Sunday, December 12, 2010

Call for Papers: Neil Gaiman Collection Planned

As most readers may know Jessica and I were lucky enough to collaborate with The Mythopoeic Society and chair a Mythcon in 2008; even luckier we were to have worked with Tolkien Scholar and Astronomer Kristine Larsen of Central Connecticut State University on the same conference. From this collaboration the idea for our book The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who was born.

Many of you know this book was published by Kitsune Books in May (2010). From the success of The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who, our publisher has asked us to continue "The Mythologicial Dimensions..." series and we are happy to announce the Call for Papers for the second volume being planned:

The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is an author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, comic books and graphic novels, theatre and film. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. Gaiman's writing has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker, as well as the 2009 Newbery Medal and 2010 Carnegie Medal in Literature. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work.
Fans of Neil Gaiman who saw the CBS interview heard from Gaiman that when he was growing up he wished to have written The Lord of the Rings. Gaiman is very much a fan of Tolkien and of fairy stories.  Fans of Doctor Who know by now Gaiman has written a story for the Doctor, set to be a part of the 2011 Series 32/6 of the Matt Smith Era.
Click here to Read Gaiman's Blog about the experience of the read through of his Doctor Who story, which will be the 3rd episode of the next series.

What follows is the Call for Papers for The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman

Submissions are sought for the forthcoming second volume of the critical essay series: The Mythological Dimensions to be published by Kitsune Books in 2012. This second volume will be on the subject of the Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman with a mind toward the incredible opportunity for multidisciplinary discourse on his work.

The works of Neil Gaiman are as diverse as clouds in the sky. To say that Gaiman is just an author would be doing both him and his work a disservice. Although he is best known for his books, his expertise is in the realm of myth, rather than any one medium. Gaiman’s name has also been attached to film scripts, comic books, and graphic novels, even a much anticipated episode of Doctor Who. He’s influenced songwriters and artists of all stripes. He’s been at the forefront of the graphic novel movement and has fought for the rights of comic book artists, being a board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The goal of this volume is to explore the worlds tapped into by Gaiman. While authors like Lewis, Le Guin, and Tolkien spent time creating a secondary world separate from our own, Gaiman amends our world. It can be said that Coraline’s space beyond the door, the Sandman’s realm of Dream, the land beyond the Wall, even the Gap between the subway stations are all Gaiman’s ‘secondary world’ creations—and they are—but they are also extensions of our own primary world.

Prior to submitting for this volume, each potential contributor should be familiar with the overall style and format of The Mythological Dimensions primary volume, The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who. The motto of this series is “written by fans for fans” and we will hold strict adherence to this rule. All essays will be expected to adhere to scholarly standards of analysis but at the same time be accessible to the interested fan who is not an academic by trade. Therefore successful abstracts will be judged as much on content as writing style.

Each contribution must demonstrate knowledge of Gaiman as an artist. We are looking predominantly for contributions that examine: how Gaiman transcends stereotypes, ideas, and symbols within his work; how Gaiman’s characters eradicate boundaries, or create new ones; how Gaiman views old myths through a fresh lens.

Essays can relate to, but should not be limited by, the following suggestion topics in relation to the mythical:

1. In “An Introduction” to his collection Smoke & Mirrors, Gaiman discusses the nature of story being like “mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. Like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in the darkness.”

2. The relationship of Gaiman and his characters to modern culture. Have Gaiman’s characters molded modern culture in any way? Are his characters a mirror of our culture—“A distorting mirror, to be sure, and a concealing mirror, set at forty-five degrees to reality….”

3. Gaiman readily admits that he wished he had written The Lord of the Rings. Throughout Gaiman’s work there are side-jokes and wonderful references to Tolkien’s work. Purposefully examine Tolkien and Gaiman, going beyond a mere comparison/contrast. Examine how intrinsic Tolkien’s work was/is to Gaiman. Could Gaiman have written a word without Middle-earth backing him up?

4. The influence of “real world myth” into Gaiman’s explored realms. Again, such an examination should endeavor to go beyond simply noting that Northern myths (like Sigfrid or Beowulf) inspired certain of Gaiman’s tales. More than a simple source study.

5. In “The Mapmaker,” Gaiman links the tale told to the map drawn. “One describes a tale best by telling the tale…The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless. The tale is the map which is the territory. You must remember this.” Examine Gaiman’s concepts of dreamland territories, mythological or mythopoeic maps, and worlds that exist beyond the edges of the drawn map, the known world, the experienced territory.

6. Gaiman’s penchant for ‘rewriting’ myth; how does this re-envisioning of mythic tales from Beowulf to Anansi to Oðinn to Snow White affect modern approaches to these myths? Critics of his vision of Beowulf cringe at the idea of Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s mother, but was Gaiman too far off when looking at the original tale? How does Gaiman preserve the integrity of a myth while refracting it in his “distorting mirror?” Is the integrity preserved at all?

We will give precedence to pieces which demonstrate a range of Gaiman’s work, or take a character, particular story, or single facet of Gaiman and explore it in regards to the work of another author/artist. The Editors would discourage a singular case study of any of Gaiman’s characters, and would like to dissuade any submissions from concentrating on any individual work of Gaiman’s to exclusion. We would also like to note that this collection will explore a large swath of Gaiman’s work and in order to accomplish the collection’s goals, we cannot accept multiple submissions on topics; so we encourage you to send your abstracts in a timely fashion.

All submitted abstracts and papers are to be sent to

Abstracts of 500-750 words should be submitted, along with complete contact information for and a biographical paragraph about the submitter, by email to the editors by February 15th, 2011.

If accepted, articles should be completed as Word documents with MLA formatting.

Complete submissions should be sent electronically to the editors by July 1st, 2011 to

All deadlines are firm.


Dr. Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University

Jessica Burke, College of Staten Island

Anthony S Burdge, Northeast Tolkien Society Co-Chair/Independent Scholar

Friday, November 19, 2010

Of Wizards and Wookiees: A Panel Discussion on Gaming & Fandom



 "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms"
by Ethan Gilsdorf

The Lyons Press 320 pp  US/Canada Hardcover: ISBN 978-1-59921-480-1
Retail  $24.95
US/Canada Paperback: ISBN 978-1-59921-994-3
Retail  $14.95
UK paperback: ISBN-13: 978-0762756759
Retail  £9.99
The UK Tolkien Society and NPR have called Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: ""Lord of the Rings meets Jack Kerouac’s On the Road."

Click here to Read the Synopsis

Now author Ethan Gilsdorf teams up with author, Tony Pacitti, MY BEST FRIEND IS A WOOKIEE: One Boy's Journey to Find His Place in the Galaxy (Adams Media), to bring us an evening:

Of Wizards and Wookiees: A Panel Discussion on Gaming & Fandom


*Attention gamers and geeks! Free Mountain Dew and Doritos!*

“Of Wizards and Wookiees: A Panel Discussion on Gaming & Fandom”

Word Books, Brooklyn, Mon Nov 22

Somerville --- Two local geek memoirists have teamed up to offer an evening of geekery at WORD Books Monday, November 22 at 7:30pm (22126 Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY)

Moderated by Rebecca Carroll, former editor at PAPER, their panel “Of Wizards and Wookiees: A Panel Discussion on Gaming & Fandom” will delve into the appeal of fantasy, science fiction, gaming and other geek subcultures.

Free Mountain Dew and Doritos will be served.

Ethan Gilsdorf, a Somerville, Massachusetts resident, wrote FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS (Lyons Press).

Tony Pacitti, of Providence, RI, is the author of MY BEST FRIEND IS A WOOKIEE " (Adams Media). The authors will discuss their books and the appeal of fantasy, science fiction and gaming, followed by a Q&A and book signing.

Both are heartbreaking works of staggering geekiness --- coming-of-age tales set against the backdrop of Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons obsessions --- that are ultimately quests to make peace with their geeky pasts and accept their "inner geeks."

National Public Radio described “FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms” as "Lord of the Rings meets Jack Kerouac’s On the Road." proclaimed, “For anyone who has ever spent time within imaginary realms, the book will speak volumes.” It was also named a "Must-Read" by the Massachusetts Book Awards.

Gilsdorf’s geek-out travel memoir investigates fantasy and gaming subcultures. In FANTASY FREAKS AND GAMING GEEKS, the author travels from Boston to England, France to New Zealand, Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar, to ask gaming and fantasy geeks how they balance their escapist urges with the kingdom of adulthood. He hangs out with Harry Potter tribute bands, attends fan conventions and gaming tournaments, camps with 12,000 medieval reenactors, sews his own tunic, learns to sword fight, battles online goblins and trolls, and plays D&D again for the first time in 25 years. FANTASY FREAKS AND
GAMING GEEKS was recently released in paperback.

Author Ethan Gilsdorf

Gilsdorf publishes travel, arts, and pop culture stories regularly in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor and other magazines and newspapers worldwide. His blog
"Geek Pride" is seen regularly on and he has also been a guest on talk radio as a fantasy and escapism expert. He watches the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy at least once a year.

Follow Ethan’s adventures at

Pacitti’s "MY BEST FRIEND IS A WOOKIEE: A Memoir, One Boy’s Journey to Find His Place in the Galaxy" is a hilarious and heart-wrenching tale of a real-life certified geek and official Jedi Knight wannabe, framed around Lucas’ epic Star Wars, the movie that changed one little boy’s life. With the Force on his side, Pacitti survives countless hurdles of adolescence, temptations from the Dark Side, and ultimately lives
to see the day when he can be comfortable in his own skin.'s Techland says, "[My Best Friend Is A Wookiee] is an autobiographical coming of age tale with a bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure that reminds us all of the good old days when we were being picked on and laughed at." Alec Sulkin, executive producer of Family Guy, calls the book “hilarious, tragic, touching, and most of all, honest. Tony Pacitti deserves a medal from Princess Leia and a hug from Chewbacca.”

Author Tony Pacitti and his best friend

 Tony Pacitti has written for as a features writer and video game reviewer and has had his short science fiction published at 365tomorrows. He has been the writer for the online comics RoboPlanet and The Silencer at Pandemonium Comics. Tony lives in Providence, Rhode Island and is probably watching The Empire Strikes Back on laserdisc at this very moment.

Click here for more info on Tony and Wookiees

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel

Editors Note:
We have been seeing alot of discussion of this book lately, most notably the brilliant review by Pieter Collier of The Tolkien Library. Below is the official press release, book trailer, and information on the author David C. Downing. Stay tuned for our own review of Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel

Click here to Visit the official website

SAN FRANCISCO, October 20, 2010 – A fascinating new book from
Ignatius Press, Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel, brings to life the beloved writers C.S. Lewis,

J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, in the context of a mysterious adventure story.
The novel opens in 1940, and American Tom McCord, a 23-year-old aspiring doctoral candidate, is in England researching the historical evidence for the legendary King Arthur. There he meets perky and intuitive Laura Hartman, a fellow American staying with her aunt in Oxford, and the two of them team up for an even more ambitious and dangerous quest.

Aided by the Inklings—that illustrious circle of scholars and writers made famous by its two most prolific members, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien—Tom and Laura begin to suspect that the fabled Spear of Destiny, the lance that pierced the side of Christ on the cross, is hidden somewhere in England.

Tom discovers that Laura has been having mysterious dreams, which seem to be related to the subject of his research, and, though doubtful of her visions, he hires her as an assistant. Heeding the insights and advice of the Inklings, while becoming aware of being shadowed by powerful and secretive foes who would claim the spear as their own, Tom and Laura end up on a treasure hunt that crisscrosses the English countryside and leads beyond a search for the elusive relics of Camelot into the depths of the
human heart and soul.

Weaving his narrative with actual quotes from the works of the Inklings, author David Downing offers a vivid portrait of Oxford and draws a welcome glimpse into the personalities and ideas of Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams, while never losing sight of his adventure story and its two very appealing main characters.

Looking for the King has piqued the interest of Inklings lovers everywhere, and has already earned advanced praise. Joseph Pearce, author of Tolkien: Man and Myth, says, “This superbly gripping novel about dreams coming true is itself a dream come true. Lewis and Tolkien come alive as real-life characters, playing their sagacious parts to realistic perfection as the protagonists follow their Arthurian quest pursued by deadly enemies. For lovers of Arthurian romance and for admirers of Tolkien and Lewis, this is indeed a dream come true!”

“The subtitle of this book is An Inklings Novel. That claim might seem presumptuous at first. But lo – it is an Inklings novel,” says Thomas Howard, author of Narnia and Beyond. He continues, “My own guess is that Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams would all be mightily pleased with it. All three of them, as it happens, figure as characters in the story, which is Arthurian, but set in the contemporary world--very much in the vein of That Hideous Strength and War in Heaven. The Inklings themselves are flawlessly depicted, as are the two protagonists, a very appealing young man and woman. All Inklings lovers will be
highly delighted.”

Peter J. Schakel, author of The Way into Narnia and Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis,
commends Looking for the King, calling it “A highly engaging historical mystery adventure that brings

C. S. Lewis and his friends and ideas to life. Fans of Lewis and Tolkien will love it. I couldn't put it
Marjorie Lamp Mead, Associate Director of The Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College,
also praises Looking for the King, saying, “Steeped in Arthurian lore, the mystery of the grail legends,
and World War II intrigue, this engaging tale of a young man's search for a hidden relic ultimately
uncovers treasure of a far different kind. David Downing's homage to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and
Charles Williams succeeds masterfully in bringing these historical figures to life in the midst of an
unfolding spiritual thriller. This is a beguiling and enjoyable read – laced throughout with romance, wry
humor and questions of eternal consequence.”



About the Author

David C. Downing, PhD, is the R. W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College in
Pennsylvania. He is the author of four award-winning books on C. S. Lewis: Planets in Peril, The Most
Reluctant Convert, Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C. S. Lewis and Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis
and the Narnia Chronicles. Downing has also written short fiction for Christianity Today and other

To request a review copy or an interview with author David C. Downing, please contact:
Rose Trabbic, Publicist, Ignatius Press, (239)867-4180 or

Product Facts

An Inklings Novel

Author: David C. Downing
Release Date: October 2010
Length: 285 pages
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-58617-514-6 • 5.25 x 8" Sewn Hardcover
Order: 1-800-651-1531 •

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10th Anniversary Calendar Now in Print! Order Now!

Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of The Northeast Tolkien Society we are happy to announce our 2011 Shire Calendar.
Once again Phil "Parmastahir" Goss and his wonderful daughter Megan are steadily at work just in time for the Fall Holidays to create another wonderful calendar for us. Many of you, hopefully all of you, know Phil from his incredible Tolkien Calendar Collection, and website dedicated to it:
The Compleat Gyde to Tolkien Calendars

In its 4th year, our Calendar has been blessed to have a special cover by the brilliant artist Jef Murray.  The reflective nature of Gandalf and Frodo as they look upon the Shire is perfection.  The Northeast Tolkien Society is very grateful to have had such a wonderful community and member support in the past 10 years, and looking ahead we hope to continue being the Tolkien community in the New York City area.
The Host of Nargothrond
by Anke Eißmann
For our Shire Calendar format we are fortunate to feature the work of Anke Eissman and Sue Wookey, and a special 10th Anniversary centerfold illustration by Catherine Sparsidis to accompany our 10th Anniversary narrative.
Tom Looks Through the Ring
by Sue Wookey

Postage in the United States has significantly increased.

Below we have three options for purchase of the calendar.

The Calendar costs $20 USD and the options below incorporate shipping for domestic US, Canada and UK.


TOTAL $26, $34, $36

Within the United States, including Hawaii, and Alaska, plus Canada

Click here to Visit our Online Store and purchase

If you live in areas beyond UK, let us know and we will calculate shipping for you.

Click here to contact us




Jessica Burke
110 Patten St.,
Staten Island, NY 10307

Monday, October 25, 2010

Of Rohan and Gondor

Hopeless Hope, Dauntless Despair
Eomer, Denethor and "The Battle of Pelennor Fields 

"These staves he spoke, yet he laughed as he said them. For once more the lust
of battle was on him: and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king:
the lord of a fell people. And lo! even as he laughed at despair, he looked out again
on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them" (RK, V, vi, 829). 
            “The Battle of Pelennor Fields” is undoubtedly my favorite chapter in the trilogy, and I believe it is because of the way Tolkien wrote about the Rohirrim. There are exactly two places in The Lord of the Rings that give me the chills, and they are both in this chapter. (The one above and the one right after Eomer sees Eowyn.) Up to this point, we have not seen the Rohirrim at their very best, at least battle wise. For, by Theoden’s admission, the Rohirrim do not do well behind walls, and this is where we have seen them. They need the open plain to fight most effectively. On the Pelennor they have it, and are they ever impressive! There are very few other places in the trilogy that have more raw power than the descriptions of the Rohirrim in battle. (And it’s not just because they’re finally fighting in the open.)
Tolkien’s language, which I feel is spectacular in The Return of the King in general, is particularly good in this chapter. In it we see the Rohirrim in their element, as it were, and not only is the language powerful and perfectly suited, but the character of the Rohirrim is more fully realized. Before this they have been admirable, but we have not quite seen how they merit Faramir’s speach of them in The Two Towers. We have seen the tall men and the fair women for sure, but all their battles have been fought by necessity, and in them we have not seen much to set them apart from the battles fought by the Gondorians, at least not to the extent where they might merit being described as “loving war and valour as things good in themselves” (TT, IV, v 663). However, in “The Pelennor Fields”, yes they fight for necessity, but they unabashedly demonstrate their love of battle for battles sake. Their skill is unmatched, and their fury “burned the hotter, and more skilled was their knighthood with long spears and bitter” (RK, V, vi, 281), and they “sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City” (820). Eomer laughs at despair and defies death, “for once more the lust of battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people” (829). Eowyn is “fair yet terrible” (823) (here is the “valiant both alike” part proved in full). The Rohirrim are the mortal definition of “perilously fair”.
There is also an interesting parallel between the despair of the Rohirrim and the despair of Denethor. Of course the parallels between Theoden and Denethor have been discussed a good deal in class, but I would like to focus on the differences in dealing with despair between Denethor and the Rohirrim, especially Eomer and Eowyn. Denethor loses all hope, and for very good reason, but rather than doing his duty and seeing the situation through to the end, he chooses “to have naught” and tries to kill himself and Faramir. He pays the price for seeing so much, and his despair makes a really bad situation even worse. After all, “it ain’t over till it’s over.” The values and culture of the Rohirrim keep them from taking this same road, which doesn’t make them superior to Denethor, but does have a very different effect on the situation. Eowyn has given up hope, like Denethor, and like Denethor, she decides her only option is to die. However, she decides to achieve this by riding to war. (So like Denethor she is also abandoning her post, though as we’ve seen, this is an incredibly Rohirrim thing to do.)  But she is choosing to die in a way that might make a difference (though I rather doubt she was thinking of that when she decided to go). Eomer chooses to do exactly the same thing when he finds Eowyn, presumably dead on the battle field, and not only does he go storming recklessly into battle, chanting “death, death, death take us all,” but the “great wrath of his onset had utterly overthrown the front of his enemies, and great wedges of his Riders had passed clear through the ranks of the Southrons, discomfiting their horsemen and riding their footmen to ruin” (826, 828).
While Denethor’s despair leads him to kill himself, and counsel death to all who would not be slaves (835), Eomer’s and Eowyn’s despair lead them to take as many of their enemies down with them and to “do deeds of song…though no man should be left in the West” to remember them (829). 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To Defend a Land Worth Saving: For the Love of Gondor

         Given the number of times I have read The Lord of the Rings, it is amazing how reading it critically has brought so many new things to my attention. In this week’s reading, what struck me the most is the amount of time Tolkien takes to make you care about Gondor before war comes. Prior to chapter one of The Return of the King, we know little about the city of men. Aragorn laments that he cannot go there when they are pursuing the orcs in The Two Towers, and mentions of it are scattered throughout The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. But after Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith, Tolkien makes sure you care.  
            He makes you care about individuals such as Ingold, Imrahil, Beregund and Bergil, and by making you care about Beregund and Bergil, he makes you care about the people leaving to go south to safety. You share his the fear that, “Few, maybe, of those now sundered will meet again” (RK, V, i, 747). And not only do you care about the people, but in what are perhaps some of the most beautiful place descriptions in the trilogy, Tolkien makes you care about Gondor. Pippin’s first glimpse of Minas Tirith is also the reader’s first glance, and the imagery is stunning.

“And there… he saw… the dark mass of Mount Mindolluin, the deep purple shadows of its high glens, and its tall face whitening in the rising day. And upon its out-thrust knee was the Guarded City, with its seven walls of stone, so strong and old that it seemed to have been not builded but carven by giants out of the bones of the earth…. Suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote the face of the city. Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion … shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver … and its pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals…and high and far he heard a clear ringing as of silver trumpets” (732-35).

And the descriptions do not end there. Tolkien goes on to describe the levels of the city and the layout several times, emphasizing the light and beauty, but also the emptiness and the melancholy. In fact, on the next page, the description becomes almost elegiac. As Minas Tirith is revealed as a city “vast”, “splendid”, “greater and stronger than Isengard, and more beautiful” and yet, “it was in truth falling year by year into decay” (736). We learn that it could house many more men than it does, and the houses “now were silent, and no footsteps rang on their wide pavements, nor voice was heard in their halls, nor any face looked out from door or empty window” (ibid). Tolkien also describes the hall of Denethor in great detail, and in sharp contrast to the Golden Hall at Edoras. It is somber and solemn. The windows are “deep” there is a great quantity of gold and black marble and there are “no hangings, nor storied webs, nor any things of woven stuff or of wood” (737). Instead there are statues, “graven in cold stone” (738). Yet outside the sun still shines, and is both “warm and bright” and the air is clear and blue. (743). And as we saw sunrise, so also do wee see sunset, and “in the West the dying sun [sets] all the fume on fire, and [then] Mindolluin [stands] black against a burning smoulder flecked with embers” (754).
            We also learn about past history through Beregund’s discussion of Osgiliath, and the brief exchange about the lineage of Boromir’s horn, and also about the lands beyond, so that not only do we care about Minas Tirith and the green fields of the Pelennor, but we also care about “the vales of Tumladen and Lossarnach, and the mountain-villages” (747) and of Dol Amroth and the “Outlands” (753).
            To return to the people, perhaps Denethor is colder than Theoden, but this suits him and does not, at first, make him an unlikeable character, and having already met Faramir and Boromir, it is easy to see why the Gondorians are admirable. Tolkien also gives us the view of the regular soldier by giving Beregund and Pippin so much speech together, and you learn a great deal more in the space of one chapter about Boromir than you ever did in the entire Fellowship of the Ring, and more about Faramir than even The Two Towers revealed, for now we see how their own men speak of them in private conversations. Then there is Bergil, and by the end of Pippin’s day with him, you really want things to go well for Minas Tirith, because if they don’t, people like Beregund, Bergil, Faramir and even Denethor will fall, and the piercing beauty of Minas Tirith will be destroyed.
            So when Gandalf says, “The Darkness has begun. There will be no dawn” (755), there is more at stake than a mere city. We care about the fall of Osgiliath, we care about the loss of the passage of the Anduin, we care about the loss of the Causeway Forts and that “the Ramas [is] broken and all the Pelennor abandoned to the Enemy” (803). And the chapter only grows more desperate as we see Faramir desperately wounded, Denethor descending into madness and the defense of the city crumbling before the malice of Mordor. Tolkien has made us care.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Frodo Lives!"...Or Does He?

As many of you know, long-time Mythopoeic and Tolkien Society member Alexei Kondratiev passed away this past May. We honored him with: Remembering Alexei Kondratiev

Since his passing we have met dozens of his friends, each and every one from various disciplines and communities, each wonderfully enlightened in their own way from Alexei.

However, in the short 5 months since Alexei's passing there been one person that we wished we had more time to learn from, and that was Alexei's partner Len Rosenberg.

This past Friday, October 14th 2010, Len passed away from complications of pneumonia probably related his battle with colon cancer. Shortly after Alexei passed away we had various occasions to chat about Tolkien with Len. These chats, fewer than we had hoped, consisted of a range of topics that influenced Tolkien. In particular, Norse literature, which Len was extremely fond, having been well versed Runelore and the culture of the Norse people.

In his early college days Len Rosenberg was a part of the original New York Tolkien Society, founded by Richard "Dick" Plotz, for which our society today has been based. Even before having met Alexei, Len was one of the first members of the New York Tolkien Society, as well as one of the early members of both The Tolkien Society of America and The Mythopoeic Society.

Len's love of Tolkien and his work is not only evidenced by his particularly large archive of Tolkien journals from 1968-1973 and his participation in local New York Tolkien communities, but his command and knowledge of Tolkien's works and the surrounding criticism.

In 1973 Len wrote a paper for his college English course entitled:


(Click the title for a .pdf Google Doc version of the paper)

Since acquiring this paper from Len, only a few short weeks ago, it was our intent to publish it for him within his lifetime.  We deeply regret him not seeing this come to pass.
The paper, complete with his A-/B+ mark and professor notations, states: "Although the reception of Tolkien's works by the critics has been varied, they have gained their popularity because they appeal to the sentiments of American youth." The paper itself may be seen as a time capsule of criticism and discussion, localized to the available criticism and debate of 1973, but is a brilliant contrast of various criticism of Tolkien's epic The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). Len speaks of Louis Halle, who cites LotR as "a true history." In speaking of one of Tolkien's greatest detractors, Edmund Wilson, Len states the "ever acidic... Wilson... known by many four letter words to various Tolkienans."

In the short 5 months we knew Len we also found he had quite the witty whip of criticism, on numerous topics, which was demonstrated throughout his paper. I particularly found Len's keen humor a self-aware stab at  his own criticism of Tolkien when he cited that Tolkien's appendix to the LotR "could take over for an intestine...."

Like Alexei, in Len we have lost a great storehouse of knowledge. Len could recite from memory many songs, poems, pieces of literature and bits of scholarship. Similar to Alexei, Len was very learned in numerous disciplines, his love for Tolkien was but one of dozens.

In his honor, we post this paper. It is our hope that the original which we currently possess, might, along with the bulk of Len's archive of Tolkien journals, be dontated to Wheaton College.  A few of Len's journals will be donated to Marquette University's Tolkien collection.  It is our hope from these donations, arranged a few weeks prior to his passing, that future generations of Tolkien scholars will learn from this material.

Aiya Len Rosenberg! Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo!

To Read more of the Life of Len Rosenberg, Click here to read an article by The Wild Hunt

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rohan, Home of the Horse Lords, Northern Courage and Blatant Disobedience

           To the Rohirrim, like the Danes and Geats of Beowulf, the idea of “Northern Courage” is essential. They believe in fighting to the last man, in absolute loyalty to their leader, and in honour above all. Yet despite this, to a man, they seem incapable of following orders – one would even say it is a chronic problem. However, many things would have gone horribly wrong if the Rohirrim had simply followed orders. In the span of two pages, we come across not one, but three acts of disobedience. Eomer, we learn has been imprisoned for insubordination, “It is true” says Theoden, “ He had rebelled against my commands, and threatened Grima with death in my hall” (TT, III, vi, 505). And Eomer knew he was breaking the law when he did this. He tells Aragorn, “In this riding north I went without the king’s leave, for in my absence his house is left with little guard” (TT, III, ii, 426).  Then on the following page, he again breaks the law. He says, “Yet I am not free to do all as I would. It is against our law to let strangers wander at will in our land, until the king himself shall give them leave, and more strict is the command in these days of peril” (TT, III, ii, 428), and then he lets them go and not only that, but he lends them horses. For such a serious level of insubordination, Theoden has little choice but to throw him in prison. After all, Eomer is the Third Marshal of the Mark, and his éored constitutes the chief defence of Edoras.            Eomer directly defied Theoden’s orders to not pursue the orcs, and then broke an important law by letting the three hunters go. But if he had not then Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli would not have made it to Fangorn in time to see Gandalf. Even more importantly, if Eomer had not ridden out, then the orcs would have reached Isengard, and it does not bear thinking of what Saruman would have done to Merry and Pippin.
            Then, of course, there is Hama. As with Eomer, Rohan might stand or fall based on his decisions, and rather than obeying the law, which again, he can, and does, recite, he lets Gandalf through with his staff, saying, “The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop for age… yet in doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom. I believe you are friends and folk worthy of honour, who have no evil purpose. You may go in” (TT, III, vi, 500). When Gandalf reveals himself, Grima hisses, “Did I not counsel you, lord, to forbid his staff? That fool, Hama has betrayed us!” (TT, III, vi, 501).  It is well for Rohan though that Hama does disobey, otherwise the liberation of Theoden may have come too late, and without Rohan, the West would have fallen.
            But it does not end there. Gandalf tells Theoden to set Eomer free, and Theoden agrees, saying “Call Hama to me. Since he proved untrusty as a doorward, let him become an errand- runner. The guilty shall bring the guilty to judgment” (TT, III, vi, 505). But Hama is no better an errand runner than he is a doorwarden.  “How comes this?”  Theoden demands when Eomer offers him his sword, “It is my doing, lord,” says Hama, “I understood that Eomer was to be set free. Such joy was in my heart that maybe I have erred. Yet since he was free again, and he a Marshal of the Mark, I brought him his sword as he bade me,” And Eomer adds, “To lay at your feet, my lord” (TT, III, vi, 506).  It is well that Eomer’s devotion to his lord is of the truest kind. He is willing to risk death to do what he judges is right, as does Hama.
            I won’t even go into Eowyn’s disobedience, which again puts all of Rohan at risk, when she abandons her post as de facto leader of the Eorlingas in The Return of the King. But then, of course, if she had not gone, the Witch King would not have been slain, and who knows how the Battle of Pelennor Fields would have gone if the Witch King had been left alive. It is highly unlikely that Eomer would have survived long enough to see the coming of Aragorn, or that Aragorn, once there, would be able to fight off the hordes of Mordor and the King of the Nazgul.
            In Rohan “I was just following orders” would be unacceptable. If in doubt, you follow your own judgement and what you believe is right. Fortunately for Rohan, those who do so have a very good feel of the truth and the right. The disobedience of the Rohirrim saves Theoden and Rohan, and by extension, Gondor and the entire free West.  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Celtic Rocks by Fathom

All too often, whenever I’ve come across an album reputed to be “Celtic Rock”—I’m turned off by a sea of synthesizers & quasi-Enya like tones. So, to be honest, despite the charm of lead singer John DiBartolo—and the fact that I really enjoyed his work with The Lonely Mountain Band—Beyond the Western Seas (see our forthcoming review)—I had my doubts. Until I listened to this album. And listened…and listened...and listened again.

I’m happy to report, the nightmarish scenario of synthesized beats of “Danny Boy” sung in GlamRock fashion have been wiped from my mind.

I have only one caveat. This album is highly addictive. Once you listen, you’ll find yourself humming the tunes all flipping day.

Celtic Rocks isn’t merely a few Celtic tunes played at high speeds on guitar either. While there are great renditions of “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Wild Rover”—two of my favorites, Fathom is taking a unique approach to the music. If I had anything to compare them to—it would have to be Black Sabbath—and specifically Sabbath from “Sign of the Southern Cross” (Dio on vocals for Mob Rules)and a bit of Tyr). Of all the bands that I’ve listened to over the years, Sabbath has a distinctive balance which allowed each element of the music to have equal importance. The drums and bass weren’t of lesser importance than the vocals and lead guitar. In my experience, this is a rare ability—and I find it here in this album. There’s a brilliant powerful symmetry here—and anything that so masterfully blends bass guitar with a mandolin and Uilleann Pipes is amazing.

Fathom’s work is exceptional and highly recommended. Check out this album & Fathom's other work at

-- Jessica Burke

Howard Shore's Musical Score at Radio City

Howard Shore’s Complete Score of
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Performed Live at Radio City Music Hall
Friday, October 8th 2010
Review by Jessica Burke

I’m one of those people who feel that music is vital to life—but in the world most of us live in, live music isn’t readily accessible & when we get the chance to hear a cherished piece of music performed live, the experience should be sublime. And, it usually is.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for Howard Shore’s complete score to The Two Towers performed live at Radio City this past weekend. While the music itself is beautiful, both Anthony and I found the experience was significantly dulled by having the film played at the same time. Yes. We are aware that this is a score to a film. However, it is also a symphony—and when going to hear Beethoven or Mozart performed, we’d be there for the performance. Folks attending this event were there first and foremost for the film—as evidenced by the continual hoots & applause every time a testosterone-laden actor graced the screen. At times, for the sake of balance, we tried our own applause for Treebeard, Éowyn, the kidnapping orcs, the Eye of Sauron (NOT an evil Lighthouse)—but without much success (except for Treebeard, those applause caught on). And I was actually shushed by a twit infront of me for applauding the Eye. Really?

The audience seemed oblivious to the fact that there were live performers on stage—except when the conductor, Luwdig Wicki, came on stage. Everyone around us was glued to the screen, even down to that same woman infront of me mouthing the dialogue to herself. The Dessoff Symphonic Choir and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus were dwarfed by the screen—and were pretty much non-existent to much of the audience. There were applause, I have to admit, at the entrance of Kaitlyn Lusk, the exquisite soprano, but I have to wonder if the applause were for Ms. Lusk—or for Arwen who made a screen appearance at just about the same moment.

I’m sure several readers will pipe up to say that Anthony & Jessica will find fault in anything film related because we’re not big Peter Jackson fans. Not so. In 2005, we attended Robert Bass’ “The Rings: Myth and Music” performance at Carnegie Hall. While that performance consisted of Shore’s score with selections from Wagner for comparison, and even though selections of the Jackson films were played—the music was the focal point of the evening. The musicians were the stars—not Orlando and Elijah.

We had assumed—wrongly it seems—that the same would be true for the Radio City performance. We weren’t lucky enough to get tickets for last years’ Fellowship of the Rings performance, otherwise we might have known better.

For me, Howard Shore’s music is one of the highlights of the Jackson films—and one of the saving graces. These musical achievements of Shore, for Anthony and I, stand as a testimony to the sheer effort that went into the making of these films—and highlight our regret that Jackson didn’t treat his script with equal respect. We have our own copies of the score, and have listened to them with delight. The music is exceptional and we were very much looking forward to seeing it performed live—again.

The performance was seamless and breathtaking, but unfortunately the blasted film took away from the fact that there were live human beings onstage actually performing something. The 21st Century Orchestra was brilliant. The strings were my personal favorite, and I would have been contented to just sit and listen—and watch the performers. Heidi Doppmann on harp and Roland Küng on dulcimer were some of the only performers not lost in the melee because they were physically set aside. I found myself hunting the stage for the oboe and percussion. And our seats were good ones too, so please don’t tell me we were too far away from the stage to notice the performers.

We were just so damned distracted by the film.

And just an aside since I know I’ve already made several enemies with this review—and since the film fans out there will already say I’m a book snob, an elitist, and I have a vendetta out against poor defenseless PJ. Say what you will, I’m a Howard Shore fan—but I have to note, Anthony & I, having attended NYC’s ComicCon earlier in the day, decided to wear some recent acquires: our shirts from the The Fellows Hip: Rise of the Gamers. The front of these shirts blaze with FRODO FAILED.

Yes. I know we were instigating. But, it’s the truth—according to the books, to Tolkien in his Letters, but not according to PJ. Can I just say that despite the 2 or 3 smirks, the vast majority of folks were deeply offended, one even shouting “NOT SO!” To which I replied, “Read the book. He did.” But, the icing on the cake was the woman who looked quizzically at me and asked her companion, “Who’s Frodo?”

I guess that sums up the experience for me. Give me the music any day of the week. Ditch the films.

Our advice to the folks at Radio City—give us a symphony, not a rehashing of the ENTIRE film—clocking at over 3 hours. Lower your prices for soda & Twizzlers. We left there dazed and rather confused. I scouted around at the other reviews & all of them were raves. I have to wonder if the reviewers were just being gracious because of the free tickets. We’re grateful to the wonderful press coordinators for this opportunity, but our policy is and always has been to give an honest review.

If there’s to be a Return of the King show next year, it’s our hope that the musical performance becomes the focus of this event—not the films. I mean, we can all crank up the volume at home & get the same effect. Or, for the truly geeksome, we can play the score on our surround sound stereo WHILE watching the films. I wonder if you can try playing Dark Side of the Moon and get the same effect that you do with The Wizard of Oz….worth a shot.

I’d say we’re giving 4 rings (out of 4) for the musical performance.
1 ring for the Radio City setup.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Fellows Hip Movie: Rise of the Gamers

While on our New York Comic Con Quest, we happened upon booth 454 where to producers, cast and crew were speaking to folks about their film.

An homage to The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien the tag line of this films is:"There is a little bit of Geek and Hero in all of us!"

The cast and crew on hand know there Tolkien well, are great admirers of all the adaptations, films, games, audio and have a huge love for the works of the Professor.

We wanted to post today to get the initial word out to our community and readers. We wholeheartedly suggest you check out their website, facebook page, and youtube channel to get a feel for the film and show your love for fellow geeks, gamers, heroes and ultimately Tolkien fans.

The Northeast Tolkien Society is very happy to endorse and support this film and look forward to hopefully bringing it to the NYC area.

Click here for more information and visit the official film website

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Lady and the Golden Wood

Perilously Fair
Galadriel: Lady of Light or Elf Witch of Terrible Power?

“They say that a sorceress lives in these woods, an elf witch of terrible power. All who look on her fall under her spell.” At least, so says Gimli in Peter Jackson’s adaptation. Though the whole “elf witch” business is a Jacksonion departure from the book, there is no denying that there is something dangerous, and even dark, about the Lady of Light. “Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as the old tales tell…. But if you have her favour, then you are also net-weavers and sorcerers, maybe” (III, ii, 422).  So says Eomer, and so say all men who live in the south. Wormtongue expresses a similar sentiment, “Then it is true… that you are in league with the Sorceress of the Golden Wood? … It is not to be wondered at: webs of deceit were ever woven in Dwimordene” (III, vi, 502). This statement should not be discredited because Wormtongue is the speaker. This is the opinion of all in the southern lands who have heard of Galadriel and Lothlorien. 

Boromir, who as a Gondorian ought to know better, at first does not want to enter Lorien. “[O]f that perilous land we have heard in Gondor, and it is said that few come out who once go in; and of that few none have escaped unscathed” (II, vi, 329). “Say not unscathed, but if you say unchanged, then maybe you will speak the truth…but lore wanes in Gondor, Boromir if in the city of those who once were wise they now speak evil of Lothorien” replies Aragorn (ibid). His distinction between “unscathed” and “unchanged” are hardly comforting, especially given that what happens to Boromir can arguably be traced directly back to Galadriel. 

Later, Faramir does know better, and still he says, “If men have dealings with the Mistress of Magic who dwells in the Golden Wood, then they may look for strange things to follow. For it is perilous for mortal man to walk out of the world of this Sun, and few of old came thence unchanged, ’tis said” (IV, v, 652). He is aware of the distinction between “unscathed” and “unchanged” and still he cries, “What did she say to you, the Lady that dies not? What did she see? What woke in your heart then?” (ibid). 

Sam, as often is the case, hits the nail on the head when he says, “[p]erhaps you could call her perilous, because she’s so strong in herself. You could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship, on a rock; or drownd yourself, like a hobbit in a river” (IV, v, 665). However, he then continues by saying, “But neither rock nor river would be to blame” (ibid). Similarly Aragorn says, “only evil need fear it [Lorien], or those who bring some evil with them” (II, vi, 329). Aragorn rebukes Eomer and Gandalf rebukes Wormtongue for their lack of wisdom concerning Lorien and Galadriel, and the wise characters insist that one must bring evil into Lorien to find it there. 

Added to all this, the Rohirrim call Lorien “Dwimordene” which literally means “wood of phantoms”, and not just dreams or illusions either. This is the same ‘dwimor’ in “Dwimmerlaik”, the name Eowyn calls the Witch King, and “Dwimorberg” the Haunted Mountain where lie the Paths of the Dead. If that is not creepy, I don’t know what is. Yet every character, from Gandalf to Sam will rebuke you or challenge you to a duel if you make the wrong assumptions about Galadriel and Lorien. In this, I think, there is as much truth as in the other. Lorien is a place of breathtaking and unstained beauty. It is “[m]ore fair than thoughts of Mortal Men” (III, vi, 503). It is a place where flowers bloom even in the winter, where grass never fades, and where “in the autumn the leaves of the trees fall not, but turn to gold” and do not fall “not till the spring comes… and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are silver” (II, vi, 326). The waters in the land “bring… sleep and forgetfulness” (II, vi, 330) and not the sleep of the Forest River of The Hobbit, but the kind that washes all weariness away (ibid). 

The message could not be plainer. Lorien, and more specifically Galadriel, is perilous to mortals. However, and I cannot stress this enough, Galadriel is beautiful. Lorien is beautiful. They are fair beyond the ken of mortal men. Gandalf must speak in poetry to speak of her; Sam says that he cannot even hope to describe her, that his gift of verse cannot convey her beauty. The Lady and the Wood are heartbreakingly beautiful, and more than a little creepy. Indeed, as so many say, they are perilously fair.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Of Wargs, Shippey, and Middle Earth, the Land Worth Saving: Musings on The Fellowship of the Ring

Every time I read The Lord of the Rings, I find something new. This is a cliché. It is also the truth. In reading the warg attack on the Company, the line “These were no ordinary wolves” (FR, II, iii, 291) has always puzzled me – not because I don’t understand that wargs are unusual, but because Gandalf seems to think that they’re even worse than wargs. This time, however, I was abruptly reminded of Sauron’s role in The Silmarillion. He is the Lord of the Isle of the Werewolves, Tol-in-Gaurhoth. He takes on the shape of a wolf; he commands hordes of them, so of course he’d have extraordinary wolves in his service, even if this is several thousand years later. 

In this reading, I have also been struck by how much Middle Earth a vital part of The Lord of the Rings. I had not thought how much until it was mentioned in class, and since then it has been more and more clear to me that Middle Earth itself is not just a backdrop against which this journey takes place, but is a character and is as worth saving as any of the other peoples. It makes the characters the way they are, for as Sam later notes, “Whether they’ve made the land, or the land’s made them, it’s hard to say” (FR, II, vii, 351). He is speaking of Lothlorien and the elves, of course, but the same could be said for the Shire and the Hobbits. 

Some of the most stirring passages of The Fellowship of the Ring are about the land. Legolas’ speech about Eregion, “[T]he trees and the grass do not now remember them [the elves]. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone” directly follows Gimli’s about the mountains that “stand tall in our [the dwarves’] dreams: Baraz, Zirak, Shathur…. [U]nder them lies Khazad-dum, the Dwarrodelf. Tolkien takes these two descriptive sections and uses them to tell us an astonishing number of things. Firstly, there is the love and longing of the dwarves for Khazad-dum, and the fact that a land where elves have dwelt is a land forever changed by them. Secondly we learn that these places are a deep part of the cultural heritage of the dwellers on Middle Earth. Legolas is not of the elves who lived in Eregion, Gimli has only seen Caradhras from afar, but the former hears the lament of the very stones for the elves who used to dwell there, and the latter desires above all else, at this point, to see the dark waters and cold springs of the Dimrill Dale. 

The Shire as a land is the entire reason Frodo is willing to go on this perilous quest. He “should like to save the Shire” despite sometimes feeling that “an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good” for the inhabitance (FR, I, ii, 61). The elves made the three rings so that they might gain “understanding, making and healing, to preserve all things unstained” (FR, II, ii, 262) which both Elrond and Galadriel have done in Rivendell and Lorien. 

As discussed in class, the length of the book between the set out from Bag End to the arrival at Rivendell is partly due to the sheer amount of description of the landscape. But there is a reason for this. By the time we arrive at Rivendell and read “The Council of Elrond”, Middle Earth has become something worth saving for its own merits. Not only are the “kind, jolly, stupid Bolgers, Hornblowers, Boffins, Bracegirdles and the rest” worth saving, but the green Hill, and the calm Water and the homey Green Dragon of the Shire are as well. By the time the hobbits arrive at Bree, the elven glade in the Woody End, the sleepy fields of Bamforlong, and the magic valley of the Withywindle are as important as Gildor, Farmer Maggot, and Tom and Goldberry. The Ring has to be destroyed. Not just for the people of Middle Earth, but for Middle Earth itself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Celebrate Hobbit Day with The Lonely Mountain Band!

Tolkien inspired album from the Lonely Mountain Band
What better timing, on Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday, for the release of the debut album of The Lonely Mountain Band: Beyond the Western Seas
A musical project created by members of the Celtic rock group Fathom and fronted by Fathom lead singer John Di Bartolo. The album is inspired by the epic literary world of J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps best known for his The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The scope of Beyond the Western Seas covers the early days of Tolkien’s world, however, giving its intricately detailed history a unique musical life.

While Di Bartolo’s Celtic roots are clear throughout Beyond the Western Seas, The Lonely Mountain Band is a separate musical experience infused with fantasy. In addition to original lyrical content, The Lonely Mountain Band puts several of Tolkien’s poems into new settings for fans to enjoy as free downloads from the band’s website. Di Bartolo is joined by multiple guest performers, including Robert Muller (also of Fathom), Celtic fusion artist Danny McLauglin (Darkwood), and harpist Harperella. Fans of Tolkien’s work will find many details in the album to enjoy from the familiar poetry and names of heroes and battles right down to the cover art provided Ted Nasmith, an artist renowned for his interpretations of Tolkien’s work.

The catalyst for this new collection of songs was the recording of “Let Us Sing Together,” a re-worked cover of a song from the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings Online written by composer Chance Thomas.

Beyond the Western Seas features three bonus tracks dedicated to the game’s community, included free with the album or online as downloads at

Beyond the Western Seas is having its worldwide release NOW on September 22, 2010, with a virtual release party to be held within the world of The Lord of the Rings Online.

Digital Album

Includes digital liner notes and cover art in PDF format.

Immediate download of 12-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

Compact Disc (bonus digital tracks included!)

Buy the Physical CD now and get the 3 bonus free tracks plus two more songs only included on the physical CD (Misty Mountain Air & Lament of Khazad-dûm)

CD comes with a two page insert & picture disc, poly-wrapped.

When you buy the physical CD it ALSO includes an immediate download of the [12]-track digital album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

NOTE: Expect 2-4 week ship time on physical CD from 9/22 date of your ordering as we rush to fulfill all CD orders. The digital download is immediate. Feel free to contact with any questions.
Track Listing:
1. Vingilot 03:42

2. Swanships of Alqualondë 02:39
3. The Fall of Gil-galad (free) 03:19
4. Teleri 02:58
5. Ballad of Aiglos 04:34
6. Cuiviénen 03:27
7. Song of Durin's Awakening (free) 04:11
8. Let Us Sing Together 03:12
9. Lament of Eorl the Young (free) 02:40
10. Celduin 03:39
11. Swordsman of the Sky 04:03
12. Beyond the Western Seas 09:38

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Lord of The Rings" Fan Art Contest


The Lord of The Rings exists beyond the pages of the trilogy and apart from the celluloid of Peter Jackson's films. It is a saga that lives in the heart and minds of fans around the world, and while the language of the story may change throughout the globe, the iconography is universal.

To celebrate this, and in anticipation of the Radio City Music Hall presentation of The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, New York Comic Con and CAMI Music are asking fans of Lord of The Rings to put their affection down on paper in this global Fan Art contest.

With pen and paper, water color, oils, chalk, inks, or Photoshop, create a piece of art hearkening back to you favorite characters, locations, scenes, elements, or themes of the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

And, for young fans, we have a separate division for artists under the age of 18, so express yourself and encourage your children to, too!


Winners of The Legend Of Sigurd and Gudrun Book Giveaway

In the first week of September we announced a great opportunity for everyone to win a copy The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun that was released in trade paperback by Hougton Mifflin Harcourt on September 10th, 2010

We send word out via Facebook, Twitter and here on our website asking readers to tell us why they should be selected to win this book.

Here are the four winners, and congrats to them all!

Russell Lott:

Simplest answer: It's a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien. You know it'll be good.

Longer answer: I grew up in the 70s in the middle of nowhere. At sometime, I found The Hobbit is the town's tiny public library (now closed). From there it was the Trilogy, and the Silmarillion, and ... and we waited desparately for Christopher to put together some lost work of his father's. Leaf by Niggle was fantastic. ;-) Tolkien had a fantastic understanding of "legend". He could retell an existing legend, or he could weave his own. He was a master story-teller, and I'd like to read his take on the Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. 

Namiko Hitotsubashi:
We are studying Sigurd and Gudrun in my Tolkien class here at Wheaton, and while I already have a hard cover copy of said book, it's one of those things I'd rather not mark up with notes and underlines if I don't have to! Of course, I understand if I'm not chosen, as technically I already OWN it, but if I DO win, it will certainly be put to good use!

Michael Sean McGuiness:
Dear Northeast Tolkien Society-
I believe I should win a copy of Sigurd and Gudrun because I am a 100 years old and I love the history and the flora and fauna of the Northeast where I grew up and lived most of my life. In addition, some of my earliest reading joys were reading Bulfinch's Mythology, Padraic Colum's Nordic Gods and Heroes, as well as, of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien.

Neil O'Donnell:
From Editors: Neil entered via Twitter and was selected from those entries.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frank Giallombard -- Songs of Fantasy, Swords, & Sorcery.

Friday, September 24 · 7:00pm - 10:30pm
Comic Book Jones
2220 Forest Ave, Staten Island, NY
across from Lowes Home Center

A comic book store is fine environment to hear songs about fantasy, swords, kings, wizards, Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, medieval lands, and battles.                                                                 All songs performed on the 12-string Guitar by Frank Giallombard.                                       Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien set to Frank's original music.
Covers by Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep, Al Stewart, Rush, Rainbow, Blackmore's Night, Jethro Tull, Gryphon, and others.
There may also be some special guests.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at Radio City Music Hall


                           21st CENTURY  SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA              







There is only one Lord of the Rings. Come share in the power.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, will be presented live to film at Radio City Music Hall for two performances only, on Friday, October 8th and Saturday, October 9th, 2010 at 7:30PM. Following the success of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring concert last October, the Academy Award®-nominated film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers gets the same treatment at the world-famous Radio City Music Hall. Beneath an immense 60-foot screen, Howard Shore’s Grammy®-winning complete original score will be performed live to Peter Jackson’s award-winning epic.

The music of Middle-earth will be brought to life by more than 300 musicians Switzerland’s 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, The Grammy Award ® - winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, The award-winning Dessoff Symphonic Choir and renowned soprano Kaitlyn Lusk, all under the direction of celebrated Maestro Ludwig Wicki.

Last fall, over 10,000 people filled Radio City for The Fellowship of the Ring shows. The New York Times said “the music of Middle-earth soared at Radio City Music Hall,” while Entertainment Weekly said “it was a terrific night at the theater…Too bad we’ve got to wait until Oct. 9, 2010 to see The Two Towers in the same fashion.”
“This new presentation of cinematic image and music came about as the process of releasing The Complete LOTR Recordings was coming to an end,” says Howard Shore. “After three years of working with all of the original recordings I had a real interest in hearing the complete score performed live. From the very first time I sat in the audience watching and listening, I felt that I was seeing the music with more clarity and hearing the image in an entirely new way. It became a completely new experience. Maestro Ludwig Wicki is the foremost conductor of this score-to-film concert. His precision, detail and supreme musicianship will be on display at Radio City. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Doug Adams, musicologist and author of book Music of The Lord of the Rings Films said, "Howard Shore's music for The Lord of the Rings stands proudly as one of the most intricate and moving efforts in the history of the medium. The score-to-film performances create a fully immersive experience - a night of dramatic theater, cinematic spectacle and symphonic grandeur that honor the incomparable imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. Radio City Music Hall, with its opulence and history, was the perfect venue for The Fellowship of the Ring and we are thrilled about The Two Towers. This will be a weekend like none other."

Carpentier and Alfred Music Publishing will release of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films, a comprehensive account of Howard Shore’s score for the trilogy, on October 5th, which coincides with The Radio City event.. The culmination of almost a decade of writing and research, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films is an unprecedented look at Howard Shore’s Academy Award®-winning score, with extensive music examples, original manuscript scores, a rarities CD, and glimpses into the creative process from the composer, himself.

Released on December 18, 2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the second installment in Peter Jackson’s fantasy adventure film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of  the Rings. Set in Middle-earth, the story picks up with Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) trekking to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power while Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) search for the orc-captured Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd). All along, nefarious wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) awaits the Fellowship members at the Orthanc Tower in Isengard. Highly acclaimed by critics and fans alike, the film earned over $925 million worldwide, making it one of the highest grossing films of the year in the U.S. and worldwide. The film remains one of the top-10 highestgrossing worldwide films of all time. It won two Academy Awards®, a Grammy® Award and three
BAFTAs, and was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars®, Golden Globes®, and BAFTA Awards.


Howard Shore (Composer) is among today’s most respected, honored, and active composers and music conductors. His work with Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings trilogy stands as his most towering achievement to date, earning him three Academy Awards®. He has also been awarded four Grammys® and three Golden Globes. Shore was one of the original creators of Saturday Night Live where he served as the music director from 1975 to 1980.

At the same time, he began collaborating with David Cronenberg, and has scored 12 of the director’s films, including The Fly, Dead Ringers, Crash, Naked Lunch and Eastern Promises for which he was honored with a Genie Award. Shore continues to distinguish himself with a wide range of projects, from Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, The Aviator, and Gangs of New York, to Ed Wood, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Shore’s music has been performed in concerts throughout the world. In 2003, Shore conducted the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Wellington, New Zealand. Since then, the work has had over 140 performances by the world’s most prestigious orchestras. In 2008, Howard Shore’s opera of The Fly premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and at The Los Angeles Opera. Other recent works include Fanfare for the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia and a piano concerto in 2010 for Lang Lang. He is currently working on his second opera and looks forward to a return to Middle-earth with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Shore received the Career Achievement for Music Composition Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and New York Chapter's Recording Academy Honors, ASCAP’s Henry Mancini Award and the Frederick Loewe Award. He holds honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and York University and he is an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Ludwig Wicki (Conductor) began his career as a member of the Lucerne Symphony and Opera Orchestra and founder of the San Marco Brass and the

Philharmonic Brass Quintet. After studying choral conducting with the music director of the world-renowned Dresdner Kreuzchores in Germany, Wicki became a permanent member of the Schola Romanum Luzernsis under the

direction of Pater Roman Bannwart. Wicki then went on to become the music director at the Palace Chapel of Lucerne where he led the choir in Georgian chants and performances of Bach, Handel, Monteverdi and Palestrina, as well as the orchestra in works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and more. He inaugurated a Renaissance ensemble, Il Dolcimelo, and created the concert series Treffpunkt Haydn. In 1999, he founded the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, which has collaborated with internationally-renowned composers including Howard Shore, Randy Newman and Martin Böttcher. In 2007, the city of
Lucerne presented Maestro Wicki with a Special Achievement Award for his contribution to the city’s cultural life.

Film music is the credo and passion of the Lucerne-based 21st Century Symphony Orchestra,
led by Artistic Director Ludwig Wicki. The group has garnered wide acclaim for projects such as
James Bond in Concert, Italian Film Music: An Hommage to Ennio Morricone and Maurice Jarre
and An Evening with Randy Newman. In 2007, the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra entered into a partnership with Academy Award®-winner Howard Shore and has performed his complete score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King live to the epic motion picture. The complete trilogy will be performed next year at the KKL in Luzerne and in Munich.
The Dessoff Symphonic Choir, under the direction of Chris Shepard, traces its roots back to 1924. An award-winning independent chorus, Dessoff has established a reputation for pioneering performances of choral works from the Renaissance era through the 21st century. In addition to presenting its own concert series each season, the choir has performed in numerous New York, American and world premieres by composers such as Philip Glass, Tan Dun and Sir John Tavener and collaborated with major ensembles and orchestras. Appearances have also ranged from collaborations with the Kronos Quartet and Mark Morris Dance Group to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and The New York Philharmonic as well as Lorin Maazel's final performance with the Philharmonic. Dessoff's second CD "Glories on Glories" is also available for digital download from multiple online retailers.

The Grammy® Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus (BYC), now in its 19th season, is one of the country's leading children's choruses and is the ensemble of choice for internationally renowned orchestras and artists. Under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Dianne Berkun, BYC has an international reputation for programmatic and artistic excellence. The Chorus studies and performs a wide range of music-classical and non-classical-and has an active commissioning program to develop new works across a variety of genres. The Chorus has performed with renowned artists such as Elton John, Lou Reed and Alicia Keys, and has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Leon Botstein, and many others. In 2002, BYC debuted with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel in On the Transmigration of Souls, for which the Chorus won a Grammy ® Award. The Chorus receives its training from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA)--a performance-based vocal music education program serving over 300 students annually in six ensembles. The Chorus draws students from all over the city and reflects the broad diversity of the Metropolitan area.

The Chorus has performed with renowned artists such as Elton John, Lou Reed and Alicia Keys, and has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Leon Botstein, and many others. In 2002, BYC debuted with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel in On the Transmigration of Souls, for which the Chorus won a Grammy ® Award. The Chorus receives its training from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA)--a performance-based vocal music education program serving over 300 students
annually in six ensembles. The Chorus draws students from all over the city and reflects the broad diversity of the Metropolitan area.

Kaitlyn Lusk made her major orchestral singing debut with the Baltimore Symphony in 2003 at the age of 14 and has since been sought after for solo appearances with many of the nation’s leading orchestras. Since the fall of 2004, Kaitlyn has been the featured vocal soloist in Howard Shore’s The Lord of  the Rings Symphony. She has performed this role with over 25 orchestras in the United States and Canada from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the San Francisco Symphony, and from the Houston Symphony to the Minnesota Orchestra. She has performed with conductors including Keith Lockhart, Alexander Mickelthwate, Allaistar Willis, Stuart Malina, Nicolas Palmer, Markus Huber. In January 2007, Kaitlyn made her European debut with Maestro

John Mauceri and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. In the summer of 2007, as part of an encore performance of The Lord of the Rings Symphony with the Cleveland Orchestra, she once again performed with Howard Shore, who in 2005 invited Kaitlyn to perform the Academy Award®-winning song as part of the Grammy® Honors of Howard Shore in New York City. In addition to her live performances, Kaitlyn’s first studio album, No Looking Back, features some of the top musicians and songwriters in the industry today and was produced by the award-winning composer and arranger, Kim Scharnberg.

This event is presented by CAMI Music in partnership with New York Comic Con. Swiss International Air Lines is the official sponsor.

LISTINGS EDITORS: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers -Howard Shore’s Complete Score Live to Film plays at New York’s Radio City Music Hall (1260 Avenue of the Americas, at

50th Street) for two performances only, on Friday, October 8th and Saturday, October 9th at 7:30 p.m.
Via subway, take the 1/B/D/F/V trains to 47-50 Street-Rockefeller Center, the N/R trains to 49th Street or the 1 train to 50th Street. Tickets are $59-$150. For tickets, visit

or call Ticketmaster at (866) 858-0008.