured the right feel for Smaug. But they are all visually arresting in their own right. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="119046,119043,119044,119045"] Make sure to click through …Read more  »

LEGO The Hobbit — Burglar

This is a very clever interpretation of two scenes from The Hobbit with a thematic link to them. Plus the builder has used custom LEGO minifigures rather than the official ones. At the bottom we have Thorin and Gandalf meeting at the Prancing Pony and stating their need for a burglar. Then up top we have Bilbo in the Lonely Mountain hunting for the Arkenstone. Source: MOC Pages - Which is why we're going to need a burglar

Concerning Dragons — Animated Middle-Earth Short

While it only runs to about a minute (and half of that is credits) this computer animated short film that gives us a little background info on dragons in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth is just gorgeous to look at. It's styled and textured to look like a paper-craft animation and I'd love to see a longer version. http://vimeo.com/kieranduncan/concerningdragons

Lord of the Rings / Game of Thrones Sigil Mashup — The Lord of the Thrones

So you know those Game of Thrones house sigils that show up all over the place and have inspired countless mashups? Well someone finally got round to applying them to the grandfather of modern fantasy Lord of the Rings, or actually Middle-Earth in general. How much you appreciate this will depend on your level of Tolkien geekishness, but there are some that everyone should get. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="115277,115276,115275,115274,115273,115272,115271" orderby="rand"] Source: Middle-Earth News

Hobbit Cosplay — Thranduil

The way Peter Jackson chose to portray J.R.R. Tolkien's elves doesn't exactly match what I had in my head. But to be fair I'm not sure I could even verbally explain how I see them in my head, so that is asking an awful lot. More importantly cosplayer Abyssinian has really captured the look of captured the look of Thranduil from the Hobbit movies. Link: CosplayBlog

Adaptations, Reinterpretations, Reboots And Modifications

I was watching one of the introductory lectures for the Comics & Graphics novels course that I'm taking ( https://class.coursera.org/comics-001/class ) and there was a very interesting discusison on the topic of what is the definitive edition of a comic book. The lecturer made an interesting comparison with Shakespeare's Hamlet which also appeared in several editions. Which of course made me think of Tolkien's re-writing of sections of The Hobbit to fit better with The Lord of the Rings. This lead me to thinking about George Lucas' continual changing of small elements in his Star Wars movies. To fans great irritation. I'm not going to defend most of the changes as …Read more  »